This Floral Maxi Had me at Hello

There is nothing that I love more to wear than a beautiful dress. There is something so feminine and transformative about a long, flowing maxi. And right now, with a heat wave headed our way, lightweight and airy is necessary!

I discovered Pink Blush when I was pregnant and looking for a maxi dress for my baby shower. I wanted something that wouldn’t be fussy, or ride up when I saw down with my gigantic bump. When I discovered that they also did plus size maternity, plus size and straight size, I was so excited! First of all, I love a company that is serving style for every size. The fact that women of all sizes have access to the same clothes is revolutionary. Their clothing is unabashedly feminine, with lots of floral, lace and girly details. Honestly, my #MamaMojo was in full force wearing this beauty!

I also wore a Pink Blush dress at Charlotte’s 1st Birthday because of it’s ease and gorgeousness. Guess you know where I’ve been shopping…

IMG_2888
Wearing a size 1X in Light Blue Rose Off the Shoulder Plus Maternity Maxi (whew! that’s a mouthful!)

First of all, the color palette of this dress is absolutely stunning! I actually had several people stop me as we shot this to ask where it was from. I adore the off the shoulder look (it actually stays put and doesn’t ride up!) Also, the simplicity of the shape makes accessorizing really fun! I added beaded tassel earrings and an amethyst bracelet for just a little pop. I dressed it up with a lace-up heel, but you could easily pair it with a gladiator sandal or slide for a more casual vibe.

IMG_2891

IMG_2890
Shoes: Nine West. Similar HERE

REAL TALK: Do you like to wear dresses? What kind of clothing makes you feel your best & puts your #MamaMojo in full effect?

#MamaMojo

When I started my blog a little more than a year ago, my intention was to document my life. I shared my pregnancy, work-life, baby pics, what I wore, where I was going and what I was doing. But recently, I’ve had an epiphany…and it started because a stranger reached out to me through my Facebook page to tell me how she found my page “inspirational.” She commended me for being positive and feeling great in my skin. I thanked her, of course, but it started my wheels turning.

Not too long after that, I hosted a Facebook Live for my mommy group about how to dress your postpartum body. And one of the things that kept coming up was the word “flattering” (which I HATE!)  Moms wanted to know what to wear to “flatter” their new body. They asked me where to shop because the stores they used to go felt “too young” now. They told me how they were stuck in a rut, wearing the same black leggings every day. As I spoke to them, the re-occurring theme was how they feel lost and unsure of their new identities as moms. Pregnancy is a whooper on your entire physical and mental state and coming out the other side, it’s difficult to recognize yourself and connect with the “new” you! I’m talking about simple things like dressing your new “mom bod”, skin care, and self-care. As I answered their questions, I emphasized how important it is to find what they love about themselves, as they are now, and celebrate it. I wanted to let each mom know that they are worth investing in!

As I’ve discussed before, I still struggle to accept my new mom bod. But the one thing I refused to do is to let whatever self-doubt I have, get in the way of enjoying myself. Also, I’ve continued to do the things that I love to do, even with a baby in tow. Why can’t you be a fashion-lover, beauty addict, travel junkie, boss lady AND a Mom? Just because you’ve had a child, it doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped being who you are!

That’s when I came up with #MAMAMOJO. It’s the magical essence that you have as a woman and as a mother. It’s that thing that makes you do a double take in the mirror and give yourself a smile. It’s the power of looking and feeling your best just as you are. As I meet and connect with other moms and women, I want to encourage and support them to feel good about themselves and connect with their mama mojo! I feel so impassioned and motivated by this new motto and hope that it resonates for you too.

And it’s all thanks to you, lovely mommies! Thank you to all the amazing moms who’ve reached out to me to tell me how my voice has encouraged them to take a little more time for themselves…whether that be to put on some lipstick, take a time out to read a new book, buy a pretty new dress, or simply look in the mirror and truly love what you see.

IMG_1343
I found this dress at a street fair last year and every time I wear it, I feel like a boho goddess! Do you have that one piece of clothing that makes you feel amazing every time you wear it? Photo credit: Grey Cat Studio

REAL TALK: How do you find your own #MAMAMOJO?

My Thoughts on Thinx

Would you ever pose in your underwear? Would you ever pose in your underwear on your period? Yup, that’s what I did…When Thinx approached my mom group (Perfit Moms) with the opportunity to test out a pair of its patented “period panties,” I was totally down. Even if this meant facing some personal demons and letting it all hang out at a photoshoot with 9 other moms.

I love this picture! It’s for every woman that’s felt weird about their bodies. It’s for all the moms that are getting used to their new bodies post-baby. And it’s for everyone who has ever doubted themselves!

Warning TMI to follow…if you aren’t into period talk, then move on!

So immediately after this shoot, I got my 3rd post-baby period. The first two periods were awful! I’ve never been one to have cramps and I felt like I was in pre-labor. And they were the heaviest periods I’ve ever had…I ruined 3 pairs of underwear and decided to put on a leftover pair of Depends I had used after giving birth. I AM SO GLAMOROUS!

For my third period I wasn’t taking any chances. Our Thinx test couldn’t have come at a better time. If you’ve never heard of them, here’s how they work…depending on your flow (light, medium, heavy) Thinx period-proof undies can be a replacement for pads and tampons, or be worn as back-up with tampons and cups for extra protection against leaks and stains. Thinx hold up to two regular tampon-worth and keeps you fresh, dry and leak-free. It’s patented technology is made up of four layers: the first layer fights bad odors and wicks away moisture, the second is super-absorbant fabric, the third layer is a leak-resistant barrier and the fourth holds it all together. Plus, Thinx are light and thin so they feel like everyday underwear.

 

IMG_3134
I’m wearing a THINX Hi-waist panty in XL.

Here’s how they held up to post-baby period…AMAZINGLY well! In the past, I’ve always used pads because of tampon leak issues, but pads are bulky and stinky. I used a tampon with my Thinx hi-waist panties for the first two heaviest days of my period and had ZERO leak issues. On day 3, my period slows down quite a bit and so I just used the panties, without anything else. My period tends to go from heavy to light quite fast, so I was able to use just 1 pair of panties during the day, and then rinse and dry for night until the next evening. If you’re period goes from heavy-regular-light, then you may want to consider 2-3 pairs for changes throughout the day, or consider using a tampon/cup along with the panties.

Taking care of them is pretty easy. Rinse them first, then put them in a mesh laundry bag which will keep your delicates delicate, then cold wash and hang dry. Don’t use bleach or fabric softener!

In terms of sizing, their chart is bang on. I wear a 14-16 jean and the XL was perfect. Just keep in min that Thinx runs a bit more snug than regular undies. This actually works to your benefit because I find it kept me sucked in – period protection and a light slimming effect, HOORAY!

Also, did I mention how CUTE their underwear is? Like if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that these were super high-end! The mesh inserts on the side are sexy AF and the high-rise style accentuated my shape. Hubby will have no idea these are period panties!

REAL TALK: Have you tried THINX? What’s stopping you? 

The Reluctant Chef

I hate cooking. I’ve refused, for the last 7 years of my relationship, to step foot in the kitchen to cook anything other than Kraft Dinner, scrambled eggs, or grilled cheese. My mom was much the same way. She claims to have only learned to cook once my brother and I started to eat “real” food. So at least my disdain for the kitchen runs in the family. My husband does most of the cooking, much to his chagrin. We eat a lot of takeout, prepared food (thank for Costco) and often hit up our parents for dinner.

I never thought that I’d actual enjoy cooking either. I rather do 138502 things other than cook. I find it such a giant waste of time – you clean, chop, sautee, bake for hours, and it takes 15 minutes to eat. Also, as a perfectionist/control freak, I find it SO frustrating when the recipe doesn’t turn out exactly like how it looks in the picture, and when it doesn’t taste the way that I want it to. Plus, after cooking for what feels like forever, I’m often too grossed out with the food to even enjoy it. Then the clean-up, the menu prep, the grocery shopping…ugh the whole process is extremely annoying and makes me want to lie down and take a nap until I feel better.

I’ve kept up this spoiled princess mentality for quite some time (hey, I am what I am). But once Charlotte started to eat solids at 6 months, my world changed. Suddenly, I found myself in the kitchen, boiling and blending fruits and veg. It was easy enough and I got into a routine with my Baby Bullet. And then we went away for 2 months to Florida, and I swapped to organic pouches mixed with baby cereal that I’d spoon out to Charlotte. But when we got back, she wanted NOTHING to do with me feeding her. She was becoming an independent little lady at only 8 months old!

Initially I panicked. Shit shit shit, what the hell am I going to give her? But a friend mentioned something called baby-led weaning and away I went. The idea is to offer your baby foods that are soft-cooked and cut or mashed into small easily manageable pieces. You do the cooking, the cutting or mashing and the offering of the foods and your baby does the rest. That way, baby can be in control of what they are eating. I started with foods that were similar to what she enjoyed eating solo – she is obsessed with arrowroot cookies and rice puffs. So I started making baby muffins, cookie-shaped lentil patties, or fruits and vegs that she could easily pinch. You can see some of my fave baby recipes on my Instagram Story Highlights – follow me HERE.

IMG_9708
Christmas 2017 – Charlotte eating her favorite arrowroot cookie. Her little face just makes my heart melt!

This was a gateway for me! I started menu-planning for Charlotte which led to menu-planning for Pat and I. And before I knew it, I was cooking for us 5x a week. It was quite shocking to Pat, and to my family. My brother told me that I was officially an adult since I had a house, a baby and could cook dinner (thanks bro!) I was even a bit shocked by myself. I had defined myself so long in this negative light and created this narrative that I was a horrible cook – like the time I burnt water (I let the pot boil dry). But learning this new skill made me SO PROUD! It made me feel like I had grown up.

My new self confidence doesn’t mean I’ve become a great chef. I’m still unsure in the kitchen and check recipes at least 20 times as I’m cooking. We still order takeout, and buy prepared foods, but more often than not, I cook dinner myself. I love being able to feed my family yummy food that I made. And when Pat doesn’t douse dinner in ketchup and Charlotte gobbles everything down with a loud burp, I feel a sense of accomplishment and a deep satisfaction. A homecooked meal isn’t mutually exclusive to being a good mom, but for me, it’s one of the many tangible changes that I’ve felt as I’ve become a mother.

 

Real talk: Do you love cooking? Hate it? Have you always been good in the kitchen? Or is it a skill that you’ve had to hone? Let me know in the comments below!

Embracing the Mom Bod

My Florida vacation this winter looked idyllic. Sunshine and sand, what more can a girl want? But the truth is, I struggled. I was 6.5 months postpartum and it was the first time that I stopped to think about myself. I hadn’t really thought about my body much since giving birth. During pregnancy, I was both in awe and annoyed with my body. I loved its new shape, the hard round bump, the soft skin, the perky boobs. But the constant aches and pains and the loss of coordination was very annoying for someone who likes to be in control of all things. Then baby comes and your body does amazing things like creating a human and creating sustenance to feed her. I still can’t quite wrap my head around it.

I lost all my baby weight thanks to breastfeeding and new mommy anxiety. Unfortunately, as I’ve weaned Charlotte from 8-10 times a day of nursing to just 3, the weight isn’t melting off like it used to. So I found myself in Florida, in bathing suit weather, dreading exposing my new body. Over the last 32 years, I’ve come to terms with my voluptuous shape…but it’s been tight and firm. Now, after childbirth, my skin doesn’t have the same elasticity as it used to. My tummy hangs lower, my face droops, I have new back rolls and my hips have extra padding. New purple and blue veins have appeared on my thighs and behind my knees. And the stretch marks that I’ve been used to since puberty have become red and angry.

For the first time, in a long time, I found myself feeling extremely uncomfortable in anything other than long sleeves and yoga pants. When did I become that person? I LOVE fashion, I LIVE fashion, I WORK in fashion! I absolutely loved getting dressed up in the latest and greatest…but that was before baby. Now, as I am, I still don’t recognize my body. And putting on a bathing suit in Florida was feeling super traumatic.

But I did it anyways, because I was damned that I was going to miss out on a fun time with my family, just because of a little cellulite and saggy skin. I am more than just my physical appearance, and to those that love me, like my daughter, I am everything. She doesn’t know the difference from before and after. She loves my soft sports, my warm embrace, my strong arms that carry her. So I vowed to focus on her and focus on fun. “I will wear this bathing suit and enjoy myself, dammit!”

I had on one of my fave Addition Elle swimsuits and asked my brother to take a pic because in that moment, I was feeling very Instagram worthy! The rock was calling for a Little Mermaid moment. He took about 20 different version and I hated them all. I couldn’t stop fixating on the double tummy, the back fat and chubby arms. But, even though I was embarrassed, I still wanted to share!

IMG_1788

Wow, your comments blew me away! They say the internet can be a mean, judgemental place…but thankfully (so far) it’s been nothing but supportive and understanding. So many moms reached out to encourage me and share their own body confidence struggles post-baby. I had to follow-up the original post with another.

IMG_1787

Am I 100% OK with all the physical changes since having a baby? Nope, definitely not. I still probably cry once a week thinking I’ll never have the same confidence again. But, it’s a choice to live life and own it, or to let our insecurities hold us back. So, I am embracing the Mom bod and resolving to stay positive about myself, no matter what. What kind of role model would I be for my baby girl if I didn’t practice what I preach?

REAL TALK: How do you feel about your body post-baby? Do you feel confident? Do you love the new you? SHARE below!