A new year is upon us! Time for our Facebook feeds to be bogged down by gym memberships and the latest diet fads. Inspirational quotes will be so abundant you’ll recite them in your sleep. And your Aunt Sally will remind you it’s a new year, new you! But between all the “better you” preparation and hefty New Years resolutions, there’s got to be some balance, right? I’m not sure if I’ve ever picked a New Years resolution/goal and sticked with it. In theory it seems like a great idea. New Year-new beginnings. But what’s the point if we can’t stick to them and all they do is create stress?
Last year I sat in therapy wondering why my postpartum depression wasn’t getting any better. I found myself frustrated with the process until my therapist suggested I lay out an attainable goal for myself. No half marathons or intense food plans, but a small and effective goal. Something I could work on everyday that benefited myself, my family, and my aspirations as a mother. This seemed like a lofty idea to fit into one tiny goal, but when I broke it down and thought about one thing I’d been missing in my life it seemed a bit more attainable.
My 2018 Goal
Communication. I don’t think I’ve ever had great communication skills, but in 2018 I needed to work on them. I left 2017 with so much frustration and anger-determined to make a change. Communication was the one tangible goal I could work on everyday. And that’s exactly what I did! I changed how I was communicating with my friends, my family, my husband, and ESPECIALLY my toddler. Of course I failed at times, especially in the beginning. No goal starts without flaws, and I certainly didn’t end 2018 a communication perfectionist. But I did see some positives!
We all know toddlers can be…toddlers are…toddlers have layers-like an onion! Anyone else a Shrek fan?? My toddler has plenty of layers. So many layers that I have completely pushed mine aside to make room for all the space hers take up. And that’s ok right now because she needs me. But sometimes, like a video game, those layers are frustrating as hell. As my toddler became more of a threenager and less of that sweet little angel we all tell ourselves are kids are, I knew we needed to change things.
And that is where communication came into play. A good blogging friend of mine, Kelly Bandas, talks a lot about positive parenting. So much so that I joined her Facebook group and did some extensive research on it. Communication is a huge part of positive parenting, so it was easy for us to adopt this “style” of parenting and helped me enforce my communication goal.
So what about 2019?
As the new year has already arrived and I start that new diet plan tomorrow (HAHAA), I have finally picked a new goal for 2019.
My time management sucked in 2018. Looking back I feel ask though I accomplished less than I have when I was pregnant. I’m not talking about micromanaging my time, but more-so being careful with it. Realizing there is a place and time for certain things. It’s ok to have a lazy day, but when it turns into a week, how can I avoid that? Maybe binging the newest season of black mirror is less important than sleep.
And knowing I might fail at times is actually a helpful thing. I missed the communication mark completely last year when it came to texting people back in a timely manner. I’m surprised (and grateful) I still have friends after days of not responding because life and my terrible time management get in the way. But going into 2019 knowing I need to STILL work on communication, and choosing my time wisely are two goals I can work on everyday. Two attainable goals to help me be a better friend, partner, mother, and person!
I’d love to hear from you all! Do you set resolutions or goals for the new year? How do you stick to them??
I recently had the pleasure of touring the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Center at Monmouth Medical Center. I was accompanied by NJMOM to learn what the center offers for new and expecting mothers. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are a group of symptoms that can affect women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Postpartum depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, and psychosis all fall under the PMAD umbrella. Approximately 1 in 7 moms are affected by a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, with symptoms that range from mild to severe.
Visiting the center was such a bittersweet experience for me. Since my postpartum depression diagnosis, I’ve spent a good amount of time advocating and learning as much as I can about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. I have the pleasure of personally knowing the director of the center, and couldn’t wait to visit in person!
The center is the only PMAD specific facility in the state of NJ. They offer mothers a wide range of treatment and support from trained professionals. The center is mom & baby friendly, so mothers can receive help without the stress of finding childcare.
Free mother-to-mother weekly support group
Mother-infant bonding classes/sessions
Pregnancy group sessions
Therapy for Dads
Medication management and evaluation
Referrals to supportive services
The center’s director, Lise Tremayne, took us through the space explaining that not long ago they started the facility in a single room. The center has now grown to include office space, three therapist offices (fully equipped for mom & baby), and two group rooms. One of the group rooms is used for art therapy, which has become a family affair at the center. Couples have the chance to enter art therapy together, or separately if they choose.
Walking into Monmouth Medical I was brought back to those early days as a new mother; with the overwhelming uncertainty of life that consumed me while fighting postpartum depression. But the center is a place of hope. A space that is centered around maternal wellness, and puts the emphasis back on maternal care. As a new mother I felt lost in my experience, as life centered around my newborn. Finding the care I needed was challenging and finding a provider with PMAD training was impossible. All providers connected with the center have been certified through Postpartum Support International.
I had the opportunity to sit in on the center’s free weekly support group, and chat with the group of women about my experience. Not only did they ask me questions, but I had the chance to share what has worked during my recovery process. They willingly shared their experiences with me, and it quickly turned into an hour of women helping each other. The center is not only building a place for women to seek help, but a safe place for mothers to find community.
If you would like to learn more about the center please visit RWJ Barnabas Health for more information.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder please call 732-923-5573 for help. You can visit Postpartum Support International for additional resources if you are not in the Monmouth County area.
*This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission every time you click or buy from a link. All opinions are my own.*
Today is the start of my Capsule wardrobe series! Instead of lumping everything into a single post, I thought it would be fun to share it as a series, and highlight 1 specific piece in my capsule. The point is to show how to build a capsule wardrobe around an investment piece. And my fall overalls are the perfect start to this series! But first…
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a term coined by London boutique owner, Susie Faux. She owned a shop called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, pants, and coats, which can then be expanded with seasonal pieces.
Why choose a capsule wardrobe?
I first heard the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ from vlogger, Hailey Devine. I follow her on Instagram and she shares her seasonal capsule over on her youtube channel. After watching one of her videos I dug a little deeper into capsule wardrobes, and became fascinated with the idea. After putting it off for a few years, I finally made the decision to try it out.
This fall will be my first real attempt at it, and I can’t wait to share with you guys! What I love most about a capsule wardrobe is being intentional with fashion. My body has changed since having A, and I’ve invested in pieces that not only make me feel good, but are practical with my daily life. MOST things in my wardrobe are mom-friendly, as I spend my days running after a three-year-old. And a lot of my fall pieces carry over to winter. So let’s get started…
I purchased these overalls two years ago from Old Navy. I believe I got them for about $30, which I thought was a fair price. They are Navy corduroy boot leg, with a zipper on one side for easy access. My ONLY complaint is the zipper. It does tend to unzip if it hasn’t been zipped all the way. This can easily be fixed with an eye hook placed at the top. As for the quality, they are extremely comfy, and the fit works well. I didn’t notice too much shrinkage after washing them for the first time, and they’ve held up considerably well over the past two years. I imagine they’ll stay in my capsule for another 3 if I continue to take care of them.
When I purchased them I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely sure how to style them multiple ways, so I wore them with a top I purchased alongside them. After a quick search on Pinterest I found myself with so many great options! So today I’m sharing three of my favorite ways to style these overalls.
This is my everyday fall look. You can ask our friends, family, music class members how many times I’ve warn it, they don’t have enough fingers to count on. It’s a great outfit to play around in the leaves with, and gives me the room to play with A. The shirt I paired it with is an old one from Target, but the material has help up pretty well. Besides my smelly armpits stinking it up (essential oils help get that out) this shirt is brought out every fall! The boots are a few years old as well. They are from Jane.com, and if you aren’t familiar with them I highly recommend checking their website out. It’s a similar concept to Zulily. They offer boutique items at sale prices. Most of the items I’ve bought have been great quality that hold up well.
(I’m pretty sure we saw a spider here ↓)
My go-to outfit when A is a preschool and I have sometime to get ready in the morning! Layers perfect for those chilly fall days, and adding a scarf can really bring an outfit together. This long mustard cardigan from Old Navy is so soft and gives this outfit a nice pop of color. I was nervous about limiting myself with the navy overalls, but it really does go with so many fall colors.
Drinks With Friends
On the rare occasion that I actually schedule a night out, or have an event going on, I love to dress these overalls up! It’s such an easy look to achieve with some heeled boots, dressy top, and a bold lip! I love to dress for comfort, which is exactly what this look is-styled comfort. The top is from H&M that I’ve had for a while now, but it still does the trick, which is surprising because everything I buy from H&M falls apart so quickly. The boots are another Jane.com purchase. They are my favorite fall-winter dressy shoe! So happy with that purchase and was quite surprised with the level of comfort they provide. This look is a great option for date night or grabbing drinks with friends!
I’m just sitting over here wondering where all the time went with A. I truly can’t believe she will be heading off to kindergarten in less than two years! It seems like just yesterday she was a baby. Now are days are filled with threenager sass and a LOT of play pretend. So now that A is three I’ve gotten a handle on her wardrobe, and how to go about buying clothes for her. My process has been fine-tuned over the past couple of years, and my new approach is a capsule wardrobe that blends into each season. I thought I’d share what I picked up for her this fall, and show how some of those pieces will also work for winter.
I always start with a dress. They are a staple in our household right now, and just about all A will wear. When I’m in a hurry dresses are my go-to outfit for her. So when starting a capsule wardrobe I pick a printed dress that can go with ALMOST everything else in the capsule collection. It sounds hard but when you look at Old Navy’s selections they usually have a few dresses that can do this. For instance I pick a blue/green gingham dress in the spring & summer capsules.
Here are my requirements for the dress:
Has to be casual, but can be dressed up
Must be durable
Next I move onto a pair of shoes. These are usually a sweet little pair of flats or sandals depending on the season. These obviously aren’t the only pair of shoes she wears because that would be crazy ;). I buy her a solid pair of sneakers every year, and a pair of Mary Janes from Keds! I like the Keds brand because I wore them as a child and I find they are very supportive. But for her seasonal shoe I usually let her pick them out so it’s something I know she will want to wear (but she’s also a toddler and I know her opinion will change a thousand times, so we’ll see how it goes this fall). The ones she picked out this year are adorable and pretty similar to the cat flats she chose last winter (which actually still fit). I honestly don’t have any requirements for these, but I do make sure not to have her in them all the time since they usually don’t have a ton of support.
Capsule Wardrobe List
2 Solid Color Dresses
1 Staple Dress
1 Denim Dress
2 Durable Colored Legging Jeans (for flexibility)
1 Pair of Legging Jeans
3 Shirts (1 patterned)
1 Striped Short-Sleeved Dress
1 Pair of Seasonal Shoes
1 Pair of tights
Keep in mind I transfer over clothes from the previous season. I have a ton of summer graphics that will go with her fall capsule, and some leggings that will still fit her from the Spring! For girls, I always recommend keeping some of those summer dresses out and layering. It’s so easy to add a long sleeved-shirt underneath and tights. I put together a few outfits in the slide show below to give you an idea of how the outfits work, and to show you how easy it is to mix-and-match! These capsule wardrobes are what work best for us, and I share to give you an idea of how I do it in hopes it’ll help some Mama out there who feels a bit lost and doesn’t want to spend a ton of money every season.
*This post is sponsored by Witt Pilates. All opinions are my own.*
My first experience with pilates was a tape my college dance professor recommended. Up until a few weeks ago I had only taken mat pilates classes. So when Witt Pilates reached out to me and offered to let me try out their studio, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve noticed the studio a few times in passing since we moved to the area, but was a bit intimidated to make the plunge and take a class. So this was the perfect introduction to the studio! They offered to let me try out three different classes, so I tried to pick three completely different options to report back to you guys! I will say I had such a lovely experience at the studio, and plan to continue to take classes in the future (I just signed up for re*FORM*ation).
The classes I attended:Newbie Pilates
If you’re looking for a great introductory class to pilates, this is the one to take! It is required for all new students, and will teach you the basics of pilates & the equipment. It does seem intimidating when you make your way over to the reformer for the first time. But I had no problem picking up all the instructions. My first class was with Patty, the owner of Witt Pilates. I would recommend any new clients to take their first class with Patty. You really get a sense of the studio when you’re in her class. I felt welcome and invited as a new pilates student. Although I was working new muscles I haven’t worked since before having A, Patty is a character and had us all laughing through the pain!
B.O.B. (Buns, Obliques, & Bikes)
When I initially signed up for this class I thought it would be something completely different than what it turned out to be! So needless to say, I GOT MY BUTT KICKED…in a great way of course. Half the class is spent on a RealRyder® bike, and the other in the studio room working those abs and buns. Halfway through I thought I might not make it, but even a small break can go a long way. I took the class with Kelly, and she did a great job at easing me into the RealRyder® bike. It does take some getting used to, but it will work those abs like never before! I’ll definitely take this class again when I’m looking for a challenge on the bike.
Belly Up Barre
I’m always eager to try out a new Barre class because every instructor is different. If there’s one thing Witt Pilates is going to do it’s MAKE YOU WORK. I’ve attended a few classes at various studios where the instructor doesn’t take the time for each student, and also just doesn’t engage. Meredith, the instructor I had for Sunday morning Barre was fabulous. She takes the time to make sure you’re getting the most out of the class, as well as point out an aspect of the class you’re succeeding at. I was definitely feeling it the day after as well!
A few notes about Patty & the studio:
I had a chance to sit down and talk with Patty about her background and the studio. Patty has an impressive background with Pilates, and is even a 3rd generation disciple of Joseph Pilates. She took private lessons with Mari Winsor (Winsor Pilates), who urged her to start her own studio! Patty talked about her high expectation to keep up the integrity of the studio, which I can attest to the success of this. She is currently in the beginning stages of franchising Witt Pilates!
So why choose Pilates?
My push to take classes at a pilates studio is the direct correlation to dance, but after having A (and injuring my hip during childbirth) I needed to find something that would be easy on my joints-and body in general. Pilates is a great choice for mothers, and anyone looking to gain strength, flexibility, and long, lean muscle. Pilates helps you learn to move in a safe pattern and can be done at nearly any stage of life. You’ll also be working large and small groups of muscles throughout each class.
Pilates is a great choice for new mothers who are looking to gain back strength, specifically ab strength that is lost during pregnancy. Since it’s safe on your joints, it’s the perfect choice of exercise for mothers who are looking to ease their way back into fitness. And as soon as you start, you’ll become addicted (as you’ll be able to see from my Instagram).
Witt Pilates offers a wide range of classes and times that work for anyone’s schedule. Patty also offers a 30 minute complimentary class to all new students. Their schedule and more information can be found on their website: Witt Pilates.
The transition from preschool to elementary school is a huge, amazing step in your child’s life. Ideally, you should be preparing for schooling from day 1, but if you have delayed preparations, at least start once they are in preschool. It is crazy how fast little humans pick up on new things. They learn so quickly, so most of the time, school will come easier to them at this age compared to down the road. But, going from preschool to Kindergarten is a huge step in their lives and there is some preparing that needs to take place. Most of the time when you Google “how to get your preschooler ready for Kindergarten,” you will find list after list on educational material to teach your child. While this is important and we will talk about it a bit today, it’s not the end all be all. There are other things to consider when preparing for elementary school, so I want to focus on both sides of the equation: getting ready for the education and getting ready in general.
Lay down a good foundation
In preschool, kids will learn basic material such as shapes, letters, colors, their name, their address, sometimes numbers, and other information to prepare them for Kindergarten. While this is a fantastic start, supplementing this material with your own material will be even better for your child. There are so many interesting and fun ways to learn in the world and you should allow your child to soak in all of the information that they could possibly learn. When you go to the park, teach your child about different insects you see, different types of weather and seasons, or maybe even about kindness. While all of this is not essential for Kindergarten, I still believe that it is laying down a great foundation for your child.
Get them excited
Heading off to “big kid school” can be a scary transition for a lot of kids. Make sure they know what to expect and let them know why they should be excited about it – kindergarten should be fun for them, so there is no reason for them not to be excited. Talk to them about how cool school is, tell them about your (fun) school experiences, take a tour of their new school, meet their teacher, and maybe get together with a few of their classmates (if possible) before school. This will ensure that they are completely comfortable when walking in the first day.
Establish bedtime and morning routines
Routines are extremely important when it comes to school. We already know that it can be a hard emotional transition, but it is also a big physical transition, as well. In order to lessen the blow, try to implement the ‘new’ schedule before they head off to school. If you do this, they will already be on a new schedule and will not have to adjust. When you are figuring out a new schedule, make sure you give yourself a lot of extra time in the mornings – more time than you think you will need. Mess For Less says, “The last thing you want to do is be frenzied and harried running out the door. Not only is this stressful for you, but your kids will pick up on the stress as well. Anytime I have been in a rush my kids are always more prone to meltdowns and frankly, so am I. So give yourself and them the gift of time which comes from have a predictable sleep and waking schedule. It will make your mornings run smoother and get your kids ready to learn.”
Now that you have prepared your child, make sure to prepare yourself – your baby is headed off to elementary school and it should be an exciting time! As long as you prepare for hiccups along the way, you should be fine.
Your child’s education is a huge part of their entire life and should be taken seriously. If you notice that your child is struggling in school, make sure you take the time to find out why they are struggling and what you can do to help them – it is never too late! In New Jersey, Empowered Learning Transformation Centers is ready to help people that are struggling with learning. For parents, this is great because you can finally understand why your child is not learning as expected and for kids. Empowered Learning Transformation Centers Empowered Learning Program helps identify focus, attention, or behavioral issues, in order to improve in those areas without medications. Led by Co-Founders Peter Riddle and Dr. Richard A. Reutter, The Empowered Learning Program is being used in three Empowered Learning Transformation Centers and has a 90+% success rate, which is validated by pre- and post-program testing over the span of fifteen years.