Category: "Health"

What No One Told Me About Going Past Your Due Date! {Pregnancy Update Weeks 40+}

March 6th, 2017 | no comments

Hi Again! 

You know how I said in my last post that it would be my last pregnancy update? Well… that’s because I had this totally off base idea that once I hit my “due date” then *poof* baby would be here. What I’ve learned(or been reminded of)? A few things…like…

  • First time moms rarely deliver first babies ON their due date
  • Due dates aren’t an exact science
  • Babies are on their OWN time! #patience

Soo… with all of the prepartion we did for peanut leading up to our due date {you can read ALL ABOUT THAT here} what I failed to think about was, what if we went past our due date? I wasn’t prepared for the myriad of new tests (like the Nonstress Test), more frequent prenatal appointments (2x a week post-date) and bombarding of questions like “Where is baby??” “No baby yet??” and “Any contractions?!” from loving family and friends and even perfect strangers. Couple that with the comments full of opinions on how long I should wait to be medically induced and what I should/shouldn’t be doing to bring on labor (like this is somehow in my control)and there were a few moments I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.

Of course I was doing everything humanely possible to help my body move things along… was this really in my control or something I was somehow doing wrong? These thoughts crossed my mind. It wasn’t until Karl said to me after one of our prenatal appointments “you have to relieve yourself of the duty to make this happen. The baby WILL come when she’s ready.” Ahhhh…big sigh of relief. It’s hard at this stage not to let thoughts of worry and self-doubt creep in but what baby girl needs from me is what she has needed all along…me feeling physically and emotionally well. To do that, I needed to do was to reframe the situation and put trust back in myself, my body, the baby and the universe that all of this is part of a perfect plan. It sounds silly but I also needed the reminder that baby girl IS on her way and NO I wouldn’t be pregnant forever (ohhh the hormones!). 

What no one told me about going past you due date was just how emotional it would be. 

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Let me also say, most importantly, I am healthy and baby girl is healthy (and yet still on the inside). At this point, we are being very closely monitored by our midwives/Dr at our practice and I am physically feeling very well.

While this last week has brought A LOT of external “noise” we’ve have found ways to drown it out because we know in our hearts that nothing is wrong, we have just chosen to let baby girl grow and develop uninterrupted a bit longer without medical intervention because that is what feels right for us… at this time. It’s been interesting to see how uncomfortable other people are with some of our choices (that we feel calm and confident about), and yet a great lesson in parenting which will likely provide the same type of opinions, judgements and questions in our style or choices and that’s okay

What matters the most is that we continue to make decisions that feel great FOR US and feel right for OUR FAMILY. 

I wanted to share some of these very vulnerable thoughts as emotions have been high and low throughout the last week. My goal is always to be helpful and hopefully inspire other people who might be finding challenges in a similar situations. There ARE ways to cope with the difficultly of this waiting period and unknown…two things that just don’t come that natural to a Type A mama like myself…so I wanted to share that if I can, you can. Here are some of the ways we are spending our time and energy as we wait for our daughter to tell us “it’s GO time!”

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TREAT THE TIME LIKE A BABYCATION

The silver lining to all of the preparation we did prior to our due date was that after it passed we had nothing pressing to do. So, we’ve used this time to indulge in activities as a twosome (threesome with Harlow Girl) and soak up the quality time together. We’ve pretty much eaten our way through our neighborhood at all of our favorite restaurants, taken lots of walks, caught up on Oscar nominated movies and played games to pass the time. It has honestly been really special for us and I consider this the biggest perk of the extra time so far. 

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 CHANNEL POSITIVITY

For me the way I channel positivity is through creativity such as making a VISION BOARD. All you need is a few magazines, scissors, glue and a canvas or poster board in the size of your choosing. I decided to make a smaller sized one that was very portable so that I could bring it around with me throughout the house and bring it to the Birth Center/Hospital with us. Without judgement, scan the pages of the magazine and pull images and words that inspire you. Then, assemble the board with your images and watch the messages you need to hear reveal themselves. Try not to set out with any expectation for what you will create and let your inner guide inspire you. 

 

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A fellow new mom and childhood friend Angela brought me these mom-to-be Mantra Cards to help release some fear, doubt and encourage confidence and calm. They have been very inspiring and came just when I needed them — thank you A!

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 STAY HEALTHY 

At first I wanted to throw my hands in the air and say “I’m done!” and its understandable since pregnancy is a loooong time. I had to re-center and remember that little girl who needs me healthy and strong and this reminded me to continue to nourish myself with LOTS of sleep, healthy foods and staying active. With that, we’ve been enjoying daily walks in our favorite park and lots of homemade meals (a double win since cooking is also one of the ways I de-stress). 

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INDULGE IN SELF-CARE

Above all, this is truly vital for mom’s well being while the dealing with the rollercoaster of emotions that come with going past your due date (and throughout your entire pregnancy in my opinion). Some of the activities that I’ve been indulging in are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Prenatal Massage
  • Journaling
  • Bubble Baths
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Naps and rest and early bed times
  • Reading and listening to books on audio
  • Meal prepping and baking
  • Time with Karl and Harlow 
  • Catching up with friends 

HAVE FUN

We know that this time won’t last forever so we’ve been finding ways to stay busy and have fun with the extra time. The other day we visited NYC’s largest independent book store, Books of Wonder, to add some book’s to peanut’s library and it was SUCH a fun experience. We poured through the aisles and pages and picked out sweet stories that we’ll read our girl soon. It was fun to see our childhood favorites and loads of new stories about everything under the sun!

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A few more thoughts…

 So with that, we’re still waiting…just a few more days…for mother nature to continue to amaze us and bring our little girl into the world. We trust that this is all a part of our journey and we are learning great lessons in parenting, such as PATIENCE, while we enjoy the last few moments before baby. 

Thank you to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, messaged and sent thoughts and prayers our way. We are SO appreciative for your thoughts and can’t wait to introduce you to our daughter very soon. 

If you’re pregnant and past your due date… HANG IN THERE! You’re doing GREAT! 

With so much love…from this soon-to-be mama..

Xx, D

 

CATCH UP ON MY OTHER PREGNANCY UPDATES HERE:

Big News: We’re Expecting!!  {Update Weeks 1 – 18}

10 Pregnancy Essentials {Weeks 1 – 19}

It’s a…….!!! Gender Reveal + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 19 – 22}

Hello, Third Trimester! PREGNANCY UPDATE {Weeks 23 – 28}

Baby Celebration + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 29-35}

What’s in my Hospital/Birth Center Bag? + LAST Pregnancy Update {Weeks 35-39}

Gluten-Free Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola

February 26th, 2017 | no comments

Hello friends!

Today I’m back at it with a super simple recipe that is one of my all time favorites. I’m in my last few days of pregnancy and waiting for this sweet baby girl to arrive so stocking the fridge and pantry for postpartum convenience has kept me busy. For all of my mamas-to-be or new-mamas, Oats have been linked to a boost in milk supply so it’s a great food to reach for if you’re breastfeeding. Dried fruit and nuts provide a delicious boost of protein and energy which is great for new mamas who need all of the energy they can muster up for caring for a newborn. So it made sense to me to make my own granola since it’s easy to grab, tops well over yogurt for breakfast and salads or sweet potato for a heartier meal (try it!). 

This recipe is SO easy. It’s all about the mix, bake and wait. You can’t go wrong. Another reason I love it is because you can really mix in any fruit and nuts and seeds you have on hand. I hope you enjoy! If you make this delicious granola, tag me in your posts @DeeLynn78 on Insta, @DeeLynn on Twitter and #createyourgreatlife. Happy Baking! 

Gluten-Free Maple, Fruit and Nut Granola

You’ll need:

  • 3 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 cups raw nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
  • 1/4 cup shaved unsweetened coconut flakes 
  • 1 tbsp raw hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp raw chia seeds 
  • 2 tsp organic cinnamon powder 
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/3 cup grade b maple syrup 
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used unsweetened cranberries and apricots) 

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To Make:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl add dry ingredients (leaving out the dried fruit) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. In a small bowl mix melted coconut oil with the maple syrup and vanilla extra and whisk until its (mostly) incorporated. Next, slowly drizzle wet ingredients into the dry mixing bowl ingredients and mix thoroughly until all of the oats and fruit are incorporated. 

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Spread the oat mixture evenly onto your lined baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10 minutes and flipping the sheet halfway through to encourage even baking. Once baked, let cool and dry completely. The oats will harden as they cool and dry out. 

Once the oats are cooled add your dried fruit and stir mixture to evenly incorporate. If you want to get really fancy you can add some dark chocolate chips too (I love to add when I’m giving this as a gift). 

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Store in an air tight glass container in a cool dry place. If giving as a gift, tie a cute ribbon around the neck of the jar and add a homemade tag — makes a great hostess gift! I love to enjoy it over coconut yogurt with fresh fruit – YUM! Enjoy! 

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What’s in my Hospital/Birth Center Bag? + LAST Pregnancy Update {Weeks 35-39}

February 17th, 2017 | no comments

 Hi Friends!

Here we are at 39 weeks pregnant and I decided to write this post as my last pre-baby update. Aside from the regular pregnancy questions, a lot of people are asking how we are preparing for “the big delivery day” and “what’s in my hospital bag?” So… as to hopefully be helpful, I thought I would document it all here. Partially to keep myself organized but also to help if you’re preparing for your big day and wanted to see what we’ve done to pack and prepare.

DISCLAIMER: I am a first-time-mama-to-be who has NEVER been through this before and so you’ll soon see that we DID and PREPPED alot. Probably more than is actually necessary and I admit that I know some of the preparation we did will be in vain but I am OK with that because I’m a pregnant lady with a lot on my mind and it has eased my mind to focus on preparing in this way. So please know that this isn’t the END ALL BE ALL of lists and I also hope to post an update after baby with what I actually used or found really helpful in hindsight. So, there’s that. 

But first, let’s do a little update from the last few weeks…

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Weeks 35-39: These last few weeks have brought about a lot of preparation, which you will soon get a glimpse of. My energy level has ebbed and flowed (Enter: NAPS) and the baby growth spurts have brought about some new aches and pains, mainly in my lower back and hips. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor who specializes in obstetrics, going for weekly prenatal massages and wearing this belly belt and I have to say the combination is definitely helping. [Please consult your physician if you are experiencing any aches and pains, all of this treatment was pre-approved by ours for my specific needs]. Right around week 37 I came down with a horrrrrrrible cold and was on bed rest for about a week = NOT FUN. Luckily I made a full recovery and baby girl decided to STAY IN and I could not be more thankful to have that in the past and these days of getting healthy again accruing before the ‘big day’.  

In terms of cravings I am still on a FRUIT kick but have definitely been craving sweets in these last few weeks which is new. I’ve been indulging in all of the old wives tales about “what to eat” to prepare your body for labor…like dates, pineapple, spicy foods and supplementing with evening primrose oil… and not that I can tell you anything’s working or not working but it’s fun to pay more attention in this way (again, please consult your care provider before adding in any supplements or anything new to your regime).  I am still able to go to SoulCycle and do the elliptical a few times a week and always feel good and sleep better on the days I workout. Oh, sleep. This one is pretty rough as I’m getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the day, but all for a good cause! :) Other than that our weekly appointments have been mostly uneventful in the best way possible and we are getting more and more eager to meet our sweet daughter very soon! 

Self-care has been tremendously important for allowing me to feel good as my body, mind and soul continue to change everyday. For me that looks like exercise, good nutrition, early nights in bed, manicures, baths and scrapbooking the Baby Book which has been a really fun experience (thank you to my sweet friend Kelly for giving us this book!). I also snuck in a haircut since I knew I wouldn’t have a chance for some time postpartum

 A fresh cut/color pre-baby sure makes a mama feel good! 

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The NESTING instinct has picked up HARD and we’ve really spent the last few weeks preparing the nursery, our home, our work and our minds for what’s to come soon. You’ll soon see as you keep reading just HOW MUCH we have actually done to prepare but now, at 39 weeks pregnant I really don’t have much to do but “feel well“, get lots of rest, eat well, enjoy prenatal massage, visit my chiropractor, enjoy the last few days as a twosome (threesome if you’re counting Harlow) and stay comfortable. Which is exactly the place I wanted to be at. I know that so much of labor and delivery and having a newborn will be unpredictable and chaotic (and beautiful) so it has helped me to relax by getting all of these ducks in a row. 

 So, I warn you. Super long post. Lots of products, packing and preparations (mostly necessary but surely some unnecessary). But, I feel great about it all and that’s all that matters.

Read at your leisure, use this as a reference if you find it helpful, skim, bounce around and if you’re a mom and I am completely missing something obvious — help a sista out and let me know! :) We are giving birth at a Birth Center so some of what we did/prepared for is geared towards that experience which may be slightly different than a traditional labor & delivery situation at a hospital. So just keep that in mind if you’re thinking “wow, that’s a lot!” If you have any questions about why we did something or packed a certain item, let me know. Happy to share my thought process it reasoning with you if it will be helpful.

Otherwise, know that you don’t really neeeeed most of this “stuff” or to prepare like we did. It’s SUCH a personal thing and whatever fits your personality and preferences. So…please please please listen to your body, your heart and connect with your partner about what will work best for you. What you’ll read below works best for us but may be too much (or too little) for someone else and I can totally respect and appreciate that. 

“Prepping for baby is exhausting!” -Harlow 

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For my Hospital/Birth Center bag I chose this one from Vera Bradley that I had on hand because it’s a large duffel that will fit a ton, it’s very light as a bag so won’t add extra weight or bulk (for Karl who will be handling) and most importantly it can easily be tossed in the washing machine afterwards. I didn’t want to bring a nicer bag or our diaper bag for that last reason specifically. I’m happy with this choice because it sure is big enough for everything you’re about to see on my list below! 

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I’ll start with what we packed….

For Baby:

• (2) newborn outfits (with feeties and mitts) • (2)  newborn white onesies • (3)  0-3 outfits • (4)  pairs of socks • Headbands (because…pictures ) • (2)  cotton hats + (1)  cozy going home hat • Going home outfit + puffer onesie (because it will still be winter here) • Burp clothes (disposable + cotton) • Swaddles (so we can use our own) • Organic coconut oil (for baby’s bum before meconium) • Newborn pacifiers for car ride home • Cozy receiving blanket

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For Me (mom):

• Labor outfit ((2) super soft robes — one old that we can chuck and one new for postpartum, cotton bras, cozy tanks, loose boxers + maternity leggings) • Extra Cotton Bras + Nursing Bras • Comfy hipster style undies (for postpartum) • Grippy socks • Slippers • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face cream, comb, deodorant, etc.) • Nursing pads, nipple cream, bottom spray (I am already a lover of Earth Mama Angel Baby) • Fridet Mom Washer • Maternity Belly Band (for postpartum support) • Extra socks • (2)  comfy outfits (Gap Body Maternity leggings, maternity tanks, cozy zip-ups and open front sweaters) • Going home clothes • Pillow with colored pillow case • A roll of my own soft toilet paper • Phone chargers • Digital camera with extra battery • Polaroid Instapix camera with extra film

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For Hospital/Birth Center:

• Pre-registration Confirmation paperwork • Copies of license and insurance cards • Copy of medical records that we go at out last prenatal appointment• Copies of birth “preferences” + Who to Call/Text list • Snacks • Drinks • Nursing Pillow (My Brest Friend) • Bluetooth speakers • Toxic-free ink pad + Baby Book

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For At-Home Labor:

(Since we are going to a Birth Center, at-home labor will be a longer than tradition L&D)

• Birth ball • Essential oils (lavender, peppermint + lemon) • Massage oil • Bendy straws (for easy hydration) • Baseball cap for ride to birth center • Headphones • Snacks + Beverages (hydration!!!) • Copies of different labor positions + contraction management techniques

 For Karl:

• Extra clothes • Bathing suit • Toiletries • Pillow • Snacks for hospital

This should say 38.5 weeks or “Just shy of 39″ ;) But, who’s counting??

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Now let’s talk about HOW we prepared…

Aside from packing our bags and the car for the delivery day, we’ve been busy in the weeks leading up to our due date. We wanted to be mindful of other life responsibilities and take as much off of our plates for those first few weeks/months in the “newborn vortex” as possible. It was a great opportunity to go through our lives and think ahead to what might be needed/due and handle as much as we could now as to minimize any distractions later on.

Of course with delivery services like InstaCart (for groceries), Target.com /Amazon.com /Diapers.com for baby and household essentials and Chewy.com for pet supplies, it’s really VERY easy to get most of our needs met without more than the push of a button (which is very comforting). But there was more on our list as we took inventory of our life and apartment and it feels good to know that this is all taken care of and that our baby will get our full attention when she arrives. Also because the nesting instinct is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and it kept me calm to focus on some of these things the last few weeks without just sitting around and waiting.

Other things we did to prepare our lives (and create mental capacity) for this new life change and the inevitable beautiful chaos that’s about to ensue:

• Karl got the car’s oil changed, checked and filled up car with gas (checked insurance coverage and inspection dates so nothing falls through the cracks) • Put car seat in car beforehand with base, seat cover and rear-facing mirror • One word: “padsicles” (Google if curious) • Arranged Harlow (pet) Care “on call” basis / stocked pup with food and treats (checked with vet for any upcoming vaccines that are due) • Meetings with our Doula • Completed Bradley Method Childbirth Ed classes • Completed birth center orientation • Talked extensively about our birth preferences + views on newborn procedures + postpartum preferences • Books, documentaries + positive stores • Expectful.com meditations + YouTube • Stocked fridge + freezer with healthy meals / options for postpartum • Picked our pediatrician • Set expectations with family/visitors • Prepped the nursery / washed all baby clothes and blankets and swaddles, prepped diapering station at changing table and one “to-go” for our bedroom • Stocked the apartment with essentials and cleaning products so we wouldn’t have to think about it for a while • Paid bills / filed taxes (since our baby is due during tax season!)

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Reflecting on what’s to come…

Now that I’m 39 weeks I’ve been doing a ton of reflection about this whole pregnancy and what’s to come. I love to sit in the nursery which is so filled with love already. I look around and see all of the beauty, love, support and generosity from everyone in our lives and the positive energy is truly remarkable. It’s been an emotional week. It feels like it’s 24/7 that I think about how she’ll arrive any day, whenever she’s ready, however is meant to be and what it means to let go of control, expectation and put full trust in something greater than myself.

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I’m learning new lessons in patience, unpredictability, unconditional love and acceptance of the unknown. I know that the journey is only beginning and that I have A LOT to learn but I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in any of this. Which is absolutely a mindset shift as I reflect back to discovering we were pregnant and having all of these anxious and isolating feelings appear. I’m proud of the growth I can see in myself, in Karl, and in US, throughout this journey that was FULL of a spectrum of emotions and experiences. Now more than ever I know that there is a reason pregnancy is approx 40 weeks. It really has taken all of that time to feel all the feels, prepare mentally and physically and fully embrace the life changes that are coming.

One more thing before I wrap up this VERY LONG post which is my final pregnancy update(next up a baby update!)! I need to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this entire journey. The love and support we continue to receive in abundance has allowed us to truly welcome this new chapter in our lives with open arms and hearts, and know that this journey will be amazing, real and one where we are never alone. Because I really do believe that it takes a village, and I am sooooo thankful for our village! 

It’s been so much fun to share this journey with you and to connect with all of the new-mamas to be that I’ve met along the way. I’m looking forward to more updates, baby updates, sharing new mama struggles and successes and OF COURSE getting back to some regularly scheduled “GREAT LIFE” programming like clean eating recipes, wellness tips, and much more, here soon. With LOVE + gratitude… Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

 And now… we wait. ♥

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In case you’ve missed any of the other PREGNANCY UPDATES, here are links to all of those posts! 

Big News: We’re Expecting!!  {Update Weeks 1 – 18}

10 Pregnancy Essentials {Weeks 1 – 19}

It’s a…….!!! Gender Reveal + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 19 – 22}

Hello, Third Trimester! PREGNANCY UPDATE {Weeks 23 – 28}

Baby Celebration + Pregnancy Update {Weeks 29-35}

9 Ways to Detox Your Home and Body With Ease!

December 19th, 2016 | no comments

Many people associate “detoxing” with the Summer months or attempting to balance those indulgences after the holidays or a vacation.  Did you know that your body has built in systems for detoxification and your body is CONSTANTLY getting rid of toxins?

From the air your breathe, to the foods you eat, to what you put on your body, toxins are everywhere. If you’re anything like me, minimizing your exposure to toxins is important to you, especially now that I’m pregnant but even pre-pregnancy this is a main area of interest in my life and coaching practice. I am fascinated by our body’s ability to get rid of toxins and it starts with reducing your exposure to toxins and creating a few new healthy habits.

But first, let’s talk about where toxins are found and why they matter.

Where are toxins found? Here are a few places…

  • Environment
  • Food
  • Water
  • Household Products
  • Cleaning Products

Why do toxins matter? They have been known to cause…

  • Breathing issues
  • Health problems
  • Inflammation
  • Disease
  • Pain
  • Mood Disorders
  • Digestive disorders
  • and more…

Of course it would be VERY difficult to eliminate all toxic exposure in our lives but there ARE a few ways you can help your body and environment decrease your exposure. Now, let’s talk about ways that you can assist your body in naturally detoxing ALL YEAR LONG. These are some of the ways I help my body “stay well” on the regular. 

Use an air purifier in my home or work space - I use one similar to this in my workspace and recently got my hands on this Himalayan Salt Lamp for our bedroom.  

Tongue Cleaner – gently wipe away surface bacteria/toxins with a tongue scraper before brushing two times a day. I get mine at Vitacost and switch out every 3 months.

Dry Brushing Your Skin – before you get in the shower use a dry brush to remove dead skin cells, stimulate circulation and improve lymphatic drainage. This one is an awesome habit to get into and you will instantly feel invigorated. I buy my dry brush at Vitacost as well and change every 6 months.

Choose Lemon Water - Starting your day with a glass of warm lemon water is one of the most effective habits you can create for revving up your bodies natural detoxification systems. 

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Drink Filtered Water – Depending on where in the world you live water from the tap contains various amounts of minerals, fluoride and even chlorine combined with rusty pipes and this can be a serious toxic zone. I recommend drinking filtered water. If you use a Brita or something similar just make sure you are switching out the filter as instructed. 

Eat your way clean - foods such as beets, cabbage and dandelion help to cleanse your body by cleansing the blood and boosting liver function. I love to incorporate steamed or roasted beets in my weekly meal planning or toss them into fresh pressed juices like this recipe here. I like to drink Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Root tea in the afternoon as well! 

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Safer cleaning products in your home – conventional household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that you absorb through your skin and breathe in (think about if you can smell the scent very strongly when you use them). I like to make my own cleaning products when possible or use gentler or all natural products especially for my kitchen, dishwasher and bathroom. Try my natural hand sanitizer spray recipe!

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Use fragrance and dye-free laundry detergentsI love the one from Trader Joe’s because it is plant derived, free of phosphates, dyes and parabans AND its biodegradable. 

Use paraban-free and sulfate-free haircare/skincare products – remember that anything you put on your hair or skin WILL get absorbed into your blood stream. Harsh chemicals used in hair and skin products have been linked to endocrine system disruption. Companies are getting MUCH better at labeling products so this is a good one to be aware of. 

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There are MANY more ways to help avoid toxins in our daily lives and “naturally detox” on the regular. In fact, this is one of my FAVORITE subjects. I am considering doing a post geared towards foods that naturally promote detoxification. And, if you’re interested… I am happy to take you behind the scenes of cleaning products, household products and skincare products that are cleaner and safer to use if that would be helpful to you. 

Let me know on twitter @DeeLynn, in the comments of Instagram @DeeLynn78 or leave a comment here! 

Have a Happy and Healthy Day!

 

Hello, Third Trimester! PREGNANCY UPDATE {Weeks 23 – 28}

December 6th, 2016 | no comments

Hi friends,

So…I’ve officially entered the THIRD trimester! WHAT THE WHAT? Time is truly flying and so many things happened this month that I want to fill you in on. I feel like from the 6 MONTH mark to the 7 MONTH mark there has been a huge change physically and emotionally in this pregnancy. I can feel an emotional shift taking place and between the belly POPPIN’ and lots of baby girl movements, the whole thing is more REAL. Do you know what I mean?

We’re bumpin’ and rollin’ now… 7 MONTHS!

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As each day passes I learn more, feel more and connect more with this entire experience. Each day also brings me one step closer to meeting our baby girl and that is still a surreal feeling. I don’t know that you get used to that…

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to the past few weeks…let’s journey back. Just to warn you ahead of time, this is a LONG post. :) 

Week 22 we were hot off our GENDER REVEAL and emotions were high. It was such an amazing experience to learn our baby’s gender – G.I.R.L – in front of some of our closest family and friends. What a special moment, full post here in case you missed it.

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That very next weekend, week 23, we went up to the Hudson Valley, NY, for a weekend in the woods full of hiking, cozy fires and good friends. It has become our fall tradition to do a weekend away with friends and it was so nice to get out of the concrete jungle for a few days in the fresh air.

My favorite part was cozying up by the fireplace…is there anything better?

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We also ordered some more baby books  and I have since DEVOURED them The Sleep Solution, The Happiest Baby on the Block and Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way, as well as watched the very informative documentary, The Business of Being Born. Regardless of your birth preferences or plan it can be helpful and comforting to learn about others experiences…at least it is for me so I have been a sponge for information and stories lately. I also enjoy watching positive birth stories on YouTube (a sentence I NEVER thought I would say!!!). I’m learning that there is this phenomenon that happens when you’re pregnant where people want to tell you horrific birth stories so it can be helpful to immerse yourself in positive and empowering information to combat those NON-HELPFUL, SCARY and OVERWHELMING stories that people like to tell. 

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This week, the weather started to change and I could feel the changes in my body…with more aches, sore throat and extra tired. Baby girl  is moving A TON, all day and all night especially after meals or right when I lay down to bed. People have started to feel kicks through my belly, SO STRANGE(!!) but beautiful and a fun way to connect others with the pregnancy, especially Karl. I love sharing this part, and these little reassuring kicks make all the difference to an over-thinker like me. Can you relate?

Me and my beautiful mom celebrating Lisa + Ian in Montauk!

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Week 24 flew by as I prepared to spend the weekend in Montauk for my very best friend’s wedding. I’m not going to sugar coat it…this was the first time I had to “dress” the bump and it was really overwhelming. With a surge of hormones, starting to feel a bit swollen and just generally not being used to my current size, I had a tough time feeling “good” getting dressed for the weekend. What saved me was OPTIONS and excercise to balance my hormones as well as self-care. I increased my water consumption and added in hydrating foods such as fruit and celery to help combat the swelling. I had to remind myself a few times that GROWING is not only normal and necessary but beautiful and that there is a sweet angel inside of me of needs me to feel well both mentally and physically – this shift in perspective has helped! Most importantly, the wedding was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT and my bestie got to marry her bestie and it was so special to be a part of it. 

6 MONTH BUMP on the dance floor!

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Going into week 25 I noticed a lot of skin breakouts on my chin and forehead – THANK YOU HORMONES. Even though the breakouts are likely caused by surges in hormones I took extra care in eating clean, drinking lots of water and making sure to disinfect my make-up brushes (I always notice breakouts when I don’t clean my make-up brushes often). After two weekends away and being 6.5 months pregnant I noticed that my body was craving SLEEP and SELF-CARE for which I turned to lavender epsom salt baths and early nights. During pregnancy I’ve noticed that my bounce back time takes a bit longer, so I really need to build in rest and self-care after long weekends or strenuous weeks. Anyone else?

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This week I also attended the BIG CITY MOM’s Biggest Baby Shower in NYC courtesy of my friend Katie (thank you!!) and it was such a fun experience. I got to try out all of the items I had picked out for our registry and hear Dr. Harvey Karp lecture on the 5 S’s — sooo enlightening! I also left with MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE in samples that will definitely go to good use. 

LOOK AT ALL THIS BABY LOOT!!

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Week 26 was a bit challenging as my routine 1-hour glucose test came back abnormal (which I hear is pretty common). I was sent back for the much longer and more intense 3-hour test…to which I PASSED with flying colors… but this was a challenging week for me. I’m not good with needles, I don’t generally jive with medical settings and ingesting glucose 2x in one week was awful. It taught me many lessons in surrendering, trusting the process and believing in my body. I was so glad when we finally got the results call – ALL GOOD – and I was ready to fully move on!

Gross!

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 My Mantra: Everything is worth it for a healthy baby!

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Week 27 we flew out to San Francisco to spend Thanksgiving with Karl’s family and our 4-month old nephew who I could just EAT UP, he’s so sweet! My brother flew up from LA and it was really nice to spend the holiday with everyone especially as my last official trip before baby. Being around our nephew got us into BABY MODE and it really has us feeling (more) ready and SO excited for what’s to come. We also soaked up alllllll the baby knowledge from everyone which was great since Karl’s brother and a few cousins had recently been through the experience!

Practicing “swaddling” on Harlow girl…she wasn’t amused LOL!

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Other than that…

Workouts: 1x a week Soulcycle class, 2x a week cardio with strength training (usually treadmill) and trying for 1x a week PureBarre or prenatal yoga. My focus in the coming weeks will be to incorporate more prenatal yoga!

Cravings: Lots of fruit and greens and hearty root vegetables like sweet potatoes. I guess these are good cravings to have! 

Sleep: Still a big challenge but adding in more of a nighttime ritual such as reading some of the baby books, a lavender infused bath and an Expectful meditation is helping. And, lots and LOTS of pillows!

Skin finally clearing up!

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Oh, and we’ve started to pick out names! How do people do this?! Such a fun process but overwhelming and hormones do not make it an easier process. We’ve had a shortlist for a while and one that seems to keep emerging as a frontrunner that we love but we aren’t 100% settled yet. What do you think about this? What helped you pick out a name? 

We’ve also started planning our baby shower and finally finished up our registry… two activities that make this process even MORE real, considering that some of our baby gear has started to arrive! Picking out a registry was hard but ultimately we went with BuyBuy Baby, Amazon.com and Pottery Barn Kids. I’d love to know if there were any MUST-HAVES on your list that we’re missing!

Ahhh… no wonder I can feel SO much movement… an EGGPLANT?!

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That brings us to MONTH 7…well into my 28th week of pregnancy..WOW! This month I am focused on decluttering and getting the apartment ready for baby. I guess they call this NESTING!? :)

As always, thanks for being apart of my journey. I love sharing these details with you and bringing you into the process. Can’t believe we are in the “home stretch” already. Xx, D. 

If you’ve missed any of my other pregnancy updates, here they are:

Our Gender Reveal + Weeks 19-22 Update

 My 10 Pregnancy Essentials (so far)

We’re Expecting + Weeks 1-18 Update

Two Immune-Boosting Tea Recipes for Cold Season

December 5th, 2016 | no comments

Is it really December already??

Want to see my latest magic trick? I call it…the hidden belly! ;) I can’t believe I am in my THIRD TRIMESTER already…if you’re interested, I’ll have another pregnancy update up on the blog later this week.

 Now you see it… now you don’t. GETTING BIG! :)img_4193

These past few weeks have been very busy between my best friends wedding in Montauk, a weekend getaway in the Catskills and a cross-country trip to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. All of this travel and excitement have been keeping this mama-to-be on the run and you know what… I think it finally caught up to me. Last week I was knocked out with a H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E head cold. NOT fun at 7 months pregnant! 

Stuffy nose, tons of head congestion and pressure, sore throat… you can imagine it was overall pretty uncomfortable. Pre-pregnancy, I am the type of person who tries to avoid taking pain or cold medication unless absolutely necessary. I prefer home remedies even though they do require much more patience. Now that I’m pregnant and cold medicine is not an option, I learned and even bigger lesson in patience last week. My body needed extra TLC and nutritious foods especially eliminating dairy (mucus producing), caffeine, sugar and processed foods which I always recommend doing to make it easier for your body to go into HEALING-MODE when you’re immune system is burdened with a cold. 

Since it’s cold season, I wanted to share two of my go-to teas that are great for soothing a sore throat, boosting your immune system, helping to clear your sinuses and taste delicious. You can enjoy these any day of the week but especially great to reach for them when you’re feeling a little under the weather. 

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SPICED APPLE CINNAMON TEA

You’ll need: 

  •  1/2 Sliced Organic Apple
  • 2 organic cinnamon sticks
  • 3 – 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp Manuka Honey 10+

To Make:

Add all ingredients to your teacup, pour boiling water over ingredients and steep for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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IMMUNE-BOOSTING LEMON GINGER TEA

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 organic lemon, sliced
  • 4 slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp Manuka Honey 10+
  • 1 tsp organic cayenne pepper 

To Make:

Add lemon and ginger to your tea cup. Pour boiling water over ingredients and steep for 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in honey and cayenne. Enjoy immediately.

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Hope you enjoy these soothing tea’s and feel better soon!

6 Ways to Transition Your Mind, Body and Soul into Fall!

October 20th, 2016 | no comments

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I think I do this every Fall. The first signs of cool crisp air and colored leaves and I fall back in mad love with this beautiful season here in New York. Each season in the northeast has its own distinct characteristics, flavors and activities and I really love to embrace each one with open arms (and a willing appetite!). 

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Today I thought I’d share my favorite ways to transition your lifestyle to Fall. I used to rush through the seasons and find myself asking where the time went. Now, I embrace each season by allowing myself to be present as the changes in weather naturally change my perspective, taste buds and life, and I find it a lot more fulfilling. 

Below are 6 simple ways to transition your mind, body and soul into Fall this year and allow you to make the most of the precious season! 

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1 – Fall Flavors - some of my favorite fall flavors are pumpkin, cinnamon and chili spice. I always keep organic canned pumpkin on hand to add to oatmeal pancakes, make easy blender muffins, mix-in to soups and curries, smoothies and more. The hearty and rooting flavor is the perfect blanket for your palette this time of year. Next up is cinnamon, which help with circulation to keep you nice and warm. Cinnamon is warm and grounding and my favorite ways to use this spice are sprinkled over oatmeal or on top of a sliced apples, whole cinnamon stick in your tea and folded into homemade curries (perfection!). My other favorite flavor this time of year is chili powder. Fall just screams hearty, stick-to-your-gut and warm-you-from-the-inside kinda meals and for me that means lots of delicious Chili creations. 

Some of my favorite recipes: Clean Pumpkin Pie Granola and Cinnamon Apple Chips

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2 – Dark Nail Polish  – This one seems a bit silly but keeping my nails painted and manicured has been a long-time self care practice that I cherish. I look at my hands all day long and when my nails are done I feel a little more of a pep in my step. Changing the color of my nails to fit my mood is a fun little ritual where I get to match my internal mood to something on the outside. A dark fresh mani really screams FALL IS HERE to me, after all those light and bright colors I wear all summer. Some of my favorites are by Essie (Sole Mate, Wicked and Groovy Grape) and OPI (Lincoln Park After Dark and You Don’t Know Jacques). 

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3 – More Luxurious Self-Care Practices – This is the time of year when it starts to get darker earlier and my body is craving more rest and relaxation from those super active months we’re coming off of (especially now at 5.5 months pregnant!). I love to incorporate luxurious self-care practices 2-3 times a week like a warm Epsom salt bath, face and eye masks, coconut oil or avocado hair mask, lavender and eucalyptus in my oil diffuser, cozying up with a new good book (right now I am reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert), journaling and getting in bed extra early. These little moments that I create within my day and throughout the week help me feel rested and rejuvenated especially during the time of year when my body wants to slow down a bit. I also like to keep fresh flowers and candles in warm scents like pumpkin spice and cinnamon apple in the house!

Some of my favorite posts with Self-Care ideas: This one about How to Love Yourself to Combat Self-Doubt and 

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4 – Declutter Closets – This is an activity I recommend doing at the start of each season. If you get in the habit of doing this 2-3 times a year it becomes less burdensome then doing it once every 5 years and getting completely swallowed. Each season I take everything out of my closet, make piles for donation, hand-me-downs to sister and friends, some for resale in my Poshmark closet and a toss pile for anything that is falling apart (usually old shoes). It is so refreshing to color coordinate, donate clothes that no longer fit my lifestyle or personality and make space. Holding onto things you don’t need creates emotional weight that does not serve us. I promise that if you get into this habit every few months this will not take more than an hour or two one afternoon!  

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 5 – Continue to Spend Time Outside – Your instincts might tell you to staying inside but being outside during autumn has got to be one of the more beautiful experiences ever. With the crisp cool clean air and the changing colors of the leaves to those beautiful yellows, oranges and reds, spending time in nature in the Fall is an invigorating experience. Every year we spend a weekend in the Catskills, NY to hike, cozy up to a fire and enjoy the cool fall days away from the city. It is one of my favorite traditions. I love to jog outside during this time of year too as the cooler weather makes for an enjoyable jog and there is so much to observe just looking at all of the various leaves changing at my local park here in Brooklyn.

And checkout my post for How to Naturally Combat Seasonal Allergies 

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 6 – Eat Seasonally – I love to visit my local farmer’s market this time of year to switch up to goodies that will stock my fridge with local, seasonal favorites. This time of year I gravitate towards butternut squash, delicate squash, acorn squash…okay, really any kind of squash!! I love to see the selection of apples and greens change over too. Ask your farmer what were the best crops that week and how to prepare them if you’re unsure, they have great advice! Eating seasonally allows you to give your body exactly what it needs during each time of year. Turning to warming root vegetables, hearty squash and pears and apples are what you’re body will want to keep you warm and full during these cooler months. 

Right now I am LOVING this vegan, gluten-free Butternut Squash and Lentil Chili recipe

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What are some of your favorite ways to transition your mind, body and soul into Fall??

10 Pregnancy Essentials {Weeks 1 – 19} From a First Time Mom-To-Be!

October 3rd, 2016 | no comments

Hi Mamas-To-Be!

When we first got the news that we were expecting, after the shock and then joy set in, there was a bit of overwhelm about all of the pregnancy stuff I did not know about. Mainly what to expect and when, what the symptoms would feel like and what to stock up on to make things a bit easier and more comfortable along the way. Now that I’m in Week 19, I am starting to get the hang of a few things such as being able to listen to what my body wants and needs (mainly good clean nutrition and LOTS of sleep!) and which go-to products are making my symptoms more comfortable. Just in time for things to change again, I’m sure. Know what I mean? LOL!

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I thought I’d put together a list of some of my First Trimester and early Second Trimester essentials that I have found super helpful to have around. Let me be CLEAR, I am a first-time mama-to-be…so being that this is my first pregnancy, I am only able to speak from that perspective. I figured I’d share in case there are other new-mamas-to-be who might be interested in hearing about my experience. This is by NO means an exhaustive list but just a few items that have eased the symptoms or made this beautiful process a bit more special, so I thought I’d share! 

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Let’s share in this amazing experience together! I’d love to hear about your pregnancy journey and what product, resources, blogs and experiences you found the most meaningful/helpful along the way. Tweet me @DeeLynn or leave a comment on my Instagram @DeeLynn78 so that we can connect and talk babies and bellies all.day.long!

Here’s the list, I hope you find it helpful!

My List of 10 Pregnancy Essentials for Weeks 1 – 19 (from a first time mama-to-be!)

1. Prenatal Vitamins: The very first item my doctor recommended was to start taking a prenatal vitamin. We immediately took to the web to research the options and ultimately landed of Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal. This is a vegan, non-GMO, raw, dairy-free, gluten-free formula that has probiotics and natural digestive support in a  3x a day supplement. I buy my prenatal vitamin by the large bottle at Vitacost.com since I love the selection of healthy organic foods to add-on to my prenatal vitamin order and it’s the best price I’ve found (and you know how much I love a deal!). Something like a prenatal vitamin is so personal and for me this was an important decision, so do your research and find one that fits your values and lifestyle. This one works for me but there are a lot of great brands on the market!

vc2. Belly Oil + Body Lotion: Stretch marks are a common side effect that many pregnant women experience, so it was important to me to start a belly lotion/oil ritual early on.This item was on my radar early on and one of my first pregnancy purchases. Between purchases and gifts I have quite the collection of belly oils, butters and lotions to help ward off stretch marks and give my skin an elasticity boost. I recently found this article from Desiree Hartsock with pregnancy safe product suggestions for stretch marks and I wanted to share to show you that there are a variety of scents and price points to fit every lifestyle and budget that do the trick. I’ve had friends recommend olive oil or coconut oil that works just as well and I’ll probably add that in closer to my third trimester – I love me some coconut oil. Here are a few products I love:

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3. Belly Bands: These little wonders are inexpensive and effective for those first few weeks when you start to pop a bit but you’re not quite in maternity clothes (or want to save a few bucks – gosh maternity clothes are expensive!). These bands expand with your growing bump and allow you to stay in your regular pants, just unbottom the top button for more comfort/room and place the band over the top of your pans to secure. At 19 weeks, I’m still in my regular lower cut pants (though they’re getting TIGHT, especially towards the end of the day) but I enjoy wearing the bands to give me a little extra support. Here are a few great options:

4. Comfy Cotton Bra: As you new mamas-to-be know, breast tenderness is an early symptom that can last throughout pregnancy (and postpartum too) so early on one of my essentials became comfy cotton bras that I could wear at night and for lounging around. I love these Calvin Klein Modern Cotton Racerback Bralettes, they’re super soft, stretchy and light weight and they will support you without feeling too tight or constrained. Any non-wired cotton bralette will do. Comfort is key! Have you found any that you love?

5. Pregnancy Apps: At the moment I am loving Ovia, The Bump and What to Expect for weekly updates, answers to frequently asked questions and the size of the baby compared to fruits and veggies. Since this is our first go-round, sometimes I’m not sure what questions to be asking so it’s helpful to have apps that provide some popular questions and answers. We also recently started our registry on BabyList and I love that the app makes organizing everything so easy. Sneak peak of this week’s update from The Bump App – baby is the size of a mango this week – ahhh! :) 

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6. Ingredient-Conscious Skincare: One of the biggest changes in my daily life has been my skincare routine. For the past few years I’ve been “cleaning up” my beauty act…switching to natural toothpaste, natural deodorant, body soap and many face products. Now more than ever, I am extra careful about what I put in my body and on my skin since what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream and thus, reaches your baby. I want to preface this category by saying… do what you can without driving yourself crazy. You have to find a regime that works for you without stressing you out. Do your best to avoid chemical-laden products and think about the areas of your body that are very porous and close to your bloodstream like under arms, mouth/gums and on your skin. I  am the first to admit that I can always do better in this category — yes, I still use regular nail polish and my favorite shampoo/conditioner though sulfate-free and paraban-free, but there is always room for improvement. Here are a few of my go-to products:

7. A Journal or Memory Book: Early on my bestie Lisa got us this adorable journal. This wasn’t on my radar due to good old morning sickness ;) but I LOVE that we have this to jot down memories for our baby to enjoy when they are a bit older. We have so much fun filling out the journal. This specific adorable keepsake allows us to write down one quick memory, thought or anecdote a day…something that we and the baby will enjoy for years to come. It’s been fun to document the “firsts” like sharing our news and hearing the heartbeat. I recommend a journal of some kinda so that you can remember these precious moments that fly by. 

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8. Milestone Cards for Bump Pictures: Another sweet gift I received early on was from my friend Katie who made these “weekly photo cards” for us to document the progression of *The Bump* and various milestones. Katie downloaded a template, customized it in Photoshop and then printed at Staples and we LOVE our custom milestone cards so much (thank you Katie!!)!  You can make or print cards of your own, I’ve seen people use a chalkboard, index cards or Photoshop like Katie. Again, early on my focus was getting through the day without being sick so this isn’t something I’d think to buy for myself but it has been really fun to capture the moments and changes. 

I found these cute ones on these Etsy shops:

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9. BPA-Free Water Bottle: Along with all of the wonderful changes your body is going through comes dehydration which can cause headaches and cramps. It became a must for me early on to have water with me at ALL times. Staying hydrated helps reduce headaches and overall I feel better when I get in enough water during the day. The flip side to that is having to run to the bathroom a lot so I try to reduce my water intake an hour or so before bed and then drink a big glass right when I wake-up. 

10. Essential Oils: During my first trimester I experienced a lot of morning sickness and all day nausea and had a lot of trouble sleeping because of it. Certain senses like smell were heightened and a lot of everyday scents bothered me. It was helpful to have essentials oils like peppermint for nausea (when I didn’t feel like sucking on a peppermint candy) and lavender for calming and relaxation at night. These are not going to be essentials for everyone but they did help me find small moments of relief. throughout the day, and I lean on them even now (as I did pre-pregnancy). I’ll add a few drops to a tissue and lay next to my pillow or add a few drops to a warm bath or directly on my temples for more intense relief. 

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That’s a wrap on some of my early-on essentials. I’ll keep you posted as my pregnancy progresses with resources, tips and products that I find helpful or enjoyable throughout the way. I hope you found this helpful and found a new ‘essential’ or two of your own. Let me know!! Tweet me @DeeLynn or comment in Instagram @DeeLynn78 with your favorite essentials for me to try. Let’s help each other out Mama! :)

Missed my initial Pregnancy update? Read all about my experience so far with a few Bump pics from Weeks 1 – 18: CLICK HERE

Vegan Butternut Squash, Black Bean + Lentil Chili

September 28th, 2016 | no comments

I think Autumn has got to be my favorite season to be in the kitchen. The markets are full of hearty root vegetables and a plethora of different shaped and colored squash. I’m always inspired to make hearty and cozy recipes like an all time favorite of mine…Chili. 

Well, I had this gorgeous butternut squash laying around, and typically my go-to is roasted butternut squash or butternut squash soup but for some reason I had a calling to try something new. Low and behold, this new recipe for Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Lentil Chili that is surely one for the books. I added in smoked paprika to add some smokey sweetness to the recipe and I am IN LOVE with the end result. 

I want to warn you…my spices measurements are not exact. I am such a “cook from the heart” gal and especially when it comes to chili and soups that I really do taste along the way and adjust the flavors accordingly. I will do my best to lay out the ingredients here but I give you FULL permission to cook, taste and adjust until it is JUST right for you. 

Vegan Butternut Squash, Black Bean + Lentil Chili 

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You’ll Need:

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (yellow would work too, I just found red pepper at my farmer’s market that day)
  • 2 cans organic black beans, drained rinsed
  • 1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained rinsed
  • 1 cup red lentils (any color will do), rinsed
  • 1 can organic crushed tomato
  • 1 carton of organic vegetable broth
  • 1 empty bean can filled with water 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 3 TBSP Chili Powder*
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder*
  • 1 TBSP Onion Powder*
  • 1 TBSP Cumin*
  • 1 TSP Smoked Paprika*
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper (adjust to your heat liking)*
  • Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste*

*Feel free to taste and adjust spices along the way to your liking! 

To Make:

In a large put over medium heat, add 2 TBSP of olive oil and stir in chopped onions. Stir for 1 – 2 minutes, then add in the butternut squash, garlic and chopped red pepper. Add a pink of salt and stir for another 2 – 4 minutes. Once you see the butternut squash start to deepen in color (as its cooking), add in rinsed black beans, garbanzo beans and lentils and another pink of salt (layering on the flavor!). Stir for another 1 – 2 minutes and then add in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and all of the spices (I like to mix the spices together in a separate bowl first to fully incorporate before adding to the pot).  

Once the spices have been added, add in the carton of vegetable stock and 1 bean can’s worth of water. Stir well, bring to a boil and then cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer fro 30 minutes. I stir every 10 minutes or so and adjust heat if necessary (you do not want to burn). If you see the chili getting too thick (depending on the lentils, they can soak up A LOT of water), add in a bit more water. Adjust spices to your liking and continue to stir so all of the flavors are well blended. The chili should begin to thicken up and be ready to eat after about 30 minutes (really until the squash and lentils are tender!). 

Optional: Top with fresh lime juice, sliced jalapeno or cheddar cheese (if you’d like!). When we want to add something creamy, I use 0% Fage Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and it’s perfect!

Without the toppings, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free! 

Let me know if you make this recipe! 

Butternut Squash, Black Bean + Lentil Chili
Vegan, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  2. 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  3. 1 red pepper, chopped (yellow would work too, I just found red pepper at my farmer's market that day)
  4. 2 cans organic black beans, drained rinsed
  5. 1 can organic garbanzo beans, drained rinsed
  6. 1 cup red lentils (any color will do), rinsed
  7. 1 can organic crushed tomato
  8. 1 carton of organic vegetable broth
  9. 1 empty bean can filled with water
  10. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  11. 2 - 3 TBSP tomato paste
  12. 3 TBSP Chili Powder*
  13. 1 TBSP Garlic Powder*
  14. 1 TBSP Onion Powder*
  15. 1 TBSP Cumin*
  16. 1 TSP Smoked Paprika*
  17. Pinch of Cayenne pepper (adjust to your heat liking)*
  18. Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste*
Instructions
  1. In a large put over medium heat, add 2 TBSP of olive oil and stir in chopped onions. Stir for 1 - 2 minutes, then add in the butternut squash, garlic and chopped red pepper. Add a pink of salt and stir for another 2 - 4 minutes. Once you see the butternut squash start to deepen in color (as its cooking), add in rinsed black beans, garbanzo beans and lentils and another pink of salt (layering on the flavor!). Stir for another 1 - 2 minutes and then add in tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and all of the spices (I like to mix the spices together in a separate bowl first to fully incorporate before adding to the pot).
  2. Once the spices have been added, add in the carton of vegetable stock and 1 bean can's worth of water. Stir well, bring to a boil and then cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer fro 30 minutes. I stir every 10 minutes or so and adjust heat if necessary (you do not want to burn). If you see the chili getting too thick (depending on the lentils, they can soak up A LOT of water), add in a bit more water. Adjust spices to your liking and continue to stir so all of the flavors are well blended. The chili should begin to thicken up and be ready to eat after about 30 minutes (really until the squash and lentils are tender!).
Notes
  1. Optional: Top with fresh lime juice, sliced jalapeno or cheddar cheese (if you'd like!). When we want to add something creamy, I use 0% Fage Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and it's perfect!
  2. *Feel free to taste and adjust spices along the way to your liking!
DeAnna Lynn Englezos, Certified Life Coach, Wellness Expert, Speaker http://createyourgreatlife.com/

Big News: We’re Expecting!! {Pregnancy Update Weeks 1 – 18}

September 27th, 2016 | 2 comments
That’s right. We’re expecting! 

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I wanted to share what I’ve been up to these last few months as I’ve been a bit quieter on the blog. Well, there’s good reason and I hope you agree…we’ve got a baby on the way! A lot of people have been asking me the same questions as the word is getting out, so I thought I’d share some of my experiences these last few weeks and months in a little pregnancy update. 

Karl and I have talked about starting a family for years. It was one of the first things that we connected over. So when I started to feel queasy back in June, and we found of the reason…our first reaction was excitement (and a bit of shock too). Isn’t it always a bit shocking? It’s such a life changing event. In that one instant, our world has changed forever. :)

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We took the next week or so to process this “news” to ourselves and enjoy those first few days…researching, asking questions, contemplating every move and meal…like I’m sure other new moms-to-be have experienced. Overall, we felt joyful about this new experience and in a way…ready. Since day one of us finding out, we felt like this was perfect timing…and a week before my birthday no less!

It was the best birthday gift I could have ever received… ♥

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A week later we shared the news with my family, and then Karl’s and everyone’s reactions were love, joy and support. Unfortunately, right around that time is when I got hit with bad morning sickness and exhaustion (around Weeks 5 and 6). The morning sickness lasted up until about Week 14- ahhh! That was pretty tough but I took comfort in words from family friends “sick mama, healthy baby!” And, healthy baby is all I care about these days – I would do anything for this little peanut already. ♥ I survived on lots and lots of toast, crackers and sometimes pizza in the first trimester and went to bed super early – 7pm or 8pm was my norm – growing a baby takes it out of you! 

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Hearing the heartbeat for the first time around Week 10 was the most surreal experience of my life. At a healthy 170+ bpm, I’ve never heard a sound so amazing and beautiful. I could have listened for HOURS. There was an instant calm that washed over me hearing the heartbeat. I still feel a bit anxious in those moments leading up to the hearing the baby’s heartbeat at my monthly prenatal visits but once I hear it, its the happiest most joyful sound and an instant calm and peace washes over me. Can you relate?? It’s truly my favorite part of all of this! ♥♥♥

I don’t think any new mama-to-be will ever forget the ultrasound where the baby starts to look more like a baby (and less like a little blob on the screen!). Our angel measured a bit small for the first trimester screening at Week 12, perfectly healthy but needing to grow a tad more before doing all of the routine tests, so we got to see the baby at Week 12 and again at Week 13 – arms and legs flailing about,  and healthy as can be. Another big relief! 

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Somewhere between Week 14 and Week 15, I started to “turn the corner” on the nausea. I know this because little by little I started to get my appetite back – craving fruits and vegetables and lots of water-y foods like watermelon and celery. Hello, hydration! 

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And then the most thoughtful package arrived at my door! Look at how adorable this gift is – a Bump Box – that my sweet friend Jamie sent me to ring in my second trimester! All of the second trimester goodies a gal could ask for! This company is soo cute and they have adorable subscription boxes for each month of your pregnancy journey or larger milestone boxes like the one I received. More info on Bump Box — here

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Aside from the morning sickness, my other symptoms have been afternoon headaches, exhaustion and some minor aches. Nothing too bad and for the most part I have my energy up again. I haven’t really been getting any specific cravings but it seems like with food I either want it badly or strongly dislike it (at the moment) and that could change again the next day – haha! Around Weeks 15 and 16 I started to pick-up big salads for lunch and reach for fruit more. I still don’t want anything too flavorful for any meal and I think I’m leaning towards saltier foods rather than sweet. 

Spreading the news…
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We announced our exciting news to our family and friends at around Week 16 with little personal postcards, and then announced on social media at Week 17. I’m really glad we waited for the social media reveal until all of our loved ones received the postcards — it was super special to have everyone react and share in our joy “offline” before we took the news “public” on Facebook. I recommend it! Sharing this news was every bit as exciting as it was nerve wracking and vulnerable, to be so personal with something that we’ve kept so intimate and close for months, but the response has been overwhelmingly loving and supportive. We feel so gratefulto be bringing our baby into the world with so much love around.  Big thank you to Amy over at Cozy Square Design Studio — for our custom postcard announcements! 

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I’m halfway through Week 18 and overall I am feeling really good. We are starting to get our registry together, which has been fun but a little overwhelming. I can’t believe how much STUFF exists for babies! {More on this later!}

I’ve started to pick back up on an exercise regime again (making a lot of adjustments, doubling my water intake and taking more breaks) and that has felt really great on my changing body. Some light cardio a few times a week like walks or jogs, Pure Barre classes for toning and 1x a week Soulcycle (I can’t give it up just yet!). So overall my energy is up and I feel good getting a sweat in. I still feel pretty tired at night and go to sleep early (and I’m up a few times during the night). Sleeping it getting a bit more uncomfortable, I think I’ll look for a pregnancy sleep pillow soon — taking all suggestions! 

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For the most part now that I’m not feeling so sick, I’m starting to get more excited and really enjoy this amazing experience. I love following the apps Ovia, The Bump and What to Expect for weekly updates and learning about what’s going on with the baby each week and what size the baby is – I love that part! I’ve tried to not become a Google-maniac and trust that my body knows what to do and I’m really enjoying the changes. 

We feel immensely blessed to be having this experience and I hope to keep you guys updated more along the way! I’m going to try to look for some pregnancy blog tags too. If you’re not interested in this stuff, that’s OK too, I promise to keep the recipes and wellness tips posts coming now that I have more energy! I made a recipe for a Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Lentil Chili that was so delicious – I can’t wait to share that one with you! 

 We’ll find out the gender in a few weeks and I will definitely share more news with you along the way. I am going to follow this post later this week with some of my current pregnancy essentials, foods for pregnancy, my prenatal vitamin and some of the gear and clothing that has helped! 

All for now. Hope you enjoyed this update! 

Any other pregnant mamas in the GreatLife community??

Tweet me @DeeLynn or follow along on  Instagram @DeeLynn78 – I’d love to hear about your journey too! 

Xo, D