My 3 Wavy-Hair-Don't-Care Products.

My hair is one of my favorite things about myself. As I am in a season of unearthing what's going on in my heart, I'm trying my best to be intentional about meditating on things I like about myself. When it comes to this postpartum body of mine, I can easily get distracted by focusing on the things that aren't what they used to be, but I don't want to focus my energy on being negative towards myself. My hair is one of my favorite things about my body because I feel like it fully represents me - kind of crazy/relaxed/free/unique. What do you like about yourself, friends? If you're finding it hard to pick something out, I encourage you to spend a little time today finding something you really appreciate about yourself. It's a reeeeeal good exercise. Like giving you a good hug.

I would hug you right now if I could.

So, as for this mane - I love this time of year when the weather warms up because I don't have to blow-dry my sometimes-mangy gigantic hair. I have really thick long hair, so when it's cold outside, it's necessary to blow dry it or else I walk around with a sopping head for 3/4 of the day and it makes me super cold. But when the weather warms up, I like to forgo all that time (blow drying takes forever!), and just let my hair air dry with the help of a few products that keep it tamed down AKA beaten into submission. For those of you who like to give your hair a break from heat styling (and save time!), I thought I would share a few products that have consistently worked for me over the past few years.

I don't like using a ton of products. Like everything else in my life, I have very little time to spend on fussing with my hair/makeup/clothes, so I try to keep things around that perform excellently and do the work for me.

1. Honest Company Detangling Conditioner
This stuff works like a charm and, actually, Everett and I share this product equally. I use it right after I get out of the shower, and he uses it after his nightly bath. I never really imagined I would share hair products WITH MY SON, but it works so well for both of us and smells really good without having that annoying, fragrance-y scent like so many beauty products. I've raved about my love for Honest before, but this is one of those products that just works, so I keep working it. I spritz it on my towel-dried hair after I shower and it does a great job closing the cuticle and giving my hair a little extra moisture.

2. Biolage Whipped Volume Mousse
This is the first mousse I've even used that doesn't harden the hair in an annoying way. I like my hair to still feel like hair, and this one does a great job of taming it and capturing the waves in the nicest kind of way, without actually hardening them into a sculpture. You know what I mean? I put a ping-pong ball sized dollop in my palm, flip my head over and distribute this throughout mid-shaft to the ends of my hair, avoiding the roots entirely.

3. 12 Benefits Healthy Hair Treatment
This spray gives my locks a little bit of texture and helps separate my waves so they remain touchable. You know how some texturizing sprays can be sticky/tacky/waxy feeling? This one doesn't do any of that - it feels like you've been on the beach for the first hour of the day and your hair is just getting some good breezy salt mixed all around. It's just really, really nice. I keep this one in my Amazon shopping cart and re-order it periodically. I spritz this on when my hair is still wet, and once I do, I'm done!

And there you have it! I use these in the order listed on the days that I wash my hair, then let it air-dry. If I want a little extra oomph or I don't want to give it the time to air-dry, sometimes (only sometimes) I will use my hair dryer with the diffuser attachment and blow dry it on medium heat. This zaps some of that extra moisture and works if I have to be somewhere looking "put together" soon. But most of the time I just have to be at my son's play table, making play dough or dolling out the pb+j or something of that kind. I try to let my hair go for a few days like this before washing it again - by days 2,3 and 4 I am usually braiding it or throwing it up in a top knot. And here is a really fun post from my friend Lauren on how to work that dirty hair for all it's worth.

Happy warm weather hair to you, friends! Now tell me - what attribute do you really really like about yourself. I want to hear! I really do.

P.S. - Wearing this tank, which is my favorite new thing. How often can I wear it without it being too often?

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

10 Essentials for that 1st Trimester Survival.

Pregnancy is the oddest experience.

I know I've done this once before, but this time around has been a brand-spanking new experience. Headaches for days, nausea that just won't quit, and a superpower called hormones that has made me that crazy pregnant lady.

More than once I have definitely found myself crying and frustrated at Stevie about something, and then a moment later I forgot what I was even upset about. Like, I forgot in the middle of the argument that I was trying to win. Craaaazzzyyy lady. Poor guy. He deserves a medal for this pregnancy go-round. But I must say, so do I.

The first trimester has definitely been more challenging than my last first trimester, and I've had to find some new tricks to make it through the days and months. Oh the lengthiness of the first tri. It's such a looooong time when you're exhausted and throwing up and headaching and you still have to feed your toddler and, you know, live. A few things that helped me this time around (even if some were strictly placebo-effect):

1. Sea Bands for nausea.
My amazing doula recommended that I try out Sea Bands for the intense nausea that came in those early weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes I felt like they immediately stopped the sea sick feeling, but sometimes the nausea persisted. They were really 50/50 for me, but I wore them throughout the beginning of my pregnancy, hoping that they were decreasing what could have been even worse nausea. I was willing to try anything!

2. Prenatals for energy.
I noticed an immediate difference in my energy level when I switched prenatal vitamins. I was so exhausted for the first trimester, but I felt a significant improvement when I started taking this Garden of Life RAW Prenatal along with the Garden of Life DHA. Game changer.

3. Sleep for sleep.
I had to nap every single day of my first trimester, and I am still napping a lot now. But I literally wouldn't have made it through the day if I hadn't slept as much as I did. Having a high-energy, busy toddler definitely didn't help in the energy department, so the moment I put him down in the afternoon, I hit the pillow. Only to wake up to his screaming when his nap was complete. Mine was never complete. I could put my head down on the desk now and just zzzzz....

4. Newton Labs Homeopathic Remedy for morning/all day sickness.
My sister swore by this little homeopathic remedy during her second pregnancy, and reminded me of it when I was so, so sick. I would take it in the morning, along with my other vitamins, and then take it as needed throughout the day when I felt the nausea increasing. A little tip - it absorbs into your body faster if you place the drops under your tongue! Per the advice of my naturopathic chiropractor.

5. Tracey Anderson: The Pregnancy Project for stretching/exercise.
I've shared about dear this amazing DVD set before, and I'll do it again. My first trimester was extremely hit or miss when it came to exercise, and I am just now getting back into the routine of moving a lot every week. But if you do this video you will stay suuuuuper toned. I love that she focuses on the pregnant body, and she is pregnant herself in the videos! And it's a great thing you can do at the house if it's too hot to go outside or you can't quite make it to the gym (hello, toddlerhood.)

6. Water + Coconut Water for headaches + hydration.
Because I battled with migraines and headaches during the first trimester, I had to be extra mindful to drink lots of water. Even when water tasted gross (because it totally did.) One way that I could get something hydrating into my system was loading down an enormous cup of ice and sliced lemons, and then pouring this coconut water over the top. It actually makes me a little nauseous to think about this concoction now, because I drank it so much when I was so sick. Oh the memories.

7. Support System for NEED.
I am so grateful I am living back home for this pregnancy. I don't know how I would have made it if I didn't have the help and support system of my family and friends here. On many occasions, my mom came over when I was having a migraine, or my sis-in-law would take Everett to play at her house, or my sister would make me toast and keep Everett occupied while I took a nap. It was seriously survival mode in this camp for a while. And I am so, so, SO grateful for these beautiful souls who kept my pregnancy a secret but checked in on me so lovingly for months on end. If you live without family around you, you can totally do it, but you just need to have a support system that you can count on when things get rough.

8. Preggie Pop Drops for nausea + metallic mouth.
Sometimes your mouth just tastes weird. I can't swear that these Preggie Pop Drops necessarily helped my nausea, but they sure tasted good and gave me something sour to suck on. My sweet friend Natalie sent these in the mail when she knew how sick I was, and every time I ate one of these I was reminded of her sweet thoughtfulness. This might be the one item that had a placebo affect versus a real affect, but it sure left a good taste in my mouth. Pun!!!

9. Stretchy Clothes for all that growing.
I pulled out my stored pregnancy box of clothing at about 6 weeks pregnant. No joke. Things have swollen up so much more quickly than the last time around, it's literally been overwhelming and shocking. I'll share a separate post on 1st tri clothes, but let me just say that you need some seriously stretchy pants (I've been loving these) and some comfy, non-constricting tops to bridge you from burger belly to "oh, there's a baby in there!"

10. Belly Balm for stretch marks.
I've readopted The Honest Company Belly Balm for this pregnancy. They've updated the formula and it's not quite so greasy as it used to be. It's a bit more creamy which works well when you want to apply it and then immediately get dresses afterwards. I didn't get belly stretch marks last time, but my hips and thighs tell a different story. I'm hoping not to gain any other new markage during this pregnancy - fingers crossed!

P.S. - Mamas, any 1st trimester survival tips that literally kept you going during those trying first months of pregnancy? I'd love to hear about them in the comments (and so would all the newly pregnant gals who are still in the early phases, hiding their pregnancy but looking for some relief!) xox

P.P.S. - My 1st Trimester Survival Guide, the last time around.

3 Tips for Brunettes Going Ombre.

Tips for Brunettes Going Ombre:

I was so ready for a change. But when I went in to see my hair stylist and threw out the option of chopping my hair off, she quickly talked me down off that ledge.

"You're a new mom, right?"

I nodded to her.

"Yeahhh, no. Let's do something slightly less drastic."

She was probably right to steer me away from something that might make me cry later. We settled on going for an ombre-esque color job. I didn't want something stark and uber-trendy, but something that felt fresh and fun. Oh, and something that required literally no "fixing". I don't fix my hair. Like ever. My kid uses my hair brush exponentially more often than I do. I feel your sweeping gasp of surprise. No really, I know you're not surprised, because my hair looks like a hive everyday. I don't mind. I like the weird kinky waves and I got excited that the new color might actually make those pop a bit more. Meaning maybe I don't need to fix it ever...?

It's been a bit of a journey, this whole dying-my-hair thing. I have really really dark hair. So lifting the color many many shades lighter has been a process, and it's been different than I expected. Blondes, you people have it so easy. Even light-brownie girls, it's a breeze for you. But us chocolate-heads? Well, if you want to go bright, it takes a bit more time/effort/frying than you might think. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

1. Bring in Inspiration Photos. A LOT of Photos.

First things first. You need to explain in detail to your stylist exactly what you want. The kind of ombre you're looking for - subtle? Stark? Natural-looking? Trendy? Now I know that showing the hairdresser photos of Victoria Secret models isn't really fair. "I really like her hair. Can you make me look like her??" That's a tall order. I mean, she's a stylist, not a wizard. But I have to be honest, I really DO like those angels' hair. It looks natural and messy and pretty. And the gradation of color is exactly what I like. So when I showed my stylist photos of Lily Aldridge and her gorgeous, yet subtle chocolate to creamy butter shades, she and I agreed on this look as our goal. You can see the Pinterest board I used for inspiration here.

Clearly I can't pose.

Clearly I can't pose.

2. Go For Some Face-Framers.

Adding some face-framing pieces creates a bit more pizazz to the front of the face. Also, if you're going for a strong contrast between your natural color and the new color, adding a bit of warmth around the face seems to help "haze" the effect a bit.

3. Adjust Your Expectations.

I'll be honest. It took me three times of sitting in that salon chair to finally achieve the color that I wanted. The first time, there wasn't enough of a contrast and I wanted the color "pop" to be brighter. The second time, things went frighteningly orange. Which can happen to my dark-kind of hair. Copper is like my melatonin's go-to. Grrrr copper. The third time, I finally got that creamy, buttery tone I craved. But this happened over the course of three appointments and 6 weeks of time. So it wasn't an in-and-out, super easy kind of thing.

As a dark brown brunette, it takes a lot of time to process your hair in a healthy way that won't make it snap off. It can be frustrating to wait so long, but being patient is really the only key to getting what you want. Pacing the color appointments in two-week increments helped break up some of the damage so that it had a bit of time to repair in between. And I got to see how the color would react to the sun, to my hair products, and then I could come back in and explain all of that to my stylist.

I'm really happy with the color we landed on here. Although this Georgia humidity is making me feel like I always always have wet curls, the color is super fun and warm and it's exactly what I wanted. For now at least! (We girls have reserved the right to change our minds a lot :)

Post-Dyed Hair Care:

There are a few products that I've been using since I colored my hair, and they have worked out really well. I've alternated this Alba Color Shampoo, this Aveda Co Wash Shampoo and this hilarious blue tint shampoo (it smells a little elderly and perfume-y) but it gets the job done! Also, to protect the color in all this crazy heat and sunshine, I've been using this Aveda Heat Protector Hair Veil before I jump in the pool or spend a long amount of time outside. I use this Honest Company Leave-In Conditioner and this 12 Benefits Hair Treatment everyday when I get out of the shower... and now you know my entire hair routine. I don't really heat style or anything of that sort. Unless I have an extra thirty minutes of time and somewhere fancy to go, which these days, you know... I just don't!

I hope this helps if you're planning on making a big change to your hair! Let me know how it goes!

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July

Just sitting here on the front porch, drinking the coffee, listening to the rain pelt the earth and watching my babe pitter patter around in front of me. His little feet. Well, his little big feet. He shuffles around, stopping here and there, staring into the yard in wonder as everything is saturated, soggy flowers and limp bushes and a dark sky that doesn't look like it's ready to lighten up anytime soon. A few ants try to peck at his feet, but he's too quick for their nuisance. In this quiet moment, I am reminded of what a thousand previous 4th of July's have meant for me - lots of barefootness, a big juicy watermelon, a zillion cousins running around in sopping bathing suits, perhaps a thunderous Georgia rainstorm like today's, probably some good barbeque, and of course, the epic, magnificent fireworks. My hometown really knows how to put on a show. In fact, in all the years of living other places, even Boston, where patriotism runs deep, I've never experienced a fireworks show like my little suburban Georgia town puts on. Of course, with a baby this year, I won't be venturing out past 9pm to catch those bright lights. But I will probably be right here, lazing around, barefoot, sipping something good, and watching my child discover ants and eat watermelon and watch the sky fall in a melodious pattern. And that. Is lucky indeed.

Thank you to all the men and women who have yielded their comfort, time with their loved ones, and given up the "normal" way of life to fight for our country's freedom. Your service allows me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, the sweet joy of a safe nation where my babe can play on the front porch in quiet peace. Your service is a gift to every man, woman and child and I am absolutely humbled as I consider what life could look like without our military's day in and day out efforts. Thank you thank you thank you. I wish I could give you a big hug. But my awkward musings will have to do for now.

Happy 4th of July, to every American today :) I hope you enjoy lots of barefootedness, ant-free watermelon (but let's be real, those little guys always manage to tackle it), and crazy chaotic family fun. Oh, and fireworks. Let freedom ring!