.postpartum weight loss.

*Obvious Disclaimer:  I’m not a doctor.  You’re probably not either.  Before beginning any type of workout program or making dietary changes, talk with your primary care physician.*

I’ve debated on whether or not to even post anything about this online.  Having a baby is tough on the body and one of the many reasons why we waited so long to start a family was because I was terrified of the weight gain.  I like being trim, wearing bikinis, and feeling comfortable in my own skin, so the idea of packing on 25 pounds voluntarily was kind of a mind warp for me.  I entered pregnancy with the end in mine and that end included confidently strutting my stuff at the beach with a baby in my arms, so I had a plan in place before I even packed my hospital bag.  If that sounds vain, it’s probably because it is, but at the end of the day I want to feel healthy and be a good example for my daughter.  If that offends you, don’t read it.  Here’s what worked for me:

0-6 Weeks Postpartum:

  1.  Wear a binder like it’s part of your religion.  I used a Belly Bandit and loved the results.  My mom helped me put it on about two or three hours after Annabeth was delivered and I continued wearing it 24 hours a day (minus showering) for four weeks.  I started with a size small and graduated to an extra small about a week in.  A binder provides a significant amount of support and helps the uterus shrink quickly.  I feel like this made a huge difference in my weight loss, especially when I was able to wear my regular jeans about two weeks after Annabeth was born.  Find my Belly Bandit here.
  2. Drink 100 ounces of water each day.  Even though I’m almost a year postpartum, I still make this a daily goal.  You lose so much fluid after having a baby (why didn’t anyone warn me about the night sweats, ugh?!?) and it’s important to make sure you’re not dehydrated.  This is my favorite water bottle.
  3. Nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse.  If you’re able, nursing/pumping is a game changer.  I was super shocked and thankful to discover that I could feed a third world nation with my milk supply.  One year later it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.  There are tons of research articles about breastfeeding and the benefits for mommy and baby, so I encourage you to read up.  If nursing isn’t for you or doesn’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it.  At the end of the day, fed is fed (and fed is best) and there are lots of great formula options out there.  This is the pump I still use everyday.
  4. Move when possible.  Obviously this is not the time to run a marathon or even a mile.  Instead, just focus on moving when you feel up to it.  Go for a walk with your hubby or if the weather is nice, break out your fancy new stroller and get a nice dose of Vitamin D with your sweet baby.  Don’t worry about setting a specific pace or your step count.  Breath in some fresh air and play some fun tunes.  We have this stroller and LOVE it.
  5. Be smart with what you eat.  During this time, I did my best to eat cleanly and focus on smart carbs.  A normal day would look like steel cut oats with blueberries for breakfast, a Larabar or raw almonds as a snack, sprouted bread with lean deli meat and cheese for lunch, full fat Greek yogurt and some honey for a snack, and lean protein with some type of green veggie and quinoa for dinner.  I tried to avoid sugars, processed foods, and anything white (bread, potatoes, pasta, etc.).  We had so many sweet people send food and I totally ate what was offered, but when left to my own devices, I tried to make good choices.

6-12 Weeks Postpartum:

  1.  Light cardio.  My doctor cleared me for running at the six-week mark with the warning to start slowly.  He also asked me to wait until the twelve-week mark before pushing the jogging stroller.  I used Couch to 5k to train in intervals.  My mile time was embarrassing and it’s still not where it used to be, but I’m up to three miles no problem in about 32 minutes.  Make sure you listen to your body and slow down when necessary.  Find Couch to 5k in the App Store here.
  2. Ballet Beautiful.  I loved Ballet Beautiful while I was on maternity leave.  Once Annabeth went down for a nap, I’d break out my yoga mat and choose three of the six workouts to do each day.  I’m not into weightlifting and this particular type of workout promotes long, lean muscles.  I feel like it definitely helped my core and it didn’t take a huge chunk out of my day.  Ballet Beautiful has lots of options here.
  3. Continue making smart choices with food.  On maternity leave, I mainly stuck with the same thing from day to day.  I used lots of recipes from SkinnyTaste or Trim Healthy Mama (a form of carb cycling) and just made sure to avoid white stuff (again with the breads, pasta, and potatoes) and sugar.

12+ Weeks Postpartum:

  1.  Sugar is the devil.  It’s a drug, period.  If it has more than 2 grams of sugar in it, I typically won’t eat it unless it’s a Larabar or RxBar.  Always read the label because it’s lurking everywhere.
  2. Daily workouts are non-negotiable.  This one is hard, because sometimes I just don’t feel like it.  Realistically, you can suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret, so it’s better to just buckle down and do it.  Wishing for a great body won’t produce any results, but working for it will.  Being healthy means doing what needs to be done even when it doesn’t feel great.  Right now I’m saving for a Neverfull, so I pay myself a dollar everyday that I complete my workout (#willworkoutforlouisvuitton).
  3. Cardio, cardio, cardio.  We run at least three days a week and we add a half mile to our run each week.  We started hardcore running together after football season ended and life got less crazy.  We pack up Annabeth and Atlas and head for the park.  I like to use my FitBit app to keep track of my mileage and Josh prefers Map My Run.  We’re also signed up for our first tandem race this spring, so we’re shaving our mile times down as much as possible.
  4. Nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse, nurse.  Yes, I’m still nursing.  No, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  I always swore I’d be done when Annabeth hit the twelve-month mark, but she loves it and so do I, so we’re going to keep on trucking until we’re both ready to stop.  I’m not sure when that will be, but definitely before Kindergarten (ha!).
  5. No carbs after lunch.  Josh is almost completely carb free.  I still need carbs to make milk, so my diet is a little more forgiving than his.  On an average day, I eat steel cut oats with local honey and a cup of black coffee for breakfast, raw nuts or seeds like almonds or pumpkin seeds for a morning snack, a lean protein, green veggie, and complex carb (usually quinoa) for lunch, full fat cheese for an afternoon snack, and lean proteins with green veggies for dinner.  I also try to work in LaCroix as a treat and an afternoon cup of oolong tea.
  6. Intermittent fasting.  The kitchen closes at 7:00 p.m. at my house.  Once the counters have been wiped down and the candle has been lit, we don’t rummage through the fridge for a midnight snack.  Any eating we do has to be done between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Again, this is what worked for me, my family, and my body type.  At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you.  Start by making small changes (maybe swap out your sugary latte for plain coffee or choose an out-of-the-way parking spot at Target) and gradually allow those small changes to bring about bigger ones.  You’ve got this, Mama!

XOXO,

Court

PS:

If you’re not a new mom, don’t bring up postpartum weight loss with someone who just had a baby.  Just don’t.  Keep your comments to yourself because they can sting and bring about major heaviness.  Words can and do hurt and your off-the-cuff comment can send a new mom spiraling down a dangerous rabbit hole of self-loathing (or worse).  Basically, make like Three 6 Mafia and keep new moms names out ya mouth, if you catch my drift.

If you are a new mom and someone doesn’t heed my above advice, try to make sure you stay right with the Lord by not murdering them.  Prison isn’t worth it.  Really though, people can be jerks and having a new baby means everyone has an opinion that probably doesn’t match yours.  If someone says something about your weight, you can wallow in self-pity (I did), you can talk with someone you trust about how it makes you feel (I did), or you can prove them wrong by doing something about (I did and will continue to do so).

If all else fails, remember, exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t murder people.

legally blonde GIF

 

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.merry christmas.

Merry Christmas from Josh, Courtney, Annabeth, & Atlas!

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Josh, Atlas, Annabeth, & Courtney

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Annabeth sitting in my childhood rocking chair.

We’re spending the day with family before attending Christmas Eve service at church.  After that, we’ll head to Mother and Daddy’s house for grilled cheese, tomato soup, Scrabble, and A Christmas Story.  Traditions are so important to our family and I cannot wait to share this fun and festive time with my best girl.

We hope you have a safe and blessed holiday season!

XOXO,

Court

 

.christmas eve date night.

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It’s our first year acting as Santa’s liaison, so we’re trying to establish some new traditions.  This will be the first time in thirty years that I won’t sleep over at my Mother and Daddy’s house on Christmas Eve.  It’s a little jarring, but we wanted Annabeth to be able to open her presents at home before we join in with the rest of the family.  This year we’re doing a bit of a hybrid by spending Christmas Eve with my parents until close to bedtime and then heading back over there after Santa has officially been enjoyed.

One way we thought we’d make Christmas Eve special is to turn acting as Santa’s helpers into a bit of an at-home date night.  The recipe for an at-home date night is simple:

  • good snacks
  • something sparkly to drink
  • a good flick to watch
  • something cute, but cozy to wear

I’m a planner, so I already have our snack menu planned out.  We’re going to do a miniature charcuterie board with something salty, something creamy, something nutty, and something sweet.  I like pairing salami (salty) with a nice, smoky Gouda (creamy), and some toasted pecans (nutty…toast them with a little butter and rosemary!), and these chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s (sweet).  We eat Christmas Eve supper at my Mother and Daddy’s home, so we’ll really just need something light to snack on.

Something sparkly is kind of up to you.  We’re religious about drinking La Croix in our home (we love the lemon, lime, and coconut flavors).  We also love sparkling pear juice from Ikea.  Champagne is another great option, if you’re so inclined.  Whatever you pick, it should be something out of the ordinary that feels special.  It’s a great time to break out pretty wedding flutes that are just collecting dust in the china cabinet.

As far as Christmas movies go, there is only one choice as far as our Christmas Eve Date Night is concerned.  This is, of course, Christmas Vacation.  Is there anything more quintessentially wonderful that Clark W. Griswold having a meltdown over eggnog-filled Marty Moose punch glasses?  The answer is no.  We’ve watched Christmas Vacation more times than I’d care to count this year and we’re not showing any signs of slowing down.

Something cute to wear is a bit strange considering that a date night at home should be about feeling comfortable.  On a typical evening, I wear my afternoon uniform of running clothes with a topknot and dishpan hands, but Christmas Eve is not the time for a pair of Lulu’s and a ratty intramural t-shirt.  My Mother, Queen of Coordination, ordered us all matching Christmas pajamas (and my Daddy is in for a real surprise when he realizes that we’re all matching…from him all the way down to Annabeth), so cute and cozy fit the bill.

I know it seems kind of silly to have an at-home date night on Christmas Eve.  Realistically, you could just help Santa out as necessary, tidy up, and go to sleep, but where’s the fun in that?  We’re doing our very best to keep ourselves centered on each other first so we can give Annabeth a great representation of marriage.  Knowing that Mommy and Daddy have something special planned after bed is just another way to demonstrate how we can love each other well by being intentional with our time.

Do you have any special Christmas Eve traditions?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Love, Actually is another fantastic Christmas movie that’s more “adult” than your average holiday flick.

PSS:  This might be the greatest Christmas shirt of all time.

.christmas recipe round-up.

Is there anything more wonderful than Christmas?  The lights, the presents, the food…it’s all just too much.  Though I typically don’t indulge in sweets, that all goes out the window during the holiday season…my bikini body will still be here, ready for some routine maintenance when January rolls around.

For this recipe round-up, I focused on the Four C’s of holiday goodies:  a cookie, a candy, a cake, and a cracker. I’ve also included links on where you can buy dupe treats if you’re not the holiday baking type.

First up:  the most fool-proof, wonderful, perfect chocolate chip cookie known to man.  If you have ever eaten a Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookie, you know I’m telling the truth.  If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing, run (don’t walk) to the store, and treat yo self.

If you’re looking for an indulgently crunchy cookie, this is your go-to recipe.  They’d be perfect to take to a Christmas Cookie Swap or as a gift to your office mates or neighbors.  And honestly, if you’re not the baking type, just buy a couple of sleeves and put them on a platter and you’re set.

Next up:  buttery, rich Seat Salt Caramels that are fun to make and the perfect sweet and salty treat for your child’s teachers.  I’ve made these several times and I would definitely recommend having a candy thermometer and having all of your supplies ready to go because this process is speedy quick.

Emily, the genius behind Jones Design Company also has cute little labels and packaging suggestions in her shop available for downloading (and it’s my favorite price…free).  She actually posted an Instagram Story earlier this month about making the caramels which inspired me to bake a ton of stuff for Josh’s co-workers.  If you’re not into a little basic science, you can just grab these at Trader Joe’s.

The perfect pound cake is a staple in the Southern home and Ina Garten (though decidedly NOT Southern) has the most wonderfully foolproof pound cake recipe of all time.  It’s quite labor intensive, but it has never failed me.  It has this wonderful, thick crust and pairs perfectly with macerated strawberries and freshly whipped cream.

If you don’t have the time or energy to make a pound that has to be sifted three times (Ina is the most extra of all time), just order one at your local deli.  Pound cakes are a great Christmas gift or even hostess gift to give.

Lastly:  crackers.  Last Christmas I tried these Fire Crackers at the Shealy Family Christmas gathering and I couldn’t control myself.  They are so good and they are so, so easy.  I tried them over the weekend with homemade pimento cheese and it made me practically melt into a puddle of goo.

If you don’t want to spend the time creating your own mix, you could easily just try this.  This would be a great accompaniment to a cheese ball or even potato soup.

What about you?  What are your favorite holiday treats?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  these are my favorite cookies to order for special occasions.

PSS:  Ina made these yesterday on Food Network and they were beautiful.

 

 

.jolly old st. nick.

There are so many decisions young families face, especially when welcoming a new baby into the fold.  Breast or bottle?  And if you choose to do the bottle, what type?  What about pacifiers?  Nursery school or nanny?  Sleep training (YES, please) or co-sleeping (no thanks)?  And on the other side of every single decision is harsh judgement from everyone from close relatives to the nosy lady you always run into at the market (you know the type…The Sock Dictator).

One decision that was easy for us was Santa Claus.  In my pre-parenting days, I was wholly against the idea of Santa Claus.  I’m not really even sure why because per my Mother’s rules, I still technically have to believe in old St. Nick in order to receive any gifts at her house.  I think I perhaps wanted all the credit for the massive amount of work that a great Christmas requires, but now that I am a mother in my own right, I’m all for it (the IT being all things magical and festive).

I’m the mother who made my two-month old leave out carrots for the Easter Bunny, so  of course we’re not only leaving out cookies for Santa on a special plate, but we’re also making reindeer feed to sprinkle in our yard and leaving out carrots for Rudolph.  And of course, I have a Burl Ives vinyl to play on our vintage record player that sits beneath our mammoth tree.  And of course we all have matching Christmas pajamas.  Childhood only happens once and it’s only for a few years, so it may as well be magical.

Another thing that was easy for us to decide was how we wanted to go about giving presents from Santa.  Annabeth is spoiled absolutely rotten by her Darling and Pop (especially her Darling).  My Mother buys her shoes, clothing, toys, books, and puzzles constantly and has been squirreling away Christmas gifts since before she was born.  My Mother is the Queen of Christmas and of Giving (and my Daddy is the lovable Clark Griswold type who often asks, “What did I get you?” on Christmas morning when we’re unwrapping gifts).  Since I’m directly related to the Queen of Christmas and of Giving, I knew it would probably be smart to limit what Santa brings to Annabeth by dividing her gifts into four categories:  something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.

I’m hoping that by limiting myself to four gifts, I’ll be able to find the most special and significant gifts and create a heart of gratefulness in Annabeth.  I also know myself enough to know that I would literally go broke if I got her everything I wanted to purchase her.  If all else fails, Baby Jesus only got three gifts and if it was good enough for the Savior of All Mankind, then four gifts will be good enough for Annabeth Shealy (nothing like a Southern Baptist mother to lay it on thick!).

This year Annabeth’s something you want is a Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair.  In October PBKids had a massive sale and I got her chair at a great price.  I chose the Light Pink option because it matches her bedding and Boppy cover.  She has a small chair at my Mother and Daddy’s house that she loves, so I thought this would be a sweet addition to our living room.

Annabeth’s something you need is a sweet little riding toy I found at Target called a Buggly Wuggly.  My petite girl is just too tiny for most riding or pushing toys, so this was a perfect choice for her.  I’m also kind of a witch when it comes to toys (not in the living room) and baby paraphernalia (why the primary colors????), so the muted tones help soften the blow a bit.

The something to wear portion of this list is kind of a joke because Annabeth Shealy is never without something sweet to wear.  Between my Mother and myself, she’s got all the lace and frills and smocks and monograms she’ll ever need.  I opted to go with a sweet dress from Cecil and Lou and got our sweet new nephew Asher the matching romper for our Christmas day festivities.  I didn’t care for the fonts offered for these particular outfits, so I had them monogrammed with this one instead.

The something you read part was simple.  Over the summer, Josh read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Annabeth.  He took great delight in this pastime and did all sorts of accents and voices.  My sweet cousin Lauren gave me this beautifully illustrated copy for Christmas last year.  Josh can’t wait to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to her!  And if you’re wondering, we absolutely read chapter books to our baby.

We decided to let stocking stuffers be from Mommy and Daddy.  We did a handful of bath toys (our little mermaid baby loves the water) and this bracelet for when she gets older.

How do you do Christmas in your home?  Santa or Belsnickel or no Santa at all?

XOXO,

Court

PS, I got this for Josh for Christmas.  I know nothing about these types of things, but I also know he’s been dying to open it since it arrived.

PSS, I’m dreaming of a Tory Burch Christmas (don’t let me down, Santa).

.annabeth shealy: a birth story.

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On July 1, 2016, we discovered that we were expecting a baby, due on March 10, 2017.  On October 15, 2016, we discovered that our little baby was not just any baby, but Annabeth Shealy Callicutt (the best little gal in the whole wide world).  On February 11, just a day shy of a month before her intended due date, Annabeth Shealy decided she couldn’t wait another moment to join our family.

Around 9:15 p.m. on February 11, 2017, my water broke.  I immediately knew two things:

  1.  I was thankful that I’d washed my hair and shaved my legs that night.
  2.  Josh was going to have a heart attack.

“Josh…my water just broke.  We should probably get ready to head to the hospital,” I said, trying to keep my tone light and my voice quiet.

“What, so we’ve got like a week or so?” Josh calmly replied.

“Hmmm…nope.  We are going to have a baby tonight or tomorrow,” I explained, still trying to keep my voice calm.

Needless to say, one of us ran around the house like a madman while the other played with the dog.  (It was Josh.  Josh was the madman).  I immediately called my mom while Josh tried to install our car seat.  He finally just tossed the car seat and base in the backseat.  We made it to the hospital quickly and were immediately checked into the largest suite on the floor (all the praise hands, indeed).

My nurses checked my vitals, ran two bags of fluid, and we watched an episode of How I Met Your Mother on the iPad.  My Mama, Daddy, brother, and sister-in-law arrived bearing gifts of Girl Scout Cookies (which I couldn’t have), fuzzy socks, and hair ties.  Though my water had broken, I wasn’t uncomfortable.  An anesthesiologist came by and started my epidural.  I waited for the warm rush that all my friends had told me about and never experienced it.  At the time, I shrugged it off.  Then…things got uncomfortable.

Apparently, my spine is a little funky.  Not funky enough to fail my sixth-grade scoliosis exam, but funky enough to cause an epidural not to work.  Internally, I found myself wondering why my friends all praised their epidurals.  Long story short:  my epidural pooled in my left leg causing numbness in my left leg only.  Everyone assured me that I was only feeling pressure when in reality, I was feeling every single contraction.

This went on for eight hours.  During those eight hours, my sweet nurse tried multiple drug combinations to quell my pain.  Some made me nauseated, some made me feel drunk, but none touched the pain.  At one point, Josh said I grabbed her arm and told her that if the pain didn’t stop, I wouldn’t be able to have the baby.  It was hard for me and scary for everyone else, especially Josh.  When shift change occurred, the nurse stayed late to make sure the on-call anesthesiologist checked my drug intake (she was fabulous).  The new guy walked in, took one look at my back, and immediately stripped everything out and redid the tubing.  He moved the port up one vertebrate and suddenly, I was pain free.

I was finally able to sleep and did so for two hours.  My new nurse woke me up to check on my progress, looked at me with wide eyes, and said, “It’s brown!”

“What’s brown?!?” I replied, very concerned (and to be honest, a little embarrassed).

“Your baby’s hair!  Don’t push!” she all but squealed.

Everyone fully expected that I would have a planned c-section.  I’m tiny and Annabeth was on track to be at least eight pounds by her intended due date.  When that nurse told me not to push, it was the most surreal moment of my life.  I was about to do this thing that nobody believed I could do.  Six pushes later, Annabeth made her grand debut at 10:51 a.m. The NICU team whisked her off to pump the fluid from her stomach, check her vitals, and complete her APGAR assessments.  Weighing in at 5.15, she was definitely a healthy size despite being born a month early.  We felt so many things:  elation, exhaustion, joy, and fear.

Nine months later, our tiny girl is truly our sweet angel.  She’s a bundle of bright, vivacious energy with a sassy personality that is an utter delight.  We’re considered to be “older” first time parents in our community and I’m so thankful that we are and that we’ve really been able to enjoy parenthood.  We owe that to our baby’s sweet disposition, but we’re also going to give a lot of credit to Babywise (judge away, folks, but my baby sleeps twelve hours a night in her own crib).

I’ll be sure to share more about our journey through parenthood, especially with the exciting Christmas season that is now officially upon us!

XOXO,

Court

This is are biggest parenting must-have. Absolute necessity.

This is my favorite resource for sweet clothing for our Annabeth.

How we chose Annabeth’s name…no, seriously.

 

 

.finally.

It has been a while, Internets.  Like, over a year.  I could make a plethora of excuses as to why I’ve been too busy to blog, but I’ll sum it all up in one word:  finally.

2017…the year I finally became a mother.  The year we finally put the finishing touches on our new home.  The year (as of last night) that I finally, finally, finally finished my Master’s Degree in Adapted Special Education.

ALL.  THE.  PRAISE.  HANDS.

I have so much catching up to do and so many stories to tell about life, Annabeth, our home, Atlas, and of course, food.  I can’t wait.  I’ve missed writing so, so much, but graduate school had to be a top priority.  Now that I’m free from the chains of my academic bondage, I can write, cook, and create to my heart’s content.

Internet, I’ve missed you.

XOXO,

Court

PS.

This is the greatest moisturizer I’ve ever owned.

This is who I am now.

490 days until I’m here with Annabeth and our favorite people.

.blogs I love.

Even though I haven’t been the best at updating our blog, I do read a lot of blogs.  Here are some of my favorites:

  1.  Pretty Neat Living

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Technically Jen’s blog, Pretty Neat Living, is more of a segue for her YouTube channel {also called Pretty Neat Living}, but she is such a great resource for beauty secrets, organization tips, holiday planning, and baby stuff {that’s new}.  When we were moving, I watched so many of her videos about home organization and her holiday prep videos are fantastic.  I love her product reviews the most, because she takes a really objective approach to whatever she’s reviewing.

2.  Southern Curls & Pearls

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Caitlin is a Southern gal with a fantastic sense of style.  She posts really regularly and has really pushed me to think outside the box of my basic black wardrobe.  She’s really plugged into what sites and shops are having great sales and her hair is fantastic.  My most recent favorite post is her haircare routine.

3.  Jones Design Company

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I’ve followed Emily’s blog since its inception and I love her vulnerability and her many crafty projects.  I’m not crafty in the least, but even I could manage to make these little flower pins.  My co-teacher and I are obsessed with her Emily font and use it for almost everything and her home decor tips are really tasteful and simple.

4.  Emily Ley

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I love Emily’s products, especially her Home Base Binder and her Contacts book .  I also love her Weekly Top Ten and her Simplicity Series.  Emily is really pro-women in a way that is inspiring:  we should only focus on what matters most.  She’s also a blast to follow on Instagram because she has a really sweet sense of style and her babies are adorable.

5.  Classy Girls Wear Pearls

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Sarah Vickers truly embodies that classic, East Coast style.  She and her husband, Kiel James Patrick are fantastic to follow on Instagram.  Sarah has a more subdued style than Caitlin, but I’ve gotten tons of outfit inspiration from Classy Girls Wear Pearls.

What about you?  What blogs are you currently following?  Obviously I lean more towards design and lifestyle blogs, but I’m open to suggestions!

XOXO,

Court

PS:  this is Josh’s favorite blog.

I also love this Disney blog, because we’re obsessed.

I am so ready.  So, so ready.

 

Self-Care & Why It Matters

Ahem…is this thing on?  It’s been almost an entire calendar year since I’ve posted anything, but I firmly believe that I shouldn’t really say {type} anything unless I have something important to say {type}.  I’m in graduate school right now and my advisor keeps blasting me with emails about attending a Self-Care Seminar for graduate students {which would be pretty hard considering I’m in an online program} and self-care has been on my brain this week, so I thought it would prudent to talk {type} about ways I’m trying to practice self-care.

  1.  Make a daily schedule.  Josh will be the first to point out that I don’t do well without a schedule.  I’ve been on Winter Break this week and suddenly it was Thursday and I realized that I hadn’t put on real clothes or makeup {or washed my hair} for days.  Obviously, summer vacation poses quite a problem for me since I don’t work during the months of June and July.  Yesterday I jotted down a quick list of what I needed to do and the timeframes I had to work with and felt so much better.  I didn’t accomplish everything on my list and I definitely still rocked leggings all day, but the sense of accomplishment gave me a sense of worth.
  2. Say no.  Gosh, this has been my mantra.  I’m the daughter of a man with excellent boundaries, so I’ve learned firsthand how liberating the word NO can be.  If it’s not something you want to do or something that you don’t have time for, just say no.  If someone gets mad at you, let them fester while you do you.  Period.  I know so many people {especially women} who make themselves miserable for the sake of being polite.  Just don’t do it.  Your health and sanity are worth a lot more than the opinions of others.
  3. Keep up with the Joneses {appearance wise}.  This one may not apply to you, but I work better, play better, and just do better when I feel good about the way I look.  For me, this means that I don’t let myself feel bad about taking time on my appearance.  I had an excellent example of this in my mother.  Even when we were small {and probably driving her crazy}, she never let us allow her to look tired or worn down.  She took time each day to style her hair, apply makeup, and dress fashionably.  My Daddy helped her with this by making sure she had the time each day to devote to her outward appearance so she felt good inwardly.  *Side note:  didn’t y’all just love watching your Mama put on makeup?  It was my favorite thing growing up.  I loved all the lipsticks and blushers and all that.  My favorite part was watching Mama put on her perfume everyday…one spritz on the left wrist, rub on the right wrist, and a dab at the neck.  When I smell Halston, I smell my childhood.
  4. Keep your space tranquil.  Josh and I recently bought our first home and we finally unpacked the last of the boxes this week.  All the clutter made me miserable during the unpacking process, so we quickly developed a routine of things to do each day to make our home tranquil and neat.  I’m a no-clutter kind of gal {seriously, I recently tried to throw away my yearbooks, but Coach stopped me}, so each evening before I cook supper, I round up anything that is out of place and put it away.  My husband takes Atlas for an afternoon walk as soon as he gets home and then while the pup eats his supper, Coach quickly vacuums the rugs and carpeting and does a quick sweep with the Swiffer.  I really, really try to make the bed each morning before I leave for work, but if I run out of time, I make it my first priority when I get home.  I also try really hard to resist the temptation to change into my pajamas until it’s bedtime because it makes me feel a little more June Cleaver and a little less Peggy Bundy at supper time.  After supper, we load the dishwasher together, wipe down all the surfaces in the kitchen, light a candle {the Chardonnay scent is my current obsession}, and relax.  And as much as I hate doing laundry, it’s a lot better to do a load every day or so instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon.
  5. Take care of your health.  Don’t ignore your body telling you to slow down!  Eat whole foods and drink tons of water!  Schedule an annual physical and actually show up!  For me, 90% of my physical health depends on me setting myself up for success each day.  At night, I refill my water bottles I use during the day and stick them in my bag so I don’t have an excuse not to get my 70+ ounces in.  On Sundays, we {try to} meal prep for our lunches so we’re not dependent on eating out for microwaving a Lean Cuisine.  I take vitamins religiously, don’t keep cash in my school bag {because somebody installed a freaking Dr. Pepper machine in my workroom and holy cow, I cannot resist the call of the Dr. Pepper}, exercise frequently, and see a chiropractor regularly.  We only get one trip before we’re six feet under, so it may as well be a healthy one.  But it’s also okay to occasionally indulge in cookies, because we aren’t all Jillian Flipping Michaels.  

I know what you’re thinking…most of this seems pretty shallow.  And maybe it is.  But I can’t be my best self for my husband, my dog, my students, or my friends if I don’t make myself a priority.  If I take good care of myself, it means that the people I love get me at my best instead of getting me at my meh, this is all I have left to give.  In loving myself enough to take the time to care for myself, I’m also loving others.

What about you?  Do you have strong feelings about self-care?  Any self-care secrets to share?

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Josh bought me some prizes for Valentine’s Day and I’m so ready for Easter and warm weather!

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was everything I wanted it to be because Mr. Darcy in a leather jacket is > Mr. Darcy in a frock coat.  And Matt Smith made a most odious Mr. Collins.

I’m reading Farmer Boy to Josh every night because he didn’t have sisters and doesn’t know Little House and I forgot how much I love Almanzo Wilder.  Josh’s review?  “All that kid does is EAT!”

.just checking in.

So, we’re still here.  We’ve been woefully absent from our blog, sweet blog, but football season morphed into this all-consuming mountain of work and though I love my cheer gals, spending that much time around twenty-four teenagers day after day doesn’t really cultivate a ton of meaningful blog topics.  I do know how to properly use the term bae, though.

Josh is now in the midst of wrestling season and we recently spent eleven hours at a wrestling tournament.  Have y’all ever been to a wrestling tournament?  I’m now an expert and I can tell you all about it.  At this particular tournament, the concession stand ran out of food before lunch, the youths picked the hospitality suite clean by noon, and a thirteen year old asked for my number.  When I told him that I’m “nearly” thirty and married, I thought he was going to barf.

A few things of note:

1.  I finished all of my Christmas shopping within thirty minutes of opening my laptop.  It was fantastic.  Major props to Pottery Barn, Marley Lilly, and Amazon for making my life that much easier.

2.  I read Gone Girl last month and we saw the film with some friends.  Holy Guacamole, Batman, both were mind blowing!

3.  I kept my mums alive for the majority of the pumpkin-decor season.  This is a first, y’all.

4.  We’ve been obsessed with How To Get Away With Murder and that last episode made me pee my pants a little.  HOLY crap.

5.  I’ve been using this nipple balm as chapstick and it has officially changed my life.  Weird?  Yes.  Do I care?  Absolutely not.

I hope everyone {especially those with the full week off like me} enjoys their well-deserved time off this week!

XOXO,

Court