Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Perfect Spring Sweater

The Perfect Spring Sweater

I hadn't really been interested in shopping after delivering my daughter last June. Although I knew I needed to give myself time to get back into shape, I still struggled with feeling a little depressed and worried about what I saw in the mirror. Over the past month and a half I've been making it a daily goal to take better care of myself (post coming soon). 

I'm already seeing a small difference in the way I look and an even bigger difference in the way I feel. So, I recently treated myself to a small online shopping spree. This sweater was just one of the many amazing finds I picked up from H&M. 

I'm always a bit skeptical about purchasing anything from H&M without trying it on in store. I was already all over the place in their sizing and fit before pregnancy... so you can imagine my current hesitation in purchasing anything online. However, on a the very rare occasion that I do make it out to the mall these days I typically just end up frustrated and find absolutely nothing that inspires me to try the item on. So, when I saw that H&M now offers free in-store returns, plus I had a code for free shipping and a 30% discount, I said... why not?! 

I love putting together outfit options with my recent purchases because it helps me to better understand if the item will bring me joy and add value to my closet. The color of this sweater is a perfect neutral beige. I'm very pleased with the quality and it's a perfect sweater to be worn as is or layered. When I first placed it into my online shopping cart, I imagined that it would make a nice outfit with jeans for a casual day and on skinny trousers for work. And after playing around with other outfit ideas I'm convinced that this is my new favorite sweater and a perfect transition item going into the spring months. 

I know it might be a little too early to be thinking of spring around some neck of the woods, but here in Texas the weather has been in the 70s and with my allergies acting up... spring is definitely in the air! I'm very excited to try out all these looks in the coming months. Majority of all the completer pieces are either already in my closet or I have something very similar. So, this also helps me to visualize outfits that I can keep a mental note for when I'm in a hurry to get dressed for an event. Another reason I love doing these outfit posts is because it gives me an idea of how much I might actually wear a particular item on my wish list. For example, this pegasus necklace from Stella Dot has been on my wish list for over a year, but I have yet to justify the price for the amount of times I think I would actually wear it. I've been on a hunt for something similar, but a bit more affordable. I think it goes perfectly with outfit #3, but I'm not convinced to pull the trigger on it. Come to think of it... my birthday is right around the corner! ;)

To my delight I'm happy with all the items from my recent H&M purchase and I'm most excited about this sweater and the joggers in the first outfit.

Which look is your favorite?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Favorites | January

Monthly favorites are one of my favorite posts. It's a great way to learn and share about new ideas and products. For me it's a little spin off the Three Things Thursday posts I've enjoyed sharing in the past. I'm not sure if these posts will be centered around any theme in the future: beauty products, recipes, books, etc. For now it's a little bit of everything and anything that I've been loving this past month. So let's get started with January Favorites!

I put this on my Christmas wish list after debating on a Fitbit versus an Apple Watch. I think this Fitbit is a perfect fit for me. I've been trying to loose the baby weight, but being active hasn't always been easy. This has definitely helped to motive me to get moving; not only that, I also like how it tracks my sleep and reminds me to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. 

Sweet Potato Enchiladas 

Where have these been all my life?! I've been making black bean enchiladas with verde sauce for years and it's one of my favorite quick and satisfying dinner ideas. Damn Delicious is one of my favorite food blogs and I was super excited to try this recipe. I never thought about adding sweet potatoes before, but now that I have... I can never image making enchiladas any other way!

Laneige Hydration Trial Kit

I'm always on the hunt for a great moisturizer, but this winter I decided that maybe I needed to take a closer look at my entire skincare regimen. With all the rage about Korean skincare lately, I did some research and decided to give this brand a try for two reasons: great reviews and reasonably priced ($30 for 6 products). I'm so glad I did because I love pretty much every single product in this kit. I definitely be repurchasing the cleanser and the water sleeping mask.

I'm a big fan of all-in-one palettes. Christmas is usually a good time to pick one up. This one made it on my wishlist and I was so excited when I received it! The medium/tan palette is perfect for my skin tone. The shadows and blushes are highly pigmented, a good size, and nicely packaged in a hard case. This is a must for a mommy on the go!

Antilop Highchair

Speaking of being a mommy... as with all things baby, when I started looking for a highchair for Riya there were a hundred different options. After doing a little bit of research and speaking with other mommies, I decided to give this super affordable highchair a try. For only $20 bucks, I can definitely say that this highchair would be my number one recommendation!

Lastly, listening to Joel Osteen for just 10 minutes will leave anyone feeling inspired and uplifted (regardless of your religion). This podcast episode has been one of my favorites this month. It has been a great reminder to keep up with my 2017 theme of being kind - to myself and to others, by not being hung up on things that just don't matter in the long run.

So, that's it! January has been a great start to 2017! I hope this post is helpful or has inspired you to try something new.

What were some of your favorites this month?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Theme for 2017 | Be Kind

This year instead of making a list of new year's resolutions, I've been inspired by Aileen from Lavendaire to set a theme for 2017. A theme is a great way to begin the new year with intention.

Recently, I got the chance to catch up on one of my favorite day time shows - Ellen. If you haven't watched her show before, Ellen always starts the show with a funny monologue followed by dancing and ends the show by saying the phrase Be kind to one another. When I heard her say this the first couple of times I watched the show, I just thought to myself... what a nice and positive message to end the show with. But the more frequently I heard this phrase, I started to wonder why Ellen chose the word kind and not nice... why not just Be nice to another?

The more and more I thought about it, I began to dissect the word nice versus kind. I really didn't get much help from the dictionary, but these articles (1 | 2 | 3) did help shed some light on this topic. I don't agree with these articles 100%. Nonetheless, they both have led me to decide on my theme for 2017 - Be Kind.

So here are some goals for 2017 with the intention to be kind.

Be kind to my body
  • walk 10,000 steps in a day 
  • sleep 6 to 7 hours
  • fuel it with natural foods and water

Be kind to my mind
  • meditate once a day (start with 2 minutes)
  • forgive myself and others daily
  • continue to live with gratitude every day

Be kind to others
  • pause before reacting to others
  • do something unselfish for someone every day
  • respect versus just please others

Be kind to my money
  • use it to buy with intention and not always to fulfill a desire
    • this is inspired by Carly's goal to "intentionally dine out"
  • use it to be kind to others
  • respect my purchases

Be kind to my home
  • respect my surroundings and keep it tidy
  • only bring items into my home that bring value and joy
  • fill my home with a positive vibes

My hope is that this theme will help guide me through different areas in my life. Not simply to set goals and feel defeated if I fail to follow through, but with hopes that it will help me to be consciously aware of the intention with which I want to live my life this year. By the end of 2017, I'm hopeful that this intention will be so engraved in my mind that it will lead me to naturally practice kindness moving forward.

What might be your theme for 2017?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Recent Purchases | Nursing Purchases

Nursing Purchases

I thought maternity shopping was difficult, but nursing shopping is sometimes even harder. At least when I was maternity shopping, I could usually just buy a few sizes up and I would be able to cover my growing belly. But nursing clothes are a slightly different story. 

During the first month or so when I was hardly ever leaving the house, the Gillian O'Malley nursing cami really came in handy. They are pretty comfortable and I bought these in every color. I would typically wear them with loose drawstring pants like the ones from Old Navy. They are currently only $11 bucks!  Both these items are super easy to wash and wear. If I wanted to run out the door or was expecting some company to stop by to visit Riya, I would  just throw on an old button down shirt or a cardigan on for a bit more coverage. 

I'm headed back to work soon and although I won't be taking Riya along with me to breastfeed daily (I wish!)... I still needed tops that would give me easy access for pumping. The Express portofino shirts are by far my favorite. I wore them a ton pre-pregnancy as well and I just sized up while I'm trying to get back in shape. I'm loving the stripped one I recently purchased during the 40% off sale.. I also liked their long sleeve front zip blouse. I haven't had a chance to wear it, so I can't comment on how well the zip up really works for breastfeeding or pumping. 

I picked up a few tops from Loft as well. I've already worn the mixed ivy lace bib shell and it looks great with some work appropriate pants and a contrasting cardigan. The fabric is easy wash and wear so I bought them in two different prints. The olive jeggings were an impulse buy since I was getting quiet frustrated trying to fit into my old jeans again. I know it's a little too soon for that so I thought these pants would be perfect for the upcoming fall/winter season. Before heading out the door, I also grabbed a couple of their soft vintage tees in a size up. Although these don't provide full access, they are great to layer on top of the nursing camis. 

The last two purchases are both a necessity in my book. A nursing bra of course! This one from Target is super inexpensive and is functional as well as pretty. I have them in both nude and black. And the skinny credit card holder was a last minute purchase from Express. With having to take a diaper bag with me everywhere I go now, I needed to have a skinny wallet that I could easily throw in the bag. I brought it in this bright red color so it's easy to see and grab. 

These are all my purchases thus far. I think I'll make it through fall alright, but I'm struggling to find some nursing friendly sweaters for the winter. If any of you seasoned mamas have any advice, please do share below! 

What have you been purchasing recently?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hello Again

I have been contemplating getting back into blogging for a while now and today I've decided to jump right into it. Since the last post back in April (yikes!), a lot has happened in my life. I am now a Mommy to our sweet baby girl, Riya. Over the past couple of months there have been a few small hiccups. Thankfully, I've had almost 3 months of maternity leave to be able to give Riya my full attention.

In today's post I wanted to write about my thoughts and hesitations about blogging again. I'm sure all of us at some point in our lives have decided to start something new and exciting. Maybe it was a new hobby, a new diet plan, a new exercise regimen, or maybe it was a new blog. In the beginning it all seems very exciting and you're so consistent with it each and every week, but then life happens... you miss a day here or there and promise yourself that you will get back to it, but slowly those days start to pile up and you start to think that maybe it's just too late. Usually, it's been easier for me to get back into my hobby of painting no matter how long it's been... or get back on track with my "healthier lifestyle" after taking a few days or months off from working out. But for some reason it seems a bit more difficult with something more public like this blog.

During my pregnancy I had really wanted to blog about my journey, but after having a complication in my second trimester I focused all my attention on my health. Blogging took a back seat and slowly I just sort of lost interest. When I did feel like writing a short post here and there I told myself that it wasn't worth spending the time... no one is gonna care to read it... what's the point? I was embarrassed about my lack of consistency and laziness. A few months ago, I was worried this would turn into a pregnancy only blog and maybe now it'll be a "mommy" blog. I cared and worried too much about having a defined niche for this blog. But today I'm feeling reinspired by my little girl and I've decided to put those negative thoughts out of my head.

Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed journaling and documenting my life... for none other than for myself. My blog is like a public journal for me. I'm reminding myself not to take this so seriously. Pretty much each and every post I write is for myself. But I have to admit that I get very excited and feel special when someone decides to stop by and finds interest in one of my posts. I started this blog one afternoon because I was simply inspired by my surroundings. I wanted to document my inspirations so that when I read an old post, like My Spiritual Master or Be Your Own Happy, I able to revisit the sentiment I once felt.

No matter what direction this blog takes I know that each and every post will be true to where I am currently in my life and it will continue to evolve as I do.

I appreciate you stopping by and hope you'll continue to visit every now and again! :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts...Have you ever felt this way?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April | small goals

March was quiet a month! As much as I expected it to be one of the best months of the year... it wasn't exactly as peachy as I had hoped. I won't bore you with the details. Overall, I feel that I did fairly well on my goals. Here's a quick recap.

1. Drink 64 oz of water a day.  I can't say that I drank 64 oz a day, but I did do a much better job of increasing my water in-take. Small progress is better than no progress at all, so I will be continuing to make this a goal an important goal in April as well. 

2. Upper body exercises 15-20 mins a day. I didn't do upper body exercises with weighs every single day in March, but I was able to do it more frequently than before. In addition, I incorporated more walking, yoga, and meditation into my routine this month. There are tons of helpful videos on YouTube and I've linked two of my favorites below. I'm trying to really listen to my body and being extra careful during these last few months of my pregnancy.

3. Complete my project for my nephew's playroom. I am so happy to report that this project is complete! I really enjoyed drawing and painting baby Loony Tune's characters for my nephew's playroom. My SIL plans on ordering square canvased photographs of my nephew to alternate on the wall with these cute paintings. I think it'll be adorable!

4. Continue to keep my gratitude journal.  Another goal accomplished this month! :) I've tweaked my routine a bit. Instead of writing in my journal at night, I've started to write in it during the mornings. I've made it a point to clam my mind, sit down, and enjoy my breakfast for at least 5-10 minutes instead of literally eating while I'm heading out the door. During this time, I like to reflect on happy moments from the day before and get in a positive frame of mind for the day ahead.

I realize that we are already two weeks into April, but I've had these goals listed on my phone since late March and have already gotten a head start. So, onto my April #smallgoals.

1. Start on our annual Shutterfly scrapbook. I have been scrapbooking since I was in high school. I really love it and Shutterfly makes it so easy! I've been creating an annual scrapbook since our first year of marriage and this one will be last one with just the two of us!

2. Pick out a color for the nursery. You would think that it doesn't take a whole month for a person to select a color for a room, but when you have two very opinionated parents, this can be a very difficult process. I'm leaning towards a more of a mint or soft turquoise color and my husband is more for a neutral gray or soft pink.

3. Complete our baby registry. We had previously put everything for the baby on hold at the end of February, while I was admitted into the hospital and then put on bedrest. But we have officially been cleared so we still have some time to get together with my friends and family for a small shower. I've really been putting off completing our registry because I just get so overwhelmed every time I start! How can something so tiny need so many items?! And why are there are billion options for every single product?!

4. Improve my diet and exercise. Pregnancy has been a great excuse to let myself go. Although I'm not looking to loose weight or fit into a particular outfit, I do want to be as healthy as possible... not only for myself, but also for my baby. My sweet tooth has definitely been getting the best of me lately. So, my plan is to cut down on sweets and continue to incorporate more walking, yoga, and light weights into my daily routine.

What are you goals this month?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March | Few Favs

March is one of my favorite months of the year! Besides being my birthday month, it's a month that typically marks the beginning of Spring, my favorite of the all the seasons. I love the beautiful sunny, yet breezy weather which is perfect to get back to running outdoors. The leaves on the trees are bright green and the beautiful flowers start to bloom everywhere you look. It's also the best time to go shopping since the stores are filled with refreshing new styles in cooler colors and lighter fabrics. Plus, I'm one of those people who actually enjoys a little spring cleaning to help recharge myself. What is there not to love about March?

So, this month I thought I would write a post to share a few favs I've been enjoying all month long. I'm not quiet sure if this will turn into a series of monthly posts, but let's live in the moment and just get started, shall we?!

1. I have absolutely been loving this desktop wallpaper on for my laptop all month long by Dawn Nicole. Besides doing some spring cleaning around my house this month, I also did a little digital spring cleaning. It feels good to have a clean desktop and organized folders so I can easily find all my documents. I just feel so happy every time I open up my laptop and see this beautiful calendar.
I've already downloaded the April Wallpaper, which is just as pretty. Dawn even has free a high resolution 8"x10" size calendar printable as well as a phone wallpaper. She is so talented and I'm so thankful that she offers such amazing art every month for FREE! 

2. In addition to doing some spring cleaning for my home and computer, I've also been trying to spring clean my mind. Although I have had so many things to be thankful for this month, there have also been days that I've really struggled to look on the bright side and keep the bigger picture in mind. I could easily blame it on pregnancy hormones, but I've been feeling like it's more than just that. So, I've tried to incorporate more yoga, meditation and soul healing practices into my daily routine. This spotify playlist: The Soul of Healing Affirmations by Deepak Chopra has really helped me declutter my mind and focus on long-term goal of becoming a better version of myself. I listen to it both on my morning and evening commute. It really helps me get in a positive mindset for my day ahead and reflect on my experiences at the end of work day, plus relaxes my mind for the evening once I've reached home. 

3. This month I rekindled my love for painting. I find painting to be very relaxing and therapeutic. Chirag actually found a great way to incorporate this into my birthday this year (birthday post?). While I was put on bedrest in late February, we moved in with my SIL for a short while. Since my husband was at work most of the time, it was nice to have my SIL and my nephew Anand's company during the day. My BIL is a big fan of looney tunes and so I decided to draw and paint baby looney tunes characters for Anand's soon to be playroom. I thought it would be special gift all three of them would love. I've finally completed the project and really happy with the results. If you're interested in making similar prints, there are some great YouTube videos to help guide you - like this one

4. While on bedrest earlier this month, I spent some time catching up on reading blogs and watching youtube channels I like to follow, as well as discovering some new ones. Miss Louie's youtube channel definitely caught my eye and I pretty much watched majority of all her videos in one day. This Austin-based blogger and youtuber has a great sense of style, not only when it comes to her wardrobe but also her home. I've gotten some great inspiration for my spring shopping list from her latest video on Transitional Spring Outfits.

5. Since the beginning of my pregnancy the one question that often gets asked is "What are you craving?" Honestly, I really wasn't craving much of anything until this month. After going through about 3 or 4 boxes of Halo Mandarin Oranges in the past few weeks, I guess it would be right to say that I'm craving these little cuties quiet frequently! If you haven't yet given these a try, I would definitely recommend them. They tend to be sweeter and juicier than regular naval oranges. Just one is never enough!

What were some of your favorites this month?