Pro Advice

My Identity and Motherhood

IMG_0560[So grateful to have a lovely guest post written by childhood friend and fellow mommy blogger Kristen of Oy! Kristen. She’s a genius. I love her. You will to.] 

I swear I am still eighteen. Living in the moment, messy hair, driving my mom’s convertible around town and dreaming about the future. Dreaming about traveling to Europe, dreaming about what college will be like, dreaming about the possibility of marriage and eek – maybe even babies one day. But above all else, eighteen is for dreaming. And I still feel eighteen.

The thing is. I’m not.

I am twenty-eight, living in my hometown (how did I end up back here??), married, with a baby. The past ten years have been a total surprise, and a total relief. I have seen so many dreams come true. I have backpacked across Europe, married my dream mate, finished my degree, lived exciting stints in New York and Boston, completed ministry school, pursued creative career endeavors of all kinds (Acting? Check. Voiceover? Check. Writing? You’re looking at it, checkedy check.) I have lived fully and I am proud of these elements that have been the building blocks of my young life. I’ve tried some hard things. I’ve boldly put myself out there in the world when I was actually feeling super scared and unsure in my heart. And I’ve seen success, although it never looks like how I thought it might. While success and accomplishment feel really good, putting myself in vulnerable positions over time has taught me to remain confident even through the toughest scenarios. For instance, the time I auditioned a monologue for one of New York’s biggest casting directors. There was some sweat involved in that one, especially while I waited in silence for, no lie, about 60 seconds after I was finished to hear his response. I left the room and felt relieved, shocked, and excited. Proud of myself. I didn’t get the job, but I did get the sense that by just opening myself up to that audition, I was doing something hard, something that would knock most people off their feet. And that pride really informed my journey. Until I really got knocked off my feet. By doing something many of you have probably done. I had my first baby.

IMG_0732My son is a wonder. His sunny hair and sweet eyes and easy smile, they have wholly captured me, heart and soul. There is nothing better in this world than holding him close when he just wakes up, feeling him snuggle into me a bit, and smelling his deliciousness. There is nothing better. He’s given me the gift of motherhood, awakened me to a whole other element of what it is to be a woman. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his precious life.

I am also really really tired.

Because my son is 19 months old now. Toddling around, far too curious about toilets, demanding lots of waffles. The past 19 months (plus 9 months, because pregnancy was definitely apart of the equation) have been exhausting, maddening, and constantly marked by this feeling of , “I don’t know what I’m doing!” Of course you don’t know anything when you’re pregnant. And when you’re in labor, you have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing. Then the child comes out and needs all sorts of everything all the time, and you’re like, “wait, is there a hand book on what I’m supposed to be doing? Get me a hand book!” And then they get bigger and when you’ve mastered their previous milestone and finally feel a millisecond of calm and “I’ve got this”, everything changes again. Like everything. Big things like when they sleep and what they eat. It’s kind of like being in the Hunger Games, trying to figure out where the next freaky phenomenon is coming from and when. Phrases like “reverse sleep cycling” and “what to do if…” fill your google searches, usually at about 3am. And while all of this is going on, you forget to do things like.

Bathe.
Put on makeup.
Wear normal clothes.
Wear anything pretty.
Wear anything clean.
Perhaps brush your teeth. Or your hair.

IMG_0724Go back to work? Sure, tons of people do it. But things are never the same. It’s like your brain has been snatched my aliens and you’re walking and talking and acting human, but your insides are aching for what things were like before the baby came. And it’s not the baby’s fault. But the sense of identity has vanished. It’s hard to decipher who you are anymore. You define yourself by the monotonous tasks that you do, day in and day out. So many diapers. SO many. And the schedule feels like a cage and your dreams seem like a faraway fantasy. That 18-year-old feeling that you identified with still rings true. But that 18-year-old suddenly seems very tired. And only interested in eating dinner while watching Netflix and then going to bed.

I want to propose to you that you’re not supposed to be an 18-year-old dreamer anymore. And neither am I. I’m not supposed to long for the simpler days of the past. It’s time to be the 28-year-old dreamer that I am. Dreamer and mother and lover of life. Because this gift of motherhood, while it defines me in so many ways, it shouldn’t be defining. And the urge to dream up new dreams and look forward to the future? It’s evergreen. Always emerging, in every season of life. I just have to stop longing for the old things to reemerge, I must seek out the new blooms, and recognize the season that I’m in. It’s time to be my 28-year-old self, imperfect and yes, rather tired, and own up to the joy that it is to be a tired mommy while still having a very bright, unencumbered future laced with extraordinary opportunities. This vocation of motherhood doesn’t define my life, it informs my life. I am lovelier for the child that I’ve had. And I will become lovelier still. And if you identify with any of the spazziness that I described, I promise that the greatest is still ahead of you, too.

Photography by Leidy Beltran of Venture Life Photography. You can find more about Kristen at www.oykristen.com

women who rock

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So I love my hair stylist. Like LOVE her. Before moving to Cali I had the same stylist for nearly 11 years, my genius sis-in-law, and when I have tried other stylists I’ve always been terribly disappointed, until I met Meghan… Best. Story. Ever. So The Captain and I had just finished a hike with the dogs and we had stopped by Robeks to pick up smoothies. I went in to grab our drinks and standing in front of me was the most genius hair I have ever seen! So, of course, I had to tell her. Turns out she was a stylist, score! That’s how I met Meghan, but the best part is when I got back in the truck The Captain looked bemused and he turns to me and asks, “Did you just get that hot chick’s number?” Winning. I’ve been seeing her for almost 2 years! She is brilliant! Not only is she an ombre master and totally understands the art of the perfect cut, she is an absolutely wonderful human being and a joy to be around!

I’m beyond envious of your killer long locks, what are you go to products? Product!! I am a huge fan of L’Oreal Professional (not to be mistaken with the L’Oreal you will find at your local Target, CVS, etc.) Not only do I believe in their products, but my hair is proof of how truly amazing they are. They have created product lines that not only work well with all hair types to design whatever look want to achieve, but are formulated to repair the hair at the same time! A few go to products that your are going to find in my personal haircare collection are Intense Repair Shampoo and Intense Repair Masque. Pretty much no one can go wrong with these two products. Intense Repair won’t weigh the hair down but will be sure to hydrate, repair, and leave your hair smelling amazing every time! Mythic Oil, the original formula for my hair and most anyone else out there is a MUST! Enhanced with avocado oil and grape oil it will nourish and repair the hair with every use. People make the mistake of not using a product to protect their hair from the blow dryer, hot tools or just the environment and Mythic Oil will do that for you without leaving you feeling greasy or weighed down. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t use Mythic Oil! Then for body and volume, it ranges from Lift Extreme when I need a great root boost, Mousse Volupte when I want beautiful soft body throughout my hair, and Curl Corset when I want that saltwater feel in my hair. Hairspray, every woman needs to own a hairspray, my favorite is Infinium 3, a strong hold working spray. Last when I’m feeling fancy and just want to add some extra shine to my hair without having to touch it (or I would just be using my Mythic Oil) Perfect Shimmer comes in to play! Smells incredible and leave the hair with amazing shine!!

What would you say is your hair philosophy? That’s a deep question for me to answer. I’m a passionate person in each and everything I do. It’s been important for me to create an environment that reflects who I am, the work that I do, resulting in a place where my clients love to come relax. Working from the private hair studio I opened almost two years ago, has been like a dream. It has allowed me a space where I can find peace, be creative and productive every time I walk in the door. Thus allowing me to create the perfect style and look for each and every one of my clients. Something they can wear everyday, recreate at home, feel beautiful or handsome rocking, and still be practical for their lifestyle! It is important that each one of my clients feels special and taken care of each time they see me.

522686_3116708604840_1574712220_nIs there a common mistake you think women make with their hair? A common mistake woman make with their hair, well… Not taking proper care of their hair is probably number one. That means using professional products and leaving the job to the professionals! Second, trying to wear a style, color, and/or cut that just doesn’t flatter their hair type or their features.

What’s your favorite hair trend of the moment? My favorite trend at the moment is probably the one I’m wearing. Enhancing the natural beauty one already has is my favorite! It really reflects my life at the moment as well. Simple, natural, sun kissed, beautiful and easy-going, just like a day the beach!

What’s your definition of sexy?  Sexy is whatever makes a person look and feel their best! If you love the way you look you will feel sexy and people will see and feel that!! Confidence and being true to who you are and what you believe in will scream I am sexy and will make others scream he or she is SEXY too!!

563385_4702507128812_137025828_nIf you are in San Diego she is a must!! Visit her Facebook page for her info!!!

Women Who Rock

e photo1Today I am just over the moon because I LOVE December’s woman who rocks!!!! Estela from Weekly Bite is a genius dietician, successful blogger, fabulous mommy, and I’m so delighted to call her my friend. She effortlessly (or so it seems) balances kiddos, work, and life while always keeping a balanced diet with an emphasis on healthy whole foods and moderation! She is the real deal when it comes to expert nutrition advice, plus she’s a total babe! Hope you enjoy her interview!

Hey superwoman, how do you balance work, kids, husband, exercise and stay sane? Balance is something I work at every day (some days are way easier then others). What keeps me sane is exercise. I make it a priority to schedule exercise somewhere in my day, whether it be running, yoga, or an exercise DVD. If I can’t find “me” time to exercise, I load the kids up in the jogging stroller (which is often) and pound my stress away on the pavement.

As for work, since I work from home I feel like I am working all day. Having two kids makes it a little challenging, but now that they are in school I am able to focus more on work before their pick-up time. When it comes to making time for my husband, I make it a personal rule to shut off the computer at 8pm. Since the kid’s are in bed by that time, it gives us a chance to catch up on our day and keep that line of communication open which is super important for couples. We also try to schedule date nights every couple of weeks :)

What’s your personal food philosophy? Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied! Try to make healthy choices most of the time, but never deprive yourself of foods you love. One of the hardest things to do is tune into our bodies and listen when it tell us it needs food. Try to avoid the emotional eating rut. When we start eating consistently for reasons other than hunger (like boredom, loneliness, or stress), that’s when the excess weight arrives.

Is there a common mistake you notice when people are trying to loose weight or eat healthier? Losing weight & becoming healthier is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. In order to keep weight off permanently, focusing on a healthy lifestyle change, rather than a diet is key. Take a mini assessment of your life and find little things you can change one at a time. Slow and steady should be the motto when it comes to weight loss. We can still enjoy the foods we love, but in moderation.

Is there a secret to getting kids to love healthy food? I get this question all the time from parents. There really is no secret. As parents, we serve as role models for our kids. We need to be the eater we want our kids be. As parents, it’s our job to decide when and what our kids eat. It is up to the kids to decide how much they will eat. The key is to never give up. It can take up to five introductions of a food before the child actually tastes it. I never force my kids to eat everything on their plate. I do encourage them to taste it, and I always make sure to have at least one food on their plate I know they like. We also do a lot of “tummy talk” when we are eating. It’s a way of getting kids to learn about listen to their hunger (tummy) cues.

Spill it, what’s your fave junk food?  This is embarrassing, but I’m going to have to say ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’. I know they are super unhealthy (some might even say they’re gross), but I think they are yummy! I don’t eat them often, but if they are around I enjoy them in moderation :)

Women Who Rock

Ann Bio Pic for RA PacketThis is something that I’m really excited about for the blog! I’ve met some super cool chicks over the years who are all brilliant in their chosen field and I want to share their awesomeness with you! So every few weeks I’ll be sharing a quick interview to break down their beauty/style/food philosophies! Fun, right!? I’m starting this week with the ah-mazing Ann Duke, owner of Serenity Skincare in San Diego. I met Ann through a close friend who knew that I need a skintervention and I’ve had the pleasure of getting regular facials from her for almost a year. I have to say not only is she a genius, she’s one of the most loving and friendly people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

What drew you to a career in skincare? I was in corporate America for 13 years as a consultant for Sales, Customer Service and Presentations Skills workshops. I found that I didn’t have control of my time or income. I wanted to have my own business and wanted to find something to do that I loved. I read “What Color is Your Parachute” and one of the things she recommended was to look at what you read for fun. I realized the stack of magazines next to my bed, were all about make-up and skincare not how to run a better training class, so I went back to school and never looked back. I worked for other people for about 7 years to learn the business then opened my own in 1998. Now, I see clients and am back to doing workshops for one of my product companies, teaching other estheticians our product line and treatments. I’ve come full circle!

How would you describe your personal skin care philosophy? Cleanse, correct and nourish. Every skin condition needs to incorporate these steps. Most people over moisturize and under cleanse. Use a clean, white washcloth each time you wash your face. This way you make sure all the make-up is removed.

What’s your best advice for ladies with acne? Besides coming to see you ;) Acne is a hereditary condition that is comprised of: 1. Skin cells that don’t want to slough off  2. Thick sticky oil 3. Inflammation 4. Hormones 5. Inability to fight off the p-acne bacteria

We can’t do much about hormones, but you can use products that exfoliate the skin, reduce inflammation, kill bacteria and break up the oil. Sometimes people over-treat acne, overstimulation creates more inflammation which can exacerbate the problem. So it’s important to balance clearing, drying products with hydrating (not clogging) soothing products to help heal skin. Ice is a great tool for underground, papules. Placing ice on the area for 5 minutes helps reduce the inflammation and lessens the size of the bump.

What is the biggest mistake women make when it comes to their skin? They don’t remove their make-up, they forget to reapply sunscreen, and they think sunscreen means they can stay in the sun all day with no repercussions.

If you could only use one product for the rest of your days, what would you choose? Rhonda Allison Daytime Defense, it’s an all-natural 30 UVA/UVB sun protector. 90% of aging comes from sun damage. This man was a truck driver and the right side of the picture is where he had sun exposure from the driver side of his window.

RA sun damage trucker-damage-face_web_620x350Anyone else thinking it’s time to reapply sunscreen?? I, too, love the Rhonda Allison Daytime Defense. It’s a great product that protects, but doesn’t break out my skin! Make sure to check back Wednesday for an  outfit post!