Five Tips to Practice Self Care

It’s been an insanely stressful week this week. Life has felt like it’s moving too fast, work has been chaotic, to say the least, and well, there are other things going on with Little Man that we recently learned about that is just adding to my emotionally overwhelmed state.

It was funny, last weekend a friend of mine and I were chatting while running about Body Back and she commented about the hippy-dippy meditations and how sometimes people get really emotional. I chuckled with her, thinking that I love the meditations and stretch routine we go through at the end of workouts because it’s 5 minutes for me where I can turn my mind off.

During stressful weeks especially, I keep reminding myself of the importance of self-care. Taking time to take care of oneself so that you can take care of your little one(s).

Here are five ways that I practice self-care to maintain my sanity during stressful weeks.

Meditate or Practice Mindfulness

I don’t often meditate, but when I do, it’s always a refreshing way to slow down for 5 minutes, clear your mind, relax and re-center yourself. There are dozens of apps out there to guide you, or if you’re really needing some more guidance, check out your local yoga studio for a meditation or mindfulness class – which I always enjoy because the music just makes the mood. I use the Calm app but Greatist has a great list of meditation apps for every personality.

Work-out

My workouts – whether running, body back, yoga or taking 30 minutes to do an at-home workout – are imperative for my sanity. It’s a chance for me to release aggression and recenter myself and I generally just feel better and refreshed after my workouts. Even going for a 20-minute walk in the middle of the day after lunch has an amazing effect on my mood and motivation for afternoons. This week has been tough to fit them in, but I’m realizing just how important they really are.

Get to bed early

Sleep is so important. I mean, we all know this, but it’s even more important when you’re stressed out. Nothing makes me feel refreshed like a good nights sleep. Not is it good practice in self-care but the experts say sleep helps balance everything else out. If you’re not sleeping well, chances are your stress levels will only be heightened so make sure you get your zzz’s.

Read a book

It’s a novel (see what I did there??) concept but turning off your mind from all the stresses of every day life to escape into a good novel is such a fantastic way to turn off and take time for you. Take 30 – 60 minutes, turn your phone off, get a cup of tea or your favorite beverage and curl up to read for a bit. I love reading before bed because it’s a way to reset, and clear you mind of any stresses

Treat yourself

Schedule a massage, get a pedicure, go shopping solo. Whatever you do to treat yourself, take the time to do. It’s not easy to manage stress, but it’s so important to take time to take care of yourself during stressful seasons in life. Take an afternoon to yourself – even if you, like I did the other day, leave early to go home and take a nap in peace and quiet. It’s amazing how even an hour will make you feel better. Just make sure whatever makes you feel good about yourself and happy, is something that you make time for once in a while.

It’s tough as moms – we’re juggling so many things, whether it be school aged kids with after school appointments, a kiddo (or kiddos) with special needs and multiple therapy appointments or even just multiple kids with a husband or partner who travels a lot. But taking care of ourselves makes us better moms and better partners.

practice self care

What is YOUR favorite way to practice self care? 

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August Must Have Box

I have been lusting over the must have boxes for a while. I like getting packages, I like getting fun mail and this? This was a fun surprise. I’m constantly seeing the Must Have boxes promoted so I’m so excited I received one and am able to review it for you all!

This month’s theme was Celebrate – a special box because the POPSUGAR Must Have box turns FIVE this month! Lisa Sugar and her team of editors have been curating their favorite items for five. freakin’. years. This month has some of Lisa’s favorite brand obsessions to celebrate – birthday style!

Additionally, in celebration of five fantastic years, POPSUGAR is running a different giveaway where each week a limited number of subscribers can be eligible to win products from brands like Kendra Scott, Tarte Cosmetics, and FIVE grand prize winners (!!!) that will win something from Cambridge Satchel Co and a 1 year subscription to Must Have. Yes, please.

So what was in the August  MUST HAVE box?

…All sorts of fun stuff! Check it out…

Meri Meri Gold glitter candles | Fringe Studio Free Spirit Journal (sponsored by Jeep!) | First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask | Dogeared Friendship bracelet with small open heart | Goodie Girl Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten free!) | Shoptiques.com gift card | Pastel Cheers Lacquered Tray ]

Seriously – this stuff is so fun. The journal will definitely come in good use for me…

popsugar must have box

As will the Shoptiques gift card. Free money? Absolutely, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

shoptiques

While bracelets aren’t my favorite, this bracelet from Dogeared is so pretty and understated. I’m a big fan.

friendship bracelet

And little man has already tried snagging those cookies multiple times – I’m saving them for Wednesday when I’m done with this Body Back session.

gluten free cookies

Want to enjoy all these fun, celebratory goodies? Maybe you have a pal celebrating a birthday (subscription boxes make FANTASTIC gifts!)? You can get your celebratory Must Have box here – use code PARTY for $10 off! 

[Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary Must Have Box from POPSUGAR. All opinions here are my own. ]

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April Goals and Intentions

Happy April happy spring my friends!

Once upon a time, I used to set monthly goals for myself and share them on here. Recently, I  realized I really need to get back to that. Like… stat. It was a great way to hold myself accountable for all of the life things. I’m taking a couple weeks off from training before Zooma Training kicks off, so I want to try some new workouts.

Intention wise, it’s about balance. Because of the travel that hubs and I have, the family that’s coming to town, I want to make sure that we make time for the three of us, time for hubs and I and time for myself. Balancing those three things is never easy but it’s most important when we’re the busiest.

  1. Work out four times per week. I’m not training for anything just yet – my next race is a 5k in May and the Zooma 10k in June. I want 2 of those workouts to be running, 1 to be yoga and 1 to be spinning ideally. BUT I just bought Beachbody on demand for myself so on days when I can’t fit in cardio, i have strength options.
  2. Do a mobile boot camp. I’ve been tracking my phone usage – and I spend a lot of time on my phone. Mindless time mostly, but I read about an app on Ashley’s blog and I’ve been trying it out and I think I’m ready to do the boot camp.
  3. Take a design course. My designer at work is on maternity leave so I’ve had to dabble in a few edits and creating a few pieces of my own. Canva and adobe both some great training resources so I would love to take one just to expand my knowledge base.
  4. Write more. I keep setting 1 – 2x/week goals for myself. It shouldn’t be hard. But it has been. I have a little bit of free time this month despite family visiting two weeks, hubs having a 4 day trip and me spending my birthday in Texas. I really want to take advantage of some of this time to get writing in and get back to an editorial calendar. Once I get a writing schedule and an editorial calendar back in place, I’ll be back in business. 
  5. Make self-care a priority. There are two things I consider self-care – yoga and an afternoon of me-time. I’ve been reprioritizing yoga, but it’s tough to get in some solo time that’s not solely for working out. With all that we have going on (family visiting two weekends, a business trip and hubs being away for four days) I need to make sure that my introverted self doesn’t forget about self-care which is imperative for resetting myself.

What are your goals for April?

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Celebrating Heart Health

I’m lucky to be a relatively healthy 30 something, but I’m incredibly thankful that we live close to some quality health care providers in our area should the need arise. It’s one of those things that you don’t really think about, but given that Hubs is a combat medic in the National Guard, it’s something we’ve always been aware of – especially given that our families have some pretty BFD health issues on both sides.

Since Hubs finished his MBA with University of Maryland and did some National Guard training at UMD Shock Trauma center a couple of years ago, we have so much respect for the quality of providers and care that they provide and they’ve really become our center of choice if you will – not that we’ve NEEDED it, but you know, it’s in our action plan should one of us become seriously ill.

Some facts that helped us make that decision…

As an academic medical center, University of Maryland Medical Center participates in cutting-edge research and clinical trials, giving patients access to cutting-edge research and the newest treatments.

Located right in the heart of Baltimore, UMMC is the heart of the University’s downtown campus. They provide comprehensive care for not just West Baltimore but the surrounding communities as well and has more intensive care unit beds than any other hospital in Maryland – one of the big reasons that we decided UMMC would be our provider of choice for any serious issues like that.

The cardiology team at UMMC has earned the Platinum Performance Award for 2 years in a row for sustained excellence in treating heart attack patients.

University of Maryland is celebrating #heartmonth by showcasing their Vascular Center cardiologists through their “Love Your Job” series. You can see that these doctors not only offer extensive experience taking care of their patients’ hearts but that they truly love what they do as well.


One of the things – as I continue to search for the right providers for my family and I –  is wanting my doctor to not only be smart but to also love their job. I know, as a 30 something professional that I’m much better at my job when I enjoy what i do. I love that these doctors have shared that they truly love helping people and helping them live longer lives. I don’t know about you but that, and a true admiration for what they do, just garners a whole new level of respect for them and all other medical professionals who put so much heart and passion into their work every day.

[FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of the University of Maryland Medical Center, all opinions here are my own. ]

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2016 Recap & 2017 Goals Intentions

Another year, another set of goal fails.

Let’s recap 2016.

  1. Run more. I had a good run (no pun intended?) and hit a couple hundred miles but not quite the 500 I had hoped for.
  2. Eat Cleaner. I did the Whole 10. I generally eat better, but not as clean as I should.
  3. Be Present. Still a work in progress. No more cell phones at the dinner table in 2017 I think.
  4. Write more. LOLOLZ. I did write. Not necessarily more. Not necessarily less.
  5. Stress less. Yes! I did this. I did better. I got a better job. I got a better commute

2017 goals

2017 goals & intentions

Read more. I hit 30 something books in 2016, I want to shoot for 50 in 2016.

Run 10 races. I already have 5 on my schedule, two that I’m registered for. I’m not going to put a mileage goal though I’d like to see 500 miles – which is roughly 10 miles per week. Totally doable, I think given my goals. I’m not sure I’ll throw any multisport events in there but we’ll see.

Blog 2x/week. Set the bar low right? I’m looking into a redesign and I’m cleaning up my archives. I’m comfortable with what I’m writing about (style! life! healthy living!) I just need to commit, streamline posting and not get distracted by feedly.

80% paleo by April. For my thyroid’s sake. Hubs and I are doing the Whole 30 in January so hopefully this helps reset and get me on the right track.

Create a budget and stick to it. We’ve got some fun trips planned this year and we really want to pay off some debt that we’re close to paying off…creating a budget that we can stick to is going to be key to this success.

Additional:

Complete BBG 1.0 and 2.0 by December. I keep starting and stopping. I need to get my workout ADD under control. I really want to do this though – the program is fantastic and i do enjoy it.

what are your 2017 goals and resolutions? 

 

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Girls Night Out in Annapolis with the Loews Annapolis Hotel

Last week I was invited to a night at the Loews Annapolis to have a holiday night out. It was Midnight Madness in downtown Annapolis and the perfect excuse to have a fun, festive, casual night out. I’ve been to many events at the Loew’s and it’s definitely a favorite venue of mine – from the Junior League of Annapolis Galas to the Zooma Expo, they always put on a fantastic event. The staff is always super friendly and the rooms are beautiful with local-inspired decor. If you ever need a place to stay in ‘Naptown, I highly recommend.

I’ve been to many events at the Loew’s and it’s definitely a favorite venue of mine – from the Junior League of Annapolis Galas to the Zooma Expo, they always put on a fantastic event. The staff is always super friendly and the rooms are beautiful with local-inspired decor. If you ever need a place to stay in ‘Naptown, I highly recommend.

The evening/afternoon started with Glam Sessions – I got my hair curled (of which I am now obsessed with but haven’t quite figured out how to replicate it). They also had makeup (mainly eyes with some false lashes!) and nails that you could get done as well. I did my own makeup though my nails look like garbage but I replied late so was only able to score a hair appointment.

GNO with Loews Annapolis

I left shortly after my hair was done to get changed into my cozy, festive casual outfit for the evening – ready to hit the town. (As much as a 30 something working mom can and wants to hit the town…)

holiday casual outfit

{Pants | Sweater (old, similar) | Plaid Shirt | Necklace | Shoes (old, similar)}

Prior to heading out to Midnight Madness, we started with cocktails and appetizers at Baroak – Teddy Folkman’s restaurant in Annapolis – which is DELICIOUS. We had mussels, flatbread pizza and some charcuterie on the appetizer side…

Baroak annapolis cocktails

…and some (delicious) specialty cocktails – a white sangria with cranberries and a white rum punch (that I did not try but heard delicious things about!). They have an exceptional menu (mussels and frites anyone?!) and the beer menu isn’t terrible either. If you have not been, I highly recommend.

After cocktail hour, I headed downtown with Liz to check out a couple of the shops, snowflake alley and meet up with some other Naptown pals of hers. We ended up at Dry 85 and had a couple of drinks before Ubering back to the hotel because holy crap was it FRIGID to walk the four or five blocks back (even though we walked down there).

The night ended back in the Presidential suite at the Loew’s with gift wrapping. I got the couple of gifts that I picked up wrapped, I’m a good wrapper generally, but this lady was AMAZING. I’ve got enough to wrap at home, so it was nice having a couple to get wrapped fo’ freesies.

I was back in my room at a halfway decent hour and crashed watching HGTV. It was a really fun night for sure. Thanks to Loews Annapolis for hosting and for putting on such a fantastic evening.

FTC disclosure: I was provided an overnight stay, however, I was not compensated for my honest review. All opinions here are my own. 

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Boo-ing our Neighbors

When we bought our home, the one piece of the puzzle I never felt I got that I really wanted was a close-knit neighborhood. As we’ve started getting involved in our neighborhood association, I’m finding they are pretty close. Our direct neighbors seem really nice, however, we haven’t really connected with them as much as I had hoped.

I was lucky to grow up with my three best friends all living within a house of me. I had a fantastic childhood (until my parents split up in 8th grade) thanks to so many fun memories with those friends. I always had friends to hang out with – there were summer camp outs, late night swims, someone to walk to school with, and someone to hang out with on our many snow days. It was all idyllic. So when we moved in and saw a kiddo around Ethan’s age wave at us with small hands through their front window, I got excited that he might have that too.

Needless to say, the family friendship is still in the works, but they work different hours than us so we’re always two ships passing in the night. BUT I decided to Boo them anyhow. It’s not even a thing in our ‘hood but i’m going to make it so.

boo basket

What I included: 

My favorite pumpkin beer for the adults
-Halloween cocktail napkins
-Fun glow sticks for trick or treating
-A autumny candle
-Halloween sticker book
-Gummy worms
-some chocolate peanut butter cups
-Some Halloween utz cheddar balls
-Fun halloween socks
-A printed “You’ve been boo’ed” sign with instructions to pay it forward (maybe they’ll boo us?!) 

I picked up everything at Target in the Halloween section and the dollar spot and spent about $10-15 on each of the baskets I made. I really hope they enjoyed it!

Have you ever boo’ed your neighbors or been boo’ed?

Boo

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My Four Favorite Podcasts

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, mostly because I’ve been feeling a little lost, not that I’m misunderstood but that I’ve in a sense, become disconnected from my village. So I’ve been struggling on the friend front – or so it feels like. So the podcasts I’ve been listening to, have been – in a way – guiding me through all of it.

favorite podcasts

Dear Prudence – I love love love this one. Mallory Ortberg could be a great bestie – she gives great advice, sounds like she would be fun to hang with and is so effing real and to the point. If you love Ann Landers or any other advice type column, you’ll love this one.

Mom and Dad are Fighting – Another Slate podcast. But the mom and dad on here, though their kids are much older than me talk about all sorts of parenting issues from sleep, to eating to education and everything in between. They have fantastic recommendations and their fails and triumphs always make me feel like I’m doing much better than I probably am. ha!

The Mom Hour – I recently caught wind of this through another podcast I listen to. It’s fantastic. Between the two hosts, they have 8 kids ranging from toddlerhood to high schoolers. They’re real, they speak truth, and as fellow working mamas, they get it.

The Girl Next Door – I love love love this podcast. Their latest episode that I was listening to tonight just…nearly made me cry because everything in my life – self care. friendships. and finding happiness. Their conversations are so authentic that you can’t help but nod along and say OMG YES to all of the things. Also, if you don’t read their blogs, I highly recommend that you check them both out!

 

I have dozens of podcasts that I’ll continue to share every so often. – these are the ones that I’ve been tuning into each week, but if you have any that you love – please share, I’m always looking for new suggestions!

What are your favorite podcasts? 

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Fall Bucket List 2016

Happy fall my friends! I had a slue of blog posts that I was supposed to/wanted to write – I’m a bit behind but it’s been a busy/emotional week and I’m mourning the end of my triathlon season with a DNS. But I had to write about my fall bucket list – or as hubs would prefer I call it, our Fall Family Fun List. I like the bucket list term better.

So despite the fact that this probably should have gone up yesterday and the fact that it’s 85 degrees here in Maryland today…. here’s my fall bucket list.

 

fall bucket list

Apple picking

Make a fall wreath
(i have my goodies! Just need time to do it…)

Decorate my mantle for Fall.
(i.e.purchase new fall candles!) 

Make chocolate pumpkin bread

Carve pumpkins

Get Fall family photos taken
(probably in November…)

Go to a fall festival
(Kinder Farm Park Fall Fest – Oct 8, 2016) 

Visit and take pictures at a pumpkin patch

Decorate our front porch (mums! Pumpkins!) 

Write a blog post about all of these

Happy Fall my friends!  What’s on your Fall Fun list?

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Summer bucket list

Each summer, I get wistful about making it the BEST. SUMMER. EVER. Filled with beachy weekends, tons of outdoor hosting at our house – you know…summery things.

Most of the time I fail, because well, life. But sometimes, we get a big fat win – like last year when we spent a couple of weekend days at the beach (though our anniversary trip was a rain out which was a bummer), or the summer I was pregnant with Ethan we got to go to Ocean City with one of my best gal pals and we finally (nearly 10 years later) made it to Seacrets.

So this year, we kept our bucket list short – I’m up in Vermont for a bridal shower this weekend, Adam’s National  Guard training is taking him out of the country for 2 weeks at the end of July, and then my sisters wedding the weekend after he gets back…our summer is already half filled. But what we put on here should all be fun, small ways to make the most of the rest of our summer.

summer bucket list

Go to an outdoor concert

There are so many free concert series around us in Annapolis or Crofton – even in Baltimore, how can we not make it out once to listen to some live tunes?! Definitely need to pencil that in once or twice this summer. The Friday night series in Annapolis is one of my usual go-to’s and they do the same thing in Crofton on Saturday nights. 

Visit a splash pad

My dear friend Lexi recently turned me onto a splash pad in Ellicott City which isn’t super far from us that I would love to check it out with Little Man 🙂 In addition to this one just west of us, there are apparently a handful of others fun water parks and splash pads in the greater Annapolis/Baltimore area. 

 

Go to the beach

Each year, we try to make it out to the beach once or twice – usually for day trips. This year, we’re heading out to Dewey in September for my triathlon but I’d love to get out there once before the end of the season.

Visit four new ice cream places on the MD ice cream trail

Though none of these are super close to us (1 – 2 hours away) i think we can do some fun exploring and really come down on the debate of who has better creemee’s – Maryland or Vermont (Ima go with the 802 on this one friends but please let me know if you beg to differ).

Have a date night at the Annapolis “Dinner Under the Stars” 

They are apparently closing off a portion of West Street for some dining al fresco – I love eating outdoors and since this is going on until October, I’m sure Hubs and I can find a Wednesday night to get a sitter and have a fun date night.

Go hiking

A few years ago, pre-baby, we hiked up Old Rag in Virginia. I miss hiking, it was something I did somewhat regularly when I was in Vermont. While Little Man won’t be scaling stone walls or going up rock scrambles like Old Rag any time soon, I’d love to check out some of the family friendly hikes in the area like Calvert Cliffs, Patapsco State Park or Gunpowder Falls to do some hiking as a family.

What is on your summer bucket list friends?

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