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Monday, December 15, 2014

YouTube Channel!

I'm super excited to say that I've finally started a youtube channel. I've wanted to start a channel for a long time but it was tough for me to hear my own voice. Is anyone else hyper critical of their own voice? After only a week now, I've gotten used to it so I'm ok with it now. What really made me jump in is having Maci. She's growing so fast and I want to remember everything about her and all of the fun and hard times we have together. I want to encourage anyone who is thinking of starting to just do it. I'm so happy that I have my memories in a place that I can go back and watch and eventually show Maci as she gets older. The beauty of YouTube is that you can make your videos private so nobody can see them if you like to keep your life private.

Please go on over and check out my videos, my channel name is Follow Me To Fashion. subscribe to my channel and leave comments so I know someone is watching! I'd love to chat with you guys. Thanks and seeya on the Tube :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Perfect Day For A Nature Museum

My family and I took a little drive to Reedy Creek Park on Friday and visited the Nature Center. We had a 6 month old, a 14 month old and a 3 year old and they all had a good time. With children of different ages, it can be hard to satisfy all of them and the nature center did just that. The nature center is free and it was overcast and about 70 degrees which was perfect for being at the park.

This way to enter ⬅️

My Mom and Dad are the best grandparents and really enjoy spending time with the kids. They help us a ton and I'm so grateful to be so close to them. My cousin Madison came with us too and she's awesome with kids! She's in grad school and works at our family's daycare University Child Development Center so she's the best in home nanny/cousin/friend a girl could ever ask for! 

This is at the entrance to a little sitting garden. It was really pretty and relaxing but had a lot of hornets and wasps...

Sweater is H&M, Pants are Madewell and shoes are Zara but they're all from years ago, so here are some similar things that are available now.  Sweater- H&M, Pants- Old Navy, Shoes- Enzo Angiolini 

There were giant ants and ladybugs.

And a Hawk who captured a snake.

Maci was excited to see all of the exhibits and really liked looking at everything, especially the things that made noise. We used our Joovy Groove Ultralight Stroller, it's really made for smooth surfaces so it wasn't easy to push in the mulch. My sister used my Baby Jogger City Mini GT (because she had her Baby Jogger City Mini Double but only needed to push her 14 month old) and it was a really really easy smooth ride on the rocks, grass, mulch, sticks and everything else on the trail. 

There's a little gift shop when you enter that has lots of educational toys and books, they sell bottled water too. Brody found a walking stick with a bear carved into the handle that he loved.

Grandaddy found a big butterfly.

Grandma found a looooong snake.

There was a huge bee hive hanging above our heads.

Dylan and I chilled at the fireside campsite and played with the puppets

Maci took a nap in the cozy rocking chairs

We went outside and had fun walking the trails and playing in the treehouse!

Vest-Baby Gap Shirt-Oshkosh Pants-Juicy Boots-Old Navy

One of our favorites was the seesaw!

After 2 hours of fun, everyone was tired and hungry. We got there at 2:45pm and left just before they closed at 5pm. It was great because there were only a few other people there. The kids were free to run and play and see without it being crowded.

Time to go home!

What a great day! (Ignore my pimple)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I'm a true lover of fall so excuse me while I revel in highs of 60 degrees, falling leaves and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! This morning I made my own pumpkin spice latte and I thought if share my recipe with you all. I am lactose intolerant so if you are too, this is a recipe for you! 

Supplies Needed:
Small pot
Espresso maker
Measuring cup
Wooden spoon 
Fall mugs

Pumpkin Pie Ground Coffee-Marshall's 
4oz Lactose Free Milk
2oz Lactose free hazelnut creamer-trader joes
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Few dashes Cinnamon
Few dashes Nutmeg
Few dashes Apple Pie Spice or All Spice
Whipped Cream

Brew your espresso (or very very strong brewed coffee) and while you wait, bring 2oz of creamer and 4oz of milk to a boil. Add spices and stir. When the milk boils, turn the heat to Lo, continue to stir occasionally for 5min. 

When your espresso is finished, pour 1/2 cup of espresso into your mug. Pour your 6oz mixture of milk and creamer into the mug. Top with whipped cream, sprinkle cinnamon on top so it looks pretty. Enjoy!

All of my ingredients are ready. *If you've never used Madagascar vanilla extract, get it next time you see it. It really does taste better than the regular kind. I got this one at target or Marshall's I think*

The espresso maker is from Bed Bath and Beyond. We also have a single serve tiny one that's perfect for just one. It takes about 3-5 minutes for perfect yummy espresso. I always cut my coffee bags, store the coffee in mason jars and tuck the lable in the inside of the jar so it stays fresh and I know what kind it is. The picture is just the label so you can find it in Marshall's ☺️

I like a lot of spices in mine so I used a few dashes of each!

This brand is Bialetti and the small one is really cheap. They have more complicated ones but I like to keep it simple.

Hot spices milk and espresso measured and smelling delish.

The sprinkle of cinnamon on top makes it official! 

Happy Fall Y'all!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mommy Weight Loss

I have no secrets, I don't know if there are any mommy weight loss secrets really. All of the moms I know lost weight by breastfeeding and eating sensibly and it was the same for me. When I got pregnant in June, I was around 150 lbs. I'm 5'3 and normally, my heavy, after Thanksgiving and Christmas weight can get as high as 155.

By the time I stopped checking, which was at 39 weeks pregnant, I weighed 180 lbs. I went 40 weeks and 6 days so I estimated that I was close to 185lbs when I delivered. 35 lbs. is not a lot to gain while pregnant in my opinion. Some gain more, some less, and as long as baby is healthy, whatever weight I gained was fine with me.

This is one of the last pictures I took before having Maci, so let's call it about 185lbs.

When I was in the hospital, after delivering via C-section, I was encouraged to walk (slowly) and wear and girdle to reduce swelling, get rid of gas etc., so I did. When I left the hospital 3 or 4 days after giving birth, I looked like this. We're toasting to a healthy delivery and heading home. (My friend Lola brought me wine in a Gatorade bottle, what a great friend!) I was wearing an adjustable hospital binder like this.

Once I got home, I was feeling pretty good, and eating normally (for a hungry, super thirsty, breastfeeding mom). I was drinking tons of water throughout the day and every time I woke up at night to feed Maci. I was trying to get the hang of things and I could feel my belly contracting, which means my uterus was shrinking and that's how your belly gets smaller. The day we got home from the hospital, my belly looked like this.

By day 6, I started swelling and retaining fluid and looked a hot mess. Like, I went from bad to worse. All of my friends and family pretended they didn't notice. They were so nice and didn't mention how bad I looked. I was tired, groggy and swollen but in new mommy bliss so I didn't even notice until I saw this picture of myself! Wtf happened! Bigger face than when I was pregnant and bigger than when I left the hospital.

 After seeing that picture, I was ready to start walking again but I wasn't supposed to exercise for another 5 weeks. Fast forward a few weeks into mommyhood and feeling good enough to drive, I was running errands and looked like this. Not as swollen and belly going down. By this time, my hospital band was too big and I bought a girdle like this. I bought a size medium but I couldn't pull it on until a month after delivering. 

From day to day, my belly would fluctuate size with gas or fluid. These 2 pictures were taken only a few days apart.

With the girdle on at Marshall's :)

 At 1 month exactly, I celebrated my birthday with friends at dinner and looked like this. I hadn't done any exercising other than the occasional walk. I decided that a peplum top would be my best bet for hiding my postpartum tummy. My flabby arms, however, couldn't be conceiled. No big deal I guess. My boobs were also gigantic and I had increased from a 34D to 36E.

After gettin the ok from my doctor to start exercising at around 6 weeks, I increased my walks by duration only. I still walked pretty leisurely, and it was only every few days on the greenway in my neighborhood. Here's my family taking a walk.

I looked like this.

My husband and I decided to take a vacation at the end of August with some friends and I really wanted to feel comfortable in a bathing suit. In the middle of June, we booked the trip. That meant I had 2 months to get into "shape"! I started walking more often but I knew that wouldn't be enough. I signed up for a bootcamp and this was me on day 1...sorta scared. 

reluctantly woke up at 5am to pump before working out at 6am, then having a full day of mommy duties to do. It was really hard for me to get up early and devote that time to working out but it was only 45 minutes. The Burn Bootcamp classes were REALLY GOOD! I would go into detail about what we did but there was a lot. Basically, lots of squats, push-ups and jumping jacks...with weights. Very traditional workouts, no machines or crazy moves. The classes were full of people who just wanted to workout and not intimidating gym rats. The trainers were intense and motivating and were willing to help any time you needed a push. You can check out their website here to get specific class information. They also have a Groupon that makes it super affordable.I was really excited about my progress while in bootcamp and then I got sick and stopped after 1 month. I didn't go back to bootcamp but when the cruise came around, I looked like this. 
I felt comfortable enough to wear a baithing suit and I was back to 150lbs. My body is shaped totally different now but I'm really liking my new mommy body. I have loads of stretch marks on my tummy but I'm slowly starting to get used to them. I don't go to bootcamp anymore because after we came back from the cruise, Maci went through a rough time sleeping at night so I just didn't have the energy to get up and work out. I still walk with Maci in her stroller so that when I decide to workout again, I don't have to start from square one :) Today, a month after our cruise, I weigh 145lbs. I'm going to go back to bootcamp soon to tone up and just stay in good health. Hope this helps anyone who's looking to loose weight, especially after baby. Walk, walk, walk and when you're ready, try a bootcamp or group session because I really believe being in a group helped motivate and push me. 

**I'm not on any extra special diet, but if anyone is intersted in what I eat on a typical day, let me know in the comments and I'll do a seperate post on it**

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Making Baby Food

I breastfeed Maci as her main source of food but she started eating solids just before turning 6 months. I make her baby food at home but I'm not a baby food snob. I make her food because I want it to be healthy and I want control over what's in it. I also think it's super cheap and super easy. I make no-frills food that she really enjoys. I'm not sure why there are baby food recipe books...

This is what I do:

For breakfast, Maci has fruit. Bananas, apples, mangos, watermelon and peaches are what she's had so far. 

With bananas, peaches and mangos I just peeled them and mashed them with a fork. I don't freeze fruits or premake them because there's no prep involved. I gave her chunks of watermelon and she slurped the juice and gummed at the fleshy part. It's one if the messier meals, but easy. Since apples are hard, I give her cold, peeled chunks in a Nuby Mesh Feeder (I got mine for $3.50 at Ross) and she loves to sooth her itchy, teething gums with them. I've also steamed and puréed peeled apples for her and served them warm. They were a little too tart for her so I mashed in a little banana and she ate it up. 

For dinner, Maci has a veggie. She's had pattypan and yellow squash, sweet potato, carrots and avocado. Ya, avocado is a fruit but it's savory in my opinion so I feed it to her at night. When she's having avocado, I just cut it in half, mush up one side and feed it to her directly from the shell. I store what she doesn't eat in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator (with the pit) and give it to her the next day. Storing the avocado with the pit, helps it to stay green longer. Just like a banana or apple, it starts to turn brown after it's opened) One avocado can last us 5 days because she doesn't eat much yet. The squash came from my Mom's garden. I peeled and chopped it into 1inch or so pieces and used the Baeba Baby Food Maker to steam then purée it. I did the carrots the same way. I wasn't at home when I made sweet potatoes so I peeled and cubed one large potato used my Mom's double boiler to steam them. I added the water from the pot to the potatoes after they cooked for about 15 min and mashed them with a fork. One potato was enough for about 2 weeks for us so I froze half of it.

Here's Maci having her first bite of solid foods, a banana! We had no baby spoons so we used this tiny spatula from Walmart that I still like to use. It's soft and flexible so she can gum on it. It's also easy to wipe the food from her face with this. Dr. Brown's has a spatula spoon but i've never tried them. I just ordered some Nuby Weaning Spoons because I really like the flexible tip instead of the hard ones. 

 We use the Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair in Walnut 
We have the Baby Set in walnut and the Cushion in Silhouette Pink

Here's my pattypan squash that we grow in my parent's garden. It actually has no taste so I only gave it to her for about a week before we moved on. It's good when sautéed with salt and pepper for an adult though! 

Here's my Baeba Babycook. The one I have is from 4-5 years ago,  it was my sister's. They have a double one now which is cool but this one works just fine. It takes about 15 minutes to steam a full basket of veggies. I haven't tried meat in here but you can use it for that too. After it steams, you dump the veggies from the basket back into the container and purée it. You can add the water back in if you need to thin it a little. Only one thing to clean!  I also like the Kalorik Baby Gourmet, which I gave to my sister as a gift a few years ago. It's on a ridiculous discount on Amazon right now for $30!

Here's my Mom's double boiler setup. (I couldn't be bothered to find the right top) On the top, I used the steam pot that has holes in it and the regular pot on the bottom. Here's something similar. I don't have a double boiler but I do have a rice cooker that does the same job. 

I got these 3.5oz containers at Target for $2.19 for 8. They are the perfect size. She only eats half of one at every sitting but I'm sure it'll be a whole one in the next month or so. There's something so gratifying about a set of full containers in an even number all ready to eat!

So for a pack of 8 containers- $2.19
One sweet potato about 1 lb- $1.00
We'll round up to $3.50 even though I also got the containers for 5% off from the cartwheel app)
$3.50 made six, 3.5 oz jars. Gerber sells a three pack of sweet potatoes, 2.5oz jars for $2.94. Can't beat making food!

**Quick tip: Freezing veggies is really convenient for us. I can defrost the containers in hot water bath half an hr before i want to feed Maci. What's even more convenient is storing the veggies in breastmilk storage bags. We don't have a large freezer so the back take up only a small amount of room and can be frozen flat and stacked together neatly. When you're ready to thaw, place the bag in a hot water bath for 10 min then empty it into a bowl.**

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dry, Tangled Hair Rescue

Since about 2 months into my pregnancy, I noticed that my hair texture was changing. It became really straight and extremely easy to manage. It also grew very long, even though I used heat every month to straighten it. I straightened it because it normally takes me a looooong time to detangle my curly hair in the shower. When it's not straight, I wet my hair in the shower every few days, if not every day. (Because it's relaxing, not for any healthy hair reasons) I wet my hair often but don't comb it often...see where I'm going with this... Tangles tangles tangles when it's finally time to comb! Well, I had no patience for that while pregnant because back hurt, tired, rather eat, shower can't be as hot as I want etc. Straight was just easier. I could wash, dry and straighten it an hr because it was unusually easy to manage. Bun at night, waves in the day.

 Fast forward to my postpartum self. My curls are growing back, and my hair is very long but the ends of my hair are dry and straight. (I will be getting my ends trimmed next week) I also have less time in the shower because baby...see where I'm going with this... Tangles tangles tangles.

Here's my hair straightened after baby.

You can see my dry, straight ends here.

The product that I can 100% count on in the shower to detangle my hair (so I can comb it) is Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask. I wash or rinse my hair, squeeze it out a bit, GENEROUSLY apply the mask then shower shave etc. After I shower, I comb my hair with a wide tooth comb while the water runs through it. I use my trusty Denman brush next to really get all of the tangles out. Done! Some days, I leave the mask in for a day or 2 before I rinse because I'm just a conditioner junky. When I rinse this stuff out, my hair feels really soft and moisturized. I love it and I'm positive it will help me have healthy hair again. 

Here's The denman brush I use. I got mine from Sally's for about $10

Ulta and CVS sell the repair mask for around $36 for a 8.5oz jar. This stuff is expensive and worth it but I buy mine on Amazon. $16, comes to your door, order more when you start running low. Perfect. I've also seen the line at Marshall's and TJ Maxx but I've yet to find the repair mask there. 

**Ever since about 3 months postpartum my hair and hairline have been falling out like crazy. I read it would happen so I'm ok with it, although it's really not cute. It's starting to grow back so hopefully soon I'll have a hairline again. I haven't done anything to try to grow it back because it's hormonal and I'm just gonna wait it out.**

You can see how much has fallen out in this picture :(
**Yes, I'm nursing in this picture and I'm one of those people who feels comfortable feeding my baby in public. There's a whole seperate discussion surrounding that**