Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Body After Baby

When I was pregnant, I ate like a 250 pound grown man. I rarely told myself no. I gave into most all of my cravings. And I craved the worst things...fried chicken tenders from Raising Canes, cupcakes, gum balls, popsicles, just to name a few. Frankly, I went nuts. I remember looking in the mirror in my 9-month and thinking to myself, "what in the world have you done to yourself, girl?" 

By the end of my pregnancy, I had packed on nearly 50 pounds. The funny thing is I wasn't super worried about losing the baby weight. I figured since I've been relatively thin my whole life and my parents are (and have always been) in pretty good shape, I'd be OK. So imagine my surprise a month, 2 months, and 3 months after baby was born, to find the weight still lingering. I found myself feeling pretty frustrated by the amount of time it was taking to drop the pounds. Sometime between months 1 and 2, I decided to get serious and ordered Focus T25 and joined a T25 Facebook accountability group. So yeah, that didn't go so well. I lasted a solid 2 weeks and decided that being a new mom was all the work out I had energy for. And let's be honest, I've never been that great at sticking to any kind of fitness regimen.

Fast forward to today. Turns out I was able to lose the weight without working out, after all. Nearly 6 months after baby, I'm back down to my pre-baby weight. BUT my body is SO different. It's a bit...fluffy. And everything fits differently. Everything. So I'm not off the hook just yet...looks like I'll still need to work out to get rid of the fluffy middle and extra meat around the hip and thigh areas. I've also been surprised by certain body parts that have become, shall we say, saggy. Pretty sure I've always wanted bigger boobs, but not the big, saggy kind. Sheesh.

Anyway, I try not to beat myself up about it. Rather, reveling in the fact that the Lord equipped my little 'ol body to carry a baby full-term. That's pretty amazing. And worth a little extra fluff.

cargo jacket & dress: GAP Outlet // boots: Nine West Outlet
necklace: Francesca's Collections // Michael Kors bag: consignment
sunglasses: Rayban

Linking up:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Month {6}

Before Ryann was born, I was told by lots of moms that 6 months is one of the most fun baby stages. And it's so true. Her little personality is so funny. She's very aware of what's going on around her. She's sitting up by herself now and it's so, so cute watching her play with her little toys. She really is a happy, smiling little nugget. 

16.14 pounds
26.5 inches
Wearing 6 month clothing & size 3 diapers
Killing 6oz of either breast milk or formula every 3 hours
Started her on organic oatmeal cereal at 5 1/2 months
Introduced avocado recently and plan to try sweet potatoes this week
Her first little tooth is coming through 
(with the help of Hyland's teething tablets and lots of teething toys, teething has been manageable so far)
Sleeps about 10 hours a night (9:30p to 7a)
Army crawling/scooting
(she's able to get up on her hands and knees - I expect she'll be crawling within the month)
Sitting up like a pro
I removed the infant sling in her baby tub - bath time is a blast - and very wet :)

Recap of months 1-5:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

6 months. Wow. I was just thinking the other day that if the next 6 months fly by as fast as the first 6, I'm in trouble. Still doing my very best to savor every single moment. I really love being her mommy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Houndstooth 2.0

skirt: JC Penney, old | similar
graphic tee: Old Navy, old | similar
cardigan: Express, old | similar on sale
booties: DSW
necklace: Forever 21, old | similar
sunglasses: Rayban
bag: so old...don't remember | similar

Remember my ridiculous rant about houndstooth? Well, turns out I'm a fan of this print. I'm totally guilty of defaulting to head-to-toe black and white with a pop of (various shades of) pink. It's easy and it works every.single.time. So mixing black and white together in a fun little pattern (ie houndstooth) = genius. 

I bought this skirt over a year ago but never got around to wearing it before my waist line started to expand. I love it because it can be dressed up or down. For a more casual look, I could totally see this exact outfit with Chuck Taylors and simpler accessories. And I actually dressed it up a couple weeks ago for work, pairing it with a red peplum top, black tights, and black boots. 

In other news, the first day of spring is this Thursday.
I seriously am SO over this bipolar Texas weather. Really looking forward to the warmer temps ahead.

Hope you're having a fab week so far! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

White Sneaks + Black Tights | Testimony

I traveled to California this week for work. I've always packed pretty light, but I try to pack even lighter these days since I have extra equipment to carry (breast pump). So other than the Chucks I wore on the flight there, I only packed 1 pair of heeled boots. I realized the other day as I repacked my bag to fly from Orange County to San Francisco for the second half of my trip, that there was no way I was going to try to trek through the airport with my boots on, so I slipped on these dingy white Chucks with my black tights, blazer, and dress. Oh, yes I did. I definitely got some interesting looks but I walked through that airport proudly with my black tights and white shoes.

So allow me to explain why this is such a big deal for me. Because, let’s be honest, it’s definitely NOT because I was trying to intentionally break any fashion rules. There was a time in my life when I would've cared so much about what people thought of me for – {gasp} – wearing white sneaks with a dress and black tights. I’m sure that sounds so trivial and self-absorbed to most of you, but it’s true. I was incredibly insecure. Incredibly.

It started at a young age. I remember being very conscious about how my hair was styled in Kindergarten. Kindergarten, people. A time in my life where I should have been worried about Barbie dolls and finding enough restraint to not eat glue, I was worried about my hair. To this day, I’m not sure where all of that came from. I didn’t grow up with a mom who was overly obsessed with her appearance…she never talked about her weight or physical insecurities in front of me. I always viewed her as a confident woman. She was also pretty deliberate about not letting us watch smut TV or exposing us to media influences that often shape a young girl’s world view. So, yeah, it didn't come from her.

As I got older, I became even more aware of my appearance. Aware of my perceived flaws. Always having a deep, deep desire to measure up to an ideal of beauty that seemed unreachable. Like most kids, junior high and high school were especially rough for me. I was super skinny, flat-chested, had a long neck, big nose, and big forehead – I often felt tormented in my own skin. Bangs were an absolute necessity to cover my forehead and I stuffed my bra for years. Even though I hung with a crowd that was considered “cool”, I still felt very…uncool. I constantly tried to overcompensate my feelings of insecurity by talking down to other people, involving myself in gossip, and spreading rumors that almost got me beat up on more than one occasion.

The insanity didn't stop after high school. I continued to search for validation and some ounce of confidence through toxic relationships and material things…even to the point of shoplifting when I couldn't afford what I wanted.

In late 2003, I got into some trouble with the law. I was disappointed in myself. So many questions flooded my brain: What is wrong with me? How did this happen to me? Why am I so discontent with my life? Why am I constantly seeking affirmation from people and things? What am I missing? I continued to search for answers to these questions but kept coming up short.

But God.

A couple months after my brush with the law, the Lord strategically placed me right smack dab in the middle of a campus ministry event. I watched these people…talking about a Savior who could deliver you from yourself…out of the darkest of places. Of course, my interest was peaked because I was in a dark place. 

Growing up, I always believed there was a God. And I believed in Heaven and Hell. But that was the extent of it. I didn't have a personal relationship with God and didn't really know I needed one. I don't recall ever hearing the Gospel before this point. When I look back at that time, it is clear to me that God had been pursuing me for a long time and my heart was slowly but surely turning toward Him. The circumstances I was dealing with made it possible for me to actually hear the Gospel this time. 

The message was so simple.

I am a sinner before a holy, blameless God. And there was nothing I could do in my own power to change that fact. Oh and by the way, even if I had a million dollars to change all of the things I didn't like about my appearance, I am still a sinner and I would ultimately never find complete healing and fulfillment through the worldly things I was chasing.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

The ultimate consequence of sin is death. An eternity spent apart from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Dang. That sucks. Really bad. Death? Man. But to know God sent Jesus to save me from my sins. Wow.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

So you mean to tell me that God sent His only Son in the form of man...to love on us and show us how to live as God intended...only to die a brutal death? But how relieved I was to know that He HAD to die because He took my sins (and all of the sins of mankind) with Him to the grave. And with his burial, our sins (past, present and future) are buried. Jesus was perfect. Sinless. He didn't deserve to die. But it was the only way to restore the broken relationship between God and mankind.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

I didn't make a decision for Christ immediately. It took me a little while to digest these truths. And frankly, I was a little taken back that I had been thinking all that time that I was a "good person" and deserved to go to Heaven. As simple as the Gospel message is, it was a lot to take in.

But in March 2004, I accepted God's free gift of salvation. Praise the Lord.

So, my appearance...I look at myself much differently now. To know that God carefully stitched me together in my mother's womb makes my heart flutter a little bit. He thinks I'm beautiful. He made me (Psalm 139:14). How amazing is that? Don't get me wrong...I still have plenty of days where I feel a little insecure. It's frustrating sometimes when my hair isn't right or when I feel and look a little frumpy. Oh and P.S. this gut I have left over from pregnancy...yeah, can't say I love it.

But He made me. Made me to be so much more than a pretty face and a perfect body. Made me to love Him. Love others. Serve others. Do His work. Excel in the gifts and talents He's given me for the purpose of increasing His Kingdom with more people that are in the exact same place I was in. He made me to be a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, wife, and mother.

So I look at this body, this nose, this forehead, this long neck so differently now. He made me. And He loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me. And this is why I can wear black tights and white sneaks proudly through an airport and not care what other people think about it. Because He made me. He saved me.

Oh, and I absolutely love that He uses such random moments like me deciding to wing it and wear white shoes and black tights, to remind me of the work He's done in my life. Love it.

If this is the first time you're hearing/reading these truths and want to know more, please email me.
Would be honored to talk to you about my journey.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Remixing My Wardrobe + Sephora Gift Card Giveaway

When I was pregnant, I stood in my closet many mornings admiring all of the clothes that I couldn't fit at the moment...vowing to not buy a single article of clothing after I lost the baby weight...but actually wear the clothes I already owned. 

I knew that in order to stick to my vow self-imposed shopping ban, I would have to get a little more creative with my wardrobe and kick up my remixing skills. The only problem is I kinda suck at remixing my wardrobe. I tend to buy pieces for a specific outfit or look, and then a lot of those pieces just hang in my closet never to be worn again.

So I did what most girls do these days when searching for a little inspiration....I took to Pinterest! I pinned this outfit a few months ago and whadya know...I already had all of the pieces to create a similar look. Hey now.

leather jacket: Guess via Marshalls // striped top: H&M // scarf: GAP
distressed denim: Target // booties: Impo via Marshalls // bag: Louis Vuitton

Linking up:
Style Sessions
Trend Spin Linkup
Random Wednesday
What I Wore Wednesday

To kick off March, I've teamed up with a few lovely bloggers to bring you an awesome giveaway...FOUR lucky readers will win a $55 gift card to Sephora! The giveaway will run until next Wednesday so be sure to enter & good luck!

Dana | Jena 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Vintage Honey Shop | Review

Photo cred :: Kim of Team Howard Photography

My sweet girl has definitely started teething. She's drooling a ton and chewing on EVERYTHING. She's also constantly grabbing at everything in arm's reach - including my hair and jewelry. 

I received this adorable teething necklace from the ladies at The Vintage Honey Shop. Initially, when I'd wear it and she would grab at it, my first reaction was to try to save it from being yanked off my neck. But after wearing it a couple times, I realized the necklace is made for yanking....and sucking...and chewing. Perfect for those itchy little gums.

And how great is it that mamas everywhere can come out of necklace retirement?! The necklace comes in a variety of colors and patterns - great for dressing up your mommy uniform (i.e., jeans & a tee). ;) 

Check out the shop and tell 'em I sent you!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Month {5}

 The past month introduced a few new milestones and adventures. I took my first work trip since being back from maternity leave. Ryann stayed with my parents for the 3 days I was gone so mommy AND daddy got a little break. I missed her every single second I was gone but it was nice to have a few days of uninterrupted rest. 

I'm still nursing so I was a little nervous about the extra equipment I was going to have to haul with me...and getting the "liquid gold" through security with no issues. I was able to pump about 45 ounces of milk during my trip. One of my co-workers told me that I shouldn't let TSA send my milk through the x-ray --- something I hadn't even thought about. So I get to the front of the security line and tell the TSA officer that I didn't want to send my milk through the scanner...and it all went downhill from there. Apparently, whenever you refuse to send a liquid through the scanner, an additional pat down is required along with an additional search through my luggage AND special testing of some of the milk.

While I appreciate TSA's diligence in making sure there was no explosive substance in my breast milk, it was a pretty uncomfortable experience. And all of this went down in front of my boss...so awkward. Oh, the things we do for our babies. I'm taking another trip to California in a couple weeks so I guess I better get ready for round 2.

16.4 pounds 
Wearing 6 month clothing
Recently moved up to size 3 diapers
Still supplementing - eating about 4-5oz of either BM or formula every 3 hours
Sleeps about 8 hours a night and takes 2-3 short naps during the day 
Rolls over from back to tummy like a champ
Able to pivot herself in a circle
Quite the little giggle monster

Fine motor skills are improving - able to pick up an object and bring it to her mouth
Definitely starting the teething process - she's been gnawing on just about everything
No longer fussy when we put her in her car seat - thank goodness :)

She's been a little under the weather for over a month now. The weather here in Dallas is so inconsistent - one day it's 70 degrees - the next day it's 30 degrees. She's been super congested and has had a little cough that has been keeping all 3 of us up at night. With all of that, she's still been her happy little self. But I'll be SO glad when spring comes and is here to stay. 

I can't believe another whole month has flown by. I say that every month, huh? ha! But it's true. My baby is growing so fast. On one hand, it's so fun watching her little personality develop and watching her grow...on the other hand, I'm reminded with each month that passes that she won't be my cute little cuddly baby for long. So I'm just trying to enjoy every single day with her. She's my little love.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Also Principle

Let's talk about my home for a second. It is my job to make my home a sanctuary. A peaceful place. An environment where my husband feels respected. A home where my children thrive. Where the neighborhood kids love to hang out. Where friends and family feel comfortable and at home. A clean home. Where grace is extended and God's love is apparent. 

But here's the million dollar question...HOW do I create this kind of sanctuary on top of working, trying to be a good wife and mother, cooking, cleaning, maintaining friendships, and most importantly, spending quiet time with the Lord? Maybe I should just stop sleeping. :| Or better yet, maybe I should hire myself a wife!

Some days I wish I could balance it all just like good ol' Claire Huxtable did. 

Such a super woman, that Claire was. Loving wife, doting mother, professional, and impeccably dressed. And her home...always so clean. She made pretty meals. The kids' friends were always over hanging out. And once the kids were grown, she and Cliff couldn't get rid of them. Claire was pretty close to perfection. I mean look at her...all happy and dancing...seriously, Claire?

Actually, forget Claire...how about the Proverbs 31 woman?

This is it right here people...the perfect wife, mother, homemaker, and woman after God's heart. Biblical womanhood defined thanks to the Proverbs 31 woman. 

side note: I came to know Jesus in March 2004. Shortly after I was saved, I visited a friend in Houston and we all decided to get tattoos. I wanted my tattoo to be meaningful....so I decided to go with a cross...or maybe a scripture. Except as a new believer, I didn't know many scriptures...with the exception of Proverbs 31. So guess what I decided to get? A cross on my lower back with...WAIT FOR IT...Proverbs 31 centered in the cross! I mean seriously...WHO gets a cross tattooed with PROVERBS 31 directly above their butt crack ? ONLY me. Geez.

Anyway, back to my point. Although many of us (including me) aspire to be like Claire or the Proverbs 31 woman, meeting this standard on a regular basis is nearly impossible. So I'd resolved that I just needed to focus on getting through each day in one piece...and things would fall into place eventually. 

Remember that book that's been sitting on my coffee table for months now...the book I was supposed to finish by the end of summer...yeah, well it continued to sit on my coffee table...collecting dust. Until recently. A few of the wives in our marriage life group decided to tackle the book together and discuss our learnings each week.

Ah, accountability...it was just the push I needed to dust the book off, crack it open, and dive in. 

We've only gotten through chapter 3, but the book, The Home Experience, has really helped me look at homemaking differently. Rather than beat myself up for not balancing everything perfectly, keeping a spotless house, and keeping the atmosphere all light, fluffy, and loving, why not adopt an Also mindset:

Clear off the desk - and dust it. Also.
Take a shower - and spray a little shower cleaner. Also.
Wash the dishes - and sweep the floor. Also.
Set the table - and light a candle. Also.
Take off my clothes - and hang them up. Also.

You see...the Also Principle is basically defined by a willing attitude to do a little more than is asked of you. An attitude that honors the Lord. When the Also Principle is woven into our character and we are obedient to God's Word, we will experience God's blessings known as the "inheritance of Abraham".

Whether single or married, we women wear many hats. Finding a good balance is a process. And the process starts with consistently seeking the Lord for peace and direction. And asking Him for a little extra energy that even exercise and an energy drink won't give you. 

I'm trying HARD to relax (trying being the operative word). And I've stopped trying to be something I'm not....afterall, Claire Huxtable was a fictional character. Duh. Instead, I'm working on adding a little also to my daily routine. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pink+Red :: 2 Valentine's Inspired Outfits

Annnddd I'm back with my first style post, post-baby! Yay me! Let's just say that showering and getting decently dressed every day with a new baby is one thing...attempting to capture blog worthy pics on top of that seems nearly impossible these days. But with the help of my photog friend, Kim, I'm hoping to work a style-related post in at least once a week. *fingers crossed*

So with Valentine's Day coming up, I took to my closet to see what I could pull together for a casual night out with my hubby. I managed to pull together not just one, but TWO looks! Holler.

chambray & headband: Target // tulle maxi skirt: Kohl's {black version}
flats: Nine West Outlet // necklace: Piperlime // watch: Michael Kors

blazer: Macy's // top: Old Navy // denim: Target
booties: GAP // necklace: Anthropologie // watch: Michael Kors

So now for the hard part...which look should I go with?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pinspiration | Home Decor

We moved in our home in May.

I was 6 months pregnant at the time but that didn't stop me (although it should have) from attempting to decorate almost every room in the house before baby girl made her debut. I worked tirelessly  to pull the house together from the day we moved in until literally weeks before she was born. Since she arrived in September, I obviously haven't had the time or energy to think about decorating...but now that I'm back at work and we've settled into our routine, I'm eager to start filling in some more of the little details (paint, framed photos, etc) around the house.

I've had time to re-evaluate some of my initial decor choices and purchases. No surprise that I regret a couple of the purchases I made while pregnant (and extremely hormonal). So I'm now taking a step back, making a task list, and tackling one room at a time.

I recently took to my Home Decor board on Pinterest for a little home decor and DIY inspo: 

We have a ton of books that we've read/collected over the years that don't have a home at the moment. There is a perfect space upstairs in my husband's "man room" for a bookshelf. Love this one with the bright yellow background. Pretty sure hubby won't let me put anything this sunny in his man room but still love the idea.

We have a bench almost identical to this one in our entry way. It's bare now but I'm hoping to add a couple of pillows and some art and/or photos above it soon. 

I bought a gorgeous, modern 40x40 canvas to display above the couch in our living room. As much as I love the print, I've been thinking about replacing it with a wall collage. Love this one...simple but makes a bold statement. 

Love the idea of positive words and/or a verse of the week in the kitchen. I'm adding this to my growing list of DIY projects. 

There is a blank space right below our stairs that is screaming for some attention. Love this wall collage...the perfect mix of art and candid photos.

The main wall in our eat-in kitchen area dons a fun little gallery wall. I ended up going with a neutral color palette for the wall...and it turned out cute, but almost a little too monochromatic. Hubby and I have been talking about painting the wall to add a little pop...and, as of last week, we agreed on stripes. Love the striped wall in this pin.

Hoping to post a few before and after photos here soon so stay tuned!

Oh, and don't forget to follow me on PINTEREST ;)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Month {4}

Ryann started daycare on January 2nd. Having her stay at home with my mom for a couple weeks after I went back to work really helped soften the separation anxiety blow for me. It helped me get used to being away from her for 8-10 hours a day. I had a peace knowing she was getting lots of love and care from Grandma. 

She started daycare on a Thursday so I decided to take that day and the following day off. She did half days both days. A friend suggested I ease into it that way to get both of used to the new routine and environment. I was a bit nervous the night before her first day. I’m a bit of a procrastinator so, in true Angela fashion, I was scrambling to pull everything together on the daycare checklist…pre-made bottles, a few changes of clothes, a couple of fitted crib sheets, receiving blankets, bibs, etc. I went to bed still feeling a bit uneasy but was glad for the day to finally be here. We arrived at around 8:45 that morning...she was asleep when we got there so I left her in her car seat while I put her sheet on her crib and placed all of her things in her cubby. I was OK until I picked her up from her car seat and, suddenly, I lost my will to not cry…the tears just started flowing. Her teacher gave me a tissue and assured me that what I was feeling was normal…that all moms go through this. After a couple of hugs and kisses, her teacher, Ms. Cindy, took her from me and gave her a little squeeze…and Ryan immediately started smiling at her. 

She was instantly interested in her surroundings…the other babies, the sounds, the toys. I stayed for a few more minutes to observe her in this new environment before heading out to run a few errands. It took about a week to get used to the new routine but I'd say we're both settling in well.

14.11 pounds 
25 inches 
Wearing 3-6 month clothes (Old Navy and Baby Gap sizing is spot on…love their baby clothes)
Still in size 2 diapers...but not for long
Sleeps about 8 hours a night and takes 2-3 short naps during the day (30 minutes – 1 hour)
Sits up well in her Bumbo
Grabbing at and reaching for EVERYTHING
Loves the exersaucer Grandma and Grandpa bought her for Christmas
Recently discovered her feet...I'm sure they'll be in her mouth soon
Very observant of her surroundings - watches our mouths very closely when we’re talking
Smiles constantly and starting to giggle
Drools a ton – we probably need to buy an amber necklace soon
Not a fan of her car seat
Got her first cold – yucky runny nose and congestion
Does NOT like for mommy to wipe her nose

4 months. Wow. Loving her little feisty personality. She’s such a happy baby – always smiling.
Love her and love being her mommy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


My word of the year is RELAX.
I already knew I was a bit neurotic, controlling, and always worried about everything.
Having a baby has magnified that.
I'm worried sometimes to the point of exhaustion. 
It sucks the life out of you when you try to be in control, yet you are COMPLETELY out of control.

My worry often translates to nagging my hubby. While getting ready to take baby girl to the pedi last week, hubby sat her car seat on the kitchen counter...and I nearly had a heart attack. Because, after all, how can you put a car seat (which has been exposed to all kinds of dirty surfaces) on the same counter that we prepare our FOOD!? He looked at me with an annoyed and puzzled expression on his face and told me to RELAX. Although I still think a car seat is no place for a kitchen counter, I know he's right. I need to calm down. I mean really...the counter can be wiped off.

That's just one of many examples of how on edge I am about everything. It's not fun to be on edge all of the time. So in 2014, I am going to try to relax. And:

REST in the Lord
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Mathew 11:28

Choose JOY
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 

No lofty resolutions with categories and bullet points this year.
Just want to enjoy each moment and the beautiful people in my life.
Looking forward to the freedom I know will come with trusting God, not sweating the small stuff, and just relaxing.

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