My Thoughts on the Postpartum Body and my Fave Workout App.

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So I’m not one of those girls who has a baby, sneezes twice, and immediately loses all the baby weight. My body lovvvves the extra lbs it earned in my pregnancies, and always wants to hold on for dear life to those cherished extras (called love handles for a reason, ladies.)

I’ve truly accepted that I'm never going to look the same as I did before having babies. And I don’t want to or need to. I’m proud that I was able to carry these rather giant babies inside of me, and even though I wince a bit when I see the stretch marks on my belly, the extra skin, the cellulite, ALL THE THINGS, I am trying to re-train how I think about it, because those marks are all part of the precious map my body has journeyed in this season of parenthood. I'm not supposed to look like I'm 18 anymore. And I'm good with that.

All that being said, I am doing my best to keep up with my boys (because they are freakishly strong for being so young), and I do care about how I look (sue me, but I do), so I’ve been working working working on losing the baby weight. I still have a few stubborn lbs that are hanging on for dear life and sure, I could probably starve them off but gosh, that's just not interesting to me. Question for the universe- is it called baby weight if it’s been more than a year? DON’T ANSWER THAT.

This summer I have been disciplined without being particularly militant in my consistency (because there were mojitos to drink and pools to be purveyed), but I have prioritized getting myself to the gym at least 2-3x per week and taking care of this body of mine. It’s up to me to take care of this temple - not my husband, not my kids, not my friends. It’s my job to take care of me so I can live long and prosper and hang out with my great great grandkids when I’ve got good, deep wrinkles and quarters to fill their pockets with. I'm going to be such a weirdo fun granny, can't wait.

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But I'll be honest. I can't always get to the gym. And exercising with my kids is hard. I still do it, because that just life when you're a mom - you have to figure out ways to make it work. So maybe it's not the best work out of my life when I take them on a jog with me (we have to stop A LOT - because they want to run, pick up pebbles, play with bugs, etc.) but it's better than not trying at all. And that's where I'm at. I try my best. However, I've also been using and loving the Sweat app because it’s reminded me of all the exercises that I should *know* to do, but never seem to remember when I’m at the gym on my own. I've done the BBG program and I am currently re-doing it because I want to get stronger and more consistent with it before I move on to the next program (which is BBG Power and it looks hard!) And by the way, this isn’t sponsored or anything, I’m just letting you know that this program has been one of the main things that has really helped me develop a discipline and see ever so small, but present, results. And no one can take that victory away!

If you’re in a similar life stage as me, with little people gathered round your ankles at any given time of the day, I’m just letting you know that you’re not alone! And what works for me, may not work for you at all, but keep trying things that make you happy, that propels you forward, that makes you proud of what you’re working toward! You are so beautiful, and all your intention and effort matters. Because someone has to dole out the quarters 75 years from now. And with a little luck and a lot of hard work and positivity, that’s gonna be ME.

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Outfit Details:
Look 1: Yandy Sports Bra c/o (similar), Yandy Leggings c/o, Nike Flex Sneakers

Look 2: Yandy Tank c/o, Yandy Leggings c/o, Nike Flex Sneakers


I'd love to hear from you mamas - what workouts have worked for you in your postpartum journey?

DIY Essential Oil Bug Spray.

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It's that time of year - when the mosquitoes love to FEAST in the sunset glow. I love spending time outside with my boys, but we do seem to have some enemies out there with us, especially right around twilight. My poor little Daxton boy seems to be anointed with my blood type and we get especially bitten up in the summer months if we forget to apply bug spray. I really hate conventional bug spray because most are loaded with toxic ingredients and with our skin being like a sponge, I just can't in good conscience put that garbage on my children. But I have a great, easy bug spray DIY that I've been using since last summer which is completely natural, non-toxic and safe for kiddos - and it works! My boys have gotten used to having this sprayed on as soon as we get outside, and I do re-spray if we've been outside for more than an hour. This DIY is based on DoTERRA's pest-repellent oil blend, TerraShield which is so awesome and smells much, much better than regular bug spray. So it's a win-win! So without further adieu, enjoy this essential oil DIY!

Supplies:
- 2 oz. glass bottle (I got my ombre bottle here)
- Quinn's Witch Hazel
- DoTERRA TerraShield oil blend

Method:
1. Measure out 1/3 cup of water and pour it into the 2 oz. bottle.
2. Add 25 drops of Terrashield essential oil to the glass bottle.
3. Top off the bottle with Quinn's unscented witch hazel (this should be between 1/3 - 1/2 cup).
4. Shake bottle to distribute and voila, you're ready to say, "Shoo mosquitoes!"

Notes:
-  I prefer to use unscented Witch Hazel so that the only scent is from the oil itself.
- When making any kind of blend with essential oils, you want to make sure that you are using a glass contained. Plastic or other material can "pull" on the essential oils and release toxins, etc. into the mixture, whereas glass, aluminum and stainless steel don't have that effect with the EO's.
- I like to make several of these bug spray mixtures and keep on in the car, one in the stroller, one at home, and anywhere else you would find yourself reaching for bug spray! Like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared!

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Interested in learning more about DoTERRA essential oils? I would love to share more about why I love them, how I use them, and how you can get some in your home, too! You can shop for them here, or leave a comment and I can invite you to one of my online classes where you can learn more! xx

Make a Difference with Eye Heart World (+ a Giveaway!)

Today I want to talk to you about a tremendously important subject matter. My dear friend Natalie volunteers at Eye Heart World, an organization that works to overcome domestic human trafficking. I want to share about what they are doing and how you can be empowered to make a tangible difference, too. And I want to offer you a giveaway in partnership with Eye Heart World! See more about the giveaway at the bottom of this post. 

I hope you will read this post until the end and take a moment to check out the amazing initiatives put forth by Eye Heart World. So many of you lent your support during our Christmastime City of Refuge hygiene kit campaign and we saw our goal for that drive exceeded! My hope is that we can all join our efforts once again and lend our resources to this incredible initiative.


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Each and every one of us has probably heard the staggering statistics about sex trafficking. It's referred to as "modern day slavery", yet most of us drive to and from Target and Chick-fil-A everyday without seeing people working in the fields along the highway. It's tough to conjure up the reality of how these modern day slaves live and breathe and exist.

But they do exist.

What is it?

The truth is, this form of slavery takes place closer to home than I thought. It's not just happening in the far-stretching regions of Eastern Europe - it's an illegal activity that's been reported in every state in the U.S. If you're unfamiliar with what exactly it is, human trafficking is transaction of buying and selling people for sexual exploitation. Usually these people being sold are children, recruited into a system of forced prostitution between the ages of 12-14. 70% of these underaged victims have been or are still a part of the foster care system. The average price of a transaction is $90 for a service, and the child performing the service is sold up to a dozen times per night.

It's a horror.

Awareness, Prevention, Aftercare.

Eye Heart World is an organization out of Wisconsin and Alabama that is passionate about making a difference. My dear friend Natalie volunteers with the organization and reached out to me about all the work they are doing to make a change. I am so proud of her heart and efforts and I feel honored to share about the initiatives of Awareness, Prevention and Aftercare that Eye Heart World is doing to champion the epidemic of trafficking.

Awareness is provided through targeted training to health care providers, social service providers, and public servants, teaching them what to look for and how to respond when they encounter a victim, while also providing the community with awareness resources.

Prevention is done through The Heart Tour, a one-day event engaging young girls who are at risk for trafficking. Each event provides targeted education, tips for staying safe and focuses on affirming an individual’s worth and value. Through partnerships with youth mentorship programs, each attendee is sponsored to attend the event and receives the guidance necessary to become strong women in their communities.

Aftercare is provided at The Rose Home in Green Bay, Wisconsin and The Rose Center in Mobile, Alabama. These centers provide drop-in and residential aftercare by offering on-going individual and group therapy, life skills courses and workforce preparation. These centers serve as a bridge between the life of trafficking and the long-term care needed to live an empowered life.


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How to Make a Difference?

When people like you and me hear the statistics, it's easy to feel small and unable to do something to actually help the situation. I'm just a mom that works from home everyday - how can I possible help? Eye Heart World has a way for people like you and me to give and shop to make a difference. They offer a small product line that funds a part of the overall operating budget to make the Awareness, Prevention and Aftercare initiatives happen. And each of the products is stamped with the Eye Heart World logo and the "Carry The Cause" slogan leather patch, as well as the signature orange rose medallion.

If you feel so inclined, even a small donation makes an impact. And stocking up on gifts from the shop is a great way to support the cause and continue to spread the word about how others can make an impact, too.

or


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Carrying the Harriet Tote

Eye Heart World sent me this Harriet Tote to photograph and share about. Named after Harriet Tubman, this cream tote bag is made of durable-quality canvas here in the U.S. Perfect for practically any activity, I've used this tote for everything from grocery shopping to hitting the gym to picnicking in the park. It's super versatile and durable enough to withstand a weighty amount of wear and tear. Inside the tote, four lines of printed text serve as a reminder of the impact of the purchase made every time you pick it up. You can learn more about the story of this bag here. The impact of this purchase sponsors aftercare resources for a victim of trafficking on her journey to healing and independent living. I'm giving away one of these incredible Harriet totes over here on my Instagram, hop over for your chance to win one for yourself!
 

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Thanks for reading this post and checking out the work of Eye Heart World!


5 Must-Haves In My Summer Bag (+ 5 kiddo add-ons!)

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It's the first day of summer over here, and we are celebrating! We've already had a handful of days over at the pool, but since both of my boys are out of their preschool program for the summer, today makes it feel truly official.

I wanted to share a few essentials that I keep stocked in my summer bag - the contents don't change much whether we head to the pool, the park or the zoo. I even keep a stocked kit of most of these in our golf cart, since we hit the town via the cart paths almost daily in the summertime.


1. Sunscreen.
This summer I'm trying out Coola for myself and Bare Republic for my kids. I am always on the hunt for non-toxic sunscreen that doesn't turn my skin completely white, so I will make sure to report back if I love these versions.

2. Lip Balm.
Lately I am loving this 3-pack of lip balms from DoTERRA. Obviously I'm a big fan of my stellar essential oil brand, and they have a slew of lifestyle products that I have really gotten on board with. This pack is one of them - one for me, one for Stevie and one for Everett (because he begged for his own and I'm a softie.)

3. Water!
I've been a bad girl lately about drinking water - I need to make a goal for myself and just chug it each day! I go in spurts with doing this well and thennnnn not really. But I do love drinking out of stainless steel - my friend Becca got me this amazing water bottle and I love it so much that I got them for everyone in my family. I am also a water hybrid weirdo - I am obsessed with sparkling water, coconut water, adding essential oils to my water, and Spindrift (sparkling water with real fruit added in - no "natural flavors" garbage!) So even though I have trouble hitting my plain-water quota, I'm still getting there. Technically.

4. Hat. Hat. Hat.
I am in a baseball cap 4 days a week, minimum. Mom life my friends. I found this darling hat over on my friend Sarah's instagram and gosh, aren't they the cutest? Might need to add this one into my summer mix.

5. Sunglasses.
Some day I will graduate to big girl sunglasses. But these days my sunglasses are just a pawn in my children's games and they really can't be trusted with Karen Walker sunnies. So I am always rocking a $12 pair from Target! I absolutely love this pair and this pair, although I admit, over at RAW Bronzing studio they have some incredible looking Quay glasses that I'm feeling temped toward ;)

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Things that I add to my bag for my kids (because let's face it, my bag is really dictated by their needs #momwhipped):

1. Diapers and Wipes.
If you're in this phase of life - yeah. You need them everywhere and all the time. And especially when its super inconvenient - that's always when we need diapers! I like to throw diapers and wipes in a large zip-top bag to keep the wipes from "sweating" all over things in the rest of my bag.

2. Non-perishable snacks.
When you're on the go, you've got to be able to pull out some yummy snacks! We love Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, raisin packets & dried cranberry packets, Kale chips, and apple sauce pouches. When I have a mini cooler to take for a day's outing, I will also throw in some string cheese, Cutie clementines peeled and pulled apart,

3. Band-aids.
Because for some reason, we tend to need them more in the summer? Must be all that running to fetch popsicles. These Oh Joy bandaids are beyond cute, but not really for my boys, so Everett loves these Dory ones! In fact he's been known to ask for a band aid even when he doesn't need one...

5. Bug Spray.
In Georgia, the mosquitoes have the power and might of small birds. And we have to protect ourselves accordingly. I have been using this Terrashield oil to make my own bug spray bottle and it's worked beautifully so far! It's a blend of essential oils that repels insects and it's basically become my best friend, because I have the blood type that allllll the bug like a taste of. Gross. PS it also comes in a Bug Spray form, I just haven't tried it yet.


 Bathing Suit c/o  Yandy  - top  here , bottoms  here

Bathing Suit c/o Yandy - top here, bottoms here

I'd love to hear what you keep stocked in your bag for summer adventures! Is there anything I should be adding into my mix? Would love to hear from you! Happy "official" summer break to you, friends!

P.S. - I shared more about keeping my skin glowing yet super protected this summer HERE.