My journey with network marketing: where I’ve been and what’s to come

If you’re here reading this post you’re probably a friend, a customer, a follower, or someone that knows a bit of my story… but in case you’re not, I will do a little recap for you here. Please don’t just scroll to the bottom, as I’d love for you to hear these words.

In 2016, my first baby was born and it flipped my world completely upside down. We weren’t expecting it – in fact we had just moved across country for my job. I was a career woman through and through – working full time as an Account Supervisor on one of my marketing agencies largest and newest clients. Suddenly everything I had thought I wanted professionally, changed. I missed my baby and I wanted so badly to have the flexibility and freedom to spend more time with him while he was little. Parallel to this, my Dad was very very sick. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013 but things took a horrible turn for the worse the same year that I had Calvin. By June 2017, he was gone and I was a changed person. They say grief and loss will do that to you…. I learned QUICKLY that life is too short 1.) to care what others think about me and my decisions and 2.) to be unhappy in my day to day life. It is up to us to take control if we want to make a change.

That same year, I found a solution and opportunity with a company called SeneGence International (the company that owns LipSense which you might be more familiar with.) I saw other women and moms with what I wanted – more money, more time, leaving their jobs, earning the company car reimbursement, leading others, investing in other women, etc. I’ve always had a knack for all things beauty & leadership so I jumped right in with both feet. That’s kind of how I am… if I’m going to do something, I’m going to give it 150%. Within 5 months I hit car qualification and by the end of 2017, I was putting in my resignation at my full time job. Less than 1% of distributors reach this level. I did it. I had taken a leap of faith and succeeded in what I was trying to accomplish.

Over the next year things were still going awesome – my team was growing, my customer base was growing, I was doing trainings for my team, traveling, attending conferences, and I loved it so much. It was my life. Sometime in 2019 – I can’t pinpoint exactly when, probably when I had Cora, my second baby, I started to realize that the back end business model and things being taught were no longer aligning with some of my beliefs about how a network marketing business should be run. (If you want more details on this just reach out to me and I’m happy to chat about those details and logistics.) I tried to overlook my bottom line for a long time because I couldn’t fathom the thought of giving up what I’d worked so hard at, starting over, ever leaving SeneGence or my team of at one point, 200 women. That was never my intention. Fast forward a few more months and these thoughts kept creeping in. Things didn’t seem to be flowing well anymore and my team was not duplicating – many women were getting hung up on the same things I was before they could even get started. I had a new baby, less hands, and I really had to get honest with myself about where my time was being spent.

I started talking to both new, old, and potential customers and I realized that what I’ve been sharing with SeneGence might not be what they’re looking for. I took a poll and asked what your deciding factors in make a beauty purchase were… the answers were price/affordability, clean ingredients, ease of ordering, and MOST said “all of the above.”

As much as I wanted everyone to love what I was offering – I couldn’t help but feel like maybe there was a better fit from both a business model and product standpoint. My passion is helping women feel extraordinary with the right products and knowledge of what they’re using. It’s to TEACH and show others through product knowledge and demos. Was I really sharing the “every day” products or a growing opportunity that my demographic might be interested in?

One thing I knew is that I was not giving up on network marketing or returning to a traditional 9-5 job. I have a new baby and a growing toddler that need me around – and I need the flexibility that only this industry can offer. I’ve spent years studying, learning, and becoming an expert in this field. I know it works because I did it. I know it works because even up until the end of 2019, my commission checks have been paying our bills. We can’t live without my network marketing income. I don’t have hours to put in for someone else but I can certainly put the time and effort I can offer, into an opportunity I believe in. I also knew I did NOT want to leave the beauty industry. I believe that outer beauty can help how we feel on the inside and that there is a lot to be said about a women feeling confident in her own skin.

The universe, god, whatever you believe in, must have heard my conversations and my prayers as a new opportunity literally came into my email inbox. It was from someone I didn’t know personally but trusted big time in the blogging, social media and business world. She knew things I didn’t know and don’t know – she studies market trends of companies and I had to hear about her newest venture.

The company she had moved to is still in the beauty category but there are a few things that really caught my eye and peaked my interest:

• The products are affordable without sacrificing quality. I’m talking like 1/4-1/3 the amount of products I’ve recommended in the past.

• The company represents “clean beauty” and follows European beauty standards, banning up to 1400 chemicals that aren’t banned in the US.

• The company is already successfully operating in hundreds of other markets but is new to the US as of 2019.

• The ordering process from both my end and my customers, is seamless and done via a website that is set up for me by the company upon signup.

• The product offering allows me to find less expensive and cleaner “dupes” for the SeneGence products I have come to know and love over the past 3 years. There is even some overlap.

• There is a clean baby line! Right up my alley.

I decided to try some products. What can it hurt, right? I ordered a full face of makeup for under $100. I was impressed by that and also skeptical – I wanted to hate everything so that my decision would be easier. So that I could get this pulling out of my mind and off my heart and be done with it. So that I didn’t have to risk disappointing people who trust me. So that I could stay where I felt safe and comfortable. So that I could coast along with what I had already built.

I’m not going to lie. Even after I tried my new makeup and cleanser and LOVED them, I boxed my new products up and was going to get rid of them. I tried so hard to push this away, but it just didn’t work. I was having dreams, the beauty influencer I was talking with was offering to help and teach me things I’ve never been taught, doors were opening. After a few weeks, I unsigned my management agreement with SeneGence, signed up with the new company for just $19.99 and decided I’m going to go all in.  The response from those I’ve talked to 1on1 has been nothing but supportive and congratulatory. I wanted to tell and talk to EVERY customer and friend 1on1, but it turns out there are a lot of you. If you’re wondering how I can go from one company directly to another – remember that network marketing is like a job would be to most others. It’s how I support my family and couldn’t have left without a researched plan.

When people ask what happened? Nothing happened – it’s just that nothing changes if you change nothing.

I’ve always felt like I have made good decisions for myself and my family, and in turn it has allowed me to make good monetary and business decisions for myself and my family. I’ve always felt I’ve been honest, open, trustworthy in my intentions. I’ve always taken calculated risks. In my heart of hearts I truly believe that this decision to pursue a new opportunity is not only the best decision for me, but for everyone involved…. my customers, my team, my future customers, my future team, and mostly, my babies – who I want to continue to stay home with.

…I once heard that if you found something you love and that others could benefit from it, you are doing a disservice if you don’t share it. 

So let’s share. I’m not good at keeping secrets. 

The new company I’m partnering with is called Farmasi US!

Here is the Jan-March 2020 beauty book if you want to browse a full catalog.

Here is my new shopping website if you want to scope it out this way.

So what’s next? Well I figure there are a few ways this could go….

You could decide to hate me forever and never trust me again.

You could sit back and watch skeptically as I start to do tutorials with new products.

You can sign up as my Farmasi Customer here for free and when you are ready to buy your account will be set up. If you need refills on any products, Senegence or not, I’d love to help you find a Farmasi alternative.

You can sign up as a Farmasi Beauty Influencer here for as low as $19.99 to get a 50% product discount and a free personal affiliate link to share with others. I’ll be doing another post about the opportunity soon.

If you are happy with Senegence and want to continue purchasing these products, you can do so here for the time being.

I’m sure there will be questions so feel free to reach out to me directly – I’d love to chat with you. If you’re surprised, so am I! But I am also extremely excited to get this show on the road in 2020! I’m excited to be excited again. It’s going to be an amazing year and I so appreciate your support.



Holiday Gift Guide for the Whole Fam {with Big Lots}

*This post is sponsored by Big Lots, but all thoughts and opinions here are my own. Thanks for your support!*
If you’ve been around here for a minute, you are well aware of my love for Big Lots. Whether I’m working with them or not, I am frequenting our updated location here in Cincinnati …so good! Lucky for me, I also get the pleasure of working with them this holiday season.
Christmas is just a couple of weeks away, so I have put together a gift guide of my favorite items. I walked every aisle and picked out awesome gift ideas for the entire family.

Your BIG LOTS Gift Guide!


1. Makeup Brush Holders – at just a $5 price point these ceramic holders are so cute and affordable for any beauty lover in your life.
2. Dream Street Kids – this is a full line of kids pillows, chairs, plush items and just overall cuteness. A perfect and cuddly gift for the littles!
3. Plants & Planters – hello affordable plant heaven. Dozens of faux plants and planters for the plant lady on your list.
4. Frozen 2 anything – need I say more? You want a frozen gift, toy, book, etc, they have it!
5. Candles – an oldie but goodie. Everyone loves a nice smelling candle. Choose from all sizes, colors, and scents.
6. Seasonal Gift Baskets – take the work out of hand picking a gift basket and buy one that is thoughtfully curated already.
7. Blankets & Throws – winter is just getting started, nothing says comfort like a comfy blanket.
8. Essential Oil Diffusers – I love the marbled ones best. A great gift for an “oily” mom.
9. Ear Pods – a fraction of the cost of real air pods but look identical. Choose from white or black.
10. Dearfoam Slippers – I absolutely love my leopard dear foams from Big Lots. Pick a pair for the entire family!
11. Candy for Stockings – we all buy it. We all want it!
12. Coffee Mugs – choose from a full wall of cute mugs. Perfect for literally anyone who drinks coffee or tea.…which is everyone.
13. Small Kitchen Appliances – the air fryer is a crowd favorite but there are tons more to choose from. Click here to see.
14. Pajama Sets – a longtime family tradition for so many …matching PJs! Grab yours all at once here.
15. Decorative Baskets & Bins – if you choose to make your own gift basket, choose one of these!
16. Dr Teal’s for Self Care – available in gift sets and individually. Give the gift of self care to yourself or the whole family.

Order by 12/18 to guarantee delivery by Christmas or just stop into your local Big Lots to check out the amazing stocking stuffers and gifts they have in store. Let me know what you pick up – Happy Shopping!


The easiest way to build a gallery wall in your home

Okay – so I am NO home interior expert, at all, but I am pretty damn proud of how this gallery wall turned out. I thought I could share how we did this, what we used, and some tips & tricks that I learned along the way. It took me about a week to figure out the best way to do this, so I thought I’d help you skip the research and use these tips – if you like how it turned out, of course!

We had a huge, blank 100in x 100in wall in our living room and putting a gallery of my favorite photos up was the clear answer for covering this white space. I’m so glad we did because the completed gallery makes the space look so much larger!

Here is your list of supplies:

Ribba FramesRIBBA Frame IKEA You can place the motif on the front or back of the extra deep frame. The mat enhances the picture and makes framing easy.These frames also come in a few different sizes and colors.

PS: You can now order online from ikea and pick up! This is super convenient if you know exactly what you want but don’t want to walk through the entire store, go find on the shelves, pay, and then cart out to your car. I can’t recommend the curbside pick up enough!

Nails for HangingHardware Nail Assortment Kit, Includes Wire, Finish, Common, Brad and Picture Hanging Nails

Tape Measure

Any kind of tape for marking angles and where photos will go.

9 printed photos that are 11.5 x 11.5

Let’s stop and talk about the printed photos real quick, as this was 100% the hardest part of this process. I decided to have my photos printed at our local UPS store. I called to make sure they could print this size of photo and the guy working told me yes, I could email them in digital files to the store, and he’d take a look. Make sure when you are sending the digital files that you are sending them as “actual size” in your email. It might take a few emails but this is how you guarantee they won’t be pixelated. Make sure that you are sending photos of good quality (I suggest choosing professionally taken photos, if possible.) Make sure you are doing your best to “crop” to a square size image if you are using square frames. They will likely still have to adjust the images but there will be less room for error if the photos are sent with square dimensions. The UPS store did have me come in to check the edits they had made on the photos before printing. This was an extra step but I’m so glad he let me help and provide my input. I fear if I would’ve just sent to the drugstore for prints, I wouldn’t have had this kind of customer service. He also told me that when researching what to charge for these type of prints, the cheapest they found was Walgreens and they charge about $2/print less.


Step One: put printed photos into frames. You’ll need to tape the photo to the mat so that it is centered and hangs correctly.

Step Two: lay out frames on the floor and arrange which image you want, where.

Step Three: Decide how much of the wall you want to cover. This will help determine spacing between each frame. We wanted to cover a 72in x 72in square. Between the size of the frames and even spacing, this puts almost exactly 5 inches between each frame on top and bottom (since they are even squares.)

Step Four: mark off the top and bottom edge of 72 x 72 on your wall with tape.

Step Five: start with the bottom left frame. Mark with tape where it’ll go. The hardest part of hanging was measure where the nail hanger is on the frame, so you’ll have to measure that too. For example, the nail needed to be exactly 4.5in down from where the top of the frame would be, and 10.25in in from the side. This definitely takes two people to hold, eye, and measure at the same time!

Step Six: Start hanging! Once the first frame is up, the next one will be either 5 inches above, or 5 inches to the side of the one you just hung.

Step Seven: Have a glass of wine ready, lol! This can be hard to do, and quite the project!

Step Eight: Admire your work! Craig even said at the end how great of an idea this was and how much he loves the final product!

Let me know if you decide to try this project! Tag me, message me, etc – I’d love to see!!

Our Fall Home Refresh with Big Lots!

This blog post is written in partnership with and sponsored by Big Lots.
Hello, Friends! I am so so excited to bring a new element to the blog – some home decor convo, items, photos, and inspiration! It’s about time!
Most of you all know that we purchased our first home back in March of this year! 3 months prior to this, I made a career change and have been staying at home with my 2.5 year old, Calvin. Sooo needless to say, things have been a little chaotic – and decorating and making our place just how we want it hasn’t been our #1 priority.
About a month ago, it started giving me a lot of anxiety. We had done NOTHING to make our house feel like home, and I just wanted to spruce it up a little bit and make it feel cozier for fall. We didn’t want to totally break the bank but we wanted quality items for our otherwise boring decor situation.
I am so happy with how our “Fall Refresh” with Big Lots turned out. We were able to make our MAIN living area and dining area feel like FALL by adding some decor, storage solutions, and a bar/snack cart! I didn’t have to sacrifice my personal style for price, and I will no longer be embarrassed to have guests into our home this season. It feels so cozy and welcoming!
When I hung up these prints from Big Lots, Calvin told me that “I did a great job with decorating.” 🙂
I had a blast picking everything out in the convenient, re-designed store just a couple of miles from our home.
Big Lots’ new store layout is open and organized; you can easily find everything from furniture to decor to home organization to food, snacks, and drinks. There are items for every room in your home, as well as for both your indoor and outdoor needs.

I went back to the store a few times because I kept thinking of more things I wanted! Each day that I went back, the store was re-stocked, re-organized, and the employees were just as welcoming every single time. You HAVE GOT TO go check a re-designed store out for yourself!
^I was extremely impressed by both the furniture selection AND area rug assortment!
The first area of our home that I really wanted to refresh was our main living area! We had no rug, no table, old pillows, nothing on the walls, and no extra decor! We were able to get ALL of these things and more. All of the decor pieces in the below photos are from Big Lots.
img_4139^These pillows and blankets are sooo soft! After Thanksgiving, I can just replace the pumpkin pillow with a Christmas or winter themed pillow and keep using the others!
^These signs took me approx. 30 seconds to hang on my own!
^these bins are what I call stylish storage!
The second area that we wanted to “refresh” was the area behind our table in our dining room. We decided to make a snack and beverage station with all of our favorite fall treats. ALL of these items are from Big Lots including the yummy edible items!

So what do you think? I still can’t believe the selection and how in line with my personal style these items that are picked out, are! I love everything we chose so much. Now that our fall home refresh is done, I will definitely be going back for items as we decorate my son’s new big boy room later this month.
One huge perk to shopping at Big Lots, is the BIG Rewards program. You can start earning rewards on your very first purchase – such as credit rewards, VIP shopping days, furniture bonuses, birthday surprises, and saving more each time you make a purchase. This is not a credit card – but more of a rewards program only. Sign up and create an account here!
Please let me know if you go check out a remodeled store near you – and let me know what you get! I would love to see your own fall home updates!
Thank you again to Big Lots for sponsoring this post.

How to: Slay your Goals & Change your LIFE in 2018!

Hey babes! Welcome to 2018! I don’t know about you but I am very happy to see a new year. I just have a really amazing feeling that 2018 is going to top all previous years… I think that main reason I’m feeling so positive and good about the new year is because I have a PLAN. I know what I want, and when, and what my vehicle to get me there will be. I have a clear vision of how my life can change in 2018.
I have evolved so much as an individual, as a mom, as a wife, as a professional, since starting ‘Running with Strollers’, and I thank you for following on the journey. When I started the blog, I really wanted to write career/professional type posts, but at that time my career wasn’t inspiring me as much as I had hoped. I had just gotten pregnant and then had my son, so my focus shifted to everything #motherhood. I didn’t expect my perspectives, goals, dreams, LIFE to change as drastically as it did when becoming a mom. Everything I had come to believe about my aspirations, changed. I no longer wanted to drop my child off every day at daycare and sit at a desk to work on someone else’s dream. I had a strong desire to lead and inspire others outside of a 9-5. I needed FREEDOM, LIKE MINDED FRIENDS and EXTRA INCOME so that I could shift from a professional career to being a #girlboss entrepreneur on my own terms.


Most of you know that I started a business venture in the beauty industry in March 2017 that has been very successful for my family and I. In December, I came home full time to work my business and be a Mom to my almost now 2 year old. This week, I did a training for my team of 50 women on “5 Tips to Slay your SeneBiz in the New Year”… but I realized that these tips are really applicable to anyone who wants to accomplish big goals this year. I decided that I’d turn my “show notes” into a general blog post for even those outside of my team to read.  I feel compelled and qualified to talk on this topic because I have watched my life change dramatically over the past 9 months. I truly feel if you can master and remember these 5 tips, the details will fall into place and you will always know what the next step towards accomplishing your dream will be. They are really the core of what I do every day, week, month, etc, to meet my goals. Without further ado – let’s get to some life changing realness…
#1 – You must determine WHAT you want, WHY you want it, and HOW you will get it. 
So you want to change your life – what do you want to change, why do you want it to change and what will your vehicle be to get you there? For my team training, we obviously know our vehicle but I always encourage them to dig deep and find their “WHY.” Why are they doing what they’re doing? What was the root cause for them to start a business, become an entrepreneur (#mompreneur as I like to call myself) or add something “extra” to their plate? There has to be a deeper reason than just wanting to sell products. For me, I have a strong desire for freedom from a full-time job, I want to have flexibility, I want to see my child more than 2 hours a day, and I want to give my family an extraordinary lifestyle. No matter how hard I worked at my job, I couldn’t achieve that. Once you determine what you want and why, you HAVE to keep that in front of you. Slaying your goals and dreams isn’t easy – it often takes hours of additional work, there will be people who judge you or question what you are doing, and you’re going to want to quit 2, 3 or 10 times throughout the year. I once heard a quote… “if people don’t understand what you’re doing, you may be on to something.” God sized dreams are never seen or understood by the average Joe. Keeping a WHY (that is stronger than any outside force trying to destroy those dreams) in front of you is absolutely necessary and is the first thing you must identify before achieving a dream.
#2 – Write Down your Goals and Keep them in front of you!
How are you going to hit your goals if you don’t know what they are or if you aren’t looking at them Your goals and dreams are 100% more likely to come true if they are physically written down. Your goal boards can be electronic, on paper, in the form of words or pictures, just get them physically down! I have a goals board in my kitchen that I update on the first of every month. No excuses. I see it every single day and I post it as the background as my phone. We look at our phones what, like, 573 times a day? Now I see what I’m working toward every time I hit that home button. It’s important to remember that just writing them down isn’t going to make them come true, you have to take action every single day (more on that later) but you are sooo soo much more inclined to take that action when they are written down. Just do it. And thank me later. In addition to my monthly vision board, I had my team create vision photos with their faces like this:

#3 – Daily Self Development
There is sooo so much negative in the world today. In the news, on social media, with family and friends – we must rid ourselves of that negativity ASAP. Don’t be afraid of the unfriend or unfollow button. If something you are seeing or consuming daily is shaking your confidence or belief in YOUR path, stop looking at it. Basically you have to stay in your own lane, or else you’ll get run over. I think that is a huge part of self development – knowing what is affecting you and either ridding it from your life, or taking more of it in, if it’s positive. Another way I like to work on self development is through podcasts, ebooks, articles, blogs (such as this 🙂 ) or finding a positivity friend (someone I know I can always contact and we can lift each other up.) Instead of turning on pop radio in the car and listening to songs you have heard a million times and probably don’t even like, turn on an inspirational podcast. Be willing to put so much good in your brain that there is no option but for the negative to be pushed out. Your thoughts are like a muscle, they must be exercised daily in order to get stronger. Your business or goals will not grow or improve if YOU aren’t willing to change. Becoming an entrepreneur, a #mompreneur, or extraordinary, does NOT happen overnight -we must learn from those who have gone before us and found success. Lastly, I like to find or stalk, I mean STUDY, people in my line of business that inspire me. I can then replicate (not copy) or apply what I feel is drawing myself to them, in my own business. I often think about WHY I joined the team I did in SeneGence and try to remember that often so that I can create that same type of feeling with my followers. Here are some podcasts I like that can all be found on itunes:
MLM Nation
The Goal Digger Podcast
The Skinny Confidential – Him & Her
Almost 30 Podcast
I am not great at reading but REALLY want to be – I will work on that in 2018 and hope to have a list of reading material for you all soon. Or you can leave your recos below!
#4 Build Relationships and Tell your Story
In anything you want to accomplish in life, there’s a great chance you won’t be able to do it alone. You’ll need a network for a business, a goal, or a dream. You’ll need supporters, customers, followers, partners, employees, or encouragers. Whether your goal is to run a marathon or start a blog – you will need these people. My friend Kaitlyn of Essere Blog and Buzzed Bull Creamery is SO GOOD at doing this. She is a business owner, a wife, and a new blogger. She is constantly building her brand, telling her story, encouraging others, which I believe, attracts people towards her. I aspire to be more like her. Build relationships, tell your story, connect, and in turn you will make sincere friendships with others and find your “people” naturally. This can’t be a sometimes thing, this has to be a part of you – connecting with others needs to be a part of what you become great at. What you are putting on social media, or into the universe should be generally positive, honest, and things you care about that others can relate with. This helps to develop your “brand” which is an entirely different convo. Just know that you, are your brand, which is your business. It is all connected. We connect with people and why they’re doing what they are – not what they are selling.

#5 – Consistency ALWAYS Wins. Take Action Every Single Day.
Nothing you set out to accomplish can be a “when you feel like it” thing. Every day consistency will ALWAYS win. Although this is #5 on the list, I think it is the more important. You will see growth, change, and success where your thoughts and actions fall daily. Action inspires action – do you remember the theory from school, “a ball in motion stays in motion, a ball at rest, stays at rest?” It’s much harder to find motivation to take action when you haven’t in a few days, a week, or months. Once you get into the habit of taking action you will naturally want to stay in motion. Taking action yields results and eventually working towards your dream will become a part of your routine. You want to get to a spot where NOT taking action feels wrong, or makes you feel uneasy. Do at least one thing for your dream
Bonus Tip: Don’t QUIT!
The only way to completely fail at something you have a WHY, a PLAN for, and that you WORK at consistently, is to give up. THE ONLY WAY. Sure, some dreams and ventures will be more successful than others, but the only way to find no success is to STOP. Don’t quit your dream, and it won’t quit you (a quote by Whitney Bray.) BOOM.
If you want to chat with me, please feel free to reach out to me on here, via email (, follow me on instagram, or facebook!
Interested in a new opportunity with makeup and skincare? To join my team of badass boss babes, you can read about our January sign-up promo here or sign-up here with ID 330104.

The Moment I Realized You Were Gone

It was 17 days after you had passed away – just 2 weeks and 3 days since we said our final goodbye and sat with you bedside for the last time before they came and took you away. In that 17 days we had planned a funeral, held a visitation, buried you, hosted a lunch at our home in Cincinnati with a saxophone player you would have loved, planned a vacation, and made our way to Florida for some much needed time away.
My week in Florida was good…I had smooth flights, we did some dinners out to eat, some swimming in the pool, shopping, and went to the ocean off and on during the days when it wasn’t raining. On my final night in Florida, Friday the 23rd, the weather just seemed to cooperate and it had been gorgeously sunny all day. I sat on the beach with a Corona, did a workout alone, and came back to meet my mom for dinner by the pool. After dinner I decided I wanted to go on the beach for my last night – for it was really the only day that week we could see the sunset. The other days had been consumed with rain as a hurricane moved it’s way through the gulf. I took myself out to the beach, and as I walked onto the sand, I started getting an overwhelming feeling of sadness. I laid my towel out on the sand, and just sat with my arms around my knees for a while. It was the kind of Summer night where you could be comfortable in a light jacket, or comfortable running around in a swimsuit – I’m unable to accurately explain the perfect temperature of that night in the words that it deserves. The humidity from the week had suddenly lifted and the breeze was lightly blowing as the ocean waves rolled in. Families all around me enjoying the sand, the water, and each other’s company as the sun set to the right of me, covered the beach. The sky was hazy and the perfect amount of clouds lined the edge of the ocean. Live music was playing up by the pool and you could hear it out onto the beach as the sun got lower and glistened over the water. For the first time since you’d been gone, I felt alone, no longer swept up in the plans of how we’d lay you to rest or planning this glorious week “away” from it all.
Why weren’t you there? You used to make my sisters and I get up at the crack of dawn to find the sunrise (I always passed on that) or make us drive to the perfect place on the island after dinner just to catch a small glimpse of the setting sun on our beach vacations. No way would there be this type of weather, this type of sunset and you not there walking the beach to enjoy it. I got that panicked feeling where you keep waiting for something to happen, for someone to come … it never does and they never appear. You keep waiting and hoping, knowing that it’s not happening but that there could be a small chance. Finally I came back up to our room…my phone was dead and I needed to capture this sunset, this view in front of me that you weren’t able to see from my point of view on earth. Mom reminded me that it was okay to feel sad and so I allowed 17 days worth of tears to come out in one night. I didn’t expect this, as we had already spent so many weeks and months grieving prior to the actual day that my Dad had died. I stood on our beachfront balcony for hours and engrained this moment and picture into my mind.  As it got darker, I decided to pull out my computer and get my thoughts out in writing before they escaped me forever.
How is it that just 1 year ago (to the week) you were with us on the beach – talking, laughing, swimming. Your incredibly tan toes walking the beach with us as you snapped photos, held your grandson, and gathered the family for what would be our last vacation photo as a family – and our last vacation as a family.
It’s crossed my mind often how much I’ll miss you on my wedding day in just 4 short months, at the hospital after the birth of my other children, or at our first family Hanukkah without you. It turns out when someone is gone, you can never get “away” – for they are always with you…in the big moments, the mundane moments, and ordinary moments such as a sunset on an otherwise ordinary evening or a neighborhood concert on a hot July night.
I have a feeling I will find you in these type of moments more often than not – the ones where I least expect it, the beautiful moments that scream, “you should be here.”
It took me 17 days to realize that you are never physically coming back, but that you will never truly be gone. 

Moms Matter Too: Post-Partum Stress/Anxiety + The Importance of Self Care

Alright guys, I’m going to do it, I’m going to be another #momblogger writing about self care. Honestly, before I was a mom, I didn’t even understand what “self care” meant and I sure as hell didn’t understand why so many moms were talking about it. I mean, it’s not that hard to take care of yourself, right? But at the beginning of this year, I feel like I got hit by a truck in my understanding of it and why self care should be our #1 priority. Yes – I said #1, before baby, before husband, before work, etc. If you aren’t talking care of yourself, ALL of these things suffer. I have felt it first hand.
I am bringing this up because I think a lot of moms read my blog probably think that I have it all together – a good job, a beautiful and healthy baby, a great fiance, a blog with pretty pictures that I am able to keep up even when life gets crazy…but that doesn’t mean that this shit is easy or that the last year has been all fairies and rainbows. In fact I sincerely hope from some of my other heartfelt posts that I don’t come across that way. It wouldn’t be honest of me if I didn’t talk about this part of motherhood.
For the second half of 2016, I was doing okay on the outside, but literally scraping by on the inside. The stress of returning to work and a normal life, only now with a baby, was probably the hardest life transition I have gone through. Having a baby that didn’t (still doesn’t always) sleep through the night and then going to work all day, left me exhausted by 7pm each night. I curbed that exhaustion with an excuse to not exercise and eat cookies every night if I wanted, because.. I (didn’t) GAF. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because lack of exercise was leaving me even more lethargic, and my body started showing stress in many different ways that I had never experienced before (grinding my teeth, headaches, muscle twitches in random places.) When I ended up seeing a doctor in January for unrelated issues, I brought up my concerns. She is the one who explained to me that stress can present itself in many weird ways and my concern that I had developed a muscular disorder resulting in muscle twitches, was probably just stress.
If all of this sounds concerning to you, it’s because it is. I finally realized at the end of 2016, right around the time I stopped breastfeeding, that I had slowly bottled up a lot of Post-Partum Anxiety (I don’t say Post-Partum Depression, because I don’t think it got to that level) on-set NOT ONLY by life with a baby but stressful work, wedding planning, expectations on this blog, family health issues, and LIFE. I know it wasn’t anxiety caused by baby alone. I have explained this feeling to others as feeling trapped…that’s the best word I have for it. Not depressed, just trapped in a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I had never once felt anxiety before having a child, and suddenly I was consumed by it. Craig asked so many times how he could help, but he was already pulling so much weight and I realized it was my responsibility to start taking care of myself and figure out how to make it better.
I have become extremely passionate about making sure that Moms Matter – once we have baby, we tend to shift the focus there, lose ourselves, and then fall into an anxiety ridden state of no longer having your own life, goals, and significance. Please tell me this isn’t just me, that others have longed for freedom and time to just focus on what YOU want for once.
 For me, PPA was not immediate upon the birth of my son like it is for some – it was a gradual decline starting at about 4 months PP until about 10 months PP. Only now can I look back, reflect, and write about these things, because I finally feel that I am coming out on the other side. I was too deep in it before and too STUCK to be able to realize what was happening, how to get out of it, or how to help other Moms. In that same doctor appointment that I referenced before, she gave me a mini therapy session on small steps I could take to relieve some stress and anxiety – I had no choice but to try and take her advice.  These are the things that have helped me feel more like myself, defend against PPA and create more energy in my life:
Consistent Exercise
I went from exercising 5-6 days/week before pregnancy, continued exercising until 20 weeks, and then pretty much stopped completely. I started again when Calvin was 8 weeks and felt amazing. Then I went back to work, then I made excuses, then I completely fell off the wagon. Turns out it is the most important wagon of all. Once I got back into a consistent (still not as much as before!) routine, a lot of stress and anxiety subsided, grinding of my teeth lessened, and I just felt overall better about myself and had more energy. If someone is going wrong in your life, I suggest taking some time to get moving and see if that helps.

Do Something you Love for YOU
I’m sure a lot of people in my life have wondered why I haven’t given up blogging when things get busy or I get overwhelmed – I mean it’s just an extra THING that takes up more TIME, right!? WRONG. This blog is what I started when I was pregnant for ME. When I was suddenly unexpectedly pregnant, working in a stressful environment, and newly living 600 miles from all friends and family, I needed an outlet…I needed to create something to focus on outside of the other stressors. I posted on instagram here that this blog started out about ME and trying to inspire others, but the opportunities that have come to me and the people I’ve met have inspired ME and I now write for all of YOU as well. I think everyone needs something of their own to work towards, a creative outlet, a business, a platform, that they can be proud of. I’ll be announcing soon Part II of RwS soon – aka my latest endeavor. What can you do for you?

Find a Strong Relatable Community
ALL Moms want to come across strong, like they are conquering the world, and let’s be honest, we are. Moms often answer with, “good!” when we first ask how it’s going…but if you really sit down and talk to a new mom, a veteran mom, or anyone caring for other humans, they will get real with you. I don’t think we feel like we can really say how we are feeling often enough and we think that everything we are experiencing, everything we are feeling is just “normal” for a new mom. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. I know we can all relate to the tough stuff, and having a community in which you can talk with, helps so much. Just to know that someone else has been through or is going through the same challenge you may be facing is really helpful. So, please reach out to me and we can chat if you feel so inclined – I would love that!

Break Free of Comparison & Social Media Pressure
I read an article recently talking about how parenting now is harder than parenting was 20, 30 years ago because of the insane amount of pressure put on us to do it all, have it all, while looking and feeling amazing. I don’t think that our parents had it easy by any means and can’t say I totally agree with that statement BUT I think social media is the cause of this statement. The only pressure we should feel is from wanting to better ourselves and our family. If you feel that pressure from other moms or what you see on social media is messing with your parenting, I would highly suggest taking a break. Now that is easier said than done – if you’re a blogger or business owner, your success likely is dependent on your social media presence and interacting with others. Find the balance. Set aside time to be 100% engaged with your family and set aside time to be on your phone (after work until Calvin’s bed time I am in 100% family mode.) Remember that REAL life is happening and passing quickly as your scroll through your feeds. Stay in your own lane, know what your goals are, and don’t let someone else’s success or statements bring you down.

If you’ve been here and can relate in any way, I’d love to hear from you – any other suggestions? Like I said, I finally feel like I have broken free from the PPA cycle and can talk about it with other moms. Thanks so much for reading and for all your support along the way.


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The Perfect Gift for the Bride-to-Be {+ a Giveaway with The Ring Boxes!}

 The Bride-to-Be…hey, that’s me!!!
So I have NOT been in engaged mode lately – once we picked our date and venue last fall, I pretty much paused on doing anything else. The end of last year was consumed with baby, work & blogging and then the beginning of this year was all about our move and figuring out where we would be living. Now that we are semi-settled in our new place in Cincinnati, it’s officially go-time on wedding planning! I just found my wedding dress (!!!) and our engagement pictures are next month.
Holy shit, it’s starting to feel real.

Thankfully, I have discovered THE coolest and most adorable subscription box around from The Ring Boxes to officially make me feel like a true bride-to-be.
Each box is filled with hand-picked items such as apparel, drinkware, paperware, countdowns, coozies, planning tools, toppers, soaps, etc!
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^the above is an example of an assortment you could recieve and not reflective of the March box I recieved^
My favorite things about this subscription service:
The boxes come in monthly, 3 month, 6 month, etc. discounted subscriptions – can freeze at any time and be shipped worldwide
All items are purchased from and to support small businesses
Perfect gift to yourself or a friend that has been recently engaged
You can build a selection of adorable items in time for your shower, bachelorette party or wedding day!

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The March box I received contains 2 recipe cards, an adorable tank from Perf Shirts, a BRIDE champagne glass from Custom for Less Boutique , a pad for putting together a seating chart from Future Mrs Planner, an all-natural bar of lemony soap from Lizush, and 2 cake diamond cake toppers from Paper Mail Party…seriously love all of these items!
Watch my unboxing video below to see me poppin’ bottles and checking out my new items up close and personal 🙂
Like I said in the video, I’m so excited to be giving one of YOU an April Box! I just announced the giveaway on my instagram here so head on over to enter. It’s super easy – just like the photo, follow me @runningwithstrollers and @theringboxes, and tag 2 friends who would want to win the box either for themselves or to gift to a friend! Let’s be honest, we ALL have friends that are engaged (or will be soon!)
I hope you love this service as much as I do! Stay tuned for more wedding planning updates. Do you have any “8 months out” advice for this mama?


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{Part One} Calvin’s First Fiesta Photos!

Hi Guys! Sooooo it’s March?! I honestly don’t know what just happened the past 3 weeks in my life – it was my birthday, then it was Valentine’s Day, then it was Calvin’s Birthday where I planned a party in one week, then we moved across the country. All while trying to keep up with taking care of a 1 year old and working full time. And I somehow got 5 blog posts up in Feb, which was my goal. Wait what? I wouldn’t recommend this level of chaos honestly, lol!
The moving surveyor thought I was insane when he came to our place on Feb 15th, asked when we were moving and I told him the 27th. He said “of this month?” as he not-so-silently judged the baby toys strewn across the room and amount of items we HADN’T packed. He proceeded to say, “you know you wouldn’t want to bite off more than you could chew.” Oh moving man, don’t you know that’s the theme of my life?
So FINALLY I want to share Part 1 of Calvin’s special day – these pictures really just show the wonder, curiosity, and joy we see in him every single day. We had about 40 of our closest friends, my family, and co-workers at our clubhouse in NJ to celebrate and enjoy a Fiesta themed party for our little man. It was very bittersweet to have everyone who welcomed us to the east coast, supported us and have been our friends over the past two years together in one room. We are so so thankful for each and every one of you and are glad to be taking lifelong friendships with us.
[all photos taken by Henrietta of HB Media]




^He LOVES all of the gifts he received. Now that we are moved, he can finally start opening & playing with them fully!
If you ever want to entertain a baby, just buy him a set of maracas, which are apparently the key to happiness.
^We “made” this last minute smash cake – I’ll share more on this in the 2nd post with decoration details.
Calvin started by veryyy gingerly touching his personal cake. He eventually took some bites, picking apart little pieces with his thumb and index finger only. I would say he was a very politically correct cake smasher.
img_2589Finally going for it ^^
img_2590^Drum sticks rivaled the entertainment from the maracas, but we ultimately decided that a baby running with drumsticks could be the cause of a Mommy panic attack
We want to say thank you one more time to our friends who made this one of our favorite days we’ve had yet and to my family for ALL your help in the party setup and clean up! We couldn’t do anything in our lives without our friends & family.
In Part 2, I will share all of the Fiesta decoration details/photos and 4 tips on planning a successful party in just 1 week! I have so many friends who will be planning parties for their little ones so I will try to get that posted in the next week!
I’ll let you know when that’ll be up – or you can subscribe to my blog by entering your email below, so you never miss another post 🙂 Have a great rest of your week, friends!kaylasignature-06
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How-To: Plan a Successful Birthday Party in One Week!

I never really thought of myself as a party planner, but I not-so-secretly had so much fun planning Calvin’s First Birthday (aka the ultimate fiesta!) I am a project manager by day so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that planning something for my own life could be kinda fun too. I’ve never really been that into this sort of thing until I had a child – now I want to give him the world 24/7 (spoiled much!?) I even did a craft (see banner below.) Who am I? It’s also kind of true when they say it’s really a party for the parents, lol! I wanted to make sure that our friends and co-workers we met during our time on the East Coast had a great time. I’m so thankful for every one of the relationships we formed in NJ and I really wanted to get everyone (and their kids) together at once for some fun.
For the longest time, I kept putting off the planning for Calvin’s Birthday. I could blame this on procrastination (which is usually the case) but we really didn’t know if we’d be in OH or NJ for his special day. We found out on 2/9 that we’d be moving on 2/27, so I had approximately ONE WEEK to pull together this party for 2/18. Miraculously I did it, and we had about 40 people there to help us celebrate. Why didn’t I wait till we moved back? I was pretty adamant that my first child WOULD have a party on his actual birthday…first time mom probs.
Did I order all of our decorations off etsy? No. Did I send out custom hard copy invitations? No. Did I make all the food? No. So yes, I took some shortcuts in order to make this happen, but I believe the outcome was just as great.
Here are my recommendations for pulling a successful & affordable birthday party together in 1 week–because sometimes that’s all the time we got!

Have a Theme and “Vision” in Mind

(^I made this banner with string, glue, sparkly green paper, plain letters, and gold foil decal paper from Hobby Lobby!)
This one is important to determine first, because all party aspects will revolve around the theme – invites, food, decorations, dessert, etc. Honestly, almost any theme you chose for a small child’s birthday will be cute. First I wanted winter ONE-derland, then I thought we’d do a safari theme, but ultimately decided on a “First Fiesta.” I’m very glad we didn’t chose a winter theme because it ended up being 75 and sunny day of!
Once I made that decision, the other aspects started to fall into place. I knew exactly what e-vite to pick, I knew exactly what to look for in terms of decorations, and the food/drinks became easy to choose as well. This is really random, but once I found a table cloth that fit my vision (see below), the color scheme fell into place and I just had to find other items I loved that matched. Allow yourself some time in the party and/or craft store to walk around, brainstorm, and come up with your own ideas. Remember, you don’t have to replicate something you find on pinterest for it to be awesome – you can have your own vision and build upon that!

Table Cloth
Lantern Lights
Easel Chalkboard – On Sale!

Send Evites

Do you know how much time and money I saved by doing an evite? It was honestly the quickest, easiest and smartest thing I’ve ever done. I downloaded the evite app (yes I did it all from my phone!), found a fiesta themed invite (I would’ve liked to customize a bit more but this did the trick), loaded in the date, time, and a special message, and then started sending out. The best part – I didn’t even need to gather everyone’s personal email addresses. You can send the invites via text message and then when the person RSVP’s they provide their email. From this point forward, you can send group messages to the list that your invitees will receive directly to their email, add photos, and even send thank you notes via the app after the party (this one is still on my to-do!)


Find a Neutral Location

Have you ever hosted a holiday, dinner, or gathering in your home and you decide that suddenly this is a good time to re-arrange, remodel, and buy new items to make your abode look “cooler?” Yeah, me too. Now I’m aware we were moving and hosting in our home wasn’t an option, but I KNOW the stress of making our home spotless + the stress of having a great party would’ve sent me over the edge. If you can, find a neutral location where you can host your party. We ended up renting and having the Fiesta at our complex clubhouse, which I highly recommend. If you don’t have a clubhouse, someone you know might, or you could ask a friend or a relative (hello aunts & uncles!) if they wouldn’t mind hosting for you. I think that this takes the pressure off a bit and allows you to focus more on the actual reason you are having the party.

Outsource the Food

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Choosing the food for a Fiesta was a no-brainer (which is honestly why I ultimately decided on this theme.) We love Mexican food and drinks so we went with Moe’s Catering, Coronas & Margaritas! I had heard great things about Moe’s Catering services and I can concur it was simple, affordable and yummy! I saved a ton of time and stress by ordering food that I knew everyone would enjoy and would be ready on-time.





Margarita Glasses
For dessert, my Mom helped us make homemade cupcakes and we decorated ourselves.
Cupcake Stand
Because I started planning his party last minute, I didn’t have time to order a custom smash cake for Calvin. Actually, if I’m being honest, I tried calling the only custom cake company I knew of in the area 3 separate times and they never got back to me. Alas, I decided to take matters into my own hands. You can’t have a first birthday without a smash cake. The plain white cake below was already made & purchased from Stop & Shop – I scraped the generic balloons off the top and re-iced with white icing. I decorated myself with the candles, sprinkles, mustache decals (edible) & maracas for detail. Ta-da! A $15 custom smash cake.
img_2603^we cut a strip off the table cloth to decorate his highchair (my sister’s brilliant idea!)

Enlist Help Day of the Party

This was so key – I didn’t realize until after the fact how helpful and necessary having help the day of the party really was. It’s possible to plan on your own, but setting up, talking to guests, taking care of your child(ren) + food/drink/trash upkeep, plus final gift, food, and trash clean-up on our own would have been near impossible. I’m so thankful my family completely helped clean up and load the car while we were still able to enjoy our guests. Lastly, you will probably have friends offer to help or bring items. 99% of the time you will say no, but if you truly need something, it’s okay to take them up on their offer.
For the rest of our party photos, I posted part one here last week.
I loveee seeing all your little ones birthday celebrations, so keep ’em coming! What theme did you go with? What were your time savers in the planning process?
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Dear Mama-To-Be: What I Wish I Knew One Year Ago

Last year on this very day, I was told I would be having my baby any second. I was 3cm dilated and 10 days from my delivery date. I was having braxton hicks contractions on the reg, and felt like I was going into labor every single night. My client at work had requested that I start to work from home at this point and they questioned me with horror in their eyes, “WHY are you still coming to the office!” I took their advice and proceeded to work from home until Calvin was born 18 days later (he decided he was comfy and that he would come 8 days late.)


BUT this is not a birth story, or my story of labor & delivery.
This is a story for soon-to-be mamas who have no idea what to expect or how they will feel as soon as that baby comes. I didn’t have many friends who were Moms when I had Calvin. In fact I am one of the first in my group of friends to have a baby. I didn’t study Motherhood before he came or read “what to expect when…” In fact, I guess you could say I went in blind and was wingin’ it as I went.

Honestly, I wish I had some more heartfelt, really really’s given to me before motherhood. I wish no one gave horrible advice like, “Enjoy it! because you’ll never sleep again!”FYI – that’s not necessarily true and it’s certainly not helpful advice. I wish I had some heart to heart’s with mamas I knew before hand to say this is what’s really awesome, and this is what’s really going to suck. I avoided those intimate conversations but secretly wish someone would’ve written me a true & honest letter on what to expect. Trying to handle anything on your own or in your own mind is recipe for a new mom to go certifiably insane.
SO – here it is…..

Dear Mama-To-Be,
Get ready for a wild ride. The next year will likely be the most rewarding, yet most challenging year of your life to date. I bet you tend to see all the positives of motherhood on your social media feeds – the milestones, the smiles, the cuddles, because overall, these moments WIN. They are the reason we decide to have a baby in the first place and they are the reason you can’t wait to have your bundle of joy outside of your belly. You probably don’t see the challenges, the frustrations, the times of anxiety you will feel a first time mom but you should know that they are ALL going through the same highs, lows & emotions – it’s just that few will actually say it out loud.
Get ready to have an exhausting, yet beautiful experience in the hospital. You will spend the entire first night up with baby – not because they aren’t sleeping, but because you feel that you should be watching & waiting at every beck & call. You’ve never had a human rely on you for their existence. You will be so exhausted, thankful for the help, yet excited to get released and be in the comfort of your own home.
Get ready to experience the ups & downs of your breastfeeding journey as you learn what works together. If you can’t/aren’t breastfeeding, get ready for looks from other Moms, but know you are doing what is best for you and your baby, and ensure you are both HEALTHY.
Get ready to look at your body and wonder how all the hard work you had put into being fit before baby is no longer reflected in the image you see in the mirror. But know that you will look at that same body and have a greater appreciation for yourself, the effort you put into growing that baby, and for the first time in your life you will realize that having a perfectly flat stomach is no longer what brings you your worth.
Get ready to be really annoyed with your partner for the simple fact that they aren’t MOM… you are, and you are baby’s holy grail. This places a target on your back (or boob) to be caregiver #1 for all of eternity. Your relationship is on the back burner -but through reflection, effort, and awareness you will realize you have no idea what you would do without this human’s support, that he is the best Dad in the world & he is there to save you from yourself time and time again.

Get ready to have VERY limited time for yourself and know that it’s OKAY if you miss your life & freedom pre-baby. You will probably hear people say all the time, “I don’t know what we did before baby.” Don’t feel guilty if a photo sequence of  you sleeping in, having time to focus on your own dreams & goals and in general do whatever the F you wanted, whenever the F you wanted, flashes before your eyes. Know that you are still YOU and making time for that is not only important, but necessary.
Get ready to not necessarily never sleep again, but to never sleep when YOU want to again. Your sleep schedule is now baby’s and eventually baby WILL sleep through the night. Can’t promise it will be consistently, but you will value that shut-eye as if it were gold and wake up with a human alarm clock. Know that you won’t think twice about getting up when you hear baby cry, you will just do it, because it is what you are called to do in this season of your life.
Get ready to face the toughest Monday of your life as you take baby to daycare and head to the office solo. You will cry, and you will feel guilty. Know that letting yourself feel these things, and then pulling yourself together and getting back into a routine will help. If it doesn’t get better, take it upon yourself to change your life circumstances before they change you.
Get ready to feel anxious, different, not like yourself – but know that it’s okay because you ARE different. You are now a Mom, the most selfless job title you will ever hold. This is normal and if you can find other mama’s to relate with, it will help.
Get ready to truly understand the saying, “time flies,” & make an effort to BE PRESENT in this whirlwind of growth, smiles, snuggles, and milestones. Even the toughest of nights are important. Your baby will never be as little as they are in that present moment, so make all of them count.
Lastly, good luck, you got this, and I’ll see you on the other side as you enter a new phase of your already amazing life.
A 1 year Post-Partum Mama


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5 Habits To Develop in 2017 for a Healthier, Happier YOU

Hi Friends! How are you doing? Are we surviving the beginning of the year?
It’s ironic I’m sharing this post today on health as Calvin has been sick all weekend. Luckily this is only the 2nd time he’s been sick…ever, but this means we aren’t used to seeing him like this and we want our lil’ Calvin back. We went to the doctor and he just has the really bad cold that’s going around…so guess who else has it now? Yours truly. Isn’t this true to life though – you’re feelin’ good, feelin’ good, and then a detour comes along, which can throw a wrench in the entire week. January…you’re winning, but not for long…
I shared this instagram post last week about my new year goal. It’s not something I WANT to do – it’s something I NEED to do in order to keep my sanity. Or did I lose it along time ago? My goal this year is to put my physical and mental health first. I seem to have put myself on the back burner for too long at the end of 2016 and honestly it’s really taken a toll on every aspect of my life. I know I will write more about this in the future because I’m realizing just how important making time to take of yourself truly is – and how easy it is to not. Having kid(s) means having to deliberately set aside time for yourself – one of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome as a new mom. So, in 2017, I’m making this a priority.
There are 5 things I started committing to consistently and I already am starting to feel a bit more grounded & on track for the year. They all seem like common sense but are super easy to slack on or forget in the midst of such busy, busy weeks!
|Keep Fresh Groceries in the House|
Anyone who knows me well knows that I really dislike grocery shopping – one my least favorite activities, but so important! It’s kind of like going to the gym…once I’m there, I don’t mind doing it! Shopping on the outside parameter of the store and having fresh, natural ingredients in stock at home guarantees you’ll have something healthy to grab or make at any time. It’s the best decision for your health and your wallet. Now that Calvin is starting to eat “real” foods it’s really stretching us to make sure we have a surplus of good food ready. It’s one thing if we slack on our healthy eating momentarily, but we cannot for Calvin. Honestly, in the busyness of 2016, we ate worse than we should have, and slacked in this area big time. Craig usually goes to the grocery but I am going to try and take on this responsibility more often and make it a weekly (quick) trip.
What are some common items on my grocery list?
Organic, lean meets (chicken, ground turkey, turkey burgers) – we probably only eat red meat once a month
Carrots, raspberries, bananas, peppers, lettuce, avocado
Bagged salads – easy to grab for lunch (choose ones with oil based dressings)
Natural lunch meets and cheese from the deli section
Brown rice, oatmeal
Steam fresh vegetables – so easy for dinner sides!
Red Onion (one of my favorite ingredients for cooking), Cilantro
Cheese sticks/Eggs/Yogurt – vanilla greek or the 100 cal greek chobani mix-ins (so good)
Salsa, hummus, guacamole
Organic Beech-nut baby foods and pouches – I try to buy organic or natural while I can still control what he’s eating!
Whole wheat tortillas & english muffins (with PB is one of my favorites)
Calvin’s current favorites? bananas, cheese, raspberries


What am I missing? Any recommendations?
|Keep a (visual) Calendar|
img_1864^not the fanciest, but it works!
Get a monthly dry erase calendar and put it somewhere you look every day. Mine is on the countertop in the kitchen and I use it to write down appointments, events and most importantly, plan workouts. This is much like writing your goals – if you jot them down, you are more likely to commit and see  it through. It’s not the end of the world if I miss a workout as I will just adjust the schedule, but this is helping to keep me accountable.
It also helps on the days that you just DON’T want to get moving. You can look back and see how far you’ve come that month and use it as motivation to keep going. Check off the days as you go. Put up pictures of what inspires you, or write out a new favorite quote for that month. Get creative, and keep it in front of you! The quote that is helping me this month: “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” I have to do these things for myself and keep up with them in order to provide for and be the best me for the others in my life.
Get mine here.
|Make Coffee at Home|
I think we are all guilty of going through phases where we buy coffee every day, aka me on maternity leave and then for a few months after…. this is another habit that is bad for the waist line and your bank account. If you drink coffee every day, make it at home! I have a 30+ minute commute so I like to take that time to enjoy my coffee. Since I only need one cup, I have the single serving Keurig. Get a to-go mug that you love, take 2 minutes to pop in a k-cup (hello Starbucks from home) and buy natural ingredients for fixing. My personal favorites are natural creamer & either Organic Honey or Organic Blue Agave as a sweetener (in very small doses because these are still added sugars) Say this with me: I WILL STOP USING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. There are already enough hidden sweeteners in the foods we eat, don’t add them into your daily coffee where you can actually control the ingredients.
|Drink More Water|
Image result for water image
GUYS. I also don’t like drinking water. What’s wrong with me? Sometimes I feel like my thirst button doesn’t work. This year I am MAKING myself drink more water. For my energy levels, my skin, my hydration and overall well-being. I noticed I was starting to get headaches every day around 3 pm and often felt nauseous. And no, I’m not pregnant again – it was because I wasn’t drinking enough water. I have also been trying to get in the habit of drinking a large glass in the morning before I eat or drink anything else and then at least 50 ounces throughout the day. I have noticed a huge difference in sustained energy.
Using a cup that holds 20+ ounces and has a straw makes me drink the most. I’m loving these type of cups: Plastic Mason Jar Tumbler.
|Be Present|

Sometimes I get anxious that I haven’t been present enough mentally during this time in my life. As an extreme multi-tasker, it doesn’t always allow me to focus on ONE thing and take it all in. Having a baby, a full time job, a blog, a fiance…the list goes on and on of different areas that need my attention each day. I want to try to minimize the things I’m trying to do at once and BE PRESENT. I want to make a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time – and remember that right after work, it’s strictly Calvin time where we can play and enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. When I’m exercising, I’m taking those 20 minutes to give it 100%. When I’m writing, I’m not trying to answer work emails and vice versa. When I’m talking to Craig, I’m not browsing instagram. I definitely need to dive into this one a bit more – let me know if you have any tips for growing in this habit.

Okay friends, what am I missing? What are your goals for 2017? Any of these overlap with yours? I need to know 🙂 Catch up with you all soon!!


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