The Athleisure I am Living in: Highs & Lows

If you follow me on my Instagram stories, you know that I have been in my workout clothes [or pajamas] full-time recently.  It’s just the comfiest thing to wear when you’re at home all day and hoping to motivate yourself to sneak in a workout.  Most of my old clothes don’t fit me yet so it’s also nice to be able to put on some high-waisted yoga pants and feel like a million bucks.  

Today I’m sharing these two looks [see pics above] that have given me a boost in confidence post-baby.

ATHLEISURE 

LOOK 1

The first one includes these $25 leggings from Amazon that are a dupe for the Lululemon Align leggings.  Now, I love me some Lulu, as you will see from this post.  But I wasn’t about to drop $100 on leggings that were not my pre-baby size. So these pants have been a wonderful fill-in while I’m still in this “in-between” phase with my baby weight.  These leggings have taken the fashion blogosphere by storm and you can see people rave about them in the Amazon reviews.  And I must say, I agree.  It’s very rare to find workout gear that comes close to Lulu, and while this is no luon, they really do fit nicely.  I love that they’re high-waisted, so it smoothes out any bumps and lumps ;).  The material is also so soft and buttery.  There’s a pocket for a phone on the side which is convenient when you’ve got your hands full with two kiddos.  You can see my review here.  

This workout top is a staple in my wardrobe.  I have a similar one in peach too.  While it’s not the cheapest, my pre-baby size fit me perfectly, so I couldn’t pass it up. 🙂 I love the color and nothing beats Lulu workout gear in my opinion.  

I also love this hat.  It makes me feel more put together on a bad hair day and like JLO on a good day.

I finished off the look with these sneakers from Nordstrom Rack.  They’re the classic soft black Nikes that go with everything. 

LOOK 2

Now this outfit has the same pants and shoes. But I am wearing a plain black tank top and one of my favorite Lulu purchases: the Define jacket. It is so flattering on and makes me feel far fitter than I am. 😉

I also got some fun sneakers recently that are currently on rotation:

Nordstrom Rack is one of my favorite places to get sneakers because they usually come at such a great price.  You can pick up 3 pairs of tennis shoes for the cost of one at full price elsewhere. The Nike Zooms are on sale right now for $69 and the Pumas (from Saks Off 5th) are 50% off for $34.  

Do you have any favorite Athleisure pieces that are a must-have? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Month 1 Postpartum: Favorite Baby Products (and Nursery Update)

Good morning, y’all! I can’t believe it’s already been 11 weeks since I delivered my baby girl. This time around, I have been a bit more aware throughout the whole 4th trimester. I’ve been tracking which products I use the most each month. With my first baby, I was in a fog and could barely remember my last name. Ha!

I have written about my favorite baby products here and here, but I wanted to do a monthly breakdown to make it easier for moms to know what they truly need on day one. I remember worrying about that before my son was born because when you’re a first time mom, you just have no idea.

Today’s post is also quite long and I finish it up with an update on our nursery decor! Grab your coffee or shake and enjoy! 😉

Here’s what products I used and loved in month 1 postpartum.

MONTH 1

PRODUCTS FOR BABY
  • NB onesies (that zip): these by Simple Joys by Carter’s are my favorite. They’re 100% cotton, soft and fit easily over the wrists and ankles. They also zip up, which is crucial. You might be tempted to buy a really cute onesie that has snaps or buttons – don’t do it! Although it’s not a huge inconvenience, make your life as easy as possible and buy the zip-ups. You don’t want to be searching for the snap during a 2 a.m. diaper change.
  • Sleep sacks: these are great to wear over the onesies during the day. They keep the baby relatively warm with an extra layer. They give me peace of mind if I don’t want to put a blanket on the baby while I run to the bathroom. My daughter is prone to being really cold so these are great for daily wear.
  • Swaddle sleepsack: these are the gold standard for swaddle sleepers. They keep your baby’s arms at their sides so that they don’t wake themselves up at night and you can (hopefully, praise be to all that is holy) catch some more zzz’s. This fleece one has been my favorite this winter – works great and keeps bebe so warm!
  • Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment: I use this stuff every day.  In the first month, I primarily use it on her tushy during diaper changes.
  • Vitamin D: if you’re breastfeeding, doctors recommend you supplement with vitamin d because there isn’t enough in breastmilk. This one is my preferred one. There are drops that you can place directly on your nipple but that just didn’t work for me and my kids. By the time I put the drops on, they had already dripped down before my kids had a chance to ingest them.
  • Pack ‘n play (with bassinet / changer): I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this one is a must. We keep it in our living room during the day and roll it into our bedroom at night. This is where the baby sleeps during the day and at night. You can use a free-standing bassinet in your bedroom if you prefer, but neither of our children have liked standard bassinets. We have the UPPABaby bassinet and it’s flat, which can be uncomfortable for infants with reflux. We even raised the head portion to provide an incline to no avail. But both babies have loved sleeping in the Pack ‘n Play bassinet. It has an incline that they both found comfortable. In addition, once your babies reach 3 months, you can remove the bassinet and they can sleep on the flat sheet. The bassinet also doubles as a changer, which allows you to not have to set up a separate changing station. Less stuff taking up space in my living room? Yes, please!
  • Humidifier: this is another must in my book. Both of my babies’ skin was on the dry side and it helped with that. Even more importantly, it helped them breathe better by preventing dry boogers from forming. Anything to help with sleep at night is a necessity!!
  • Wipes: We get these from Costco!
  • Puj Tub or Newborn to Toddler Tub: depending on the size of your sinks at home, I recommend one of these. In our old house I liked the newborn to toddler tub because our kitchen sink was big and it fit nicely in it. We used the infant insert during this time. In our new home, our kitchen sink is smaller and the Puj tub works better in it. But it actually works best in a regular sink in our bathroom so that’s where we’ve been bathing baby girl.
  • Changing pad & liners – I wrote about my Keekaroo review here.
  • Wipes / diaper organizer – I wrote about these here.
  • Crib – see review here.
  • Dresser – see review here.
  • Diaper Pail – see review here.
  • Ultra-calming body wash – I love this for everyday use. It’s great for sensitive skin.  We use it on both of my kids.  See review here.
  • Soothing relief creamy wash: Whenever my son had patches of super dry skin, we’d use this in combination with the Aveeno soothing relief cream.  It worked like a dream.  I’d recommend having both on hand in case your babe has dry skin.
  • Car seat: We have this one as part of the UppaBaby Travel System.  It comes with a stroller and bassinet.  I highly recommend this Travel System because it can be reconfigured for a carseat and seat (or bassinet and seat) if you have two kids.  It can even hold a third! 
  • Boppy lounger – this is where my baby girl lays when she’s not in the pack n play bassinet. It’s cozy and both babies have enjoyed laying in it. We keep it on the couch and she lays on it while we watch tv, etc.
PRODUCTS FOR MAMA

I hope these help y’all as you put together your nurseries and registries. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your baby is loved and cared for. And remember the essentials: clothes, diapers and a place to sleep. Everything else is truly extra.

SHOP THE OUTFITS
NURSERY UPDATE

Another update that I’m sharing today is our nursery.  We moved into our new house at the beginning of 2019 and our nursery in this house is a bit different than the last. In our old home, the nursery was quite large and spacious.  The nursery now is an adjoining room to our master.  It was used as an office by the previous owners.  It’s smaller and rectangular-shaped.  We weren’t sure initially how it would work, but it’s been great.  We have the toddler in the nursery and baby in a pack ‘n play in our room. We were also able to fit all of the essentials in it (crib and dresser) and moved the rocker into our master bedroom. We previously had this rug in the old nursery, but it didn’t fit. So I got this one instead and I think it fits great. I also couldn’t find curtains in store that were long enough so I worked with Alli Walker Interiors on those. Alli and I had a lot of fun picking out the fabric. I wish I had a better picture of the curtain rods – we picked out a gold rod with lucite cube finials. Love how they turned out!

SHOP THE NURSERY

Post Details:

Vince Camuto Blouse | White Maternity Jeans | Bow | Floral Muslin Swaddle | Name Initials | Llama Bookends | Tanner Crib | Tanner Dresser | Baskets and Liners | Animal Prints | Changing Pad | Rug | Sheep Mobile | Mounted Ram | Glider and Ottoman | End Table | Floor lamp Humidifier | Sound Machine | Diaper Pail | Diaper / Wipes Organizer | Giraffe Stuffed Animal

Photography by: Liz Novi Photography

Blueberry Spinach Protein Shake Recipe

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MATERNITY LEAVE HAZE & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Happy New Year, everyone!! I love the freshness that the new year brings and the feeling of new opportunities buzzing around the corner. Being on maternity leave sometimes feels like the earth has stopped spinning and time is standing to still. Nothing snaps you out of that haze like a trip to the grocery store and seeing Valentine’s Day candy and hearts everywhere!

It also became apparent that I’ve been living in a cocoon when my girlfriend asked me about my NY resolutions. Not only had I not thought about them, I didn’t want to think about them. I wasn’t ready to rejoin society and leave my little safe haven. She was surprised because she knows I love writing out my goals. I’ve written about goals here, here and here. Last year I even broke out my goals quarterly to make them more attainable. But this year, I wasn’t all that interested. I knew I’d eventually do it once I went back to work in February and reality sunk back in.

That being said, I’m going to continue to enjoy my maternity leave haze / bliss. 😉 You can find me getting in all the baby snuggles until I go back to work at the start of February!

PROTEIN SHAKE RECIPE

While at home, one of the things I enjoy doing is making myself a delicious protein shake. Sometimes I’ll drink it after a workout and other times when I know I haven’t gotten my daily intake of meat or fish. I got the original recipe from my dad, who created it several years ago. It reminds of my parents every time I make it and transports me back to weekends in San Antonio when he would make it for all of us. I took his recipe and added protein powder and modified a few things! My husband made it for me when I had an aversion to meat during both pregnancies.

Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

Throw everything into the blender in the order above. Ice cubes go in first because they’re the hardest to blend. Then throw in the other large or “harder to blend” items [i.e blueberries, banana, peanut butter, yogurt.] Add the remaining ingredients and top off the blender with spinach. [You can see how I top off the blenderMix and enjoy!

NUTRITION

The version above gives you 50 grams of Protein and is a good source of antioxidants [from the blueberries and spinach]. I linked the products that I typically use above. I prefer plant-based and organic foods as much as possible. The protein powder I used in the pictures is the Central Market Whey Powder, which works just fine. I was out of the Vega, a plant-based protein powder that I typically use. Vega has also come out with a 4-ingredient pea protein powder that I am going to try next. I’m always concerned about protein powders [or any foods for that matter] that are chalked full of ingredients I can’t pronounce.

In addition, you can make this shake without the protein powder and without the yogurt if you’re not looking to increase your protein intake by this much. This shake is delicious and makes a great snack!

I hope y’all enjoy this recipe! Let me know how you like it in the comments below.

Shop the Post: Pea in the Pod Top (Dark Yellow) // 7 For All Mankind Maternity Jeans (sold out), similar // Sam Edelman Loafers (Saddle Leather) // Michael Kors Watch

My Weekly Planning Process

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In order to feel at peace on a daily basis, I need to know that I have been productive. If I’ve wasted a day scrolling through social media and focusing on unimportant tasks, I feel anxious and unsatisfied.

Something that I have realized during my maternity leave is that I need to take small steps towards my goals everyday, even if it’s just completing one item on my to-do list. [I also know I need to give myself grace during this time of my life because most days I’m lucky if I get to shower. 🤪 I don’t want to be so focused on getting stuff done that I miss soaking up this precious time with my baby. It’s all a delicate balance, wrapped in mom guilt with a side of toddler hugs and kisses. 😋]

That being said, I am my most productive self when I take the time to plan out my days and weeks. I typically use Sunday evenings to get organized for the week ahead as well as the following day. I also plan out the upcoming months in terms of major events. The whole process is detailed below:

MONTHLY PLANNING

For monthly planning, I use the Snow & Graham calendar.  I love the beautiful images and the calendar squares are big enough for writing.

I use my monthly calendar for major events, trips and birthdays. It also serves as my editorial calendar for my blog. I write out my blog and instagram posts on the days I plan on posting them.

I typically try and fill it out for the next three months. It allows me to take a quick glimpse and see what major things are coming up. I usually make these updates at the beginning of a new month. I’ll also make revisions as we go. This is not a weekly activity but I wanted to include it in this post to give you an idea of my whole planning process.

WEEKLY PLANNING

For my weekly schedule, I use the Rifle Paper Co. Weekly Calendar desk pad. Here I list out any appointments or meetings that my husband or I have. [I take these directly from our phone. My husband and I share our iPhone calendars with each other so that we know what the other person has going on, and any family events that are occurring. This has been huge in helping us stay in sync from a schedule perspective.] Although these events are in my phone, I’m an old-fashioned pen and paper kinda gal and love having it in physical form where I can easily see it.

In addition to these events, I also do our family meal planning on my weekly calendar. Every Sunday, I figure out what I will cook for the week. Normally I cook on Sunday night, Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to prepare as much as I can during my lunch break so that I don’t have as much to cook when I get off work. [Working from home allows me to do that which is a huge blessing.] I try and make enough for two nights of dinner and for two lunches for my son. He eats mostly what we eat, but since he hasn’t perfected the art of silverware just yet, I sometimes modify certain foods to make it easier on him. Friday night we get tacos – it’s become a weekly tradition that we look forward to! Saturday night we’ll also go out. [These days post-baby, we’ve been picking up sushi and I’m in heaven! 😇 10 months without a tuna tower was far too long, haha.]

DAILY PLANNING

For my daily schedule, I use the Brendon Burchard high performance planner.  If you need to do your daily planning quickly, you might consider another planner. This one is time-intensive and very thorough. However, I have found, that when I really spend the time to fill it out, I am my most productive. [I fill it out after my son goes to bed.]  The secret for me has been to block out my day in 30 minute or 1 hour time intervals. Within those timeframes, I list out specifically what I need to get done [i.e. finish X assignment, respond to emails, call Alanna, etc.]. If I don’t write EXACTLY what needs to get done in a certain timeblock, I’ll find myself wasting so much precious time with filler activities like social media scrolling and the like.

I have by no means perfected this strategy because I am a procrastinator and work best under pressure.  My natural tendency is to wait until the last minute and then crank through whatever task remains.  However, this approach allows me to get things done in advance and to know what’s on the horizon.   Having everything scheduled out in chunks helps keep me on task.

On my daily calendar, I list out all work, personal and blog activities that I have to get done throughout the day. I plan out when I cook our meals, schedule out my work to-dos and my time slot to work on the week’s blog post. All personal tasks are framed in orange and all work-related tasks are pink.  My morning [meditation / journaling] and evening routines [putting the baby to bed, dinner, etc.] are in blue. You can see this shown in the pictures above.

I do my daily planning the evening before. When I skip this step, I’m highly unproductive the next day and will forget to do important things.

The weekly and daily planning are the two most critical components of the planning process. When I started implementing this approach I noticed that I was able to get so much more done during the day. I also liked having a physical place where I was keeping track of my accomplishments for the week. Whatever I don’t get done the day before, I move to the next day.

Before I started doing my planning like this, I used to have a running to-do list that I tried to get through each day. This was a much less effective strategy. Unlike now, I didn’t know exactly when I should be doing each task. I would get to the to-do item when “I had time,” and that proved to be completely inefficient. My productivity was left up to chance, which is not an efficient approach.

I hope this post gives you some pointers that will help you in your weekly planning. Is there something you do that makes you incredibly productive? Or do you have a favorite journal, pen, etc that you use that gives you the boost you need?? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below!

Shop the Post: Write-On Calendar // Weekly Calendar // High Performance Planner // Initials Mug // Agate Coasters // White Bowl // Moss Balls

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea & Life Update

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Hello friends!

A lot has happened since we last spoke! We welcomed our second baby into our family and she has been the biggest blessing. Needless to say, life has been a rollercoaster of emotions these past two weeks [mainly happy with a side of “how do we manage two babies and stay sane?”] Ha! 

LIFE UPDATE

SECOND BABY

My mom has been staying with us since we came home from the hospital, which has been a HUGE help. The hardest part of the newborn phase [for me] is the lack of continued sleep. So mom has been staying up late watching the baby while I get some sleep in between feedings. We are so fortunate to have her helping us and we do not take it for granted in the least!

In between the feedings and snuggles with the new babe, I’m adjusting to nursing, not working [office work, that is], trying to spend enough time with my oldest all while eating my weight in cookie deliveries and rugelach. [For those who don’t know what this is, it’s a Jewish pastry that I craved throughout my pregnancy. My mom bought me some once I got out of the hospital and I have been having at least two, err maybe three, each day. 😬 I told mom that once this bag was finished, we couldn’t buy anymore. 😅)

NURSING

In terms of nursing, breastfeeding is definitely much easier for me this time around. My daughter latched on on day two, whereas it took my son and I about two weeks to figure it out. I also know to drink my Mother’s Milk Tea and eat my lactation cookies to keep up my supply. I talk about that more in this post.  With my first, after I delivered I went back to eating like I did pre-pregnancy, which was a fairly low-carb, standard-calorie diet. I quickly learned that it was not conducive to nursing as my supply dropped significantly. I now let myself eat pretty much whatever I want [within reason], and I find I eat more while nursing than I did while pregnant. In addition, I try and drink 30 oz. of water after each feed.  This step is critical to keeping up supply as well. [New mamas, take note: save the 30 oz. plastic water jug they give you at the hospital! It’s great for your water chugging needs postpartum.] 

BODY

From an overall physical standpoint, I did gain a few stretch marks on my stomach this pregnancy.  I was lucky to have avoided them last time.  I am not complaining though as I am beyond blessed to have been able to carry a baby am so grateful. However, I am kicking myself for not putting on any cocoa butter or moisturizer. I even have some from my first pregnancy sitting out on my bathroom counter! Ugh. My daughter was almost a pound heavier than my son so maybe that’s what did it.  I also think the stretchmarks developed last minute as I didn’t notice them throughout the pregnancy.

MIND

Mentally, having a second baby has been easier because I have already been through this process once. Every little thing is not new and I’m not stressing out about every minor detail. Of course there are new challenges, such as spending enough quality time with my first when my newborn needs me so much right now. Sleep deprivation and hormonal mood swings are all still part of the picture, but expected, and therefore not as stressful this second time around. [Of course this is just my experience and I’ve talked to a couple of moms who felt the second baby was much more stressful.]

All in all, I am so grateful for this blessing in our lives and can’t wait to share what I learn with you all as we go.

THANKSGIVING OUTFIT IDEA

Now onto the holiday season that’s right around the corner! Thanksgiving is just two weeks away [What?! HOW??] and I think it’s safe to say that it’s my favorite holiday. Being Jewish, we don’t have all of the Christmas excitement that December brings [Hanukkah is wonderful but obviously not as mainstream or celebrated like Christmas.] So I think that’s why I love the Fall season and Thanksgiving so much. Being with family, eating delicious food, decorating your home and front doorstep with all the fall foliage and pumpkins…what could be better?!

Every year, I look forward to [and sometimes stress out about] my Thanksgiving Day outfit. This is usually my busiest time at work and if I’m not diligent about planning ahead, the holiday can sneak up on me.  We usually go to a big family lunch at my husband’s cousin’s house.  In terms of an outfit, I try to pick out something casual and comfortable [I do not hold back on seconds or thirds at Thanksgiving!] 😛 Sometimes I’ll go with jeans and a nice top, and other times I will wear a dress with boots if I want to feel a little dressier.  

OUTFIT INSPIRATION & SOURCING

We shot this look when I was 38 weeks pregnant and this dress is so comfortable and cozy.  For any pregnant mamas looking for a dress that is casual, yet still feels put together at the same time, this one is it. Not to mention, it’s not constricting at all and is only $28! I love Old Navy for their basic maternity dresses and this one does not disappoint.  

For my non-pregnant ladies, I linked a couple of sweater dresses that I think are really cute as well.  I decided to dress up my look with these knee-high boots that I got from the Nordstrom Sale last year, but you can also make it more casual with flats or flat boots. The heeled boots I’m wearing in the pictures are sold out at Nordstrom but there’s some sizes left on Amazon.  I also linked a few similar options below.  I threw on this large scarf [I got mine in a little boutique in Canada but this one is very similar] and paired it with my Tory Burch purse.  It’s an older style no longer sold but I love this one! Reminds me of the Gucci Marmont.

I hope this look inspires you as you put together your outfit for Thanksgiving!

Shop the Look: Maternity Dress [similar, non-maternity options: Sweater Dress, Sweater Dress] / High-heeled Boots, sold out [same but from Amazon, similar, similar] / Flat Boots / Scarf, in Camel / Purse, old [similar]