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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trimdown Thursday: Balancing Barre

I honestly can't believe it's week three! Feels like week 33!! I kid, y'all. :) I'm having a blast in this Pure Barre journey and feeling so good. It's amazing how exercise can give you that natural high...and when I'm feeling unmotivated and tired, I go to Pure Barre and BOOM. I 
have energy again! Isn't it funny how that works? I love it. 



So, this week I feel like I'm really starting to connect with the moves...the form...the barre technique. It takes a few classes just to get this down (tomorrow will be #10 for me and Pure Barre suggests this is really when you start to see some results.). And once you do, it's rather exciting! Then you can concentrate on really working your body. While I've been modifying some moves, especially ab work, I'm feeling stronger every class and beginning to insert some moves regularly like the side plank (I'm still modifying the full plank). After I had little C, I hurt my back (although I strongly feel like it was due to the epidural, and this time I didn't have one), so I'm trying not to overdo my muscles on anything too soon. I have to remind myself I'm not even three months postpartum yet! 
Had to take a Pure Barre selfie...
This week what I've really struggled with is balance...and I don't mean holding a tree pose 
for 90 seconds. I mean, trying to fit everything in. I read interviews all the time where moms 
say they're not worried about their body...it will come. Or they try not to be away from their kids just to exercise. But, for me, I need this hour of strength and getting back to 
myself. Feeling good about myself and my body, as well as being healthy (which sets a good example), is important to me. Not only is it a nice break for the soul, but getting back to my weight will make me physically and mentally feel better. Um, not to mention I have a huge closet full of clothes I refuse to just throw away! 

So how do I balance? I don't. Something has to give, and it's become a harsh reality that I can't do it all. But I can come darn close. In the mornings, my husband helps me with taking 
little C to "school" for a few hours, and I have my time with baby L. Then, my mom is my right-hand gal the rest of the afternoon. She helps me juggle picking up little C and babysitting the kids while I exercise. That alone is no easy task, and many times she makes sure little C and baby L are both fed. I usually have to pump twice a day to make sure I have enough breastmilk to leave for baby L while I'm gone. And sometimes I have to either feed her and rush out, or rush home to feed her. Oh, the life of a nursing mom who's trying to get her body back and spend time with her kids! Once I'm home from barre, I can spend time with little C for the afternoon, but many times there are appointments and errands we have to run together. Oh, and I write these at about 10 p.m. at night in between feeding sessions and a shower. ;)

Yes, it's quite exhausting, but all worth it. I know it will slow down, but until then I just have to focus on the end results. And honestly, I can't imagine working throughout all of this, so kudos to all of you moms who head back to work after baby! I applaud you.
I'm living (!) in my Milan and Jade leggings and Stephanie tank (so great for nursing) from Yummie by Heather Thomson. They're life-changing.
A healthy body helps me be a better mama. It clears my mind and makes me feel good. And I can sprint around the house or on the soccer field with little C. :) Some days I feel like I want to give up. I don't have a moment to breathe or sit down. But somehow I always come back and center myself. Just keep going. You can do this.
Ok, LOVING this Hard Tail Forever cardigan. Great for hiding a not-yet-flat belly, and for breastfeeding!
Several people have told me this week I'm an inspiration. That's what this is all all about...reaching our goals. I really, really hope I'm inspiring to you! We can do this, mamas!

P.S. As I've mentioned, I'm doing Weight Watchers as I also practice Pure Barre. I'm so close to my first goal, and hope to hit it within the next week. So exciting! I've been losing 1.5-2 pounds on average per week, the recommended for nursing mothers. Since I started the program a few weeks ago, I've now lost 7 pounds...squeal!!! I'm over halfway to shedding all the baby weight (since after birth I shed about 20 pounds just from breastfeeding). Summer bathing suit...here I come! 


Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, so please consult yours before starting any new diet or exercise plan. I was not compensated for this post, but was provided the PB Baby Bounceback Package for the purposes of my reviews. All opinions, as always, are my own. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Whiny Wednesdays: My Little Doodle Pants

When I found out about Doodle Pants I was definitely squealing...look, y'all! Little heart leggings with a kitty kat on the bottom...swoon. Of course, there are tons of patterns, but since baby L has an orange cat (the family cat that just stays around forever...seriously. He follows us all around the neighborhood!) , I thought these way appropriate. They're a size three months, so she's not in them just yet, but when she is, believe me you better check Instagram because there will be some major photos happening, dears. 

The leggings start at three months and go to 24 months and they're just $24.99. I mean, that's a pretty sweet deal considering all of the cuteness. I'm going to look for a pint-size denim jacket to pair with it for fall, but for summer I think a mini tank too will be so, so adorable. Daydreaming now...this is what having a little girly girl is allllll about! :) 

Introducing FEED Diaper Bags: Because Everyone Should Experience theJoy of Motherhood.


Ok, so no lie, I'm pretty much obsessed times 1,000 with these FEED baby bags. I mean, right?! Pretty adore-able! Apparently FEED has wanted to launch a diaper bag for ages, and they've teamed up with mom blogger and designer Joy Cho on this playful, printed style (what a great project for a blogger to get involved in, no?). There's also a classic burlap version created by the FEED team. Guess which one I'm squealing over?? Yup. The colors are perfect for spring/summer! The FEED + Oh Joy! diaper bag shall be added to my diaper bag collection very soon. (Hey, I rotate.) 

"Not only will [your purchase] help ensure the baby will grow and thrive physically and mentally, it will give mothers everywhere the opportunity to truly experience the joy of motherhood." - Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder and CEO of FEED 

And besides the superficial part of it being soooo, so stinking cute (there's kinda a baby pun there...get it?), for $150, each FEED or FEED + Oh Joy! Diaper Bag provides 1 mother + 1 child with essential micronutrients for an entire year. That's pretty cool, yes? I love the way you can be super practical, super chic and super helpful when you purchase from FEED. It's a three-fold deal, and it's simply lovely. Don't you think more brands should use this model? And what a great way to celebrate the "joy" of motherhood this Mother's Day. Wink. 

P.S. You can buy one now at feedprojects.com or exclusively in-store at giggle/giggle.com tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cutest Ankle Boots At Coachella

Ahhhh, Coachella. At least the first weekend has come and gone. I'm having major boho envy, and hope I can survive another weekend of instagrams and tweets. I mean, so many amazing kimonos, hats, sunnies and....shoes. Ashley Greene, in fact, wore these western-inspired Chinese Laundry "South Coast" ankle booties (retail: $119.95) and I simply adore them with this lightweight sundress. Major kudos to Ashley (or her stylist?) for putting this one together. Unlike a lot of the attire I see, this one's actually tasteful and something a lot of us could wear. And it could work not only for Coachella, but so many "normal" places. Amen, sisters?

So glad ankle booties aren't leaving the scene yet, because I'm def not ready for them to go away anytime soon. They're chic, practical and way versatile. Hey, and I can totally afford these. Gimme, gimme, gimme. 

P.S. Although I'd never cut my hair, I'm really loving her low-maintenance shorter locks here. Agree?


[Photos courtesy Chinese Laundry]

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Tommy, From Zooey

Last week Hollywood's "it" crowd came out to celebrate the new To Tommy, From Zooey capsule collection of 16 dresses and accessories that have us squealing OMG. The London Rooftop was the scene and specialty decor was inspired by prints from the collection. So chic. And look at that pool...totally looks like a party I could get down with. Or even better, can I relocate to L.A.?

The collection features a palette of red, white and blue (obvi) and uses Zoey's signature style as inspiration. The flattering silhouettes range from classic coat and shirtdresses to specialty peek-a-boo styles, with prints hidden inside the pleats. Crisp, mod-shapes are combined with nautical touches—creating a look Deschanel calls “Modical.” Love that.

Bright and upbeat, To Tommy, From Zooey, captures the buoyant attitude of the sixties, the decade in which Hilfiger made his fashion debut and from which Deschanel draws much of her fashion inspiration.

What do you think? I'm digging this whole collab, especially Zooey's dress here. Yes? 

P.S. The collection is available now (!) on macys.com and tommy.com and in select Macy’s and Tommy Hilfiger stores.
  
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Family Traditions

Since I just had a baby two months ago, I'm really enjoying getting out on a neighborhood stroll several times a week, whether it's for a leisurely stroller ride with baby L or a fast-paced jog to get rid of this baby weight. The flowers in my 'hood are absolutely gorge. The candy-colored tulips in the yard above I captured almost remind me of my shoe closet. <blush> 

Spring is finnnnnally in the air! In fact, it was a balmy 84 degrees here yesterday. Gotta love the south! Something we like to do as a family every spring is visit the daffodil festival just a short drive away from our home. It's called Wye Mountain and it's acres and acres of beautiful yellow and white daffodils. It makes for some stunning family photos and the weather this year was incredible. They even had a couple of trees that little C insisted upon climbing...of course. baby L was just along for the ride in the baby carrier this year, but I can't wait for her to really fall in love with the flowers next year. I can see her all dressed up in her spring best now! ;) 
So even though winter has finally said see ya, I still take my coffee seriously (in fact, we made a Starbucks run-through on the way to see the daffodils!). Granted, different seasons call for different flavors, so right now I'm loving the Spring Blend. This medium roast truly complements the season, crafted with beans from Latin America and East Africa. The notes are spirited and juicy, a balance of milk chocolate and sweet orange notes. In fact, that's one of my fav combos, so I knew it would be a hit. Now I'm trying to find a good hiding spot so my husband doesn't drink it all. The down side of having a family full of coffee lovers...sigh...

Happy coffee drinking and happy spring, y'all! 
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, but was provided the coffee by Starbucks for testing purposes in this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Trimdown Thursday: What I've Learned at Pure Barre

Well, I survived week one of Pure Barre, y'all! I know...I can't believe it, either. WHEW. I'm not joking when I say this workout puts my Pilates class to shame. I thought it was tough pre-baby, but post-baby is kicking my butt. I'm thinking results are coming very soon (I've been losing a pound-and-a-half each week!) because I feel like it...in my glutes, thighs, abs... Today I'm attending my fifth class. I went three times last week and plan to continue going four times a week for maximum benefits...and because, well, I kinda like it (did I mention I'm also a closet hip-hop lover? That helps). Shhhhh...

I know I have a long road ahead of me, and this past week I felt a little discouragement, I won't lie. But every time I've felt bummed, I go to another class and feel instantly invigorated again. Working out feels sooo good! It also helps talking to my teachers before and after class...they really push me to work harder and harder and to not give up. I've already learned so much this last week. Losing weight is like setting any life goal...it takes hard work, determination and motivation. And never, ever giving up. 
Until I've lost more, I usually feel more comfy in a t-shirt.

Sort of silly, but as you know, I had a natural childbirth and my chant to myself was "I can do it!" So I've transferred it to Pure Barre, telling myself "You've got this, Jules! You can totally do this!" It's all about focus. 

Throughout the last week I've also compiled in my head some things I've learned at Pure Barre:

1. Buy their socks. One day I forgot my toe socks on accident, so was left without an option. Now, I'll never go back. So. Comfy. (And if nothing else is too comfy for the hour, your feet might as well be, eh?)

2. Oh, wait. Their workout clothes are cute, too. Apparently I can't mingle in the lobby because then I buy things. Pure Barre: 1. Julie's wallet: 0. 

3. Ok, seriously. Always bring water. This girl here works hard and always needs a sip between moves. I diiiiiie over the time I left it in my cube in the lobby. One word: parched. 

4. Be on time. I was struggling last time (almost in tears, mind you), but still made it to class. Smack in front of the mirror...in the front...next to the girl who had taken several handfuls of classes more than me. It's all good. 

5. The tuck. This is pretty much the key to class, so I'm pretty glad I figured this one out. Err, I think anyway. Emily, are you reading?

6. The smaller the movement, the better. The smaller the movement, the more it kills me. The smaller the movement, the more it works. Fair enough. 

7. The 90-second plank kinda feels like the 190-second plank. 

8. There's a remix of Ice, Ice Baby?

9. Your legs will shake at the barre, and that means it's working. But will it ever not feel weird? Nope.

10. Everyone starts somewhere. There are all shapes and sizes in barre class and everyone moves at their own pace and ability. I'm still modifying some of the moves, for now, but can't wait until I'm stronger. You're stronger than you think. It's mind over muscle, as my instructors say. 

So there you have it. Since I'm still so new, I'll admit, most classes I still feel like a total poser (once I get my position a lot of times, I've missed half the exercise...haha...you're laughing, but it's true). My instructor assures me I'm soon to "get over that hump" and to just keep coming. And sometimes a good pep talk is really all one needs. Here's to another week closer to skinny jeans...

Disclaimer: As always, please consult your doctor before you start any new exercise. I'm also using Weight Watchers to help control my eating habits.

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