Red, White & Baby [Patriotic Style Inspo for the Whole Fam]

Happy Friday!! This particular Friday is super exciting because we are officially on vacation now for a full week. Seriously, so pumped. I almost gave myself a panic attack today stressing so hard about work. The stress is real – SO this is coming at the perfect time!
We are going to Corolla, NC (the OBX.) Who has been? What should we make sure to do? Are there really wild horses on the beach? Let me know, friends!
I decided we were in serious need of some fam pics so we met up with my photographer and she got some amazing 4th of July themed pics taken for us. Craig is always taking pics of me and Calvin or vice versa, so it’s very rare we are all in the same shot. I will love these photos forever!

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After we shot these photos I realized almost everything we were wearing was from Old Navy (except my top) and suddenly, in my mind, we were this family:

Seriously, I think everyone has owned one of these Old Navy horrible patriotic shirts in the past. BTW – I hope no one in this family sees my blog – and if they do, well, we’ve allll been in a photo like this, LOL. Did you know that they still sell new versions of this shirt each year? No offense if you have one for 2k16, I just can’t believe this is still a thing. Guess they are taking ‘don’t fix what ain’t broken’ to a whole new level. There is simply no statement more true than this:

Nope. You aren’t. 
We decided to take a bit more of a “modern” approach on 4th of July fashion.

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patriotic 1

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Shop our look:
Calvin Jeans
Calvin Red White & Blue Hat – similar
Kayla Denim Shorts
Kayla Lace-Up Poncho
Craig Navy Shorts
Craig Red Zip-Up

*I’ve also picked an additional look for her, for him, and for baby as some patriotic inspiration here*

FOR HER

Off-The-Shoulder Blouse

Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses

Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses

‘Island Vibe’ Crochet Cotton Hobo Bag

High Rise Short

Cross-Strap Sandals

FOR HIM

Vintage Wash Rugby
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Everyday Shorts

Slip-On Sneakers

FOR BABY

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Americana Slip on Sneakers

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Americana Baseball Cap

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Americana Bodysuit

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Starry Ruffle-Trim Swim
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Eyelet Espadrille Sandals
Most of the items above are from GAP (one of my faves!) – you can use the banner below for free shipping on orders over $50. Also – they currently have a July 4th sale for 40% off your entire purchase through Monday with code JULY4. Happy shopping 🙂


I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend filled with fireworks, family and adult beverages!
❤ Kayla
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The Challenge & Reward of {Month Four}

How did we get here?! This little Koala is 4 months already! He has grown and learned so so much in just a few short months. I have no idea what we did before he came into our lives!
This month was unique in the fact that I’m back to what you could call “reality.” No more maternity leave or days where we spend all day cuddling & playing. Some friends asked me in month one, two and three, how I liked being a Mom and I said “ask me in a few months.” Not because I didn’t know if I liked being a mom yet (I did!), but because I knew that my current situation wasn’t what motherhood would be to me in the future. I’m learning how to balance my work responsibilities with the responsibility of raising a child. I’m learning to mix my ‘real’ life with Calvin’s and soak up as much of the infancy stage as possible. Can someone teach me how to both juggle, and freeze time, please?!
Month Four has by far been the most challenging, but most rewarding month yet. I think that those two (challenge & reward) will probably continue to go hand & hand through motherhood, much like many things in life.
We really wish we were closer to family this month, yet we love creating memories as a family of our own. I went back to work this month, yet my Mom got to come and stay with him for a full week during that time. We started daycare this month, yet Calvin is full of smiles every single time we drop him off and pick him up. Calvin caught his first bad cold & cough this week, yet our workplaces are flexible enough to let us work at home to care for our sick child as needed. We are busy all day, yet we get to come home to the sweetest little dude every night and weekend.
I’m learning that the toughest things we have encountered this month and will encounter in the future – all have a positive. This parenting thing pulls at your heartstrings and is honestly hard as shit, but it’s also the best thing we’ve ever done.
This cute face keeps us going and makes us want to be better – don’t you just want to squeeze him?!
We have a check-up on Tuesday, but we are guessing Calvin is around 17 lbs, as he is wearing 6-9 months clothing and size 3 diapers. He loves standing & sitting up (assisted), eating his hands, and anything else he can put in his mouth, and taking baths in his tub. Strangely, his favorite place to lay is on his changing table, and he is now sleeping in his crib, in his room at night. We think he might be starting to teethe, and we hope to start giving him baby food and/or cereal this week!
Here is his 4 month pic update 🐨
Thanks for checking in with our fam – I hope you have a great week and go after the dreams & goals you have set for yourself! That sounded super cheesy, but I’m so serious! Love you all.
💕 Kayla

What makes Parenthood “All Worth It?” [from Dad’s Perspective!]

Hello, hello, how is everyone’s week going? It’s almost Friday again! What are the big weekend plans!?
I’m so excited to be working with Gerber on their #growingupgerber campaign to talk about what makes being a parent all worth it. Gerber products have quickly become some of our favorite go-to’s that Calvin will continue to grow up with, and it’s truly an honor to work with such a classic household brand name.
^Calvin chillin in his favorite white Gerber onesie^ #gerberbaby!
Before I had a baby, I would watch other parents do things and think how unappealing it all looked. I remember seeing a co-worker wash all of her pump parts in the sink at work (multiple times a day) and think, “what a pain in the ass.” I remember hearing how parents typically need to add an hour to their before-work routine and think, “I can barely wake up in enough time to get myself ready,” or how parents are sometimes up literally all night with a sick child and think how I can only function on 7+ hours of sleep a night. My favorite is hearing how most families fork over a 2nd mortgage payment for childcare and I wondered how I would ever afford the 1st.
I saw and heard everything that the parents I knew did for their children and it seemed overwhelming, like such unnecessary hard work. I think that’s why there is so much anxiety tied to pregnancy. You are trying to imagine doing all of these things before the little one is even here. Then they get here, and most of the stuff you worried about doing is irrelevant – you do it because you want to, without thinking twice. Each smile, laugh, and hug we receive, reminds us of our why. The happy, content baby Calvin has become, makes it all worth it.

In celebration of Father’s Day, I’ve asked Craig to share his moments that make it worth it for him. I think we spend a lot of time talking about Motherhood….but Parenthood includes Fatherhood and I think it’s so important to appreciate both sides of the spectrum – because it’s no secret they are very different. No more of me rambling…here’s my boo, Craig:


“When we first found out we were having a baby and announced it to the world, we heard a ton of “Congratulations, so happy for you” and “that’s so exciting.” These positive reactions were soon followed by “kiss your life goodbye” and “prepare to be tired for the rest of your life.” All in good fun of course, and I’m sure our friends and family meant nothing negative in these comments but still, the prospect was slightly daunting.
Fast forward and Calvin William Cantor was born February 18th 2016, so I’ve been a father for about 4 months now. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Some sleepless nights, crying/fits that don’t stop, lifestyle sacrifices, these are just a few things I’ve experienced so far and you know what, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Because with these negative instances (which with Cal we have been extremely fortunate to have very few) come endless positives including baby laughter and smiles, numerous “firsts”, and pictures that are so cute I want to claw my eyes out.

I love being a Father, so I wanted to write down some of the perks to celebrate & remember on my first special day. Here’s a list that make all those blown out diapers and times being peed on totally worth it:
NEW YEAR, NEW ME
 The phrase New Year, New Me has never been more accurate. Not only do I have a new baby but I have a new life. This means new experiences, new goals, heck new everything! I’ve got new responsibilities, I’ve got a new daily routine, and through Calvin, Kayla and I met new friends. Each day brings something new and to me, this element of parenthood is beyond exciting. Instead of going out on weekends and staying out until 3am planning to sleep the next day away, I’m at home watching Netflix and in bed by 11pm. This is definitely new, but to quote one of my favorite shows and sitcom characters:

Life is what you make it, and I choose this new life every time.
NEW LOVE
I wasn’t aware I could love something as much I love Calvin. When you hear someone say this it sounds totally cliché, but then you look into your new baby’s eyes for the first time and you finally understand that Stevie Wonder song. I watch my Mom snatch him up when we arrive for a long vacation with our families and it makes me unbelievably happy. You can feel the love in the room as my sisters complain about how short of a turn they got holding him and my Dad constantly comments on how cute he is. Kayla’s mom just spent a week with us to help out the first week that Kayla headed back to work (delaying the inevitable daycare drop-off as long as possible.) Watching her play with Calvin or putting him through his bedtime routine, it breaks my heart that we aren’t closer. The fact that she took that time to help us like that makes me love and appreciate Kayla’s family more and more every day. They say “love makes the world go round;” well it sure as hell gets me through the day.

NEW GROWTH
Every little thing Calvin does amazes me. I can’t tell you how many times Kayla has heard “Kayla look, look, OH MY GOD LOOK.” Sure he’s grabbing my finger super tightly for the one hundred and fifty third time or giving me one of his 100 megawatt smiles, but to me these are incredible. Soon he’s going to have teeth, soon he’s going to be walking, and soon he’s going to be beating me at one on one basketball. You can totally tell he’s learning on a daily basis. His newest thing is to rub his hands and face on my beard. He continues to develop and surprise us but I am very thankful for him as he facilitates my growth as a father and as a person. I have physical growth to look forward to from him while I deal with my emotional growth. He was the first baby I had ever held, looking back I’m like “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF ONE OF THESE?!?” And now I have my answer, because I have grown that much in these four short months. I’ll ask my Mom to confirm but I believe I’m a better person now that he is here.

AN EXCITING FUTURE
This is my number one PRO of fatherhood, above the others mentioned, only because this can cover everything in one category. Kayla and I have started our own little family; I am now responsible for a tiny human’s life and well-being. Are we going to eventually move again? Are we going to buy a house then? How many kids do we want?
 I am no longer thinking in the “I or Me” frame of mind, now it’s “Our and We and Us.” It is immensely rewarding going to work every day, being the best I can be, knowing I have people at home who depend on me. I hope I can be half the Father to Calvin that my Dad was to me and same goes for teaching him to be a good person, right from wrong, all that jazz. I tell my parents “I love you” every chance I get and I count the days until I can hear one from Calvin because when I do, I will know I have truly succeeded as Calvin’s father.

It is almost impossible to describe the joy that comes with being a new Father, but I gave it my best shot. Sure it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but that comes with the job, the ups and downs, and I definitely enjoy the ride.
Don’t let these veterans of parenthood scare you with their tales of chaos and shambles, it’s like they can’t help themselves. It almost seems like an initiation into the club that is being a parent, they talk this way because it’s basically assumed that the benefits and rewards of being a parent are beyond any combination of disasters you can possibly imagine.
Every child is different; every parent is different, what works for me might not work for you. This is what I love about being a Father and I wish you well on your journey to figure out what makes it worth it for you.”
-CC


How good of a writer is Craig? He’s seriously the best Dad, too. I think I’ll have him write my heartfelt posts from now on…
With Mother’s Day just passing and Father’s Day approaching, we encourage you to think about what makes it worth it for you. Keep them in mind when the going gets tough….I know we do.
Want to join in on sharing your favorite #growingupgerber moments? Click here to find out how your Instagram picture could be chosen as a Gerber Pic of the Week and also, to unlock some savings. Happy Sharing!
❤ Kayla & Craig

New Mom Round-up: Must-Have Items for YOU!

As more of my friends and acquaintances begin to have their babes, it’s got me to thinking about the post-partum items that have been “life savers” these past few months. What are my go-to’s, my repeat offenders, my must haves? What items made my life easier after baby was born?

Have you ever noticed how moms needs are often put way on the back burner once baby arrives? Of course you have, if you’re a Mom. Well guess what, you are important too. Basically if someone asked me what they need, I would give them this list. If fact, people have asked, so here is my end of maternity leave round-up, captured in one spot. I’m no expert, but once you go through something, it certainly gives you perspective. I own all of these things – tried and true, y’all! I’ve linked the easiest path to purchase on each item title 🙂
Vans Slip-Ons 
vans
I love Vans because they are comfy, easy (slip on), very “in” right now, and cheaper than other tennies like Nikes, Toms, Adidas, etc. Cheaper = you can buy more. Wait, is that not how it works? I’m partial to neutrals such as white, tan, or black. Perfect for both Spring & Summer, comfortable for errands, and they go with jeans, leggings, shorts…all of the above. See how I paired them in a previous post, here. I’ll be talking about investing in neutrals on the blog later this week.
*Since maternity leave pretty much revolves around the boobs, you may see a theme in these next few items.
Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Bras
I love these because they come in a 2-pack, there are no clips involved, no wires, and they are super soft. If you have to wear a bra to sleep, these are the ones you want. Do not wear under-wires to bed…so uncomfortable. You kind of start to feel suffocated by bras, especially the super structured boulder holders, so these are super light. Also, racer back FTW. Or is it razor back? Anyways, highly recommend getting a few packages.
Hands Free Breastpump Bra, Soft Pink
Alright, why did no one tell me ahead of time that nursing pumps have to be plugged in while in use? Not only that, the plug is like 5 lbs – no exaggeration. I freaking hate being plugged into the wall….as if you aren’t slave enough to your boobs and the baby’s feeding schedule during this time. If you have to be plugged in, at least free your hands to do other things, like play on your phone, read a book, or get some work done. It’s also a great item for when you have to pump upon returning to work.
Nylon/Spandex Stretch Tanks
They have to be the kind that are like 90/10 or 85/15 split between Nylon and Spandex. None of that shrinking cotton shit – these are form fitting for under baggy shirts, give the boobs a bit of extra support, super soft, and the stretchy-ness makes them easy access. You can also substitute the sleep bras for these tanks. Also, no clips – because a screaming baby waits for nothing.
Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings
Oh. My. God. These are the best pants ever. WTF, I’m never going back to real pants. Look at that stretchy waist band! I feel like I could do the splits in these. They come in two shades of denim & black – and you need both. They also come in short, regular, and tall women’s sizes. This is key for a shortie like me.
Jessica Simpson 3/4 Sleeve Pull Over Wrap Nursing Top
 I was obsessed with cross style tops, even before I had a baby. Now, they are not only flattering, but functional. Any and all cross-tops will work, but I have linked the JS one that I own here. Size up, as I felt it was a bit small. Your eyes will start to become magnets to this style of shirt, once you realize how great they are.
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct

There are so many days where you won’t wear make-up, but still need to quickly wash your face. When I don’t wear makeup, I’m really tempted to go to bed without washing my face, which is a no-no. Buy cleansing face wipes to keep by bed so that you can quickly wipe away the dirt from the day. I still encourage a cleanser, toner, moisturizer nightly routine, but when the going gets tough (and it does) have cleansing face wipes handy.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, 1.7 Ounce
Another item I was loyal to, before baby. I love this stuff. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin starts to look dull and fine lines appear. Since you won’t be able to prevent the lack of sleep, this hydro gel will moisturize your skin and I think it does help with the dullness that can occur. It is water based so, super hydrating, and never oily. Put on as much as you want. I’ve never tried the cream, so I am strictly referencing the gel. I know I know I know – there are a million skin creams out there that are probably great – but here is my drugstore, mom budget, pick.
Scunci No-slip Grip Chunky Jaw Clips,5 Count
Scunci No-slip Grip Chunky Jaw Clips,5 Count
Once your child starts pulling your hair, it’s over. You basically can’t wear it down without handfuls being pulled out. Also, when you throw them over your shoulder (not literally) to burp them, there is a 99% chance of spit up or drool collecting in your mane. Hair clips are so easy and convenient, can be clipped to anything (such as a diaper bag), and don’t leave as much of a crease as hair ties. You know that blow-out you spent 30+ min on, which only happens once a week? Well, you can kind of salvage it with the help of hair clips. I prefer the Scunci brand linked above, because they have rubber in the inside, helping them to stay put in your hair.
Sunglassesray bansSpeaking of not wearing make-up–it takes so long to get out the door with children, that you’ll probably want to just grab a pair of sunglasses…especially if you are just going on a walk, running to the store quickly, or to the gym.  My go-to are my gold ray-bans (I think I’ve owned 5 pairs of these over time), but I’ve also purchased a few pairs from Forever 21 as a cheaper way to mix it up and keep in the diaper bag.
Coffee Giftcards
If people ask you what you want or NEED after childbirth, just go ahead and say coffee giftcards…that is if you are a coffee drinker. Here’s why: (1) weeks of interrupted sleep starts to catch up to you and you’ll prob want some caffeine. I never worried about caffeine during b’feeding and it’s never affected Calvin. (2) Afternoon coffee runs were key to my sanity. Sometimes on fussy afternoons, we needed to get out of the house so we would jump in the car and go through the Dunkin drive through, or go sit at Starbucks for a few minutes and I would get some things done on my iPad.

So here are my faves – what am I missing? What are your go-to’s? Are you about to have a babe and have a question?! Let me know! Seriously, I want to chat with you ALL!
I hope your Monday was pain-less, quick at work, and that you are cuddling your fams extra tight. We are celebrating Craig’s birthday with presents and a cookie cake when he gets home from soccer. 😊 Oh, and you better bet I’m watching the premiere of the Bachelorette!
💕Kayla

{Month Three}  

I can’t believe that we are already through month 3 with Calvin – it has been quickest 3 months of our lives. I’ll probably say that same sentence every month. I have to say, he has officially stolen our hearts. I know they say this happens when your baby is born, but it really seemed to have happened for real this month. He suddenly knows us, watches us, responds to us, and I can’t really imagine being any more obsessed with him than I already am. I’m so thankful we’ve been given something…someone to love so much.
I’m going to keep this post short & sweet and share his 3 month photo update.
He is the craziest, yet sweetest baby – one second he’s shoving his hands in his mouth, climbing all over us, pulling out my hair and the next he’s super content and showing us the biggest gummy smiles.
This month we had our first visit home to Ohio where Calvin met so many friends & family members, we made another baby friend, got his vaccines, he had an all day #boysday with Dad, celebrated Mom’s first Mother’s Day, and learned we are in the 86th percentile.
Favorites
  • Playmat and hanging toys – there’s a hanging monkey that plays music when you pull on it and he knows how to do it on his own now.
  • Carters elephant blankie – we’re definitely enabling this attachment but it really helps him when it’s time to calm down. It’s so precious when he holds it close to his face, not as precious when he’s trying to shove the trunk in his mouth…haha.
  • Practicing standing (with our assistance of course) – he could do this for hours.
  • Grabbing everything – sides of changing table, sleeves, moms hair, you name it.
  • Going anywhere in carseat – we have to take him out when we get home or he will sleep for hours.
  • Drooling – his drool has landed in my mouth multiple times.
  • Bath time – he took a bath in the large tub while I held him and he was kicking and swimming so much. He looked like a little swimming frog, it was so freakin cute.
Who are you? ^^We still have a cone headimg_2758^ I guess we can be friends^Sup?^ This smile melts my heart ^Then we became destructiveimg_2774img_2776img_2778
As always, thanks for following our family – love you all!
Stay tuned this month for several new exciting posts [including a few giveaways 😬]
💕Kayla

Our First Fam Walk + Springtime Activity Guide 

Two weekends ago, we got out for our first family walk since having Calvin (he was 10 days, now he’s 3 weeks)- it was 65 and sunny so we had to take advantage!  We didn’t make it very far due to this recovering mama, and all our pics are super posey in only our apartment complex, but we don’t care, haha. We were just happy to get out of the house and get some fresh air – I’m so excited for more family outings as I begin to feel like myself and the baby gets older.

  ^green smoothie in tow – making some strides towards that #healthylife
  ^cuties!
^ he slept the entire time!
^the black suit strikes again & I seriously need a tan
^super Dad looking super serious

With less than 2 weeks left until the first official day of Spring and temps in the 60’s & 70’s this week, I’ve started thinking about and looking forward to all of the things I want to do this Spring. Last Spring we had just moved here, and shortly after I was entering the first trimester of pregnancy. AKA we had no idea what there was to do around us, and I wasn’t feeling so great most of the time.

Here are a few ideas I’ve put together for this year – I’d also like to hear your ideas or plans for when the weather warms up!

 Dine/Drink on a Patio 

Is there anything better than the combination of food, drinks, and fresh air? I love finding restaurants with nice patios and outdoor accommodations.  Since I’ll be going back to work where I sit in an office all day, this is at the top of my list. I really dislike wasting great weather by being inside, especially on the weekends!

Wine Tastings
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Our area has some really beautiful wineries (Central NJ – who knew?) and last year we got to go to a few. I’m really looking forward to going again and finding a few new tastings to try. It’s generally pretty inexpensive for the tastings, you get a free wine glass, and then you can decide from there if you’d like to buy a bottle (or three.) It’s a great way to try new wine as opposed to buying barefoot every time you go to the grocery. Oh, and you can usually buy specific cheese plates that pair best with each wine. There are not a lot of things I love more than cheese. These are my favorite in our area:

Hopewell Valley Vineyards

Terhune Orchards

Laurita Winery

 Picnic/Photos in the Park

Now that we have a baby, I imagine we will be finding local parks to take walks and get out of the house. I don’t particularly like doing loops around the apartment complex, although sometimes that has to suffice! You could pack a picnic, and take some photos of the scenery, your family, or with friends with use of the natural light. We first did this when coming up with “it’s a boy!” announcement photos. I know, we’re big losers sometimes! 🙂

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Make a few new healthy go-to recipes

I’m a huge advocate for grocery shopping, always having food in the house, and cooking at home. I’ve mentioned in a previous post how much healthier this is both for you and your wallet! I do often find myself making the same things over and over, which long-term can lead to boredom and an increased chance of unhealthy snacking. It’s important to find new, healthy eats on a regular basis and it has become very easy thanks to Pinterest. You do have to set aside time to find them, but then you can just add them to your page and pull up the pin at the store for the ingredient/shopping list. You can follow my food board here. Below are a few recipes I have saved to try soon:

Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad 
 

Veggie Pasta Primavera

Easy Burrito BowlsEasy Burrito Bowls - Skip Chipotle and try these burrito bowls right at home. It's easier, healthier and 10000x tastier!:

Find a Local Coffee Shop

As much as I love my Starbucks, it’s nice to find new local or small business coffee shops. They always have the nicest employees, best menus, and make your drinks look IG worthy. I don’t believe there’s any better way to catch up with a friend on a Saturday or Sunday morning, then over a cup of coffee.

Attend a Baseball Gamephillies

Nothing reminds me of Spring more than a MLB baseball game, a draft Budweiser and a good ole hot dog. My sisters and I grew up going to Reds games with our Dad. Now that we live in NJ, we have a few options for teams in NY and PA, but we are planning on taking Calvin to a Phillies game this Spring. They play the reds in May so we might have to be that family rooting for the visiting team!

Try a New Workout 

As you may have noticed, a large portion of this activity guide is consisting of eating and drinking, so we better offset with something that burns calories! Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a great time to mix it up and get out of your winter treadmill running rut. Name a specialized workout, and I have tried it in an effort to not get burnt out or plateau in my fitness goals. Orange Theory, Barry’s, Pure Barre, CrossFit, Boxing, Cycle Bar, Hot Yoga, Body Pump, Les Mills, and the list goes on. I’m one of those weirdos that actually likes working out, especially if it is a new challenge. Pick something you’ve been wanting to try, and go for it. Most of these “boutique” gyms will let you do your first class free, and then have better rates for your first month. If you get hooked, you’ll have to decide whether the membership fees are worth it to you. I have found in the past that I’ve never regretted investing in workout classes I truly love and bring results. I am also a BIG fan of at-home body weight workouts. I will do a full post on this in the future (if not multiple), but my favorite FREE at-home works are Body Rock TV.  They are hard as shit but so quick and effective!

I’ve really relied heavily on Yelp since relocating, but your opinion on your experience will be most valid. Find the activity or place you want to visit, do some quick research, and then try it out!

Happy [almost] Friday – enjoy your weekends & get out and take advantage of those warmer temps! What is your favorite springtime activity?!

I’ll be writing a post-pregnancy update here soon!

Thanks for reading 💕

Kayla