3.31.2013

A few Mom Outfits for the week! :)

Well Things are definitely getting crazy around here! School went nuts before spring break started and I finally got a glimpse of what having a baby can do to my study habits. It seemed a little too easy back in his newborn days, I definitely  took that first month for granted! But I'm back on the blog track!
So here are a couple outfits from the last week. I am starting to finally get a feel for what looks best and is functional in this new Mommy life.

1. Shirt: BKE from Buckle, Pants: Urban Wear @ Fashion Place, Boots: Fergie, Rings: Pandora
Bracelet: Humanity- Good Works, Proceeds go to charity Necklace: Shop Le Mode (similar here)

2. Shirt: American Eagle, Cami: BKE from Buckle (LOVE their xtra long ones! ) Jacket: Forever 21 (Similar), Watch & Bracelets: Fossil, Pants: Urban Wear @ FashionPlace, Shoes: Target
Necklace: Shop Le Mode

3. Shirt: BKE Buckle, Cardigan: Gift, Pants: Silvers frm Buckle, Shoes: Target, 
Belt: Aeropostale, Necklace: Shop Le Mode (Similar)

I am loving the 2 necklaces pictured, both are from Shop le Mode. I won the pink one in a giveaway and I LOVE it! These 3 outfits are great because they are comfortable but cute, layers are always good because it gives outfits an effortless feeling. Plus, when you are bending down picking up a baby all day you want to make sure you are comfortable and covered! :)


3.19.2013

Body after Baby

9 weeks post delivery I am working on getting back in shape! During my pregnancy I gained 42lbs. 2lbs over what my doctor wanted me to gain. :/ I've gotten rid of 32 baby pounds, and have 10 left to go before I'm down to my pre pregnancy weight, I am so excited to start feeling like my old self again BUT it is hard work!

The biggest thing I want to stress is that numbers (weight lost, weight gained) mean nothing. Health isn't a magic number. Too often we focus on numbers when it comes to exercise and health. Focus on getting healthy and fit, not being a certain weight. Healthy is subjective to each person. My healthy weight is different than another persons, and lower doesn't mean healthier. . . Remember that muscle weighs more than fat!!!
Here are a few things that have helped me to get back into shape:

1. Staying fit during Pregnancy! Lots of people think that you can't workout while pregnant, and although you should limit certain exercises... exercise is great for your pregnant body!!! Working out can help to prevent sore back muscles during pregnancy as well as help you to have an smoother delivery! I didn't work out as much as I should have during pregnancy (lets face it, once you get to that point where you can no longer sit up to your kitchen table because of your giant belly... you aren't super motivated to work out.) so take it from me... EXERCISE!!! I wish I would have more, it is so much easier to lose the belly if you do! I bought some DVDs that were awesome when I did have the energy to exercise. You can find them here! 

2. Breastfeed/Pump!!! Never have I seen or heard a better way to lose extra fat after giving birth. Especially because you cant exercise for at least 6 weeks after delivery! I started working out at 6.5 weeks post delivery, and had already lost 28lbs! (of course some of that was water and my 6lb baby) But that means that breastfeeding and natural reduction were solely responsible for that 28 pounds! It takes about 20 calories to produce 1oz of breast milk. I pump 30-35 oz a day, which means it burns 600-700 calories a day!! Breastfeeding also releases a hormone that encourages your uterus to shrink back down to its pre pregnancy size, which gets rid of that belly bump!

3. EAT RIGHT! Do not skip meals! Avoiding food will not help you lose baby weight. It will make you tired, reduce your milk supply, and hurt you in the long run! Eating regularly and healthy will help you to be energized when chasing around a baby AND help your body by giving it the fuel it needs to burn fat! Protein is important especially when breastfeeding! Eats lots of greens and drink WATER! Here is a great recipe for Lemon-Thyme Chicken, yummy AND healthy! (only 20 minutes to make!)


4. Make a schedule and hold yourself accountable! The best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is get fit! Lots of women don't work out after having a baby because they think exercise time will take away from their baby's time. But that is exactly opposite of the truth. Exercising regularly will energize, refresh, and improve your mood! Being fit will ensure you can keep up with your little one and help you to be happy and healthy for years and years to come! Your children will thank you for being healthy, set a good example! Take your baby on a walk! Do a quick video in the living room during their nap! It doesn't matter how, just get moving! You will be so happy you did! And there is no better time to start working out than now, even if you didn't exercise regularly before baby. . Start your good habits today :) (Livestrong has a 5 day workout plan for women on their website that I LOVE! click the link to view. You can do this weekly to start out, higher your weight and reps as you get more comfortable with the exercises)

Xtra tip:
Having cute workout clothes ALWAYS makes me more motivated to exercise!
Here is some Lulu love!

2. Power Up Tank- Lulu Lemon

Have a Healthy day!
-Sam

3.18.2013

Etsy Love- Suikwan

This month I have been LOVING all the unique jewelry on Etsy lately. I especially love a shop called Siukwan- Pretty Everyday Jewelry.
All the jewelry in the Siukwan shop is dainty and simple. I love finding jewelry that can match pretty much anything. Everything in the shop is also really well priced, average price point is around $15. Here are my 4 favorite items from the shop:


2. Gold Bar Bracelet- $10.00
3. Cheveron Necklace- $15.00

Adding great jewelry is the best way to finish an outfit! And you don't need to spend a lot of money! Finding things that will go with a bunch of outfits and then splurging for a couple fun trendy items is a great strategy to personalize your style.
Let me know if you find any great Etsy shops! and visit Suikwan to see the rest of their great pieces!

3.15.2013

Crumb Coating a Cake- Fondant pt. 1

Something I have really gotten into the last little while is cakes! Ben and I decided we wanted to make a cake for every family member on their birthdays, & so far it has been really fun!


 We made this cake for Ben's sister Clara's 17th birthday. She works at a movie theater, so we went with that for a theme!

After researching a lot of tutorials and blogs, as well as a lot of trial and error.... I have found some pretty easy techniques. So if you are interested and brave enough to try it out, being able to make fondant cakes is a really fun way to make a day special. :)
I'll be doing a 2 part tutorial, one for the initial cake parts and crumb coat and one for the fondant.

Part 1: How to Crumb Coat a cake!
First of all, whenever you are making a decorated cake, the most important thing to have is a great base! Making sure your cake layers are baked evenly and long enough is the best way to make sure your cake turns out. The last thing you want is a big crumbly mess, especially when you are going to be laying fondant or thick icing on the cake.
So, the first thing you need are cake pans, I love the basic Wilton pans HERE, Ive never had a problem with them sticking like I've had with some expensive pans. Dont you love it when the cheaper things are better?!

I used 8 inch and 6 inch rounds for the movie theater cake. I did 4 layers. 2 for each pan. When filling the pans make sure they are sprayed with cooking spray VERY WELL. You need to be able to slide those layer right out without worrying about pieces sticking to the pan. A smooth layer will make your icing job SO SO much easier. Filling them up a little less than 3/4 of the way usually gives me the perfect height.

After they are baked, then flip them upside down on cooling racks. Let them cool off completely.

Now Its time to level the cake!
Getting cake boards (or making them by just cutting out a piece of cardboard the right size) will help you throughout the process. I usually cover mine in tin foil. Place your first layer on the board and set it on your counter. You will need to make the cake level in order for it to stack correctly. Do this by either using a large knife and cutting away a little bit at a time until its level or getting a cake leveler. (pictured below) This thing is genius! All you do is adjust the little wire to the height you would like the cake layer and slowly saw back and forth until the piece is completely off. You can find a leveler HERE, they also have these at any craft store, I've even seen them in the craft section at Walmart.


It should look like this when it is finished! 

 It is important that the corners are squared off, if you level too high the cake will have a curve, this will make it difficult to stack evenly and give your cake a little bit of instability which makes icing it very difficult.
Do this with all the layers!
After you finish leveling all the layers then you need to stack them. Place the first layer, flat &baked side down, on your cake board. Next you can either start stacking or place the board on a cake stand. I find that a spinning cake stand makes icing the cake so much easier. Pictured below the one I use. You can find it online HERE
You can either pipe frosting onto the layer or use a spatula. I usually just use a spatula, Like the one HERE, get a good amount in a pile right on the layer and spread it around evenly until you have a good thick layer of frosting. The best frosting to use is butter cream and you can find a GREAT recipe HERE. It literally takes only a few minutes to make your own butter cream, but if you would rather buy it make sure it is creamy and not too thick or heavy. Using the spinning cake stand helps because you can get a nice even layer with your frosting (Pictured Below.) You don't need to be worried about it being messy or anything at this point, You will smooth everything out later.


After you have the frosting on that first layer you are ready to stack! Gently pic up the next layer and place it (leveled side down) onto your frosted layer. If you put enough frosting on you should be able to adjust the second layer to match perfectly pretty easily.  
Next you will do the same thing to the top of the 2 layers, and then start piling frosting on the sides. More is better, because it is easier to remove frosting then it is to fix a crumble mess if you didn't put enough on. Use your spatula to coat the whole cake, spinning the stand will help to make it as even as possible.

After the whole thing is covered you will need to do the final evening out. Having an even crumb coat under your fondant is so important in making sure the fondant is smooth. The best tool I have found to smooth out the frosting is a cake scraper. You can find it HERE.
You want to slide it along the sides of the cake in order to make sure the frosting layer is even and smooth. (I forgot to take a picture of this step somehow, so here is a googled image of what the process looks like!)


Step back every once and a while to make sure it is smooth and even. After you have that all done you should have a perfect crumb coat! Put your cake in the fridge for at least a couple hours to set, it is SO much easier to place fondant on a chilled cake! I usually put mine in overnight for the best results, but if you only have a few hours it is ok. The longer the better! You want it to be set and ready!  

After you put it in the fridge you are DONE! Woohoo! You know how to crumb coat now! Next is the fun part! If you are confused or having a hard time with any of the steps feel free to comment or email me, also i've found that one of the best ways to learn or get better at cake technique is watching YouTube tutorials. Just search for whatever technique you need help with and you are bound to find some good tips!  

Make sure you check back for part 2 (fondant decorating )soon! I will link it up to this page when it is done :)

3.12.2013

Bill Checklist- Free Printable!

One thing that can be somewhat of a shock when you move out on your own is having to organize your finances. It can be scary if you dont have a way to keep track of all the bills and responsibilities you have.
I dont think you can realize how many bills come along with being a "grown up" until you experience it!
I love organizing, LOVE it. It feels so good to have everything put together and easily acsessible, and thats why I started tracking my bills with a checklist. We all have steady monthly bills that we pay EVERY month. But because there are so many to keep track of, it is easy to forget if we have paid them yet.

Click picture to Download!
With the Bill Checklist all you have to do is list your steady bills, and then each month check them off once you pay them. Then you dont have to look up your bank statement or keep every bill paper lying around the house. Just download the Free PDF (Click the picture) and print at home. :)
You can keep it in a household binder, or keep it on the fridge or in your wallet/checkbook. I love little steps toward an organized life!

Month 1 Baby Favorites!

Here are some Must Haves from our 1st month of figuring out how to be parents to our little baby B :)

 1. Bright Stars Safari Bouncer- Bennett LOVES this. I am terrified of the day we don't realize we are out of C batteries. . . It is perfect because he loves kicking and the more he kicks the more it bounces. He loves it. 
2. Gerber First Essentials Pacifier. - This is the only binkie he will take. He has rather big lips, and all the other binkies we have tried pop right out when he stops sucking! haha this one is longer and a lot easier for him to keep in his mouth.  
3. Medela Fridge Storage Solutions - Oh my heck, this has saved my life. The milk tray makes it so I always know which bottle to use next, and the lids turn to show which day it was expressed. It sure does make late night feedings and pumping easier.
4. Taggies Bugs n' Hugs Play Gym- This is the cutest play mat. The caterpillar plays music, and all the parts can change position. Bennett loves the mirror!
5. Babyganics Daily Lotion & Ezcema Cream- The whole Babyganics line is fragrance and dye free. Which is great! (even for babies without Ezcema!) It doesnt smell gross and keeps his sensitive skin looking so good! It has a great price point too! (Some of those organic creams can get expensive)

Thanks for reading! More favorites to come! Remember to take the poll on the top right of the page, I would love to know what people want to read on the blog! :)
- Sammie
My favorite 1 month old :)

3.08.2013

How to Dress a Post Baby Body

So, 5 1/2 SHORT weeks after having Bennett, I am back at work!
I have been having a hard time the last 5 weeks figuring out how to dress this foreign body of mine. . . Nobody tells you how hard it is to figure out what to wear in that awkward stage between having a baby and being normal again. You are stuck in the "I don't have a baby bump, but I still look like I do" stage. And it is frustrating.
And I cried and cried for days just decided to have a good attitude.
Every day I get closer and closer to normal, but I've figured out some tips on how to look decent while returning to "Normal Body" stage. haha
Really, these rules can apply to anyone who is having a hard time dressing their body. After gaining weight, or losing weight, or just feeling like they are in an awkward stage. 

First:
DO NOT WEAR BAGGY BAGGY CLOTHES. After giving birth I was like "What the crap!? I gotta still have a baby in there! The belly isn't gone!" So i thought, I'll just wear clothes that hide it. WRONG. Baggy clothes make you look bigger. Period. The more material you pile on, the bigger you look like you are underneath it all.
Instead... Try flowy (not tight, but not baggy. Just loose)  tops and tighter pants.

Cotton Flowy top w/ Dolman Sleeve from Express
Stretch Skinnies from Express

Second:
Fabric can make or break an outfit. If you are self conscious about your mid section... Do not wear clothes with clinging fabric. (jersey, knit, ect...). Go for a fabric that falls nicely, like chiffon or cotton. Fabric that clings and highlights bumps and bulges are exactly opposite of what you should look for.

Cute Alandra blouse from Alloy, Perfect Material

Third:
Own it. Straight up yo.... ;) I know I sound like a broken record, and I myself hate hearing this when I'm feeling crappy. But IF you just act like you look great, you will feel great, and honesty you WILL look great. Attitude and how you carry yourself truly does affect how you look on the outside.

First day back at work, almost 6 wks Post Baby. Still have baby bump remaining. 
Cotton Oxford top frm JCPenny (similar)
X Long Tank frm Buckle
Jeggings fm Urban Wear @ Fashion Place Mall

I have to remember that I'm not hiding what bothers me about my body, I'm highlighting what I do like. :) Just pick a part  of your body you love and dress around that. If you love your calves, wear a cute skirt and heels. If you are uncomfortable with your arms, wear a loose sleeved blouse that highlights your neck. Get your hair done, or a give yourself a cute manicure! Just because you are feeling self conscious doesn't mean you don't deserve to feel great. You can feel amazing regardless of your insecurities. The most beautiful women (to me) aren't the skinniest or most toned or even the prettiest. They are the women who have that self confidence that radiates through them even while wearing sweats. Lets all take a lesson from them today! Love yourself!




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