MIA – Week Four

Here we are, week four, the final post in my MIA series. Thank you to all of those who have been reading and reaching out to me as I have gone on this little journey through the month.

I have been reflecting a lot on why I started, what I wanted to be doing with the website, and where I am currently at in all areas of life. In some ways, I have certainly come a long way, in others, I think I maybe just tried too hard.

I believe I wanted to “do it all”. Outfit posts, business/product sharing, inspirations, recipes, etc. Which is all great, and I can do all of those things; however, I was trying to do it all at once, and at times, in a matter of a post a day. It all started off really well. I was able to reach people and grow a small following. I was even invited to be a guest on Local Lifestyles, our local morning TV show, which lead me to do an amazing and very fun photo shoot with Christy Lively Photography; the picture above is from that session.

I was able to get outfits together, find great businesses to share (which can still be found on my Shops I Love page!), and whipped up some great smoothies. I have learned that I should have taken my time in sharing though! I stated to realize that I was struggling a little to find something to share, what would people like, what would work, what wouldn’t?  I have taken so much time these last couple of months and learned how to plan out all areas of my life better, including my website.

I allowed the pressure of it all to get to me, and to make me feel like I HAD to post everyday. But, I don’t, it’s my site. I can post and share when I want to, when I have time. I can plan out posts in advance more, and create more “series” to help me organize my thoughts and help others.

I have started working on myself physically as well, and am starting to feel “better in my own skin”. I am looking forward to starting back into some Outfit Inspiration posts. I am hoping to have some fun food inspirations as well!

I want to hear from YOU though! What are some of the things I have done that you have liked? Is there anything you want to see more of, or that I haven’t done that you would like me to do?

Thank you again for being here, your support is wonderful!

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Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Looking for something quick and easy to take to Thanksgiving this week? These muffins are so good, easy to make, and are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

My dear friend, Natalie, told me about these a couple of months ago. I changed up a few things, and think she’ll be okay with them.

Ingredients:

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix

1 15oz Can Pumpkin

1 Tsp Vanilla

1 Tsp Cinnamon*

1/2 Tsp Ginger*

1/4 Tsp Nutmeg*

1/4 Tsp Cloves*

*All Ground

NOTE: You will NOT need the eggs, oil, or water listed on the back of the cake mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare mini-muffin tin pan with with mini cupcake papers, or with non-stick cooking spray. (I use cooking spray.)

In a small bowl, combine the ground spices, mix well.

In large mixing bowl, combine the spices and cake mix until well blended.

Add entire can of pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix throughly, scraping the bowl as needed.

Once mixed, transfer batter into a gallon sized Ziploc bag, snip off one of the corners of the bottom of the bag.

Squeeze batter into muffin pan filling almost to the top. You should have enough batter to make all 24 muffins.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

If preparing for an event, place muffins in towel lined basket and wrap to keep warm.

I also spread out matching napkins in a carrying basket to create a nice presentation.

Muffins can also be stored in a Tupperware container and stay very (yes, I’m going to use *that* word), moist,

Optional additions:

1/2 Cup Mini-Chocolate Chips, add to batter during the mixing process.

Serve muffins with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.

Enjoy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

MIA – Week Three

 

Week Three

As time continued on, I was happy that I was able to find my way out of the Postpartum Depression. I also began to feel little more like I had a some control on myself and the “new normal” of adding second child to our family. We were finding a rhythm to our day, as well as a good nap schedule!

Coming out of this fog was a really great feeling. Our oldest daughter was doing great in school, and loved being a big sister. Mark helped out at home where he could, and I am forever thankful for his support and understanding. 

In June of this year, we had the chance to go home to Oregon to visit my family and our friends. Traveling with a 10.5 month old is about as fun as it sounds at times, however, we all did great and managed wonderfully on the flights.

We were able to do so much while there, and see so many friends. We stayed with my parents so we had a lot of family time. We also got to spend a few days on the Oregon Coast, which is my favorite place. We got to relax a little and just enjoy being a family of four. 

It was during this time that I began to think a little differently about the blog and gave myself some grace regarding it. I was a new mom, I had a family and a life that wasn’t happening in a screen. It was okay for me to take this time for ME, my daughters, and my husband.

I can be completely open and share that I was certainly struggling with my “post-baby body” and it was natural not to feel like doing outfits posts. I had to remind myself that it was okay to take a step back from everything, focus on what truly matters in my life. I had found my love of reading again, even joined my local Barnes & Noble Book Club, and was enjoying life with two beautiful daughters and wonderful husband. It is a very freeing feeling when you decide to give yourself time and understanding, rather than beat yourself up over somethings that are out of your control. It is okay to allow yourself space, to not feel like you have to try to do it all. 

It may have taken awhile, and I still have a long way to go, but at least I am starting to navigate this new area of life, of understanding and patience for myself. No one can do it all, not even me. 

MIA – Week Two

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read Week One, I appreciate the support!

Week Two

Our daughter made her arrival toward the end of July 2017, and I am pretty sure we spent those first 48 hours in the hospital just staring happily at her. The day it was time to go home, I held her in my arms and cried on my husband’s shoulder. “She’s ours, she’s really ours, and we get to take her home.” I was so happy my heart burst open; it was the best feeling could have after all we had gone through. All of that waiting, those months of hoping we’d find out we were expecting, only to find out we weren’t, lead us to this wonderful amazing day, she was here, she was ours, we were going home.

My parents had come in from Oregon to help with our oldest daughter, and for a bit after we got home. Having them here for two weeks was so wonderful. They took Riley on great adventures, cooked meals, snuggled baby Tenley, and helped however they could. My husband also took that time off from work. He popped into the office from time to time, but otherwise he was home. Riley was at the end of her summer break, so my house was full of company and happiness. I felt like I was always surrounded by love.

Then it seemed as if I had the rug pulled out from under me. The two weeks was up. My parents had to go back to Oregon, my husband had to go back to work, and two days later our oldest started school started. After having two weeks of support and love all around, suddenly, I was alone, with a newborn.

Of course I knew it was going to be an adjustment. Adding a newborn always is as such. I now had to plan out our day to be ready to get Riley from school in the afternoons, amongst other things, all around feedings and numerous baby naps. I wasn’t going to figure it out day one, I knew that. What I didn’t see (or feel) at first, was slowly creeping in.

I was bummed out my parents had to go home, of course, I missed them and had days where I felt sad; but that wasn’t all that was going on. Everything soon began to feel like the biggest task. I felt heavy, and as if I couldn’t smile. About one month in to having a newborn, the Postpartum Depression had arrived. When I say nearly everything was hard, I mean it. Caring for Tenley seemed to be the only thing I could do.

Sometimes it comes in like a flood, other times it slowly rises and you can’t even fully tell it is happening. All you know is that something is wrong, off. One day in particular I just couldn’t even feel really anything. I have dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my life, however, PPD is a different beast. I did what I could to get through my day, but all I wanted to do was to disappear with my baby.

One evening, I basically did just that. I just couldn’t do anything anymore, even sitting in the living room was too much. My husband was making dinner, our oldest was hanging out in the dining/kitchen area. I had been nursing the baby on the couch and she started to doze off a little. Without saying anything, I just got up off the couch, went upstairs to our bedroom, gently laid her in her Rock N Play Sleeper (best thing ever for newborns), and just laid on my bed feeling numb.

The picture above was taken during that moment. She held my finger for a bit and that was everything to me, that seemed to be the only thing I could feel. My husband and oldest daughter hadn’t even noticed we had left the living room. After a little time had past, my husband came in and just held me for a little bit. I was so thankful that I didn’t need to say the words, he just knew. He left the baby and I to just be for a little while, until I felt ready to go back downstairs. That’s finally when I was able to release a little of my numbness, and I cried. The kind of cry where you make no noise and your tears just fall and fall.

Postpartum Depression is different for everyone who experiences it. Thankfully with the help of my therapist, and support from my husband, I was able to get through it. It took time, patience, and giving myself some grace. There was a lot of other things I dealt with during this time, and I honestly just don’t want to get into it all. Postpartum Depression is a highly personal journey, and I just hope that by sharing a little piece of mine, it helps another woman be able to find a way through hers.

If you are struggling with Postpartum Depression, depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, I encourage you to find the help you need. Talk to your partner/spouse, a trusted family member or friend; find a good therapist. Remember that there is nothing wrong with you, and there are people to help guide you.

Stay strong, stay beautiful, stay kind.

MIA – Week One

Picture taken four days before her arrival!

I feel as if I have been mentally writing this post for over a year, yet am not fully sure exactly what I want to say. It’s not easy, and being honest is always difficult in our social media world these days. I really feel the need to share the journey of the last two years though, and shed some light on why I went MIA.

I started this blog in 2015, and have really enjoyed sharing various outfits, recipes, and fun products from small businesses. I loved watching the inspiration it gave to others and have had fun being able to connect with so many people!

I am sure if you follow me on Instagram you have seen posts and updates on my life and happenings. I just felt like I was finally ready to sit down and get back to blogging. While I am not fully sure where it will take me this time, I am looking forward to starting again.   Over the next few weeks I will be sharing various bits and pieces of my life; and hope that you enjoy reading along.

Week One

Two days before Thanksgiving 2016 I found out I was expecting with our second child, we’d find out in January we would be having another girl. My husband and I were over the moon, as we had been trying for a year and a half, and were close to thinking that God didn’t want it to happen for us again. What was even more fun was that we were leaving the next day to head to New York to spend Thanksgiving with his family. We were able to keep the secret all weekend, thank goodness!

I was trying to keep up with posts during the early stages of pregnancy. Unfortunately, I am one of the women who does not have a fun first trimester, at all. Unless I was sleeping, or trying to lay in the fetal position on the couch, I was incredibly nauseous. Like, right on the edge of losing my stomach…all day…but never did, kind of nauseous. (Trust me, it’s as bad as it sounds.) This was the first slow down of the blogging train.

As I moved into the second trimester, I was feeling better, my baby bump was growing, and I was only fitting into certain clothing. I am sure that many would say it would have been the perfect time for me to do some Maternity Fashion; sure it would have been. However, in all openness, I was not feeling that attractive, and was wearing the same few outfits. I felt a little like I had lost my touch, and the train slowed down even more.

Eventually I did find that the train pretty much stopped, and I just wasn’t posting anymore, and of course, it is easy to simply continue to NOT post, to not share. Why though? Well, preparing for a baby, with a school ager (or any age older child, our just any baby whether it be first, second, or fourth) is busy, and at times chaotic. Looking back, I should give myself some more grace for letting the website become “stale” for a bit. Family and time with our oldest daughter before adding our second, was much more important that spending time on my site.

In June of 2017, a little over one month before our second daughter was due, I took a full social media break, and I loved it. I had so much fun spending time with my husband and oldest daughter, creating so many fun memories. This was one of the healthiest things I have done and it helped to put a lot of things into perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I love many aspects of social media and connecting with others, but it simply doesn’t need to consume that much of my time.

Life isn’t happening inside of a screen, it’s happening right in front of us. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Next week I look forward to sharing a bit about life after baby girl arrived! What was life like when you were adding a baby? Have you ever taken a social media break? I would love to hear your thoughts, comment below and let’s discuss.

Life Lessons You Need To Learn Before You Turn 30

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Life is a collection of lessons. We make mistakes. We surprise ourselves. We meet new people. We have new experiences. By the time you reach 30-years-old, there is no denying that you will have experienced a number of different life lessons. In this blog post, we are going to take a look at some of the most important lessons you should learn before you turn 30.

Career lessons

Let’s start with your career. By this point, you may have had a number of different jobs and you will understand what you really want from your career. You will have learnt a number of lessons to get to this point. In fact, inc.com have a great post on the important career lessons that most people learn too late in life. This includes the fact that becoming a leader actually has nothing to do with a formal leadership position. Furthermore, humility goes much further than bravado, your reputation is everything, and you are not going to get anywhere by trying to take shortcuts.

Health lessons

We often take our health for granted when we are younger. However, with every year that passes, we learn that we need to respect our body. If we treat it well, it will treat us well. You have no doubt also learnt that coffee is great, but too much is bad. Other lessons you should learn by the time you reach 30-years-old include the following: physical activity is critical to personal wellness, lack of sleep is never a good thing, and you will crash if you have too much sugar.

Financial lessons

You will have probably learnt a number of different lessons about your finances by the time you reach 30-years-old. A lot of people will have gotten to this stage and have already had to cope with debt and paid it off. You can find out more about this at debtconsolidation.loans. Of course, this is the sort of lesson we hope that not everyone has to experience, but it is a reality for most people today. Other people will have fallen into the trap of overspending or not having an emergency fund available. These are all lessons we have had to learn the hard way but they help us to realise the value of having a budget and planning ahead.

Relationship lessons

Last but not least, some people will have had more relationship lessons than others. After all, naturally, some of us are more unlucky in the love department than others. Nevertheless, some of the key lessons that everyone should learn include that a real relationship is built on vulnerability, trust is not built through words but rather through acts, relationships and friendships are collaborations, and the most important relationship you can have in life is the one that you have with yourself.

So there you have it: some of the lessons you need to learn before you turn 30. Have you learnt these lessons yet? The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to live life to the fullest and ensure hurdles do not get in your way.

Looking out for Your Health in Your Workplace

Workplaces might not be the most dangerous locations in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to look after our own health in the workplace. For example, it’s important to look after your posture and try to keep your back relaxed so you don’t suffer an injury, but it’s also a good idea to take regular breaks from working at the computer so you don’t develop repetitive strain injury. Taking a break is also important to let your mind relax.

With so many stressful things to think about at work, it’s important to realize that we should be focusing on how to improve our health in the workplace. They don’t need to be big changes either. Rather, they can be small changes that will make a big difference in improving our health. To give you some ideas, here’s how you can look out for your health in your workplace.

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Image Source

Look out for workplace dangers

Workplace dangers are everywhere. Be it exposed wiring, loose flooring or even The last thing you want is to be contacting an injury lawyer to deal with workplace dangers, so work to fix them quickly by getting in touch with senior staff, However, if you feel like you do need legal assistance, then consider www.dolmanlaw.com/aventura-personal-injury-lawyer/ or a similar service. Legal representation is an effective way to make changes in the workplace but should be considered a last resort if your employer isn’t willing to budge.

Rest your eyes

Eyestrain is becoming an increasing problem due to our reliance on computers. It’s a good idea to stay well away from your computer when not in use so that your eyes don’t hurt, and it’s also a good idea to stay at least an arm’s length away from your computer so that you’re not too close. If you experience regular headaches and find it hard to focus, then it could be an issue with eyestrain.

Rest your hands

In addition to resting your eyes, you also need to rest your hands. If you spend a lot of time working at a computer, typing and using smartphones, then your hands will be more susceptible to repetitive strain injury. If there’s tingling, pain or numbness in your hands when you type, then it’s a good idea to change your posture or the way you type in order to find a solution to your problem before it worsens over time. If you’d like to learn more about RSI, then this article from https://web.eecs.umich.edu/~cscott/rsi.html will be a great help.

Your body is the only one you get, so make sure you look after it. There’s no use in pushing yourself past your limits if it’s not sustainable, and it’s also important to ensure that you can continue working comfortably so that you don’t end up pushing yourself to a point where you can no longer work anymore. Take it easy, look out for your health and be smart about your work.

You’ve Only Got One: Look After Your Body For Happiness And Health

It’s the summer, and warmer days and nights usually mean that you’ll be putting more skin on show to feel cool and comfortable. There’ll be more time spent outside, soaking up that vitamin D, and you’ll need the confidence and energy to keep up with all those warm-weather plans. However, for some, it can be a dreaded time (especially after a long winter) as you may not feel confident in your inner health and outer appearance. To ensure that your skin is glowing and you are a happy, healthy version of yourself; you must start taking care of what’s going on inside your body. The better you treat your inner health, the more your outer glow will benefit, and you’ll feel body beautiful all year round. The following are some tips and tricks for you to consider, and will ensure that you’re as kind as possible to yourself; both inside and out.

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Image source: https://kaboompics.com/photo/7101/banchan-korean-side-dishes-prawns-tempura

Yum, That’s Delicious!

The food you’re eating will have a direct effect on your mood, how you function, and your appearance. Therefore, it’s crucial to take a look at the fuel that you are giving yourself each day, so that you can feel as good as possible both inside and out. A little of what you fancy will always do you good, so you don’t have to say goodbye to cronuts and ice cream forever (it’s not about being mean to yourself). It’s just about eating all the naughty stuff in moderation and filling up on the good things which can still be super tasty. Sugar and fast-release carbohydrates will give you an instant boost; however, unfortunately, that boost will be short lived, and you’ll come crashing down and craving more fuel in no time.

Sugary foods and soda will give you no nutritional value either; which is why they’re often referred to as empty calories (fun calories also), and should be limited to treats and special occasions. If you feel that you need a sugary hit; combine it with fiber and vitamins, and have a fruit smoothie or cold pressed juice. At least if you’re hitting your sugar craving with natural sugars, you’ll be nourishing your body with all the good stuff that comes with it, which will help your body function in the right way. You’ll need to ensure that you’re getting enough good fats into your diet so that your hair and nails will grow strong and your skin will be nourished. Avocados are a great when it comes to good fats, and the more that you eat, the more you’ll see a change in your appearance (kind of like when you’ve had a really good facial). The green pear-shaped delights are also packed with essential fiber, which is great for your digestive health, and will lead to less bloating and better body confidence when it comes to popping on your swimwear.

When it comes to food and drink, it’s really about pouring all the vitamins and minerals, good fats, slow-release carbs, and protein into your system that will allow your body to function at its best. If the inside of your body is working as best as possible, you’ll see the difference on the outside. Your eyes, teeth, hair, skin, and nails, are all fed by what you decide to eat, so bear that in mind next time you’re on your lunch break. And again, treats are great; you deserve them, but don’t make them an integral part of your diet, because that few minutes of joy could be followed by a negative effect on your physical and mental health, and your appearance this summer.

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Image from PEXELS

Hmm, That Doesn’t Feel Right

It’s time to stop ignoring those aches, pains, and changes in your body. More often than not, they’ll be nothing to worry about. However, the sooner you spot and treat illness and various conditions, the quicker your road to recovery and great inner health will be. Therefore, it’s time to book that appointment with your dentist, doctor, or counsellor so that your physical and mental health are well taken care of.

Get in to the habit of addressing your issues as soon as feel a change, and don’t put things off until they are having a negative impact on your lifestyle. It’s also worth changing your health care professional should you feel unhappy or uncomfortable with them, or speaking to companies like Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. when you feel there has been malpractice. Knowing your rights and ensuring that issues are dealt with, will help to give you strength in other areas, and will help prevent such things occuring again.

Sleep, rest, and relaxation also need to become your BFFs. The only way your body will be able to recuperate after a stressful day, or regenerate skin cells and heal any minor injuries, is to get enough sleep. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, which is easily done during summer, your body and appearance will suffer. Fatigue often leads to stress and can affect your mental health negatively, so it’s vital that you’re kind to your brain and overall being by hopping into bed at a reasonable hour each night.

Giving yourself some time to take a soak in the bath, or read a book or magazine are other ways to aid your relaxation and release your mind of the strains of the day. Overthinking and worry can lead to a terrible night’s sleep, and your face will show how many hours you managed to (or didn’t manage to) squeeze in the next morning, so do all you can to unwind and relax. Meditation is another technique that many people are turning towards to start their days energized and positively. Many think that meditation is a way to relax before bed; however, it’s best-done in the morning as it will help to reset your mind and refresh your inner energy.

Taking little moments out of your day to regroup and calm down, is another way to rest and regenerate from the inside out. The better shape your mental health is in, the more gorgeous you’ll feel on the inside, and you’ll glow on the outside all summer long.

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Beat The Heat This Summer

Is all this summer heat starting to get to you? Don’t worry; you certainly aren’t alone. In fact, most people, even those who always say they love the sun, will complain at least once about high temperatures in the summer months. After all, we are all only human, and there is only so much that our bodies can take when placed in extreme environments.

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Do you wish you could do more to beat the heat this summer? Here are some remarkable tips that can help you do just that!

Stay Hydrated

Firstly, it is crucial that you are drinking plenty in the heat. Think you are drinking enough? Well, as a matter of fact, you might be better off reaching for another bottle of water, as research shows that hardly any of us are drinking as much as we think. Don’t forget that it’s only water that counts when you are trying to stay hydrated, so don’t think that cups of coffee or tea will help you cool down!

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Stop Sweating So Much

Sweating can be ever so annoying, but this is just one of the side effects of being very hot all the time. Thankfully, though, there are a few ways you can reduce excessive amounts of sweating. One of the best things you can do is to invest in heavy duty deodorant. If that doesn’t work, you might want to try botox. Most people already know how botox injection changes your face, but many don’t also know that it can prevent sweating. If your excessive sweating is ruining your self-conscious, you might want to see your doctor as they will be able to refer you for the necessary injections.

Use Your Fans Wisely

How do you position your fan at night? If you are pointing it towards you, you are actually using it wrong. To optimize your fan, it needs to be pointed out the window. This will actually keep your room a lot cooler. It’s also worth running any ceiling fans counter-clockwise as well, as this is another highly efficient way of cooling down the room.

 

Eat Cold Meals

Eating cold meals is another way to help cool down your body. Your core temperature won’t raise in the same way it does when you eat something hot. Not only that, though, but it also means that you won’t need to turn on your hob or oven. When these appliances are on, they can increase the room temperature by a surprising amount.

Be Careful When Exercising

If you are keen on your exercise, you will no doubt want to carry on no matter what the temperatures get to outside. However, you need to decrease the intensity of your workouts and take it easy. Be sure to drink a lot more as well, as your body will have an increased need for liquids. By going easy and drinking plenty, you are preventing your body from overheating and making yourself ill.

Have fun this summer but always be aware of the heat!

4 Ways You Can Change The World Today

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Change the world? Little old you? Ridiculous. What could you do? After all, you’re not Wonder Woman, and you don’t possess any super powers. You’re not in politics (we are assuming), so unlike the trailblazing AZ sec of state, you don’t have the platform to make a difference in the place you are living in. You don’t work for Greenpeace (again, we are assuming), so you don’t have a direct hand in protecting the environment.

So what could you do? Hmmm, lets see shall we…

You could be kind to the people you pass during the day. A smile, a kind word, a helpful gesture… these things are not difficult to do, and by doing so, you are promoting a positive outcome. And who knows? The people you are kind to may follow your example. Remember the movie Pay It Forward? An emotional weepie it may be (we are still crying after that ending), but the concept is valid. If you do something kind for another person, they may pass on that kindness through their behaviour, and so and so on. Before you know it, the whole world will be passing on kindness, and that’s thanks to the gesture started by you. Okay, in a perfect world maybe, but you never know how far your kindness will stretch.

You could help the people who are central to your life. To change the world for the better, we often need to start with the people closest to us, so think about those you can help today. Is it your mate who needs help with fitness? Is it a family member who needs a childminder/pet sitter/shoulder to cry on? Is it your neighbour who is too old to manage their chores? Is it your child who is struggling at school? So look at the people in your life. Do they need you? And if they come to you for help, don’t be quick turning them away. By making a difference to their lives, there will be a ripple effect elsewhere.

You could volunteer to help people in your locale. Perhaps there is a homeless shelter you could volunteer in. An environmentalist group may need help with litter picks. A church or community group may require help with children’s activities. Go online, Google search your local area, and get involved. There will be charity work you are suited to, and by doing so, you can make a difference to the lives of others.

You could help people on a global level. You don’t have to get on a plane to help those people far away from you. Think of the world we live in. Think of those people who are struggling in other countries. Think of the charities helping them. What could you do? You could join a charity on a local level to do good to those people far away. You may be able to donate money to a good cause. You might even share global issues with others online through social media or a blog, raising awareness to anybody willing to read what you have to say. Supergirl would fly around the world changing lives, but you can do it from the comfort of your armchair.

So, what do you think? Could you save the world today? By making even small differences, you can encourage others to do the same. And then, little by little, the world will be a better place! Something to think about anyway, but we hope you take action soon. And when we say ‘you,’ we are indeed talking about YOU!! So, put down your copy of Vogue, and get to work!