I’ve been back in LA for about a week after our trip to Minnesota, and I’m still noticing ways it did me good. Whenever I spend time there, I get to take a step back and see my life in bigger picture form rather than getting stressed out about all the noise that surrounds me day-to-day. Life is much slower paced, quieter, simpler, and much more serene there. I love how it feels like nothing has changed in my little home town. We go for walks down the same path we always have, past the spot Ian and I got married 7 years ago and down to the same coffee shop that’s been the exact same since I was a kid. This time was a little different since it was the first time I’ve been back home with a baby in tow (what happened to all that extra sleep I used to get there?), but it was so wonderful in new ways too. Sailor explored every corner of my childhood home, was the star of the show with all the family members who came to see her, and she came back a much older, wiser baby. ;) I love that when I’m in the midwest, I get to dial it down a few notches. I enjoy packing because I’m not worrying about calculating the perfect outfits. It’s just – is it easy, is it comfy, is it fun? This outfit was all those things, and perfect for an evening stroll through the Carleton College campus.
Before living in SoCal, I never understood trends that negated the original purpose of the garment: backless sweaters, peep toe booties, vest jackets. They made zero sense for the extreme hot or extreme cold temps we often experienced in NYC or Minnesota. A trench vest sounded like a cute idea, but never would have gotten worn when it came down to it. This piece may not do a whole lot to keep me warm in colder temps, but it DOES add a layer and some interest to an outfit. And I’m a girl who loves to layer (I get depressed when it’s too hot to keep adding more clothes), so I perked up when I saw this one. I love that it makes a simple t-shirt and jeans feel more like a styled look, and could also work just as well over a summery dress and sandals.
I can’t tell you guys how good it feels to be writing this post right now. Ever since Sailor was born, the idea of blogging has been this looming thing over me that has always managed to be just out of reach. My big plan in becoming a mom (a plan – how cute) was to take the remainder of 2015 off and then come back to my old life with a bang on January 1st. Adorable of me, I know. The first 3 months of motherhood were extra challenging for me as they are for many (see here and here for more on that). Yet somehow I still managed to think that having my shit together was just around the corner. Then I came back from the holidays to a harsh realization that I was not at all ready to be a working mom. Heck, I still wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a mom period as I was still randomly bursting into tears regularly (you know – hormones, emotions, challenges, personal growth). Yet here I was with a 3 month old baby, and expecting myself to be awesome at it.
I can understand how this might be a difficult thing to sympathize with since my job as a stylist/blogger gets to largely be on my own terms, and often on my own schedule as styling gigs are temporary and somewhat easy to pick and choose. My own brand/blog is something I get to be the boss of. But while it may seem like blogging isn’t “work,” when you think of it in terms of finding time to properly prep and shoot a unique post that I can be proud of, and then write it from the heart without constant distraction/interruption, and do that with regularity my readers can rely on… then blogging is more similar than you think to other jobs new moms go back to. The circumstances might be different, but the level of challenge is the same. I’m super lucky in that I get to be available for Sailor, but being present for myself and my work is a challenge that takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to rise to. That’s tough in its own different way.
In sitting down to write this post, my intention was to talk about how I’ve settled into my new role as a mom, especially as a person who was never really excited to have children. My mind is a jumble and I struggle to find the words to describe it because in the 5.5 months that she’s been here, I’ve gone completely from shell shocked/hesitant/freaked out new mom to doting/loving/nurturing new mom. I don’t know how it happened but it did. It took awhile though, and the transformation is still in progress. In the beginning, I didn’t feel immediately changed as a person by her arrival. I felt like the person I always was who just had a bomb dropped on her life. I would try to manage caring for her with the pain of breastfeeding with all my usual priorities like a work To Do list, a clean house, and manicured nails (important things). Each thing felt so impossible, and I thought, how will this ever feel normal? How will I ever get to do something for myself again?
As 2016 got started, social media was abuzz with friends, colleagues, and fellow bloggers posting about all their amazing goals for the year and how this was going to be “the year.” While I was supposed to feel like this would be my greatest year yet because Sailor is now in my life, I was [shamefully] feeling held back. I was thrilled to be her mom, but also wanted so badly to have my own goals for myself. Incidentally, on December 31st I was offered a styling job that would have taken place in the British Virgin Islands for several weeks. It was a job that would have been my biggest yet in a lot of ways. I turned it down as Sailor was only 4 months and while the thought of bringing her along to be with me there with my mom as our full time nanny seemed somehow doable for a second, there really was no way to work a 12-hour day in a foreign place with a tiny baby, and with her dad left at home. But saying no to work was a very new thing for me. This marked the beginning of a rough patch as I tried to figure out how to be a working mom. Each day would pass and along with all the regular daily challenges of motherhood, if I didn’t also finish some big work project, I would feel like I failed.
But then one day in late January I finally had a huge a-ha moment. I realized that this is a time in my life I will look back on longingly and wish I could get back. Motherhood IS my goal for 2016, and one that I should never discredit. This is one time that I need to give myself a break, and not hold myself to any resolutions, other than being a good mom to this precious baby girl. No, I’m not going to be able to take every project that comes my way. No, I’m not going to be able to blog everyday. No, I’m not going to always feel like I got a ton of work done in a day. But I do get to be Sailor’s mom right now. It’s her first year on this planet, and that’s the best thing I could be a part of. And you know what? Here’s the crazy part. As soon as I realized that, many of those personal priorities started to find their way back. I booked a fun styling gig which I can do from home on a flexible schedule, and am now managing to blog again with lots of new content on the docket that I’m inspired and excited about (some of the old favorites stuff like outfits, cocktails, home, and beauty, and some new lifestyle categories like baby products that don’t ruin your design-conscious life). I’ve also been bringing Sailor out and about with me since she was 2 months old which used to feel so challenging, but now it’s like second nature to us and it keeps us both sane. She’s my little sidekick.
So now I’m seeing how this is going to work. I’m finally starting to understand how I might be able to do life my way, as a mom. Yes, in order to do it, I’m going to need help from others, and I’m not going to be able to get as much work done in a day as I used to. But I do get to do it all with this added new title on my name tag. It’s a role that fills my life with inspiration, love, joy, new learning curves and experiences, challenges and more fun and happiness than ever before. All things that will make me better at what I do. I also firmly believe that finding time for myself and keeping work as a priority will make me a better mother.
Thanks for being here, guys. I really do love sharing my life with you and I really appreciate the words of support and stories of your own experiences. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a place for style inspiration in all aspects of life, but I also want it to grow with me and take on new topics as my life does. So you can expect to see all of the old favorite stuff like outfits, styling tips, cocktails, beauty, and home, along with some new lifestyle categories that incorporate things I’m inspired by on the mom front. If you have any requests of things you’d like to see, feel free to send them my way. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy sharing. It’s good to be back!
There’s no time like after having a baby to find yourself falling back on low maintenance outfit routines, and relying on tried and true staples to keep you dressed for the world as opposed to staying in your pj’s all day. But after wearing nothing but basics for months, a girl needs to spice things up just a little bit. In updating my post-baby wardrobe, I was hit with a strong revelation that I needed jeans other than ripped skinnies and tops other than t-shirts. I’m the first to talk about how much I love good basics, but then when your closet is full of them and not much else, you feel like you’re setting yourself up for constant styling challenges to make those basics work for every occasion. And who wants to be challenged all the time? So as my mission for non-basics commenced, I found these extra long flares on sale (score!) and white macrame swing top. Both are just as easy to style as anything else in my closet – maybe even easier because they don’t need much “styling” at all – but they add a bit more interest than the usual. I like how these pieces can be dressed up for evening or down for day. With my leather jacket and cateye sunnies, I felt a little bit 50’s rebel girl, and a little bit 70’s hippy. A combo that worked together to form an outfit perfect for a 2016 dinner out with girlfriends.
P.S. I’m back! I know I’ve been kind of MIA for longer than I anticipated (then again, how does one truly know what to anticipate after having their first baby?) after Sailor was born, but here I am. I’ve got so much new content coming up that I can’t wait to share! I’m posting on Instagram or Snapchat daily too, so feel free to follow me on those (@thelifestyled) if you want to stay connected on more of the daily happenings.
In the midst of all the baby prep, doing a maternity photo shoot had kind of fell off my radar. Even though I feel it’s important to document this special time and had always assumed I would do one, I had let it slip to the back of my mind where it may have remained until it was too late. So when my dear friend Heather suggested we do a shoot when I was 33 weeks pregnant (she’s three weeks ahead of me in her own pregnancy!), I realized it was now or never. To be completely honest, the style shoots I do for the blog can be kind of intense and stressful at times – trying to piece together the perfect outfit and obsessing over every accessory all while trying not to mess up my makeup and hair or lose the good sunlight… but this one was totally different. I put zero prep into it – rushed home from a doctors appointment, went to the very small maternity section of my closet to pull out a few dresses, quickly put some makeup on, and away we went. It was so relaxed and fun, sharing pregnancy stories and laughing together. I felt free to not worry about flattering angles or “sucking it in” because a) that’s obviously futile in this case, and b) this time it’s about something much more meaningful. It actually surprised me to notice how much focusing on how I might look usually has a tendency to take over my thoughts when I’m having my picture taken – something I’m going to make a mental note to be less concerned with in the future. It’s way more fun when I feel more relaxed, and it probably shows. In the end, I’m so glad Heather made this shoot happen. Now I have these amazing photos to look back at after our daughter comes into the world, and remember this time when she was such a big part of me even though I hadn’t even met her yet.
If there’s one thing I absolutely can’t live without during pregnancy it’s a good pair of maternity jeans (or several apparently, as illustrated in my video all about this subject). I’ve been loving the ones A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity have to offer, and they just came out with a new pair of boyfriend jeans in their own line that’s been getting a lot of wear over here. Today I’m excited to be a guest editor on their blog, sharing 3 ways to style these jeans. Hop on over there to see the rest!
Well guys, time is apparently playing tricks on me. I’m now in my 32nd week of pregnancy (how is that possible??) and I’m definitely starting to notice myself slowing down a bit. I get winded much quicker than usual, and have been guilty of asking Ian to tie my shoes for me a time or two. I can’t reach! Since day one, I’ve been ambivalent about buying a lot of maternity clothes, but I also knew the day would come that my options would dwindle as my belly approaches basketball level. This dress was one of my first purchases and it’s every bit as comfy and stylish now as it was when I was barely showing. That’s pregnancy wardrobe gold right there. I want it in every color it comes in, and fully intend to wear it post pregnancy, along with a lot of the other stuff I’ve bought – maternity or not. In the navy stripe, it’s been the perfect summer staple which I have loved pairing with black accents to edge it out a tad, like this Apolis tote (something I couldn’t stop thinking about since this post and finally picked it up in black last weekend) and my new Daniel Wellington watch which adds a refreshing masculine touch (Ian and I actually fight over who gets to wear it on the daily). DW was kind enough to offer my readers 15% off until Aug 30 with the code THELIFESTYLED, so you may need to pick one up for yourself (and your man to share, I guess).
HATCH Collection dress / Loeffler Randall sandals / Apolis tote / Daniel Wellington watch (15% off til Aug 30 with code THELIFESTYLED)/ Celine sunglasses / Wanderlust chevron ring / Eddie Borgo starburst ring
One thing that has surprised me about transitioning my wardrobe into pregnancy garb is how long I have been able to get away with wearing non-maternity clothes. Sure, I had to empty half my clothes out of my closet and put them away until long after my body is through producing a human, but I’ve been impressed that so many things still work with a 6-month belly. This top is something I bought specifically for pregnancy though. I love how tenty it is, with plenty of room to spare AND the fact that it’s not a maternity top, which makes me feel totally fine with idea of wearing it in future summers as well. Let’s face it – I would probably have gravitated to this top regardless because it’s the most comfortable, breezy summer piece I could possibly imagine. Pairing it with ripped white denim (questionably held together by a hair tie) and some edgy sandals is my favorite way to wear it so far, but the summer is still young.
Writing the title of this post gave me a serious wave of anxiety/excitement/disbelief that I’m actually 23 weeks pregnant. That’s almost 6 months. Way beyond halfway done. I honestly can’t believe it. I’ve meant to do more insightful pregnancy updates on here, but the past few months have flown by so fast I could barely even catch my breath and collect my thoughts about it. It’s been a whirlwind of doctors appointments (more in these few months than I’ve usually had in 10 years – thankfully), body/wardrobe acclimating, savoring these last months as a family of 2, and of course all of life’s other non-pregnancy related complexities. Overall a very fortunate and positive whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. Today I wanted to take that moment and share a bit about my experience thus far…
Being pregnant has been different than I thought. Easier in some ways, harder in other ways. It’s easier than I expected because:
1. I have never gotten sick since day 1. I recognize how incredibly lucky I am for this and I know I won’t be able to expect the same luxury if I ever get pregnant again. Some of my friends have been sick throughout their ENTIRE pregnancies and I simply cannot imagine how hard that must have been. The only symptoms I have felt are occasional fatigue, the feeling of a small human sitting on my bladder, the dreaded weight gain, and temperamental skin.
2. Life resumed as normal in a lot of ways after the first trimester. The beginning was somewhat stressful and scary (not knowing for sure that it’s not going to go away and not being able to be out in the world with the news while trying to get used to it all). But at the 12 week mark, we found out we are having a girl and finally got to tell all our friends and family. Then things calmed down and we went back to our normal lives, only now with the added anticipation, curiosity, and excitement of what’s to come.
3. An amazing husband. Ian has been simply the most ecstatic dad-to-be, always wanting to know everything that’s happening with me and our baby, reading up on things, researching baby products… He’s obsessed with it all and so supportive of me, and I’m so grateful for that. This has brought us closer in so many ways, and made me feel so excited to be parents together.
4. The fact that we got pregnant at all. So many couples don’t have it so easy, and we take moments all the time to appreciate that we were basically given a free pass. You never know what it’s going to be like until you’re doing it, and we had always worried about that.
It’s harder than I expected because:
1. Losing control of my body. Even though I haven’t been sick, I wasn’t anticipating how odd it would feel to have this “alien” take over me and rely on me for survival before it even feels real. In some ways, this is part of what makes it so special, but it’s also something I really struggle with. While the dad gets to enjoy these 40 weeks of doing whatever he wants to do – eating whatever, drinking whatever, having “last hurrahs,” getting in shape before fatherhood, etc… I’m already a mom. The minute I became pregnant was the minute I had to stop doing a lot of things I enjoy having as a part of my routine. While it might feel trivial and silly compared to the miracle that’s going on inside of me, it really is hard to give up that freedom and control, especially when I know even harder times are ahead. As I type this, I’m on a plane to Nashville for a bachelorette trip for one of my good friends. I would love nothing more than to enjoy my first time in this city through a carefree, summery, artisanal cocktail-fueled lens, I have one foot in this massive responsibility of growing a child, and the other wanting to really embrace this time as sort of the final chapter as someone who doesn’t have these kinds of responsibilities. For some, this part is a piece of cake. For me, not so much. Maybe there’s a deeper Peter Pan complex going on here, but whatever it is, it’s hard for me. It’s not so much the restrictions themselves, but the sobering reality of this stage in life. It’s not about me anymore.
2. The fear/anxiety for what’s to come. I’ve never really been the mommy type. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. The motherly side of me is completely unknown as of now and it’s going to be a brand new identity. This thought scares me to death. What if the maternal side never comes? What if it comes but I lose my old self in the process? What if the transition is just more than I can take?
Rachel Zoe for A Pea in the Pod caftan / Dolce Vita sandals / Karl Lagerfeld watch / H&M rings / Luv AJ ring
However hard or easy this all is though, it’s happening. It’s moving forward at a fast pace and my life is never going to be the same. So the only thing to do is embrace the change. I’m enjoying the process of learning new things, becoming a part of this new “club”, planning and daydreaming about how we’ll take on parenthood in our own way, and just generally getting excited to meet this girl.
Those of you who have done this before, I would love to hear your experiences and any advice you have! As always, thanks so much for reading, guys. I promise my updates won’t always be so deep and dramatic but I just felt compelled to share where I’m at with it all.
Going into my pregnancy, I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be to transition my wardrobe. It seemed daunting, and I envisioned having to buy all new “strictly maternity” clothes just for this period of 9 months. While I have had to buy a few pieces like that (jeans galore – more on that later), I have found that a lot of non-maternity items I already had definitely work well in the first half of the pregnancy. Today I’m sharing three outfits I’ve been wearing at around 20 weeks. Hope you enjoy! And be sure to subscribe to me on YouTube. :)