Eight Months

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Eight months old, this little one is.  It's so weird to think of him as a little newborn lump.  I remember being excited when he kinda sorta touched a page of the book I was reading him.  Now he has such a grip I can barely wrench that book out of his little paws.  Everyone who meets him says he's the happiest baby they've ever seen and his smile is the greatest and best thing ever.  I have a feeling he's going to be a funny, opinionated kid who makes friends with everyone he meets.  He's almost never snuggly because he is constantly moving, but lately he's been more clingy than usual when he's tired, so I've been letting him nap and sleep on and next to me.  Today he was curled up next to me on the couch and it was so precious I could hardly stand it.  

I'm trying to figure out the balance of mom-hood and independent-adult-hood.  For some reason, it doesn't seem like men have quite this crisis.  Perhaps it's because our culture tells them from childhood that they are the breadwinners and will work all day to support the family, and then they'll come home and spend time with the family then, and on the weekends.  I don't really feel like 100% stay at home mom life is what I'm designed for, but I also don't want to miss out on Jack's childhood and the moments I can never get back while I'm pursuing a dream outside of motherhood.  I don't know what that balance looks like but I'm pretty sure it's messy as hell.  

5 ways to style jeans

Truth be told, I'm not actually sure I own any of these jeans anymore!  Since they're all high waisted I may have put them in storage last summer, or maybe I got rid of them?  I don't know!  What I do know is that black jeans are an absolute staple.  I'd say they're in my top 3 most needed clothing items at least.  All of the ones in this post are dark blue jeans, but if you look in my closet right now, all the jeans I have are black as can be.  In a way, I feel like it's my version of a uniform in that I know that all my jeans are black and everything goes with black.  It makes it easier to put outfits together, and I like black.  That being said, I do know that I still have those wide legged jeans in storage and I'm looking forward to pulling them out and seeing if I still like styling them up!

Shop The Look

California Gold Rush

It's National Thrift Shop day, so I thought I'd post this outfit with a new piece I just snagged from Salvation Army this week!  It's been a while since I got a new influx of clothes in my wardrobe and my tendency to gravitate towards late 70's, early 80's mom-style is kind of cracking me up.  Every time I see my mom she's like, "that looks just like something I wore in the 80's."  I snagged a few other awesome pieces at the thrift store this past week so I'm excited to style them up and pop em up on the blog!  I got a brand new Lou & Grey maxi dress from the thrift store that I'm super in love with.  I'd never heard of Lou & Grey and after looking them up, I'm kind of obsessed!

Suburban Explorer

In the past 8 months, I haven't felt very inspired, personal style-wise.  With my body slowly becoming less "puffy" post-birth and having to expose my boobs every few hours easily, personal style took a back seat to practicality and laziness.  Back when we moved to Alaska I stored all the clothes that I knew I couldn't fit on my growing pregnant body, so my wardrobe was relatively limited, and when we packed all our stuff to move down here a couple months ago, my wardrobe got whittled down even further to what I could fit in a suitcase or two.  So this past week I did a bit of retail therapy, which helped on three fronts: getting out of the house, hanging out in an air-conditioned space, and adding a couple fresh pieces to my wardrobe.  

I feel like I'm kind of crystallizing a sense of what my style might be now.  I feel a little bit like a Free People meets Madewell type of girl.  With maybe a dash of rock + roll grunge thrown in there now and then.  We'll see how I feel about all the clothes I stored away over a year ago once I get them out upon our move back to Tacoma.  There may or may not be a shop-my-closet happening, depending on how many of the clothes I actually jive with these days!

Shop The Look

Mother's Day Session

I met up with my girl AlisaMarie at Anchorage's Mann Leiser Greenhouses a few weeks before Mother's Day to do a fun little shoot with my little man.  AlisaMarie also did our first family session back when Jack was only a couple months old. In our year living back in Alaska I didn't go out much and make a ton of friends, but AlisaMarie was one person I connected with and while I'm excited to head back to Tacoma, I'm also super bummed I couldn't pack her and her boys up and smuggle them down too.  If you're in Anchorage and need some photos hit up Sons and Daughters Photography, she'll do you right.

Motherhood is a strange and contradictory experience. One moment I'm laughing with Jack, the next I'm screaming with rage, the next I'm snuggled beside him, the next I'm bogged down with despair, and so on. I don't find fulfillment through motherhood, necessarily. I've sometimes wondered if I could "just" be a mom, If I didn't need to bring in an income, but I can't yet tell if I would go batshit crazy without having my own businesses and pursuits.  I know some women who thrive as mothers and find themselves in motherhood, but I feel more like the opposite-- that I've lost some of myself.  Some days it feels more like I've lost my mind, especially on days when I'm alone all 24 hours with Jack, with no other human interaction.  

But I'm learning, slowly, what I need to do to make motherhood work for me.  What systems I need in place so that I don't lose my mind, what things I need to weave into my life to hold on to my independent personhood, and most importantly when I need to ask (or beg) for help or reprieve.  It's a damn messy ordeal, sometimes I'm ashamed at how horribly I've coped with the change, but I also try to remember how much change and transition has happened (and continues to happen) over the past year and give myself grace.  

Tiered Dress : c/o Modcloth (a few years ago) | Flower Crowns : Mojave Moon | sheer dress : brought by AlisaMarie

Seven Months

Time is flying these days.  What with moving, and flying back and forth from Anchorage, and shooting weddings almost every weekend, it's been quite the month.  In the blink of an eye, Jack is one month older again!  This month has been wild in terms of his advancement and skills.  It's almost like he's changing on a weekly or even daily basis right now!  He's started pulling himself up to standing on literally everything, he's now crawling up on his hands and knees instead of his old army crawl, and he's getting better and better at sitting down from a stand instead of falling down, which was tres stressful.  He also got two bottom front teeth and saw his very first movie in theaters!  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, good choice, bud.  

We are still living the transitionary life, staying with my parents in the basement of their new house in Oregon while we figure out how/when we can get back to living in Tacoma.  It's been really hard emotionally and logistically but I feel like there's going to be a light at the end of the tunnel here soon.  For now, our next exciting thing is seeing Dan again!  He left Anchorage today and is driving down the AlCan this week!  Hopefully, he'll be here sometime next week!  

5 Ways to wear a basic black tee

Lately, I've been trying to get my wardrobe more pared down and concise.  Just stuff that I love and mostly stuff that works well together.  Black jeans, a few cardigans that go well with nearly everything, simple and graphic tees, and a few statement pieces I can work in where needed.  A basic black tee is a staple and I loved creating these fun outfits around a super simple black t-shirt for my basic remix challenge!

Six Months

Two weeks ago this little human turned 6 months old.  Half a year.  His personality is definitely coming out and I'm slightly afraid that I may have created an extrovert.  He is the happiest baby I know (to be fair, I don't know a lot of babies, but also pretty much everyone who meets Jack says the same thing), and he's become pretty much unstoppable in terms of moving around.  He now pulls himself up to standing on anything he possibly can, he army crawls so fast it's frightening, and he's pretty much constantly exploring all the things.  He had his first trip to the Zoo last week, got to meet his dad's cousin and her kids, and has hung out with his aunt and uncles a few times now that we're in Oregon!  

I've been taking all Jack's monthly photos on this couch in our living room but I'm gonna have to find a new spot this month since we're on the road!  It's been kind of fun seeing how he's grown every month compared to the couch.  Month 7 will be an outlier, and hopefully by 8 months we'll have a living room of our own again?  Maybe?  Fingers crossed!

Backyard fun

We dodged mosquitos for an afternoon and enjoyed a sunny day in the backyard a few weeks ago, and I snagged some pictures of my little explorer while we hung out.  It's wild how different he is even just a few weeks later.  I feel like his mobility is accelerating at an exponential amount right now.  Just yesterday he pulled himself up to standing on an ottoman and all of a sudden I look over and he's standing up!  He army crawls everywhere and I almost feel like he'll go from army crawling to walking because he is so mobile with the army crawl I don't think he'll bother with a regular crawl.  We shall see.  Basically nowadays whenever he's not asleep I have to be monitoring him constantly.  Gone are the days of putting him down and going and doing a thing without worrying about him putting everything in his mouth, climbing up on things, and falling over.  It's a weird juxtaposition of feeling proud of his newfound abilities, and disappointment of my newfound loss of independence.  At least when he was less mobile I could get stuff done while he was laying around playing with toys on the ground.  Now I turn my head for a second and he's off to attempt climbing up the side of a couch or something!

Part of me was feeling disappointed in myself for not booking as many photography jobs this year as last year, but honestly I think it's a blessing in disguise.  Shooting weddings with a baby is a new level of stress, and since pretty much all my weddings this year are this month, I'll be pretty relieved to have them all done and under my belt.  

I know a lot of women seem to love breastfeeding but it's one of my least favorite things about having a baby.  I do feel like it helped my bond with Jack and it's a hell of an experience to feed and grow a person with food that your body makes, but it's also this strange invisible anchor that keeps you from being away from your baby for longer than like 2-3 hours at a time.  Like a baby bungee cord.  Oh, did you like that brief taste of freedom?  LOL, too bad, come back and feeeeed meeee.  There are a lot of people with strong feelings and thoughts about breastfeeding.  Women feel bad if they aren't able to breastfeed. Women who have to go back to work shortly after giving birth have to pump to feed their children.  Breastfeeding can be painful, stressful, emotional, depressing, joyful, comforting, annoying as hell, among a multitude of other things.  Part of me feels like saying I find breastfeeding annoying and stressful will make women who can't breastfeed frustrated that I'm complaining about something they would love to be able to do.  That's probably valid, in maybe the same way that complaining about a difficult pregnancy experience would be frustrating to someone who can't conceive.  But I also know there are tons of women out there who feel the same way about breastfeeding and are looking forward to the day when their kids are finally weaned.

I plan on breastfeeding Jack (hopefully) until he's a year old, and then I'll see how things go.  It's definitely convenient to have food for him wherever we go, especially when flying.  Also can we talk about how clean it is?  Feeding a baby solid food is hella messy, y'all.  Sticky faces, fingers, clothes, tables, everything.  Everything sticky.  Breastmilk has such a clean and convenient delivery system.

Okay, I don't know how this turned into an examination of breastfeeding when it was supposed to just be a post about playing on a blanket in the backyard on a sunny day. Oh motherhood ramblings. 

5 ways to style a denim top

Like two years ago I did a month long remix challenge and I meant to round up each week's remix challenge and... I never did.  So I'm gonna just slide these in here real casual like and pretend like I did this way back when.

So to recap what the challenge was: I wanted to remix some super basic wardrobe pieces, so each week for four weeks I took a different piece and restyled it.  I've been wearing this denim top a lot lately so I thought I'd start with it first!

Life Lately

These two months (mid june-mid august) are crazy town for us, guys. So much is up in the air, living situations are in flux, and we're trying to make our lives make sense.  I know it will be over eventually but it feels a little overwhelming right now.  These photos are from a couple months ago, back before there were leaves on trees and there was still ice on the lake.  I had just been given the go-ahead to introduce some solid foods to Jack so I captured his (hilarious) reaction on camera.  It's crazy how fast time is moving right now, I can't believe I took these photos so long ago already!

Watching: GLOW on Netflix.  I binged this in a few days and it was so much fun.  After feeling so much intensity from The Handmaid's Tale (which I loved), it was so nice to just sit down and relax while watching a lighthearted feminist show.  I was legit cheering alone in my house during some episodes. Like full-on, hands in the air cheering.

Drinking: Mango La Croix.  It's the best one, you guys.

Stressing about: Housing. I'm doing my best to trust that the right situation will find us.  I like controlling things around me so not knowing what's going to happen, and not having a plan is not my jam.  I'm working on leaning into that trust and letting go of the anxiety.

Excited for: An unexpected week(ish) back in Anchorage!  I flew down to Portland on June 18th with the intention of staying down here until the end of July in order to shoot a bunch of weddings, but since the house in Anchorage sold so quickly I'm going back to help Dan pack stuff, put on a big garage sale, and clean.  It will be nice to get to say one last goodbye to the house I grew up in.  And it'll be super nice to have a week with Dan before I have to come back down to the Northwest.

Busy with: The Drop Deads! I was able to bring all my inventory and supplies with me, so I've been busy catching up, organizing my biz-life again, and getting new colors in, which is exciting!  Since I'll be flying back to Anchorage the 6-13th of July I won't be able to ship any orders that week, but I'll still be able to take orders and will ship them all out once I'm back in Oregon!  In the meantime, if you want something shipped before then, just order before July 4th!

Jack's Birth

Today is both Jack's 6 month "birthday" and also Father's Day, so it feels appropriate to post this today.  I figure I should probably write down Jack's birth story before it fades too far away. So here goes.

Jack was "due" on December 8th, 2016.  My pregnancy was almost bizarrely easy; no morning sickness whatsoever, no back pain, none of the adverse symptoms it seems most women encounter.  I didn't even have trouble tying my own shoes by 9 months.  So I had an inkling he was pretty dang comfortable in there and wouldn't be interested in making his debut early or even "on time."  I should note I use quotes around "due" and "on time," because it's been shown now that there is a span of 5 weeks in which birth timing is normal, so a due date or on time birth is somewhat misleading.  Anyway.  

My doula/BFF, Kristina arrives on Dec 1st.  I take her to my prenatal yoga class with me.  We hang out.  A few days later on the 3rd, my birth photographer/other BFF, Amy, arrives.  Both are from Tacoma, so they flew up to be with me for my labor and Jack's birth.  We commence waiting.  A week goes by.  Nothin'.  At every prenatal yoga class people start being like, "wait, you're still here?!" to which I reply, "tell me about it."  With no signs of labor, we start trying to entice him to make his way into the world in various ways.  We go to a hockey game, where I eat a burrito so spicy I was sweating profusely.  Spicy burritos and multiple fog-horn blasts do not work.  We try karaoke.  Nope (though Amy won the Karaoke contest that night!).  Next up: Zumba.  Zumba at full term is, well, it's a helluva thing, y'all. Mom, Amy, and Kristina joined me and we were all exhausted afterward.  I was pretty sure I'd get some kind of reaction out of the kid for all that jumping and bouncing around.  I was right.  That night I woke up feeling some cramping and Dan called in letting his job know he wouldn't be coming into work.  This was Wednesday, I believe.  Well, while I did get some action, it was just some Braxton Hicks contractions and the rest of the day I was back to business as usual.  Except I got to hang out with Dan all day because his work thought I was in labor.

No more signs of labor for the next couple days and by now I'm a week "overdue."  I have what I hope is my last prenatal appointment and my midwife checks my cervix and I'm dilated about 3-3.5cm, which is encouraging since it means I'm at least on my way to labor-ville!  She sweeps my membranes, which was an interesting sensation to say the least. We talk about some other natural labor induction methods and I decide to try my hand at castor oil to help get things moving along. Since I was a week overdue at this point we go in for a little ultrasound and a non-stress test to see how kiddo's doing.  He's in ship shape so back home I go, with a castor oil assignment to complete.

If you're wondering how effective castor oil is at moving things along in your GI tract, I'm here to tell you: Liz used castor oil and it was SUPER EFFECTIVE.  Well, at least at clearing out my gut.  Woof.  About 20 minutes after taking a shot of castor oil and I scooted my way to the bathroom where things moved along.  Everything but the baby.  Amy, my photographer, has moved her flight back a few days already and has to fly out.  She predicts I'll go into labor in the next day, because of course I would.

Next day I go back into my midwife for another check of my cervix and another membrane sweep.  At this point I'm solidly at 4cm, and it's at least encouraging to know that I'm almost halfway dilated already and haven't even had to labor to get there!  I go home and decide to do more castor oil and bouncing on my exercise ball.  At some point in the past week Dan's parents had arrived (expecting their grandson to already have made his debut), so that night we had a family dinner with both our parents and then make our way to the living room to play some funny board games.  As we're playing games, around 8:30-9pm,  I start feeling some periodic, light, contraction-like sensations.  They keep on coming, staying pretty light, and pretty regular. That night I go to bed to try to get some rest before the work begins, but I don't think I got any.  I may have dozed off a bit, but by 2:30-3am rolls around I have to get up and walk around and then I find myself ritually heading to the bathroom to grab the edge of the sink counter, swaying back and forth to get through the contractions.  I text Kristina what's going on and she decides to head over.

By 4:45 things are getting pretty intense so Dan heads down to start and warm up the car because it's Alaska in December and temps have been in the negative and single digits.  My swaying and moaning get me through my contractions.  Our bags head down to the car and I get in the back seat of the red van I've been driving since coming back home.  The same red van I would drive to school after getting my license.  If you'd told me back then that 15 years later I'd be in the back seat of that same van, in labor, I'd be incredulous.  For months there had been a weird, small trash can rolling around the back of the van making tons of noise every time I made a turn.  The day before I had finally taken that trash can out of the van, and as I get in the van I grab that trash can and bring it in with me because I'd been feeling a little nauseous and had zero interest in throwing up all over the car.  I think the trash can might still be in the back seat...

We get to Alaska Native Medical Center around 5am, maybe 5:30, and go in through the ER, since it's too early to go in the other doors.  We head up and go into the L+D Triage where, to my great dismay, I have to lay still for 20 whole minutes while they do another non-stress test.  I hadn't stopped moving through my contractions up until this point, even in the car I was swaying and up on my knees, not sitting down, so having to lay down and be still for 20 minutes was a pain.  Plus they had to put in a Hep-Lock so that I could be easily hooked up to an IV in the case of an emergency, which I was not anticipating and wasn't thrilled about.  So it goes. 
 

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My room becomes ready and I shuffle my be-gowned, laboring, self the 50 feet to my room where we get the tub filling and I slip in to begin the work.  Things are pretty hazy at this point, not really like in the way that things are fuzzy when you're drunk, but kind of.  Everything goes internal and I'm not aware of much outside of like 2 feet from my body.  Kristina and Dan are giving me double hip squeezes and I get pretty intimate with the walls of the tub.  It's intense and by the time I'm starting to feel a little pushy, I vomit a couple times after contractions and then decide to get out of the tub and move to the toilet.  Nurses have been coming in and out periodically checking on Jack's heart rate and, I'm assuming probably, other stuff, but for the most part it's just me, Dan, and Kristina.  

By the time I'm on the toilet I'm feeling pretty pushy, and between contractions at one point I'm like... I feel like maybe a midwife should be here... right?  Kristina went and let the midwife know that things were happening and at some point she shows up-- again, things are hazy and my sphere of external awareness is pretty small.  At first I'm laboring leaning forward on the toilet but as things progress my midwife has me lean back and put one foot on Dan's thigh and one on her thigh, both of whom are kneeling in front of me.  In retrospect I can't imagine Dan's staring-down-the-barrel view, I imagine it was intense, to say the least. There is a lot of groaning and pushing.  I keep trying to push after my contraction has ended, I just wanted to get it done with, but my midwife tells me to stop pushing when the contraction is over, and my over achieving self complies grudgingly.  Mostly I just remember groaning and having her tell me to groan lower and feeling a little ridiculous as I modulate my groans awkwardly from a higher pitch to a low pitch.  That and feeling like I might just rip the metal stabilizer bar off the wall with my hulk-like labor strength.  I think I probably squeezed Dan's hands or arms or shoulders or something uncomfortably hard.  

It didn't take long before the baby plopped out of me and everyone fumbled with this slippery little screaming, bloody new human and placed him on my panting chest. To which I responded, "this is weeeiiirrrdd!"  It was, you guys.  It was super weird.  After that there were lots of hands.  Doing various things.  Cleaning things, moving things, moving me, stitching me, cleaning Jack.  8:43 AM.  

Kristina went and told the parents, who had been anxiously awaiting the news out in the waiting room, that the thing had been done successfully, the new human seemed healthy, and told them to wait a little longer cuz my vag was getting stitched up (I'm also positive she said all of this in a much more lovely way, thanks Kris. This is why you are a doula and I am not). Shortly after all my "housekeeping" is done, the fam files in an ogles the bebe.  My Dad ogles him in his own way.  As a neonatal intensive care doc, he does his own examination and finds Jack to be a-okay. 

After that it's just a lot of chit chat and eventually we moved to the post-birth room for recovery, which is. a. bitch.  I had no need of an epidural for the actual birthing, but damn if I didn't want to cut off all sensation to my lower half for like the next week.  I may or may not have sobbed in the hospital room on one of the two nights we slept there because I felt like I still loved Dusty the most, my nipples and vagina were in excruciating pain, and Jack was crying and I couldn't make him stop.  Some angel nurse came and took him away and magically put him to sleep. Her witchcraft was a godsend

Oh, you might be wondering, "If your birth photographer had to fly out a day before you gave birth, who took all these photos?"  Well, I set up my settings on my camera, handed it to my Doula, Kristina, and between all her amazing Doula support she also pulled double duty as my photographer.  Dang.  

Anyway, that's pretty much that.  We didn't finalize Jack's name until we were basically heading out the door.  We had his first name picked out shortly after he was born but could not for the life of us pick his middle name.  We were vacillating between Tiberius and Gabel (Star Trek and Against Me! fans may recognize those names) but Dan threw out Polaris at the last minute and it just fit perfectly.

Jack Polaris Morrow it is.  

What I Wore: Erryday mommin'

I wear some iteration of this outfit pretty much on the daily.  Black jeans, black graphic vintage tee, these boots, probably a cardigan because summers in Alaska, and my diaper bag backpack.  I legit don't even own any jeans that aren't black any more.  I just want a wardrobe that is almost to the point that I could be blindfolded, grab a shirt and pants and they'd go together just fine.  Cuz sometimes that's what getting dressed feels like these days.

I dyed my tips purple a few weeks ago and just have let them fade and for a sec I didn't like it, but now I love it.  I have black hair dye in the pipes, but I'm enjoying the way this purple is fading for now, so it stays.  Once I dye it black, I'll probably trim it up a bit too because my ends are feeling sad.  Thankfully I think my postpartum-hair-loss-mass-exodus-of-hair-falling-out has come to an end, or is at least slowing down, so I'm feeling a little less frustrated with my hair situation.  Being a new mom is all, "oh hai, I noticed that you're feeling not so hot about your physical appearance, and also are stressed out and sleep deprived, how bout I make all ur hair fall out too?  K, cool."  Like throw a dog a bone here, yo!  I was at least prepared for it, since I had it happen when I went off the pill like 4 years ago, but it still sucks.  

I do miss doing outfit pics some days.  And having fun putting together outfits.  These days I feel so busy with a bajillion things that being able to put together a cute outfit feels like a luxury.  I like my more casual style nowadays, and I don't think I'll go back to my vintage-y modcloth-esque style ever again, but sometimes I walk through the mall and see cute clothes I'd like to buy to create an outfit with and I just pass it by.  

Shoes: c/o Cat Footwear | Jeans: H&M | Cardigan: c/o Modcloth | Hat + Glasses: c/o Moorea Seal
Baby Backpack + Changing Pad: Fawn + Cub
Necklace: Mojave Moon | Shirt: Vintage via American Archive

Painted Carrera Marble Countertop DIY

When we were trying to decide what to do with our counters for our kitchen renovation, we knew we didn't want to spend a ton of money.  First, we live in basically a little mother-in-law apartment above the garage of my parent's house, so it's not a fancy joint or anything. We didn't want to put real marble in or anything, and even faux marble was pretty spendy, so we figured we'd try painting the existing formica countertops and if it turned out awful, then we'd rip them out and just shell out for new, faux marble formica counters.  After stalking Pinterest for a bit and looking at various countertop painting DIYs I decided on using Giani's Faux Granite DIY countertop paint in White Diamond to create a faux marble look.

The kit comes with a black primer, a pearl mica paint, two cans of white limestone paint, a metallic gold paint which I didn't use, and a clear top coat.  I would recommend buying two extra white limestone cans if you're going to use the kit to make a white marble look.  I didn't and I ended up just using some regular paint to finish it off (I had a time crunch and couldn't wait for more white limestone to ship) and it worked fine I think, but I wouldn't recommend doing that.  The paint in the kit is more of an enamel type paint (I had a really hard time getting it off my fingernails, whereas the regular paint scrubbed right off), so I think it probably hardens and sticks better.

You start by rolling the black primer on to a very well cleaned counter.  My counter had a little bit of texture to it so I didn't really sand the existing counters first, but if your counter is super shiny and slick, it'd be a good idea to give it some texture with some sand paper before putting down the primer.  I just did one coat and then touched up a couple spots where it was a little thin.

Next, you start layering on the paint.  The kit comes with a sponge you can cut into pieces to sponge on the paint.  I started with the pearl mica.  I started creating the flow of my veining from the beginning, doing a kind of diagonal veining pattern.  After the pearl mica I started the white limestone layers and then you basically do as many layers of the white limestone as you want to achieve the lightness of marble you want.  I think I did about 4, maybe 5 layers. I sort of got lost in a haze of sponging and didn't keep track after like 3 layers.

To do the veining, mix a little of the black primer with the white limestone and use a small brush.  Keep some white limestone handy with your sponge to go over top the veining if you don't like the vein you put in, and also to fade them a bit so they blend.  I google searched for marble slabs and found one that I used as a reference for my veining look.  

The top coat gets rolled on and goes on in 2-3 layers.  You don't want to put anything heavy on the counter for a couple days and it cures fully in 2 weeks.  In terms of durability, it's not the greatest (that being said, I didn't use only the countertop paint, I did those top couple layers of white with non-countertop paint, so I'm not sure about what the durability would be if I only used the kit).  I can tell that if I scratched it with something hard or metal, it'd probably put a gouge in the paint. We had an electrician come in to fix our outlets and he totally scratched through the paint somehow (I think he leaned against the counter with like tools on his belt or something), so that was a bummer, and it does stain if you're not careful.  We have an espresso machine and over by that we already have a couple small yellow-ish coffee stains.  I bet wine and certain spices would also stain it.  We use our butcher block island for most food prep stuff that might be staining.

If you're looking for a stop-gap that's a cheap (but a bit time-consuming) way to get the look you want until you can afford getting real marble (or real faux marble) counters, this is definitely a way to do it.  If you're super rough on your counters, this might not be a great solution.  It'll work for us for the time being though!  You can wipe them down easily, they just recommend not using any harsh chemicals and not scrubbing super hard.

I used one whole kit (plus 2 extra white limestone cans) and we have about 15 feet of counters.  Here's what she looks like before.  Kind of dingy, off-white, ivory:

And after!  Crisp, white, and fresh!:

Five Months

I haven't been hit with mom-brain too hard, but this photo session got hit with some hard mom-brain.  I did the entire shoot with the letterboard saying "four months old" and didn't realize it until I was telling my mom later that day that I had done his five month photos and was like, "WAIT..." looked at the sign and did a full on facepalm.  Cue the photo re-do.

At 5 months Jack is army crawling, started eating some solid foods (his face when I feed him is preeetty hilarious), and he's all around a pretty happy baby.  Some days he doesn't nap as much as others and I think I might go insane, but all in all I think we're doing okay.  Motherhood still doesn't feel much like a shiny sea of glowy bright feelings, and a lot of the time I miss the freedom of just being able to do basic shit without having to stop every 2 minutes to manage an infant, but we're getting used to the new life, even if there are some growing pains and crying sessions (for both of us).

The Sexually Liberated Mother's Day Gift Guide

Happy Mother's Day!  No seriously HAPPY mother's day.  Mother's Day usually gets boiled down to some decent flowers, brunch, and a quickly scrawled card, and, well, I think we think of moms in a very mom-y way.  But listen y'all, let's not forget how moms became moms in the first place. This is a mother's day gift guide of a different sort.  I think being a mom is great, and celebrating all the mom-y mom things is nice, but sex is an area of a mom's life where she can shed all of that.  She doesn't have to think about cutting crust off of sandwiches, or changing diapers, or her son's algebra grades in the bedroom.  And hey, did you know that (conveniently) May is also Masturbation Month? So this gift guide is celebrating mom sex life.  Yeah, it looks a helluva lot different now, doesn't it ladies?  Postpartum sex is like a whole 'nother thing, and so sexual self care has been very important to me, especially since my healing process took for-ev-er. It's so worth cultivating a healthy and pleasurable sex life, so here is my NSFW Mother's Day gift guide.  Have fun, mamas!

1. Chakrubs Sex Toy
Chakrubs are sex toys made from pure natural crystals.  To be honest, walking into a sex shop and being confronted with a veritable cornucopia of differently shaped dildos and toys that do all sorts of fancy things to get you off is intimidating and overwhelming.  When I came across Chakrubs I loved the simplicity of the design, and that they're created from something natural, not plastic or rubber or silicone.  While I'm all for a good vibrator or what have you, I much prefer the simplicity of the Chakrubs.

2. Insane Stimulating Personal Moisturizer
I've never been very into lube, but it's super recommended to postpartum mamas due to the low personal lubricant production caused by the drop in hormones after giving birth.  So I've been looking around for something a little more fun than your standard lube and have seen some good reviews on this!  I think I'll try a sample before splurging on the full bottle, but they've got tons of sample packs to try, so that could be a fun activity!  Test all the lubezzzz.

3. Herbivore Jasmine Body Oil
I believe that sensuality is a holistic pursuit and that means treating your body with love, even if you aren't actively pursuing a climax.  A delicious body oil like Herbivore's Jasmine body oil can be a lovely way to love on your body by slowly rubbing it into your skin post-shower, or you can have your partner give you some foreplay action by using it as a luxurious massage oil.

4. Unbound Box Subscription
I will be the first to admit that I kind of hate subscription boxes.  Not because I dislike the concept or the products that are in them, mostly because I feel like a lot of the time I'm ending up getting stuff I don't need sent to me every month.  Like, I like makeup, but am I really going to go through enough make up that I need a box full of new products every month?  The thought of all the *stuff* cluttering up my house stresses me out.  But when I heard about these Unbound Boxes, I was intrigued.  Not only are they not monthly, they're quarterly, but I can totally get behind getting new fun lubes, toys, and other sexy goodies to try.  Plus, I'm pretty sure that with the subscription only coming quarterly, I'd forget about it and then it'd be a very exciting surprise in the mail! 

5. She Comes First- The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman
This book was recommended to me by a gal who does work in marriage and sex therapy years ago and I keep meaning to pick it up! Heck, you could save this one as a Father's Day gift as a gift to yourself disguised as a gift for him, muahahah.

6. Pleasure-Proof Lipstick
Having your lipstick get all over your face when you're making out with your lover is super lame.  But not getting to wear pretty lipstick out on dates is also lame.  When I first discovered LipSense I was skeptical, I was used to taking my lipstick and lip brush with me out on dates so I could run to the bathroom after a few drinks and re-apply.  But this stuff seriously does not budge.  So, yah, you can shove your face into that pillow as hard as you want, your lipstick won't ruin it anymore.

And if you're looking for some Sexual Liberation inspiration and guidance, head over to Sex Love Liberation, an amazing blog run by the gorgeous Ev'yan Whitney, and check out her podcast The Sexually Liberated Woman too! I hope you have a sensual Mother's Day, ladies! (even if you're not a mom!).  You can have brunch too.  Brunch is totally foreplay.

Life Lately

Life has been pretty sweet lately.  I've felt really positive and like I'm getting into a decent groove with being a mom.  Things have come into my life that have helped me reconnect with my creativity and boss-bitch vibes, which just feels so nice after having to throw myself 110% into mom-ness the first few months of Jack's life.  Being a mom on my own terms is super important to me, and being able to feed the parts of me that bring me alive feels like the best way for me to be the best mom possible.  

Obsessed with: LipSense. For reals guys. And for so many reasons. The obvious one being that this shit does. not. budge.  Which is so wonderful as a mom of a tiny human who really enjoys swiping his paws at my face.  And getting to kiss him and my husband without getting lipstick on them.  But after starting my lipstick biz I've had the most wonderful excuse to put makeup on and feel pretty again.  And get to do something for myself every day.  And be surrounded by the most positive and encouraging group of women.  It's the most wonderful thing.  I don't think I ever could've predicted that I would've started selling lipstick 3 months after having a kid (super random!) but it's like one of the best things in my life these days. Plus, I get to have the best group of girlbosses on my team and I love love love being able to support them and encourage them in their businesses.  (seriously, best team of gals ever.  If you want to find out more about being on my team, let's chat!!)

Getting excited for: a quick trip to Tacoma! I'll be heading down mid-May to shoot an Elopement. I'm only in town for a week, but I'm sure it'll be packed full!  Jack is coming with me so it'll be fun for my Tacoma friends to be able to see how much he's grown since we were in town in February when he was only 2 months old.  He'll be 5 months by the time we're there!  He's scooting around so I'm sure by then he'll either be close to crawling, or crawling!  Crazy how fast they grow!
I'm also doing an afternoon of Boudoir mini sessions while I'm in Tacoma again!  I loved my last boudoir mini session afternoon while I was in town so I'm really excited to do it again! I've got a gorgeous white brick studio for the sessions this time, which is going to be such a beautiful backdrop.  If any of you guys are local to the Seattle/Tacoma area and want to do a Boudoir session, shoot me an email

Listening to: lots of Patsy Cline.  A long time ago someone mentioned I had a similar voice to hers and lately I've been doing a bit more singing and it's always so nice when you sing songs by someone whose voice has a similar range and tone.  Plus, I just love those old-timey country songs.  Dolly Parton, Nancy Sinatra, Loretta Lynn, June Carter, they're all so good. 

Super thankful for: finally being healed from Jack's birth.  Like holy moly that took way longer than it was supposed to.  Of course, having never given birth before or recovered from delivery I had no point of reference for how long things were supposed to take to heal.  I ended up having to go in to the OR to get my scar cut and re-stitched, which was a bit traumatic as I had gone in to the doctor that morning for a checkup and ended up staying all day and getting into the OR later that day, so needless to say I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for going into an OR, even though it was a super minor procedure.  But I already feel 500% better than before the scar revision.  There are so many things I will never take for granted ever again (tmi warning: hello not being afraid to pee!).

Changed: my hair color!  I've wanted to go grey for ages, but right now an expensive salon visit isn't in the cards since we're saving money for our eventual move back to the PNW.  So instead I decided to do something I could DIY.  So: purple it is!  I can only go so long without dying my hair fun colors.  My hair is super shitty right now with postpartum hormones wreaking havoc on it. Greasy, limp, crazy dandruffy, and falling out by the handful.  Super lame, but having it be a fun color is a nice consolation!

Happy about: having my parents in town.  Right before Jack was born my brother went into the hospital in Oregon where he lives and the next few months were full of trips to the hospital, him coming up here for the holidays and to see his doctors here in Anchorage, my parents taking him back down to Oregon and going to doctor appointments down there, and then them coming back and forth a few times.  They've been back in town for about a month solid now and it's so nice to have them, not only to help with Jack, but just to have other humans around.  Because they live right next door to us, I can go visit with them while Dan is at work during the day.  It's nice to know that I can hang with them or invite my mom to go on an adventure to Target. Just silly little things.

Reading: I started watching Thirteen Reasons Why and then realized I bought the book a couple months ago, so I stopped watching so I could read the book first. I also downloaded the free copy of Girl Code from Amazon and am excited for some girl power reading material! Also, I'm watching The Handmaid's Tale (talk about a super heavy show) and really wanting to read that now too! Such great shows based on books!

Alaskan Maternity Shoot

Back in December I was 39 weeks pregnant and got together with Catie Bartlett on a chilly 15 º day to take some maternity photos before my little buddy arrived.  At this time I thought his arrival was nigh, but I'd have to wait over 2 weeks before I got to meet him.  In case you were wondering, it only takes about 10 seconds of standing barefoot in the snow before your feet go completely numb.  ANYTHING FOR ART!!  Between outfits we thawed out in the car with the heat blasting, haha. 

I had made the quartz crown and bought the huge yardage of black sheer fabric for a burlesque routine I had planned on doing in June of 2016, but found out I was pregnant around the time I had started planning the act and decided to postpone completing the act until later.  I'm glad I brought these two pieces up to Alaska (I put all my other burlesque costuming in storage) because they had just the witchy-mother vibes I wanted for this shoot!

If I'm being completely honest, these pictures are super weird to look at.  And actually, now that I've given birth, pretty much all pictures of pregnant women freak me out a little. Which is weird because, like, shouldn't it be the opposite?  But I feel like now that Jack is out of me and I see him, it's even weirder that he was once inside me.  I know some people see pregnant women as beautiful and glowing, but it currently totally weirds me out to see pregnant bellies. #realtalk

DIY Diaper Wipe Spray

When we decided to go with cloth diapers, at first the thought of doing cloth wipes as well wasn't something I even considered.  I don't even think I thought that was a thing.  Then at our baby shower a friend who had a new baby was changing her and used a reusable cloth and wipe spray and my mind was blown.  

There are lots of reasons to forego using regular disposable wipes: nasty chemicals and fragrances, the wastefulness of the packaging and throwing away the wipes themselves.  But what really got me was just the cost effectiveness of creating my own wipe spray and using cloth wipes.  

We've been using this method since Jack was born and I really really love it.  The wipes just go in the wash along with the cloth diapers, and I've gone through maybe 4 or 5 batches of this recipe so far.  It's super quick to make and I make two at a time so I can have a spare one to take in my diaper bag for when we're on the go.

DIY Baby Wipe Spray

  • 2 TBSP Aloe Vera (liquid. we use this stuff)
  • 2 tsp oil (jojoba, hemp, avocado, etc)
  • 1.5 tsp liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • ~4 TBSP water
    (yields 4 oz)

1. Add all ingredients (except water) to a 4 oz dark glass spray bottle.

2. Add water, just enough to fill the bottle to the top (leave enough room for the displacement of the spray tube). Swirl gently to mix.

3. Before each use, invert or gently swirl to combine ingredients.  Spray directly onto baby's skin or on the wipe itself (I find the former works best for us).

Four Months

Four month old Jack is quite the morning person.  He's super happy in the mornings right after waking up.  I plop him in his crib where I've made a makeshift play gym and he coos and plays for a good hour or so, which is so nice while I brush my teeth, make coffee and breakfast, and chill on the chair in his nursery reading news, catching up on social media, or checking emails.