These posts have become a favorite for me – I love learning what your questions are and answering them! Thanks for taking the time to ask and happy Friday!
Do you of any non-toxic keratin treatments for smooth hair?
I consulted my hair dresser and she says they all use chemicals, but she doesn’t offer these treatments, so I found some resources online: an article on Web MD that shares more about the treatment, its benefits and ingredients and one from Allure as well.
How did you get to a point of 50/50 contribution in your marriage?
I think because I grew up in a household where this was very much not the case, it was important to me to find a partner who regarded us as equals. I think living together before marriage helps, because you can get a “preview” of how married life might look. If you find yourself doing all of the household tasks, errands and chores while your partner plays video games, ask yourself if that will be OK with you as you grow in your relationship and have children. Oftentimes, that early behavior can be a preview of what’s to come (I’m not saying people can’t change, just that it’s something to be thoughtful about).
I’ve always believed that you teach people how to treat you. So if you accept your partner not doing their share (and in some cases enable some of that behavior) you’re showing them that you can and will take on the physical and mental load of maintaining a household and caring for your children, but you’ll (justifiably) feel resentful. I think my attitude has always been one of having the expectation that my partner will do his share – as though there’s no other option (because really, there shouldn’t be).
In our home, Kevin always takes out the trash and fills/empties the dishwasher and I vacuum the floors, wipe down counters, do most of our laundry and do things like make the beds etc. Kevin handles most of the day-to-day items like paying bills and vehicle maintenance while I’m the one booking medical appointments for the kids, keeping on top of birthday party RSVPs/scheduling play dates, scheduling landscapers and hiring contractors to do work around the house. We split drop-off and pick-up from daycare/school depending on our schedules and who has early or late meetings at work. I think they key is communication. Neither spouse is a mind-reader so if you feel you’re taking on too much, have the conversation. Focus on how ensuring an equal division of labor (both physical and mental) is healthy for a marriage.
I know I wouldn’t be happy in a marriage where I didn’t feel supported and like the partnership wasn’t equal, so behaviors early on were ones I carefully considered as our relationship grew. Having an equal partnership doesn’t make a marriage perfect – but it does create a balance that is a positive factor in any relationship. The thing I value most about an equal partnership is that my children are growing up in a household where they consistently see both parents doing household chores, tasks and things related to caring for them. If they see this as “the norm” I hope they’ll have that same expectation of their partners one day. One more thing – marry someone who wants to be your equal partner – not someone you have to ask or nag to be your equal.
What do you recommend to grow your hair?
The first step is a healthy diet – I believe in healing your body from the inside for the most optimal skin and hair. Supplements like Biotin are said to help and I’ve used Nutrafol as well but need to be more consistent with it. Clinically, they’ve shown that it does help hair grow and fill in.
Do your pixie pants become baggy during the day?
Sometimes! I’ve actually noticed this more since I’ve lost some weight and don’t fill them out the same way I used to. Generally though, they never get what I consider to be too baggy. Have you tried going down a size? Also always remember to hang dry only so you don’t ruin the stretch fibers in the pants. I purchase a new pair of pixie pants every 4-6 months or so. I’ll wait until they’re 40% off and get them for about $22 a pair, which I think is an excellent price to pay a few times a year for pants I literally wear to work every day (I keep a few in the rotation). Read my full review of Pixie pants here.
Do your kids get screen time (TV or laptop?)
Yes! I’m not anti-screen time by any means. They watch TV shows (they like Paw Patrol and Elena of Avalor) and we like Disney movies and other kids movies (Like Leap, on Netflix) that we sometimes watch on weekends. They don’t have their own tablets – but we have iPads at home and recently started having Harper listen to Podcasts made for kids (like Sparkle Stories) during quiet time.
The kids also love watching Blippi and Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. I watched a TED talk on YouTube and kids recently so we really limit what they watch on YouTube. There is a good NYT article about YouTube kids also. Any time we’ve let Harper watch YouTube on a tablet, it always ends up on some weird video so I just don’t feel comfortable with the controls on it. I’d rather they watch a show on PBS Kids or Disney. We like Blippi because the videos are educational and fun and Cosmic Kids Yoga because it’s story telling combined with a fun physical activity. I notice when the kids used to watch other videos on YouTube they would become extremely upset when they would have to turn them off, so we just try to watch channels we feel have value.
How did you potty train your kids?
We started by purchasing books about going potty and reading those. Then their daycare would help reinforce trying to use the potty which helps tremendously. We bought each of them their own potty (Lincoln loved his racecar potty) but we just waited until they showed they were ready because I think it takes less time to potty train when it’s their decision. We didn’t do any 3-day methods or anything like that – we just waited until about age 2.5 to really get more into it and then offer the opportunity to use the potty. Both of them were potty trained pretty quickly – waking up dry and using the potty consistently. Harper got it pretty quickly and Lincoln is potty trained for pee but still working on #2 – I heard this is common for boys, so we are just waiting to see what happens.
Do you ever see yourself expanding your brand into clothing or home décor items like other bloggers?
No I don’t! I work a full-time job in addition to blogging so there is no way I could take on such a major project. I think it’s wonderful to see bloggers expanding their brands and I fully support the incredible businesses they’ve created. In particular, I love Rach Parcell’s clothing line, Emily’s clothing line, Cupcakes & Cashmere, Amber’s Barefoot Blonde Hair and the countless books written by various bloggers. I think it’s incredible that these women were able to create product lines based on what their readers loved most.
What are you looking for in a forever home?
There are about five homes in our general area that I’m obsessed with and every time we drive by them I say “oh look, there’s my dream house!” haha. My dream home is white with double front porches that wrap around and black shutters (I’m also in love with this house). In terms of what we’re looking for – we’d love a small back yard, zoned to a great school and for the house to either be a new build so we could choose and customize all of the hardware and fixtures or one that we would renovate to our tastes. I would like our forever home to have a ton of millwork/woodwork on all of the walls and ceilings, around windows and doors, etc. to have that really custom look and of course I’d want a ton of large windows because natural light is everything.
Would you ever live in the suburbs?
Never say never, but at this time I can’t envision it. We both value a shorter commute and I don’t think we can get that living in the suburbs. I also prefer the style and architecture of homes in our area. There are so many factors involved but for now, we’re happy where we are. If that ever changes we will cross that bridge when we get there.
Your house always looks beautiful! How much time do you spend cleaning/organizing?
I think it’s important to remember that Instagram isn’t reality. I share our messy spaces in my Instagram stories a lot because that’s real life. When I share a photo of our home on my feed, I’m spending time making my bed, making the pillows look just right, adding some flowers to the nightstand, etc. I do the same for our kitchen – I’ll clear the countertops and even use an app to erase distracting cords from our toaster and espresso machine in the background. So know that those perfectly styled spaces don’t look that way all the time. I have unfinished loads of laundry, our playroom looks chaotic many days and my countertops can look cluttered easily if I don’t stay on top of it. Having said that, I do spend time on weekends doing laundry, organizing, etc. Our cleaning lady does all of our deep cleaning every other week.
One of the reasons our home appears cleaner is because we have a dedicated playroom, so our main living space doesn’t have a ton of toys. I also believe in evaluating the aesthetics and functionality of each space in your home so that you can give yourself the permission to have LESS which makes your home look cleaner. I found this book to be a great help to me in learning to let go of things to have a more simplified home.
When do you start putting out your fall décor?
I’ll probably add some stuff at the beginning of October. I’m more of a Christmas décor person, but I love mums and pumpkins too!
Best advice for new moms in the postpartum phase?
To take it easy – don’t try to do too much or “get back to normal” too quickly. Your body grew and delivered another life and it’s OK to slow down. It really depends on your personality, but for me, I didn’t want to start working out after my 6 week appointment or diet or anything like that. I found breastfeeding and pumping around-the-clock to be a full time job in and of itself and I gave myself permission to ignore the pressures and just focus on that season of life. Spend time with other adults regularly – invite a friend over, go to lunch, try to leave the house so you’re not feeling cabin fever –in retrospect, I wish I had done that more, but my son was born during cold and flu season so I was hesitant to take him too many places and I was struggling with PPA. Lastly, have your partner wake up when the baby cries or do some of the feedings if possible. It will make you feel like you’re getting a little respite from the constant care taking a newborn requires and it allows your partner to build their own confidence in caring for your child – after all, they’re a new parent too.
Do you like designer bags like Chanel and LV?
I do like designer bags! In fact, I recently started using my Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM for work again (I primarily use it for travel). Designer bags are great but I’d rather spend that much on a vacation or a great piece of furniture. I love bags like Tory Burch and Kate Spade that are in the $200-$500 price point. It’s not that I don’t love them or that I’d never buy one (the LV was my first big splurge), I would rather buy something really beautiful for our home or go on a vacation than spend $2000 or more on a bag.
Money management tips? I love nice houses and clothes but how do I budget for that?
I’m not a financial expert so this question is tough for me to answer because everyone has different incomes, financial priorities, debt, etc. There is an online service called You Need a Budget (YNAB) that you can use to create and manage your budget. I recommend using a site like this to understand where your income goes and to learn to save for your financial priorities.
What did you change about your nutrition to lose weight?
I have tons of information about my diet and how I eat here and here. Three things made a big impact for me – the first is a reduction in my sugar consumption, the second is eating real foods and lastly, eating more fiber-rich foods. I never believed changing the way you eat could change your body, but I was wrong! I still eat a sweet treat every night and eat out on weekends, but I have remained really consistent with what I’m eating 80 percent of the time and that has allowed me to maintain my weight.
It seems like bloggers have a lot of money – do you need money to be a blogger?
You don’t have to be wealthy to be a content creator – you have to be passionate, motivated, creative and have a voice/message to share. Once a blogger has a larger following, they’re often able to work with brands on projects and earn a good income as a result of their work. But many bloggers worked for years without making a single cent before they monetized their blogs.
What was your inspiration for Lincoln’s big boy room?
Lincoln’s big boy room inspiration is here.
Thank you again for asking all of these great questions. Have a wonderful weekend!