What’s In My Bag: Influence Conference Edition

September 16, 2015


Tomorrow I’m leaving my favorite people (and my baby for the very first time overnight!) and heading to Influence Conference for the second year in a row. Conferences? Gah, conferences. I have such a love-hate relationship with them because my secretly introverted self feels so. dang. uncomfortable. But once I just do the dang thing? It’s always worth it.

I’m working on going out of my comfort zone more and more these days, and I think it’s doing me a world of good.

So what’s in my bag? Here’s a look:

1. My MacBook Air
I’ll be doing a little work while I’m there and hoping to jot down some ideas for blog content while I’m listening to all the amazing speakers.

2. My iPhone
How else am I supposed to FaceTime my baby five times a day? Plus, what’s a blogging conference without social media?

3. FLYJOY Bars
Conferences are notorious for having bad food and lousy snacks, so I’ll be taking plenty of FLYJOY bars for myself and to hand out. If you’re hungry and attending the conference, come find me and I’ll hook you up!

4. Wet Wipes
I’m getting all fancy and taking the cute, scented wipes since I won’t have a baby in tow. I’m now realizing that #momlife means getting excited about taking fancy wipes in your purse.

5. Business Cards
Purchased on VistaPrint. I’m never really sure why everyone hands out cards. Does anyone go back and look at them after the conference? I’ll never know, but I can’t imagine going without a stack.

6. Lip Glosses
Both basic (EOS) and fun (Victoria’s Secret) because that’s about as close as you’ll ever get me to wearing lipstick.

7. Notebooks
For jotting down thoughts, ideas, prayers and dreams. A couple days away, without distractions, is always good for my heart and mind. It’s such a breath a fresh air to have room to dream and plan and hope for the future.

8. My Joby GripTight Gorillapod Phone Stand
I’m convinced this will make Periscoping and selfies about a thousand times better.

Is anyone else out there going to Influence? If you are, please come find me and say hello!



Stripes and Sunshine

September 14, 2015



Dress_1I sort of wrote off Old Navy years ago because I had bad experiences with the quality and fit of their clothes. Everything felt a little, well, cheap. But lately you guys? Old Navy is giving me plenty of reasons to re-consider. I mentioned a while back that I was having a little bit of a style crisis now that I’m a mom. My new work-from-home schedule means I don’t have to be quite as dressed up each day, but I’ve found that putting myself together each day helps with productivity and puts my mind in the work mentality.

For me a great dress needs to hold it’s structure and wear well (even multiple times before washing) without bagging or looking sloppy. It also needs to be made of a material that’s thick enough to be flattering but stretch and give a little to work for mom life, running errands and sitting comfortably at a desk. This dress has it all. It’s incredibly affordable (it’s $18 right now!) and comes in a bunch of colors. I purchased this striped version and then went back and purchased it in black and grey as well because I love it so much! Plus, with the longer sleeves, I can see myself wearing it well into fall with tights and boots.

Dress: Old Navy || Bag: Valentina from TJ Maxx a couple years ago ||
Sandals: Nordstrom Rack (covered in paint from home renovation!)

Food & Recipes

On Going Vegetarian Again

September 9, 2015



About a month ago, I decided to go back to my vegetarian roots and, once again, embrace the type of eating that helped me get to my body weight “happy place” years ago. Those of you who have been following this blog for any extended period of time probably remember the days when I was vegetarian. In fact, I’ve only been eating meat again for the last year and a half.

When I was trying to get pregnant, after having a couple miscarriages, my acupuncturist suggested eating plenty of organic, grass-fed red meat. At that time I was willing to try almost anything to get pregnant, so I jumped on board and started eating meat, something I hadn’t done for years. While I don’t attribute eating meat to my pregnancy success (since we changed many things the third time around) I don’t think it hurt the process, either. Once I got pregnant I craved all sorts of foods I don’t normally crave, including, you guessed it, meat along with every carb under the shining sun.

After having Ainsley I was eager to lose the extra weight I had gained while pregnant. Low-carb, paleo-style eating seems to be all the rage these days, so I thought I would jump on board and give it a try myself. In the back of my mind I knew my body had never responded well to a meat-centric way of eating, but I lost a little perspective and bought into the hype.

You see, when I first started eating vegetarian years ago something in my body just clicked. I can’t explain it, but it was like my metabolism finally got into gear and I lost the extra weight I was carrying around post-college without really trying. Sure, I was eating a lot of veggies, but I was also eating plenty of (good) carbs and the occasional treat. Although it was almost all healthy, I was eating a LOT of food.

Fast-forward to 5 months postpartum and I found myself with an extra 5 or 6 pounds that just didn’t seem to budge. I was working out, eating “clean” and doing everything in my power to get back to my “happy weight” but the scale just wouldn’t budge. And sure, the scale isn’t a total indicator of health, but add to that the fact that my clothes weren’t fitting like I wanted them to and you have a recipe for more than a few crummy days.

I decided to go back to what I knew worked for my body: Eating vegetarian. Heavy on the veggies and whole grains, high in fiber and plenty of healthy fats and dairy. And you know what? Those extra pounds practically melted away. I was as shocked as anyone!

The moral of this post is less about pushing everyone to go vegetarian and more about encouraging every individual to find the way of eating that works best for their body. For some people a low-carb approach works amazing! For others, cutting out gluten and dairy works really well with their system, and for another group, like me, eating vegetarian seems to be the way to go. Take time to experiment, listen to your body and discover what works for you.

And if you happen to see a few more vegetarian recipes around Espresso and Cream in the coming months, now you know why!

I would love to hear stories from you all? Have you found a way of eating that just “works” for you and your body? I’m curious to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience. 


Family, Pregnancy

Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit Giveaway

September 8, 2015

AinsleyMerlin copy


Hi, friends! I have an exciting giveaway for you all today. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit was one of my must-have baby products for the first handful of months. I wasn’t kidding when I said that it made all the difference in how Ainsley slept. That girl didn’t like having her arms swaddled, and the Baby Merlin was just comforting enough to help her sleep without causing frustration from not being able to move. Well, the Baby Merlin team contacted me and asked if I thought my readers would be interested in a chance to win a Merlin’s Sleep Suit of their very own. Of course I said yes!

Maybe you’re a new mom, a soon-to-be mom, or have a friend who could use this. Enter away below! There are a couple of different ways to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Food & Recipes

30 Minute Meal: French Bread Pizza

September 4, 2015


Fall is my absolute favorite season. I know I’m going to sound like a total chiche saying so, but there’s something about the crisp air and the leaves falling and the fact that football is back on TV brings back all sorts of good memories. My birthday is in October and my husband’s birthday is in September, and our dogs both have birthdays in the fall, too, so there’s plenty to celebrate.

The change in seasons also means I’m thinking about cooking with a little more comfort in mind. Okay, to be totally honest, I’m thinking about comfort food but the actual cooking has been in short supply. Our house renovation is in full-swing and we’re in a mad rush to get things done before our furniture arrives at the end of the month, meaning we’ve been eating a lot of late-night dinners that are easy and quick.  Continue Reading…

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