Life Lately – August 15, 2017

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I had another post scheduled and ready to go for today, but I thought it was appropriate to touch on some of the events that happened in our hometown this weekend.

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Charlottesville

Many of you know that we live in Charlottesville and have proudly made it home. David and his family grew up here, and he is a proud Charlottesvillian. I moved here permanently three years ago and I fell in love with this town almost as much as I fell in love with the man I met here.

I won’t get political. I doubt that will solve any of the world’s problems. However, I will say that Charlottesville is a truly lovely place. The people here are kind and friendly, they are proud of their town and the culture that is deeply engrained in it. I am looking forward to buying a piece of land and raising my family here. This town has so much to offer to so many people.

If you’ve never been, you should consider visiting. We have so much history – the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe are here. The University of Virginia is breathtakingly beautiful, the food scene is tremendous, and there is a new winery/brewery/cidery that pops up almost weekly.

It’s strange to see this little town at the center of the universe right now. I am still working through my feelings on all of this, and frankly, I’m grateful that Finn is still too young to question what is going on.

However, if he were to ask me one day about what happened here this weekend, I will tell him this – hate only spurs more hate. Be kind to people. Stand up for the underdog. Be smart in your decisions and do not let the actions of one determine your reaction. Smile more, hold the door open for strangers, and let the small things slide off of your shoulders. You will not like everyone that you cross paths with, but you must try to understand everyone. We all have a story and a history, so instead of hating someone for being or believing differently, try to listen to what they have to offer. We all have the ability to learn from one another.

Okay, onto other much more trivial things in our life 🙂

What I’m Watching

My friend, Morgan, introduced me to the show Wentworth. It takes place in an Australian women’s prison, but before you compare this to Orange is the New Black, think again. Wentworth is soooo good, dare I say the best show I’ve ever watched? I binged the entire series over the last month or two, and after gushing about it, David has started to watch it – and he is hooked! Even he thinks it’s one of the best shows he’s ever watched. You HAVE to check it out! It’s on Netflix, btw.

Finn

Finn is going to be 15 months old this Saturday! Can you believe it?! He is walking and talking and pointing. He is truly becoming a little toddler and it’s so fun to watch. Finn’s newest obsession are the geese that live at the pond behind our house. He points to them and calls them “mmm-birds”. (I’ve been Snapchatting/Instastorying these encounters regularly so be sure to follow!)

Other Stuff

David and I were traveling for work last week, separately and at different times, so it was a pretty hectic time. I traveled to Norfolk to film a story about a 17 month old who had a heart transplant shortly after birth. Talk about heartbreaking! Fortunately she is doing wonderfully and several of my co-workers and I made a day of it. We stayed at The Founders Inn and enjoyed a nice dinner and a lot of girl talk before going to bed early. I needed a night away!

David left for DC on Thursday and came back on Saturday. We dropped the babe off with my in-laws and headed to Veritas Winery for Starry Nights. It ended up downpouring so we left early, but we had a nice date night together!

David’s 30th birthday is this Saturday! Stayed tuned for some celebratory posts!

Our Life in iPhone Photos:

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pre-rain shower fun at starry nights with some of the best friends ever. shop my dress (similar) and shoes.
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saw this huge prehistoric creature on the side of the road. david and i had to stop and take a picture!
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finn watching the “mmm-birds”
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a casual work look from last week. jeans are on major sale! this sweater is so cozy! these loafers are my fave.
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finn and i went to the fair a few weeks ago. he loved all the animals, but was especially into the cows.
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i love this view!
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a day at the playground with my dude.

Happy Tuesday! Spread some kindness today 🙂

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Things I’m Loving – Vol. 2

things i'm loving

things i'm loving

 

Happy Monday! Long story short, I’ve been neglecting this blog out of pure depression – we lost another house that we put an offer in on, and I’m just feeling sad about it! I know – it wasn’t meant to be! But I was already decorating the rooms in this house and imagining our little family living inside of it. On top of that, life and Charlottesville has gone a little nuts lately, but more on that in tomorrow’s post. Today, we are online shopping!

Things I’m Loving

 

aerie padded bralette

 

Aerie Padded Bralette

I know I included the bralette in the last Things I’m Loving post, but I just bought this padded bralette and it’s the best! So comfy and currently buy one get one free! If you haven’t bought one yet, you’re missing out!

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AEO DENIM X SUPER HI-RISE JEGGING

 

American Eagle High Rise Jegging

I’ve recently converted back to American Eagle jeans, and the quality and style made me question why I ever gave up on them. They are currently running a killer deal on all jeans/pants at AE, so run and grab a few!

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Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress

 

 

Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt Dress

Currently regretting not grabbing this cutie at the Nordstrom Sale, but it’s still under $40, so I think I need it! It comes in black and gray, too, which would be perfect for transitioning into fall.

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Mélange Body-Con Dress

 

Mélange Body-Con Dress

I think running around with Finn has made me a lover of all midi-dresses. The length is perfect for chasing around toddlers and the inevitable public diaper change. Currently stocking up!

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Ruched Body-Con Tank Dress

 

Ruched Body-Con Tank Dress

Perhaps the most popular dress in fashion blogger history, I think I’m finally pulling the trigger on this one. It looks great on every body type and is ruched in all the right places! It can be dressed up and down. Definitely going to get my monies worth out of this one!

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Women's Bp. Maddy Mule

 

Women’s Bp. Maddy Mule

The Bow Mules are back and in a crazy amount of new colors! I love this classic grey suede.

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I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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Why I Started Counting Macros

I’m sure you’ve heard the word “macros” recently – it’s the newest buzzword on all the health blogs. Well, I’m here to discuss them today, too. No, I’m no health experts. If I had to choose one food to live on the rest of my life it would be french fries – hands down. I prefer pasta and bread to fruits and veggies and I’d kill for chocolate cake.

However, a few months back, David came home from work and showed me a new app a co-worker had him download to start counting calories and macros. He and I have never really focused on what we eat. We live a fairly active lifestyle, but we had about 4-5 recipes that we’d circle through each week and basically cook to survive. But David came home excited to start tracking our macros – and because I’d been stuck with about 5 extra pounds of baby weight, I decided to give it a try, too.

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Since the beginning of May, David has lost over 30 pounds, and I’ve lost about 9. How? By counting our macros, and adding a little more exercise into our daily routine.

What Are Macros?

Macros, or macronutrients, are molecules that our bodies use to create energy. Typically, these are found in fats, proteins and carbs. There are varying amounts of calories per gram for protein, fats and carbs.

Proteins are essential for the body to build and maintain muscle. Protein is a key element in your macronutrient intake, but overeating protein will not magically make your body bigger and bulkier. There is a healthy balance that needs to be at play.

Carbs, often thought of as the enemy in many diets, are essential for health, performance, and body composition. It’s vital to have carbs in your diet, because if there is an absence of them, the body will break down the protein and muscles you have to use as glucose. Carbs are fine – but just make sure to eat the right amount and don’t overdo it!

Lastly, fats. There is good fat and bad fat. Fat is an energy source and a backup fuel source and also helps with hormone production. Plus, fats have the most calories per gram out of all the macronutrients, so eating the right amount of the right type of fats can help you feel fuller, longer.

Macros vs. Calories

Like most girls, I was always aware of how many calories I was putting into my body, but it wasn’t until I was counting my macros that I realized I had been eating a lot of useless calories just to feel full. When I calculated my ideal calorie intake, my body only needs about 1360 calories a day to maintain my current weight. That shocked me at first! I could eat that much in one sitting!

Once I started measuring out my meals (yes, I use a measuring cup to make sure I’m getting 1 cup of chicken, etc.) I was shocked at how much I could still eat if I was getting the right stuff. There are even days where I leave calories on the table because I don’t feel hungry.

So How Much Do I Need?

Each body is different so it’s important to figure out what combination of protein, carbs and fat work for you. I started with a higher protein intake and my body was in pain. I felt sick to my stomach and bloated. When I ran the right calculations, I realized that my body actually needed more carbs and less proteins. Since then, I’ve been losing about a pound every two weeks and I feel energetic and full all the time!

Here is a helpful calculator to get you started.

Some Helpful Hints:

I’m no expert, but from personal experience I have a little bit of advice if you decide to start counting macros:

  • Download the My Fitness Pal app. It’s an incredibly easy way to help count and manage your macros, plus it has a ton of other tools to help you with an ideal diet and exercise regiment.
  • I try to stay as active as possible, but I really wish I had more time to exercise. The more active you are, the more calories you will need. Be sure to take this into account when you are counting.
  • Of course I have cravings! And I totally have cheated. However, when I was craving fried food in about week two of this new lifestyle, I decided to get some chicken fingers and fries for my cheat meal. Big mistake! I was down for the count… for like 3 days afterwards. I realized it just wasn’t worth it anymore and, although I still have cravings, fried food just doesn’t even sound appealing after that fiasco.
  • I also have a soft spot for chocolate chip cookies, so I found The Complete Cookie – it has 16g of protein in it! And it’s delicious! Obviously, eating these daily isn’t the smartest move, but when I know I need a little cookie in my life, I move around my macros from the day to make sure I have room for one.
  • Don’t try to keep up with you husband/boyfriend/guy friend. David’s body allows for more caloric intake just because he is bigger than me, naturally. If I tried to eat as much as him – portion size and everything – I wouldn’t be doing myself any favors. Your body is unique to itself, so treat it that way.
  • Meal plan! Every Sunday we buy a family pack of chicken breast and put it in the crockpot. Usually that gets us through the week. We can use the shredded chicken for countless recipes! Being prepared is the best way to keep yourself on track.

Good luck! Feel free to ask me any questions or leave a comment with you own experience counting macros. I’m really new at this whole thing, so I’m also open to any advice you may have.

 

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Things I’m Loving – Vol. 1

things i'm loving

things i'm loving

 

I’m bringing back the Things I’m Loving series because a.) I do way too much online shopping and need to share what I find and b.) because I know you guys love them, too. I’m re-vamping it a bit, giving it a new feel. Instead of limiting my findings to five things, I’ve decided to live outside the boundaries and list as many things as I find! 😉 Plus, I think the whole “shop” button really looks nice and it’s a much easier way for y’all to actually shop.

BTW, I wanted to let you know that I earn a small commission from each sale that is generated through Simple & Inspired. Thanks for the support!

Things I’m Loving:
Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

 

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

I’ve mentioned these leggings on the blog before, but they came in the mail this weekend and they are even better than I’d imagined. They are usually $55 and on sale for $35, and still in stock in all sizes. Grab them before the sale ends this weekend!

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Zella Well Played Zip Fleece Hoodie

 

 

Zella Well Played Zip Fleece Hoodie

I’ve been searching for high quality workout/leisure wear and Zella really knocks it out of the park. A lot of their stuff, including this fleece hoodie, is included in the #NSale, so I might be making another order (to David’s dismay) before it ends.

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AERIE LACE TRIANGLE BRALETTE REGULAR PRICE

 

Bralettes

I recently bought my first bralette, and I haven’t taken it off since. Oh my goodness, I’m in heaven. I can’t speak for well-endowed women, but for us small-chested gals, there’s really no need to wear an underwire anymore. I’ve found the answer. Aerie has some really cute ones on sale, including this one, this one, and this one, that is super similar to mine. Oh, and did I mention they are all 40% off right now?

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A&F BELL SLEEVE TOP

 

Abercrombie & Fitch Bell Sleeve Top

I never even shopped at A&F in high school, but here I am, shopping there now. But I can’t get over this bell sleeve top, the color, and the price! It’s currently on sale for $15! I love this lavender color, but it also comes in five other really adorable colors as well.

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Nike Free RN Commuter 2017 Women's Running ShoeNike Free RN Commuter

Currently in the market for a new pair of running shoes and this ones are minttt! See what I did there?! But seriously. I tried these on in the store the other day and they are so lightweight and yet sturdy. Might be pulling the trigger soon. Although, I always have a hard time getting light colored running shoes since they will stain so easily – so I may have to go with classic black.

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Jcrew Relaxed Boatneck Sweater

 

J. Crew Relaxed Boatneck Sweater

Maybe a little too obsessed with the fit of this sweater. Plus it’s under $60? I think we all need this for fall.

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xoxo

 

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The Complete Guide to Exclusively Pumping

exclusively pumping

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now, and I’m so excited to finally sit down to do it. I’ve talked openly about my experience with breastfeeding over the last year, and without rehashing every gory detail, I’ll just sum it up with, it’s hard.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed long before I ever got pregnant. The practicality combined with the health and financial benefits made it a no-brainer for me. However, once Finn was born, I realized that my chest size would be a huge hinderance to our success. I was told at the hospital to refrain from pumping for as long as I could – the one bad piece of advice I received from our nurses. (The thought was that nursing would improve milk supply more naturally than pumping, but I’m convinced that had I started pumping earlier, my milk supply would have never suffered. But this is a story for another day.)

After a month of exclusively breast feeding, I whipped out my breast pump and never looked back. Finn took to a bottle quite easily and for a while, I was waking up every three hours to pump and build my supply. I continued this for 8 months, and I’m quite proud of that accomplishment. I learned a lot about pumping and the strategy it takes and I hope that my tips can help any other new moms out there.

exclusively pumping

A couple things before I dive in – first, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if they provide free breast pumps. I was lucky enough to skirt the cost this way. Second, I realize that some mamas choose other ways to feed their babes, and you are completely right to do whatever is best for you and your situation. I found that pumping exclusively was the best for Finn and me, and had I not changed my game plan, I doubt that Finn would have eaten so well for 8 months. 

Pump Quickly and Often

My pumping strategy took some time to master, but what I found worked best was to pump immediately after Finn had a bottle. I was following his eating schedule as much as I could. This ended up being about every three hours, and I would stop whatever I was doing to ensure I pumped. Usually a pumping session would fill a 6 oz bottle, but if I was short, I would pump again 60-90 minutes later to ensure a full feed.

The thing about pumping, or breastfeeding for that matter, is that the more you feed, the more milk your body produces. If for whatever reason I had to skip a pumping session, I knew I would have to make up for it later on. Sticking to an every three hour rotation was key.

Be Over-Prepared

I remember those first few months going back to work. I was carrying all the bags. I needed my work stuff, and Finn’s stuff for daycare. I also needed my breast pump and a lunch pail for storage. I would also bring my pump with me if I knew we would be out for longer than three hours, which, as Finn got older, became more frequent. I highly suggest purchasing a pump with a car plug or batteries. The ability to pump on the go was a game-changer for me.

Also, make sure you EAT! Fueling your body is key to getting enough milk. I learned this the hard way when I slipped back into the bad routine of skipping breakfast. My milk supply suffered for about a week and when I started eating those extra calories, it bounced back. Water is key, too. Keep a water bottle in your pump bag and there’s no excuse!

Perfect Your Strategy

Give yourself the time to figure out the best strategy for you and your body! I realized that marathon pumping worked best for me, but other women I talked to swear that pumping quickly for five minutes and then taking a five minute break and then repeating this worked best. Whatever gives you the best supply, do that! It may take a while to figure it out, but it’ll be worth it.

Pump Time is You Time

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed those 30 minutes of pumping time, especially at first. When I went back to work, the private room gave me the ability to look through pictures of Finn if I was missing him, catch up on books and podcasts, and just give me some quiet time away from everyone.

Stress Doesn’t Help

Remember, stress only dries up your milk supply. If pumping is becoming too stressful for you, supplementing with formula is another great option. I don’t know why I had such a hard time giving Finn formula, but once I realized he needed it, I was at peace.

You’ve already grown this baby for 10 months, stressing over being able to breastfeed is just silly. You’ve done enough, mama, and if you’re body is telling you that you no longer can supply food, you should listen to it. I pumped for about a month longer than my body wanted to. By the end, I was pumping maybe one or two full bottles a day. At that point, I was supplementing with breast milk instead of formula. It got to be too much, and I knew it was time to stop. Listen to your body, it knows what it’s doing.

 

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