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!

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