Four things Friday

So, I’m cheating because it’s actually the last hour of Thursday night, but chances are you will be reading this Friday morning, hence my four things Friday title. You know, a brilliant webby friend of mine once said I need to stop using cute catchy subjects and instead do SEO-rich titles. He is right and I agree with him usually but sometimes, you write something just because you want to and your SEO rank at that moment doesn’t matter. Like right now! But anyways, here’s four things on my mind:

1) #DescribeYourselfInThreeFictionalCharacters
I like silly memes, because that’s a large part of what the Internet is great for: cats sitting on Roombas and double rainbows. So when this challenge popped up, of course I had to contribute. Here’s me, in 3 fictional characters.
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2. One of the things that I suffered from during pregnancy was major prego brain — and the little brain storage vault it affected most were my passwords to online accounts. I typically keep a spreadsheet on my computer, but now that I’m back and forth between laptop and cell phone and iPad so much, I decided I needed something handwritten. Enter this handy, inexpensive, and cute little solution: the password journal! Thank you, wonderful password journal maker, for helping a gal out. (And yes, that’s an affiliate link, so blah blah the usual gist about how I’ll make 1c if someone buys it.)

3. I’m still working out with a personal trainer and I have ALL THE SORENESS. Especially in my quads. Squat goals, am I right? Anyways, do you guys know the miracle of epsom salts? Cheap, fun to pour into the bath tub, and really helps soothe your aches and ailments. This is 31: extra creaky. Get you some.

4. I’m walking in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Out of the Darkness” Walk in Santa Monica on October 15. If you’re local, I would love to have you join me on the walk. Please also consider making a small donation (Even $5 is put towards life-saving treatment.) Let’s end the stigma: more now than ever, people need our open arms so that we can tackle this public health problem head-on.

5. BONUS! It was only supposed to be four things, and you get FIVE! Poor Harambe – but oh, Internet, how you just keep going with the jokes. By the way, my patronus is an otter. What’s yours?

Happy Friday, friends! Watch this space and the Double Chin Diary soon for a feature about PCOS (it’s PCOS awareness month!) and a yummy new recipe featuring Sambazon, Bob’s Red Mill, and Pic’s Peanut Butter.

 

Six Things Sunday

I just ate a super delicious dinner of ribs, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, and I’m lying in my bed thinking, “Hmm, what do I want to do with my Sunday night?” And then I heard this sad little voice call from the corner of my mind, “Blog! On lalalyssa!”. So here I be, regaling you all with exciting tales from my life. Or, six things on my mind this Sunday. Whatever works, right?!

1) You should enter to win a yummy little prize package of pot de creme and cookies from San Francisco based company Petit Pot! I’m hosting this on my other blog and believe me when I tell you these desserts are luxe and well worth every single “my jeans are tight” moment.

2) This meme made me LOL for real, not just in my head. It’s pretty much how I felt on Friday after a super busy week.

3) I’m seeing Radiohead on Thursday night! I somehow got lucky and was able to buy tickets in the lottery they held, and I can’t wait! I’ve never seen them before, and my dear sister is graciously watching our kiddo. If you haven’t heard any of the new Radiohead, here’s one of my favorite new songs. (The video is a little bit sinister, but it’s really cool claymation.)

4) I was one of the 215,000 people who bought an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker on Amazon Prime Day, and I am in love. I was skeptical before I hit the buy button and wondered if it would collect dust in the corner of my cabinet like the ill-fated panini press or even my industrial sized food processor, but this thing is magic. I made Spaghetti Squash in 8 minutes start to finish, sweet potatoes tonight in 7, Rice in 12 minutes, a bolognese pasta in 30 minutes (including meat), and a pot roast in 40 minutes. I’ll write a blog post later on about the full wizardry of this appliance, because despite initial fears about blowing up the house, this appliance deserves a spot in kitchens across the country. Thanks to What I Run Into for helping me make the decision to invest!

5) I had the opportunity to watch From Fat to Finish Line, and I was so happy to see a documentary about a team of people from all across America who lost a ton of weight running the Ragnar Relay together. (Side note: two of my blog friends have run the Ragnar, and it looks so fun! Maybe one day if I find enjoyment in running I’d consider doing it… today is not that day 🙂 )  I think what I loved most is that the group had two people on their team who were still in their “during” phase of weight loss, and they spoke candidly about how it felt to be on a fitness journey surrounded by “afters”. I found their stories to all be really inspiring when many obesity documentaries can come off too dramatic and sinister. The fact is obesity is a serious problem many of us are facing (yours truly) and while there’s no denying the health risks or dire state of emergency we’re in, I like it when a documentary or film can add some levity along with the overall “This is why you need to change” message. I’d highly recommend From Fat to Finish Line, especially if you’re into running!

Here's one of my favorite people from the doc, Carly.

Here’s one of my favorite people from the doc, Carly.

6) It took me an embarrassingly long time to find this cat. See if you can do any better.

Find a cat from pics


 

That’s all, folks. Happy Monday to ya!

Reverse your Monday Meh

Hello friends! Here are a few things that made me smile from around the web last week. May they reverse the meh in your Monday, and make you smile. There’s a lot of ugliness happening in our world, and while those events shouldn’t be diminished or shadowed by frivolous stuff on blogs like this, there’s also something to be said for trying to recognize the good. Pretty much what Sandra Boynton said.

 

  1. Tiny harvest mouse climbs a dandelion

     

     

 

 

India planted 50,000,000 trees to combat climate change.

 

Oliver has been wearing his kitty convict collar for a few months now. I love the idea from the Oatmeal!

Cats and fitness. ‘Nuff said.

floof pool party

Floof Party!

And there you go. Happy Monday!

Haruhonpo Big Zipper Backpack Review: Mama’s New Diaper Bag

When I saw my friend Chris review a Haruhonpo Backpack and Toddler Backpack, I knew I wanted to try one out, too. Picking a diaper bag was a challenge for me, as I’m a one purse all year kind of gal. (Lots of gals swap out purses depending on seasons. I find one and love it until it’s tattered and frayed, like my current Marc Jacobs that I’ve had for… wait for it… five years.) I initially chose and received a Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag, and while it’s fine, it just didn’t feel right. I’m really into multiple pouches to hold items, and I love different pockets and zippered sections. This bag was a little more stiff than I’d like, but like I said, I’m super picky about bags, and the Skip Hop just wasn’t cutting it for me, but at the time I couldn’t justify going for a spendy Kate Spade or Coach diaper bag. (Which in hindsight was kind of silly, because I’ll hunt down my perfect purse and splurge, if I know I’ll use it for years — and let’s face it, my diaper bag is basically my new purse.)

I eventually stumbled upon a Kipling Diaper Bag marked down for $36 (Score!) and this became my default bag. The fabric is much slouchier and there’s several pockets and zipped sections, perfect for all my neurotic stockpiling which becomes highly necessary for the care and transport of a tiny human. I thought I had a pretty good fit for my new diaper bag until I received my Haruhonpo backpack. I chose this gorgeous print called Water Paint, which is feminine and springy with lots of coral pink accents.Haru Water Paint

Before I received it, I thought it looked nice, but wasn’t expecting what I got. Holy features, batman. In addition to being super luxe, soft, and LIGHT, there’s about ten millions hidden features jammed inside this soft pack. To list a few, we’re talking about an insulated section that will keep your lunch cool, two removable matching pouches, a total of 13 compartments, a key fob, chest strap, ultra-lined back straps, water bottle pockets, and a key fob. It’s also this slick fabric that wipes clean super easily and is fairly stain resistant — very important when you’re carting a baby around.

Back of the Big  Zipper Backpack - Note the secret zip compartment and plush straps.

Back of the Big Zipper Backpack – Note the secret zip compartment and plush straps.

We had a Mexican vacation coming up (spoiler alert: it was awesome), and we took this bag to Mexico for one primary reason: I knew I’d be doing a lot of babywearing in Mexico, and last time I tried to have Holly in the carrier and my diaper bag on my shoulder? Disaster. Hauling a 17 pound kiddo on your chest and a packed diaper bag on your arm is a pain in the you know what. So I knew a backpack would be ideal while baby wearing — making excellent use of my bod’s real estate for ultimate functionality. This bag truly was a win for us, and the size was just big enough to store all of my Bumkins Travel Pouches, blankets, toys, and formula. Matt even wore the backpack throughout the trip and didn’t even seem bothered by the girly print, noting its cushy comfort. (Pssst – I wrote a blog post about flights with babies here, where I list a couple other favorites.)

This backpack went international -- to Mexico! Loving my Haruhonpo Water Paint Backpack.

This backpack went international — to Mexico! Loving my Haruhonpo Water Paint Backpack. Photo by LynnetteJoyPhotgraphy.com. 

You can even score a matching mini backpack for your kiddo — and while the water paint print isn’t available yet for littles (I hope it will be in a year or so!), there are lots of other adorable Mommy n’ Me prints, like the chocolate sweetheart that Chris and her gal got, or the denim yellow dot that I almost got.

Matching Mommy and Me Backpacks by Haruhonpo

Matching Mommy and Me Backpacks by Haruhonpo

If you’re in the market for a super functional and cute baby bag, consider Haruhonpo. They also make travel bags, tote bags, and different kinds of backpacks. The Big Zipper Backpack retails for $135, which is a good price considering how multi-functional the bag is. This is pretty much the Birkin of backpacks, people. If you’re interested in having your own Haru’ one day, “Like” their Facebook page. They ran a 25% off sale on Mother’s Day, which is a great savings on a great bag. Hip hip hooray for Haru!

(PS word nerds will be interested to know that Haru means Spring in Japan. Perfect for these light and cheerful bags.)

Disclosure: I received a complimentary backpack in exchange for my honest review. There are also a few affiliate links scattered in here which means I might make 3c if you click on them. 🙂

Keep Your Baby Moving with Wellements Baby Move

Rice cereal. Pears. Bananas. Apples. Sweet Potatoes. Avocado. Oats. Peas. These are all of the delicious first foods that my daughter has tried; most, resulting in a very messy face and sticky fingers, and sometimes, screams of anger when the food is all gone. (Ah, like mother, like daughter.) While it’s been so fun seeing my baby discover the joy of taste buds, it’s caused one problem: constipation.

When you’re a new parent, you’re suddenly all about poop. Poop becomes this news-worthy event, because your pediatrician emphasizes at their many appointments to track the frequency, the color, the consistency. Yes, I know it’s gross and possibly TMI. However, as my mom used to say, even the Queen of England poops, and I also know that bowel movements point out the health and status of bodily functions in all of us – from newborn to geriatric. When my little lady started solids, her frequency slowed down and she started to strain, looking very uncomfortable as the days went on. My lovable angelic daughter turned into a certified crankmonster, and the timing of this event just happened to line up with her first flight, a very short (and I’m very sarcastic) four hour flight to Chicago.  We tried prune baby food with no luck. We tried diluted apple juice with no luck. We had some success with pureed peaches, but it didn’t do the trick. Enter Baby Move by Wellements.

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I discovered Baby Move at ExpoWest in March – a giant natural foods and products expo. I had been familiar with Wellements Gripe Water before; Gripe water saved our hides when Holly was a gassy newborn. They gave me a sample of Baby Move to try, and the timing was perfect. It’s made up of prebiotics and an organic prune juice, and can be mixed with breast milk, formula, juice, or water. It’s free of gluten, soy, added sugars, and artificial flavors and colors. Because I’ve tasted everything Holly eats (except breast milk or formula. No thanks!), I tried Baby Move. It’s just a slightly sweet prune juice taste – yummy and baby friendly.

WellementsBabyMove2

We used it two times in a two day period, mixed with Holly’s formula, and by the second day, the problem was solved.  My cranky, gassy baby was back to her sweet smiling self, thanks to no longer having a tummy ache.

WellementsBabyMove

You store the Baby Move in the fridge up to four weeks after you open it, and it’s in a sturdy glass bottle so there’s no confusing it with your soy sauce or anything like that. You should also look into the Wellements Organic Gripe Water and Teeth Relief. We just tried the teeth relief, and it’s basically clove essential oil; perfect for soothing irritated little gums.

Because it’s no fun to rave about a product and then leave you hangin’, Wellements has joined with Lalalyssa to give away one new parent starter kit. This kit includes a full-sized Baby Move, a full-sized Teeth Relief, a full-sized Organic Gripe Water, and an adorable “Birth: Nailed It!” onesie. Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below, and I’ll pick a winner in two weeks. 18+ and sorry, no Hawaii or Alaska entrants. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This product was provided to me free of charge for a detailed write-up on my blog in exchange for compensation. Compensation for review posts helps keep LaLaLyssa.com up and running by covering maintenance fees and expenditures. All opinions are my own.

Five Essential Tips for Baby’s First Flight

It’s happened. You need to go somewhere, somewhere you can’t get to by car, and you have a BABY. *Imagine horror music playing* Well; here’s the good news — it’s a little bit nervewracking, but with a few tricks, you’ll have a smooth little flyer, and can sit back in your tiny seat and relax, knowing that you’ve got the infant on an airplane skill on lock.

Most of your success on the flight will be your attitude. Accept right now that you will be nervous and stressed. It’s hard for fully-grown adults to travel on a plane, so when you add a tiny human who requires tons of supplies for simple maintenance? Mega stress. Add to that a set of fully-formed pipes, ready to spout off at any minute or the slightest change in cabin pressure, and yep, you can see why it feels like you’re walking from the gate onto a personal flying tin can of Hell. But, in my experience, even though my five month old daughter made her fair share of noise, it wasn’t THAT bad, and I credited it with a few of these tips I pulled together from various sources.

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  1. 1. Pack your normal diaper bag supplies, and then multiply that times two. Do you normally bring two bottles of ready made formula? Bring four. Normally bring four diapers? Bring eight. You don’t want to be caught red-handed in the middle of the sky without enough food for your wailing baby, or worse, in the midst of a blowout. Be like the girlscouts, and prepare. Also, make sure you love your diaper bag. Nothing sucks more than having to rely on a bag you don’t love. (I’m rocking the Haruhonpo Big Top Zipper Backpack in Watercolor Flower) (Bonus tip: I was gifted these Bumkins clear travel pouches at an event and immediately went out and bought another set. It made digging through the diaper bag sooo much easier when I could just see what I needed. I used one pouch for diaper supplies, one for pacifiers and teethers, and one for food items like formula/crackers/bottles.)
  2. Plan to nurse or feed at take off. Little ears are very sensitive to the fluctuating pressure, and swallowing or sucking helps babies neutralize that pressure. If your kiddo uses pacifiers, bring like five. I’m not kidding. My baby loves pacis, and more than once, they fell on to the plane floor and I was so glad I had a back up. (The second flight home, I had gotten smart and bought one of these bad boys, a pacifier clip) If shit really hits the fan and you suspect ears are the problem, bring Baby Tylenol or Gripe Water.
  3. Buy an inexpensive new toy…and save it for the minute that the fussmonster emerges. Holly is really into crinkly things, and I found this cute little caterpillar at TJ Maxx for $4.99. It was worth every penny when the shrieking began and I was able to crinkle this little bundle of fabric into her face and elicit instant grabby coos. I’m also a big fan of the O ball, which is inexpensive and easy for kiddos to grab.
  4. If your kiddo is eating solids, bring something relatively new on the plane to feed them. Of course, you want to choose something the kid has already eaten because god forbid you experience an allergy up in the air, but, in our case, Holly had been eating rice cereal, so we tried dissolvable teething biscuits. She loooooved them, and though it was messy, it was worth the distraction to have her happily munching on her biscuits. I don’t think I’d do a jar of food because then would be an insane mess in such a tiny space, but maybe if your kid uses the squeezy pouches or a fresh food feeder, it’d be worth it.
  5. Have a sense of humor. Look, stuff is going to happen. Your baby might scream the whole duration of the four hour flight. He or she might accidentally pull the toupee off the kind gentlemen sitting next to you. He might scream and kick the person in front of you’s seat for the whole flight. But you know what? You’ll get through it. Have a sense of humor. When Holly shrieked, my mom and I were nervously hysterical, glancing surreptitious side eyes around our neighbors and feeling bad. But did we survive? Yes. Did anyone say anything? No. Babies cry. It’s a fact of life. In fact, on both of our flights, we were delighted how generally pleasant everyone was around us, interesting in talking to Holly or asking about her age. Everyone has been a baby at some point, so it is what it is. If you’re really nervous, make your sense of humor apparent. Dress your baby in a shirt that says “Congratulations! You have the honor of sitting by me!”, or pass out little packets of inexpensive ear plugs to the people around you.

Above all, have fun. Remember that your baby is experiencing the wonder of air travel for the first time. While the stale smells, cramped spaces, rumbling engine, and ear popping are all old hat for you, they’re new and exciting for your little bright eyes. Some airlines will even give your child a 1st Flight Certificate (Southwest) and wings. Now that’s cool!

Parents, do you have any tips that has helped you with kids on flights? Share in the comments, and BON VOYAGE!

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Baby Flat Head: Holly’s New Plagiocephaly Helmet

Holly has been a fantastic sleeper since about 11 weeks old. The first time she slept through the night, my husband and I woke up with that cautious hesitance like, “She’s still alive, right?” She now regularly sleeps 7 p.m. through 7 a.m., with the occasional shriek or whining for her pacifier. To say we’re lucky is an understatement; we’ve become parents with lots more rest than most.

The only downside to having a fantastic sleeper is that our little dreamer has developed a flat head. Our pediatrician noticed it at two months, and recommended we do more tummy time. Holly was a tummy time champ, but that didn’t help. Even with lots of tummy time, she slept like a starfish, on her back, arms and legs splayed out, for twelve rockin’ hours at a time. At her four month appointment, the pediatrician gave us a referral to a prosthetic clinic to have her evaluated for a helmet. I felt defensive and unsure at first. I felt like the insinuation was that we did something wrong, that we didn’t do enough of something (tummy time) and that it was our rickety first time parenting skills to blame for her flat little head. We went to the consultation, and sure enough, Holly’s head flatness was ranked as severe. We are lucky that she has no facial asymmetry or ear imbalance, as some kiddos with flat spots or heads can have uneven facial features or ears. While there’s very little medical risk of not fixing a flat head, there are a few complications that can arise: self-consciousness, or in more extreme cases, a risk of sunglasses, bike helmets, and hats not fitting properly. We were given all of the facts and the price, and left feeling confused.

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On one hand, it’s a cosmetic problem. There was a small chance it could even itself out. However, if it didn’t even out and Holly became a self-conscious teenager, would we regret forever that we didn’t handle it? Then there was the time commitment. The helmet must be worn constantly — 23 hours a day, with just one hour off for bathing. Holly’s severity will likely take about four months to correct itself, hopefully sooner. Did I really want my girl to have people staring at her in public? What about when people say something? How could I manage without kissing that fuzzy little head? Matt and I were both torn, but eventually, polled family and friends close to us. I was lucky enough to have a coworker and friend who had experienced the same situation with her daughter. She gave me all the facts and basically she doesn’t regret for a second that they fixed their daughter’s head. We continued asking family and friends, and their opinions were unanimously to move forward. So, we did — and were very glad that insurance covered all but $800 of the $4,000 bill.

We had a few appointments to take head measurements, and at the final measuring appointment, Holly had to wear a sock like thing on her head for a few minutes. A scan gun took the dimensions of her head, and that was it. It was painless, quick, and easy. We chose the color (a very girly heart pattern), and came back a week later for the final fitting and adjustments. Our tech marked where her ears, forehead and skull lined up, and contoured the edges of the helmet for comfort and to frame her face.

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When it came time to put the helmet on, Holly didn’t even flinch. She’s been wearing it like a pro for two days now — even when she sleeps. She doesn’t even seem to notice it’s there. So far, it’s exactly like my fellow helmet-head parent told me: it’s worse on the parents than it is on the kids. One of my concerns was what people would say about her helmet — if they’d make fun of her, or make ignorant comments. I know it’s going to happen, and it makes me feel deeply for the parents of children who have unique needs. I was initially sad when making the decision to get the helmet, but once we decided to do it, I’ve “put on my big girl panties” and decided it is what it is, it’s not a big deal, and it’s time to move on with life. I hope to help educate people about why helmets are necessary, and it doesn’t mean anything is “wrong” with my daughter, just that her head is a little more flat than it should be.

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I’ll update you all with the progress when Holly’s helmeting is complete, but in the meantime, if you see a kiddo wearing a helmet, this is why. As usual, I think it’s important to share stories of personal experiences, because at some point, somebody you know will have a similar problem (and I have a friend on Facebook who’s contemplating a helmet as I type this). For now, Holly will continue to sleep her glorious twelve hours, little hands and legs stretched out like a starfish, dreaming of rounder times ahead. 🙂

Five Friday Faves

Happy Friday!

It’s been a busy past few weeks here in LaLaLand. My mom and I flew to Chicago to surprise one of my cousins for her bridal shower, after she flew to California last year to surprise me for my baby shower. It was awesome getting to take Holly to my “maiden land” and introduce her to some of the Chicago family. Anyways, here are a few things that have been rocking my socks lately!

  1. THIS gif, shared on the Power of Positivity Facebook page.

2) THIS SnapChat Filter, which bedazzles me into a rhinestone speckled showgirl, the perfect look for working from home.

Rhinstone

3) THIS huge pile of avocados which arrived courtesy of my friends at California Avocados, which will soon be turned into a smorgasbord of amazing things.

Can’t wait to break into these beauties. Thanks @ca_avocados!

A photo posted by Alyssa Curran (@lyssacurran) on

4) This picture from Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite on the day of the New York Primary (History lesson: American women have only been allowed to vote since 1920!)

Photo Credit: Greta Page-Mann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) The finale from Better Call Saul. Hot damn, that show is good. I was a huge Breaking Bad fan, and I’m happy that Better Call Saul is carrying on the epicness of BB. Monday night’s finale was enticing, dramatic, suspenseful, and filled with just the right amount of “Wtf?!”.

Some thoughts on motherhood.

12291840_1040558042673995_5846392439479838624_o“How much has your life changed?” is a question I’ve heard many times in the past five months. My husband and I were the first in our circle of friends to become parents. Most of our friends had the common exclamation of “Finally!” though a few had a sheer look of terror thinly masked by congratulations.

How much has my life changed? It has changed tremendously in some ways, but in many ways, not at all. I still spend too much money on Groupon. I still love eating popcorn and drinking sweet wine. I still procrastinate on laundry, paint my nails, buy flowers for my garden, see my friends, and cook dinner. I still blog (er, sometimes). I still go to conferences and have lunch and work my job. I still feel like for the most part that I’m very much Alyssa, the same old Alyssa I was 13 months ago before I made a human.

What has changed? My body. I creak, I jiggle, I sag, I ache. But even the changes in my physical self are minute, tiny and small compared to the most massive change of all, in my heart. I don’t mean there are changes to the vascular system of my body, but I mean symbolically, my heart will never be the same. My heart, my whole heart has changed, because now it is forever living outside of my body, shared with a delightful little girl whose smile is like glitter falling from the sky.

IMG_0844Having a baby is a lot like falling in love. The giddiness, the overwhelming desire to be with that person, to see them first thing in the morning and to miss them when they’re asleep, even if they’re right next to you, their tiny hand curled around yours, the sweetness of their breath gently kissing the same air you breathe. The way their lower lip trembles ever so slightly and then, a heart-bursting coo; the satisfied sigh of sleeping babies everywhere. It’s feeling love even when they’re screaming in fits, loud and abrasive, right in your ear, because who knows why; but you scurry around trying to fix it, to make everything right, because that’s just what you do.

I had a lot of anxiety about becoming a mom, as I think most new parents do. Will you be good enough for this tiny person, enough to make them happy and healthy, to thrive? Will you be mindful enough to accept that sometimes no matter what you do, how much of the world you give them, you can’t guarantee that they’ll be happy or healthy or thriving? But right as she was born and I exclaimed that she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, I knew that the best thing I could do for her was to just be there and be present. To be with them, to soothe their cries, to snuggle just a little bit longer even though you haven’t done laundry in three weeks and your hair is oily and there’s a stack of unpaid bills towering on your desk. Babies don’t last forever, but oh boy, chores sure do.

Beyond the fact that babies are adorable, I think what’s so magical about becoming a parent, whether it’s by biological birth or adoption or what, is that you get to see the world through brand new eyes. We forget a lot of the wonder of life, and really, every day is a miracle. The fact that we come out naked and helpless, unable to stand on two legs, is miraculous considering each and every day, new skills are growing. Every day Holly does something new, and that joy and intrigue behind the very simplest of things, like finding her feet, is too innocent not to adore. How special it is to shake off the dust of adulthood and remember that life is truly an adventure. Special moments are often hiding in the ordinary.

So what is hard about being a mother? Nothing is perfect, after all. There’s no break. Even if you manage to sneak away for a beautiful morning at a ritzy spa, free from iPhones or babies, you’re still a mom. You’re never not a mom, ever again, even if the unthinkable happens and you lose your child. You are a mom and will always be. You will never ever stop worrying or loving or wishing the world and the stars and every single planet for the child that has your heart. You will be tired. You will feel pulled in too many directions, like Gumby with more brittle limbs and a spongy tummy with overgrown roots. However, you’re not just a mom. You’re still you, complex like the solar system, individual and varied, rich in interests and hobbies. However, you need to work to remember that you’re still you and not just a mom. You’re a mom, and you’re your own person, you see?

How has my life changed by being a mom? My life has changed a lot. But it also hasn’t. I’m the same old Alyssa, just better. Happier, richer, renewed, more tired, content, achier, Alyssa.

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You’re Invited to a Cloe and Isabel Party

_Customer_Appreciation_Month_Consumer-1This year, I decided that I wasn’t going to make my usual trite new year’s resolution to lose weight. I had two “resolutions”, and I wanted them to reflect my goal of being easier on myself in my first year of motherhood. So what were they? They were to drink more water, and to wear more jewelry. Water is kind of self explanatory. I mean, duh, we all need to be drinking more water. But wear more jewelry is a bit more abstract, right?

I’ve always appreciated jewelry with fine gemstones and sterling silver, but I always wanted to be one of “those girls” who could accessorize with jewelry and rock a different look with her baubles each day of the week. In college, I started buying cheaper costume jewelry from the Lauren Conrad line at Kohl’s, and some real cheapies from Forever 21. I loved choosing odd and whimsical designs, like the real butterfly wing encased in glass that my husband got me, or the miniature working harmonica pendant. For my first fulltime job, I loved buying nicer pieces from the fine jewelry counter at TJ Maxx, playing with sterling silvers, druzies, and fun antiquey pieces. Jewelry has a real ability to jazz up your outfit and your face, and give you a little pep for your day.

Spring16_Whyc_iSo why make a resolution about it? Well, this busy mama works from home, and one of the luxuries of working from home is you don’t need to dress to impress. More often than not I’m in my comfy leggings and hoodie, or if I’m really frumpin’ it up, in my fuzzy gray robe covered with stars. However, I’ve learned that on the days I take the time to get showered, put on a little makeup, and some jewelry, I feel more like *me*, and feeling more like me means I’m generally more productive overall. That, and it’s not embarrassing to open the door to the FedEx man if I don’t look a hot mess.

My friend Monique sells Cloe and Isabel jewelry, and I’ll be totally honest that initially I dismissed the brand alltogether (sorry Mo!), thinking that the pieces were too big for my taste. I tend to like more delicate items or singular pendants, and CandI rocks the big, bold baubles, statement necklaces, and collars. However, when she posted about a semi annual sale, it sparked my interest and I made the plunge, with two pairs of stud earrings. They come packaged in an adorable pouch with a little paper bird, and I’ve been blown by the quality. The earring backs are super sturdy and made of metal and every piece of jewelry has a lifetime guarantee. Color me impressed. Now: nope, these pieces are not cheap. But, like makeup, wine, and chocolate, you get what you pay for (yeah, yeah, I know we all love a cheap two buck chuck, ELF, and Russel Stover now and then. But let’s be honest… you know all those things are worth the splurge). It’s the same with this jewelry. It’s quality.

I wanted to invite you to my virtual CandI party on Facebook. There’s no pressure to buy, but give the catalog a look, and see if you find something you like. You can also enter to win some free jewelry pieces by participating in our games. I hope you’ll give it a shot! The online party will end March 15. You’ll score free shipping on orders $100 and up, and if you splurge and spend $200, you’ll get $50 back (credit expires April 30). Happy shopping, and keep reading if you want to see my CandI Wish List.

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GeoVista Stud Earrings, $28

Medina Earrings, $26

Mo’orea Convertible Necklace (Wear all 3 or just one!)

Alpenglow Long Necklace, $68 (My girl AJ at ConfessionsOfAFatGirl.net needs this because she rocks a long necklace, and the colors are like our favorite animated movie… Frozen.)