Believe in your SELFie

I’m DEFINITELY “pro-selfie”…here’s why!

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{I’ve been there…the “why does she post photos of herself?!” mentality}

Here’s the thing, though:
It could be MUCH, MUCH worse. Instead…
●She might have terrible self-image.
●She might not think she’s pretty “enough” (whatever that means).
●She might have this unrealistic expectation of herself.
●She might feel she can’t live up to YOUR standards.
…and all of that is far worse than posting a photo of herself. 

Does it matter WHO took the photo?

Now…I know PLENTY of CONFIDENT women who choose to share pictures of their dogs & kids & adventures instead of themselves…I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the women who think about posting a photo of themselves, but ultimately DON’T do this because they feel judged.

It’s YOUR profile. People come to see YOU.

#loveyourSELFie #empowereachother #nojudgement #positivity

I dare you to step outside your comfort zone & post a selfie today!

{…and give a second thought to clicking that “like” button next time “she” posts a selfie. She might just be needing it 💜 }

Top 4 Postpartum Products

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Having a baby, especially for the first time, is like walking into a whole new world you didn’t even know existed – ESPECIALLY when it comes to products! Where do you even start?

Here you go…my top 4 most useful postpartum products for Mama.

NUMBER FOUR: Beband!
found at: Target (maternity section)beband

This is technically marketed as a maternity item during pregnancy. The idea is you still get to wear your regular jeans, but don’t need to button or zip them. I used it for this a little while, but actually found it much more useful postpartum.

I found nursing tanks on top of nursing bras (especially in August) got bulky, clippy, and hot. When completely unfolded, the beband easily covers from your waits to your bra.

The REAL BONUS, though, was that it almost worked as a corset (if you really need one, they make those, too). Nobody told me how JUMBLED my core would feel. It felt like jello; most days I had to guide my hand on the wall as I walked down the hallway because my trunk was so weak. The beband worked as almost an “ace bandage” to help hold everything secure.

I ended up buying a second one in another color and wore them for about the first 6 months!

 

NUMBER THREE: Honest Company Nipple Balm
found at: Target, Honest.com

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Days 4 & 5 of my daughter’s life were the HARDEST of my life. I would actually go through that 30 hour labor all over again instead of those 2 days. I mean that. Everything is so mentally draining and physically painful. {It probably didn’t help my entire team of leaders was relaxing in a beach house at a retreat in Myrtle Beach at this exact moment AND I was stressing that my husband was going to leave to finish out his deployment in 4 days!} Getting through those days is SO worth it, though. SO WORTH IT. I learned to feed my baby and she learned to eat. Eight months later we’re still going strong.

…but I digress. Breastfeeding Mamas…get this nipple balm.

I tried FOUR different nipple balms.
Don’t do that.
Just try this one first.
There is nothing like it.

 

NUMBER TWO: Epsom Salt
found at: any drug store or pharmacy section14899720

Epsom Salt baths can help speed up recovery.

My midwife told me to take an epsom salt bath 4x/day. um. what? No new mom has time for that. At least….I didn’t MAKE time for it. I did, however, have at least one every. single.day for about 7 weeks. Sometimes I had more. This bath actually became a good spot to nurse my baby.

Epsom Bath Directions: Simply fill the bath with about 4-6 inches of water and 1 cup epsom salt

 

THE NUMBER ONE best product: Witch Hazel
found at: any drug store or pharmacy section
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What is this? I still don’t know. Magic witch craft I suppose?
Basically, it’s used to help heal skin abrasions. Just go buy a whole boat load of it!

I used this for TWO main things per the direction of my midwife.
1) your peri bottle will be about 8oz; fill it with 1 oz witch hazel and the other 7 water EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
2) I used it to make postpartum healing pads. Follow these directions to make your own.

 

There you have it! My top 4 favorite products to have on hand right after baby. Better go stock up before baby arrives!

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Postpartum Healing Pads

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I’m a huge wimp when it comes to anything cold – including icing injuries.
These, however, were a lifesaver during the early days.

Before baby arrives…invite a friend over, make up a batch of these, and stick them in your freezer & wait!

{NOTE: The only thing I’d consider doing different next time is adding essential oils- I feel as though I’m the only person on earth who knows nothing about these, but here they’re quite amazing! If you’re in the know…go ahead and mix them in, too!}

Supplies:
Aloe Vera
Witch Hazel
Somewhat thick maxis
Gallon Ziplock Bags
(optional: essential oils; perhaps lavender)

Directions:
●Open up a pad; leave the back packaging on -you’ll need to rewrap it.
●Pour two tablespoons of witch hazel throughout the pad….yup. it’s like the commercials with the weird blue liquid!
●Drizzle Aloe Vera then spread with spoon
●Wrap back up & store in ziplock bag
●Toss in the freezer and wait for baby!


Check out my favorite postpartum baby products here!

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IKEA Hack Coffee Table

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You may or may not know that when I moved from Wisconsin to California, my dad drove out with me and all my stuff, then flew back. We made it to somewhere in Iowa and broke down. Yup! That happened… Long story short (I didn’t get my car in CA until 33 days later) we ended up transferring everything from my car into a rental truck and going the rest of the way.

All items made the transfer EXCEPT (dun dun dun)….our coffee table!

It was a “beautiful” SOLID old piece my husband found on the curb during his college days. I cannot even tell you how many times that table has been danced on, spilled on, and dinged up. We kept it, though, because it was a genuinely sturdy piece of wood with a ton of character, many stories, and GREAT potential fora refurbishing.

{I’m not even sure how, but through coordination of a few traveling nomads, it ended up back in Wisconsin and is currently being stored in my dad’s shop…going on 3 years now. SOMEDAY!}

Upon arriving in California, we lived without a coffee table (for way too long), then finally broke down and bought a $19.99 piece of black plywood from IKEA. It got the job done, but didn’t ever really “fit”…especially once we bought & moved into our home.

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Last November we kind of decided it would be fun to tackle a team project…the coffee table seemed like a no brainer!

I searched around for a little inspiration, and found these two tables:

I’m very happy with how it turned out! Here is a loose set of directions if you’d like to make your own.

Supplies:
●IKEA table (or any old table)
●tape measurer & pencil
●wood slabs (cuts & amount dependent on design desire; see directions)
●saw horses
●table saw
●distressing tools (hammer, chisel, chain, wire brush, etc)
●sander
●desired color stain (brushes/sponges/rags)
●wood glue
●clamps (at least 4 small & 1 large)
●polyurethane
●patience

1) Making Cuts
First, decide what you want your table to look like. What kid of wood? How far should the edges hang over?

We ended up deciding to go with 4×1 slabs, and chose pine-because I like the character the knots add- with the wood hanging over on each end (approximately 1/5 inches on the ends & 1 inch on the sides). This is completely up to you.

  1. Take a few measurements
  2. Do a little math
  3. Head to the lumber yard & buy what you need
  4. Make cuts yourself, or have them cut right at the lumber yard
  5. Lay slabs out across saw horses as if a table top.

table wood

I then (spent way too much time) flipping, turning, and rearranging the boards to get just the look I wanted. We labeled the bottom to ensure they would stay in that order.

During this extensive flipping, turning, cutting, I decided to add a twist! (pun intended). Instead of both the top and the bottom levels of the table running parallel boards, I decided the bottom level slabs should run perpendicular with the top level. I like the dimension it added!

2) Distressing the Wood

I’ve never done this before! It was great fun. I was definitely way more “meticulous” than necessary – it is probably best to just go at it without thinking about it!

distress tools

We didn’t have a chain, otherwise I would have used that. Instead, I used a hammer, chisel, & wire brush. After seeing the end product, some of my favorite spots are the biggest gouges, which I didn’t know until after it was sitting finished and in my living room. Feel free to youtube a few videos on how to do this!

Here are a few of my favorite marks:

I would recommend sanding all the corners down so they’re somewhat curved, giving an older look.

3) Staining the Wood

Grab a color stain that compliments the rest of your furniture, and start staining! I prefer to use a piece of cotton (rag, old t-shirt, etc) over a brush or a foam brush, but any are okay. Apply generously, wait 24 hours, then do it again! Be sure to go over the ends and underneath; anywhere the wood will be exposed.

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4) Applying Wood to Table

{We started with the bottom level first to “practice” as any mistakes would be less noticeable}

  1. Clean the old table, sand the surface for maximum adhesive, then clean again.
  2. Line up the boards as desired. Take a few measurements to make sure everything is set, then double check it just one more time.
  3. Remove one end board, apply glue to the top of the table, line up carefully, then place board to desired spot on table.
    glue on table
  4. Apply pressure being careful the board does not shift.
  5. Take the board next to it, apply glue to top of table and SIDE of board (that it will be touching), then press and hold it down.

  6. Continue and complete entire row. Repeat all steps for the 2nd level.

5) Applying Pressure with Clamps

Add clamps to ensure constant pressure is being applied for duration of dry time (see glue bottle).

clamped wood

  1. Lay down a piece of cardboard on top of your table surface to prevent scratching.
  2. Lay a scrap 2×4 perpendicular across the top of the cardboard – we used two, one on either end of the table.
  3. Squeeze clamps on both ends of the 2×4 from top of surface to underneath in order to squeeze boards to table (see photo).
  4. In between these two boards, lay a large clamp (without a 2×4) perpendicular to the table boards. Squeeze clamp from  one side to the other in order to squeeze boards together (See photo).
  5. Let clamps sit for 24 hours

6) Apply Polyurethane 

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  1. Using a foam brush, spread a coat of polyurethane over your table to prevent stains from every day use.
  2. Let dry for about 24-48 hours, then apply at least one more coat.

Move your new table inside and enjoy!

Here was our final team product!

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Is it a forever piece? Nah.
…but it was definitely fun to create and will certainly get us through the next few years.

Share your own hack in the comments!

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Not-Your-Typical Strawberry Oatmeal

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We’ve ALL had that flavored instant oatmeal…”strawberries & cream” or “apples & cinnamon”…you know what I’m talking about!

Here’s a new spin with better flavor & less sugar. WHOA!

DIRECTIONS
Ingredients: desired amount of oats, water, & strawberries

●Cook oatmeal as directed.
●While oats are cooking, slide & dice a few strawberries.
●Use a potato masher on a plate to turn them into mush.
●Pour strawberries on top of oatmeal (including all the juice) and mix in!

Other options: sprinkle with chia seeds, or mix in mashed banana.

Enjoy!

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Those Two Little Feet are Watching

little feetYou know what isn’t easy?

Going against the grain.
Doing something out of the ordinary.
Taking a CHANCE on yourself.


 
But you know what IS easy?

Doing what you know in your gut…in your HEART…is absolutely the right thing for you and your family, regardless of how others feel about it.

…and you want to know why I do what I do?
 
WHY am I so PASSIONATE about this crazy-unusual-work-from-home-help-other-people-get-healthy-run-a-business-with-a-social-media-platform?
 

👣Those two little feet. Right there.👣
 
Because she’s watching. She’s watching everything I do. 


 
●Because I want to say, “I’ll be there” when she asks me to come to an event. No asking off work, rearranging my meetings, or using vacation.
 
●Because I want to give her every experience or opportunity I possibly can. Those aren’t always free.
 

●Because I want to jump around with her on the beach instead of hiding in the shade under a coverup. Regardless of my size or what I look like, I’m submerged in a community where I’m comfortable in my own skin, and she will know that comfort.
 

●Because I never want her to hear the word “diet” {as in “going on a diet”} come out of my mouth. ever. We eat yummy, REAL food that FUELS our bodies.
 


●Because I need her to KNOW there is more in life than going to work to JUST to pay the bills. 


 
So, yes. I we live out loud & I post frequently.
I do this in hopes of inspiring ONE person who needs it, ONE person who says “Wow, I’m going through that, too.”, ONE person who needs a POSITIVE break from their negative news feed. Impacting that ONE person makes a difference in their life. In their family’s life. 

 
I’m proud of what I do.
I’m proud of how hard I work.
I’m proud of the lives I’m changing- including my own.
 

…and those two little feet are right there watching👣
 


{You get ONE life. Live it the way YOU want to …& surround yourself with others who support that decision}