Confession, I have am a jeans addict. They are my uniform. This has been well documented around here over the years. I can count on one hand the number of days per month I wear something other than denim (and those are the days I typically stay in yoga pants!). And at 18-months old, my little guy is also already living in jeans, because let’s be honest, baby denim is the cutest thing ever.

But jeans are a finicky clothing item. Finding a favorite pair is the ultimate fashion treasure hunt. And let me tell you, post-baby with an ever changing body, jeans shopping is even more difficult. And it’s all made more frustrating by the fact that a good pair is not cheap these days. I don’t like to think about the small nation I could probably finance with the denim collection I’ve amassed over the years.


That’s why I’ve slowed way down on adding to my denim wardrobe and am instead intentionally making a point of properly caring for the ones already in my closet.


A sneak peek of my denim collection. Whenever I try to edit down I just can’t seem to let them go. There might be a pair I bought in college still lurking in that stack. But I digress.

Making your jeans last – especially your prized pair that just make you feel sooooo good when you wear them – is very important. Because there’s nothing worse then when they fade, stretch or the worst of the worst, shrink so they’re no longer that perfect length to snugness ratio. But we do have to wash our jeans, particularly the pairs with a bit of stretch because they can get the dreaded sag at the waist, butt or knee. You know the one I’m talking about. Washing your denim can help it get its shape back. And even raw denim, especially lighter washes start to show dirt after awhile and will benefit from a good cleaning.

Thankfully, if you take just a little time and a little extra care, you can keep your jeans looking like new for a long long time. Below are the five steps I take to keep my denim in tip top shape.

1. Wash on cold. Always always wash your jeans on cold and turned inside out. That’ll help keep the color lasting longer.

2. Use a color safe detergent. There are even some great denim washes out there.

3. Color Boost. Jeans do fade, which is particularly sad when you’ve got a black or indigo pair that you really love. That’s why something like Clorox 2 Darks & Denim Color Protector and Stain Remover is genius. You add it directly to your washing machine along with your favorite detergent to protect and brighten your colors 2x more than using detergent alone. It will literally add years to your denim.

4. Pretreat. If you do have stains, pour the Clorox 2 Darks & Denim directly onto your jeans. Let them sit (but not dry) for 5-10 minutes before you put them in the wash with your regular detergent and more Clorox 2 Darks & Denim.

5. Hang Dry. Yes your jeans will be stiff the first wear, even the ones with a ton of stretch, but a little discomfort is worth it in the long run! Never ever dry your jeans in the dryer. They will shrink. They will fade. It will degrade the fabric leading to holes and worn spots faster.

I’ve been using this denim care regime for the past year and I’ve actually only purchased one (well maybe two) new pairs of jeans since then. Now I satisfy my shopping habit by buying cute denim for my kid! I’m making sure to keep his jeans looking good with the same care technique.

Any more laundry care tips out there?? I’m also trying to add to my domestic-goddess abilities.

For more of my favorite denim looks CLICK HERE.

This post is in partnership with Clorox. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open.  

It’s been a little while since we’ve had some mom talk around here. But the Real Talk, Real Mom series is still going strong. As a first-time mom, I’ve loved participating in these posts because I learn so much from all the other women involved – and from everyone who comments! I’m sure this time around will be no different. This edition’s topic is all about family traditions. With the holidays quickly creeping up we felt it timely. How do you create your own family traditions? How do you navigate that extended network of kin? What do you want your child to associate with the holiday season? Not exactly the easiest of things to figure out!


The pic above, though not necessarily holiday-season related, does speak to the formation of family tradition. We’re currently on our first official family vacation in Hawaii – a family narrative I would love to continue!

But I have also started to think a lot about the holidays as this is the first year some of it will actually register for our little guy. From Halloween (do you trick or treat with an 18-month old?!) to Thanksgiving and the rest of the entire holiday season it’s now on me to create the sense of wonder, excitement, joy and celebration I so remember enjoying as a child. Having gotten relatively lazy about holiday traditions in the last few years sans baby (I think pizza was eaten on Christmas eve one year), I’m ready to fully invest this time around.

It helps that we have our new house to ground the creation of our own holiday traditions. I’ve always been very clear that Christmas is spent at home – our home. With blended families everywhere the eye can see, trying to visit all the extended relatives during the holiday season means you’re spending more time on the road then in anybody’s presence. That isn’t fun for anyone. Standing firm on that decision has certainly simplified the holiday equation.

So with negotiating the immediate needs of extended families off the table, the question becomes how do you create your own rituals? In my short time as a mom I have already discovered the power of storytelling. Our little guy loves to hear things recounted over and over. Books also help. I’m thinking this will be the first year we read The Polar Express.

But I’d love to hear from other, more seasoned parents. How did you go about creating holiday traditions with and for your littles? Will an 20 month old get the whole concept of Santa Claus? This is where I turn to you, experienced parents. I would so appreciate any and all advice you have for helping create a wondrous experience for our tiny human.

I’ll certainly be turning to the rest of the awesome moms in this series to get their advice. Check on their posts on this topic below.

A Daily Something / Ave Styles /  FreutcakeParker EtcThe Effortless Chic / Sacramento Street /

And if you haven’t checked out the Real Talk, Real Mom series yet, we’ve talked Sleep, Feeding,Travel, Career, Self-CareCo-Parenting and Growing Your Family #realmomseries

When you’re planning a trip, do you feel the need to run out and pick up a whole new wardrobe? Yeah, me too. So when I got the chance to go on my first international trip since having le baby, I felt frantic, like I needed to create a massive shopping list immediately. That is, until I realized there was actually an entire wardrobe waiting for me – in my own my closet!

Thankfully, my friend Caroline Rooney, a talented fashion stylist and style expert, reminded me that you need to look at your existing closet with a fresh eye. With one quick trip through the pieces I already own, Caroline helped me realize I could devise an entire packing plan without having to buy a million things. So I thought I’d share a few of her tips about how to shop your closet. And bonus, you get a sneak peek at my closet that I designed with California Closets! I won’t lie – it’s basically a dream closet come true.

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this shirt by Kamperett is hand-painted and seriously stunning

To get over the feeling of “having nothing to wear,” I needed to get out of my outfit rut. I hate to admit it, but I’ve totally fallen victim to the mom uniform of tee, jeans and sneakers – on massive repeat. I expected better of myself but when you’re a professional toddler chaser practicality often wins out. That’s why a trip is such a great excuse to rediscover your style. And while I consider myself reasonably decent at getting myself dressed, anyone can benefit from an outside perspective.

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A camel blazer is a girl’s best friend


This Amour Vert dress is perfect for an afternoon lunch in Milan!

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Caroline came in and was able to look at all my pieces with a fresh eye. She was a like a kid in a style candy store. She started pulling out things I hadn’t even looked at in months.

But stay focused and be productive we decided to set some parameters. When you’re packing for a trip it’s helpful to think about two things; your destination and what you’re going to do while there. You want to think about your destination’s customs so that you can be sure to dress appropriately. In my case, Italy is a bit more formal, a bit more sophisticated and a bit more fashion forward than California, so I wanted to create some looks that feel pulled together. I also knew I was going to be doing a lot of wine tasting, sight seeing and doing lots of dinners out so I need a variety of looks from day time casual to much more formal.

So we got to pulling out tops, skirts, even dresses that I hadn’t worn in forever. After shopping through my own closet (it was like visiting old friends!), the trying on commenced. I cannot recommend taking the time to actually try your clothes on enough. Whether you’ve gone through a big life change like having a baby, or simply haven’t revisited pieces in your closet for awhile, it is so helpful to remind yourself what the clothes look like on you. You’re much more likely to remember why you bought the piece in the first place.

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Caroline helped me combine my pieces into looks I had never even thought of. Throwing a leather jacket over a dress and pairing it with low-heeled sandals made it more causal and perfect for day time. Adding a blazer over a classic black tee dressed it up, while wearing flat sandals with my white trousers made the look perfect for a day of window shopping in Milan. All told, I was able to create more than enough looks with just a few pieces. In fact, I probably could have pared things down even more, but I am one of those people who likes to be over-prepared for a trip. I do like to have options should itineraries, the weather or my mood change! While I could have easily edited things down to fit into a single carry on, I did end up bring a few additional options. Plus my size 10 shoes are not very space efficient!

But with two pairs of a jeans, a pair of trousers, a couple of dresses, a skirt, a mix of casual & formal tops and two blazers I knew I was going to be able to see Italy in style.


And as an added bonus for you all, Caroline, who works on photoshoots with brands like Google, Macy’s and W Hotels, as well as with private clients, is sharing her top five tips for making the most of your own closet.

TIP 1: Keep your closet tidy so you can access all of your garments easily. Out of sight, out of mind! Hang your favorite pieces toward the front for easy access. If there’s a piece that you haven’t worn recently, or find intimidating, hang that in the front as well, so you can remember to try it out in a new way. If it stays there for a few weeks and you still haven’t worn it, donate it or give it away.

TIP 2: I prefer to organize a closet by the type of garment. That way, you can see all of your top options, then all of your bottoms and skirts, all of your dresses, and then all of your jackets. Keep sweaters folded to avoid hanger marks at the shoulders, and fold down your jeans to save space. If you’re a die-hard denim head like me, fold all of your jeans the same way, and stack according to style. I keep mine in organized piles like “Everyday”, “Flares”, “Distressed”, and “Summer/Whites”. This saves me from digging through the piles every morning (and having them topple to the floor!)

TIP 3: After cleaning your closet, create piles for donations, sale, alterations. I recommend that you do this every 3-6 months to make sure you’re getting the most out of your wardrobe, and not wasting both time and money shopping for pieces you already have!

TIP 4: It doesn’t help you to have a dress that doesn’t fit, or a new pair of jeans that you love, but are too long. A great tailor can give these pieces a new life. In Erin’s closet, we first organized and hung favorite pieces, and even pulled a few items out of storage. This made the pieces feel new – it’s really like shopping in your own closet!

TIP 5: As you’re developing your wardrobe, focus on investing in well fitting basics. Look for timeless pieces that you can mix and match for years, and never look “out of style.” Then layer in a few trendier pieces every season. Invest in the basics, and spend less on the trend items that will go out of style faster. And once you’ve worn the trendy pieces to death, and see the trend starting to fizzle, donate or consign the pieces. You’ll be left with a great backbone of basics to build off of for the next season.

If you’re looking to add a little Italian style to your closet right now, below are a few of my favorite pieces. And as an added bonus, Amour Vert is  offering Apartment 34 readers a special bonus. You can save 20% on any order when you enter the code APT34 at check out! Click HERE to start shopping.

And if you’re curious about my adventures in Italy at the moment, be sure to follow along on Instagram and Snapchat!



white dress / cuyana saddle bag / black pumps / leather jacket /sunnies / white trousers / peplum topsandals / stella mccartney blouse

original photography for apartment 34 by delbarr moradi

One of my favorite parts about being a lady with a baby is hunting down the fabulous baby stuff out there. Even though it can be a little hard to find, if you dig past the crayola-colored everything you can find super cool clothes and toys that make you just as happy as your little. More importantly, you can also make sure everything your kid puts on or plays with isn’t going to harm them.


Case in point: everything you can get at Noble Carriage. The online children’s boutique is a beautifully curated collection of responsibly made cloths and toys. Founder Jen Hartford has very strict sustainability and safety standards for what she carries and I for one appreciate that immensely. While I hate to come across as one of “those moms,” I definitely pay very close attention to lotions, soaps, food, fabrics, toys – kinda all of it. Yeah, I am that mom. Their little bodies are just so tiny – if I can do my part to keep the nasty away – I’m going to do it.

So when Jen asked me to be part of her Wellness Wednesday interview series – where you get a peek into the routines of parents who are raising kids with healthy living in mind – I gladly said yes.


Jen’s questions were so thought provoking. And it’s always fascinating to see how other families get through the crazy that is raising tiny people. For me it’s about finding some sort of balance – whatever that actually means.

CLICK HERE to check out the entire interview and HERE to shop my curated picks at Noble Carriage.

Curious about how I’ve struggled with  embraced motherhood? CLICK HERE

photography by emily scott


One of my favorite parts of the week is spending a little quality time with my kiddo. And now that he’s 14 months old, it’s so fun to see him interact with his little friends. Luckily, I have lot of girlfriends who all had babies around the same time so the social calendar can get nice and full. This week I’m excited to have partnered with my dear friend Caitlin from Sacramento Street, her adorable son Jackson and Old Navy to share one of our favorite San Francisco playdate destinations.


We recently took advantage of a sunny San Francisco Friday and headed to The Palace of Fine Arts. Nestled near the Golden Gate Bridge, it was built as a gathering center and art exhibition hall for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition. Today, the stunning spot features a beautiful lagoon stocked with fish and turtles, all kinds of birds – ducks, swans, geese and herons – live in the park and there are beautiful walking paths and shaded grassy areas – perfect for an afternoon picnic!

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Obviously Caitlin and I were both attracted to a classic color palette – classic black & white. Must be why we’re friends! But I love layering prints to mix things up a bit. A comfy tank and a scarf – required for San Francisco Jeans are a must for chasing around the littles and I’m obsessed with my new espadrilles. They’re flats with a little bit of flair.


And how cute are those kiddos? I just can’t get over babies in tanktops! They rock the monochromatic look so they can match their mamas, but in a subtle way.


on me: Patterned Tank / Geo Print Scarf / Gray Denim / lace-up Espadrilles / Sunnies / Ring / on carter: Palm Tree Muscle Tank Set Canvas Slip-ons



Palace of Fine Arts: A stunning location, featuring amazing architecture, a big lagoon, beautiful vegetation and wildlife. It’s a perfect spot for a stroll, a picnic or a little walk.

Mission Dolores Park: Set in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, is one of the most epic parks in San Francisco. Recently renovated, it features a two-story slide, climbing areas and a wonderful play space for littles.

California Academy of Sciences: This place has it all. An aquarium, rain forest, dinasaur bones and a lovely fenced in outdoor eating area means you can spend hours at the Academy of Sciences. Playdate genius.

Crissy Field Beach: There are a lot of cool beaches around San Francisco, but the beach at Crissy Field is uber child friendly. It’s more like hanging out at the shores of a lake, the waves are that mellow. Except you’re staring at the Golden Gate Bridge. It doesn’t get much better then that.

Be sure to check out Sacramento Street for details on Caitlin & Jackson’s looks as well as Caitlin’s must-have playdate supplies.


photography by suzanna scott 

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open.

Today I’m excited to jump back into our Real Talk, Real Moms series. It’s been a little bit since I’ve tackled the parenthood topic. A few bouts of teething and the accompanying severe sleep deprivation left me rather drained. But this edition’s topic – coparenting – or more specifically – how you negotiate who does what with your partner is something I think about a lot.

I recently read a Washington Post article that said American parents have higher expectations of themselves than any previous generation. That certainly rings true to me. We have to be attentive, we have to be present, we have to be supportive, we have to foster personal growth, emotional intelligence, regular intelligence, physical aptitude, academic achievement – all without leaving our littles with lasting family of origin issues. Oh and we also have to have successful careers, blissful marriages, stunning homes, amazing social lives and rockin’ bodies.

Don’t worry, I got this.

Being an enlightened post-feminist woman, long before having kids I was very clear I wasn’t interested in the archaic gender-based divisions of labor. But when reality strikes, it can be a little hard to put that vision into practice. When you’re at home with two working parents, commutes, dogs, home renovations, moves, career upheavals – a lot can get in the way of your best intentions. But all kidding aside, it was really important to me that divisions of parental responsibility be reasonably equal. While I certainly can’t claim to have things figured out, we have come across a few solutions that work well for us.


Be in it together. From the very beginning we approached parenting as an equal partnership. For example, during middle-of-the-night feedings, Chris changed the diaper, I nursed & he slept, then he put the baby back to sleep and I slept. Since I was exclusively breast-feeding and we didn’t do a lot of bottles, Chris was on diaper duty. We took turns putting the baby down for naps. We did baths all together. The support was amazing. In fact, I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

However, I’m also the first to admit that the be-in-it-together model worked best when we were both on parental leave. And having a husband who enjoyed eight weeks of leave was a real luxury. Don’t even get me started on parental benefits in this country. That’s an entirely other diatribe. But I do think that the habits we set up in the early weeks helped as returned to the reality of day to day life.

Divide and conquer. We also split up responsibilities where it made sense. Since I was exclusively breast-feeding, Chris played point on diaper-changing duty. We alternated who put the baby back to sleep at nap time. These days, I do dinner prep & feeding, while the husband does bath & pajama time. And since I still handle a lot of baby duties, Chris has taken on other  chores like feeding our dogs etc etc. It doesn’t always feel like a completely balanced workload, but clearly delineating the labor did make a difference. You don’t have to worry about who is volunteering for what or feel overly burdened. We’ve figured it out in advance.

I have also heard of parents that alternate responsibilities by day. On Saturday one parent is on point any time the baby cries, needs to be fed or needs a diaper change. On Sunday it’s the other partner’s turn. That gives each adult a bit of a mental break. It’s not that they completely ditch out, but you no longer have to negotiate who’s turn it is to do what. That can be a refreshing feeling. I’m definitely intrigued by the concept and am seriously considering trying it, especially now that Carter is way more active.

Be flexible. Sometimes exhaustion gets the best of us and we really need a break. There were times when I took every middle of the night shift because I knew my husband would be a better person the next day. Or there have been mornings when I just cannot drag myself out of bed and Chris has spelled me so I can get a bit of extra sleep. Sometimes people have to work late and miss the bedtime routine. Or you really want a girl’s night out. The key is to recognize the exception and do your best to be present and supportive of your partner the next time. Just acknowledging the extra effort goes a really long way.

But above all else, the hard and fast rule I’ve learned in my first year of parenting is there are no hard and fast rules. And even with this mindset things are still tough. We struggle with resentment and feeling like one or the other isn’t pulling their weight. And just when we feel like we’ve found a good routine the kid up and changes everything on us. Teething. New sleep schedule. A sudden growth spurt.

Little bugger.


And that brings me to my fourth key to co-parenting.

Over-communicate. Make your needs and expectations known. Ask for help when you need it. Overly voice appreciation and gratitude. Your sanity & well-being requires a united front. This can often be the hardest thing to do because of the exhaustion and stress parenthood can bring, but it’s by far the most important. This is what can save relationships.

With the thousands of years of parenting throughout the course of human history, you think there’d be a quintessential dummies’ guide to all of this by now. And while there are literally thousands of titles on the subject, it seems there’s no silver bullet to mastering modern parenting. You just have to find the formula that works for your family and your lifestyle.

Do you have any hot tips on how to share the parenting load? I can’t wait to check out what the rest of the mamas in today’s post had to say on the subject. Be sure to check them out!

A Daily Something / Ave Styles / Our Style Stories / Parker EtcThe Effortless Chic / Sarah Sherman Samuel / The Life Styled / Sacramento Street / Sugar & Charm

And catch up on the entire Real Talk, Real Moms series HERE

photography by belathee

Over the weekend, we marked a rather amazing milestone. My little human just turned one. ONE! How is that possible? Fastest year of my life, bar none. So today I have a fun little throwback for you – the reveal of my baby shower from a year ago. I thought it’d be fun to share the never before seen pics. It was such a special day.

Not really being a big fan of showers – they’ve always felt a bit torturous to me – I knew exactly what I had to do – call in the big guns, aka my bestie Cassandra of Coco + Kelley fame to create an afternoon both my guests and I would be sure to love. I knew she’d understand my desire for a chic, understated fete. And since the majority of my family and close friends are in the Seattle area, I got to head north to enjoy an afternoon in Coco + Kelley’s beautiful studio space. It did not disappoint.

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Our theme for the shower was Golden Slumbers. The clouds, stars and moon motif was an elevated nod to all things nursery without having to hang onsies on the wall. (Note, all the cutesy baby stuff has grown on me since actually having a child. I was in ignorant bliss before that). However, I was and remain obsessed with all things paper, so I adored our letterpress invitation created by Farewell Paperie.

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The muted color palette was obviously right up my alley. Soft grays, touches of blush and a minimalist hand in accessorizing set a lovely, understated scene. The afternoon was spent relaxing, eating and catching up with family and dear friends. No games, no crafts. My version of heaven.

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The food was really the most important part of the day for me. Because everyone loves to eat well, especially a pregnant lady! The spread of fresh salads, individual finger sandwiches wrapped in wax paper & raffia, salmon skewers and stuffed mushrooms were as delicious as they were beautiful. And how sweet are those custom cupcakes by famed Trophy Cupcakes & Party. I should have frozen one to enjoy on le bebe’s birthday.

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what i’m wearing: rag & bone blazer // hatch silk jumpsuit // Celine pumps

Of course Cassandra outdid herself by having custom paper mache clouds made. Guests wrote wishes for the kiddo on metallic stars that dangled from each cloud. It’ll be so fun to read each wish to him one day. We ended the day with a little bit of obligatory gift opening, but a few ooohs and awwws at cuddly stuffed animals and tiny clothes that were too cute for words was tolerable!

And of course, we had to have a little treat bag for the guests to take home.

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Everyone was treated to a tote of lovely little somethings, including a lunar calendar, ceramic star trinket dish and luxurious lip salve. The day was such a wonderful way to celebrate such a life-changing milestone. I felt close to and supported by all the amazing women that have been in my life through the years. And of course I was so grateful to Cassandra and my squad of girlfriends for organizing such a perfect day.

In celebration of Carter’s first birthday, Cassandra and I thought it would be fun to share a gift bag with all of you!

apt34 baby shower giveaway

1. Lunar phases calendar 

2. Leather Star charm

3. Aerin Rose Lip Conditioner 

4. Rosanna star trinket tray 

5. Hatch Collection Hatch to Hospital box 

6. Antica Farmacista Baby Diffuser 

Whether you’re a mama-to-be or are simply in the mood for a little treat, this goodie bag is the perfect spring pick-me-up. And we’ve added a few additional touches for you! The first is the Hatch to Hospital kit. It is the perfect gift for any expecting mama. I LOVED mine – I used every piece while in the hospital and still live in my soft nightshirt and pad around in my cashmere socks. And Cassandra added the Antica Farmacista Diffuser. Regardless of whether your expecting or not, a lovely scent to freshen your home to a sweet lip gloss to freshen your lips is the prefect little treat yo’self care package.

HOW TO ENTER: Enter to win by simply leaving a note in the comments below. Cassandra and I are giving away one bag each – we’ll pick the two winners at random and announce them on FRIDAY, April 15. Get a bonus entry by following Apartment 34 on Bloglovin – it’s an easy way to make sure you keep up on the next phase of our new/old house design!

And be sure to head over to Coco + Kelley for her shower-planning tips. You can enter to win a goodie bag there too!

photography by katie parra 

It’s be awhile since our last Real Moms, Real Talk update. Now that my little guy is almost a year (whoa), I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about this being a woman with a kid stuff. For this installment of our series the topic is Self Care. And I’m confident all you moms out there can attest, self care is hard, if not nearly impossible in the first year.


Energy for the gym? Not when you’re waking up 3+ times a night. A day at the spa? Not when you’re breastfeeding and slave to the pump. Squeezing in a manicure? Not when only 20 minutes of daily life is unscheduled.

Ok, ok, it’s not all doom & gloom. I have picked up a few fitness tips (pilates as much as you can & the 7-minute workout app, these exercises, these online classes & walk and walk and walk). And I do highly recommend you carve out time for a monthly massage to relieve mommy shoulders, get a pedicure or do whatever makes you feel good – your partner can babysit for an hour or two (does it drive anyone else crazy when the dad’s say that?! It’s called parenting! But I digress). But my definition of self care has shifted. Rather than worry about getting rid of my under-eye circles or covering my gray hair, I’ve gotten a lot more concerned about the state of my spirit.


If you thought you were busy sans tiny humans, having a kid throws an entirely new level of busy that can be so overwhelming. The schedule of parenthood feels a bit like living in the movie Ground Hog Day. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. Rinse. And repeat. But as I was recently reminded; if you’re too busy life will just rush on by. And I’ve never had a year feel so fast.

I happened to read this article this week and it really made me stop and think about how the busyness trap really drains your spirit – especially as a mom. The piece talks about Essentialism, or living a life of intentional purpose. As the article explains,

At the core of our busyness addictions are needs for personal importance, to please others and to feel a sense of purpose, artificial though it may be.

Me. To a capital T. When you add being a mom on top of being a modern woman in today’s 24/7 lean-in world, there are so many things you feel like you have to do. But again, as the article explains, we tend to intertwine who we are with our activities. And the constant need to be doing something to feel purposeful ultimately leads to draining our joy.

So my biggest lesson in self-care has been and will continue to be learning to say no to the things that are draining and dedicating real quality time for the things that fill my cup, many of which became grossly neglected in the past year. Another gem of a thought from the article:

Hold fast to committed intentions and do not chase your sense of purpose in every opportunity that arises….Discover your worth in a purpose that contributes, not merely produces.”

I want to think more about the impact I can have everyday rather than what I can accomplish. How can I make both myself and those around me feel good? 

Because what do they call parenthood? The longest shortest time? Otherwise known as a blur. These critical years will go by in a flash and if you loose yourself to the doing of the stuff, the errand running, the house cleaning, the diaper changing, laundry folding, deadlines and requests from others, you’ll hardly recognize yourself and have very little to show for it everything is said and done.

I’m just thankful I’m becoming wise to this trap now so that I can try to make a change. I realize it won’t be easy, but I can’t care for anyone else very well if I don’t care for myself first. I wish I could say I had a magic pill that teaches you how to stay lazer focused on those committed intentions (and loose the baby weight). For now I’m just going to try taking it one day at a time. A few easy changes are on my list:

– Call or text a friend everyday 

– Go on weekly date nights

– Take some sort of class (fitness or otherwise) that doesn’t involve babies 

– Be easier on myself – things will take more time to get done and that’s ok.

If I can get my spirit back this year, next year I can focus on my abs.

For the rest of our amazing Real Moms’ takes on Self Care, get to clickin’ below:

The Effortless Chic | A Daily Something | Could I Have That | Parker EtcSacramento Street|Sarah Sherman SamuelOur Style Stories | Ave Styles | The Refined Woman

You can catch up on the rest of our Real Moms, Real Talk series, which has included discussion about Feeding, Travel & Work here!

photography by bess friday


I’m excited to be back with another installment of our Real Talk / Real Moms series. If you didn’t catch any of our posts from last fall, here’s the 10 second recap. A group of powerhouse bloggers that span the blogging world from coast to coast, who all also happen to have had babies in the last year or two decided to come together to talk challenges of motherhood. Thus far we’ve tackled Sleep, Travel and Feeding. It’s been SO interesting hear everyone’s different experiences and perspectives.

But I’m particularly excited about today’s topic. We’re jumping into one of the hottest issues out there right now – being a working mom. Whether you love to lean in or think that having it all is an urban myth, it’s virtually impossible not to have something to say about this topic. I certainly could go on ad nauseam. But for your sake, I will attempt to be succinct. Somewhat.

I find I often have a slightly different struggle with being a working mom then quite a few ladies I talk to. And my position might be a bit controversial, but oh well. Here we go.

You see I didn’t cry when I left my son and went back to work. I cried on my last day before maternity leave when I said good-bye to my office. Sure, I don’t always love that I spend less than three hours a day with my baby. But I’m not racked with guilt by it. I refuse to be. I ensure my time with him is dedicated and fully focused (aka phone free). I treasure each morning and evening. We do bath time, feeding, play games and read books. It’s lovely. But I’m also happy to hand him over to a wonderful caregiver as I head to the office. I know he’s in capable hands who’s purpose is to look after his well-being. That’s literally their only job. And they love their work just as much as I love mine. (It also helps that this Harvard Business School study shows that children of working moms are more likely to have successful careers and be better homemakers.)


I really love what I do. I get a lot of self-satisfaction, and to be perfectly candid, self-worth out of my work. My frustration with being a working mom does not lie in how it limits me at home. It lies in how career-limiting being a woman with children can be – or at least I have found it to be thus far.

For starters, my efficiency has totally decreased. Between getting to work much later than I used to and having to be out the door to relieve the nanny, I manage to check one, maybe two things off of my daily to-do list. Emails? At least a 72-hour minimum response time. The deluge is endless. This leaves me feeling totally ineffective.

I’ve also found that all of the professional momentum I was building prior to having a baby has stalled and I haven’t quite figured out how to get that engine revving again. The strict schedule, the sleep deprivation and all the time spent pumping does not align with the typical profile of the office overachiever. There are also really tangible disadvantages for working women with kids. No matter how supportive your workplace might be or how supportive a partner you might have, the biases are intrinsic. You will be perceived to be less committed. People will think that you don’t “work as hard as you used to” (even though you’r actually working 10x harder – on average I have 45 minutes of unstructured time a day – max). I actually read a scary stat recently. On average the salaries of women with children are 12% less than those of women without kids. This is not true for men. Just women. And it really pisses me off.

Do I think that the societal structures that set women up to be primary caregivers, that tend to prioritize male careers and devalue commitments to family are wrong and should be changed? Of course I do. But I don’t have illusions that it’s going to happen anytime soon. Instead I’m left trying to figure how I can feel like I’m being as effective at my job as I used to be (while still being a good mom of course).

I wish I could tell you that I’ve found the answer. Sadly, I haven’t. Sure I’m trying to be more efficient with my time (thanks to this power-mama’s post). Sure, I’m trying to cut myself some slack because I’ve only been back from maternity leave since September and Carter is only 9-months old, but I so badly want to lean in and feel like I’m a amazonian power woman doing absolutely everything, but I think I fall more in the Ann-Marie Slaughter camp. You might be able to have it all, but not at the same time.

Sorry, not quite so succinct.

But I’m dying to hear what the rest of the mamas have to say on this topic. Be sure to check out their posts by clicking the links below. And of course, I’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts (and advice!) in the comments.

The Effortless Chic | A Daily Something | Could I Have That | Parker EtcSacramento Street |Sarah Sherman SamuelOur Style Stories | Ave Styles | The Refined Woman

image 1 via here, original photography for apartment 34 by suzanna scott

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