Things I Did (and Wore) in May 2019

First and foremost: how amazing is this header photo? Bill and I stopped by the Happy Place exhibit in Boston in May and got a ton of great photos, including this one that I will cherish literally forever.

As my pregnancy has ticked on, I’ve continued to take lots less outfit photos than normal. It’s so true that pregnancy takes a toll on your body and your self image in ways you can’t anticipate—and as I’m also recycling the same outfits over and over, I find myself looking at the rest of my closet with total yearning. Sometimes I’ve even attempted to put old outfits on completely forgetting that they won’t fit at all and get disappointed when they don’t look right. Well, duh, you’re growing a baby?

For the month of May, I spent much of my time with friends, wrapping up the semester/commencement season at work, writing, and making the most of my weekends with Bill and Obi: visiting the local zoo, making a day in Boston, running to Ikea. I also celebrated my 31st birthday!

Here’s some of what I wore.

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Purse: TJ Maxx
  • Shoes: DSW

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Kimono: Amazon
  • Shoes: DSW

And here’s a glimpse into what I did.

xo.

All Bellies Are Good Bellies; All Bodies Are Good Bodies

Just a reminder for the soon-to-be mamas—especially plus-size or fat soon-to-be mamas—out there, in case you needed to hear it…

In case some people have made you feel like your baby bump isn’t desirable

Or it’s too big

Or it’s too small

Or it doesn’t “pop” the way it should

Or it “pops” a little too much

Or it’s a B-bump rather than a traditional round bump

Or “you don’t even look pregnant!”

Or “Oh my God, you’re about to explode!” 

Or your stretch marks feel too prominent

Or you struggle to get off the couch

Or you can’t reach your toes

Or you feel disgusting

Or you have moments of, “For how much longer can I do this?”

Or you hate the way you look

Or you love the way you look but others make you feel like you shouldn’t

Or whatever—

Your body is good. Your baby bump is good. Your belly is good. You are good.

That’s all.

xo.

Baby Showers: Over the Moon with Gratitude

I’ve been feeling super grateful lately, especially as I’ve celebrated Baby C with not one but two baby showers recently.

Truth be told, I was dreading my baby shower. I do not do well as the center of attention in a room full of people where all eyes are on you. That’s one reason Bill and I straight up eloped

But I knew my family was really excited about the addition to our family, so a baby shower felt right. I was feeling really, really fortunate that so many of my loved ones wanted to share in our joy and to celebrate me and Bill and our soon-to-be new addition to the family. And that deserved a little celebrating.

So, with the help of family, we were able to pull together a truly lovely baby shower that kept some traditions in tact and bucked others.

There were no games, the venue was described as “different” by some, and little to no pink despite 1) us having a girl and 2) pink being my favorite color. But we kept the important things: good company, good food, and good gifts. What more can you really ask for?

I got to do it all again, too, when my work family threw me a baby shower, too—and on my 31st birthday, to boot! Talk about a celebration.

Bill and I are still feeling so humbled by the outpouring of love, kindness, generosity, and support from the crew of wonderful family and friends around us as we’ve inched closer to Baby C making her triumphant debut. They say it takes a village, and we have felt that so hard these last few months as everyone has reached out to figure out how they can help—from sharing their gently-loved baby items to pitching in to help with house projects to contributing to baby’s wardrobe or nursery or straight up offering good vibes.

To our people: thank you. Baby C has no idea how lucky she is!

xo.

What I Did (and Wore) in April 2019

Let’s be honest: the last few months have been wrapped up in All Things Baby. Even before I got pregnant, I told myself I wouldn’t let myself get so wrapped up in having a baby and becoming a mom that I’d forget about myself, my hobbies, and my life.

Though I haven’t done anything of those things, I did slightly underestimate just how much time goes into getting ready to have a baby. There’s a lot to do to get ready and I worried I’d hate it or feel like it didn’t fit in with my life at all or that it would be hard, but the transition has felt surprisingly… right.

As a natural planner (and overanalyzer, overthinker, etc.), I’ve liked making lists and having concrete things to work on as Bill and I have prepared to welcome a baby into our lives. But I guess I hadn’t realized how much things have shifted until I’ve looked back on what I’ve been up to and realized that much of it was centered around this new little life.

Bill and I have had lots of conversations together about how we want to make sure that we maintain our identities, both as individuals and as a couple, even after we add a new person into our family. We’re so excited to meet her, but also don’t want to completely change the life we were already really, really happy in. I can already feel the collective eyerolls from some parents: “Well, just you wait!” But we’re trying to look at having a baby not as something that will change everything about the life that we had before, but as something that will make the amazing life we already had even better, richer, and fuller in ways we hadn’t imagined before.

Obviously a lot of our time will be focused on that little thing called “raising a child.”

But it’s also important to us that we exist as people outside of our parental identities. I think that’s important not just for our sanity, but for hers, too. She should have two fully realized people as parents, who have interests and hobbies and friends and full, robust lives so she can determine what she’d like her full life to look like, too.

It’ll be an interesting balance as we forge ahead.

Especially when April was a month where our activities were pretty heavily baby-focused:

  • Took a “babymoon” to NYC
  • Buying myself a “push present” (AKA just spending money on myself) in the form of a beautiful new Nikon camera
  • Teaching myself to use said beautiful new Nikon camera
  • Feeling baby move regularly for the first times and capturing it on video
  • Taking some new headshots for my author life 
  • Getting a fresh new haircut
  • Desperately trying to teach myself how to do a salon blowout at home—and failing
  • Setting up the nursery
  • Savoring Beychella AGAIN with the release of the Homecoming documentary (love you, Bey)
  • Working a lot
  • Celebrating baby with a baby shower! 

The babymoon ended up being a blast. With me in my third trimester, we didn’t want to venture too far, but we also wanted to have a nice little weekend where we could focus on the two of us and get away from all things baby. (Sorry, boo thang.) We settled on New York City because I really wanted to take a trip down memory lane at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The story goes like this: Bill and I were friends before we dated. Senior year of high school, we shared a mutual friend, an English class, a gym class, and an art class. In art class, senior students traditionally took a field trip to NYC to check out some of the museums there, so sometime in the spring, he and I were part of the group of students who traveled up to the city. We found ourselves at the Met, where we were given an assignment (pick a piece of art to write something about), and we eventually ended up exploring part of the museum together.

I still remember what I was wearing—a white tank top, a pink stripe shrug that tied around my waist, some jeans. It was chilly inside the Met. I made a comment as such. He offered me his jacket.

I like to say, “And the rest is history,” but the truth is this: I turned him down on wearing the jacket, but I feel like a little piece of my heart opened up that day to the possibility that, hey, this cute guy might like me.

At some point, he asked me to hang out with him and his friends and go see a movie (Mission Impossible 3, in case you were wondering) and we had a really, really fun time. So, I got brave, too, and invited him to my birthday party, where we spent quite a bit of time chatting that night and having a good time.

Days later, with our senior year winding to a close, we swapped yearbooks. I wrote a totally boring, run-of-the-mill, “stay sweet” over the summer kind of message, but when he handed me my yearbook back, he told me not to read it right away.

When I worked up the courage to check out his passage, it turned out there wasn’t a message at all, but lyrics to a song by my then-favorite artist John Mayer:

Your phone was really broken
I tried your number twice
And if you need confirmation, baby I understand
It’s alright if you want me to…

The next line, left unwritten: Tell you you got my only heart.

RIGHT?!

And then, over AOL Instant Messenger, Bill asked me if I’d ever seen the movie Hustle and Flow. When I said no, he asked if I’d like to see it. I said yes. We set up a date for June 17—which is now our wedding anniversary, too, and could also be the day when we said hello to our little coconut. (My due date is June 19.)

So, yeah, it was nice to be nostalgic and take that trip down memory lane at the Met, even all pregnant and swollen as I was.

We also spent our baby moon with stops at the American Museum of Natural History, Hayden Planetarium, Levain Bakery, and Shake Shack (obviously). It was a really nice weekend.

As for some of the things that I wore, you’ll notice I started taking less body photos as my body has grown to accommodate the baby bump.

Sigh. Obviously part of that is feeling uncomfortable in this New Body.

And part of that reason is because I’m in the same 5-10 outfits over and over again because that’s all that fits!

We do what we can. 😉

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Outfit details

  • Scarf: Payless (I think?)
  • Tank tops: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Purse: Marshall’s
  • Necklace: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

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Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Shoes: Payless
  • THAT. HAIR. THAT. BLOWOUT: Ochoa Salon in East Longmeadow

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Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Hair: Ochoa Salon

xo.

What I Did (and Wore) in March 2019

Last I wrote, I’d just taken a trip to California. It was great to see my parents in their element and to spend some time in the sunshine, which I desperately craved after an already long winter.

And now as I write this it’s like, summer, dudes. Because apparently I can’t keep up with hobbies!

But I am super grateful for phones at this point in my life because I can look back on March and see what I did, and it was a pretty good month.

Anyway, what was I up to a few months ago?

  • Traveling to California to visit my parents before Baby names her debut
  • Seeing “Queer Eye”’s Tan France live at Smith College (yes, he was just as lovely and good looking in person as you imagine!)
  • Getting a 3D ultrasound of Baby (these things are kind of freaky, right?)
  • Planning the nursery
  • Celebrating our first baby Obi’s 7th birthday—Bill and I tried to give him an extra special day, as it’s his last birthday before he has to be kind to his baby sister, so we were a little extra (see pics below)
  • Seeing the first signs of a baby bump
  • Nabbing the newest iPhone
  • Celebrating some fun news with my husband
  • KonMari-ing the crap out of the house after binge-watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix
  • Spending quality time with friends and my little nephew, O

 

 

(Side note: WHY do the circular image galleries look all stretched out on WordPress?!)

What a great month, y’all! And I captured almost NO outfit photos. Here are a few, though some are not the traditional mirror selfies.

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Outfit details

(Probs needed an undershirt beneath this tank top, but oh well.)

  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Target
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Target
  • Sweater: Mom’s closet, duh
  • Shoes: Nike

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Outfit details

  • Tank tops: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Nike
  • Dog: Rescue — adopt, don’t shop, y’all

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Outfit details

  • Scarf: Hearst Castle
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Payless

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Tracking a small baby bump!

Outfit details

  • Maternity top: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Maternity jeans: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Payless (RIP)

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Outfit details

  • Top: Marshall’s
  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: DSW

Also, shout out to my goddamn phone for helping me keep track of what I’ve done with my life and when. Remember when you used to have to keep track of everything by journaling? Or, like, remembering? Now, I feel like my phone and its photos offer such an in-depth look at my life—at what I was doing, wearing, feeling, experiencing, and exploring—that I rarely need to write, which is good and bad because writing is kind of my first love.

Photography seems to be one of those things you can just kind of do. Writing is one of those things I have to actively make time for.

So, when things get hectic, guess which one falls by the wayside?

Don’t worry, though, writing. I’ll always come back to you.

xo.

Being Fat and Pregnant

I’ve spent a lifetime hating my body.

I was a fat kid who turned into a fat teen who became a fat adult and I live in the U.S., where we are actively taught that being fat is not just unattractive, but unhealthy, worthy of ridiculedeserving of discrimination (even by medical professionals), and something you should actively be working to change at all times no matter what.

I also grew up in a household where I was told I was beautiful and didn’t have to change for anyone, while also knowing that these same family members were unhappy with their bodies, which very much looked like mine. And who could blame them? We are not immune from society and the world around us tells us that fat bodies are broken. I spent years trying to “fix” my body to make it something more appealing — not so much because I cared about my health but because I bought into this idea that my fatness meant I could never be worthy of good things. It didn’t help that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which made gaining weight breezy.

About two years ago I did lose a significant amount of weight for two real reasons: I was starting to experience some health issues; and my husband and I wanted to have a baby someday and I knew it would be easier if I weighed a little less. But I still never really appreciated my body. There was always something, I felt, that should change or be better.

Weirdly, getting pregnant has finally made it so I see the value in my body as it is.

I won’t lie: I still feel bad about my body most days. I’m putting weight on, obviously, and feeling much less confident in a body I had finally felt good in. I get down on myself because I don’t have the “perfect baby bump.” I fret over the fact that many well-meaning folks say they “can’t even tell” I’m pregnant. I stress.

But then I remember: I’m growing a person.

And doing that while actively battling against the odds of PCOS, which makes getting pregnant and staying pregnant hard.

Every day that passes feels like an accomplishment. Every tiny little kick feels like a victory, a reminder that my body is incredible as it is now, as it was, and as it will be.

I know I won’t feel beautiful and comfortable in this skin every day, but for some moments, I can. And, for the first time in my life, I am finally learning to appreciate this body of mine for its tremendous strength, for its growth, and for its resilience. To my body: thank you. And I’m sorry I haven’t loved you the way you’ve deserved.