Essential Maternity Basics You’ll Love

It’s true – I’m a creature of habit with the clothing items I love! Especially when I am pregnant, and even more so when I have found the perfect level of comfort! After two pregnancies, I can confirm that these items are my very favorite go-to’s. Most of the items are shown in black but most do come in other colors as well – I just tend to wear a lot of black when pregnant! Black tends to be a bit more slimming while lighter colors and patterns add to the cause. 🙂 All items are linked below, trust me, these are the very best – I wouldn’t steer you wrong!
Aerie Real Me Boybrief Undie
Comfort Slip On Memory Foam Slippers
Surplice Front Jumpsuit
Full Busted Seamless Nursing Bra
Play Real Me High Waisted Legging
Pure Body V-Neck Long Sleeve
Pure Body V-Neck Short Sleeve
Maternity Tank Dress
Maternity 3/4 Sleeve Dress
Ruched Waist Sleep Shorts
Secret Fit Shaping Panty
Jill & Joey Maternity Belt 
Here are some images of me wearing these items over the past 9 months:

I’m so basic 🙂

Which items will be you be grabbing? What am I missing from this list? Let me know which items you try!



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


Follow me on instagram, facebook, and pinterest! PLUS you can enter your email below to never miss a post again. If you loved this letter, be sure to share with those mamas-to-be!

My Summer Post Recap: All things Baby, Back to Work, Engagement, Re-branding & Travels!

It’s been a summer for the books! So much growing, traveling, fun & so many firsts in our life! As I was rounding these up, I went back to re-read some of my posts – I need to take some of my OWN advice and remember why I wrote the things that I did.
The post that hit me the hardest was “The 5th Trimester: Learning to Balance Time & Give yourself a Break.” This post is very near and dear to my heart – definitely the most honest words I’ve written to date. If you are a working mom, or will be…check it out!
The most exciting thing that happened personally this summer, is that Craig and I got engaged! We are so official now!
The most exciting thing that happened blog wise, is that I re-branded from “Kayla Marie” to “Running with Strollers.” I finally found my niche and can’t wait to keep writing & bring great content to all my readers!
Here is a recap of this summer’s posts. I have re-linked for easy reading if you may have missed one in the craziness that summer can bring 🙂
Calvin Turns 4 Months + The challenges & rewards during this time 
Back to Work! + My Working Mommy Essentials
The 5th Trimester: Learning to Give Yourself A Break
*My favorite & most honest post of the Summer <3*
My Favorite Way to Order Prescription Glasses + Pics of this Baby Bear!
4th of July Inspired Family Photos
We got engaged! + Our Favorite Vacation Photos 
Calvin turns 5 Months + How Having a Baby Changes Your Priorities
Our Day Trip to NYC + Getting Out of your Comfort Zone 
Mom goes to Nashville + Increasing Your Happiness + How to wear Shorts & Boots
*Blog Re-Brand!!*
Flying with an Infant + Travel Necessities! 
Calvin turns 6 Months + Remembering to Live in the Moment 
Calvin Tries the MamaRoo!
Shirt Dresses: Perfect for the Transition to Fall
Here’s to a new season, more firsts, and finishing out 2016 strong.
So much love for all of you! ❤


Newborn Photography for Beginners: 4 tips + Our Little Bear 

I started researching newborn photography about two days before Calvin arrived. Not being from this area, I had to start from scratch online while looking for a photographer, as opposed to using one of the amazing photographers I know at home in Ohio that I could get a WOM recommendation on. I discovered 1, that this is extremely late in the game to start looking as most people book these sessions months in advance – and 2, holy $$$. I have to say that several months ago, I was still trying to wrap my head around the idea of having a child, let alone taking pics of him.

New Jersey is out of control with cost of living, daycare, services such as photography, and everything in between. I’m not even going to tell you what it would cost here in the Princeton area 😳 Professional newborn photography is amazing, the photos are priceless, and I wanted them badly, but I decided I just wasn’t willing to fork over several months of (NJ priced) rent to have these photos done right away. We did purchase the photos the hospital offers to take, as they are extremely cost effective and conveniently done, just not the same quality as a boutique photographer.

We are going home later this Spring and I hope to use a local photographer in Ohio when he is just a couple months old. 😊 Let me know if anyone has a solid recommendation!

*Insert brilliant idea to try this on my own here*

Once I accepted that we would have to wait on pics of our little angel, I started doing some research (mostly high quality pinteresting) on how to take photos on my own. Call me cheap, but I’d like to use the word resourceful instead! Being someone who knows nothing about photography (I didn’t even take photo 101 in HS), here are the 4 easiest & most important steps I discovered and applied:

1.) Make sure baby is content – I recommend doing this right after a feeding. Calvin is either out like a light after eating, or pretty awake and content. Either way you’ll need a happy baby I order to pose how you’d like and get still shots. A well-fed baby will pretty much let you do whatever.

2.) Make or find a back drop/setting – for my photos I took a large blanket from Pier 1 and laid over a boppy pillow. This way baby was in a comfortable position and blanket covered nearby surroundings. You can really take any piece of material and fully cover the item in which you are placing baby.

3.) Find natural light – This is key! You’ll need a lot less editing if you are able to use the natural light coming in through a door or window. This light shouldn’t necessarily be direct sunlight, as you don’t want over exposure. Is that the right term?!

4.) Use a camera you are comfortable with – I used a Nikon Cool Pix L120, which I am still trying to figure out, but honestly if you do a good job with iPhone, that would work as well. It doesn’t have to be fancy. iPhone actually has a decent quality camera (8mp, auto focus, auto image stabilization, etc) with minimal complicated settings and is what I use/prefer 95% of the time. Photogs, don’t judge me! Gotta give my dad a shout out here – he takes some amazing photos and had only an iPhone 4 until just recently. Check him out on IG here.

Below is my attempt at in-home newborn photography with our Little Bear:


Blanket – the one I used is sold out, but here are several other Pier1 options.


Baby Hat  – the one Cal is wearing is from Gymboree, but here is an option from Carters.

So how did they turn out? Let me know what you think! We personally believe Calvin could make anyone’s mediocre photography skills look professional 💙

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kayla



Looking Toward your Amazing Future

I told myself I was going to hold off on any new posts until the baby was here, but ever since I started this “hobby” of blogging, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing, posting, and being able to connect with so many of you through the process that I just couldn’t wait. I figured I’d give both a personal update and talk about the idea of looking toward the future with optimism in our lives.

I definitely thought my next post (this one) would be the announcement of our little guy – turns out he’s keeping everyone on their toes as we are now almost a week past original due date! This is super common for the first born, but we got our hopes up when one of my midwives said he’d be likely here by the end of the first week in Feb! I’m pretty sure my parents’ car has been packed for a full 2 weeks. There’s finally a light at the end of the preggo tunnel as we’ve scheduled induction for Thursday, 2/18 at 7am (watch him come tomorrow.) We had an appointment yesterday that ended up taking about 1.5 hrs and I’m pretty sure baby was visibly moving for all 90 minutes we were there…it was pretty cute.

The idea of being induced is so weird to me and something that didn’t cross my mind until yesterday, as I’ve basically been told he would be early the entire pregnancy. When it’s a surprise you have no choice but to accept that labor is starting – now that’s it’s planned I’ve gone from being frustrated it hasn’t happened, to excited we have the final date in which our lives will change forever.

As we’re about to enter one of the most exciting times of our lives, I can’t help but look to the future and all that it holds. I think having something to look forward to in life is the key to moving ahead with certainty and making each day the best you possibly can. Right now my “something to look forward to” just happens to be an extremely life changing event. I’m not naive to the fact that there are a lot of tough challenges ahead, just as there has been in the past – I am just choosing optimism and prioritizing what I want to focus on.

“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” ~ Seth Godin

Being optimistic and hopeful for the future can be something as small as treating yourself to Starbucks on a rough Monday morning, or after a tough workout, or planning that vacation that you just can’t wait for. I’ll share both some small and large milestones that I’m excited for and if you’re feeling the winter blues, or “blah” in your daily routine, it’s time to reflect on your own milestones and future. What are you optimistic about for tomorrow, next week, or even next year? What can you focus on to take on each day with positivity? All of our futures are bright, we just have to find what inspires us to move forward.



Meeting our Son & Seeing the Joy he will bring to our Loved Ones

Not only will this be super monumental for Craig and I – but I am just as excited for our families and friends to see and meet him. I didn’t realize how excited everyone gets about babies until we had one on the way. Never again will it just be the two of us – we will be going everywhere as a family. Here is a photo of a very excited set of grandparents:

Those Post-Workout Endorphins 

After working out or exercising almost every day for 20 years and then suddenly becoming limited in what I can do physically (for the past 4 months), I’ve definitely had the urge for that post-working feeling. You know what I’m talking about – feeling healthy and good about yourself leads to so much productivity in so many other areas of your life. I can’t wait to run, do jump squats, or bicycles – I also can’t wait to post some of the past workouts I’ve created, the new workouts I’ll be creating, and to stop talking about McDonalds & Cookies 🙂


*PS- does carrying a baby in my belly give me unlimited approval of selfies? Cuz I’ve been doing way too much of it lately*

A Nice Glass of Merlot 

I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. I really just want to enjoy a large glass of red wine, even if it is from my couch in comfies, while watching Netflix.


Visits from Friends & Family

Many of my friends and family have not made it out to the East Coast for a visit just yet, but there are several scheduled for this spring and I just can’t wait. I don’t even care if they’re just coming to see Baby C…what a way to lure them in.

Professional Growth

This one is super on-going and likely won’t be a huge focus again until May. I’m just really feeling like I’ve been given great opportunities in my professional career to date – I enjoy my company, my co-workers, my team, leading them, and seeing all of us grow together. For every ounce of professional growth I’ve experienced, I have felt the personal growth, ten fold. Receiving great opportunities into your life takes commitment, sacrifice, and a lot of hard work…they do not happen by chance.

Family Travels

We have several trips planned for the rest of this year and I can’t wait to experience them as a family. I know that traveling with a baby is going to be much different, but I’m willing to learn how to do this best through on-going experience.

   The Growth of “Kayla Marie”

Putting myself out there and writing is all very new to me – and blogging has a much higher learning curve than one would think. I’m excited to grow this site, my personal brand, take part in some brand and individual collaborations, and give my readers some entertainment & inspiration from time to time. I’m not going to lie, the 4 adjectives that describe my blog have been constantly changing as I am continually discovering what this blog will actually become.


 I encourage you to think about, get a notebook, and then physically write down what you may be looking toward, working toward, or moving toward in either the near or far future in your life. What keeps you going? I’m really interested to see what you all have planned for the upcoming year – comment below and let me know!

Love you all!

❤ Kayla


My top 10 ‘WTF’ Pregnancy Moments 

You all have followed me along this entire pregnancy journey and I can’t thank you enough for all your support, advice, and sweet comments. While being away from friends and family during the biggest change in our lives, I have found this blog to be an outlet for getting thoughts on ‘paper’ and staying connected through words. Thank you for continuing to read, as our real journey is only just beginning.

I have to preface this post by saying these past 10 months have actually been amazing. For the most part, I have gotten very lucky — no morning sickness, no constipation (TMI), good test results (there are a lot of them), and an active baby I can feel moving around constantly (which is so cool.) I’ve been able to keep working, and except for some restrictions, basically resume my normal life, while growing a human! Cray.

Outside of this, there have definitely been situations where I’m literally thinking “WTF!? No one taught me this!” Where was the college course on preggo 101? Maybe I’ll invent it. Although it would probably frighten everyone. I thought it would be entertaining to share my top 10 ‘WTF’ Pregnancy Experiences for some LoLs:

Three words: Tums. On. Repeat.

If you’re lucky enough to experience the joys of pregnancy heartburn, it literally feels like your throat is on fire. How am I supposed to drink my 1 cup of coffee each morning when it’s on the verge of coming back up? Skipping the caffeine in not an option in order to function as a normal person in society. There were multiple times I had to RUN to the bottle of chalky tablets– pop those guys like candy! If you were wondering, the generic brand doesn’t taste the same as actual tums so choose wisely. They say it means your baby will have a lot of hair (??) so we’ll see if that’s true here soon.

The assembly of baby gear.

You should’ve seen our faces when we poured out the contents of pieces that ultimately made up our baby swing. They say whatever happens in labor stays in the delivery room. It should be, whatever happens while putting furniture together, stays in that moment of when you’re putting furniture together. It’s like a lose, lose, because you can’t do it alone, but you also may not have a SO after, if you do it together. I’m being dramatic …but seriously, why so many pieces? Teamwork makes the dream work, baby.


Why am I sweating? 

I had to literally leave work early one day because I was so hot and uncomfortable in my sweater and jeans. I almost cried. Then there was the time at the mall I had to take a break just to unzip my boots and let my leggies breathe. I don’t mind sweating, when I’m supposed to be sweating – say, during a workout, but when you’re sweating from normal, every day activies – sick. There have also been multiple times in the night where I’ve woken up in a full-on hot flash and had to change my clothes. This babe must be packin’ a lottt of body heat.

Why am I in the RR again?

If baby is on the bladder, you basically have to go again before you can exit the stall, wash your hands, check your hair, and get out of there. It would’ve been really convenient if I could just just bring my laptop in there with me. Can you imagine? I can’t think of a more accurate depiction than the below:


Body Pains

When I say body pains, I’m mostly talking about lower half pains. I know I talked about this in a previous post, but there are times when it feels like your pelvic bone is just in shambles. Walking, putting weight on one leg, changing sleeping positions are all an uncomfy no-go…and the grand entrance into the world hasn’t even happened yet 😅

Oh, look, more cellulite 

This one was immediate…6 weeks in and I’m finding cellulite in places I didn’t know existed. All the muscle I had worked so long for, seemed to disappear. Craig says this one isn’t true but I know he’s just being nice.  Maybe if I spent less time taking #bumpdate pics, I wouldn’t have this problem. Thank god my largest months have been in the winter and I can sorta hide that ‘ish. Mom says this is a product of motherhood. Hopefully it’s just a product of pregnancy and I can combat post birth.

Extreme hunger.

In trimester 3, you literally can’t get un-hungry. Then when you finally do, you’re stuffed and not feeling so well. There’s pretty much no happy medium. And unfortunately, my go-to of eating daily salads, didn’t do the trick. *Insert sandwiches, bagels, wraps, cereals, tacos, or anything that included carbs, to help fill my growing belly*

3am anxiety and insomnia. 

First you are waking up to go to the RR, then before you can get back to sleep, you are thinking of so many ridiculous scenarios that haven’t even happened yet. What do I do when he’s teething and he won’t sleep and so I’m up all night and I have to go to work in the morning and I’m too tired to function and I want to leave but I can’t because I have meetings and responsibilities and then this goes on for months and I never sleep or function well again until every tooth grows in? I know these challenges will actually happen, but let’s take it one day at a time, sista.

Maternity Leave Office Preparation

I know I’ve talked about the paperwork – but what about the actual leave? Holy Moly. For those of you who work in a fast paced office environment, think of how hard it is planning to be out for a 1 week vacation. Now times that by 12. I’ve been doing a brain dump on my back-ups for a month now. It’ll be so weird and a big change of pace to be OOO for 12 weeks, but a great time to spend with baby.

Side Sleeping

I’ll never understand why people voluntarily sleep on their side. It legit feels like your arm and shoulder are going to fall off in the morning, and you have to make sure to switch sides every so often. This doesn’t sound like a big issue, but when you literally feel like a beached whale when trying to change positions, it poses a big challenge. I’ve caught myself, even in the late stages of pregnancy, trying to sleep on my stomach. K Kayla, let’s try not to squish baby.

Here are some of my fave snapshots from the past 20 weeks 🙂

This will likely be my last post before birth (for real this time.) I thought I might be sharing my birthday (2/4) but he decided he wants his own day 😊 I hope you all are having a great start to February and make some vday plans with the ones you ❤️ .

💕 Kayla

Animal Print : a neutral, must-have 

So I’m sitting here this morning, hanging with this bebe bump of mine and waiting for Craig to get up — I look down and my obsession for animal print is affirmed. As if I didn’t already know. I’m wrapped in the furiest (is this a word?) animal print blanket, on my iPad that’s in a cheetah case, drinking coffee out of my favorite cheetah mug. 😳  Do I have a problem?

Other animal print items I own and use/wear on the reg: gloves, scarves, fuzzy socks, cosmetic cases, pjs, slippers, backpacks. I guess I should say I have an obsession of {mostly} animal print accessories. I don’t walk around in head to toe animal print, but love adding to solids with it. I also just realized I have received a ton of AP accessories as gifts. For Christmas, my sister will get like a blue blanket, my other sister will get green, and I’ll get leopard. #thanksmom&dad!

Reasons why you should try this trend and invest in a few key pieces:

1. Animal print accessories are generally both black & brown, which means you can wear with black or brown boots, a black or brown purse, and I believe it’s really what prompted me to believe black and brown CAN and SHOULD be worn simultaneously. High school me would be cringing at that statement… I was soo matchy matchy. Now, I’m a creature of convenience and am all about items you can mix & match with anything.

2. It’s a neutral! I truly believe this …it looks good with colors as well. Just last week I paired leopard gloves with a wine red coat #ftw. You can take any solid shirt, sweatshirt or pants, add an AP accessory and suddenly you look cool. My favorite places to buy solid go-to items are Gap, Old Navy, Forever21 and HM. I have been wearing SO much black during this pregnancy.

3. Don’t be boring. If you find yourself always wearing the same colors (black) or kinds of pieces (solids), mix it up! AP is a great way to do this.


Here are some items I abs. love right now and definitely need to purchase :

Leopard Faux Fur Coat

*I once bought a fur coat from Forever 21 off the clearance rack. It’s not until I went to wear it, that I discovered it had EARS on the hood. I checked and this coat, however, does not have ears. AP tip = stay away from anything with ears or a tail added. It’s not a good look if you are over the age of 7*

2-pack hipster brief

Nike Free 5.0 V4 😍

Kensie Pillows

Marc Jacobs Leopard Scarf

Leopard Print Poncho

Hobo Leather Tote

Quay Sunglasses


Tell me what you think! What is your go-to print? What is your favorite *fun* accessory?

Baby Update : We are about to hit 39 weeks and Baby C is resting comfortably (even if I’m not.) Work craziness has been a blessing in disguise as I have little time to sit and think about how I’m feeling, how many more days we have left, and how even my maternity clothes are feeling tight. My birthday is in 4 days, and our due date is in 10 –hopefully he comes sometime in between the two 🙂

Talk soon!

Wrap Coats = Functional + Fashionable

So up until this point I’ve been trying to cut it with a mid-weight (at best) maternity coat for the cold weather, and I pretty much just freeze my ass off every morning until my car warms up. I’m at such an awkward phase where it’s like, do I buy a full-on maternity winter coat? Or do I suck it up and wear the cloth maternity “pea coat” since I’ll only be pregnant for a few more weeks? (if that.)  First world problems, right? With talks all week of the snowstorm hitting the east coast (we ended up getting ~20 inches), I figured it was time to find a better solution…wrap coats! I came across this Vera Wang style at Nordstrom Rack and couldn’t pass up. So pretty, and so functional for my current situation.





I’m not usually a “red” or “burgundy” girl, as I usually stick to black & brown, but I thought I’d mix it up. This coat was originally $475, on sale for $135 –gotta love the rack! It’s a size Medium, and is not a maternity style. Since you can tie these type of coats and technically adjust to your size, I’ll be able to wear post-baby, which helped to warrant my purchase. Because I can no longer find this style online for you guys, I’ve linked my favorite alternatives below:

Calvin Klein Shawl Collar Wrap Coat – Macy’s

Tahari Wool Blend Belted Wrap – Nordstrom

DVF Leopard Wrap Coat – Nordstrom Rack

Tahari Envelope Collar Wrap Coat – Lord & Taylor

My favorite options all seem to be from Tahari, so feel free to do a good old google search for this brand.


Here are the deets to my other accessories:

Necklace – I’m obsessed with anything black & gold– especially for jewelry.

Gloves – The actual gloves I’m wearing are from Old Navy, but are no longer available. Remember, animal print is a neutral and you can wear with anything 🙂

Boots – The actual boots I am wearing are honestly from Kohl’s like 3 years ago, but are still my favorite in terms of looks. I also really like the Sorel style, I’ve linked here.

Lipstick – Available at Ulta, or any other drug store.

Doesn’t this make you think, “Little Red Riding Hood?”

I’d love to hear all your thoughts on this look. Also, what is your favorite winter accessory? Anything I’m totally missing out on?!

I am 38 weeks this week, so they’re telling me baby could come at any time. I’ll make sure to let you all know when we decides to make his appearance!

Thanks for reading ❤


5 Moms Give Legit “New Mom” Advice

I am so excited about this post, for several reasons. I may be biased because I have history with these ladies but I think that all of these moms you’re about to hear from are super heroes. I’ve watched them all embrace motherhood while successfully juggling both their personal and professional lives. You’ll see that they all have very different professions, yet there is one thing that links them together – the love for their little babes.  I have asked most of them for advice repeatedly over the past few months…their positivity, stories, and wise words have provided me guidance and reassurance to know they’ve been there, done that, themselves.

Selfishly, I wanted their new mom advice for my own use, but more importantly, no one is more credible than those who have walked the walk, and I wanted to share with my readers as well. They have a lot to say so I won’t bore you with any more of my amateur pregnancy mumbo jumbo (for today.)

I’ve linked their instagram (my social media addiction) profiles below with their names, so you can follow their journey’s and see a million more adorable photos of their little ones.


IMG_7001 (1)

+ Grayson (1 year) *as seen in cover photo

Profession : Dance Instructor/Studio Owner

Fun Fact: Craig and I reunited (before we started dating) at Angie’s bachelorette party in Nashville, TN. 2.5 years later, Angie has a one year old, and we have our own ‘lil one on the way!

  • Favorite Product: Boppy Pillow – It is great thing to have through the months for nursing, tummy time, learning to sit up, feedings as the baby grows, and more.

“As a new mom I felt very overwhelmed with the fact that I had to care for another human and be able to give it everything it needed as it grows.  But I learned that you cannot let the little things get the best of you and everything will be okay.  Read the baby books, because they are very helpful.  Although most things are instinct and come naturally as a mother, I still find myself referring back to the books for information.   Most importantly, every baby is different.  So every mom that shares their stories and gives you their opinion on your child, your methods, etc., just take what you want and discard the rest….don’t think too much about it.  Everyone has their opinion and most the time it doesn’t even apply to you.  Teaching at a dance studio, you can only imagine how much advice I got from moms in the hallway.  I appreciated it all of course, but a lot of it wasn’t necessary or relevant to me at all!

Write everything down!  Even if it seems silly at the time, you are going to want to look back to see when little things happen.  You will be surprised how easily some little things are forgotten.  Enjoy every moment with your little one, but most importantly….sleep when they sleep.  Cleaning and organizing can wait.  You NEED your sleep to keep your sanity, believe me!

grayson 2

Being a mom is seriously the best thing in the world, although sometimes you get extremely stressed and emotional.  That’s all part of it….but don’t forget to enjoy every moment.  Everyone says it goes so fast….until you experience it, you don’t understand how fast it truly goes.  Don’t wish everything away so quickly.  Of course you are excited to see your child grow and learn, but don’t push it.  You want them to learn to crawl, but then you miss how they just snuggle you constantly.  You are so excited to see them walk, but then you miss not having to chase them around.  Let them learn at their own pace and enjoy the moment you are in.”


ms p

+ Peyton aka Ms. P (7 months)

Profession: Marketing Project Manager/Account Supervisor

Fun Fact: I knew Sarah was pregnant when I bought her a bottle of Pinot Grigio for “Bachelor wine night” and she didn’t pour a glass right away 🍷

“Be confident, but don’t be too afraid to accept help! After having your little one, when you’re in the hospital about to be released to take them home with you for the first time, it can be a little scary (ok, a lot scary!) thinking about caring for this tiny fragile little baby all on your own. No more nurses on standby to help when you need it, to show you the perfect swaddle (for the fifth time), to give you advice on how to bathe your baby. But let’s be honest, no matter how much support you have, how many books you’ve read, nothing is ever going to fully prepare you and make you feel 100% comfortable with what you are doing. But that’s a normal feeling! Everyone is anxious and nervous, don’t let it get the best of you – enjoy this precious time and be confident in yourself.

ms p 2

After your first couple of nights at home with your peanut, you will naturally feel much more confident caring for them. Also, don’t be afraid to take your neighbor up on that casserole they offered to bring by. Most new moms are too afraid to ask for or accept help, but as you adjust to this new lifestyle, accept all the help you can get! I understand you want your baby all to yourselves and you don’t have to give that up. Accept help with everything else – the cooking, cleaning, laundry – so you don’t have to worry about anything but your little one those first few weeks. You will have enough to think about and those close to you will enjoy helping in any way they can – so let them!”



 Dominic (8.5 years) | Lucas (2.5 years) | Mia (5 months)


Profession: Business Owner @ Stephanie’s Cupcake Company 

Fun fact: Stephanie tried out ~24 part time jobs to help provide for her family, before discovering her niche as a successful business owner [currently bowing down to this lady]

“Being a mom of three, 2 boys and a girl, has led to plenty of experiences, good, bad, scary, happy, emotional, hilarious, you name it! You can PLAN for these things, but you can’t predict them. People also ask me all the time, “so three kids, that’s a lot. Was it hard to go from 2 kids to 3 kids?” My answer is “no! It’s not HARD. It’s challenging but in a good way!” But it’s also no joke!

The first few weeks when your baby arrives are an adjustment for everyone. Don’t be hard on yourself. Relax when you can, the laundry can wait. Order in food instead of cooking and cleaning for a while, and if possible, sleep when they sleep! Your healing is so important to make you a better you! Some days will be long… some will fly by, but tomorrow always comes. Enjoy those early times because you can’t get them back!

If you are going to listen to people talk, pick positive people! If you sit and think about it too long, (how busy you might be, how tired you might be, the messes, tantrums, late to appointments) then you may freak yourself out. Be aware that ANYTHING can happen, but that you can also handle ANYTHING! Women are UNBELIEVABLE. I have never been so proud of myself as I am being able to say I have completed another day successfully raising two children under 2 years of age! It’s an amazing feeling. My advice? It’s ok to be late. Messes happen as fast as you can clean them, so do it later and love on them now. You may be tired, but someday you won’t be, and you might actually miss it after all.

Never did I know, nor will I ever understand how a heart can be so full!



+ Grady (4 months)

Profession: Construction Estimator

Fun Fact: Grady weighed 10lbs, 10oz at birth & at 3 months, he was already in 9-12M clothing. I think Molly has a future athlete on her hands!

  • Favorite Product: Vibrating, bouncy chairs. I have one upstairs and one downstairs. Grady was born big so I’ve been able to use it almost since Day One.

“Don’t forget about “mommy-time.” This is key especially in the first few weeks after you come home with your bundle of joy. Actually, this is still pretty critical for me after 4 months! Don’t let go of things that keep you, YOU. Go take a nap when grandma comes over. Go take a shower (without having to sit your baby outside the door). My friends and family used to make fun of me because I have always needed “Molly-time.” While time to myself looks a little different these days, it is still very important to my mental state.”


+ Beau (2.5 years)

Profession: Commercial Portfolio Manager

Fun Fact: Hanah is the hottest red head I know… & it looks like she passed down those luscious locks to Beau!

“Lay your baby in the crib as early and often as possible. Because I breastfed, I thought it was easier to sleep with Beau on my lap (on a boppy) for easy access when be was hungry. I was so tired I didn’t want to keep laying him down and then getting him up every time to feed. He got used to sleeping on my body and feeling my heartbeat and body heat. Here I am 2.5 years later and he is in my bed every night at about 2am.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Beau had reflux/GERD and cried pretty much all day every day until he was about 4 months old. My husband was working and when I was still on leave I tried to just “handle it” because I was the mom and I was at home. There were days when I just wanted someone to take Beau for an hour so I could shower or take a nap. Looking back my friends say “why didn’t you call me when Brad was at work or on the weekends? I would have helped.” Don’t be afraid to reach out to friend and family and just say “I need a break”, “I need time to relax” …or take a bath, or run and get a coffee. People will help and anyone can handle a crying baby for at least an hour. I also should have told my husband I was struggling and tired. I tried to be so tough but I needed him to help more with the baby. He eventually learned but in the beginning it was hard. Next time he will be helping more because I won’t try and act like I can handle being awake 24/7.”

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks to Angie, Sarah, Stephanie, Molly & Hanah for contributing to this post. Feel free to provide your own best mama advice below if you feel so inclined. Talk soon!

❤ Kayla

One Month Out – Final Preparations 

We’ve officially hit the one month mark! How did this happen? It feels like I was just sitting on the beach with my friend Laura telling her I think I might be pregnant. She didn’t believe me until at least 20 weeks, btw. A lot of friends and family having been asking if we’re ready and how we’re feeling, so I decided to give ya’ll a thorough virtual update.

One second I feel like we’re ready and the next I’m having a mild panic attack thinking of last minute details I need to perfect. This past week I was telling Craig how much we need to do this weekend and he says, “like what?” Cue Krazy Kayla Pregnancy Rampage answer of, “WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE WE’RE READY?” You can tell who the calm one is in the relationship…so thankful for his patience. I do feel as if I have several weeks left, but I know that realistically we should be prepared for this party to start any day now.

I spend all week working and preparing  for my 12 week office absence, so we really try to focus on us and baby prep on the weekends. I have to say we did a good job at starting early, and spacing out the long list of tasks (mostly fun & exciting) that come with preparing for baby #1. It also helps that we have extremely supportive friends & families that can’t wait for the little guy to arrive.

I know that this info is probably super irrelevant for my friends without kids but I know so many other mamas-to-be and friends who will be in this position soon. There are so. many. things. to. do. and I want to share what my reality has been over the past couple of weeks, leading into this final month. Current Moms, please tell me I’m on the right track 😊

Mental Preparation

I know I’ve talked in the past about how mentally tough this journey has been, but I think staying mindful and remembering what matters most, goes a long way during pregnancy. I’ve decided to take anything I read (including articles like this post) or advice I receive with a grain of salt — focus on you and your baby, in an effort to stay grounded. It is an on-going process and something I have had to remind myself of often. During this time, keeping everyone in both your personal and professional life happy, is literally impossible (I know from experience in trying) and should not be #1 priority. I’ve been most content when I stay in the present and envision only positive thoughts and plans for my families future. *insert tranquil yoga setting here*


Paparazzi Preparation 

I’m getting so excited to see our lil’ man and I know I’m going to be a crazy person with capturing every moment. Both of our families won’t really be able to get to the hospital right away or be around for every milestone, so we’re going to try and capture as much as we can. I got a super nice Nikon camera for Christmas a few years ago and have only used it a few times. My iPhone is so convenient for taking pics but I’m constantly having to delete apps, emails, and photos for more storage. I know there are apps, clouds, and storage mechanisms to help with this, but I finally have a reason to use this camera, and learn some photog skills. I couldn’t find any of the accessories so I jumped on Amazon to order batteries, USB cable, and an extra memory card. I’ll say it again, thank the lord for online shopping. Now we’re in business. Apologies in advance.


Hospital Stay Preparation 

I have had a half-packed hospital bag ready for some time now, but am finally finishing up, and just started a baby bag. I am using a rolling carry-on size suitcase for my things, and the diaper bag for Baby C. I feel like I’ll be adding items up until we go to the hospital, so I’ll probably end up over packing, per usual. Craig is in charge of snacks and drinks for after delivery. Oh, and his clothes/personal belongings. And taking care of me and the beebs.

Car Seat Preparation 

We’ve had our car seat for at least a month but finally installed it in the car this past weekend. Then we went to McDonald’s (clearly being easy on myself this month) and pretended we were driving around with another human being in our car. Apparently 90% of people install the car seat incorrectly, so they require parents to get them checked at the local fire or police department. It was pretty intuitive, but we plan on doing this at the end of the month, when they are holding the next session. We are also installing an additional base in Craig’s car, so we don’t have to change when we change cars.


Maternity Leave Preparation

There is a lot of paperwork to fill out and acronyms to learn when preparing for maternity (and paternity) leave…FMLA, STD, FLI, etc. I started this convo with HR several months ago and just got my FMLA approval in the mail this week. Although I’m a beginner, my best advice is leave time to learn the ins & outs, utilize experts (HR & accounting) and make the decision that is best for your family, regarding leave. Everyone holds a different financial and professional status.

Baby Gear Preparation 

Onesies, blankets, books, everywhere! Below are some of the latest larger items that we’ve gotten ready. I’ll probably let you guys know down the road how we ended up liking these items but for now here is what we decided on:

  • Place for baby to sleep in the first 0-3 months – We decided on a Graco Pack n’ Play Travel Lite for our room. If you purchase from this link, you get a $40 Buy Buy Baby gift card with purchase. It’s small, perfect for traveling, and has a raised bassinet that vibrates for sleeping.
  • Graco Glider with Ottoman– for nursery and feeding. We decided on a neutral cream color with cherry wood to match the nursery furniture.

  • Breast Pump (ugh, TMI)- still not to sure what I’m looking at, but I was able to get this Medela Starter Set through insurance for free. Surprisingly, it came within 2-3 business days.
  • Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play for when Baby C is just straight chillen. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this item. PS – my Mom & I found this basically new (and certified sterilized) at a gently used store for half the price.

  • Urbini Omni-Plus Stroller – this goes with our car seat to make it the complete travel system. I love the heather gray color and bassinet option.

Knowledge Prep 

I’ve done a lot of reading, studying, and asking questions, but my actual plan is to learn by doing. I guess you could call it wingin’ it. I know there will be instances where I have no idea what to do, but for the most part I know I will love him, be obsessed with him, and the motherly instinct will kick in. Also, reallyyy banking on years and years of babysitting paying off for me here. My biggest fear is the actual time when I am going into labor…we took 3 birthing classes to prepare for that as much as possible, but I truly don’t know what to expect. I envision us being excited and freaking out. I’ve been told to not have too many expectations, as it will always go differently than planned. Send positive vibes our way!

And just because you all are amazing, I’m going to leave my readers with a sneak peak at his initials because we finally made a decision … 

I hope everyone is off to a great 2016 – I have a post coming up later this week with some special mama guests…I’m so excited for everyone to hear from these seriously credible babes. 💋

PS – I’ve been on a “Revenge” Netflix binge for the past week but am already getting sick of Emily Thorne. I need some recos for this final month & maternity leave!

Talk soon!

💕 Kayla