09.15.2017

Motherhood Update || 20 Months

What a month. I feel as if I just wrote my 19 month motherhood update, which is just a constant reminder to me as to how quickly my little lady is growing up. From her developing stubbornness to her sweet little hugs + kisses, my little miss is certainly growing into a little lady and continually helping me grow as a momma…..

(Dress | Similar Cardigan | Harper’s Dress | Harper’s Cardigan)

Favorite Part: Her growing independence. I absolutely love watching her develop confidence and try new things on her own. She politely lets me know to “back off” by swatting my hand away when I follow too closely behind her on the gymnasium at the park… or when she insists on swinging without the bucket seat… or refusing the highchair and opting for an adult seat… they’re all just small daily reminders that my little baby is no longer that. More and more I come to see her as a little girl, with a strong little personality ready to take on life. At the same time though, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I love it when she runs to me for comfort when she is scared or timid in a social situation…. a small reminder that I’m still her safe base from which she can explore the world.

Most Challenging: This hands down has to be the shifting emotions of a toddler… and the inability to fully communicate their needs… which, I believe, go hand in hand. One minute we’re having a jolly good time, and the next, because I can’t decipher what she is saying, it’s as if the whole world has come to an end. A complete 180. I know that this is a time that will pass, as she continues to develop language and her ability to communicate her needs… but man, it’s not an easy phase by any means. Toddler tantrums are also a challenge. Yet, I try to remain as calm as possible, because when I get upset it doesn’t help the situation at all.

I know I’ve talked about this so many times in my past motherhood updates, but mom guilt is so real for me…. often I feel it the most as I get busier and feel as if I am not giving her my full attention during the days. While I know it’s not possible to always give 100% all the time, it’s something I have to constantly remind myself of when I feel the guilt creeping in……

(Joggers | Tank | Harper’s Tank)

Sleeping: For the past week or so, TJ and I have been wondering where our good little sleeper went. Naps are varied in length (sometimes only an hour) and we’ve been having some consistent wake-ups around the 2am time zone (this used to be my college bedtime….). Needless to say, it’s resulted in a few haggard days this week, but again, trying to remind myself that it must be a phase. I put it out there on instagram and received a lot of feedback from others with kiddos around Harper’s age that they’re going through the exact same thing…. an early morning wake-up, crying, and asking for “momma, daddy.” From what I’ve read, I imagine it has something to do with her canine teeth coming in and her rapidly developing mind.

It’s funny, on those nights where a part of me just wishes she would go back to bed, there is also a part of me that knows how quickly this time will pass. When she won’t want to be in my arms, and have me sing her a goodnight song (much quicker than I realize….). I remarked to TJ the other day that we should be sleeping the best at this point, when we know she is safe under our roof…. since there will come a day when she isn’t and that will likely keep us awake…. Do you ever really sleep as a parent??

Eating: Well, we no longer use a high chair and have graduated to a booster seat (per Harper’s decision). I actually really like this transition. It feels as if she is really part of the family and engaging at dinner time, not merely a little being sitting in her high chair. We say our prayers, listen to some music, and eat together. Surprisingly, she eats much better sitting in the booster seat than she did in the high chair. I’d also say that 90% of the time she does better in the booster seat at a restaurant (before she was dying to get out of her high chair).

Harper’s Favorites: I feel as if her preferences are constantly shifting. She currently loves this farm animal puzzle + shapes puzzle (always wants to do them first thing in the morning) and anything to do with balls. Her imagination is flourishing and she thoroughly enjoys playing with her toy food and shopping cart, sidewalk chalk (a budding Picasso maybe??….), and sitting in her little chair reading out-loud (not discernible, but hey, it’s a start). When we go to the park, she loves going up and down the slide by herself (do. not. help.), and swinging without the bucket seats. She  loves giving kisses by rubbing her nose against yours….. Oh, and she loves getting dirty (didn’t get that one from me….) in the sand, with her food, you name it, if it can make her filthy she’ll do it!

Friendships: My friend sent me a text message the other day saying that she felt like she has been the worst friend lately. I laughed out loud. Hardly. I had been feeling the same way. I replied to her that I could barely pull it together to return a text message. It’s nice to have all my friends in the same place of life, but sometimes it saddens me (if I’m being honest) that we don’t get to talk and see each other as often. Healthy female friendships are so imperative, and I can often sense when I haven’t connected enough with my girls. I stumbled across this article, as well as this one, the other day and thought they were both amazing narratives of this place in life (while I don’t relate to them 100% I think the overarching theme they present is very relatable).

09.11.2017

Weekend Recap || Small Reminders

(Small reminders that summer isn’t quite over…)

It’s hard to believe that exactly sixteen years ago, 9/11 happened. I vividly recall the events of that morning… I was getting ready for the second week of my senior year, curling my hair, and my dad came in and told me one of the Twin Towers had been hit (my mom was out on her morning run at this point). I went into his room, and watched in disbelief… and the rest of the day was spent doing just that… watching, and waiting, as the horror of the day unfolded…..

I remember the fear I experienced, in the following days, of something else happening… much like the fear that creeps in every now and again as I think about the world Harper is growing up in today. Yet, for some reason, this weekend, I was reminded of all the good that there is with very small instances, that I see daily…..

Every morning on my run, I cross paths with a young boy who has cerebral palsy and his aid who rides the bus with him…. she sits there patiently chatting with him each morning, and she and I kindly nod and smile when we pass each other…

We ran into friends, who we hadn’t seen in a while, this past weekend, and spontaneously decided to join them for a little beer tasting at a local brewery…. sports were on, and there was a sense of camaraderie in the air…

And, when I was running my errands this afternoon, an elderly lady was struggling to load her groceries and a college boy (I’m guessing on the age….) offered to help her.

Small little reminders that amidst some of the horrible things around us, there really is a lot of good out there too. So, as we go into the week ahead, my intention is to keep my eyes open to these small acts of kindness, and spread some myself…. paying it forward never hurt anyone. Have a great week friends! xx

(Matching my drink to my sweatshirt….)

(Back to our spin + avocado toast date mornings… such a great way to kick off the weekend)

(Keeping this taste away from those quick little hands wasn’t easy….  sweatshirt)

(Sunday comfies…. joggers, pullover)

(Sunday adventures with my crew in the comfiest jumpsuit)
__________

We stayed pretty balanced this weekend from an indulging standpoint…. opted for grass fed, organic burgers, protein style, on Friday evening… then we grilled chicken on Saturday night… and last night we made a pepper steak stir-fry and I cooked it with this cauliflower rice. Super tasty.

TJ has a work trip to Hawaii next week, so Harper and I are going to join him (it took a lot of convincing… not…). That being said, I’ll be bringing a lot of my favorite summer staples, but I also couldn’t resist this low back stripe suit and scalloped malliot to be worn underneath this gorgeous cover-up. I’m also considering these striped beach pants. For traveling, I’ll likely wear my favorite joggers, this jumpsuit and cardi combo, or this cozy pullover and my favorite leggings.

I snagged a few items over the weekend for everyday living…. like this ruffle sleeve short sleeve jacket, ruffle sleeve tunic in the mauve color, tie sleeve sweater, long denim jacket (can’t wait to wear with leggings), and this ruffle tank. I also love this black lace up pullover (seriously, so perfect), ruffle cardigan, crochet cardigan in ivory, and this raw hem denim shirt (such a great layering option with leggings and a white tee). I also couldn’t help but peek at these gorgeous date night tops…. like this one shoulder top (which I’m considering for Hawaii), balloon sleeve blouse, pretty little wrap top, and this black lace top.

09.05.2017

Weekend Recap || New Season, New Adventures

I’m having a hard time believing that the “unofficial” end of summer weekend has come and gone…. It feels like just yesterday I was creating my summer bucket list and looking forward to long summer days spent at the pool…. and here we are, preparing to head into the fall season. Which, is actually one of my favorite times of the year…. typically filled with lots of family celebrations, cool weather trips, warm soups, and lazy days spent inside when the temps drop…

Each new season brings new possibilities and adventures…. and tonight I was subtly reminded as to the adventure of life by the following quote, “Instead of trying to make your life perfect, give yourself the freedom to make it an adventure, and go ever upward.” (Drew Houston). So, as we head into a new week, and new season, I’m keeping my mind and heart open to the journey that will be provided to me… however messy and imperfect it may look. Have a good one friends! xx

(We’ve been starting our weekends a little early with a beach picnic and some family time…. white knit, Harper’s Cardigan)

(This heat wave still has me rocking a tank and cut-offs)

(Headed up to LA on Saturday morning to visit the Noah’s Ark Exhibition at Skirball Cultural Center… and hit up some of our favorite spots , Urth Cafe + Alfred Tea room, on the way. (tank dress))

(First Sweetgreen salad and I’m hooked)

(Labor Day BBQ with the fam… pool time, rosé, and laughs…. blush slides, pink slides)

(Morning comfies after an early wake-up from little miss… thermal, ruffle shorts)
__________

With all the indulging that went on this weekend, I’m thinking about doing this at home total body workout tomorrow morning…. and possibly whipping up a batch of my favorite oatmeal bake (with a few minor changes) for a quick breakfast option throughout the week…. and will for sure be making this favorite berry smoothie several times for my afternoon snack.

I’ve been holding off as much as possible on filling up my wardrobe with knits, and have been wearing a lot of my older ones, from last year, during the end of summer… yet, with the unofficial “end” I have my eye on so many different and gorgeous knits. I’m obsessed with this pullover with ties around the wrists, teal split sleeve pullover, striped sweater dress (soooo gorgeous), cozy grey “getaway cardigan,” bouclé knit cardigan, and pretty little blouson sleeve sweater. This mauve stitch pullover and open knit pullovers are also great options for fall. Oh, and the ruffle sleeves on this sweatshirt are so cute. I’m also loving this off the shoulder top in dusty rose and this grey top… both with the most gorgeous lace details… for a date night with TJ. I also love this stripe butterfly sleeve top and dramatic one shoulder top.

For everyday living, I love this super casual side tie stripe top, thermal off the shoulder top, and this black and white henley top.

I’m also considering a pair of white boots for the fall and winter. This bootie, with tiny little studs, is my favorite…. but I also like this open side bootie (I own these in a tan), and this stack heel option.

09.01.2017

Champagne Chatting || Monthly Q+A

(Pullover)

Happy Friday friends. We. Made. It. Time to grab a libation (or, whatever your indulgence of choice is….) and celebrate! We don’t have much planned this weekend, which feels good. A quick little trip to LA tomorrow morning will include some breakfast and the Noah’s Ark Exhibit at the Skirball Cultural center… then a family BBQ later in the weekend. I hope you all have a nice time relaxing and spending time with those you love.

Sharing my monthly Q+A today. As always thanks for your questions! I’ll be sharing a Labor Day Sales post tomorrow morning… lots of great items out there….
_______

1. I was needing some suggestions for dresses if you don’t mind. I have a black tie event coming up with my husband and I am so lost! Haven’t dressed up like that since Prom (and I’m 30 😂) any suggestions? I’m looking at both short and long. I want something sexy yet classy and comfortable. I’m pretty short…about 5’3 130 pounds and just don’t know where to go. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

When we went to a wedding back in July, I was looking for the same exact dress you just described. I found so many great options, and you won’t feel like you’re at the high school prom (TG….). I am always a fan of the black slip dress. It’s understated, yet looks so amazing on when paired with simple gold accessories and a strappy sandal. This one has a dramatic slit, but is floor length, and would look so amazing! Or, this twist front with a plunging neckline. If you’re looking for some color, this dress is ah-mazing…. the neckline, color, and slit are so gorgeous…and this has a low back, with an unexpected color scheme, which I’m loving for fall. I wore this slipdress to the wedding, and with the gold accessories and strappy sandals it turned ended up looking pretty fancy. With the right accessories, almost any dress can look black tie appropriate! Hope those help.

2. Do you have a special way you keep your hair from getting wet when you shower? I know you don’t wash everyday. Do you just buy a pack of shower caps? 

I’m currently going on day six of not washing my hair…. so not washing everyday is a very accurate statement. I typically twist my hair back in a banana clip, toss on a shower cap (that I buy in a pack), and wrap a towel around my head… I try to minimize moisture getting to my hair since I’m extremely sensitive to humidity of any kind (aka, my hair looks like one huge frizz ball). Those three steps are typically enough to keep my hair looking decent.

3. Do you miss working now that you’re a stay at home mom? I’m an LMFT with a 3 month old and go back to work (part time) next week and have mixed feelings. Just curious. 

Before Harper was born, I had every intention of going back to work part time (I was lucky enough that my employer was going to allow this). Yet, when she was born, the blog was at a place where I had to choose to either go back to work, or pursue it full time (I had been blogging for 3.5 years at that point) because juggling my therapist work, blogging, being a mom, and having a healthy marriage just felt like it would be too much to manage. So, I made the decision to not go back to my therapy work, and work full time on the blog (which, most people are surprised to know, takes up about 35 hours a week). So, I can’t say that I miss working, because I still do, just in a very different capacity. What I can say I miss is the regular work hours (most of my work is done very early in the morning, during Harper’s afternoon nap, and after she goes down at night… and on the weekends) and daily contact with my co-workers. If I hadn’t had the blog, I would have given myself at least 6 months back at the job to decide whether or not I wanted to continue working, to see how the pieces fell into place. You can read about my decision here if you’re interested.

4. As someone who works out most days of the week, how do you manage to keep your weight in check? This past year I dramatically increased my workouts and have found that I am constantly hungry and my legs look larger. Any advice?? 

That must be so frustrating to be working so hard and not feel like you’ve made any progress. For me, personally, I choose not to weigh myself. I can’t get caught up in that number because weight can fluctuate so much… I try to make sure I am eating clean (because that keeps me healthy on the inside), and as long as my clothes are still fitting, I’m good to go. As far as being hungry goes, I eat throughout the day, and fuel my body with clean eats that I know will sustain me (lean proteins, grains (quinoa, brown rice), veggies, fruits, and healthy fats). I am eat all three meals of the day, and have two snacks in between as well. I’ve found that typically helps to starve off hunger and keep my body fueled for the day.

5. I know you like your cocktails 🙂 BUT do you indulge in dessert? Would love to know what you have for dessert and how often you indulge in it? 

How did you know I like cocktails?! Someone  once told me they pass up a glass of wine because they like sweets too much and that’s where they choose to get their sugar from. I responded the opposite was for me. I like my wine, and that’s where I choose to get my sugar from. Joking aside, it’s kinda true. I have a sweet tooth, but do try to watch my sugar intake. I’m also a huge frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles lover, but keep my dairy intake to a minimum (when we were trying to get pregnant with Harper, my acupuncturist said no dairy, and I’ve kept up with it since….). I do enjoy pressed juicery freeze with all the toppings (when the almond butter + chocolate drizzle harden it’s soooooo good), Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups (so.good.),  these brownies (you’d never be able to taste the secret ingredient… I promise…), boom chick popcorn, and chocolate almond bars. I always indulge in one of those on the weekend evenings, and if I’m craving something sweet (which is every night… haha) I’ll have one peanut butter cup, or two cups of popcorn, or a small chunk of the almond bar… it’s usually all I need to curb the craving. Now, if I’m at a special event, I enjoy myself. Wedding cake. Yes please! On vacation. No brainer. A special family gathering with s’mores? Can I have two? Thank you. That’s pretty much my approach to sweets, and most of life in general.

6. What would be your top 3 outfits/dress choices for family photos? Maybe one dressy and one casual. 

Family photos are the best! For a dressy option, I love this dress (you can wear it again with a suede jacket and flats). For a more casual look, this one or this one (such gorgeous colors for fall). If you want something even more casual, I always love jeans and a cute oversized sweater or stripe sweater (assuming this is for fall….) for a laid back look.

7. I see a lot of your jeans have different distressing marks than most of the ones you link to. Do you add your own distressing after you receive them? I love how they look. 

Yes, I’d say I add my own distressing to almost every pair of jeans I get…. It’s typically not enough… or I’m too short and the knee holes are at the bottom of my thigh (#ShortGirlProblems). One of my favorite ways to add my own touch is by creating a raw hem at the bottom of the leg openings. Since jeans are always too long, I figure something has to be done. My favorite options are either just cutting them straight across, angled (seen here), or a step hem (my DIY for that here). For the knee holes, I typically just rip them to make them a little larger… or add a few snips around the existing holes. It’s not meant to look perfect, so I try not to worry about “messing up.”

8. I’m looking for a casual pair of sneakers for the fall. Something I can easily slip on while going out the door with a baby in my arms, as well as casual pair to wear with sweaters and jeans. Any suggestions?

My all time favorite sneakers are Tretorns. They are seriously so comfortable and look good with anything. I wear them all year round…. they’re like walking on air. I promise. A great option with jeans and a sweater too. As far as slip ons go, I’m loving this blush pair and this mauve pair for fall.

9. I am also a momma to a 19 month old and am always looking to save time…. I just watched your 5 minute beauty routine and was wondering which blush and mascara you are using? You never look tired or overdone 🙂 

That’s so nice of you! My favorite blush is by Laura Mercier and it’s in the shade winter bloom. It’s a well pigmented blush, so a little goes a long way… a great shade for year round wear. For my mascara I use this one. I recommend it for length, but not so much for volume.

10. The microwaveable lentils from Trader Joes… do you put anything on them or just eat them as heated up? Also, does Harper eat the lentils too? Wasn’t sure how to feed them to my 16 month old. Thank you!

These are a favorite in our house. We don’t add anything to them, just heat them up and add to our meal. Harper loves them as is too… I just give them to her on the placemat and she eats them with a spoon.

11. Did you drink Kombucha or drink coffee when you were pregnant? I just found out I am expecting and my doctor didn’t even know what kombucha was…..

I didn’t drink kombucha when I was pregnant, but that’s because I didn’t even know about it then. I don’t know what I would do now, but a lot of my favorite health bloggers drink it while they are pregnant. As far as coffee goes, I don’t drink coffee, I’m more of a tea person, and I avoided it. I don’t really need caffeine (well, not back then…. now is another story… haha) so I stuck to iced herbal teas. My doctor did tell me that a cup of it was fine though.

12. I’m a mom that’s always on the go- do you have any suggestions for cute outfits (casual, athleisure) that are fast to put on/easy to walk out the door/chase a kid around but still look cute? I’m in the PNW so outfit ideas with layers for fall and winter are ideal!

Yes! So many great options. I wrote about my favorite basics here, and recommend every piece mentioned. For bottoms, my go-to pieces are high waisted leggings, joggers (own, and love, they do stretch so I recommend sizing down), and a relaxed pair of distressed jeans (again, personal favorite). All three of those bottoms are so easy to just toss on an easy tee with. My favorites for fall include this thermal (so comfortable), graphic tee, split back pullover (a favorite from last year… so soft and comfortable), plaid top (this is the softest… and I love layering it over lighter pieces), and lightweight pullover. You can layer all those pieces under the following jackets/coats: utility jacket (oversized and I own in a camo print from last year), distressed denim jacket (love layering long sleeves under and rolling up the sleeves on the jacket….), puffer vest, and this anorak with a faux fur hood. Top them off with this scarf, these kicks, and a cap. All of these pieces pair well together.

13. Do you have any inexpensive beauty products for healthy hair and skin (on a college student budget!!). I did bayalage on my hair and it feels kinda dry…. actually very dry. Lol. 

Yes, bayalage can for sure make your hair feel dry. I hear ya over here! I use an oil on my hair and a deep conditioning conditioner regularly. A budget friendly option I would try is a coconut oil leave in treatment. I’ve heard amazing things about coconut oil for the hair, but I have not personally tried it yet. I need to though. Stat. Also, I read that you can just use a regular jar of coconut oil (no product needed), and leave it in overnight… when you wash your hair it’s supposed to feel amazing. For facial care, I used to use this exfoliator, facial cleanser, eye cream, and this moisturizer.

14. Have you already covered topic of “marriage while parenting a toddler”?  An area of opportunity for growth for my husband and I is finding ways to connect to strengthen our marriage when a lot of our time is devoted to our sweet and spirited toddler!

Yes! I wrote all about marriage while being parents in this post here. I hope it helps!

08.30.2017

Wellness Wednesday || The 5 Ways I’ve Improved My Sleep

(Lounge Shorts | Knit)

A bad night’s sleep can throw off my entire next day…. and a few consecutive evenings of it will just make me a walking zombie (…. and take me right back to those newborn days….). While it doesn’t happen all the time, sometimes I find myself so tired throughout the day and then struggle to fall asleep at night. So. Frustrating. It’s as if my mind decides to solve all of the world’s problems at 9:45pm. Over the past few weeks, I’ve decided to put together an evening routine for myself, in an attempt to ameliorate the issue. While it doesn’t work 100% of the time (I’d say about 90%), I’d say that it has improved my sleep drastically. So, today I thought I’d share the four changes I made to improve the quality of my sleep…..

1. Electronics Off 30 Minutes Prior To Bed: I’ve heard the benefits of shutting down an hour prior to bedtime, but that’s just not possible for me. I try my best to turn off my social media scrolling thirty minutes prior to pillow time, but I do sneak in an occasional text here and there after that time frame. Yet, what I have noticed is that on evenings when I follow this closely, my mind isn’t racing as much…. which is likely due to the fact that I’ve given my brain some downtime before attempting to shut it off for several hours.

2. Evening Tea: I accidentally stumbled across this one at my parent’s house. My mom said she picked up one of the tea bags at a hotel they were staying at, and ended up letting me try it out one evening. I was hooked after that first night, and immediately went to the store the next day to buy a pack. Not only does it taste good, but the chamomile helps me relax and unwind from the day. Chamomile actually has loads of other health benefits, and I’ve found it hugely helpful in preparing for bedtime. On the first night I sipped it, I had one of the best evenings of sleep… I felt completely relaxed right before my head hit the pillow. It also had a slight cinnamon taste to it, kind of like a nice after dinner treat.

3. Incorporate Oils: I’ve become quite a fan of diffusing an evening blend right before bed, and in the first four hours of sleep. I’ve been doing it for about two weeks now, and I can definitely say that it has helped me fall asleep, and stay asleep, much better. About two hours before bed, I diffuse a blend of lavender, breathe, and frankinsence. Each has their own benefits, and when combined, work well to facilitate sleep. Lavender reduces emotional stress + anxiety and improves sleep. Breathe works to maintain clear air passages and promotes a restful night sleep… something that has been very helpful to me this season with my allergies. Frankinsence aroma promotes feelings of relaxation. So, the three together makes for a fairly powerful trio. I opt to diffuse them because I read that doing so reaches my brain within 22 seconds… and anything that works quickly when it comes to sleep is much appreciated. Along with the diffuser, I roll a little bit of the lavender oil on behind my ears and neck, as well as on the underside of my big toes. (I got all my info from my oils gal Katie).

4. Legs Up The Wall: This has been one of my go-to pre-bedtime stretches for years, but I stopped doing it when I became pregnant. I recently picked it up again, and I’ve noticed a difference in my state of relaxation (much better). Legs up the wall is considered a restorative pose in yoga, and is most often done at the end of class since it helps to promote relaxation. To read more about how to do it (it’s actually really simple) check out this article. I basically do this about 5-10 minutes before I head to bed, and hold it for however long it takes for the state of relaxation take over. Then, I head to bed.

5. Room Temperature: One of the quickest ways for me to improve my sleep is to ensure that my room is nice and cool. Fortunately, TJ likes the room cool too, so there aren’t any disagreements over that. We have the air conditioning running throughout the night (thankfully our place is small and doesn’t cost too much to do this), and with a light layer of clothing, and the perfect blankets, I never feel too hot or cold. It’s amazing what sleeping at the right temperature will do for a good night’s sleep. If you’re wondering, we set ours to 70°.

That’s it. Nothing was that big of a shift, but when combined, seem to have really helped improve my sleep experience!

08.28.2017

Weekend Recap || Simple Things

(Spent most of our evenings, right there, at that fire pit)

This past weekend we enjoyed a quick staycation, about 30 miles north of us, in Long Beach at The Hotel Maya. It was a trip that had been planned for about a month, but one that came at an opportune time for us…. life has a funny way of working out like that. As we headed up there, TJ was stressed about a few calls he still needed to make, and I had a few loose ends that still needed to be tied up. Yet, when 4:30 rolled around, a sense of calmness came over us, and we settled into the weekend fairly quickly….

We met with old friends, who we hadn’t seen in months, on Friday evening… and enjoyed time around the fire, sipping libations, eating take-out sushi, and watching our little ones play in the sand. As we spent time catching up, and getting grilled cheese sandwich dropped in my rosé glass (#MomLife), I was gently reminded as to what makes a rich life. It’s not a big home, fancy cars, designer duds, or high powered jobs (although… don’t get me wrong, those are nice luxuries)… life is about filling yourself, and surrounding yourself, with the things that make you happy…. and most often, those are the simple things…. and for me, that Friday evening, it just happened to be good friends, family, rosé, and fireside s’mores….

It was a contrast to last week’s weekend recap, and it’s a reminder I plan on taking into the week ahead, as I hope you will too. Have a good one friends! xx

(Headed up to Long Beach for a little staycation with the family at Hotel Mayadress, hat, Harper’s top, bloomers)

(Love all the decor around the hotel)

(Fuego…. home to delicious ceviche + libations…. and the view isn’t shabby either)

(Good friends, take-out sushi, rosé champagne, fireside s’mores… a pretty nice little Friday evening…. open knit, jeans)

(Ventured out to Wide Eyes Open Palms for one of the yummiest breakfasts ever)

(Yes, we were that family…..)

(Poolside Saturday afternoon in one of the hotel’s floating cabanas, with our little fish…. my suit, evil eye necklace, Harper’s suit)

(An oversized thermal for some Mexican food…. my thermal)

(Ending where we started…. fireside….)

(Sunday stroll on the boardwalk before heading home. pullover)

Thank you to Hotel Maya for hosting our stay
_________

Well, this weekend was relatively indulgent, as most weekend’s away tend to be…. so, tomorrow, we’re hitting the re-set button. We grilled some turkey burgers and chicken breasts so that we would have some lean protein to top salads and bowls with during the week… and loaded up the fridge with veggies + fruit. I made a batch of these egg muffins for busy mornings, as well as these energy balls for days I don’t want to make a smoothie.

We have a relatively low key weekend planned for Labor Day, with the exception of a quick day trip up to LA, we will likely be lounging by the pool and BBQ. I plan on wearing these stripe drawstring shorts (on sale) with this comfortable open knit, as well as this knot back sweater or bell sleeved one with my favorite cut-offs. For our day in LA I’m thinking about tossing on this comfortable jumpsuit since we will be at a children’s museum exhibit and I’ll want something easy, and lightweight to wear…. and if I don’t wear that, I’ll likely toss on my lace tank and shorts and toss my favorite cardi in my bag.  I’m also thinking that for one of the BBQ evenings, my favorite v-neck, long sleeve, stripe tee will be perfect front knotted with a pair of shorts or jeans.

I snagged a few new pairs of kicks lately that I’m super excited about! These blush kicks are amazing, and I love these lace up boots and flats… a little different than what I might typically wear, but I think they will look so cute with distressed skinny jeans and an oversized sweater for fall!

I also made a few purchases for our home lately! Anthro had their site wide 20% off sale and I snagged this comforter, which I had my eye on for a few months. I also bought this super soft blanket and these mauve throw pillows.

And, last but not least, I had to share these cute little etsy items that are in my cart for little miss. I’m obsessed with this blush sleeveless hoodie, stripe bloomers, and this adorable boho romper and two piece set.

08.25.2017

Favorite Products August || Food, Beauty, + Fashion

Happy Friday friends! Sharing my favorite products from August with you today, and there are a lot of new ones that I’m excited to share… from tasty food options to everyday fashion finds… I think you’ll love them just as much as I do.

We’re heading up to Long Beach this weekend for a little staycation and I’m super excited. It’s always nice to getaway, even when it’s only a quick drive away. Hope you all have a great weekend and see you Monday! xx

FOOD:

1. Trader Joe’s Turmeric + Carrot Juice: As TJ says, “This stuff just makes you feel like you’re drinking health.” I brought this stuff home with me several weeks ago, and we’ve been enjoying a small glass every morning. It’s slightly sweet, and oddly refreshing. Turmeric has a ton of health benefits, especially it’s anti-inflammatory ones, so it’s definitely a good one to sip.

2. Maca Powder: Another Trader Joe’s find, but you can find Maca at pretty much any health food store. It has a slightly nutty flavor, and I love adding it to my afternoon smoothies. If you’re curious about the benefits of Maca, you can check them out here.

3. Primal Kitchen Dressing: I don’t typically buy dressings at the grocery store because I am never a fan of their ingredient lists… so, instead I make them from scratch at home. Yet, that takes time that I sometimes don’t have, so when I stumbled across this brand, I was sold. The ingredients are spot on, and they are incredibly flavorful. I found mine at Sprouts + Mother’s Market.

4. Chocolate Protein Powder: I’m a huge fan of the Vega Vanilla protein powder, yet, I recently grabbed the chocolate flavor and to say I’m obsessed would be an understatement…. then again, I am more of a chocolate fan than vanilla. It’s gentle on my stomach, and I can easily toss it into my afternoon smoothies.

5. Rise Bars: We recently tried these out and love them… they’ve become part of our weekly mix. I’m a particular fan of the smaller size for a little mid-morning snack, but the bigger option is great too. Our favorite flavors are the lemon and the chocolate almond.

Beauty: 

1.Tula Kefir Replenishing Cleanser Oil: So, TULA launched a new Kefir line, and it’s pretty amazing (like most of their products).If you haven’t heard of Kefir, it’s a fermented milk drink that is loaded with probiotics, minerals, and vitamins. I’ve loved using it as my new nightly face wash. I’m particularly fond of how smoothly it goes on, and how soft it leaves my skin. I also love that it is scentless and that it foams up nicely. (20% off with code SHANNON)

2. Keifer Moisture Repair Pressed Serum: More goodness from the Kefir line, and it’s a good one. This serum promotes water retention, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, nourishes, and increases firmness in the skin. I use it after the cleaner oil and in place of my serum + overnight cream… it’s that nourishing. (20% off with code SHANNON)

3. Clarifying Detox Mask (currently on sale): I’d been wanting to try a charcoal mask for quite some time, and heard this one was amazing. It didn’t disappoint. I noticed that my skin was breaking out on my chin last week, and so I applied it 3 times throughout the week and the breakout cleared up. It does this by removing trapped dirt and debris left on the skin, and then keeping bacteria on your skin at bay. You can bet it’s made its way into my weekly mask rotation.

4. Oil No. 9: I’ve been loving the use of oils to combat skin dryness, and this one ranks as one of my favorites. It’s on the pricey side, but it seriously leaves my skin feeling, and looking, incredibly nourished. I typically apply it at night, in lieu of a cream moisturizer, and when I wake up my skin looks more youthful.

FASHION:

Oversized Thermal Button-Up: This things is beyond comfortable…. and versatile. I most recently wore it with cut-offs, but I love to lounge around the house in it… and dressed up with the right accessories, it’s evening appropriate (I’d opt for jeans, gold necklaces and bangles, and a heeled mule….).

Thermal Tee: Same as above, super soft and incredibly comfortable. I love that it’s an oversized fit, so you can front tuck it or front knot it for a cute casual look. A great throw on and go basic for your closet, for sure.

Chunky Cardigan: I received a message when I posted the above photo last night asking me if this cardigan was “that” good. Yes. It is. I originally purchased it last January, right after the New Year. It was more than I typically spend for a cardigan, but I couldn’t pass up the gorgeous detailing and beautiful rose color… it was so soft when it arrived, and I loved the way it fit, that I kept it and wore it throughout the end of winter. It’s an investment, for sure, but a comfortable, and super cute one… I wear it with shorts, lounging around the house, with leggings, jeans….

Lace Camisole: You can wear this one two ways… backwards for a high neck look, or the correct way for a deep v option. So, it’s a two-for-one… and if you’re like me and love a deal, that’s a good one. Well made, with delicate lace detailing, it’s the perfect option for date night, or even dressed down with shorts for an everyday casual look…. or even office appropriate. I’ve worn it both ways, and recently snagged it in the white too (I first bought it in black). It’s an excellent option to take you across seasons…. This is also one of my favorites (styled here).

Slides: Harper loves these too. No joke. I catch her walking around in them all the time. I’m pretty much obsessed with these throw on a go slides…. perfect for a day of errands, or for a lunch with friends… toss them on with cut-offs now and distressed jeans later. You can see how I most recently styled them here.

Ruffle Lounge Shorts: I’m all about that comfy life, if you didn’t already know that about me. My favorite thing to do is toss on something comfortable after a long day…. and these, well these take the cake (along with this pair and these joggers). They’re super cute with the ruffle detail, and lounging in them is a dream. I sized up to a medium (two sizes) so they would fit looser.

Band Tee: My college roommates and I used to pre-party to 80’s music, while wearing old band tees, so when this trend hit a resurgence, this was the tank I opted for. I personally love the song…. and am obsessed with the distressing. It’ll pair perfectly with my high waisted leggings and a cardigan, or with distressed jeans and mules for a more pulled together option.

Tunic Dress (currently 40% off): I am obsessed with the print of this dress, perfect for fall… and love the way it hangs on the body. I plan on wearing it with slides and this hat in the transitional months, and with over the knee boots and a suede jacket or oversized cardi in the cooler months.

Cargo Pants (currently under $30): I styled these here, but since have worn them so many times I can’t count. I wear them all the way down, or pushed up around my calves… they’re soft and a great alternative to leggings or jeans for an everyday look. They run large, so size down.

Open Back/Knot Back Tank: Another two for one. You can wear this with an open back (like I did earlier this week with the above cargo pants), or you can knot it and it’s a more fitted look (I prefer it this way with my cut-offs and jeans). It would pair nicely with a cute midi skirt as well.

08.24.2017

Couple Style + Some Real Life Marriage Talk

In a world filled with gorgeous images of couples and families flooding social media, let’s just have a little real talk about these in front of you. It took about 15 minutes total to snap them…. my mom was behind the camera… and we were on borrowed time with little miss… who, was present, but not seen in the pictures. She had worked her way through the toys I brought to occupy her, and was now demanding full attention. TJ was trying to make light of the situation, and I was all business, per usual…. so, while we may be all smiles, there was definitely a level of stress going on behind them ….

All that to say, no relationship is without stress or conflict. When I shared this post on stress management last week, I received a lot of questions that related to the marital dyad of the family system. So many, that I decided to dedicate today’s post to it. Back when I was practicing therapy, couples work was the hardest for me… so much so, that I kept it to a minimum. What challenged me the most, was that many couples wanted to have an absence of problems, without having to change the way they operated within the system. First of all, I personally feel that accepting that there will be conflict and disagreements throughout your marriage will actually set you up for success as opposed to failure. A happy and successful marriage doesn’t lack disagreements, it’s how these differences are managed that determines success. Secondly, it takes two. It takes two to tango, so it takes two to make the marriage work (disclaimer here… abuse of any kind is not okay, so, that’s not what I’m chatting about here.). All that to say, a lot of the questions asked how to manage stress in your marriage, make time for each other, and how to keep the spark alive. So, today, I will attempt to answer some of these questions, more from a personal, more anecdotal, perspective.

**I do want to add here that just because I offer some personal tips, it in no way means that we have a perfect marriage. Hardly. We just know how much our marriage matters and are willing to work really hard at keeping it a priority.** 

1. How do you keep the spark alive after 7 years of marriage and two children?

Date your husband. Date your wife. TJ and I can always tell when we’ve gone a little too long without focusing on each other. We get testy, snappy, and feel disconnected. Of course, we try not to wait that long, but life happens, and we use that as a loud reminder that we need to book the babysitter and head out for some alone time. This is the same thing I recommended to the couples I worked with…. marriage takes work… just like dating did… so, why stop dating the person you worked so hard for? It doesn’t have to be an extravagant date… TJ and I try to get 3 hours in on a Saturday morning… or a few hours in the evening for a happy hour cocktail…. or even a quick mid-week hour or two alone together. Just enough time to reconnect, without interruptions.

Knowing one another’s Love Language is also incredibly helpful. TJ and I try to have check-ins a few times a month. Is your bucket full? Or is it feeling a little depleted? Knowing what fills the other’s bucket is like giving them a gift they really want. I heard this concept explained this way: We tend to love others the way we want to be loved… but would you give someone a gift that you wanted but they didn’t really need or care about? Likely not. So, knowing what fills your partner’s bucket is filling it in the way they need it to be filled. It really really helps.

2. How do you manage stress when both you and your significant other are stressed out? 

So. Hard. It’s never easy when TJ and I are both in a place of stress. Yet, what we’ve found, and still have to work on to this day, is that we need to manage our stress individually, instead of hoping the other person will fix it for us. That means knowing what I personally need to do to manage mine… sometimes that means we have an evening where it’s pretty quiet in the house…. where I’m doing my stress management and TJ is doing his.

Something that probably comes before all of that though is being able to communicate to the other how you are feeling… before the feelings of stress start to impact the relationship. Sometimes, for us, this is just a simple statement that “I’m really stressed right now and just need some time to figure it all out tonight.” Or, sometimes it means figuring out ways to split the parenting responsibilities so we can both have time to regroup individually.

3. If you could share tips on how to accommodate to you and your partner’s busy lives with different jobs + being supportive of them while still finding time to spend together that would be helpful! My boyfriend and I are in medical school and it gets a little stressful to find a balance. 

I can only imagine how busy and demanding both of your schedules are. While this is in no way the same, I remember when TJ and I were first married, I was studying for my licensing exam, TJ was working full time, and in the last year of his MBA program. It was hugely stressful for us both, and I felt as if most of our time was spent studying or working. TJ was so stressed he started sprouting gray hairs. All that to say, I remember that we scheduled in date nights. We would look at our schedules and block out time to do things we love together…. so, after mid-terms, or after a licensing class I had, we would find a weekend or week night to schedule in a long bike ride, hike, or dinner out. It likely couldn’t be an all day thing, since some of the weekend needed to be spent studying, but it was also nice to know we had something scheduled so we could reconnect. Also, if possible, scheduling in mini dates, at home, can be a great way to reconnect. Find a night during the week, make dinner together, pick a rom com, and have some popcorn (or wine….).

4. My fiancé and I will be married in November. Do you have any advice for newlyweds? And being that you’re also a mental health professional, what can we do to manage our stress on this side of things? 

Yay! Congrats on your upcoming marriage! Such an exciting time. TJ and I always say that the first year of marriage was our hardest (not trying to be a downer!!). So, my first piece of advice would be to give yourself time to figure everything out. For us, we had to navigate how to manage finances together, weather ups and downs (my grandpa, nana, and dog died within the first 6 months of us being married, and then my car needed thousands of dollars of unexpected repairs….), and how to live in such close quarters. I had an unrealistic expectation that it would be easy peasy. So, just knowing that there will be an adjustment period and allowing for it to happen is helpful. Trust that you will eventually find your stride. This is actually the advice we gave to my sister and her husband right before they got married.

Managing stress as a mental health professional is so important too! I recommend mental health days, having supportive co-workers, or a support group, where you can bounce the challenges and stresses off of! Those are the things that I found most helpful in managing my personal stress from the job.

5. How do you deal with not taking your stress out on your spouse? That probably makes me sound horrible. But by the end of the day, after I’ve gotten off work, cooked dinner, put baby to bed and he isn’t picking up the few messes I didn’t get to, it’s hard for me not to get frustrated. I tell myself this every morning, but by 8pm, I’m exhausted and wish he would at least start the dishwasher for me! 

After a long day, it’s so normal to feel exhausted and worn out, and to want some help. We’ve all taken our stress out on our significant other (if you haven’t, please leave your secrets below…..) so don’t feel bad at all! Like I said in the beginning of the post, it’s all about how we eventually manage the disagreement/issue that matters. What we’ve found to be helpful is to use the very cheesy, yet effective “I statements,” even though, at that point in the evening, all we want to do is point the finger and blame. Example? The other night I went to load a wash in the dryer and discovered a bunch of TJ’s clothes still in there… meaning they needed to be folded (or tossed into some corner of the house, only to sit there for who knows how long). I was pretty irritated. So, I took a few deep breaths, and walked out to TJ. I basically just said how I felt about the situation and what I felt would be helpful for me. Without attacking him, he was able to see where I was coming from and we agreed on a plan for the future. Does this always happen? Um, not. But we really really try.

A couple of other effective tools we’ve used to deal with stressors/difficult topics include:

Taking a break from the topic and setting an agreed upon time to re-address the issue. Sometimes there comes a point when talking about an issue is no longer productive. Tabling it and coming back to it with less frustration can make a huge difference… and prevent hurtful things from being said….. This one is my favorite. Sometimes a little space allows you to see it from the other’s perspective.

TJ thinks it’s helpful to hold my hand when we’re having a heated conversation. I don’t. Haha… maybe that will work for you??…..

Trying to fight fair…. no mimicking, eye rolling, name calling, etc…. it never makes the situation better. Ever.

Ok, that’s it! Again, we are far from perfect, but these are some of the tools I’ve taken from my work in therapy to our marriage that we’ve felt have been effective!
________

(Outfit Details || My Jeans (cut hem on my own) | My Top (similar options here, here, here, here) | My Shoes | My Sunglasses | TJ’s Jeans | TJ’s Top | TJ’s Sunglasses)

All clothing provided by Paige Denim 

08.21.2017

Weekend Recap || The Comparison Trap

(Prettiest florals on our Sunday morning walk)

We spent this weekend, fairly balanced, with workouts, family time, alone time (my sister babysat little miss while TJ + I snuck away for some early cocktails and dinner), and good food. Yet, something that’s been weighing on me for the past several weeks has been the comparison game. I’m not sure why, but it’s as if I’ve become overwhelmed with feeling “not good enough” when compared to my external world. I wrote a blog post about it, over four years ago, and felt compelled to touch on the issue a little today…

I had a moment, sitting in the car this afternoon, where I had to apologize to TJ for being short and snappy. I had been feeling a little down most of the day (could have been the fact that my period is coming shortly…..) and as I reflected, I realized it was solely due to the comparison trap…. other people’s gorgeous homes, success, trips, kiddos who take photos easily (that one is a little lighter in nature….), etc… you get the drift. I’ve always believed it, but seem to have forgotten it as of late, but, comparison is the thief of all joy. As TJ and I sat there, we chatted about ways to work through this feeling, one that’s so easy to fall into, and came up with a few ways that I thought I would share as we embark on a fresh week ahead…..

1. Make A List Of All That You Are Grateful For: It’s pretty simple, and something I’ve written about a lot… but I have so much to be grateful for…. it’s when I forget those things that I start comparing, and feeling bad.

2. My Own Uniqueness: I recently saw a quote that said, “I didn’t ask you to be her. I asked you to be you.”~ God. Whether you’re religious or not, it pretty much reminds me that I was created to be me, with my own quirks and qualities, not someone else… and that being a first rate version of myself is a heck of a lot better than feeling like a second rate version of another person.

3. Beginning + Middle: So often, I know where I should (or want) to be, that I get ahead of myself and see people where I want to be… and feel bad. I have to remember that my journey is mine… our family journey is our own… and remembering that everyone has a beginning and to not compare it to someone’s middle.

Those three reminders are typically good enough to bring me back to neutral, and to have a more positive outlook. With that, my intention is to remember them, use them, and stay out of the comparison trap this week. Have a good one friends! xx

(Friday comfies, thermal is so soft)

(Saturday morning family run for the weekend favorite: avocado taost)

(Date night! lace top, jeans which I cut)

(Impromptu Sunday morning walk in Balboa)

(Post walk grub…. decisions, decisions)
__________

Towards the end of last week, my body was craving something different from a workout standpoint. So, I did this yoga booty workout, and when I woke up the next day, my body was sore in all new places. Always a good sign of a good workout.

During little miss’ nap this afternoon, I was able to get on-line and look around a bit…. and Abercrombie has some of the cutest pieces right now. I love this oversized v-neck sweater, perforated cardigan, thermal henley tank, basic shirt dress, and this ruffle hem top. Such great basics, that will transitional between seasons. Some other basics that I am also loving include this ruffle cold shoulder top, flare sleeve sweater, bell sleeved sweater, and this super cute cold shoulder sweatshirt (I’m obsessed with it). I’ve also been loving layering this super soft button-up over tanks and cut-offs… such a great transitional outfit. I also love this lace up shift dress… would layer perfectly with a denim or suede jacket (my favorite was just restocked in all colors/sizes) for fall. Also, how cute is this knot back sweater? I own this one too, and love that both can be worn forward too, when paired with high waisted bottoms.

Also, a few favorites that were re-stocked recently include this soft and basic stripe tee (which is under $30), stripe bell sleeve top, and this bell sleeve sweater (a serious favorite, I sized up two).

We have a staycation this weekend in Long Beach, and I plan on bringing along this tunic dress (love the print for fall) and this straw hat (on sale!) for a casual evening sipping cocktails. I plan on brining this floral off the shoulder swimsuit along with this culotte jumpsuit (since temps are supposed to spike this weekend, after some relatively mild summer weather).

08.18.2017

Motherhood Update || 19 Months

I was at the park with little miss this morning, and for some reason started thinking about where we were, at this exact time, last year. I remember TJ was back in Boston for a work training, and I was staying with my parents for the week. Harper was just starting to crawl, and taking her to the park was so different than it is now. Which was a gentle reminder to me of how fast time goes… and how quickly she changes….

(My pullover | Necklace | Harper’s Romper)

Challenges: Two words. Toddler Tantrums. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. Holy moly. Ok, I’m done….

Just kidding. In all seriousness, while I know they could be worse, a tantrum at all feels as if I’ve run a half marathon (so, I can only imagine how tired it makes her feel). It seems as if anything can set it off…. My sister and I were out at lunch the other day and when it was time to go, she simply didn’t want to leave. She didn’t want to hold my hand or be carried to the car, so, instead, she laid down on the ground and started crying. Then flailing when I picked her up and took her to the car… at which point she became a stiff board as I tried to get her into the car seat. Thankfully, it was a cooler day, so beads of sweat didn’t start dripping down my forehead. Once she was in the carseat, buckled up, and still screaming might I add, I closed the door and my sister and I just started laughing. What the heck? I got back in the car, turned a Daniel Tiger song on, and it was as if the last five minutes didn’t happen.

Toddler Tantrums. I imagine this will be my biggest challenge for the next 1.5 years. Looking forward to it….

Something else I struggle with, constantly, is mom guilt. Probably daily. I sometimes question if I’m a good enough mom, was I present enough today, did I read to her enough today… sing and play with her enough? Was I too focused on work? Did I speak too harshly to her? Don’t get me started, because the list could go on and on…. but, it’s real and something I deal with regularly…..

Favorite Part: While toddler tantrums are a real doozy, I just love her developing language. She easily said “dadda” for the past several months, but “momma” was something she said once or twice in the early months and never said again (cue sad face). Over the past few days though, it’s rolling off her tongue and it melts my heart. The more language she develops, the more fun it becomes interacting with her (not that it isn’t fun now…. it’s much more conversational)…..

I also love seeing her social personality flourish, and realizing that she is much more like me in that area than we thought. At home, and around those she is very familiar with, she’s outgoing and wastes no time exploring. Yet, when she gets around people she’s met once or twice, or doesn’t know that well, she’s slow to warm. I took her to the park on  a playdate, where she didn’t know anyone, and she refused to let me put her down. After about two minutes of taking in her surroundings, she let me put her down, but she insisted on holding my hand. Then she wanted me to push her in the swings. After about ten minutes of feeling out her environment, she joined the crowd and had a blast. Which is pretty much how I am.

(My suit | Harper’s Suit)

Sweetest Moments: Hands down, her new love for freely giving hugs and kisses. Before, when we’d ask for a kiss, there was a 75% chance we were going to be rejected. Now, she loves giving them, and will walk around the room and give each person a hug and “kiki” as we affectionately call them. She also loves to have people sit down next to her….. so, she plops herself down wherever she feels like it, points to you, points to the spot where she wants you to sit, and waits…. not so patiently…. for you to come join her. Oh, and she has to have at least three stuffed animals in her arms when I sing to her goodnight…… She also loves posing for a photo…. she gets herself in position by standing up against a wall and just waiting until we take a photo of her (see below photo).

Eating: Well, we’re back to throwing food over here (insert rolling eye emoji here….), but it seems to only happen when she’s at the end of a meal, and no longer hungry. So, we’ve been using the methods that worked before to address the issue. She has fully moved to using silverware at this point, and does surprisingly well. At first, I was just giving it to her occasionally, but the more she saw us using a fork and spoon, the more she began to request her own. I ended up buying her this fork + spoon and have been really happy with them. Harper also prefers to drink out of a regular cup, but we’re still working on the part where you don’t pour the liquid out. Happens every time. Guaranteed.

Her Favorites: Even though I started reading this book to her since she was only a few months old, she has become quite obsessed with it as of late. It’s one of the only books that she will sit through an entire reading of, at anytime of the day. She loves this bubble machine, and this flamingo, or “go” as she calls it, stuffed animal. Daniel Tiger (she loves pretend playing on this phone) and Goldie + Bear are her favorite shows. Oh, and she is obsessed with helping us vacuum… like, cries if she can’t. I’m going to ride this wave as long as possible.

(My tee | Harper’s Tee | Harper’s Shorts)

Sleeping: I know I mentioned last month that she had some sleep issues, but they seemed to have resolved… only to resurface again around nap time. It doesn’t happen everyday, but sometimes she only naps for an hour, or sometimes will fight going down for her nap, something that hasn’t happened in the past. I think it has something to do with a growth spurt, and her canine teeth seem to be coming through, so I imagine those are bothering her as well. Oh, and for about a week she was waking up around 6am every morning… which is an hour and half earlier than usual…. We seem to be getting back into the swing of a routine again, but I’m sure that can change at any moment. I’ve also started putting a little bit of lavender essential oil on her feet before bedtime…. hoping that helps with some of the sleep issues.

(Tank | Shorts)

Q+A From Instagram: I received several questions regarding stress pertaining to kiddos, so I decided to include them in today’s post, in case it relates to you as well!

1. When Harper was 5 months old, how did you manage to clean and grocery shop? 

I had Harper on fairly routine schedule from early on. That being said, I was able to clean when she was taking a nap (which, at that point, was 3 times a day). My mom also lives very close by, and was able to help me out. When Harper would nap, either she would run to the store for me, or I would go while she stayed home with her. It was incredibly helpful. When my mom wasn’t available, I usually did the grocery shopping between her morning and afternoon naps (11-2:30). I’ve always been a fairly routined/scheduled person, so finding a way to work those “chores” into our daily lives was helpful. You can also see my 5 month motherhood update here, where I shared some of my struggles in the earlier months.

2. How do you manage to get your personal care routine done with a child (getting ready, hair, makeup, skin care, etc)? 

When Harper was younger, I did it when she was napping (see above). Yet, now that she is down to one nap, I’ve had to get creative. As it goes now, I currently only wash my hair once or twice a week. I really don’t have a ton of time to blow dry it and style it more than that. When I do wash my hair, I blow dry it in her room while she is playing… and while I’m doing that she brushes out some parts of my hair and brings me books, which I read to her in between sections of hair. If I don’t wash my hair, and just need to style it and apply make-up to get ready, I allow her to watch an episode of Daniel Tiger so I can do so…. if she’s not into it, she plays around with my make-up (taking it out and giving it to me) while I apply it. I do most of my care at night (i.e. masks) after she has gone to bed… this is sort of a self care thing for me, so I don’t like feeling rushed when I do it.

3. Do you take Harper with you when you run? I am wanting to walk and exercise more and would like to take my little guy.

I wake up super early to get my morning run done (5:30am), but on the weekends, TJ and I take her with us on our family runs. I also take her on a 20 minute walk after breakfast so we can take our little pup out. She enjoys it, and I like getting outside with her. I always make sure to have a few preferred items for her when we go…. a stuffed animal, book, or her current favorite toy. While most of the time she enjoys looking around, there are times she wants something to do and those items come in handy.

4. What are some inexpensive ways to enjoy family time with an infant? 

When Harper was under a year we did a lot of really simple things…. going to the park together as a family, we took her in the pool with a little raft, we’d go out for pressed juicery, take her to a music/reading class. I know that a lot of community centers offer low cost/free classes, and some libraries offer reading time for families as well. We also went on family hikes and runs with her in the appropriate carriers.

5. My 2 year old seems to not know how to handle anger and then hits. I don’t know if it’s a problem or just a toddler being a toddler. Any suggestions? 

Oh yes, toddlers have a difficult time expressing themselves because there are so many things they can’t express, or do, on their own. Normal feelings. When Harper gets upset, as frustrating as it can be, I try to label her feelings (“You’re really mad right now because xyz….”) and then let her know what to do with her anger (“It’s okay to be mad, but just xyz….”). When I worked with families, hitting and bitting were considered “not safe” (in the sense that we don’t want them to continue that behavior) so telling them it’s not okay to hit, telling them what to do instead (“use your words,” “tell mommy, I’m mad,” etc….), and then removing them from the situation (depending on how comfortable you feel with that) for a minute. This sequence validated the kiddo’s feelings, told them what was expected of them, and also set a limit that hitting is not okay and established a consequence for the behavior. While Harper isn’t two yet, and hasn’t started hitting, I still do the first two steps. She does scream at the top of her lungs when she gets mad, so doing the first two is important to me. I also draw on some of my training in Parent Child Interaction Training and provide Harper with “when-then” “If-then” statements, as well as choices and countdowns to minimize anger and frustration. I’ll list some examples below in case you’re interested:
When-then/If-then: When Harper gets her shoes, then we can go outside. If Harper continues to throw her food on the ground then we will have to take it away…… She knows what will happen IF/THEN xyz happens.

Choices: When we are walking to the car, we always give Harper the choice “You either hold mommy or daddy’s hand or we will carry you….” It helps her to know what the expectations are….

Countdown: I do this a lot now, since suddenly ending any event seems to shatter her entire world. So, I typically tell her something like this, “Harper, in 2 minutes we’re leaving.” Although she doesn’t know time, it at least preps her that the activity she is loving will be ending soon. Then I say “When I count to 10 we will be done/leaving/finished.” I’d say it works well most of the time.
______

Wish us luck this coming month!! Happy weekend friends! xx