new mama must-haves

There are a million things new mamas need regarding the baby, breast feeding, physical recovery, etc., but we also need a little #selfcare too. Yep, I’m talking about good old fashioned vanity products to make us feels a little bit better about ourselves. A few weeks ago, I had a hair appointments scheduled that I was this close to cancelling because I didn’t want to leave Emerson for that many hours. One of my sweet followers reminded me that a happy mom equals a happy baby. Did I have to get my hair highlighted? No. But did it make me feel a little bit more like my old self and put a little pep in my step? Absolutely. It got me thinking about how even though our sweet babes comes first, we can take a few minutes or buy a few items to make us feel good and in turn, be the best mamas we can be. Check out my handful of must-haves that have done wonders for me!

1.    Monat Revive Shampoo & Conditioner: This has been a game changer. My hairstylist of 8 years, Brenda Kovar, has been using these products on me in the salon for about a year now, but I never bought any to use at home. My postpartum hair was the push I needed to start using these products all the time. It was dry, breaking and had a ton of static… not good.  It hasn’t started falling out yet, but I am hoping that Monat prevents that from happening. After 1 month of using it exclusively, Monat has made my hair stronger, softer and shinier. Love so far!

2.    Fountain of Truth Dream Cream Overnight Repair Mask: Like my post partum hair, my skin has completely changed #hormones.  I went from having slightly oily skin to completely dry and flakey skin. Some of that may be due to the changing seasons, but I think it’s mostly my hormones going crazy.  That, combined with lack of sleep, led to a hot mess situation on my face.  I really love this cream because it’s the perfect amount of moisture and totally awakens my skin.  It’s brighter and dewey instead of dull and flakey.  Highly recommend! Go G!

3.    Natori Plush Velour Robe:  I pretty much live in my robe and/or yoga pants every day so I figured I might as well splurge a little since I’m spending so much time in it!  This one is so soft and cozy (but doesn’t get too hot!) and I know Emmie loves to snuggle on it and fall asleep while I’m holding her (which is the only time she naps btw). 

4.    St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse: Probably the most vain of all the products listed here, but this self tanner always makes me feel a little better.  Let’s face it, I don’t get out much these days and I certainly am not enjoying the sunshine. Plus, protecting our skin from the sun is very important so this safe self tanner is s go-to for me. It doesn’t smell as bad as other I have used in the past and it gives a perfect natural glow (no orange streaks!).  

5.    Zella High Wasted Leggings: See #3 Robe… LOL.  Like I said, lots of time being spent in robes and yoga pants these days. I really like these because the high waste offers extra support and sucks me in a little (in a good, gentle way). 

6.    Esarora Ice Roller: This is a steal at only $13!  The popular Jade roller is over $50 and this one works just as well if not better! This brightens up my skin and also helps with my headaches due to sleep deprivation and changing hormones. I keep mine in the freezer at all times – love!

7.    The Organic Pharmacy Skin Brush: My skin has been so dry postpartum and this scrub brush has been a great exfoliator. It is also great for circulation and the bristles aren’t too rough or painful. This is another steal at only $15!

8.    Ugg Slippers: See #3 and #5. These are worth every penny and will last you for years! Perfect house slippers.

9.    Slipsilk Silk Pillowcase: I know this seems kind of ridiculous and it’s quite pricey, but honestly, it’s the best. New mamas are barely getting any sleep as it is, so might as well make those few precious hours / minutes / seconds be the best ever. 

10.  Quay Sunglasses: Dark circles and no time or desire to put on eye makeup make these a must have. Plus, they’re only $50 and a totally dupe for $400 Celines!

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Posted on December 4, 2018 .

Welcome Emerson <3

This isn’t the photo I ever imagined posting, but it’s my most treasured photo of my life so far. This was taken 9 hours after Emerson was born when we were finally reunited in the NICU after we were quickly separated in the labor and delivery room after a few short minutes together. It’s not at all what we planned.  I thought we would be smiling for the camera as a family, looking fresh and joyful in a brightly lit hospital room like so many photos we’ve all seen here on this platform.  I didn’t get to wear the beautiful floral Plum Pretty Sugar robe I carefully picked out.  Emerson wasn’t wrapped in her personalized swaddle and matching hat I ordered months in advance on Etsy.  This wasn’t taken on our fully charged-up Canon camera, but rather on my husbands iPhone that was wrapped tightly in a plastic bag as required by the NICU to prevent germs from being exposed to these sick little babies. No, none of this was part of the plan.  But it’s the plan that was in store for us. It’s Emmie’s story and it’s our family’s story and there’s so much beauty in that. Today I’m thinking about all the families who didn’t have a happy ending and for those who still have sick babies in the NICU. Those 7 days felt like an eternity to us and going home from the hospital for the first time without our girly was enormously painful. I’ll never forget that car ride with my husband or the tears we cried when we walked through the door of our house without her. I still can’t think or talk about it without crying and I don’t know that I ever will. So many families go through the same thing every single day for months at a time and some don’t come home at all which is just unimaginable. We love this peanut so much and wouldn’t change her story for anything.

Posted on October 26, 2018 .

My Baby Shower

I'm so excited to share my baby shower with you guys!  It was such an amazing day that I will treasure in my heart forever.  As a wedding and event planner, I couldn't help but start thinking about the design of my shower the moment I found out I was having a girl.  With the help of my wonderful, talented friend Fayaz of Bloom Box Designs (he also designed our wedding!), we came up with a darling French garden theme, complete with a lush flower cart.  The room smelled heavenly and I still dream about those fluffy peonies!  Fig & Olive is one of our favorite restaurants so it was an easy choice to select it as our venue.  We played sweet, simple games that were tucked into a blush folder alongside our custom menus created by my friend Heather of River & Bridge.  My mom is the hostess with the mostest and there were so many sweet details everywhere thanks to her.  Emmie and I are so blessed by her love and generosity already.  I'm so grateful for all of the love and support from all of the ladies who came to shower us, as well as all of you with your kind messages the past 9 months.  We can't wait to meet our sweet Emerson in just a few short weeks! 

Dress: Flynn Skye | Shoes: Leith | Earrings: BaubleBar

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thank you to these amazing creatives:

Floral Designer: Bloom Box Designs | Photographer: Alicia Mink Photography | Paper Goods: River & Bridge | Venue: Fig & Olive Newport Beach | Hair & Makeup: Beauty by Melina | Chairs & Charger Plates: Chiavari Chair Rentals | Linens: La Tavola

Posted on August 27, 2018 .

first trimester recap

I’m well into my second trimester now and wanted to share all of the ins and outs of my first trimester with all of you!  I was so blown away by the response from our pregnancy announcement. In a weird way it feels like I have grown up with a lot of you who have followed me since I first began as Giuliana’s assistant at E! when I was just 22. You saw me get engaged, married and now… BABY time!  I’m so grateful for all of the excitement, love and support from everyone and can’t wait to share snippets of this time with you.  I’ll be covering the majority of the questions people have asked me so far below, but if there’s anything I miss that you want to hear about, let me know in the comments!

Mink Photography

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WHEN ARE YOU DUE?

September 19th… Bryce’s birthday is September 23rd so he is hoping we are a little late so he can share his birthday.  I gotta be honest... I’m definitely not hoping we are late. Ha!

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE HAVING YET?

We do! This has been such a hard secret to keep! Stay tuned for our gender reveal soon! 

DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS?

Don’t hate me, but I had ZERO morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, etc.  I’ve heard some people say that they actually lost weight during their first trimester because they were so sick, but not the case for me.  My mom didn’t have any of those symptoms with her pregnancies either. I’m not sure if it’s 100% genetic, but I thanked her anyway for passing that on to me!

HOW MUCH WEIGHT HAVE YOU GAINED?

Well, this is a tricky question because I found out I was pregnant shortly after the holidays. From the day I found out I was pregnant to now, I have gained 6 lbs.  But that’s on top of the 3-5 lbs I gained over the holidays oops! 

DO YOU HAVE ANY CRAVINGS YET?

I don’t have any really strong cravings yet, but I do seem to want chips and dip a lot. But that’s sort of normal for me even pre-preggo.  

HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR DIET?

I’ve definitely changed my diet.  I used to be the type to skip breakfast or not really pay attention to how many processed foods I was eating, but now I am definitely on top of that.  I’m eating way more than I ever have and always start my day with organic oatmeal with chia seeds and blueberries or scrambled egg whites with spinach.  Making a healthy breakfast has for sure been my biggest change. I’ve always been good about drinking lots of water, but I’ve increased that as well.  I love this water bottle by Hydro Flask. It helps me keep track of exactly how much water I am drinking and I know I need to finish at least two a day (and before 8:00PM so I’m not up all night going to the bathroom!).  I also of course take prenatal vitamins as well to make sure the baby is getting all of the nutrients it needs.  I really like the VitaFusion PreNatal Gummies because I hate swallowing pills, but everyone is different and if you have any questions about prenatal vitamins it’s best to talk to your doctor.

HOW ARE YOU FEELING?

That’s a loaded question…

PHYSICALLY: Physically, I had a relatively easy first trimester.  Like I mentioned, I didn’t have any nausea or vomiting, but I was completely exhausted.  My energy has come back quite a bit recently, but I honestly felt like a walking zombie throughout most of the first trimester.  I was asleep by 8:30PM almost every night, but even though I was so tired I woke up every night like clockwork at 3:00AM wide awake. I could not turn my brain off!  It was so frustrating to be so exhausted, but not be able to sleep.  I’m enjoying better sleep now, but I know the insomnia will surely return later on in my pregnancy.  

MENTALLY & EMOTIONALLY: The mental and emotional changes I have experienced have by far been the most challenging.  Fear and anxiety are normal emotions when you are newly pregnant, but I was having a really hard time with anxiety and sadness before I found out I was pregnant.  Shortly before we found out we are having a baby, our perfect, sweet, one-of-a-kind dog passed away suddenly.  She had a heart murmur since birth and we knew it would become more complicated as she got older, but we certainly were not prepared to lose her so soon.  Yes, she was almost 10 years old, but she wasn’t sick or declining in health at all and all dog parents know that 100 years wouldn’t be long enough.  I cried and cried for hours every day. Working from home felt like torture, the emptiness suffocating.  There’s just no way to describe how awful it was (and still is). She was my first baby who was with me through the most important years of my life thus far. I was in the apex of sadness when I found out I was pregnant and that of course brought on a whole new set of emotions.  Happy, scared and yes, even more anxious.  The first week or two are a blur of excitement, doctor visits, book-buying and app downloading.  I was distracted from my grief, but not for long.  As I mentioned above, insomnia was my worst symptom in my first trimester and with insomnia comes spiraling thoughts about anything and everything all night long.  Being awake and alone for hours on end every night led me to constantly think about our dog and I kept reliving things about when she passed away over and over again. I thought about happy memories too, but that is just as painful.  I realized I was sweeping my grief under the rug because “I shouldn’t be sad right now… this should be the happiest time of my life!” But it just wasn’t.  We were missing a piece of our family.  I realized that it’s ok to be sad about losing our dog and still be happy about our baby. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.  I was so worried that being sad and grieving for our other loss would be bad for the health of the baby growing inside me, I wasn’t allowing myself to continue to grieve and that’s such an unhealthy way to live.  I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack and be compassionate towards ourselves, pregnant or not.  I still cry every day and I probably will for a long time, but that’s okay. It does get better over time, but will never be the same.  Taking long walks, listening to relaxing music and daily devotionals have helped.  I really don’t like yoga – never have – so before you ask, no I haven’t tried that.  We conceived one month to the day after our pup passed away and I don’t think that was a coincidence. I’m a believer that we have guardian angels in all shapes, sizes and breeds!  Sometimes we just need to sit back and trust the timing of our lives. 

Thank you again for all of the sweet messages and support! XO

Posted on April 17, 2018 .

oh baby!

Mink Photography

Dress: Lovers + Friends | Heels: Sole Society | Earrings: Kendra Scott 

WE'RE HAVING A BABY! We are so excited and feeling so blessed to be welcoming a little babe into our family this September. I had a relatively easy first trimester (no nausea or morning sickness at all - phew!) with the exception of many sleepless nights and a lot of worrying and anxiety (that hasn't gone away), but more on that later.  I'm trying to savor and enjoy every moment of this journey with Bryce by my side.  Ahhh! It still doesn't feel real! 

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Posted on April 3, 2018 .

#nsale shoe guide

It's no secret that shoes are the absolute best value at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I got a few pairs of boots and sneaks (check back to see how I wear them!).  Now I just need colder weather - it's 90 degrees and I want to wear my new boots! Ha! Happy shoe shopping!

Boots

booties

flats & slides

sneaks

Posted on July 21, 2017 .

my #nsale picks

Christmas in July... I mean.. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here! It always comes at just the right time, as I am daydreaming off Fall sweaters and jackets while melting in the 90 degree summer weather.  There is SO much good stuff this year (as always!) and I selected my favorites and have them mapped out for you below. Happy shopping!!

tops

sweaters

jackets

denim

Posted on July 20, 2017 .

Off-the-shoulder romper love

ROMPER: 'Margot' by Vagabond from Van De Vort (only $51!) | BOOTIES: Jeffrey Campbell 'Cromwell'| BAG: St. Xavier 'Zara' | SUNGLASSES: Celine from OPTX RI | JEWELRY: Kendra Scott 'Elton' Cuff | David Yurman 'Cable Classics' Bracelet | David Yurman 'X' Bracelet | Kendra Scott 'Tessa' Stud Earrings

I feel like after Valentine's Day the race to spring is in full effect!  We've been getting so much rain on and off so far this year in OC that when the sun comes out and it warms up for a day or two I am totally going for my short dresses, off the shoulder, shorts and sleeveless pieces! I picked up this super cute 'Margot' romper by Vagabond from Van De Vort and I'm in love with it! Super light weight and isn't the print is so sweet?  You guys know I love my rompers! :)

Van De Vort also recently launched their very first collection, ‘Ciao Bella’, from their newest label, VDV THE LABEL. The collection has some great staple pieces with unexpected details, meant to mix and match to achieve multiple looks. I got this off the shoulder top & wrap skirt - stay tuned for that look coming to the blog soon!

Are you guys getting excited for Spring and warmer weather?! I'm sooooo ready for frosé all day again! XOXO

 

Posted on February 16, 2017 .

ruffles & denim

Blouse: Topshop | Jeans: Articles of Society (under $55!)| Booties: Jeffrey Campbell 'Cromwell'  | Sunnies: Quay Australia | Clutch: Rebecca Minkoff 'Leo' | Bracelet: Kendra Scott

I'm sure you've all noticed by now that ruffles are everywhere!  I've personally always been a fan, but it seems like they have made a comeback in a big way! I just love this silky ruffle blouse by Topshop. It work's with denim and booties for a more casual look and I am definitely going to dress it up for work meetings as well.  And the color is perfect for Valentine's Day - would be a great date night option!  XOXO

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Posted on February 8, 2017 .

valentine's day gifts for her

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and I don't know about your spouses, but my hubby always asks me for gift ideas he can get me and I do the same with him. I guess it does take some of the excitement away when you open your gifts, but it guarantees you'll get something you really want and/or need and save you a trip to the mall to do a return!  Totally works for us! Here are some of my fav gift ideas - maybe you'll see something you can hint to your guys as well! XOXO

Posted on February 3, 2017 .