Tuesday, December 1, 2015

31 days of Self-care

Holidays are a hard time to stay on top of self-care with all the festivities going on, but as I'm finishing up the 1st semester of the bachelor completion program at Pacific University, I feel like I've been run through a food processor and then tossed out to the pigs for a snack. My body, mind, and spirit are craving some much-needed TLC. Most people wait until after the holidays to take care of themselves, well, I can't afford that as in January I will be starting the 2nd semester of school.

Therefore, I am dedicating the month of December to self-care. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram as I post each day, starting today, on self-care tips and pictures. #31daysofselfcare

Happy Holidays and don't forget to give yourself a little love too.



Monday, November 2, 2015

Sleep or Die

I hear people making jokes about sleep all time on mom blogs, mom groups, fellow co-workers, classmates, family, friends, and Mr. Joe Bob walking down the street.

"Sleep? what's that?"

"You're a mom, you don't get to sleep."

"Say bye-bye to sleep for the next 18 years."

"I'm a student. I don't get to sleep."

"I'll sleep when I die."

And the list goes on. I used to say these things until about a month ago when my classmates and I were Google chatting and stressing about several big assignments dues in that week. Some of them were staying up all Saturday night to finish the final paper. One classmate made the comment "Sleep is for the weak."

For some reason those 5 words did not sit well with me. Not because she said it or that they were directed at me, heaven knows, I've said them before too. But something about this time irked me. Especially since I chose to sleep that night instead of staying up to write a paper that felt like pulling teeth with a pair of dull scissors. Was I weak for not pushing through to get this assignment done?

After a few weeks of thinking about why the comment bothered me, I realized that staying up to write a paper didn't prove anything. It didn't make me strong. It wouldn't have made the paper better than what I turned in at the last minute. Choosing sleep over work, school, extracurricular activities, or anything else, did not make me weak.

I cannot tell how many times people have said "Must be nice" when I mentioned I took a nap. For some reason in our culture, sleep is viewed like a luxury. Sleep isn't a luxury nor should it be. Sleep is vital to the human body like food, water, air, and movement. If you don't get enough sleep your health will decline.

For me when I don't get enough sleep, my stress level shoots through the roof and my mental state spirals downward into the pits of despair. I have to sleep. Sure, sleeping in these days is a luxury and so is taking a 3 hour nap in the middle of the day, but getting a decent 7-8 hours a night is as important to me as making sure I pee everyday or drink water. If I don't make get my sleep at night, I make sure I either nap during the day or go to bed early the following night.

Here's why sleep is so important to me:
  • decreased productivity
  • increased depression
  • decreased immunity (I don't have time to get sick)
  • increased bad attitude
  • decreased memory retention (something I can't afford to have happen while in school)
  • increased mistakes at work and school
  • bad habits resurge
  • when mom's not happy, nobody is happy

You see, housework, schoolwork, TV shows, books, writing, and everything else can wait. They will always be there, but sleep won't. Once you lose the hours, you can't get them back. The more you chip away at your sleep the more your body will pay for it later. So many of our diseases today are related to stress and lack of sleep, including Alzheimer's Disease. Your body needs to recover and it won't if you don't giving it enough time to do it's job.

Now, there are times when sleep isn't an option. I know all about those teething babies or sick toddlers that only want to be rocked all night. But guess what, eventually they do go to sleep and you should try to catch as many zzz's with them as possible. Nap when you can. So many moms I know, claim they can't nap so they don't even try, yet they complain about not getting enough rest. If you have the opportunity to lay down and close your eyes for even 15 minutes, do it or you are wasting a chance to let your body take a break.

I'm a full-time working, full-time student, writing mom and I still can find 15 minutes to close my eyes. Sometimes I do fall asleep, but mostly I fall into a deep relaxation that comes pretty close to sleep. When I get up, I feel so much better. Those little "naps" help me get through the crazy stress of being a student and working mama. And I make sure I'm in bed by 9:30 during the week so I can get at least 6.5 hours of sleep before I get up at 4:30 am to start work.

I have to say my grades could be better and but 10 years from now when I'm suffering from a heart attack or diabetes because I didn't let my body do it's thing my grades won't mean shit. It's sleep or die for me.

Photo credit: Albumarium.com

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Learning to Unplug

A few weeks ago, I decided on a whim to take my daughter for a hike early Saturday morning. When we got down to the car and I had her all buckled into the car seat, I realized I'd left my phone upstairs in our 3rd floor condo. In that moment, I knew that if I unbuckled her and we went back up, we'd never make it out the door again, and decided to go without it. As I merged onto the freeway, the tendrils of panic began to tighten around my chest.

What if we broke down? What if got lost on the trail? What if my husband wakes up and doesn't know where we are at? What if, what if, WHAT IF the world ended right in the next hour.....

I told myself we'd go to Multnomah Falls because enough people were there if something were to happen, we could get help. As soon as we crossed over the Sandy river bridge, I pulled off the highway following the signs to Lewis and Clark State Park, a place I'd never been before, AKA not Multnomah Falls. I'd driven pass this park before and wondered where the trail went. Somehow that morning, I thought would be a good time to explore a new trail with a toddler without my PHONE!

There were a couple other cars parked in the lot so I knew we wouldn't be totally alone on the trail. After getting over my fears, we set off with water and snacks in my bag. Oh, what a beautiful morning it turned out to be. Hints of fall colors sprinkled the foliage around us as we climbed up the hill. We spotted birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. Boo loved all the different bugs we came across, including the spider, who's web I almost walked into.

As we climbed higher the trial became more rocky and narrow. We had to climb over boulders more and more until we reached half way up and I discovered why the path had become so rough. Shear cliff surfaces met us as trail leveled off. Boo instantly spotted metal loops in the rock above us. Soon we heard voices as we walked along and discovered a couple of young guys climbing with ropes. Boo's eyes lit up at the sight. "What are they doing, mama?" She asked.

I explained that they were rock-climbing and used ropes and other equipment to stay safe. You can guess what she wanted to do next, but I told her she needed to take lessons at the rock-climbing gym first before I could let her climb here. We eventually turned around and went back the way we came. In all we spent 1.5 hours out in nature hiking. We had so much fun and I kind of dreaded returning back home to technology. That part surprised me.

15 years ago, I didn't have a cell phone or a personal computer. There was no Facebook or Twitter. At my job, I used a computer to schedule appointments and register patients, but we still wrote chart notes by hand. I checked my email 2-3 times a week at the library.

Now, I work 40/week in front of a computer as all the work I do is electronic. On top of that, I spend about 16 hours/week working on my BS degree program which is purely online. Add to that 5-8 hours of writing, marketing, and personal finance use per week and I'm spending up to 62 hours in front of a computer screen if not more. This is not even including my smart phone time and social media. When did my life turn into a scene from a sci-fi flick?

I'd tried to limit my screen time as much as possible before bed-time but now with school, I've let my rules slack a bit. But this little hiking trip really nailed it for me. I NEED to unplug or I will loose my mind. That night I made 3 commitments: 1) to put my phone on airplane mode after 9 pm until I got up to work at 4 am, 2) turn my phone off when I'm out hiking or in nature, and 3) when I'm with friends the phone goes in the purse on silent.

Had my brought my phone with me that morning, I guarantee you anyone within a mile radius would have heard me shrieking as I tried to get the spider off my head because I was too busy taking an Instagram shot and not paying attention the web across the path.

Photo Credit: Jordan McQueen www.unsplash.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I recently did a blog post for Portland Moms Blog on Filling the Mama Well and how it's not just one well, but three: mind, body, and spirit. For me nature fills all my wells and an important factor in self-care.

What do I mean when I say Nature?

According to the Webster's Dictionary the definition of nature is "the physical world and everything in it (such as plants, animals, mountains, oceans, stars, etc.) that is not made by people." That means going outside on my balcony and sitting in the sun, listening to the birds in the near by trees, and feeling the wind on my face is part of nature.

Now to be honest, I much rather go for a long walk on an empty beach and stand in the surf, breathing in the revitalizing ocean air or hike to the the many gorgeous waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge and smell the rich, earthy forest scents, but when that isn't possible I can make time for nature right here in my home.

Spending time in nature is a key element to filling the mind, body, and spirit well, but also provide healing from the harsh energies that surround modern life.

So how does nature fill the wells?

Mind. There are many studies out there that show the benefits of nature. For example one study done at Stanford showed a decrease in anxiety and improvement in cognition. These are just two of the many ways fills the mind well. For me a hike in the woods, calms my mind, gives me clarity in decision-making, and the endorphin boost from the physical movement give me the feeling of well-being.

Body. Humans are made to move, when we don't things don't go so well. Exercising outside only adds to the abundance positives from nature. First of all when you are out in the park all of your senses are being exposed to nature. The fresh air helps with detoxifying your body when you exercise. A simple walk through the local park not only fills the mind well, but your body's well too.

Spirit. Nature is one of the best ways to feed the soul. Nature inspires creativity, nature sounds heal, and nature smells uplift. Take a moment and go outside. Take off your shoes and let your feet touch the earth. Focus on cool feeling of the dirt or grass touching your soles. What do your feel? Do you feel pulled down deeper as if growing roots into the earth? To your toes tingle? Follow whatever you are feeling for a few minutes and then come back to your body. How do you feel now? Chances are you are feeling pretty grounded. This is my go -to exercise when I feel like the world is pulling me in every direction.

Here are some other nature tips that have helped me:
  • Walking around the playground at the park while my daughter plays
  • Standing in the grass bare-foot for 5-10 minutes
  • Sitting on a rock near a river or stream and sticking my feet in the water
  • Watering the flowers and plants on my balcony
  • Weeding the planters and pruning the dead flowers 
  • Taking a 15-20 minute jog through a nature park
  • Drinking my morning tea or a glass of water outside on my balcony
  • Watching the sunset or sunrise
  • Doing 15-20 minute yoga stretches outside in the park or on my balcony
  • Dedicating a weekly hour to a specific "hobby" in nature like hiking, kayaking, biking, skiing, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, or whatever is appropriate for the season you are in and location you live in.
 OK, now it's your turn. Please share your nature tips below in the comments.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Last days of Summer

Hi ya'll!

Welcome back to Urban Goddess Revealed. So many things have changed in my personal and professional goals over the summer. From the beginning, my goal for this blog was to empower women, moms in particular, but really all females in general. The world is a hard place and though woman have come a long way, there is still so much more work to do in regards to equality, balance, and creating.

The world we are living in today is not the same as our mother's or grandmother's. Roles are constantly changing for both men and women. Society demands keep growing. The modern mother should be able to keep a home, raise her children, succeed in her career, and be the gracious doting wife, mother, and supportive member of the community. I say bull shit. Living to those kind of expectations is ridiculous. I tried once (twice, okay many times) and crashed hard. It's just not sustainable. Yes, we women are powerful, strong, and amazing creatures, but we still have our limits. Those limits change from day to day and we need to be aware of them. And like Elizabeth Gilbert said in one of her interviews, women today don't have roll models to look up to as did our mothers and grandmothers, so we keep peeking into each other's lives to see what is working and not. That's why I started this blog, so you could have a peek into my life and see if there is something I'm doing that might help you in yours. Heavens know, I'm not saint or have it all figured out. Far from it. We are all treading new ground. We are in this story together.

This summer as I took time off for my family and myself, I learned many things about myself.
  • I'm a people-pleaser. Half of my problems stem from this. Life is too short to waste time on people who don't want to rise above their situation and live a better life. Going through a heart-breaking situation this summer has lead me to care less about what people's opinions of me are. I do my best to be kind to everyone around me, if that's not enough for you, well too bad.
  • I crave financial freedom. Last winter I discovered Kate Northrup's Money: a Love Story and it has changed my life. While on our 10 year anniversary vacation at the beach, sitting on the porch, looking out over the ocean, with a glass of wine in my hand, I realized that I wanted more of this. In order to have more of this, I needed to make a few sacrifices in the next couple of years to get myself in a position to have what I desire. Being able to enjoy more time with my family in my favorite setting requires financial freedom. The first step for me, enroll in school to finish my bachelor's degree, which I did while on vacation. Second, start a business that will grow bringing in residual income. I've already started this step as I am now a published author of 2 books with more on the way.
  • I need to take better care of myself. Two years ago when I started my battle with postpartum depression, I learned the importance of self-care which lead me to starting this blog. I walked my talk until about 8 months ago when I fell off the bandwagon flat on my face in the mud pit. This summer dealing with family issues, job stress, and yet another bout of depression really put things in perspective again. And since I started the bachelor's completion program last week, self-care has now become a very strong component if I'm going to succeed in my higher education endeavors.
  • I want to add value to this world. Therefore in the next few months to a year, I will focus this blog on self-care, because this is a valuable topic all woman, and men too, can use more of. In this day and age of technology and the constant rush to get somewhere, it's easy to forget to take care of the mind, body, and spirit. When we take care of ourselves, we can bring more value in the world around us.
 So with all that, starting September 1, I will be posting once a month on the first of the month on a topic related to self-care. With full-time school and work on top of writing, this is all I can do right now. I love to write, but I want to make sure that what I'm putting out there is valuable to you, therefore I'm limiting my blogging to one a month. Quality instead of quantity.

I don't know about you, I'm super excited about arrival of fall. This summer has been very stressful and hot and now I'm ready for some cold weather, rain, cider, pumpkin lattes, and crisp mornings. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed summer. How could I not?  My summer was full of concerts, beach trips, and family time. Yes, this summer was good, stressful, but really good.

But that doesn't take away from the fact I'm ready for my favorite season of the year- Fall.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hello Summer!

Hello Urban Goddesses & Gods,

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of activity and personal life drama (that part not so fun). The craziness threatened to take over super-alien invasion-like and then June rolled around and I inhaled the freshness of summer.

To summarize the madness, here are a few highlights and see pictures at the end of the post:
  • Health issues
  • Loss of a friend battling depression
  • Another bought of depression of my own
  • Urban Goddess Mama-to-Be releases!! Yay! Click here for more info.
  • Starting of a new book. Another yay with a splash of "oh crap, are they going to like this one?"
  • Friend's wedding 
  • Birthdays (Hubby's 40th and mine and no I'm not going to tell you how old I am)
  • Day job stress learning a new database system
  • New laptop (birthday gift from Hubby! BEST. MAN. EVER.)
  • Birth Without Fear Portland Meet-up
  • AND Portland Moms Blog
Phew! And that's not all, but I'm not going to bore you any longer. As June is about to wrap up, I will be taking the summer off from blogging, except for Portland Moms Blog.

Summer is a time to celebrate family , nature, and the gift of life. This summer I'm going to focus on that. We're taking a family vacation to the beach to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, Boo Creature and I will also be taking a couple of trips to visit out-of-state family, and there will be lots of concerts, music festivals, camping, and outdoor activities throughout.

I'm absolutely excited about taking a summer off to enjoy family time. I won't totally be off because I still have my day job, but I'm also taking a little time off from that too.

So enjoy your summer, my divine friends! I'll be back early September and with some really exciting news to share with you (it's still in the works and I can't talk about it yet.)

I leave you with a few pictures, as promised.

Much love,
Boo Creature all dressed up for the wedding.

Book Baby #2 is out!!!!

Birth Without Fear Meet-Up! January Harshe is the ultimate mama goddess.

This was my first real book-signing event. I met some amazing women who really inspired me. For more pictures of the event you can click here.

Finally this is how I spent my Birthday. Massage, pedicure, and new haircut. If you can't practice self-care on your birthday, then when can you?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Every day I spend with you, I'm completely blown away by your grown. Each day I will you transform from a toddler into an independent child complete with strong opinions and curious ideas. You're imagination is unbelievable.

Last night as you fell asleep and rolled over to press your little soft cheek to mine and hold my other cheek with your little hand, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I could have stayed like that forever and been happy as can be. I love our snuggle time so much. It teaches me to slow down and to be present. 

Some days I see myself in you clear and true, others your father's personality comes through, but most days I look at you and I see just you, a sweet, energetic, curious girl who's in love with life and her pink bear.

I love watching you play. You are so funny and the little jokes you tell yourself are hysterical. I wish I could capture these moments as save them forever. Pictures and videos help just don't quite cut it.

I hope you see how much I love you and know I'll always be there to snuggle with you at night or hold you when you're having a bad day. You are my sweet child and I am so honored when you call me mama. Thank you for choosing me to me your mama. I'm certainly not perfect and I've made plenty of mistakes. We're on this journey together. Thank you for your patience.

Can't wait to see what's next, but right this second, I'm really enjoying this moment we have together and will treasure it forever.

Love you to the end of the universe and back,


Monday, June 8, 2015

Why I loved Kill Bill

Huh? Why would I write a post about two extremely violent films on a zen goddessy blog? Good question and hear me out.

Back in 2003 & 2004 when the films came out, I had ZERO desire to watch them. Yes, I love action and films depicting strong females, but from the previews these just looked way over the top. As I got older my taste for action films weakened especially after I had my daughter.
Photo via IMDB

Then when my daughter was about twelve months old she went to sleep early and I was in the mood for some mommy entertainment. As I browsed Amazon Prime I came across Kill Bill Vol 1.

What the hell, why not. I punched in my password, poured myself a glass of wine, and began watching. The beginning of the film where she takes out the first lady and kills her in front of her daughter was enough to make me stop the film right there, but I kept watching.

I nearly dropped my glass of wine the moment when she wakes up in the hospital and she realizes she no longer is pregnant. My uterus cramped when she let out that belly-clenching scream. In that moment I knew her pain and understood what she was going to do.

Photo via IMDB
Any mother would understand this woman's mission. Every cell of my body could relate with mama bear instinct to find her child and do everything necessary to get her baby back.

Yeah, twelve years ago, if I'd watched these films I'd have been like, "whatever." But now, I get it and I applaud Quentin Tarantino for creating such a brilliant film that truly depicts the inner mama bear.

If anyone dared hurt my baby or attempt to take her away from me, beware. I will learn the art of Japanese-sword fighting. I will track you down. And I will inflict justice upon your sorry ass. I will cut you down. Do not mess with my inner warrior goddess named Beatrix Kiddo.

You have been warned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Smartphone Apps for New Moms

In this day and age of technology there are apps for everything! Here are a list of free apps* that have made my life much easier:
  1. iBaby. This app tracks all the activities your pediatrician will ask you in the first months of a baby's life, like feeding, peeing, pooping, and sleep. It also gives you week to week general information of where your baby should be on the growth and development. This app was a life saver for me, because I could never remember if it'd been two hours since I'd last nursed or how many pee diapers I'd changed in one day. This is a must have for all new mamas.
  2. White Noise. Sleep gets majorly disrupted when baby arrives. Anything to help you get back to sleep between feedings or for a nap is golden. I used this app so many times for myself, but also for my daughter. It proved to be a lifesaver when I traveled with my daughter and she needed a nap. This allowed her to nap anywhere.
  3. 7 Minute Workout. Once you're approved by your medical provider to begin exercising, this app is a great way to sneak in a workout when you feel like you can't hit the gym or don't have time to take an exercise class. It doesn't sound like much, but the first time I tried the 7-minute routine, I had my ass handed to me...
  4. Skip Deep. This app is a great tool to checking how safe are the baby products and cosmetics you may be using. You can scan the bar code on the product and it will tell you give you a rating on the level of toxicity. We want to protect our families!
  5. Red Cross First Aid. There are many Red Cross apps for each disaster, but downloading the First Aid important. Sometimes when an emergency situation comes up, having a quick reference can save a live. Since I live in earthquake country, I have the earthquake app on my phone. It notifies me when there is seismic activity in my area and if there should be a big one, it will notify where the nearest shelter is to my location. Plus Red Cross offers tips and how to plan for emergencies. Never hurts to be prepared.
  6. Netflix. When you are stuck in the rocking chair with a sleeping baby at your breast, you'll be happy you've got access to your favorite shows.
  7. Kindle or Nook. For the same reason you need Netflix, an e-reader app is a sanity saver for a new mama. No pages to turn and perfect for one hand use. 
 Go forth and be smart with your smartphone!

*All the links are listed for Android phones because that is what I have, but these are also available for iphone too. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Captured Beauty

The last week has been really hard on me. Been functioning on 4-6 hours of sleep for almost two weeks while dealing with final edits for Urban Goddess Mama-to-Be (coming out at the end of this month!, working full-time through a new database conversion, and life in general. When life gets crazy like this, it's hard to remember the good stuff. Thank goodness my husband is a photographer and captured these precious moments of beauty.
Half of the time I feel like the shittiest mom on the planet, but then I see these pictures and am encouraged. Maybe I'm not so terrible. They inspire me to be the best that I can and not worry about the rest. As Mother's Day approaches my heart swells with love when I see the captured beauty in these photos. Enjoy.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Epiphany at a Metal Concert

Last night my husband and I shared a rare date night out in town. We got to have a yummy dinner at Pastini's, one of my favorite Italian places, followed by a Nightwish concert at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom. The two opening acts I've never heard of, but I'm a HUGE Nightwish fan. Their music inspires me when I'm writing fiction and editing. In fact, when I can't seem to motivate myself to work on edits (mainly because I despise editing like the black plague) I will turn their music on and BAM shit gets done.
The first opening act was Delain. The moment the female vocalist came out, I was smitten. She looked like a gypsy goddess. Her radiant energy ignited the crowd. At one point in the show she did an operatic-like piece with heavy bass and drums rocking in the background. Gooseflesh sprouted across every inch of my skin. The power, the beauty, and the femininity of her voice electrified every nerve in my body.
Then Sabaton took the stage. At first, I was not sure if I liked them or not, but by the second song they had me. The all-male band looked like they just stepped off the viking ship and threw some modern clothes on. Their stage presence blew me away. Both opening acts were beyond amazing, and as far as I'm concerned, they were the best ever. 
Preconcert photo

And then Nightwish came on. Be still my heart. When Floor Jensen, the lead singer, stepped onto the stage the audience was captivated. She is so beautiful. Her voice is that of an angel. 2 1/2 years ago, I went to see Nightwish at the same venue. I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter. That show was Floor's 2nd performance with Nightwish as the former singer had to step away from the tour. That night I knew whenever Nightwish came through town, I'd see them as long as she stayed with the band. After 2 years of working together, they are the best yet.
Nightwish 2012 concert

So what does metal music have to do pregnancy, motherhood, or the inner goddess? EVERY. THING.

Here's what dawned on me in the middle of Delain's operatic number. These women are powerhouses. Floor Jensen could probably take down every member of Nightwish single-handed, but she still manages to stay beautiful and feminine. In my opinion, her and other female vocalists of metal bands embody the essence of a goddess. They are strong Xenia warrior like, but their are not afraid to show off their beautiful sensual female side. When I hear their music, I feel inspired to write, to exercise, to eat healthy, to clean my house, to get shit done that I rather not deal with. They are my power source. Their melodies energize me more than any cup of caffeine could. They fuel my inner mama bear.
Don't believe me yet? Check out Nightwish's newest music video:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter at My House

 Growing up in a conservative Christian home, we need didn't really celebrate Easter except the church services commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ. We never did any of the fun stuff like egg hunts and Easter Baskets. I always envied the neighborhood kids traipsing around their yards looking for brightly-colored eggs. Then I grew up, left home and my religious upbringing.
Over the years the holiday has evolved from not really caring about it to "oh, now we have a child and she might enjoy some of these activities." But I didn't want to introduce her to all the candy and clutter of trinkets the stores push on customers. Then I read this. Bloody, freaking brilliant.

Last year & before I read the above mentioned article, my daughter got her first Easter Basket. Bunny (which she still plays with), puzzle, book, water bottle (still uses), and mandarins (one of her favorite fruits). She'd barely turned one and I wasn't about fill the basket with candy. These were things she could use.
This year I kept basic again. Coloring book, crayons, bubbles, links for jewelery making, and surprise eggs (used for the hunt). All except basket came from the Dollar Tree. I filled the plastic eggs with her favorite snacks: Joe's O's (from Trader Joe's), cashews, vitamin gummy bears, AND a hand full of pastel-colored mint chips.
I hid the eggs out on our balcony and the hunt was on after breakfast. Oh my word. I think I had more fun watching the search for eggs than her. Seeing her eyes light up and listening to her squeal of joy every time she spotted one, brought the biggest smile to my face.
The whole day she played with the eggs, opening and closing them. She ate most of the treats except for the mint candy drops. Eventually she tasted them and said they were good but she preferred to play with them over eating. Fine by me, kid. When she wasn't playing with the eggs she was outside blowing bubbles. In between, she'd take a few moments here and there to color or create a chain of hearts, stars, and flowers.
All this fun for under $5. Who says you need to break the bank for Easter? This holiday is quickly becoming one of my favorites. For me, Easter is all about the newness of life and rebirth. Spring is truly a joyous time of year, so why not celebrate?

Monday, March 16, 2015

The UnImaginable

Yesterday I did three things I once thought unimaginable.

1. This.

Crossing the finish line of my 1st 5k run I've done since high school AND I even ran most of the way!! Five months ago I couldn't even run to the end of the block let alone a mile.

2. Joining a Mom Blogging Community- Portland Moms Blog is launching on the 26th of this month and I have the great privilege to be a regular contributor. If you would have asked me if I would blog about mommy stuff two years ago, I would have laughed in your face and said "Unimaginable." Yesterday I met the other ladies who will be blogging with me and I was blown away by their awesomeness. Click here to view a photo that is a preview of the shenanigans to come.

3. My evening ended with this.
I have been dying to see these two since I discovered them on YouTube three years ago. I have all of their albums and I listen to them often, but this Croatian duo performing live is something out of this world. They went from classical cello pieces to classic rock jamming to tender romantic melodies that sent chills and goosebumps throughout my body. If you ever get a chance to see these guys, DO!! The experience is unimaginable.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Green Kombucha Smoothie

Last week I had a rough day. One of those where everything seemed wrong, when the motivation ship had sailed away long ago, and I felt like the biggest loser on the planet.

In the process of doing some self-care, I made this simple smoothie with whatever I had in the house. Thought I'd share with you because it came out pretty darn good and I went from frumpy mood to superhero mama mode within minutes of consuming the last drop of green magic.

Green Kombucha Smoothie

8 oz Kombucha (I used Humm brand, the strawberry lemonade flavor)
1 cup Trader Joe's Organic Greek Plain Yogurt
1 1/2  cups Organic Fresh Baby Spinach Greens
2 Bananas

Blend the kombucha and baby spinach until smooth and there are no pieces of spinach left. Add yogurt and bananas. Blend again until smooth. Enjoy the frothy liquid goodness.

Monday, March 2, 2015

8 Favorite Baby Gifts

*This post contains affiliate links that I get a commission from.*
The other night as I was watching my daughter play with her toys in the bath I thought of all the wonderful gifts people have given me to celebrate her arrival into this world. Some of have been life-savers from the get-go, others not so much, but most I've used at one point in Boo Creature's 1st year in life. I figured I'd make a list for those of you looking for baby gift ideas. My criteria for this list are the following:

How many times I've used it.

My list also included big and small ticket items to fit all budgets.

1. Mom's One Line A Day 5-Year Memory Book: I haven't written in it everyday, but I've been able to capture many of the milestones and special moments. It's even more fun now to write because I've got two year behind me.

2. Ergo-Baby Carrier- The. Best. Gift. Ever. I used this baby until my girl was 20 months old.

3. Britax Car Seat- Britax has the highest rating for safety. They are simply the best. I had one hand-me-down car seat as well and while I was extremely grateful for the extra seat, it didn't compare in quality to the Britax.

4. Thermometer- The first year of Boo Creature's life I must have used this thing at least a 1000 times as she brought home every little bug that came through her daycare. I got the temporal/ear type. Not as accurate as a rectal or oral one, but close enough! Quite frankly I'm not into sticking things up my daughter's butthole.

5. Nose-Frida- Also know as the "snot-sucker." Yes, you do actually suck the boogies, but you can control the suction for gentle use AND no, you don't actually suck the mucus into your mouth. There is a membrane barrier to protect you for loosing your lunch.

6. Sophie Giraffe- Teething time SAVIOR and great for long car rides. Them French people know how to do things.

7. Cloth Books- Another great toy for car rides and distracting the baby while mama worked or played Candy Crush...

8. Diapers (cloth, liners, and disposables)- Any kind of diapers are a gift from the Gods. If ever in doubt on what to get, buy disposables or gift certificate for a diaper service. The Honest Company has a wonderful disposable service and I used them along with the G-diapers until Boo got potty-trained. Best part they come right to your door and you can schedule them as often as needed. I highly recommend them!
The Honest Company

Monday, February 16, 2015

Working moms and exercise

"I'm a mom, I don't have TIME to exercise." I hear this all the time. In fact, I used to use the same excuse, that is until postpartum depression set in and I needed to do something about it pronto. Exercise has been one of my top depression busters ever since.

The truth of the matter is, you can exercise and it doesn't matter how busy you are as a mom. You can always find the time just like you find time to go pee and eat. The body needs movement just like it needs air, water, and nutrition. Some of the benefits of exercise:
  • Improved mood
  • Decreased Depression
  • Stress relief
  • Cardiovascular Fitness
  • Increased Metabolism
  • Better Sleep
  • Improved Well-being

With that being said, I totally get the mentality behind non-exercise. Motivation plays a key factor. It's so hard to get moving when you don't FEEL like exercising. For me, changing the way I view exercise helped me develop a more regular practice of daily movement and I'm here to tell you even if you work a full-time job you can still find time for exercise. Here are five simple ways to add exercise to your super busy mama life:
  • Walking/running  (stroller) Take 15 minutes to go outside and walk! If you are a runner, you can do that too. I started training for a 5K last fall by taking my daughter in the jogging stroller for a 15 minute run 3 times a week.
  • Mommy and me yoga. There are plenty of classes out there, but also videos and books. Check out your local library.
  • Join a gym with a daycare. This is a great way to get exercise and mommy time in one setting.
  • Dance for 5-10 minutes to your favorite tunes with or/without baby.
  • Stairs. I work at a seven-floor hospital and when I'm in the office, I take a 15 minute break and just go up and down the entire stair case several times. 
  • Hike it Baby. Great way to connect with other moms and get some exercise in. They have plenty of hikes on the weekends for working moms.
  • 7-minute workout app. There are several out there to choose from, most of them free. These apps are awesome because they will take you through an entire workout including pushups, squats, and crunches in 7 minutes! Who doesn't have SEVEN minutes to devote to their health?
As you can see, there are plenty of different ways to get moving throughout the day.You need this girlfriend!

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Working Mom's Pantry

I'm vegetarian. So is my family. And the number one question I get asked is, "What do you eat?" Sometimes I fantasize answering, "Oh, you know, water with bread. And some grass with some sprouted seeds." But my usual answer is "Food." After giving me a "duh" look the questioner wants more specific answers and I'm more than happy to share.

Today however, I'm going to give you a sneak peek into my pantry and what I keep stocked at all times. While I'm big on cutting out processed foods, I'm going to keep it real because as a working mom, I don't have time to slave away in the kitchen. To be honest with you, cooking is one of my least favorite activities. Yet feeding my daughter good organic food free of chemicals and preservatives is super important to me.
So here are a random sampling of foods I keep on hand from snacks to quick meals:


Nature's Path Organic Frozen Waffles (not pictured). I usually pick the ones that have extra protein from whole grains. These are great because you can just pop them into the toaster and a minute later you have a hot waffle ready to be devoured by a hungry little toddler.

Stonyfield Organic Plain Greek Yogurt (not pictured). Most flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar, that's why I choose the plain version. Why feed your child unnecessary sugar? To add flavor and sweetness, I chop in some fresh fruit or berries and add a teaspoon or less of organic maple syrup to a cup of plain yogurt. My daughter loves it and it's a great way to get some extra protein in her. Plus yogurt keeps her regular, if you know what I mean. *wink* Happy baby gut, happy mamma.

Bob's Red Mill Organic Quick Oats. Add water and microwave for a minute. Throw in some frozen berries (which will thaw out within seconds), cinnamon, and a little maple syrup. Bam! Instant healthy breakfast. I usually put in some protein and vitamin powder for extra nutrients.

Immaculate Buttermilk Biscuits. Okay, these aren't the healthiest option in fridge, but they don't have many of the preservatives and artificial chemicals as the mainstream brands. And it makes for a quick breakfast addition in a pinch. 

For my daughter's lunch, I often pack dinner left overs if there are any. I also add fresh fruit, crackers, cheese, and a Mama Chia pack.

I try to always keep sandwich fixings in the house too. My go-to sandwich bread is Dave's Killer Bread, because it's organic and made locally. 

Lundburg Organic Rice and Bean meals. They take about 30 minutes to cook. I throw in some frozen veggies and sprinkle a little cheese for some extra protein.

Back to Nature Shells and Cheese (not pictured). 15 to 20 minutes prep and cook time. Again I add extra cheese and veggies to make it a balanced meal.

Quorn Chick'n Nuggets. I always keep these in the freezer because I can add them to any meal for extra protein or throw them in my daughter's lunch for school.


Whole Foods 365 Organic Crackers. They have great options to traditional Cheese'its, Ritz, and other snack crackers.

Earth's Best Toddler Biscuits. My daughter loves these. They're organic and come in two biscuit mini packs that are easy to throw in my purse, her backpack, and in the car for a last minute snack. These puppies have saved me from many meltdowns in public because someone got hungry and cranky.

Plum Organic's Mighty Four Toddler Snack Packs. This is another staple I keep with me at all time. Anytime I'm going out with my girl, I throw a pack in my purse "just in case" she doesn't like whatever food we are eating at a restaurant or if we get delayed between meals. Also a great way to sneak in some veggies.

In my freezer, I always keep: Cascadian Farms Organic Veggie Mix, Broccoli Florets, Mixed Berries, Blueberries, and Raspberries. Sometimes, I buy the Whole Foods 365 Organic brand when they are on sale.

In the fridge (organic): carrots and cucumbers for snacks, cheese, eggs, yogurt, kefir, and fresh greens (for green smoothies). And I try to keep a variety of fresh fruit that are in season. Right it's apples, bananas, and citrus fruits. 

There you have it. Hope you enjoyed a peek into this working mama's pantry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Working Mom

Many of my friends and family have asked how I was able to write a book, work full-time, and raise a toddler last year. Well, let me give you a little peek into my life.

This is what my typical mornings look like.

My alarm is set to go off at 5:45, but most mornings I'm up way before then thanks to this neurotic, OCD feline who likes to sit in front of my door and yowl at random times throughout the night.

He's so loud, I'm seriously surprised I don't see zombies from the nearest cemetery walking around outside our condo complex or that our neighbors haven't fired their shotgun through the wall in the middle of the night.

Any who, my work starts at 6am. I'm one of those lucky moms who gets to work from home and while that sounds like heaven, it can also be hell. Don't get me wrong, if given the chance to work in the office or at home, I'd chose home every time. The hell I'm talking about is when my dear daughter decides she needs to wake up when mommy does. That means two hours of working with at very busy toddler in the house before I drop her off at Montessori daycare.

When she does sleep in, I get so much shit done. Some days I'm blown away how I can be so productive in one hour. When she finally wakes up, we go potty first and then I set her up with some breakfast (usually cold cereal, fruit, and yogurt or an omelet) and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. While she eats and watches her show, I get some more work done and then I take a morning break so I can drop her off at school.

The rest of the day I try to make up for the time I spent getting her ready for school. Around 3:30 I clock out, log off my remote desktop, and go pick her up.

After some errands, we come home and it's time for dinner. She watches another episode or two of Daniel Tiger. (If you hear me breaking into random jingles like "If you're feeling mad, that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four. One. Two. Three. Four," you'll know where this madness is coming from.)

We enjoy eating supper together, then it's bath time, story time, and off to bed. After she's asleep, I come out and write for an hour or so before I go join her in the land of nod around 9. Some night's I'm so bloody tired, I pass out before she does.

And that's how my days usually go, except for the days I need to go into the office. Then daddy has to drag his ass out of bed and take care of munchkin. (He works late nights so that's why he's usually not available in the morning unless I absolutely cannot handle the demanding little girl).

Somewhere in there, I manage to shower, brush my teeth, and exercise. Some days none of them happen.

Now, it's your turn. I want to hear how you working mamas get through your day. And go.

PS And papas too. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Year

Happy New Year!

I am so excited about this year!!! Last year we did a read along of The Art of Extreme Self-care by Cheryl Richardson, this year instead of doing a read along, I will be posting book reviews of parenting, pregnancy, postpartum, and inspirational books I read or am currently reading.

I also want to focus more on the working mom and share little insights and tips I've learned along the way. There are so many mommy blogs out there but I haven't found many focusing on the mamas who have to work outside their home full-time.

In the Spring (April or May), Urban Goddess Mama-to-be, will be coming out. Those months I'll be talking more about pregnancy stuff leading up to the book release.

In May I'll be attending the Birth Without Fear Portland Meet-up. Super excited to be a part of this event. If you haven't heard of Birth Without Fear, please check them out. Talk about empowering women! More to come on that event.

I will be taking the summer off to work on some fiction writing and enjoy my 10 year wedding anniversary with my family.

In the Fall, I plan on blogging about self-care for women (all women not just moms) and creating rituals to bring magic into everyday life.

Hold on tight, it's going to be a great year!

Much love,