I’ve been really trying to focus on self care for the 2018 year. Most of 2017 was focusing on everyone else, which is fine and good…but not when you neglect yourself. I’ve started really trying to set intentions and manifest my goals and visions. At first the whole idea seemed silly to me. Like I had to plan my day? But, I realized that before I became a Mom I did that stuff all the time. Now, it was time to revisit and come back to that state of mind. So, here is how I set aside some time to make my days intentional, regardless of whether I’m on my way to work or lounging around for the weekend.
- I usually start my morning with a reading from “100 Days of Brave” and reflect on it in my Bullet Journal. It’s a nice way to begin the day reminding myself that whatever comes across my path, I have the tools to handle it. I usually do this right after I feed pupper Myles and set the coffee pot.
- I fill my diffusers with something good like Wild Orange essential oil. Wild Orange happens to be the oil of abundance, so I typically diffuse that during the morning in the living area while I write.
- Before Leo gets up I do a simple card pull with Gabby Bernstein’s deck from “The Universe has Your Back.” These cards are gorgeous.
Sourced from: healthcrush.com – an amazing place for personal development inspo…just FYI!
- On my drive into work I usually do a gratitude prayer of some sort before I even pull out of the driveway. I really tailor it to what I need each day. You can usually find me clutching Citrine while I do this!
And that’s it! I have really simplified my morning rituals so I have time to really focus on what I want for each day. Prayer, meditation, and writing shouldn’t be work…AND THAT, was my major lesson of 2017 (besides, you know…learning that babies don’t follow your schedule, you follow theirs.) Much love and major intentions for 2018. Let me know what you’re planning this year to stay connected!
I set a goal for myself to read 18 books in 2018. It’s not a terrible challenge to do because I read at work a lot, but I’m actually trying to branch out my genres and read more stuff with kick ass women which thankfully, I’m seeing a lot more of. Some of my recent reading has been fun, some has been informative or work based, and some is thrown in between naps and snacks. But, here are my February picks that I think everyone needs to get down with!
The Amulet series is straight fire! Emily is the protagonist who after suffering a terrible tragedy turns up the courage and takes care of business while learning her family are a part of a disappearing sect of people known as Stonekeepers. So, crystals? Mind powers? An awesome female lead? I’m done. The artwork is GORGEOUS and the storyline is on point. I could not stop reading this series. The only downside: the next installment doesn’t come until September of this year.
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte is my second pick for this month. I really am working on honing in on my mindfulness and intention setting so this book is perfect for “setting goals with soul.” I actually loved the workbook in the back the best. The content itself was somewhat easy to apply to anyone and anything, so don’t expect something tailored just for you, but the workbook is where you put in the practices that make sense to you. I tried to read this all the way through and realized that was causing me grief, so I went to the contents and picked what spoke to me for that day. Read it how you want, but I HIGHLY suggest completing the writing prompts in the back to get the full experience and to actually complete what you set out to do. Side note: this book suggests setting goals based on how you’ll FEEL instead of what you’ll DO which is a refreshing change!
The Essential Life has been a godsend for me since journeying into the realm of essential oils and holistic health. Out of all of the books out there, this one is my absolute favorite. No dry textbook style of writing, gorgeous images, and lots of quick remedies and uses for all of the oils in your arsenal (and probably some you didn’t know you needed. Can I get an amen to that?
I started with a graphic novel with a kick ass lady character and I’m finishing with one. See how the universe is cyclical? Anya’s Ghost was HANDS DOWN one of my favorite books from this last month. Anya falls down a well and meets a ghost who latches on to her. What she doesn’t know is that the powers that be have other plans for her, and plans that might actually cause her demise once she thins the veil of the spirit world. Ghosts smoking cigarettes, cooking snacks, and the constant fear that you’re turning into your mother (and realizing that’s okay) dominate this snarky quick read!
So far I’ve read 7 of my 18 books for the year and am feeling fine! Hopefully I’ll keep this trend going strong!
I’ve been really thinking about mindfulness and self care as my two major goals for the new year. That means a few things for me: putting down the phone, being more present, trying to stress less, and to write every day. Work has been stressful, and I’m really trying to focus my mind and leave work at work. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be (since who really only has ONE job nowadays? Side hustles are what millennial basically do, right?) But, I’m finding that amidst all the noise from momming, wifing, teaching, and writing I can use some tools to help me get where I need to be.
- A blank journal – oh MAN! Yeah, ok, I spend money on notebooks like I’ve got money to spend. But this one was a gift. Keith got it for me when I was three weeks postpartum and having some serious baby blues. I almost threw it at him. I resented that I had just pushed a baby out of my body and he got me a JOURNAL? Fast forward to over a year later? I picked up this journal and felt…something. So, it’s mine now! I’ve been bullet journaling my side projects, meditations, and writing prompts.
- 100 Days of Brave by Annie F. Downs – I needed some prompting with my writing, and now that I’m 23 days in I’m actually looking forward to reading her devotions and reflections on them briefly. This is a God-based book, but it’s not a weird preachy type book. It offers some readings, thoughts, and a good sense of humor. Annie F. Downs is just as neurotic as I am and I’m digging that about her.
- Gabby Bernstein “The Universe Has Got Your Back Deck” – I’m such a weird worshipper and I don’t really care. I love Jesus and God and the Universe as a whole. That’s what feels great to me, which is why I’m obsessed with Gabby B’s cards! I love her books and have used them many times in the past, but her deck of cards gives me a positive affirmation each morning before work. I usually pair it with some type of oil blend on my temples (a citrus usually does the trick.)
- Practice You by Elena Brower – This journal is so exciting to me! My bullet journal is really something for my daily STUFF. This journal is all about ME, so after a year I’ll basically have written a book about myself. The art is gorgeous and the vibe peaceful. Elena Brower is also the mind behind the doTERRA Yoga Collection which is pure magic.
- Crystals – Last up? My “rocks” as Keith calls them. I’ve been really into my saints and my crystals lately. I keep a Green Calcite in my work bag to ward off negative energy with my Saint Theresa medal and calming crystals like Celestite in my bedroom for pleasant dreams. I also keep Leo’s stone, Topaz, close by alone with Citrine, and a few more!
MINDFULNESS IS SO IN! I am OBSESSED with the fact that self care is no longer selfish. I’m going to be prioritizing it this year so I can be the best for my fam. How about you?
Any good practice has to become a habit and a routine. Working out, eating well, and of course for me using my essential oils. You’re a normal person you say? Yeah, me too, on Mondays. Seriously though, using essential oils on the daily doesn’t have to be super dramatic. In the beginning I was confused: how the heck do I use these things? But after three years of regular use here’s how I use them in my every day life.
First you need some stuff: essential oils (obviously), a diffuser, and a carrier oil. Carrier oil is SO IMPORTANT. Regardless of the brand, mine is doTERRA, you must dilute, dilute, dilute. I use Fractionated Coconut Oil or Jojoba. Even Olive Oil is a great carrier oil. Diluting oils makes them safe for use on babes, dogs, and your friends and family and helps them absorb better while saving you some cash! Don’t use oils neat on the body. Just don’t! /endrant. Now…on to the routine!
Morning: We start our day anywhere between 4-6 a.m. We are up early as Keith and I have to be at work by 7-7:30. Every day we:
- Roll On Guard protective blend on our feet for immune support.
- Roll Lemon and Frankincense on Leo’s feet for immune support (check out my recipe post for littles).
- Wild Orange in the diffuser for about an hour to wake up the house and get us energized: 2-3 drops.
- Balance Grounding Blend or my Mood Support blend on wrists and over heart before leaving for work (Frankincense, Console Blend, Wild Orange).
Throughout the day or depending on what the fam needs I use:
- On Guard in the diffuser for an hour when I get home to clear nasties out of the air.
- Lavender or Lime in the laundry on wool dryer balls.
- Leo’s teething blend if he needs pain relief or tummy blend if needed!
- Serenity Restful blend in the diffuser for our nap times.
We all go to bed pretty early, so we make sure to have a solid relaxation routine in place. At night:
- Leo gets his lullaby blend & immune blend from the morning in the diffuser for an hour and rolled on his feet.
- Keith and I roll Vetiver and Serenity on our feet and on the back of our neck.
- Diffuser pumps 2-3 drops of Serenity or Copaiba if we need respiratory support without eucalyptus!
For cleaning I use the following on the daily: 10 drops On Guard in a spray bottle with 1c. white vinegar, Lemon Oil to remove grease or other crud from electronics or counters.
Overall? Getting into the swing of using them is easy and can be fun. I love making my own blends and recipes for my family’s needs. What recipes or blends would you like to see more of?
Before you say to me “I don’t get snow days…” STOP! Snow days can be any day you’re stuck home. If you live in the North East like I do, that tends to happen more often than not. I used to hate snow days when I lived home. I wanted to see my friends, go to school, and not be stuck with my parents. Now? I’ll take any excuse to stay in my PJ’s, get things done, and hang out with my baby boy and pup. Looking for something productive to do with your time? Here’s what I love doing on my snow days!
- Try a new recipe! When I’m stuck home, I get this weird innate desire to cook. Yeah, me, cook. I know it’s funny. I hate cooking under normal circumstances. But, a snow day gets me inspired to cook something that has a feel good stick to your ribs vibe. I’ve also been known to make a loaf of bread upon the first snow fall. My next crockpot adventure? This delicious and amazing risotto that claims to be easy, cheesy, and all around heavenly. Find a recipe that makes enough for leftovers for the week and lunches are also taken care of. Done, and done!
- Clean out your closet! Anytime I’m stuck inside I get the urge to purge. FORGET about your regular cleaning routine. You can cram that in any other day like you normally do. Or, forget about it and ignore what’s happening in the bathroom. Today is for productive cleaning and downsizing. Take anything out of your closet that you haven’t touched in a year. Donate it. Get it out of the house. Do the same thing for your kid’s room. Toys they haven’t played with? Gone! When you go back to work, drop it off at a donation center and feel ten times lighter!
- Smudge the house: This is something that is productive for ME, so do with it what you will. My house gets heavy sometimes. My husband and I both work, my Mom is here with Leo, and we have company often. So, a lot of energy gets passed through the doors. Sometimes it gets “stuck” and that can change the entire vibe of the home. Grab some white sage, light it, and go through the corners and rooms of your home. I focus on places that hold a lot of electronics in the home as well while saying something positive like, “I release any stagnant energy and welcome fresh light.” Do what speaks to you!
- Grocery Shop: New online places for groceries are popping up all. the. time. I’m obsessed with Amazon Fresh! Their produce is awesome and it’s delivered by USPS. You pick the time and leave the bags on your porch for your mail carrier to pick up. Less waste, less plastic, and no lines.
- Take a Nap: I am my best self when I am well rested. I nap with Leo when I feel like I need it. Have a bunch of kids? My friend builds a giant fort in the living room teepee style and they all nap or rest in it. I don’t care what anyone says; you’re never too old for a nap.
I am no stranger to feeling like a hot mess 97% of the time. I’ve gone back and forth with planners, apps, and journals. I love writing things down, but I also have to manage my kid, husband, and dog’s schedules as well. I’m rarely in my office at my home except for a few minutes here or there to churn out a blog post. So, a pretty planner with washi and stickers? Awesome, except I never look at it again…nor do I have the time for that! I’ve been going back and forth between systems for a year now and finally figured out a system that works. Here’s what I do:
- Fantastical 2 for iPhone – This app is $4.99 but WORTH. EVERY. PENNY. It combines your default Calendar app with Reminders in a gorgeous and simple layout. I use this app for daily reminders, gifts I need to by, bills to be paid, and other engagements. I color code for each person in the fam. Weekly, monthly, and daily layouts are at your fingertips for less scrolling drama. I WANT to be a planner girl. I really do. I WAS a planner girl with my 365 & Erin Condren, until spending upwards of $50.00 on a giant planner became a burden & until I had a kid and stopped sitting for more than 5 minutes at a time.
- Bullet Journaling – I’m not totally paper free. But, I can’t have sticky notes all over the place and I still need somewhere for my blog todo’s, ideas, inspiration, and other business ventures. I run my doTERRA business and my husband and I also have side projects. Enter the wonderful world of the bullet journal. It’s quick, easy, and I’ve modified mine to be a little less artsy. I love bullet journaling because there isn’t a hard and fast format and you can make it as elaborate or as simple (YAS) as you want! I used Mikaela Hunt‘s as a model:
- Dry Erase Community Board: Ok, so only two of us know how to write in this house. BUT! One day Leo will, so we have a community board on our fridge that shows a monthly spread and meals. We love this style (this model is from Home Depot), but you can get one just as cheap at Target (less than 20.00!).
Are you a die hard planner? More of just a fly by the seat of your pants person? If so, you’ll probably outlive my high-strung self, haha! Happy planning!
You all already know that I love my essential oils. Of course, now they’re becoming more “mainstream”, and people have been coming to me asking about my “magic potions.” Now, I’m a doTERRA devotee ever since we brought our puppy, Myles, home almost three years ago. Our breeder used oils on all of her dogs and the health benefits were evident. Naturally, Keith and I started using them. Once Leo was over 6 months old, I started using oils on him. First, I diffused them in our bedroom and throughout the house. Now, diffusing is part of our sleepytime routine. Soon after, I started making up rollerball blends that met our needs. I get my labels from small shops to make them special. Here is Leo’s routine/recipes for 10 mL roller bottles:
- Well Baby Blend – 1 drop Frankincense, 1 drop Lemon, top with FCO* – Frank supports total body health in a gentle way and Lemon cleanses and disinfects. I roll this on Leo’s feet morning and night, extra if we go somewhere germy (parties, playdates, large areas with lots of people).
- Chompers Blend – 1 drop Lavender, ! drop Frankincense, 1 Drop Roman Chamomile, top with FCO – Again, Frank is a great all purpose oil. It promotes relaxation and cellular health while Lavender helps swelling and stress! Roman Chamomile also prevents swelling and discomfort. I roll this on Leo’s jawline as needed.
- Lullaby – 1 drop Lavender, 1 drop Frankincense, 1 drop Cedarwood, top with FCO – Lullaby is similar to Chompers, but Cedarwood really helps knock us both out! You can add 1 drop of Copaiba to the feet to soothe any anxious feelings, too.
- Baby Belly – 1 drop Lemon, 1 drop Wild Orange, 1 drop Frankincense, top with FCO. Anytime Leo is a little gassy I roll this around his bellybutton. It works like a charm, however, keep the skin out of the sunlight for 12 hours as citrus oils react to the sunlight!
Of course make sure that you start slow, watch your baby for any signs of allergy, and consult your ped! But my oily baby loves his roller bottles and so do I! What natural care or oils have you used for baby? Yourself? Want to get started and learn more? Get. At. Me!
I am so damn glad that leggings are still a “thing.” I wear them all the time when I’m home, and until recently didn’t really know how to dress them up the right way without looking like a hungover college girl. This holiday season we keep it pretty simple. The in-laws come over for Christmas Eve and we cook, eat, and be merry. Christmas Day is spent with my parents and no one has to do too much traveling. Last year, I was 4 weeks postpartum, my Mom had a broken foot, and my father-in-law had just had hip surgery. Talk about a dramatic holiday. We didn’t do much. I lived in pajamas and cried about everyone being home, my family was homebound as well, and I had a newborn who didn’t let me do much either.
This holiday season I have a toddler (holy crap…a toddler??), and I’m starting to really enjoy looking human again when I’m at home. I have to dress every day for work, but now that my pre-Leo clothes are fitting I’m happy to start looking well put together and comfortable at the same time. So long ratty leggings and Tasmanian Devil t-shirts. Here’s what I’m wearing this holiday season:
- A big ass comfy sweater – because I hate wearing a coat and just want to look pretty.
- Black leggings that are THICK – because I’m over everyone seeing my underwear. TBH? They’re probably maternity leggings. Once you go maternity leggings in black, you never…well, you figure it out…
- A festive scarf – I love a good, bright scarf to balance out the dark colors.
- Ankle boots (read: NOT UGGS). My Mom recently gave me all of her black ankle boots. Some are velour like these featured, some have a chunky buckle, and some almost look like slippers! Give me all the ankle boots and make me look tall and thin~
- A soft bralette that looks cute when my kid grabs at me to nurse–because no one wants to see your beige nursing bra.
I thought now that I hit my late 20s/early 30s I was missing out on the leggings/sweater trend which made me mad because I finally learned how to do it right. I’m never giving this look up, especially when chasing a kid and eating all the carbs happen simultaneously.
Listen, you can take the old blog out of the girl but you can’t take the girl…I don’t know. I’m not sure that was really going the way I wanted it to. There’s really nothing I like more than talking about makeup, even if I don’t get gussied up like I used to circa 2006 when I had time to do nothing but smoke cigarettes and go to the gym twice a day. But, I digress. Winter wreaks havoc on my skin. Always has, always will. No amount of straight up coconut oil can help me. I have a small arsenal of products I can use at night when no one sees me, but my day game was lacking seriously. Not anymore, my friends! I present to you the best of the best (and really all you need!)
- Pacifica Beauty Coconut Probiotic Water Rehab Cream ($16 USD) – this cream is a legit lifesaver! My skin goes through its own hangover when the weather changes. This cream, night and day, gets my skin feeling hydrated and repaired like no other. The best part? It’s so light! Usually, I’ve found that heavy duty repair creams feel like a weight on your face. Not this one! And it smells like a tropical paradise.
- Ulta Beautifully Bare Eye Palette – ($10 USD and up) This baby is only available in store, but is a nice dupe for your NAKED palettes and much more budget friendly, too! I love how the colors compliment one another so I can create easy looks right from the get-go, no drama. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
- YUNI Beauty Aromatic Body Mist ($28 USD) – I’ve talked about two things on Curls.nu a lot: essential oils and yoga. That hasn’t changed. YUNI’s Yoga-inspired products are still a fan favorite. Holiday time stresses me out, so a quick spritz of this Bergamot and Sage infused spray helps me find my chill. Not to mention, organic Kukui Seed Oil provides soothing essential fatty acids plus antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E to protect skin from free radical damage. So it soothes and you smell deliciously zen.
- Pacifica Beauty Lips Like Sugar Scrub ($5 USD) – You know how it goes: the heat goes on and your lips feel like a forgotten Triscuit cracker on a party platter. So, how do you buff away all of that dry skin without ending up looking like the joker? Pacifica’s sugar scrub is gentle and effective and packed with jojoba, sugar, and grapeseed oil. It’s also no fuss–the lip balm style packaging is easy to use. I use this after a shower when skin is still soft and finish with a Pacifica lip balm.
So, products under $30? Sign me up amirite? I think you’ll love all of these just as much as I do! Happy almost holidays and cheers to getting pretty without bunnies, nasty chemicals, and soul crushing prices.
No one really talks about that, do they? When you feel isolated in your own home and despite being head over heels in love with your new baby you feel like you lost a little part of yourself, too. Now that I’m coming up on Leo’s first birthday (cue the ugly crying), I’ve been reflecting back on the past year a lot, especially since some of my friends are joining the mom club. In short, it’s the world’s best sorority with the cruelest, most grueling hazing you’ve ever experienced. When you have no idea what you’re doing, and a little person who depends on you also has no idea what they’re doing things can get overwhelming quickly. I still put a lot of pressure on myself to “do it all,” but here’s what I’d tell myself a year ago with what I know now:
- Get off the damn couch (for sleeping that is!). No one should be sleeping sitting up.
- Get in bed. With your baby. Cribs are stupid and overrated.
- Spend the money on the nursing bras. You’ll be happy you did!
- Put that baby on the boob and let everyone else wait on you.
- Stop with the schedules! When baby needs to eat, they need to eat!
- Everyone will give you advice. Accept it graciously and then do what you want.
- Stop trying to cook dinner until they are at least 6 months old and can sit in a high chair.
- Cleaning? Cool. Ok.
- Pajamas are pants for the fourth trimester.
- Anything you or your husband/baby daddy/partner say to each other between the hours of 2-4am does not count.
I’m probably forgetting a few things, but the most important thing I’d tell new Mom me is to do what feels right for your family regardless of what anyone says. If everyone is safe, happy, fed, and loved tell the haters where they can go.