22 March 2017

Embroidered/Peasant Spring and Summer Tops

I'm a sucker for an embroidered peasant blouse. I've worn them for years, and I'm excited to see a number of embroidered tops popping up all over the place! They can be worn with jeans, a jacket, and booties in cooler weather and shorts and sandals in warmer weather. The flowy fit is romantic and feminine and also forgiving to the mid-section which has been a "problem" area for me post-baby.

Last week, I was at Zara and tried on a super cute embroidered top ($50) that I passed on. But, I may have to go back for it. Also, yes, I am wearing one shoe. I wasn't planning to share this photo, but I love you guys, so here you go.

Here are some other tops that have caught my eye. I would expect to pay between $30 and $100 for a nice embroidered blouse even though I normally only spend $15-30 on average on tops. This is a special item that I will generally spend a little more on if I think I will get a lot of wear out of the top.

(1) Anthro Tillie Blouse ($118) (2) Gap Embroidered Off-the-Shoulder Top ($60) (3) Forever 21 Contemporary Embroidered Top ($28) (4) Zara Embroidered Poplin Blouse ($50) (5) Madewell Embroidered Springtime Top ($98) 
Anyone else going to give embroidered peasant tops a try this season? 

20 March 2017

Mama Spring Basics: Anorak Love

I have never been so happy to welcome warmer weather! It's been a long winter filled with cold, gloomy days and seasonal illnesses. We are slowly but surely adjusting to living with actual seasons coming from LA.

Today, I am sharing an effortless spring uniform that I plan to wear every day (when I'm not in stained yoga pants). It's so comfy and, more importantly, I can throw this hooded trench anorak (it's currently on sale on Tobi for only $51! $35 WITH CODE: AD50!!) around without any fuss or worry that I'll get cold or wet in unpredictable spring weather. I can run after Kaia in these booties. I can bend over without anything falling out in this shirt and these jeans.

All the while, I feel stylish and put together. Major WIN.

(1) The Difference Hooded Trench Anorak from Tobi (2) $10 Organic White Tee from Zara (3) Black Frayed Skinny Jeans from Zara (4) Eloise Booties from Sole Society via Nordie's (4) Pendant Necklace via Nordie's

13 March 2017

A Third Birthday & An Outfit

Kaia turned three this past weekend. Birthday plans didn't unfold as we imagined they would. We were supposed to be back in Los Angeles to celebrate with family, BUT, all three of us were so sick. I mean, like sicker than we have ever been all at the same time. And sick enough to pay $400 in change fees to cancel our flights down to California. Yeah, did I mention we were sick?

It was rough.

We spent the day before her birthday pretty depressed. We pulled it together for the big day because Kaia was feeling better and was ready to celebrate. We started the day off with pancakes and a screening of The Sound of Music (K's favorite movie). L mustered up the energy to order a Frozen themed cake from the local grocery store and grabbed some balloons from Party City. We ordered in Japanese food and Facetime'd with loved ones who sang happy birthday to her as she blew out four little wax candles.

It was a no-frills birthday. Sort of perfect in all of its imperfections and absolutely memorable.

Dear Kaia, 

Three years ago, you burst onto the scene and I honestly didn't know what to say or what to do with you. For years, I waited both patiently and anxiously for those two lines to show up on a pregnancy test. For years, I thought they would never come. Eventually they did, and what followed have been the happiest moments of my life to date. 

Finding out you were healthy. Finding out you were a girl. Meeting you. Seeing your daddy hold you. Your first crawl. Your first steps. Your first words. Your first "I love you, mama." Most days, I pinch myself because I can't believe you are mine. It is an honor and a privilege to be your mom. We can't wait to see how you will learn and grow this upcoming year. 

Never change, little old soul. 



(1) H&M Bomber Jacket (2) Harper Canyon Full Skirt (from Nordstrom Rack) (3) H&M Printed Leggings (4) Vans Metallic Heart Perf Sk8-Hi Top

6 March 2017

In Kaia's Cart: Old Navy Toddler Girl Spring 2017

(1) Stripe Off the Shoulder Swing Top (2) Floral Print Maxi (3) Metallic Stripe Flutter Sleeve Maxi reminds me of something you can get at Gap or a boutique but at a lower price (4) Linen-Blend Utility Shorts because I am obsessed with anything military style and in this shade of olive (5) Sueded Critter Sandals (6) Lace Trim Denim Shorts (7) Hooded Chambray Surplus Jacket - I saw a very similar style on H&M's site, but it sold out in smaller sizes very quickly! (8) Minnie Mouse Halter Swimsuit - In my experience, ON's swimsuits run pretty small (9) Occupation-Graphic Underwear as we are potty training and now I can subtly remind Kaia of my wishes for her to be a doctor ;) 

I know I refer back a lot to Old Navy, but I can’t help it because I’m addicted. Most things are always on sale. I can get really good prices on cute, trendy clothes and basic play stuff, too. I am also concerned with quality and durability and have never had a problem with ON. Although I can’t freely speak about shoe quality. I usually don’t buy shoes for Kaia at Old Navy, but those critter sandals are quickly changing my mind. 

I intend to share much more about my desire to clothe Kaia (and myself) in cute yet affordable pieces. I follow tons of moms on blogs and social media. A lot of the looks I see are SO adorable, but also not within my budget. I assume that maybe some of you are in my same position? You want your kid to look cute but you don’t want to break the bank. Let’s face it...sad but true, they’re going to grow out of these clothes!!

Ok, if that's you, you are in the right place. I'd love to share some looks for boys, too!

15 February 2017

5 Simple Self-Care Tips for Stressed and Anxious Moms

I work on managing my stress and anxiety as much as humanly possible, but like anyone, I still experience periods where it feels like it is all getting away from me. Due to my history of panic and anxiety, I am much more self-aware these days. I attribute this largely to the year and a half I spent in cognitive behavioral therapy where I learned a lot about myself, my reactions, my triggers, and my thought processes.

I am currently dealing with a bout of high anxiety, and wanted to share some ways I handle it.

1) MEDITATE - I know what you're thinking. Sounds great, but who has time for it? I was on a streak where I was meditating every morning for about 10-15 minutes and then I got busy and stopped for a month or so. I noticed a HUGE difference. Whether it means waking up a little earlier, listening to my guided meditations while getting ready in the morning, or squeezing it in before I go to bed at night - I find the time during times of high stress. I am partial to Headspace. I did the initial 30 day free trial and then bought the app. It's $12.99 a month, and it comes with guided meditations that span so many different topics. I did the 30 day Anxiety pack, and I've moved onto the Self-Esteem pack. It has helped me a lot! Even though $12.99/month feels like a lot, I consider it a small investment with big benefits for my mental health. I'm not currently in therapy, and this has helped me maintain and stay grounded.

2) EAT - A very simple reminder, but I often skip meals when I have high anxiety. As a stay-at-home mom, I am constantly feeding my daughter and feeling guilty if/when I sit down to feed myself. Lack of food leads to low blood sugar and heightened levels of bodily stress. My favorite snack right now is a banana with peanut butter. It is high in protein, healthy, and gives me energy. In the same vein, drink your water as well. Duh.

3) GO THE F TO SLEEP - We want our kids to stay on a routine and go to bed, but then as parents, we are up late cleaning up, worrying about the next day, and trying to get some time to ourselves. I totally get it. But, when I have high anxiety, I notice myself going to bed later and later. It's not unusual for me to be up until 1-3AM just staring at my phone like a zombie. My mind is churning with useless thoughts and internal dialogue. When I start noticing the late nights, I immediately force myself into self-care mode. Late night worrying is usually a big sign that I need to chill out.

4) SELF-MASSAGE - No, not that type of self-massage. But, whatever floats your boat. ;) I learned this tip from my family doctor. I went to see him when I first started getting panic attacks. He felt my shoulders and neck and said "Whoa, you need a massage!" He taught me a few simple self-massages for my shoulders and stretches for my neck to loosen up all the tension. You can google this to find some techniques. I have been giving myself little shoulder rubs for years, and it helps SO much! My favorite place for giving myself a shoulder massage? The car!

5) FRESH AIR - Nothing helps my stress and anxiety more than getting outside and going for a walk. I focus on breathing in the fresh air, looking at the trees, and being grateful. It's so important for stay-at-home moms to get outside! I can't stress that enough. But, working moms, you need to do this, too. I urge my husband to get outside and take a short walk when he's stressed out at work. He said, without fail, it always brings his anxiety down! If you're feeling motivated, you can try getting some cardio while you're outside.

Lastly, check out my IG stories. I'm going to talk more about these tips, show you my techniques for self-massage, and answer any questions you might have about this post. My Instagram handle is @lessthandomesticgoddess and I'm on there constantly these days!

19 July 2016

Life as an Infertile Mom

I have been watching Parenthood on Netflix...yet again. I love that show and have seen every episode at least a few times. Last night, I was watching the episode where Julia finds out she likely cannot conceive another child, and the tears just started to flow. I found myself crying, and, at first, I was sort of confused. Yes, we are infertile and trying for a second child. I definitely have that connection with this fictional TV character's situation. We tried to conceive for several years to no avail, and the pain of those years plus the stress of infertility treatments nearly broke me. However, I wasn't crying about that.

I was crying because the pain of being infertile while also being a mom is sort of sneaky and complicated. The world sees you as a mother chasing around a toddler, and has no thought nor expectation that it might be difficult (or impossible) for you to have more children. Well-meaning strangers or casual acquaintances ask when you'll have another, and you have to decide whether to nervously laugh your way out of it or delve into your infertility track record.

We have been trying to conceive a second child for a few months, and I have been forging ahead, keeping my head down, and trying not to let the lack of conception ruffle my feathers. I imagine I am being strong, but at the same time, my tough exterior is sort of my cover story for denial and avoidance. I comfort myself with the thought that I have been pregnant before, and hopefully I can be again. But, at the root of all of it, there is a lot of fear. Fear that maybe it won't happen. Fear that our family might just be the three of us. And what the hell does that mean?

Knowing that the odds are stacked against us in having more children, and living and breathing infertility each day, I can now say that the pain of it feels different with a child. 

Infertility the second time around is like a slow burn. It doesn't hit quite as hard and fast as it did when I was childless. The pregnancy announcements don't feel like they're trying to kill me, but they're still hard to face. The stories of siblings getting along, fighting, sharing, loving each other (I get it, I have two siblings of my own) mixed in with "big sibling/little sibling" t-shirt photos on Instagram stings even more. 

At the end of the day, I have my daughter. I cling tightly to her little body, and I know how lucky I am to have her. There is a wide array of emotions- gratitude, longing, worry. You feel guilty and sometimes greedy, but the desire for another child lingers. There are a lot of "what ifs" and quietly drawn up plans that feel like if you talk above a whisper you will jinx the whole thing. That is the scourge of infertility. There is so much that is unknown and out of your control. It is all wrapped up in a big bundle of hope that you watch float away with every passing non-pregnant month. 

I see my daughter starting to comprehend more and more. She's two, and I dread the day she asks me why she doesn't have a little brother or sister. I dread the thought that she may feel left out or like she's missing out on something. I go back to the fact that it is out of my control. I know that I am doing as much as I can possibly do with the resources available to me at this time. I have to make peace with that. But, in this moment, there is only longing and hope, and doting on my one perfect blastocyst who now walks, talks, and bosses me around all day. 

30 June 2016

How to Make Bath Time Fun & Manageable

As a parent, bath time is one of those moments of the day when you're either (a) doing a little victory dance because you made it through 95% of your day, or (b) you're so exhausted and bleary-eyed and you know there's a light at the end of the tunnel, but you've still got to survive BATH TIME.

We have a little system going at our house. After dinner, I take K upstairs for her bath and bedtime prep and L cleans up downstairs (a.k.a. watches Silicon Valley with a Swiffer Duster in his hands). I have picked up a few habits that I think have helped bath time go rather smoothly, and I thought I would share them! 

1) Bubble Bath: There was a time when K would scream and run away from the bath. Then there were those other times when K wouldn't let anyone but me bathe her. That was fun! Ever since I introduced bubble bath, we have very few bath protests. Bath time bubbles are these magical things that somehow make everything better. Our favorite is Tubby Todd bubble bath, but I recently discovered that I can use their Hair & Body Wash as bubble bath too meaning it now serves THREE purposes!

2) Play Music: I am a big proponent of listening to music in the shower. I even remember having one of those radios that hung from my shower caddy and required D batteries. Anyway, I usually play some sort of music during bath time (preferably my own mix on my phone). If I'm feeling ambitious, I look up kids songs playlists on Apple Music, too. We have a bath time dance party and it makes us all a little happier!

3) Use Household Items as Bath Toys: K loves playing with kitchen items such as bowls to pour and dump water while she's in the bath. While we were on vacation, I used an empty water bottle as a water toy, because we didn't bring all of her bath toys along with us. She loved it! And it actually doubled as a way to rinse to her hair without getting soap and water in her eyes. 

4) Stick to a Routine: Having honed this routine over the past year or so, we always start the water, dump out bath toys, do bubble bath, wash body, wash hair, brush teeth, clean up bath toys, and then drain the water. Bath time always concludes with wrapping K in a towel and singing to her. After bath is diaper time, lotion, brush hair, and PJs. This routine has really helped us stay on track and check everything off our bedtime prep list! It has also freed up some time after bath to just relax, read books, and wind down for bed. 

5) Switch Up Responsibilities: If you have a willing and able partner, switch roles on occasion. As much as I love spending time with my daughter, sometimes I really need a break from K. So I let L take over bath time, and I do the dishes or whatever. It gives L time to bond with K, and more times than not, I find myself refreshed and ready to resume bath time responsibilities the following day.

What are your tried and true ways for getting through bath time? 

22 June 2016

The Ultimate Summer White Blouse with Bungalow 123

TOP (get 15% off with code "GODDESS") //  JEANS  //  SANDALS 

White blouses are a summer wardrobe staple for me. If you peek in my closet, I probably have about five or six different white tops currently in rotation. I love white blouses with special details like lace or pretty sleeves. I usually pair them with light colored jeans and sandals for a casual, yet feminine look for running errands around the city with my daughter or lunch out with friends. 

This Greylock Top from Bungalow 123 is my new favorite! It's so lightweight and comfortable, and it has the perfect amount of delicate detailing that makes it feel and look really special. I am wearing a white tank under the Greylock top in these photos (for a more modest look), but you can also wear it alone with a nude bra (for date night!) or a neutral camisole. 

I stumbled across Bungalow 123's website a couple of months ago through Pinterest! I fell in love with a number of their unique, vintage-style pieces that looked comfortable and versatile enough to fit in with my busy, messy, mom life. I'm almost always running after a toddler, but I still want to look stylish and fun. Pieces like this gorgeous white blouse help me achieve that look!

Go check out Bungalow 123's stylish and affordable pieces and get 15% off your purchase with the code "GODDESS" at checkout! (Offer valid from today until Sunday, June 26th) Oh, and did I mention they have free domestic shipping on all orders?! That is huge, especially for a small business!

While it looks like the Greylock Top is now sold out, here are a couple of other Bungalow 123's white tops that caught my eye.
(Disclosure: Financial compensation was not received for this post. A sample product was gifted from Bungalow 123. All opinions are my own.)

20 June 2016

Stay-at-Home Mom Confession: I'm Bad at Time Management

Lately, I have felt like my plate has not only been full, but overflowing. Motherhood and mothering takes up so much of my time and energy. Managing the household does not come naturally to me; so things like dishes and laundry or even just cleaning up takes me forever and feels like drudgery. Also, nothing ever seems that clean, organized, or de-cluttered...even after I clean, organize, and de-clutter. Heck - even sitting down to write this post has felt like climbing a mountain. It took me about a week to write this post, because I just can't focus. The words felt forced. They weren't flowing. My attention has been in too many different places at once.

I feel like I have some form of motherhood ADHD all the time. Is this multi-tasking at its worst?

I have been thinking quite a bit about time management, and why it may be contributing to my feelings of being overwhelmed and being pulled in every direction all the time. Recently, I stumbled upon a few articles addressing the subjects of managing time and creating a schedule. The articles caught my eye, because after three and a half decades on this planet, I still struggle to adhere to a schedule and account for my time. As a stay-at-home mom, I have too much "open space" or grazing time on my calendar on any given day, which is both a blessing and a curse. I am someone who wanders a lot, who gets inspired easily, but also distracted too easily by any and every possible shiny thing that comes my way (or graces my phone/computer screen, too). This wandering quality is great when I want to have a free day with my daughter and we can go where the wind takes us, but for all of the "real" days in between, it makes life tougher.

In my role as a stay-at-home mom, I feel like some days are amazing. I get a lot done, and I feel like superwoman. Other days, not so much. It's those "not so much" days that frustrate me and keep me feeling stuck. I think the frustration is a build up of letting my household chores pile up, feeling powerless against an ever-growing "to do" list, and ultimately (going back to my earlier point about having too much space to graze) not adhering to a set schedule. This has become enough of an annoyance and disturbance for me to want to address it.

For the past month, I have taken a step in the right direction with time management. I have scheduled some self-imposed "me" time after dinner before K's bath. I slip out of the house for about twenty minutes of alone time to walk my dog. I wrote about this back at the end of May, and I have been adhering to it. This seemingly small yet enjoyable part of my day has become something I can rely on for my mental (and physical) health. It is giving me hope that I can continue to work on scheduling the things I consider not-so-enjoyable.

So for this week (and beyond), I am going to work on having an actual laundry day, scheduled times to load and unload the dishwasher, getting to bed before 1AM, etc. Watch out, domestic world. I'm coming for ya.

Do you have time management down to a science? Or are you still a work-in-progress like me?


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