Go to the gym.

Dear moms,

I love going to the gym. I'm writing this letter to moms because I think there are hidden benefits for us in the gym, that we might not be putting enough emphasis on. Sure, it can be said that we benefit more from consistent exercise more than our childless counterparts, as we've got pregnancy pounds to work off, but there's so much more to it... some of these things you're already aware of, I hope, but if not, give it a try. Seriously, throw on some yoga pants, turn your iPod to something sassy, and get in there! I highly doubt you'll walk away regretting it.

1) Endorphins. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which produce feelings of happiness and euphoria. This is all good. I don't care who you are, you can always use more endorphins (just don't overdo it there, She-Ra), and euphoria in your life.

2) Exercise boosts self-esteem. Reaching a goal, whether it be shedding pounds or hitting the mile-mark on the treadmill, does wonders for one's self-worth. On a larger scale, though, society appreciates a well-toned body, which generally is the reason most women head to the gym in the first place. There's lots to be said for being able to throw on your skinny jeans for girls night out! Improved self-confidence also has a domino effect... less feelings of anxiety and/or depression, more motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle, increased sex drive... All of this is very good.

Last but certainly not least- in fact, this is what I consider my biggest motivation for frequent exercise...
3) You tend to start feeling a little pampered when you get in the habit of doing something for only you, especially something physical. No kids, no phones ringing, just you focusing on you. Its addictive! I feel lucky that when I get to the gym, Bean girl RUNS to the childcare room, anxious to see her little friends and the sweetest kiddo-keeper ever. I don't have to worry a bit about her while I'm working on me, which is possibly the best feeling ever. For one hour a day, I can go completely within myself, and do something that's super good for me. Its amazing.

So moms, go to the gym. Not because I think you're doughy, lazy, or out of shape, go because you deserve it, dammit. As a mom, we never put ourselves first... feel free to do that, and not experience one ounce of guilt because when mama's happy, everyone else is too.

Enjoy those endorphines!

Things I <3

I wanted to share a couple of things I'm totally in love with at the moment. Fall fashion makes me so very happy. Tell me what you're in to...

Yep, I'm totally buying in to the scarf trend right now. I've always been a big fan of them, in fact, I secretly LOVE fall/winter because I get to bust out the scarves! Now they're so readily available... every store has them, and I'm so thrilled about it!

A little peek of my favorite scarf (which has gone missing! oh noes!) last winter.

Withering Elm (Etsy | Myspace) is just incredible jewelry. I got my first piece from her this spring, and have gotten nothing but an endless stream of compliments every single time I wear it. I totally lust over all of the designs because of their classic charm and vintage appeal, but also for the fact that they're totally handmade with love by a pretty amazing gal.

Katy is quite the jewelry designer... I'm thrilled every time I see she's got new pieces!

That reminds me...

This year, I'm buying handmade for all of my holiday gifts.
What about you?

Finally... I'm back for real!

There's been a whole lot of change this summer, starting in May when we officially returned from cottage-life and Texas, and moved into a cozy little house right in the middle of town. Our new house is lovely, and is finally starting to feel like a home... and one that makes me mighty proud, at that. I've put a ton of work into it over the summer, and its really starting to show. One of these days I might even get around to posting some pictures of all of the progress, but for now... take my word for it- it has come a long way and it looks awesome.

Bean girl is now 18 months old. A whole 1.5 years, and she's just getting more adorable by the day. She's talking so much more, every day she's doing something new. Yesterday we made cupcakes and this morning she walked up to the fridge and said "cupcake, mommy" which of course, is really hard to resist, no matter how wrong it is to eat cupcakes for breakfast!! Currently she is sleeping, which has afforded me a tiny bit of time to hop online and tell you all that I have officially returned... but not too much, as I have lots of work to do!

Work is amazing. I can't even express how amazed I am. I'm feeling truly blessed that I've had a constant stream of work since June, when I officially opened Lush Innovative Design. I have other designers sending me referrals and I'm still working with my mom's company which is keeping me incredibly busy.

I had a back injury earlier this summer... actually that makes it sound like I did something traumatic and hurt my back, when in fact, I think it was just a culmination of too many years of neglecting myself. I've been meaning to get into the chiropractor, to walk more, to get my hind-end off of the couch on a more regular basis... blah blah blah... but last month it caught up with me. I was couch/bed bound for over a week, and drugged out of my mind for a reasonable amount of time. I'm feeling back to good, and working hard to keep it in shape. No more down time for me, there's too much fun in this world for me to be stuck on the couch!

This week I got to do something that I've been dreaming about since high school. I got to see Ani DiFranco in concert. I know, I know, crunchy hippie jokes start right about here... but seriously. I have been a huge Ani fan for a lot of years, and I was thrilled to death when I found out she was coming to my town, and that I was able to go! Husband-pants begrudgingly accompanied me to the show, and actually enjoyed it as well (shh, don't tell the guys) not necessarily because of her songs, as he's not a big fan of folk music, but his first remark was about her awesome stage presence, and I completely and totally agree. It was an incredible show and she has an amazing energy that shined through the whole place. Her daughter was born last January, and one of the songs off of her new album was especially amazing to me. I feel like this song was written for me, my mom, and every mom I know.

Present/Infant ~ Ani DiFranco

lately I've been glaring into mirrors, picking myself apart
you'd think at my age I'd have thought of something better to do
than make insecurity into a full time job
make insecurity into an art
yes and I fear my life will be over
and I will have never lived it unfettered
always glaring into mirrors, mad I don't look better

but now here is this tiny baby
and they say she looks just like me
and she is smiling at me
with that present infant glee
and I would defend to the ends of the earth
her perfect right to be

so I'm beginning to see some problems
with the ongoing work of my mind
and I've got myself a new mantra
it says "don't forget to have a good time"
don't let the sellers of stuff
power enough to rob you of your grace

love is all over the place
there's nothing wrong with your face

love is all over the place
there's nothing wrong with your face

Listen to it here (track #3)

Also, keep on scrolling. I tried my best to catch you guys up a little on what the last month or so has looked like for me. <3>

Babies, bluegrass, and one amazing weekend.

Last night, I helped one of my very best friends have a baby.
After 40+ hours of labor she pushed out an amazing little 8 pound baby girl. It was the most beautiful and powerful thing I've ever experienced.

Upon returning home, at 4am, exhausted and rattled by the storm (I was literally blown to the ground by the wind upon leaving the hospital) I laid down next to Marshall and said...

I have decided something important and he sat straight up, fearing, I know, that I was about to tell him I had baby fever and wanted another.
I said I'd like to sing in a bluegrass band before I die.
He said Umm ok. Is there anything else you want to talk about?

Nope, that's it. Bluegrass. No more babies. Especially not right now.


If we're not myspace friends we should be.

I added a TON of pictures yesterday and am in the process of adding a ton more.

The newest member of the household...

Introducing The Distinguished Professor and Noted Astrologer Percival L. McFuzzypants-Gerlaugh, being squished half-retarded by his adorable sidekick Marti Pearl