Category Archives: Lifestyle

Back to My Roots

I’ve always loved writing. I’m not the best speaker and found writing really allows for me to express my thoughts and feelings.

I’ve been somewhat uninspired over the last few years. Sure, I’d write on the blog, but it wasn’t until I had my daughter did I really feel passionate about a topic to write about. You guessed it – everything about being a mommy!

I’m not the most serious of people, but did manage to squeeze out some emotions in my Babble piece about having a preemie. So, I’ve continued to write – sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, and found a great outlet in the Red Tricycle Spoke Contributor Network!

I’m really excited to share my thoughts and experiences on this wonderful platform! Here are my first two pieces:

My Gestational Diabetes Ignorance

Six Reasons It’s Time For Some “Me Time”

Hope you enjoy reading my pieces as much as I enjoy writing them!

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Body After Baby: My Journey

I’ve always been one of those people who doesn’t know how to take a compliment. I can’t just say, “thank you!” and walk away. I’ve always known this, but I’m noticing it more now as I get complimented on my body after giving birth. #humblebrag

I’m not gonna lie – I’m thrilled that I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes eight weeks after giving birth, and I’ll make you hate me even more: I didn’t have to break a sweat to do it.  I know women’s weight in general is a touchy subject, and recently, women’s weight after giving birth has become a hot-button issue, with articles popping up talking about how phrases like “getting your body back” should be banned. I think it’s things like that, that linger in the back of my head that make me uncomfortable when I get complimented on this particular issue. Like I’m supposed to, as a new mom, go through the right of passage of struggling to lose the baby-weight. I of course graciously say thank you, but then offer up the following explanations because although from the outside it may have looked like losing the baby-weight was easy, it still took its toll:

I’m breastfeeding

and

Oh, I also gave up dairy because I’m breastfeeding

and my favorite:

Well, I gave birth at almost 33 weeks, so I didn’t gain as much as most people

Ah, the good old, “I’m breastfeeding” excuse. It is a known fact that you do burn more calories while you’re breastfeeding because you’re body is working to make milk.  You know what isn’t easy? Breastfeeding! Breastfeeding is hard work. It’s exhausting. You are the sole provided for your baby. If you’re not breastfeeding, you’re pumping. So yes, I lost my pregnancy weight and I look great, but I’m exhausted, my boobs hurt and chances are I’m starving because you work up quite the appetite while breastfeeding.

Speaking of breastfeeding…There’s a chance if you’re breastfeeding you may have to cut out certain foods from your diet because it will upset baby, like dairy and soy for example. I’ve cut out both. I’m sure that’s difficult for just about anyone, but for myself in particular it flat out sucks because I’m a vegetarian. The bulk of my protein comes from dairy and soy-based meat-free products.  How do I get my protein now, you ask? My diet basically consists of hemp protein in my oatmeal, Amy’s non-dairy burritos, Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burgers, and walnuts. I found out early on in my mommy journey the things we will do for our kids. Sloane’s health and comfort comes before mine.

Lastly, we have the most uncomfortable excuse, the “I had a preemie,” excuse. Since I didn’t make it to 40 weeks I didn’t gain as much as someone who had a full-term pregnancy, therefore, I did not gain the weight the majority of women do, and in turn, did not have to lose that much weight. Instead of worrying about my post-baby weight I spent 10 emotionally grueling days in the NICU watching Sloane struggle to gain weight and keep her temperature regulated.

How’s that for conversation?

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Let’s Get HappiSnappi!

One of the many fun parts of being a mommy to a little girl is dressing her up!  In addition to the frills and tutus, there are headbands. Mommies, you know what I’m talking about – the headbands with the big flowers. There’s a part of me that finds them a little obnoxious, and then there’s a part of me that loves them!  A brand that allows for you to flex your creative muscles, and keep the obnoxious to a minimum is HappiSnappi!

With a simple snap, young girls can choose from a wide variety of snap-on/off floral embellishments that easily attach to the brand’s headbands, knit hats, necklaces, hair clips, and more. Every item has the same snaps, so you can mix and match embellishments with every piece, making the fashion possibilities endless.

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The brand isn’t just mix and match – it gives back! The company, created by child therapist Karlee Ohm and her nine-year-old daughter Peyton, donates one hat to a children’s hospital for every hat purchased. Additionally, the mommy/daughter duo teamed up with Sadie Keller, a brave and courageous 9-year-old who is fighting leukemia. In an effort to find a cure by bringing attention to the issue and donating proceeds to her cause, HappiSnappi will donate 50% of online sales to the Sadie Keller Foundation for the remainder of the year.

With the holidays just around the corner, this is a great gift for that special little girl in your life, with the added bonus of having proceeds go to charity. Prices range from $3.50 to $22.50.

My First Birthday As A Mommy

Today’s my 33rd birthday, and my first as a mommy! How exciting, yet, it doesn’t feel any different from previous birthdays. Should it?

Ready for birthday date-night with the hubby!

Ready for birthday date-night with the hubby!

Over the weekend, my husband and I went out to dinner for my birthday and we started talking about being parents. I told him I don’t feel like a mom. For example, people ask me, “Do you feel like a mom?” My answer is “no.”

Do I love being Sloane’s mommy? Absolutely! A lot of it, I think, has become second nature to me, that it doesn’t feel different because it’s just a part of who I am now. Also, not much of my life has changed. It’s not like I had to scale-back on partying or spending a lot of money on frivolous things. My husband and I aren’t drinkers and we don’t really go out to dinner much – I’d say we’re homebodies – so our overall lifestyle hasn’t changed. We’ve seamlessly incorporated her into our lives.

There’s a part of me that feels a little disappointed that I don’t feel different, especially on a day like my birthday. Maybe once I get home from work tonight and spend some time with her I’ll feel different. I love coming home to that little munchkin!

I’m A Mom!

It’s been a while! Here’s what I did on my “summer vacation:” I had a baby!  Sloane Raven Sage was born June 12, 2016…Seven. Weeks. Early.

Let me start at the beginning…

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, no major complaints, that is until my glucose test. I went into it under the impression that I had nothing to worry about. I ate fairly well (better than most of my other pregnant friends who didn’t have gestational diabetes [GD]), continued my pre-pregnancy workout regime of yoga and spin classes, and gained the right amount weight. When my initial test came back abnormal, I was shocked. When I went in for my three-hour glucose test, I was beyond nervous, and then devastated days later when I was diagnosed with GD. I have to say, my numbers were extremely borderline, but I’m told that does not matter when it comes to GD. Once I received the diagnosis, I had to set up appointments with the nutritionist to set up an eating plan and then learn how to test my blood.

Turns out these appointments were classes. The eating plan class was beyond overwhelming. I walked out defeated and crying. I basically had to relearn how to eat. Five meals a day, and making sure I paired my carbs with proteins. I’m a vegetarian on top of it all, so there was the extra layer of difficulty. Luckily, my husband is extremely health-conscience, and helped me with my meal plan and measuring everything out. My fears quickly eased and I felt much better.

Fast forward a week later, and I was in class learning how to test my blood. I was under the impression that it was something I was going to have to do six times a day. Turns out it was only four. Four was still a lot! Anyway, I was actually extremely nervous to prick myself. The finger tests always hurt so much! It took a few tries in class to actually get the blood, but I got it, and it was painless.

Now I was all set up on my fancy new app MySugrPro, and logging my carbs and blood sugar. It was thrilling to see my numbers in check and that eating well was paying off. It was still very stressful! Every piece of food I looked at was a number. I’d see a piece of fruit on a coworker’s desk and think, “I hope she pairs that with a protein!” I was completely consumed!

June 11, 2016: My baby shower!

baby girl shower

What a great day! My husband and best friend planned an amazing shower for me after a struggle with who would be able to put it together. Not long after we had booked it, my mom was unfortunately diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was scheduled for a hysterectomy shortly. We went back and forth as to if we should keep the shower, and mom was adamant that we move forward with it. She wanted to continue to help, but it really wasn’t feasible. The day was beautiful, spent with family and friends, with great food, and a fun photobooth!

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When we finally shlepped everything home, I took a nap while Steve put together the baby’s dresser. We then went grocery shopping, ate dinner and went to sleep.

At 1:30 AM, I got up to pee, as I typically did as a very pregnant lady. When I stood up, I peed a little. I brushed it off as, “Third Trimester Problems” and went to the bathroom. There was a tiny bit of blood, but I talked myself down from that, as well, since I bled in the first trimester. Went back to bed, and got right back up because it felt like I had to poop. Did my thing, went back to bed, and got right back up again. This went on for about 45 minutes, while Steve was sitting there Googling if it’s labor. Finally, I got back into bed, and couldn’t get comfortable, and that’s when I told Steve to call my doctor, who said to go the hospital.

The car ride over to the hospital was about 20 minutes, and I was definitely having contractions. Steve was timing them. When we got to the hospital, I went straight to the bathroom, where there was a ton of blood. After signing in, the nurses took me to the examining room where I was told I was 2cm dilated. They gave me magnesium and told me, “This is to stop the labor, but, it might not work.” The “might not work” part was stated over and over, and good thing, because it didn’t work.

I was taken to labor and delivery where I was told I was now 8cm dilated and I asked for my epidural. Just in time, right?! I feel like it took the anesthesiologist forever to come to the room and give it to me. Finally, the Dr. came in and said, “You’re fully dilated, plus one. You’re ready to push!”  The “plus one” threw me off, but OMG, I was about to push! I started at 6:45AM…and at 8:45AM, she finally came out!

They had the NICU staff on call since she was a 32-weeker (Guys, I was one day away from 33 weeks, and they kept referring to her as a 32-weeker. Drove me crazy!) They took her to the table where they were working on her (my husband didn’t get to cut the umbilical cord), it felt like an eternity, till finally they brought her over and said she’s fine! She was placed on my chest for about 30 seconds before bringing her down to the NICU. She needed no help breathing, but, obviously needed immediate attention.

Once they brought her down, they weighed her and measured her: 4lbs 7oz, 18 inches long, and was doing well! My husband was able to go down a few hours before me, and sent me tons of pictures in the meantime. It was sad to see her hooked up to so many wires, but I was still relieved to hear that she was OK!

We spent the next 10 days on pins and needles in the NICU.  As I mentioned earlier, we live about 20 minutes from the hospital, which isn’t bad, but were lucky enough to get set up next door at the Ronald McDonald House. At first I was super- uncomfortable about it because there were surely people more in need of it than us, but was told we wouldn’t have been given a room if that was the case. It was great because we stayed in the hospital till about 11pm and I walked over every morning for her 5:30am feeding.

Every morning was nerve-wracking. I’d walk in every day and ask the nurse, “How’d she do?!” Some days I’d get glowing reviews of how well she ate, other days she’d be back in the isolette, or back under phototherapy, and one day, they even had a feeding tube in her nose just in case. Good news: She never used it! Overall, she had pretty standard preemie issues: not holding her weight (she dropped down to 3lbs 9oz), not holding her body temperature, and jaundice.

As the days went by, as eager as I was to bring her home, the more nervous I got. Did you know they don’t send babies home based on weight anymore? We took her home at 4lbs 3oz! She needed to prove a few things before coming home: gaining weight without the fortifier, hold her temperature, and pass a car seat test. To this day, car seats still freak me out because of it. In case you’re wondering what it is. They place babies in the car seat for 90 minutes, and monitor them. If their heart rate drops below a certain point during those 90 minutes, they wait 24 hours, and try again. She passed on her first try. Honestly, I was shocked! I was so proud that she had passed her first ever test, though!

Nothing can ever prepare you for having a baby, especially a preemie, and then bringing that baby home! The love and support from friends and family, as well as everyone at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital where we were, and the Ronald McDonald House really helped us get through it! Sloane will be four months next week, is around 12 pounds, and is a happy and healthy baby!

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Share Confidence On International Women’s Day

It’s no secret that women love to dress themselves in dark colors. It’s slimming and chic. But did you know there is actual proof that dark colors boost confidence?

Last year, a survey of over 1,000 people was taken about colors they associate with various qualities such as attractiveness, intelligence, and confidence. Black was ranked as either number one or two in all positive qualities. Additionally, men and women alike find the opposite sex most attractive in the color.

Today, on International Women’s Day, Woolite wants to #ShareConfidence with this touching video of women being photographed and feeling confident in their dark clothes. With social media and the internet constantly boasting pics of over-photoshopped women, it’s so easy for women to feel insecure, and this video is not only refreshing to see women exuding confidence, but also how these women want to share their confidence with other women.

 

 

 

 

My First Ipsy Glam Bag

I’ve never been a huge fan of subscription boxes – They’re typically over-priced and impractical.  But a few weeks ago I was introduced to Ipsy. The selling point for me was the price, $10. I also liked that I was able to fill out a profile about my coloring and make-up preferences so the bag is tailored more to my liking.  My first bag arrived a few weeks ago, and to my surprise, I love it and have been using four of the five products…Daily!

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Let’s start with the eyeliner, it’s Mr. Write (Now) in Jac. I’ve never heard of this brand before, it seems to sell at various places for $17. That’s a far cry from the Maybelline and Cover Girl eyeliners I typically use! It’s a mechanical pencil, and the color, Jac, is a light brown, which I think goes well with my blue/grey eyes.

I’m not sure if the contents of the bag is meant to be used together, but I’ve been using the eyeliner with the eyeshadow it came with: Naked, Sierra Nevada. It’s a loose golden/brown powder that I’ve been applying with my finger. Actually, I apply most of make-up with my fingers, as I feel like I have more control that way. I usually wear a taupe color on my eyes, but I’m really liking the lighter gold shimmer, especially with the eyeliner up against it!

The bag also came with a blush stick, trèStique in Bora Bora Coral. I’ve never used a blush stick before, and to be quite honest, am still not sure if I’m using it correctly, but regardless, I like the look I’m getting from it! I draw a few lines on  my cheeks, then use my hands to rub it in. It gives my pale skin a nice rosey, porcelain doll-type look.

Lastly, I’ve been carrying around the Carrot + Rose hydrating cream, as my skin has been drier than usual so far this winter (I blame the pregnancy!). It’s a light and smooth cream that smells delicious!  I haven’t been using the tub of cream the bag came with, mainly because I have a giant tub of Palmer’s coco butter I use, but I’m sure I’d like it, especially based on my love for the rest of the bag!

Let’s not forget the bag itself that the products come in. It’s SO CUTE, and practical for travel! I know I’m not going to be traveling much this year, but I think I’ll be storing my makeup in there for when the time comes to deliver the baby!

Here’s a close-up of the finished product:

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