My Go-To Smoothie Recipe

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No pretty pictures here because I just decided to throw this recipe up real quick! James is playing SO independently this morning, so I'm taking advantage! I whipped up my favorite smoothie, snapped a quick picture, and here you go!

I love this smoothie because it is full of healthy fats and protein, which keeps you full for a LOOOONG time. It helps to regulate your blood sugar so you don't crash and get starving again in an hour. It's the best! I also love it's thick, creamy texture.

Ingredients:

  • half of a sliced up frozen banana
  • around 3/4 cups of almond milk
  • one spoonful of peanut butter (you could also use almond butter)
  • one spoonful of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • a pinch of flax seed
  • a pinch of chia seeds
  • a scoop of vanilla protein powder (could also use chocolate! I use this protein powder: click here)

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender. I use the Nutribullet (click here for the blender I use)

I don't honestly measure any of the ingredients precisely. I just eyeball it, so don't stress too much. Just do what looks/sounds good to you. But it's seriously so yummy and really keeps you feeling full a long time. Plus, it's super healthy and good for you! Win!

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How To Cultivate A Peaceful Morning With A Toddler

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My robe is from Pinkblush: Click here to shop

Hi friends!

As a mama, there can be a big adjustment when it comes to mornings. What used to be a quiet, slow, calm time of day, with young kids morning time has the tendency to be hectic, loud, and wild. I used to savor the quiet of the mornings. I used to ease into my day with a cup of coffee and the news and meditation...it was a time of quiet reflection, planning out the day ahead, and setting the tone for a positive, collected, productive day.

But when you have a little one, you are often times jarred awake by a cry or a "MAAAMAAAAA" and with that you are thrust into the day, full-speed ahead. Screaming, yelling, running, throwing, playing, clanking, scrambling to get a breakfast together...it's definitely a far-cry from the days of quietly easing into your day! Don't get me wrong - it's great and fun, and I love it! But...just saying! haha Some mornings you just want to have a quiet, peaceful, calm start to your day.

Here are a few things I have been doing that have helped James and I to have a calmer, more peaceful, slow morning together:

  • Light a candle: James loves watching the flame flicker while he eats his breakfast. He asks me every morning to light our candle. It helps to create such a peaceful scene and it mesmerizes him!
  • Play calm music: I have started playing either worship music or Jack Johnson in the mornings. Music sets the mood, and I've noticed that the whole atmosphere is so much calmer and more peaceful when we have our "morning music" playing softly in the background.
  • Plan out breakfast ahead of time: Toddlers can wake up ravenous, and the key is getting a quick meal to them ... STAT. It can be so stressful to try to come up with something quick to make while a toddler is screaming or whining. I like to plan out breakfasts for the week. For example, Monday, Wednesday, Friday we'll have scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit. Tuesday and Sunday, we'll have oatmeal and fruit. Thursday and Saturday we'll have waffles and fruit and yogurt. Just an example. I don't do that exact schedule every week, but knowing what I'll be making in the morning makes it a bit easier and calmer. I usually will give James a bowl of berries to tie him over while I cook his breakfast.
  • Go outside: Now that the weather is warm, we have been heading out into the back yard right after breakfast. I bring my coffee, James plays with his water table and trucks, and we watch bugs and birds fly around. It's so nice to get fresh air in the morning, and James is able to run around and play independently and explore while I get to have a quiet time to enjoy my coffee. :)

What are some of your tips for cultivating a peaceful morning with little ones? I'd love to hear any of your tips/tricks!

Have a beautiful Sunday!

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29 Things

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Well, today starts the beginning of the LAST year of my twenties! So strange! My twenties have been amazing...so much has happened, I've achieved so many things, I've learned SO much... and honestly, I'm looking forward to turning 30 next year! I think being in my thirties is going to be really fun!

But, I definitely plan on enjoying this last year of my twenties to the fullest, because each year it becomes more abundantly clear to me that time never slows down and you can't ever go back. Living in the moment and truly cherishing and embracing where you are at right now is so important. Especially since becoming a mom, I have come to know this with the utmost clarity, and it is both a beautiful and sobering realization.

Today, I wanted to share real quick 29 things that I've come to know, think, or question in my 29 years of life!

  1. Family is REALLY all that matters.
  2. Time is so fleeting.
  3. NOTHING is a given in life.
  4. Humility, kindness, and patience are qualities that I think make a person the very most beautiful.
  5. Daily exercise is so important for both physical and mental well-being.
  6. Marriage to your best friend is the best thing in the world...along with being a mom!
  7. People always say that being a parent is the best, but you HONESTLY don't understand this until you have a child of your own. You just can't possibly understand the bond and love and incredible fear and hope that comes along with being a parent. It's breathtaking and magical and incredible.
  8. In the end, NOTHING matters...not things, not money, not social status...JUST love and family.
  9. Traveling outside of the country is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself.
  10. You are NEVER wasting time when you are reading.
  11. Your skin, hair, body...everything starts to change as you get older, when you get pregnant, as you go through different experiences. It serves a person well to embrace these changes rather than wrestle with them. Because wrinkles, stretch marks, scars...they all are signs of a life truly LIVED.
  12. If you want something badly enough, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try.
  13. I'm an introvert. And I like it.
  14. The more sleep the better...but nothing beats an early morning when the world is quiet and still.
  15. Being in the backcountry away from it all is good for the soul.
  16. I'm getting more and more interested in makeup as I get older, and I'm having so much fun trying out new products and techniques...I always bought drugstore makeup until recently. But the nice stuff really DOES make a difference!
  17. Don't be so hard on yourself. Have high standards for yourself, push yourself, always strive to do better...but don't punish yourself. Be kind and loving. Appreciate all that your body, your mind, your heart do for you every single day.
  18. Laugh more.
  19. Get outside every single possible chance you have.
  20. Eliminate toxic relationships from your life.
  21. Hold on dearly and fight for all of the GOOD and precious relationships in your life.
  22. My number one piece of marriage advice: Always seek out the BEST in your partner. You find what you look for. Look for the good, the beautiful, the pure in your loved one.
  23. Always be true to yourself.
  24. Say 'no' more.
  25. Say 'yes' more.
  26. Create something you're proud of.
  27. Discern truth for yourself. Look beyond what you've always known, what you've always been told...figure out what YOU believe, what YOU agree with, what you DON'T agree with, what is worth fighting for to YOU, what YOU want to change.
  28. Better to be quiet than to talk about things you don't know anything about.
  29. Spend less time staring at your phone or other electronics, and more time being present with loved ones, watching a sunset, reading a book, meditating, drawing, creating, LIVING.

Those are just the top 29 random things that came to mind as I started typing...sorry if they are super random! haha But anyways, I've learned a lot and I know I have a lot MORE to learn too.

Here's to a new year of creating, adventure, love, productivity, and self-improvement! Thank you all for your love and for following along!!

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How I Make Money Blogging

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Yesterday on Instagram, I asked you guys to vote on which post you wanted to see up on the blog today: Momiform 101 or How I Make Money Blogging. The majority voted for the latter, so Momiform 101 will be going up later this week, and How I Make Money Blogging will be today's topic!

I get asked about this ALLL the time. People are always a little confused and unclear about what exactly I DO as a blogger. In fact, some people don't even realize that it is a legitimate job that provides me with an income. And those that know a bit about blogging usually are dying to get in on the action, because blogging really is the funnest, most flexible, most creative job. :)

So, people's biggest question is always HOW to make money as a blogger. Well, there are two main ways:

1. Sponsored content. This is when a brand pays to have their product or brand featured in a blog post or in social media posts. As a blogger, I get contacted all the time by different companies and people offering to send me products to try out, or wanting to sponsor posts to have their products featured. For me, it is EXTREMELY important to ONLY partner and work with brands and products that I genuinely LOVE and legitimately would use in my daily life.

As a blogger - especially a NEW blogger - it can be so tempting to just accept every offer that comes your way. But let me tell you, your audience will be able to see right through that and will be able to tell from a mile away if you are featuring or talking about brands that aren't a genuine fit with your style. And that is reeeeaalll unappealing, because it comes across as sales-y and fake and like you are selling out.

So, my advice is to be picky when it comes to accepting collaborations and sponsorships. Choose wisely, and keep it real so that you can be honest when talking about how much you love and endorse a brand.

2. Affiliate Links. If you're on Instagram, you most likely have come across bloggers posting pictures and talking about LiketoKnow.it. I do! It's a great way to provide your audience with easy access to items that are featured in your photos and blog posts. Everything linked through LiketoKnow.it uses affiliate links, so when products are purchased through those links, the blogger/influencer who posted them receives commission. This is a really big way that a lot of bloggers make a good portion of their income.

There are a ton of other great programs out there, as well as a lot of other ways of getting set up with affiliate links, and often times brands will reach out and offer me affiliate links and codes to use. Again, I ONLY promote things that I 100% genuinely love and think that my audience will love too!

There you have it...the two main ways that I make money as a blogger! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions!

I know some people think it's a bad idea to share tips and how I make money as a blogger with other bloggers...but the way I see it is, the industry is SOO saturated already! There are SOOO many bloggers, that helping NEW bloggers get their footing and find their way isn't a threat...it's women helping women (or men of course!) and when we help each other out, it's a beautiful thing! :)

We should lift each other up, encourage each other, and support one another, because we EACH have something totally unique and wonderful to offer!

Do you have a blog? I'd love to check it out! Leave your link in the comments below! <3

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Recipe Box: Healthy Baby Bars

Happy Monday!

James is turning one year old on Sunday (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??) and we are having a little Birthday party for him. Well...it was going to be little, but somehow we have over twenty people coming now! It will be fun to celebrate our sweet boy with our friends and family!

I am going to be baking James a cake from scratch, and I'm going to be using this recipe. It's all healthy ingredients and has no sugar in it. I make this a lot for James, but usually I cut it into bars for him to have as breakfast or as a snack. For his birthday I will leave it as a cake and I'm going to make a home made icing for it.

Anyways, here is the recipe I use for these healthy baby bars!

Here's What You Need:

  • 5 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of sugar-free applesauce
  • 3 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Here's What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Then, add in the mashed bananas, apple sauce, melted coconut oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Coat a cake pan with cooking oil. Pour the batter into the pan, and place the pan into the oven. Bake for around 20 minutes. Check to see if the cake is done with a toothpick (should come out clean).

Let the cake cool.

Slice into bars, if you'd like, or leave as a cake!

Enjoy!

5 Easy Beauty Hacks

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Hi everyone!

How is your week going? What's new? Have any fun plans that you're looking forward to in the coming weeks? Fill me in! I love hearing from you guys!!

I hope you had a great Fourth of July! Mine was super low-key. Ben, James, and I went to the cabin in Montana over the weekend, which was really fun. We came back Monday night, and Ben had to work on the 4th. James and I spent the day lounging around the house and recovering from the long car ride the day before. James was in bed by 6:30pm, and then Ben and I watched a movie and went to bed early. #parentlife :)

Anyways, I've been wanting to share some easy beauty hacks with you guys. These are things that you can incorporate into your day that will help you to look and FEEL glowing and healthy!

  1. Collagen I have recently started adding a scoop of this collagen into my morning cup of coffee, and also into my afternoon cup of tea. Collagen has SO many benefits, and I'll be doing a whole blog post about it soon, so check back for that, probably next week! Collagen helps to reduce wrinkles, it helps to heal your gut, it helps with joint pain, it's good for your hair, skin, and nails...it's so good. It's such an easy thing to incorporate into your daily routine, and I have seen a major difference since I started using it. I love this one - you can get it here.

  2. Apple Cider Vinegar I love taking an apple cider vinegar shot every morning to help wake up my digestive system. Apple cider vinegar helps with weight loss, it's a mood enhancer, it helps give you energy, it has natural antibiotic properties, it can assist in controlling high blood sugar levels...the list goes on and on! I like this brand (get it here) but any Apple Cider Vinegar WITH THE MOTHER (VERY IMPORTANT TO GET ONE THAT SAYS 'WITH THE MOTHER') will do. I mix about a tablespoon of ACV with about half a cup of pure, natural pineapple juice and a little honey. So good!!

  3. Probiotic Probiotics are good for a NUMBER of reasons. They help with digestive and urinary health, gut health, allergies, stress, immunity...just to name a few things! Taking a probiotic can be ESPECIALLY important for us postpartum mamas. I'll do a blog post about this as well, if you guys would like more information! Let me know. Anyways, definitely talk to your doctor before starting to take any supplements, including a probiotic. I take this one.

  4. Oils I've been battling postpartum hormonal acne for awhile now, and one of the things that has really helped has been using facial oils. I love this one so much! I was sent it complimentary for testing purposes, and I seriously LOVE IT. Get it here. I cleanse my face (morning and night) and then spray it with my Mother Dirt mist (see number 5 below!) and then massage my face with this oil before applying my moisturizer (I use this one). My skin is so much more moisturized and dewy and clear since I've started this regimen. Definitely recommend oils!!

  5. Mother Dirt AO Mist This is a spray that you mist all over your face (and body, if you'd like) that has live bacteria in it (the good kind). The thought is that with all of the cleansers and scrubs that we use in our daily lives, we eliminate the good bacteria from our skin. This spray puts it back. It is said to reduce the need for moisturizers and deodorants, and is made with family-friendly, simple ingredients. I definitely have noticed a difference in my skin since using this. Highly recommend it! Get the Mist here.

What are your ride-or-die beauty hacks? Please share - always looking for new ideas and things to try! :)

Wild Eats: Green Muffin Recipe

These green muffins may look a little scary, but trust me - they taste AMAZING!! They are healthy, easy to make, and a great way to sneak in some greens. ;)

Here's What You Need:

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour
  • 3/4 cup of protein powder (I like Perfect Fit Protein)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of kale
  • 1 tbs of melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk

Here's What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Combine all wet ingredients plus the kale in a blender, and blend until well blended. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil spray, and then pour the batter in. Bake for 20 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Enjoy!

Core Rehab, Part 2

"Is the Core Rehab Program worth the money?"

I get asked this A LOT.

I have shared a lot on the blog and on Instagram about how I had diastasis recti postpartum, as well as my ELATION over finding the Core Rehab Program. You can read about my experience during the first few phases of the program in my Core Rehab, Part 1 post - click here to read it.

To refresh, diastasis recti (abdominal separation) is a SUUUUUUUUPPPPERR common thing that so many women have after pregnancy. The scary thing is that there is a shocking lack of information and awareness about it, and often times it goes un-diagnosed and therefore, untreated. Here is a video you can watch that shows you how to check yourself for diastasis recti postpartum. Additionally, many women who ARE informed that they have it are told that surgery is the only way to repair it, which is NOT TRUE!! The Core Rehab Program helped me to heal my abdominal separation, and it can help you too.

First of all, let me say that this post is not an ad...I just genuinely am so passionate about this program because it seriously helped me to feel SO MUCH BETTER. I also get SO MANY QUESTIONS about my experience with the program, so I KNOW that there are other mamas out there who are interested in learning more and in finding a solution to their postpartum aches, pains, and misalignments. So, now that that is out of the way, let me update you now that I have finished all six phases of the program.

After completing the Core Rehab Program, I have definition in my abs and core, my diastasis recti has all but completely closed up, and I FEEL like my old self...the way I am SUPPOSED to feel.

While recovering post-baby is NOT all about looks or physical appearance, that is important in its own regard. When you like the way that you look, it's good for your head.

And mental recovery is JUST as big a part of the postpartum journey as is physical recovery!

The Core Rehab Program is slow-moving, which at first you don't necessarily feel like you are doing much at ALL. But that is the beauty of it, because Erica Ziel (the creator of the program) breaks it down slowly, step by step and helps you to re-form those deep connections that are needed to rebuild your core and heal abdominal separation the CORRECT and SAFE way.

After finishing the six phases of the program, my core feels strong, toned, and my whole body feels more aligned and centered. My posture is back to how it SHOULD be - pregnancy does a number on your spine, back muscles, neck, etc... and this program walks you through re-training your body into proper alignment. It teaches you how to pick things up properly and safely, protecting your back and abs while doing so. It teaches you how to do squats and arm work safely, how to lie down safely, and eventually, how to do "crunches" and additional work that uses your core.

It can be SO overwhelming, discouraging, and stressful trying to figure out where to begin to help your body heal and recover postpartum. I felt so un-like myself after giving birth and I was worried about my abdominal separation. I didn't know how to go about trying to fix things and heal my core.

The Core Rehab Program gave me to tools, and walked me step by step through it all. It's like Erica is a good friend, holding my hand, and gently guiding me through the process of healing and feeling like myself again.

So, is the program worth the money? In my opinion YES YES YES.  100% yes. Us mamas deserve to feel good postpartum. You deserve to give healing your diastasis recti without surgery a try. If you don't have abdominal separation, then you STILL deserve to re-learn how to properly stand, sit, walk, move in a way that is comfortable, safe, and right.

If you have any questions at all about the program or about my postpartum journey and my experience with diastasis recti, don't hesitate to ask! I'm here!

You can sign up for the Core Rehab Program and learn more about it here. Enrollment for the program closes on May 22nd so don't miss out on being able to sign up if you're interested!!

Guest Post: Essential Oils & How To Use Them

Today, I am so excited to be featuring a guest blog post from my friend, Kristen Suppa! You may remember Kristen from a previous post about the Knocked Up Fitness Core Rehab Program (find that post here).

Kristen is going to be telling us AAAALLL about Essential Oils and their uses, and I am really looking forward to learning more because I'm so curious about oils!

Let's dive right in! Take it away, Kristen!

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Hi! First off, I am so excited to be collaborating with Anna again! We ‘met’ on Instagram through being longtime “tiu girls,” and we both welcomed our baby boys in 2016. :)

For me, that was my second pregnancy and second little man. My older son is going to be 3 late this coming summer, which is crazy, and time is FLYING especially with having a 1 year old along with him! Anna and I previously collaborated here on her blog after we both found and fell in LOVE with Erica Ziel’s postpartum fitness program, Core Rehab… you can read more about me and my pregnancies, birth stories, and my experience with prenatal and postpartum fitness routines here!

 

I just love how uplifting and positive Anna is on her social media and blog, and her and I share a passion for health and wellness for sure. When I first dove into life as an essential oiler ☺ I just knew that I wanted to share what I have been learning about Young Living Oils with Anna! I knew she would totally vibe with this lifestyle that I have discovered and that her readers would be into it too! So, thank you in advance for diving in with us!

 

I figured I would start with a little background about exactly what essential oils are and then delve into how I am using them to support myself in motherhood, in my home, and for my family.  I hope that you enjoy what I have to share, and don’t hestitate to find me on Instagram @well.balanced.home if you ever want to chat!

 

Ok…so exactly what are essential oils?

They are the most powerful part of plants- distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, rinds, herbs...you get the idea…all things natural and organic and here on Earth since the beginning of time ☺

They are mentioned 1100 times directly and indirectly in The Bible and have been used by some of the oldest cultures on Earth.  

The science on the uses is continually growing, and we know that essential oils can provide support for every system in the body- your skeletal system, muscular system, circulatory system, endocrine system (hello Mama hormone support!), respiratory system, and immune system (with a little guy going to preschool soon, I am so thankful for these oils to support his wellness this coming Fall and Winter!)  I love using them to support our emotions, diffusing them in my home, swapping them out depending on our needs at the moment…freshening and purifying the air while I clean (thereby ditching candles and plug-ins that emit some pretty nasty toxins), energizing me in the morning while I start our day, stress relief during a tough day with 2 active toddler boys, sleep encouragement for all of us ;) to name a few…

I thought that this venture of starting my oily business would come with some overwhelm because there are hundreds of oils on Earth and all of this was new to me a few months ago…I thought I had to become an aromatherapist and an expert on it all (Type A over here!)  However, I have learned that you really only need 10-20 oils (plus I highly recommend a diffuser!) to get all of the support I mentioned above.  It really doesn’t have to be complicated, and the whole journey for me has been about learning and having fun! So…here are currently my favorite ways to use them…

 

Happy Mama

We all know that moods can swing during pregnancy and postpartum! Joy, Grapefruit, and Citrus Fresh Oils are such a great, uplifting combo in your diffuser or add 8-10 drops of each in a 10ml roller bottle (filled the rest of the way with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil- I got my carrier oil and my roller bottles on Amazon…aka Mom’s BFF and easiest way to get anything you need!) It is a flowery, citrusy scent that I roll onto my wrists and over my heart when I need a little pick-me-up! The citrus notes make it a good one in the morning, whether I diffuse it in my kitchen during breakfast and while I am doing dishes or roll it on instead of perfume to start the day ☺

The oils are much more potent by themselves than they are in a roller, and I often apply Joy oil, alone, directly onto my heart and wrists, and I immediately feel it working for me.  I do the same with my Stress Away Oil…it came in my Young Living Starter Kit with a roller top…so I can roll it directly onto my neck and shoulders and onto my wrists or bring it with me on-the-go to utilize whenever I need it or when an anxious situation arises…these were my BFF when I hosted Easter dinner! All the Joy oil and all the stress away was applied haha!  

Smelling these oils just helps me stay present and relaxed in the moment!  

I am personally working on being mindful and intentional during this season of my life, and my oils have been a huge source of support for me in working on that.  I wish I had found them sooner and used them during my pregnancies and labors!

 

Tired Mama

My Dream roller is EVERYTHING to me right now…it is my all time favorite combination that I have tried… Lavender and Frankincense.

Frankincense aka Frank is referred to as the “coconut oil” of EOs because it has over 50 uses…this is a sacred oil that is referred to frequently in scripture and is very useful during yoga and meditation to help you connect spiritually.

I roll it onto my wrists and bottoms of my feet before bed…it helps me unwind and feel grounded and I fall asleep and stay asleep…if I do wake in the night, I apply it again and I fall right back to sleep.  

Lavender is probably the essential oil you’re most familiar with…it is super popular, reminds me of being in a spa, and has so so many uses! I use a few drops into my Epsom salt baths too, and I sleep like a rock!

 

Active Mama

Being a “tiu girl” or “tiu mama” really at this point, like Anna, I LOVE working out! It is so helpful for me…mind, body, and spirit.  I have been using their Cool Azul cream on my sore muscles, and it is AMAZING!

If my neck and shoulders are tense from picking up my guys all day and not getting a chance to sit down, I apply this to my neck and shoulders before doing housework or cooking and it makes all of the difference in how I feel!

Young Living also has a Vitality Collection of Oils now, which are therapeutic-grade (as are all of their oils) but these Vitality Oils are dietary oils, meaning you can ingest them, as well as diffuse them and apply them topically like the regular line of oils.

To encourage myself to drink more water (a constant struggle for me!) I have been adding the peppermint, lime (reminds me of a margarita!), or lemon vitality oils to my water (be sure to only use the oils in glass and not plastic…or if you’re a tiu girl, then you probably have a stash of mason jars you can make your water in!)

They can help with digestion and give you more energy during a workout!

You can also cook with the vitality line of oils- make your chicken or fish lemon, rosemary, or basil flavored with a drop of oil…I recently read that Kristin Cavallari is a huge fan of Young Living and their Vitality Oils, and The Laguna Beach fan in me got super excited haha! Another oil I use from my starter kit after working out is PanAway…the smell reminds me of root beer, and I love how it soothes my muscles after a workout!

 

Take Care, Mama

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am a HUGE proponent for self-care for Moms!

The days are long, and I make sure to take time to care for myself each day or night, whether that’s doing a face mask where I add tea tree oil for my acne-prone skin (it is antibacterial and antifungal and I can just feel it working!)…or more recently, I have started dry brushing my skin in the morning if I can squeeze in a shower (a Mama luxury!)…I have been applying Cedarwood Oil to my dry brush and dry brushing before I get into the shower to wake up my lymph system and energize me for the day ahead!

There are so many DIY recipes (i.e. go down the Pinterest rabbithole ☺) for using your oils for skin and body care.  My best friend who is also on this oily journey with me made me a peppermint body scrub and body butter for Christmas that was AH-mazing plus all organic and toxin-free! You can make some awesome handmade gifts! 

Now onto the little ones!

Young Living has a whole line of Kid’s Oils to take the guesswork out of what is best to use on them!  SleepyIze (praise hands!), SniffleEase, TummyGize, and Owie are their Kids’ Line Oils.

However, I have had success with using my regular oils on my little guys safely diluted with coconut oil and with great results! Gentle Baby is a wonderful smelling oil that I diffuse before bedtime- it is calming and soothing for both babies and Mamas, or I dilute a drop of Gentle Baby (or Lavender) in a couple of pumps of my carrier oil and massage their feet and backs during our bedtime routine.

I have made a gum massage oil combo while my littlest was teething with 1-3 drops of Copaiba Vitality oil and a tablespoon of coconut oil.  I have also made a Lullaby Room Spray for their bedding using Gentle Baby, Cedarwood, and Lavender Essential Oils in a glass spray bottle with a bit of witch hazel and distilled water. Anything to set the stage for good sleep, right?!

The uses really are endless, and Young Living has loads of supplements and vitamins infused with essential oils as well. I have recently added a Super B supplement to support my hypothyroid and skin issues and to support positive moods and cognitive function (aka it helps my “mom brain” ☺) I have added the Thieves Household Cleaner, fruit and veggie spray, and dish soap to my home as well.  

Knowing that I can clean without introducing toxins and endocrine disruptors into my household…after downloading the ThinkDirty app, this gives me tremendous peace of mind! I am cost-conscious, so I am not biting off more than I can chew.

Little by little as my personal care items like my toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, laundry and dish detergent run out, I will most certainly be ditching them and switching to Young Living’s products.  I am all about simplifying life these days, and I promise, none of this has to be complicated.  

These products are fun to learn about, smell amazing, and are safe for everyone in your home.  The Young Living Starter Kit comes with the diffuser and 11 of the most popular oils plus lots of samples and is the easiest way to get started…bundled together, it ends up being 50% off the regular prices and 24% off of all future purchases (whether or not you choose to pursue the business side or just use them for yourself).

But I am also happy to offer an extra incentive to Anna’s readers who purchase a starter kit (using my member #10680771)…this would be such a great Mother’s Day gift to give or receive!  

There is also an option to start with a couple of oils at regular retail pricing too if there are certain oils or products that you want to try for you or your little ones! I would love to connect with you on Instagram or via email at kristensuppa@gmail.com to help if you have any specific questions about the areas of your life that you are looking to support!

...

Thank you SO much, Kristen! I learned so much from this, and I hope that all of you reading it took away some real value and knowledge as well!

Be sure to comment below with any questions or comments! Do you use essential oils in your home? What are your favorite ways to use them?

 

 

How To Be Happy: Lessons From My Son

His little face is still all chapped from his cold, but I lovelovelove these photos of my sweet, blue-eyed boy. James is such a joy - always smiling his big, bright-eyed, tooth-y (he has FIVE teeth now!) grin that lights up the room, as well as the hearts of everyone who sees him. He is a happy baby...people tell us that everywhere we go. He loves life and loves people and just always has so much fun, no matter what we are doing.

It's contagious!

Watching my happy, cheerful, bright baby boy, I can't help but admire his optimism and joy. I want to capture some of it and infuse it into my own life.

Everything is new and interesting and exciting and wondrous to baby James. As we grow and have more and more experiences, some of that newness and wonder unavoidably and inevitably fades away. We discover that, along with the amazing and fun and beautiful, life also holds many unpleasant things. We learn what it means to feel pain, betrayal, disappointment, and fear. We become disillusioned, losing that innocence, blind trust, and curiosity.

But watching James, I see that he is the perfect example of how to be happy. Here are some things that I've learned from my son:

  • Try new things, new foods, new places, new activities. Step outside of your comfort zone - new things challenge us, thrill us, scare us, and teach us. We grow mentally and physically by doing new things. The mundane can be depressing, discouraging, boring...no growth takes place there.
    But to try something new...that is what puts the excitement in life. That is the adventure of it.

  • Trust. Dare to trust. Dare to give people the benefit of the doubt. With age comes wisdom and intuition and good judgement. Use those. But also, try to let your guard down and trust. Take a leap of faith.
    Time can harden our hearts...try to let yours soften and see what happens.

  • Ask for help. When James wants a toy that he can not reach on his own, or when he wants to go somewhere that he can't get to, he turns to me and makes it clear that he would like help. He has no pride that gets in the way of receiving help when he needs it. Our pride often stands between us and our goals, and at times, even our needs. We become so intent on independence and self-sufficiency, which are important things, without a doubt. But it is also important to recognize the times when we would be better off and more successful by asking for help. There is no shame in acknowledging that we can not or should not do something on our own.

  • Appreciate the little things. My son takes such pleasure from the very littlest of things. Tickles on his tummy, a funny sounding voice, a silly word, birds chirping, a squirrel standing on a path, splashing water, a spoon banging a pot, his dog licking his face... watching him giggle and experience SO MUCH GENUINE JOY from the simplest of things makes my heart swell and yearn to be so easily HAPPY. We should remember that happiness, joy, and grace can be found in the little things...the things and events and items and experiences that maybe we have come to take for granted.
    Try to be consciously and intentionally grateful for the little things.

  • Show more affection. Cuddles, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses, gentle caresses of the face and arms and chest, a warm bright smile, holding hands...these signs of affection are second-nature to James. He shows his love so openly and so honestly. That kind of love is so rare. Life lends itself to heart-ache and each of us has - or will probably - experience betrayal, hurt-feelings, or heartbreak at some point. Experiences train us to be guarded with our emotions and with our feelings. We hold back, even at times when maybe what we should really do is rush into someone's arms and give them a big smile and kiss. Sometimes it is right to be unashamedly in love, enamored, and infatuated. Sometimes we need to cuddle, to touch, and to openly, genuinely adore...in all of the vulnerability that that entails.

My son is honest, kind, grateful, curious, loving, vulnerable, trusting, and brave. He has so much joy and happiness in his heart, and he has already, in his short little 8 months of life, been the greatest teacher I have ever known.

How To Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

My Sweater: Nordstrom

This will be James' first Easter and I was SO excited to dye Easter eggs with him! I was interested in finding a way to naturally dye the eggs rather than using the store bought dye kits. I played around with some ingredients, and I am really happy with the results! The eggs turned out beautifully, and James was so intrigued by how colorful they are! :)

Also, his poor little face is chapped in these pictures because he has a cold and his face is so dry from having to wash it and wipe it off so much. Poor baby! But, he is almost all better...it's the tail end of the cold. It is the HARDEST THING EVER when your baby is sick. I just want to make him feel all better. :(

Anyways, here is how to naturally dye easter eggs:

Ingredients

Brown and white hard-boiled eggs - the brown eggs will come out a lot darker and different shades of the colors, so it's fun to do brown AND white! 

For pink:

2 cups of water + 2 cups of chopped up beets + a couple tablespoons of vinegar

For orange:

2 cups of the peels of yellow onions + enough water to fully cover + a few tablespoons of vinegar

For yellow:

2 cups of water + 1 tablespoon of turmeric + a couple tablespoons of vinegar

Here's What You Do:

Bring each set of ingredients (minus the eggs and the vinegar) to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for about a half hour. The longer you let the ingredients simmer, the more concentrated and darker the dye will be.

Remove each set of dye from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Strain the dye and then pour it into bowls or mason jars. Add the vinegar to each bowl of dye.

Add the hard-boiled eggs to the dye and let them soak until they reach the desired color. The longer they soak in the dye, the darker and more vivid the colors will be.

That's it! I hope you have fun trying out these natural ingredients for your Easter eggs! :)

Spring Style Formula

Top: Tobi (courtesy of)// Shorts: oneteaspoon // Sandals: Sole Society // Bag: My own, but I also love this and this

Despite the fact that these pictures were taken in between downpours of rain, Spring is, in fact here! That means that it is time for some new wardrobe staples!

This Spring, you need an off-the-shoulder top, a good pair of shorts, a pair of sandals, and a big, colorful tote for all of your warm-weather adventures.

These pieces are an easy formula for a stylish and effortlessly cool Spring-time look. Mix and match different tops, shorts, bags, and shoes for a fashionable and seasonally appropriate outfit. Below are a few pieces that I am loving right now. You can shop each piece by clicking the photo.

Enjoy!

At Home Date Night Ideas

As any new parent can attest, getting out of the house -without the kids- for a date with your significant other can be hard! Not only can it be difficult logistically, what with securing child care, etc... but it can be very difficult emotionally as well.

Since James has been born, Ben and I have gone out on a few date days. We have done date days rather than nights because we like to be home for James' bed time routine. Although my mom is learning the bedtime routine so we'll be able to get out for a date night here soon! We're fortunate to live by family now that we live in Washington again, so we always have someone to watch James for us. But honestly, what we've found to be a more realistic and, in some ways, more enjoyable option as far as a date goes is at home date nights!

At home date nights are dates that can be enjoyed right from the comfort of your own home after your little ones have gone to bed. Ben and I have these AAAALLL the time! It's such a great way to get in quality time together sans children and to be able to reconnect and have fun just the two of you.

I love being able to spend time really focusing on Ben and having conversations and doing fun things, all while knowing that our baby boy is safe upstairs. Don't get me wrong, going OUT for a date is FUN and I really really enjoy Ben's and my dates! But I also like the option of being able to do a date spur of the moment, all while being close by James if he needs us.

Here are a few fun at home date night ideas:

  • Cook dinner together.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Sit by the fire and chat.
  • Play board games.
  • Read together.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Plan a trip together.
  • Have your own beer (or wine, or whiskey) tasting - try all different kinds.
  • Make a fun, new appetizer.
  • Listen to new music.
  • Dance - around the kitchen, by the fire, wherever.
  • Light candles.
  • Make a blanket fort.
  • Watch the sunset together.
  • Do at-home yoga together.
  • Paint together.
  • Have an ice cream night.
  • Karaoke - pull up songs on YouTube and take turns singing (not TOO loudly, if you have sleeping kids ;))
  • Give each other massages.
  • Lay out a blanket and watch the stars.
  • Take a bath together.
  • Shop for houses online together.

What are some of your favorite at home date ideas?? I'd love to hear! We're always looking for new ideas. :)

What To Wear To A Wedding

 Dress:   ASTR   // Shoes:   Steve Madden

Dress: ASTR // Shoes: Steve Madden

Recently, Ben, James, and I traveled to Minnesota for the wedding of two of our close friends. It was so fun celebrating their marriage - I LOVE weddings!!

This year is packed full of weddings! I'm not sure what happened, but we've barely had any weddings to go to - like, maybe four or five over the course of the ten years that Ben and I have been together. But this year alone there are five!! Crazy and so fun.

If I'm being honest, one of my favorite parts of weddings is getting to dress up (and seeing Ben all dressed up too - he always looks so handsome!).

It's so fun to pick out the perfect outfit for each wedding and this year, as I said, I have plenty of opportunities for this!

Here are a few outfits that I am LOVING right now and that would be so perfect to wear to any weddings that you might be headed to this year!

This dress is the same one I wore in this post, and it is SO comfortable and even more beautiful in person!! It also comes in this pretty blue color.

Do you have any weddings coming up this year? What are you planning on wearing?

Romantic Braid Tutorial

Top: ILY Couture //

This is one of my very favorite hairstyles these days! It's very easy to do, once you get the hang of it. Plus, it keeps my hair out of my face when I'm playing with James! It is just really really feminine and pretty and I always get compliments when I wear my hair like this. I think it is PERFECT for Valentine's Day or a date night!

1. Part your hair on one side, and swoop all of your hair over the opposite shoulder.

2. Start french braiding your hair up at the top by your part. Continue the french braid until you're at your ear.

3. Start adding in hair from the opposite side by grabbing sections and bringing them around into the french braid. You can play around with how big of sections you use for different looks.

4. Tie off your braid with an elastic, and then gently pull the braid apart to give that big, messy look. Again, you can play around with this. Go crazy for a chunky, bed-head look, or leave tighter for a sleek and tidy braid.

There you have it! Be sure to tag me in your pictures if you try this braid - I'd love to see how it turns out!

Wild Eats: Cupid's Arrow Fruit Skewers

Looking for a fun, light, fruity snack that you can serve up for Valentine's Day?? Well, look no further! These fruit skewers are a pretty hors d'oeuvres, perfect for a festive party!

Here's What You Need:

1 Watermelon

1 Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter

Blueberries

Wooden Skewers

Here's What You Do:

Slice up the watermelon and use the heart shaped cookie cutter to cut the watermelon into hearts. Alternate sliding the hearts and the blueberries onto the skewer sticks. Then, slice the green rind of the watermelon into little strips. Slide them onto the end of the skewers as the fletching at the end, making the skewers into Cupid's Arrows!

Serve up and enjoy!

What are your favorite healthy Valentine's Day recipes?

5 Minute Makeup Routine

I think we'd all agree that, while it can be fun to spend a half hour on achieving the perfect makeup look SOMETIMES, there are days when you need a look that is a bit faster to achieve. Now, add in the whole "mom-factor" and the need for a quick and easy makeup routine is multiplied by 1,000. AmIRight??

That's why I have perfected this 5 minute makeup routine!

It uses minimal products and requires minimal effort...and the end results are very put together and lovely...which is a win! Basically this makeup looks like you spent much longer on it than you actually did.

I shot this quickly one morning while I was sitting on the living room floor getting ready. James was doing tummy time in his Dock-A-Tot and watching me. He thought the whole thing was pretty weird and funny. haha

So, that is proof for all of you other mamas out there that this makeup routine is PERFECT for whipping up real quick during a nap or when you have a few spare minutes while your child plays.

Here we go:

First, start with a clean face. I like to apply a tinted moisturizer with SPF (usually this one), followed by my favorite primer (this one). I also like this one A LOT.

Next, I apply a couple of pumps of this MAGICAL CC cream all over my face, blending it down into my neck. I then apply this cream blush to the apples of my cheeks and blend it up along my cheek bones.

I just use my fingers for all of this when I'm in a rush. If I were spending more time on my makeup, I would use a Beauty Blender.

This blush has been my go-to for years. I love how it's so creamy and dewy. I'm ALL about the dewy looking skin. Plus, it's very easy to apply and blend.

Next, we'll move to the eyes - in my opinion the MOST important part of any look. I take my eye makeup VERY seriously, haha. I love dark, dramatic, long lashes and a good cat eye.

First, I'll apply a light shade of eye shadow all over my lids and brow bones. Then, I'll go into the crease and apply a light swipe of a slightly darker shade. This palette is the one I've been using lately and it's great! Plus, it's very affordable!

Then I apply my eye liner. I've started only applying it to the upper lash line - NOT the lower. This helps my eyes look more bright and open. I do a cat eye on top. I like this eye liner the best right now.

Then, MASCARA. If I had to pick one thing to take with me to a deserted island, I might just pick mascara. As you can see, my eyelashes are BLONDE, and therefore basically invisible. haha So I LOVE mascara and feel so naked without it.

This one is my current favorite. I also really really LOVE this one!

Don't mind the smudgey finger prints all over the tube... haha

*sigh of relief* There! Eyelashes!

Next up, LIPS. Mine are (clearly) so dry and flaky this time of year. I really love this lip color because it moisturizes while giving great color.

Ta-da! DONE!

I hope you liked this quick tutorial! This is my go-to every day makeup routine, and I get a lot of questions about it, so I'm really excited to finally be able to share it with you all!

Let me know what you think, and tag me (@tiugirlanna)  in any pictures of you with this makeup look after you try it!

Wild Eats: Healthy Valentine's Day Truffles

Valentine's Day is such a sweet holiday, that it would practically be a crime to not indulge in some sweet treats!

I love coming up with healthy treat alternatives. Remember this Valentine's Day fruit salad from last year??

This year, I'm sharing a recipe that is SO easy, SOOOO chocolatey, and SO yummy. And it is relatively healthy too! It's a perfect option if you need something decadent to indulge in!

Here's What You Need:

1 ripe avocado

3/4 cups of dark chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon

cocoa powder

Here's What You Do:

First, mash up the avocado in a medium sized bowl. Then, melt the dark chocolate chips (you can use the microwave for this, or the stove top. I prefer the stove top.) Once the chocolate is melted and creamy, pour it into the bowl with the avocado and mix the two ingredients together well. Add in the vanilla and cinnamon and mix. Then, place the mixture into the fridge for a half hour or so. You want the mixture to cool and harden.

Once the mixture is hardened, remove it from the fridge. Form the mixture into balls. You can make the balls as big or as small as you'd like. Then, roll the balls in the cocoa powder, and voila!

Serve and enjoy!

Mommy Monday: Flying With An Infant

Happy Monday!

As you know, we recently traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii. It was our first time flying with James, and Ben and I were more than a little nervous. (James was 5 1/2 months, FYI.) The flight to Hawaii is around six hours long and we were scared that it would potentially be six hours of James screaming his head off. We didn't want to be those people on the flight - you know, the people with the screaming baby. We also didn't want our little guy to be uncomfortable. It's the worst when you hear those poor screaming babies on airplanes and you just know that they are in pain from the pressure changes and their ears popping. :(

We did some research online about flying with babies, and I also called James' pediatrician and asked for any tips. The main thing that we picked up was to feed James during take off and landing to help his ears pop. And also to ignore any rude people on the flight. ;) We also packed a lot of different types of toys for him to play with while we were in the air.

James did great in the airport as we went through security and as we got situated on the plane. We checked his car seat at the gate which was handy. But, we realized that we might as well have checked it before going through security because it was just an extra thing to lug around through the airport with us and we didn't need it for James because he prefers to be held in our arms anyways. So, on the way home, we checked our car seat before going through security and it was SO MUCH BETTER.

We also didn't check any bags on the flight over. Ben and I always try to travel with just carry-ons and not check any bags. When we flew to France last year, we did it all with carry-ons, but then on the way home we checked bags and it was way easier. Same thing happened with this trip to Hawaii. We carried on all of our bags for the flight over, but on the way home we checked a bag along with the car seat and it was such a better experience.

Lesson number one for traveling with an infant: check bags AND check the car seat BEFORE going through security. Make it as easy on yourself as possible and don't have too many things to carry. Just carry-on the bare minimum. Juggling bags, a car seat, PLUS a baby is just more trouble than necessary.

Take off went great. I fed James his bottle and then he played nicely with some of his toys. He took a few little cat-naps on my lap. But, honestly, the flight over to Hawaii was ROUGH. We were absolutely those people. haha Our flight left in the morning - around 10am I think. We thought that would be a good idea because James would be awake but then he would take his usual naps at around 10 (when we took off), noon, and three. But no. He barely slept at all. There was too much going on and too much newness for him to sleep. Ben spent a good portion of the flight walking up and down the aisles of the plane with James in his arms. As soon as they would sit down again, James would cry. Poor little guy.

During landing, James was crying too much to eat so he wasn't a happy camper. Luckily, the people on our flight were nice and we didn't have any rude people. The flight attendants were so sweet too. And Ben and I were able to laugh about it and keep a good attitude, although it was a very stressful experience and we basically swore off ever traveling with James again until he was a teenager. haha

Lesson number two for traveling with an infant: feed your baby during take off and landing to help his ears pop. You can also give a pacifier. The idea is just to get that sucking and swallowing motion going.

Needless to say, Ben and I were DREAAADING the flight home. This time, our flight left at around 3:00pm (Hawaiian time, which was 5:00pm to James...his bedtime is between 5:30pm and 6:00pm). You guys...NIGHT. AND. DAY. I'm not sure if it was because of the time of day, or because he had already flown before, or what...but he didn't cry at all the entire flight. He was so happy the whole time, playing with his books and toys, and he actually ended up sleeping the majority of the flight!

My theory is that it was his bed time, so he played a bit and then went to sleep. It was such a relief! The flight home was a dream, haha. So, now Ben and I are willing to try flying with a baby again. Which is great, because we have quite a few trips planned that involve flying.

Lesson number three for traveling with an infant: plan flights during the hours that your baby usually sleeps.

The flight over was rough, but the flight home couldn't have gone better, so I count that whole experience of flying with an infant for the first time a win! And as with all things as a first time mom, I learned A LOT.

Lesson number four for traveling with an infant: keep a sense of humor!

I am only minorly afraid to fly with James again, haha, but overall I'm optimistic!  I think even if he is upset on a flight in the future, it will be fine as long as Ben and I keep a sense of humor! Being able to laugh about the situation makes the world of a difference! And having a partner there to help out and share soothing duties with is so so so nice! I have a whole new appreciation for Ben - he is SUCH an amazing, caring dad.

Lesson number five for traveling with an infant: bring a variety of toys to keep your baby occupied.

I hope this was helpful for any of you other parents out there who are nervous about flying with a baby for the first time! As Ben and I fly more with James, I'll update this and let you know of any new tricks that we figure out. Also, I'd love to hear any other tips that those of you with experience have!

DIY Holiday Stove Top Scent

Ready for an easy, simple DIY holiday trick?? Make your home smell AMAZING and create this fun stove top scent! I whipped this up the other day when James and I were having a cozy day at home, and I kept saying, "James, it smells SO GOOD in here!" and he just kept smiling at me with his cute little toothless grin. He probably thinks I'm crazy, because I yap away at him AAAALLL day long. But he chats back, so he must enjoy it!

Anyways, whether you are having guests over, or you're just hanging out around the house, this is such a yummy smelling trick that you should definitely give a try.

Here's What You Need:

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 orange
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • a big pot
  • water

Here's What You Do:

Fill a pot with water and place it on the stove. Bring the water to a boil. Slice up an orange and add the slices, the cinnamon, and the bay leaves into the boiling water. Stir well and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer and enjoy the aroma!

If you try this, let me know how you like it!