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    HOW TO HANG OUTDOOR STRING LIGHTS

    Location: patio

    I have dreamt of having outdoor string lights in every home I’ve lived in but either was lacking the space or means to make it happen, until now! I had such a difficult time trying to sort out how to make this work, so I thought I would share with you a tutorial in case you happen to be stuck in the same boat. There are so many creative ways you could go about doing this–it really depends on the layout of your space, but I definitely found this particular way to be the most sensible for our space, and I know it will work for a vast majority of spaces, not to mention, it was really easy to do! Follow along below for step by step directions! Read more

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    EATING CLEAN WITH RAISED REAL

    Location: the kitchen

    A few months ago I was venting to Miles about how I wished there was a deliverable “homemade” baby food service. I have home made all of my babies’ food from scratch since they started on solids. The primary reason for making all my own baby food was in trying to fill a big void in the industry for healthy, nutritious, affordable baby food options, especially for vegetarians like ourselves. I was only able to find one company that didn’t use preservatives, but literally cost so much money, it wasn’t ever an option for us.  So when Raised Real reached out to us a while back and asked if we’d like to partner together, it made perfect sense! Read more

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    BODY AFTER BABY: GETTING BACK TO “MYSELF”

    Location: AN INTERNAL HAPPY PLACE.

    I haven’t done a “Body After Baby” post in quite a while, and while I’m happy to announce that I’ve officially made it back to my before babies (emphasize on the “S”) weight (all the heart eyes, all the explanation points !!!). I thought I would share with you what I have found to help me maintain my new old healthy weight, and goals I have going forward. Read more

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    FEEDING MY BABIES

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
    Harlow officially started eating solid foods a month ago and Luca is having a growth spurt…sooo our pantry seems to be in a constant state of “low supply.” Nothing lasts around here. I cannot seem to keep up, so I’m at the grocery store constantly. Harlow has shocked me with his appetite, and Luca’s a machine when he’s growing, plus he burns so many calories with all the energy he exerts. Miles and I have always been extremely intentional about feeding our kids, and we made the decision after Luca was born that we would raise them vegetarian. I’m vegetarian, so it came very naturally for me to want that type of lifestyle for my children, but I’m really happy Miles was just as persistent about it. Read more

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    BODY AFTER BABY: HEALTH CONCERNS, WEIGHT LOSS UPDATE & WAIST TRAINING.

    So, as promised, I  said I would take all of you along with me on this life “transformative” journey. This post may be a little lengthy because of all the information I’ve gained in just this past week. I’ll give you a little insight as to what I’ve been up to in regards to my health and well-being, and some recent discoveries I have made along the way. Let’s not “waist” (get it?!) any more time, and let’s just jump right in to the tofu & sweet potatoes (seriously, cracking myself up over here).

    Where to begin? Let’s start with the doctor appointment I recently had. I went in because I was having a major eczema breakout. I have struggled off and on with eczema since I was a little girl. For those of you don’t know what eczema is, basically it’s inflammation of the skin in red/itchy patches. It’s very random in it’s appearance, and can flare up or go away at anytime without rhyme or reason. All I can tell you is it itches so severely it will drive you absolutely crazy. It can sometimes be painful depending on it’s severity. I was having a particularly bad breakout on my left elbow crease that wouldn’t go away for the life of me. So I caved and made a doctor’s appointment, which worked out in my favor because I was due for my yearly physical. I went to see my new primary care physician who I was extremely impressed with, and she ran a slew of tests on me. The eczema seemed to be just the tip of the iceberg as we explored my health deeper, a mass of discoveries came to the table.

    She knew my eczema was bad enough to need a topical steroid cream, so she prescribed me that, and she also advised me that my eczema could be outdoor-allergy-related or stress-related. This means I can begin to try and control it environmentally as much as possible. I have a huge family history of diabetes, so she tested my sugars and diagnosed me as a pre-diabetic. Basically this means, my body isn’t metabolizing sugar very well and if nothing changes, it will inevitably turn into full-blown diabetes. My previous blood work reiterated all of this as it has been this way since 2012. I was bummed to hear that nothing had changed, but we will re-check in three months to keep on top of it. It’s scary to think your body isn’t doing what it should even when you are doing everything in your control to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am going to research a little more into it and see if there is anything else I can do to try and reverse it. I will keep you all updated, but if you have had any experience with the matter, please comment below! All help is welcome.

    Another topic that came to the surface was my leukopenia. Leukopenia is in simplest terms, a low white blood cell count (aka WBC count). I’ve dealt with Leukopenia over the years and although it causes no real issues for me, doctors are always dumfounded by it and are constantly trying to get to the bottom of the diagnosis. I’ve had to go gluten free before to try and bring my count up, and I was even tested for leukemia at one point. Trust me, I have tried and been tested for everything. Only once has a doctor been unbothered by it, and, basically, told me my low was just my “normal.” It made sense to me. My new physician followed up with checking my folate and vitamin b12 levels which both came back normal. I’m sure she’s just as frustrated as I have been over the years trying to solve what could be causing this, although I’m really starting to lean towards the latter doctor’s opinion as it does fall into normal range whenever I am pregnant, go figure! All in all I feel great, so I’m going to continue the regime I’m on and keep cooking/eating healthy/living healthy etc.

    So, things I have been doing to lose the baby weight: I walk every day no matter what. I’ve started wearing my fitbit again to be sure I get a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. Every other day, I walk with the boys in the stroller down to the coast and back. It’s a major incline of a hill and pushing the stroller uphill always gets my heart rate going, my thighs burning, and gets me sweating profusely. It also puts both the kids to sleep, so win, win! On my off days from walking to the coast, I use the 7-min workout app I referenced in this post. Everyday I do 2 sets of 25 squats. That is my exercise regime, and I know it’s not much but until I can get a good back stock of pumped milk going, I can’t really go off to a yoga class just yet. Soon enough. Miles was out of town last week, but now that he’s back I’m going to try and schedule one day a week to go to the gym on site here for just 30 minutes–15 minutes of interval running and 15 minutes of arms or the elliptical/stair master.  I know carrying & chasing around my babies all day helps too!  Aside from exercising, I have noticed breastfeeding really helps me as well, although I lost all the baby weight with Luca and he was only breastfed a few months, so I’m not sure the extent at which it helps, but nonetheless it’s good for the body and good for the baby. It’s especially good for shrinking your uterus back to it’s pre-baby size. That I can contest to, both times around. I can devote a whole post to nursing as well, if anyone is interested.

    As far as eating habits go, I’ve been extremely mindful of what I eat and when I eat. I’ve made it a point to not eat past 7:30 p.m. & I’ve been really cutting back on gluten, dairy, and sugar. I take one day a week to “cheat,” but never go too crazy,I  just don’t worry so much about everything I’m putting in my mouth. My eating is very calculated the rest of the week. It’s almost 100% vegan, mostly gluten free, and I have been avoiding all added sugar. When I’m cooking with pasta I usually go for a quinoa pasta rather than rice pasta, and I found a local restaurant that makes a mean loaf of gluten-free bread. But when I don’t feel like driving to Solana Beach for bread, I buy Dave’s Killer bread which is an organic sprouted bread with a blend of nuts, oats, and seeds. It’s delicious and I’ve found it’s the best option for bread that contains gluten, and I like that it’s really thinly sliced. I’m going for as much color in my diet as possible and I’m going to be experimenting with new things/added routines as time goes on. I will let you know if I find a good one!

    I have awful anxiety, (you can listen to my story here), and therefore have been on medications over the last few years. One of these medications causes extreme weight gain (although for me it leveled out after I gained 20 lbs)–that may sound like a lot to many of you, and it is, especially in regards to my stature. I never worried about it so much because I knew it wasn’t something I was doing to cause it. Sure, it made me a little insecure, but it was the lesser of two evils, and I knew it was best for myself at that time. Fast forward a few years later, and I’m really “stable” at this point. We, both my doctor and I, have decided to wean me off of that particular medication. So far I’m on half the dosage and in a few days will wean completely and see how I do. I’m feeling really optimistic at this point.

    And the very last thing, that has made a big difference in the few days I’ve been using it, is a waist trainer. I know this is a debatable subject, but for me it has made a big difference in shaping my figure as I get back to my old self. I bought this one and I wear it 2-4 hours a day. I’m religious about it, and I’ve seen a big difference in my middle waist. You want to make sure to check the sizing chart they have on their site and do your own personal research. But that’s where I’ve been with everything. I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any tips, or positive affirmations, send them my way in the comment box below, Lord knows I can use all the help I can get! xx

     

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    VEGETARIAN LIVING: WHAT LUCA EATS

    greek yogurt recipes

    So many people have been amazed at Luca’s palate, and completely blown away that he’s never had meat. I thought I’d answer a few questions I get often in regards to our decision to raise him vegetarian, and also I’ll give you a little insight as to what he eats on a daily basis.

    Has Luca always been vegetarian?

    Yes, Miles and I made the joint decision to raise him vegetarian, and he has been since birth.

    Will Harlow be raised vegetarian as well?

    Yes! It has worked out wonderfully thus far for Luca, and we don’t see any reason to change our ways with Harlow.

    Why did you decide to raise Luca vegetarian?

    I have been a vegetarian for most of my life, and Miles eats meat very sparingly. We have a strong foundation and connection to our health and well-being and personally, meat doesn’t resinate with us. Both of our families are carnivores and so we have no judgement on anyone who doesn’t follow a vegetarian diet, it’s just what fits our family best.

    Where does Luca get his protein from?

    Plants! Beans, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, nut butters, quinoa, and grains to name a few.

    If Luca decides he wants to eat meat as he gets older, will you allow him to?

    So this is the question I get most frequently, and the answer, simply put, is yes. This is the way we see it, when Luca is old enough to truly understand the “why” behind why we don’t eat meat and he can make his own educated decision on the matter, then he can decide for himself whether or not meat is for him. We don’t eat meat for health reasons, rather than animal rights (although that’s great too). Right now, when he questions why we don’t eat it, we explain to him in simple terms the reasoning, but he’s not quite old enough to truly understand. When the day comes that he can make judgement on the matter whole-heartedly, he is free to do as he chooses.

    Is Luca vegan?

    No, we are not vegan. We indulge in eggs & cheese, but have significantly cut back our intake on both since  watching the documentary, “Forks over Knives.” For us, it was life changing, and the facts were mind-blowing. Luca has never had pure cow’s milk unless it is in another form of food, instead he has fortified rice milk.

    So what is a typical day of food like for Lu? We all get up between seven and eight a.m. Miles handles breakfast for Luca and I handle nursing Harlow. Luca typically has oatmeal, toast & eggs, or greek yogurt & fruit. We change it up based on what we have or if Luca is craving something particular (something that isn’t sweets, that is!) we’ll let him choose, but he’s a creature of habit and loves eating the same things over and over. After breakfast, Luca takes his gummy vitamins, one is a multi vitamin and the other a omega 3 vitamin (fish free, made from chia seeds).

    greek yogurt recipesFor Lunch, Miles is usually at work, so I’ll handle lunch. I have a few staples we stick to, usually a hummus and vegetable wrap, rice with tofu, seaweed, and vegetables, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread. We usually will have a side with our lunch as well, be it apples, grapes, sweet potato chips, or tomatoes. I make sure lunch is easy, but I also do my best not to rush it. We sit down at the table and take our time.

    Luca is a huge fan of “snacks.” I feel like that’s all I hear these days, “I want a snack!” So for our little snacker, we keep simple & healthy things on hand. He will usually have edamame crackers from Trader Joe’s, carrots and hummus, or a string cheese.

    And then, we have dinner. Dinner is always something different, but usually vegan–I’ll make lentil walnut tacos with vegan sour cream, avocado tacos (we love tacos!), burnt brussel sprout salad, vegan mac n’ cheese (from scratch, I cannot stand vegan store bought “cheese”), broccoli & sun dried tomato burritos, portobello mushroom “steaks,” spaghetti marinara or pretty much anything out of this cookbook, this cookbook, or this cookbook–all are excellent. If we aren’t going vegan for dinner, we’ll make something like bean and cheese burritos, or Miles made an amazing homemade pizza the other night. We’ll throw together whatever we have on hand if all else fails. Miles is good at that–not following recipes, and just making something from nothing! I love when he cooks.

    Lastly, dessert. We don’t always have dessert, in fact, it’s pretty rare that we do, but if we are going to have something sweet we try to keep it somewhat healthy. We like arctic zero ice cream, greek yogurt with granola and honey, a frozen banana, or a few pieces of dark chocolate.  And that’s what Luca eats in a day!

    Hope you found this resourceful. I, in no way claim to be an expert on diet, nutrition, or vegetarianism, but I do try my best daily to make the healthiest decisions for my family and I. With Luca being a growing boy, I try to make sure his diet is filled with vitamins and minerals, and all those good things we know he needs to grow up healthy and strong. More questions? I’m happy to answer, just leave them below.

     

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