Showing posts with label all-posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label all-posts. Show all posts

Why I'm Marching.

Today, as the inauguration of the 45th president was happening live in Washington D.C. I sat at a dining room table ironing vinyl letters to the front of a cotton t-shirt. The girls and I are marching in the Women's March tomorrow afternoon in Atlanta. We'll be wearing shirts that we made.

When I became a mother I always knew I wanted to be the kind that had long conversations with my child. I enjoy being generous with how I inform her. Only now, she is 2 and catching the meaning of things faster than I can frame my explanations. I struggle to know which conversations we are ready for.

I see my role in parenting as a steward. As the person who illustrates what a choice looks like. The adult who makes moral responsibility appear on a blank page. I am the one who can draw kindness and make it real, for my daughter who eagerly waits to see what she can make out from the strokes I am placing in front of her eyes.

As her mother I am the steward of her right and wrong.

From the comforts of our home, where the tv chirps the rhymes of Daniel Tiger to the beat of a dishwasher being unloaded, and the chaos of our day is trying to get the toddler to eat her fish sticks instead of cramming them into the pocket size hole in her booster seat, the 3 bedroom world she knows well is control by us; it has minnow size rights and wrongs. It's out there that my explanations feel inadequate. Out there, where the questions get a little harder to answer as her eyes grow wider. In this very real world, I feel cheated of words for how to respond when she asks me about the man on the park bench, and if he is sad.

But that doesn't mean I stop talking. I'm convinced this bold and uncertain world is ever in need of our motherly conversations.

When I heard about the Million Women March happening in D.C. I was moved and excited, because I believe this march is a conversation that needs to be heard. Because when hundreds of thousands of women, men and children plan to show up in their cities to unite and voice their concerns, you better believe I'm going to pay attention. Because our explanations can only serve us if we are truly willing to listen. Because I'm not going to pretend I know your story. Because my best explanations include everyone. So yeah, I'm marching. And though I couldn't physically make it to Washington, uniting in my own city of Atlanta with my neighbors and friends feels pretty darn awesome too.

I watch my 2 year old collect new understandings at an exponential pace. This makes me realize that I too must continue to engage intentionally with the things that are hardest to understand about our world. I have to show up and at least try.

Because what scares me more than a difficult question, is the silence of misunderstanding. As a country, we can't afford to have that happen.

I'm looking forward to the day when Florence reaches the age that we talk about history. We'll talk about the Women's March that happened on January 21, 2017, and, as her mother, I can say I was there.


Glasses Shop

This is my second sponsored blog post, and I really only say yes to working with brands and companies that I, myself, love and feel good about sharing with all of you. Today, I'm collaborating with to show off how to get away with wearing non-prescription glasses.

My mom has been a glasses wearer for most of her life, and as a girl growing up my mom was my beauty icon. On her, glasses were an endearing attribute, one that I loved because, for me, they symbolized her and all the beauty that I saw in her. As a kid, I never needed glasses, which most would consider lucky, but to my 10-year-old self, it came as a bit of a disappointment.

Now, that I'm a mom, and a maturing lady, I decided that if I want to change the way I look or take on a new style, or look a little more like my own momma, why shouldn't I? So, I ordered myself a pair of glasses; a cool transparent pink, wayfarer style pair. I wear them as an accessory, mixed in with some denim and a little bit of dirty, no shower hair :)

They have a great variety of glasses online, as well as prescription sunglasses. And for someone who impatiently awaits mail/packages, I was stoked to see them arrive at my door in one week! If you want to get your hands on some of these frames, RaisingGirl readers can use the code: GSHOT50 to get 50% off eye glasses and sunglasses with free lenses (sale frames excluded).

Photos by: Stefanie Meyer

It's good to be a little daring with your style, get out of your box and wear glasses if you want to. Dye your hair purple if it makes you feel more alive. I'm a big advocate for expressing your self with fashion. You do you. Let's see what Florence takes from that as she gets older...


Tracking My Cycle with Clue

Between the ages of 18-24, I didn't have a regular menstrual cycle. That's 6 years of my life, my womanhood, that I lived without a clue as to what was happening with my own body.

After seeing a nutritionist and getting some help with a long-term eating disorder, my body resumed its normal cycles, and I finally had a period again. After being clueless for so long, I now have this deep appreciation for my period. Many women probably laugh to hear me say, my period is sacred. But, the truth is, for me my period signifies that my body is on track, it's a reminder to myself that I have come a long way from the unhealthy girl I was for years. And, of course, my period will always be connected to my journey to having Florence.

A few months back, I discovered Clue, a company in Berlin that makes tracking your period and ovulation accurate, fast and friendly. And guess what?! They have an app and, ladies, it's free. I think I love my period even more, now.

I used to track my cycle by making little black "x"'s in the corners of my planner days. Clue helps me track all the things that come along with my periods like pain, mood, fluid, and sexual activity. There's even an option to enter good hair vs. bad hair days because we all know that is a real thing, am I right?! One of my friends who is a creative entrepreneur uses the app to track her motivation/productivity on a daily basis to help her identify patterns that affect her workflow.

The best thing about using the Clue app: it empowers me by providing a simple way for me to track my own period and see a complete picture of how my cycle affects me. 

What I Love about Clue:
-user friendly
-simple icon-based design
-tracks emotional side effects, as well as, physical ones
-it's free!

Do you track your period?


7 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety

Balance is something I talk about a lot. One thing that most people don't realize is that balance looks different for every person. Depending on the needs of your body, the work you do, the diet you eat,  your relationships, and your money; you are the best person to decide what things help you feel balanced. 

I've noticed that especially since I became a mom staying balanced in my head, body and spirit has become a lot more complicated, but even more necessary.  My need for a release after a rough day is non-negotiable. I've started to see a few things as essential to my well-being as a person first, and a mom second. When I take the opportunity to prioritize what makes me feel better it, absolutely, trickles down into my mothering. 

Mental illness runs in my family. We've got anxiety on one side, and depression on the other. I guess my feet were placed in the valley where the two things come together - I deal with both.

My first experience with depression started in college. It was during that time that I started to realize that I had all the symptoms. I went for days without sleeping and had no appetite, except for sugary things. I couldn't concentrate on any of my school work. Deadlines were physically crushing me. I have this memory that I consider to be my rock bottom. It's an image of me sitting in my idling car in the grocery store parking lot. I was hunched over the stirring wheel, letting the tears push through my eyes. I didn't know where to go, there was no where to go, but my urge to escape from this unexplainable sadness was so real. It made me numb from head to toe. If you've ever experienced anxiety or depression, you can understand that this pain is hard to talk about, even now, five years later.

Thankfully, I got some help that year. I went on medication and it helped me curb my depression through the roughest patch. I was able to graduate and enjoy my final semester. Since that painful winter in college, I've done a lot of research. Mostly, I've studied my own patterns and made notes about the things that positively correspond with my mental well-being. I needed to understand how to shape my life in a way that allows me to manage my mental health everyday.

Going into motherhood, I knew I was up against a big challenge. Depression and anxiety are very common experiences for women and their postpartum journey. What was I up against as someone who dealt with these things before pregnancy? I resisted from letting myself feel total doom, but I also didn't want to be blindsided again.

Through some analysis, I've found 7 things to be vital tools for helping me curb my anxiety and depression. I can almost always link my ups and downs to how well I've been taking care of myself. I find that when one or more of these gets way out of balance I can start to feel my anxiety revving up. 

My 7 Therapies     

Lack of sleep has by far been the hardest part about motherhood for me. Since adolescence I've always needed A LOT of sleep. Like ideally, 12 hours. I know, it sounds crazy but I've forced myself to get used to having less sleep and I just don't feel as good. I've also noticed that lack of sleep is the number one trigger for my anxiety.     

Limit Caffeine.
I just have to. For me, that means almost zero coffee, even decaf still has enough caffeine in it that it bothers me. I have to watch chocolate too. Caffeine is definitely linked to my anxiety. It also hugely affects my ability to sleep deeply. 

Move Everyday.

I've been a jogger since I was an early teen. I started doing it to lose weight in middle school and then kept it up. Now, it's my biggest mental release. Honestly, going for a run is my quickest most effective therapy. If I start to feel anxiety creeping up, I grab for my running shoes, load Florence into the stroller and get moving.   

Eat for Your Body Type.

There is an amazing book called, The Chemistry of Joy  by M.D. Henry Emmons and Rachel Kranz, which uses Ayurveda medicine to teach you what foods are best for your body type. Before I read this, I ate fine but once I made the connection between certain foods and how they made me feel, I've been able to use food as a way to balance my mind and fuel myself with the nutrition appropriate for someone with my body type. 

Find Your Outlets.

My ideal setting for decompressing is a quiet room, by myself, with a sketch pad and some colors. I draw to relax and escape. It's a perfect tool for me when I need to turn off my thoughts. Ideally, find an outlet that is easy to create for yourself and free, so it's at your fingertips when you need it most.  

I'm not talking about drinking it. For me, being around a body of water makes me feel at peace. Since I don't live close enough to walk to water where I live in the city, I take a shower or soak in the bath.

Stillness. Prayer. Meditation. Breathing.

If you have a mind that tends to race, like mine, you need to implement some form of stillness in your routine. I'm a restless person so I'm constantly moving, and because of that I often feel unsatisfied but exhausted at the end of the day. Call it yoga or whatever you want, but finding time to slow down, close your eyes and breathe can change everything for the rest of your day. 

What tools do you use for dealing with anxiety and depression? 


Finding Your Personal Style Post Motherhood

Last week my favorite podcast, Being Boss, did an interview with Tiffany Ima on finding your style. Hearing her advice was an answered prayer. I found solutions for so many of my style issues and I could not wait to write this post. 

After motherhood, I was at a total loss when it came to my own sense of style. As someone who finds a lot of joy and confidence in expressing myself through fashion, this was confusing for me.  My closet hadn't changed at all before and after having Florence and my shape hadn't changed dramatically either. So I couldn't really explain why I just felt awkward in my old clothes.

Until I realized, after being pregnant and now a parent, how I feel about myself has fundamentally shifted, and I decided my style needs to as well. 

For years I've been a consistent closet purger. I like to be able to see everything in my closet. I find that if I can narrow down to the few things I always want to wear then getting dressed is way more simple and I'm more willing to try new combinations because the choices are not overwhelming.

I have a tendency to immediately then start buying new things to fill up all the space I just created. Instead of taking the time to consider what I actually want to add to my wardrobe, I just refill it with things that seem like a good idea, or that I like the idea of and in a few months my closet is all congested again. 

So this time, I followed Tiffany Ima's advice and after doing my closet cleanse I came up with a few words to describe my new style and created a Pinterest board. The three words I chose are: sexy, comfortable/relaxed, and of course, minimalist

 I love this because now I have a goal for my style and I have some guidelines for when I'm shopping that will help me be happy in the long term. No more quick fixes with closet fillers. I actually want to take my time and slowly build my new, mom confident wardrobe.

Do you share my style problems? What are your solutions? I'd love to hear how you've embraced your post motherhood style.


18 Months // Growing Pains

I laid in bed the other night thinking about Florence, as I do so many nights. I still had the bedtime song we sing playing in my head, "Elmo sings you a song, a kiss on the cheek...". I thought about the food she didn't eat for dinner, bits of pasta and chicken scattered around her placemat, a mess I lazily leave to clean up in the morning. I remember how today she said the word "mermaid", clear as day, my heart violently applauding her from down the hallway. 

With my head on the pillow, it hit me that I know all these things, only I do. 

I started to think how if something happened to me, where would all these special and specific pieces of knowledge go? If one morning I just didn't wake up? Of course, there is Papa, but it's me that is home everyday. It's me that sings our favorite songs and decides when we go or stay. Me that knows that "oosh" means shoes and "eesh" means cheese. I am the key to the box of her most intimate moments. For now, at least, I know all of it.

So I wrote out a list titled "Florence 18 Months, Everything You Need to Know". I used every remaining page in my notebook.  

Today we visited the home where Flori will be starting daycare in a few weeks. Just two days a week. Really, just one full day and one half day. Really, just 12 hrs. This is a step that feels gigantic for me. One that I've been inching towards everyday since I first held her. For her, it's like moving up in shoe sizes. She'll do it and it's only me that can see the old, smaller pairs sitting on the shelf. 

I realize it's less that she needs me, it's more that I am scared to miss out on knowing every detail.

But I know too, that I can do this. I will be okay. I do believe there are gifts hidden in these changes ahead of us, in getting a few hours to work quietly in my studio. The mental clarity I'll have a chance at with those few afternoons to myself will pay off. It's a step we both will grow into. These are the growing pains that I knew would one day come. I just didn't remember how much they can ache.  


DIY Play Scape

Hey friends, last week I made this play scape for Florence's animals and a few of you asked me to put it up on the blog so you could be inspired to make your own. One of my favorites of all of Flori's toys are her sets of animal figurines. Out of desperation, I bought a little pail of these mini ones at the airport a few weeks ago on our way back from Utah! We recently went to the zoo with my sister and nieces and seeing the animals there got me thinking I want to make a little "zoo" for Flori's animals. 

So I went digging through my craft supplies to see what I could conjure up. I just used a flat piece of card board (an insert from something) and cut pieces of felt out for the "terrain". I also had some of these green grassy balls and craft moss (you can get at Hobby Lobby or Michaels). I found some craft pebbles too, which are Florence's favorite thing to try and pull off. 

Arrange all your pieces to make your own play scape and then use a hot glue gun to secure it all in place. It's a fun and cheap little project to play with! Share pics with me on IG of how yours turns out!

happy zoo building :)


When the Sun is Out

Florence and I just got back from spending a week with my sister in Utah. She has three amazing girls. And, though I don't get to see them more than once a year, I still love the connections I have to each of them. It's been quite special to see them grow and change. They're a fuller version of themselves each time I see them again.

The best part of being an aunt is that you're not the parent, and therefore, you can just be a grown up kid. During the week with my nieces, we spent time making music videos with that app, Musically. It's a favorite past time of mine now, if you've never played with it, you probably should. We jumped on the trampoline and drove their big family four-wheeler around the neighborhood. We watched Frozen (my first time, wow) and ate ice cream. We painted nails and read books and talked about boys. I love their individualities, as sisters and as girls. It reminds me of how each child comes in to the world with a different lens, it's beautiful to nurture to their unique beings.

This is a photoshoot I did with my 12 yr old niece, one of the last days of our visit. She was my first niece, and I lived with her for a short time when she was 2. I remember wondering what kind of person she would grow up to be, as I played with her, a barely walking human then. At 12, she's bright and witty and loves basketball. She draws and writes stories. She's incredibly caring and her sisters look up to her with both eyes. I'm so excited to see where her heart is led as she continues to grow. You're a sun, my girl, I'll always see your place in the sky.  


Atlanta, the peach of my eye

The spring time in Atlanta, with its budding trees and warm sidewalks, is the time of year when I go back to that first impression I had of this place, one year ago. You see, this week marks our one year anniversary in Atlanta, when we made that first big decision as two young parents, to move. Here. 

The red lights are longer. Sidewalks are often broken into crumbs where tree roots have won. My car stereo has 6 different stations of hip hop programmed into it. And, regrettably, left turn lanes have become a luxury (something you only treasure in their absence). When we first moved here all these things stuck out to me, all the small revelations that are enough to remind you've come from some place else. Until inevitably, they fade, absorbed into the carpet of the places we've been and will go.

It was easy to jump into thinking that this last year has gone by with little else to focus on then the raising of our girl, this has been her first year, and we have absolutely felt our biggest transformations because it of. But for the stride we've made as a family, we owe credit to Atlanta. Going into our move here my approach was like, "I'll pretty much be house bound for a good year with this little baby, so it doesn't really matter where we live". I was so wrong. Atlanta mattered. Atlanta is where I (we) needed to be this whole house bound year.

Why? We needed Atlanta because we needed to start something together. We needed a risk. And distractions. We needed to be the three of us standing on our own.  We needed to wake up and see a skyline with unknowns. We needed discussions provoked by a big city, in the South. And grocery store lines that have different stories to tell. We needed grace in the form of something that was uncertain. We needed to muster trust like no other. And really go with it. We needed to see that community can happen suddenly, sometimes. And it makes a new place feel so unexpectedly like home.

Now my skin is [even] thinner. I've acclimated to winters that dip only to the 30s. For a few short days. I sing along with the radio and its hip hoppin' beats.  Florence knows the streets we walk to get to the park from our house, she points and pushes me to keep going until we can hear the kids playing at last. There are a lot of things we left when we decided to move here a year ago, and I know both Alex and I still feel a tug, now and then, from the life we left in Texas. But Atlanta was written into our geographies for a reason. And that reason has only felt like one big blessing. One big peachy, Southern blessing. 

I'm putting together a list of some of our favorite Atlanta things, so keep an eye out for it!