Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Style with Pink Blush Part 1: Cardigans

A few weeks ago I was privileged to take part in a spring photo shoot for the Pink Blush clothing line. This is the first of a series of three posts featuring Pink Blush’s spring styles. I was able to collaborate with some amazing bloggers, who also happen to be some of my closest friends. We connected through this crazy world of blogging, and I couldn’t be happier with the relationships we now have. We teamed up with Diana of Diana Putnam Photography to style some looks both from Pink Blush’s women’s line and their maternity line (because, as you can see, two of us are preggo and two aren’t).  Since I’ve already talked at length about how much I love Pink Blush (especially during pregnancy—see my last post for just one example) I will introduce you to these lovely blogger ladies and our talented photographer.

First off is my fellow mama-to-be Fatima of Les Dedrickson. Although blogging has brought us much closer together, we actually met long before either of us started posting out our lives for the world to see.  Our husbands both served a 2-year LDS mission in Detroit, Michigan at the same time, and they were even mission companions for a time (meaning they lived as roommates and proselytized together).  They became such good friends on their mission that when they came home they stayed in contact and have remained buddies over the years. I met Fati shortly after they got married and I knew I liked her right away. She is the type of person that can effortlessly become one of your best friends. Add this to the fact that we have been pregnant together twice now, and we both blog…  and well we just have a lot of common ground. She has a little boy who is Klair’s age, and a girl on the way... so naturally we’re planning a double wedding for our children. Arranged marriages are still legitimate, right? Fati is also one of the most fascinating and accomplished women I know. She’s from Sweden, lives in Utah, went to BYU, and not only ran track for her university but became a world-renowned athlete. Oh and if that wasn’t enough she’s also an awesome photographer! Definitely check out her blog, you won’t be disappointed!

Next we have Sandy of Sandy A La Mode. I randomly met her through mutual blogger friends last summer. At the time she looked a lot like I do now—she was very pregnant with her now little baby girl. I had just recently discovered that I was pregnant, and I remember thinking… "Oh boy. That’s what I have to look forward to…" except she actually made me feel excited about the prospect of being super preggo because she did it so well! Since then we have become good friends, and her expertise in the fashion and blogging world makes her my go to guru on just about everything. Her blog is focused mostly on fashion, and her outfits are always so spot on and perfect in every way. Plus she collaborates with so many shops and companies that she is really a great resource for finding awesome and trendy brands. She works full time, has two kids, and blogs constantly…. I don’t know how she does it, but I for one am grateful she does because she’s a total inspiration for mamas everywhere.

Then there is Miss Cecilia of Dearest Lou. Ok so confession time, I followed her before she knew who I was. Last summer we were both part of a giveaway hosted by another blogger. During the giveaway she started following me on Instagram and even left this really sincere compliment on one of my posts. I was totally flattered and maybe even a little star struck that someone of her caliber was commenting on my Instagram! As I further dived into the blogging world we ran into each other and easily became friends. She is a talented photographer, lifestyle and fashion blogger, and a mama to the most adorable little boy (who I think Klair has a crush on because they play so well together). I love this girl and her blog. I’m sure you will too!

Last but not least is Diana of Diana Putnam Photography. I’ve worked with her on other collaborations, and I’m always so impressed with her work. For this particular shoot we were in the harsh noon-day sun, yet she still managed to pull it off like a rock star.  She photographs all sorts of events, so if you’re in need of a photographer you should definitely check her out!

For the style of this post we decided that we would all wear one of this season’s absolute necessities—the spring cardigan/kimono with crochet fringe. The one that I’m wearing is actually not even a maternity piece, yet it works and will continue to after baby boy comes (score!). Sandy is styling the same cardigan in a pretty blush color, and I love how she paired it with a bold floral print. Fatima and I are both wearing our distressed maternity jeans from Pink Blush, and Fati is also sporting a lovely floral patterned kimono that looks absolutely fabulous. Cecilia decided to show the possibilities of the spring cardigan by pairing hers with a bright skirt—and I really like how she belted it for a completely different look and feel.

A big thanks to Pink Blush for supplying us with these styles! Look back for our next two looks in this style series!

My Outfit Details (follow the links and head over to the blogs of the other ladies for more info on their looks):

Distressed Maternity Jeans: Pink Blush Maternity
Pink Tee: H&M (similar)
Nude Wedges: Target (similar)
Rose Gold Watch: Michael Kors

Popcorn Popping

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Does anyone else know that song? Or is it a local Utah thing? Because I grew up here and continue to live in the Beehive State I'm always curious about certain songs and traditions--which ones are more widespread, and which are our own local quirks. Because let's be honest--we're pretty quirky. Regardless, Klair loves the "popcorn song" as she calls it, and every time we see a tree with big white blossoms she yells out "look mommy, popcorn trees!" and then proceeds to sing me the little tune. I'm not sure I've ever appreciated spring as much as I do now.

In pregnancy news I'm now 38 weeks (well, tomorrow... close enough) and things are... interesting. With my first pregnancy, I never really had any of this pre-labor stuff. With the risk of over sharing, I didn't even dilate with Klair on my own--I had to be induced after her due date because I'm not sure she would have ever come. She was too content. This time around things are very different. I now understand why pregnant women waddle... I've officially entered that club. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy about the fact that things are progressing naturally and I might not have to wait as long this time to hold my baby. But... it's definitely a lot more uncomfortable and often downright painful to have a baby who has dropped and so many Braxton Hicks contractions. I'm just hoping that it all adds up to less time waiting.

Waiting. Waiting... that's all that I feel like I'm doing lately. I'm trying to stay busy, to distract myself, to not think about the impending delivery... but of course that's impossible. I have the constant reminder of being ridiculously pregnant. Luckily the weather has been awesome lately, so it has made it easy to get out of the house. Klair and I have been spending lots of time at parks, going on walks, and generally out and about. I've also been feeling that nesting instinct lately. Combine this with my annual desire to spring clean and... well, I think my poor husband might be sick of me with my never ending list of projects to accomplish. My anxiety over not knowing when he will come and my attempt to distract myself by staying busy has lent itself to some pretty productive days though, so that's definitely some silver lining! If this continues our house might become the most organized it's ever been.

This outfit is compliments of Pink Blush Maternity. If you don't know how much I love this company, then you haven't read my blog. They have been absolutely amazing throughout my pregnancy... and I'm excited to shop some of their non-maternity line in the very near future.

Hurry on over to their site--they're currently having a $15 flash sale you won't want to miss!

Button-Back Maternity Sweater (On Sale) : Pink Blush Maternity |
Dark Distressed Maternity Jeans (On Sale) : Pink Blush Maternity |
Chiffon Scarf : Pink Blush Maternity (similar) |
Amber Stone Necklace : Vintage (similar) |
Gray Pumps : Vintage (similar) |

Thursday, March 26, 2015

37 Weeks | Casual Maternity Style A La Pink Blush

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Confession time: a lot of the outfits I post are a bit on the dressier side, yet this isn't what I necessarily wear on a daily basis. I think my tendency to do this is, in large part, because having a blog and creating fashion posts inspires me to get dressed up more than I normally would considering I'm a full time mama to a toddler who could care less if I have lipstick on. Let's be honest though, apart from the occasional reason to really fancy myself up (i.e. church, a date night) I'm pretty much just living in comfortable clothing--particularly as of late. Pregnancy has that effect on me. Thus, the outfit I'm styling in this post is more true to life--to what I wear on a daily basis. 

Some of my comfy/easy pregnancy go to's include:

A side braid. It's such an easy hairstyle to throw together when I don't have time. And, paired with a hat, it's basically effortless.

Comfy t-shirts. Is there anything better than a good tee? I'm particularly fond of the crochet/lace pocket embellishment on this one.

Distressed jeans. I feel like the distressed look adds a little something extra in the style department, but let's face it. They're still one of the most comfortable options around, especially because they stretch! Thank the fashion heavens for spandex.

Comfortable boots. I love the idea of flats, but I'm not fond of them on me... especially right now. I feel like I need the added height to elongate everything. It's not easy to find a heel that's comfortable enough for my pregnant feet, but these cowgirl-esque booties fit the bill.

A diaper bag. I'm still a mom to a toddler after all, so I need to have all sorts of things on hand at all times--snacks, diapers, hand sanitizer, coloring supplies to entertain at the drop of a hat--to name a few. A regular purse just can't handle it all, but this diaper bag by Lily Jade can. And the best part is that it doesn't even look like a diaper bag!

Overall, comfort is my number one consideration these days--but with that I try not to sacrifice style. Most of my outfit for this post (in fact most of my pregnancy wardrobe for that matter) comes from Pink Blush Maternity. They have so many options for us mamas-to-be... and they're constantly having great sales. If you're pregnant (and even if you're not since they have a great women's line which you can view here) you should check them out. But be warned that they are popular and their stuff sells out fast! If you like something you just have to go for it.

Also, I have to mention that yesterday I hit the 37 week mark! Baby boy and I are in the home stretch now. There are only 3 weeks until the due date... but he could grace us with his presence even sooner! I'm such a planner, so this uncertainty is killing me. The nursery is done, our bags are packed... and now we get to play the waiting game. Any advice on staying sane during this last bit? 

Pink Tee: Pink Blush Maternity | Distressed Maternity Jeans: Pink Blush Maternity | Diaper Bag: Lily Jade | Yellow Cardigan: J Crew | Tan Booties: Old Navy (similar) | Pink Beanie: H&M (similar)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Maternity & Family Photo Preview | Wride Photography

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When I was younger, I used to imagine my future husband. I would come up with lists of qualities that I wanted him to have. Attributes like handsome, smart, funny, spiritual... these were always at the top. And, of course, I wanted someone who would love me deeply and convey it regularly. I also wanted someone who was great with kids and would be a good dad--but this was further down the list. It was important of course!... but it wasn't the first thing idea that came to mind.

Now that I've had kids (well, had one... one on the way) my perspective has changed. When my daughter is old enough to start daydreaming about her future soul mate I will be sure to encourage her to look for someone who will make a good father to her children. This quality should be at the top of her list--right up there with his ability to love her and to love God. If she can find someone who possesses the capacity to show love in these three most important ways--someone like her own dad--then I will rest assured knowing that she is in very good hands.

Sam is a lot of things--he fits every criteria on my arbitrary list that I probably dreamed up while I should have been listening to some teacher's lecture on geometry--but the trait I value most in him is his ability to love. Nowhere is this displayed more than in our home. He is an excellent husband, and an incredible father. My heart flutters more in the moments when he's "making a tent" with Klair out of blankets, or letting her ride around the house on his back than when he brings me flowers. Don't get me wrong, flowers are nice too... but is there anything more attractive than a man painting his daughter's fingernails a fresh coat of sparkly pink on his only day off?

As I look through these pictures, I'm incredibly grateful for the life that Sam and I have created together. In spite of all the hard times and trials, there is more joy than I knew was possible. I'm ridiculously glad that (despite my rather young age when we got married) I had enough foresight and wisdom to marry a man who always puts his family first. I feel confident and blessed beyond belief to be bringing another little baby into our home to be loved by such a fun, caring, spiritual (here goes that list again) dad.

With that emotional pregnancy rant of gratitude aside, I can't fail to mention the photos in this post. They are a preview of the photo shoot that we recently did with Jesse of Wride Photography, and I absolutely love every single one. I can't wait to get the rest! If you live in Utah (Salt Lake, Provo area) and you're looking for a professional photographer who will live up to every expectation, I couldn't recommend him more. Jesse and his wife Brittney make a dynamic duo--they're both perfectionists and everything they do is pure gold. They shoot a lot of wedding and family photography, but their talents could be used for any event you need them for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reflections of the Religious Variety | Married Forever

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"If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on through eternity." President Gordon B. Hinckley 

On Friday Sam and I were privileged to attend the wedding of our good friend Jowanza to his lovely bride Bethany in the very same location where we were married 5 and a half years ago--the Salt Lake LDS temple. They are such a wonderful couple, and I absolutely loved celebrating with them as they entered into a marriage that will last forever {insert hearts, smiley faces, kissy faces, and general happy feelings all around}. With flowers blooming all over the temple grounds and a brilliant blue sky it was the perfect day for such an important event to occur. I enjoyed being there very much, especially with my own husband by my side... remembering the vows we made in that same place so long ago.  

I don't remember a lot of what was said by the sealer (the wedding officiator) or the advice given on our own wedding day (I was too focused on my handsome husband to be...can you blame me?) so I'm always grateful for the opportunity to attend other weddings and listen to the counsel given by these incredible servants of god. Even though I know he was obviously talking to Bethany and Jowanza since... you know... it was their wedding day and all, the advice he gave was something I needed to hear too. 

He talked about the importance of putting the needs of your spouse before your own, and how this simple formula was the recipe to a happy marriage. It sounds easy enough, right? Not always. Especially for me. I think I tend to be a more selfish person. Naturally I am inclined to look out for numero uno. And I have been especially guilty of selfishness as of late due to pregnancy and all of the various ailments that accompany it. As I discussed in my last post, I've been pretty negative lately--wallowing in self-pity rather than focusing on all the good in my life. I've been so caught up in my own woes that I haven't thought much about those around me--particularly my husband who has been so good to me through all of this. 

A few years back Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an address to the church where he discussed the Savior. Something he said really struck me and I was reminded of it as I started writing. I can't quote it verbatim, but essentially he talked about the characteristics of Christ--one of the most poignant being His ability to turn outward when the rest of us (if we were in His shoes) would naturally turn inward. Or, in other words, even when He was suffering the greatest of afflictions, He still managed to turn His attention and loving concern to others. One of the greatest examples of this unfolded when He hung there in agony upon the cross. Despite his own excruciating pain The Savior still managed to show loving concern for His mother's well being and even asked His Father to "forgive" His trespassers for they knew not what they were doing. Remarkable. He truly is the perfect example of one who was always reaching out, even when no one would have blamed him for turning inward and focusing on his own problems. 

I would do well to follow His lead. 

My trials are minuscule--microscopic!-- comparatively, and I have so much more good in my life to focus on than anything else. I have been blessed beyond measure with a good, kind, loving husband! Basically if you can come up with a positive adjective, it applies to Sam. He's an amazing father and husband (see above for photographic evidence). And, lucky me, we belong to each other forever! I'm so glad that we were able to attend this wedding the other day. I needed it. It was a good reminder of the perspective and priorities I should have. I feel inspired to try harder to be more self-less in all my interactions--particularly in my marriage--the relationship that matters the most. 

Because, as President Ezra Taft Benson so eloquently put it: 

“Marriage. . . is the most glorious and most exalting principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  No ordinance is of more importance and none more sacred and more necessary to the eternal joy of man. Faithfulness to the marriage covenant brings the fullest joy here and glorious rewards hereafter.”


And yes... Klair and I are wearing matching green dresses in honor of the holiday today. We are festive and cheesy like that. Klair loves it when we "are both the same" and I like it when people recognize that she's mine :) 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dear Pregnant Body: I Haven't Been Very Nice to You...

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...and this needs to change.

I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and I feel like I'm bursting at the seams. Lately I've been experiencing the effects of my growing waistline more than ever--both physically and mentally. Physically I'm exhausted. The tiredness of the first trimester has come back with a vengeance... In fact, I would say it's even worse. I struggle to get through my days. Even the most mundane of tasks has felt ridiculously daunting.  It's almost humorous how hard it is to say... go up and down stairs. As soon as Sam gets home it's a known fact that I'm done with stairs for the night. If I need anything from the lower level of our house he kindly fetches it for me. And don't even get me started on laundry...

Then there's the mental/emotional aspect of my ever-increasing size. Because I was sick with all-day "morning sickness" until about 24 weeks, I wasn't able to start exercising until then. Thus from about week 6 to 24 I took a big break from working out, which was hard for me. Nowadays I work out daily and I can definitely tell I'm getting stronger again. I've been doing prenatal workout videos at home, cardio at the gym, and lots of walks. Additionally I try to make healthy and sensible choices with my diet. Yet--without getting into specifics--I've gained more weight than the average or recommended amount... already. And I still have some of the biggest growth weeks to go.

The same thing happened last time with Klair. With both pregnancies it seems that regardless of how disciplined I am with exercise and my eating, my body just wants to hold on to everything it possibly can. With Klair I was able to lose the pregnancy weight fairly quickly post-partum with breastfeeding and avid exercise. In spite of knowing this about my body, I have been really hard on myself this time around. Maybe it's the fact that the weight definitely came on faster with this second baby. And, maybe all the photos we've been taking this time around for the blog haven't helped either. My poor husband kindly takes photos for my blog, and then he has to deal with the repercussions of me being upset when I see myself through the lens of a camera. I guess I'm just having a really hard time not letting my weight get to me. I avoid the scale at home... but I can't avoid it at the doctor. Or the mirror. Or photos. Each doctor appointment has rattled me, and every time I go to my closet to try and find something to wear I end up feeling depressed.

Thus, rather than focusing on the amazing miracle of life that's occurring within me, I've been hyper-focused on negative body image--and this isn't okay. It needs to change.

If I'm going to get through the next 5 weeks, I need to try and be more positive. No, scratch that. I don't just want to get through the rest of this journey. I want to enjoy it. Rather than feeling depressed that I've gained weight, I want to revel in the incomprehensibly beautiful miracle that is currently taking place within me. When people compliment me, I need to stop dismissing their comments as obligated niceness.

No more of that. Right now, even as I write this with no makeup, I am beautiful. Some women love pregnancy. They feel more beautiful than ever knowing that they are housing and nurturing another living soul within them. I believe this for women in general, but I don't apply it to myself. I think all women possess there own inherent beauty, and I believe pregnancy is one of the ultimate expressions of this... yet I automatically exclude myself. I guess you could say that I acknowledge in theory that I am beautiful, particularly now...  but now I need to figure out how to believe it.

And of course I recognize that body image issues aren't limited to pregnancy--it's just what I'm currently experiencing. But in our toxic culture I think it's safe to say that most women struggle with issues of confidence, particularly relating to appearance. I think we would all do well to follow this advice from Amy Poehler:

"When you talk about yourself or to yourself and you have that tape running in your head, try to picture you are talking to your own daughter or your younger sister. Because you would tell your younger sister or your daughter that she is beautiful and you wouldn't be lying, because she is. And so are you."

Basically I guess I just really need to change my attitude. Every time a negative thought pops in my head (as they inevitably will) I'm going to counter it with positivity. Whenever I feel the urge to complain (which I do way too much) I'm going to try and see the silver lining. Happiness is a choice and a matter of focus. I can choose where to focus my attention, and I certainly have a lot to be grateful for... even in the tougher times.

Furthermore, with only five weeks left of this pregnancy, I want connect with my son as much as possible--to love every movement and revel in the passing moments. I want to set aside time daily to appreciate this connection that we have now--a connection that will soon end, but that has bonded us forever.

Lastly, I need to soak up this time with my husband and daughter. Right now I'm not taking care of a newborn... and despite my excitement to do so, I'm not kidding myself. It will be a lot of work! It will demand a lot of me and a lot of my time. Right now I can give everything to Sam and Klair, and they deserve that.

Yesterday while I was driving I saw a quote posted on a church billboard in magnetic letters. It read:

"Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice." 

It caught my attention at the time as a witty bit of wisdom, but I didn't think much more of it. It wasn't until I started writing out my feelings that I realized it was the perfect way to summarize this post. I've been so negative lately. I've been practicing negativity and I've gotten pretty good at it!...too good. It's time to change.

And of course this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning the photos. When I first saw them, I was disappointed--not in the dress itself, but in how I looked in it. I was negative about my appearance. But now I'm forcing myself to look at them with a different perspective. The dress is beautiful, and so am I. (Also, I have to say I'm really impressed with and grateful for the quality of my husband's photography. I am the luckiest to have his support in this crazy blogging adventure.)

My dress came from Maeberry Vintage. I have mentioned this amazing little boutique in previous posts (which you can read here and here). They have such a great collection of vintage clothing. There is so much variety that even a girl who is almost 9 months pregnant can find something she loves. It's also pretty awesome knowing that it is a unique, authentic vintage piece and the likelihood of someone else having this dress is slim to none. Although it isn't specifically designed for a preggo, it makes the perfect maternity dress for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday--hence the green accessories. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City, be sure to check them out!