Coffee Chats & Best of LTK 2017
Last week I polled you guys on Insta Stories about a Q & A and today I’m answering some of the questions you guys sent in. Hopefully I got them all! I also wanted to share the top LTK posts from this year because these pieces are still available and if not, I linked a similar item.
Today we’re heading back to chilly Chicago and while we had so much fun being in Texas and having lots of extra help, I’m excited to be home and sleep in my own bed! I hope you guys had a wonderful holiday! Now, onto those questions!
What kind of camera do you use?
I shoot with a Canon 6D and this 35mm f/1.4 lens. It full-frame has wifi which is great when we’re on the go. I love this lens because it gets a wider angle than my 50mm and is more versatile in my opinion. You can still get the original version of this lens or the Sigma Art lens—both are more affordable and will produce similar results. As for editing, I use Lightroom and a preset that I’ve created for myself that’s similar to this Eliza preset that we sell in this pack.
How did your family decide to get a shiba inu? How do you deal with the shedding?
Technically, Oliver was not a family decision. I got him when Rob and I were dating and pretty much just announced to him that I was getting a puppy. My reason for getting a shiba was less thought out. I’d seen one when I was in college and thought they were the cutest things I ever saw and decided that if I ever got a dog (I grew up with cats), it would be a shiba. I researched breeders in the area and found one in Michigan and a few months later I was a dog owner! I’ve since learned there is a shiba rescue in Chicago if you’re interested.
As for shedding, ugh. I wish I had thought about that more. He sheds his undercoat seasonally, but sheds daily too. We have a Furminator, which can actually pull out too much hair, and we’ve found that a regular comb works wonders! To keep the house clean, I vacuum at least once a week (including the chairs and couch) and just got a Roomba for cleaning on a more regular basis.
Did you have any relationship challenges with Rob or your parents in the first few weeks of having an infant? I’m due in March and realizing it will be a time of lots of family visits, little sleep, different opinions, etc.!
The first few weeks were actually easier because everyone knew how tired, sore and disoriented I was and was super helpful. We had our parents here and everyone was pretty much doing everything for me—it was GREAT. Three weeks in though, family was gone and Rob had gone back to work and that made things tougher. It was like everyone’s life went back to normal—except for mine.
I had some trouble adjusting and we’ve gotten in a few arguments (we’re not big fighters) about who’s suppose to do what with Owen, and around the house. My suggestion would be to talk about these things before hand so everyone knows what’s expected of them. For example—Rob helps me with Owen when he gets home from work and feeds him his last bottle before we go to bed so I can go upstairs, shower and have a little time by myself. I handle the night shift from feeding to diaper changes so he can be rested for work. It’s a balancing act, and there’s going to be bumps, but that’s to be expected as everyone adjusts to such a major change!
What did you pack for Owen in your hospital bag?
I didn’t bring much for him—just an outfit to go home in! He wore this onsie, these pants, these socks and this hat. All of it is from Monica & Andy, except for the socks. I got those on Amazon in a set. You can totally use your own swaddles and hats while you’re there, but we just used what the hospital had, mostly because I was too tired to try and dress him in anything else! I wrote a post on everything we packed for the hospital here if you want to check it out!
What are the best products for sore nipples/nursing?
Ugh, sore nipples are REAL. Thankfully, after about 2-3 weeks I got used to it and now they don’t bother me at all, but I relied on this nipple cream for those first few weeks and I still use it occasionally. As for nursing, any nursing bra that you find comfortable will work, but I’ve loved these from ThirdLove. I have a few of the pullover style, but they’re really tight and I only use them to sleep in.
You definitely need these organic nursing pads! Milk leaks happen quite often and these are soft, washable and reusable! Lastly, make sure you have a good amount of button-up shirts. These are so much easier for nursing than a sweater or pullover.
Is blogging your main source of income?
I always find this question funny, because when I first tell people I run a blog for my job, they look at me like I’m crazy. “Can you actually make a full-time income from that?” Is always the next question. I get it though. Blogging is still new and a lot of people don’t understand how I make money or that it could even be enough to live of off.
It took a long time, but yes, my blog is now my main source of income. For years I was running my design business and blogging, but eventually it became too much and I wasn’t able to do either really well, so I had to let one go. I decided to close my design business, you can read why here, and now I blog “full-time”, but also do some freelance design work for my dad’s business in Texas. Blogging for Keeps and Beautycounter make up a small percentage of my income as well.
How do you stay thin? When you do gain weight, what are your style secrets to address extra weight gain?
As you guys know, I’m passionate about my health! I eat healthy and exercise regularly, but the real answer to this question is genetics. My mom is still a size 2 at nearly 60 years old and my dad is thin as well. I do love hot yoga and walking, but I don’t have a crazy workout schedule and while we eat healthy most of the time, I also love pizza, wine, and the occasional burger. The most weight I gained was in college—anyone else? I definitely did my fair share of partying and late night eating and my biggest style mistake was wearing clothes that were way too tight. Buy clothes that fit you and they’ll always look the most flattering!
How much weight did you gain with pregnancy? How much you have lost so far with breastfeeding/giving birth? I feel so uncomfortable, did you?
I gained 16 pounds while pregnant, and if you followed my pregnancy updates through the summer, you might remember that I actually struggled to gain weight which was equally as frustrating as gaining too much as I worried that Owen wasn’t growing enough. Even though I didn’t gain a lot of weight, by the end of my pregnancy I was still really uncomfortable. Owen was 8lbs and I felt like I could barely breathe or eat a regular sized meal towards the end because he was pushing on every organ.
I’ve been breastfeeding and pumping exclusively since Owen was born and it really helps with shedding the baby weight. Six weeks out, I actually weigh a little less than I did before pregnancy. I think that’s partially due to how much energy and calories breastfeeding burns, plus the loss of muscle mass since I haven’t been cleared to workout just yet (my appointment is later this week!). The one thing that I didn’t expect was that even though I lost the weight quickly, I have a squishy pooch on my stomach that wasn’t there before. I know things are probably still shrinking back to their original size, but I’m hoping that goes away once I can start exercising again!
What are you doing about maternity leave? I know you scheduled content, but have you still been working? How much time did you take off?
I’m about 6 weeks in and I won’t lie, maternity leave has been a struggle for me. I’m not good at doing nothing! The majority of my day is spent taking care of Owen, feeding him, pumping, cleaning, napping and just trying to figure out how to balance it all, but I have made time for a little work. It hasn’t felt like work though, instead it’s felt more like a nice reminder of my “old life”. It makes me feel a little bit more like myself, but I’ve cut back a lot. I’m not doing anything for Blogging for Keeps or any freelance work right now, which has taken a ton of work off my plate.
I’m not sure how things will go as time goes on. I honestly don’t know how I’ll be able to balance BFK, my blog and freelance work and I worry that I may have to give up something, but I’ll cross that bridge when necessary. For now, I’m just working as much as I want to and not holding myself accountable to any schedule at least through January!
What maternity products and clothes were essential now that you’re done and know what you needed and what you didn’t?
Honestly I think it depends on what time of the year that you’re really pregnant! I was pregnant mostly in the warmer months and then the end of fall. I lived in dresses over the summer and these stretchy ruched dresses from Ingrid & Isabel were my absolute favorite. They have a long sleeve one too for colder months. When it got cold, I lived in long, tunic-like sweaters (because nothing else was long enough!) and Madewell maternity jeans.
Your hair got so long! Any tips?
Get pregnant! Ha, no I’m kidding, but I do think that my hair grew extra fast during pregnancy. I try not to get it cut very often and only wash it every other day. Also, I try to go easy on my hair when it comes to styling and typically either blow dry or more often, air dry my hair. I don’t know that those things help with growth, but they prevent breakage and keep my hair healthier which I think has helped!
Where is your Chicago sweatshirt from?
This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received. Probably because I wear it all the time and have never posted about it! The grey Chicago skyline picture I have is from Outline the Sky. I tried linking it, but the website seems to be having a glitch, so I’ll update it when it’s fixed!
I had fun answering your questions so let me know if this is something you’d like to see again!