Tykes

The bounce back conundrum. 

So if you’ve had a kid chances are you’ve found pages like 4th Trimester Body Project or Birth Without Fear, etc. these amazing groups celebrate moms in all of their forms, shapes, and sizes. I love it. Every woman, especially those who have made, housed, and birthed a baby, should never hate their body. It’s beyond miraculous what the female body can do, the power we are capable of… It blows my mind. Staring at my 7 month old and 2.5 year old it’s like “HOLY HOT DAMN!! I CREATED THEM!!!” Like shit!!!! So yes, I’m amazed and in love with what my body has done… Butttt I still desire to get my body to a place where I’m wholly confident, healthy, and strong. Don’t hate me, but I have kids and still want to look good in a bathing suit. *gasp*

So like anything in this day and age you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t. On one side you get the, “stop shaming moms who don’t bounce back after baby” and then there’s the “stop shaming moms who desire to spend time on themselves and exercise” Why is it always like this?! All it takes is 10 seconds on a comment thread of any mommy related story for the claws to come out. We are always offended. Everything is offensive. Dear sweet baby Jesus!! I’m offended, you’re offended, I’m offended… Geez!! Why?! Did agree-to-disagree just fly out the window?  Since when did your opinion mean so much more than your neighbor’s?! And why in the hell do we have to tell everyone?! Hell, I’m a blogger, I love giving my 2 cents about all things and I have plenty of thoughts about child raising ideals and practices… Sure, I might quietly judge or disagree with another mom for a certain behavior, but guess what?! I keep my freakin mouth closed because that mom is just doing her best! The poor mom who lost her child to an alligator attack hopefully never looked at the comment thread on a story about their situation because the terrible awful things that were said would leave even the toughest skin bruised. She was doing her best. Don’t get me started on the Gorilla kid…

I’ve gotten off topic…

IMG_7084When I stare in the mirror, I’m gonna be honest, I’m like Meh. I don’t hate my body, but I am genuinely excited about getting back into my old clothes and feeling happy with my nekkid body. I hesitate to say “get my body back” I don’t want that body, I want my -amazing, birthed 2 babies naturally with no drugs, fed two babies from my boobs- body, I just want strength and stamina to chase my kiddos endlessly. I want to be able to pick up my kids until they’re teenagers. Slight exaggeration? Possibly.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We can love our bodies and all they’ve done and desire to spend time on ourselves excercising and getting in shape. If you’re anything like me, the time spent exercising is just as much a mental cleansing as it is a physical challenge. It gets my brain right. Even if it’s just a walk or a 10 minute arm series. You’d be amazed what that can do for your soul.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOn top of exercise and good old fashioned clean eating, after F bomb I decided to wear my Belly Bandit compression gear for REALS this go around. I had it for after Roc, but was not consistent. Let me tell you consistency is key!!! I wore my Original Belly Bandit, all-day everyday for the first month. After that I tried to wear it for at least 4 hours for the following few months until it [hooray] became too big! I switched to the Mother Tucker corset after that and again wore that for a few hours a day . On top of these tummy products, I decided to try the Hip Bandit because with Rocco it was a solid year before my hips were back down to size. Guys!!!! At 5 months my hip measurement was a half an inch away from pre-baby… NUMBER ONE!!! So yea, if you’re wondering if this stuff works. I’d have to say a resounding yessss ma’am. I also rock their Mother Tucker leggings, like, all the time. Just look at my past two fashion posts. I feel so good when I wear them and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what a comment thread says or Instagram or People magazine says, feelin good is all that matters!!

Get pregnancy shapewear at BellyBandit.com

Cozy Cool

cozymama1 cozymama2 cozymama3 cozymama4 cozymama5 cozymama6A mom uniform to be sure, but, real talk, leggings and a flow-y shirt are generally all I care to wear these days. The weather in Florida flip-flops from wet + cold to wet + hot. No middle ground. So layers are best on a cool day that may turn into a scorcher. I’m wearing, yet again, the best compression leggings ever from Belly Bandit. I swear I’m working on a post about all things BB, patience grasshopper. My leather jacket is probably my favorite piece in my closet. It’s perfect. So glad I made the splurge back in 2013.

Do you have a daily uniform!? I wanna know!

Baby Numero Dos [0-3]

secondbaby03.001

[one] [two] [three] [four] [five] [six] [seven] [eight] [nine] [ten]

Oh me, oh my. I had baby. Ah-gain. You’d think that would prepare me in some way for going through this mess again… Nah. That would be too easy. I feel like it’s a whole new learning process. You forget the sleepless nights, crying, and being covered in poo and breastmilk. I suppose you have a better handle on certain things like feeding, diaper changing, what products are worth it and what are completely useless. So with baby #2 I’ve found some new things along with my favorite standbys for surviving the first 3 months.

Swaddles. We love, love, love our Ollie Swaddle, it is completely Houdini proof and you can get it super snug!! The material is lightweight and moisture wicking so you don’t have to worry about overheating. We also keep Aden + Anais muslin swaddles around for when little man wants to have a bit more freedom. They are also perfect burp cloths, blankets, car seat covers, nursing covers, their uses are endless. Plus, the patterns are so flipping cute.

All. The. Swings. This go around the Mamaroo has not worked its magic, but a friends Graco swing and Rock n Play aka poop chair(literally takes a poo ERRYTIME he is in this thing) have proven to be a little more tolerable for the little prince, but not enough that they would be worth the money to purchase. If you can borrow things from friends I highly suggest it, all babes are different end you seriously never ever know what they are gonna like.

Exercise Ball. Forget your rocking chair. I good ole exercise ball does the trick nicely. Seriously. Both oh my boys LOVE being bounced and rocked on my labor ball. Lol.

Wrap + Carrier. Especially for baby number 2. You have to get your hands free sometimes, i.e. Making big kid breakfast, etc. I love a good stretchy wrap (Happy Baby) for me is the best way to carry my tiny nuggets for the first 3ish months. A structured carrier is great for larger babies or once they gain neck control.

Sound Machine. This is an absolute must. Like you must have one. If anything it helps me sleep better and not here every little snort and squeak mister lets out. We moms wake up to a pin dropping once we have kids, so this definitely helps. I also think it helps once they transfer to their crib gives something familiar.

Coffee. Self explanatory.

A walk outside. Don’t forget to get out. Even if it’s just for the quickest stroll around the block. It’s good for your brain. It’s good for baby. It’s good for toddler. All good.

Amazing Mama friends who just get it. I think the key to not fully losing your mind is having friends you can vent to who understand what you’re going through who can remind you it’s not forever and this season is so quick in the grand scheme of things. Friends who offer you wine and hold your baby. Friends who pray for you and check in on you.

You’re not alone lady. Newborns are tough and they can easily breakdown your spirit. It’s okay. Vent it out. It’s not all sunshine and unicorns. There are days where you might say shut up more than I love you… #nojudgement Remember the unending grace provided in parenting. You’re doing so good mama!

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. 

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnd by white, I mean pearly white shiny smile. I used to pride myself on my sparkly white teeth, but due to increased coffee consumption and decreased me time, my shiny white smile has since faded to an interesting apartment beige like color. I’ve never been one for smiling with my teeth… It’s usually because of my ptsd from braces, but lately I’ve been increasingly more bummed out by my less than brilliant smile… Boo.

fullsizerenderEnter Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening. Everything you need sent directly to your front door. Ummmm YES. YES. I definitely think I will. The kit arrives with all your goodies, I am using the sensitive kit. Everything you need to make molds of your teefs, Rocco’s preferred pronunciation. You simply mix the catalyst paste and the base together until they are a solid blue, pop goop in the tray, and pop in your mouth. I have to admit, I was sweating bullets, but they give you enough goop to do 3 impressions incase you jack one up. And it’s really pretty easy. Throw those in the mail and shortly thereafter your perfectly fitted whitening retainers are in your hands. Do we see a trend?!? EASY. And I when you’re a mom. Nothing seems easy. This is ACTUALLY pretty stinking easy!  Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Need a last minute Christmas gift?!? Use coupon code “blissfulhappenings” for 5% off of your purchase!!!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOh and it wouldn’t be Christmas without some presents!!! So I’m excited to announce a giveaway with Smile Brilliant click www.smilebrilliant.com/g/blissfulhappenings and leave a comment below to enter!!!! We will announce the winner in 2 weeks, plus debut my whitening progress!!!

All I want for Christmas is…

I’ve been thinking of a clever title for this post for 2 and a half hours. I’m giving up… it’s official I’ve lost all brain capacity. Between 2 kids and Hallmark Christmas movies I’m dumber than ever. It’s okay. I’ve come to terms with it. Moving on. Calling all moms. This is the definitive list of all the things that you want this Christmas. Clueless dads, friends, family. These are things that the preggo or new mama needs/wants in her life even if she doesn’t know it. Seriously, I wear most of these goodies daily!!!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetMama and Little Teething necklaces. The Alexa is a personal favorite of ours. I was never a big fan of these until I found this brand. I’m obsessed with the marbled look, but all their styles are brilliant AND they really do keep your little happy!!! And don’t forget to use the code BLISSFUL for 15% off your order of 10$ or more!! Hooray!

dsc_0787Dwell + Slumber Dresses. Is it a nightgown? Is it a sun dress!?!? Who cares, it’s acceptable to wear literally all. the. damn. time. WINNING. They sell out fast, so be quick!! Check their site today for a restock! 

dsc_1002Rocco + Norah Mama Turban. Keeping your hair out of your face without a major headache with the added bonus of looking super cute. Yep. These are perfect stocking stuffers, order before tomorrow for Christmas!!!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetMother Tucker Leggings by Belly Bandit. These leggings keep things right where you want them, you feel like a million bucks in these suckers. I want like 20 more pairs to wear them every single day. Seriously. And anyone who says leggings aren’t pants, isn’t a real friend. Time to break up. You don’t need that negativity in your life. I also love the original belly bandit!! More on this in a post soon! 

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe Ollie Swaddle. Now I know this seems to be for baby, but trust me the sleep it provides is for Mama too. Just trust me. And the colors. Ohhhhh the colors. So pretty!!!! 

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFreshly Picked Mocs. Okay, now this one technically IS for baby, but ohmygeeee I love this company. F guy’s tiny feet in tiny perfect soft moccasins that stay on better than any socks is the literally embodiment of perfection.

Okay! Get shopping. Like now. No time to waste!!!! What’s on your must have list this year?!?! 

Clean up, clean up everybody, everywhere…

Excited to have Kelsey here today to talk cleaning! Safe, non-toxic and actually works. Yes please!! Enjoy. Lo 

When it comes to cleaning we all often roll our eyes, take a deep sigh, and ready ourselves for the arduous task of removing the ick, the stink, and the germs from our homes to give our families a safe pleasant place to live and grow. In most homes, we do this not just daily, but seemingly ALL. DAY. LONG- often leaving us sore, tired, and downtrodden. Yes, there is that short-lived victorious moment when it is finally all done and we look around for a split second at our accomplishment before someone destroys it but on the whole, lets face it cleaning is the never ending pits! 

Unfortunately the task gets worse, cleaning with mainstream chemicals (yes, even some of the “green” ones) isn’t just unpleasant it’s actually unhealthy! According to the American Lung Association VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. Products containing VOCs and other toxic substances can include:
  • Aerosol sprays in health, beauty & cleaning products;
  • Air fresheners;
  • Chlorine bleach;
  • Detergent and dishwashing liquid;
  • Dry cleaning chemicals;
  • Rug and upholstery cleaners;
  • Furniture and floor polish; and
  • Oven cleaners
Recent research has found that even natural fragrances in cleaning products, particularly in air fresheners, may react with high levels of ozone from indoor sources or from outdoor air to form formaldehyde and dangerous fine particles indoors. Ozone is a harmful, but invisible, gas that worsens asthma and other lung diseases. Both ozone and particles can be life-threatening. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen The National Institue of Health’s National library of health has a whole section referred to as Tox Town where it describes the harmful effects of many of the chemicals found in the average family home. For example, at home you can be exposed to solvents in cleaning products, personal care products. Some solvents are listed as human carcinogens or “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens” in the 13th Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program and can cause cancer. Regular exposure to solvents can cause memory and hearing loss, mental illness, depression, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, feeling drunk or “high,” lack of coordination, headache, nausea, stomach pains, skin rashes, cracking or bleeding skin, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. Exposure to solvent vapors can cause hoarseness, coughing, lung congestion, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

That is why I fell in love with Norwex which stands for the Norwegian experience. Their mission to improve the quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes has lead to the development of an impressive line of completely non-toxic, waste reducing and money saving cleaning products. At its core is the micro-fiber cloth. To be legally called micro fiber each strand of the cloth must be 1/6th of a human hair but Norwex took this further, WAY further, than whats available in a retail store and took their fibers down to 1/200th of a human hair. Each cloth contains thousands of miles of fiber , if unraveled it would stretch from Canada to New Mexico! All of those tiny fibers knit together and combined with JUST WATER allow you to mechanically clean your surfaces rather then chemically.  Yes, you read that right- no soap. no chemicals. Not even baking soda and vinegar. The fibers actually lift and remove the dirt, germs, and residue from your surfaces and trap them deep within the cloth. Don’t believe me? Check out this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mKQMIcnTy8) where a local news station in Tennessee put this claim to the test in a real lab with real E-Coli bacteria. They not only tested Norwex’s claim to remove the germs but also compared it to other leading cleaners and the results were astonishing- Norwex removed 92% of the bacteria from the surface, a store bought micro fiber cloth removed 84%, and the leading all purpose cleaning spray with paper towel 0%! But what really makes Norwex incredible is that the tiny fibers lock the germs inside the cloth instead of spreading them around or cross contaminating. Just google Norwex chicken test and see the numerous videos where users cleaned up raw chicken and then rubbed the cloth on a clean surface swabbed it with a protein test strip and found no evidence of protein (which would contain the bacteria) on the rubbed surface! But the best thing of all- cost comparisons (I will share specifics in a bit) show that over the 2 year warranty period of the micro fiber products Norwex can save you hundreds of dollars. 

I know this sounds too good to be true and probably like a big ole sales pitch so let me share with you the one thing I can’t stand about Norwex- I miss my clean smell!!! I know, I know the truth is “clean” doesn’t have a smell, but the leading cleaning product manufactures have done a pretty good job of brainwashing us into thinking that if it doesn’t smell clean it isn’t clean. To put it simply I am a little leary of having people over when my house doesn’t smell fresh! Thankfully we have essential oils to not only bring back our beloved “clean smell” but actually improve our health instead of destroying it. But enough theoretical yammering- lets talk practical applications to clean your home into your safe haven!

1. The enviro cloth is the work horse of the Norwex product line- From this little cloth other variations have developed to help us better clean all the surfaces of our home from THE most incredible mop to the kitchen cloth and a whole lot of awesomeness in between. We already discussed how the micro fiber works and does a better job then its chemical counterparts but how to bring back the beautiful clean smell? Simply take a few drops your favorite essential oils such as orange, lemon or even tea tree for an extra cleaning boost and add them to a small spray bottle. Sprtiz your enviro cloth, mop pad or kitchen cloth and clean those surfaces leaving just a wonderful aroma and nothing else. But what about the cost? At $16.99 for an enviro cloth and $14 for a bottle of oil it may seem like an unfavorable trade off. Lets take a closer look- On average just in our kitchens we would use approximately 5 disinfecting wipes a day (wiping counters after each meal prep, our table once a day, and cleaning up at least one spill- some days way more a day sometimes less). The average cost per wipe is $0.04 X 5 times a day = $0.20 a day. $0.20 a day X 365 = $73 a year, $146 over 2 years. Replacing those disinfecting wipes just in your kitchen with an enviro cloth and a bottle of oil costs $31 saving you $42 a year, $84 over 2 years!

2. Organic material such as dead skin cells, germs, pet dander and dust mites often take up residence inside our upholstered furniture, mattress and pillows – items we either can’t wash or can’t wash often. Frequently we turn to products like air fresheners to cover this smell. Not only does this rarely work, it adds more allergens and harmful chemicals to our air space without removing or cleaning anything! Norwex has an amazing product called simply Mattress cleaner (though it can be used on pillows and upholstered furniture) that is enzyme based and actually removes the organic material that leads to allergies. Google it! Diffusing essential oils is a far better way to lightly scent our air space giving us that fresh scent we crave and unlike the chemical air freshers, essential oils actually improve our health, supporting our bodies immune system rather than harming it.

3. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs what we put on it in just 25 to 30 seconds. While we may not drink our soaps, cleansers, and cleaning products we regular consume them through our skin and our airways. Norwex has developed a softer version of their revolutionary micro fiber called the body cloth (and a travel/kid size version called the baby body) that mechanically cleans your skin, removing dirt and grime from pores rather than filling them full of synthetic fragrances and harsh stripping agents. While anyone can benefit from using our microfiber cloths and water rather than soap, this is especially wonderful for those with sensitive skin or those plagued by difficult skin conditions like excema. Essential oils paired with natural ingredients like sugar open more options for exfoliating and toning skin naturally, some oils, like rose hips, even offer antioxidant properties! Skin cleaners and soaps run the gambit in price, but Norwex body clothes come in a set of 3 for just $19.99 – yep add a $14 bottle of your favorite oil and you could be spending as little as $33 for TWO YEARS of skincare! The smaller version, the baby body, is perfect for travel and sells for just $14.99 for 3 cloths. The leading travel disinfecting wipe costs $0.09 a wipe even if you only used 1 a day X 365= $32.85, more than double the cost for just 1 year!

This body cloth IS my skin care regime and my skin has never been cleaner or softer! I also occasionally use an natural organic scrub for a little extra exfoliation.

4. Dryer sheets are one of the most toxic products in our homes- seriously people use them to kill mice! But oh the smell! The fresh smell of laundry! This is one of the areas where Norwex and essential oils really come beautifully together. A few drops of your favorite oil on Norwex’s wool dryer balls allows you naturally and lightly fragrance your clothing all while reducing drying time and clothing ruined from tangles (especially in our HE machines)

5. For many of us our pets are like our children…our often smelly, hairy, dry skinned (dander!) children who hate being bathed. Norwex has taken the fluffy version of its mircofiber cloth (the dusting mitt) and recreated it especially for use on pets. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil (always check with your vet before using oils on pets!) to a spray bottle and spritizing the Norwex pet mitt allows you easily give your pet a daily freshening and brushing with out the struggle of a bath!

Need these amazing cleaning products like right now? Shop Here!!

I got all of this FREE the first week I signed up! Norwex spoils there hostess & consultants like crazy, comment below if you want to find out how to stock your house full of these amazing products FREE!!!