Monday, September 25, 2017

anxiety

I have been an anxious person at least since I was 10 or 11. I remember watching The Sixth Sense (which was my favorite movie at the time) and asking my mom towards the end (when it gets super suspenseful) why I couldn't breathe. Since then, I have had seasons of anxiety. It comes up at different times -- my senior spring, for instance, when I was in a full-fledged panic over which college to attend, trying to survive make an A in my AP Calculus class, fearing the loss of identity that would come with graduation, and developing a full eating disorder. Then in college, when the transition away from home rocked my world unlike anything prior. And since being married, it's come up in seasons of work stress or newborn baby stress and moments I don't have a great physical outlet to deal with it (like hot yoga).

Falls also tend to be really stressful for us (as in, me and Drew). We broke up multiple times in the fall. We've had school issues in the fall. Work issues. Stressful wedding seasons. Family turmoil. Illness. You name it. I have tried to pray off any kind of actual spiritual issues that are recurrent, but this fall is yet again kicking my ass.

I thought finally getting my high school reunion planned would relieve me of this crippling chest-crushing anxiety, but it hasn't. It brought a new set of problems to resolve -- dealing with how I handled myself around ex-boyfriends and still trying to please the popular crowd (ten years later, with no relationship with them outside of this). I have to let a lot go, but it's not without things to work through.

I have two big weddings mounting. That's got to be some of the most serious pressure. (One is the second most high-end wedding I've ever done.) My health is deteriorating, so I'm in the process of waiting to receive my continuous blood glucose monitor and figure that out. The girls are good, which is a massive blessing. Drew's in the midst of a potential work situation change (talks of promotions and responsibility shifting on the horizon). We're trying to deal with finances and get a good grip on them at long last. Beautycounter is stalling out for me, as the impending holiday season is fast approaching. Family life is tense and under pressure (as my sister's family is currently living with my newly retired parents -- 3 adults, 3 kids, 3 cats, 2 dogs, 1 roof; plus my two girls one day a week when Mom watches them). THERE IS SO MUCH.

I know the way to deal is to breathe, take things one little step at a time, keep things in perspective, and prepare. Be intentional. Let things go. Meditate. PRAY. Do some yoga. Connect. Consume less caffeine. But it's hard.

This is a refining season. Time to let go of bad habits, develop good ones, survive. Learn.

It's just hard to breathe.

Friday, September 22, 2017

five on friday:: it's reunion week!

Friday AGAIN?!

Linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha:


ONE:: reunion on the brain

The time has come, at long last! I seriously can't believe this week has finally arrived and how much this event has changed since it was initially planned by our class president. If you read my previous post about it, I stepped in as the third planner for it at the end of July (the date has been set since LAST August!). It's gone the gamut from a hotel ballroom adult prom to game night at Dave & Busters to a formal cocktail party to now a relaxed BBQ at the local golf range. When I was consulting the initial planner back in March (when I had a newborn baby), I told her I didn't expect for more than 50 guests to come regardless of our idea, and I oftentimes threatened to reduce the event to a potluck at the dam, so it's crazy to think that some persistence, stubbornness, and a willingness to be flexible to accommodate more people has garnered a crowd of 75!

My priorities have always been food, drink, and a party concept that accommodates conversation. We've got food, drink (despite a wine snafu thanks to Trader Joe's lack of inventory - BOOOOO!), dessert, and some party decor ready to go. There's still plenty I haven't gotten done (procrastinating much?) and I obsessed over my outfit for daysssss but we're close enough.

TWO:: a cohesive wardrobe
{i totally need these shoes for my capsule, right?}

I really need to go through my closets and pare down all the things in it to only have a cohesive, love-to-wear, versatile wardrobe, but I tend to either hoard things or pare down TOO MUCH (I have donation regret every now and then). I definitely think I'm too much on the hoarding side, but it's hard. I have soooo many dresses from college that are now outdated, not flattering, and don't make a lick of sense for my current lifestyle. And a lot of businessy attire that never gets worn (silk blouses, dress pants). My other issue is I have a huge range of sizes, too, so it's hard to get rid of a bunch of one size since I do fluctuate -- between breastfeeding, working out, getting pregnant, having babies, I don't know what I'm necessarily going to wear forever. It's not like I want "fat clothes on reserve" or anything, but it's just hard to fit my body right now. I also need to look at my things and decide what gaps there are (if any) to fill -- are there pieces I would get so much use out of, that would make me look more polished and put-together? Do I have disproportionate amounts of certain types of clothing? (Umm, dresses?) What the hell am I going to wear this winter with breastfeeding all the time? Halp.

THREE:: it's fall already?

I was really embracing fall when it struck the first week of September (and end of August), but now that it's back to being 90 degrees and miserably hot, I'm kind of surprised it's ACTUALLY fall now. We pulled out a couple of pumpkin things (candles, salt & pepper shakers), but I've nowhere near tackled fall-itizing the house. September has been 100% survival mode. What day is it again?

FOUR:: very important things
There are some extremely important things that really should take precedence in my mental state right now, but I have to actually switch gears to deal with them. Like getting a Dexcom (my health is out of control) and dealing with some tag issues. The stupid emissions test people said they were going to renew our tags for us, but there was some mixup with the amount so now we're screwed and our tags are expired. WOOF. PRIORITY.

FIVE:: beautycounter

I'm way behind on beautycounter. It's been a roughtastic month for me in that business. Stagnant. Frustrating. Jesus take the wheeeeel!

Friday, September 15, 2017

five on friday

It's that time!

ONE
Reunion countdown -- 8 days to my class reunion! Ticket sales officially end TONIGHT, so I'm seeing the last-minute procrastinators fill my inbox with their ticket sales. I'm getting excited! The party aspects are kind of having to come together last-minute, too (hence the issue with no set budget in advance), but I'm determined to make it fun and lovely albeit ultra-casz and low-key. We've got food, booze (beer & wine), a covered pavilion, the promise of some music, and a makeshift photo booth repurposed from past party supplies, so we'll see how this goes! Ha!

TWO
Now that our mini-fall is officially over (BOO! I was loving windows open 24/7!), it's going to be hot again. Which screws up my reunion outfit planning. I will admit, originally I was going for something insanely try-hard and it did NOT work... thank goodness. (As in, a backless skin-tight red cocktail dress with cowboy boots... to a BBQ at a golf course. Y'all.) Oftentimes I need to rein it back in... this was one of those times. Fortunately for me it didn't even fit, so that got sent back and then I had a few glasses of wine to peruse eBay (unintentionally, honestly) and bid on a couple of options there. Right now the winning contender is a navy blue eyelet-patterned solid Lilly dress with the same boots (it just looks a lot less stupid / attention-seeking). Fingers crossed! Now what am I going to do if it gets chilly...?

THREE
My baby is 7 months old today!!!!!! HOW?! She turned real blonde in August but has been looking significantly more ginger in recent days. Crazy how much they change over the first year!

FOUR

Lilly had the worst coxsackie virus last month. She got it once when she was a year old, but she got it again with a vengeance after we visited a new church the other week (boo) and it's seriously taken her 10 days for the rash to subside. It covered her legs and arms and face and feet, she was pitiful and weepy and felt awful, and now it's scabbed and is falling off to heal. AHHH! It was definitely not this bad the first time. Nashville peeps -- beware! It's most contagious before it turns to rash, which sucks maybe the most. Hoping for a healthy rest of fall!

FIVE
Since I started with Beautycounter I've tried to completely eliminate ANY self-care products with toxic chemicals in them (because I mean, go big or go home right?), but I caved and bought a Kristen Ess dry shampoo at Target the other day and it's the first one I've ever liked! It sprays on as an actual powder (not wet-to-dry like the others I've tried), so it doesn't feel all gross on my scalp. The fragrance is kind of killing me now that I've detoxed from anything artificially scented for a few months, but I'm liking the performance. We shall see how often this actually gets used!

Linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha:

Monday, September 11, 2017

enneagram findings and what i'm up to

I took the Enneagram test over the weekend as part of a Beautycounter business growth project, and it was quite revealing to me!!! I was pretty much tied between a 9 & a 7 -- the Peacemaker and the Enthusiast. As I read into both of them, I identified more with the 7 - "extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous, playful, high-spirited, and practical, [but] can be over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined." Unsurprisingly, it means I tend to take on a ton of projects at any given point of time. Exhibit A - my life right now. Here's what I've got going on:

- keeping two small children alive and happy
2 upcoming weddings for next month
- 1 upcoming wedding in November
- booking weddings for 2018
- high school class reunion planning (it happens Sept. 23!)
- Beautycounter business building (socials, dropoffs, trainings, all the things!)
- planning Julianna's bachelorette party for next March
- ongoing home projects
- joining a church & a small group
- selling all the things on ebay

I'm a bit overwhelmed but also trying to really settle into my groove at the same time. Patience, grace, time management, tackling one project in a block fashion at a time... Here are the recommendations the Enneagram people give me for personal growth:
  • Recognize your impulsiveness, and get in the habit of observing your impulses rather than giving in to them
  • Learn to live with less external stimulation
  • You do not have to have everything this very moment. Most good opportunities will come back again—and you will be in a better position to discern which opportunities really are best for you
  • Always choose quality over quantity, especially in your experiences
  • Make sure that what you want will really be good for you in the long run

Do you know what type you are? Do you agree with their recommendations, and what have you learned about yourself?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

lilly after-party sale haul!

This week is a long-awaited one for me -- the Lilly Pulitzer After-Party Sale! You have just under 12 more hours to shop... eek!

Here are some things I scored:



The Colby Tunic Dress
I kind of cringe that I bought yet another dress, but this one is sooooo pretty (and originally $300!!!); I got it because I think it'll be the perfect Christmas card photo dress. Thinking of dressing our family in luxe neutrals -- so good for fall, winter, and Christmas.


Dusk Racerback Silk Tank
I have been needing a good solid neutral (light-colored) tank for layering / wearing with printed pants/shorts/skirts / wearing under my cashmere wrap poncho (Anyone else thinking of that "DON'T TELL ME PONCHOS ARE BACK!" quote from Legally Blonde these days?). Love the "Oyster" color and simple silhouette. I have the dusk racerback silk maxi dress from my maternity shoot circa 2015, so I know it's a great drape and flattering shape.


Lilias Tunic Top
I wanted to make my sale haul this year be max bang-for-buck, so I'm all about the neutrals that go with all things. This looked super soft and comfortable (softness is soooo important to me these days), and I know it'll be nice and versatile -- wear with printed pants, jeans, white jeans, skirts, maybe even leggings (I think it's long enough to cover my rear!). I've had the same 3/4-length navy top from Gap for yeeeeeears, so it'll be nice to have another solid basic to fall back on.


Meg Top
And finally, another solid basic for the fall/winter -- my beloved favorite shade to wear (white), perfect for layering with jeans and boots or under a vest! Much to be said for simplicity!

___________________________

Did you find anything you were wanting?! It pained me a little to not invest in one of their gorgeous cashmere sweaters they had Monday or a Lobstah Roll pair of Luxletic leggings, but I really tried to opt for things I "need" / would be the most versatile / weren't pricier. I mean, it's debatable that I should've gotten an oatmeal-colored cashmere sweater rather than a more expensive gold silk tunic dress, but I legitimately don't have anything in my closet like it and I can see myself wearing it to church, work meetings, special events, etc. I'll let you know if my predictions are right or if it'll go straight to eBay to resell!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

high school reunion planning

So I have spent the last month planning my high school's 10-year class reunion. Our class president was in charge of it originally but got super busy (no surprises -- it's a big undertaking!), and then a couple of girls took over but couldn't get the response they needed to financially tackle all the deposits, so it was up for grabs and I grabbed it. I'm probably crazy for doing so, but I am a professional event planner and I kind of live for these things, so why not take on the challenge?


Originally I thought the best bet would be to have some fabulous cocktail party at an awesome lounge space. I toyed with the idea of doing a formal party at the zoo (complete with animal encounters!), but it's SO EXPENSIVE to do anything in Nashville, and our class just wasn't willing to spend the money it'd take to do something truly incredible without any predetermined funds. (Boo!)

My cocktail party idea got scrapped this weekend -- I asked for commitments from everyone, and my classmates just weren't willing to dress up, drive 45 minutes to a venue, and flesh out $55/ticket. I was about to throw up my hands, but my best friend called and one of our classmates knew of a local golf course that had an event space available, and could inexpensively cater for us. I toured it a couple of weeks ago -- it's no frills and certainly not formal, but after pitching to the class on our group facebook page, EVERYONE bit. Who knew?! Turns out informal + close by + cheaper is the way to please.


We're still definitely working with limited funds, but here's what I'm thinking --

Saturday, September 23, 2017
7pm - 10pm time frame
Casual dinner, buffet-style BBQ. Couple kegs of beer and some boxed wine (because we're classy like that). A cute dessert spread, made by the classmate who owns a precious bakery I use frequently for weddings. Low-key background music (spotify playlist on speakers?). I assigned one of my friends to doing the centerpieces (framed photos of different organizations from high school, maybe some memorabilia but nothing fancy). Now what?

I'm kind of at a loss for where to go from the bare bones. I don't have a ton of extra ticket funds beyond the initial requirements for space + food + booze, so I don't really know where to spend money beyond this. 

Get fancier lighting? (String lights instead of the Christmas icicle lights they currently have hanging? Does anyone even care??) Get customized napkins or cups? (Or should we stick to plain basic clear plastic and call it a day?) Spend more on entertainment than our free playlist? (I'm afraid we don't have enough commitment to justify a live band, but I don't want to skimp if that would really be worth it... Although I also have a hard time booking a DJ because I can't see anyone actually dancing and DJs can be sooooo cheesy.) Get fancy placards for the "grownup superlatives"? What makes the most impact? What does anyone even care about?

Insight appreciated!!!!!!!!


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
{via}
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.)

COMPONENTS
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:



ONE:: SPRING!!!

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!