Good Mom Feels

I haven’t shared a blog post in a whiiiiile. This is why I can’t be a legit blogger. This sort of journaling is really more therapeutic for me than something I think other people want to read. However, I feel like lots of my friends might relate to this so here goes.

Today was the first day I had the thought… “I’m not a good mom.” I guess in some ways it’s a win that it took this long – I’m on kid #2 after all. The thought surfaced in my head after I yelled at my oldest, Lyla, again. I feel like I have been yelling at her for days. I know she’s adjusting to life as a big sis and the shift of my daytime world revolving around her to her little brother but damnit she’s been pushing my every button every damn day. Right now I don’t have time to be the calm, cool mom she was used to so she gets worn out boring mom that has no time to play and tells her to stop doing half the stuff she does all day. Frankly, earlier today she got downright psycho screaming demon from hell mom after I asked her to stay off the bed where her brother was laying asleep so that I could go throw away the diapers that piled up during the night shift. Instead of listening, she scrambled up on to the bed as fast as she could and jumped right next to her baby brother’s head. She always forgives me, thankfully, when I ask for it and even when I don’t. I know because as much as she irritates the fire out of me during the day, she smiles at me, continually fetches me diapers and tells me I’m a good Mommy too. But, today I’m just not feeling like it’s true.

What I do feel is guilty every time I compare my level of commitment to breastfeeding Brooks (which is quickly fading) with my experience with Lyla. I feel tired. My boobs feel like they’re being stabbed by sewing needles. I feel bad that I get upset with Lyla so much especially since her misbehavior is likely fueled by this situation and my lack of attention to her. For that reason, I feel bad scolding her all the time but I also can’t just ignore her behavior. Shew… I feel a lot of things right now.

I know it’ll pass. I’m just really friggin’ frustrated and did I mention being tired? Since the day we brought Brooksie home, its been one thing after another. Between recuperating from birth, him not gaining weight for the first few weeks, the double eye infection, diaper rashes, neither of us being rockstars at breastfeeding, and now both of us having thrush (which I think we’ve had for a while and didn’t know it because breastfeeding has SUCKED) – we just haven’t caught a break. Such is life with a newborn, I know. It just stinks that my Lyla girl is kind of getting the short end of the stick.

**As I’m typing, she literally just told me I was a good Mommy for turning on her favorite movie soundtrack to dance to… I hear you, God!

This won’t last, I know. The newness will wear off and all of the extra work and struggle that goes along with it will too. Everything we’ve experienced is totally normal and fixable and short term. I’m very grateful for that.

I know I’m a good mama. I wouldn’t attach myself to a pump or another human for 6+ hours a day and do the many many other unseen things I do every day to keep these precious little humans alive, loved, clean, clothed, and fed if I wasn’t. I’ll figure this new normal out and rock it like I always did as a mom of one. This is not the time for me but I do know it’s coming.

When my friends have asked me how I’m doing, I’ve tried to make a point to be honest. Telling them everything’s going fine may be easier but telling them things have NOT been easy feels a lot better. Plus, there’s enough filtered, glossed over, and unrealistic stuff out there. I don’t want to feed into that. I work with and am around a lot of mothers. They are part of the reason Im sharing this. To those reading, you’re not alone. If you’re not the version of you that you want to be today, you’re not stuck there. You’ll probably never be the perfect mom in your own mind but to those kiddos… you’re already there. Aside from just getting this off my own chest, hopefully this transparency will help someone else feel like it’s okay if you don’t have all your shit together today. And it’s okay to admit that you don’t.

Good Mom Feels

DIY Wooden Beaded Chandelier

We are currently building a new house without an official builder’s help so obtaining pricing for everything has been on our shoulders (really, I should say my husband, Aaron’s!) The one piece I did look into was lighting expenses and no surprise… but they add up QUICK. When I was thinking about lighting, I was really only thinking about all the pretty lights we’d have throughout the house (you know – the pendants over the island, the chandelier in the entryway, etc…). What I wasn’t thinking about was all the boring lights – like the lights in our closets, recessed lighting, and who even wants to think about the outdoor security lighting? Alllllll those add up so I started trying to research ways we could save money in this area. I came across some Pinterest lighting projects that made me curious about my ability to flip an old light. I’ve always loved the wooden beaded chandeliers that are so popular right now but they can be SUPER pricey. I’ve seen prices ranging anywhere from $150 for something pretty basic to $2,000+!

The initial struggles I found with creating my own were:

1 – Finding an old light with the right shape. You have to have something to attach the strands of beads to and not many lights have the bones that lend itself to this kind of project.

And 2 – Finding an old light that is cheap enough to risk what could be a flop project on!

I ended up really lucking out on solutions to both of these issues by shopping local. I purchased the light below for ONLY $7.50 from Habitat for Humanity ReStore! It was 50% off. Cha-Ching! Not only was it dirt cheap but the structure was perfect for what I envisioned.

Aaron helped me make sure that the light was functional and it was! Woohoo.

The first thing I wanted to do was antique the light fixture. I hit up Pinterest again to research the best methods and materials for doing this. I found this blog super helpful and even used some of the same paints! I used sea sponges as Diane suggested. I also used some paint brushes to get in the trickier spots. Here are the exact paints I used:

  • DecoArt Americana Gloss Enamel metallic Paint, 2-Ounce, Rich Espresso – $6.82
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint, 2 ounce, Bleached Sand – $1.19
  • DecoArt American Chalk Finish Ultra Matte Acrylic Paint, 2 ounce, Everlasting -$2.99
  • Rust-Oleum 223525 Multi-Color Textured Spray, Aged Iron, 12-Ounce (in Aged Iron) – $4.50

Total paint cost: $15.50

(With lots of paint left for future projects!)

I used the same method of layering the paints as described in the blog linked above. I was really hesitant at first but eventually it started to come together. I sprayed the Rust-Oleum paint in a bowl and sponged it on first to give it a gritty texture. Here are some examples of how it turned out. The great thing about this sort of project is that there is no “perfect” finished product. Something that’s genuinely aged isn’t going to look perfect so this didn’t need to either.

The next struggle was knowing how many beads to order. I just guessed that I’d need close to a thousand. I ordered a variety of sizes and still ended up ordering two extra bags halfway through. Here is what my full bead order from Amazon looked like:

  • 1 package 10mm (300pc) for $7.99
  • 1 package 12mm (200pc) for $10.99
  • 1 package 14mm (200pc) for $11.99
  • 1 package 16mm (100pc) for $7.36
  • 1 package 20mm (30pc) for $5.68
  • 1 package 20mm (100pc) for 9.99
  • 2 Multi-Size Pack (100pc) for $12.99

Total Bead Cost: $66.99

(With beads in several sizes left over for future projects)

This brings the grand total to just shy of $90!

I used a mixture of 32 gauge gold wire and also some clear jewelry making floss thread that I already had at home. The floss resembled fishing line. I used it to tie most of the top portion strands. I ended up using the wire on the bottom section simply because it ended up being easier to secure to the light fixture. The angle at which I was having to tie knots with the floss was really awkward on the bottom and after dropping the light and breaking tons of my already finished work – I decided to go a different route. The wire allowed me to finish it without tying knots! If I had to buy these items, I’d tack on an extra $7-8.

One thing I would have done differently if I had the project to do over would be the order in which I did the beading. I separated the project into two sections. I did the top in one sitting and the bottom in another. However, I realized that if I’d used one long strand to run beads from the very top to the bottom, I would have saved myself the trouble of securing the strands in the middle. All I would have had to do was wrap the strand around the middle bar and kept moving. Oh well! Who knows…. if I had done it that way, the weight of the beads may have been too heavy.

Here is a photo just after I finished it. My little lady was admiring it. I preferred the natural wood look but you could probably bleach or paint the beads too (or order them the color you want although they might be more expensive!).

Since we aren’t actually in our new house yet to hang this, photos of my husband holding it will have to suffice. I told him this was part of his workout for the day. 😂 One day when its hung in its permanent location, I’ll update the blog!

I think my time and money was well spent on this project! I spent maybe an hour total painting the light fixture. Had I not broken the beading halfway through, I’d estimate I spent 6-7 hours on the beading. This is definitely a DIY success!

DIY Wooden Beaded Chandelier

Saran Wrap Ball Game Gift Ideas

I kept seeing videos of families playing the Saran Wrap ball game a few weeks ago and decided to try it out myself. From what I’ve heard, there are several versions you can play. The gist is that you wrap up small gifts in a Saran Wrap ball and take turns unwrapping it to reveal the prizes inside.

A few nights ago, Aaron and I played this when we had Christmas with some of our good friends. It was a BLAST! It took my friend, Laura, and I over two hours and almost 300 ft of Saran Wrap to prep the ball. To start the game, we rolled a dice and the person with the highest number started it off. While the starter tried to find the edge of the Saran Wrap, the person next in line used two dice and tried to roll doubles. Once they got doubles, the ball passed to them immediately. The person unwrapping the ball before the next player rolled doubles got to keep any of the prizes revealed during that time. If anyone ripped the Wrap (accidental or not) had to pass the ball immediately.

We posted a video of our game and I’ve since had several people ask what kind of gifts to include. I’ve included a list of ideas below. I think some people assume you have to include only flat, flexible items so it does seem limiting. However, after actually doing the wrapping, we figured out that you include all kinds of odd shaped items and it all evens out in the end if you are strategic about how you place them. And if not, is anyone going to really care about a lumpy ball?! 🤣🤷‍♀️

Another tip… it may seem like some of your layers of Saran Wrap aren’t wrapped tightly enough. It’s hard to get some of it to lay flat. However, once you keep layering stuff on top of it, it compresses down and all works out fine. When we played the game, I don’t think there were ever any obvious edges.

Gift Ideas:

  • Cash/coins
  • Candy
  • Stickers
  • Games (fidget spinner, dice, deck of cards, etc…)
  • Chapstick
  • Travel tissues or wet wipes
  • Small toys (yo-yo, slinky, etc…)
  • Gift cards
  • Socks
  • Beef jerky
  • Sleep mask
  • Koozie
  • Candy canes
  • Notepad
  • Lanyard
  • Bubble bath
  • Mini bottles of alcohol
  • Lottery tickets
  • Car air fresheners
  • Hot cocoa packets
  • Flavored water powder
  • Hair ties
  • Jewelry
  • Hand lotion
  • Scarf
  • Popcorn bags
  • Luggage tag
  • Phone charger
  • Beanie
  • Bath bomb
  • Ornament
  • Nail file
  • Small tools
  • Bottle opener
  • Play doh
  • Wine topper
  • Unique ice packs
  • Selfie stick
  • Shower cap
  • Instant coffee packs
  • Stress ball
  • Key chain
  • Lint roller
  • Coasters

Funny Ideas:

  • Make a roll of toilet paper the center gift
  • Throw in something funny like XXL underwear or a diaper in the layers
  • Include layers of Saran Wrap that have nothing in them
  • Hide layers of the ball to keep the inside a mystery! After you’ve wrapped several layers, cover the ball in colored tissue paper, tp, or a large flexible gift like car towels or a scarf. Pictured below is an example of a scarf layer:

There are SO many options. This is definitely going to become an annual game for our friends and family!

Saran Wrap Ball Game Gift Ideas

Sometimes Your Mirror Looks A Lot Like A Friend 

Do you ever look at someone and think…. “wow – if you could only see yourself through my eyes!”  Do you ever wonder who is thinking the same thing about you?  This may never cross your mind.  Some of you may be so far down the rabbit hole of self-doubt that you can’t imagine anyone noticing anything special about you.  Some of you may think you know yourself so well that there isn’t possibly anything new that someone else’s insight could offer.  Still others may actually hear those words out loud from a loved one – maybe you hear them. Maybe you believe them. Maybe you don’t.  

Today my friend, Jessica, gave me a note with a quote on it that she said reminded her of me – something she had saved specifically for me.  I read it on my own later and was totally stunned.  No one has ever shared such words with me before.  I’m not sure anyone has ever looked at me and saw what those words conveyed.  I think it’s built into my DNA to work hard to make sure people don’t notice this about me actually, but she did.  She saw through it.  She saw me. 

My whole life has been a story of holding back.  Don’t say the wrong thing.  Don’t say anything.  Don’t do anything to rock the boat at home.  Don’t approach that person because they won’t like you. Don’t be competitive so you’re not let down.  Don’t even try so you don’t fail.  Don’t be proud of yourself because what you did wasn’t that great. Don’t give anyone a reason to make fun of you.  Don’t try something new in case you are bad at it.  Don’t say what you think because it’s stupid. Don’t say or do anything that might make someone have a bad day. Heck… don’t publish this blog post because it won’t speak to anyone. 

Just re-reading that last paragraph is exhausting.  I often wonder what the last 27 years would have looked like had I not been so careful.  And what would life look like today? I’ll never know.  What is there to do but look to the future now? I’m not really sure how to overcome a way of being that is now so part of who I am.  It’s scary to admit your shortcomings… your weirdness. It’s scary to think about how it might impact your children. It’s scary to think that other people may know things about yourself that you don’t even really understand yet.  It’s all just… scary. 

There are two things at which I can admit I am unapologetically good. The first is being a mom. That’s so funny for me to say because I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a mom period for the longest time.  But… I kind of rock at being a mother. The second is being “the nice one” which my friends like to remind me of to the point of annoyance. 😊 I know that’s the yearbook equivalent of “don’t ever change” but damn it, I am really freaking nice.  A lot of that has a lot to do with everything I’ve explained about myself thus far.  I’m really sensitive to how others feel.  I want everyone to be happy and have a good experience in every situation which I realize is often out of my control (but that won’t stop me from trying!) And you know, at the end of my days if kindness and motherhood tell the most accurate story of my life, I would be far from disappointed. 

I didn’t wake up this morning thinking that I was going to write a thing today!  But, in my experience, the best stories come from real life.  Real life is unpredictable and sometimes hands you a gift at 5:30 in the morning. 

I’m going to work on embracing the gifts I’ve been given and use them shamelessly.  I hope you will too.  Marianne Williamson is right; we all have some gift to offer others.  Maybe you’ve already identified yours.  Maybe you’re still waiting on a sign from the universe (or a friend) to point you in the right direction.  The one thing I can tell you most certainly is that you DO have a gift. There IS someone out there who sees you.  That someone may not be a person that you even realized was looking so close or clearly and that gift may not sound all that interesting or glamorous – but believe in its existence. 

Sometimes Your Mirror Looks A Lot Like A Friend 

My First Half Marathon Experience 

I still cannot believe I ran 13.1 miles just a few days ago.  Well… the top half of my body can’t believe it. The bottom half winces every time I move my legs! 

To be honest, I’m not even really sure why I signed up for the Urban Bourbon Half.  Some of my Fit4Mom friends had completed their first half a few months earlier at the Derby Mini.  I felt like I was in the best shape of my life thanks to two rounds of Fit4Mom Louisville’s Body Back program.  I was ready for a new challenge, saw an ad on Facebook for the UBHM and the next thing I knew, I was signed up! I started training the last week of June and ran over 145 miles throughout the weeks leading up to the race. (This was about 65 short of what I’d planned for due to some hip pain but more on that later.)

I researched training plans online and found one through Pinterest that went all the way up to 13 miles. I’m a planner and like to do my homework so it felt like the right one for me. Here is a link to the training plan I followed by Chrissy Carroll:

It basically instructs you to do two short runs and one long run per week.  I was amazed at how little increases in distance built my stamina from week to week. I followed the plan pretty religiously until about a month before the Urban Bourbon.  I started experiencing pain in my hip that progressively worsened.  Admittedly, I hadn’t been doing a great job of cross training up until that point and figured out later that I hadn’t been stretching appropriately. 

I sought advice from one of our good friends that is a DPT at Synergy Injury Care, Simon Hoehn, and totally revamped my stretching routine.  He analyzed my running posture and gave me some tips on how to alleviate the pain.  Lyla is one day younger than the Hoehns’ little one, Elliana. My whole family loves the Hoehns and we basically will make up any excuse to hang out with them but I swear the hip issues were real!! 😝 

Things seemed to begin improving until I got a little overzealous one morning a couple weeks before the race and I began really hurting again.  I think I pushed myself a little too hard that day; with race day quickly approaching, I was really feeling the pressure to knock out the long training runs.  So many of my mama buds were training as well and it was so hard to watch them keep right on trucking with their training while I had to rest.  At that point, Simon suggested I get my hip x-rayed. Bad bones run in my family but thankfully, the results were good! I should point out that my experience at Synergy Injury care was great.  Everyone there was super nice and I felt like I was treated like family. 

The week before the race I also tried out acupuncture for the first time.  I have several friends that attribute great success with different pain or infertility issues to acupuncture.  I saw Robert Gittli at Meridian Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine.  Acupuncture is something I never thought I’d try but I was grasping for anything at that point that might expedite the healing process.  Meridian is beautiful and has a super neat vibe.  After the acupuncture session, Robert gave me some practical tips for prepping for the race at home.  

I followed all of the advice I’d received religiously up until race day.  I was extremely nervous.  In the three weeks leading up to the race, I ran less than ten miles total.  The night before the race Aaron surprised me with flowers and a sweet good luck card.  His confidence in me never waivered and I remembered thinking that I couldn’t let him down! 

The next morning I had monster butterflies.  I road downtown with some of my friends. Terri Tinnell drove us down after she’d already been up leading Fit4Mom Lou’s run club before the crack of dawn.  She was cool as a cucumber and I was hoping her mindset would rub off on me on the drive down.  I had no idea what to expect.  I was pretty sure that I’d have to walk more than once during the 13.1 miles and I’d made peace with that. 

After the race started and I’d reached one mile, my Strava app told me I was running at a 9 min 30 sec pace which I knew was too fast for me to maintain without hurting.  At that point, I fell behind some of my friends and my heart sank a little.  I kept reminding myself that they’d trained more than me and I couldn’t reasonably expect to keep up their pace.  There was a dull ache in my hip and a side stitch creeping up around mile 4. I prayed that God would get me through and the song Priceless by King and Country suddenly came through my headphones.  It was a sign from above and literally every time I talked to God during the race, a Christian song came on next.  I stayed focused on myself and before I knew it, I’d made it to Cherokee Park (around mile 6).  I really hit my stride at this point and all I could think about was how thankful I was that the majority of my training had been in my hilly neighborhood.  I was more than prepared for that section of the course and that gave me a major confidence boost that propelled me the rest of the way to the finish line. 

Not too long after I exited the park, I got to see Aaron and Lyla cheering me on with the cute little poster they made. It was really exciting to see them after seeing so many family and friends of other runners with their signs and words of encouragement.

 I hadn’t walked up to that point and knew it was downhill from there. I had already performed so much better than I’d imagined. I knew that if I had made it that far, I had to keep going. Around mile 11, I’d made it back downtown and happened to catch my reflection in the window of a building as I ran by. Out of nowhere, I started tearing up because I couldn’t believe that I had almost pulled it off.  I knew that I was in really great shape other than my hip issues but my confidence was just not there leading up to race day. It all hit me at once.  I swear the last mile was the longest but it was so worth it when I got to see Lyla and Aaron again at the finish line. I couldn’t believe it was over. It took me two hours and 13 minutes to finish the race which was even faster than I had planned to shoot for back when I originally started training for the race. So many people told me that the adrenaline and excitement on race day would make the experience easier.  I didn’t believe them until I experienced it for myself. 

At the beginning of this year I’m not even sure that I could’ve run one mile without stopping for a break. It’s amazing how much we are capable of with some practice and faith in ourselves. I didn’t have much of either towards the end of my training but thanks to a lot of encouragement from my friends, family, and most of all my husband… it all came together in the end. 

Congrats to these strong mamas that crushed the race and supported each other for months leading up to this day.  You guys are amazing and inspiring and I’m lucky to know you! 😘

My First Half Marathon Experience 

My Eyebrow Journey

Listen to your moms…. when they warn you against over plucking your eyebrows, LISTEN to them.  I don’t care what is currently trendy!

I definitely over-plucked my eyebrows when I was in high school. Two years ago, I started really trying to regrow my brows. Up until that point, I’d never even had my eyebrows waxed. Starting In January 2016, Leah Gerstoff, owner of Sei Bella Waxing, helped guide my regrowth effort and maintain the proper shape. She is fabulous at what she does and she took into account all of the changes my body was going through with pregnancy and nursing at the time when she was giving advice. When several months had passed and the growth was happening super slowly, Leah suggested I use Castor oil. It definitely thickened my existing hair. While I did see more growth, I realized after some time that my eyebrows were just never again going to be as full as God originally intended. 

This is a close up of what I had to work with starting in July 2016: 

7/29/16 – “before” photo

And a year later… you can see little progress 😞. (I don’t know why I look so forlorn 🤣… maybe I was tired haha). 

At that point, I’d been trying to regrow my eyebrows for a year and a half.  I did make quite a bit of progress from where I started, but I decided to accept that this is as good as it was going to get naturally.

When I found out that Sei Bella Waxing was going to begin offering Microblading, I jumped at the opportunity.  For those that don’t know, microblading is a semi-permanent method of drawing individual hair strokes with a microblading pen on the skin. I was pretty nervous because the portion of my eyebrows (or lack thereof) near my nose was extremely sparse.  I wasn’t sure how it would look for that entire area to basically be pigment.  I was also pretty nervous about the procedure and the aftercare.  Not to mention, I went into the process knowing I was basically going to be a guinea pig for the newly certified esthetician! I’ve had so many people ask me about this process that I wanted to share my experience here.

I had my first microblading appointment on June 12, 2017.  First, I had to read and sign a lot of paperwork.  Next, we went through a color matching process.  My esthetician, Summer Whalen, narrowed down her recommendations and then showed me several options.  She actually swabbed several patches right above my brows so that I could really evaluate how closely the colors were to my actual hair.  Together we made the final selection. After we settled on a color, she cleaned off my face and sterilized the area. Then, we moved onto the shape.  This portion took more time than any other part (or so it seemed to me)!  Summer used various measurements and tools to draw on the initial shape.  She then took photos and used technology in an app to get the brows as symmetrical as possible. A lot of time and care was taken to make sure the shape was appropriate for my face.  After we were done with the shaping (about 1.5 hours into the appointment), we took a bathroom break.  I snapped this photo in the bathroom and was really glad I didn’t run into anyone in the hall!

Before I delve into the actual microblading process, you should know that I was under the impression that my eyebrow area would be numbed during the procedure.  After asking Summer about how much I’d feel, I quickly realized that assumption was incorrect! She explained that the best results and most precise lines are possible if you can at least get through the first microblading pass without numbing.  She also told me that no one else she’d done previously had needed the numbing so that made me feel a little better.  If you know me, you know I hate seeing my own blood and have been known to faint.  If I even think too hard about myself bleeding, I start sweating.  I have a really weird thing about my skin staying intact.  Needless to say, I was pretty anxious!

I want to point out that Summer was great about explaining exactly what was happening and what to expect.  I definitely felt like I was in good hands.  She showed me the tool she was going to use and explained how it would be used. I was really pleasantly surprised by how little pain was involved. The first pass on both brows really just felt like someone was scratching me with a pointy toothpick.  I definitely wouldn’t have thought it would break the skin.  After the cuts were complete on a brow, she would put a mask of pigment over the entire area and let it sit while she moved to the other brow. She warned me that the mask would sting for several seconds and it did but was totally bearable (although she still fanned my face to minimize as much discomfort as possible).  She is just the sweetest person. 

She ended up doing three passes on both brows. By the time it got to the third pass, my brows were starting to get a little sensitive and the pain was more noticeable.  I never felt the need for numbing medication but I was relieved when she said we were done after the third round! Here were my brows immediately following the appointment:

I was shocked that the area wasn’t really red or inflamed.  Summer warned me that the color would fade 40-60% over the next few weeks but I was super pleased with the shaping and technique of the esthetician. It was really odd to see my eyebrows so close together but I knew that initial reaction would fade as I got used to my new look. 

The aftercare lasted for ten days. Sei Bella gave me instructions and all of the materials I’d need to care for my healing brows. The process was actually REALLY easy. I’d pictured giant scabs pealing off of my face but there was none of that. I actually didn’t even know when the scabs fell off!  For me personally, it was extremely hard to not sweat (one of the many aftercare requirements) during this period because I tend to work out almost every day but it was worth it! 

Here is a photo showing my brows 5 weeks later (right before my touch up appt). Obviously, the pigment faded quite a bit. Summer had explained to me beforehand how everyone’s skin can take differently to the pigment.  I’ve seen many pictures of the other client’s they’ve performed microblading on and I’d definitely say mine faded a lot more than others. I’d committed to trusting the process though and was confident that my touchup session would correct the shape and fading. Summer explained how she would adjust the blading depth (which sounds awful, I know). Honestly, it really didn’t feel any more painful. She was confident it wouldn’t fade as much after has second round! (Spoiler alert…. she was right!) 

Right before touch up


Photo update immediately after my touch up:

And one month later…

Sorry the angles aren’t quite the same… not a pro photographer with the smartphone here 😜.  (Also… please excuse the plucking that was needed. I don’t want that to reflect on Summer’s work… that’s just me needing to tweeze the crazies!)  I was SUPER pleased with the outcome. Summer had asked me to share some pics with her a few weeks out to make sure I was healing well and didn’t need a third touch up. After sharing these photos with her, we both agreed that my left brown needed a little more work toward my nose. 

I just had a quick third touch up session about three weeks ago. Please note that a third session is NOT typical but totally a testament to Sei Bella’s commitment to making their client’s happy!  I truly think my skin was just a little more resistant to the pigment than the average person PLUS I had so much more to fill in than most of their client’s probably do. Summer definitely had her work cut out for her but she did SUCH A GREAT JOB.  I honestly can’t believe she was even a newby at this. I’ve had so many compliments on my eyebrows even during the process when they weren’t done yet! The estheticians at Sei Bella seriously are masters at browshaping which is key for microblading. I would honestly trust Summer to do this to me all over again without her ever even showing me the shape until it was already on my face! 

If you are interested in microblading, I would highly recommend Sei Bella and obviously, Summer specifically since she did my brows! She’s super sweet and will make you feel very comfortable. 

So here is a full before (meaning before I ever became a client at Sei Bella) and after photo. This really shows how far my brows have come with their help! They are taking microblading appointments now so give them a call!

My Eyebrow Journey

DIY Distressed Baby Jeans

I’m obsessed with all things baby denim or chambray especially if it has a little personality (i.e. patches, special hardware, distressing). However, these types of clothes new from a store tend to be pricey.  Since I’m cheap and pretty crafty, I figured I should try to distress a pair of jeans myself. 

I found this pair of jeans at a consignment sale for about $4 (along with probably four other pair of jeans). Did I mention I like denim? 😝 This was my least favorite pair so it got to be the guinea pig! 

I used a pair of really sharp fabric scissors, safety pin, and a Ped Egg foot file to do the distressing.  The Ped Egg has both a smooth and micro plane file. 

I started off just experimenting with the tools to see what look different techniques gave the jeans. Since the jeans were thickest around the pockets, I figured that was a safe place to begin.  All of the distressing you see below was done with the smooth file.  It takes a little bit to get the area you are working on worn down but once you start to see the white threads poking through, I figured out that you really have to proceed carefully from there.  Once you reach that point, it doesn’t take much pressure to tear a hole right through the pants. I wasn’t going for holes in this part of the pants so I had to be careful. 

I did want some larger holes in the knee area of the jeans. To do this part, you’ll need sharp scissors, the safety pin, and possibly tweezers.  You’ll want to make straight cuts across the denim where you want to create the hole. Ideally, the cuts should be parallel if you want the white thread to remain intact (which I did). You can see that my cuts aren’t quite parallel below. This was my first try and I didn’t learn that I needed to be more careful until after the damage was done! Live and learn, right? 

After you’ve cut the jeans, use the safety pin to begin pulling the white strings out so they are exposed. You’ll notice the blue jeans will begin to fray. 

Once you’ve pulled several white strands out, you can use tweezers or just your hands to begin to pull the short blue strands out between the cuts you made earlier.  As you can see below, you will expose even more of the white thread during this step. 
I used the cutting and thread pulling technique on both knees and then in a small spot along the side of the pants. All of the other distressing was done with the files. Below is the before and after. I used the smooth file sporadically all over the jeans just to give them a more faded and worn in look.  I actually used the micro plane file a lot less than I thought I’d need it. I did use it on some of the thicker portions of the jeans like the waistband to rough it up a bit. 

I probably spent an hour on these total since I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out! For $4, it was totally worth trying it out. 


DIY Distressed Baby Jeans

Check out JJHuff Photography!

I’m the type of person that wants to document everything so I won’t forget anything.  I’ve kept journals as long as I can remember.  I’m fairly certain Lyla may have one of the most documented childhoods known to man thanks to the videos, baby book, detailed daily first year calendar, blog about her arrival, pregnancy scrapbook…. need I go on.  And don’t get me started on all the pictures I have of her.  After she was born, my husband actually bought me a new phone with a “mega brain” as I like to call it’s memory capacity so I could take as many pics as I wanted!  However, most of the ones on my phone tend to be of just Lyla and not our family. 

I love when we get photos including all three of us and our good friends at JJHuff Photography captured some super sweet ones just recently.  Owned by John and Jackie Huff, JJHuff Photography, is based in the east end of Louisville but they will travel throughout the surrounding area to accommodate the needs of their clients! Our photos were taken in The Parklands where there are no shortages of prime photo backdrops! Here are a few of our photos:

A lot of times Aaron and I feel awkward when we get family photos taken because we never know how to pose.  John and Jackie helped us through the posing for both the more traditional and candid shots. They were also super patient with our little lady.  A one year old can be a bit unpredictable after all. We felt super relaxed which translated into wonderful, very natural pictures of our family. 

We would definitely recommend JJHuff Photography for your future photo needs! You can check out their website here:

You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram – just search for JJHuff Photography! 

Check out JJHuff Photography!

BB Round 2 Wrap-Up

Many of you know that I just completed my second round of Body Back Transformation with Fit4Mom Louisville.  Several other moms in the program this round were also repeaters and to add a little extra something to the 2nd experience, our coach would send us an additional weekly challenge.  Last week, our final full week of the program, we were asked to take some time to write a letter to ourselves about our journey. 

My Round 2 Crew
I shared my letter with the fellow BB repeaters. Their response and encouragement led me to share it here also.  I wish you could read all of the letters that were shared among us.  The impact this program has had on the lives of the women involved reaches far beyond their physical appearance. 

But here is mine…

Dear Me,

You’d told yourself many times before that you would get serious about making healthier choices.  You’d imagined how you’d feel once the hard work paid off.  You’d fantasized about all of the things you’d be confident enough to do once you were skinny… like stand next to your super tiny sister in a bikini, not worry about the lighting in a dressing room, hell… have sex totally naked with the lights on.

This started way before you had a baby.  It started before you got married. It started while you were still wearing size 4 jeans.  It started back when other people desperately wished they had a body like yours.  Of course, the reflection in your mirror told another story.  Those seeds of self doubt were planted long before you were even an adult. You’ve been vainly obsessing about your appearance for years.

So, you’d promise yourself you’d lose more weight.  But, time and time again that vacation, party, or other deadline would roll around and nothing changed.  Your body may have stayed the same but your opinion of it got even worse.  Then you got pregnant and for once, had weight to lose that other people noticed. That was hard. You’d failed to live up to your own standards so many times over the years but up until then, it had all been in secret.  Your insecurities were more visible and self esteem was at an all time low.

It was time to make a change (again). Fast forward a few months and it turns out… you did it!! The thing is though…. you didn’t do it for anyone but yourself.  You came to terms with the changes your body went through to have a baby before Body Back ever started.  You faced the reality of the situation and didn’t make excuses for it. It was hard to accept at first but you finally gave yourself a break…. something you’d never allowed yourself before. And that internal grace fueled the self love you needed to finally believe in yourself.  You embarked on the Body Back transformation with a fierce dedication unlike anything you’d experience in the past.

I hope you will carry that sense of compassion and kindness towards yourself through all stages of life.  Allow yourself to be human and that means not getting everything right all the time.  You may be a perfectionist but you CANNOT be perfect.  Don’t waste your time pursuing the unattainable.  Focus on what you CAN do because you are capable of SO much.  



At the start of this 2nd round of Body Back, my friend Courtney mentioned that this program was teaching her how to become her own friend.  Thinking back now, I guess that’s what happened with me as well. I’d never be as hard on a friend (and certainly not my own child) as I was on myself.  So, why was a treating myself so differently?  I don’t have this whole self-acceptance thing totally figured out yet but I do know I’ve never been more at peace with myself.  You can give yourself a break but still hold yourself accountable. 

Two of my biggest supporters!


I’m pretty nervous to share some of these pictures.  Even with all I’ve said previously, my eyes immediately go to everything I still see “wrong” with my body.  I hope that my doing this encourages someone else to take that step in the direction of bettering themselves (in whatever way they need).  And I’m reminding myself that the only person looking at this likely to pick it apart is me! 

This round I specifically set out to lose another 7(ish) pounds, do 15 push ups in a row with good form, and hold a 3 minute plank. 

I lost 9.6 pounds and 5.25 inches. I’ve lost 23.8 pounds total during my two rounds of BB and 29 total since January 1, 2017.  I conquered my push up goal and surpassed my plank goal with a total of 3 minutes and 8 seconds.  I wanted so badly to give up during the final plank assessment… there was sweat dripping in and burning my eyes and every muscle in my body was screaming but with lots of words of encouragement, I stuck with it! 

(Gulp)….. so here’s the first transformation pic.  First pic is from Jan 20th. I wish I’d taken one in December because I’d already lost 7 pounds at this point. The second pic is Day one of Body Back Round 2. And the third pic is from yesterday, after final assessments! I still wish I could get rid of that roundness that developed after I had Lyla but I’ve definitely made huge progress! 

Below is my arm before (bottom) and after (top) but you can also kind of see a difference in my upper abdomen. This “before” is from the start of BB Round 2.  I wish I had a good one from the same angle from January because that would really tell the full story.  My arms have by far been the area I’ve been most self conscious about.  They arent perfect but much improved. 

And here is my leg before and after… again, I only have it from beginning of BB Round 2 to the end (bummer). I was just so self conscious before the first round; there are not a lot of pictures of me period during that time let alone very revealing ones! I don’t notice a huge change in size as far as my legs go but I can definitely tell you they are A LOT stronger.  I also feel like I can see places where my skin is more smooth (i.e. Less cellulite) but maybe it’s just the lighting. Trust me, I’ve analyzed every pixel in these pics and have gone back and forth on posting so I may be seeing things. 

I wish every woman could go through this process.  You go into it focusing on all the things you want to lose… inches, weight, dress sizes, “tent” clothes, etc… and you will lose those things if you give yourself to the process. But, you come out of it having gained things like confidence, strength, new friends, willpower, education, and a wonderful support system.  The losses are good but the gains are great! 

BB Round 2 Wrap-Up

Loving Life Not According to Plan

Aaron and I are nearing our fifth wedding anniversary. Wow. Five years. It has FLOWN by… that must say something good about our marriage, right? 😊

I guess we are officially supposed to be out of the honeymoon phase.  When I look back on the last five years though, it’s funny to think that the first year was probably the most difficult.  Adjusting to sharing all of your space and time with someone else takes some getting used to.  Maybe we are doing it backwards but I couldn’t be happier that things have only gotten better and better with time. 

I’m currently sitting on the couch, drinking coffee, and enjoying a silent moment alone while Aaron and Lyla are sleeping in. I’ve been up since 4:50am – on purpose, it may be a holiday but Body Back doesn’t take any breaks. 😉 I could go back to sleep but I’m too buzzed from the workout and the caffeine. I’m just going to enjoy knowing my two loves are snuggled up snoozing and I have some time to reflect on this life we’ve created! 

Five years ago, I certainly never imagined my life would look like it does today. Back then I would have said I’d be working my tail off in corporate America to be somebody important. I’d have told you I wasn’t even sure I’d ever want to have kids.  Aaron probably would have told you he was a little worried about that too. I was going to be way too busy focusing on having a career, and let’s be honest – myself, to be a mom.  Aaron and I would be taking lots of vacations, going on adventures, and basically doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.  We’d be living the dream! 

Now, five years later, a lot has changed but some of those things worked out even if it wasn’t quite the way I’d thought. 

Here I am – a stay at home mom, something I never thought I’d say.  It turns out, I did become somebody important… maybe not to a lot of people, but certainly to the ones that count. Now I’m too busy focusing on being a mom and wife to have a career. My new little buddy and I go on adventures almost every day  – exciting places like the grocery store, the park, to workout, anywhere is exciting to a one year old. We go wherever and whenever we want. And when Aaron is home, the three of us pretty much still get to do whatever we want because Lyla is just so cool. 

I definitely did not picture being a stay at home mom. And if you’d told me five years ago that I’d be one, I DEFINITELY wouldn’t have thought I’d like it. It was not my dream. 

If I’m 100% honest, when I found out I was pregnant, I felt sort of…. indifferent. Part of me was excited but at the time it was probably more so on behalf of my husband who I knew did want kids. Then, one day I literally just woke up with a newfound faith in God’s plan for my life and confidence in the direction I was headed.  I let go of living life just for myself.  I let go of feeling like I needed to live up to my potential.  I let go of the ideas I had about my future that probably wouldn’t have made me happy anyway. I let go of worrying about what other people would think.  Letting go felt good! And I’d let go of anything for this little face ☺️

So… this may not be the life I’d thought I wanted or expected. It may not have been my dream but now that I have this life, I realize it IS a dream.  Simplicity, a slower pace, snuggles, and lots of love…. what more could I ask for? 


Loving Life Not According to Plan