What's In My Hospital Bag

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Just like that, baby girl is due in 3 days. Well maybe not just like that. This pregnancy has felt like a marathon as much as I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. As I get ready to be heading to the hospital in the next few days, I decided to film a video about what I packed for my time there. I spent more time than I care to admit looking up blog posts and videos about what other moms brought to the hospital for their birth experiences, and I found them so helpful. You know I love any excuse to add style and intention to any life situation, pushing out a baby included.

You can watch my video on IGTV, and I’ve listed everything I talked about below with links to my specific items. I hope this is helpful to any moms-to-be who will be going through this soon!

FOR ME:

Always adult diapers

Postpartum supplements of choice (I’m bringing this one and magnesium for constipation)

Socks - the hospital will give you some but if you want your own. I am bringing some compression socks

Soft stretchy pajamas

Second pair of pajamas

Tank top to wear with pajama bottoms or shorts

Stretchy shorts in case it’s warm (might bring the matching sweatshirt too)

Robe - mine are from The Great. and Parachute

Your own hospital gown

Slippers

Loose sandals like Birkenstocks (for swollen feet)

A couple pairs of underwear. I love the high waisted ones from Arq for a supportive fit.

2-3 comfortable, stretchy, generously sized nursing bras - mine are from H&M and Target

10 ft phone charger

Nursing pillow

Going home outfit - I’m doing this dress

Your own pillows

Healthy snacks

Toiletries:

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FOR BABY

Tote or your diaper bag if you have one (I haven’t decided on one yet)

Zip pouches for organizing small items

Small diaper changing setup (diapers, wipes in a dispenser, changing pad) mostly for the ride home, just in case

1 or 2 swaddles

2 burp cloths

1 or 2 little lovies or plush toys (not super necessary, I’m mainly bringing for photos)

Newborn mittens

1 hat

1 or 2 onesies in preemie or newborn size

1 or 2 onesies in 0-3 size (mine is Rudy Jude)

1 or 2 bloomers/pants

Socks

Infant nail clippers or file if you’re ambitious (they won’t do it in the hospital but it might be something you want to take care of if the nails are really long)

Phew! I know it sounds like a lot, but it all fit into a small roller suitcase and a tote. And hey - I never said I wasn’t an overpacker! If you are using this as a reference, you can always leave out the things that feel like overkill. To each their own!

Wish me luck. :)

Personal Style in the Age of Instagram

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I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law the other day about what it's like finding fashion inspiration in the day of Instagram. On one hand, it's awesome because it's everywhere. Outfit and shopping ideas are readily available at a "swipe up" of the thumb. Everyday I save ideas that I love from social media. Chances are you follow a handful of fashion influencers who share their outfits on a daily basis with a liketoknow.it link. It can make things so easy. Like Ariana Grande says, "I see it, I like it, I want it, I buy it."

But have you ever had an experience where you buy something from an influencer's post, and it arrives and looks TOTALLY different on you than it did on her? Or maybe you just can't put your finger on why it doesn't feel as great as you were expecting when you saw it on Instagram?

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I call this the "white bag problem." When I lived in New York, I was obsessing over bright white handbags. I would see them on other girls and thought they looked so fresh. But then when I would go to Barney's to hold one and look in the mirror, something felt off. I later learned that it was because white isn't my power neutral. Read more about that here if you're curious, but long story short, it wasn't a good match with my dark hair and looked too overbearing and off balance on me. Great for the occasional summer or vacay outfit but not an everyday investment purchase like it would be for a blonde. 

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There are certain bloggers I LOVE to follow - Rachel Parcell and Sincerely Jules are two examples. They both have impeccable style and know their aesthetic to a T. Sometimes I get tempted to recreate their looks because I'm so inspired by them, but I stop myself and remember that my OWN style is different from theirs. Rachel is the ultimate elegant, feminine lady. Sincerely Jules has a boho look I love but she's very petite and thin, with dark olive skin. I wish I could pull off her outfits, but I would need to recreate them in a totally different way to make them work for me. All around, they both nail their fashion but for us followers there's a difference between loving how their rock a style all their own, and trying to mimic the same style ourselves. 

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In one of my free mini style sessions over the phone the other day, I spoke to a girl who said she doesn't feel in touch with her own style. She said when she gets together with friends, she bases her outfit choices on how those friends dress. This really got to me, because I think the feeling is SO common. Sometimes we don't even realize we're doing it, but it never allows you to feel truly confident when you leave the house. Wouldn't it feel so much better to have your own sense of style? To wear only the things that feel 100% authentic to you, and never feel the need to copy others unless it happens to be in perfect alignment with your own goals?

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This is exactly why I do what I do. Every woman deserves to be her own "influencer," creating a style all her own that makes other people stop and admire. There's a certain unspoken X factor when your personal style represents exactly who you are, flatters all your own physical features, and lights you up when you get dressed. This is not something that can be created by just buying everything someone else is wearing. It comes from within, and my life purpose is to help you find it. 

P.S. The spring special has been extended! Get completely set for 2 seasons, for the price of 1. Book before 4/30 before my regular package prices go up!

Photography by Ashley Burns

Our Family is Growing

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It’s been a moment since I’ve popped on the blog to check in, but it’s simply because a lot has been going on in my personal world. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that there was a major family announcement recently - WE ARE HAVING A BABY! I’m now 18 weeks along with baby #2, due July 28th… and it’s a girl! I have so many feelings about becoming a mom of two, and it just so happens that today’s Real Talk With Real Moms topic is all about the decision to go from one to two or more kids! So what better time and place to share? Be sure to read the other moms in the series’ takes too!

The Fresh Exchange / Sugar and Cloth / Lovely Indeed / Studio DIY / Natalie Borton / A Daily Something / The Sweetest Occasion / The Proper Blog / Parker Etc / The Effortless Chic / Oh Lovely Day

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For us, the decision to have a second kid was easy - it was the timing that wasn’t, much like our decision to have the first. When we initially decided to start trying for Sailor, neither of us felt particularly “ready” but we reached a point when we realized we never WERE going to feel ready. We were 33, and after 11 years together, had gotten to have lots of time to ourselves. We’d traveled, poured our energy into our work and social lives, spent plenty of evenings alone, and lived on two coasts together. We loved our lives the way they were with just us and our two dogs, but we knew that down the line we would want to have a family. It was just time.

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This time was surprisingly similar. Even though we are somewhat “seasoned” into parenthood, there was still a sense that we were happy with things the way they are and we’re nervous about taking on more responsibility. I mean, if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past 3 years with Sailor, it’s that nothing can prepare you for the challenge of having a child. Many tears, long nights, early mornings, missed dates and friend hangouts, and countless breakdowns later, how exactly do we decide to do it all again? I’ve never been one to sugarcoat how hard it is, so the decision to double our kid count wasn’t exactly easy. But there was this feeling we both felt. A feeling that our family wasn’t quite complete and we were still wanting to take one more step. We both grew up in families of multiples (Ian has a brother and a sister and I have a sister), and we wanted the same for our family. I had always pictured myself with two kids, and that time to try for the second was just here.

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There are a lot of things that terrify me, just like they did in round 1, but the beauty of this time is that I get to learn from the first and try to do it a little better. I can manage my expectations of what’s possible in a day, and seek help when I need it (which let’s face it, will be a LOT from day 1). Most of all, I will know that compassion towards myself as a mother is a daily practice, and the reward is far greater than the hardships. I’m still learning everyday, and I know I have so much more to experience in this role. I’m scared AF, but I’m ready at the same time. So let’s do this!

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Be sure to follow along on the journey over on Instagram, and check out the other moms’ posts on this topic too!

Photography by Ashley Burns