How My Body Changed After Baby

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Ohhhh the body after baby! I’m just not sure that any blog post can adequately encompass the full scope of the changes in your body after having a baby but I, Sass, will try.

I would first like to acknowledge that I am skipping right over all of the changes that occur during pregnancy because I feel like pregnancy is a talked about over and over again while the postpartum situation isn’t talked about enough. And full-disclosure, I had a natural delivery with no complications so I can’t speak to a c-section recovery or any effects of complicated pregnancies or deliveries.

So, to begin, I want to make clear that right after you give birth your pregnant belly does not, I repeat, it does not magically go away. You pop that baby out and still look about 6 months pregnant. This was a major let down for me and also pretty shocking. I was feeling my most mentally and physically drained in my entire life and still had to carry a gut around that I didn’t recognize with NO BABY IN THERE! At least I was pregnant I knew in my mind, and could say to others, “There’s a darn baby in there!”

Anyway, the first 2-3 weeks with a baby are GRUELING (I’d even push that number to 6 weeks). They need to eat every two hours and if you’re breastfeeding like I was that means you cannot sleep for more than maybe 45 minutes at a time. For those who are unfamiliar, newborns can take up to 45 mins to an hour to eat so in doing the math…the baby eats for an hour and then you burp her for 15 minutes (45 minutes) then if you fall asleep right away you get 45 minutes before the baby is ready to do it all over again! You see, it’s every 2 hours from the time they start eating not from the time they finish! I was mentally and physically in awe of what was happening. I cried a lot. My boobs hurt, my back hurt, my wrists hurt, my head hurt, everything hurt including the who-ha! For crying out loud a bowling ball just came out of there, things were not normal!

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So while I was trying to get this whole mom thing and breastfeeding a stranger thing down, I couldn’t sit without a pillow under my butt, I couldn’t sleep, I was wearing a pad the size of a ice pack in mesh panties that needed to be changed what felt like constantly and in lieu of wiping, I was squirting myself with a water bottle. Oh and don’t forget the who-ha numbing spray for the stitches and the ice packs that would go in between the pad and the witch hazel wipes….get the picture?! It’s brutal.

A few months later I started to feel less like a stranger in my own body but I can say that even 9 months, almost 10 months postpartum I am still not normal and at this point I’m not sure I’ll ever be “the same” as I was pre-pregnancy. My body is just different now. Sometimes I have pain in places I didn’t before, my weight is distributed a little differently (yup, a little bit more in the belly), and for awhile there, although it seems to have stopped, my hair was falling out like crazy. This is all “normal” as they say but what’s normal to the world is all new to first time moms.

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My skin is different, mainly from lack of sleep and stress, but the bags under my eyes just never seem to go away. And these are bags on a level I have never seen. My hangovers are worse than ever before. But at this point, even though I don’t physically feel like my pre-baby self, I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight. I went into my pregnancy a little bit heavy so the battle to slim down continues but I have to say that for awhile that was one of the toughest parts about it all…

Ya know when you’re feeling crummy and you start mentally piling on all the shit in your mind that’s terrible: “I haven’t slept in what feels like years, I’m tired, so so so tired, from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep my time and my life are no longer my own…oh, and I’m fat.” It’s awful, it really is, but it’s true. I felt and still very often feel so overwhelmed by being a mom, working, taking care of my family, doing laundry, making dinner, trying to have a social life, everything is hard…oh, and my clothes don’t fit. It’s like this little cherry on top of everything. In the most physically and mentally challenging time in my life I was not at my peak level of physical fitness to handle it and I believe that is a reality that all new moms, even the most fit ones, will have to face at one point. If you are more fit, that time period might be shorter than it is for others and as for me, I’m getting there. I’m almost back……and then I get to do it all over again for baby #2. YAY!

LOL and that’s the thing, I’m making all of this sound awful, and to be really honest, it is sometimes BUT there is a reason people do this over and over again. That reason is obviously the baby. They do make it worth it, maybe not every minute of every day but looking at her now as I write this I know I’ll do it again. And lastly, in hindsight, part of why those first weeks and months are so hard is because you have no prior experience to know that this too shall pass. Your mom, your sister, your friends can all tell you it will and deep down you know it will but it’s the WHEN that is daunting…when will it end? For round two I’ll at least have some idea of what is happening and I’ll look forward to days like today when I can sit on a hard chair without pain, my boobs are not infected from mastitis, and my baby can laugh and hug me. I’ll know that with all the change comes the reward!

How our Mental State Affects our Physical

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetOur bodies are amazing and it’s even more amazing how our mental state can affect our physical body so much. If we are in a good place mentally, our bodies usually feel good. If it is the reverse and our mental state is not in a good place, then our bodies are going to feel the affects. We know this all too well and have seen the changes our own bodies have experienced mainly during times that were stressful or upsetting.

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Hey, it’s Sweetness! In this post, I’m going to share my own experiences on how my body was affected by my mental state due to some recent events I went through.  

Going through a breakup with my fiance was a very difficult time for me. I was trying to make the relationship work, however we were both unsure of what to do to make things better. It was extremely stressful and not to mention I was living in California with no friends or close family nearby to turn to. Going through this time obviously had affects on my mental state, however it was when I noticed the changes to my body that I knew something had to change.

I’m definitely a fit and healthy person in general, however when I was going through this difficult time, I noticed that I started losing weight without trying. I am NOT a stress eater, in fact I actually turn away from food, so my appetite was practically non-existent. I was getting really skinny in an unhealthy way and felt horrible. My energy was low, I felt really weak and tired all the time. Not to mention I almost felt like I always had a cold. My throat was hurting, I had an awful cough, however I knew I was not sick. It was purely stress. Wow, scary right?! They say that stress is the silent killer and I couldn’t agree more.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetThough this is not something positive, I wanted to share it because I want others that may be experiencing something similar to understand that this is not a healthy way to live. My relationship unfortunately ended and even though I was upset, over time this “stressful” feeling subsided. At the end of the day, taking care of your mind and body is most important so doing whatever you need to do to make sure you are at your best should be priority, especially if others rely on you! Make sure to keep eating well, getting plenty of sleep, and make time to meditate or relax when going through a hard time. Trust me, your body will thank you!

Xo Sass and Sweetness

Adjusting to Your Surroundings After Moving

Move1Is there anything worse than being so far removed from your routine that you don’t even feel like you anymore?! We think not! When you move, this can be the case for quite some time until you get unpacked and adjusted to your new surroundings. This might also be something, as Sweetness mentioned in our last post to think about BEFORE you move! As people who have moved many times we are very familiar with all that changes and want to impart our wisdom on those who have an upcoming move, hope to move in the future, or to simply commiserate with those of you who have shared in this experience!

With just about every move we’ve made we can recall the mounds of boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and trips to Bed, Bath, and Beyond for more plastic containers and drawer organizers! Moving is chaotic even for the most organized of us. No matter how organized you are, like Sass, the box labeling psychopath (yes, she even color codes her markers by which room the box should go into), at the end of the day all of your stuff that’s in boxes and suitcases has to come out and go into some new “place” in your space that you probably haven’t quite figured out yet. Depending on your situation or how much stuff you have, this process can takes days, weeks, dare we say months?!

Move 3Moving can also mean chaos for your physical and mental health. You’ve probably just come off of take-out for a few days since you packed up your kitchen and emptied the fridge and are coming into a few more days of take-out until you’ve unpacked your kitchen and found your new grocery store. We don’t know about you but this is one of the most challenging parts about moving for us…being out of our normal food routine! Ugh. It could also mean that you’ve taken a few days off from the gym because well, packing is exercise, right? But mainly, moving is exhausting!

Basically, the natural chaos and stress of any move combined with a complete diversion from your routine can wreak havoc on your body. One of the first things we do when we move to a new place is look up ahead of time where the nearest grocery store is and where we’ll be exercising whether it’s a new gym or a yoga spot around the corner, just figure it out and book a class…any class! Even if it means dropping the full box of shoes you still need to unpack… your body and your mind will thank you.

It might seem silly but I (Sass here), can recall very specifically the moment after one of our moves in DC when I made a big salad at home, opened a bottle of wine and poured it into a wine glass (rather than a paper cup), and sat down on the couch to enjoy and watch an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. It was blissful. It was routine. It was normal. This is the part about moving that we love…when it’s over!

Move 2It might seem obvious but it’s the little things in life that don’t seem so little when suddenly everything is new. New doctors, new delivery options, new workout spot, new drug store, new parking space, and new trash pickup nights (this one gets us every time). And then of course there are the bigger things but usually we are prepared for those, which is ironic, isn’t it? New job, new friends, new commute, new time zone, or a new distance from home. These are the big ones that usually determine how long you will stay in this new place because as adults we get over the little things but sometimes the big ones can make or break our experience in a new place.

So it’s okay to take time to adjust, to try a few nail salons, to ask the “locals” for the best sushi spot, however it will take time to get the hang of this new routine. Being patient is probably the most important part of moving and trying not to stress out about certain things. The more prepared you are and the more research you’ve done the better off you may be, however things will not always go as planned so it’s better to be prepared for the unexpected!

Xo Sass and Sweetness

5 Types of Friends you Should Remove

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Processed with VSCO with c3 presetThis topic is a tough one because it’s going to sound harsh, however we really want to make it positive and inspiring. The point behind it is to remove any negativity from your life and to realize that the types of friends we are describing below don’t deserve to be your friend for one reason or another. If being friends with someone is “hard work” or “stressful” then why are you friends with them? Friendship should be easy, rewarding, supportive, and fun. It shouldn’t contain jealousy, bullying, or blame. Now again keeping in mind that friendship is a relationship so there will be points of conflict or disagreement, however in small doses and for valid reasons. If you do find yourself involved with a friend that we describe below, we think it is best for you to move on from that friendship. Let us know if you agree!

 

  1. The friend that creates drama

 

Luckily for both of us, these friends have been long gone since high school! No one wants someone that is always drama filled, especially as life continues to get harder as we get older. These types of people feed off of drama and almost need it in their life. If you find that your friend is always starting an argument with you from something very insignificant or you are always walking on eggshells with this person, you should say bye bye bye.

  1. The friend that chooses a man over you

Ohhh this is a personal favorite!! We could go on and on about this one but we will keep it as short as possible. It’s exactly what it seems… a friend that constantly chooses a man over you does not deserve to be your friend. Now there is a difference (and trust us we aren’t completely innocent with this one); friends are going to hang out with their significant others, it’s a given. The difference though is if you make plans with this friend and then they either cancel because their man suddenly became available or they try to be sneaky and make some sort of excuses to why they can’t hang out. Also, if you had a single friend that suddenly gets into a relationship and you never hear from them again, tell them you hope that relationship lasts because you won’t be here if they try to come crawling back! (too harsh? Nah!)

  1. The flake friend

Somewhat similar to above where this person suddenly cancels plans, however it might not be because they are in a relationship. They just cancel for no reason and “disappear” for a few weeks before they resurface again. They can’t be relied on and you should not fully commit your Saturday night to them because chances are … they will cancel. It is like they almost make plans with you and then decide to go elsewhere if there’s a better option for them. We don’t recommend keeping a friend like this in your life, however if you do, you should set the expectation with yourself ahead of time that they probably won’t stick to the plan.

  1. The friend that doesn’t reciprocate support

This is the friend that expects support from you, however does not give it in return. They expect for you to be available and to be there for them at the drop of a hat, however when you suddenly need them, they aren’t there. A friendship is a two way street and you should equally be there for each other. At one point or another one of you will need the strength of the other person, that’s what friendship is for! Also, even in regards to going out and having fun. If someone is constantly expecting you to come out with them when they invite you, however when you invite them and they don’t come out, is that even a friendship anyway?

5. The friend that has bad habits 

We all have flaws, however this friend has some bad habits that might suddenly start affecting your life. Whether they party too much, don’t take care of themselves, or are constantly negative; you may find that their habits are starting to have an affect on your own life. Someone that is always wanting to go out in the middle of the week may be hard to say no to at first. If you find that you are now falling under their influence and it is something that you do not agree with, it is okay to be selfish and choose yourself over them!

 

 

5 Tips for Working Out in the Morning!

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Any time that we tell someone we work out in the morning before work they always say – I don’t know how you get up, I could never do that! Wellll we were once in that category and never thought we could either. But one day we did and guess what? It.was.life.changing.

Okay, okay that might sound dramatic but in reality it really is. We honestly have more energy and feel so accomplished before the day even truly started. Also, when the day is over we get to just go home or go to dinner without worrying about going to the gym! It has given us more sense of freedom and we love it. We know it won’t work for everyone, however if you are looking to try the morning gym routine, read some tips below on how we got started and how we maintain the pace throughout the week.

1.Prepare the night before – or else you’re doomed!
Preparation is key. Without preparation it’s never going to work. We pack everything, prepare our lunch, have our coffee cup on the counter, gym clothes laid out, and water in our bags the night before. When we wake up we literally get dressed, brush our teeth, get our coffee and run out the door.

2. Keep as much as you can in your gym bag between visits
We both have a weekend bag that we use to bring all of our stuff to the gym. When we get home that night, we only swap out clothes, bra and underwear, and shoes. Everything else – such as makeup, hair brushes, curling iron, and all toiletries stay in the bag. If we need something that night, like an eye cream, we only take out that one item and put it back right away. This keeps us from feeling like we have to “pack” every night.  

3. Mentally prepare
Not only do we have to physically prepare, it definitely takes some mental preparation. When we start settling down for the night and all of our belongings are ready to go, we always say in our heads – “you are getting up tomorrow, you can do this. Keep in mind how you feel when you don’t go to the gym in the morning.” By having this type of preparation, we are able to always (mostly) get up and not struggle with it.

4. Get yourself on a schedule
We find it easier to stay on a schedule and stick to it. This way we know that Monday through Wednesday we are getting up and going to the gym, Thursday is our day off, and then we’re getting back up on Friday and guess what – it’s the end of the week! This helps us maintain a steady pace during the week and if we want to have a later night out, we usually make it Wednesday since we’re not getting up as early on Thursday.

5. Try waking up at different times when starting off
So we’re not sleep experts by any means, however we do know that it’s better to wake up when you are not in your rem cycle. When we started off, we tried waking up at different times to see what was easiest. There wasn’t a huge difference between the times, however Sweetness found it easier to wake up at 5:10am versus 5:20am (go figure!).

We hope these tips were helpful if you have been trying to switch your workout routine to the morning! Comment below on some tips that have worked for you.

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How Coconut Oil Helps Heal Our Skin & Keeps It Clear

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The low point: We have each struggled with our skin over the years for various reasons. Sass struggles with keeping her skin clear. She went to dermatologist after dermatologist, tried product after product and nothing worked. It was miserably frustrating and quite honestly, depressing. She hated looking in the mirror. Sometimes at night she would stand at the sink taking her makeup off and be in full on ugly tears.

Sweetness experienced the same level of frustration when it comes to keep her skin hydrated. Dry patches and irritated skin are not only frustrating but can also be surprisingly painful! Not knowing which products are going to help or heighten the problem brought on long periods of trial and error. We are sharing this with you to let you know that WE GET IT. Our paths on this journey may be different but we get what it feels like to have skin troubles that change you as a person.

The fix: Now we can’t say that we’ve found a miracle product to make it all better because at least for us, we’ve learned that the only true remedy for clear, healthy skin is living a stress free life. LOL, right, but truly the only time Sass gets a severe break out now is when she is experiencing extreme stress, i.e. the entire year she planned her wedding or when she first had a baby. And Sweetness has come to learn how to best treat the dry patches that would previously make it difficult to evenly apply makeup or make it difficult to be in the sun for fear of drying her skin out even more! So how you ask? We cleanse our skin with coconut oil every day.

All natural: When you have sensitive skin the last thing you want to do is throw additional toxins at it. Products are great, don’t get me wrong, we use plenty of them, but when you’re skin is easily reactive or naturally dry, products contain chemicals and chemicals can have very negative effects on your skin. Coconut oil is a completely natural product with no chemicals, just check the ingredients label, legit all it says is “organic coconut oil.”

Healing agent: For Sass, pimples are a build up of oil and dirt under your pores, right, we all know that but if you think of pimples and acne as wounds on your skin it allows you to treat them differently. The same applies to Sweetness and the dry patches. Topicals and luxury products generally want to dry out your skin but when you get a cut or a wound on your skin in any other place, what do you do? You apply a healing ointment of some kind. Take that logic and apply it to your face. In using coconut oil you are healing and moisturizing your skin rather than drying it out. When we were at the height of troubles with our skin we were so angry at it, we wanted to attack it like a problem but really we needed to heal it and show our skin some love.

Versatility: We buy a tin of coconut oil and use it as a facial cleanser, a body lotion, a hair moisturizer, and although it is a different tin, we also use it for cooking! Sass even used it on her baby bump to prevent stretch marks!

Affordability: We can buy coconut oil at just about any grocery or drug store and compared to prescription and high-end cleansers, it is SO AFFORDABLE! We spend no more than $10 on a jar of coconut oil that lasts for MONTHS! Trader Joe’s also makes coconut oil packets that are perfect for traveling or a gym bag and is only $3.99 for a box of 14 packets!

What you need to know: You want to buy organic, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil. We use Vita Coco Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, which we literally bought at the grocery store for about $9. When it comes to brands, there isn’t much difference but we like this one because of the shape of the jar! Sounds silly now but when you get to the bottom of the jar we can still easily fit our hands in to get the rest out! Anyway, we use it whenever we take our makeup off and anytime we shower we put it on our face and a little bit on the ends of our hair. We take two fingers worth and rub it on our hands and then rub it all over our skin. We then follow it up with witch hazel to remove any excess makeup. (Just be careful not to get it on your eyes if you have eyelash extensions like Sweetness!)

So, if you are in dire need or are just curious about a more natural way to remove makeup and keep your skin and hair healthy give coconut oil a try! And be sure to let us know in the comments below what are some of your favorite skin hacks! We’re always open to new ideas!