Homemade Breastfeeding Nipple Cream

Good morning world!

We’ve been in this hotel for 21 days now and with today being our last day, I realized our lives have been one big countdown lately.

1 day till we kiss this hotel goodbye forever (hotel tour)
2 days till we get our first shipment of our stuff in
1 week till I get my international drivers license
2 weeks till Caleb starts school
1 month till we get our car back
…and who knows when I go back to school and start teaching yoga again.

To say that I’m excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to make new memories in our little German home and I’m so excited to get started on decorating! I already have a whole shopping list planned out for Ikea and other stores here, haha. Sorry, hubs ;)

I’m also glad to have escaped the pesky bees at our hotel fairly unscathed. I didn’t mention it before, but we had a yellow jacket hive right outside of our window and since the Germans don’t use AC’s, we’ve had to keep our windows open 24/7.  As a result, we’ve dealt with a number of bees buzzing around our faces our entire stay at the hotel, one morning I even woke up to 4 stings on my foot and poor Caleb got stung on his nose. Thank God we’re not allergic!

ANYWAY. Here’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to share for awhile. I know I have a few expectant moms reading and this literally saved my raw nipples when I first started my nursing adventure with Amelia. Remember how I mentioned she was tongue tied? Yeah. That was no fun but thanks to my stubbornness and a little bit of this slathered on my ta-ta’s every morning, we survived and now at 8 weeks later we’re still going strong with breastfeeding.

Obviously, you can go out and buy a $10.00 bottle of lanolin and that works just as well too. But I had these ingredients lying around, we were car-less since we had shipped our car overseas at the point, and I wanted to save money. So why not? Plus, it’s always fun to make my own products, like my favorite grapefruit scrub.

So here’s a homemade natural postpartum nipple cream for ya. <pretty sure I’ll get an influx of spammers for that. Isn’t it so nice of me to sacrifice a little bit of my blogging sanity for you guys? ;)

Homemade Breastfeeding Nipple Cream

Natural Postpartum Nipple Cream
2 tbs Jojoba oil or cocoa butter – helps retain moisture
2 tbs Coconut oil – promotes healthy skin regeneration, moisturizes, and fights off thrush and infection
1 tsp Olive oil (not pictured) –  acts as a moisturizer and is chock full of vitamins A and E

Pour all of your ingredients into a measuring cup, then melt for one minute. Mix everything together and then pour into your container of choice. I reused my old bottle of Earth Mama’s Angel Butter (which I loved) from my nursing days with Caleb. You can also get by with just coconut oil but again, I loved making my own.

So that’s it! Super easy and cheap. It’s also deliciously edible but I wiped off residue before nursing just to ensure there’s no harm done to my adorable little nipple nibbler, and so that I’m not slathering oil all over her face, haha.

Happy breastfeeding hot mommas! Wish us luck on our moving adventures :)

Hello from Germany!

Yup, we made it to Germany in one piece! But we’re beyond exhausted so I’m going to keep this short with a brain dump and some thoughts on our first day here.

1. Confession: I actually packed all of the Lululemon I own in my checked suitcase. I wanted to make sure that it didn’t get lost in the ocean somewhere on the way over here with the rest of our stuff. Seriously, that stuff is way too expensive for me to be messing around, haha.

2. Both kids miraculously slept on the plane. Unfortunately, the hubs and I did not. It was hard trying to get comfortable and we were just too excited. The same thing happened before we even left for the country where we couldn’t nap because of how excited we were. And now we’re paying for it. And it doesn’t help that the kids’ schedules are now off.

kids sleeping

Oh well, we’ll live. All in the name of a good adventure ;)

3. One of the first things I noticed about Germany is how GREEN it is. And I’m not just talking about it’s vegetation (which is beautiful by the way!). As we were driving to our hotel, we passed numerous wind turbines, solar panels, and noticed that a lot of the homes had skylights for natural light. And so far, out of every place we’ve been to in the short 4 hours that we’ve been here, not a single place has heard of an AC. Not that I’m complaining though, it’s so refreshing to see another country striving to make energy efficient improvements.

4. Speaking of the AC, I can see why most places don’t own one. The weather here has been beautiful! Slightly overcast, zero humidity, a light breeze, and in the low 80′s. I looked it up and apparently the weather here is similar to the Pacific Northwest. Our short trip to Seattle proved how beautiful it was so I’ll take it.

5. I also noticed on the drive that all of the street lights and street signs look very modern. A lot of the buildings look modern as well. And I’ve concluded that Europeans have such a way with styling themselves and their businesses without looking like they’re trying too hard. Everything I’ve seen so far has been an effortless mix of eclectic and modern, and a perfect balance of new and old with a little IKEA thrown in there. I’m a closet decor nerd so needless to say, I’m impressed with everything I’ve seen so far. Do I sound like the blog Young House Love yet? Hah.

6. Every single German we’ve interacted with has been SO friendly! They have big smiles and offer to help and seem very genuine when doing so. The guy loading our bags on to the truck cracked a joke I didn’t get (but I loved his effort haha), the guys at the hotel played with Caleb’s Mickey Mouse, and the women at the restaurant we ate at gave us a complimentary pate dish. Everyone’s been so incredibly nice – it’s such a great way to be welcomed to a new country!

7. By the way, here is this pate I speak of.

pate

Pate is a ground meat combined with fat, spices and sometimes veggies, then ground into a paste and chilled. I’ve never tried it until tonight and it was actually pretty good. Not my favorite and not something I would go out of my way to order, but if it was put in front of me I’d definitely eat it. Then again, I’d eat almost anything put in front of me ;)

8. Our first dinner in Germany:

first dinner in germany

Pretty delish. I had a spiced salmon with a lobster cream sauce, a few bites of the hub’s potato dumplings, and the best darn bread I’ve EVER had in my life. Like, holy mother of all things holy, this bread was perfect. Crusty outside, warm, soft and airy inside, and with a slightly sweet after taste. Apparently Germans make all of their bread from scratch using their own wheat and they take bread making very seriously. Well Germans, you definitely win at bread making. YUM.

eating german bread

9. We’re definitely hotel hopping. I feel so bad for the kids. We’ve been in 3 different hotels already and we’re being forced to move to yet another hotel tomorrow morning. It’s just how the Army does things.

But I think this is the first time I’ll actually be sad that we’re leaving a hotel. The one we’re staying at tonight is so adorable and charming. Check it out:

hotel
hotel 2
hotel 3

hotel 4
hotel 5

10. On a random note, two kids crying at the same time is one of the worst and most heart wrenching sounds ever. Yup, that’s my cue to sign out and love on some cute kiddos. We’re up super early tomorrow to drive 4 hours to our final destination, get moved to another hotel, and begin the oh-so-fun 2 week long in processing adventure.

Wish us luck and abschied von Deutschland!

Amelia’s Birth Story Part II

Hey guys! I know I’ve neglected my blog lately but life has been absolutely insane these past couple of weeks. I almost want to take a picture of the chaos that is our house right now with all the packing we’ve been doing but I’ll spare your poor eyes. So here’s part two of Amelia’s birth story instead!

Again, I’m warning you, it’s another long read! And if you’re just catching up, here’s the first part of her birth story.

*****

5 freaking centimeters. I couldn’t believe it. How could I be in this much pain and only be at five centimeters?!

Another contraction hit. I immediately got up and pressed my head into my husband chest, while bending over and swaying my hips. It was the only position, besides getting on my hands and knees on the cold floor, that somewhat felt okay. I remembered the breathing exercises I was taught and did my best to breath through each contraction while the husband held me and tried to breathe with me.  This went on for a while with each contraction remaining at the same intensity and coming at one to two minutes apart. And with each contraction, I would jump into my husband’s arms and repeat the same hip swaying motion. Unfortunately, because of the way I was positioned, my husband was unable to reach his arms around me to press into my back where it hurt the most. But I preferred to labor in this position just because it felt nice to be held so I stayed this way until between contractions, where I would sit back down and try to catch my breath. The intense breathing through contractions really took a lot  out of me.

By 1am I was exhausted and it was getting harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had already been in labor a few hours too long considering this was my second and I really thought I’d have a baby in my arm by now. The contractions were still coming on fast, and they were the most painful feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. It was nothing like the “front” labor I experienced with Caleb so I was completely taken back. My back felt like it was splitting into pieces and I could barely hold myself up. At this point, there was no position that provided any relief, even when the husband tried to provide counter pressure to my spine.

Finally, I had enough. I started to consider the epidural. I knew that we’d have a baby soon and that we’d be up all day with her, and after our long day and the exhausting labor I was going through, I started to think that it would be beneficial to try and get some rest before the real adventure started. When I told the husband, he looked shocked and asked me if I was sure I wanted to go that route since I had already made it this far.

I actually wasn’t so sure I wanted the epidural but before I could answer him, a contraction hit.

NOW I was sure. I absolutely and positively wanted relief. I needed a break. It had been a long day and I was emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. This was not the state I wanted to be in when we first met our daughter.

We informed the nurse that I wanted the epidural and as soon as we asked for it, all of these horrific scenarios of births gone wrong flashed in my mind. I was terrified.  I had always been more terrified of a needle going into my spine than a little pain, but this wasn’t just a little pain. But was I really going to do this? Was I taking the easy way out? What about the natural birth I had so hoped for?

And then suddenly, it hit me. Why was I so caught up in the birth experience? It’s only one day out of a whole lifetime with this baby, just like a wedding is only one day out of an entire marriage. Ultimately, this experience is just a very small part of the bigger, more important picture. It was at this moment that I finally let go of this image of this perfect birth experience that I was trying to fulfill, and instead decided to focus on what I would experience after all of this was over. I was getting that damn epidural.

The nurse came back in and told us that it would be a while before the anesthesiologist could come in and administer my epi since he had several other women to attend to first.

WHAT?! After I justified my decision and finally decided to go for it, I had to wait for it!? I had no idea how any of this worked so I was NOT expecting to have to wait for sweet relief. I always thought you asked for it, got it, and then baby popped out. Plus, this meant that I had to endure even more of these painful contractions. I seriously almost cried when I realized this. Even though I knew contractions weren’t going to last forever and that baby had to arrive sometime, I didn’t know how much longer I could handle it. It was almost 2am and I had already been in ridiculously painful labor since 10:30pm. I wanted that epidural before I changed my mind again or before it was too late!

Finally, after what felt like an eternity but what really was only 45 minutes, the anesthesiologist arrived.

THANK GOD.

But before he could administer the epi, we first had to go through a health questionnaire that consisted of a gazillion questions.

Again, WHAT!? Are you kidding me?! I just wanted the freaking epidural already! Fortunately, he sped through the questions while I contracted and did my best to answer them. And then it was time.

I had built up so much fear around the epidural and when he told me that I had to be as still as possible as he inserted the needle, I started to freak out. He didn’t help my fear at all. How the hell was I supposed to remain still during these contractions? What if I was paralyzed? I know the chances are extremely rare but I still couldn’t but wonder.

And with my luck, just as he was about to insert the needle, a contraction hit. I almost panicked, especially since they had kicked the husband out for the procedure but the nurse quickly squeezed my thighs, told me to squeeze her arms, tuck my chin to my chest, and really push the breath out from the bottom of my belly. I closed my eyes and did exactly what she said.

Surprisingly I managed to stay completely still and even though the contraction was insanely painful, I realized that if I did this exact thing for my contractions, I could have possibly gone without the epidural. But oops, it was too late at this point.

The nurse left the room and the husband came back in with a worried look on his face. I assured him I was fine but that I had to labor through the contractions until the epidural took effect. I was told that for some women it worked immediately, and for others it could take up to 40 minutes to take effect.

Thankfully, I happened to be of the statistic where the epidural worked pretty quickly. I labored for another 20 minutes when I started to feel the epidural kick in. It slightly took the edge off the contractions where I could still feel the pain, but it was nowhere near the level they were at before.

UNFORTUNATELY, the freaking epidural only worked on my right side. So even though it made my back pain less painful, I could still feel my uterus contracting during each contraction and since my right side was numb, it was like all of the pain had concentrated on my left side. It was an odd, painful sensation and I still found myself breathing through them just as I did during my labor with Caleb. The nurse came into the room to check on me and when she saw that I was still in pain, she flipped me over to my left side. I labored even more while on my side, even though it really didn’t seem to help distribute the epidural. I was clawing at the bed during each contraction.

I squeezed my husband’s hand and breathed through each one till around 3am when the OB came in to perform an internal exam. He checked me and then informed us that I was complete. Yay! I was at a 10 but because my bag of water hadn’t broken, baby wasn’t able to move further down into my pelvis. He decided to break my waters and see if baby could engage from there. The OB then said that he’d give me a few minutes to see if baby starts to move further down and then he’d like for me to start pushing.

And here’s where I feel like I finally had some control over this experience.

I was honestly shocked that he wanted me to start pushing when I really haven’t felt the urge to push yet. I always thought that you were ready to push when the urge to poop felt uncontrollable. Since I could still feel my contractions in spite of the epidural, my maternal instinct kicked in and I knew my body and baby wasn’t ready. I told them that I wanted to avoid purple pushing and any sort of medically directed pushing. So I firmly requested that we wait just a little longer. I knew that when the pressure remained in between contractions, I would be ready to bear down and push but now wasn’t the time. They reluctantly agreed and left to allow me to labor on my own just a little more.

So for another hour I laid in bed, breathing through each contraction as it hit me on the left side of my body. I told the husband to get some rest because once baby arrives, life will get even crazier. And then I tried to rest but it wasn’t happening with how fast my contractions were coming. They started to come right on top of each other again when I realized that I felt like I needed to push. And just as soon as I felt like pushing, a whole team of people walked into our room telling me that it’s really time to push NOW. The monitor was showing that my contractions were right on top of each other and that baby’s heart rate was accelerating fast.

YES. It was finally go-time!

This entry was posted in random.

Natural Beauty 101: Avocado hair mask

One of my favorite paths of the 8 limb path of yoga is Aparigraha, which means to let go and practice non-hoarding. This can be applied to all things in our lives but one of the ways I interpret this is by eliminating the “need” for useless beauty products on my shelves that sit there and inevitably collect dust ;)  I’ve always preferred to keep my beauty routine quick and simple and this avocado oil hair mask is just one of the many ways I do so. Plus, nothing beats shopping your own pantry for pampering treatments that are so easy to whip up on your own. I also love knowing that I’m not slathering a bunch of unrecognizable chemicals all over myself and that this is yet another yummy treatment where if it ends up in my mouth (just a taste haha!) I won’t keel over and…die.

So here’s that avocado oil mask I’ve been meaning to share for a while now. I use this to bring some extra life to my dry ombre hair and LOVE it. Hope you will too!

avocado

Here’s what you need:
1 half avocado
2 tbs coconut milk
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp coconut oil
1 egg yolk (use the egg whites as a mask for blackheads!)
(optional) if you have highlights and want to bring out the shine, splash of lemon juice

Here’s why this mask rocks:
Avocados are not only nature’s superfood, but a crunchy momma’s best kept beauty secret. Besides being delicious, the natural oils from avocado are light and moist just like our own natural oils, and because it’s so rich in vitamins it’s also been said to promote hair growth. And we all know egg yolks are chock full of nutrients which can be so beneficial for our hair. With all of it’s delicious fats and proteins, it’s naturally moisturizing for hair which makes it PERFECT for reviving dry winter hair. Finally, coconut oil, coconut milk, and olive oil add an extra boost of moisture, and honey acts as a humectant to lock in all of this awesome moisture.

And here’s what you do:
First, make sure no one is home to laugh at you.

Then, place the avocado, coconut milk, olive oil, honey, egg yolk and coconut oil into food processor. Pulse until a creamy consistency is formed. It should be the same thickness as a regular conditioner.

avocado 2

Then, starting with the ends of your hair, apply the mask and work your way up to your scalp. Place your hair into a bun, cover with a shower cap (or a plastic bag if you’re cheap like me) and then walk over to the bowl of egg whites that you exasperated from the yolk. Apply the egg white to your face (I just use my hands) and let it dry for a few minutes. Then apply another layer of egg whites and repeat this drying and applying process until you’ve used everything. Don’t waste that precious egg!

Next, grab a bottle of lavender oil or a candle, tweezers, your favorite nail polish, and walk your butt over to a massage chair (if you have one, I use a cheapo one from Sharper Image that I love), sit in your chair, turn on your favorite Pandora station, and then go to town grooming and pampering yourself. Have fun, you hot thang, you!

When you’re finally done fixing those brows and painting your nails, it should have been around 15-20 minutes. Hop into the shower, wash the egg white mask off with a natural soap, scrub down with my favorite grapefruit scrub, shampoo and condition your hair and VOILA! You’ll feel (and look) like a million bucks…or at least just like a new mommy until nap time is over ;)

I’ll be back soon with my favorite lavender foot scrub!

PS. Keep in mind that “soon” is a relative term here ;) And have a wonderful Memorial day weekend world, we’ve got more house projects and moving stuff to do here! BLAH!

35 week pregnancy update!

My mornings:

“Yay, new day! ENERGY! Coffee – what’s that!? Yoga! Slam weights! Chase Caleb! BAGELS! Cook all of the things! My pants fit! HAPPY!

My nights:

“YOU DID THIS TO ME! I HATE YOU! NO MORE KIDS! Chocolate! FOOT RUB! MOAR CHOCOLATE! MY ANKLES ARE HUGE! Is it bed time yet!? Why don’t my pants fit anymore!?!?!? MUST EAT ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE! FORKLIFT OFF THE COUCH PLEASE! Blog? PSH Yeah right! ZZZZZZZ…”

Okay seriously though, let’s get down to business and get on with the fun preggo survey.

35 week pregnancy update!

How far along? 35 weeks..which means 2 weeks till full term. SOMEONE PINCH ME!

How big is baby? All of the websites say around 5-6 pounds. I say, I’m carrying a teenager.

How I’m feeling? I’m ready to have this baby! I can’t wait to meet our baby girl, kiss her squishy cheeks, and let Caleb hold her. He plays with my belly all the time, I think he knows what’s up. Plus I can’t wait to double the adorableness in this house! :)

Weight? Still huge. And still not measuring my weight at home (go me – huzzah!). I’ll find out at my doctors appointment in a few days.

How I’m changing? Last update I said that one of the ways I’m changing is that I’m nervous about juggling two kids. A change from that is that I now feel this overwhelming sense of calm. I’ve realized that it is what it is. Whatever happens, happens for a reason and I’m okay with that.

What I miss? Still missin’ the same ol’. I can’t wait to push myself in workouts and drown myself in wine. Almost there!

Symptoms?  I get braxton hicks EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. They’re pretty strong and sometimes even painful. It has me worried that I won’t be able to decipher between braxton hicks contractions and real labor because with my labor with Caleb, none of the contractions were really consistent until the last hour before I delivered, and then they were all of a sudden right on top of each other. I hope I’ll have a clearer labor this time. My last labor was 5 1/2 hours and if this second baby is any faster, I really want to make sure I get to the hospital on time. I just need to make sure I’m actually in labor!

Cravings? Chocolate and fruit. Lots of fruit. And even more chocolate.

Food Aversions? After taking a food handlers course for my volunteer position for the Army today, I now never want to eat chicken or step foot into a buffet restaurant ever again.

Highlights this week? We got baby A’s clothes organized and the hubs took “maternity” pics of me! We’re too cheap to pay for professional ones and just wanted a simple picture to place in baby A’s nursery.

35 week pregnancy update!

We took a few more but I didn’t have makeup on so I’ll refrain from sharing. Don’t want to scare anyone new to my blog ;)

And that’s it for this weeks update! To my local friends, there’s a lot going on in town this weekend so make sure you follow me on Facebook as I’ll be sharing updates on all of the local shenanigans.

Have an amazing weekend!

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

I mentioned in my post on Wednesday that I needed to write a pregnancy update so I figured since no one reads blogs on Fridays (or at least I normally don’t haha) today would be the perfect time to do so. I’ve been so relaxed about this pregnancy and so busy with everything else that I haven’t really done anything to keep track of this pregnancy, and I feel horrible about it. Pregnancy is such a special time and it’s so nice having the posts from my first pregnancy to look back on. I really wish I had been more diligent about tracking this pregnancy but hey, life happens.

Anyway, I ended up snapping a few belly pics before my class tonight so I figured they would suffice for a pregnancy update. Finally. No fancy weekly tripod pics like my first pregnancy though, oops!

So here I am in all of my big buddha belly glory.

pregnant belly

And for the fun pregnancy survey:

How far along? 32 weeks. Holy balls! 8 weeks left till baby ‘A’ makes her appearance!

How big is baby? At my last ultrasound 2 weeks ago the tech informed me that baby girl is measuring exactly at 3 1/2 pounds and I’m measuring a week ahead. So baby is big. Just like her momma ;)

How I’m feeling? Huge. I’m still lifting weights, running, and doing yoga but not everyday like I did with Caleb. It’s more like every other day with this one and as a result, I’m feeling and looking it. I’ve gotten bigger with this pregnancy and it shows. My belly is rounder, I’ve gained weight all over, and I hurt all over.

To sum up how I’m feeling, we have to register for a PO box in Germany and I was telling the hunk that we should probably register one for my belly since it basically requires it’s own zip code. That is how ginormous I feel.

Weight? Huge. I don’t know how much I’ve gained, my scale is still broken and I haven’t had the heart to fix it yet. At my last appointment I was at 29lbs and it’s been a few weeks since. Let’s hope I don’t gain too much more within this homestretch, I’ll be happy if I keep the weight gain under 40lbs.

How I’m changing? Have I mentioned how huge I am? That’s one way I’m changing. I’m also getting nervous to have two under two, and I’m nervous about breastfeeding a newborn while keeping a toddler entertained. I also worry about how our kids will adjust to the time difference when we move overseas. So I guess the other way that I’m changing is that I’m going from relaxed about this whole pregnancy to suddenly becoming a worrywart.

What I miss? Being able to really push myself in workouts. I also miss jump roping, box jumps, doing certain twists and arm balances in yoga, raw oysters, and margaritas. I could really go for an ice cold margarita on the rocks right now. MMMMm…

Symptoms? Fun braxton hicks contractions at the most inopportune times, sore hips, sciatic nerve pain in my lower back, and I recently experienced round ligament pain that had me debilitated and bed ridden for a few days. Occasionally I also experience the joys of nausea and indigestion. So much fun, y’all!

Cravings? Chocolate, cheese, wine and margaritas (sad face), bagels with chive and onion cream cheese, and pineapple.

Food Aversions? None. I will eat anything and everything at this point. And apparently it shows.

Highlights this week? Well besides the standard Caleb lighting up my every day with his gorgeous smile and my husband giving me foot rubs, today happened to include another highlight of my week. I attended a volunteer recognition ceremony for my husband’s division and as I shook the general’s hand, he stopped me and said “congrats on the baby, you look great!”. After feeling like a hippopotamus on steroids for the past few weeks, hearing how genuine he sounded actually felt really nice. It’s the little things, right?

Finally, after the ceremony ended one of the photographers asked to take a picture our little family and we got this gem of a picture out of it:

ceremony

It is so rare to get the three of us in a picture (I’m thinking we need to take family pictures before we become a family of four soon) and I love how this picture turned out. My husband is rockin’ a tan that shows how hard he’s been working lately, Caleb is actually looking at the camera, AND you can see my chin!

This one is definitely going in the family album :)

Have an amazing weekend folks, we’re off to DC/NoVA to spend some time with the fam and stuff our faces silly with delicious food. No worries, I’ll just work my ass off after baby A makes her arrival ;)

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce

Welllll, I WAS going to post about something else but on a whim tonight I decided to whip up these awesome burgers after a friend had mentioned making Andie’s Loaded Quinoa burgers. I’ve made lentil burgers mixed with walnuts, and plain black bean burgers but I’ve never made them with quinoa so I was intrigued and had to test these babies out. I ended up not sticking with her exact recipe since I have a hard time following directions, I simply used the black bean and quinoa idea and went to town playing with other spices.

As it turns out, they were awesome! So clearly I HAVE to share them, it would be a crime not to haha.

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce

Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce

by Maria W

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

    For the burgers

    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 can low sodium black beans
    • 1 sweet onion, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper chopped
    • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 2 tbs chili powder
    • 1 tbs cumin
    • 1 tbs paprika
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

    For the avocado cream sauce

    • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • squeeze of lime juice
    • 2 tbs plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
    • 1 tbs mayo
    • pinch of salt and pepper

    Instructions

    For the burgers

    Saute onions, garlic, and bell peppers with a tbs of oil in a heated fry pan until softened. Add in rinsed beans and then add spices. Transfer mix to a food processor once cooled. Add in cooked quinoa and then pulse together until mixed evenly. Form into patties and place on an oiled and baking sheet. Cook for around 15 minutes on one side and then flip over to finish baking the other. If you have the pan oiled enough, it should be crispy on the outside, but soft in the middle.

    For the avocado cream sauce

    Mix the cilantro, lime juice, avocado, mayo, greek yogurt and salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until everything is evenly mixed together and creamy.

    Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burgers with Avocado Cilantro Cream Sauce

    We topped our burgers with sharp white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and used my all time favorite Kings Hawaiian sweet sandwich buns. We also had sweet potato fries on the side and used the left over avocado sauce to dip them in. To be honest, the fries were merely just a vessel to scoop more sauce into my mouth.

    Boy, does that sound wrong ;)

    Anyway, remember my post where I confessed my love for my jogging stroller? And then I asked about what kind of double inline stroller we should get in preparation for kiddo numero dos? Well we bit the bullet and went ahead with the Phil and Teds Navigator. We got it in a few nights ago and oh my word, LOVE at first sight! This baby is sleek, easy to put together and maneuver, light, and just plain pretty. And I really happen to like pretty things.

    We took it out for a test run today and also loved how smooth it ran. As for our Joovy, I still plan on keeping it because I’m too attached to it and since it’s specifically made for longer distance all terrain running, I’ll keep it around in case I want to take one kid out and train for something crazy. I just can’t let go of that stroller quite yet.

    Here’s a size comparison between the two:

    stroller

    And here’s Caleb loving on the new stroller:

    I definitely think KNOW we made the right decision. Man, I just love when that happens.

    Happy hump day y’all! We’re THIS CLOSE to the weekend…not that it matters for us because surprise surprise, both the hubs and I work all weekend! BOO. But since I can’t end this blog post on a sorry note….BACON!

    Natural care 101: grapefruit brown sugar scrub

    Happy beautiful Tuesday! We’ve been hit with gorgeous Spring weather so the fam and I have been soaking up the sun (and the pollen haha) a lot lately. Hence the lack of posts ;)

    Oh and thanks to everyone for the comments on my juicing post, I really hope that helped someone! Another topic I get asked a lot about the natural skin care routine I started with my first pregnancy and even though I’ve posted about it, I figure it’s time for an updated post. Particularly a post about this detoxifying scrub I use for the transition from winter to spring. This happens to be one of favorite homemade scrubs because it’s easy to make and smells so delicious that its only fitting I want to rub this all over my body, haha. I also love that it consists of ingredients that I already own in my pantry and that it’s super cheap to make. I’m a big fan of cheap ;)

    grapefruit brown sugar scrub

    Confession: I can count one hand the number of times I’ve shopped at places like Sephora. I’m just not a fan of spending money on beauty products. Once you go natural, you never go back!

    So here’s what you need to make this Grapefruit Brown Sugar Salt scrub:

    1/2 Grapefruit juice
    2 tbs Epsom salt
    1 cup Brown sugar
    1 tbs Vitamin e oil
    1 tsp coconut oil (softened)

    The grapefruit is a great natural exfoliate and Epsom salt is a wonderful way to soothe tired, dry winters skin. Brown sugar is full of b vitamins and is a much more gentle way to exfoliate and pave the way for fresh skin for spring. And because I’m a huge fan of oil, I strongly believe every scrub should consist of a type of oil. Oils act as a binder for the ingredients and is the one of the best ways to hydrate and rejuvenate parched skin, hair, and nails.

    grapefruit brown sugar scrub

    Ever heard of the oil cleansing method? Or the no-poo method? There’s a reason why they’re so popular. Oils are basically a miracle product and can so wonder for your skin, hair, and nails if you keep an open mind and try them.

    So try this easy scrub and let me know what you think!

    I’m off to run, shower and then use this scrub but before I head out, here are a few of my other favorite tips for oil I must leave you with:

    1. Add a teaspoon to your conditioner. Only condition the ends of your hair before rinsing to avoid a greasy scalp.
    2. You do NOT need to buy those fancy pregnancy oils that supposedly prevent stretch marks. Most of those are made with concentrated oil with a ton of unnecessary ingredients. Just buy the pure oil an use that after a shower when your pores are the most open. It saves you money, cuts out all of the “fluff” ingredients and because its just pure oil, you can use it for a variety of things.
    3. It’s best to apply oil immediately after showering when your pores are open and can absorb the most product.
    4. If you tend to have dry skin on your feet, use a pumice stone, then rub the oil onto your feet, wait a few minutes, then place a pair of socks on to “trap” the oil in and sleep with the socks on over night. You’ll wake up in the morning with baby soft feet, sayonara to dry cracked heels!

    And that’s all I have for y’all right now. I’ll be sure to post an awesome “recipe” I use on my fried ombré hair soon so stay updated for the rest of my natural care 101 tips.

    Speaking of ombre, I’m thinking of going back to dark before our move overseas. It’ll be my last appointment with my favorite stylist before we both make moves for the Army :( Thoughts?

    ombre to dark

    I know, I know…talk about first world problems right? Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful day! Off to do some stroller running!

    My Yoga Teacher Training Experience Wrap Up

    Well, as you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m officially a registered yoga teacher! I had planned on taking a break from blogging to work on some things behind the scenes, but you know me, when I get real heated about something, it shows up on the blog ;)

    Since I still feel like I need to wrap up my teacher training experience, I’ve decided to share a few things even though the dust is STILL settling for me.

    Warning, it’s long ;)

    Teacher Training while pregnant
    Because I chose the intensive style, the road was definitely a long and tiring one. Going through teacher training while 6 months pregnant was a lot tougher than I anticipated. We had a 2 hour heated practice EVERY SINGLE DAY of the training, then practiced yoga some more to teach and clinic. This amounted to up to 5 hours of yoga a day, which I’m not complaining about, but my body definitely took a beating on some days. On top of all of the exhaustion, the commute to teacher training at a studio an hour away, choosing the intensive style, trying to find sitters for Caleb, not having food available nearby, and missing my family added on even more of a challenge than I was ready for.

    But I was so determined to get this training done, I wanted it SO badly that not once did I ever let any of these factors really get me down. And I am so glad I fought through all of the challenges I faced because every worry and hardship was absolutely, without a single doubt in my mind, 100% worth it all. I learned so many incredible things that will stick with me for life, and met so many amazing people that have shined a light on me that will never burn. I gained a whole new perspective on life that makes living even more beautiful and all the more worth striving for.

    If you’re pregnant and considering training, don’t let anything stop you. You can get through it, and you will! It’s already an amazing experience but one that is even more incredible knowing that you went through it with your own little yogi :)

    The 8 limb path
    One of the things that really stuck with me from the training was our in depth discussions of the 8 Limb Path. In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the 8 limb path details how to go about perfecting this way of life where the body, breath and mind are connected in order to live your best life. Studying each limb really forced us to dig deep within ourselves and I actually discovered a lot about myself that I thought I already had figured out.

    One of my favorite limbs, was the niyama Santosha, which means contentment. Something I never talk about on this blog is how I feel like I should always be doing more with my life but after intensely studying Santosha, I learned that I actually am content with exactly where I’m at right now. I have a wonderful family and home and living as simply as we do is what makes me the happiest. Why add more complications and make myself neurotic over useless shit when I already have everything I love in front of me? Through this in depth study of the 8 limb path,  I learned the err of my ways and “being content” is just one of the many paths that helped me understand this.

    I also loved that the 8 limb path can be applied to all parts of our daily lives, and wasn’t something as general as “thou shalt not murder”. It was such an interesting concept to study and it’s something that I know will forever be etched in my mind. The 8 limb path makes me want to be a better person to everyone around me, and not just a moral person.

    Learning Asanas
    Another one of my favorite parts of training (there’s actually a lot of “favorite parts” haha) is how in depth we studied and broke down poses. However, I will say that this is kind of a double edged sword for me in some ways. Now when I see someone incorrectly performing a certain pose somewhere on social media, I can’t help but cringe and picture their muscles and bones out of alignment and imagine what damage they’re doing to their bodies years from now. And I swear I can hear voices in my head chanting “strength precedes flexibility, strength precedes flexibility…” I know! It’s horrible! I want to appreciate the beauty of the pose but with how much it was ingrained in us to perform poses properly to avoid injury, it’s just plain hard at times. Of course, this could also be my personal trainer background coming into play, haha.

    On the positive side, it’s so refreshing to have a deeper understanding on how and why a pose is performed a certain way. I mentioned before that our teachers know their alignment, they know their science, and they went above and beyond to teach us students everything they knew about how the body works. Now I feel so much more confident going into my classes with being able to break down poses for newer students and I’m confident I won’t be responsible for any injuries.

    Support
    I could not have gone through this training without the amount of support I received from my loved ones. In the first session, I had my family come in all the way from Korea to watch Caleb for me while I was in training. I came home every night to a cooked dinner, clean house, and a healthy baby in bed. It was amazing!

    With the next session, I had enlisted the help of a few friends but at the end of the night, the husband had the house vacuumed, mopped, dinner ready, and baby in bed. He really stepped it up and made sure I came home to a spotless house so I wouldn’t have anything else to worry about but my training. I have always thought the world of him, but how hard he worked to keep me happy on top of his already long and stressful work days just reaffirms the fact that I actually do have the greatest husband in the world.

    I’m also thankful for the friends I met during training, specifically one who gave me much needed back rubs when my sciatic nerve was being a bitach, and others who made sure I never went hungry, hah. As cheesy as it sounds, the kindness from these yoginis made me all the more motivated to get through the training, so that I can reciprocate that kind of caring nature back into the world. 

    Inspiration
    I have met some inspiring people in my life . I had the brain tumor survivor as a client who worked his way up to triathlons, the Korean immigrant who moved to the US with nothing but the clothes on her back, enlisted in the Army, worked her way through Harvard and later become an Officer and motivational speaker, and most recently, my OB who started having kids in high school, yet managed to put herself through medical school. If there is ever a time where I’m doubting myself, I think of these people and immediately remember to stop whining and get my big girl undies on.

    But my point of this is that during my yoga teacher training, I witnessed even more inspiration that moved me to the core. There was a 70 year old woman there, a woman who had lost her husband, and another who just found out a week before the training about her husband’s disease. There were women from all walks of life and they came in every day and gave the training their all, and always with a smile on their face. Their incredible zest and strength inspired me to approach life with an even better attitude and words fail me to express how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to attend this training, and that these women were in the training with me. They have forever touched me more than they’ll ever realize.

    Teaching
    I had no idea going into my training just how transformational this experience could be. I knew that it would change my views on relationships and life, but in such a short amount of time, I truly believe that my training has made me an improved version of myself.

    Never in a million years did I think I would have the guts to stand in front of a class and tell them what to do with their bodies. I had no problem doing it solo as a personal trainer, but being a yoga teacher doesn’t even compare. It’s a completely different experience. I stand in front of each class with a purpose and am present when I teach. I no longer second guess myself when it comes to calling poses and I no longer struggle with my rhythm or verbiage. That’s not to say that I never will though.

    I attribute my new found confidence to my wonderful teacher trainers, the Yax brothers. These guys MAKE teachers. And they make amazing ones. I recognize that I will always be learning and growing as a student and a teacher so I’m not saying I’m amazing. What I am saying though is that they know how to instill confidence in their students and send them back out in the world with a better knowledge and understanding of all the things that makes a yoga class extraordinary. They make teachers that know how to make their students come back for more. Every minute detail from the heat, to the tempo of the music, to the smell of the studio, to how we cue, and to assisting and massages, has been deeply embedded into our minds and now comes like second nature. Even the studio owner who hosted the Yax brothers, who has been through several 200hr and 500hr teacher trainings herself had emphasized that the kind of training we received was rare (we even dove into some 500hr training stuff!). The brothers were so detailed about ensuring we understood how to effectively integrate our knowledge of yoga and teacher intuition perfectly. They lit a fire in us to strive for nothing less than being an incredible teacher, and they gave us the confidence to believe that we really can be just as wonderful as they are.

    When it comes to teaching, I can honestly say that I love it. I am 100% absolutely head over heels in love with it. I make the drive to each class with a smile on my face, I’m always so excited when its my day to teach, and I even text the studio owner asking if there are other classes I can pick up. I feel like I’ve found my calling and the place where I’m supposed to be. Of course, there are other things I eventually plan to do along with teaching, but right now being a wife, mom, and a yoga teacher really feels like I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

    And I’m ‘content’ with that ;)

    I just taught my first yoga class…

    And I survived. Oh, and so did the students hah.

    I didn’t go into my class tonight expecting to be this amazing teacher right out of training. I went in understanding that not every teacher is perfect because perfection is impossible, and that every teacher gets better with every class they teach. I knew that I was probably going to make a mistake or six, but that each mistake would make me a better teacher. I was okay with knowing that I might mess up my sequence that I had planned, and that I might mix up my lefts and my rights (I did). And I was actually okay with showing my vulnerability to these people I didn’t know, because it takes a considerable amount of courage to stand up in front of a class and pour your heart and soul into a class. I knew that showing this side of me would possibly allow me to connect with a student on a deeper level, and that’s what I really wanted. I didn’t expect to make this huge impact on every single person I taught, just to someone who might have needed it the most tonight.

    All that being said, I was still a nervous wreck all day knowing that I was going to stand in front of a group of people tonight and ask them to do all kinds of crazy things with their bodies. And even though I tried my hardest not to put this pressure on myself, that’s definitely an easier said then done task. It’s terrifying to stand in front of people and try to connect with them on a physical and mental level. Add to that how much goes behind actually teaching a class it’s no wonder why you truly have to be passionate about yoga to be a teacher; there’s coming up with a class that flows and opens up the body in it’s sequential order (so you don’t injure anyone), there’s spiritual theme-ing, controlling your voice, making sure the heat is not too hot or too cold, creating a playlist that matches the flow of your class, ensuring you’re assisting properly in the right areas, making sure you’re calling the right poses and cuing them effectively, accommodating the various levels of practitioners in your class, demonstrating while trying to talk at the same time…the list goes on and on!

    Not to mention that I am almost 6 months pregnant and I had to constantly check my ego not to beat myself up because I can’t hold certain poses or get into poses as gracefully while teaching at the same time. The pressure, guys, it’s insane ;)

    But I’m really not trying to make this sound like the hardest job ever. Teaching just happens to be an organic, overwhelming process. There is SO much more to teaching than standing in front of a class, asking them to do poses that come naturally to you. Especially when you’re so emotionally invested in yoga, teaching is not something that you take lightly. I never realized how much went behind a class until I attended training but now my mind has been blown with how much time and effort goes behind a class. When your teacher stands in front of you, she or he is pouring their heart out to you with something they’re so passionate about.

    And that’s why I worked up so much emotion going my first yoga class tonight.

    As for the actual class, it wasn’t bad considering how my day started with a 5 hour trip to the ER since Caleb has been dealing with croup and bronchilitis this week. My mind and emotions were completely taxed by the time I left for my class and on the drive there, I could not shut my mind off about today’s events. I tried a few breathing exercises to no avail so I did the next best thing…I turned up Macklemore’s Thrift Shop song full blast and repeated to myself “this is fuken awesome” the rest of the drive. I guess that could be considered my mantra for the evening because it worked, I had myself convinced that tonight was going to be “fuken awesome”. And it was!

    Since it was a warm candlelit vinyasa class, I tried to keep the class somewhat relaxing but I will admit that I made the students hold planks, chatarungas and a few warriors for quite some time so hopefully no one hates me too much tomorrow.

    Again, I mixed up my lefts and rights a few times but not as much as I thought I would. A few times I caught myself saying something ridiculous like “Raise your hips to your heels” but I let a little personality through by sarcastically following up with “oh wait, because that’s totally possible…just kidding, don’t actually do that”. I got a few chuckles out of it so I guess it really doesn’t hurt to incorporate a little personality into your class, haha.

    I ended up skipping a lot of the back bending poses I had planned, and even messed up the order of some poses but I’m pretty sure no one could tell but me. Or at least I’m hoping no one could tell. And surprisingly, I didn’t stay on my mat the entire time, I found myself walking around cue-ing poses and assisting students. My confidence in getting off my mat really shocked me since my mat is my crutch and I thought I would be glued to it.

    At the beginning of the class, I thought to myself, how the hell am I going to get through an hour of this class? But the class actually went by faster than I thought since I was in such a haze of nerves. Then towards the end of the class when I started to feel my stride and my confidence grew, I actually wished I had more time. Cuh-ray-zay!

    The best part of tonight was watching the bodies melt into complete relaxation during savasana, and I even had a student whisper “thank you” when I placed a lavender soaked towel over her eyes. That little “thank you” made me smile ear to ear and etched in my mind that at the very least I’m doing something right for someone. It was also so amazing seeing these students actually doing what I was telling them to do, I couldn’t believe they understood my words (well, most of them) and that they were sweating, breathing, and enjoying themselves. I did that! Holy balls!

    The icing on the cake was how several students were shocked when I told them that I was six months pregnant and had no idea that this was my first class. One student even came up to me to express how happy and excited she was that we practiced inversion preps and inversions. Getting such a wonderfully specific compliment like that just blew my mind because the entire time there was this tiny voice in my head that kept telling me that my class was a disaster. But hearing that compliment just shut that pesky voice the hell right up! I wanted to squeeze her and ask her to “tell me more girlfriend!” haha.

    So that’s how my first class went! After all of the heartache, intensive training, and this exhilarating experience of teaching for the first time, I am now officially a bona fide yoga teacher. I was a glass case of emotions today but it still ended up being an experience of pure thrill for me.

    I teach again this Saturday and I know I’ll probably falter a few more times here and there, but I’m completely willing to learn from my errors. I want to keep going and going until I become a better teacher and I fully accept that no matter how hard I try, not everyone is going to accept me. But as long as I can reach out to one person, I’ll know that I’ve done my job successfully. And what an exciting, fulfilling job it will be.

    Can’t wait to see a few of you on Saturday!