“Get Well Soon” Smoothie Goodness 

First off, you may have noticed that I have added a new menu to the blog : Health & Fitness, which has always been a passion of mine. I didn’t add this section to the blog right away because I slightly fell off the wagon and did not want to give health advice during pregnancy, as I’m still learning myself. Prior to pregnancy and starting “Kayla Marie,” I was an avid fitness nut and bootcamp teacher – more to come on this post-baby 😊

For now, the first post in this section will be a Vitamin C “Get Well Soon” smoothie recipe. 🍹 Turns out the holidays, traveling, planning for baby, have decided to catch up to us this weekend and we’ve been a bit under the weather. This has caused me to pick up an old habit, and one that was much needed…making homemade smoothies. I’m not going to lie– we definitely overdid it over the break with unhealthy eating and holiday indulgences, which is probably another reason we got sick. Note that this smoothie was made with the intention to incorporate a large amount of Vitamin C, calcium, and overall nutrition to help cure us back to health, not for post-workout, weight loss, etc, which are likely different recipes I’ll be posting in the future.

 As long as you have your fruit (frozen or fresh), some juice, and yogurt, proportions aren’t super important, as you really can’t mess this up. The ingredients above are some options, but I didn’t put everything in at once.

“Get Well Soon” Smoothie 

  • 1 cup OJ or fresh fruit juice (you can use skim milk or almond milk as a base as well)
  • 1 container vanilla Greek yogurt (you can use any flavor you’d like)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups Frozen fruit mixture
  • Blend!

Choose your fruit blend based on the type of taste you’d like. For a citrusy taste use pineapple, mangos, oranges. To off-set some of the citrus, use a berry medley. I used both! If you use all fresh fruit, add some ice to give it the cold, icy texture. Frozen fruit will do this on its own. My concoctions usually make about 2 – 16 oz. glasses. Also, I’m weird and like to eat with a spoon…Enjoy!

💕 Kayla

Advertisement

Motivation Monday : Mentally Curing the Holiday Hangover 

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday with family and friends, and that you were able to have at least a few days away from the office, hospital, school, or wherever you typically spend your 40+ hrs/week. It’s the Monday post-Christmas (yawn) and if you’re anything like me I think we all need an extra boost or motivation to get back at it. Christmas is like the ultimate “what now?” holiday. It takes weeks of preparation, and months, if you’re really planning ahead. Then it’s all over so quick and we have to face the realization of how many cookies we ate, and how much we spent on all of those gifts. Also, I’m realizing how much I talk about cookies on this blog – I promise to stop after February.

I have always loved reading, posting, and getting inspiration from quotes that I’ve found online or in books. This ‘ish is 99% mental, so feed your brain accordingly. I was actually searching for quotes on my own earlier this month for a bit of a pick-me-up and decided to compile some of my favorites here and share with you all! No matter who you are, life can get crazy and a few words can remind you it’s okay, or that you’re not the only one in the world that has felt the way you have or do at this moment. There’s really no theme to these, just good ‘ole “life” quotes that at least one of you will hopefully be able to relate with.

IMG_0170


        

IMG_0168

I’m interested to hear where you all pull your inspiration from — any good books or sites I should know about? Which is your fave quote from this list? My grandpa gave me a simple printout this weekend titled “some good thoughts” that he keeps with him, which was so sweet. Maybe you have a person that inspires you most?!

We have been in Cincy with family since last Wednesday and will be here for a few more days. This will be our last visit home for a bit, and once we head back, we have about one month – 6 weeks left before this babe enters the world. In terms of preparation, it’s go time!

IMG_1070

Wishing you all a great week as we head towards 2016!

❤ Kayla

Floppy Hats & Farmers Markets 

Saturday we decided to venture out to check out a local Farmers Market and finish some Christmas shopping. It was also very cold and windy so it’s actually starting to feel like December now! I wore my comfiest, warmest sweater and a floppy hat, which I’m loving for the season. When first buying this hat, I thought “where the hell am I going to wear this?” It was perfect for today and actually stopped my hair from blowing everywhere. If you’re anything like me, there are items you’ve bought in the past and then they just sit in your closet. If there’s a fashion statement piece you have bought and not yet worn, just do it. And own it. And wear, wherever you want! I now own floppy hats in both black and tan (my favorite neutrals), and can’t wait to wear both more often in the upcoming weeks.

IMG_0151

IMG_0150

IMG_0149

IMG_0148

IMG_0147
📷 : C. Cantor — isn’t he kinda good?

I recently re-discovered H&M, which is where I found both this wool hat and cowl neck sweater (which I can’t for the life of me, find online.) I’ve linked an alternative here. They have a maternity section, which you wouldn’t expect, and I’ve just been browsing some really cute, affordable pieces and accessories there lately. Leggings worn here are from Gap, and booties are from Old Navy. By the way, I’m always a believer that leggings are pants, esp when preg. To get this look just pair a long sweater of your choice, basic leggings, booties, and pick a hat! Here are some of my other favorite options:

We first went to the Trenton Farmers Market, which isn’t the most glamorous place I’ve ever been, but it was festive and any weekend activity that gets me up and walking is 👌 I love Farmers Markets because everything is always fresh, homemade or local. We did find some good buys (organic peanut butter, apple butter, and strawberry jam) at the “Amish Country Store.” Can you tell we like butter? Note to self: bring cash to the Amish Country Store next time. Credit card machine + the Amish = struggle city.

  IMG_0140

IMG_0145

After this we had dinner at the most romantic spot in town…TGI Fridays. Jk, we had a gift card, and who doesn’t love free food? Coincidentally, this is the Fridays we went to on our first trip out to NJ, where we decided which apartment we were going to lease over drinks. Today, we found ourselves having serious talks on choosing a baby name…not over drinks. I guess you could say only our most important convos are held at the fancy establishment of TGIF.

From there we did some shopping at my fave mall in town (called Market Fair) and bought some last minute gifts. We are officially done with our holiday shopping! 🎁

Sunday I am doing prenatal yoga, getting a peppermint mocha from the bux, getting a manicure, and having friends over to our place for football, relaxing, and homemade chili! What are you all up to on the last weekend before the Christmas craziness?

Thanks for checking in! 💕

Kayla

My Fave Finds under $25: Holiday 2015

How are there only 10 days until Christmas 2015? Ah, not ready! I decided this year I was going to try to online shop as much as possible. One trip to the mall is all it took for me to make this decision.  Apparently everyone in NJ who’s been hibernating has decided to come out of the wood works and spend some $$$. I found myself wanting someone to carry my bags and looking for the nearest place to take a rest about every 5 minutes. I know this sounds pathetic, ha! Turns out my iPad and couch are much more comfortable 😊

I’ve compiled my favorite gift/stocking ideas under $25 here. I have most of these items, have given them in the past, or have seen them in store and of course, WANT. So, I feel comfortable recommending them to you all. Most of these sites will deliver with little to no charge, and very quickly!

Moscow Mule Mugs : Nordstrom

These are so pretty! Copper mugs can tend to be a bit pricey but you can get these two for $24. I think they are a great addition to a drinking glass collection or home bar. You could also give the ingredients to make a MM with the actual mugs. Nothing sounds more refreshing than a Moscow Mule, right about now! Recipe in image above.

“Mascara and Caffeine” Makeup Bag : Nordstrom 

IMG_0946-0

How true is this quote?  There’s really not much else a girl needs in life. I actually have both mascara and caffeine on this list which explains why I love this bag so much. I also love anything with gold on it and new makeup bags are a necessity. They tend to get so dirty and I find myself needing a new one about once a year. Grab this gift for only $14.

 BP Winter Head Wrap : Nordstrom 

IMG_0947

Okay this is the last thing on the list from Nordstrom! If you’ve never shopped online with them, you should – very easy to navigate site, and free shipping/returns all the time. They also have a “wish list” feature that is easy to send to others 🙂  This head wrap also comes in red, pink, and gray, it’s really cute without being too gaudy…I’ve had my eye on it for a while now. I think it’s the perfect accessory to stay warm and accessorize your winter coat. And guess what, it’s only $6.98 right now!

Lorac Multiplex 3D Lashes : Ulta

Go ahead and do all the ladies in your life a favor, and buy this mascara! Do you know how hard it is to find a curved mascara wand these days? This brush perfectly separates all lashes and lasts all day. It is definitely worth the $22 price tag. Side note – I discovered the ‘Lorac’ brand a couple of years ago and have loved every item I have tried from them, especially the Front of the Line PRO Liquid Eye Liner. This stuff lasts forever.

L’oreal Colour Riche Lip Color : Drugstore

IMG_0958

This lipstick has been my go-to for several years now, and is now my sisters fave as well. This specific line (colour riche) can be bought at any drug store for about $9 and comes in 46 (!!!) shades. I like the neutral colors (esp. Nature’s Blush) the best for every day wear.

Plaid Flannel Night Shirt : Old Navy

 

This night shirt is my latest comfy obsession and I want to pass along the love. Usually I steer away from flannel because it just seems hot, but this night shirt, is just the right weight. It comes in several other colors and is currently on sale for $10. It is not a maternity shirt, but for reference I am 8 months preggo and fit very comfortably in a large. I would probably normally order a medium (no one likes tight PJs.)

 Homegrown Monogram Mug : Anthropologie

Boulangerie Jar Candle: Anthropologie

I bought these two anthro gifts (mug and candle) for my sisters and mom earlier this Fall and we all love them both. Each inital on the mugs has a different pattern ($6) and don’t ask me how to pronounce the candle name, but they smell amazing ($16.) These prices are almost unheard of for gifts from anthro.The candle also comes in the following flavors and they smell like you could actually eat them:

  • Vanilla & Fig
  • Angel Food
  • Espresso
  • Whipped Cream & Pear
  • Sweet Vanilla & Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Souffle
  • Oatmeal Cookie

Pure Body Long Sleeve Tee: Gap

IMG_0954

Pure Body Leggings: Gap

Anything from the ‘pure body’ line at Gap is definitely at the top of my list. These are two items I own, and that have become a staple in my wardrobe. You can wear them when loungin’ or use them when layering – you could wear the shirt ($19.95) under any scarf or poncho, and wear leggings ($29.95) with boots and a big sweater. The leggings have one of those thick, not too tight waist bands, which is perfect. The reason these leggings are still on the under $25 list, is because GAP is literally ALWAYS having a sale that’s at least 30-40% off:

121515_Last_Minute_40_Off_Purch_MOB_US_unchecked.gif

Christmas Blend K-Cups : Starbucks

Leopard Print Mug : Starbucks

Starbucks! Caffeine! Need I say more? So side note about Starbucks…they are NOT common on the east coast, as Dunkin Donuts pretty much dominates this area. Well, Starbucks >>> Dunkin. Sorry DD babes. I have gone far out of my way to get to a Starbucks, but luckily there is a really nice one on our exit! Anyways, this Dark Roast blend is amaze (12/$12.95) and I love all of the mugs, especially this leopard print (16 fl oz), from their new Dot Collection.

I am ALMOST done with my shopping, but still need to grab a few more gifts for this year. Are you all done Christmas shopping? Hopefully these finds of mine, will spark some ideas for someone on your list!

Happy Shopping and thanks for reading during the busiest time of the year!

❤ Kayla

 

A Holiday Celebration: NYC Style

Last night, we made our way to NYC for the first time since early summer for my company Holiday Party. Last time I was in NYC I was drinking at TAO, and taking a hardcore Barry’s Bootcamp Class. Crazy how so much has changed already!  I don’t want to blame our absence on visiting the Big FullSizeRender (1)Apple on carrying a little bebe, but I’m going to…haha! And I remembered why last night. NYC is another animal…the lights, the people, the opportunities are all so amazing. Average dinner time is 10pm, and even at 1am, Penn Station is buzzing. You can probably see why being in “the city that never sleeps” on a Fri, when all you want to do is sleep, could be a challenge. It’s such a great city to be near and have acccess to, yet I definitely have to mentally prepare myself for the amount of walking to be done, and massive crowds. But lo, I will not be left behind! It was funny, if people notice you’re pregnant, they kind of stare. I also heard “hey pregnant lady, come to the comedy show tonight!” Like, ppl do NOT care lol, they will say whatever. And no, I don’t want to go to the comedy show that’s probably really shitty, since you have to harass people to come. Poor Craig, I was gripping him white knuckle style while walking down the street. All of this aside, there’s nothing like being in this city.

amster

“I get out of the taxi and it’s probably the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards, New York.”

Milos Forman

Anyways, here’s what we did! It’s super touristy sounding for people who have actually lived in the city, but also the classic NYC Holiday experience. Props to my co-worker Ashley for planning this for a group of about 20 people. Our work team has become like family out here in NJ, so it was awesome to get out of the office for an end of year celebration, and enjoy each other’s company.

Transportation: There is a train system called NJ Transit that goes directly from Princeton Junction to Penn Station, about once or twice every hour. You can buy tickets quickly on a phone app and just jump on to head straight to the city. Great people watching on this thing. There’s always at least 1-2 arguments between a transit employee and passenger, and if you want you can listen to someone’s strange personal phone conversation to pass the time.

nj transit

Dinner: We made the walk from Penn Station, to URBO, a super modern, 26,000 sq ft. American restaurant located right in Times Square. If you want to feel like you are truly in NYC, this is the place to go. The ambiance, the food, and size of the restaurant were all pretty cool to experience.

URBO_ext_vinyl_web_1-1024x595

For apps, my table ordered the Italian Flatbread, Lobster Mac & Cheese, and Valentine Sushi Roll. They also ordered several amazing drinks (Strawberry margs, Jalepeno margs, glasses of wine, old fashioned) which I couldn’t have, so I just stared as they enjoyed… and snapped pics of course. For dinner, Craig ordered the lamb sliders (essentially mini gyros!) and I got the burger (which I could only finish half of.) Probably not the most interesting thing to order if I really want to get the URBO experience, but I’m a hungry, hungry person right now and most of the entrees were pretty small. You can check out the full menu here.

drinks.jpg

IMG_0902.JPG

urbo

Entertainment: After dinner, we made it to Radio City Music Call for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It was a pretty big cluster getting in, but what else can you expect during the holidays in NYC? The lobby was beautiful, and the Rockettes were amazing to watch. As a former dancer, my favorite part was seeing their costumes, and admiring how clean and together they were the entire time.  I was having flashbacks and hot flashes remembered our college dance practices. This show is definitely something everyone should experience once to get them in the holiday spirit, and something I’d want my child to experience as well.

In my past life, I really would have loved to stay in the city, party, and get a hotel room for the night, but it just wasn’t in our cards right now. So, we took a bicycle taxi from the show back to Penn Station, which was really our only quick option at the time. The bicycle taxi was entertaining and terrifying at the same time. On one hand it was like a personal tour through the city, on the other, he was seriously weaving through traffic like we were invisible. *Note to self and others interested, ask how much it’ll cost before accepting ride 🙂 That’s all I’ll say. We did make it safe, caught the train right on time, and concluded an awesome night with my entertaining co-workers. Here’s how we felt on the way home:

sleeping

New York, you win again.

IMG_0900

_____________________________________

Quick Outfit Recap

(I need to be better about taking selfie outfit pics but in leau, exact items are shown below)

Black Jessica Simpson Pantsuit

Red LC Lauren Conrad Blazer

image

Alfani Booties

m_56197203620ff7fcee002a09

JCrew Drop Earrings

image

 What are your holiday party plans? Do you have an outing with family, coworkers, or just relaxin’  to the max this year? As always, thanks for reading and I’d love to hear from you below!

Kayla

7 Impactful Lessons to Take into 2016

Happy *Belated* Thanksgiving to all – I hope you had a great time with your families and friends! I may have had double the pie this year, but I had to make sure baby got some too 🙂

*All of the pics in this post are taken by us in different areas over the course of the year. The cover pic above is in the Raritan Bay between Brooklyn, NY and Perth Amboy, NJ.

I want timageo talk about growing with your experiences, and figure out how you classify something as “impactful”?  Looking back at 2014, I actually thought that it was a super life changing year – I had a career position change, I had done some traveling for work in a new city, moved in with a significant other for the first time (yes it was Craig), and had to face some unexpected family health issues for the first time. As I begin to look back on 2015, it makes 2014 seriously seem like a breeze – but I also started thinking about what makes something feel impactful? Like is it really fair for me to say 2014 was a breeze, just because 2015 was more challenging?

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

I’ve kind of started to realize that life really does get harder, but more rewarding as you go. Each year is going to be progressively more “life changing”  and impactful than the last, if you are constantly wanting more for yourself, taking on new opportunities, advancing in your career, building a family, or all of the above.  I truly feel like we are given what we can handle –  if you’re rising to meet the challenges of each New Year, I think you are on the right path to success and will start to see exponential rewards. Take the word rewards lightly – rewards aren’t just monetary. They can be improved relationships, learning how to do something better, becoming a better individual.  One of my favorite principles of all time is “you reap what you sow” aka how you treat people, how hard you work, what you put into the world, and how you carry yourself day to day is what will come back to you in return. What are you doing each day, month or year to reap something good back into your life? What steps have you taken that are getting you closer to your dreams and goals, or what you see for your life?

image
Princeton Battlefield State Park

I believe if something was impactful it means that we’ve learned something to take with us moving forward or we’ve grown as an individual. Here are some personal life lessons (super random of course) I’ve learned THIS year – I hope you all can relate to some of them and take with you moving forward:

You can’t predict your life events. 

You can set goals about what you want to accomplish, take opportunities as they come and plan how you want it to go, but there are always going to be goals you never knew you had, and opportunities that can take you places you never thought you would be. cough living in the beautiful Garden State- This doesn’t mean you SHOULDN’T plan, just know that it likely won’t turn out as the road map you’ve drawn for yourself. What has happened this year that you didn’t expect? I’m trying to remember this as I now have to come up with a birth plan for February. Yikes. It turns out a birth plan isn’t really a plan at all because you can’t predict Mother Nature. It’s a rough draft. What I’m saying is, “Life is like a birth plan.” Be flexible.

11174984_2735605195680_8945730725138791158_n
New Hope, PA

Appreciate your Mom and/or Dad

I feel a new sort of appreciation for my parents since becoming pregnant, and I KNOW this will increase ten fold as we become parents. They worked their asses off to birth, feed, and raise us. Additionally, although we always feel it won’t happen to us, illness can plague even the happiest of families at any time. Don’t take their health for granted – they are getting older just as you are. I don’t think people realize this until something significant happens, I know I didn’t.

Keep Groceries in the House.

Grocery shopping is literally one of my least favorite activities you can ask me to do, but it is so worth it – both financially and health wise (shop on the outside perimeter, people.) Everyone says they want to pack more, cook more, and buy less, but why don’t they?  If we go grocery shopping on a Sunday, I can literally go weekend to weekend without using my debit card (with the exception of monthly bills.) We once went 10 days without buying one meal outside of the house. We were so proud that we celebrated by going out to eat, LOL.

image
Princeton University

If you can’t stop thinking about something, you should do it.

Maybe you have been thinking about a difficult email you need to write to a co-worker that you’ve been putting off, or reaching out to a friend that you’ve recently had a falling out with. Maybe it’s something long term -you want to start a business or a joint venture but you have no idea where to start. Start jotting down ideas. Maybe you want a new job, career, to go back to school, or to move. You should really start thinking about what steps you can take to make it happen. I am a big believer that we are the result of the choices we make, not victims of circumstance. I had been talking about starting a blog and/or website for months to several individuals… eventually people get tired of hearing you talk. So, I created this site and took one step forward by putting up the first post. Whether people read, like, engage, or not, I’m at least making the first move in putting it out there. This is easier said than done, but one step in the right direction will usually lead you to the next step in your journey.

image

Write hand-written thank you cards and notes.

My best friend Jen has always done this…not only does she write them but she gets them out quick! My sister Audrey also does this by writing long notes to me at holidays or sending randomly in the mail. You could say they are my inspiration for this tip. I think this is so much more beneficial and meaningful than a quick text or email, especially when they are truly warranted. I already can’t wait to get my gold glitter holiday notes out *spoiler alert*. You never know what this could do for someone’s day. This tip can be used both personally and professionally, and can go a long way.

Love Park, Philadelphia

Take Words and Actions with a “grain of salt.”

I use this saying ALL the time at work. Think about how often you say something and it comes out wrong, or you didn’t mean it. Well, surprise, surprise, but that happens to everyone. Don’t always take what people say at face value…if it sounds off to you, re-evaluate at another time, or clarify with them. Tomorrow is another day. How people act or speak is often a reflection of them and has nothing to do with you at all. If you’ve ever lived on the East Coast you’ll probably relate to this one best.

Don’t Compare Yourself 

Last year I think I wrote about not comparing yourself to others via social media…this year it’s ‘don’t compare in real life’, because this is actually what matters. I think we all realize by now that SM isn’t reality. But in real life, this is a hard one. Yes, someone is always going to have a larger home than you, or go on more vacations, or have the cutest family ever, and you’ll wonder how they do it, but remember everyone has their struggles. Focus on your life, and doing the best you can.

11210449_2735578035001_2197631098418167932_n
Times Square, NYC

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we are only 1 month out from 2016. I decided to post this a bit before the end of the year for a simple reason. Recently, I was listening to The Smart Passive Income Podcast – Episode 93 titled “How to Make Next Year the Best Year Ever “ with Michael Hyatt, in order to get some life #inspo. Hyatts’s #1 tip was to plan ahead. If you start   thinking about the next year on January 1st, 2016, how are you able to reflect & prepare? It’s like when people want to go on a diet and they keep saying I’ll start on Monday, or I’ll start after this certain event. There’s always going to be another weekend or party to get past. I might be a little biased on the idea of preparation, as I’m currently in the process of planning the rest of my life, basically…I just had to set up additional life insurance and dependent care, which was certainly a first. Turns out having a little guy will do that to ya.

Nashville, TN

The hope is that we would go into January knowing what we want, how we want to feel because of our choices, and how you are going to try your damnedest to achieve it. What are your 7 “lessons” that will help you resolve to have a great 2016? I encourage you to reflect back on 2015 in somewhat of a mental recap in order to help figure this out. Everyone’s  “lessons” will be different as they are specific to what you’ve experienced over the past 12 months. Maybe I’m the only weirdo that likes thinking about this and making these type of lists. Either way, it’s ‘go time.’ Feel free to comment below and LMK what #1 is for you, for 2016.

Thanks everyone for reading, I appreciate you all 💕

Kayla

 

2nd Day Hair : How to Mix it Up

I’ll start by saying I’m so pumped it’s a holiday week and I get to see all my friends and family in Cincinnati this weekend! So many cool things happening for many people I’m close to right now and I just want to squeeze them and celebrate.🎉

Let’s talk hurr: I am pretty much the queen of seeing how long I can go without washing my hair…I’m wondering if this is something to be proud of or not. I’m also wondering if I should be admitting this via the Internet. Either my hair doesn’t get dirty very easily, or I am an extremely lazy individual when it comes to washing my hair. When it comes down to it, I think it’s a bit of both! On average, I would say that I wash my hair 1-2 times a week, but before you get grossed out – hear me out for my reasoning:

  • wedding hairI literally have the world’s driest hair, so even when it has been 5-7 days since I washed my hair, you probably won’t see any signs of “dirtiness.” I can get a haircut and find a thousand split ends 5 minutes later. I also think that pregnancy has naturally made it even “drier” and I’m not hard core working out/sweating every day which also helps (If anyone has good recommendations for a deep-conditioning treatment LMK!)
  • “Experts”say that you should only shampoo your hair once every 2-3 days at most in order to prevent stripping it of its natural oils. *All my italian girlfriends are currently LOLing. I’m not a big user of dry shampoo but if your hair is more oily, definitely invest in one, such as Big Sexy Hair Volumizing. I’ve tried this one and would use more often if needed.
  • Because my hair is so thick and coarse, it takes a long freaking time to wash, dry, and style. Don’t let the workings of my hair straightener fool you. I’m talkin’ like arms burning type of blow-drying. Hence, the laziness of trying to salvage a blow-out as long as possible. Who has time for this before work?
  • Speaking of work, wearing my hair down on the job is so…uncomfortable. You’d think I was doing physical labor at my job when I say this, but no, just something about answering hundreds of emails and going to meetings with my hair in my face is super distracting-and hot (temparature wise, you guys.) Why spend time styling down when it’ll just end up in a pony?
  • Yes, you can still shower without washing your hair! Sometimes I wrap a towel around my hair to prevent the edges from getting wet, but most of the time I use a giant clip and put a bun on the top of my head. If your hair still gets wet, just take a blow dryer quickly to the bottom/edges. These are my favorite clips and they are super cheap:
Scunci No-Slip Grip Jaw Clips, Assorted
Scunci No-Slip Clips 

I am able to get away with this (I think) because of my favorite “2nd day hair” options that I will show you here. I guess I should call this post “2nd or 3rd or 4th day hair” or basically  “options to wear your hair that aren’t down.” It’s fun to mix it up, just do your hair in the morning, and literally not worry about it the rest of the day. You don’t have to wear your hair down straight every day. I only wear my hair down on Day 1, occasionally day 2, but after that it’s always half-up or all-up. Here are my all time faves:

Half-up with Pins

*This ‘do is for the 2nd or 3rd day when you’re like, I don’t want to wear my hair down but I don’t want to commit to full-on creases and give in just yet. Its mostly clean, but kinda not clean at this point.*

Step 1-Brush all hair straight back. It helps to tilt your head back for gathering all of the hairs.

Step 2-Section off the top half at the back of your head. Start placing pins in hair, alternating each side, and which hand you hold your hair with. Make sure they are evenly crossed to “lock” into place.

Step 3-Hair is half-up and out of your face!

Half-up with Pins + Tail

*You’re now ready to commit to all up*

Step 1-Keep your hair pinned just like the half-up do and just add a ponytail.
Step 2-You can tease your ponytail or wrap a piece of hair around and pin underneath to hide the elastic as shown above. Favorite teasing comb:

Photo: The Basics Slim Teasing Brush
Conair Teasing & Sectioning

Half-up with Elastic

*When I was little I used to think this style was called the “Chris” because I knew someone with that name who wore their hair like this, so I just called it that. Turns out I made that up and it’s just called “half-up.”
Step 1-Section off a little more than the top crown area of your hair. You can pull from all the way down to your ears as well.

Step 2-Use an elastic on this half of your hair, just as if you were doing a full ponytail. I use a thick elastic since my hair is so heavy, but those with thinner hair could use a thin hair tie or clear plastic hair rubber band.

Step 3– Tighten and tease. You can also wrap a piece of hair around the elastic and pin underneath.

High Bun

*I think this one is my favorite of the favorites. It just feels so good to have your hair completely out of your face and off your neck. It stays all day, and you can keep it for heading straight to the gym after work.

Step 1– Put hair in a high pony -the height of where you would want a bun to sit. If you have thin hair, you might not need to put in a pony first.

Step 2-Start wrapping pony tail around and pinning along the entire circumference. Keep the bun loose so it’s not as tight to your head. Don’t think about this step too much, or you’ll be re-doing your bun all day. You really can’t mess this style up.

Step 3-Pin down any stray hairs, spray, and you’re ready to go! I actually found a deal on this hairspray (smells amazing!) at TJ Maxx and it’s my favorite at the moment:

Joico Power Spray

Simple Headband

image

*There are no steps here. Simply buy a headband that is comfortable and will stay, and place in hair. The best kind have rubber in the inside. Viola! Hair down without having to part.

Craig also likes handbands and bandanas… he will steal mine after work or on the craigweekend because his hair is so long and he won’t cut it. I call him Rico Suave when he slicks it back. We got a lot of “flow” goin’ on over here… let’s see if Baby C carries on this tradition.

I hope this gives all you babes some inspiration to either mix it up or save you some time as we head into another work week of kicking some ass. What are your go-to’s? Send me a pic if you try any of these styles–I’d love to see! 💁

Thanks for continuing to read my thoughts 💕

Kayla Marie

Prenatal Yoga : Why I tried & My First Impresh

Okay friends, I’m writing again about a ‘future mom’ topic bc that’s what’s surrounding my everyday! If this doesn’t benefit you now it will in the next couple of years 😊 I know I’m only about two thirds through this pregnancy adventure but I am able to recognize that among many changes in life right now, there are two big effects that occur while your bun is in the oven: the physical changes & the mental. I’m not sure just yet which one is more demanding.

Physical: Pregnancy makes you feel like you constantly just ran 5 miles, like you just tried doing the splits in an adult dance class for the first time in 2 years (not speaking from experience), or like you just went horseback riding for 8 hrs straight, lol. The problem is that the only place I have been running is to the restroom, and the only serious stretching I’ve done is reaching down to tie my shoes. I do have to say that I was able to keep up my regular workouts at Orange Theory until 18 weeks and then one day, I just was not able to keep up anymore. I’m not going to lie –for how active I was before, I didn’t know it would be so hard on the bod. *current moms are all thinking “just wait!”* In our birthing class last week, the nurse asked “What do you like about being pregnant?”  My answer was that it has forced me to slow down. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am constantly going, going, going and for the first time it’s OK to take it easy. Let me clarify by saying in NO way do I think pregnancy is an excuse, it is a time to listen to your body, and what your baby is telling you he needs. It took me about 24 weeks to accept this, but I do think it’s okay for us to take this time and turn it down a notch. I hope there are other 1st time ‘busy body’ mamas out there that can relate.

princeton

Mental: The responsibility that comes with growing a baby can seriously be a big mind eff, if you let it. The anxiety is real, ppl. One second you are feeling your baby kicking and can’t wait to meet him, the next second you’re wondering how you’re going to be responsible for someone else’s life, forever. One day you’re feeling prepared and the next you’re wondering why your nursery doesn’t look like you’re Pinterest board yet….even though he won’t sleep in there for the first 6 months. I’ve found that it helps me to stay off of google and minimize my time spent on the “What to expect” community posts. While apps can be helpful for referrals on products and such, there are also posts called, “how many weeks are you and how much weight have you gained?” If you see this topic, just click away and never look back. Not something anyone needs to be comparing with others. You’ll see women who are on week 25 and have “lost 20 lbs” –bitch, no you haven’t.

Onto the topic of this post! So, this past Sunday I woke up and my body was sore as hell per usual, and I was definitely needing a mental pick-me-up/social interaction. I was laying in bed debating how I can convince myself to go to the apartment gym and at least get on the elliptical…the struggle! I finally decided it was time to look up prenatal yoga as an alternative. Besides the body pains, I think half the reason I haven’t wanted to hard core workout is because the tight spandex and double layer sports bra wearing is extremely uncomfortable. At yoga you can wear looser, comfier clothing… and honestly if you didn’t want to wear a bra you can prob get away without it. Jk, I wouldn’t do that to anyone. There happened to be a class 2 miles from our house at a studio called Honor Yoga, so I last minute got my ass to class. 

image

If I were explaining the progression of prenatal yoga (which I am) I would break it up into three parts:

1.) Introductions — We spent the first 10 minutes of the class getting to know each other. All of the moms were asked to introduce themselves, how far along they were, if they were having a boy or girl, etc. If I were in an actual workout class where I was actually trying to burn a serious amount of calories, I probably wouldn’t have patience for this. Before pregnancy I was a bootcamp teacher and took workouts too seriously — if it weren’t high intensity it was a waste of time. Considering we’re newer to the area and I’m always looking for others to connect with, I was super into  and excited about the introductions. Everyone else was between weeks 17-19 (I probably should have started this sooner) and also having their first baby.  What a great way to meet people in my same life sitch and listen to what they are experiencing. We can learn a lot  by simply listening to others.

image

2.) The practice — To be honest I don’t know many of the formal names for the poses but after the introductions we went into the actual practice of sun salutations, breathing, and stretching in a flow type format. At the beginning there was a lot of sitting in the butterfly and indian style positions (again, not the correct names of these positions) which isn’t super comfortable but they give you Mexican looking blankets and a thing called a bolster to sit on which the tail bone liked 👍🏻 If you can’t tell, comfort is pretty much the theme of my life right now. The practice was definitely not super difficult in a physically demanding way, but there were some poses that did burn in the shoulders and quads, and it was just enough to stretch the important parts.

image

3.) Savassana — Otherwise known as the last 5-10 minutes of class where you lie on your back and the instructor does a lot of talking. Although, you can’t lie flat on your back while preggo so we built an incline out of the bolster and blocks, which was pretty nifty. In normal yoga classes, I have a hard time relaxing and focusing during this last portion of the class. It felt different this time …she had us put one hand on our heart and one hand on our belly so we could show our gratitude towards ourself and baby. Baby C immediately started moving around (so. cool.) The one thing she said that really resonated with me was, “You and your baby were brought together for a reason. He needs you, and you need him.” Although I am already a big believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ this was the first time I had thought about me needing the baby. There’s so much pressure to prepare for what we can do for the baby, that I haven’t fully grasped the joy, strength, and life he is going to bring to both Craig and myself. I can’t wait to find out.

Going into the prenatal yoga class, I had a couple of goals, to stretch and feel better physically, and to try and meet some other future moms. What I didn’t expect was the calming, mentally stimulating, aspect of the class. You just feel good after, like you did something beneficial for yourself and baby. Much more beneficial than playing bubble mania on your iPad and eating lemon cookies on repeat–although I would know nothing about that.

The conclusion: I will be going once a week on Sunday’s to continue to reap these benefits and think I will connect with others outside of class. Win, win in my preggo book.

image

Thanks for all the positive feedback so far on my bloggin’ journey. Comment below and let me know what you think!

Thanks for visiting 💕

Kayla

Let’s talk about Strengths, baby…

We spend sooo much of our life focusing on how we need to improve, what we can do better, or how someone else is better than us. Usually when we are looking at someone else’s life, it’s not even a fair comparison…no one else has your life except you. For example, looking at a 6 ft. tall blonde model’s page on Instagram and wondering why I can’t look more like her is just ridiculous…but we all do it. Have you ever seriously stopped to think about what you’re good at, and how you can take these traits to the next level in order to succeed? Maybe someone wants to be more like YOU. We all have different strengths, none better than the other. How boring life would be if we were all the same.

comparisson

Next week, I’m helping to lead a StrengthsFinder training for my team at work and I’m seriously looking forward to it. Is that so dorky? We get to hear positive reinforcement for a whole afternoon! I actually like applying these types of “assignments” to get better instead of making them another box to check off the long list of daily tasks…or maybe I just like talking about what I’m good at… 🙂
The book this is based on, Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath, comes with a code that allows you to discover your top 5 strengths (out of a list of 34) based on a series of behavioral questions. I first took this test a couple of years ago on my own, and again this past July for a leadership training. I’ve actually taken both the StrengthsFinder 2.0 & the Strengths Based Leadership test by the same author, but they have the same 34 strengths. The results are creepily accurate and they really didn’t change much at all over time. “People don’t change!”

SF books

Step One – Learn what your Strengths are and the characteristics of each. I’ll go through my top 5 strengths quickly, so you can get an idea of how it works and get some examples:

Activator

“Only action can make things happen. Only action leads to performance. Once a decision is made, you cannot not act.”

If you feel like this you may be an activator as well. I rarely have a plan in place for how I am going to get something done, but once I get something in my mind I have to do it right then – I can’t stop thinking about it until I take a step towards making it happen. This is everything from a food craving to accepting a relocation assignment across the country without even knowing which state it was on the US map (I wish I were joking) to daily process improvements on the job. I will think about, or see the end goal and literally just start “doing” until it is done. I have very little patience for the details, evaluation, or analytical discussion. Just get me to the damn cookie…now. 🍪

the garden state

Maximizer

“Strengths, whether yours or someone else’s fascinate you. And having found a strength, you feel compelled to nurture it, refine it, and stretch it toward excellence.”

This statement right here explains exactly why I am obsessed with this topic. I can’t wait for my team to discover their strengths and be able to apply. Watching people succeed is cool, ya’ll. I don’t like talking about what I’m bad at, I take it too personal and get borderline defensive. This also explains why I’m always giving people the benefit of the doubt, sometimes to a fault, instead of dwelling on what they need to fix. You won’t find me being too harsh on anyone unless they’re on like try #3.

Competition

“When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, if you can compete, you can win.”

USA

Being competitive is pretty self explanatory. I feel like you either like to compete with others, or you shy away from it completely and feel absolutely no satisfaction in doing so. My friend Lauren once told me during a bootcamp class that I’m the most competitive person she knows, which for some reason, I will never forget. I totally thought this was an inner trait that I did a good job of hiding, but I guess when you wanna win, you wanna win. I remember in high school, my principal cancelled the most important dance competition of the season due to a snow storm and I slammed my bedroom door out of anger so hard you would’ve thought the house was going to fall down. I had already done my makeup and we were supposed to beat our biggest rivals that day. God, I was such a jerk back then…my poor, poor parents. Needless to say, you can tell that this strength did not come as a surprise.

  Futur10426719_2526751214461_1758431144048907938_nistic 

“You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you.”

#TRUTH – I feel like this explains why I spend so much time talking about the future and making sure that decisions made today will be beneficial to the future as well. I have a hard time living in the moment, but am able to see down the long windy road ahead of me, even when it’s a bit foggy. I don’t get hung up in the details of the moment but rather am able to see the “grandness” (is that a word?) and opportunities in the big picture.

Command

“People are drawn toward those who take a stance and ask them to move in a certain direction. Therefore, people will be drawn to you. You have presence.”

Now this word – Command – just sounds scary to me…I promise I’m not going around shouting orders all day. Command is more like you are okay with confrontation and talking about difficult issues in order to get resolution. Once I have an opinion I need to share it with someone else or talk about it — I gotta be careful with that one. Yikes.
Step Two – Identify and learn the characteristics of others’ strengths. Have your team take the test. While it’s beneficial to learn and study your own strengths, it’s pointless to only learn about yourself if you don’t know how to work with others.  The other 29 strengths are:
  • Achiever
  • Adaptability
  • Analytical
  • Arranger
  • Belief
  • Communication
  • Connectedness
  • Consistency
  • Context
  • Deliberative
  • Developer
  • Discipline
  • Empathy
  • Focus
  • Harmony
  • Ideation
  • Includer
  • Individualization
  • Input
  • Intellection
  • Learner
  • Positivity
  • Relator
  • Responsibility
  • Restorative
  • Self-Assurance
  • Significance
  • Strategic
  • Woo
When I was listing out those strengths I just caught myself thinking, “If only I were a bit more consistent, responsible, or intellectual…” haha, but just because something doesn’t fall in your top 5 doesn’t mean you have zero of that trait in your arsenal.
Step Three – Keep this ‘ish in front of you. The book gives action items you can apply right away against each trait and how to work with others with strengths outside of yours. Reading once and then forgetting about it doesn’t really count. Post your strengths on your beautiful cubicle wall that you stare at all day, so you can remember what you’re good at. Put your employees strengths in their personnel file, maybe on something you open often.

strengths

I know a lot of my friends & co-workers (some shown above) have taken this test — what are your strengths? I genuinely want to know! Make sure you are actually clicked into this post (click on the top photo or access from the “Career” drop down and not just on the homepage in order to leave a comment.) If you haven’t taken it, I hope I convinced you to try it out! You could even do this with your SO or friends, outside of work.
I’m still trying to work out all the nuances of running a site like this. Yes, I’m using some older pics I’ve taken for now but plan to have some new images to use shortly. If you have any suggestions or words of encouragement, open to hearing those as well! Follow me for notifications on the latest posts (shameless plug).
Thanks for visiting💕
kaylasignature-06

My Pregnancy Style Picks : Fall Edition

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of stuff you have to buy as a new parent, and most of it isn’t for you! Like seriously, shit you never even thought of. I figured I would just want the basics until I found myself registering at babiesrus for a wipes warmer and bottle drying rack…

The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds of dollars on a new wardrobe that you can only wear for about 5-6 months at most. I somehow managed to squeeze myself into my normal clothes well into the 2nd trimester, but I finally gave in to all things stretchy around week 19…right at the start of fall 🍂🍁 I realized quickly that comfort is key, especially for long days trying to concentrate and perform well at work. Although I would have loved to sleep in, wear yoga pants, and lie around eating endless amounts of bagels at this point in the pregnancy, it just wasn’t really an option for this girl. My goal is to show you that comfort doesn’t have to mean “mom jeans” with tennis shoes…..

DISCLAIMER: In no way, shape, or form am I an expert on pregnancy — I’m simply sharing what I’ve discovered works for me SO FAR 🙂

Three pieces I’ve found myself wearing over and over are 3/4 sleeve length stretchy dresses, ponchos or scarves, and ankle boots. I’ve worn this look to work, on the weekend, and even to my baby shower back in October. The best dress I have found is the Liz Lange Maternity Scoop Neck dress, from Target which I own in both black and gray. They are literally the perfect length, weight and fit to wear all day and the side ruching feels like heaven to my growing belly:

imageimage

Adding a layer over this will add comfort, warmth, and style to an otherwise seemingly plain dress. At first I thought wearing a poncho or blanket scarf would be “too much” on my 5′ 3″ height but then I remembered I am dressing for two, right? Also, they are super “in” this season –I figure this because they are everywhere! I have had good luck finding affordable and versatile ones at Forever 21 and Marshalls. For some reason the Marshalls here is literally amazing and overflowing with items– they probably get all the overstock stuff from NYC. Here is the look I’m talkin’ about. So freaking comfy to wrap around your bod:

image image

Lastly, find some comfy fall boots to pair with these pieces. Although flats are most comfortable, logical, and the best way to keep your chiropractor off your back (haha), sometimes us preggos just gotta feel stylish. I would, however, recommend alternating days that you wear boots, wedges, or flats to avoid leg soreness, back pain, and swelling in your feet. I can only do wedges/even small heels about twice a work week. My comfiest boots are from Toms and Old Navy (I own both black and tan)- neutral colors such as black, tan or gray will be the most economical as you can mix ‘n match with anything. Here are some of my faves:

imageimage

Here are some of the “looks” I’ve put together with these essentials while navigating through the 2nd trimester of pregnancy out here in the Garden State:


princeton battle field
baby shower
pumpkinmont inn

Most of all, I think it’s important that whatever you choose to wear is comfortable and makes you feel good. I’ll make sure to share my winter style picks/necessities with you all as the seasons change and holidays approach. Let me know what you think and what your fall “go to’s” are and how I can start to mix it up!

Thanks for visiting! 💕
Kayla