5 Things to be grateful for + a little bit of messy honesty.

Happy Monday!

I have a little thing I do when I'm a down. I take time to stop and reflect on my current situation and find reasons to be grateful. I wanted to share this with you today because I've been using this little exercise a lot more lately and I am hoping it will help encourage you in your current state, too :)

Lately, I'm feeling grateful for:

1. Everett eating apples these days. If you know our toddler struggles with healthy food, you know what a wonderfully big deal this is. He's asking to eat green apples! God loves me you guys.

2. Our new landscape. We had a few trees removed, a few trees planted, a ton of shrubs installed, a slew of beautiful stones and a dump truck of mulch fluffed all around our yard. I am like an 80-year-old garden lover in a 20-something body. I LOVE MY YARD. And it is giving me peace. And giving the birds a reason to come visit.

3. The birds are visiting my yard. This really deserves it's own line in my book of gratitude. I LOVE BIRDS. Add it to my list of elderly female hobbies. If you have a grandma, she and I would surely have a lot to discuss.

4. My baby boy Daxton is rolling over. Not all the time, but he's done it from front-to-back and from back-to-front and it honestly shocks me. And reminds me about how fast this baby thing goes the second time around.

5. Health. Safety. Recovery. America. Chocolate, which I'm allowing myself to have again, after about a month of no sweets and no alcohol. What even ever. Mama needs chocolate. And wine, if we're being really honest.

6. Okay, a bonus gratitude because I'm currently watching my two boys "playing" together on the floor and it's really making me smile. Watching the two of them together is as heart warming as everyone told me it would be. Actually, it's even better :)

I've been overwhelmed, friends.

It's been utterly hard. I am grateful for my friend Laura, who told me, "Hard is hard." I've been feeling a little embarrassed about how hard it's felt for me these last few months. So many people have it harder than me, so I have a difficult time putting my feelings into words when I feel like someone out there has it worse off than me. But her words have helped me. "Hard is hard" means that my hard still matters. Just because someone else's hard seems more challenging or more deserving of the title - my experience is still allowed to be hard.

Hard is hard, friends.

I don't have this wrapped up in a pretty bow. I don't have a lot of answers today, or a 3-point blog post featuring my revelatory and wondrous advice, or the 10 secrets to successfully winning at life after having a hard time. I'm in the middle of a process, on the road in this journey, in the midst of figuring out what's going to work. I'm praying, I'm researching, I'm meeting with people. I'm supported.

I'm messy these days, unraveling and undone. But I'm not alone. And while I'm tempted to linger in a minefield of my own feelings, I am at my best when I channel that energy into my health and most importantly - others. Meditating on these things I'm grateful for has helped bridge my feelings into positive action. I'm not saying it's the answer in life, but it has been a lifeline for me personally.

I hope you'll allow me to be this vulnerable with you. I took a week off the blog last week, which is the first time that has happened in years. I needed it, and there might be more hiatuses in the coming months as I figure out this balance of motherhood, family and writing. I appreciate all of you out there reading, because you have given me the opportunity to make this blog a place where I am always uplifted and inspired. You are loved, appreciated and celebrated by me! Thanks for reading this little corner of the internet. xox.

Show Some Shoulder.

I've never really shared why I think clothing matters.

Clothes aren't vain or shallow or silly. Clothes are powerful. They speak, breathe and feel. They encourage and inspire, they challenge and surprise. One of my favorite quotes about fashion, hilariously enough, is from Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl (judge me all you want, that show was my guilty pleasure), "Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It's movement, design and architecture all in one."

Since becoming a mama, I've actually gravitated more towards fashion and developing my own sense of style. By default, when you become a mom, you enter into a season of endless sweatpants and topknots and tennis shoes that accompany the naptimes, sleepless nights and hectic newborn routine.

There is nothing wrong with this "momiform", this is normal. But I have learned through my own experience that if you aren't careful, the sweatpants will eat you.

Okay, they won't eat you. But they will eat up something inside of you, very slowly over time, this tiny little bit of self-worth that says, "I am worth the effort of 5 minutes of hair and makeup. I am worth wearing a cute shirt and necklace instead of the same nursing tank 4 days in a row. I am worth a new pair of shoes every now and then."

The level of sacrifice that mothers faithfully give everyday to their families absolutely astounds me. Women are amazing. My mom - she's absolutely amazing. She never made me feel like I was an inconvenience. And yet, she did a great job of taking good care of herself. She exercised. She ate healthy. She and my dad worked extremely hard to send me and my sisters to every cheerleading camp and chorus trip and a yearly summer beach vacation. And my mom was always, always stylish.

She showed me that she was important, that her self-worth wasn't a selfish endeavor, and that enjoying beauty wasn't frivolous. My mom's style is ecstatically bold and bright, stocked with armfuls of silver bangles and botanical scarves and strappy sandals. She has shown me that fashion, cultivating one's own style - this is an art to be enjoyed. A lifetime journey of tweaking, growing, changing and discovering one's own style. Allowing yourself to grow. Allowing your body to change shape. Allowing yourself to feel beauty, inside and out.

Clothing matters because it is an intimate insight into who you are.

And also, clothes are like, really really fun.

BR Navy.jpg

I am currently getting re-acquainted with my body. My fleshier postpartum size can be frustrating, but it is also an invitation into a greater depth of self-love. Instead of disliking what I see in the mirror, instead of clinging onto the past with a fear grip, I am invited to see what will be compatible for me in this fresh season. I don't want the body of 18-year-old me (okay, I admit that might be nice here and there), but honestly - knowing what my body is capable of now is incredible! It's endured childbirth and overcome surgery and it is continuing to nourish and sustain a human. I don't know what could possibly be more miraculous and sexy and sensational - it's powerful. And sometimes when I feel powerless, clothes help to remind me. Remind me to give myself grace and celebrate.

I am absolutely loving the cold-shoulder and off-the-shoulder trend this season. I think it is one of the most flattering ways to highlight beautiful parts of every woman's figure - the shoulders, decolletage and neck. These are elegant lines on virtually every woman, and if you're feeling a little bit uncomfortable in your skin these days - this trend is for you. And for me. I am hoping that the off-shoulder look sticks around for a bit because I adore how flattering it is. Banana Republic sent me this butterfly-esque top and this lasercut dress, both sporting the off-shoulder detail, and I am loving how I feel in these clothes. With Easter just around the corner, a few other Banana Republic spring pieces that I am loving are this tropical top, this chambray dress, and this scallop top - their entire spring line is giving me goosebumps lately. I love all the super feminine details.

And now I have to ask - what does clothing mean to you? Do you find your style evolving in different stages of life? And also - have you found the perfect Easter dress yet?!

Outfit Details:
Look 1: Banana Republic Structured Off-Shoulder Top c/o, Free People Rolled Crop Skinny Jean, Anthropologie Sparkle Slides (similar here and here), Stella & Dot Covet Initial Necklace

Look 2: Banana Republic Lasercut Crepe Cold-Shoulder Dress c/o, Franco Sarto Wedges (similar here and here), Gap Round Frame Sunglasses, Stella & Dot Freya Fringe Necklace, Stella & Dot Ansley Cuff

Many thanks to Banana Republic for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Little Black Swimsuits.

Bathing suit shopping is never really fun. It always seems to come astonishingly soon after the holidays, when the sugary coat of treats is still clinging to my overwintered skin. Alas, this year beckons with a set of circumstances that are even more varied for me personally, because I've got a nice layer of newborn baby fat that will be joining along for summer's joyride. I'm okay with it - nursing my baby is a gift and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be doing this gig again. (And while many people believe breastfeeding helps you lose baby weight, many people don't know that breastfeeding also keeps you from losing the last bit of that weight in an effort to cling to excess fat stores for the baby. Good times, guys.) I would absolutely be lying if I told you I'M TOTALLY FINE WITH LOOKING THIS WAY, because that's not the case. Don't we all want to be the best-looking, fittest version of ourselves? But in my case, the best version of myself is exactly what I am right now - healthy and happy and sustaining 2 human lives. Boom.

Enter the black (bathing suit) market.

I've tried on a handful of these, and I'm still mulling over sizing and whatnot because it's only April and I want to buy suits that will work for me throughout the summer. Who knows what size I'll end up being at the end of the summer? Exactly what size am I am right now? I have no idea. But I do know that black is a gal's BFF and one-pieces will be my jam this summer. So here we go, a few that I loved in a range of price points. Hope you find something you've been looking for, too!

Will you guys let me know if you like posts like this? I'm happy to share more roundup-type posts if you find them helpful and inspiring - but if they're a bore I'll just keep my online shopping to myself :) Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear from you! And happy spring break shopping to you!

Meeting Christopher Gavigan, CPO of The Honest Company!

I've spent years wiping butts.

Some of you haven't had this experience. Good for you. But I am extremely familiar with the whole lower-quadrant body-sanitizing circumstance that I find myself in roughly 12 times a day. Two babies, yall. Two babies in diapers. I have a system, a method for how to get the job done with the least amount of, how do I put it - contamination - and my speed at diaper changing has accelerated vastly due to my recent years of training in the field. These days I can off rip a diaper, purify the state of affairs, and slap on a fresh one probably faster than you can blow your nose and throw it away.

And I know I'm not alone.

We mamas learn how to get things done - efficiently, stupendously and while we are multi-tasking at least 6 other things. While balancing a coffee cup somewhere we probably shouldn't be.

So when Stevie and I had the chance to chat with Christopher Gavigan, CPO of The Honest Company, our favorite and most-used diaper brand, we took that opportunity. Because we had to tell him. About all our years of using his products in the middle of the night (after sleep-walk bumping into a few walls), on airplanes in foreign countries (while being scowled at in what can only be described as German/Italian/French backhanded glares), in the back seat of our SUV while road tripping (to avoid gas station bathroom filth contaminating our precious baby's undercarriage), and you know, the normal way - on the changing table in our kids' bedrooms.

We love these diapers, we told him. We love the diaper rash cream, we said. We love the healing balm, we use it on ourselves. He beamed with the pride of a thousand suns. He's definitely a sunny soul, you can tell.


We told him something else.

We love the Seventh Generation wipes a little better than yours.

His face fell. "You what??"

I hated telling such a nice man the truth, but I secretly loved getting it off my chest. I felt like we had been cheating on our preferred brand for a while now, by buying another brand of wipes. But we do like them better! They're wetter, they come out of the package a little easier, and we told him - we just prefer them to yours.

Luckily, this Christopher Gavigan guy was kinder than you would believe (and also more intense than a football coach during the super bowl) about defending his wipes.

He literally ran across the room, (which drew some attention - everyone was like, what's happening?!), retrieved a fresh pack of wipes, and then gave us an on-the-spot demonstration on why his Honest Company wipes are the best on the market. Not only are they made of completely pure ingredients (you can see the list here), but they are about 25% larger than most other wipes, meaning they can fit in "man hands" (he wasn't being derogatory - he literally meant for them to fit into both a mom and a dad's hands). They are also surprisingly more wet than what meets the eye, but the water is absorbed within instead of sitting on top of the wipe like a raincoat. I didn't understand what he meant by that until he showed us - he pulled out a wipe and literally squeezed it - and I seriously couldn't believe what I was seeing. TONS of fluid came out of the wipe, more than you would ever think it could contain based on just feeling it, and he was I think he was most proud of this. These wipes are specially formulated to be useful in any scenario - not just the butt-wiping that I described above. You can use these to clean toys, wipe counter tops, clean up boo boos and cleanse any cheek you meet ;)

Such a nice guy. And it was really fun getting to meet him and chat a little bit about family life, business ideas (how is it that business school guys always seem to find a way to talk ideas, even at first meeting each other - what is that about??), and hear more about his heart behind The Honest Company. He didn't have to sell us, since we have been long-time users and have subscribed to both the Essentials Bundle and the Diapers & Wipes Bundle. I also love that I can pick up most of these products at Target these days, too.

Did he convince us on the wipes? I'm not going to lie. We are giving them another go.

 Kind of like a date night :)

Kind of like a date night :)

 Why don't my flowers ever look this good? Summer garden goals, guys.

Why don't my flowers ever look this good? Summer garden goals, guys.

 My bro + sis-in-law joined us!

My bro + sis-in-law joined us!

I know this is like, the blurriest, most 1996-esque picture of my life, but what's a girl to do when she meets a rad CEO and it's dark outside and you have to take a selfie with terrible lighting? You take the selfie, with absolutely terrible, horrible, rubbish lighting. Also, could this guy and Stevie be brothers or what?? Just sayin. Although I think Stevie has enough brothers.

When we got home from the event, we changed Everett's diaper and showed him the little squeeze-y wipe trick. He got such a kick out of it that now he wants us to squeeze the wipes out every time. It's pretty hilarious.

If you haven't had the opportunity to try The Honest Company, I would truly recommend it. I just honestly believe in these eco-friendly, non-toxic products so much and I would love for as many people as possible to try them. I've linked to my family's most-used and loved products below.

Many, many thanks to the Bump Club & Beyond team and to The Honest Company for inviting us and putting on such a fun event :) Like seriously, we needed that date night out. xx