Lifestyle Archive

The Truth About The Fourth Trimester

Hi everyone! Moving forward I’ve decided to dedicate Monday posts to all things mom related and I hope you are excited as I am to see these new posts go up! While I know, I know today is Tuesday, but yesterday got away from me and I really wanted to hit publish on this post so here it is going up a date late..oops!  I’ve been trying to think of topics that I know I was interested in as a new mom (and still am interested in), or topics that I don’t see a lot of people talking about but I know most moms are probably interested in reading about.  So, today I’ve decided to open up about my experience  surviving the “fourth trimester” or those first few months after baby arrives home.

While I know everyone’s experience is different what I do know is those initial weeks and months seem to all blur together. Whether this is your first baby or your forth baby  those first few days and nights are hardly distinguishable, most of your time spent in sweatpants and showers are rare.  It may not sound great, but I know I wouldn’t trade any of these moments for the world. Ok, enough about how awesome it is lets talk  acknowledge how hard those first few weeks are.

 

Life With A Newborn…

I don’t even know where to begin.  Life with a newborn definitely has its ups and downs and this  second time around gave us a run for our money.  I’m pretty sure Addison was what they call a “trick baby.”  She was so easy going, such a good sleeper, and such a good eater, that when Eleanor arrived it was almost like we had never done this before.  Ellie was, well, hard.  After that first week where all they seem to do is sleep, she would eat, maybe sleep for a few minutes and then just cry.  I also decided to exclusively breastfeed this time around (with Addison we almost exclusively formula fed), so the daily routine  with her was, and is, so different then it was with her sister. I could write a whole post about my experience breastfeeding so far, and I hopefully will, but let me just tell you that I felt very overwhelmed.  It didn’t matter that I had such a  supportive husband or more family around to help then most people do,  it was very hard to wrap my head around the fact that I was my baby’s sole food source.  I was everything she needed to survive and it was a big burden to bare.  Breastfeeding also meant that there was only so much others could do to help me because at the end of the day all she really wanted was me.  I began to feel very protective of her and a  All of this sounds horrible right? But, just when you think you can’t take another moment of crying or another failed attempt at feeding, your baby falls asleep in your arms or gives you a tiny little smile and you know it is all worth it.

You Need To Heal Too…

This time is hard because you are exhausted, hard because your life and schedule now revolves around another tiny human, and hard because you just pushed something the size of a small watermelon out of your body and you need time to heal as well.  Personally, this part  was something I was so unprepared for the first time around, that with my second I over prepared. I stocked up on all the Tucks Pads and Dermaplast (the blue bottle not the red!) and oversized maxi pads I could find.   Addison’s birth was long and hard ( was induced and it took her over a day to arrive) and I was not prepared for the physical toll that it would take on my body. While birth with Eleanor was definitely easier, neither birth was a walk in the park. I know this varies from person to person and some of you moms out there might be thinking, “what is this crazy girl talking about? I was up and walking and felt like a million bucks after birth!” I guess what I am trying to say is that time for me to heal was the last thing on my mind. Sure, I knew that I would be tired, and that I would probably want to eat enough for five people, but what I didn’t know is that once the epidural wore off feeling every tear and stitch would hurt so much.  Keeping that in mind after Ellie was born I tried not to push myself to be superwoman.  If I needed to keep my feet up in bed I let others help me and tried to remember that I cannot do it all.

Oh, The Hormones…

As if sleep deprivation wasn’t enough to make me  cry add those crazy hormones to the mix and I was a hot mess.  I wouldn’t spontaneously cry but anytime I thought about my kids, or any kids really, or even saw something about kids on T.V. my eyes would well up with water.  I also had a very very short fuse with others and it seemed like everything annoyed me.  Luckily I realized this and tried to check myself when I felt any of these feelings but I also realized that I just needed to let these things out.  Bottling up anything I was feeling, happy, sad or indifferent, would only make me more upset.

I Promise I Love My Kids…

Ok, this seems like a lot of complaining and I want to make sure you all know how much I love my children and how lucky I feel to have been able to bring two happy and healthy kids into this world.  But, like i said before being a parent is hard!  Anyone who says it isn’t is for sure lying.  The happy moments definitely outweigh the sad or bad ones, but they are definitely there.  Especially in those first 12 weeks that your new little one is at home you don’t know which way is up and you are just trying to figure it all out.  Now that Ellie is almost six months old we are finally settling into a good routine and those sleepless nights seem like they happened a million years ago.  Then again, ask me how I’m feeling tomorrow and my answer might be different :).

Now, on can I take a minute to gush about these photos? We had the amazing Cadence from Cadence Kennedy Photography come over to some family photos a few weeks after Ellie was born and I can’t believe I never shared them with you.  These are just a few of my favorites but each and every photo came out more beautiful than the next. I also cannot believe how different Ellie and Addison look only a few months later but I am so happy I have these sweet photos to look back on and remember this special time.

xo Ali

Click to Shop

Five Easy Ways To A Have A More Productive Day

Happy New Year everyone!  I know we are already more than a week into 2018, but I took last week to gather my thoughts and really think about my vision for both work and my blog as I head into the New Year, and now I am ready to hit the ground running! While I am still trying to flesh out the details one thing is for sure you will be seeing some fun new content and a few new weekly additions here on the blog.

In the meantime I was going to post the traditional  “New Year Resolution post” but the more I thought about it, the more the idea of resolutions stressed me out.  I’ve done the whole resolution thing before and either I can’t seem to follow through, or halfway through the year I realize my priorities have shifted and I am working towards something that may no longer be that important to me.  So, this year instead of resolutions, I’ve decided to try and work on ways to be more productive in 2018.  Ways to be more  productive at work, at home, with my kids, and most importantly being more productive when it comes to me.  This might sound strange, but one big thing I want to focus on is taking time for myself.  On the surface this sounds really selfish, but the more I thought about it the more I realized, if I am not my best self  my kids suffer, my marriage suffers and my work suffers.  So starting from the top I need to work on me.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few simple things I do daily (or want to try and do daily) in order to start the day off right.

  1. Making Your Bed:  Ok, this one seems super silly, but I promise you it really works!  Since I work from home most of the time if my bed and the kids beds are not made I find myself thinking about the mess.  Maybe it’s the organization freak in me, but taking the ten minutes in the morning to just fluff up my sheets really helps.  I also find that when the day comes to an end getting into a freshly made bed makes me so much happier.
  2. Don’t Forget Your Coffee: If you aren’t a coffee drinker this could be tea, lemon water, juice or whatever.  What I really mean is try and slow down for a few minutes to compose and collect yourself before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.  Mornings in my house are usually very hectic, so this is one thing I am really going to work on in this year.  For me, this probably means getting up a little earlier before the kids wake up and that will definitely be a struggle, but I think having a little bit of time for me  to quietly sip my coffee will really help me start the day off right.
  3. Get Dressed:  This might seem like a no brainer but anyone else that works from home knows that it is very easy to go more than a few days without putting on real pants.  For me, getting dressed, doing my hair and putting on a little bit of makeup makes me feel like I am ready to take on whatever the day has to throw at me .  For those of you head into an office each day my advice to you is don’t just throw anything on.  It might be  superficial but sometimes looking your best just gives you that extra confidence you need.
  4. Daily Planning: I know this is going to be one of my biggest challenges of 2018 because I am always waiting until the last possible minute to get things done…anyone else? I purcahsed a new planner and thus far it has really helped me keep track of things I need to get done each day and each week.  As  part of my new morning routine  I sit down at my desk and I take a look at my to-do list.  Sometimes it is filled with work items, and sometimes it reads more like a laundry list of household chores but that’s ok.  Sitting down and assessing what my day will look like has really helped alleviate a lot of my every day stress.  I really think physically writing down what I have to do each day has helped as well.  Sometimes we quickly jot down items on on our phones but listing it out with a pen and paper helps me realize exactly what has to be done. 
  5. Powering Down: I know so many people can probably relate to this one.  I was constantly on my phone or at my computer in 2017, so much so, that I felt like I missed out on a lot of real life moments.  Keeping that in mind, I have set a goal to turn off my phone and computer at a certain time.  Since my business relays heavily on being active on social media this is definitely going to be hard, but lately I have been set a 6pm cut off time for email replays in an attempt to enjoy a few hours with my kiddos before they head to bed.  I also find that not peeking at my inbox at 10pm has me less burnt out and less anxious as I try and fall asleep.  This also gives my husband and I few hours of “us” time.  Lately, we have been watching The Crown on Netflix.  I highly recommend it! There are obviously going to be exceptions to this, and I’m sure there will be days and weeks when work has to be done at night, but I am going to try and stick to this one because so far it has worked wonders!

I will try and keep you updated on my productivity for 2018 is going, but in the meantime do you guys have any tips and tricks for staying productive and on task?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

Powering Dow

xo Ali

Click to Shop

Just In Time: Last Minute Gift Ideas

J.Crew

(30% off + guaranteed holiday delivery with code SELFGIFT)

Mark & Graham

(order by 12/21 with expedited shipping for guaranteed holiday delivery, for monogrammed items order by 12/20)

Amazon

(delivery by 12/23 with Prime)

xo Ali
Home For The Holidays

Tree (another option here) || Ball Ornaments || Stocking Holders || Stockings (old, another option here) || Garland (another option here) || Nutcracker || Christmas Cars || Christmas Pillow

Addi’s & Ellie’s Top || Addi’s & Ellie’s Pants || Addi’s Bow || Ellie’s Bow

I don’t know about you guys but I kind of felt like the holidays crept up on me this year.  Summer seemed to come to an end and then in a blink of an eye it was Thanksgiving, and before I know it we will be opening presents on Christmas morning.  I guess that’s what happens when you have two active little ones to chase around and no longer have time to count down the days until Santa arrives…am I right?

You may have heard me mention this before but I cannot bring myself to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is over.  I can’t imagine enjoying turkey and stuffing while looking at a Christmas tree.  Maybe I’m weird, but it’s just a thing I have, and until this year we have always gotten a real tree so putting it up early was never even an option.  Well, this year we caved,  it probably has to do with the fact I’m still on crutches, and that I’m tired of cleaning up pine needles, but we ordered this tree and as soon as Thanksgiving was over we had it set up in our living room.  After the tree was up we slowly brought out the rest of the decor and I have to tell you it definitely got the whole family into the holiday spirit.

One thing I am loving about our new (fake) tree is the white tips on the branches.  It makes me feel like winter is officially here, and we should be roasting marshmallows by the fire.  I am also really excited about the way our mantle turned out.  It’s pretty simple with just our stockings, holders and a pretty garland, but adding the pops of red with pillows and these adorable trucks I found at Target add the finishing touch.

I’ve also been asked a few times about how we handle having a toddler and a Christmas tree all at the same time.  Well, to be honest, we have been firm believers of teaching Addison, and eventually Eleanor, that some things are OK to touch and some things aren’t. The tree is one of those things we look at but don’t touch.  Most of what is in our living room isn’t really “toddler friendly”,  but I have never been worried that she will destroy items, or pull our decor down.  We obviously keep a close on her, but so far no accidents!

Don’t worry, if you haven’t gotten around to decorating for the holidays just yet, you still have plenty of time. I have linked some of my favorite decor items below, and most of them are super budget friendly!  Happy Wednesday, we have made it halfway through the week!

 

xo Ali

Click to Shop

The Stylish Mama’s Guide To The Holidays: Holiday Traditions with Mackenzie Childs


Tea Kettle: c/o Mackenzie Childs || Mugs: c/o Mackenzie Childs || Sweater || Tray

As a little kid the holidays at home were pretty magical.  I know that sounds really corney and like I am exaggerating, but looking back our house was always dressed with wreaths and red bows and our Christmas tree was more of a work of art than just a tree.  On Christmas morning the house always smelled of Christmas candles, cookies and coffee and we took our time opening presents going around in a circle oo-ing and ahh-ing as one by one we each worked through our little pile under the tree.   I never really thought about the time and effort that my parents put in to making the weeks and days leading up to Christmas so special until Brian and I moved into our first house.  All of a sudden I wanted the house to smell the same, look the same and feel the same, but it was just different.

Then we had Addison, and my desire to re-create the magic at home went to an all new level.  I remember the first Christmas with her at home we had all our stockings hung and the tree was dressed just right, but Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas until we stepped into my parents home on Christmas morning.  It was strange because here I was with my own little family and yet I still wanted to be “home.”

For 29 years we have always been at my parents together on Christmas Eve  and Christmas Day.  Even after I got married we somehow made it work and we at one point did three separate Christmas mornings at three different houses just to make sure nothing changed too much.  This year we will be altering our plans a bit and while I am so very excited to start some new traditions as a family of four a part of me is longing for the Christmases I had as a little girl.  I guess that is a part of growing up and building a family and life of your own.  Things change, but sometimes if you let it happen they can change for the better.  One thing I know for sure is when Addison and Eleanor wake up to see if Santa came to visit our house will be decked out with wreaths and ribbons, candles will be burning and cookies and coffee will be served.

Oh, and if you are wondering about what I might be drinking my coffee in on Christmas morning, it’s safe to say these mugs from MacKenzie Childs will be with me as we open presents around the tree.  The pattern just reminds me of the holidays and I love a coffee mug that allows for a generous pour (this mama needs her caffeine fix in the mornings!).   MacKenzie Childs has so many fun and festive items on her site that would make great gifts for you or someone else this holiday season.  Be sure to check out how my other favorite mama’s use their MacKenzie Childs items during the holiday season.

KATIE, LIFE WITH A DASH OF WHIMSEY 

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

We will also be giving away $250 worth of MacKenzie Childs products tonight over on Instagram.  Be sure to check our accounts at 9pm EST for all the details!

 

(Thank you to MacKenzie Childs for these beautiful mugs and tea kettle!  All thoughts and opinions are my own. )

 

xo Ali

Click to Shop

The Stylish Mama’s Guide To The Holidays: Gift Guide For The Guys

Is it just me or is buying gifts for the men in your life always so hard?  I’m not sure why, but every time I ask my husband, dad or brother what they want for a birthday or for Christmas I always get the same answer, “I don’t know.” I like to think of gifts that are meaningful or will be used by them, and not just something that will sit in their office or closet.

One thing I think all the guys in my life can agree on is that they love being pampered…even if it’s just a little :).  My dad in particular is someone who loves trying new products, if you look in his bathroom cabinet it is always filled with a ton of items that are only slightly used.  When I received these Fulton & Roark items in the mail I immediately thought of him and how much he would love them.  However, when the package arrived and my husband saw what they were he was more than happy to be the guinea pig and try them out.  He loved them all, but mostly loved the way the After Shave Cloths felt.  I loved that they were compact so we could toss them in our carry on if we were traveling or taking a road trip.  So, needless to say I think I’ll be buying a few more items for the guys on my list this holiday season.  Want to try Fulton & Roark for yourself use code MOMMYMONDAY15 for 15% off your next purcahsed, because who doesn’t love a good deal during the holidays?

Anyway, if you are in the same boat as me here and trying to find the perfect present for the guys in your life, here are some other options that will be sure to please even the pickiest of people.  I have already scooped up a few of these for my husband and I hope is is excited to find them under the tree on Christmas morning.

Luggage || Fulton & Roark Set || Sunglasses || Shoes || Tie || Watch || Headphones || Leather Kit ||Sweater 

 

Also, you can see my other favorite Mama’s gift guides here:

MIRIELLE, CITY PEACH

KATIE, LIFE WITH A DASH OF WHIMSEY 

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

(Thank you Fulton & Roark for sending these amazing products.  All thoughts are my own!)

xo Ali

Click to Shop

Our Thanksgiving Table

Napkins || Napkin Holders ||Utensils || Chargers || Glasses (old, similar here) |Plates || Chairs 

I cannot believe we are so close to celebrating another Thanksgiving day with our family.  This year is the first time we are officially hosting at our house, so I figured I should probably get my act together and start building a collection festive holiday table decor.  I never really thought about all the things you need when entertaining for a holiday and in all the years we have been celebrating Christmas or Easter at my parents house my mom just seemed to have everything she needed, so I guess over time you just build up a stash of cute holiday items, right?

  When I was looking around online there is so many cute  patterns for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I thought I should probably look at the bigger picture and pick something that could potentially be used for more than one holiday. I found this cute bowl and plate set at Pier 1 and from there everything else came together.  My thought is, these plates and bowls can be used for numerous occasions along withe the flatware and chargers and then I can switch out things like napkinsnapkin holders, table runners, or glasses depending on the holiday we are celebrating.

Since right now I am also off my feet for another few weeks I also needed to create a tablescape that was simple but festive at the same time.  Adding these cute pumpkins and simple greens really made the table come alive.  We will be adding a few more settings and connecting a larger table on Thanksgiving Day but all in all this is what the table will look like as we sit down and give thanks for another inspiring, beautiful and blessed year.

If anyone is looking for some last minute Thanksgiving items or searching for some holiday decor for Christmas head over to Pier1 they are currently running 25% off all items in store and online.  I will probably be making a few more purchases this upcoming week. Next on the list, food prep…but who am I kidding because my husband is going to be working his magic in the kitchen this Thanksgiving :).

 

xo Ali

Click to Shop

The Stylish Mama’s Guide To The Holidays: Colleen Rothschild

Happy Monday everyone!  We are t-minus four days until Turkey day which means we are so close to getting all the holiday decor up at my house.  We have an unspoken rule over here that our Christmas decorations don’t go up until after Thanksgiving but believe me when Friday comes the holiday tunes will be cranked up and we will be like little elves getting all set up.

Just because we aren’t decorated for Christmas doesn’t mean the weather hasn’t starting taking a turn for the cold…freezing cold if I am being honest.  And, as always, with the change of season comes a big change in my skin.  I am by no means a beauty expert, far from it in fact, but I am someone who has very sensitive, very temperamental skin.  Add postpartum pregnancy hormones on top of my already combination skin and it’s just all kinds of crazy.

 

I was only recently introduced to Colleen Rothschild’s skincare brand so I was a little hesitant to try something new in fear I would have a bad reaction.  I eased into the line with choosing to try the Nourishing Body Lotion.  It is soft and silky and I really made my very dry hands and elbows feel soft after just a few applications.

The next two products I wanted to try were a little more geared towards the fact that my skin is a sometimes oily, sometimes dry and am constantly dealing with breakouts.  Her Clarifying Detox Mask.  It is super thick but feels very luxurious when applying it to your face.  I have to say, it was just what my very tired, very warn face needed to a little pick me up.

Finally, the last product I tried was pretty much love at first try.  Like I have mentioned before I have always suffered with acne and I am always up to try something to try and tone down and spots and scars from years of not taking care of my skin properly.  The Mandelic Acid Radiance Serum has already started to improve the look and feel of my skin and I know in the coming weeks it will probably look even better.  I will be sure to keep you posted!

It is safe to say I am a convert and can’t wait to try a few more products.  If you are looking to get your holiday shopping started early or want to treat yourself to a few gifts of your own, Colleen Rothschild  is starting their Black Friday sale early and you can get 30% off site wide starting today with code BFRI30.  You don’t want to miss out on this.

Don’t forget to head over to see what products my other favorite mamas love.  You can check out their posts here:

KATIE, LIFE WITH A DASH OF WHIMSEY 

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

xo Ali
The Holiday Juggle

Dress: c/o BURU White Label || Boots  (more affordable option here) || Earrings

I have always loved celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years (as long as celebrating New Years means I can be in my PJs, with my family and  few good friends and a bottle of wine!), but ever since having kids I feel like the holidays have become extra special.  Mostly, I think it’s because my parents always made the holiday season a little magical at our house and  I want my kids to have those same beautiful memories to look back on, because was never a Thanksgiving or Christmas that wasn’t filled with family, lots of laughter and lots of amazing food.

This year had all these plans of creating a magical first Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years in our new home, but as always life has thrown a little curve ball our way.  If you follow me on Instagram you know I’m headed into surgery tomorrow to place some screws and plates in my broken ankle.  This means I’ll be in a cast until right before Christmas followed by a boot for at least a another six weeks after that.  That means I can do very little without relying on the help of others at the moment and it has been a bit of an adjustment around here in terms of who is helping me with the kids while Brian is at work and how is helping me with me as well.  I have really been living my that phrase “it takes a village…” because I think in the near future I’ll be relying on others a lot, and while some days I am struggling with coming to terms with this, I know if I take a deep breath everything will happen like it is supposed to.

While I can’t control much lately, one thing I can control is each morning getting up getting dressed and starting the day on a positive note.  It might sound silly, but putting on something “cute” or “cozy” to get me through the day helps so much.  When I got this  shirtdress from Buru White Label I couldn’t wait to try it on with an oversized sweater and a pair of over the knee boots.  While I may only be able to get one boot on at the moment, I still love this dress! And, at a price point that is less than $100 it really is a no brainier that you should add this to your wardrobe not only for the holiday but all year round.  If you haven’t hear of Buru yet, you should head over to their website ASAP because they just got in their new Holiday collection and it is pretty awesome.  I have linked some of my other Buru favorites below, but I have to tell you this animal print  jacket is something I might be adding to my Christmas list this year.  I love the colors and the subtle leopard detail!

Don’t forget to head over to see how the rest of the #MommyMonday crew styled their Buru White Label pieces and to see their tips and tricks for making it through the holiday season:

 

MIRIELLE, CITY PEACH

KATIE, LIFE WITH A DASH OF WHIMSEY 

NINA, HSS FEED

TIFFANY, TIFFANY STYLE BLOG

 

 

 

 

SaveSave

xo Ali

Click to Shop

Fabulous Flats For The Holidays

1. || 2. || 3. || 4. || 5. || 6. || 7. || 8. || 9. || 10. 

Ok, so I know what all of you are thinking it’s far too early to be getting into the holiday spirit, right? Well, Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away which means Christmas and New Years will be here before you know it.   I also know that I am not alone when I say sweater weather, yummy food, and time spent with family and friends really does make this the best time of year.

 If you are anything like me you are already thinking about what to wear for all the holiday events that are coming up in the near future.  While I am still up in the air about some of my outfit choices what I do know is that when it comes to what I wear on my feet comfort is always key.  Don’t get me wrong I love a good heel, but flats are a girls best friend during the holidays especially if you will be like me and hosting a few of the festivities.  While I have had my eye on all of these choices I recently purchased this pair and they are a really good dupe for a higher end designer version that retails for close to $900.  If you are in the market for something a little more glitzy, maybe for those holiday photos, try these with a tiny jeweled block heel.  Finally, I can’t tell you how many times I have taken these in and out of my shopping cart over the past few weeks but they look like slippers that you can wear outside in public and not feel bad about it.  They also are an amazing designer dupe that you won’t want to pass up.

Many of these flats are under $100, which means they would be the perfect addition to your closet this holiday season or make a wonderful gift for you mom, sister, BFF, any shoe lover in your life.  Oh, and a friendly PSA starting this Monday there will be a fun new holiday series so don’t forget to check back then!  Happy Friday!

 

 

xo Ali

Click to Shop