Everything You Need to Know About Essential Oils + Giveaway

I’m very excited to introduce you to my guest blogger today, Shelby Nowak. Shelby is a friend, a fellow mom and an expert on the hot topic of essential oils. I learned so much by reading her article and I hope you find it useful as well. Plus, enter to win some Essential Oils by entering the giveaway at the end of this post! Without further ado, here’s Shelby:

Hi! I’m Shelby.  Wife and mom to 2 beautiful little ones.  Life is hectic and crazy, but fun.  Our family is not the ultra-crunchy granola type.  But while I was pregnant and having problems with reflux, I found essential oils to offer amazing relief without having to resort to medications.  This led to our family using oils for all sorts of other problems.  Oils are a part of our everyday life now, and I love it!  I use frankincense for my skin, which helps with skin tone, aging and breakouts. I use lavender for my kids when they have minor injuries. I love the Thieve’s cleaner for our house, eliminating the need for toxic chemicals while still killing 99.6% of household germs.  Essential oils are great for families with children looking for clean alternatives to many products for children, and to help mamas with stress, sleep, and other concerns.  Interested but overwhelmed?  Here’s an introduction for you:

essential oils

Essential Oil Basics

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic compounds from plants.  A wide variety of different essential oils are available, and may be produced from seeds, bark, leaves, flowers, roots or peels of some fruits.  Essential oils are more than just pleasant smells though, and can provide many therapeutic benefits.

What kinds of things can you use essential oils for?

Anything really!  Oils can be beneficial to anyone, for a variety of physical and mental health complaints as well as for general wellness.  Some of the most common uses for oils include  helping with sleep, skin conditions such as acne and eczema, pain complaints, cold/flu symptoms, anxiety or depressed mood, promoting relaxing and relieving stress.

How do I use them?

Oils can be used topically, diffused into the air, and some oils can be ingested.  Oils can also be used for making personal care and cleaning products.  In general when used topically oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil or jojoba.  Use the same quality of oils that you can cook with and consume, as the oils are absorbed through your skin.  If diffused it is best to use an ultrasonic diffuser that does not use any heat as this can destroy many of the therapeutic properties of the oil.  Take particular care with ingestion of essential oils.  If you are not well versed in aromatherapy I suggest consulting with someone who is prior to ingestion of oils.  In particular be very careful about the brand you choose to ingest as oils are not regulated and many are contaminated with chemicals, pesticides or synthetics.

Safety precautions for oils?

In general oils should be diluted.  There are some exceptions to this rule.  Oils should generally not be used for babies less than 6 months of age, with the exception of a diffuser in the general area of an infant which is considered acceptable.  There are some exceptions to this as well, for example lavender and chamomile. Certain oils should be avoided with seizure disorder and during pregnancy. Please consult with someone comfortable with aromatherapy, or your medical provider or a naturopath for more details.

Great!  Where can I get oils?

Please be careful, do your research, and find a company that you can trust. Oils are not created equally!  There is a wide range of prices for essential oils, and this is because quality and purity vary greatly.  Unfortunately “100% pure” on a label does not necessarily mean the oil is really pure. Consider how the oils are distilled – steam distillation or cold-pressed are preferred.  Many of the cheaper brands obtain oils by solvent extraction, using chemicals to obtain the compounds. These types of oils should never be ingested and I wouldn’t recommend using them topically either.  My personal favorite and what I choose to use for my family is Young Living Essential Oils.

After extensive research I chose Young Living oils for the following reasons:

1. Young Living has a Seed To Seal Guarantee. They are the only company in the world that owns their own farms and distills many of their own oils.  They’ve been around for 20 years.  The farms are open to the public and you can see how they operate and even participate in harvest or distillation if you choose!  I love this transparency.  Every other company buys their product from third party growers usually in foreign countries where they give 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th distillations whereas Young Living only gives 1st distillations so their oils are much more potent and provide many more therapeutic benefits.

2. Oils from the health food store are aroma-grade oils and may smell good, but they do not offer the same therapeutic benefits because most of them contain less than 5% pure essential oil. YL oils are 100% pure with nothing ever added, or taken away.

3. Many essential oils have expiration dates, YL oils do not. Properly stored 100% pure essential oils (excluding citrus) won’t ever go bad and will last indefinitely. If an essential oil has an expiration date, it isn’t pure or has been cut with a carrier oil which will eventually go rancid.

4. Over 50 hospitals in the USA are now using YL oils, including the Cleveland Clinic.

5. YL carries 87 single oils and 70 blends (with more coming!) But, if an oil doesn’t pass YL’s strict quality standards they won’t offer it for sale so sometimes not all of these oils are available until they can get more.

6. Only 2% of essential oils sold in North America are suitable for medicinal/therapeutic purposes, and Young Living makes 98% of them!

7. Young Living oils meet all industry AFNOR and ISO standards and are subjected to isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) analysis which determines whether a particular essential oil is naturally sourced or synthetic (created in a lab).

8. I saved the BEST FOR LAST: Apothecary Society. This is a fabulous secret Facebook group for people who use, or are curious about using YL oils. Without the people in this group, I would be so completely lost with what to do with all of my little bottles of oils! Great information – tips and tricks, recipes/etc. Come join us!|

If you are interested in learning more, I teach free classes at Ollie and Me in Carlsbad, CA:

Shelby.Nowak@gmail.com

760-420-8859

Facebook – Shelby Nowak

Enter to Win:

Enter to win a lemon or pepermint essential oil! Two winners will be randomly selected next Tuesday, October 7, 2014.
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My Writing Process Blog Tour

I met Olivia Howell through the site, Rookie Moms, as we’re both first time moms participating in the 52 weekly challenges. I love her blog, The Lovely Sisters, where she blogs alongside her sister about all things style, baby, weddings and really, anything considered lovely. We also share a deep-rooted love for some of the same musicians, James Taylor and Van Morrison! The best.

I also really look up to Olivia as a great writer which is why I was so excited when she invited me to join in the “My Writing Process Blog Tour,” which is a really fun way to see how different bloggers approach the thought-development and writing process. The idea is for me to answer the following 4 questions, so my readers can get an idea of the thought process that goes into my blog posts. So, without further ado, here’s my blog tour:

(1) What are you working on?

My passion project with this blog is the Fab Moms series because I personally LOVE reading other moms’ stories. After I read each guest blogger’s post, I truly come away inspired in one way or another. So, I’m on the search for more Fab Moms to feature!

I’m also really loving my Whine & Dine series and am getting some great feedback from restaurants in the area inviting me to come and experience their venue with my family. As a new mom and a foodie, it was sometimes hard to decipher if some of the nicer, trendier restaurants were family friendly or not. I think my Whine & Dine series continues to highlight amazing venues and great cuisine in a, surprisingly, family friendly environment.

And, of course, I’m always searching for the “golden” posts – the ones where I can share some raw, more personal insights into “mom life”. I think those touch my readers the most.

(2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are definitely a ton of other fantastic blogs out there that focus on being a first time mom, but with The Mommy Project, San Diego, I try to keep it pretty light-hearted. I’m the type of person that will just laugh at myself if I trip and fall, so I think my blog sort of reflects that “laughing at myself” type of mentality as I navigate motherhood. However, along with the hilarious moments I’ll occasionally share some of the “doomsdays” because I don’t want to fool anyone into thinking that my family and I live in some perfect little bubble over here – motherhood is hard.

I also try to make my blog useful for local parents – highlighting great restaurants, attractions, businesses and outings for moms and families to explore and enjoy with their babies in San Diego. The Rookie Moms Challenges got me thinking this way and once I started with the challenges, exploring this city through new eyes (with a baby in tow), I wanted to share all of these great, sometimes hidden, gems I was coming across.

(3) Why do I write what I do?

First and foremost, I’ve always loved writing. In the 5th grade my teacher told me that one day he was going to stand in line to have me sign a book for him because he really believed I would publish my own book one day. That has really stuck with me and, although publishing a book is a long-term goal of mine, I started this blog to chronicle being a first time mom. With my new title as “Stay at Home Mom” and this life-altering transition before me, I thought this blog would be the perfect outlet to share my experiences that, hopefully, would resonate with other moms. From time to time I will do sponsored posts (It’s nice to receive some fruit for my labor) but the main point of this blog is to write, to share, and to connect.

(4) How does my writing process work?
I’m actually quite moody when it comes to my writing. I never write just for the sake of writing because I find that I will put out less-than-stellar articles when I do this. I need to be moved by something; an idea, an experience, a cool restaurant or activity. Blog post ideas usually come to me suddenly and I typically write the “idea” of the post down in my notes app on my phone so I don’t forget. I then think and ponder over the idea (in my mind) for a few days before I start typing. After I type out the first draft, I sit on it for a couple of days, tweaking it, re-reading it first thing in the mornings while my mind is fresh. Hitting the “Publish” button always requires a deep breath in and a deep breath out and a quick click. :)

There have been a handful of times when I was so excited about an idea or a post that I had basically written the entire article in my head before typing a word. Then from time to time you may see my blog go silent for a week or so – that’s because I’m not inspired to write anything (or I don’t have any time because I’m chasing around my adorable little 8 month old). Like I said, I’m very moody with my writing and I need a spark – something that triggers an idea for a post, and then my mind just works it out from there.

Thank you for your interest in my writing process. The second part of this Blog Tour is to share some of my favorite bloggers, so here they are, in no particular order:

Oakland Avenue

I’ve featured Laura on my Fab Moms series, I was a guest blogger on her site sharing my New Mom Confessions and her blog remains at the top of my daily reading list. I love her honest approach to being a first time mom and her dash of humor keeps me coming back for more. I’m also a huge fan of her This is how I feel series. If you’re a parent, these are absolutely hilarious.

Chic/Social SF

My bestie, Meg, recently started this amazing blog in San Francisco talking about all things SF – restaurants, fashion and design. I just LOVE this line from her “about” page:

So, in a city of Lost Boys, this site is for the Tinkerbells. The dreamers. The dare-to-believers. The ones who don’t take No for an answer and who live life with moxie.

That’s just SO Meg, and I love it and you must follow along with her adventures in SF!

San Diego Mom’s Night Out

Technically,  is this cheating because I also write for this site? (Hope not!) But I wanted to include SD Mom’s Night Out because Angela and I go way back and I’ve worked with her on several events while I was in the hotel business, and now as a mom. She was also a huge inspiration for me in starting my own blog.

SD Mom’s Night Out is not only a blog, but a wonderful, local community of influential women who get together for regular events to celebrate some amazing San Diego venues and businesses. Their events never disappoint and I’m happy to be a part of the talented team over there!

Reverie Print Shop

 

Monday Mashup

The bad news is, it’s Monday. But the good news is that it’s the first Monday of the summer (cue Kenny Chesney’s Summertime) and I have an all new Monday Mashup for you!

I first want to congratuate Tiffany Gramajo who won 2 tickets to SD Mom’s Night Out Relax in Style event on July 10 from my sweepstake that ended last night! Congratulations Tiffany and I can’t wait to see you there! (You may still purchase tickets with a $5 discount when you enter code: MPSD5 at this link: http://bit.ly/sdmno-relax-in-style

Now here’s this week’s Monday Mashup!

  1. Make Your Own Family Cookbook: How cute is this idea from the Clover Lane blog? Make your own family cookbook with family recipes and photos and then give it to your children when they move out of the house or get married one day. I love this because Mike and I are always asking our parents to send us certain recipes from our childhood.
  2. $30 to Zenni Optical: If you’re in the market for new eyeglasses, I’m giving away a $30 gift card for any eyeglass frame purchase on Zenni Optical’s website. The gift card will go to the first person who contacts me at: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com (Terms and Conditions: Must “like” Mommy Project, San Diego on Facebook and follow MommyProjectSD on Instagram). 
  3. Playtex Baby Giveaway: I saw on Rookie Moms that Playtex Baby is offering custom hand-illustrated pictures and stories for your little one. Enter for a chance to win a hand-illustrated tale or a $5,000 scholarship from Playtex Baby here.
    Playtex Baby
  4. Summer Cocktails: Check out this amazing summer cocktails list from Kelli Flores the blog – everything looks so refreshing and pretty. She had me at the Champagne Grapefruit Mojito – mind blown! Can’t wait to make this at our next backyard BBQ.
  5. San Diego Fireworks Shows: Making plans for the 4th of July in San Diego? With so many different firework shows happening in San Diego, it’s hard to keep them all straight! Check out So Cal Savvy Mom’s extensive list of firework shows happening all over the county – so helpful! I can’t wait to celebrate my favorite holiday!
    San Diego fireworks

Have a great week!

Monday Mashup…on Wednesday

This week’s Monday Mashup is coming to you on Wednesday because I was on vacation this past Memorial Day weekend so I’m a couple of days behind! Hope you’re all having a wonderful hump day! In no particular order, here’s what I’m loving this week:

  1. Growing Child: My fabulous, fellow mommy friend who blogs over at Little Better Halves alerted me to this cool service for parents. Growing Child is a monthly newsletter that follows your child as he/she grows and helps you understand what he/she is learning and how you can help him/her develop. It also gives great tips about how to deal with each month’s changes and challenges as your babe grows. Can’t wait to check this out!
  2. Little Mizz Kit: I had the pleasure of meeting the Founder of Little Mizz Kit last week and as she was describing her business, I immediately fell in love with the product. Little Mizz Kit is a monthly hands on activity kit for parents and their daughters aimed to provide bonding opportunities and building confidence in young girls. How cool is that? I received the first welcome kit and I can’t wait to complete the  different activities with Blake – focused around arts & crafts, fitness, nutrition, life lessons and how-to instructions. I also love this company because a portion of their proceeds go to March of Dimes.
    little mizz kit
  3. Samsung S5: I did it – I jumped ship from the iPhone (gassssp). But before you judge, check out the new Samsung S5 – its camera is phenomenal, photos and data are stored on your Google account so you don’t run out of memory and, drum roll please, it’s waterproof. So far I’m loving this new phone! #Expectmore
    samsung_galaxy_s5
  4. Family Sleep Event: Don’t miss JenniJune’s workshop as she discusses tactics to help your little one take longer naps and sleep through the night. Guests will also receive amazing swag bags and the opportunity to shop some of the best baby gear on the market. The tour kicks off in San Diego and Del Mar this coming weekend and then heads across the US! Receive $5 off your ticket when you register with code: MOMMYPROJECT.
  5. Just Four Paws, Inc.: San Diego readers, if you’re looking for great pet sitting services including daily walks, overnight sitters or a pet taxi service, Just Four Paws is fantastic! While we were out-of-town this past weekend, we used Just Four Paws, Inc. to watch Tucker and I was extremely impressed with their services. They texted me with a photo of Tuck every day and every night and we came  home to a detailed note from the sitter along with a happy pup! I’m excited to have found a trustworthy, local pet service!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

 

10 Things I Would Tell My Pre-Baby Self

Dear Pre-Baby Kristin:

  1. You know how you think that labor is going to be really hard? Well, it’s going to be even harder than you can ever imagine, so BUCKLE UP, sister.
  2. SLEEP. Forget whatever you think you have to do that is more important than sleep…it’s not. Just go to bed and enjoy a solid 9 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye.
  3. Do more exercises to strengthen your back and arm muscles. You’re going to have an ever-growing little weight in your arms 24/7.
  4. Breastfeeding is harder than you think and will be a constant worry of yours when the babe is here – prepare yourself and go into it with the right mindset.
  5. Appreciate the simplicity of your life right now – like going to the grocery store, going to get coffee or even just taking a walk. Things are about to get a whole lot more complicated with strollers, diaper bags and a tiny little human.
  6. I know you have big plans for your career after the baby is born, but be prepared to pump the brakes a little bit in the beginning.  You’ll come to realize, raising a baby is a full time job.
  7. When I say raising a baby is a full time job, I really mean it’s a 24/7 job – and it will be your hardest one yet. But don’t worry, it’s also the most rewarding.
  8. Right now you’re the most selfish you’ll ever be – enjoy it! Do what you want to do whenever you want to do it. Soon your daughter will be your number one priority.
  9. I know you think that having a dog is good practice for having a baby,  but it doesn’t even come close, sister. Sure, it’s a step in the right direction but, nope – not even close.
  10. I know you think that you will love your baby a lot, but the truth is – you can’t yet comprehend this type of love. This love gets you out of bed every 2 hours to take care of your baby, without any hesitation. This love keeps you up at night worrying that you’re doing enough for your baby. This love makes you blind to all of the things that you previously considered “gross” – poopy diapers, snot and baby spit-up. This love will send you on an emotional roller coaster – creating so much joy that you think your heart will burst,  creating doubt and feeling more lost than you’ve ever felt and feeling the most complete in your entire life. Embrace each emotion – this is all a part of the journey called motherhood.

What would you tell your pre-baby self? Let me know in the comments below!

pre-baby self

Spring has Sprung: 5 New Goals

Happy first day of spring! There’s something about the first day of spring that just screams new beginnings. The flowers blooming, the birds chirping, Tucker chasing the birds that are chirping…

I always like to set little goals for myself right around this time, because, let’s be honest, my New Year’s resolutions don’t always stick at first (I think everyone needs a good couple of months after the holidays to recover and regroup).

So, in no particular order, here is my list of 5 goals for Spring 2014:

1. Exercise More: I know,I know, SO predictable. But after my Fit, Fab Feb, I pretty much fell off the wagon. With this warm weather upon us, thinking about getting back into a bikini after having a baby is probably the scariest thing I’ve faced since a man with a chain saw chased me at a haunted house two Halloween’s ago (and that was TERR-I-FY-ING)! That being said, I MUST find the time to workout. And “finding the time” has come to mean, incorporating Blake into my workouts. Here are some great links featuring workouts that incorporate your baby. Blake and I tried a few of these and Blake laughed the whole time – so much fun!

2. Entertain in our Backyard: Pre-baby I use to love to entertain at our house. Strike that, pre-pregnancy! I tried to entertain a few times while I was prego and the whole, being too tired to enjoy the party and not being able to indulge in an adult-beverage with my guests, really just put a kibosh on the whole thing. But, now that Blake is a little older and not crying every hour, I can’t wait to host some fun spring and summer parties in our backyard! After finding this awesome lantern at HomeGoods and digging out this cool book from the closet, I’m ready to start planning some par-ties!

outdoor entertaining

Get your party pants on and follow my Outdoor Entertaining Pinterest Board for inspiration!

3. Plan Summer Vacations: Some of the best memories from my childhood were while we were on vacation. I can’t wait to take Blake on so many fun adventures, exploring new cities and countries. I want her to know how to get dirty while roughing it camping but also how to dress up for afternoon tea in Paris. (Check out more of my hopes for her, written before she was even born). I just can’t wait to show her the world!  This summer we’ll be taking her to Lake Tahoe, Colorado and the Outer Banks to start. So much planning, so little time!

4. Launch my Business: It’s official – I won’t be returning to Hyatt after my maternity leave. After living and breathing that job for 4 years, it’s time for me to take the next step professionally and launch my own marketing consulting business. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but finally life seems to be just where it should be in order to take this next step. It will also allow me a flexible schedule to be a full-time “Mommy” to Miss Blake. So, with one client strong, I’m launching KH Marketing in the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll even throw a Launch Party to also help with my goal #2?

KH Marketing

5. Teach Blake How to Walk: Juuust kidding – the child is not even 4 months old! But, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. Her belly laughing and now, rolling over are so adorable I just don’t know how she’s going to top those. (Somehow, I know she will). :)

baby girl spring fashion

Happy Spring!

 

Rookie Moms Challenge #5: Practice Yoga Baby Style

This past week Blake and I completed the 7th Rookie Mom’s Challenge: Practice Yoga Baby Style. This was easily my favorite Rookie Moms Challenge to date. I had taken a few prenatal yoga classes at Soul of Yoga in Encinitas while I was prego and I always wanted to come back with the babe to try out the “Mommy and Me” Yoga class. That’s why I was excited to see this challenge on the Rookie Moms list of 52 Weekly Challenges.

On the way to the class, we did start off a little rocky with Blake’s crying protest – Oh, the NERVE of me putting her in her car seat! It crossed my mind to turn around and try this class again the following week, but I figured she was dressed (in her most fitting baby yoga attire nonetheless), fed and changed so there was no stopping us now! The Yoga gods must have shone down on us because the second we walked into that studio she stopped crying. Namaste!

Nursing and Crying and Blowouts, oh my!

The class was full of babies all around Blake’s age. I had even invited some of my mommy play group members to come along and experience the fun (and they did)! You could see the slight fear on all of us baby-yoga-first-timers’ faces – what if our baby started crying during class? What if she needed to eat or be changed? All of these worries were immediately put to ease when the instructor began the class with, “Anything goes here – feel free to breastfeed, change diapers, and do whatever it is you need to do to make this enjoyable for you and your baby.” (I could almost hear the sigh of relief from some of the moms, me included – this was a safe zone)! And boy did we all take her up on that: Poop blowouts, crying babies and breastfeeding were going on all around us at all times. As soon as one baby was content, another one would need to be fed, or changed or rocked – it was glorious!

“Don’t Act Like You’re Not Impressed”

Of course Blake needed a diaper change about half way through, which wasn’t worrisome to me anymore, because, as we all had heard – this was perfectly acceptable right dab in the middle of class! What WAS worrisome, was when I realized that I was down to my last diaper in my bag – a.k.a. my “backup” diaper because it was one from my baby shower game where everyone writes funny sayings on the diapers. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about – check it out here). I laughed to myself because what are the chances that we’d be caught in a “spotlight” change situation (in the middle of a circle with everyone staring) where I have to whip out the diaper that says (in huge sharpie ink), “Don’t Act Like You’re Not Impressed” (Anchorman…anyone?). I paused for a moment, hoped that the other mothers played the same game at their showers and proceeded with the change.

Baby Yoga

The instructor came around the room and banged her little gong in front of each baby’s face, asking each one if they were ready for yoga. Blake’s eyes have never been wider when she saw and heard the gong – oh yea, she was ready! :) The first part of the class was all about “baby yoga” stretching their little arms and legs, singing yoga songs (to the tune of common nursery rhymes) and then giving them soothing massages. It was probably the cutest thing I have EVER seen – and Blake was loving it.

The second part was all about mom – practicing the typical beginner yoga poses while our babies looked up at us from the mats (Blake thought it was hilarious when I did poses dangling over her – funny mommy).

Soul of Yoga

The last part of the class incorporated the babies and moms – swinging the babies around, practicing different poses while holding the babies, etc. This is about when Blake reached her yoga limit and started wailing – just in time for the…breath in, breath out…Namaste! We made it! :) 
– See more at: http://www.rookiemoms.com/badges-and-buttons/#sthash.5L8Ztgat.dpuf

My Top 9 Valentine’s Day Looks for Baby

Now that I have a beautiful daughter, I look forward to dressing her up in adorable outfits for each holiday. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I began searching Pinterest for the cutest outfits to help celebrate this love-filled holiday. Here are my top 9 faves (for boys and girls):

Valentine's Day Baby Outfits

1. Heart Graphic Jersey Fleece Hoodie for Baby from Old Navy

2. LOVE Sequin Headband from SHOP by Monika

3. Cherokee Newborn Girls’ Heart Striped Coverall – Pink from Target

4. Intarsia Love Hat & Mitten Set from Gap

5. Jersey Top – Gold & Leopard from H&M

6. Intarsia Heart Sweater Dress from Gap

7. Valentine’s Day Bows from Posies Handmade Pretties on Etsy

8.  Valentine’s Boy Tie and Suspenders Bodysuit with Heart Applique and Red Heart Leg Warmers by Chic Couture Boutique on Etsy

9. Feather Pixie Crown “Seashell” by A Tiny Arrow on Etsy

Two Golden Nuggets for Today

The old General Manager at my hotel use to come in my office almost every day and ask “do you have any golden nuggets for me today?” He wanted me to tell him any piece of good news as it related to marketing our hotel, so I’d always make sure I had something great to report to him.

Well, today I have TWO great “golden nuggets” of my own to share (not related to marketing a hotel, but more geared towards my current situation – Mommyhood)!

#1 – Blake slept for four hours straight last night! FOUR. HOURS. Now, before you conclude that I’ve completely lost my mind and that four hours is not something to brag about – let me tell YOU that she has previously only been sleeping for two hours at a time – sometimes only one hour! So she has doubled her sleep time, which means that I have doubled my sleep time, literally overnight! My four hours of sleep felt like 12 hours to my sleep-deprived body and I awoke feeling fresh as a daisy! (I also frantically checked to make sure she was still breathing because I couldn’t believe it had been 4 hours of uninterrupted snoozing)!
Sometimes it’s the little things that can change your life! 😉

#2 – I came across an awesome blog post on Dear Brynlee’s Blog that really resonated with me. Find it here.

In summary, she writes about how she previously thought that stay at home moms were lazy and that she could never be a stay at home mom – all until she had her first born and realized just how much work goes into raising a child.

This really hit home because I too have always been very skeptical of stay at home moms “living the good life” while we worker bees have to live day in and day out at our actual jobs. I also thought that while I was on maternity leave with baby I’d have dinner ready every night when my husband got home, house cleaned, and laundry done – I thought I’d just be twiddling my thumbs in boredom. Welp, I just want to go back in time and slap myself silly for thinking such absurd thoughts.

Being a mom is hard work! And when you’ve reached your wits end you can’t just pack up for the day and head home…you are home…and being a mom is a 24/7 job. And forget about doing anything else productive with your day like cooking and cleaning – all of your time is consumed with your precious little babe (at least when they are so small – I’ll have to report back once she gets a little older). To put it simply, being a mom is like getting hired for the most important job of your life and then living at that job 24/7. And a huge shout out to the Moms who have more than one child – I don’t know how you do it ladies but BRA-VO (slow clap standing ovation)! You are my idols!

The great part about all of this is that I absolutely love being a mom and being on maternity leave with my little babe. There’s no other place I’d rather be than here with Blake experiencing the world again for the first time through her eyes. Every moment is precious and I never want it to end!

The Top 10 Maternity Outfits I’m Loving for Fall

I just need to get this off my chest – most maternity clothes are not cute. In fact, most are a single thread away from hideous. I was just about to write-off maternity clothes altogether and accept my dreaded fate of wearing my husband’s oversized t-shirts and sweatpants when I came across some great brands who offer some (dare I say it out loud) stylish pieces. Because who says pregnant women can’t rock the latest fashion trends?

Here are my Top 10 maternity outfit picks that I’m loving for Fall 2013:

1. Isabella Oliver Leather Legging from ASOS: I’ve been pinning tons of leather pants on my My Style Pinterest board, promising myself that next fall/winter I’d be able to wear this trendy piece. But alas, Elizabeth Oliver came to the rescue with maternity leather leggings, available at ASOS!

Isabella Oliver Leather Legging from ASOS

2. Isabella Oliver Swing Dress from ASOS: The perfect casual dress for San Diego “fall” weather! Just add some trendy ankle boots and this look is complete!

Isabella Oliver Swing Dress from ASOS

3. Luxlight Rugby Stripe Pullover from Gap Maternity: If this piece is not Sunday-football worthy then I don’t know what is.  So cute, I want one in every color.

Luxlight rugby stripe pullover from Gap maternity

4.  Mama Dress from H&M: I think they meant hot Mama in the description. Can you ever go wrong with a piece from H&M? (the answer is no.) Love the color and the belt and I especially love this with tights and ankle boots!

Mama Dress H&M

5. Maternity Exclusive Body-Conscious Dress In Lace With Ribbon Detail from ASOS: Perfect for any fancy event scheduled this Fall. Also looks good with a mock-tini in hand.

Maternity Exclusive Body-Conscious Dress In Lace With Ribbon Detail from ASOS

6. Maternity Midi Tulip Dress With Ruching from ASOS: I’m just so excited that this dress comes in navy! Classic, gorgeous and a must-have for any special occasion happening between the months of September and November.

Maternity Midi Tulip Dress With Ruching from ASOS

7.  The Hang-out Dress from Hatch CollectionComfort and style meets shabby-chic. I like how this look is easy and comfortable (two big pluses when you’re pregnant).

the hang-out dress from hatch collection

8.  Mama Jersey Top from H&M: Simple and easy to pair with any skinny maternity jeans or leggings.

mama jersey top - H&M

9.  Maternity Knitted Dress With V Neck and Pleated Waist from ASOS: the pleated waist and v-neck make this a prego show-stopper. It would also look great with some textured tights and ankle boots.

Maternity Knitted Dress With V Neck and Pleated Waist from ASOS

10. Madison Marcus Long Sleeve Zip Front Maternity Sweater from A Pea in the Pod: I can’t help but love everything in stripes this year. The zipper makes it unique and stylish and are those (gasp) leather pants to pair this with? Amazing!

Madison Marcus Long Sleeve Zip Front Maternity Sweater

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