Archive for October, 2014

True Hospitality vs. Our Instagram Feed

October 24th, 2014

We’ve had houseguests staying with us all week; my husband’s PhD supervisor, and his lovely wife, all the way from England.  So on Monday evening, just before their arrival, and about two hours into my frantic cleaning and trying to get the house in order, with one kid plopped in front of the tv and […]


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We’ve had houseguests staying with us all week; my husband’s PhD supervisor, and his lovely wife, all the way from England.  So on Monday evening, just before their arrival, and about two hours into my frantic cleaning and trying to get the house in order, with one kid plopped in front of the tv and the other one tied onto my back falling asleep, I realized that my mad-cleaning streak (while there’s nothing wrong with desiring a clean house!) was not much different than the standard so many of us hold ourselves to for our instagram profile…  We have this desire to only show ourselves as perfect, to only show the perfect side, the pretty side, the side that someone else might look at and think to themselves, “oooh, I want to be like that…”.  I wasn’t cleaning because I wanted to offer our guests a comfortable and peaceful place to stay, it was so I could say “look at us, we have it all together, there’s nothing for you to judge us about…”  And the truth is, we DON’T have it all together (otherwise, why would I have even needed to clean like a madwoman?!!).  But just because we still struggle with keeping our heads above water sometimes isn’t a reason to feel like we’ll be judged.  I don’t want to go through life only striving to show people the perfect side of me, because it most definitely doesn’t exist. (This post is being written at 2:30 am because it’s been on my heart to write it for a few days now, but it’s only just now that I’ve been able to sit down for the first time today without two kids on my lap, food to be cooked, and countless tutu’s to be made for a very special almost two year old’s party this weekend… I’m a last minute procrastinator type of girl, which drives my husband crazy, probably will never change, and will always mean that I most definitely don’t have it all together and am not perfect!)

I’ve realized that it’s not being the hostess with the cleanest house, and the most perfectly crisp sheets, it’s about being genuine.  Having a place to offer where someone can sit down and have a heartfelt conversation, and feel loved and accepted, and at home.  It’s not about offering the most perfectly plated food, it’s about offering a meal that is shared by people loving on each other.  It’s not about the most perfectly color coordinated decorations, it’s about making someone feel welcome and giving them a place to feel like they belong.  Yes, I do desire a clean house, but I so much more desire to be genuine with people, and to truly be seen as I am, and not be judged for who I can’t quite manage to become.  My instagram feed isn’t “perfect”, but it’s perfectly me, and that’s all I can strive to show, there and in my home.  We’ve made it a place where people can come and cozy up on our couch to talk, where kids can play and make memories, where meals can be shared and a kitchen can be cleaned later, and where messes happen and aren’t the end of the world.  And while that may be something I struggle to remind myself of from time to time, especially when I fall too much into the trap of comparing myself to what I deem to be those who are perfect around me, it’s true.

Friends, I want to encourage you to truly be genuine and be proud of who you are.  Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s virtual reality, to someone who only shows the perfect moments.  Don’t be the host that only lets your guests see the perfect side, the side that is gone as soon as they walk out the door.  Be real, and they will love you for it.

In the end, our house was not spotless when they arrived on Monday, and they got to know some of my true kitchen colors when they came home the first night and I had used literally every bowl and utensil in our kitchen to process and can two bushels of apples, and they loved me all the more for it.  They were so excited that I was taking the time to provide for my family, not upset that the kitchen was a little (or a lot!) bit cluttered when I served them their food.  They were grateful for the meal, and the conversations that came with it, and the mess sparked a great conversation, not judgements!  Your mess is your story, and it’s your beauty too, don’t be ashamed of what makes you you!

 

p.s.  My mom is coming to visit this weekend, so I will have to do a little bit of constant reminding to myself that a little mess is ok…  Why do we hold ourselves to an even higher standard around our moms?!!  xoxo, have a great weekend friends!

 

photo-21

Look at all those apples!

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Lingerie: What to Wear Under Your Wedding Dress

October 15th, 2014

The day I went wedding dress shopping, I walked into the boutique, picked out the first dress I wanted to try on and the first thing they handed me was a slightly bulky, white stretchy bustier with very structured cups and about 10 rows of hooks and eyes on the back to choose which size […]

 

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The day I went wedding dress shopping, I walked into the boutique, picked out the first dress I wanted to try on and the first thing they handed me was a slightly bulky, white stretchy bustier with very structured cups and about 10 rows of hooks and eyes on the back to choose which size fit you best.  What was supposed to be slimming, and help your dress fit over you like a glove, was uncomfortable, awkward, and not all that attractive.  Why?!  If you’re in the most beautiful dress you can imagine, for the day you’ve dreamed about forever, shouldn’t what you wear underneath make you feel just as gorgeous as the actual dress?

I spent the afternoon yesterday dreaming up a couple options that I would love to see worn under a wedding dress, instead of what they tried to hand me that day…  Why not a gorgeous little lace bustier that’s fit to you, or a vintage style high waisted panty and strapless bra set, or a shapewear slip with a beautiful ivory lace and silk panels?

There’s four different options here, to go under any style of dress, all designed to be slimming, and look and make you feel beautiful!

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(From left to right)

A bustier with a lace thong.  This bustier laces up in the back to pull you in tight, with a gorgeous lace panel and lines that make you look super slim!  Paired with a lace thong that won’t leave a mark on your hips and show through the dress, it’s perfect for underneath a dress where you need just that little extra bit of support!

Strapless bra with a vintage high waisted panty.  These are my favorite!  I adore high waisted panties! They’re slimming, they hide that awful panty line that shows up at your hips, and they make your dress flow right over.

Shapewear slip.  These are so much fun!  If it’s been fitted to you, it doesn’t have to have the 10 million rows of hook and eyes that the commercial versions have which tend to make the back very uncomfortable.  A good shaping slip will stretch in the right places, slim and tone where it’s needed, and your dress will sit right over top just beautifully!

Another strapless bra set.  This one is my personal favorite of the two!  Gold lace over blush silk?!  I would die to make this for one of my brides!

A silk short bustier paired with a tulle skirt.  Does your dress need a little volume underneath?  Wear a custom tulle skirt underneath instead of the normal crinolines, along with a bustier that’s fit to you and designed to match.  Wouldn’t that be fun?!

 

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Have a great day lovelies!

xoxo

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Bilingual Parenting: How We Do It

October 14th, 2014

Bilingual Parenting!  It’s so much fun! (Really it is, even if it’s a little challenging at times!)  I talked here about why we’ve chosen to bilingual parent our babies, but I’ve had a lot of people ask me for the how?  How do we do it, how do we make it work for us? There […]

 

Bilingual Parenting!  It’s so much fun! (Really it is, even if it’s a little challenging at times!)  I talked here about why we’ve chosen to bilingual parent our babies, but I’ve had a lot of people ask me for the how?  How do we do it, how do we make it work for us?

There are SO many different methods and models to raising your kids to speak multiple languages, you really have to find what works best for your family, and what both parents can agree on.  If both parents don’t speak the second language, sometimes one parent can feel left out, so you have to find the compromises that work for you!  Since Piper was born (almost two years ago!! holy cow that time flew by!!) we’ve gone with the one parent one language method, or OPOL, as a lot of people call it.  We stick to this pretty exclusively, but with some exceptions.  Guillaume will always speak French to the kids, and I’ll always speak English.  It changes a little for example when we take trips to France, I’ll speak more French with the kids than normal, because I’m in the midst of lots of French conversations, and we’re around his family, whom not all speak English.  We’ve been lucky with bilingual parenting, because we both are fluent in each of the languages we’re teaching, so we understand everything that the other parent is saying.  This has been working extremely well for us, Piper has a very full vocabulary in both languages, and will have super adorable conversations with us in either language.

Our plan is to continue with OPOL until our kids start school, and then we’ll reevaluate.  If we feel like they’re getting enough English outside the house, but not enough French within, we have the option of switching to speaking only French within our house.  I would also love to bring a French au pair into our house for a while at some point.  I worked as an au pair in France for a year, and I loved it, and I would love to offer that opportunity for a young girl to come live with us at some point…

One of the best parts of bilingual parenting are the new friendships it’s brought into our lives.  Just the other day, we found out that there’s a French family living in our neighborhood with two little kids, one a month younger than Piper, and one 4 days younger than Eaden.  Perfect!!  The kids get together and play a couple times a week, it’s helping Piper’s French to grow, and their little boy’s English to grow, and this mama has a new mama friend!

So there’s no official right or wrong way to bilingual parent, there’s just what works for you and your family, and what both parents feel comfortable and confident with.  If you start with something and find it’s not working, try something new, switch it up and start over a little!  It’s such a fun adventure, and little kids speaking other languages is one of the cutest things in my opinion!

 

Good luck!

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Tulle Ballgown Custom Wedding Dress Inspiration

October 13th, 2014

We’re bundled up in sweaters and thick tights up here in New York City, the cold has finally arrived and it’s lovely!  We spent the day apple picking upstate yesterday and the leaves were gorgeous!  The drive through the Hudson River Valley is one of my absolute favorites!  I tried to cozy up with some […]

 

We’re bundled up in sweaters and thick tights up here in New York City, the cold has finally arrived and it’s lovely!  We spent the day apple picking upstate yesterday and the leaves were gorgeous!  The drive through the Hudson River Valley is one of my absolute favorites!  I tried to cozy up with some tea this morning, only to discover we were out of milk…  (I love black tea with milk, and honestly can’t drink it any other way!)

So, on this lovely fall morning, I thought I’d share a little bit of wedding inspiration that I just put together for a friend.  Think winter, white, tulle, fluffy flowers…  One of these dresses is for an upcoming styled shoot, but I can’t tell you which yet!

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I hope you’re enjoying thick sweaters and hot mugs filled with your favorite fall drink as much as I am!

xoxo

p.s. some of our apple orchard favorites!

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Nursing Mamas, Recipes to Boost Your Milk Supply!

October 9th, 2014

Last week I opened up about how Eaden gave up on nursing for a few days because there wasn’t enough milk for him to get a full feeding, so he wasn’t interested in nursing at all.  And then after 3 long days of trying everything we could to boost my supply, he finally started nursing […]


Posted in: Mums & Mamans
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Last week I opened up about how Eaden gave up on nursing for a few days because there wasn’t enough milk for him to get a full feeding, so he wasn’t interested in nursing at all.  And then after 3 long days of trying everything we could to boost my supply, he finally started nursing again!  I had a lot of people asking for advice for how to boost your supply and get milk back when your baby decides not to eat, or when your body won’t produce enough, so I thought I’d share what worked for us!  There are a lot of options out there for how to boost your milk, I’ve just always been surprised that so many of the people I talk to don’t know about it!

The main thing is food and drink!  You need to be drinking LOTS of water!!  And Mother’s Milk nursing tea is great too!  I wasn’t the biggest fan of it hot, so I drank an iced version of it…  And did you know that there are specific foods that will help boost milk?!  Like dark chocolate!  Lentils too.  (They work better than chocolate, but I had to list that one first, I mean… chocolate!!)  Flaxseed, oats, fenugreek, and brewers yeast are a couple others that work great too!  Here’s a couple options for how to use them:

1. Lactation cookies!  Have you ever heard of these?  They’re delicious!  Basically a chocolate chip cookie with some extra goodies added in to help with your milk.  Here’s a recipe that’s delicious, and uses all the necessities- flaxseed, chocolate, oats, and brewers yeast, and you can even throw in a dash of fenugreek on your own.

2. Homemade popcorn, sprinkled with brewers yeast. Yes, I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s an old family favorite of ours.  Sprinkle a good amount of brewers yeast over your popcorn (Yes, you can still put butter and salt on too!), turn on your favorite movie, curl up on the couch to relax, and munch on your popcorn.

3. Lentil salad:  This is one of our favorite lunch recipes, and given that its main ingredient are the lentils, it’s definitely a good one for milk!

1-2 cups lentils, cooked

A couple steamed carrots, chopped

Ham, chopped/diced,etc.

Tomatos, diced

1/4 purple onion, finely diced

2 hard boiled eggs, diced

Salt, Pepper

 

Sauce:

equal parts Olive oil and Balsalmic Vinegar (We prefer Raspberry vinegar, but I’ve never seen it outside of France!)

a couple squirts of dijon mustard

Garlic clove, finely chopped.

 

*Mix all the ingredients together, and pour the sauce over.  Mix, eat chilled or hot!

 

Along with being intentional about the food you’re eating, be sure to pump as well!  If you want to boost your supply, pump each time after the baby nurses, even if you’re not getting any milk.  It will still begin to make a difference!  If the baby won’t nurse, but you want to boost your supply so that they will start to again, pump on the same schedule you want them to be eating on.

None of this is an exact science, there’s lots of options for great recipes and foods to eat to help with your milk production, these are just some of our favorites!  I ate the food and drank the tea, plus pumped lots and lots for 3 days and then it finally started to make a difference!  It takes time, but just relax, do your best to stay calm, and if you’re like me, make sure you have a good shoulder to cry on when you’re feeling a little bit down because it’s taking too long!

Good luck!

xoxo

p.s. I love chatting with mamas about nursing and helping them figure things out, and I’d love to chat with you if you’re having a hard time!!

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Joy Chosen!

October 6th, 2014

Friends, I think I could write for weeks and weeks about all the amazing truth that was shared at the incredible conference I snuck away to for a week!  (And maybe I will, who knows!…)  I was blessed enough to attend the Pursuit 31 conference down in Georgia, and it was overflowing with amazing worship, […]


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Friends, I think I could write for weeks and weeks about all the amazing truth that was shared at the incredible conference I snuck away to for a week!  (And maybe I will, who knows!…)  I was blessed enough to attend the Pursuit 31 conference down in Georgia, and it was overflowing with amazing worship, speakers, beautiful women, and JOY!  It’s taken me this past week of being home to process everything that was said, and finally be in a place where I feel I really can write about it!
The “theme” of the week was joy, and apparently I hadn’t been paying close enough attention when I looked at the conference details, because I had NO idea!!  And it was incredibly fitting, and one of those God moments when it all finally clicked.  The first day, I sat there thinking, ok, this is all fine and lovely, but it doesn’t mean much to me… I’m happy, things are great, why am I spending a week away from my family hearing teachings about joy?  Worship and teaching were great the first evening, wonderful actually, but I wasn’t affected much.  Same thing the next morning, and then somewhere in the space of that afternoon, in the sweet Georgia air on the grounds of an old dairy farm, I finally felt it.  True, unencumbered, sweet, sweet joy, overflowing in a way that I realized I hadn’t felt in a long long time.  It snuck up on me like a long lost friend, coming to sit and chat and catch up and remind me just how much I had truly missed them.
You see, I am an introvert…  Yes, when I get pulled out of my shell I can look very much like an extrovert, but then after a while I must run back to my silence and retreat inside myself to regroup, recharge, and be ready to face the world again.  I can spend all day having conversations with myself, sitting in the back of the room people watching, letting life go on around me, silently observing.  And I realized while I was sitting down that day in Georgia, that I had let this quality consume too much of me, I had let it overtake me a bit too much, and in some ways I had forgotten how to truly feel.  “Choose Joy”.  There was beautiful artwork all over the conference that said this.  Don’t just feel joy, but choose it.  Take it.  It’s yours!  A few years ago, in our struggle to get pregnant and start a family, I forgot that it was a choice.  That I could still be joyful even when everything screamed out that I shouldn’t be.  And I let myself feel like that for far too long.  I retreated inside myself a bit too much, and I put on a face of joy, even when I didn’t truly feel it because it was easier than talking about what was really going on.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I have had a wonderful past few years.  Incredible really.  We have two amazing and beautiful children,  I have a marriage that makes me want to shout out loud for how happy we are, I get to spend my days with my kids and working towards running my dream business.  But somewhere in there I did forget to consistently choose the path of joy, even when it’s hard.  I found that path again down in Georgia, and I have to say it’s even sweeter than the tea they were serving!  One of the things that God truly laid on my heart this past week was to start sharing more, open up more, and to share more of the details of both of our babies birth stories, because I know that there are other women out there who have been hurt too, and maybe, just maybe, the struggle that I went through can help some of them too.

Happy Monday friends! xoxo