courtney kar

Tips for Perfecting your Maternity Photo Shoot

Last monday, I published a blog post on my Maternity photo shoot. Thank you so much for all the kind words regarding the beauty of the photos. I’m glad all of you enjoyed them. Because I highly recommend all mothers to be, to have a maternity photo session of their very own, I thought I would share with you a couple tips.

1. Research your photographer. (I am not a photographer, but have worked closely with some. This is what I know.) Although, most photographers use digital, I have heard of some in the DC area who specialize in film. Some photographers may use a flash, while others use natural light. This is important because it will effect the time of day you will do your photo shoot. While most may edit their photos, there are still some photographers who do not. Most photographers have a specialty. Some may be fashion photographers, who shoot mainly in a studio or on set, while others may actually specialize in maternity and birthing photography. Whatever it may be, prioritize what is important to you in a photographer.  At the end of the day, all photographers are artists, who have a unique artistic style. The best way to discover their unique artistic style is by simply examining their portfolio. So look at their website and social media accounts such as instagram… Do you like what you see? Do you like their work? Also on their social media pages you may have the opportunity to read comments and reviews.  If you do not know a photographer, get recommendations from friends. I highly suggest meeting up with your photographer prior to the shoot. That way you two can get to know each other.  This also gives you an opportunity to seek professional advice, ask any questions, and talk about ideas you may have. The closer you know your photographer, the more comfortable your will be. In my eyes, the most important thing is to find a photographer, you feel very comfortable around. Being pregnant can be uncomfortable at times, but you do not want to look uncomfortable in you maternity photos. I was lucky enough to work with Raiza, from Raiza Vega Photography. I not only fell in love with her portfolio on her website, but she is also a good friend. Because of this, I felt totally comfortable during my photo shoot, and it shows in the photos.

2. Determine what vibe you want your photos to have? This was one of the first questions my photographer asked me. 

Below are ideas of some of my favorite vibes. 

Do you want a fashion editorial vibe?

The photos below of Liv Tyler and Gisele Bundchen are examples of maternity photos that have a fashion vibe. These photos were both taken inside and have simple green backgrounds.

Do you want a nature vibe?

The photos below are examples of a nature vibe. All of these photos were taken outside, using natural light. A nature vibe, can also have a bohemian earthy feel. Dresses that flow, flower crowns, and crop tops are all great prop accessories you can wear during your shoot. The background will be the nature found at the location you choose. The timing of your shoot will depend on what kind of sunlight your photographer feels is best to work with.

D0 you want an urban vibe?

Below is an example of an urban vibe photo. While capturing an urban vibe, most photos will be taken outside, with the busy city in the background. Another option is to capture, urban details, such as cobble stone roads or graffiti art. In my photo shoot, we definitely took advantage of the cobble stone road in Old Town.

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Do you want a sexy vibe?

Kourtney Kardashian defines sexy. Below are examples of her sexy maternity photo shoot. Because of the nudity all of these photos were taken inside, with a simple background, most likely done by a fashion photographer.

Tips for choosing a vibe.

Keep in mind, that the vibe you choose for your photos, will influence the clothing you will wear, and the location you will choose. So once you and your photographer determine the vibe of your photo shoot, you can choose clothing, location, and time. For my maternity photo shoot, a location that could capture both a nature vibe and urban vibe was important to me. I chose bohemian style clothing. I wore a flower crown in some photos and a hat in others.

3. Determine what your wardrobe will be, and decide on time and location?

I touched on wardrobe, time and location above. However, I have some additional clothing tips. Keep in mind you don’t have to wear only one outfit. Choose a couple different options, and make sure your location has a bathroom or area you can make a wardrobe change. Decide on whether you will expose your baby bump in some photos. Crop tops and robes with a front opening are great options, to expose your bump. Whatever clothing you choose, make sure you are comfortable and feel beautiful. Your clothing does not have to be maternity. I didn’t wear any maternity clothing in my shoot.

4. Decide whether you want to include anyone else in your photos. 

I chose to have my photos of just me and my bump, celebrating motherhood. However, including your significant other or even your other child/children can be a really beautiful touch. Below are some examples.

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5. Determine the best time during your pregnancy to have your photo taken.

Every woman’s body is unique. Every pregnancy is different. Some women show right away, while others don’t have an established baby bump until later in their pregnancy. Because I am petite I began to show right away.  I had my maternity photo shoot when I was 29 weeks pregnant, in other words, 7 months. This way I had an established baby bump, but didn’t feel uncomfortably huge. Remember, you want to celebrate your bump, but you also want to feel comfortable.

6. What props will you use?

Above I mentioned wardrobe “prop” accessories, such as, a hat, flower crown, or crop top. These prop accessories really help enhance or define the vibe you choose for your photo shoot. However, there is also another type of prop you may want to include in some of your photos. These props will represent your baby. It could be a picture of your ultrasound. It could be a pair of baby booties or shoes, or maybe even a full outfit. But bring a couple cute baby items, nothing is sweeter.

7. Find inspiration and examples.

Your photographer will use her artistic eye, and make your photos fabulous. However, sometimes it is helpful to have some inspiration and example ideas to show your photographer. It is always helpful to show both, ideas you love, and some you hate. But ultimately, your photographer will use her professional judgement to determine what will work for you and what will not depending on, location, vibe, clothing, lighting, etc. All of the examples on this post I found on instagram and pinterest. I highly recommend searching both instagram and pinterest to find inspiration. For more inspiration, check out your photographer’s website, or find maternity blog posts. And don’t forget to take a look at my maternity blog post for ideas.

I hope that helps. Now get out there and celebrate your baby bump!

Have you done a maternity photo shoot? How did it go?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Maternity Photo Shoot

Growing up with a house full of girls, I grew up always knowing “Girls Rock!”

Maybe it is because I am an American, growing up with the idea of the American Dream. But I have always had the confidence that I can do anything- anything is possible, the sky is the limit.

These ideas have also pushed me to be a better stronger athlete. I always try. Maybe I can… run further and faster. Maybe I can… lift heavier and stretch deeper. Mentally, I always tell myself, I can do that, I can do more.

Physically, I see the results in reaching new PRs. Physically, I see changes in my body, stronger, leaner. I always say,  “Just try. You will be surprised what your body can do.”

Now that I am pregnant these ideas have never been more true. Girls Rock!

As a pregnant woman, I really have no control over my changing body. At first this really annoyed me, but now more than ever this female body of mine, continues to surprise me. Everyday, my bump gets bigger, reminding me of what my body is capable of… It shouts, “Look what I can do!”

The female body is absolutely amazing – creating and housing a new life. Once again, physically, I see my body transform, from a once lean and fit athlete, to a now curvy strong mother to be.

Maternity Photo Shoot

I decided a maternity photo shoot would be the best way to document my changing body, while also celebrating the beauty of my next life chapter – motherhood.

For this shoot, I was very lucky to work with Raiza, owner and photographer of Raiza Vega Photography. She is a very talented photographer in the DC and Norther Virginia area.

I knew, I would be dressed in a very feminine bohemian outfit, but I was unsure of the location. Raiza suggested Old Town, Alexandria, because it has different areas, so we could capture both, a nature and an urban vibe. She also chose a time in which she could use natuaral light perfectly.

As for my wardrobe, I had a couple different outfits. However, my main pieces were from Free People – note: I did not wear anything maternity in these photos. To go along with my bohemian wardrobe, I handmade a flower crown.  11163792_10102540758381886_7699681482017457825_nWell here you go. Below are some of my favorite photos captured during the shoot. Enjoy!

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My maternity photo shoot was a really fun experience! I highly recommend every mama to be have a maternity photo session of their own. Now is the time to embrace how beautiful you are and celebrate motherhood. You will always have memories of this special time, but a photo makes these special moments timeless. Memories may fade, but photos last forever.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

*All of these photos were taken by Raiza Vega from Raiza Vega Photography, and are protected under copyright laws. 

 

Our love story

Our love story…

Today, exactly 1 year ago, I got married to the best man I know.

Looking back on our wedding photos, the memories and special moments are as vivid and clear, as if our wedding festivities took place only yesterday.

It really is hard to believe that one year has already come and gone.

What everyone says about weddings is true…

People say, “I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding.”

And this is true… but it was important to me, to have a wedding, to celebrate and share, the love Erik and I have, with our closest family and friends.

Our wedding day was the best day ever.

It was exactly the way I imagined it to be and so much more.

The romantic affair took place on my Aunt Nina’s rustic California Ranch. It was small, personal, charming, and intimate.

These words describe our wedding perfectly.  But honestly, there are no words big enough, or beautiful enough, to define our marriage.

All I know is sharing a life with him fills me with joy and because of him, I now know what love is.

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There is nothing that I wouldn’t do. 

I’d go to the ends of the Earth for you,

To make you feel my love.

Happy One Year Anniversary, Erik!

*Can’t wait for the many more years, the best is yet to come.*

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

How to create a Baby Registry…

Just like the Wedding Industry, when it comes to pregnancy and baby stuff, it is quite the business. There is so much stuff out there that creating a registry becomes a very overwhelming task, especially when experts say, what may work great for one baby, may not work well for another.

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  • Start your registry by prioritizing what items are most important to you. I started my registry, by prioritizing what was the most important baby and pregnancy items, for my husband and I. For example, stroller, car seat, and carriers were on the top of my list. Once I narrowed it down, I researched these items in detail. Also some of the baby books I read, touched point on some important must have items.
  • Next, determine what is important to you based on your lifestyle. Are you on a budget? Do you travel often? Do you live in a small space? Do you hike or run? What kind of car do you have? We decided what was important to us based on our lifestyle. One of the main thing that was important to me was I wanted my baby products to be green, organic, chemical free, and as environmental friendly as possible. This meant, glass baby bottles instead of plastic, environmental friendly diapers, an organic mattress etc. Because your baby only uses some of these items for a short time, my husband was more worried about the cost and staying on a budget. We both wanted to try to stay as minimal as possible, registering for things we really needed. We also live in a small 1950s duplex, so having space for a lot of big things were out of the question. I am a runner so I definitely felt having a running stroller was a huge necessity for me, plus it is sporty for my husband to use as well. My friend, Mariana, who recently had a baby, her main priority was all of her baby items had to be light weight and portable, since she travels and moves often.
  • Ask other moms, ask a friend to help you. I was also lucky enough to have my friend Mariana help me with my registry.  She was the biggest help walking me through Buy Buy Baby, pointing out the things she loves and the things she just didn’t need. I also have a couple friends who just had babies in April and May, and some that are due in July. I took a look at their baby registries, just to see if they had items on there, that I may have forgotten to put on mine.
  • Where should you register? There are a lot of great places to register at. I ended up choosing Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. Buy Buy Baby is affiliated with Bed Bath and Beyond. You can use your Bed Bath and Beyond coupons there and they match prices. Amazon is great because a lot of people have amazon prime. Also some items that I couldn’t find at Buy Buy Baby, I found on Amazon. Another great place to register is with MyRegistry.com. This is a website that lets you combine items from several different stores. Also take note: If you are going to get a running stroller, you may consider getting it at REI. My husband surprised me with our running stroller and car seat. He ended up getting it at REI on sale during Memorial weekend.
  • This brings up a very important question… what do you need?  Do you really need all of this baby stuff? Our moms and grandmas raised us just fine with out all this extra stuff. When choosing baby items, it really depends on your lifestyle and living space. At the end of the day, the ultimate question is not do you need all this stuff, but rather, what will make your life easier?

If you are in the process of making a baby registry, check out my registry for ideas. Or if you have already made one, you can compare your registry to mine.

My baby registry at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon.

What is your must have baby item? Was there a product you or your baby couldn’t live with out?

© sweat1xdaily 2015

BellyBuds: One of my favorite Pregnancy Item!

During this pregnancy, one item, that I would have never thought I needed, but absolutely love are the BellyBuds. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I saw an advertisement for the BellyBuds and was very curious about them, and then around 20 something week I ended up receiving them as a gift.

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Your baby can start hearing around 20 weeks. BellyBuds are similar to head phones, but instead of putting them in your ears, you stick them to your belly, allowing your baby to hear. There is an area where you can plug in you own head phones as well. That way you and baby can listen at the same time.

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The Bellybuds also have a VoiceShare option, which allows you to record your voice or one of a loved one. That way your baby can hear your loved one’s voice. After birth, your baby’s eyes are not fully developed, so they will use their ears to follow your voice. This  VoiceShare option is especially good for military fathers/husbands who are deployed during their wife’s pregnancy.

Babies memories begin at 30 weeks. Allowing a baby in utero to hear soft music has many benefits. One of the many reasons why it is beneficial to play soft music is because when your baby is born, during anytime when they may be feeling stressed, you can play the same music you played while they were in the uterus. In most cases, they will recognize the music and immediately feel soothed.

“The advantage of singing to your baby during pregnancy is that he will learn the songs while he’s still in the womb and will respond to them well after birth. A great lullaby is a way of calming yourself and your baby at the same time, and a calm baby usually nurses better.”  – Ina May (midwife)

My experience with the BellyBuds has been awesome. Any question I had regarding whether they work or not, was thrown out of the window, when my baby started kicking more than ever.  I have been playing Lindsay Sterling, and plan to play Lana Del Ray in the future. I also like that this is a green product.

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If you want to connect a little closer with your baby, I highly recommend the BellyBuds.

Has anyone used BellyBuds during their pregnancy? What was your experience? 

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Eating for two: What to eat while pregnant!? Pregnancy Cravings, and good reads!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

EATING FOR TWO

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I was really concerned on what to eat, and what foods/drinks to avoid? I already ate a healthy, mostly plant based, organic diet. But I knew I drank too much caffeine, and struggled with drinking enough water. I also worried that I wasn’t eating enough. Being pregnant means, it is no longer just about me. I have become less selfish, and put my needs aside, thinking mainly of what will nurture the new life, that is developing and growing daily.

I am lucky that Thanksgiving and Christmas were during the early stages of my pregnancy. I eat really well during the holidays. All of the food I cook is organic and locally grown. My plate was filled with a variety of different foods, everything super colorful and in season.

Whether you are pregnant or not, most of the same nutritional rules apply.  For example… You are what you eat. Eat your colors. Purchase things that are local and in season. Avoid the nasty – preservatives, pesticides, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and GMOs.  And although this may be obvious, limit your caffeine intake, absolutely no smoking, no alcohol, and no drugs.

In the beginning there were some things that totally through me off. My doctor told me it is safest to eat pasteurized foods. The reason why is that the process of pasteurizing kills harmful bacteria. This meant no “raw milk” soft cheeses, no farmers market honey, no free range local eggs (unless they are cooked all the way through.)

This made me read labels a little more closely. I shop at farmers markets, and organic grocery stores, so this may surprise you, but some things are not pasteurized. Some soft cheeses like feta and goat cheese are made from raw milk. Organic free range local eggs are raised on pasture, but are not pasteurized. I still eat free range local eggs, but I just cook them well. I loved poached eggs before, but for the time being, I am making egg scrambles and frittatas.

Although, many eat vegetarian and vegan during pregnancy, my doctor wanted me to eat well balanced meals. So for me, to easily achieve balance and make sure I am getting enough protein, I decided to include organic meat, eggs, and dairy (greek yogurt, and cream cheese) to my daily diet. It’s no longer just about me and my needs, I’m eating for two.

When it came to fish, I was confused. I always eat wild caught, but because of dangerous mercury levels found in wild caught fish, it is almost safer to eat farmed raised fish during pregnancy. The reason why is because it is mercury free and more controlled.  Although this may be true, I still have been eating wild caught fish, but in moderation. Oh and raw fish and sushi is off limits.

I also am a tea drinker. However, because I am limiting my caffeine intake I only drink a small amount of black tea a day. When pregnant you can have up to 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. I normally keep my caffeine intake under 40 milligrams.

Two of my favorite types of tea are Chia tea and Green tea. Chai tea has star anise in it. To much star anise can cause contractions. Green tea is also controversial because some say to much green tea can make it more difficult for the body to absorb folic acid, which is essential. However, Raspberry Leaf tea is the best tea to drink while pregnant. Midwives have claimed for years that it strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles, resulting in an easier labor.

I found three books really helpful…

GOOD READS

  1. The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy, by Allison Tannis and Jonny Bowden. This book is very straight forward. It basically lists the healthiest foods to eat for each trimester and beyond. It talks in detail of why each food is beneficial. It also talks about some to avoid and the reasons why.
  2. The Kind Mama, by Alicia Silverstone. This book was by far one of my favorite baby books. Alicia Silverstone is very green, earthy, hippy like. She is also a vegan.  This book not only talks about fertility and pregnancy nutrition, but it also has many recipes to try. She takes the book beyond nutrition, by discussing co-sleep method, what to register for, how to make your own belly balm, prenatal yoga, and much more.
  3. Skinny Bitch, Bun in the Oven, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This book is a gutsy guide to becoming one hot healthy mother. These are the girls who wrote Skinny Bitch, a book I read a couple years ago. They use Skinny Bitch in the title of this book simply because it is their brand. Trust me they do not expect us pregnant ladies to be skinny, and they open the book saying that now is not the time to worry about dieting and body image.  These ladies are also vegan, so be aware because they get really into it. However, they are also quite hilarious. I’m still currently reading the book, so I’ll get back to you once I am finished with a final review.

FOOD CRAVINGS

One of the top questions that every pregnant lady gets asked is What foods have you been craving? Honestly, I haven’t had any weird cravings, however, all this baby wants is fruit. In the fall/winter I ate a lot of apples and citrus fruit. Now that it is summer time I am eating watermelon, honey dew melon, peaches, strawberries, and other berries.

To get my daily dairy intake, I eat a lot of organic greek yogurt. When I traveled to Greece a couple years ago, I remember the greek yogurt being amazing. Wallaby Organic yogurt reminds me of the taste and texture of the kind I ate in Greece. It has become my favorite kind, because it is high in protein, (17 g) but very low in sugar (4 g). I get the plain flavor, and add berries. YogurtNow that the farmer’s markets are up and running, I stop by as much as I can. After yoga, on Saturday mornings, I have been stopping by the Del Ray farmer’s market, and picking up some amazing strawberries. I have never eaten strawberries so sweet. I added blackberries and raspberries for a great berry mix.

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I also am pretty obsessed with tomatoes. I eat them every day. Sometimes, I will eat a bagel with cream cheese and tomatoes. Other times I will eat tomatoes and hummus. But on Saturday, after yoga, while at the farmer’s market, I spotted these beauties. I am also growing tomatoes in my garden.tomatos

While walking though the farmer’s markets, I immediately started to think of lunch, a tomato sandwich would be perfect. I haven’t eaten a tomato sandwich in years. The way I use to eat it as a kid was simple, white bread, mayo, tomatoes and salt. I went to MOM’s organic market in search for organic sour dough bread, and a healthy alternative to mayo. I found Earth Balance.

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This mindful mayo is dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free. There are no preservatives. It is vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free!  It is awesome!

I decided it was time to clip some of my basil I have been growing in my garden. basil

So the ingredients for the ultimate tomato sandwich is organic sour dough bread, tomatoes, basil, earth balance mayo, sea salt.

Drinking while Pregnant

When it comes to drinks, it can be quite boring during pregnancy.  I don’t drink soda on a regular, and I can’t drink too much iced tea because of the caffeine. So I have been drinking lots of water. To spice things up I add fruit to my water. However, a coworker introduced me to La Croix sparkling water.

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My favorite flavors are the coconut and the passionfruit. This sparkling water is awesome because you feel like you are drinking a soda. However, there are no calories, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and it is sodium free.

So that is my answer, to the oh so popular question, “Have you had any cravings?” Some say you crave what your body is in lack of. Others say while pregnant you crave what your body and baby need. If this is true, maybe those who don’t have any real cravings, are eating a well balanced diet and living a stress free healthy lifestyle.

Thats all I can hope for!

And always remember…  When pregnant you are eating for two. But that doesn’t mean you need a ton of extra calories, it is more about the quality of food you eat.

“The cleaner, more cell-loving, oxygen pumping, nutrient-rocking food your put in your body, the better your body can do what you ask of it.” – Alicia Silverstone : The Kind Mama

What foods have you been eating lately?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Prenatal Yoga at Refresh Yoga Studio (28 weeks pregnant)

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

 -Buddah 

This Saturday morning, I met up with my friend Rita, for some prenatal yoga. bumps rita and meg

Rita is about one month a head of me, due date July 19th. She too is expecting a baby girl. So many baby girls are being born, these days.

If you have read my previous posts, you may already know… for the last month I have been doing prenatal yoga, and it has become my new found love. I have tried prenatal yoga at JounreYoga and Mind the Mat. But today, Rita invited me to join her at the studio she has been practicing at – Refresh Yoga Studio in Old Town, Alexandria.

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Rita and I started our morning with a 40 minute walk around Old Town. The weather this Memorial weekend has been amazing. So our walk was refreshing. I also saw another mom, with the BOB running stroller, and asked her how she liked it. She claimed it was the best baby item she owns. Everyone loves the BOB! I haven’t heard one negative thing about it.

Our walk ended at the front door of the yoga studio. Although, the studio space was small, it had positive energy and a very zen yoga like vibe to it – my favorite type of vibe! The room was small and so was the class, only six moms to be, and one instructor. But the smaller class size was nice, and more personable. The less people you have the more attention you get.

Erin was the instructor, and she was fantastic. Like most prenatal classes she opened the class with us introducing ourselves and telling the class how far along we are. This week I am 28 weeks. Happy – first day of the 3rd trimester – to me!! She also customized the class, by asking us what we wanted to work on. Most of us wanted to work on hip openers. She also wanted it to be an individual practice, so we quietly chose our own word to focus the class around. I chose Courage.

This class started out relaxing, but as the class went on became more strength building, with some squats, warrior poses, down dog, and prenatal push ups. It ended relaxing with a gentle scalp massage, and a cool towel over our eyes.

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Some of my favorite things during this class was the breathing techniques, and the combination of relaxing and strength building. This combo really made the class a full body workout.

I also really enjoyed some of the postures, such as, down dog, dolphin pose, goddess pose, pigeon pose, warrior pose 2, peaceful warrior, triangle pose. I also like the squat work and the prenatal push ups. I use to be the push up queen, but didn’t know they were safe for pregnancy, but I am definitely going to include more push ups to my workouts during the week.

Over all, this was a great yoga practice, and a lovely studio. I definitely plan on going on a regular. Being pregnant, has opened my mind to different kinds of work outs and yoga poses. I have been having a lot of fun trying the different studios and instructors in the area. Each class is so different, and each instructor has something to offer.

PREGNANCY UPDATE

It is hard to believe that today, I am 28 weeks pregnant, or in other words 7 months pregnant. It is the first day, of the 3rd trimester for me. I really can’t believe how fast this pregnancy has gone by.

In a way pregnancy is much like long distance running. The first few miles you feel uncomfortable, but once you find your groove, you can comfortably keep running. When you take it one mile at a time, you begin to really enjoy yourself.

When it comes to pregnancy, most women are the most uncomfortable in their 3rd trimester. For me so far, everyday that goes by, I am feeling more and more comfortable. And because I don’t have much more to go, I am living in the moment, and enjoying this pregnancy more and more.

It is a pretty amazing thing, creating life.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

The Courage Wall in my neighborhood goes VIRAL!

Every Saturday, at my prenatal yoga class, Sarah, my yoga instructor sets a theme for our daily practice. Two weeks ago, the theme was Courage. She was inspired by the Courage Wall that sits across the street from the studio.Courage wall

The wall is a big chalk board that reads the words, “I wish I had the Courage to…” Courage wall words

There are buckets of chalk provided, to allow people the opportunity to express their deepest fears, challenges, goals. The wall has inspired, motivated, and opens up the Courage conversation to the community.

So at the beginning of yoga class, we went around the room and verbally expressed what we wish we had the courage to do during our pregnancies. It was very awesome, because we could all relate to each other. I found myself nodding my head when one yogi said, she wish she had the courage to ask for help. Another yogi wished she had the courage to stop working sooner with out feeling guilty. One wished she had the courage to physically slow down. Many of us think we can do exactly what we were doing physically before we got pregnant, but that is not always the case.

Then just last week, my jaw dropped, while I was watching the Today show and saw the Courage Wall. I had no clue the wall went viral. But there it was on TV, with Matt Lauer interviewing Nancy Belmont, from Alexandria, Virginia, as she explained the community chalkboard project.

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After yoga this week, while I was heading to the Del Ray farmers market – they have the best strawberries. I walked passed the wall, and saw Nancy the lady from the Today show interview. I immediately congratulated her for the interview on the Today show, and told her how amazing the Courage wall is. She had a film crew with her, and asked if I would do a small interview on film. So I did.

I wrote on the wall…

I wish I had the Courage to…

Let loose, and be less controlling. Be carefree, go with the flow. Courage Wall Aspiration

I explained to her, that I have never thought of myself as a controlling person, until I got pregnant. I’m not controlling when it comes to other people, but I like to be in control of myself, physically and mentally. But one of the hardest things I have learned is during pregnancy, you have no control over anything.  All you can do, is be the best healthiest person you can be. But at end of the day, you really just need to trust in your body, to create and grow a baby for you.

She totally agreed with me…

Then she asked me, “What’s going to happen when the baby comes…”

I told her… I’ve read one baby book, and am currently reading more. By reading the baby books, I will definitely have the information I need. But I don’t know exactly how it will be… I need to meet my baby first. I can plan as much as I want, but it may not go as planned or maybe it will.  I am hoping to have some control, but again, I don’t know exactly what will happen, so I need to be a little flexible and just roll with it. Although, it may sound that I am unsure right now, one thing that I am very confident about, is that everything will be amazing and work out just the way it is meant to be. I’m excited and can’t wait!

As she smiled, she agreed with me, telling me she has three children, and that’s exactly how it goes.

Has anyone else seen the Courage Wall? Do you have one in your neighborhood?

If you are in Alexandria, Va, I highly recommend you, stop by the Courage Wall and write an aspiration. Reading others, will bring you inspiration too.  Also watch the interview on the Today show, here.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

Prenatal Yoga at Mind the Mat Yoga Studio

One of my absolute favorite times of the week are my Saturday mornings. Usually, I wake up early, and hit the running trail for a long run. But now, because I am pregnant, my body has changed so my fitness goals have changed. Now that I am pregnant, I have been using these mornings to practice prenatal yoga, at my local yoga studio Mind the Mat. When else will I have the opportunity to do prenatal yoga, better take advantage now.

Although, I am really missing my long runs, at the same time I am loving my yoga practice. Because the class is so popular, I arrive to the studio early, to find a spot close to the mirror. I lay out my mat, make sure my water bottle is full, and patiently wait for class to begin.

prenatal yoga bag

At the beginning of class, we go around the room introducing ourselves, telling the class how far along we are. Sarah, the class instructor, also gives the class a focus theme. Last week I was 26 weeks, and the class focus was courage. We each revealed, what we wish we had the courage to do. Today, I am 27 weeks, and the class focus was on our favorite childhood game. We each laughed, as we went around the room and exposed our favorite game.

Then the yoga begins. 

It ends up being a full body workout. The major focus is on  strengthening areas of the body that need to be strong for labor. We practice deep hip openers, preparing us for labor. We also work on arms and back, for carrying baby later. We work on strengthening the pelvic floor, and do some core strengthening poses that are safe during pregnancy. We also practice some poses that are great positions to use for natural child birth.

About the Studio

mind the mat

Mind the Mat yoga studio has two locations, but I have only practiced at the Del Ray location. I love Del Ray. It is an awesome area, filled with lovely local boutiques and delicious restaurants. It is also a very artistic neighborhood. Today, after yoga, I hit up the farmer’s market, which I plan to do more often.

About the Instructor

Sarah, the instructor for the class, is awesome. She provides us with the yoga poses we need that are both safe for pregnancy, but also the ones that strengthen, and make us sweat. Her class also is very yoga like, and when we need to cool down, very relaxing. She definitely provide a great balance.

My favorite part

One of my favorite things about the class, is the community feel. Its a class full of mom’s to be with the same priorities and goals. We all want a healthy, fit pregnancy, with the ultimate goal to bring a child safely into the world.

prenatal yoga class

Last week, Sarah did a head count, because the class was so large. We had 20 mom’s to be, 22 babies to be, and 2 instructors. This was a total of 44 yogis. I thought this was amazing! 

Have you practice prenatal yoga?

© sweat1xdaily 2015

 

Pregnant Fitness goals and Prenatal Yoga

In my last post, I talked about our amazing spring vacation, aka, our Babymoon.  It was during that post, I revealed a secret that I have been keeping since November – Erik and I are 6 months pregnant, with a baby girl arriving August 15th.

bump selfie 2Because fitness/healthy lifestyle is my passion, and the theme of this blog, I am going to continue focusing blog posts on sweating. And trust me, now more than ever, I get questions daily about my fitness routine. People constantly asking, what I am doing fitness wise, now that I have a baby bump.

Everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different. And what I have found is, the fitness things I use to do, I am not preforming at the same level as I did before. My body is working hard on developing another human, that has become the priority.

Also, because this is my first pregnancy, and I don’t know how to be a pregnant woman – I’m just following all the rules. I’ve never done this before, I’m just learning, and now at 6 months, I am finally content and  comfortable with being pregnant.

When it comes to fitness, I have taken it down several levels. No bikram yoga, heavy lifting, or marathon training for me, my fitness goals have changed from setting a new PR in my next race, to bringing a child safely into the world.

Although, I have taken it down a notch, there has been a lot of things I have been doing to stay active during this pregnancy. I have been taking long walks with my dogs. I have been focusing on body weight exercises, and doing similar weight lifting routines as before with lighter weights. You haven’t seen me in the gym though. I have been doing all of these exercises, outside near the running trail.  I also took on swimming, and now that the outdoor pool is opening soon, I plan to swim every morning. I also plan on getting a hike in at Great Falls.

But out of everything,  over the last month, I have been doing Prenatal yoga, and it has ironically become my favorite thing.

My running buddy, L, just had another baby, and when I mentioned I was going to try prenatal yoga, her response was… “Oh, you aren’t going to like it.” She thought, because I am use to more intense work outs, I would be bored.

Well for the last month, I have been going to prenatal yoga. I have tried two different studios in my neighborhood, JourneYoga and Mind the Mat, and I have to say, I love it.

prenatal yoga

The opportunities to train for a marathon are endless…

There will be plenty of times to get my sweat on at Bikram…

I can always hit the gym to lift heavy…

But what other time in my life will I be able to participate in prenatal yoga? Only when I’m pregnant. So now is the time to be in a yoga room, with a community of mamma’s to be. All of us safely practicing deep hip openers, that will prepare us for labor. All of us, with the same, priority and goal.

To all the mom’s out there – What is your favorite prenatal workout? How did you stay fit and healthy during pregnancy?

© sweat1xdaily2015

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