Bump Update: Staying Fit for Two

So I’m just going to put it out there. There’s really nothing more humbling than having your picture taken in workout clothes while 7+ months pregnant. Ok, just had to get that off my chest. Moving on. I’m still really excited to share a few of my new year’s fitness tips with you today! Continuing to workout throughout my pregnancy has been integral to still feeling like myself. Physical exercise has always been such a big part of my life {you may remember where I discussed that a bit here and here}. As a former college athlete, yogi, marathon runner, personal trainer {for a hot second in my 20’s} and most recently, a pilates addict, I couldn’t imagine not continuing to move, even as my belly continues to expand. It’s what keeps me sane!

That’s not to say I haven’t struggled. The exhaustion of early pregnancy sidelined most cardio pretty quick. Now aches and pains make anything beyond a good walking pace not so comfortable. But there are still plenty of ways you can workout while pregnant. Pilates has been my saving grace. It’s what I used to get in tip top shape for our trip to Greece last spring and it’s keeping me in pretty dang good shape now {if I do say so myself!}. So I teamed up with Old Navy Active Wear and my go-to San Francisco pilates studio to share a few of my favorite moves with you. The best thing about them? They are totally beneficial whether you’re expecting or not!

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1. The Reverse Pull

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When you’re pregnant you spend a lot of time working on your arms and legs, but who doesn’t love toned arms no matter what the circumstance?! This Reverse Pull exercise is really simple. I’m performing it on the Pilates Reformer found in most pilates studios, but you could do this at home with two resistance bands tied to something that won’t move! Here’s what you do:

> Sit on your knees then lift up so your shins are pressing into the floor
> Hold strap in each hand and left your chest, keeping your chin parallel to the ground and your shoulders rolled back and held down in their sockets
> Inhale and with straight arms, slowly pull back until your arms are at least next to your sides if not a little bit behind your body
> Exhale and slowly release your arms forward

Reapt 10-15 times for three sets

2. The Squat

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Squats are a foolproof way to keep your legs and butt looking toned and firm. I’m using the Pilates tower to help give myself that perfect 90 degree angle but you could also do these holding onto a railing or a ballet bar at your gym.

> Hold onto a bar with a firm grip, toes right under the bar
> Lean back into a “water skier” position
> Slowly squat down like you’re trying to sit in a chair. Your knee and ankle alignment should be a 90 degree angle
> Press through your heels to slowly stand back up until your legs are straight

Repeat 10-15 times for three sets

3. The Leglift

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Leglifts are another great way to tone the behind and your outer hips. When lying on your side you also get your obliques, shoulders and back involved too! It’s amazing how much a simple movment can work so much of your body at once. You just have to pay attention to the fundamentals with this one.

> Lay on your side with your legs stretched out long and straight
> Prop yourself up on your elbow and bend your bottom knee to 90 degrees. Make sure to press into the ground with your elbow to lift your side and engage your shoulder. Also squeeze your belly in a little
> Flex the foot on your top leg and slowly lift the leg to hip height. Lower back down to tap the floor and lift again

Repeat 15 – 25 times and switch sides

4. Stretching

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Stretching is good for everyone. It helps you relax, destress and prevents injury. It is particularly fabulous while growing a human because you need all the room in there that you can get! Simple side bends, forward folds and twists make a world of difference. Try to stretch for five minutes every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed and I swear you feel a world of difference!

Of course, looking a little fly while working out is also half the fun!! I’m thrilled that there is cute maternity workout gear out there. My Old Navy compression leggings fit and feel great and I will totally wear my Two-in-One Tank post-bump. Just because you’re working up a sweat, doesn’t mean you can’t add in a little personal style!  These are currently on my workout gear wishlist…

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GET YOUR SHOP ON:

1.) Old Navy Funnel Neck Fleece Pullover
2.) Tracy Anderson: The Pregnancy Project Video
3.) BKR Water Bottle
4.) Baggu Duffle Bag
5.) Gold Earbuds
6.) Loeffler Randall Runner Sneaker
7.) Leather Yoga Mat Strap

I also want to thank my favorite pilates studio in San Francisco, Mighty Pilates for inviting me in to demonstrate some moves for you! If you live in the Bay Area you can give Mighty a try {no need to be pregnant!} – they offer a two-week beginner special offer. I certainly plan to keep my pilates up until the last possible moment so maybe I’ll see you at the studio!

For the Circuit Training Workout I created for you last year, click HERE!

original photography for apartment 34 by Emily Scott 

This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Always check with a physician or trained specialist before starting your own workout routine, especially when you’re expecting. Check out Old Navy’s latest fashion lineup in store or online at oldnavy.com.

The Kind of Woman: And Her Quest for Perfection

Happy Friday my dears! I’m excited to end the first full week of 2015 with the return of The Kind of Woman – the series Jeanne and I started where we hoped we could talk with you about issues that surround modern womanhood. It all started with defining the women we aspire be in today’s crazy world. Next we discussed the never ending quest for balance. For our first post of 2015, we wanted to tackle a topic we suspected many of you can also relate to –perfectionism.

There are a litany of ways to describe a perfectionist. Type A. Control freak. Scorpio {at least in my case!}. I think I was defined as an overachiever by about age six. It plagued me in adolescence – made me the butt of jokes and I often felt like a bit of an outsider at school. As I got older, that “overachiever-ness” began to serve me in very tangible ways – college scholarships, exciting jobs in my early career and good opportunities in my twenties. If there was the chance to bust my ass, I took it. But there comes a time where all that self-inflicted pressure begins to feel less like a asset and more like a burden.

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At some point perfectionist-tendencies can shift from being a beneficial attention-to-detail mindset to being a coping mechanism. How do you separate between perfectionism and micromanagement? If left unchecked, the predilection can turn into a debilitating set of expectations that can actually hinder your ability to be productive. I’m the first to admit that my perfectionism has been a great to tool for hiding insecurities and fear of failure.

Perfectionism is also an excellent tool for masking the feeling of being in way over your head. Interestingly, that nagging anxiety that you don’t really know what you’re doing or you’re not actually as talented as you’re given credit for has been given a name – impostor syndrome – and apparently it affects women more than men. I know it certainly plagues me – which in turns fuels the need to have more to prove. A never-ending and less than healthy cycle. {I feel a future post about insecurity and guilt coming on!}

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But the biggest issue I’ve discovered with perfectionism is that you put measurement of your own self-worth into other people’s hands. You come to rely on those external accolades and acknowledgments to feel valued and validated. In a way, the trait that once left you feeling in control and powerful, has actually left you powerless.

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Sadly, I feel the blogosphere only contributes to the plight of perfectionism these days. Our wonderful online world that has connected us to so many amazingly talented people, also encourages comparison and self criticism. And as the myriad of ways to share our perfectly styled lives has grown {I still can’t believe Instagram didn’t exist and I wasn’t on Twitter or Facebook in my first three years of blogging – can you even imagine it!!}, I think it’s only gotten worse. What once felt like one of the most encouraging, supportive and close knit communities I’d ever come across, these days feels like a rat race where we’re all sprinting toward the same finish line {Yet another post on how women can better support one another could be coming up!}.

So I think it’s worthwhile to ask ourselves – how can we strive for excellence without being paralyzed by an unattainable definition of “a great life”?

For me – the answer lies in shedding external perceptions of what success looks like and instead taking the time to reflect on what should truly matter to me most. What do I value? Where do I really find meaning? What will continue to help me grow into the kind of woman I want to be? Sure, I take great pride in professional successes, but this year I want to step away from the idea that everything has to be firing at all cylinders All.The.Time. Instead, I’d like to tally my accomplishments by the number of friends I reconnect with this month. Or the way I make people feel after I leave the room. Or the affect I have on my soon-to-be kid!

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What do you think? Do you struggle with perfectionism? How do you cope with it? Do you find it helpful to hold yourself to hopeful aspiration or do you find it more fulfilling to embrace imperfections? For now, this quote is really speaking to me…

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Be sure to head over to Shop Sweet Things to get Jeanne’s take! We’re really interested to hear what you think too.

 

original photography for apartment 34 by belathee photography // quote via Note to Self

what i’m wearing: leather biker jacket {similar here} // dries van noten tank {similar here} // 7 for all mankind jeans // marisa haskell necklace // ray-ban aviators 

Bump Style: Getting Cozy

As we race headlong toward winter’s official arrival, I’ve been having fun figuring out how to bundle up the ever-growing bump. While I could never really describe Bay Area weather as “cold” – I’m sorry but I require freezing temps and the occasional cameo of snow for that – I do love the opportunity to wear super comfy sweaters and other wintry favorites. I’m just a layer-loving kind of girl!

Since knits aren’t always terribly maternity friendly {at 25 weeks I’ve popped enough now that length starts to become an issue!}, I’ve been reaching for all things oversized. So when I spied this Old Navy Fair Isle Cardigan – borrowed from the boys no less – I fell in love immediately! A men’s cardigan is the perfect way to wear a seasonally festive piece and feel completely comfy and cozy at the same time. It’s also nice and long, super stretchy and when I do get to the point that I can no longer button it up, it’ll still look really cute worn open. Thankfully, the mild San Francisco temps let me rock it as my “jacket” right now.

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In case you didn’t already notice, I’m a big fan of the navy + orange color palette. It feels very cozy without having to revert to traditional Christmas colors {sorry red & green!}. Boyfriend jeans are also a staple these days – they’re how I’m avoiding having to buy maternity jeans! Thankfully, the trend has yet to wane. Combined with my trusty ankle boots, a pair fingerless gloves & a bad hair day favorite – a slouchy beanie – and I’ve pretty much set my uniform for last second Christmas gift shopping, coffee dates or a weekend brunch for two with the husband. Cramming in that just us time is essential this time of year btw!

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The best part about this look? I could simply swap some chic sweats and be totally ready for Christmas morning. It’s all about getting the most out of increasingly limited wardrobe my friends!

Are you getting into the holiday spirit with your looks? If you need some additional holiday outfit inspiration check this and this out {I’m also pregnant this post & this post too fyi!}.

Here’s to enjoying the holiday season while it lasts!

GET YOUR SHOP ON: What I’m Wearing

> Old Navy Fair Isle Cardigan {men’s, women’s similar}
> Boyfriend jeans {similar}
​original photography for apartment 34 by emily scott

This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy’s latest fashion lineup in store or online at oldnavy.com.