Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter and Baby Boy - 32 Weeks

(Mom Life shirt - Karla Storey)

It's almost April - can you believe it?  I'm 8 months pregnant, can you believe that?!  I can't, it has gone by SO FAST.  I'm feeling good this week, sleeping well and remembering to put my feet up after a long day, feeling better than I did the last couple of weeks.  Busy, busy, busy and tired, tired, tired but feeling great.

Only 41 more days of school, I love my after Spring Break countdown!  I also love my lunch breaks where I make time to head up to the gym with my hubs, working together is the best.

Easter was so much fun this year, it's really the best when your kids get  a bit older.  Lemon had been talking about dying eggs for FOREVER, so our good friends' Jonah and Miranda came over to dye them with us, and crack confetti eggs!  We also did a practice egg hunt and the kids loved it.


Easter nails:

Ian had a late meeting at school on a yoga night for me, so I drove Lemon to my yoga studio and he picked her up.  It was lovely having company and then later, seeing them on Periscope while I was in class!  I love watching these on the replay when I get home!

I had a meeting on Thursday and didn't have to be back at school until after lunch, so I got to meet Lemon and Brittany for lunch and eat chips and salsa outside on the most gorgeous day!

Then on Friday, Ian and I took our students to see a local community garden, and then out to lunch at Flower Child and Lemon got to meet us again!  Twice in a row I saw her at lunch, it was the best week ever!

My mom and Brittany started cleaning out the baby's room this week and then I started looking at it and got totally overwhelmed.  I have no idea how to decorate a boys' room and don't have the time or energy to do it either.  Yes I know he won't be sleeping in here until November probably, but man, it's gotta get done!  (If you know me, you'd know that it has to be done before he gets here.)  What the heck and I'm going to do with this space?  I also have no money, it's all being saved for Lemon's preschool - so there's that.  Ugh.  I started a Pinterest board if you're interested, we are doing an adventure theme (also a clue to his name!).

I went to Lemon's acting class with her this past weekend and it was so fun to see her there.  She seems to like it, even though we've had some snags with the teachers (regarding the potty and letting us watch the first class), but I hope that it goes smoothly from here on out.

Saturday night we spent the evening with our good friends, James and Brian, and Lemon helped make dinner and chocolate chip cookies.  She loves them and so do we!

Lemon and her cousins had a blast at my in-laws running around hunting for eggs, and we are so lucky because my mom and Joe, and our good friend James, got to come over too!  It was a lovely morning, hosted by Ian's mom Patty (thanks Patty!), and it's always fun when we get our families together.

Hope you all had a Happy Easter too!   :)

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Moms on Mondays - Shannon from Layered by Cake

Hi my name is Shannon, personal stylist and owner/curator of the online boutique Layered By Cake, where I help busy mommas out of their style ruts! 

My website is Layed by Cake where you can shop online 24/7. My IG page is like a curated catalog of what can be found on my site, plus some “Mom Funnies” to keep you laughing throughout your week. You can find me on Instagram, on my VIP Facebook Group and I am also on Pinterest.  I recently ramped up some MAJOR excitement in my VIP Facebook Group Page with my first ever LIVE FLASH SALE!! It was so much fun and the mommas hanging out in my group page truly are my VIP’s. I give them first pick at my new arrivals and we have some amazing chats about #momlife. I also pin so many helpful resources on Pinterest for mom style that many of my clients love!

My shop is for moms and busy gals that need help getting their style in check! You see, I hand select all the apparel in my shop with the busy momma in mind. I have, not only a BA in Fashion Design, but over 12 years of retail management experience with Anthropologie. Many of my in store styles are influenced by my employment with Anthro, so if your a fan of Anthropologie, I know you will love my selection and, even better, my prices!

I opened up my shop with $600 from a tax refund in 2014, when my youngest was only 4 months old. (That's what happens when you put an over-achiever/big dreamer on maternity leave for too long!)  I was working as a Sales/Marketing manager for a local business, in the technology industry, but having a desk job with 2 kids at home was less than ideal. I should mention that my husband is also self employed and had only been in business about a 1 1/2 years when I decided to launch my business. Call us crazy, yes, but so far so good and we are both pushing through our goals and dreams daily, so we feel incredibly blessed. 

My business has always been a goal of mine, to own my own store. I thought when I was younger that I wanted to host a store of all my own designs, but as I grew up I realized that I find incredible amounts of joy in inspiring and helping woman find clothing that speaks to them. I have always had a talent for “discovering” what others have a tendency to overlook. Maybe it's the creative in me, or just my own rebellious “go against the grain attitude,” but owning my boutique has provided me an unexpected, wonderful journey thus far. My business is really new (only 2 years, barely) and in the world of business, it takes A LOT, to find your way and uncover your own story. I wish more business owners talked openly about how challenging it is to learn every aspect of owning a business. It has been a tiring 2 years, but I am now growing steadily with a very promising growth path ahead for 2016. And it's not by accident! I have worked to make this business what I had envisioned, and am blessed to say that it gets better and better as I learn more about this crazy world of entrepreneurship.
My husband is a self employed, finished carpenter. He is crazy talented and supports our family with his endless dedication, kindness and hard work. I am a lucky gal to have him as my partner in life. Our two kiddos are Payton, 5 1/2 and Tucker, 2 yrs old. Two kids is about all we can handle, and I like to say we really have 4 kids because our businesses our are other babies! My daughter is kind, wild and loves fashion just like her momma. Tucker doesn't think my boutique is cool unless there are toy trucks around to play with. He is my work buddy because we frequent my shop to meet with local clients (by appointment only), and to ship orders, processing, etc. Tucker's grandma (my mom) is an owner of an H & R Block which is connected to my shop internally, so Tucker gets to visit grammy pretty often which is great!

My company is helping me to be a better mom, a better wife and one heck of an online marketer (since I spend a lot of my time learning new ways to market my product lines)! I have learned that my journey is unique to me, and it is exactly where I am meant to be. This journey has taught me incredible things like - we are all capable of living out our dreams and that the only thing that holds any of us back is our own negativity. Doing what you love, and doing it with those that love you most, is the most amazing journey you can ever ask for! I am blessed to be working hard and living out my dreams one day at a time.

Fashion has always been in my blood! My sister and I would play dress up like no other girls I knew. I was fascinated with the art of adornment from a very young age, and how style really is a creative outlet. Fashion saved me from completely losing myself when my parents divorced when I was 12. I managed to maintain my 4.0 GPA throughout school, amidst chaos in my house for almost 6 years. I realized, some years later, that it was because of my love of fashion.  It kept me focused on my goals in school. I was 7 years old when I decided I would be a fashion designer. So, even though I am not designing my own line (as of yet), I am doing what I always wanted to do - work in the fashion industry. Better yet, I get to help people that struggle with fashion find joy in it again, and confidence in their style choices.

At the moment, it's me and my best friend's little sister (who is also my photographer) who run my shop. My family definitely helps out, but I will be hiring in the very near future for some part time help to ease my hands-on duties so that I can really start to grow this business into the brand I have always dreamed about.  For now, I am the model, photo editor, website tech, writer, customer service provider, quality control, shipping and receiving, online marketing guru and one heck of a busy momma!  I also attend trade shows twice a year and head out to LA to discover new brands with the right quality, fit and style my clients desire.

This business is always changing and evolving. Or maybe I should say I am changing and evolving. My business is an extension of me, and as it grows, I grow. We are one in the same. I am so excited for what the future holds, but most importantly, I am excited to help more mommas find joy and confidence in their style. It's my favorite part about what I do!

Right now, doing it all myself is my biggest challenge. I need to hire help at this point. I plan, eventually, to have an online community that helps moms everywhere, finding styles they feel confident in. When I opened shop, it was my intention to make sure no mom runs out of time to be stylish and confident. I want to make it easy for all moms to fall in love with their style again, like they did before they had babies.

I love prints! I am very picky about prints, and their composition, so I only bring in something that I think is truly unique and on trend. I don't like to bring in what every other boutique is pushing unless it's right for my style community. I love prints because I will receive testimonials from my customers telling me that their children stopped to compliment them on how beautiful they look in that blouse or dress. It's the best part of what I do, making moms feel great!

I'm the gal you don't want to sit next to because I will talk your ear off for days about marketing strategies and how to better grow your business! I am a tad bit obsessed with the marketing aspect. So, I always say - do your research, know who you are trying to market to and don't be afraid to be the face of your own business. Many entrepreneurs hide behind their brand, and although I may be a little too much in my brand (being the model, my face all over my IG feed), it helps future clients to know who they are doing business with. And, at the end of the day, people want to do business with people, not brands! So, be yourself and be proud of whatever journey mom-preneurialship
(yes I think that's a real word) will take you on.

I love to support other boutiques and handmade shops, especially those owned by mommas! My 2 best gals pals own amazing businesses that I support whole-heartedly. Here's some I really love (including theirs):  Ellie and James, My Bump to Bundle, Clover and Arrownautics, The Dainty Doe, Shop Ruche, Spool 72, Patterns and Pops and Shop and Apparel.  

If you are interested in joining my community of busy mommas, Sign up for my Dream Closet Challenge (click to join). It is my newest video series, where I help ladies organize their closets, discover their personal style needs and preferences plus help them find more joy and confidence in their morning routines. It's basically, free styling advice and I think most gals would enjoy that!

Thanks Shannon, loved having you!

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Yamas & Niyamas - YTT Week 9 (Makeup)

I was gone from YTT on Wednesday, March 16th (we just got home from the beach) so I missed an interesting lecture by Heidi on the Yamas and Niyamas.  (Here is an article about them if you don't know what they are.)  It was an interesting lecture that really made me consider myself, my actions, my words, my thoughts and my whole being really.  I love these and hope to learn to live by them more and more, as this journey of mine goes on.

These yamas and niyamas are defined as "the right conduct towards others and oneself."  They guide you into a complete transformation of student into peaceful, harmonized being.  Frees us from our limitations.  They are also meant to go together and build on one another.  They allow us to reflect on our lives with compassionate eyes.  "Perfect as you are, perfect as you are not."  Not meant to be commandments but instead about guidance and suggestions for living.

The 5 yamas are:

Ahimsa is a code of moral conduct in which all of the yamas rest.  Compassion, kindness and tolerance.  Thinking of ways to be more loving towards yourself and others.  Realizing through your thoughts and energy what you produce around you.  Do your best, rise above, move beyond.

Satya is be truthful to yourself in thoughts and reality.  Clarity.  Our behavior reflects this truth.  Four gates of speech:  Is it kind, true, necessary and timely?  Telling someone exactly what you want.  Integrity and thoughts, and your energy behind them.  What are the universal truths?  Conscious, mindful communication.

Asteya is being free from illusion of ownership/envy/jealousy.  Generosity and honesty.  Delight in the successes of others, don't steal time (don't be late), take credit for things you've done, give credit when something isn't yours.  Are you blessed with abundance?  How do you honor what belongs to others?

Brahmacharya is everything in moderation or balance.  Regulating your senses, avoiding self-indulgence.  Living a well-balanced, mindful, moderate life.  Are you obsessive in any part of you life?  In excess of somethng?

Aparigraha is non attachment, fulfillment.  What does it mean, when we let go of our attachments?  Can we expand beyond them?  Living simply, enjoy material things but be able to let go at a moment's notice.  "Little is required for happiness."  Also applies to attachments of expectations - be flexible in your heart and mind, go with the flow.  "The more stuff we accumulate, the more time we spend attending to it."  "Look at everything you own and ask if it owns you."  Speak appreciation and blessings, let go of attachment.

The 5 niyamas are:
Ishvara Pranidhana

Saucha is cleanliness/purity.  Constant upkeep of your body and emotions.  Outpouring of love, purify your motives, take action and let go.  "The state of body affects the mind, cleansing the body cleanses the mind."  Coming clean, discover your genuine authenticity.  Lighten up.

Santosha is being at peace with oneself or others.  Accept balance, peace and joy.  Make the best of any situation, unwavering serenity.  "Gratefulness creates inner happiness."

Tapas is discipline, and igniting the purifying flame inside.  "Do for the body what you know will be good for it."  Pause before you react, breath, pause.  Important in getting rid of old habits, stagnation.  Practicing positive change.

Svadhyaya is understanding the total functioning of the human from skin to core.  Who am I?  What is my purpose?  Self study - Why are we here?  What is it all about?  Am I aware of my actions as they are happening?  Personal responsibility for your actions, reflect on them later.  Is how others perceive you how you really are?

Ishvara Pranidhana is the energy of universal wisdom/truth.  Faith in higher knowledge, whatever that is to you.  Personal and religious beliefs.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

A Lemony Spring Break & Baby Boy - 30-31 Weeks

I am so not in the mood to blog today, I just want to sit at my computer and veg out and surf the net.  And, I have so many pics I want to post and none of them will download onto my computer at the moment so it is SUPER frustrating!!  Ugh.

I have approached the 30 week, 3rd trimester mark and although I am still feeling good I have definitely felt "pregnant" these past two weeks.  I woke Ian up the other night trying to breathe and moan through a nasty charlie horse that left my calf sore for 4 days (it's STILL sore), and the other day (maybe I already wrote about it) I got a crazy foot cramp that he had to run in and rescue me from too!  My muscles cramp up so much that I can't move them and they don't move themselves, they get stuck, it is the weirdest thing!  Last time I took magnesium to help so I started taking that again this week, I don't want another charlie horse like that, it was horrible.

I also feel super pregnant and things at yoga are getting tougher and tougher for me to do.  I look around at what everyone else can do and how far they can go and think "that used to be me" and get kind of depressed.  My face is starting to fill in and those dark spots (what are those?!) are starting to come out and I'm just feeling more and more like this is the real deal (totes didn't before, too funny).

I also have started to think about birth and how much I'm dreading doing that again, even though I had a great experience last time, I just remember every single second of how painful it was and don't really have any desire to do it again.  I did it drug free last time and am considering drugs this time, I am just so fearful of being stuck in bed, I lunged my way down the hallway last time!  These thoughts fly into my head when I am awake at 3am and then I can't go back to sleep, I just spend the whole time worrying and then I'm tired.  I went from not sleeping well my 1st trimester, to sleeping great and now back to my 3am wakeups.  Not uncomfortable, baby not waking me up - I just wake up and then can't shut my mind off and go back to sleep.  Anyone else super fearful of giving birth a second time, after knowing what it was like and experiencing it a first time?  I would love to hear how much easier it was for you, might get my spirits up!  (If you are interested in reading Lemon's birth story, it can be found here.)

Did my glucose test with jelly beans (19!) this past week and passed!  Look up this study and tell your doctor, you can totally do jelly beans instead of drinking that horrible drink!

I will attempt to recap these past two weeks in photos, I am totally aware that there are a lot.  We took Lemon on our baby moon to Coronado, our fave vacation spot, for Spring Break and had SO MUCH FUN.  I was super nostalgic the whole time, thinking about how we went during Spring when I was pregnant with her, and then how it was our last trip as a family of 3.  I also lay awake at night wondering what life is going to be like for all of us when this boy comes, it just seems like we've got a great groove going (finally) and life is just easy and things are great, I'm so nervous about mixing a tiny baby into our family, excited but nervous.  Is this a normal thought?  Please tell me it's normal.  :)

This may just seem like a weird picture of a mole.  But, this mole is super meaningful to me.  It is huge and has been on my body for 37 years.  When Lemon was a baby and she'd root around for my nipple, she'd sometimes find this mole and try to nurse from it.  When she got a bit older, she would play with it and touch it, it was her comfort thing on my body, how she knew she was safe and with her mama.  She scratched it, bit it, sucked it and many times made it super painful, but it meant so much in our relationship.  After thinking long and hard, and at the recommendation of my dermatologist, I had it removed this past week and it was bittersweet.  I am excited another baby won't be pulling on it and messing with it, but sad such an important piece of me is gone.  Of course they had to send it out for testing but I wish I could have kept it in a jar for posterity.  Weird, I know.

Making lasagna with my babe:

Sugar Bowl fun with friends:

Our nephew's 6th birthday party:

Before we left on our Spring Break trip Lemon got to come and see us at school, since we had a half day (only 30 minute classes).  It was so fun, I love when she visits and she loved it too!  She couldn't get over how Ian has a little potty and sink in his classroom (it used to be the old Child Development classroom), she thought it was so cool!

Driving and arriving on Coronado:

Lemon's shirt is Sweet Tees Apparel

Our first full day:

 My shirt is Sweet Tees Apparel

Our second day:

Their shirts are Little Faces Apparel

Finally got to see these girls together!

Snuggles instead of naps - she went 4 days with no nap, it was fun but she was tired!

Our last night:


Before we left the next morning, we had to get in some shell collecting with some friends:

We spent the last half of our break trying to do fun things and trying to get things done that we needed to do before going back to work (like touring preschools)!  It was a nice, relaxing mix and our vacation went by way too fast!

Washing shells we collected on our trip.  She finally loves shell collecting as much as her mama, I am so happy!!

Making her favorite dinner, pad thai:

We've been collecting snow globes for her since she was in the womb, she finally got to play with all of them and loved it.  Of course they all had conversations and I had to "be" one of them too.

And end of break ice cream treat ended with a fire truck visit.  It was Lemon's first experience seeing (and being in) a firetruck - so fun!

She also started acting classes this week, it's a Play Pretend class for 3-4 year olds and Ian got kicked out of the theater and couldn't see what they were doing!   She was nervous about it but afterwards she was excited and can't wait to go back.  I hope we get to see what they do in there one day!

Makeup session:

This moment is something I want to remember.  We went to a friend's birthday party and Lemon and this little girl are barely a month apart and played/pretended/shared together the whole time.  It was the first time she has played with someone so close to her age, and played so well, it was so fun to see.  I am so looking forward to her having little girl friends at school!

End of break cookie date:

Getting ready to go back to school always requires a grocery trip:

So many babies, so little time.  In love with babies, can't wait to be a big sister.

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