Breathe

I had a slight bought of postpartum anxiety after having Owen. I had heart palpitations, slight OCD and would wake up in the middle of the night startled and sweaty. I had no idea it was anxiety, however - and thought it was my heart. I remember thinking, women go through so much during pregnancy and delivery - what if it did something to my heart oh my God I need to see Owen grow up and so I went to see a doctor. He strapped a monitor on me for 24 hours to see if it was my heart...and it wasn't.

"It's anxiety", he said. I welled up and thanked him. When he asked me if I had an idea of how I wanted to move forward, I said I did. I'm not a fan of slapping a Band-Aid on things, so I refused his offer of a prescription. I cut caffeine from my diet, consciously reminded myself to breathe and take things slow, started eating a little better, went a little easier on myself and did Pilates whenever I had a free 10-20 minutes.

I think being a new mom comes with so many unexpected emotions. It's like everything - everything - affects me differently, now. Or, it affects me NOT AT ALL because it's petty as hell.

Sigh. Deep breath. OK. The Manchester bombing rattled me hard. Those were kids. Those were kids at a music event. Those were kids at a music event just like I was once a kid at a music event. Those were kids at a music event just like my Owen could one day be a kid at a music event. No. It's unfathomable. I don't think I can understand where that type of hate comes from, nor do I want to. It's just evil.

But, sadly - it's also our reality. We went walking at a park. As Owen and I rounded a turn in the trail, I saw a group of young men talking and laughing and hanging out on a picnic table. Closer to the trail, was a backpack all by itself - a good 10-15 yards from the group of guys. It was most likely one of their backpacks, but I know I wouldn't leave my bag that far away from me at a public park. As we got closer, I debated what to do. Turn around? Keep going and take a chance? Rationality doesn't really have a place in situations like this because who the hell knows anymore?! It's the argument of "Do we let terror win? Do we let it make us afraid to live? Do we let it control us and cripple us with anxiety and paranoia?"

I honestly don't know.

I guess we do whatever we have to do to stay safe, and to keep our children safe. To me, that means listening to your gut (not necessarily your heart because if you have a good one, you think good things more often than not), keeping your head on a swivel and not letting fear control you, but let it keep you smart.

Just as I neared the laughing guys who were now saying goodbye to each other, one ran over and snatched his backpack up. He opened it and pulled out his ringing cell phone.

"Hi, mom. Yeah, we're just leavin' now. See you in a little."

Breathe.

Asking for a friend (me)....

IMG_0409.JPG

I need to know...

...your favorite dry shampoo?

...favorite mascara?

...favorite eye cream?

...favorite brand of baby clothes?

...favorite yoga pant brand?

...favorite t-shirt brand? (MOM ALERT MOM ALERT)

...favorite way to get a tan without lounging on a chaise outside for hours?

...favorite coffee?

...favorite wine?

...favorite body lotion?

...favorite nail polish color at the moment?

Hey, happy Friday and have the best weekend!

The *one* mom thing I'd hate to be without

The *one* mom thing I'd hate to be without

...besides Owen. Obviously.

The BEABA (pronounced Bee-ah-bah) Babycook is LIFE. It's literally the single most amazing invention I've ever heard of. If someone walked up to me on the street and asked, "What is the most amazing invention that comes to mind right this second" I would say "BEABA BEABA BEABA!" without even thinking.

What is it?

Well, I'll tell you. It's a lifesaver. This machine not only steams food like veggies, fruits and even MEAT...it then purees it. You do it ALL in ONE MACHINE. And, it's so easy for cleanup, too. There's even a little spatula hidden in the back of the machine that you can use to push down food while pureeing, and it doubles as a tool to lift up the steamer basket when the steaming process is done. Mind.Blown.

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GIVEAWAY: Win Ray-Bans

These can be YOURS. 

These can be YOURS. 

Soooo, I bought these Ray-Bans and thought they were super cool. But, I didn't try them on and now I don't like them on me. Which, is a huge bummer because I LOVE them. They're denim, and different. So, Owen was napping and I was sipping some Ries and got a great idea...as I usually do while drinking Riesling.

A GIVEAWAY!

Because who doesn't like free stuff?! Especially Ray-Bans, just in time for summer!

Here's how you can win:

Share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging me, and/or with the hashtag #vandenvogue.

That's literally it. Oh, and the more you share, the more chances you have to win.

I'll announce the winner here, this Tuesday at 12 noon EST.

So, if you like free sunnies - share share share share share share share share and share!

The very second I knew

It was a great day. Nothing and no one could bring me down - not even the work-related problems I encountered that day. Even little things I would normally find annoying were just sliding off my back without a second thought. And, I had absolutely no idea why.

I packed up my bag, cleared my desk, emptied my inbox and powered my computer down. Walking out to my car, I hummed Adele's song "Sweetest Devotion" from her newest album and thought about what we'd have for dinner when I got home.

My humming turned into singing as the CD coincidentally hit the same song I came to label as my favorite, which opened up with Adele's son saying something about 'wanting friendship' and her singing about her love for him.

I stopped at the same red light I usually did in Orange County rush hour traffic, singing I'll forever be whatever you want me to be. I'll go under, and all over, for your clarity... and I choked up inexplicably, with tears trickling down my cheeks. The light turned green and...

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Don't lie to me

Don't lie to me

It really shouldn't be called The Voice when 98% of the season is about changing the contestant's appearance in order to make them more marketable in the music industry. I missed a couple episodes this season and when I turned it on again, I had no idea who 4 of them were anymore. It should be called The Voice For Five Minutes and Then Can We Market Them Because That's More Important (and why today's music sucks so bad). That was actually the working title.

Don't tell me you never argue with your spouse. Like, never? Stop. Are you alive?

Sometimes, you crave McDonald's fries and maybe even a milkshake to dip them in. STOP SHAKING YOUR HEAD YES YOU DO.

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Life's little (big) tests

Life's little (big) tests

I think there are milestones in life that test you, and your relationships with people. And, these milestone "tests" happen naturally - so naturally, that you might not even realize they're happening, or that they've already happened because you've been busy with...well, life.

Sure, you meet new people throughout the years - coworkers become friends, you meet people here and there through shared interests - maybe even online, who knows? Chances are, new people come into your life...and sometimes people leave, for a multitude of reasons.

I've "lost" friendships when I've entered into relationships, and when those friends have entered into relationships. I've "lost" friendships - or should I say "friendships" - when I simply disagreed (even silently) with destructive life choices they were making. And, some friendships seemed to slowly disintegrate when I - or they - moved away. Physical distance can be tough unless your connection is strong. Sort of like a cell signal.

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Get over it

Get over it

Unicorns. I know, I know - they're mystical. But, they're everywhere now. How is that mystical?

Make-your-own-slime. Gross. AND UNICORN POOP SLIME? Come on.

Adam Sandler movies. No reason needed, amiright?

#foodporn. Not food photos, because I love those - but the hashtag. The food isn't having sex. It's just sitting there.

Tanning beds/booths. Do people seriously do this anymore? I'm not sure, but if they do - it's time to s-t-o-p. It's so bad for you! Spray or self tan. Or actual sun. 

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What I'll miss about CA...and what I won't

After almost three years in Orange County, we're moving back to the East Coast! And, what I've come to learn is the best coast, in my opinion. Sure, California is gorgeous - really gorgeous - but, my heart is back east. Luckily, my husband agrees. However, that doesn't mean that I won't miss certain things about Cali - it's where Owen was born, after all. And, it also doesn't mean that certain things about The OC don't irritate me more than sand in my shoes. Here are some other thangs, in no particular order.

Duh. The weather. But, you know what? Ever see the movie Groundhog Day will Bill Murray? It's like that. All too often, I found myself praying/wishing/hoping/dancing/meditating for a rainy day. Not just for drought purposes, either...just to break up the monotony. And to provide a lil' damp relief to some of those leather faces you see 'round these parts.

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Momxiety

Momxiety

I've always been social, but I've also always had a little bit of social anxiety. I don't know when it started, or why - but whenever a party or event would arise, I'd procrastinate until the very last second I had to get in the shower and get ready...most likely replaying how everything will (should) go at the event, and worrying I might not look okay, fit in, etc. And, more times than I can count - my over-analyzing and anxiety prevented me from actually going to whatever it was - a dinner, a date, a party, a night out, whatever.

Truthfully, I don't even know if that's social anxiety but I don't know what else to call it. I just know that I had to really fight it back, and everything had to fall into place...including every hair on my head...in order for me to feel 100% okay with putting myself out there. "I'm just not feeling it" was often my nonchalant excuse whenever questioned about my absence. How can anyone argue with that?

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It's not always about you

VIA LEIGH WIDJESKOG, BEING FEMINIST and created by KRISTIN HANLIN ROMMEL

VIA LEIGH WIDJESKOG, BEING FEMINIST and created by KRISTIN HANLIN ROMMEL

Because of the election, and most recently - the amazing women's marches, I got to thinking about social media. I sometimes have this fleeting thought that life before social media was, in a sense, better. There were less people voicing their 'factual' opinions and insults, letting their hate and ignorance live in black and white forever. But, social media brings people together for good, too.

No doubt those marches were organized in part over social media, and kept people informed of the cause, locations and outcome during. Empowering photos, quotes, videos and comments resulted and spread like wildfire...offering hope to an entire gender in a time of uncertainty. Then, of course - like everything else in life, I'd see comments from fellow women, expressing their puzzlement and even disgust over the marches.

WHAT.

"This is pointless. We don't need this now." I ask, "why not and don't say 'we' - you are not We."

"There was trash and garbage left on the street!" ...nope, too easy. And, come on - the Thanksgiving Day Parade, NYE in Times Square...this gathering actually has a CAUSE.

Then, there was Christy.

"I am not a “disgrace to women” because I don’t support the women’s march. I do not feel I am a “second class citizen” because I am a woman. I do not feel my voice is “not heard” because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I “don’t have control of my body or choices” because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am ” not respected or undermined” because I am a woman." - Her Facebook.

Thankfully, many people wrote intelligent, slightly face-smacking responses to her self-centered rant.

But, the photo above SAYS.IT.ALL.

It's not about you, Christy. It's just simply not about you.

SAHM FWP

SAHM FWP

Before I get into what I wanna get into, I have to say acronyms on parenting message boards (AKA "comedy hour" because I can't believe the questions people ask on them, and also that they are breeding) get a little hard to figure out. Like, BLW. That means "baby-led weaning."

I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS.

Anyway, I don't call myself a stay-at-home mom, or SAHM. I actually don't like that term and I think it's because of the stigma around it. Now, I know being a SAHM is the hardest job in the world - but calling myself that makes me feel like I'm trying to actually call it a form of employment or give myself a professional title. I also work from home when I can...which lately has been around 10 pm. So, to me - I'm simply a mother. And yes, I know being a mom is not simple, but you know what I mean.

Being at home everyday has it's isolation. And thus, has led me to realize some FWPs, or first world problems. Like:

Why do people double click their car key fob twice, to make their car horn beep, when they're only parking in their garage or assigned parking space? If you only press it once, you can hear the locks go down. Hitting it twice annoys everyone who lives around you. And, it's a Toyota not a Lamborghini.

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Mom bod

Mom bod

I never had an issue with weight. Meaning...I never cared how much I weighed. I always just paid more attention to how my clothes fit, and if my jeans felt a little snug around my waist, I just stopped eating pizza for a day. I got into and out of Pilates, multiples times, and worked out more when I knew I had to put a bikini on. But, that was always the extent of my 'working out.' I guess I'm pretty lucky, but honestly - I never really thought or cared about it until three months after giving birth and the doctor weighed me in at the same weight I was at my 6-week postpartum appointment.

Is mom bod forever?!

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Thanks, John Popper

WHAT.

Back atcha.

Back atcha.

So, I'm crawling out from under my 5-month-old son's play mat because he's napping and I'm writing this. And, it feels both weird and glorious.

Kind of like motherhood.

Each day, I learn something new - about him, about being his mother and about life, in general. Because, now it all makes so much more sense. And, I love love LOVE watching him learn new things, too. From the big things - like rolling over and how to use his hands - to the small things that you only really see if you're quiet and paying attention. And, how about those things that you know no one else would believe you if you told them? Like, how I asked him "where should I put this ornament...here?" and he said, "yeah." PLAIN AS DAY. Or how he yawned during a long video in our baptism class, and ended the yawn with an exasperated "God." See? I knew you wouldn't believe me.

Anyway.

Today, Owen learned that it is virtually impossible to cry while Blues Traveler is playing. Yes, people do still listen to Blues Traveler. I digress. So, he's teething, and was having a fussy moment while I was in the shower. I had Apple Music playing, and while Keith Urban wasn't helping at ALL - not surprisingly...the second he heard that good ol' John Popper harmonica...silence. And then a smile! He went back to playing with his little Baby Einstein toy, and all was good again, and I wonder if they make baby harmonicas? He also has a thing for Annie Lennox, but that's a post for another day.

Like another 5 months from now. Just kidding.

Toilet talk

Toilet talk

When you're expecting and have to go - a lot - you really don't have much of a choice if you're out in public. I've never been one to really seek out a public restroom, but I'm not opposed/afraid/grossed out by them, either. If you've ever been to a beach or lake, you know their restrooms are sandy, salty, stinky and hot. But, when ya gotta go...ya just go and get out.

However, being pregnant has afforded me the opportunity to explore more PRs than ever before, and I've been having the BEST time with it (sarcasm). I'm like Brooke Burke when she was hosting Wild On!...minus the ridiculous bikini bod. And, I have to say - there have been some major surprises in my lavatory adventures...

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The tight pants epidemic

I couldn't help but notice the plethora of too-tight pants on this past season of The Bachelorette. And no, I'm not talking about JoJo. The guys were obsessed with donning pants that outlined their muscular legs to the point that I have no idea how Robby managed to cross his legs.

Is this a thing, now? And, do the guys on the show dress themselves? And, how is that comfortable?

I do think Robby was the biggest offender, and his pants were so tight, he couldn't even walk properly, probably out of fear he'd rip his seam. Must take tiny, tiny steps...

via GIPHY

As you'll see below in the tight pants gallery, it wasn't just Robby. And, it wasn't just jeans - it was suit pants, too! I mean, I'm not saying these guys don't have the bods for jeggings, as I always say men always seem to have the legs women want. So, maybe I'm a bit jealous, I don't know - but if I only saw their legs in a photo, I'd have a hard time picking out the actual Bachelorette.

Chelsea's revenge

Chelsea's revenge

I've always loved Chelsea Clinton. I suppose part of that is because I felt a sort of camaraderie with her when she was in her awkward years. Granted, I wasn't in the public eye, but I look back at my own photos from the same time period and I am very thankful for that. 

I had braces. Frizzy hair days. Unshaped eyebrows. I mean, it was the 90s, and Chelsea (and I) were in our pre-teen/teenage years. I remember going to school and being called a dog...a German Shepherd to be exact. I remember being told in one way or another that I wasn't cute or pretty and the guy I liked at the time laughing and saying 'no' when I mustered up all of my courage and asked him to dance when Boyz II Men came on at the homecoming dance. But...I never had to deal with GROWN MEN putting me down. Chelsea did.

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