Tuesday, July 25, 2017

my beautycounter favorites & wishlist

So while it's been a little silent over here, I've been ultra-busy working from home with two littles, a full-time wedding planning job, and my new side hustle -- advocating for safer skincare with Beautycounter. There are so many things I could say about why the hell I joined, what I'm doing, and all that jazz, but I figured the best way to get you acquainted would be to share with you some of my FAVORITE products I've tried thus far! I love product recommendations from people I trust, and I love giving recommendations too! Who doesn't love sharing things that increase their quality of life?! 

So without further ado, here are the...

Things I legitimately, personally love

- Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream {If nothing else, THIS is MAYBE my favorite product. I have two babies still in diapers (*hangs head*) and I have seriously TRIED the "natural" baby diaper creams out there. They didn't work!!!!! This one actually WORKS, and I can feel like I'm not killing my children with the gunk I smear on their booties. Win-win! This one will be a forever baby shower gift, I know it!}
- Body Wash & Hydrating Body Lotion {Just this month, I was actually shocked to find out the "natural" cocoa butter lotion I was using that I thought would be 100% safe was rated a 9 in toxicity on the ThinkDirty app (NO BUENO). Especially with items I slather ALL OVER MY ENTIRE BODY day in and day out -- these are the highest on priority level for using safe ingredients. While it pains me that they're so pricey, a little goes a long way!}
- Protect Stick Sunscreen {Oh my gosh, where have you been all my life?! Beautycounter sunscreen is amazing. I'm a total convert -- it goes on clear, NOT super cakey and white, it's zinc-based and safe to slather all over my lily-white babes, not super greasy, easy to apply -- just swipe and gently rub in... amazing. Love the face and body sticks!} 
- Charcoal Bar {I've been hearing about the benefits of charcoal and how it works great for oily skin types, so Drew and I have been using this and I love it. I use it along with the Nourishing Exfoliator, which I keep in the shower, and they're both great!}
- Lip Sheer in "Terra" {I have never been legitimately EXCITED about a lipstick before (I previously just wore whatever freebie came in my Clinique promotion bags from time to time or whatever my performance makeup dictated), but I cannot get over how silky it feels, amazing it smells, and the subtle but super pretty look it gives. I've considered trying the stays-on-forever lipsticks that are gaining in popularity but I honestly don't mind reapplying after I have a glass of wine or eat something, and too many years of dance performances with long-lasting lipwear kind of wore me out in my teenage years. NOT TO MENTION, you unintentionally eat so much of what you put on your lips, so it's a huge priority for me to have my lip products be safe! And I actually love the lip gloss. I've always liked how lipgloss looked but hated the sticky feeling. Beautycounter lip gloss is a step above, y'all. Doesn't feel gross on, doesn't all come off immediately when you put your lips on a glass. Bomb.}
- Lengthening Mascara {This is a non-negotiable beauty product for me. I have worn mascara daily since I was 12. I have had plenty of allergic reactions to mascaras, so that's even more of a testament to the fact that cosmetics are underregulated and there are some awful things out there! I love my Beautycounter mascara, and I will never again live without it. It's not clumpy, it's impactful and has a great wand... no complaints!}
- Rosewater Mist {I honestly have no idea what this "does", but it smells INCREDIBLE and Drew and I are both obsessed with it in a "this is a total luxury item but it's so nice" kind of way. You know those things that make no sense but you indulge yourself from time to time? This is one of those for me/us.}
- Rejuvenating Eye Cream {I'll be honest with you -- one of the reasons I switched to Beautycounter was because I needed a "grownup" skin care regime, and one that work legitimately work for me as I start to age. I am rapidly approaching 30, and seriously, the morning I turned 24 I started to notice forehead wrinkles and signs that my perfectly youthful skin was getting hit hard by my sun exposure / not washing my face enough / drinking alcohol / not drinking enough water. I had bangs for apparently the wrong time period, because I had perfectly smooth forehead skin ages 16 - 23 which was when I wore them. Of course NOW I have something to cover up and no bangs to conceal. Why am I talking about my forehead when I'm referencing eye cream? Because as the years go by, my forehead has become allies with my eyes, and those laugh / "smizing" crinkles are not so much going away anymore. So hello Rejuvenating aging line! Step one of becoming an ADULT-adult: Start wearing eye cream.}

Of course, you have to start somewhere. I have most certainly not even grazed the surface of all there is in the Beautycounter world, but I know these items are on my near-future wishlist!

Can't wait to try:

- Mattifying Powder {My skin is on the oilier side, so I am excited to replace the $38 Laura Mercier version I was using with this $37 safer pick!} 
- Lip Sheers in Twig, and Petal! And Coral! And Rose! And Scarlet! 
- Color Contour Bronzer in No. 1 & Color Sweep Blush Duo in Bloom/Tulip {I am by no means high maintenance when it comes to makeup, but I love me some blush/bronzer. And wear it DAILY to look alive. I also want this shimmer oil...}
- Color Outline Eye Pencil in Brown & Navy {Eyeliner is another everyday wear item for me - You will not find me in public without a little scribble of kohl above my top lashes. I find it important to pick the things you wear EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. to be some of the most important items to switch over first.} 
- No. 3 Balancing Charcoal Face Mask & full No. 3 Collection {I'm already a believer in the charcoal bar for washing my oilier face, so I think the charcoal mask would be a great complement! High-quality masks are such an indulgence... and a safer (and less expensive!) one to make than routinely getting toxic gel manicures, honestly... give me a spattering of this and a glass of wine and I'm in heaven.}

Are you familiar with Beautycounter?! Do you have favorite products I should know about?! Holla!! (And ps -- who's got a great safe deodorant rec? Because that's another non-negotiable self care product I am not about to give up, but I would like something safer to use than my everyday Degree for Men I've used since 2005. #sorrynotsorry)

Friday, June 23, 2017

five on friday

It's that time! Linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha:

ONE::  wedding season

We are in full-force wedding season over here -- I had a full-scale planning wedding last month, one last week, a wedding to coordinate this upcoming weekend, and many friends celebrating recent engagements and marriages! We missed a dear friend's wedding last Saturday because I had to work, but her pictures looked stunning -- she wore a pale gray-silver beaded wedding dress and it fit her personality so well. One of my best friends / college roommate of 3 years / childhood friend since 2nd grade got engaged last Friday and we are SOOOO excited for them. Her fiance asked Drew to be his best man last night!!!! We've always wanted super close couple-friends and they definitely fit the bill. I'm so happy to see Drew having such a good BEST friend, too. He deserves it!

TWO::  vacay

It's coming fast, hooray! We spent a couple weekends back planning out all our meals / making dinner reservations / researching options for rainy days and more. We definitely have approached this vacation differently than in years past, by planning everything out in full, but it's necessary now with two small children. Fortunately Drew's family (who we're going with) trust our judgement and taste so they're just along for the ride!

THREE::  recent purchases

I've gotten a couple new off-the-shoulder tops and I'm in love with them. Mostly because Drew thinks they're so sexy (ooh la la!) but also because it's just a fun trend. I try not to buy too much in any one trend, but at this point I have one long-sleeve pink off-shoulder top, a short-sleeve white off-shoulder top, and a black off-shoulder dress from last spring. Now that I come to think of it, I actually just bought a blue seersucker off-shoulder dress from Forever21... so maybe that makes it four total. Whoops! Haha. I'm really excited about the cute little dress, though; it looked SO precious on the model. It's online-only so hoping it fits and flatters. I also got two tank tops I'm in love with (one says "Mojito + Lime + Summer" and the other says "I need Vitamin Sea") and a giant floppy hat that I'm hoping I can actually pull off. Why are big hats so hard to wear? I also have had an eBay struggle situation -- ordered something, the seller ended up being local and dropped off but didn't tell me (may or may not have gone to the wrong address)... all in all, I never saw or got the package but now it's gone, somewhere. It makes me sick to have to deal with the situation but I'm going to need a refund!

FOUR::  barre3

Finished up my 3 free classes I got as a March client special (which perfectly happened to coincide with my postpartum exercise clearance!). I have two more free class passes from another promotion, so hoping I'll get to use those up next week before vacay. I love love love barre3 -- the childcare opps, the strenuousness of class, the results I get, the mind-freedom from focusing on movement. I'd love to incorporate it on a super regular basis if I can!

FIVE::  anxiety

I don't know if it's hormonal or circumstantial or what, but anxiety is full force lately. I was feeling very glum earlier this week (lack of sleep did NOT HELP in the slightest!) -- not sure if it was the downward slide after such an exciting / momentous Friday, or just recovering from the wedding, or totally unrelated and just hormonal, but Drew and I were both in a funk earlier this week and only sleep and trying to regulate our days / moods has helped. My blood sugar has also been really up and down so my moods are screwy. Going to a new endocrinologist today; we'll see if he has anything new or helpful to advise.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

things i'm loving lately

A few things I'm loving lately:

{via aerie}
Bralettes! It's funny how nursing and having a second child can be so different than the first round. I loved these stretchy cloth nursing bras and Coobie bras the first year I had Lilly, but now I find them uncomfortable, unflattering, and less than ideal. I also wore nursing pads 24/7 until she was almost a year old (when my period came back and my boobs became permanently smaller). I don't have the huge pornstar boobs anymore, but I'm a SOLID C-cup and I rarely ever wear nursing pads this go-around. Part of the thing was having horrible thrush in AnnaCate's first couple of months (which breeds like crazy when you wear bacteria-enticing nursing pads) and part is just laziness. Printed tops and dresses definitely help disguise milk stains and the occasional leakage. All this is to say, lacy bralettes have become my best friend as of late... they're much better about not being obvious when you DO wear bulky nursing pads, they can be exposed without feeling slutty (I'm kind of really into slightly risque looks involving sideboob right now...), the lack of underwire helps keep mastitis away, and the stretchiness allows for ease in nursing. Bonus points if they have a little padding, but really -- the natural look (rather than faking huge boobs when you don't have them) is also really "in" right now. Praise.

{via aerie}
Neon swimsuits. Just got a hot pink Aerie swimsuit and I'm loving the color! There's something that makes a suntan "pop" about neon bikinis. Love! I'm kind of just in love with neon and white in general lately. 

{via lulus}
Jean shorts. I think I mentioned this previously, but I've been obsessed lately with getting a high-waisted "mom jeans" pair like all the festival-going youths... until I bought a really cute pair and tried it on and it looked TOO "mom jeans". No thanks, Tom Hanks! Going to stick with my cheap-o Tarjay pair from last year for now, with its normal waistline and lack of cuffed legs. Because cuffed shorts = wider thighs. NOT attractive!

Kettlebell exercises! Drew took off with Whole30 and has done AMAZING with not only his diet but a consistent exercise habit. I will join in on occasion with my little 15lb Walmart "kettlebell" -- still gets my heart rate up and fatigues my muscles somewhat, so I can't complain that I'm doing SOMETHING. I worked medium-hard on cleaning up my diet and becoming more aware of what I was eating this month (I lost two pounds, so I'm not upset about it) so I plan on really fixating on physical activity next month before our vacay. Of course Drew's dedication has resulted in a 14lb loss over the last 20 days (Woo hoo!)... I'm just not mentally or physically "there" right now. Nursing + diabetes + adulting with two small children... = lack of determination when it comes to rigidly following Whole30. Whatever!

{via belk}
Rashguards for babies. We've been planning our vacay and something that seems sooooo necessary is adequate sun protection for my baby boos. I plan on either getting Beautycounter sunscreen or stocking up on all the Babyganics (probably both) to keep my alabaster babies' skin safe, as well as using a beach umbrella, sticking them in bonnets, and covering them up with long-sleeve swimsuits. Have you seen my little ginger?! (Related: Please dear Lord let Lilly be brown as a biscuit like I tend to be when exposed to sun...)

VACAY!!!!!! I think probably 60% of the fun of vacations is the planning and anticipation stages. I mean, think about it... you spend time dreaming about where you're going, packing, buying things to use on it, planning your itinerary, and if you're me and Drew, going for all the walks while hashing out all scenarios and how to optimize our time. Vacation is certainly a lot different than it was before kids (naptimes! kid-friendly restaurants! all the baby gear! peanut-free snacks! etc)... so much to consider and weigh when making decisions. We went from being ultra-relaxed and spontaneous ("When do you want to leave? Want to just play it by ear? Let's make a reservation for tonight!") to planning out every day and plotting out different ways things can go down so we have a plan B -- because ain't nothin' gonna ruin my precious vacation time, even if that means I have to think in advance what would be fun to do upstairs in the condo while naptime is happening. We learned a lot last year from taking our 1-year-old to the beach for two weeks (not consecutive; we had a friend trip and a family trip)... you need a lot of snacks, a lot of prunes (Lilly did not poop for our entire June vacation), things to do inside without feeling like you're going to go crazy and be super resentful because she wouldn't nap outside, to actually pack some toys to play with inside, a portable high chair booster is super helpful for keeping her contained, and more. I'll write a dedicated post about it next! Just talking through scenarios and thinking about our packing list gets me SO excited. Can't wait!!


What are you loving these days?! Any fun purchases? Do tell!

Friday, May 26, 2017

five on friday

It's that time! Linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha:

ONE: postpartum depression
AnnaCate is 3.5 months old right now, and I don't know what's going on with my hormones, but everything has been weighing so heavily on me this week. I honestly hate to label anything PPD (we say there's not a stigma but there is! And it's one of those things you can say you had in retrospect but can't say you're going through at the present moment), but this week I feel debilitatingly overwhelmed, have been crying "for no reason," and feel extremely isolated and like a burden. My natural response is to hole up, hermit myself at home, retract from relationships (even and perhaps especially with family), and want to run away. Like, pack up my immediate family and run away. There's a lot going on with my family (outside of the girls and Drew) and everyone's taking it rough, and I don't know how to process / handle it either (even without being directly impacted). Woof. Another perfect storm.

TWO: shopping
The way I have dealt with my feelings this week is by obsessively online shopping. Mostly putting items in my cart and not checking out, but I did order a few things from Abercrombie to try on and see how they work. I haven't bought anything from Abercrombie in a decade, but they've recently been appealing to the young moms crowd and I've been in the market for affordable high quality activewear, so I'm giving it a shot. I really like their marble printed sports bras/leggings and I've wanted something lighter colored (I got the light grey) or white, and this seems like it might be a good compromise (because I am a mom and white is not even remotely practical). Other things I'm obsessing over:  preppy staples and swimsuits. I've been hyper critical about my body lately (and why!? I just had a baby! Give yourself a break, woman!) and scrutinizing what swimsuits will be most flattering once it's legit pool season. As much as I keep thinking one-pieces will be flattering and mom-practical, the part of my body that is the least self-criticized is my upper abs so why am I covering THEM up? I also keep looking at high-necked tops and it's kind of crazy because since I'm nursing I actually have boobs right now (flaunt 'em) and need easy access.

THREE: the postpartum bod
{3 months postpartum mom bod}

I'm all over the place with this one, y'all. I've been trying to kick healthy eating and working out into high gear since the end of April, which is great for overall health, but I tend to pendulum swing on the mental thought / obsessing end of things. So I'm constantly thinking about super fit women's abs and Carrie Underwood legs, convincing myself those are realistic and attainable goals FOR ME, RIGHT NOW, at this stage of my life (i.e. three months postpartum, while nursing a 3-month old, and almost summer). And thinking about how awful my legs and butt look. I was SO gracious and grace-filled after I had Lilly... I had no expectations about what my body would look like or how it would bounce back, so I was pleasantly surprised by its natural ability to regain a new shape and forgiving about how long it took. This time? Not even close. I'm all "I MUST BE PERFECT IMMEDIATELY... WHY AM I NOT PERFECT IMMEDIATELY!?" This is ruining my mood, tainting my thoughts, and overall not being remotely appreciative of how amazing my body is -- I JUST BIRTHED A BABY AND already, I HAVE recovered to very much like my pre-baby body. I can fit in most of my clothes, I am physically able to nourish my baby, I am in excellent health (my blood sugars have been excellent thanks to a closely Paleo diet), and I actually DO like how I look... but I keep convincing myself I'm not perfect and I should be. WHY?!

FOUR: blood sugar alert dog

On a brighter note, I saw this article this week and it made me smile. And remember how much I want a diabetic alert dog (a poodle! named Lulu!). But then I remember how I can't take care of one more thing right now, so that ain't happening anytime soon.

FIVE: vacation planning
Drew and I have been spending some time in the evenings talking over and dreaming about our upcoming Charleston vacation and next year's big Mexico vacay. It always gets us in a great mood and excited. Sometimes I think the preparation and planning can be even more fun than the actual vacation (maybe because of the stress of having small children at the beach? the internal pressure to have a perfect time?), but we always think fondly in retrospect after vacation. Maybe we just need to work on thoroughly enjoying the moment when it DOES come. Especially when family and our small children are involved. And lower our expectations so we can be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

a happy day:: thinking through my ideal day

Oftentimes I think about what an ideal day would encompass. There's a lot of that kind of envisioning when you go through the Making Things Happen workbook or Design Life Project curriculum. My ideal day has shifted a lot over the last five years since I first thought about it -- back then, I didn't have kids, I lived at my parents' house and then Drew and I got our first apartment, I was working a myriad of wedding jobs for different vendors (pretty much every weekend was booked!), and Drew was studying.

Even over our first few years of marriage, I had the luxury of going to a 9:30am hot yoga class, strolling Target solo during the day, and could go to as many networking events as I could fit in, in a week. Children do change a lot about our lives!

Before, I didn't really have a pressing reason to wake up early. Besides the days I had to wake to teach a 5am class (which, let's be honest -- didn't happen until Lilly was born and I only had the option of teaching early early classes), I would sleep in until 9 or so most mornings just because I loved sleep. Drew and I tend to be night owls, even in the early days, so we'd stay up and talk -- or I'd stay up working and he'd stay up studying.
Nowadays, Lilly has a pretty set routine of when and where and how she sleeps -- she wakes up around 8 or 8:30am, takes a two-hour nap at 12:30pm, and goes to bed around 7:30/8pm. Julianna Cate is not nearly as predictable -- she'll catnap for brief periods throughout the day (sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes 45, occasionally over an hour), but she usually goes to bed by 10:30pm and wakes up around 8am. (Those are really fluid estimations though.)

I would ideally get 8 hours of sleep every night. My goal would be to go to bed by 10:30pm and wake up at 6:30am. That never happens (I always oversleep!), but that's my ideal situation.

I've found my peace of mind and serenity is least compromised when I get some alone time in the early morning. My morning ritual is sacred to me -- making a pot of french press coffee, drinking it hot with a hefty splash of almond milk as I read my list of blogs. (Let's be honest -- that's my only "interaction" with the outside world most days!!!!! Sad but true.)

Somewhere in my day needs to be a regimented exercise routine. Thus far I suck at doing it in the early morning (read: sleeping in), but maybe one day I can change that up. Drew and I have managed to sneak in some kettlebell couple time in the evenings on a few occasions -- would love if that could continue / be more consistent.

I also need easy healthy meals that don't require much time, effort, or thought. I am a creature of habit a lot of the time, so if that's necessary, so be it.
I am happiest when I have some sort of human interaction. Maybe that's a grocery store run, errand to the bank, or if I'm REALLY lucky... a GNO or coffee date! Can I have coffee dates again?! Going from one kid to two really put a damper on those. :(

On top of consistent intentional exercise, I need to be moving more in general. It's kind of horrifying how sedentary I can be when I hermit up at home. I opt not to go for walks, even when it's beautiful; I rarely get up and move my body... it's a problem. I'm trying to incorporate more dance parties into our everyday, and I really love when we can go on a long family walk before or after dinner in the evenings. Swoon.

Also necessary - quality time spent with Drew. My physical touch love language is usually pretty spent by the end of the day, after all the snuggles and breastfeeding from the girls. Sad for Drew. But a close second on our list is quality time, so we need an hour or so of hanging out, catching up, actually having a conversation, and pouring into our marriage cup. (I notice I also tend to have nothing to give if I'm not taking care of the other areas of my life that need attention. So all things are related.)

Other things that bring me life, to incorporate:  Getting dressed, putting on makeup, doing my hair, making my bed, tidying up as we go, enlisting Lilly's help with chores, a clean house, open windows, good music (latino dance music?), occasional wine, simplifying my wardrobe, checking things off a looming to-do list, going for a non-pressure jog, yoga, barre, self care appointments, kissing my babies' rolls, connecting with friends, encouraging others...

Part Two coming later this week!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

four ways to feel less like we're drowning at home

There's so much taking up my brain lately! Work, health, fitness, taking care of babies, trying to allocate my time, cleaning, organizing, selling things on eBay... I feel pulled in all the directions, sometimes with my head above water and sometimes not so much.

One thing that over time has really helped with anxiety and overwhelmed-ness is having a tidy home. I had one precious full day of childcare yesterday (a client canceled on me, but mom was still watching the girls) and half of it was spent tidying and reorganizing the nursery/office. I had put a lot of work into it before AnnaCate was born, but then all the parties we threw / other rooms we tackled / closets we scoured made the nursery a holding area for 100% clutter. 

It's extremely nice to come in here now and see clean floors, a made bed, a less cluttered desk. (It's still not really perfect...) Same goes for the other spaces in our home -- a cleared-off dining room table, a less chaotic living room with toys in their proper homes, a kitchen with less gadgets on the counters. Less is truly more!!

Here are some of the tips & tricks I've learned over time to help manage the household so it's less madness and more calm!

1. Baskets are our friends! Mom knew what she was doing when she started her obsession with baskets -- my sister and I tease her for her extensive collection (she can't go to an antique store without picking one up!), but these are instrumental in keeping things at bay. Baskets, bins, and boxes help give "homes" to all the things we accumulate -- especially baby toys. We have a huge basket in our bedroom, one in the living room, and a handful of large canvas bins to house toys galore, as well as accumulate laundry. The girls have a cute swan laundry hamper and ours has a heavy-duty handle and a cute crab print - anything to motivate us to actually do laundry!
2. Big metal shelving units have been WAY helpful for organizing the garage / our storage. Vertical space is a major thing to utilize storage areas! We got a bunch of the extra-wide ones at Target and they house everything from outside toys to party supplies to china/glassware and exercise equipment.
3. One goal we had for a long time was to create a "command center" in our house for sorting the beaucoups of paper clutter we accumulate. It took a lot of hunting, a lot of patience, and a good deal of Drew's maniacal measuring, but we found some file sorters, a dry-erase calendar, and a bulletin board for keeping our household on track. I write down appointments, family to-do's, display Lilly's preschool artwork, and have a working system in place for sorting mail (coupons / expirable mail to use, bills & mail that need action, and anything that needs to be filed at a convenient later date). We're only in our second month of utilizing it so there are some growing pains, but it's helping.
4. Kroger Clicklist. Why has it taken us so long to use this!? We're still working out the kinks (eating healthier means we're making more runs to Aldi & Trader Joe's) but this seems to be such a money saver, time saver, and majorly convenience-provider for trying to shop with kids. Plus sometimes we save money because they upgrade our items if they don't have stock of the smaller quantities we order!
5. Good old eBay! Maybe it's just me, but I was always intimidated by selling anything over eBay up until this year. However, with the "Buy it Now / Best Offer" options to sell things, I don't have to fool with auctions, I can set my own prices, and they make it SO easy to ship out and mail anything you sell. I've been getting rid of bridesmaid dresses, maternity clothes, and expensive clothes that didn't fit right that were too late to return. Hallelujah, save me space please! 

What are ways you've found to majorly simplify your life and keep your head above water? I'm all ears!!!

Big Projects Upcoming:
Complete the Daniel Fast with Drew
Update website and galleries
Finish hanging artwork and complete the nursery
Start waking earlier + working out consistently
Plan blog posts + write consistently
Sell more things on eBay / declutter & purge!
Get health sorted out -- schedule appointments, etc

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

toning it up + postpartum bod, the second time around

Howdy! I know it's been a while -- I always seem to start posts and never finish them (but I read a ton!). I've been slightly drowning, slightly keeping my head above water trying to balance momming two, wifing one, owning and running a business, answering mail, planning a newborn sip & see and then a second birthday party, managing a household, and trying not to destroy the house every time we make headway with cleaning it.

One thing that's been majorly on my mind recently is my physical health.  I was seriously ill the last few months of pregnancy, which meant I was perpetually tired and looking back, really thin (while I definitely didn't weigh less, I had a 9.5lb baby and a huge placenta in there, and you can see in my face/arms that I was drained of any nutrition). It's honestly hard for me to gauge what I actually look like / how my body is at any given point of time until time has passed and I can look back in photos. (Is that super weird?) It's kind of like I have body dysmorphia on a micro level. Maybe just distorted awareness?

Regardless -- I was really ill and highly medicated in pregnancy, then I had the baby and got a lot better, but had to re-adjust to eating with non-pregnant T1D. Every time I have a baby, my diabetes gets worse (my pancreas just takes a beating), so although I WAS diabetic after Lilly I didn't have to be medicated for it yet, and this time I'm still definitely diabetic (and a little more so than before), so I DO have to be medicated.

The first few weeks of post-baby life were spent eating ALL THE THINGS, because I could finally eat and also I was producing beaucoups of milk for baby (and have an oversupply in the beginning, so much to compensate for). So I would bake a batch of lactation cookies and eat the whole thing by day 3. I had several milkshakes (they were damn good), several slices of carrot cake, a billion batches of pumpkin oatmeal muffins, and basically all the carbs (with some healthy fats and a lot of protein too). Now that my milk supply has evened out to just produce enough for AnnaCate, I've tried to take a step back from "I MUST HAVE ALL THE THINGS!" when eating and approach my diet from a healthy standpoint (admittedly means the all-day chomping on dark chocolate and going through a Pound Plus dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe's every week is not the best call for me)... especially since my blood sugar levels have been creeping higher and higher and higher as I eat like this. (No shock there!)

Not to mention, my lack of exercise (from lack of energy) has taken a toll on my strength / physical ability / muscle tone. I never really got strong after Lilly (I did get toned and skinny, but I wasn't as flexible or agile as I was in the height of my consistent yoga practicing days). I want to feel confident and beautiful in a swimsuit, as well as physically capable and healthy, energetic and vibrant. 

Before baby, my stomach was always a place that I rarely held much fat and tended to show muscle tone quickly. Obviously pregnancy will do a number on abs -- but fortunately my skin has enough collagen that it bounced back pretty darn well after Lilly. I've had to work much harder at getting it closer to "normal" this time, fearing I had serious diastasis recti this go-around, but my doctor confirmed my lower abdominal pooch is just some leftover fat and skin that I have to do ab exercises to get rid of. (Whew!)

My goals are to strengthen my body, find energy again, eat a clean diet that helps me control my diabetes as best as possible (with as minimal medication as I can manage), and work on toning up my body overall. My arms, back, booty, legs, and abs can all do to have some firming / muscle tone and strength brought back (or brought, period, in some instances -- I've always neglected my back and my legs are a challenging area for toning).

My plan right now is to eliminate refined sugar from my diet (I was eating way too much!), cut drinking alcohol down significantly (such a bad habit to have a couple glasses of wine most nights during the week!), temporarily cut out gluten and most dairy, and focus on eating good, wholesome foods (mostly plants!) to figure out what works sustainably for me (ummm.. I'm not giving up dark chocolate forever!). I also am trying to do the Tone It Up Bikini Series exercise plan but honestly it's a struggle for me right now, since I'm still sleeping in so late in the morning and I accidentally smacked Lilly in the head with a dumbbell when I tried to work out while she was awake yesterday (horror!!!!! She is okay, though!!!!!). I need that energy to come in so I can get up early and work out, and get a grip on my day!

I would love to have a healthy mentality where delicious plant-based foods are my mainstay diet, with occasional treats that I can thoroughly enjoy. I honestly don't get full satisfaction and JOY out of eating dessert twice a day every day... how can you enjoy something if you get too much of it?! I also don't particularly ENJOY a damn good glass of wine anymore since I drink it so often.
{Sidenote: how precious is my little mini?}

So that's where I'm at! I'll be checking in at the end of May, and again in June before we leave for our weeklong Charleston beach trip -- sooooo excited for that!

Friday, March 24, 2017

five on friday

It's that time! Linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha:


Oh my goodness, the forecast for this week makes me SO HAPPY! It is 72 degrees outside right now, and the next 10 days are all in the 70s too! Sunshine and warmth is what the doctor ordered to get me out of this funk and feeling alive again. I'm wearing cutoff jean shorts, a tank top, and a swipe of bronzer; it genuinely impacts my mood.

TWO:: coinciding naptimes

BOTH girls are napping at the same time right now and I am LOVING it. This morning has been a little stressful; I sold a couple of pairs of maternity jeans on eBay (YAY!) and when I went to print the shipping label, I realized my printer's power cord had gotten fried from the electrical surge earlier this week. AGH!!!! All this is to say, I have otherwise utilized nap time for eating solo, putting on my makeup in peace, and now blogging. Hallelujah!

THREE:: it's the weekend!

Well, almost. We don't have any weekend plans, but we'll see our couple-friends tomorrow evening (we have an every-other-weekend standing date) and it looks like beautiful weather. Maybe a trip to the zoo is in order?!

FOUR:: barre

I got a random call earlier this week from my local barre3 studio that they were adding 3 free classes to my account because I haven't been in in a while. This is extremely exciting to me since I've been on a postpartum exercise freeze and will be able to start back up in the next couple of weeks! God tends to put opportunities with this barre studio (my favorite!!) into my life at the perfect time, so we'll see what's in store!!!

FIVE:: self-care

Oh, postpartum self-care... how elusive you are! I've been on virtual home arrest trying to keep the baby from getting sick, so we haven't really left the house since mid-February (besides going to Mom & Dad's, or the occasional doctor's appointment, etc). We're now reaching the point where AnnaCate can go out and it's less terrifying. But in the meantime, Drew let me run out by myself after Lilly's bedtime Wednesday night. I hit up Trader Joe's (for beaucoups of wine and nuts and random groceries) and Target (and got a tank top, bralette, and AnnaCate's easter basket!)... it's the little things that make you feel sane and energize you. I have an actual GIRLS' NIGHT scheduled for next Wednesday that I'm very much looking forward to, too.

Okay, both girls are now crying in their beds... off to say sayonara to my peaceful nap time quiet!

Monday, March 13, 2017

happy due date, annacate!

How far along: Would be 40 weeks, finally! Baby is now almost one month old -- she'll be a month on Wednesday!
Total weight gain: I am currently at +5 over pre-pregnancy weight. My max was +29lbs, and I delivered at +25lbs.
Baby Size: She weighed 9lbs 5oz at birth. She's currently over 10lbs now -- Lord help me, she would've been 13 or so if she'd gone full term!
Stretch marks: I managed to get away scot-free!
Clothes: Pretty much everything fits again! Except bras, obviously. 
Sleep: Now that I'm not miserably pregnant, I sleep like a normal person and don't need 20 hours a day! Hallelujah, energy is back!
Cravings: I still want all the ice and everything crunchy -- like nuts, chocolate chips and chunks, oats, all the texture. Craving sugar, carbs, trying to get back on a healthy kick. Eating a lot of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, lactation cookies, and carrot cake lately.
Symptoms: I've survived the night sweats, mood swings (not nearly as bad this time!), intense sense of smell (not nearly as bad this time!), etc. Post-birth contractions to shrink my uterus sucked the first couple of days and I had one major clot pass, but relatively easy and painless recovery. Praise!!!
Diabetes Management: I am now on 2u with meals and 8u at night. Just have to keep it under 200 post-prandial and under 140 fasting.
Exercise: We've been on a few walks. I've been wanting to do squats and lunges to get my butt/legs in shape but have been refraining due to doctor's orders. I also want to get my abs to get back together (I have 1cm lower ab separation) but not sure how to do that... do I just wait until 6 weeks postpartum and see what it looks like then?
Mood: So happy, grateful, loving life!
Belly Button in or out? Back in for good, whew!
Nesting: Our nest has been nested. I'm still working on completing AnnaCate's bedroom -- finally got her crest printed and hung and her lamb organizers ordered this week, hoping to have things mostly finished by her Sip & See.
Nursery: Needs a few things -- crib skirt, canopy, newborn session photo prints framed and hung, etc.
Best Moment this week: Spending weekend with grandparents!
Thankful for: God, family, our precious daughters, Drew, friends.
Looking forward to: Extended family coming into town this weekend!
Doctor Visits: 7 weeks for me, 8 weeks for baby.
Baby Position:  In my arms!!!!!!
Movement: Pretty sleepy but currently nursing :)
Labor Signs: Baby in arms!!!!!!
How is Lilly: Adores her bebe!!!!! Best big sissy!!!!!!!!

Things Left to Do:
Buy diapers
Get our car back, return Mom's 4-Runner
Get car detailed
Install infant carseat
Stock up on pads & nursing pads
Make freezer meals (Drew)
Prepare taxes
Get postnatal massage
Make it through this week's wedding meetings
Wrap up clients' wedding details for the most part
Prepare to hand things over to VA for the month of March
Organize boxes of baby clothes
Clean off desk in office
Fully pack hospital bag
Officially book newborn photography
Get hair cut & colored (Feb. 7)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

five on friday

It's that time! Five on Friday!!

ONE:: momming two

Man, y'all! Mothering two under 2 is not for the faint of heart! We survived our first few days of just us Dellinger gals this week and no one has died / gotten brutally injured or emotionally scarred. Hallelujah! I made Drew pick me up some Sauvignon Blanc (sadly he couldn't find my favorites but he did bring home a good-enough bottle) last night so we cheersed to almost making it to Friday. And now it is Friday, Lilly Beth is in school until the afternoon, and for the first time ever, I don't have any appointments to make while she's away! Overall, our sweet toddler is taking the transition well -- she loves loves loves her "bebe" and asks about her frequently, and we've only had a few incidents involving roughhousing, which is lessened when I give her ample one-on-one snuggle time and keep her away from rooms involving couches or hard tables. (We watch a lot of Elmo from the high chair these days... let's be real.) She did sob her little heart out this morning at playschool dropoff (which almost made me break down too), but she's had three weeks off (from me being hospitalized / incapacitated from exhaustion / in labor) so it was high time to get back to school and try to regain normalcy and routine.

TWO:: routine

Drew and I have always been fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kinds of people, never really creatures of habit since we get bored and love spontaneity. Maybe it's partially that we're getting older, or maybe it's just that we have children now, but routine has never looked so necessary for our sanity and our babies'. We probably won't ever have a super rigid schedule that allows for no wiggle room (we legit have family that honor a weekly "Leftovers Night" and refuse to make plans that would ever interfere with it!), but having rituals that help Lilly know what's coming make things a lot more seamless, and give us a chance to feel somewhat in control in the midst of chaos.

THREE:: taxes & admin

WOOF! There are so many administrative tasks I desperately need to get done now that baby is born and time again exists to do so. Gulp! Taxes are a big one. I'm intimidated but must make progress!!! (Update:  I buckled down and got all the outstanding bills paid and short-term paperwork filled out / submitted. So much stuff!!! Just barely grazed the surface of taxes.)

FOUR:: ruffles and bell sleeves

I'm so tempted to give in to the current SUPER POPULAR trend of all the ruffled and bell sleeves but it has to be JUST RIGHT and not horribly expensive (because it's such a "trend" I can't imagine it'll stay en vogue for terribly long). Off-the-shoulder things are another trend I feel this way about -- last year I spent $12 on a black off-shoulder dress and it was perfect for a bachelorette party, vacation, and a couple date nights. It's still popular now so I'll probably get at least one more season out of it, and then it can potentially be retired. My issue with the bell sleeves thing is the only tops / dresses I like with them are all $60-100+. I'm definitely not spending near $400 on the Club Monaco sweater dress I adore, but I have a hard time justifying the $90 Endless Rose dress I want for Easter. Dilemmas!

FIVE:: sip & see

Now that my baby is born, it's high time for planning her sip & see party! I've always wanted to throw one of these, but didn't make much sense to do so for Lilly since we had showers in April immediately before she was born and a TON of visitors in the hospital / at home shortly after I had her. Anna Cate didn't have a shower and a lot of our close friends & family were sick so they didn't make it to the hospital to meet her, and with her being a winter baby I'd like to keep home visitors to a minimum to avoid sickness at all costs. So maybe a late March sip & see?! I have so many hopes and plans for this!!!! EEEK!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

second-time mom wishlist

Maybe it's excitement over being able to wear "real people" clothes again, or wanting to invest in items that will help me feel more normal / pampered while I'm recovering and learning how to do this parenting two thing, or maybe just spring rolling around and a new season emerging... but I've got a running wishlist in place, and I'm apparently all about neutrals and white right now!

These sneaks for athleisure / looking fly / momming around {I actually bought these while I was trying to get my water to break last Tuesday! "Labor shoes" for AnnaCate!}

Socks that won't fall down when I wear said sneaks

A new fancy blow dryer

A white lululemon jacket (because I have a gift card burning a hole in my pocket)

A little white Lilly dress (because I have a gift card burning a hole in my pocket)

A white or ivory blouse or sweater with ruffles or bell sleeves -- they're all the rage right now and I'm smitten

What are you in the market for these days?

Monday, February 20, 2017

she's here!!!!

We are beyond thrilled that Julianna Cate Dellinger entered into the world last week!! So far it has been a delightfully smooth transition (with ample support from family!) and we couldn't be happier to have her sweet spirit with us. I'm madly in love with this precious baby and our family is complete.

Monday, February 13, 2017

bebe dos:: thirty-six weeks

How far along: 36 weeks! Close enough to full-term!

Total weight gain: +30ish. I had lost a pound last week so no idea where I'm truly at now.
Baby Size: 7lbs?
Stretch marks: None, thank God! Even my boobs have been spared.
Clothes: Stretchy shorts. Jersey dresses. Chinos. Maternity leggings & shirts. Piko tops. My black lace-top dress. 
Sleep: Never can get enough. We all napped for three hours yesterday.
Cravings: All the ice. Food is annoying. Zone Perfect bars in Cookie Dough flavor. Chocolate espresso trail mix.
Symptoms: Contractions, huge bump, uncomfortable all the time, kicked ribs, back pain, groin pain, major fatigue doing any and everything, everything itches. Insane bloody noses and so much snot.
Diabetes Management: It's getting better, so placenta must not be as crazy these days.
Exercise: Walks!!! Got taken off bedrest on Tuesday, so I'm back to normal activity.
Mood: So grumpy, irritable, hard to be around, impatient.
Miss Anything: Energy.
Belly Button in or out? I think we can go ahead and call it out now.
Nesting: Well.. we bought a new car! A total mom-mobile - Toyota Highlander Ltd with leather interior and third-row seating. Got our car back, packed them to the brim with hospital things. Keeping house pretty tidy, washing lots of windows and trimming bushes. Drew's doing his meal prep thing.
Nursery: Basically ready for baby. We still haven't done the whole cornice and canopy thing yet.
Best Moment this week: Uneventful medical appointments, making it another week without having a premature baby, relief from some of the steroid issues, help from Mom, buying a new car?
Thankful for: God, family, time with Lilly, Drew, finances, friends.
Looking forward to: Laken will have baby Lucy this week!  
Doctor Visits:  Tuesday & Friday.
Baby Position:  Head down lowwwww.
Movement: Consistent. 
Labor Signs: 4cm dilated, 60% effaced. Consistent contractions. Nothing else.
How is Lilly: Adorable, a little clingy. Been wanting to nurse lately (huh?). So sweet!

Overall -- spent a lot of this week thinking she was coming, but no dice. Went on date night with Drew on Thursday, test drove the Highlander, had dinner at Sopapilla's, thought for sure my water would break by the morning. But still every time I go to bed, contractions hold up and I wake up the next morning with no baby. Mom took Lilly on Thursday after I was having a struggle-bus time trying to work on things and having no energy whatsoever. Picked her back up Friday afternoon in time to buy our new car. Saturday night went really well with Drew's family -- had filets, made chocolate torte for Valentine's Day, played a game, everyone had good conversation and pitched in with Lilly. Sunday was lazy but good. Here we go, week 36! Laken's getting induced Wednesday if she still hasn't gone into labor yet. Who knew you could just chill at 4cm FOREVER?

Julianna Cate's Bumpdates
Sixteen Weeks
Eighteen Weeks
Nineteen WeeksTwenty Weeks

Twenty-Four Weeks
Twenty-Five Weeks
Twenty-Six Weeks
Twenty-Seven Weeks
Twenty-Eight Weeks
Twenty-Nine Weeks
Thirty Weeks
Thirty-One Weeks
Thirty-Two Weeks
Thirty-Three Weeks

Thirty-Four Weeks
Thirty-Five Weeks

Things Left to Do:
Buy diapers
Get our car back, return Mom's 4-Runner
Get car detailed
Install infant carseat
Stock up on pads & nursing pads
Make freezer meals (Drew)
Prepare taxes
Get final prenatal massage (Feb. 1 & Feb 18)
Make it through this week's wedding meetings
Wrap up clients' wedding details for the most part
Prepare to hand things over to VA for the month of March
Organize boxes of baby clothes
Clean off desk in office
Fully pack hospital bag
Monogram girls' pajamas
Officially book newborn photography
Get hair cut & colored (Feb. 7)
Go to one last prenatal yoga class