Baby #2 Bumpdate: 31/32 Weeks

How far along? 31.5 weeks or 32.5 weeks, depending on which due date my doctor feels like using!
Baby’s Size: A large head of Romaine lettuce or a small otter. Her estimated weight at this point is 4.5 pounds.
Weight Gain: 27 pounds, and trying to slow that down now with less gratuitous junk food eating!
Maternity clothes? All day every day or stretchy dresses.
Best moment this week:  Probably seeing IT with Matt and my dad (Fantastically creepy!), or how Holly’s face lit up when I came home from a cooking class. She ran up to me with a huge smile, shouted MAMA! and gave me a big hug. Warms my heart!

Miss anything? 

  • I really miss bending over freely this week. My mobility is definitely limited with a big old bump, and I just move slower in general. Looking forward to being able to get back to my usual movement.
  • I have to take Prilosec daily now, in addition to Tums, even though I’m not eating anything particularly heartburn-ish.

Movement: Future soccer star for sure!
Food cravings:  Pickles over the weekend, chicken soup today, carnitas tacos last week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Sadly, yes. Over the weekend I started feeling nauseous again, and I went to bed at eight last night because of the smell of the roast I made was making me green. I didn’t even eat any! 🙁 Hoping that goes away soon. I also took a cooking class and we had to handle a lot of raw chicken, and the smell of the chicken was definitely making me wish I had smelling salts nearby. Holly has had a cold the past few days and I feel like I’m getting it as of today, so I took a nap on my lunch break and am drinking a ton of water.
Gender:  Girl!

Symptoms: Sore hips, waddling, massive belly, heartburn, some nausea, tired.
Happy or moody most of the time: Mostly happy, though losing my dear friend has been a challenge.

Labor signs: I’m starting to feel like there’s no way this kid is waiting to come out until 11/11, my “latest” due date. I’ve been adjusted to 11/4 with no promises, but at my last detailed scan, they could tell my body is already contracting and she’s in position ready to go. So I personally don’t feel like I’ll make it much past Halloween, but it all depends how these last few weeks go. The doctor has asked me to eat less sugar because my amniotic fluid is high, and apparently sugar contributes to that. The risk of high amniotic fluid could mean early/pre-term labor, which I’m not quite ready for (I want her at 37 weeks at the earliest), so I’m trying to lessen simple starches and sugar I take in.
Looking forward to: sleep. I always look forward to sleep. And, ticking off these last few weeks so I can cuddle a sweet newborn and bend over freely to retrieve things that fall on the floor 🙂 I also want to start putting together her nursery now that we have the room painted. We ordered her changing table and since she’ll be in a bassinet the first few months, we won’t have a crib in that room, but I can get lots of other things together like with her dresser, hanging the pictures, etc.

In memory of Jason Kovall

On August 16, I lost one of my best friends after a tough battle with stomach cancer. I was honored to read this today at his euology — and while I’m deeply regretful I even had to write something like this, I am proud and grateful for the chance to share a piece of a friend whom I so dearly loved with you. Please continue to DO SOMETHING in the fight against cancer, of all kinds. We must never give up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s not every day that somebody tells you they drink pickle juice. It was at this moment that I fell head over heels in non-romantic love with Jason – because he whispered it to me while standing at my cubicle, a vision with his tattooed arms and wonderful aura, so different, so unique from the drab cube farm we spent our days. Jason was a Customer Service Manager at the toy company where I wrote instruction manuals, and from the day I started and was introduced to him, I knew we’d be friends. We were the youngest in the department and immediately bonded over our shared sense of sarcasm and dark humor, and it wasn’t long before we were spending our lunch hours laughing and eating crappy fast food. What developed over the next nine years was a beautiful friendship; not just between he and I, but between our partners as well – and we became a fantastic foursome, Alyssa, Matt, Jason, and Juan, spending holiday weekends drinking wine and having overly-indulgent dinners. We knew deep secrets about each other, and we went through hard times — the types of life things that bond you to somebody. I’ve thought a lot about what I have wanted to say about Jason, and I think that Jason’s legacy and lasting message to us is that we need to live the life we WANT to live.

If you knew Jason, you knew that his career path was varied and unique – from attending mortician school to massage therapy, to customer service to nursing. He ultimately ended up working his ASS off and becoming a RN, the career he recently held and adored. Jason didn’t accept status quo. Jason didn’t accept taking on life with a B- or even an A- attitude. Jason got done what he wanted to get done, and nothing would stand in his way. A staunch and sometimes insufferable perfectionist, Jason kept going, kept persevering, through the nail biting and the agony, and studied his ass off – and in return his work was the business of saving lives. How did he propel himself through this, and what can we learn from him? We can remember that hard work is best accompanied by passion. Jason loved and lived in music. From his “oontz oontz” techno music born from his days as a raver, to the new and rising hipster melodies in Los Angeles, Jason allowed music to soothe his soul and rise him up.

He loved deeply, and authentically – finding his rock in Juan, a man so in touch with the human spirit and soul that he too, is impossible not to love. He made a giant cross country move from his hometown in Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, enamored by beaches just like this one; eventually fulfilling a goal and making one his home. All of these amazing achievements – an incredible, giving career, finding a respected partner, and moving across the country, were not enough for Jason, and he signed up for the AIDS life cycle, raising over $3,700 and committing to bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles – quite simply, because it helped other people – and he could.

All of these moments in Jason’s life were always enveloped in the most incredible sense of humor – witty, sarcastic, biting at times, but always true to the dual beauty and horror of humanity. In these painful few weeks after Jason’s death, his Facebook page has been aglow in memories, almost all of them involving laughter. His child-like playfulness, his quick wit, his infectious giggle – these were the things that made us drawn to Jason, and so we clung to him because he just made you feel good, and he was FUN. In meeting some of Jason’s close friends the past few weeks, something his close friend Renee said stuck with me. He made all of us feel so special, as if we were the “one”, his one true best friend. But the truth was, he had room for us all. We all loved Jason so sincerely, so deeply, and so intensely, that I know that even though he’s not here in physical form today, he IS here with us – and I see that in the blue sky, the wispy clouds, the small little symbols or signs we will receive in this lifetime that remind us of our laughing friend.

Jason loved us all authentically, as we loved him. He wasn’t shy about his gratitude or his emotion, and that alone is a huge lesson we can take from our dear friend and apply to our daily lives. Go about your day to day with a spirit of kindness, of gratitude, of defending what is right, of humor and health. Attack your work with passion. Speak up for the injustices of others. Lose yourself in your hobbies with sincerity, and if you don’t know what your passions in life are, fight until you find them. What we can all take from Jason’s legacy is finding the thing in ourselves that Jason saw and loved – the spark of the person that makes you YOU, the part of yourself that made him love you. Find it, hold it, nourish it, fight for it and carry it forward – in memory of our unforgettable friend, Jason.

Baby #2 Bumpdate: 27 Weeks!

How far along? 27 weeks
Baby’s Size: A bunch of bananas
Weight Gain: 21 pounds. Whoopsies! I’m hungry all day long and even though I’m eating plenty of veggies, baby demands treats.
Maternity clothes? All day every day! I had to wear my event uniform for work last week and I kept having to pull the shirt over my belly as my panel on my pants kept showing! In fact, I just ordered a bunch more maternity shorts and tank tops, because it’s hot hot hot here in Santa Clarita.
Best moment this week:  I had a blast working at the 3-Day in Michigan, and got to see all my coworkers, whom I consider friends. I felt really good all weekend other than tired, and am so excited for our 2017 season to be kicking off – and kicking cancer’s ass! I also did my glucose test and DO NOT have gestational diabetes, which is awesome.

Miss anything? 

  • Lambic or sour beer.
  • Pants with buttons or zippers
  • Eating prosciutto, salami, or lunch meat with careless abandon (it has to be nitratre free and all that jazz.)
  • Not waddling like a stuffed turkey 
  • Not feeling exhausted and having to go to bed at 9:30 pm
  • Not having heartburn

Movement: This kid rocks and rolls all day long! She especially is active between 6 and 10 pm.
Food cravings:  Strawberries, soft pretzels, cheese, and milk.
Anything making you queasy or sick: I started feeling barfy again about week 24, so I’m back on the nausea meds, which is keeping everything at bay. Walking by the fish case at the grocery store had me feeling green for a couple minutes.
Gender:  Girl!

In heaven in the freezing air conditioned produce room at Costco

Labor signs: Nope, but had my first Braxton Hicks (practice) contraction last week! Ouch!
Symptoms: Increased appetite, waddling, general achiness and stiffness, exhaustion. Oh and prego brain. I’m a space cadet!
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy! I’ve been really even-keeled in terms of emotions and am so much more relaxed this pregnancy, because I know what to expect.
Looking forward to: Sleep, an upcoming 3 day weekend, celebrating my 7th wedding anniversary with Matt, and getting some time to pull weeds in my backyard. It’s the small things! Also, we got Holly a toddler bed and will be getting started on this baby’s nursery, which we kinda need to do given I’m about 12-14 weeks out from the big day. Time is just flying by! We’re also going to have a small Baby-q/House-warming/Matt birthday party, so we started thinking about a date for that and working on a small registry at people’s request, which is fun.

 

Baby #2 Bumpdate: 16 weeks!

Oh you poor second child, you. It’s 16 weeks and I’ve taken like, one bump photo, haven’t blogged once, and more often than not when people ask how far along I am I go, “Uh… let me think.” Or, someone at work asks how I’m feeling and I go “I’m good! Why?” and then I remember that I am with child 😀 Let’s hope my laissez-faire attitude regarding your appearance is just proof pudding that you will be a calm, laidback child with an easy-breezy attitude. Right? Right!

So – some of you didn’t know and now you do  — I’m preggers! Well, surprise! Long story short: I was well within progress to have weight loss surgery… and then I found out I was pregnant. This is a big surprise because it was, well, a surprise – wasn’t planned, and definitely wasn’t something that happened easily with Holly. But, here we are, and life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, and baby girl #2, who also has a name that starts with H, is very well-loved and anticipated already.

How far along? 16 weeks
Baby’s Size: A large avocado or an old school blackberry phone.
Weight Gain: As of 13 weeks, only two pounds. Nausea kept me down and out for a solid 13 weeks but I’m guessing now that my appetite is back and craving everything under the sun that is greasy and calorie-laden, probably a good five/six pounds.
Maternity clothes? About 50/50. I use the belly band over my unbuttoned jeans, but I love wearing dresses so there’s no restriction in the bump.
Best moment this week:  I laid on my stomach and felt a solid “HEY! Get off me!” type kick, and that made me laugh!

Miss anything?

  • The ability to not smell every foul smell within a five mile radius.
  • Lambic or sour beer.
  • Eating prosciutto, salami, or lunch meat with careless abandon (it has to be nitratre free and all that jazz.)
  • Not having to take a nausea medication every night to make it through the day!

Movement: It just started! It’s still fairly mild, but it’s much earlier than I felt kicks with Holly. I also have a normally-placed placenta this time, so that could be why I’m feeling her flutters and movement sooner than usual.
Food cravings:  Cherries, and JUNK FOOD! Oreos, chips, coca-cola… whoops. Now that my appetite is back, I could mow through a convenience store with ease. Trying to keep it in check though.
Anything making you queasy or sick: The thought of chicken (same as with Holly – Matt loves chicken, and always wants it for dinner, and I always reply with one word: Barf.) The smell of the litterbox.
Gender:  Girl!
Labor signs: Heck no
Symptoms: Increased appetite, congestion, a little bit of nausea if I don’t remember my nausea meds… and tired!
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy! I am sad this week as our kitty has been missing for four days, but I feel good, mentally. I’m starting to get a little nervous about how the heck I’m going to handle TWO tiny humans, but, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Looking forward to: Seeing my sister and parents this weekend, taking Holly swimming, and continuing to set up our house! We’ve also picked out a cute aqua paint color for H’s room, and I’m decorating their bathroom too, so that will be fun!

So that’s that – I’ll try to blog with some sort of regularity, but let’s be real, the baby will probably be six years old before I’m back on the blog, so, see ya in six years! I jest. Kind of.

Have a wonderful day 🙂

 

Skin Authority Daily Exfoliator: The Perfect Face Scrub for Acne Prone Skin

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Skin Authority in October of last year, when my bestie Katelyn and I visited the Oaks Spa in Ojai. We had an amazingly relaxing weekend full of healthy eating and awesome body wraps; and then, the cherry on top, was that I had a customized skin care gift set sent to my own home.

My skin is pretty good, but I’ve battled hormonal cystic acne on my chin in particular, for most of my teen and adult life. I’ve also recently developed small bumpy acne on the lower sides of my cheeks, which I hate, because I tend to pick at it (which my dermatologist hates!). So while I can’t say I have bad skin, it’s definitely not great, and in the past, I’ve been treated with Tetracycline, which is an antibiotic pill, and also, Accutane. I’m also a fan of a good glycolic peel, even though it feels like someone rubbed jalapenos all over your face when you first put it on.
This was the Skin Authority kit I received, and I can honestly say I loved all of it. The ultra rich moisturizing cream I tend to forget to use, but I feel like the Vitamin C serum in particular leaves a nice, dewy finish on my skin. I use the daily cleanser which has a little bit of glycolic, and overall, I saw my skin improve in texture and less acne. Even though I loved the regimen kit I received, I did feel overall I was missing one thing – a grainy exfoliator, even though the Vitamin E cream helps with resurfacing. I reached out to Skin Authority and was gifted their exfoliating cleanser in exchange for this review — and now you get a chance to win it, too!
What’s great about it is that it has no flowery, perfumey smell, and the grain is very subtle. It’s not like you’re rubbing your face with a handful of sharp pebbles; instead, it’s a delicate sand type feeling that gently pushes away dry skin and impurities. I like to put it on at the beginning of my shower, forget about it for a bit, and then gently scrub scrub scrub in a circular motion.
My skin WAS looking spotless and clean, and then I went and got pregnant; haha, but I have hopes that once my hormones settle down, I’ll be back to my dewy, acne-free skin in no time, thanks to Skin Authority!
Want to win a full-size tube of your own Skin Authority Exfoliating Cleanser (retail value $42)? Of course you do! Please use the rafflecopter widget for your chance to win. Contest ends Wednesday, 5/31 at 11:55 p.m. CT. Lower continental 48 only, and ages 18+ please.

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Haruhonpo Sakura Backpack Diaper Bag Review: New Mom’s Best Friend

There’s one piece of equipment for parenthood that I feel like is often overlooked: the diaper bag. When my husband and I registered for the first time, we each naively added our own diaper bags. We chose a popular brand but didn’t think much about what we might really need, and I added the pattern I thought was cutest. Well, flash forward a few weeks with our new bundle of joy, and my husband’s diaper bag lay in the closet unused, and I was in Ross looking at a replacement one because the one I chose was too structured/stuff, and didn’t allow me to stuff it full of things I actually needed.

I used to scoff at women who bought $500 diaper bags – but now, I get it. I spend money on a decent purse, and it’s worth it – because you can really feel that quality. So I jumped at the chance to try a Haruhonpo bag last year, and was quickly enamored with the vivid print and soft structure, and bazillion hidden storage pockets – and even a place to stash wet things! This year, I had the opportunity to try out a new print from Haruhonpo – the Sakura Top Cover backpack ($170), which is black and white stripes with cute red/magenta heart/cherry blossom prints and these random little gummy bear guys (which I love!).  Recently, I had a friend over and she gushed, “I LOVE your backpack!” and was surprised when I told her it’s actually a diaper bag!

Now that Holly is a toddler, our diaper bag has turned into more of a “snack – sippy cup – toy- extra outfit” bag, with a few diapers and wipes. We also have to have ten million of those dang pacifiers, even though we’re working on breaking the habit, but when she loses it, the pacifier comes in handy. What I love about the Haruhonpo is that it comes with TONS of additional storage pouches. I use one for pacifiers, one for actual diapers/wipes, and one for raisins/pouches/crackers. They even have a double-zip seam for extra security and storage.

The other great thing about this style of backpack is you don’t have to wrestle with carrying something on your arms when you’ve got baby + grocery bags+ your own purse on the others. That’s where a backpack diaper bag comes in so handy. I really like a backpack style diaper bag for fun family outings like going to the zoo. Oh! One more thing. The backpack has two stretchy sleeves on either side for bottles/ and or/ sippy cups, which I think is SO important for easy access. You know your kid throws that sippy cup everywhere, so being able to grab it but keep it where you can easily give it back is priceless.

Haruhonpo has got Mommy n’ Me style on lock, because they offer kid sized backpacks that match! How cute, right? When Holly is bigger, I think I have to get her a matching one!

Here’s the technical details on the Top Cover Backpack:

  • Super light but big capacity, only weighs 1lbs.
  • 13 storage compartment to store different type of baby items for easy access.
  • Width 15 inches x height 16.5 inches
  • Water repellant
  • Comes with folding changing pad!
  • Accessories: chest strap, insulated bag, storage bags for stroller.

The insulated bag is fantastic for storing milk and not having to worry too much about it getting warm. If you’re a new mama or mama to be, I highly recommend checking out Haruhonpo. You can buy them at HaruhonpoUSA.com, and they’re now on Diapers.com and Nordstrom.com, too!

Which diaper bag has your heart?

 

 

 

 

My 2017 Word of the Year

I’ve done typical New Year’s Resolutions posts in the past, and when a year goes by and I don’t end up ticking items off the list, it makes me feel meh. So, I embraced choosing a word of the year two years ago, and I really like having one word to sort of guide my intentions for the next 365 days. Without further ado, here is 2017’s word!

Move.

To move more and to be moved, emotionally. To find a new, spacious, and safe dwelling for my family. To put things in motion. To progress, to move forward, to break stagnant cycles and find a way to flourish in change. To put one foot in front of the other. To propel, to guide, to lead, to charge ahead, to be confident in the movement I set in motion in mind and body.

To trust the process. To trust the pain, the difficult parts, to see them for what they are, momentary lapses of contentment, momentary lapses of stability. To trust myself, in both intellect and spirit, to make decisions that move ME and not just those around me.

To move toward a greater good, for me, for my family, for my community. To move in action. To move in prosperity, in success, in seeking, in questioning, in advocating, in analyzing. To move toward what is right, to advocate and assert, to move confidently in confronting things I know are wrong. To move deeper into love, into gratitude, into reflection. 

JobsQuotte

What’s your word for 2017?

Oh Baby: Cyber Monday Deals on Amazon for New Parents

I’m not much of a Black Friday shopper, but as a child of the Interwebz, I am indeed a Cyber Monday shopper. Here are some Amazon deals for your munchkins that caught my eye as I was pregaming tonight.

My father in law bought this for Holly and she’s obsessed with it. It’s a steal at this price and perfect for kiddos 5 months and beyond. She’s played with this a solid six months now and is still going strong. The interactive panel pops off which is great to take into a restaurant or for long car trips.

Holly got this for her birthday from her friend Sam because Sam loves it. Well, I can see why. The ears and tail wag and dance, and the front lights up with different colors to the techno rave beats. Parents will be raving as their little one wiggles and grooves to this sweet little pup, now just $14.99, usually $20 when it’s on sale at Target, $29.99 not on sale.

If you’re a parent, you’ll eventually grow tired of A is for Apple, B is for Boy, D is for Duck, etc. B. Toys nails it with their quirky style – for example, on these blocks, Y isn’t for Yellow, it’s for Yak. These blocks are squishy and adorable and also getting lots of mileage on them and have been for several months. Usually they’re $14.99 on Amazon and today they’re just $8.87. Score!


I just ordered this, because less than $30 for a Little Tikes play kitchen is ridiculous. I used to work for Little Tikes and these products last frickin’ forever. Fun fact; they used to be owned by the Rubbermaid company, which is why everything is so durable! This kitchen comes fully assembled and arrives with 32 fun little accessories like plastic cups and plates. It’s meant for 2 years and up, so if your little one will be playing with it and is younger, you just need to keep a closer eye on them as it’s designed for slightly more developed kiddos. Safety first!

This is one of those things I never would have thought we’d need. Sure enough, kids are small spinning wobbles of mayhem, and one conk on the faucet and you’ve got a screamer. I love Boon’s design (we have their “grass” drying rack, too), and this faucet protector looks sleek, protects noggins, and dispenses bubble bath, too.


These things are awesome if you have a baby that likes to throw things. Holly must be practicing her pitching skills because she loooves throwing her pacifiers and sippies and toys, and we’re not always within easy access to a sink to rinse said item off. Enter water wipes! Just water, the wipe, and a tiny bit of food-safe fruit oil for preservation. My mama friend Lindsay turned me onto these and they’re a lifesaver. They’re spendy compared to other wipes but a package of these in the diaper bag is very helpful. Good price on them today, too!

Also, even if you’re not a new parent, don’t forget to check out the Pop Sugar Must Have box! I got my box this week and it’s PACKED with awesome things that retail for over $150 total in value. My favorite is a palette by Stowaway cosmetics that you can see here. Use the link here for $5 off! PopSugar MustHave sends me the box gratis in exchange for social media coverage. 🙂 You’ll love it!

PSSST don’t forget to use ebates when you’re shopping online today! It doesn’t work on Amazon, but it regularly has deals like 10% cash back at Groupon, etc. ebates is one of those things that sounds scammy but is totally legit. I’ve pocketed back $211 since I started using it last year. You can also install their quick and easy browser bar that will pop up whenever you’re on a site that gives you cash back. Sign up now – here’s $10 back to get you started!

Things I’m grateful for.

On Thanksgiving (well, everyday, really), I try to think about what I have in my life that I’m grateful for. They’re not all deep, profound heartwarming things, for example, I’m grateful for my body pillow, the longer battery life on the iPhone 7, and It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Hair Conditioner. Here’s a list of things that make me super grateful.

What things can you think about that you’re grateful for, too?

(Side note: I’ve been focusing on gratitude a lot the past few years. It’s an excellent way to move past feelings of anxiety or stress. Try it sometime — when you’re freaking out about say, your car having to go to the shop for another crazy fix (yes, it sucks – my AC is out), be glad you have a (usually) running car and access to a good mechanic. It can feel a little bit Pollyanna, but gratitude and the reminder that someone is ALWAYS unfortunately struggling more than you are can really help you turn around a sour mood.)

  • Holly and Matt. These two are my sun and stars and my biggest fan club. Baby giggles can turn me from Grinch to shiny sunflower, and my hubby is pretty much the kindest (and smartest) person I know. It’s been awesome turning into a parent with him as a partner. Plus, he has a great butt.
  • My parents (Lynn, Bill, Mike, and Angel Shirley). Seeing these three become grandparents has been a great source of joy. (And I know my MIL Shirley is around somewhere, watching over us.) Our parents are always hooking it up with babysitting and baby clothes and gifts, advice, and love. It takes a village to raise a baby and thank goodness we have supportive, loving parents.
  • My siblings April and Tommy. April would give you the shirt off her back with no questions asked in freezing weather, and Tommy is always the first to tell you he loves you and why. My parents did good… they have some amazing kids.
  • My bestie Katelyn. We’ve been pals since the sixth grade. She’s the funniest person I know! Even though I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like, we never struggle with reconnecting when we finally get together on the phone.
  • My dear friends. I am blessed to have several close friends (and I’m not calling them out by name because knowing me I’ll forget someone). These people have made our transplanted home in Los Angeles truly feel like HOME and for that I am so grateful.
  • My mommy tribe. I couldn’t have gotten through pregnancy and year one without the help of my girlfriends. There’s nothing in life like someone saying “Oh yeah? Me too!”. Plus, it’s nice to have people to text in the wee morning hours when your kid won’t go back to sleep and you’re four minutes away from losing your sanity.
  • My job. I’m approaching three years at Event 360, and being out on our 3-Day event in San Diego this past weekend was a heartwarming reminder that the work I get to do is not only super fun, it MATTERS. I work with a group of kind, talented individuals, and for that, I am grateful. I’m also grateful that I found a career path I love. Social media and copywriting are the bee’s frickin’ knees.
  • My blog. Blogging and social media has opened up so many doors for me, in terms of opportunities, endeavors, and padding my bank account. I never dreamed these little blogs would be a small source of income, and that’s awesome. THANK YOU for reading. You guys clicking links and reading just helped me pay for a root canal. (Nothing like a good cause, eh? Haha.)
  • My health. I’m always a work in progress, but despite some annoying small things like a heel spur, needing a root canal, and the persistent weight problem, I’m healthy. Working with a group of people afflected by a devastating disease is a sad reminder that health is usually taken for granted until it’s gone. This body of mine though imperfect, works, walks, moves, and celebrates life.
  • The Internet. From Reddit to cat memes to safety pins to mannequin challenges to Lightning deals, I frickin’ love the Internet. Yes, deep, dark harbored secrets and horrible things happen on the Internet but… for the most part, this is an incredible communication and information tool that has changed the way we live.

So those are the big things. I have A LOT to be grateful for.

Here are some of the smaller, sillier things I’m grateful for, too.

  1. PG Tips Tea. I fell in love with this tea on a trip to London in 2000, and I’ve had a cup every morning since. It’s strong. Super strong. And it’s awesome.
  2. The smell of orange blossoms on a summer day.
  3. When you get in a tunnel with a bunch of other cars in traffic and all the cars start honking just because.
  4. Slippers.
  5. Purring cats.
  6. The Pantsuit Nation Facebook group.
  7. My blogging mastermind group.
  8. A good yoga class.
  9. Writing.
  10. When your jeans feel a little bit looser.
  11. Freshly washed sheets with freshly shaved legs.
  12. When people you don’t know start liking your comment on a friend’s Facebook post.
  13. Plums.
  14. Allergy medication.
  15. Busting the mental health stigma.
  16. Gel manicures
  17. Sunshine
  18. Sarcasm
  19. Back Up Cameras in newer cars. (I’ve been driving a lot of rental cars lately, and man, this is nice. Makes me want a new car… but not a car payment.)
  20. Browsing real estate apps for my future house. (Yep — hopefully this is happening in 2017!)
  21. Getting real mail.
  22. Extra percent off clearance sales
  23. Baby hats
  24. Tubing Mascara (You literally just pull the mascara off your lashes in the shower. Perfect for sensitive, runny eyes like mine, and no mess to have to rub off with soap or anything. This one is only $8.)
  25. My personal trainers who were mean yet simultaneously awesome because they demoted me from mayor of Excuses Village and got me into shape.
  26. Sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar and marshmallows.
  27. Silicon Valley (the show.)
  28. My neighbors
  29. The beach
  30. Baby babbling
  31. Clementines
  32. State Parks
  33. Doing a good parallel parking job
  34. That feeling of reading a book so good you can’t put it down.
  35. Dark chocolate chips with a cold glass of milk.
  36. The person reading this blog post right now.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friend. Thank you so much for being you, for putting out into the world who YOU ARE and your own individual contributions. You rock.

 

All the things (kind of) – Pic’s Peanut Butter, Shiftcon Giveaway, Momming, etc.

I finally have five minutes to catch my breath so here I am – whewww! Being a working mama, blogger, wife, friend, and somebody trying to get in charge of their health means there’s barely any time for anything anymore. But, I’m not going to preach to the choir because I know we are all busy, busy, busy! I wanted to share a few things with you today that have been on my mind lately!

  • The first is, this article that my friend Melanie shared about being a mom. I’m almost one year into this whole being a mom thing (how is that even possible?!), and I love it, but it IS hard. You’re in charge of raising a person – and if you want that person to be kind, smart, sensible, curious, and funny, it’s a whole lot of work. This article is something I feel like every parent needs to read, and remember, that it’s ok if dinner is a mish-mash of whatever’s left in the fridge or if you relied on Sesame Street a little too much last weekend. It happens. Be kind to yourself. I’m seeing a lot of my friends tackle parenthood too, and we all need to remember it’s ok not to be perfect or not to know what the heck you’re doing. None of us do 🙂 Read and enjoy!
  • I walked the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s 5k Walk a few weekends ago with my dear friend AJ. I am humbled and overjoyed to say that with your help, we raised over $3,000 towards mental health awareness and suicide prevention in America. Heck yeah! You all know I’ve “come out of the darkness” about my struggles with anxiety, and now it’s time for me hold up a light for anybody who is struggling and doesn’t feel like they can come forward. You matter, you count, and you can do hard things.
  1. I shamelessly stole this from AJ's blog. She won't mind. Or maybe she will, but either way, her epic fanny pack and our beautiful team just must be shared.

I shamelessly stole this photo from AJ’s blog. She won’t mind. Or maybe she will, but either way, her epic fanny pack and our beautiful team just must be shared.

  • A few weeks ago, I was gifted some Australian Pic’s Peanut Butter to try out and report back on. Pic’s stomps the competition (cough cough Jif and Peter Pan and Skippy) because they use hi-oleic peanuts. I can’t explain what that is very well, so I’m going to use the wonderful copy from their homepage: “Living, as you do, in the spiritual home of peanut butter, you can, if you poke around a bit, find an extraordinary variety of peanut butters and peanut oil. So why on earth should you buy peanut butter from the other side of the world? Because you won’t find any American peanut butters quite like ours. Despite the fact that our Hi-oleic nuts were developed in the US, they just can’t be grown in America. It’s something to do with cross pollination with ordinary peanuts that makes them revert within a season. The trick is to declare your whole country Hi-oleic, which is what Australia and Argentina have done. Argentinian Hi-oleics are, however, harvested younger than their Australian cousins, making them sweeter, but with a less intense flavour.” Ok, so that’s all well and good, but let’s talk about how it tastes! In one word: PURE. When you try Pic’s, you get that uncontested, 100% smooth and silky peanutty flavor. There’s literally nothing in this peanut butter other than peanuts and salt. That’s it! Two things! So when our pediatrician wanted us to start Holly on peanuts before her one year birthday to prevent allergy, we started with Pic’s. The lil’ dear loved it, of course, and now I’ve been having a delicious peanut butter toast for breakfast each morning. It’s non-GMO, 30% pure protein, with no preservatives, elmusifiers, flavorings, or weird stuff. The website is adorable, and you can score Pic’s for $8 a jar. I have a recipe I’ll share soon for no-bake Oat truffles made with Pic’s, but it’s not perfect yet, so you’ll have to wait  a bit. But you know what is perfect? Pic’s. Get you some!  (In the spirit of honesty, I was sent the three jars below for free, but as usual, I only write about stuff I actually like on my blogs!)

peanuts

  • I’m going to New Orleans in December for Shiftcon, and I’ve been chosen as a Shiftcon Leader. Basically, a Shiftcon Leader means I’ll bring people together at the conference and help us all make connections, because despite our ‘shades of green’ (I’m light green, for example), we all have so much to learn from each other. Leah, the founder of Shiftcon, is generously giving away one FULL CONFERENCE TICKET to a Double Chin Diary or Lalalyssa reader! You’ll have to pay for your own transportation and lodging to New Orleans (Dec 1 -3), but you’ll get paid back in tons of information, networking, amazing swag (my sister April still raves about the swag she got in 2014), and time to hang out with me and lots of other wonderful online people. Join us! Want your chance to win? Easy, folks – just tell me in the comments section why YOU want to go to Shiftcon! This giveaway will end at 12 AM on Saturday, 10/29. So that’s soon! Hurry up and leave a comment now!
ShiftCon

 

  •  I can’t wait for the election to be over. #ImWithHer, but if you’re not, fine, but make sure you vote! It wasn’t that long ago that women didn’t have the right to vote. Do your part, your civic duty, and make sure you go to your polling place or get your ballots in by November 8. (Also: My daughter will start the first day of her second year of life with a new president elect! Cool! I just hope it’s not Trump.

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  • Lastly, getting mail that’s not bills or store circulars is THE BEST! I laugh because my husband and I always ask “Did I get any good mail?”. Usually, we don’t, but once a month, I get a fabulous pink box and I know it’s my Pop Sugar Must Have box. The box is $39.99 and usually is filled with items that total well over $120. This month’s box came with a Lisa Sugar (founder of PopSugar) book, a Makeup Eraser, A Revlon Eyeliner, A Bath Oil, A tin of dark chocolate drinking powder, and an adorable mug. PopSugar sent me this month’s box to try, and if you’re interested, you can use code SHOP5 for $5 off by clicking this link. Here’s an example of what came in the June 2016 box, and I’m sharing some photos from this month’s box on my Instagram @lyssacurran. 175764eb_mh16_june_reveal_post_1456x1000

 

That’s all I have, friends! I’ve been wanting to put down a blog post about some of the things that helped us as new parents survive the first year of my kid’s life, so hopefully I’ll get around to that before another month passes. DON’T FORGET TO TELL ME WHY YOU WANT TO COME TO SHIFTCON! <3 Hope you’re all having the best October ever!

 

Alyssa