Lets talk about our pits.

Thanks to Earth Mama Organics for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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Resurrect the word "Natural"!
I've been on a journey to find the perfect, natural deodorant. And when I say natural, I mean it in the purest sense of the word - natural. It's very confusing these days because "natural" is slapped on the front of any and every product as a sales tactic and I'll bet most people have become jaded to that word. Is it so much to ask for a truly natural deodorant that is free of chemicals, especially aluminum and artificial fragrances and other toxic fillers? Unfortunately these ingredients are sneakily added into products we use every day.  Don't believe me?

No #Fword
I dare you to pull out your current deodorant and take a look at the ingredient list. What do you see? A bunch of terms you can't pronounce? I'll bet you see the term "fragrance". It might say "artificial fragrance", "natural fragrance", "botanical fragrance" or "nature-identical fragrance", but it all means the same thing. Fragrance (aka "parfum") is often an ingredient in deodorant and an umbrella term that is used to hide the presence of thousands of chemicals - from parabens to phthalates to artificial preservatives like formaldehyde - say WHAT?! It's true. When the term is used, there's no way to know which chemicals are masquerading beneath that phrase. There is no further disclosure. My hope is that you don't see this word "fragrance" in your deodorant ingredient list, because to be blunt,  it's basically the F-word.

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My Conviction.
My grandmother lost her life to lymphoma, a cancer that is rooted in the lymphatic system of the body. Lymph nodes are located throughout the body, with a cluster of them residing in the armpit region. Your lymph nodes are linked to the blood stream - do you hear what I'm saying here? I take it very seriously what I put on my body, but especially what I put in this part of my body, because I really wish I had my grandmother in my life today. It's not even a myth that chemicals lurk within our everyday lifestyle products and are linked to traumatic cancers and diseases. It's time to take responsibility for what we put on our bodies, friends! I want to be healthy, strong and AWESOME for when my grandchildren have their own littles. It's why I eat healthy. It's why I work out. It's why I care about the ingredients in my mascara and my moisturizer. And it's why I'm critical of what kind of deodorant I put on my body. I'm sure it's the heart of every mother to be present and healthy for their families. I've realized as a mama that the choices I make today (even the seemingly small ones like the kind of deodorant I swipe on) can make a significant impact on my future.

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What's a girl to do?
This brings to me Earth Mama Organics' new line of deodorants. They are FREE of everything we discussed above, including propylene glycol, artificial fragrance, parabens and aluminum. They are specially formulated for all the phases of motherhood - pregnancy, breastfeeding and sensitive skin. Hallelujah. And there is even the option to purchase a mini kit of all 4, which I especially like, because they're super easy to toss into my purse and take on the go. I'll be honest, as with most natural deodorants, these are most effective if they're applied more than once a day, so I like to keep at least one mini with me in my purse, diaper bag and gym bag. When I reapply my lipstick or gloss after lunch, I do a quick swipe of my deodorant, too! The set contains Calming Lavender, Bright Citrus, GingerAid (my personal favorite) and Natural Non-Scented.

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Organic = Happy Mama.
Not only are these deodorants free of all the garbage fillers and "the F-word" we talked about above, they are also certified organic with a fully-disclosed ingredient list. It's actually many extra steps and added cost to any company that goes through the process to become "certified organic", but I sure appreciate when I see this label on the products I purchase. Because let's just be real - I want to smell good. And I want to put good stuff on my body. End of story.

Many of you know that I've been in the process of transitioning my beauty routine over from conventional products to natural and organic ones. I am thrilled that so many companies, like Earth Mama Organics, are committed to creating products that are safe and nurturing, especially with focus on the different seasons of motherhood. We mamas have enough to think about - what we put on our pits shouldn't be rocket science.

Shop the Deodorants:


A Rustic Pear Galette + a Giveaway for "Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless"!

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This post is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Workman Publishing. All opinions are my own.

Happy Friday friends! I'm excited to share a quick, suuuuuper easy autumn recipe with you, in partnership with Workman Publishing! I've always been intrigued by the idea of whipping up a rustic, autumnal galette, but to be completely honest - it seemed too fussy. It seemed like the kind of thing that only *real* bakers can achieve, and I should just stick to by-the-book pies. I was wrong! This recipe was EASY and make me feel like one of those fancy-lady bakers. Come on over to my place, it's getting all FALL up in here!

This recipe is from Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless, a new cookbook by award-winning food writer Raquel Pelzel, which is her latest effort in creating wholesome, meat-free meals using just a humble sheet pan. The one-pan approach appeals to busy mamas like me who have more than enough dishes to clean at the end of the day, but especially caters to vegetarians, vegans, those who follow a gluten-free diet and anyone who's interested in adding meatless meals to their lifestyle. The sheet pan approach uses three techniques to prep all the meals - roasting, baking and broiling, all of which allow the flavors of the food to marinate and intensify, creating savory meatless meal options. Flipping through the book, I was honestly surprised by how many recipes I wanted to try out. I don't follow a vegetarian lifestyle but I can certainly see the benefit in implementing more vegetarian meals into my family's repertoire. Don't laugh - but maybe my galette (which is basically a pie) will be a gateway. Perhaps we will progress to actual vegetables next week ;)

I'm sharing Raquel's recipe today, but make sure to hop on over to my instagram for your chance to win a copy of Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless along with a prize pack! More details below, following the recipe.

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Rustic Pear Galette:
Excerpted from Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017.
Ingredients:
- 1 piecrust dough (you can make your own or use a store-bought version)
- 3 medium-ripe Barlette or Anjou pears, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (I adore my microplane grater)
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1tbsp. butter

Method:
1. Remove piecrust from the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature.
2. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (I have yet to graduate to one of these, though perhaps this should be my year). Place the pears in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the lemon zest and juice, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
3. Whisk the egg, 1 tbsp. water and a pinch of salt to a small bowl.
4. Unroll pie dough onto the prepared sheet pan and pile the pears in the middle. Leave a 2-3-inch border around the edges.
5. Cut butter into small pieces and scatter on top of the pears. Loosely fold the edges of the dough around the pears, pleating the dough as you go, leaving the tart open in the middle.
6. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Refrigerate the tart on the sheet pan for 30 minutes or overnight (if refrigerating overnight, wrap pan in plastic wrap).
7. Bake tart at 400 degrees until the crust is golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, slice into pieces and serve.

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Giveaway!
I'm excited to offer you the opportunity to win a copy of Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless, along with a Kate Spade cooking mitt and a Sur la Table sheet pan! To enter, visit this post on my instagram and follow the post instructions. U.S.-based addresses only.

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3 Ways to Style a Springtime Scarf.

I laughed so hard when I found out Banana Republic was sending me some springtime items to share here on the blog. I mean, seven weeks ago, I gave birth. My very first thought was, this post-baby body isn't in any kind of shape to be modeling cute clothes!

But after a moment, I thought, shame on me.

That is a terrible attitude to have about this postpartum body of mine, this body that grew a beautiful, healthy baby boy. And then I realized that if my initial reaction about my post-baby body is so negative, there are probably a lot of women who think this way about themselves, too. And it's not okay!!! We have to celebrate the important things, like the gift of giving life to little humans, and have grace on ourselves for the process it takes to create a baby and to rehab from having a baby, too.

In fact, if anything this is the time to spend a little more time on clothes, just to help make the transition easier. It can be tricky to find pieces of clothing that are flattering during the postpartum phase, but I found that this white ruffle jacket and silk floral scarf create a fresh, elegant look. They highlight features that are beautiful on every woman - the face and the neck, all the while minimizing the areas that are still in flux for me (hello, those are maternity jeans I'm still wearing!)

I had so much fun playing around with this spring scarf that I decided to style it three different ways:

1. Around the neck.
This is my favorite way to wear one of these little scarves, because it feels so cheeky and elegant. And Audrey Hepburn worn them this way, case closed. Instead of a necklace, opt for folding your scarf until it is long and thin, then tying it loosely around your neck.

2. Tied in your hair.
I like this look tied up in a high ponytail, because it feels young and fresh, like I'm going to a sock hop. You can also try trying the scarf around a low bun or in a side braid - the options are endless!

I've got a little shadow ;)

I've got a little shadow ;)

3. Tied around a purse.
I have seen scarves on purses styled so many ways, and they're always fun and unexpected. I just tied this scarf on the handle of my bag to give the neutral palette a little pop of color. Isn't the kelly green just perfect?

Styling and photography by Rachel Hill.


Outfit Details:
Banana Republic Ruffle Cotton Jacket, Banana Republic Geo Floral Small Square Scarf, Gap Maternity Jeggings, Stella & Dot Gilded Path Double Wrap Bracelet, Top (past season, similar style here)


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

6 On-the-Go Items for Toddlers.

We've been traveling for the last month or so, and I am so grateful that we have Everett along for this stint in New York. We missed him so much when we were in London! And I'm extra extra grateful that my sis-in-law Lauren and dear friend Vanessa flew in for the weekend to join us on some NYC escapades - they brought that little piece of home that we were so desperately missing. I have lottttttts of city fun to share with you, but I want to touch on HOW to adventure in the city with a toddler. I am so grateful that OXO Tot sent us some travel gear that makes getting out and about with toddlers a whole lot easier. I wanted to share about our experiences snacking, playing and sort of potty training (??) while on the go.

Getting out on the town with kiddos is no joke - it requires extra planning, thinking through each scenario, prepping additional snacks (or as Everett asks for, "treats!") and packing a few extra clothes and gear "just in case". All you parents know what I'm talking about. But I just feel so strongly about getting out and having adventures, without letting the daunting potential challenges of traveling with kids hold us back. Toddler travel can definitely bring on the unexpected, but I just feel really grateful for the opportunities my family has had together. New York City is my favorite city in the world, and I would never want to withhold Everett from experiencing the crazy bizarre wonder that is New York. Bring on the skyscrapers, crowds, and of course, treats! (Along with hand sanitizer and stroller naps please.)

As you can see, our first stop of the day was the most important - Shake Shack on the Upper West Side. Nothing like an 11am cheeseburger and a shake to really get the day started right. I love stroller hooks in general, but this one from OXO is super large - it's gripped and could easily handle the weight of a huge shopping bag. Which means I should do some more shopping :)

This one cracks me up, because Everett literally carried it around with him the whole time he was out of the stroller, calling it his present. "See Mom, see? My present!" He loved it. And you know what? I've tried out several of these diaper pouch contraptions over the years, and this one is by far the most compact and easy to use. No lie. Which means it's kind of like a present to me, too. We kept pulling out wipes on this particular day, obviously to change diapers, but to wipe off dirty hands (Everett touches everythingggggg) and it was super convenient to be able to hang it from the stroller and easily access those wipes whenever we needed.

A word on potty training. We aren't actually pushing it yet. But - my kid is SO INTERESTED. And perhaps this is TMI but he wants to flush the toilet for me like, every time I go, and he sits on the potty and home and pretends to wipe and flushes for himself. It's the cutest. So I think we might be getting close to that time where we actually try to train him. I just want to be sensitive to the fact that he's a boy and they usually train a little later. But when we pulled out this on-the-go potty, he flipped. He loved it so so much. Please imagine my child in Central Park yelling "I did it!!!" as he pretended to go on this potty. Well, you don't have to imagine it, because we photographed the whole hilarious scenario. I know this potty will come in handy in the coming months as we begin to train him to use it on the go :) P.S. it includes some really cool liners, so it never feels like you're touching something gross. Just a little extra bonus for those of us moms who get grossed out easily (anyone else raising their hands here?)

Everett's most-asked for snack is bunnies (Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, for those of you who know what I'm talking about). This little snack cup is perfect for his bunnies because he can reach in and grab some, but not too many at a time. And there's a plastic cap included, which keeps the germs at bay (and my peace of mind intact!)

We have been trying to move out of the sippy cup world, but when we're out and about there is no way I am letting my kid have a regular cup in his stroller. Spills everywhere! This is a unique cup that adapts as the child grows - from a 3-month old all the way to a big kid. There are a few attachments that change it up, and it can ultimately operate as a regular, lid-less cup. But for us, we are rocking the sippy cup situation during our travels. Makes life simpler, and spill-free.

Thankfully, we haven't had to use this handy little kit yet because all of our gear is still relatively unscathed by our city explorations. But this is a nifty little 3-piece set that allows you to clean the straws, lids and other hard-to-reach parts of the snack and cup set that the dishwasher just can't quite diminish. I have a feeling that this will be coming in handy very soon...

There he is, the man (and photographer :) of my dreams.

There he is, the man (and photographer :) of my dreams.

OXO Tot is one of those brands that most moms undoubtedly have in their arsenal of baby gear without even realizing it. Over the years, we've used these snack containers on the daily, so it was nice to have an upgrade that is really more age-appropriate for Everett. This is just one of those "no, duh!" kind of brands - the products perform beautifully and function exactly as they should every time. So instead of changing multiple outfits while out and being loaded down with unnecessary gear, we are able to focus on our adventure of the day! Which in this case was a Shake Shack picnic in Central Park, a visit to the Met (with an impromptu stop at the rooftop bar - and a mocktail for this pregnant mommy) and service at our old church, Hillsong. I'll share more pics from this wonderful day oh so soon :) I still have more London fun to share, too!

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser OXO Tot. All opinions are mine alone.

Those Summer Neutrals.

Summer, where have you gone? It's like I blinked twice, swam three times and suddenly August is here. Does anyone else feel this way? Our little family has kept busy in this Georgia heat, swimming and golf carting and playing at the park. I've been growing this little tummy of mine and have been busily preparing for our trip to London :) I guess it's no wonder the summer has flown by.

I assembled this airy outfit of denim, white and cream for our date night last week. I love this combination of neutral shades and textured accents - adding this Banana Republic small stud-suede zip pouch and Delise Woven-Strap D'Orsay Pumps were the perfect sassy "pop" for this otherwise simple look. The zip-pouch is great because it's not too fancy but it's really sleek with those studs. And it smells like that yummy Italian leather - you know that scent that makes you want to eat a bag or shoes? Yep, this has that going on. And of course, need I say anything about those shoes? I mean seriously. Banana, I wish you would make cuter clothes. #kidding #iwantmore #clothesnotcandy


Outfit Details:
Motherhood Maternity Top, Gap Maternity Jeggings, Knox Rose Cardigan (sold out but similar here and here), Banana Republic Clutch (c/o), Banana Republic Pumps (c/o), Michael Kors Watch


Is it lame to admit that even though I was feeling all fancy because I had just gotten my hair done that day (shout out to Susan at Shane Buffkin Salon!) and I was wearing my super fly shoes - we totally ditched our date night. I mean, we tried. We went to the restaurant, sat down to look at the menu, moved tables twice, and I just wasn't feeling it. The menu looked gross (its a great place, but I was just repulsed for some reason), and the air conditioning was too cold, and then they sat us at one of those tables where you're supposed to sit next to each other. I don't understand why those tables even exist. So yes, I guess I was having a temperamental, high-maintenance pregnant lady moment. We apologized to the hostess, grabbed our favorite Thai takeout, and went home to eat and watch reruns of The Office. I know - we are so cool. I'm really lucky that I found my soulmate early in life. I would suck at the single-and-dating game.

Even though we bailed on last week's date night, summer is seriously the perfect time to get out and about with the one you love. And wear reeeeeeally cute shoes while doing so :) What are some of your favorite summertime date ideas?

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