Why I didn’t run when I was pregnant. And some fitness advice for mama’s to be.¬†

My story. 

I always pictured myself running through out my pregnancy, but to my surprise when I became pregnant I didn’t like running at all. I was slower. It was harder to breathe. My heart beat faster. I was nervous I would fall – I’m clumsy as it is.

During my first trimester, I was exhausted, and starving all the time. It was also December, so cold winter days, didn’t really motivate me, plus we had a snowy winter. What if I slipped on ice? So I didn’t run, and instead I spent my free time curled up in a chunky knit sweater drinking a hot tea, reading about how to be pregnant.

Once the winter passed the summer began. I walked every day, wishing I was running, but it was just to hot. I did prenatal yoga as well. And by the time I hit 36 weeks my feet were swelling and the pool became my best friend.

The few times I did run while pregnant, I was slower, out of breath, and it wasn’t fun. I had a doctor tell me, if it feels good then go for it, if it doesn’t, then stop. Running while pregnant didn’t feel good, so I found other forms of exercise to keep me healthy and strong during my pregnancy.

The Facts.

I’ve been reading this book, called Brain Rules for babies. It says, “If I were to give a single sentence of advice based on what we know about in utero development during the first half of pregnancy,it would be this: The baby wants to be left alone.”  

Sounds weird, but the fact is the baby has a lot to accomplish and develop. The best feature of life in the womb is the lack of stimulation.

Because of this, we have morning sickness to keep us eating a bland diet, away from any foods that could harm. We feel exhausted because our body is at major work. Most energy goes to the baby developing in the womb, but this exhaustion keeps over achieving athletes, like myself, from over doing it. The female body is truly amazing, it does all of this, so it can avoid overstimulation of the fetus.

The book also states that anthropologists believe our ancestors walked as far as 12 miles per day. And evidence proves that exercise should definitely be a part of a healthy pregnancy. However, what I have found is there are certain types of exercise that is better for a woman during pregnancy than others.

The more I research this subject the more glad I am that I didn’t run during pregnancy. 

Along with reading, I have been listening to a couple of podcasts with the focus on motherhood and running. These podcasts have called in many experts including, running coaches and physical therapists who specialize on the pelvic floor. Through them, what I have discovered, is that… Running may not harm your baby, but it may harm you, during pregnancy and postpartum. 

Here are the facts

Heart: During pregnancy your heart beats faster to pump more blood to the fetus. In the early stages when your heart rate goes up so does your baby’s. However, at the end, the opposite happens. When your heart rate goes up, your baby’s heart rate (in most cases) drops.

Lungs: When you run you may feel out of breath, because your lungs are pumping more oxygen to the fetus.

Ligaments: During pregnancy, your ligaments start to soften to prepare for child-birth/labor and delivery. This normally starts to happen at around 20 weeks. I remember laying in bed with hip pain. This pain was totally normal. My hips were just spreading to make room for baby, and softening to prepare for labor. When running during pregnancy, most coaches suggest that most pregnant runners stop running after 20 weeks, however, each person is different and they evaluate case by case. After 20 weeks, the ligaments are soft and pregnant runners become more injury prone.  Postpartum, your ligaments may still be soft. And although, baby has been born, your ligaments are still soft which means you are more prone to injury.

Bones: Postpartum, if you choose to breast feed, calcium first goes to baby. If you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, this can be a problem, and can lead to stress fractures.

Pelvic floor: The pelvic floor is the muscular base of the abdomen that is attached to the pelvis. These muscles for a woman, hold all of our organs inside – organs include uterus, bladder, and large intestine. The pelvic floor becomes weak during pregnancy, and during labor. It is more prone to injury to those who run during pregnancy, and for those who jump back into fitness to early postpartum. It is typical for doctors to give the “OKAY” to work out again to their postpartum patients 6-8 weeks postpartum, however, most running coaches, think this is too soon. Some highly recommend postpartum runners see a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor, and get their pelvic floor evaluated before they start running again.

In Europe, strengthening the pelvic floor, is something that is included in prenatal care, and postpartum care, however, in the USA some pregnant women have no clue what the pelvic floor is. For those who are pregnant, it is very important to focus on strengthening the pelvic floor during pregnancy. In the prenatal yoga class I took when I was pregnant, the two areas of focus were on strengthening the pelvic floor and doing chest and hip openers.

Do you have a weak pelvic floor? There are a couple of symptoms and signs that you may notice that means your pelvic floor is weak. If you have had a baby, and you leak urine, this may be a sign that your pelvic floor is weak. Sometimes it may be while you are on a run, other times you may sneeze and pee a little. Also if you ran while pregnant and you are experiencing hip or back pain it may mean your pelvic floor is weak. In this case, it is best to get it evaluated.

There are ways to strengthen your pelvic floor during pregnancy in order to avoid injury. Also if your pelvic floor is already weak there are exercised you can do to strengthen it back up. However, if you ignore the problem, you may need surgery later.

Another great reference for pelvic floor information, is on the blog Run Far Girl.  Also read about her own personal experience in her blog post, Why I wish I hadn’t Run Pregnant.

Uterus: During pregnancy the uterus expands to hold baby, this heavy uterus pushes down on the pelvic floor. Because of this reason, it is important to strengthen the pelvic floor (read above). Running during pregnancy, when the uterus is larger, heavier, pushing down on the pelvic floor can cause injury. Postpartum, the uterus may take time to go down. Again because it is larger, pressing on the pelvic floor, working out to soon postpartum can cause injury.

Running form: When you are pregnant your body has transformed to make room for baby. Rib cage and hips have spread and expanded. Your core no longer exists. You have gained weight. Your uterus is larger, and is housing a baby. Your ligaments are soft. Your lungs and heart are working hard. Because of all of this, your running form may adjust in order to handle your pregnant body. You may or may not realized this change, however, a change in your running form may cause injury. If you do decide to run while pregnant, you may consider getting your form evaluated because you may need different running shoes.

Cadence: How many steps you take in one minute is your cadence. The goal is to reach around 180 steps per minute. When you are pregnant you may not be able to get your feet off the ground fast enough, so therefore your cadence may be a lot lower.  When your cadence is lower it means your foot is on the ground for longer, or your stride is longer. Both of these can cause injury.

RUNNING Now:

running with Zoe

At 7 months, postpartum, I am now RUNNING for TWO. Zoe my 7 month old daughter is my favorite running buddy. I have never been an early bird, but Zoe is training me to be one. She goes to bed every night between 7:30 and 8:00, which means on a lucky day she sleeps in until 7:00 am, but on most days she is up ready to play at 6:00 -6:30 am. This gives us plenty of time to go for morning runs.

I have been running since 14 weeks postpartum. This gave me a full two months to focus on just me and my running. I focused on form and cadence. I’m not as fast as I was before, but I am getting there. Those two months gave me the time I needed to get my strength back so I would be comfortable bringing on the extra weight of a baby and running stroller. I have been running most days, and everyday I run with Zoe my pace improves. This stroller gig is making me stronger. Zoe loves it as well, and on most days as long as she is well fed, she naps during our runs.

So although, I didn’t run for two while pregnant, I am doing it now. And whether she is sleeping peacefully, or giggling, or in the rare case screaming her head off, running with Zoe is my new favorite kind of running.

So if you are a pregnant runner consider the above information, and always remember, although it may seem like forever, you are only pregnant for a short time. Soon your baby will be here, and you will be pulling out the running stroller before you know it.

Run Happy!

Mama’s – Did you run pregnant? 

© 2016 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

How to create a Birth Plan…

motherhood

 

“We go into labor as one person, but emerge as another.” – Roni Jay

This post was written during the week before my due date, August 15th, 2015. In other words, Zoe was not born yet, and I had not experienced labor and delivery. 

Birth Plan – Is it helpful to have one or not?

I’ve known ladies who have written up their birth plans – which are pages long… I want this, but I do not want that. Then labor happens, and nothing goes as they planned it. All¬†the time and dedication they spent on planning, goes out the window, and afterwards these ladies feel disappointed when things don’t go in the direction they thought or expected.

Because of this, I was hesitant to write out a birth plan. After all, pregnancy has taught me there are things you just can’t control.

Anyway, after a lot of thought, I finally decided to write a short birth plan. And although, my plan is written up and reviewed by my doctor, I know this is just a plan that could change anytime. I will be flexible and opened minded, with the end goal of keeping my baby and myself safe.

When writing up my plan, I thought of my own profession, hair styling.

As a hair stylist my worst nightmare is to have a new client sit in my chair who tells me, “Do whatever you want.” I normally laugh, because they are lying to me. Don’t tell me this when I know there are things you do not like. Because of this idea, I decided a short birth plan would be helpful. I don’t think the nurses at the hospital would want me to be in active labor screaming, “Do whatever you want?”

On another note… As a hairstylist, it is equally hard, to have the client, who maps out exactly what they want, when they do not have the hair texture, face shape, or skin coloring, for the look they are demanding. With that being said, a very demanding mama with a well detailed long birth plan, might be expecting the impossible.

By keeping these two ideas in my mind, while writing up my birth plan, I was able to avoid being to extreme, and stay balanced.

How to create a birth plan?

There are tons of example birth plans online. The two that I used as guidelines were written by The Bump, and Earth Mama Angel Baby.

Start your birth plan with general information. This includes…

  • Name:
  • Partner’s Name:
  • Due Date:
  • Doctor’s Name and phone number:
  • Hospital
  • Pediatrician:
  • Blood Type, including if you received Rhogam and the date received.

Then move on to what you want during labor…

  • What kind of birth is your delivery planned as?
  • Who do you want present before, after, and during labor? Don’t forget to include hospital or birth center staff, doctors, nurses, students, residents, interns, doula, midwife.
  • What do you want when it comes to food or drink during labor?
  • Do you want continuous fetal monitoring? Do you want a portable monitor so you can walk around?

If you need to be induced…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for induction?
  • Are you okay with medical staff breaking your water, if it hasn’t broken yet? This may speed up or jump start labor, but it also gives you a time limit. There is only so much time that a baby can stay inside once your water is broken.
  • Are you okay with receiving Pitocin? Pitocin can speed of labor, however it also can put baby under stress.

Pain relief methods…

  • What natural methods would you like to try for pain relief?
  • Are you okay with receiving an Epidural? Epidural will take away the pain, but it is also known to slow down labor.

During Delivery…

  • Do you want options to request birthing tools, such as birthing ball?
  • Are you okay with forceps usage?
  • Are you okay with vacuum extraction?
  • Do you want to be guided on pushing, or would you rather naturally push depending on how your body feels?
  • Do you want the option to touch your baby’s head as it crowns?
  • Do you want a mirror available to see the birth?
  • Would you like a episiotomy?

If you have to have a C-Section…

  • Who do you want to remain with you in an event of c-section?
  • Do you want the surgery explained to you?
  • Do you want hands free to touch the baby?
  • Do you want skin on skin and to breastfeed as soon as possible?

Cutting of the cord…

  • Do you prefer delayed cord clamping?
  • When do you want the cord cut?
  • Who do you want to cut the cord?
  • What do you want to do with the placenta?
  • Is it okay to give routine pitocin to help the placenta deliver faster and to prevent bleeding?

Immediately after Delivery…

  • How soon after birth do you want to hold your baby?
  • Do you want us to wait to clean the baby until after skin on skin and first feeding?
  • Do you want all newborn procedures delayed until after skin on skin and first feeding?

Family members and other visitors…

  • Who will get unlimited visiting? Husband? Partner?
  • Are you okay with other visitors coming to your room? Who does this include and when?

Lactation Consultant…

  • Is it okay to have a lactation consultant come to your room?

Baby’s Medical Procedures…

  • Are you okay with immunizing your baby according to normal procedures?
  • Do you know what PKU testing is? If not have it explained?

If your baby is not well…

  • Do you want to accompany your baby to the NICU or other facility?
  • Would you like to breastfeed or provide pumped breastmilk?
  • Would you like to hold your baby whenever is possible?

End your birth plan with…

What additional things you would like for your baby? And … What you do¬†NOT want for your baby.

So there you have it… These were all of the main things I included in my Birth Plan. But again, this is just a plan, that gives the hospital staff an idea of which direction I prefer to go in. Things may change, and I will go with the flow.

What ended up happening…

Things changed and I just went with the flow… ¬†Turns out that a lot of stuff that I included in this Birth plan – the exact opposite happened. But at the end, Erik, Zoe, and I are happy and healthy.

“Even though an “ideal” birth isn’t an outcome you can control, if you are prepared, you can come close.” – Alicia Silverston from The Kind Mama

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Zoe’s Birth Story

They say it is common for first babies to arrive late.
Well… August 15th came and went.
Baby girl was over due.

I never pictured her being late. I just thought she would come exactly on her due date. Why wouldn’t she?
Anyway, I had been off work for two full weeks, and everything was ready. My breast pump had arrived, my hospital bag packed, my birth plan written, took a tour of the hospital, nursery ready, car seat in the car. Now, my husband and I were just patiently waiting to meet our baby.

At 40 weeks, I was huge, feet swelling, uncomfortable. However, I still managed to go to the pool, grab lunch with friends… I even had one last dinner at Quarterdeck, a local crab house. I tried to keep moving in hopes to get the labor going.

I had an induction date scheduled for August 24th, 2015 at 9:00pm, in hopes she would be born on August 25th. But I was praying she would arrive sooner than that. The longer your baby stays inside, the bigger they grow. I also wanted to spend as much time with her as I could, considering I am heading back to work in late October.
On Monday, August 17th, my husband and I went to the doctor for a final ultrasound. They also checked my contractions, and fluid levels. Everything was good. The doctor predicted she would come in the next day or two.

That night I started to feel labor pains. I didn’t sleep well, and when morning came I started having contractions. I booked an appointment with my doctor so she could check my progress.
My doctor (Amy Porter) told me I was 4 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. My contractions were 5-7 mins apart. She informed me that I was in the early stages of labor and that depending on my comfort level, I could go to the hospital or head back home to labor. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the hospital so I went home. As I went home, Dr. Porter called over to Labor and Delivery to update them on my status, and let Dr. Paik (the on call doctor) know to expect my arrival later that day. Porter was confident, that I wouldn’t be going to bed that night with out a baby in my arms.

Around 4:00 pm, contractions were way more intense and closer together. So my husband and I decided to head to the hospital. My mom met us there as well.

When I got to the hospital I felt like maybe I should turn home. I wasn’t screaming in pain like they do in the movies. But I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have an epidural if I needed one.

The nurse checked my progress and again I was only 4 centimeters. Dr. Paik came in and told me she thought it was best to labor more at home. Although I was having consistent contractions, she thought I was to calm. She told me come back when contractions are so intense that I can barely walk or talk.

At 10:30, my contractions were consistently 2 mins apart. So I headed back to the hospital. At 11:00 pm I was admitted. I was still only 4 centimeters dilated. I was a little annoyed that there wasn’t any change. I was also starting to get pretty tired. I wanted to try to go as long as I could with out drugs. Plus an epidural is known to slow down your labor.

At 1 AM, I got the epidural. I was laboring in my back. But two hours later I realized I was still feeling pain. At 3 AM, I ended up having a second epidural. Finally it worked and I was able to relax.

My husband was with me the whole time. We decided not to call any other family members. There was no point calling them in the middle of tbe night when I wasn’t having any progress.

In the morning, August 19th, Dr. Porter came in to check my progress. She was very confident that we would have a baby while it was still light outside.

However, at this point I was 5 centimeters dilated. A little progress, but not much. She decided to break my water in hopes to get things moving. A couple hours later she checked my progress and there was little change.

The next step was pitocin. I wanted to try to avoid pitocin because in some cases it can lower the baby’s heart rate, putting the baby under stress. Anyway, at this point I was willing to try whatever to get things moving. Pitocin is used to induce labor, and in most cases it makes you dilate really quickly. Not in my case.

Dr. Porter came in to check and there was no progress. She gave me more pitocin to see if that would help, but it didn’t.

It was then that Dr. Porter asked me, “How big is this baby?”

At 36 weeks, I had an ultrasound that measured all of her limbs. They predicted at that point she was 6.5 lbs. in the 58 percentile. I started to freak out because I still had 4 weeks to go. Babies grow the most in the last month. However, I also heard that those predictions are just estimates that aren’t always accurate.

Well turns out their predictions were right on the money.

The therory behind why my labor was not progressing quickly: The baby’s head puts pressure on the cervics to helps with dilation. Turns out my baby is a big baby. Although, her head was low and in the right position, my pelvic area was to narrow for her head to put pressure on the cervix.

So the next step was unplanned C-Section.

I never ever imagined that I would have a C-Section. It just never crossed my mind. I watched all of the natural child birth documentaries. I always thought I would just have a quick natural vaginal labor.

I was a little freaked out, but something had to happen… I had been laboring for over 36 hours. I asked my husband if he was okay with me having a C-Section, and he said whatever the doctor and I thought was best.

Around 3:30, I texted my mom to let her know, that I was being prepared for a C-Section.

My husband was by my side the whole time. I was freaking out and started to cry. He comforted me and I quickly pulled it together. I didn’t want the stress I was feeling make my baby stressed.

I was wheeled to the operating room. The whole medical team introduced themselves. The anesthesiologist numbed me from the nipples down. They put up a screen so I couldn’t see anything. My husband held my hand.

Finally, on August 19th, at 4:19 pm, I heard my baby cry for the very first time. I immediately felt relief, saying to myself, “Oh thank God!” I felt overwhelmed with love.


Then I saw a glimpse of my baby as the nurse went to clean her up. She was all purple, white, a little bloody. My husband left my side to see the baby and he got some great photos too. My head was turned in the direction of my baby. I could see the nurse cleaning her off. I kept trying to see my husbands facial expression. I kept trying to see my baby. Finally my husband brought our baby girl to me, it was only for a second but at least it was something.


Then we were off to the recovery room. It was there that I was given my baby. We did skin on skin and she latched on. We breast fed for probably 45 mins until we were able to be transferred to a mommy and baby room.

Everything happened so fast. But I’m glad because the quicker I could get my hands on my baby the sooner we could start bonding.

Although, a C-Section was not in our plans, there are some positive things about C-section births. ( I will write about this in my next post.)

And at the end of the day, the most important thing is that both me and my newborn are healthy and safe.

It is hard to believe two weeks has gone by.
Our baby girl, Zoe Annalise Leonard was born on August 19, 2015 at 4:19 PM. She weighed in at 8 pounds 15 ounces, 20.8 inches long. She is the sweetest, most snuggley baby ever. So cute she is always making her mommy and daddy laugh.


Happy two weeks baby Zoe!!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

pregnancy q a

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

I explained to you in my previous post, that pregnancy brings on a never ending interrogation.  People ask you a ton of questions. Some of these questions can be quite annoying while others are fun. These are the most common questions I get asked, along with my personal answers.  

 

1) How are you feeling? 

Knock on wood – I don’t want to jinks myself. But as of now, I¬†am feeling good, hopefully, everything will stay that way. The only time I felt really uncomfortable, was the last 3 weeks of work. The uncomfortable feeling began around 35 weeks. It was like I flipped a switch. My feet began to swell. My belly button popped out. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had to roll over. None of the clothes I owned seemed to fit. I was on my feet all week at work, and feeling really heavy. Not very sexy at all. I’m really glad I have had the last two weeks to relax at home before the baby comes. It has made a huge difference in my swelling feet. I feel pretty rested and energized. However, I am still resting up for delivery day. It is going to be a pretty intense workout.

2) Are you having a boy or a girl?

Although, everyone guesses boy, because my baby bump goes straight out. I am not having a boy. Instead, I am having a sweet beautiful baby girl.

3) Have you come up with a name? What name have you chosen?

Names are hard to decide on, but I have had a long list for a while. There are tons of beautiful names out there, but finally my husband and I have narrowed it down to two names. We are going to decide when we meet our baby.

3) Is the baby nursery ready? What is the color scheme or nursery theme?

Yes, please ready my Nursery post, for ideas and inspiration.

4) What foods have you been craving?

I never had weird food cravings. Really the only thing I have craved this whole pregnancy has been FRUIT. At the moment, I eat watermelon, every day. I also make fresh watermelon juice.

5) Did you experience morning sickness? What pregnancy symptoms have you had?

I did not experience morning sickness. In some occasions, when I didn’t have a chance to eat, I would feel a little queasy, but never threw up.¬†However, I did experience other symptoms, such as pregnancy brain, fatigue,¬†nesting, swelling feet.

6) Did you have a maternity photo session?

Yes I did, and it was lovely. Check out the photos. If you are planning to do a maternity photo shoot check out these tips.

7) Have you been running? In what ways have you been staying active? 

No, I have not been running. I never though I would say this… but I don’t enjoy running pregnant at all. I will write a future post in more detail about why I have chosen not to run while pregnant.

However, I have stayed pretty active, and still have fitness goals. I have been doing some light weight, and body weight exercises, walking, and a little swimming. (Swimming is awesome when you have swelling feet.)  But out of everything I fell in love with prenatal yoga. I started at Journey Yoga Studio, but have been alternating every week between  Refresh Yoga Studio, and Mind the Mat Yoga Studio.

8) How much weight have your gained?

I have gained 33 pounds. ¬†At first I was really worried about the weight gain, but my doctors are not. As long as your doctors don’t see a problem, and you are staying active and eating healthy, don’t worry about it. Weight gain is out of your control. It will be interesting to see how much I loose on delivery day, and once I start working out intensely again.

9) Where are you registered?

I am registered at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. I got pretty overwhelmed with creating a baby registry. If you feel the same read my, How to Create a Baby Registry, blog post for tips.

10) Did you have a baby shower? 

Yes, we had a bumble bee themed baby shower, in celebration of mom and pop to be(e) and Baby Leonard to be(e.)

11) Did you have a baby moon?

Yes, we did have a baby moon. At the end, of April, we escaped the cold and went down to Del Ray Beach, Florida and South Beach Miami. It was amazing. ¬†We also took another beach trip in late June, to Martha’s Vineyard.

12) When is the due date?

My due date is August 15th, 2015. 3 more days to go. Hopefully, she will not come too late.

13) Have you taken a birthing class?

Nope! I’m just going to wing it. I trust my body, and my doctors. Plus, prenatal yoga has helped me with deep hip openers, strengthening the pelvic floor, breathing techniques, and birthing positions. ¬†I am also going to use some of my marathon mental strategies, such as having a Mantra, and listening to music to help me push through.

14) What is your birthing plan? Are you going to be natural? Are you going to have an epidural?

As long as my baby and I are safe, I am going to stay natural/drug free as long as possible. But again, I don’t know how I will feel because this is my first time. I’m not opposed to an epidural. I also wrote a short birthing plan, which focuses on key points that are important to me, for after delivery.

15) Are you having a home birth or hospital birth?

Hospital birth.

16) Are you using a midwife/doula or an OB?

Nurses and OB at the hospital.

17) Are you going to breastfeed?

Breast is best for baby, so if these boobs work, then yes I plan on it. But because this is my first time, I’m just going to see what happens. Plus, every baby and mom are different – it may be easy for some and harder for others.

18) What are you doing for child care?

Still figuring it out. But, again I’m going to try an idea I have and see if it is a good fit.

19) How much time are you taking off for maternity leave?

 

About 10 weeks. I am hoping baby isn’t too late, so I have as much time with her as I can get.

20) When do you return back to work?

I plan to go back to work October 18th.

So there you have it my top pregnancy Q & A – the most common questions I have gotten while pregnant. I hope you enjoyed the answers.

To all the moms out there –¬†What pregnancy question have you been asked?¬†

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Nursery: To do, or NOT to do.

When you are pregnant, you get asked the same questions over and over. One of the repetitive questions asked is – “Do you have the baby’s nursery ready?” Everyone wants to know what color scheme and cute baby theme the nursery will be. And although, coming up with ideas, and putting the nursery together is one of the most fun things to do to prepare for your baby, it isn’t a top priority.¬†

At first the questions about the baby’s room really annoyed me. I always have a long list of more important things to accomplish. For example, finding a pediatrician, and researching delayed cord clamping, although these things are not as fun as interior design, they are much more important.

Plus, your baby doesn’t really know what they are looking at. With that being said, all of the cute nursery accessories are not really for baby, but rather to please mom.

I didn’t worry too much about the baby’s room. And, when it comes to baby stuff, I have tried to stay as minimalist as possible. At this point, I have the essentials, and feel successful with keeping things minimal. But even the essentials need to be put away somewhere.

However, as time went on… suddenly, my mind changed… I had a total change of heart.

Maybe it was the urge to nest. Maybe it was the pile of baby stuff, in the corner of my living room. ¬†Whatever it was… at 8 months pregnant, I found myself eager to start putting the baby’s room together.

In late June, when we got home from Martha’s Vineyard, I had a total freak out. I literally started to cry, sobbing, “There is shit everywhere, and the baby’s room isn’t done.”

My husband came to the rescue! I will never forget his response. He calmly said, “Babe, I got this shit.” Then he ran upstairs and painted the baby’s room and set up the crib.

Now, I’m not the type of person to half ass a job. If I’m going to do something, I give it my all. So now that¬†I have decided to prepare a nursery, I’m going all out. ¬†After that, I was able to organize things. We got a bookcase from Pottery Barn baby. We ordered a rug. Blinds went up. Things were looking good. My baby more than anyone, deserves a beautiful space in our home, to call her own.

I will reveal our baby’s nursery in a later post. But for now, I would like to share with you some baby rooms that inspired me. I used these rooms as a guide to help me create my own.

Our color scheme for our baby’s nursery is Gray walls, White furniture, and accents of Pink. ¬†Our theme is¬†elephants.¬†Elephants are special to my husband and I because we visited an elephant sanctuary when we were in Thailand. We have a special love for elephants. And we plan to frame photos of us riding the elephants we played with in Chang Mai.

1) The picture below goes with our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, shelves, chandelier, crib, mirror, and dresser with changing pad on top. cafdd8e9466edb60d8020eddd0233c25

2) Again photo below has our color scheme. I like the mirror, the chandelier, the photo gallery, and the dresser with changing pad idea. 2a6221f6c824215cc3799b53ae34bf25

3) Photo below has our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, with a decorative rug. I also love the chandelier. We are planning on keeping our window treatments simple because we have a pattern on our rug.

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4) In the photo below, I like the chandelier, the mobile, and the pink elephant toy.31be20d080f5f87553043a83fc9d62c7

5) The photo below has our color scheme. I like the¬†chandelier, and the elephant stuffed animal. I also like the window treatments. This is another option for us, if we can’t find pink black out curtains that we like.¬†3eb175da4aaeaccb08e367f4e1a3a91d

 

6) The room below is my FAVORITE!! I absolutely love this room. The crib in this picture is the exact same one we have for our baby. I love the mirror, the crib skirt, the shelves, and the gold dot decals. I also love the vintage dresser, with changing pad on top.

009ca98875228a0b002edd22f58059737) I LOVE this sitting area – that can be used for nursing or reading. At the moment we do not have a space for a chair because we still have a full size bed and adult dresser in the room. But I absolutely love this. I did get a basket. Baskets can be used in many different ways. I also have a fuzzy pillow in gray. I hope to have a space similar to this in the near future.

3fe44e2511d68bc61127200f6ced18c28) I love all the elephants in this room. If you love elephants and need to create a gender neutral room, this room would be great inspiration for you. d04c63782f5d0220b9a1cfd8933168129) I love this big elephant toy. I also love the shag rug and the black crib, similar style to the one we got for our baby, but in black instead of white.

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10) Below is the exact crib we have, but in black instead of white. I also love the small chandelier in this photo. I love the framed art Рwe are doing white frames and pink frames instead of black. The rug in the picture is similar to the one we have, but in blue instead of pink. 82702546eba93384e7c5555220d23571

 

11) In this last picture I am going to share with you, I love all the elephants, the shelves, and the dresser with the changing pad on top. The rug is very similar to the one we have in our baby’s room, but blue instead of pink.¬†50f32e65bb6c02cc8b858e3bf06569ce12) If you are really into books. This reading corner is a very fun idea. The way to collect a ton of children’s books is to have people bring your books instead of cards for your baby shower.

a9d75d30adb96a08f47b089a4a328a88Anyway, these were all of the photos that most inspired me on setting up the perfect nursery for my baby. I hope they help inspire you as much as they did for me. I promise to share with you in the near future some photos of my baby’s room.

but in the mean time…

I would love to hear from you… please comment below…

Do you think it is a necessity to have a baby’s nursery?

What is your favorite color scheme and theme for a baby nursery?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

Our Bumble Bee themed Baby Shower

I love the month of June.

And this year June was busy.

Literally, every weekend was booked.

My two favorite weekends this June were… ¬†the weekend we had our baby shower, and the weekend my husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.

(Because I already wrote a short anniversary post.) Lets talk about the baby shower.

This shower was super special to me, because¬†I never had a bridal shower, so this was my very first shower ever. The shower was planned by my mom and older sister. My younger sister and cousin came down to help with preparations. These ladies went above and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous shower.

It is finally summer and I am having a summer baby.

I also love everything seasonal… so my sister and I came up with a bumble bee theme. This theme was totally appropriate because it celebrates both our baby to be(e) and my husband and I… as mama and papa to be(e).

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Everything was yellow.

Yellow flowers…¬†

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more flowers…

10424323_10102571046963326_6424111744360407629_nyellow bumble bees…11406636_10102570943011646_3724344667608763612_n

lemons and lemonade screaming summer, summer baby.

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We had the most delicious food ever. I’ve been pretty obsessed with watermelon so of course I had to have some.¬†10341974_10102570975546446_3965448181379601562_n

more food…

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food was everywhere…

11401034_10102570975571396_1914957495128536103_nmoss and bee detail was a nice touch.

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My bff Mariana had the most amazing cake made for the shower!¬†535952_10102571049363516_856342138403581851_nBee hive cake with a baby on top…

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This cake tasted amazing too!

As I said earlier, my mom, sisters, and cousin went above and beyond.

There were cute decorations all over the place. These small details were so perfect. 

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There were two shrines.

A grandma one…1795658_10102570969254056_5629331531719633638_n

and a shrine in honor of my husband and I and our growing family.

11407029_10102570943046576_4456407192958739110_nOne of my favorite things about this shower was that we had both men and woman guests. All girl showers are fun, but not my style. It was important to me to include my husband. So this shower, definitely had more of a summer party vibe. It was great getting everyone together.

My husband and I and the baby to be! 

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Some of the boys…
11402722_10102571074837466_3359765712500071828_nBFFs Rachel and I…¬†

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BFF Mariana and I with her baby Jasper…11393035_10102571064987206_3182942543286090071_n

Me and baby Jasper. One of the cutest baby boys I know. He even wore shorts with bumble bees on them for the occasion. 

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Lindsay and I, at the time, both pregnant with baby girls. Her baby Piper was born last month. 

11351165_10102571068390386_3620987603205127943_n-1All of us Dorsey girls…

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Another thing that I loved about this shower was that we made it an open house. It started at 4:00, but because it was an open house our guests could come and go as they pleased. This also meant that I didn’t rush through opening baby gifts. Instead I opened them either when the individual was leaving or later on my own time, when I could really take my time enjoying each present as I opened. (Note: If you have the time to hang out at your shower, I highly recommend an open house. That way you can spend the time, but your guest can come and go as the please.)

Everyone showered us with the best gifts. We are so lucky!

These are just a few I got pictures of…

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My sisters, the aunts to be, got us this…¬†

11148406_10102571047477296_6265009010668054714_nThe Small’s got Erik a present that he can use with the baby.

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We got some amazing handmade stuff…

including a quilt from Erik’s grandma, and a blanket from my Aunt... (blanket is in the photo.)

11248806_10102571081359396_1377958907931538776_nA beautiful knitted pair of socks and hat, made by Erik’s mom, grandma to be.¬†

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We didn’t want the¬†shower to end, so we let it go on pretty late. It was really fun to hang out, later that night on my mom’s back deck.¬†10537020_10102571088594896_177979312647970216_n-1I am so lucky I was able to have such a beautiful shower. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who helped plan and prep this shower – especially, my mom, Sue Small, my sisters, my cousin Colleen, and my BFF Mariana. I also want to thank everyone who came to celebrate with us – you showered us with the most precious baby gifts and it was fun seeing everyone. And to those who couldn’t make it, I am also very thankful, you went out of your way to send baby Leonard beautiful, thoughtful baby gifts – Thank you so much.

thanks bee(Thank you cards made by Sue Small.)

It is hard to believe that our bumble bee themed baby shower was almost two months ago. Now that it is August, it is baby Leonard’s birthday month. Erik and I are beyond excited to meet our baby girl in 2 weeks. As we wait for her arrival, I am spending the rest of this time reading baby books,¬†relaxing and enjoying the bump.

What is your favorite baby shower theme? What is your favorite baby gift to give?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maternity Leave

Leaving work yesterday was bitter sweet, super sweet.

Bitter because…

Yesterday was my last day at the salon until my return in late October.

There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t worked, so it is weird to think I don’t have work tomorrow.

In the past, if I took 2 or 3 weeks off it was because I was (busy) traveling.

Which makes me question… do I even know how to just chill, rest, relax?

Sweet because…

My body needs rest.

Through out this pregnancy, I’ve been pretty comfortable, feeling strong and well, but around 3 weeks ago (35 weeks pregnant) things started to change, and my feet started to swell. My body was telling me… slow down and rest.

A good friend of mine, explained that the last couple weeks are the worst. They are bad, because it is God’s way of getting us over the fear of labor. If there were no bad pregnancy weeks, woman would want to stay pregnant forever.

As a hair stylist, I don’t sit down. This last week was very tiring for me, squeezing in all of my favorite clients, and being on my feet all day.

Super Sweet because…

Today is my first day of Maternity leave.

enjoy

My baby is due to arrive in 2 weeks. I can’t wait to meet her, see what she looks like, and give her a name.

People always ask, “Are you ready?” well… are you really ever ready? I am as ready as I can be. And my body is definitely ready.

 

Mostly, everything is done…

So these next two weeks will be filled with…

Resting.

Relaxing at the pool.

Reading baby books.

Preparing some meals and freezing them.

I need to be as rested as possible for delivery day.

It is going to be the most intense work out ever. 

super woman preg

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My favorite Maternity clothing brand: Part 2- STORQ

To most woman, Fashion is important, and even more so for a mama to be.

For us, pregnant ladies, we want to have a stylish bump. However, it becomes difficult to find clothing, when every day our bodies change, growing bigger and bigger.

Earlier this week, I introduced you to one of my favorite maternity clothing brands, Ingrid & Isabel. Today, it is all about my other favorite – STORQ!

STORQ is all about the basics.

They only have a couple main pieces, which include Рa skirt, leggings, dress, and tank top. But that is pretty much all you need. On their website, they provide videos showing different ways you can use these four pieces by pairing them with accessories you may already have. All of the products come in only two options, black and white, however this summer the dress came in a couple different colors. Storq

They have bundles, which is a more affordable way to get a couple items, all at once. These bundles also make a great gift, if you have a friend or family member who is newly pregnant.

It has always been a challenge for me, to find clothes that are both stylish and comfortable. Well STORQ does both. This is really important when you are pregnant, because unfortunately pregnancy is not always comfortable.

When it comes to clothing, I first received the white tank top as a gift. I loved it so much that I then purchased both the black tank top and the black leggings. I have been living in these three pieces, pairing them with a denim vest or boots. The leggings are the softest pants I own.

They also have some beauty products.

I fell in love with the lipstick and Belly products.

The lipstick is an organic, bright red/orange color, called Wild Child. It feels good on your lips and brightens up your whole face. Storq lip

When it comes to the belly products, I have both the belly bombe and belly oil. During the winter I made my own body butter, but I like to switch things up, and once I got my hands on this belly combo, I fell in love. It is important to take care of your belly, to avoid stretch marks. So far I haven’t had one stretch mark. The belly balm and belly oil are both soothing and hydrating.¬†Storq belly

Now that my baby is coming in 2 weeks, I am on the hunt for the best nursing bras. Well guess what? STORQ just came out with intimates. Because none of STORQ’s products have ever disappointed me, I went for the bundle. These pieces arrived in a quick 2 days. Again, the fabric they use is so extremely soft.

Storq intimatesThere is one more item, that I have purchased, but because of popularity, I am still waiting for it to arrive. I am waiting for is the Carryall bag, aka baby bag.

Storq carryallI wasn’t going to get a baby bag, I was just going to use my lululemon bag, but when STORQ came out with this bag a month ago, I had to have it. I can’t wait for it to arrive in early August.

STORQ has the softest, most comfortable, basic maternity clothing. If you want a stylish bump, STORQ is the way to go.

Have you tried STORQ? What is your favorite STORQ item?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

My favorite Maternity clothing brands: Part 1- Ingrid & Isabel

Note: I am breaking this post into two parts. This post Part 1, will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from Ingrid & Isabel. Tomorrow, I will post Part 2 which will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from STORQ.

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Fashion…

One of my favorite things, but also one of the things I find hardest to deal with during pregnancy.

I have always been a very petite, athletic, woman, who never had to worry much about fitting into clothes. I could wear whatever I wanted, whatever I thought was fashionable, with out worrying if the clothing was flattering. (Bring on the crop tops.)

But now as a pregnant woman, every day, I wake up bigger.¬†Because of my constant changing body, a dress that fit just last week, may not fit today.35529c5dd9a53feca99930f8959eebe3In the early stages of pregnancy, I would always ask myself, “Does this outfit make me look fat, or pregnant?” Now in the later stages, there is no mistaking, doubting, or questioning it… I am pregnant, and this is my baby bump, not a food baby.

So what have I been wearing?

Honestly, I have avoided buying to much maternity clothing because it is expensive, and pregnancy is only for a short time. I have been wearing tons of Free People, my favorite.  Most of the clothing from Free People is loose, flowy, and bohemian.  Even for my maternity photo shoot I wore nothing maternity. The majority of my outfits were from Free People.

I also feel pretty lucky, being my biggest during the summer. It is much easier to wear a maxi dress, then to try to zip up a winter coat over a huge baby bump. Plus winter clothing is always more expensive then summer clothes. Also around 35 weeks, my feet started to swell, and there is no way I can squeeze into winter boots, instead I am barefoot most of the time, but when I wear shoes they are all open… flip flops and birkenstocks.

When it comes to maternity fashion, I will admit, maternity clothes have come a long way since our moms were pregnant, but today something¬†is still¬†missing or lacking. I find myself on a constant search for fashionable maternity clothing that isn’t difficult to wear.

Finally, during this epic search for the perfect maternity clothes, I found two brands that I love, Ingrid & Isabel and STORQ. I have invested in some of their core pieces. This post is part 1 of 2 and will focus on Ingrid & Isabel.

Ingrid & Isabel

I absolutely love the maternity clothing brand Ingrid & Isabel.

1) The first thing I purchased from them was the bellaband in white.home_hero_bellabandThe bellaband allows you to wear any of your regular pants, shorts, or any pieces of clothing that you no longer can zip. This small piece of clothing saved me from having to invest in maternity jeans. What do you do? Simple, leave your pants unzipped and slide the bellaband over the unzipped area. No one will ever know your pants are unzipped, and you can fold the bellaband down (still hiding your zipper), or wear it high above your bump for extra support.

2) Another item by Ingrid & Isabel, that I pretty much live in, is the Active Capri Pant with Crossover Panel in jet black. 1257_00016_2_4I am an athlete, who has a closet full of lululemon. Although, I still wear some of my lululemon comfortably, most of it is too tight. Along with the bellaband, these pants were one of the maternity items I purchased early on (around 3 months.) Now, that I am 9 months pregnant they still fit, and I am still wearing them all the time. They are not only great for when I am active, (wearing them to prenatal yoga), but they are great to just wear whenever. Again, the cross over panel is key, because you can fold it down, or wear it high above your bump for extra support. They also have a long pant option, I went for the capri, because during the winter I wore boots with them, and now during the summer time I am able to wear them as capri with out getting overly hot.

3) This ruffle bikini bottom has saved me at the pool and beach.¬†1131_01_1_4Most of my bikinis are brazilian cut, but the brazilian bikini was NOT going to cut it during pregnancy. Now, I have too many bumps (boobs, booty, baby bump) and if I am going to let the baby bump hang out, all of the other bumps need full coverage. This ruffle bottom gave me the coverage I needed, and it is still cute and flirty. ¬†There I am below wearing the ruffle bottom on the beach, when I was only 22 weeks pregnant. Now that I am 37 weeks pregnant, these bottoms still fit and give me the coverage I need.¬†bump selfie 24) My latest purchase was the Seamless Drop Cup Nursing Bras in black, picture shows white option. 1270_00_1_4Now that I am in the last stages of my pregnancy, the search for maternity clothes has ended, and the search for nursing clothes, including nursing bras and tanks, has started. One thing that is important when purchasing nursing bras is to have a couple different kinds. It is very important to have al least one that does not have underwire. So far this bra is very comfortable. I’ll do a more detailed post on it once I use it when baby arrives. ¬†

So there you have it…

If you are looking for maternity clothes, you will not be disappointed with these items from Ingrid & Isabel.

Have you tried anything from Ingrid & Isabel? What are your favorite Maternity brands?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

All images (except the one of myself) on this page are from the Ingrid & Isabel website.

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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mom and child 2

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 Рnote: 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. 

 

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.

2013-04-24.Rachel_BabyRegistryShuffle

  • 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.

bellybuds

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.

bellybuds3

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.

bellybuds 2

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.

berries

 

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.

earth balance

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.

sparkling water

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.

refresh yoga

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.

yoga mat prenatal

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.

Courage Wall Today show

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 РErik 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

The prefect vacation.

Last year was full of busy trips. Our trip to Asia where we explored Thailand intensely. Then flying to the west coast twice, once to finalize wedding plans and then to actually tie the knot. So busy.

After an extremely cold winter we were desperate for a change in pace. We were in a much needed trip, where we could just relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

So a week ago, my husband and I headed down to South Florida, for some summer like weather. It ended up being the most relaxing vacation ever.

sand

We visited with my husband’s relatives for two days in Del Ray Beach. Del Ray Beach is north of South Beach, Miami. It is a beach town, with beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and tons of shops. It is known to be artsy. We actually went to a wonderful Art festival the day we arrived.

After two days of visiting with relatives, we headed to an ocean front hotel, Sands at Del Ray Beach. This hotel was awesome.  The set up was quite nice. They had valet parking. The pool and restaurant overlooked the ocean. Every morning, we would wake up and head straight for the beach. The hotel provided towels, chairs, and umbrellas. There was also a server that would come around to take your order, and bring you whatever you needed. I was pretty obsessed with the lemonade.

del ray beach

The beach was gorgeous. It was 85 degrees most days. The sun was shining, but there was a refreshing breeze so I never felt sweaty. The water was calm and cool, but not cold at all.

erik del ray beachHowever, after a couple days in the sun, our skin felt like it needed a break. So we took the 2 hour (long way) drive to South Beach, Miami. On the way down, we saw tons of ocean front mansions and expensive cars.  Once we were in South Beach, we shopped on Lincoln, and then walked two miles on the beach to Collins- where we did more shopping. After shopping my husband found an amazing Cuban restaurant, for us to eat at. It was delicious.

Then back to Del Ray Beach we went.

Although, we spent most of the time relaxing soaking up the sun, I also was productive, skimming magazines, finishing reading my first baby book, and starting my second.bump books

I skimmed through Fit pregnancy, and started registering. I finished the book, The kindmama, by Alicia Silverston, and started, Tales from another Mother Runner. Very productive indeed.

What is up with all the mom books? Well because my body physically will not allow me to¬†hide it anymore… I’m excited to finally share a secret I have been keeping since November. Yep, you guessed it… I have a baby bump!

bump selfie

I love my itsy bitsy teenie weenie polka dot bikini at almost 23 weeks pregnant!  Thanks Рto my husband Erik, for the most relaxing vacation aka babymoon.

© sweat1xdaily 2015

Body Butter recipe: prevent stretch marks, relieve dehydrated skin

February is over – Thank God! This winter has been brutal for the East Coast. New Englander’s got slammed with white out conditions, one blizzard after the next. As for my home,¬†Washington, DC,¬†¬†we haven’t had it nearly as bad as up north. But there also hasn’t been a February this cold since the 1970s, and some temperatures were record breaking.

Last week, we had an ice storm followed by a snow storm. Thumbs up to all of the runners out there training for Boston and other spring marathons. I don’t know how you do it, training in the slippery dark winter conditions. However, on a brighter note, I am very excited to say, March is here. Day light savings time has come, the sun is shining and almost all of the snow is melted. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the arrival of Spring.

In the mean time, I am still trying to tolerate the cold, and what it has done to my skin. With such cold winter conditions,¬†it is no surprise that my skin has becomes dry, dehydrated, and chapped. This year has been more extreme than ever, and nothing seems to relieve it. Trust me, I’ve tried lotion after lotion.

I have recently become obsessed with Coconut Oil. But while on the search for an amazing lotion to use, this winter, I have had a difficult time finding one containing the main ingredient, Coconut Oil. I also have been very sensitive to smell, so the ones I did find, ended up smelling to strong, and not having enough Coconut Oil.

So after some research, I have decided to stop the never ending hunt for the perfect lotion, and instead make my own body butter. By making my own, I am able to really customize it to my needs.

Some needs¬†that are important to me…

  1. High quality ingredients. Organic and raw ingredients. When purchasing a lotion or body butter, you never know how high the quality the ingredients used are. Just like in food, ingredients used in beauty products that are processed or low quality, do not have the same health benefits as those that are organic and raw. When making your own product, you have complete control in which ingredients you choose to put in your recipe. I chose raw for my butters, and organic cold pressed for my oils.
  2. The amount of ingredients found in the product.¬†¬†When purchasing a lotion or body butter, you never know the exact amounts of each ingredient. It may say it has coconut oil in it, but it may only contain a tiny amount. Many lotions are mostly made with water. Also some may have other fillers and¬†preservatives. When making your own product, you have complete control in the amounts of each ingredient.¬†I didn’t put any water, preservative or fillers in my body butter.¬†I wanted coconut oil to be one of the main ingredients so it is.
  3. Texture. When purchasing a lotion or body butter, you have no control over the texture. This drives me crazy! The two coconut lotions I tried were really liquid like in texture. I felt they were too light. Some body butters I used were to greasy, while others were to waxy. I just wanted a really creamy, rich, whipped texture. When I made my own I was finally able to achieve that.
  4. Smell. ¬†I am very sensitive to smell. I tried a lavender coconut lotion that at first I loved the smell, but then I got really sick of it. I also tried a lotion that smelled like coconut. ¬†At first I loved it, because it reminded me of the beach, but it didn’t take long, soon I was over it. When making your own body butter, you can control the smell. Either, keep it natural with the fragrance that comes from the ingredients used, or you can add any fragrance you want, by adding an essential oil.¬†I kept mine natural, so it smells like coconut and chocolate.
  5. Quantity.  You can make as much or as little as you wish, but keep in mind that an organic product only lasts one year or 18 months if refrigerated.

Body Butter

A client of mine gave me some homemade beauty products this Christmas, made with a focus of essential oils. And although I loved them, it wasn’t until I started reading Alicia Silverstone’s¬†book,¬†Kind Mama¬†that I got the urge to make my own. In this book, Silverstone, has a recipe for a homemade oil, and a homemade body butter. These recipes help keep a mother-to-be’s skin hydrated, and prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

How to make the Body Butter…¬†

body butter

Ingredients and Health Benefits

Ingredients

  • Raw Shea Butter:¬†Shea butter comes from a nut from the shea tree found in Africa.¬†It is extremely hydrating and has inflammatory properties. It is usually a whitish color and has a very mild smell.¬†Always¬†use raw like I did in this recipe because while in the raw state it contains vitamins A and E along with other minerals.¬†In this recipe use¬†1/2 cup of raw shea butter.shea butter
  • Raw Cocoa Butter:¬†Cocoa butter is from the cacao bean. When found in the raw state, cocoa butter is a tan color, that smells like chocolate. ¬†Also when used in the raw state, cocoa butter is high in antioxidants that fight off free radicals, making it an anti-ager. It is extremely hydrating, moisturizing even the most severe dry skin. But ultimately, it is best known as the ultimate¬†Stretch Mark Reducer¬†and that is¬†why I used it in this formula of body butter. There are no guarantees, but the secret has spread by moms and moms to be, to liberally rub cocoa butter products all over your growing belly, to prevent or reduce stretch marks. So if you are expecting cocoa butter is a must ingredient to include in your homemade body butter, or one to look for in your belly balm of choice.¬†In this recipe use a 1/2 cup of raw cocoa butter.Cocoa butter
  • Organic Coconut Oil:¬†Coconut oil has been used for many years in Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. It has recently become trendy here in the USA. It is a clear white wax consistency, that has a mild coconut smell. It has amazing healing properties. However,¬†when it comes to including it in skin care products it is best know for being a great moisturizer with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.¬†In this recipe use a 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil.coconut oil
  • Organic Jojoba Oil:¬†Jojoba (pronounced ho-hoba) comes from the seed of the jojoba plant found in south west USA. It has many vitamins and minerals essential for healthy skin and hair. Jojoba similar to the others above is a moisturizing, anti fungal, stretch mark reducer, anti inflammatory, and has many other healing properties including unclogging hair follicles to promote more hair growth. Although, it does it all, the most unique property about jojoba oil is how gentle it is for sensitive skin. It is a yellow oil, that has a mild smell. ¬†Please read labels on the back of the bottle to ensure it is pure jojoba oil and not mixed with any other oils. ¬†In this recipe use 1/4 cup of Jojoba oil.
  • Vitamin E Oil:¬†Vitamin E oil is best known for its healing properties. It can heal scars, stretch marks and sunburn etc.¬†Warming:¬†I don’t have a bad reaction to Vitamin E oil, however some do. It is strong and can cause irritation, If you experience irritation do not add vitamin e oil to your body butter. If you do not experience irritation, in this recipe use 1/8 a cup of Vitamin E Oil.¬†

Directions

This body butter recipe is vegetarian/vegan and raw/organic.

  1. Heat all solids, (1/2 cup raw shea butter, 1/2 cup raw cocoa butter, 1/2 cup coconut oils,) in a water bath. A water bath is used to slowly melt the ingredients with out altering their integrity. To achieve this, you will place all ingredients in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water. Let the steam from the boiling water heat the bowl, which melts the ingredients.
  2. Once ingredients are heated, set out to cool. Once cooled to room temperature place in refrigerator and let cool for 1 hour, until ingredients turn into a soft solid.
  3. After cooling process, remove from refrigerator, and add oils (1/4 cup jojoba, 1/8 cup of vitamin E oil,) to the bowl.
  4. Once oils are added, use electric mixer to combine all ingredients. Use electric mixer until desired whipped texture is achieved. This doesn’t take long, with in minutes the recipe will almost look like a whipped frosting or whipped cream consistency. This is what you want. It smells amazing and becomes a rich, whipped, creamy, soft, body butter.¬†whipped

 

There are lots of great body butters and belly balms out there, but by making your own, you have complete control over what ingredients you use and how much of each ingredient you use.

Other body butter and belly balms that I love.

x354 I have yet to try this one, but I have heard it is very good. And it looks like it is made from the same ingredients I used minus the vitamin E oil.

StorQ belly Balm

Beauty-Square-Belly-Balm_1024x1024_16bbda39-8040-4d7f-8b95-806c9647c764

I have this, and love it! It is a very small amount, but perfect to put in your purse and so you can reapply through out the day.

Have you ever made your own body butter? What is your favorite ingredient found in skin care products?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily