08.22.2017

Everyday Style || Favorite Basics Under $100 + The Best High Waisted Leggings. Ever.

I wish I could say this is my “off duty” look…. buuuuut, I pretty much wear some variation of this outfit several times a week. Whether it’s on a relaxing weekend, a day of traveling for a short getaway, or a day with little miss…. one of the basics is bound to find themselves in my wardrobe line-up, and yesterday wasn’t any different…. Monday’s tend to be a day of catching up and getting everything back in order from the weekend, so I tossed this outfit on and got stuff done….

My everyday basics typically include six pieces that I can mix and match with other items I own… and toss together to create something that looks pulled together (even if inside I’m a #hotmess). Nordstrom is always my go-to place for great quality basics at reasonable prices…. with each clothing piece I am wearing under $100. My basics can be worn year around by simply mixing them together with other everyday items I own. Which is basically the key to a great, cross season wardrobe. So, today, I’m sharing my everyday basics that I can’t live without.

1. Leggings: A good ol’ pair of stretchy pants will never steer you wrong. I promise. These are my all time favorite high waisted pair… lightweight, yet thick enough to hold everything right where it needs to be. They easily transition from workout to any aprés activity. I love leggings because you can toss on a cute tunic and suede jacket for a classier look… or toss them on with over the knee boots and a chunky, oversized sweater for the perfect rosé sipping get-up. A good pair will take you just about anywhere. I also love this motto option (which I own in olive and black) and these faux leather leggings.

2. Basic Tee: My holy grail when I’m in a pinch. When I’ve pulled out every single top in my dresser drawers in search of something to wear…. ninety percent of the time I reach for the basic tee. A classic layering option… it can be dressed down (as seen today) or up with some simple gold accessories, your favorite distressed jeans, and a pair of mules. One of my all times favorites is this choker option, since it’s a fun twist on a basic v-neck…. yet, I also own and love this v-neck (in white) and this lace up grommet tee (particularly fond of the black….).

3. Denim Jacket: My favorite alternative to the oversized cardigan is the distressed denim jacket. My favorite from last year was restocked, and I love wearing it in these transitional months in the cooler mornings and evenings, and tying it around my waist in the afternoons. I also love the embroidery on this one (which I bought during the sale). Distressing makes it a little less structured which I like for an everyday option, but, if you’re looking for one sans rips, my favorite is this lighter wash option (I sized up for a slightly looser fit).

4. Simple Kicks: And, I should probably add, comfortable. Most days, even on the weekends, I don’t sit down until the evening. So, whatever I’m wearing on my feet has to be cute and comfortable. For the transitional months, I wanted a slide that I could easily toss on… and when I found these, I was sold. I wore them all day yesterday with little miss and they were super comfortable and functional (they’re also a fraction of the price of this pair!). Two other favorites include these white kicks (which are like walking on clouds….) and this pink mesh pair (perfect to pair with a neutral outfit to add a little bit of color).

5. Hair Accessory: I use that term loosely, since what readily comes to mind is a scrunchy (no thank you). I’m either dealing with hair that’s one day past due a wash, so I use this dry shampoo to give it a little boost, or I toss on a cap, throw my hair in a loose pony, and call it a day.

6. Large Tote: Preferably one that can hold all of my stuff and little miss’…. and can easily be cleaned… since dirty hands are always finding their way into my bag. For that, I turn to this amazing black tote or this blush option. I use both regularly, and they are large enough to fit whatever your heart desires, while still having room left over.
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(Outfit Details || Leggings | Top (comes in several colors) | Jacket | Slides | Hat | Sunglasses | Tote)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. 

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

08.17.2017

“10 Minute, No Mirror” Look || Chunky Knits + Delicate Lace

I’ve suffered from all the “brains” there are…. When I was pregnant with little miss, “pregnancy brain” took ahold of me, full force, in my last trimester. I completely missed an important meeting I had at the county until someone politely called me and asked if I would be there….. Sheer panic set in….

And, I most certainly have not escaped the “mom brain…..” A few weeks ago, I headed out to run some errands, only to get to the store and realize I left my entire purse at home. So I decided to swing by my parent’s house and “borrow” a few items that I was needing at the store. No one was home, and when I opened the door, and the alarm went off, I drew a blank on the code. Complete blank. Despite knowing it for the past twenty three years. Alarms went off.  Thankfully, I remembered the verbal code and was spared the embarrassment of the police arriving.

All that to say, when I’m getting ready in the morning, the last thing I have time to do is to spend more than ten minutes deciding what I want to wear (let’s be honest, I need those extra precious moments making sure I don’t forget something…. which I always do…..). That’s why I have my go-to’s…. for those days when looking in a mirror before I leave isn’t an option. Yesterday morning was one such day. My sister and I decided to head out to lunch, last minute (as in, I need to be out the door in 15 minutes), so I grabbed Harper’s things, tossed them in a bag, and pulled myself together. Quickly. It’s been cooler here as of late, so I tossed on a new favorite pair of jeans (obsessed with the raw hem), cozy cardi, and a little lace cami to dress things up a bit. All basic, all neutral. I knew they’d go together, and create a casual, textured look…. all without looking in the mirror. Which, as of late, is my main goal…..

Nordstrom has some of the best lace camis and raw hem jeans around… and the great part is, they have a range of prices so there’s something for everyone to create their “10 minute, No Mirror” look. My favorite lace tops include this pretty wrap option, gorgeous floral top (perfect for fall), lace edge camisole, and this satin lace trim cami. Nordstrom denim is always on point, and the raw hem is my newest obsession (I still love the step hem from last year though…). This budget friendly pair has the perfect amount of distressing and I love this high waisted black pair. I stumbled across this petite friendly pair and they fit like a dream… the perfect length, while still keeping the original hem! Oh, and the cardi collection is on point. My three favorites, all restocked from last year, include this grey cardi, oversized tan cardigan, and this cozy knit cardi (which I own in a mauve color). If you have those three items in your closet, you’ll always have a quick throw on and go get-up.
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(Outfit Details || Camisole (under $30, comes in 4 colors) | Cardigan |  Jeans (petite friendly!!) regular length | Mules | Sunglasses | Bag)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.

08.16.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Let’s Talk About Stress….. 10 Ways I Tackle It

I almost feel the need to add an immediate disclaimer to this post: Just because I’m writing about the ways I manage my stress in no way means I am perfect at doing so. I’m like everyone else. Stress happens. Sometimes more than others. It’s unavoidable…..

I spent most of my time, when I was a practicing Marriage + Family Therapist, chatting with clients about feelings, and the fact that they are necessary and unavoidable (at some level they all serve a purpose)… and when you try to avoid them, that’s usually when other problems arise (think addiction). The key is in recognizing those feelings, and managing them effectively.

So, today I’m tackling the topic of stress, because, over the past few months, I’ve felt a lot of it. Stress sucks. It’s unpleasant, and longterm stress can reek havoc on the body, in more ways than one thinks. For starters it can lead to physical pain (that’s likely why your shoulders and neck tend to hurt when you’re under a lot of pressure), impacts your gut health (which affects so many different parts of life), causes high blood pressure, increases your desire for unhealthy foods, and shuts down the immune system (I can attest, in periods of high stress like when I was studying for my licensing exam I was frequently sick… and my girlfriend developed a serious stomach condition). All that to say, over the years, I’ve come up with a few ways to help me to manage stress on a daily basis and thought I’d share them with you today…..
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1. Prioritize: Sometimes, I find myself stressed simply because I have too much on my plate and it feels overwhelming. When this happens, I take 10 minutes to sit down and look at everything, sometimes I even pull out a few sticky notes and a calendar. I then prioritize everything that I have numerically, with the most important being at the top of the list. From there I tackle everything starting from the top. This usually helps me gain perspective, since, when I’m stressed everything feels like a priority… even though it isn’t. Sometimes, I am even able to schedule in when I will address certain tasks (example: Monday is the day to return all calls and e-mails I’m behind on….). This also helps with taking things little by little, since most of my stress stems from feeling like everything has to be done now.

2. Create A Relaxing Environment: I know that this is sometimes much easier said than done, especially, if you’re like me and have a very active toddler running around. Yet, it helps incredibly. For me, personally, the space I am working in needs to be clean in order for me to relax and manage my stress better. Since I work from home, this means the beds are made, toys are put away (obviously this happens when little miss is napping or down for the night), and clutter is gone (this is probably the one thing I can’t stand!). I have also started using some essential oils, diffused, in our home. Since TJ and I both work there, I’ve found that it’s a great way to help facilitate a calming environment. My favorite blend is lavender + frankincense. Turning on some mellow music also helps as well, as does soft lighting. When I worked a traditional 9-5 office job, we were able to create these environments in our work space, just had to get creative! (note: I’ll be sharing more on oils in future posts, but if you have questions, you can e-mail my girl kateporath@gmail.com). 

3. Deep Breathing: I know this sounds so cliché but it really works. I used to recommend it to client’s all the time. In a nut shell, deep breathing (when you breath in through your nose from your belly and out through your mouth…) tells your brain that it’s time to relax and chill out. I typically give myself about a minute to do this when I find my stress levels rising… whether it’s mid-tantrum with little miss, or in response to a frustrating e-mail. Giving myself permission to take a moment before I respond to anything, or to just pause in the middle of the day, allows me to slow down and have a clearer mind.

4. Have A “Wind Down Routine”:  I do mine all the time, and it’s something I always recommended clients (specifically moms) do on a daily basis. Having any kind of routine just prepares the mind, and body, for that specific event. So, immediately when we get home, or at the end of the day, I change into comfortable clothing. This is a must for me… taking off the clothes from the “day” and tossing on something comfortable almost instantly helps me to calm down. Make + Model has some of the softest pieces ever and I love this pullover, this one with cute ruffle details, these joggers (own in the blue), fleece shortsruffle shorts (seen above), and my favorite oversized cozy cardigan (that I’ve had for over a year).  They are my go-to’s when I need something comfortable. After little miss goes down, I wash my face which is another ritual that signifies relaxation. I love the products I use, so it’s like a little self care after a long day. I usually have some additional work to do (for about another 1.5 hours), so I sit down on the couch and finish it… and after, I make a relaxing bedtime tea. This all helps me to unwind from the stress of the day. While each piece is separate from the other, it’s almost as if it’s a countdown. The more I get through, the more relaxed I become.

5. Avoid Caffeine: I know this almost seems counterintuitive to being stressed…. the more stressed, the more energy one needs, and therefore more caffeine must be consumed. Yet, I found a while back, that it made me crazy anxious when I was drinking coffee and stressed (which is one of the reasons I don’t drink coffee anymore). In those times I opt for a lighter form of caffeine… such as a white tea. It gives me a little pick me up without getting my mind racing. For this one, understanding your body and how it reacts to caffeine is important, as some people are not impacted by it at all.

6. Workout…. Or, Get Moving: For me, personally, this is one of the most effective ways to keep my stress levels down on a daily basis. It’s why I start my day with a workout. I remember a time last December, when my site went down and lost all of it’s data (4 years worth of content). Both TJ and I were on the phone with tech help for hours and no one seemed to be able to help. My stress level was through the roof. I remember TJ said he would take care of it all, and I laced up my shoes and headed out for a walk with Harper. It was a 30 minute break that I allowed myself to take and I felt so much better when I returned. If you can find a way to incorporate this throughout the day, it will help so much with stress…. maybe on a break during work… at the end of your lunch break (this is a good time, because walking after a meal helps with digestion…. a two for one!), or even at the end of the day, before dinner.

7. Check Your Thoughts: I did a whole post on thoughts that promote anxiety and stress. If you have any of them, you’re bound to feel worse. Challenge them!

8. Hug Someone: In full disclosure, I’m not a super cuddly person. Luckily, TJ is. When I’m feeling particularly stressed, I love getting a hug from him… I immediately feel better. The science behind this is as follows: giving a hug raises our serotonin levels (the feel good chemical in the brain), in turn increasing positive mood and facilitating happiness. It also helps me feel safe, comforted, and brings me to the present moment (not about the 800 other things that need to be done). Virgina Satir, a well known family therapist, said this about hugs,“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” 

9. Take A Break: While I know this seems counterintuitive to managing “all that’s on your plate,” sometimes, that’s just what you need. My favorite supervisor ever was someone who did a good job of teaching me that, and I will be forever grateful. She used to tell me “You don’t have to respond right away.” It basically meant, take a breather, gather yourself, and then come back to everything. I’ve never forgotten that. My “breaks” typically involve a few text messages exchanged with girlfriends, an overdue phone chat, maybe a few deep breaths, a short walk, or a few uninterrupted sips of my iced tea while I recollect myself. I’d say that ninety percent of the time this “breather break” helps me feel ready to re-address the issues in front of me.

10. Get In Relation: When I feel stressed my inclination is to isolate, so I can get everything done and not get distracted. Yet, that only makes me feel alone. Which only adds to the stress. I’ve found that carving out a little bit of time, each day, to connect with someone is a great way to mitigate some of the stress I feel. Sometimes it’s chatting with TJ about what’s going on, other times it’s just chatting with someone about their life (and not about my stress at all), or a text message to my mom or sister…. and other times it’s having a small little dance party with Harper. It’s hard to know which I need in the moment, but just connecting with someone reminds me that I’m not alone, and that I have people to go through life with.

I also had a couple questions over on instagram regarding stress, and the answers are below (most were around the same topic, so they have been condensed into 2 main questions):

1. I seem to struggle with being more stressed/overwhelmed when I don’t have anything fun/trips to look forward to. How do you keep perspective/keep stress at bay in regular, everyday, situations?

I hear you on this one. It’s always easy to get through a stressful week when you have something fun to look forward to at the end of it all. While that isn’t always possible, I do think small “indulgences” are. I struggled with this one a lot for a while, and still do occasionally, and what I found most helpful was to schedule in small things that I like several times a week. Whether that’s an evening of watching a favorite movie with pressed juicery, a relaxing bubble bath at the end of the day with a favorite book, trying out a new workout class (or video), or a small date night/day that’s planned with TJ at the end of the week, I find those small things help get me through a stressful time. I think it’s so important to reward yourself regularly, and it doesn’t have to cost anything (…. bubble bath…. favorite movie you haven’t seen in a while….). Scheduling in those small little indulgences can really help manage stress when you don’t have anything “big” planned in the foreseeable future.

2. How do you manage stress and frustration from your kids, when you can’t catch a moment for yourself? 

So hard. I’ve had a lot of questions in this realm, and what I do is make time. If it’s in the middle of a tantrum, I assure Harper is safe, and sometimes I walk out of the room, around the corner and just take a few deep breaths and recollect myself before going back in and helping her work through her feelings. If both of us have elevated stress levels, nothing good will come of it. I also schedule downtime in her day, so that I can have 15 minutes to recollect myself as well. Once, when I was working with a client on scheduling in time for herself, she mentioned that there wasn’t any “down time” scheduled in the children’s day. So, we came up with a scheduled that included an age appropriate amount of time, in the afternoon, where everyone did something relaxing. Whether this was reading a book, listening to music, or just resting their eyes. She mentioned that it worked wonders for the sanity of the home.

There were numerous questions about managing stress with your significant other, which I decided to answer in a separate post next Thursday, as I have something scheduled with TJ!  So, stay tuned!