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