Fox + Wit

Wow! To say it’s been a busy month would be an understatement. Between the frantic driving to/from daycare, a grueling social schedule on the weekends and mastered a fledgling work routine, I don’t know where the time went. The leaves seem to have turned colors overnight and we’re one step away from a snowflake here in Montreal.

The last thing on my mind recently has been blogging (but I have been ALL about Insta-stories, so if you don’t follow me, you better!) But when I came across this online boutique, I knew I had to hop on here and share. Fox + Wit is for all my size 12 and up ladies, for those that love one-of-kind plus size pieces that make you feel like a million bucks. AND, they’ve even started to offer extended sizing (sizes S-L), so everyone can wear fabulous clothes. I connected with Janean, the Fox + Wit Founder, through Instagram because we share the same motto: when it comes to fashion, size doesn’t matter! Her mission is to find unique, modern and fun pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.

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Get the look at Fox + Wit! Wearing 1X in top & bottom. Sweater/Skirt/Scarf

 

 

Love how different these pieces are! The sweater has a cool, lace-up detail at the back and would look equally great with jeans. The skirt is vegan suede and features a patchwork detail at the front; I took a close-up to show you how pretty the detail is. And the blanket scarf I’m wearing is literally the scarf of my dreams! Not only is is my fave plaid print, I love how cozy and soft it is. The clothes fit true to size, which is rare for a plus size boutique. I wear a 14-16/1X and that’s exactly what I’m wearing here. Also, I’ve been a big fan of tucking in my tops recently. It used to freak me out that my baby belly would show, but I’ve been owning it more and more. Like RuPaul always says, “If you can’t love yourself, then how the hell you gonna love someone else?!”

As a special treat to you, Fox + Wit and I have teamed up to give away a 50$ gift certificate to shop online!

TO ENTER:

  1. Follow @justjenp and @foxandwitinyourcloset
  2. Like my contest post & comment by telling me one way you like to spoil yourself!
  3. Tag a friend for extra entries!

Winner will be picked at random and contacted through DM.

Contest ends on: 10/30/18 at 8PM EST

Contest is in no way sponsored, administered or endorsed by Instagram. By entering, you are confirming you’re at least 18 years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s terms of use.

 

A Day in the Life

So many of you asked what a typical “day in the life” looks like now that I’m back at work and balancing a career, mom duties, being a wife and generally living my life. Here it is, as honest as I can be. Hope that you’ll find some comfort in the fact I’m a completely normal person, just trying to get through a day.

6am Alarm on phone rings. I hit snooze for 10 minutes. My husband has been up since 5:30AM getting ready for work, and of course, because I have super human mom hearing, I knew he was awake even before he did! I try to sneak in some extra Zzz’s because I am NOT a morning person.

6:10am Snooze goes off. I check the baby monitor to make sure Charlotte is still dozing. She usually wakes by 7am, so that means I have 50 minutes to get ready in the morning. My hair is washed from the night before, so that saves shower time.

6:15am Wash my face and moisturize. While waiting for my serum to soak in, I check social media and the weather. I refuse to do more than 3 steps of skincare in the morning, so 5 minutes later I’m onto makeup and hair, which take 30 mins total (I will totally share these routines when I am not strapped for time!) Hubby leaves around this time, so I kiss him goodbye for the day.

6:50am My clothes are chosen the night before so I never have to try to think of outfit inspo…because again, I am not a morning person! I inevitably always change once before settling on an outfit. Today I’ve chosen a dress that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s from one of my favorite online stores, Pink Blush. They carry everything from maternity, plus size, regular size and even plus size maternity. It’s fashion for modern motherhood. I’ve talked about their incredible dresses before HERE and HERE. I love a wrap dress because it’s the ultimate feminine silhouette. I love how the wrap shows off my waist, and for once, the neckline actually stays closed! I did NOT have to re-adjust ONCE! Miracle of miracles. You can get this exact dress HERE. It’s a stunner.

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Navy Stripe Ruffle Plus Wrap Dress available at Pink Blush.

6:55am I head downstairs to make Charlotte’s breakfast (fruit, yogurt and multigrain toast with PB) and prep my coffee. I try to let Charlotte sleep for as long as possible so I eat breakfast quickly solo and get my shoes/coat/bag ready. Lunch is made the night before, so I don’t have to worry about that in the morning.

7:10am-ish I start to get antsy if Charlotte hasn’t woken up by now. So I’ll head upstairs and pace outside her door before going in to wake her. I absolutely HATE waking her because, like me, she’s not a morning person. But the morning cuddles are the best! Quick diaper change and change out of PJs into daycare clothes (which I lay out the night before).

7:15am Charlotte is a super fast eater, so everything gets devoured pretty quickly. If she wants to take her time with her yogurt pouch, I bring it to daycare so that she can finish it there. We do 10 quick minutes of playing/cuddling/talking/singing/dancing/reading before packing up and walking to the car.

7:30 am Charlotte and I are in the car on our way to daycare. It takes approx 9 minutes to get from home to the daycare and Charlotte is dropped off by 7:50 latest. I like to take my time and chat with the daycare educators…they are looking after my child, after all! I want them to know everything she’s been up to since yesterday and also let them know that I value them and respect how hard they work.

7:50 am Headed towards the highway, probably listening to Adele “25” because I’m a mega-fan like that…feeling like my life is under control…until I hit TRAFFIC! Living in the suburbs can be the worst! Work is only 20 kms away and it can take upwards of an hour to get there.

8:30 am Ideal day, I’m at my desk by this time, checking emails, gossiping about the latest fashion news or what we bought online the night before.

Yadda yadda yadda (wait, did you just yadda yadda work? Yup! Because my days are always different and my routine constantly changes, which I love…but this blog post is long enough already LOL)

4:30 pm Time to hit the road. TRAFFIC sucks the life out of me. I usually call my mom and chat with her on the drive home. If she’s not available, I’ll listen to a podcast to pass the time. But mostly, I’m counting down the minutes until I can see my little nugget.

5:15 pm FINALLY HOME! I burst in the door as Charlotte is eating dinner. My husband finishes work early so he always picks up the baby and gets dinner ready. I try my best to have something made the night before for her. I also made a ton of frozen meals before I went back to work, so that that there’s something ready to go for hubby and me.

5:30 pm  Family time. Usually it’s a dance party starring “Baby Shark”, but sometimes it can be a walk together. This is my favorite part of the day.

6:00 pm Bathtime. Another favorite. Charlotte is happiest in the tub. I have her bedtime routine down to a science and it takes exactly 25 minutes to bath her, slather her with cream, in her pjs, in the sleepsack, 3 songs and then sleep.

6:30 pm Charlotte asleep and it’s time for Mommy and Daddy to eat.

7:00 pm Post-dinner cleanup and wind down. I like to watch any “Real Housewives” series, and Pat prefers working on his truck or watching something sci-fi. Or, I’ll blog while he cleans up from dinner, or, he’ll snooze while I fold laundry. Ah married life, it’s so sexy. We usually chat about our days, or organize the weekend’s activities. Maybe even watch a movie if we’re feeling wild LOL

9:00 pm I shower the night before work to save time in the morning. It also allows me to luxuriate and take my time with my skincare routine and hair prep.

9:30 pm In bed. I always read before bed…it relaxes my mind. I really try to avoid any screen time 30 mins before I go to sleep because I find it riles me up too much!

10:00 pm Asleep! Pray for me that Charlotte doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night. And hopefully I’m in a deep enough sleep I can’t hear my husband’s snores.

And there you have it! An exciting day in the life. I didn’t even realize I was so scheduled until I sat down to write…but you know what? It’s what keeps me sane!

Real talk: What’s your day-to-day like? Any life-saving tips for surviving through the morning/evening rush?

 

 

Garnier Nutrisse Challenge

Finding a little “me” time when you’re a parent is nearly impossible. Just when the baby is in bed and the house is quiet, your mind races to find 83185 things to do rather than just sit and relax. Take it from a formerly very high-maintenance girl, even getting your hair done is a challenge. (FYI- I would never subject the other ladies at the hair salon to a mischievous toddler or screaming newborn. Salon time is a sacred getaway that must be honored!)

That being said, when Garnier Canada reached out to me to take their Nutrisse Challenge, I was game! It’s been a few years since I’ve tried at-home colour, but I figured I’d give it a try. I didn’t want to alter my hair color too much because I love having the same blonde shade as Charlotte (babies have the best hair). So I opted for Nutrisse Cream in Extra-Light Neutral Blonde (#101) to cover up my new scary grey hairs and to refresh my natural highlights.

The whole experience was super easy! The rich formula blends avocado, olive and shea oils that smell fresh and doesn’t drip. The formula left me with nourished hair, better color and my hair didn’t feel dry or brittle after coloring. Plus, Garnier Nutrisse covered all my stubborn greys (damn you parenthood!) I love how the product picked up my existing highlights and made them even brighter and camouflaged my roots. The color lasts up to 8 weeks, so that can extend my time between salon visits.

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Before – Blonde streaked with grey and very dark roots
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After – Back to baby blonde with less roots, and 100% grey coverage!

Now it’s YOUR TURN!

Want to try out Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Color Cream?Garnier Canada invites you to TRY IT, RATE IT, WIN IT. Visit their website HERE and sign-up to get your $2 off coupon. Then, tell them what you think of the product and you could win your next box of Nutrisse Cream.

REAL TALK: How do you take time for yourself? When’s the last time you colored your hair? Are you an at-home girl? Or do you prefer a salon? Tell me in the comments below!

“It’s Like Riding a Bike” + GIVEAWAY

After a 16-month work hiatus (thank you Canada for your generous maternity leave), I’m back at work. Everything is different, but everything is the same. It’s kinda like riding a back…a bit awkward at first, but fun once you find your groove. I’ll be taking on a new challenge as PR & Strategic Partnership Manager, which is an exciting, new challenge! I’ll miss chatting with all of the Addition Elle followers on social media, but I’m sure I’ll make an appearance here and there.

The thing that takes the most getting used to is my morning routine! Instead of pressing snooze 3 times and dozing until the last possible minute, I’m up with my alarm and get ready before Charlotte wakes up. My lunch is made the night before and my outfit is already picked out. This has kept the morning as stress-free as possible. The hardest part of my new normal is seeing Charlotte for less than 3 hours during the day – 45 mins in the morning, and an hour and a half in the evening, if I’m lucky. There’s not enough time to get in all of my kisses and cuddles.

Since so much of our day is spent on the go – daycare drop-off, work commute, daycare pickup, home – I decided to upgrade my diaper bag to something that was functional and easy to lug around. Kiddycare reached out to me and I LOVE their backpack-style diaper bag. Featuring a wide top-opening, waterproof pockets, insulated front pouch and even tissue slots! It’s roomy enough that it holds everything for baby and me. And the backpack style lets me be hands-free to grab Charlotte when she tries to run away (yes, we’ve reached the “chase-me” stage).

Images from Kiddycare & @justjenp Instagram

Because I love this bag so much, I’m giving one away to my followers! Thank you Kiddycare for sponsoring this contest.

To enter:

  1. Follow @justjenp & Kiddycare on Instagram
  2. Turn post notifications on for @justjenp
    • Open my profile page, tap the triple-dot button in upper-right, tap Turn on Post Notifications.
  3. Like my latest picture
  4. Tag your mommy BFF
  5. Comment “DONE

Contest ends Sept 14 at 7PM. One winner will be chosen at random and given a code to receive their Kiddycare bag. Winner is responsible for any duties or shipping costs incurred. Open to Canadian & USA residents. Contest is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram.

The First Day of Daycare

The day has come. I dropped Charlotte off at daycare this morning and felt like my heart was ripping out. I’m a pretty emotional person and a major crier, so it’s no surprise that my reaction has been extreme. But let’s start at the beginning so I can fully explain how I feel about daycare and how everything went down.

Pat and I both work and we love working. We’re both ambitious people and strive to be successful at whatever we do. Plus, we live pretty nicely so there was no question that I was going to give all of that up by reducing one salary. When we first starting thinking about childcare, we strongly considered a nanny. I grew up with nannies that I adored (Hi Kate, Hi Mary Ellen!) and I loved the idea of Charlotte being at home, in a safe and familiar environment. However, the cost of the nanny was unfeasible (even with government help) and Charlotte is a little social butterfly and loves being around other kids and adults.

 

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In fact, the thing that has had me the most stressed about daycare isn’t how Charlotte will react. When we visited the daycare, she was happy to go play with the other kids, and took a real liking to her daycare educator. What I’ve been most worried about is ME! The thought of someone other than family taking care of Charlotte freaks me out and has my anxiety in full blown panic mode. What if she hurts herself and I’m not there to soothe her? What if she needs a cuddle and the educator is busy with another kid? When you’re used to being available to your child 24/7, it’s hard to imagine them being OK without you. And selfishly, I want her to miss me. I want her to need me the most, because I need her the most.

Don’t get be wrong, it’s important for kids to be independent and learn how to soothe themselves. And to know that Mommy won’t always be there in the tough moments. But, I want Charlotte to love me the most and part of my anxiety stems from the question of whether she’ll like her new educators more than me. Crazy right? I didn’t say it was rational…

So this is how the first day of daycare went down. Last night, Charlotte decided she wanted to be awake and running laps in her crib from 11pm-2am. Perhaps she had picked up on Mommy’s anxiety? And then she woke up at 6:30am this morning. We were already in trouble before the day even began! Hubby was at work by 6am, so I got Charlotte up, dressed and fed and we headed over to the daycare around 9am. I was a bundle of nerves! My hands were shaking…I couldn’t figure out how the code to the daycare door worked. I could feel my anxiety growing and growing and didn’t want it to rub off on Charlotte.

When we got there, they were serving snack and Charlotte immediately was entranced. She literally sat right down at the table, stole another kid’s sippy and started to eat. I was trying not to cry and embarrass myself! I don’t even remember saying goodbye to her because I was so flustered. The rational part of me knows I’m doing what is best for her and our family, but the emotional part has completely taken over and all I can think about is: “Does she understand that I’m coming back?” But because she seemed so happy there, I exited quickly. The daycare educator assured me that she’d call if there was anything.

On the drive home, I was a wreck! But I knew that Charlotte was fine. I was so surprised to get a call from the daycare saying that she had been crying. Mom’s intuition kicked in right away…her crappy night and early morning meant that I had a tired little nugget on my hands. So 2 hours after dropping her off, I was picking her up and let me tell you…she was has never been happier to see me. She was so happy that her smile went immediately to big tears. Oh my heart! As I whisked her away to nap at home, her little arms clung to my neck and I no longer felt like an emotional wreck. I felt strong and capable. Nothing makes you get over yourself faster than when your kid needs you. Period.

We’ll try the same routine tomorrow. Dropoff around 9am and pickup before naptime. Hoping she can do 3 hours, and then 4, and then nap, and then a full day. Tomorrow will get a little easier, and the next day even easier. So glad that we survived day #1 and that you were all there to share it with me. Thank you to everyone who shared their experience with me. It’s so comforting to know that I’m not alone and that this is a milestone all working moms have to conquer.

REAL TALK: How was daycare transition for you? Was it rough? A breeze? Share you thoughts & experiences below!

Plus Mommy Podcast

You know when you meet someone and you just feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s how I felt when I “met” Jen McLellan, aka Plus Mommy, aka the plus size pregnancy guru. Jen and I connected through Tess Holliday, plus size model/author/mom, when we organized an informal Instagram live chat about postpartum anxiety (Tess and I both suffered from PPA). And how do I know Tess? Through my work at Addition Elle, of course. Phew! That’s a lot of background info!

Anyways, Jen has a super fabulous podcast called “The Plus Mommy” which covers topics around plus size pregnancy. Her website, Plus Size Birth, provides positive resources for plus size people who are trying to conceive or pregnant – form where to find plus size maternity clothes to connecting with a size-friendly care provider and so much more!

I was beyond thrilled when Jen asked me to come on her podcast to chat about my experience – from conception, to pregnancy, to delivery and postpartum. It honestly felt like chatting with an old friend. I’ve talked about my pregnancy experience HERE, but it was interesting to examine it through the lens of a plus size woman.

Video courtesy of Plus Mommy

I could transcribe the entire podcast here because it’s too fantastic to not share, but I’ll save it for the sound byte.

You can listen to Jen & I chat HERE. Scroll down to the bottom for audio.

You can also listen on ITUNES!

 

Real Talk: Did you have a plus size pregnancy? What were some of the misconceptions you had?

 

Naptime; When 2 Becomes 1

Ah naptime…the bane of my existence as a mom. Too much, too little, too early, too late…it’s a tricky negotiation that leaves me anxiety-ridden most of the time. Nothing has proved more complicated than transitioning Charlotte from two naps to one. So many of you have asked for Charlotte’s nap schedule, so here’s the breakdown!

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Charlotte’s sleep sack is from a wonderful local-Montreal company called Aiden & Aston. They make beautiful organic children’s clothing!

Around 11 months, she started fighting her afternoon nap. I would put her down at 1pm, like normal, and it would take her 2 hours to fall asleep. Then, she’d nap for so long that I would have to wake her so as to not interfere with her night sleep (around 4pm). The next day, it’d be a crapshoot…she’d either skip her morning nap all together, or catnap. Then skip the afternoon nap, or take forever to fall asleep. I knew it wasn’t teething (no signs), so I started capping the morning nap. Charlotte usually sleept 2 hours in the morning and then 1.5 in the afternoon, so I started to shorten the morning nap so that I could lengthen the afternoon one. By 12 months, she was sleeping an hour in the morning and 1.5 in the afternoon. But still, the morning nap was on-again-off-again.

The recommendation is to keep trying for 2 naps a day until baby is 15 months, but my child gave me all the signs that she was ready to try to switch to 1. I asked friends, sleep consultants and the internet and most moms conceeded that they just followed their child’s lead. And if she was showing more than a few signs that she was rejecting the morning nap, to try giving it up and see what happened.

So eventually, I took a leap of faith and gave up the first nap. It was a rocky few days! Charlotte usually wakes at 6:30-7am and couldn’t be awake longer than 5 hours. Her nap would start at 11am and last about 3 hours, then I’d compensate with an early bedtime. I gradually pushed back naptime to 11:15, then 11:30, then 11:45, 12:00, etc., until we got to 12:30. I find she’ll nap longer when I put her down at 12:30, at 1PM she’s overtired. Who knew 30 mins can make all the difference?!

There are days where napping doesn’t go as planned. Charlotte is cutting 2 molars and 2 canines at the same time, so her napping (and night sleep) has been all over the place! When she wakes up at 5:30am, I will put her down for a nap at 9am, but I’ll cap it at an hour. And even then, I don’t do it every day because the extra nap affects her night sleep. She’ll wake up in the middle of the night and it’ll take hours for her to fall back asleep. Not good!

By 14 months, she’s doing one 2-3 hour nap, 5 days out of the week. This makes me so happy because she’s starting daycare at the end of August and her schedule mirrors the daycare’s. I’m hoping it’ll allow for an easier transition for all once she starts. I LOVE the 1-nap-a-day schedule! It gave us so much more freedom in our day, and guaranteed that she’d sleep for at least 2 hours. This was WAY better than staring endlessly at the baby monitor, praying that she’d just lie down and relax. And having big chunks of time to myself is also enormously helpful to my self-care. I can eat, nap, blog, do a load of laundry, even read, while she sleeps. It’s made the summer very enjoyable.

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REAL TALK: When did your child transition to 1-nap-a-day? Was it easy or difficult to get them on a new schedule? Let me know in the comments below!