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Here's what I've got, babe...

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    Proof that a braided hairstyle doesn't have to take hours, or tons of practice. These are the three simplest braid styles that are my go-to's—one for when I'm feeling especially sweet {rare}, one for when I want to up the edge-factor, and my personal fav - the ever-so-trendy half-bun with a braid. Pin, practice & tag me on Instagram when you're ready to show off your favorite braided style! Tools & products used for all styles Teaser comb {with boar bristles is my favorite} Bobby pins Elastic hair ties Kenra Hairspray 25 *Can start curly or straight hair! {Sweet: Headband Braid} {Edgy: Hard-part Side Braid} {Trendy: Braided Half-Bun} What other tutorials do you want to see? Let me know in the comments!! #hairtutorial #beauty #style #hairhowto


    When I set out to find the perfect dress for my baby shower and maternity shoot, I didn't think I was being too picky... I just wanted a light and airy floral dress that hugged my bump just right—not too tight, but not too mumu—and fit the theme of modern-day fairytale. I mean, is that too much to ask!? Apparently so - according to Zara, Francesca's, Forever21, Macy's, Lord & Taylor... I could go on, but I think you get the gist. I walked the mall and maneuvered my way around fitting room-after-fitting room enough to have put me in to labor. Zilch, zip, nada - that's what I would tell the hubs after every unsuccessful mall trip. ::womp:: Then I discovered Pink Blush Maternity, which, you should know from my previous post, is notactually maternity {bonus points for them!}. I fell in love with this dress - like, full-on obsession, love. So much so that I had to talk myself down because I knew something would go wrong. It wouldn't come in on time, it wouldn't fit right, it would be too tight, or too loose, or the WORST: itchy—there's just no way it was going to work as perfectly as I wanted. HA. Yee of little maternity faith. It arrived in a flash and I immediately got butterflies when opening the package. The fabric is that slinky jersey fabric that's light enough for a pregnant belly to breathe, but heavy enough so that you don't see every nook and cranny {read: cellulite}. I took a deep breath and tried it on {I'm not over-exaggerating - it was THAT serious of a moment. Think wedding dress jitters, people}. After that I went into a giddy-spiral of selfie snapping and texting my closest gf's and fam - because it was the ONE. The Obi-Wan Kenobi of maternity dresses. But again {and I can't stress this enough} - not actually maternity. Which, for anyone who knows me and my hatred of ruching and belly bands, was the number one appeal of this brand. Bottom line: for my fellow-preggo's - don't brave the mall, just order from PBM. And for my non-preggo's - ditto that, because their clothes are all-inclusive of ladies with or without bellies. Thank you, PBM, for making me feel like a modern-day princess at my modern-day fairytale baby shower <3 Dress: Pink Blush Ivory Floral Wrap Dress {Also comes in three other dreamy colors!} // Flower crown: Homemade And, oh hey, what if I set you up with a $75 giftcard to Pink Blush to get your newest obsession started?! All you have to do is hop over to my Instagram page, follow along{make sure to follow PBM @shoppinkblush, too!}, scout the post for the PBM giveaway, give it a "like," tag a friend {or 2...or 5} and walla - you're all entered. I'll announce the winneron Saturday, October 1st! Photo cred: Erin Michelle Photography {Follow on Instagram & Facebook for pictures of mamas-to-be, adorable kiddos, stunning weddings & more!} Psst...More maternity fashion: Pregnant in the City: Maternity Date Night Style


    When I first got pregnant, I was determined not to become....matronly. I refused to succumb to maternity style, wouldn't step foot in a Motherhood store, and absolutely would not be caught dead in a jean shirt with a tie above the belly, or ::shudders:: a belly band. Now, look, I get it—the stretch, the ease, the comfortability—it's all very appealing. But why—WHY—do the styles have to be so mom-meets-stepford-wife? The stripes, the ruching, the khaki shorts waybeyond fingertip level - it's just not me. Why, oh why, can't someone make some trendy boho styles, but with a little more belly stretch?! Oh, but someone can. Thanks to a fellow first-time-preggo with a similar breezy style, I was introduced to Pink Blush Maternity. Now, here's the other thing—I wasn't too keen on shelling out tons of money on maternity clothes, especially when I plan on this being my one and only pregnancy {twins - one boy, one girl - need I say more?}. So, when I visited PBM for the first time and saw their clothes modeled on a babe with a bump AND on a babe without, I thought - how could this be!? Non-maternity, maternity clothing that I can wear now and later?? And at a reasonable price? Sign. Me. Up. To all of my fellow mamas-to-be {M2M} who are holding out on growing their wardrobe along with their bump—hold no longer. Because every bump deserves amazing stretch, and every M2M deserves to feel sexy on date night! {Make sure to follow them on Instagram for a heads up on ALL the sales - like the one running right now {{9/6/16}} for 50% off all clearance items with the code HOTOFFTHERACK} Dress: Pink Blush Black Lace Dress {also available in burgundy & royal blue} // Kimono: Pink Blush Black Paisley Print // Necklace: Oldie from Nordstrom Rack {Lucky Brand}; similar in a fun blue pendant // Hat: Gifted; similar // Booties: Oldies from Kohl's;super similar, and uh, I NEED // Bracelet: Dare I say - I don't remember? {#pregnancybrain}; similar boho style Photo cred: Erin Michelle Photography {Follow on Instagram & Facebook for pictures of mamas-to-be, adorable kiddos, stunning weddings & more!} I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot more PBM on this blog...


    {Note: I wrote this amidst my miscarriage, through cloudy eyes, a zombie-like state, and anger—lots and lots of anger. Never in a million years did I think we would get to where we are now, exactly oneyear later. Proof that you should never, ever, give up <3} If, like my husband and I, you find out you've lost the baby before you've actually miscarried, you go through a mind-screw {insert cuss word here} like no other. I remember thinking, I just want to get this over with - I just want this nightmare to officially be over. Until I actually "passed" the baby {which is the worst description for miscarriage ever that medical professionals use. It's not a bowel movement, it's a baby.}, I was living in a complete nightmare, with constant reminders that I was, and still am, pregnant. Until I actually miscarried, I couldn't heal—body, mind or soul—I was stuck in miscarriage limbo. Long sob-story short {and when I say sob-story, I mean, pillow soaking, mascara vanishing, crying day in and day out, walking around like a zombie, kind of sob}, we went in for our 8 week ultrasound, as giddy & anxious as ever, and got the worst news that we never even imagined. I say that because you can't possibly imagine how bad news like this is - until you get it. I also say that because we were completely blind-sided - having just had a "great" u/s at 7 weeks with two big thumbs up from the doctor. Within seconds of starting the ultrasound we hear, "I'm sorry guys, I'm just not seeing what we want to see. We've lost the heartbeat." I think those words will replay in my head, and sink in my stomach forever. {Re-reading them gives me a pit in my stomach every time.} After that, you just wait. You wait to "pass" the baby on your own. You've dreaded getting your period every month for as long as you've been trying to get pregnant because that meant youweren't pregnant. And now, now you search for your period with every trip to the bathroom because that means it's officially over - you are no longer pregnant - you can finally move on and start the healing process. They give you a week - a week to pass naturally before turning to a D&C. What they don't tell you about that week is that it will be the longest, most tortured, horrible week of your life. You know you've lost the baby, but your body doesn't. They don't tell you that your body still thinks it's pregnant. They don't tell you that you'll still wake up s t a r v i n g and light-headed and nauseous because the "baby" is hungry. They don't tell you that your tiny pooch {that pooch that you rubbed and giggled about - thinking it was getting bigger, but knowing it was still inconspicuous to the naked eye} will still stick out just a wee bit further after eating - if and when you're able to eat, that is. They don't tell you that your boobs will still be hella-sore as if they're still growing and preparing for milk. They don't tell you that your emotions will still be heightened and in over-drive and making this nightmare worse. They don't tell you that you'll still be exhausted by 9pm - only now, you can't sleep, because your mind won't stop. They don't tell you that your lips will still be insanely chapped - that you'll still be keeping Blistex, Aquafor, Carmex and Chapstick in business for weeks. They don't tell you that because you're still experiencing all of these symptoms, and because you're so very sleep deprived, you'll start to wonder if...maybe, just maybe, they were wrong? Maybe the heart beat was just weak that day and if they look again then they'll see it beating strong. You'll drive yourself crazy wondering whether you should call and ask for a second u/s - and also wonder how crazy you'll sound if you actually made that call. You submit to the reality that you, in fact, may just be going crazy. And they certainly don't tell you that the ultrasound picture they gave you at week 7, the chalkboard picture you took at week 5, or the Pinterest-inspired pregnancy reveals you used to tell your closest family will now haunt you forever. That all of your pregnancy "firsts" will now be used up, and never be able to be used again. That your heart will forever be a little emptier because of the first baby that will never be. They don't tell you how hard it will be to miscarry...when you're still pregnant. I kept thinking how I just wish I would get my period - I wish this would all be over so I could start to heal, and move on. But I bet those of you who miscarried without any warning of an ultrasound wish they could feel that tiny baby inside for just a little longer - that you could still feel pregnant, even when you weren't. For you, I'll try not to hate this as much as I do. I'll try to remember that the grass is always greener - and that you would probably kill to wake up starving and have just a little more time with the baby that could never be. {No silver linings this time. Just hope. One day hope will return, and your second will eventually become your first, and though you'll never forget your actual first, you'll let yourself get excited and giddy again, because how could you not? Babies have that affect on you - and your heart.} <3 Pinto Bean <3 P.S. One of my dear old friends and now fabulous blogger wrote a post on her own miscarriage that got me through many sob-filled nights - and she didn't even know it. Her post on "Why Women Should Talk About It" inspired me to share my own story. Thank you, G <3 Psst...More on our baby & infertility journey here: 10 Things Not to Say to Someone Trying to Conceive


    For those who couldn't be there—there's nothing I can say that these pictures and videos won't say for me. Welcome to a peak behind the biggest surprise of our {and all of guests'} lives! Our gender {slash - quantity} reveal was captured by the incredible Renee Hollingshead Photography, who tells a story in every shot!! {Videos by family & friends—I have no idea how they held the cameras that still through all of the excitement!} {All eyes on us!} {All eyes on the shocked crowd!!} {The Anticipation} {The Reveal} {The first reveal...} {The second big reveal...} {The After-Shock} I am SO thankful to have these pictures & videos so I can relive it over, and over, and over again. And not to mention - show our TWINS how very loved they were from the start. {Holy moly, ya'll - we're having twins!!!} Details on mini-themed food recipes, free photobooth printables, DIY boho-themed decor and more—coming soon! #Motherhood #Realtalk #life #rainbowbabies #pregnancy


    Now, before you turn your nose up - just hear me out. One time in Paris {I love that I can say that} we were strolling our favorite street, Rue Cler, and came across a quaint little ice cream shop {aren't all shops "quaint" in Paris?}. Seeing as how I was in my most dreamed-about city, I threw caution to the wind and told the ice cream'er, "you choose!" Much to my surprise—and a little bit to my disgust—he put a big dollop of chocolate in the middle {we were on the right path...} with a decoration of passion fruit on the outside. Passion fruit?! With chocolate? What kind of a weird Parisian trick is this... The best trick of my life - that's what. Do you know how many more times I went back for that exact same concoction? I won't tell you—just know that it's borderline embarrassing. I have spent the rest of my days finding ways to pair these two flavors. Naturally, a Shakeology Bowl was the perfect excuse to combine, devour and reminisce. The essentials. That consistency though. Chocolate Passion Fruit ShakeO Bowl Servings: 1 Total time: 5 minutes Ingredients Shakeology 1 packet Chocolate Shakeology 1 cup frozen tropical fruit blend 1 Light & Fit Greek Tropical Fruit yogurt 1 cup raw baby spinach Splash of almond milk Ice, ice, baby *Splash of water if necessary Toppings Pineapple chunks Fresh blueberries Fresh raspberries Unsweetened shredded coconut Granola *Shavings of chocolate would be amazing, too! Instructions Throw all Shakeology ingredients into blender and blend until completely smooth. Continue adding ice until consistency mimics ice cream. You should be able to take a scoop with your spoon and it stays on your spoon instead of dripping off like liquid. Pour your ShakeO into a bowl and top with all toppings. A swivel of chocolate sauce never hurt anyone, either ;-) Be transported to the cobblestone of Rue Cler in Paris! #fitness #life #fitmom #health


    When the hubs and I finally got pregnant {and it stuck!}, I was hell-bent on doing whatever I could to protect the baby - even if that meant not working out {for an avid-fitness girl, this would be HARD, but having this babe was WAY more important}. To my surprise, my doctors encouraged me to workout - even asking, "are you still running? I hope so!" every time they saw me. Except for a three-week stint when I was on "light" rest to help the embryo really bury in and settle, I maintained a near-normal workout routine through the first trimester. Naturally, when I found out I was pregnant and was allowed to workout, I took to Pinterest ASAP! I wanted to pin every single baby-friendly first trimester workout I could find. What I really wanted was for someone to tell me exactly what workout to do every day for the next couple of months. And while I found some incredible workouts, I didn't find many full-blown schedules. I also wanted someone to tell me if 10 lbs. was too much, plyo was out of the question, and what pace I should run at {and what pace I shouldn't go over}. Every single person said, "do what's right for your body." Huh!? But how will I know?? Well, now I know. You just do. I know that's vague and slightly annoying, but trust me - once you get started you will know. You'll notice that your usual 7mph pace takes your breath away much quicker than before; your 10lb hand weights now feel like 50lbs; and psychologically you don't feel comfortable doing any supermans because you don't want to squish the babe! Feel it out - TRUST your body, and listen to your mind. If it freaks you out, don't do it! But that doesn't mean you can't push yourself - just back off when your body {or babe} say whoaaaa buddy. From one first-time-mom to another: you will know. Nonetheless, I chronicled every workout for the first trimester - including notes about what I could still rock, what I should probably rotate out of my calendar, and when things started to get uber hard. Luckily, like I said, I maintained pretty much my norm through the first. The second will be a different story {I can already tell} - but don't you worry, I'm chronicling that, too ;-) Here's every workout I did for each day that I worked out in the first trimester - including links to almost every workout! 140 lbs *Positive pregnancy test on the third day of Week 4!!* Day 1: 5 mile run {I hit a PR this day! Ran 6-9mph. Little did I know life was about to change...} & 2:00 plank Day 2: Tone it Up (TIU) Kettletoning with a 10-15lb. Kettlebell & 2:00 plank Day 3: PiYo Sweat, TIU Daily WO {ab workout - skipped plank jacks; swapped out for ankle taps} & 2:10 plank {this was all after getting the call that we were pregnant (!!!!), hence skipping the plank jacks. Nervous-nettie, party of one!} **Tip: sign-up for TIU and you'll get a new quick Daily WO every day - it always changes, so there's no way to link back to them.** Day 4: 3 mile treadmill HIIT {made up} = 27:15 & TIU Daily WO Day 5: Jillian Michael Kickbox Upper, TIU Daily WO {arms}, TIU Toned Arms, TIU Bikini Abs {got hard at the end with on-back exercises so modified a little} & 2:15 plank {Umm, was I insane this day!? I'll have to use these as inspo post-pregnancy - like, see what you used to do!} Day 6: TIU Exclusive WO Tone HIIT Up {20 minutes}, TIU Total Body {14 minutes}, & TIU Daily WO {full body} - no modifications but limbs felt heavier and I lost breath easier Day 7: REST 138.9 lbs Day 1: 4.5 mile run {6mph, 6.5, 7, then back down to 6 and then only .100 mile sprints at 7, 7.5, and 8, opposed to my normal .250 mile sprints (1 lap) - couldn't stick out the usual sprints at the end; too winded and didn't have the energy, but still made it through and felt great!} & TIU Daily WO {abs} & 2:00 plank Day 2: TIU Kettletoning {mostly with 15lb. kettlebell - some 10lb.}, TIU Daily WO {full body} & 2:15 plank {felt great through all!} Day 3: Incline Interval HIIT - Sweaty Mess {loved!!} - Modified to run 1-10 minutes starting at 6mph and increased .5mph every 2 minutes, at 2 incline; completed 10-38 as listed = 2.7 miles & 2:20 plank Day 4: Turbo Fire Core 20 {mostly standing, which is great!} & TIU Bootycall from BB3 {TOUGH! Not my usual strength and endurance. I took this one out of my workout line-up after this!} Day 5: REST - bad cramps, shooting pains and spotting Day 6: 2 mile run {6-8mph} = 17:41, TIU Arm Routine Pin x2, TIU Bikini Yoga {16 minutes}; 2:00 plank & :30 side plank {each side} Day 7: REST 138.9 lbs Day 1: 4 mile run {rough, little energy, winded easier} & 1/2 mile incline walk to 4.5 miles Day 2: TIU BB3 Total Body {25 minutes} - used mostly 10lb weights; modified laying abs with sitting abs {v-sits}. Pushed through even though nausea started to set in this day! Day 3: 1.7 mile walk outside with 5lb weights & TIU Exclusive WO Body Bliss {did drop set when needed and modified floor abs to do on my elbows} Day 4: Treadmill Shredmill HIIT through 4th set & then more {side walks and free weights} - 35 minutes = 2.17 miles Day 5: TIU BB3 Arms & 2:00 plank {tired!} Day 6: Docs put me on "no intense workout" regimen until further notice... Day 7: REST 138.9 lbs Day 1: REST Day 2: REST Day 3: TIU Toned Arms {x1 - 10lb. weights} & TIU Inner Thighs Pin {x1} - took my time and didn't push myself Day 4: TIU Bikini Body Routine Pin {x1 - 8-10lb. weights} Day 5: REST Day 6: TIU Arm Routine Pin Day 7: TIU Inner Thighs Pin {x1} & TIU Bikini Abs {skipped hardcore floor work at the end} 138.9 lbs Day 1: REST Day 2: 20 minute leisure walk at lunch {outside} & TIU Toned arms {x2 - first time with 10lbs., second with 8lbs.} Day 3: REST Day 4: REST Day 5: REST Day 6: 20 minute walk 3-4.5mph with inclines & 3lb. hand weights = 1.2 miles Day 7: REST *Looking back, it pains me to look at this week - my inner-psyche that was trained to workout has a pit in its stomach. BUT, during my "rest" period, I remember feeling completely at ease about it - anything for the babe!!* 141.1 lbs {finally on the move!} Day 1: REST Day 2: TIU Toned Arms Pin {x3 - 10lb., 8lb., 8lb. - skipped bands move on second and third round} & 2:00 plank Day 3: 1 mile incline walk {3.5-4mph at 6-12 incline} with 5lb. weights & TIU Best Abs Routine 15-20 reps each move {modified bird plank to be on knees} Day 4: TIU Daisy Duke Pin {x2} Day 5: *Graduation Day from Shady Grove Fertility!! Officially approved to get back in the game!* 2 mile jog {4-6.5mph} & TIU Bikini Arms {x1 - 10lb. weights; 20 reps each move} Day 6: SO sore! Hurts to get back in the game. TIU Beach Yoga {20 minutes} & 1st Trimester Core WO by FitMommy Day 7: REST 141.1 lbs Day 1: 3.5 mile run {4-6.5mph} - felt good! Note to myself: Not as much "oomph" as I used to have, but stick with it and go at your own pace - get over the 1 mile hump! Day 2: TIU BB3 Beach Bombshell {8-10lb. weights} Day 3: Turbo Fire 30 - felt great! Then super sore at night. Day 4: Turbo Fire 40 Stretch - much needed! Day 5: PB Fingers HIIT: 30 minute treadmill workout {modified to run less mph and do walks at inclines} - 30 minutes = 2.707 miles; not bad with 10 minutes of walking! Day 6: 1.5 mile walk outside with 5lb.weights Day 7: 2:00 plank {this was a rest day but I threw it in there, because, what's 2 minutes?!} 142.9 lbs {gained exactly 4lbs in the first trimester} Day 1: 3.5 mile run {5mph for 1/4 mile, 5.5 for 1/4 mile, 6 for 1.5 miles, 6.5 for 1 mile, 7 for 1/4 mile, 5-6 for last 1/4 and then cool down walk at 3-4mph for 1/4 mile} = 34:53 & 2:00 plank Day 2: TIU BB3 Beachball & TIU Bikini Abs/Arms Video {6 minutes} - felt "normal" for the first time in weeks!! Day 3: TIU BB3 Kettlebells {used 15lb. weight as much as possible but had to drop to 8-10 sometimes} Day 4: Treadmill HIIT - 30 minute incline/interval HIIT {made up!} = 2.520 miles Day 5: TIU Beach Yoga, TIU Bikini Arms & TIU Toned Arms {8-10lb. weights} - great arm day! Day 6: 1.8 mile walk outside with 5lb. weights Day 7: REST Next up: second trimester workout schedule! I switched from doing tons of TIU {which started to get too ply and HIIT-happy for me & babe} to dabbling back to my BeachBody On Demand subscription {totally worth it! Tons of videos at your fingertips}. Get ready for some P90x3, a little 21 Day Fix, and tons of PiYo {because, low impact, lean muscles, and core strengthening}! Until then - remember to talk to you doctor about a workout regimen that works for YOU! #workout #pregnancy #health #life #fitmom #fitness


    We became quite the dodgers over the years—professional dodgers even. Finding new excuses, coming up with our newest reason of the week—of the month—it became sort of a game. Sometimes we would lie so much that I would start to believe it. I think some of you caught on after a while because you stopped asking. Thanks for that—dodging gets exhausting. It started out truthful, I promise. Then slowly but surely the truth got harder, so the lies started to pile up. The more we found out, the more we lied. So much so that it was hard to keep track of who we had lied to and what lie we used that time. I should have kept a list. It all started with the basic, instinctual question that you ask all married couples. "When are you guys going to have a baby?" The answer was almost always, "Oh, I don't know - we're on the five year plan!" We were young! We had plenty of time. No rush. Do you know how fast five years flies?! Fast, ya'll. Especially when you are having a blast, seeing the world, working your butts off, drinking your livers off, and We were soon faced with our five year commitment. We started to consider making our first truth a reality. That's when the lies started. They were our own doing and denial at first...but then they became forced. It was out of our hands. We didn't want to lie - but we couldn't bear telling everyone the truth. Friends of ours that were ready to start a family said, "After you go to Paris, let's get pregnant together!" Lie: "Yes! Let's!" Truth: We weren't quite ready—we were having the time of our lives, just the two of us. In hindsight, I wish we would have started then. Then we would be a year ahead of this process - this never-ending process. Everyone and their mother {including ours} would ask any chance they got, "When are you guys going to have a baby?!" Lie: After the year of "Yes!" We're going to do a whole year of flying by the seat of our pants, saying "Yes!" to everything, while we can. Truth: An excuse to keep us from having to commit to trying. I was terrified—what if I got pregnant right away?! Of course, I wouldn't have, and again, I wish I would have started then. Friends of ours announce their pregnancy and of course the question follows, "Do you guys think you'll get pregnant soon?" Truth: I hope so! We just went off birth control, so whenever it happens, it happens! This actually was the truth at the time. I feel like that's the last time we even remotely told the truth. That's when the forced lies started... "Five years is totally up, and then some - so, babies soon??" Lie: Yes, yes, soon - we're working on it! Truth: "Working on it" was an understatement. "Working on it" would mean that we were tracking ovulation, taking temperatures, and holding our breath to see whether Aunt Flo would rear her ugly head, or not. In reality, we were starting the emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting road through infertility treatments. MRI's, blood tests, sperm tests, tests that made me literally scream at the top of my lungs {HSG, aka, this is what labor must feel like, right?!}, and the eventual diagnosis of: inconclusive. My state of fertility was inconclusive. No rhyme, reason or understanding as to why I couldn't get pregnant—just the knowledge that I, in fact, could not naturally conceive. Looking back, realizing that I couldn't naturally conceive isn't even a notch on pain's belt—the real pain, roadblocks, heartache, letdowns, dreams crashing—that hadn't even begun. Sounds dramatic, right? Well, it was - it is. And for anyone who can go through years of failed infertility treatments with their head forever held high is either the strongest person on earth - or the best damn liar. We became a mix of both—putting on faces when we needed to, and lying when faces failed us. Those select few who knew what we were going through would delicately ask, "So, how's it going...?" Lie: It's going! We're in the middle of a cycle, so we'll see. Truth: Our go-to answer was that we were always in the middle of a cycle. It was just easier that way to ensure that no one would be waiting on the hook for a positive or negative result. No sense in everyone being on edge, right? Sometimes I wish I would have been more truthful and taken some of the weight of my shoulders, off my hubby's shoulders. That man shouldered every thought, feeling and emotion I had, without blinking an eye. Then, one Friday afternoon in the Summer, while sitting at our kitchen table, the phone rang - and we thought all our lies were behind us. The blissful truth we'd been waiting for: we were pregnant. I wish I could say that's our happily-ever-after, but I'm guessing you, too, are wondering how that could be - because where's the bump, the announcement, the baby? A mere four weeks later, our lies returned. Only, this time I was broken beyond repair, and barely had the strength to speak - let alone, lie. Miscarriage is a...ya know, I don't know that there's a description for it. I'm just left shaking my head at the thought of it. Nonetheless, it's another topic in itself - and one that I will touch on, when I'm ready. All this heavy-loaded-blog-talk to say - we've been leading a second life. One that not many saw, but one that many many others also live. You'd be shocked to find out how many people go through infertility treatments, once you're going through it yourself. So, why come forward now? Two reasons—one of which is to pay it forward, if even just the slightest. I spent countless nights, afternoons, weekends, holidays—months, really—reading and rereading infertility and miscarriage blogs. Despite the fact that my husband was a ROCK, and my family and friends were endlessly and sensitively supportive, there is no one who will understand what it's like to go through this - unless they are also shooting up, getting blood work done 3-5 times a week, being poked, prodded, studied, tested and growing more hopeless by the day. I promised myself that when I was ready, I would pay it forward. I used to wish and wish for someone who was going through this to "accidentally" find out so they could coach me through. So, if by reading my blog you can find some solace, or find yourself nodding along, or even find the strength to reach out - then I've done my job. And, even though sometimes others' success stories would be hurtful, I still have to say it - stay HOPEFUL, stay FOCUSED, keep your eye on the PRIZE, stick TOGETHER, and never ever ever stop searching for SILVER LININGS... My second reason for sharing...go ahead, ask. I know you're dying to... "Are you pregnant?" Truth: Yes <3 Our pregnancy announcement video by Erin Michelle Photography!! {That I still can't get through without crying} #infertility #miscarriage #life #Realtalk #health #pregnancy


    This was just about the easiest veggie dish to throw together - and the best part is that it can feed the masses! While the grill is already packed with endless rows of 'dogs and sausages, you can pop this bad boy into the oven and maximize on time and space! It's the perfect mix of summer veggies and more than likely something you can throw together with stuff you already have on hand {seriously, I grabbed from my veggie drawer for this one.} P.S. Think of those succulent & flavorful in-season tomatoes in this dish ::insert heart eyes emoji:: All you need is some summer squash, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic, thyme, paprika, shredded Parmesan cheese, EVOO & salt and pepper. First, chop and saute the onions with garlic. Then wait for everyone in your house to say, "mmmhmm, what are you making?!" There's something about the wafting smell of sauteed onions! While the sauteed onions are wafting, start slicing your summer vegetables {this dish would also be good with red potatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or mushrooms!} Finally {see, easy peasy - 3 steps!}, spread half of the onion mixture on the bottom of your casserole dish {I used a 7x11 dish, but you can use whatever size fits your veggies} and stack your veggies in rows on top. Season with thyme, paprika, and generous salt and pepper {remember that these water-filled veggies need a good dose of seasoning}. Lastly, top your veggies with the remaining sauteed onion mix and sprinkle the shredded parm. Bake. Waft. Serve. {But, take a spoonful for yourself first, because it'll go fast!} Stacked Summer Squash Casserole Servings: 6-8 Total time: 1 hour Ingredients 2 squash {sliced} 2 zucchini {sliced} 2 tomatoes {sliced} 1 large onion {chopped} 2 cloves garlic, minced {or, if you're lazy like me - 1 Tbsp minced garlic from the jar} 1 Tbsp dried thyme 1 Tbsp paprika EVOO 1 cup shredded Parmesan S&P to taste Instructions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your casserole dish with Pam {or greaser of choice}. Saute onion and garlic with EVOO over medium heat until the onions are soft, transparent, andwafting. Meanwhile, slice the remaining vegetables. Spread half of the onion mixture on the bottom of your casserole dish, and then begin stacking your vegetables in rows, alternating vegetables so you don't have two of the same back-to-back. Season with the thyme, paprika, S&P and top with the remaining onion mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top with shredded parm and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Serve immediately! Though, truth me told, this is perfect at room temperature, too. {Tip: If there are any leftovers, turn your stacked vegetables into a stacked frittata! Here's one of my favs from Sally's Baking Addiction.} #health #life #hostessinspo


    {Claire Danes, aka Cinderella, in Zac Posen} The Emmy's, Grammy's & Oscar's don't have anything on the biggest, boldest & bravest night in fashion—the Met Gala. For those who have been living under a fashion rock - the Met Gala is Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit. Which basically means, a night for the most beautiful people in the world to wear the most incredible designs in the world, to the biggest ball of the year. And, what's a ball without a theme? This year's Met Gala theme was Manus x Machina—fashion in an age of technology. Enough Met Gala small talk - and onto the moments that will make you gasp {you'll know it when you see it}, swoon, grit your teeth in empathetic embarrassment, and make you turn your nose up. {BEST} Claire Danes {aka, Cinderella} in Zac Posen From the second I saw this on Zac Posen's Instagram, I knew it was over—the competition, the search for my wedding-vow-renewal dress, life as we know—all of it, it had just been won. Modern day Cinderella. {And now you may gasp}. Poppy Delevingne in Marchesa Second official fav. The rest are in no particular gorgeous order... Nicole Kidman in Alexander McQueen Nina Dobrev also in Marchesa Karolina Kurkova in Marchesa {Slay, Marchesa} Blake Lively in Burberry Zoe Saldana in Dolce & Gabbana Kate Bosworth in Dolce & Gabbana Allison Williams in Peter Pilotto But even more importantly - hair by Rebekah Forecast. Fishtails & diamond clusters?! Setting the tone for wedding hair every where. Kylie Jenner in Balmain The best of the Kardashian/Jenners. Peep the impeccable Cindy Crawford in the background - also in Balmain! Emma Roberts in Tory Burch {CONFUSING} Look, it's the Met Gala, and a night for avant-garde, so nothing is really "off limits," or in bad taste. But let me tell you - there is confusing. Like, majorly wrinkled forehead, might need botox, confusing. Sarah Jessica Parker in Monse I wait. I wait all year to see this woman step on the Met Red Carpet, and this year - George Washington steps out. The blue shoes are her only saving grace. Lupita Nyong'o in Calvin Klein I think we know my confusion here... And then an entire generation of up-and-coming fashionistas stepped out, and it's clear that their invitation represented the wrong theme. Instead of Manus x Machina, I am convinced it said, "Modern Day 90s." Selena Gomez in Louis Vuitton Kristen Stewart in Chanel Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton At least she was actually old enough to remember the 90s... And sure, there were some "oh no, not here, not ever" looks {I'm looking at you, Madonna}, and some I'm still torn on {yes, even on Queen Bey & her spandex dress}, but let's not dwell on the negative. Because - Claire Danes, Zac Posen, and Cinderella. That's all we'll ever need to remember from this year's Met Gala. P.S. Anyone marching out pronto to buy some new hair accoutrements!? I can dig it. Psst...More fashion-moments: All That Glitters is Gold #hair #accessories #hairstyle #fashion #beauty #style


    While your Spring hair color can set the tone for your spring look, there are cuts & styles that can take your spring transformation to the n e x t level. Want to know what cut to pair with your new bronde or ice blonde color? Need to know what styles to perfect to show off your fashion colors? Or, coveting your virgin locks but still need something to mix it up? Bob, shag & braid with me! {Cuts} {Blunt Textured Bob} Long bobs kicked off last year, and they're not going anywhere anytime soon! Especially with warmer weather on the horizon, this is the perfect lightweight & breezy cut to survive humidity and still maintain an actual style. A lot of this cut is in the styling—pumping up the volume at the root, adding texture throughout, and flattening the tips to give that lived-in and blunt look. You want the cut to hit anywhere between grazing your shoulders and skimming your collarbone, depending on your face shape {rounder faces should go for a collarbone cut to lengthen your face shape}. Then, you want very inconspicuous layers that add texture throughout, without giving you The Rachel. {Long Modern Shag} Shags are famous for their sassy, sexy and majorly swingy layers. And I mean LAYERS. This is one of the most layered cuts out there—stemming from the original 70s style, perfected by both womenand men {think teen heartthrobs of the 70s like David Cassidy and Mick Jagger}. In the 90s it took on a rounder shape with the birth of The Rachel {one of the most iconic cuts of all time, which you can probably tell since it's been mentioned twice already!}. And in the 00's it made it's return withMeg Ryan. Most of these decade-shags have one thing in common—short. Today's shag, although perfect on all lengths and textures, is mostly geared towards medium to long hair. Finally, us long-haired girls get our shag on. The more layered, fringy and textured - the better. Julianne Hough rocks my most recent favorite, chopped by no other than the incredible Riawna Capri of Nine Zero One Salon {a must-follow on Instagram!} {Styles} {Center-part} Once upon a time I was wearing my hair stick straight and smack down the center and someone said to me, "you look like Cher!"—and just like that, I fell in love with center-parts forever. Made famous by Cher herself, the center-part has been reborn in a hippy-wannabe, Coachella-style infested, Kardashian-ruling new world. Sleek {more like plastered}, flowy, bang-split, double-bunned, pinned back—however you're wearing your hair, a center-part will instantly up your chic-factor. {Braids} I know, this is not a new trend—in fact, most of us have been rocking braids since grade school! But alas, it still reins every day styles, bridal styles and tutorials across the web. Today's hottest braids include a nod to those grade school braids with french-braided pigtails; intricate braids-within-braids; half braids; and chubby little pancake braids. At this point in our lives I think it's safe to say that braids are here to stay—for. EV. er. Psst...More inspiration for Spring style: That 70s Fall Style: Two Ways Spring & Tribal Curves Ahead #hair #hairstyle #beauty #style


    Time to replenish those static-laden & dry winter locks and awaken them for spring with some bronde, bold & near-black color-inspiration! Major inspiration to take to your stylist for your spring transformation. Check out the colors that will be A L L the rage this season! {Bronde} The best of both worlds—perfect for brunettes who are terrified of becoming blondes, and perfect for blondes who are terrified of going completely brunette. It gives blondes a deeper base with face framing highlights, and gives brunettes the chance to get some contrast with sunkissed freelights. Whether blonde or brunette, both looks are meant to be natural and soft—we're not talking harsh blonde-on-near-black chunky foiled highlights here. We're talking seamless shades of color that perfectly compliment and melt into one another. The kind that makes you say, "Is it blonde? Or is it brunette?" Let's just settle that right now—it's BRONDE. {Ice, Ice, Blondie} Blondes are going even blonder—to platinum and beyond. Something tells me that Elsa & her ice white braid had something to do with this. Ice blonde still comes in many shades - from pure white, to silver, to near-grey. Some stick with a more natural root, while others get iced all over. Now, this look is not for everyone—aside from whether it gels with your natural skin tone, you also have to consider if you're ready for a lengthy {and likely pricey} salon visit, high maintenance touch-ups, and extra special hydrating products to keep your processed locks in tact. It's not as simple as your typical blonde—you have to commit to stages {if you're starting with darker hair}, and also consider your elements after you've achieved your icy blonde. For instance, well water wreaks havoc on blondes - filter or not. But, don't let me scare you away completely - there are ways to get icy, if you're ready to fully commit! Thanks to liquid hair-gold like Olaplex and b3, the integrity of your hair can be saved while you go blonder...and blonder...and beyond! {Fashion Colors} Now that you've gotten to a bright blonde, you might as well have fun with it, right?! Fashion colors still reign - and they've evolved from the barely-there pastel peekaboos that let even the most conservative heads of hair get a little edgy. Now, fashion colors are getting ballsy, and even mimicking pictures, concepts and sunsets. Think pinks, oranges and yellows to melt into a sunset color. Or lilacs, fuchsias, and pastels to paint a picture of a garden. The best part about fashion colors is that they don't last forever, so why NOT have some fun?! However, that's also the worstpart about fashion colors—if you love them, they unfortunately fade fast. The best tricks to maintaining fashion colors are: Wash as few & far between as possible. Use color protective shampoo, conditioner and products - sulfate free is IDEAL. Rinse with cool to cold water - never hot. Beauty is pain! And apparently cold. Avoid chlorine and well water at all costs - the harsh chemicals will strip the fun right out of your hair. Protect against heat - this means natural heat from the sun, too. Look, I get it, you can't live without your flat iron, but if you are going to subject your brightly colored hair to mega-heat, make sure to use a protectant spray first, ay? Here's a great list of 10 under $20. {Deep, Dark Chocolate} Usually, when you think spring hair, you think about starting the transition to beachy blonde locks—but that's not the case for everyone! While I love a striking dark color on my winter brunettes, I am also l o v i n g super dark brown-almost-black locks that are full of hydration, health & SHINE. It's a little edgy, a lot fashion, looks great with a tan or on healthy pale complexions, and screams mysterious. To me, there are two kinds of bloggers in the world: the girl-next-door sweet & cheery blogger with typical bronde or balayaged hair - and the fashion-forward edgy & mysterious blogger with fashion colored or uber dark & uber long hair. I adore, follow and mimic both at times—but my inner-blogger really wants to be MaryCake when I grow up. What color are you coveting for Spring?! Check out my Instagram for daily Spring-hair inspiration! Up next: Spring Cut & Style Trends! Coming soon... Psst...Hair inspo galore: Beach-Waved Bob Tutorial 20 Pinterest-Worthy Updos: A 365 Degree View #hair #hairstyle #beauty #style #SilverLiningsSalon

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