“Body Image” = beating a dead horse. I know, I know. Do I LOVE my body all the time, no. Am I in crazy good shape and wake up super pumped to drink celery juice? Also, no. Do I scrutinize every picture of myself and have days where I think I’m Charlize Therons’ twin from Monster? Yes. But here’s the deal, I’m a grumpy, angry lady when I feel frumpy and that doesn’t help anyone or anything. Being weighed down by my appearance is exhausting. So here’s what I’ve done for myself and maybe it can help you too.

Like most women my age, I’ve been through all the trendy slogans and campaigns. Like Dove’s advertisement below:

Do these kinds of advertisements do anything for you? When I see these kinds of ads, I’m immediately thinking “Hell yeah, girl power.” Does it make me feel like my body is perfect the way it is? No. Let me just say this so you don’t get it twisted, I am all for loving yourself, curves and all. Some women need to hear things like “embrace your curves” and “love your body,” etc. Some women wouldn’t change a thing and some have better and bigger things in life to worry about. Whatever does it for you. For me, I want to be strong and toned. Plus I’m a perfectionist so I’m never satisfied. You feel me? I’m not going to tell you to love your body the way it is unless, in fact, you do. I’m simply going to tell you to take action and stop being disappointed with yourself. Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t Self Sabotage: Be real with your schedule. I would feel like a big fat piece of poo one day and schedule 5:30am workouts for every morning for the next month, only to depress myself further every time I looked at my calendar and realized I hadn’t made one of those a reality. This is called self sabotage. Stop it. Another personal self sabotage favorite of mine was to throw out everything that came in a box and buy all new “healthy” groceries. Only to get to snacky time where my husband would stand in the pantry like a sad, lost puppy.
  2. Stop Complaining About Yourself: You know those friends that are always like “Omg, I look fat,” “Omg I shouldn’t be eating this, it’s not on my diet,” “Omg I can’t even imagine going swimsuit shopping this year,” and you’re duty is to reply with “Omg Becky, nooooo you’re not fat, why are you on a diet, you look great!” Y’all, it’s exhausting on your tribe when you’re constantly bringing in your negative, needy crap. Say those things to yourself like a normal person and do something about it if it’s that bad. Good vibes only and such…
  3. Start With The Food You’re Putting In Your Mouth: Lean protein, veggies, fruits. You know this, don’t play yourself. You know you can’t have carb loaded meals everyday then be like whyyyy can’t I lose weight. You also know you can’t go to Sonic and get a Route 44 Cherry Limeade and sip on it all day long. Your body needs water for so many things, this is one of the easiest ways to take care of yourself. Watch what you eat and drink, educate yourself if you think you eat well but still can’t make that scale number go down. I cried when I realized how bad my coffee creamer actually was, it’s ok to not know things.
  4. Move Your Body: Even better, elevate your heart rate and sweat. You don’t have to join a gym or buy a program. Go for a walk, do jumping jacks and pushups in your living room, use your body weight to strengthen your core. All this stuff is googalable. There are a MILLION videos out there that can teach you all kinds of workouts. You will have to put effort into this, nobody will be able to do it for you. You are not Kim K or Beyonce…it makes me sad too.
  5. Dress For Your Today Body: Nothing makes me feel worse than trying to fit into my skinny jeans or that too tight top. It makes me grumpy all day, I dedicated my life to leggings and flowy tops, long ago. Don’t set yourself up to feel miserable in your skin. If you have to suck it in when you look in the mirror before you leave the house, don’t wear it.

We all have our good days where you can kind of see some abs, and our bad days where it’s a definite muffin top. Do something for yourself and diminish this body image thing out of your everyday life. We will never be perfect but we can be happy with our return on investments.

Cheers, Lana.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Having A Baby

This is not one of those, “I wish someone had told me I didn’t really need the diaper genie,” kind of post. This is more like, “I wish someone had told me I would feel gas pains that felt like knives slashing my insides,” kind of post. So, fair warning. I feel like it’s my duty to share so other new moms can know what to really expect. Also, I had to have a C-Section so most of my points will have to do with the c-section process and recovery.

#1. Being Prepared for a C-Section

We took the birthing classes and like all first time moms, I assumed I would deliver vaginally. They touched on it a bit about if you had to have a c-section this is what happens, etc. But, HELLO, I’m a woman that needs as many details as possible so I can mentally prep and prepare for all the possible scenarios.

Here’s what I need new moms like me to know:

  • Prepping for surgery, you will get asked very strange questions.“Do you have any loose teeth?” “Open your mouth as wide as you can for me.” “Drink this anti acid stuff,” take it down like a shot, trust me. You will be sitting there thinking WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH GETTING A BABY OUT OF MY BELLY!? (I don’t operate very well when I’m scared.) All of the questions have a reason, just go with it and don’t ask the poor anesthesiologist a million questions trying to buy yourself some time, there’s no use babe. It all moves pretty fast. You will see several different people in a short time span and they will all be talking to you about what’s about to happen and/or doing something to you like checking your IV, blood pressure, etc. Keep your cool, you’re about to be a mom, now is not the time to lose your mind. Have a really good cry if you need to then take some deep breaths and get ready to meet one of the most important people in your life.
  • Alright, DURING the actual surgery... you will feel every emotion in your bank. You’re laying there cut open and a nurse keeps pushing on your stomach while the doctors are talking about the vacation they just got back from. While my husband was talking about where his accent was from (he’s British), I was deep into an internal pep talk. It’s scary, but quick. I stared at the IV drip the entire time until they showed me my baby. They transfer you off the table to a bed, remove your epidural and away you go.
  • AFTER surgery, you go into a recovery room for two hours. They monitor you and the baby and make sure all is well. They will continue to push on your stomach periodically which will feel so wrong to you but doesn’t hurt because you’re still very numb. Did you know air can get trapped in your body after you have a surgery? It can, and it did and that’s all I could talk about. It was like a stabbing pain in my shoulder and I needed it gone asap. They gave me pain meds and within 15 mins it was gone. You will more than likely be VERY thirsty, ask for ice chips (that’s all you can have) and know that water is coming soon. I was exhausted and ready to get back to our room to show our family how cute our baby was.
  • THAT NIGHT they check on you and baby a lot. They will come in what seems like every 10 minutes to take vitals and bring you meds, water, etc. They also take your catheter out and tell you it’s ok to get up when you need to potty. Ummm, what? Yes, they want you to get up. No, your insides will not fall out even though you’re pretty sure they will and you will even tell the nurses that, they will laugh, you will not. Good times. You’re still numb so not in too much pain. You still have a big belly and all of a sudden you’re very aware of your boobs.
  • Let people help you. You will need help going to the bathroom, taking a shower, getting in and out of bed, etc. This is not the time to be a rockstar, you need to heal, boo. You and your partner will get real close, quick. My husband had to help me pull up my mesh underwear and I just knew that was the end of our romantic life. Calm down babe, they just want to help you in any way they can, LET THEM.
  • When you get home, try to rest when you can. Hold a pillow over your incision if you have to cough or laugh. Take it slow, the recovery is challenging but you can do it. Take your pain meds regularly and drink plenty of water. You will more than likely be constipated from the surgery and the pain meds, there are several different things you can take for this, I drank magnesium citrate water and it helped me a ton. You can get this at any drugstore. Stay ahead of this, thank me later.

#2 Breastfeeding

Every new mom will have a different situation when it comes to breastfeeding. To the point, go see the lactation specialists. See them while you’re in the hospital and after you leave if you need to. They will help you with whatever problem you’re having. DO NOT sit there and be worried or in pain for no reason. You will more than likely have knots in your breasts, especially in the beginning. Those things will take you down if you’re not careful. Learn how to massage those out and find relief. If you let it go, it could turn into Mastitis and that’s no bueno. Take action and save yourself the heartache. If you choose to not breastfeed, that really is ok. Some new mamas won’t feel like it’s ok, but it really is. A fed baby is a happy baby.

#3 What The Hell Do I Do Now?

I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve never changed a diaper in my life and I certainly wasn’t prepared for baby gas. I had all the baby gear, all the nursing stuff but didn’t have a clue how to console my crying baby. THIS IS ALL NORMAL. I repeat, THIS IS ALLLLLLLLL NORMAL. You’re not the weird one out. You’re not stupid. Now, to be fair, people told me this while I was pregnant, but lord knows, you don’t listen to people. It was only after I got through the first 3 months that I understood. Here’s what I did and what I continue to do today (thanks, Mom!): I mark off a checklist in my head. Diaper clean? Cold/hot? Hungry? Gassy? If I know that I’ve checked the big things I can pretty much narrow it down to being sleepy or sometimes just down right fussy because they can. You will learn what your pumpkin needs and even what their different cries mean. It will all come with time. Give yourself a break and take a breath. The days are long but the months are short.

#4 Hormones

Again, hormones are talked about pretty regularly. But what do we do? We think “oh that won’t be me, I can control myself, I handle PMS so well.” Wrong, honey bunny. Those hormones come RACING in and you will lose your sh*t. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I cried about pretty much everything. I didn’t think I was producing enough milk, I never wanted my Mom to leave my side, I was sure my husband was going to leave me, I was exhausted and kept asking myself what the hell have I just done to my life? You are in love with your new creation but you’re also so overwhelmed with everything or at least, I was. Hormones are real. Know that they are normal and you will find a balance soon.

#5 Recovery Gear

If you have a C-Section, you will need some things to make life easier for you while you recover. Prior to me going into labor, Mom and I made “Padsicles.” Ive heard these are lifesavers while recovering from a vaginal birth, click below for instructions. Also, the website where I got this idea from has lots of helpful information regarding pregnancy and recovery.

Here’s what I used while recovering:

  • High Waisted Underwear-you’re going to want something that makes you feel secure and protected. I ordered these off Amazon and loved them. They’re only one pair per order so I got some other cheaper ones to try as well.
  • Recovery Belt– again with the secure and protected thing, this belt lets you move around while squeezing everything back into place.
  • Nursing Bras– I still wear these today. They are WONDERFUL. Comfy and efficient. Please ignore the model with the 6 pack #eyeroll.
  • If you get tired of wearing the clippy bras day in and out, try these for sleeping to give the girls a break. Again, please ignore the 18 year old model #eyeroll, #getoutofhere.

I hope my rambling has helped. New Mamas need all the support, tips and tricks we can get. We need constant reminding that we’re ok and we’re going to get through the tough times. Reach out and ask other Moms questions. Do what you need to do to stay sane. We know you’re thankful for this experience, but it can be hard as hell. It’s ok, you’re doing great.

Cheers, Lana.

Beauty Dupes Part II

Now that you have your leggings and shades, how about more money for some Target shoes or even better, Home Goods trips.

#6 Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara//L’Oreal Lash Paradise

So many people have raved about this Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced. I just knew I would put this on and be photoshoot ready, no false lashes needed. So naturally, it didn’t work for me. But don’t you worry, there is glory in the Wal-Mart aisle. Lash Paradise by L’Oreal is my everyday mascara. It gives me volume and hashtag glamour. Tip: Use this primer first, it really helps to lengthen your lashes!


#7 Hourglass Ambient Bronzer//Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

Bronzer is my favorite makeup product, hands down. I have tried them all. As someone who has quite the cabbage patch shaped face, contouring became my life saver years and years ago. Also, in my late 20’s I finally understood the importance of not tanning your face. So again, bronzer swooped in and said “I got you girl.” $52.00 for a brown powder may seem like a lot of money, and for this Hourglass bronzer, it was. I learned to lower my expectations of being an instant supermodel after this purchase fail. However, this $13.23 hottie lives up to its’ butter-smooth promise. I pretty much bathe in bronzer when I apply it, face, neck, chest, etc. So this price point really works for me and my ways.

#8 Beauty Blender//Real Techniques Sponge

I don’t like applying my foundation with a brush, there I said it. I know all the fancy people do. I also know I am not fancy. I love beauty blenders but tend to use mine way past their prime because I refuse to buy a new one for $20.00. On one of my beloved Target trips, I found Real Techniques sponges and got TWO for under $10! The flat side comes in handy for applying concealer and finishing powder and I have officially converted.

#9 Dermaflash//Schick Dermaplaning Tool

Have you ever done dermaplaning on your face? You should. You can get it done professionally and/or DIY at home. Now, let me just say, I’ve had it done professionally and of course they do a much better job than I do, but the peach fuzz and dead skin are relentless. You DO NOT need a fancy tool to get a baby bottom face. These Schick razors do the trick and are $5.00. WARNING: you can cut yourself if you’re not careful. If you have no idea what you’re doing, watch some youtube videos first and practice on small sections SLOWLY.

#10 Shape Tape Concealer//Maybelline Age Rewind

The Shape Tape concealer is where it’s at. It’s full coverage and makes me look like my baby slept all night. Worth every single penny. But you know me and how hard it is for me to commit to a full face of my good makeup on blah days. So, I have my Instant Age Rewind concealer to lessen my worries and cover my bags. Sometimes it takes two layers, but it gets the job done. Both brands have a wide variety of shades to choose from as well.

When are we going to Home Goods?

Cheers, Lana.

Beauty Dupes You Wish You Knew About Earlier

That’s right, take the money you save and get you some more black leggings or another pair of sunglasses, you deserve it. Here we go.

#1 Anastasia Brow Wiz//L’Oreal Brow Stylist

As a pale, blonde woman, an eyebrow pencil is a necessity in my life so this dupe is a big one for me. With the Anastasia pencil, I would ask myself if my day was worth using my $21.00 pencil, it seemed like I needed to order a new pencil every 3 weeks. This L’Oreal pencil lasts longer and gives the same result so I can fill in my eyebrows carefree.

#2 Living Proof Dry Shampoo//Not Your Mother’s Plump For Joy

You know what changed my life for the better? Not washing my hair everyday. My husband still doesn’t understand. What are boys taught in school? Anyway. You know what also changed my life for the better? Dry shampoo. Living Proof does wonders on my hair but for $24.00 a can!? LORT. This Not Your Mothers is a very close second and for $3.65 for a tall can, I feel like I can live my life freely.

#3 Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation//L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte

I need full coverage foundation in my life. I swear by Estee Lauder Double Wear and will be a fan girl forever. But on those days where I can’t fully commit to a full face of the good stuff, Infallable Pro-Matte does the trick without the guilt of having to wear it long enough to get my money worth. I have to put on two layers of the Infallable to get the same amount of coverage as the Double Wear, but still worth it.

#4 Nars Blush// Milani Baked Blush

Nars blush is smooth and dainty. So is Milani. I have to use a bit more of the Milani to get the same effect but again, worth it. Both have lots of shades to pick from!

#5 Mac Velvet Teddy Lipstick//Maybelline Baddest Beige

MAC lipstick makes me feel like I’m ready to do a YouTube makeup tutorial. This Velvet Teddy shade looks great during all seasons and worth every penny. Baddest Beige doesn’t stay on as long but looks great and easy on the budget.

Enjoy those leggings and new shades.

Cheers, Lana.

Hydrated Skin = Happy Skin

It itches, it flakes, it sounds terrible when it rubs against the bedsheets and it doesn’t do a dang thing for that “natural glow.” Here are some of my go to moisturizers during this glow sucking time.

Body Creams

If you’re a beachy kind of gal (or guy for that matter), this cream is the best. It smells like a beach vacation and leaves your skin smooth without that “I’m getting grease all over everything I touch” type of thing.

Not a beachy smelling kind of person? This one is for you. Silky smooth, inexpensive and perfect for all over.

Face AKA- The Moneymaker

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by now, in my 30’s, it’s to take care of my face. During the cold months, my skin, especially my face needs all the help it can get. In the mornings I use, GinZing Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer by Origins. When I put it on, it makes me feel like I’ve got it together.

I’ve learned the hard way to use sunscreen during the day. Hello, freckles. Have you heard of Supergoop? This is the bee’s knees. It’s cruelty free, has none of the bad junk and feels like a million bucks on your face. Grown up responsibilities, people. Do yourself a favor with this one.

Night time is when your face does its best work. We just need to make sure we give it the fuel. Lately, I’ve been using the Moisturizing Eye Bomb by Belif. I wake up with my eyes still feeling smooth and looking well rested.

As far as night creams go, this one is tops. It’s pricey, but worth it. You will be able to tell the difference when you wake up. Two weeks into it and your face will have a “tighter” look to it.

Lastly, for your face. Rub all of these creams in with a jade roller. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I’m a tad extra BUT this really does feel amazing on your skin. It’s like a massage for your face.

Short and sweet, friends. There are tons of options out there, as long as you’re making an attempt, that’s all that will matter to your 65 year old self.

Cheers, Lana.

Pregnancy Must-Haves

When you’re expecting, at least for me, I was at an all time anxiety high. “Is this normal?” “Am I gaining too much weight?!” “How much fried chicken is too much?” So, anything that could make my life easier, I was all about it. I wanted to share what worked for me because making a person is taxing.

Pregnancy Pillow

Yes, get one. I still use mine and it was a life saver, especially towards the end when you’re massive and over it. I got this one because I wanted to feel like I was sleeping in a hole and I needed to be able to flip from side to side without moving the pillow over every time. There’s also another one that’s shaped like a “C” that my friends have used and loved, but the “U” shaped was my jam. Side note: you have to buy the pillow case separately. I slept on the actual pillow for at least a month before I broke down and ordered the pillowcase. Saving y’all some heartache here, go ahead and order both at the same time.

Belly/Body Oil

I was getting so big so fast, I was in a panic about stretch marks. This Rosehip oil came highly recommended and it worked wonders. Not one stretch mark! Compared to some of the other creams and oils on the market, this was easy on the budget as well. I got mine for $14.95 on Amazon.

Belly Belt

It’s as fun and sexy as it sounds. BUT it really saved my back. I’m a short person and my gigantic belly freaked havoc on my back, knees, shoulders, etc. This belt helped me get things done.

Prenatal Gummy Vitamins

Have you ever smelled a prenatal? Have you ever smelled a garbage can? Same thing. In order to get the needed vitamins into my body, it had to come via a sweet, candy-like vehicle. In came gummy prenatal! I used these.

Epsom Salt

I took a bath every night because my body constantly hurt. I love the smell of eucalyptus so this one was my favorite.

Apart from Chick-Fil-A and Freddy’s, these products helped get me through my entire pregnancy. Hopefully they bring some relief for you as well. Stay strong, Mama!

Cheers, Lana

Toxic Free Lifestyle

I want you to know the facts when it comes to toxins and how they silently cause harm to you and your loved ones. Chemicals are bad for you, we all know that. I know that the chemicals in my mascara are terrible for me but am I going to look like a lash-less hot mess all the time? Negative. I’ve got things to do. I’m sharing what I’m currently doing to help keep my family healthy and balance everyday life without running away to live in a tree. Heads up, I’m not trying to sell you anything, do what you will with this information, boo boo.

To start, The Rain Barrel Effect by Dr. Stephen Cabral is full of facts and information to help you on this journey. I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in this topic at all.

Here are some scary facts to keep you up at night. Umbilical cord blood carries an average of 232 man-made toxins to a baby. So before they even get a glimpse of the world, they have toxins flowing through their tiny bodies. This was a jaw dropper for me. I hate it for my daughter and felt major guilt over this. Had I known, I could have made changes. Armed with that information, I felt a huge responsibility to lessen the toxins in our home and surroundings. If that’s how many toxins we’re passing to our children, what’s in our bodies? How are we being effected by these toxins? Cancer? Illness? Weight gain? What can I do to get these out of my body and environment? I know, I panicked too.

Side Effects of a Toxic Body

Have you ever had brain fog? Headaches? Constipation? Me too. Everything we put on our skin has chemicals that only add to the level of toxicity we carry. Makeup, sunscreen, lotions, chapsticks, nail polish…yes, all bad. Im not suggesting to stop using all of these things. Just know what you’re dealing with and find your balance.

So what can we do? Here’s where a toxic free lifestyle comes in to play. I have several friends and family members who are into essential oils. Don’t huff, stay with me, it will be worth it. There are so many benefits that come from these oils. Let me be upfront with you, I am just as suspicious as most about things like this. I’m down for antibiotics, I brake for Aleve, I buy pre-made baby food at the store. BUT, if oils can help, I will try them. Im here to tell you, they help.

Cleaning with Essential Oils

Here’s what I mean by “help.” I am an obsessive countertop cleaner. I LOVED Clorox anti-bacterial wipes. I really felt like I was protecting my family from germs by using these. Do you know how those magical wipes kill germs? By using antimicrobial pesticides. You read that right, I was spreading pesticides all over my precious countertops. Here’s my cleaning saving grace, THIEVES. Thieves is a blend of Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Rosemary, Lemon, and Eucalyptus. Thieves works by neutralizing bacteria and harmful pathogens. Check out this test from the Not Your Average Oiler Blog. You don’t have to sacrifice your familys’ health to kill germs.

You can also diffuse thieves in your home. I have this by our bed, in our living room and in our daughter’s room. Thieves disinfects the air you breathe and keeps the germs at bay. I also rub this on the bottom of our feet, including my 6 month old, to help support immunity. There is hand soap, vegetable and fruit soak, toothpaste and so on. I can’t say enough about thieves, I’m addicted.

Other Oils and Usage

The reference guide below shows a few common oils and what they can be used for. My family and I use the majority of these on a daily basis. Have you dealt with allergies, upset stomach, tight shoulders or back, sore throat or headache? One or more of the oils below will help all those things. We will go to these oils before we take medication. Like I said before, I will go to Aleve when needed, but from all the years of taking Aleve or the like, I know I need to try the natural route first. Hi kidneys, please forgive me.

Young Living has a full line of toxic and cruelty free makeup. I will be doing a review of this line soon and will get back to you.

Bottom line, we have options. We don’t have to sit back only to keep filling up on toxins and allowing our bodies to be exposed and attacked by harmful substances. You can actually fight back. Essential oils are a way to do that.

For more information or if you just want to look around press the link below.

Cheers, Lana.