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Espresso & Cream Weekly Favorites

February 28, 2018

TO BUY // Athleta High Rise Chaturanga Tight
These are THE BEST workout tights around. They are high-rise, comfortable, true to size and so comfortable. They stay put for workouts and look great for running around doing errands and playing with the kids. I promise you need these in your life.

TO LISTEN // Christy Wright’s Business Boutique 
My mom introduced this podcast to me and I love listening to it for business development and encouragement in my work. Christy is a champion of women and so savvy in business. I love her encouragement, authenticity and passion.

TO USE // Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion
This face lotion has totally changed my skin in a major way over the last six months. It’s designed to adapt to your skin’s unique moisture needs and has made my skin glowing, vibrant and hydrated throughout the winter months. It’s a must-have in my book!

TO EAT // Quick Brown Rice and Lentil Salad
I love this recipe that’s from the Espresso & Cream archives. It’s quick, easy, satisfying and filled with nutrients. Easy meals FTW.

TO READ // The Clean Label Project
This isn’t a book but a really helpful website. They use data and science to reveal the true contents of consumer products, like baby formula, baby food, and more. It’s a really helpful site if you want to know what’s in the food that you’re buying – especially for baby formula!

Family, Food & Recipes

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Bites

February 27, 2018

This recipe isn’t going to break the internet with it’s creativity or for being something you haven’t seen before, but I frequently talk about and post about my energy bites, and when I was looking for an up to date recipe on Espresso & Cream, I realized that I didn’t have one posted! In the past I’ve made these with dates and nut butter as the binder, but truth be told we just don’t have dates on hand most of the time, so I’ve adapted the recipe to be adaptable to what I think most people typically have on hand. Though if you do have dates on hand most of the time, there are plenty of good recipes using them as well!

These energy bites have saved us a lot of money since I’m less tempted to grab an energy bar when I’m hungry and looking for a quick and easy snack. They are portable, and Ainsley thinks they are cookie dough that I let her eat whenever she wants so I call that a major #momwin in my book.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 12 to 15
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder of choice
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add additional honey or peanut butter if needed so mixture comes together easily. Scoop by heaping tablespoons and roll between your hands to form balls. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

 

Family, Fashion, Food & Recipes

The Espresso and Cream Weekly Favorites

February 20, 2018

Lately, I’ve been craving a space and reason to share some of the products, podcasts, recipes, and more that I’ve been loving lately. I was initially going to use this idea as content for an e-newsletter, but after thinking about how cluttered inboxes are these days, it seemed a better fit to make this into a weekly blog post. Each week, I’ll be sharing my favorite thing I’ve bought, listened to, used on my skin, recipe and book and/or article to read. Hopefully this is a fun, inspiring little weekly round-up!

TO BUY // J. Crew Dorito Cotton and Silk Blend Blouse (pictured above)
It’s a little lightweight for cold weather, but I can already tell that I’m going to be wearing this all spring and summer long.

TO LISTEN // Balanced Bites Podcast with Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe 
Although this podcast is geared toward those who live a paleo lifestyle (which is certainly NOT me) I really love this podcast and their approach to health and wellness. It’s been around forever, and they have a wealth of experience, great advice and interesting experts on a variety of topics relating to health and wellness.

TO USE //Volume & Shape Shampoo and Conditioner 
Postpartum hair loss and re-growth is, undoubtedly, difficult to deal with and can really take a toll on your hair. One thing that’s helped tremendously in this process is Beautycounter’s Volume & Shape Shampoo and Conditioner. You truly couldn’t pay me to use anything else. Switching to a safer shampoo and conditioner has made my hair look healthier, but even more importantly it’s actually made my hair healthier. If you’re struggling with postpartum hair issues, I can’t recommend this line enough.

TO EAT // Pinch of Yum’s Chicken Wild Rice Soup 
I’ve made this a handful of times and it’s delicious, easy and worth making at least a few more times before winter is over!

TO READ // I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam
I’m only a portion of the way through this book and already I can’t resist recommending it to you guys. If you’re a mom, business owner, wanna be business owner, working corporate employee or just busy woman (hello, this is probably all of you!) then you need to pick this book up. It’s empowering and really leaves you with the feeling of “I can!” in the best possible way.

 

Family

Tips for Building a Business From Home

February 19, 2018

Most days of the week I’m running around with my hair on fire, jumping from mothering to working to keeping our house running the way it should, to attempting to find enough quality time with my husband and more. It’s a crazy season, this one where we are raising little kids while I’m also building a business and trying to care for myself and those around me, investing in the community and church that I’m a part of, and finding time to just enjoy this season, too. I love being busy, having a lot on my plate, but if I don’t keep an eye on that delicate balance of work and rest and hustle and slowing down every so often, I find myself edgy, exhausted and wondering which way is up.

A few weeks ago, on a particularly difficult and tiring day, I thought to myself, “Why am I even bothering?” I mean, there are plenty of days when I think it might just be easier to be all in with this mothering gig full-time or all in with this work gig, rather than living in this sometimes frazzled in-between of working from home mom life. Of course, it was a momentary loss of perspective, because most of the time I feel so very blessed to be able to do both of these jobs in the amount and mix that I currently do, but it’s not always easy. In fact, I reason to believe that there really isn’t any perfect set-up during this season (or any season) of raising kids, but rather our perspective that matters most.

I think a particularly difficult part about working from home, sans co-workers, is that it’s incredibly flexible but can be equal parts isolating and easy to get off track when life gets busy. One of my favorite phrases to describe my work is “flexible but not optional” because, let’s face it, when you say you work from home there is a tendency by some to assume that means you can work as much or as little as you would like on any given week.

But the truth is the work still needs to get done, the freelance schedule still holds tight, the emails still come rolling in and require a timely response. So, in this season with little kids and frequent disruptions to the schedule, that means lots of early morning work sessions, nap time hustle, and the occasional evening call or catching up on email while Joe and I watch Netflix. And friends? It’s so very worth it to me. Perhaps not to everyone, but I am so thankful to be able to continue to pursue my dreams even when that doesn’t happen when or how I want it to happen.

It’s easy, in any circumstance, to see the negative, the road blocks the reasons to complain – in work, or motherhood, or other life circumstances – and I’m as prone to it as the next person. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how my attitude shapes my experience and perspective when those twists and turns in the road come.

Okay, okay, that’s great and all but what does that mean tangibly? Well, if you’re currently working a flexible but not optional job, or perhaps you’re dreaming about doing something like what I do, here are my best tips for staying the course when you have every reason not to:

1. Identify Your Power Hours
Power hours are the times of the day when you’re most focused and mentally sharp. For me, that’s 4:30 am or sometime around there. I can pound out about three times the amount of work between 4:30 and 5:30 am as I could in four hours in the afternoon. I lose most of my focus past mid-afternoon, and working in the evenings is rarely a good strategy for maximizing productivity in my world. Find your power hours and try to match your hours up with your work when possible to maximize output with the smallest time input.

2. Multi Task When Possible
Things like listening to a business development podcast or audio-book can be done while I fold laundry or make dinner or play with the girls. It doesn’t require my full attention, yet I’m able to invest in myself and my development while also investing in other areas of my home and family life.

3. Use Every Pocket of Time
Find the times in your day that tend to be wasted time and figure out a strategy for maximizing it, such as the school pick-up line, that 30 minutes your toddler likes to watch Paw Patrol in the afternoon, nap time, etc. Sometimes I throw everything out the window and just enjoy that hour of nap time, but most of the time I’m busting my booty to get as many things done as possible.

4. Communicate With Your Spouse
This one is HUGE. I could not do what I do without a supportive spouse who was all-in with my desire to grow a business from home. There are seasons, like November and December, when things tend to get crazier on all fronts. It’s my personal work “busy season” but having an open conversation with Joe during that time and talking through the logistics, including the fact that this was a temporarily hectic time for work, was helpful in us navigating that season together. We talk each week about our work schedules and what nights we have something outside of our normal commitments, like a work dinner, team call, etc. It helps to be on the same page from the start of the week so we aren’t rushing around and scrambling at the last minute.

Madison

Family

Self Care for Moms of Littles

February 15, 2018

This season of parenting little kids can be extremely exhausting, both physically and emotionally, can’t it? I found that with one kiddo, it was still relatively easy to make time for myself as Ainsley got older, but when two kids were in the mix finding pockets of time for some rest, rejuvenation and self care was even harder to come by. Now that they are both getting a little older, it’s a little easier to find some time for myself but some days can just be downright exhausting. I had one of those days just yesterday, when my cold was wearing me down, and two crabby, cold-ridden kiddos were also needing some extra love, and I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep all afternoon.

Now, that’s not a typical scenario, and we are all bound to have days and weeks where self care gets thrown out the window in favor of caring for littles and work responsibilities and family duties, but making a regular habit of self care has been so important for my physical and emotional health, energy and well-being as I’ve transitioned to this role as mom over the last few years.

Care for Your Physical Body

  1. Exercise
    Find a form a physical exercise and routine that works for you. This is a non-negotiable for me. I don’t honestly know how I would have gotten through the early days of two kids without exercise. It gave me the boost of energy I needed when I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open and helped me feel like myself again during a time when I felt so very unlike myself. If you’re feeling like it’s hard to find the motivation, spend some time figuring out WHY you want to exercise and get back into shape.Having a really strong why will keep you going when you don’t want to workout or eat healthy. For me, my why is that I want to be the best, most energetic mom I can be. I want to feel good in my clothes, because when I do, I’m more likely to be active with my kids and think less about myself. I want to be healthy so I can live a long life as an active mommy. I want to set an example to my girls that they can give of themselves AND care for themselves.
  2. Personal Care
    Investing in quality skincare and and makeup is obviously a recommendation of mine. I am always amazed at how life-giving it is to shower, wash your hair, pamper your skin with quality skincare and put on a little makeup. I also love that the skincare I use has given me confidence to go out of the house without a stitch of of makeup if I don’t have the time or energy to put anything on. Make time for yourself, friends. It’s so easy to put yourself on the back-burner during this season. My favorite products for pampering include this skincare collection and this mask.
  3. Occasional Pampering
    I put hair coloring, pedicures, doing your nails at home, and massages in this category. I get my hair colored every 12 weeks or so, pedicures probably every 3 or 4 months and massages maybe once or twice a year, so not very often. But it always feels so special when I get out of the house to do one of these things.
  4. Doctor’s Appointments and Preventative Care
    We spend so much time as moms booking appointments for our littles and going to doctor’s appointments for our kids and making sure that we stay up on those things for our family but neglect ourselves. Book those dentist appointments, get to the chiropractor as needed, don’t delay your yearly skin cancer check or wellness check-up at the doctor, etc.
  5. Eating and Drinking Well
    And by “drinking well” I don’t mean drinking wine and coffee all the time. I mean really hydrating your body every day. Fill up that plate with the foods that make your body feel healthy an nourished. Don’t constantly yoyo diet and binge or live on takeout food. Give you body the love and nourishment it deserves to keep up with those kiddos.

Care for Your Emotional and Spiritual Self 

  1. Time in God’s Word and Prayer
    While I would like to spend more time doing intensive Bible study methods (like inductive study method), I’ve realized that in this season, ease and accessibility is more important if I’m going to make a routine and stick to it. I have found that getting up early, having some quiet time to myself to drink a cup of coffee while reading through a Bible plan on the She Reads Truth app, along with some time to pray for myself and my family members, is the best option for me right now. It’s consistent, quiet, and usually uninterrupted and sets the tone for the day.
  2. Time to Myself
    This is tied to what is mentioned above, but I need to collect myself if I’m going to set the tone for my day. This may just be my personal preference, but I really dislike the days I wake up at the same time as my girls. There is something so jarring about being woken up at the same time as my girls and being needed from the second I wake up. I’ll go as far as to say I *need* to wake up early enough to put in my contacts, wash my face, and make a cup of coffee at a bare minimum before I start my day as a mom.
  3. Time to Connect with Friends
    This is something that I am, admittedly, not super great about sometimes. We have a few standing commitments, such as being HS youth group sponsors, so when we already have a few things on our weekly calendar I don’t love being away from home another night of the week on a standing/weekly basis. But I hope to improve in this area, or remove some of our standing commitments so I can invest in friendships more intentionally.