Popsugar Must Have Unboxing: August 2017

If you know me, you know I love my subscription boxes. From workout clothes to beauty products, receiving a pretty little box of curated goods makes it feel like Christmas morning. One of my favorite subscription boxes is the PopSugar Must Have Box. Heck, my first Must Have Box review was in 2014! This month they are turning 5 and are celebrating by giving subscribers the chance to win some major prizes. Sign up here and use code: PARTY (expires 8/31) for $10 off your FIRST Must Have Box. Don’t worry, all current Must Have subscribers are eligible for a chance to win too! Here’s a peek at the contents of the August box:

A dogeared friendship bracelet and a First Aid Beauty 5-in-1 Bouncy Mask. I’ve already used the mask and it is legit. I looked like I had no pores after using it.

The cookies above are gluten-free (and delicious!) and you better believe I used the candles in Harlowe’s cupcakes when we celebrated her 6th birthday this past weekend. They are so pretty!

A metallic-pink journal is always a good idea. Especially since you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis (according to Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California). I’m off to get my goals written down now. Have a good day!

Wearing: shoes / shorts

How To Meal Plan For Picky Eaters

how to get your kids to eat healthy
Before becoming a mother, I was never much of a meal planner. Heck, I didn’t even know what meal planning was. We had plenty of meals out because why live in San Francisco (where we lived pre-kids) if you weren’t going to enjoy the world-class food scene? I supplemented eating out with eating whatever was on hand at work (sugary snack bars galore) and I had the bloat to show for it. After Harlowe was born, we got more diligent about cooking in (mostly because eating out with a baby was not the same), but she did enjoy her trips to Tacolicious., our favorite Bay Area haunt. She’s almost 6 now and we’ve tried just about everything under the sun to make meal planning easier and bring healthy meals to the table without much fuss as neither of us are of above average skill in the kitchen. Our kids are just as picky as the next, but it’s really important to me that I teach them to make healthy choices and not eat a quesadilla 3x/day which is what she would do if she had her way. Here are a few ways I save time and even money planning and prepping healthy meals for the family. For the first time in 5 (almost 6!) years Harlowe actually likes…even loves what we eat most days. The best part is, I don’t have to put forth a huge effort to plan our meals, it’s basically done for me and all the meals are easy to prepare and require no more than 30 minutes in most cases. Watch the video for more details!

What I use:

Super Healthy Kids
Sunbasket Get $35 off your 1st delivery!

Mamas Making It Summit

A few weeks ago I got lucky and was given a free ticket to attend the 1st ever Mama’s Making it Summit. Thank you, My Domain! Here’s a recap of what went down, lessons learned and why I’m taking a break from colour pop lipsticks.
This is irrelevant, but I stood inches away from Jamie King and her skin was flawless. She was seriously glowing from the inside the way only the nicest, sweetest of humans can. Swoon.
There were several booths there sharing their products. Spiritual Gangster was dolling out custom embroidered millennial pink hats. (pssttt… if you like millennial pink as much as I do check this out!) I got a hat that that says ‘bethanimal’, but my favorite thing about the booth is that sign on the right. All the mama’s I met at the summit + the speakers are the most gangster women in LA.
Above is Natalie, moderator and founder of Fashion Mama’s speaking to Simone LeBlanc CEO of Simone LeBlanc, Ashleigh Dempster co-founder of Akid and Tylynn Nguyen designer at TyLynn Nguyen. All three women started their own companies because they saw a gap in the marketplace that needed to be filled. Ashleigh resonated with me the most because she started a kid’s shoe line after having a son a deciding that kid’s shoes were not that cute. Her husband is a sneaker head and luckily has some experience with factories so he set her up 3 years ago and she launched the business that sells kids shoes that look like they could be in Vogue.
Lunch is served. Can i be honest? This was my favorite part. I was so hungry after running out of the house without breakfast!
Okay, so even though I have never watched the Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowski was seriously cool. Like, I was attracted to her. She had such a good attitude and was really honest about monetizing her blog. Key lessons learned during this panel were primarily from her (probably because she is also a blogger) and they were:

  • Spend money on photos. She says she spends loads of money on her photos and she had recently shot 14 looks in one day changing in her car between shots.
  • Save money on clothes. She told us all that she returns most of what she buys and Nordstrom is her favorite place to shop.
  • Use rewardstyle for everything. She’s a top 25 publisher, so a bit of an outlier, but she only works with brands that are on reward style. This was if they don’t pay her a lot for the sponsored post she still makes commission.
  • Don’t devalue yourself. She calls it blogger devaluation when you accept an unpaid or in-kind job and it’s bad for you and the whole blogger ecosystem.
  • On that note, never give your rate first. Always ask the brand’s budget. This is a sales tactic I think many of us use, but when it comes to selling yourself, it can be difficult especially when it’s a brand we adore. I used to have creators taking product from luxury brands for exposure when they could have asked for thousands of dollars and got it.

Note, Ali mentioned that she asks other bloggers what they make to get a feel for the landscape. I’m not sure how accurate that will be or how much it will help of bloggers you know are devaluing themselves, but I had my partners use social blue book when I was a Partner Manager for fashion and beauty creators at YouTube. I also just heard about Dash Hudson which will tell brands which influencers will make them the most money. Could be a great resource to know your theoretical value to a brand.
My Domain was there taking headshots so I hopped on over to their not-suprisingly stylish set to have a professional photog capture my mug. When I showed up the photographer kindly let me know I had lipstick on my teeth. Yikes, I had JUST checked my teeth in the bathroom mirror because well, I often have lipstick / leafy greens all up on my grill. I was embarrassed so I gave them my smile of shame. Of course, I don’t like the picture, but there you have it internet.

Wearing color pop chandelier on my lips. I actually lost my tube that day and it was new. Luckily they’re only $6 and there’s one in my cart right now! Any other colors I should get?

All photos by @howlandrose courtesy of @fashionmamas

My Hair Extensions Experience [Hair Loss After Pregnancy]

what to do if you lose your hair after pregnancy
I recently went to a ‘mom’s night out’ and some of the mamas were asking me about my new ‘do.  While flattered (really, good hair is not something I pride myself on thanks to lack of time and propensity for frizz) I can’t take much credit because it was my friend and stylist Katie Carroll that hooked me up with my new-and-improved mane. Talking with many of the moms that night made me realize many of us had the same issue — hair loss after pregnancy. We just weren’t talking about it. Sure, we have a thousand (give or take a few) more important issues to discuss, but if you’ve ever experienced hair loss you might agree it’s tough to well, get out of your head.

To combat my hair loss after having our youngest, I tried a multitude of things. Some days the kitchen looked like a pharmacy meets chemist lab with Viviscal, Biotin and DIY yogurt, avocado, name-that-trendy-oil hair masks strewn about. I don’t want to say none of them worked, but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted as quickly as I wanted them so I turned to Katie for tape in hair extensions, cut and color. Now I am wondering why I didn’t go sooner. Oh yeah, she’s in AZ! (Insert sad face). If you happen to be on the Phoenix area, her contact info is below. 🙂 If you’ve ever thought about getting extensions, watch my video because I’m breaking it all down for you!

Find Katie on Instagram and if you’re in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, I couldn’t recommend her enough for cuts, color or extensions. She’s done them all for me over the years and left me happy. Her contact info is in her Instagram profile. 🙂

Celebrating Every Day While Grappling with Grief

My mom died almost 9 years ago.  9 years. It seems surreal to even write that now almost a decade later. Sometimes I still want to call her. Sometimes I look at my own two beautiful, happy, unaffected children and mourn the relationship that she will never have with them. I mourn the relationship that I will never have with her. The best friend I don’t get. The help I don’t have.

But I’m also relieved. I’m relieved that she’s not in pain on Earth. Suffering through anxiety, depression and a debilitating mental illness. I’m no longer sick with my own anxiety over whether or not would not wake up the next time she deemed this life too uncomfortable to bear. Shortly after her death, a close friend told me, ‘you’re finally free’ and I thought, ‘now, that’s cold‘. There is a sense of freedom in death though. With freedom comes great responsibility (right, America?) but it’s a burden I’ve learned to bear with strength and joy (most days).

In the past few years, I’ve witnessed friends suffer their own significant personal loss. Whether they’ve lost one of their parents, experienced yet another painful miscarriage or, the one that I’m still wrapping my brain around, lost a spouse who left behind not only her but their young son, I feel the pain all over again. I am reminded of my own experience and how I deal  with grief and I want to share that story in hopes that it helps those who have lost a loved one feel a tiny bit better. Even if just for a moment.

Airing My Dirty Laundry: Why I Left Google (+ a video!)

Hey guys! I have thought about making this video for awhile, but I didn’t want it to be too ‘click-baity’. Some of you have been asking me about quitting my job, so I finally put together a Why I quit my job at Google video for you! It’s not at all comprehensive as there were many, many reasons that I left. Reasons that I gave serious consideration for at least a year. I was so scared to unlock those golden handcuffs, but at the end of the day I had to stop living in fear and start living. Watch the video to find out more and please leave me a comment on YouTube if you have any questions or want to know more! Thank you guys for reading and watching — it means so much!

working at google
^Just for fun this is me at the YouTube HQ circa 2013. The photo was in Refinery29  and I am dying because that outfit was so so so bad. I asked The Banker why he let me wear that and he said he thinks it is cute. I was nervous to be in Refinery29 so I wore all of my best pieces TOGETHER. No girl, no.

(First photos by Brittany Curran and Julia Ralston)

What Moves You: Part 2

proud mom moments
I’m honored to have teamed up with Banana Republic once again to share what moves me. I think of my children automatically. A few weeks ago, we went to Mammoth Mountain for the first time. Harlowe had never skied and despite being together since 2009 and having snowboarded several times since then, Kaare and I had never snowboarded together. What?! Unreal I say!

Merino Ruffle Vee Sweater
So when he had to go to Mammoth for work I decided the kids and I should go out and meet him because why should he have to ‘work’ all by himself? 😉 Harlowe went to ski school during the day which was a little overwhelming for her because it was only her 2nd time even seeing snow. (Her first time was actually earlier this month in Palm  Springs!) Anyway, we sent her off to ski school and The Banker and I did a few runs which took me a long time because I am rusty! After a few runs, we went to watch Harlowe and she saw us and had a melt down! Never, ever show up for your kid’s ski lessons. The instructors will hate you and your heart will break when you see your baby crying. It took everything not to pull her out and hug her. She was stronger than me because after we left, we could see her get right up and give it her all until she got up the poma and down the hill ALL BY HERSELF.

Valentino dupes White Studded Lace Up Sneakers
To say it was one of my proudest moments is an understatement. Kaare and I were both overwhelmed with joy and pride that she stuck with it and she did it! When asked if she wanted to go again the next day, she said, ‘definitely not’, but she’s talked about her first time skiing every day since so I know how much it meant to her.

The first time I went skiing until I was 17 and my friend’s mom took me and paid for my rentals and lift ticket then graciously taught me to ski. I still remember how much fun it was and how empowered I felt coming down Mt Lemon alone for the first time. It felt like I was going 40mph but I was probably going slower than the small kids. I am so glad that we were able to give Harlowe that experience as a little kid! I honestly think she’s already a better skier than me and it makes Kaare and I so happy that she has these opportunities that neither of us had as kids.

We wrapped up the trio with some breakfast tacos with friends and I wore this ruffle sweater from Banana republic — perfect for colder Spring days like we experienced in Mammoth and on sale! I’ve been loving all things ruffled lately especially when paired with studs like these freakishly good Valentino dupes! Got to have a little bit of edge with your outfit especially when you’re feeling like a bad ass mom after a day ‘sending it’ (slowly but surely)!

Psst… if you missed part one check out 5 things to get down on in honor of International Women’s Day after all, you can do this stuff day, errry day!

White Studded Lace Up Sneakers valentino dupes

SweaterBag / Shoes / similar jeans / sunnies

#GRWM: Get Ready With Me…AND the kids!

I came across this mermaid tail last year while we were in Maui. Like most things Harlowe wears, it didn’t come in my size so I bought it for her. It’s still really for me, if we’re being honest. She likes to wear it in the bathtub and she splashes around like Ariel singing, “ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, aaaaah.’

sensitive baby shampoo
^my sensitive skinned babegetting kids ready for school
Both the kids love bath time, but they don’t have an appreciation for any other type of grooming. To Harlowe, doing your hair should always be optional and if it were, she’d always opt out. I don’t blame her… I myself am an avid collector of dry shampoo. I think kids should be kids so on the weekends, we don’t spend more than 5 seconds on hair, but on school days that mane has to be high and tight to help prevent the spread of little, blood sucking bugs.
In the interest of time, we do a simple pony tail most days (with a bow when she’s feeling fancy) and I love using SoCozy products to prep and prime each time we primp. The Hush collection which includes Hush Sensitive Serum, Hush Sensitive Foam, Hush Sensitive 2in1, and Hush Sensitive Detangler is our current go-to so we can use the same products on both Harlowe and Gunnar who has sensitive skin. Their styling foam smells so good that even I use it when I wear my hair au natural (vs straightening the crap out of it). The foam helps combat my frizz and keeps Harlowe’s baby hair flyaways at bay all day.socozy hush products
Since I mentioned preventing lice earlier, my other trick is using this spray all over the head. I spray it on each day after we do hair and we haven’t had an episode since we started using that a year ago. Really spray the back of the head by the neck and behind the ears. That’s where they like to hang out the most. All of their products can be purchased at Target if you’re interested and I’ve linked them below too!

Thank you for reading and have a great day! Thank you to BrandBacker and my friends at SoCozy for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Such Great Heights

Despite my love of all things red and heart shaped, we don’t typically do anything extra-special in observance of St. Valentine’s Day. One of my very best friends is moving across the country next month and it breaks my heart even though it’s a really good move for her and her soon-to-be-husband, Jake so I’m soaking up all the time with them I can before the big move. Galentines/ Palentines overlooking the city seemed the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s this year.

We went to OUE Sky Space LA which has these amazing 360 degree views of the city from 1,000 feet high. You look down at all these super-tall buildings and pray an earthquake doesn’t happen the whole time. I kid, I kid I think the building is wildly safe, if not, it was worth my anxiety because it was such a great view and because the slide was so fun. The slide supposedly 45 feet long, but it felt like it was 5 feet long because it goes by so quickly. I did it in my dress and just tucked it all up like a diaper because I can basically tuck anything like a diaper these days. I thought about wearing jeans, but I had this in my closet and I really don’t think I will ever have a reason to wear it other than Galentine’s/Palentine’s night at the Sky Space. Here’s some nerdy pics from the slide for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

^Look at those two cuties. We sure are going to miss them.

^Lulu’s red dress  after being worn like a diaper so I could experience the slide.

OUE Skyspace LA OUE Skyspace LA
^This picture came out a little blurry, but I still love it. The man doesn’t like having his pictures taken and PDA makes him blush so this is a rare gem.

Hope you all had a great Valentine’s, Palentine’s or Galentine’s Day! xx, BA

5 Things You Need For Your Next Half Marathon

half marathon training couple

A few months ago a dear friend managed to convince our whole friend group to travel across the country together to run a half-marathon. I’ve run a few before (6-ish… *’ish‘ because I stopped at mile 4 once, but I’ll spare you the details until later) but it’s been a few years, one new baby and a move to a new city since my last race. I’m a month in to half marathon training and I’m proud to admit that I’ve already trained harder than ever before in terms of miles run. Our bodies (even after bearing two children) are strong, resilient and fierce as hell! Of course, uncontrollable factors can and probably will make training difficult (sleep-deprivation, stress, obligatory seasonal colds) but there are things you can control to make your next half, or first half, one for the books. Here’s a few things you need to set yourself up for success…

husband and wife runners

1. Good shoes. I’m not going to recommend a specific shoe despite being hooked on Nike Frees because they may not be good for you. Do your ankles pronate? You might want supportive shoes. Do your hips hurt after logging several miles? You might want different supportive shoes. See where I am going here? Head to a running store with treadmills and fit specialists to look at your gait and recommend a shoe that is best for you.

onzie yoga apparel

2. A great over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. You’re going to want a wickedly supportive run bra even if (like me) you are not well-endowed. I love Sweaty Betty’s Ultra Run Bra for it’s padded shoulder straps. By mile 5 or 6 you’ll be figuratively patting yourself on the back for getting yourself a bra with padded shoulder straps. The bra also boasts compression panels which helps keep the muscles in your chest from reverberating (jiggling) because who wants to their tatas wiggling about?

workouts for parents

3. A Nutrition Plan. Remember earlier when I said I stopped at mile 4 once? Well, I had eaten a turkey-bacon and egg sandwich pre-race and it was ugly. I felt heavy and tired. It was way too much sodium for my body. I probably would have kept going had my knee not also hurt, but we’ll come back to that later. Good nutrition — whatever that means to you is key. For me, that’s a small protein bar or a green smoothie and some energy chews. Kaare crushes aforementioned turkey-bacon and egg sandwiches and feels great. You’ll want to eat something before you run or do any type of exercise since your muscles can store only about six to seven hours’ worth of glycogen for energy, so each morning you wake up depleted.

fit parents ab workouts

4. A strength training regimen. A study published in ’08 assigned well-trained runners to either a control group or an intervention group — both groups performed a series of half-squats three times a week for eight weeks. Both groups continued their regular running regimen. While V02 max and body weight did not change, the strength training group’s time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic speed improved by 21.3 percent. Pretty impressive, no? Aim for a strength training session once a week to become a stronger, more efficient runner and decrease your chance of injury. Adding strength has helped me ensure I never stop before the finish line again.

fit parents

5. Stretching, foam rolling and yoga. Okay, that’s three things, but they all fall in to the same category: recovery and repair. Yoga will help strengthen your posture and loosen those tight runner’s hips. Stretching and yoga will lengthen muscles and help them recover faster by loosening lactic acid. Foam rolling loosens tissue in ways that stretching alone can’t and although it can be painful while you’re on it, it provides pain relief and increased flexibility that you’ll be thankful for in the long run (pun intended). This one is my favorite and much to Kaare’s dismay, I keep it somewhere visible in my living room so I remember to use it.

onzie peek a boo bra

Thank you for reading and good luck with your training! xx, BA

half marathon training tips

Top and leggings from Onzie / Photos by Lydia Hudgens