let your heart run free/a giveaway with dimvaloo active living

Everything I'm wearing in the photos above can be found at Dimvaloo Active Living in Ladue.  

Yoga has been a big part of my life since college, and it's been the biggest commitment I've ever made to an exercise routine.  I really believe in it as the perfect workout - it does so much for your  physical & mental well being, and well-taught yoga works for every body type!  I love running, but after Claire was born and I needed to slowly step back into a workout, I went straight back to yoga.  Not only do I think it made me capable of running again so soon, I think it's what keeps me sane and reminds me to live in the moment as a mother.  Claire & I even go to mama/baby yoga classes every Friday - I'm starting her early!  

I hate to admit it, but on days when I'm going to yoga, I pretty much wear my gear all day long.  It certainly helps if it's cute!  Dimvaloo in Ladue has to have the most fun yoga clothes on the market.  I love the prints, the brights, the patterns - I mean come on, those lime green pants!  Their clothes would make a great gift for the yogi in your life, or as a little incentive to really get after your New Year's resolution (which is to go to yoga more, right?)  Luckily I can help you get a head start on your shopping.  Kate at Dimvaloo is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky reader - and you can enter below!  This is just the start of an ongoing collaboration that I'm incredibly excited about.  I'll be teaching a class and hosting a "Wine Down Wednesday" event in January with the amazing Jess of City in a Jar, and there will be even more fun prizes to win at that event as well.  More details to come!  


friday link love

And just like that, it was winter!  Or so it seems in St. Louis - I spent a bit of time this week digging out my windshield, we put up the tree, and things are feeling very festive around here whether we were ready for it or not!  This weekend we're going home to Mt. Vernon to see family, Claire & I will be attending my friend's baby shower, and then after this weekend, it's time for Thanksgiving (crazy!)  Here's hoping I have time to sneak in a few runs, and maybe see the new Hunger Games?  

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Here are this week's links...

What would Disney princesses look like with real waistlines?  Apparently, a lot more normal!  How had I never noticed how crazy they were drawn?

I already have an issue with buying headbands for Claire, but now that I've found this Etsy shop I think it's going to become an even bigger problem.

Do we have a "mommy" problem in this country?  I thought this article was so interesting.

A day at home with a newborn, in excruciating detail & accuracy.

Ever since the temperatures have dropped, all I want to eat is soup!  This one sounds particularly yummy.

I've been reading this book & loving it - although admittedly, I've been tempted to just start re-reading Harry Potter, because for some reason this time of year makes me nostalgic about it!

I've been wearing Uggs for years (don't care, they're stupid comfy) but I've been thinking it might be time to upgrade, what with St. Louis' notoriously snowy winters the past few years.  These look kind of amazing!  


vienna sling share/volume 2: jessica & crystal

The next women to sharing their babywearing experiences in the Vienna Sling Share series will be Jessica, gorgeous mama to baby Emily, and Crystal who is wearing her daughter Ava, and also has a son named Braxton.  Take it away ladies!    

For us, babywearing began when my husband deployed to Afghanistan.  It was a life saver to put my daughter in a sling to get her calmed down, walk our two dogs, and get stuff done around the house.  It became a way of life for us.  I was so honored to be part of this sling share for a mama who needs a carrier.  My daughter Emily & I had a great time breaking in Huckleberry.  We did a lot of shopping and a lot of dog walking!  This was the first sling that we ever experimented with different carries - we mastered kangaroo and a back carry!  My favorite memory with Huckleberry was taking a trip to a pumpkin patch for Emily's first upcoming Halloween.  She was able to look at pumpkins, pet the goats & ponies, and be cuddled up with me the whole time.  We loved taking part in the Vienna Sling Share and sent it off with lots of love from the two of us.  I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as we did!  


Emily & Jessica

When I first became a mom with my son Braxton, baby wearing wasn't really on my agenda. I didn't know anything about it besides randomly seeing people using those Baby Bjorn carriers...even back then I thought to myself how uncomfortable they looked for both mom and baby so I steered clear of them. When I was pregnant with my second, Ava, I was introduced to the world of baby wearing by some friends. That's when I saw that there was so much more out there than those awful Bjorns. 

When Ava was born I realized that if I wanted to get anything done with two kids, I was going to have to wear her. Baby wearing really is a necessity when you have more than one child. Luckily Ava loved being close to me, and being worn. I started out by wrapping, because somehow ring slings intimidated me. The thing with wrapping is it can be time consuming compared to a ring sling where you just have to basically throw it over your shoulder, put baby in, and go.

I finally decided to buy a Sakura Bloom ring sling when Ava was around 7 months old, and I remember the first time I put her in it I was kicking myself that I didn't do it sooner. It was much easier than I had ever imagined. It may sound silly but because of the sling, I gained friendships with other like minded ladies from all over the world. There really was a community of moms out there that came together out of the love for using these slings. 

Because of that community I got to participate in the Vienna Sling Share, which is such a great idea. Instead of doing it for profit, or for personal gain, it's purpose was to break in a brand new sling for a deserving mama at the end. It's nice to know that there are people out there that still do nice stuff for others. Ring slings can be expensive, and I know that some people overlook them because of the price, but they really are worth it. 

When we got the sling in the mail, I instantly opened it and put Ava in. She was so sleepy already but I just couldn't wait, and neither could she since she fell right asleep in it. The color, Huckleberry, was seriously the perfect choice for the sling share. It was rich but subtle at the same time, so it works well for everyone...even me with my bright red hair. We were fourth on the list to get the sling and it was already super soft. I have never had a silk sling, only a pure and a simple linen by Sakura Bloom, but it felt amazing. It was pretty much love at first wear. Vienna Springs really makes a great sling, I'm telling you. 

We got the sling just in time for Halloween and it came in handy! Ava and I put on our kitten ears and did some trick or treating with Braxton around our small neighborhood before putting on the real costumes and going out for the night. Ava's costume was a little too poofy to wear in the sling but it was still fun. I don't see our baby wearing journey going for much longer, considering she's becoming very independent now, but I have cherished these moments. I'm so grateful that I have had something to help me through these "mom of two moments" and that I haven't had to rely on getting flustered with strollers or feeling helpless. My advice to any new parent is wear them, and don't be intimidated, because it will make your life so much easier. 




the weekender

Oh hey!  Hope you had as rad of a weekend as we did : )  

There was lots of snuggling, lots of snow, lots of sushi.  Really, lots of all the things & people we love.  So let's get this kicked off with the picture that embodies our life right now - a semi-mobile baby with a cute cloth diaper booty.  

Babies in bonnets in slings - is there anything cuter (the answer is no!  No there's not!)  

Friday night we went to Art: 314 @ the Contemporary Art Museum - a fun excuse to dress up.  Claire was not into my selfies quite as much as I was, but come on - gotta max out on the selfies when your false eyelash game is on!  

And then I got exactly one photo of my outfit...... #notafashionblogger

Claire woke us up at 7 the next day (actually, that's later than I thought we would get) so we got productive and put the tree up!  It was perfect timing - the first snow of the year started to fall that afternoon.  

And then this happened.  I swear my best timeline of Claire's growth will be the insane amount of photos I have of her sleeping on her daddy's chest.  Why can't it always be the weekend?  


friday link love

I'm not sure why, but my link love posts always get me so reflective.  Probably because it's always the end of another week, and the weeks seem to pass so quickly with Claire in the mix.  

This week, I really felt how close it is - how close we are to that time of year where everyone really shows their true colors.  Where you can feel stressed, or feel the joy.  I'm already feeling a little anxiety about our family gatherings - there's so much more pressure on us to come to EVERYTHING and to be everywhere because of Claire.  Just looking at our calendar for Thanksgiving & Christmas makes me nervous.  

But, I just need to keep in mind that the most important thing is us three and I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that we can't do everything.  Christmas with a baby will be a lot easier if we just simplify.  A few things we're doing differently this year?  Fewer gifts - I'm talking just parents, siblings, and one another.  I love buying something for each and every one of my loved ones, but this year of course we want to devote the majority of our resources to Claire, and the time investment in finding the right thing for everyone is just too much!  No doubling up on events - we won't be carting ourselves around to three lunches between noon and 3 pm.  Just one Thanksgiving dinner.  Living in the moment, rather than worrying about having Claire fed and changed by the time we have to hurry hurry to the next house.  

Lastly, no pressuring ourselves about decorating.  We'll have a tree - and that's it! And even though we'll be using our good old fake tree we'll probably take a trip to a tree farm for some photos of a bundled up baby, because you have to, right?  

Ranting about the holiday season, finished.  Here are this week's favorite links!  

Seriously, stop asking parents how their kids are sleeping!  

I cannot get enough of these funny posts captioning old paintings: here, women having a terrible time at old parties, and women being proposed to.  

Did you know that even sign language has accents?  

I don't have any *fancy* holiday parties this year, but I kind of wish that I did so I'd have an excuse to wear this dress!  

Graphic design can be so clever!  I never noticed most of these hidden messages in famous logos.  

Made me laugh, but also makes me shake my head!  I think someone from Mt. Vernon, IL wrote this e-card.  


my grown up christmas list

I know, I know, it's only November 13th, but realistically Christmas will be here before we know it!  Darrell & I already started our shopping, and I wanted to share a few things that are on my radar for gifts and to-dos.  

This week, I'll definitely be tackling Christmas cards.  I love love love sending them out, but this year I'm trying to pick a more budget friendly option - we have to send more cards out now that pictures of Claire are involved, and more cards means more $!  We'll probably end up using Snapfish or Shutterfly for the first time, but of course my favorite place to get cards if money was no object would be Minted.  I love their real gold foil accents!  

For Claire, I know we'll get clothes & toys a plenty (which is good, because I'm a bit lacking in the 6-12 month sizes) but I've also got my eye on this hand-stitched heirloom pillow from Etsy shop The Wild Hares, and another pair of moccasins for her from Giggles & Fluff.  It almost makes me tear up when I think about the fact that her first pair was SO huge when we received them 3 months ago, and now she's going to grow right out of them any day.  The buffalo plaid bonnet from Stella & Wilbur is one of my new favorites in their shop, I think bonnets are such a cute throwback and the perfect alternative to bows in the winter!  

For me?  At the top of my list is a cognac leather Lily Jade Madeleine diaper bag, a splurge but it seems it's the universal favorite!  I have enough slings to last a lifetime and will be wearing "sangria" from Sakura Bloom the whole month of December, but since it's discontinued I wanted to share Vienna Springs' holiday ready "bordeaux" sling.  The rich dark red would look picture perfect in photos!  (Her stockings are announced via her Instagram, and they go quickly!)  

Anything on your Christmas list that you're planning to get a head start on?  If there's anything that I've found true in the last few months of life with a baby, it's that getting a head start is the key to less stress!  


our family photos

Why is it so hard to get an entire family photo?  Really & truly, it's something that has bugged me since Claire has been born, that there are so few pictures of us as a threesome.  It's time to order Christmas cards (already!?) so we had to remedy that, stat.  A few weeks ago we headed to Tower Grove Park to snap some framers with our generous friends, Joanna & James.  They are crazy talented, and we got all of these shots in less than 30 minutes, which was about the point Claire was OVER it.  As you may well know, photos aren't always what they seem, and even though we took these in the middle of October we ended up picking the only day the temperature decided to jump back up to 80 degrees.  Needless to say, we weren't in those coats for very long!  


awkward and awesome tuesday



Overhearing younger twenty-something's call us bad parents for bringing Claire to the brew festival.  I can't wait till they have kids of their own and never leave the house again!  If I go, Claire goes (and she goes in the sling, where she's happy 99% of the time!)

Having to go out at 8:30 on Saturday night and needing coffee to do so.  I want to be cooler than that, but I am just not!  

Claire pooped allllll over herself last week on our way out of the house.  I changed her but there was no time for a bath.  A few hours later, I could still smell poop, but had no idea where it was coming from!! Never figured it out, but needless to say that was the point I just bathed and washed everything we had touched all day.  

I think I'm getting sick.  You can't really take anything when you're breastfeeding (it's practically worse than when you're pregnant) so I've moved deeper into my hippie-ness and bought a medicine cabinet worth of essential oils.  Here's hoping the hype is real?  Now tell me, do I need an amber teething necklace?  Do they really work?  


Cloth diapering!  We are loving it so much, I'll definitely be doing a post about it in a few weeks when we've had a little more experience.  

Gilmore Girls on Netflix-all day everyday, Darrell is as into it as I am.  

Amy Poehler's new book!  Claire likes to nap while laying on top of me, so it's been great to have something to look forward to while she sleeps.  

My pants all fit again!  Legitimately one of the most awesome things ever.  

Claire is finally getting nice and chubby after months of people telling me how teeny tiny she was!  I'm thrilled (I mean, I built those thigh rolls!)  The only downside is, she was growing so slowly before the I really invested heavily in 3-6 month clothing and I'm just not sure we've got that much longer with those!  


the weekender

Claire is teething, so this is going to be an all photos weekender from my iPhone!  Don't ever say I'm not committed! 




Long story short: we ran a 10k while Claire went to brunch at the ritz with my parents (hence the fancy plaid outfit) Claire met her first Budweiser Clydesdale at the home brew festival, cloth diapers are insanely adorable, and teething sucks.  Send prayers!


friday link love

Can you BELIEVE that it's already November?  It feels like yesterday Claire was born in June, and then all of a sudden I blinked, and voila.  The holidays are so near.  We bought Christmas presents for our nearest & dearest last weekend.  My little girl will be 5 months old next week, a number that I just want erase and re-write as 1.  I know the passing of time is inevitable, but that doesn't mean I have to like it, and it's around this time every year that things just seem to jump into hyperspeed.  Nothing like having a baby to make you really understand how quickly life goes by.   

This weekend I'll be running another race, my second since Claire was born, a 10K.  I'm lucky enough to have lots of amazing friends (and a pretty rad husband) who agreed to run it with me to keep me motivated.  Can't believe I'll be tackling 6 miles before Claire is 6 months old.  Other than that, I'll be saying goodbye to some friends who are leaving St. Louis for now - I'll be so sad to see them go but excited to watch them succeed in new endeavours.  Never a bad thing to have people to visit!  

I hope you all soak up the last of autumn this weekend!  

My favorite links from the past few weeks: 

I can't stop thinking about this gorgeous diaper bag.  Would make a great Christmas gift, right?!  (hint, hint)

This made me laugh so hard.  Really, I cannot remember.  

Are you one of those people who "ghosts" at parties?  I have to admit, I totally am.  

Instagram vs. Real Life - this is so insanely accurate.  

Common grammer mistakes even the smartest of us make - I have to admit, I had no idea of the differences in #6.  

Of course, another beautiful essay from Coffee & Crumbs.  And please, stop asking parents how their babies are sleeping.  It isn't a nice question.  


operation post baby body/adult recess

This week, I officially hit my pre-baby weight.  Do I look the same as I did at this weight before having Claire?  Nope, I absolutely don't.  But I can still do this: 

and I can still run for miles

3 miles, on this night, to be exact but I'm running 6 this weekend and plan to be up to 9 in December.   
It feels good to be back in fighting shape but if I'm being totally honest, I'm not quite done.  It's going to take more than just weight loss, because things just aren't the same as they once were.  Still, hitting my pre baby weight and fitting into my 6s again is worth celebrating, so I decided to do just that.  With a little yoga thrown in for good measure.  

Yoga Buzz STL is an awesome organization started by Elle Potter, a local teacher whose praises I have sung here before when I reviewed a collection of St. Louis studios.  Yoga Buzz has a pretty simple mission - bring yoga to the masses, whether it's through beer, wine, or even a trip to Italy.  

A non-profit organization, their classes at local breweries & wineries raise funds to send experienced instructors to areas that are underserved in physical education and especially access to yoga.  Knowing what a difference it has made in my life, that's a mission I can get behind.  

Elle likes to describe yoga as adult recess, and I wholeheartedly agree.  One of my favorite aspects of yoga is having the chance to try to fly, and maybe fall, but TRY because my mat is a safe place to experiment.  I can't count how many times I fell on my butt attempting crow pose before I got it, but when I did it was like the joy any kid feels when they complete the entire row of monkey bars for the first time.  Adult recess, for sure - especially with a pint of Budweiser beer when class is dismissed : )   
You can check out upcoming Yoga Buzz events here.  Stay tuned for further post-baby body updates - I may have hit my previous weight, but I'm not done just yet, there are so many more miles to run.  


vienna sling share/volume 1: laura & i

NOW you've got a smile on your face, if you didn't already, am I right?  I mean, how can you NOT after taking one look at that incredibly adorable, chubby cheeked chipmunk of a baby that is obviously SO beyond happy to be hanging with her mama.  And her mama, she rocks.  I'm so excited to start the first installment of the Vienna Springs Sling share today.  In case you missed my post a couple of weeks ago, here is the jist of it: Laura, pictured above, is a master maker of baby slings.  She makes every babywearing mama's dream come true by making affordable, beautiful silk slings for women & babies of all tastes, sizes, budgets.  I met her on Facebook of all places but I have to tell you, I feel like she's a real life friend I've known forever.  

Laura lives in San Diego with her little Leah Vienna & her husband: 

Babywearing dads?  Excuse me while I go melt...

And since she made the pretty sling we'll be wearing & sharing (sisterhood of the traveling pants style) she kept it for a bit first, and she & I will be the first to tell you guys why we love babywearing.  

From Laura: 

Babywearing for us, has been an ideal alternative to carrying or strolling your baby.  I was thrilled to participate in the sling share, because I wanted moms to be able to try a sling that I made & fill it with love, before we sent it on to a mother in need.  It is my pleasure to share Huckleberry with all of the participants and readers.  During my time with Huckleberry, I visited my first Octoberfest fair in San Diego - we saw live music, ate yummy food, played games, and were part of the large crowd with no trouble at all.  We had such a great time, and baby wearing allowed me to be highly mobile & comfortable.  Not only that, through all of our outing I was sharing a special, cozy bond with my baby.  My daughter got to experience the fair from the same point of view that I did.  I can't wait to see where this sling travels to & hear all the great stories.  Thank you so much for sharing this sling with me & filling it with love.  

xoxo Laura - Vienna Springs

From Me: 

One of the days we had Huckleberry, Claire had shots.  This kid, she handles the shots themselves like a champ - yes, there are tears, but after a little milk & some cuddles, she's calmed down enough that we can strap into the carseat and head home as though nothing's been done.  But LATER.  A couple of hours later, I'm forced to brace myself for the meltdown of meltdowns that is inevitably coming my way.  The inconsolable screams of a baby that might as well mean "WHYYYYYY did you do this to me??? You're awful!  I hate you!  Etc, etc, etc!"  Having trouble picturing it?  

It pretty much looks like that.  

The only thing that has worked for us on shot days, is to have Claire fairly well live in the sling, and since Laura insists that she pops Leah into every sling she sends out first to fill it with "happy dust" I figured I had nothing to lose.  Five minutes later she had stopped crying (her little body bouncing with those tiny aftershock sobs, but slowly returning to normal.)  

Ten minutes later, she was passed out.  

Twenty minutes later, I was able to lay her down for a solid nap, with the sling as a blanket.  

I never would have learned about babywearing if not for Facebook & blogs, so I feel a real duty to pass it on to all the mothers who read this.  Although Darrell will forever make fun of me for spending so much time chatting with people I've never met, I'll always be grateful for the women I've connected with through babywearing.  I can't wait to share the next stories from Jessica & Crystal, coming up in a couple of weeks!  

You can check out Laura's Etsy store here - I warn you, it will look empty!  She stocks on specific days each week, and to find out when you can follow her Instagram here.  


art 314 at the contemporary art museum/hunter creel

One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to promote local culture & events - St. Louis has so much to offer, and the internet is an awesome place to show all that awesome to the world.  I was thrilled when the Contemporary Art Museum + Alive Magazine asked me to collaborate on promoting their upcoming event Art: 314, ESPECIALLY because one of the featured artists is someone I've known for a long time!  Hunter Creel, from Mt. Vernon, IL (my hometown) will be showing at Art 314, and he was kind enough to answer some questions about his work for my readers.  We went to high school together, and he's always been exceptionally talented & kind.  

Coming from a small town, a lot people probably weren't encouraged to head straight for the career path of "artist."  What inspired you to take this path in life?  

There was a point in time during college where I started to focus on myself, my art and work in a way I hadn't seen before. I committed in school and I told myself when I got out that I had to keep making. That was relativity easy for me because I was focused on making art, building a studio space, and collecting tools. I did put quite a few things on the back burner that I'm constantly catching up with. So I guess what I am getting at is that making is one of the few things I can truly commit to. I don't think I chose the career path of an artist but I decided that that I had something to make and say that people needed to see and hear.

 Where do you find support for your creativity and work?  Anyone in particular locally?  

Support from the hometown comes by way of my family, and I don't think I would be in my position if it wasn't without them. In saying that I am lucky because most people don’t ever get that. One of the comments that has always stuck with me is something I always heard my dad say at basketball camp. It went something like this, “You might not be the most talented or naturally gifted person, but you can try to work harder than everyone else. If you want to be great you have to practice everyday, because hard work pays off.” I don't know if that is the exact quote, but I always considered that comment daily. I do believe that hard work pays off and at that same time you have to be patient as well, because success isn't instant, it is something you have to work towards.

What's your creative process like?

My creative process; that is a good one. I don't think I could possibly describe this a linear fashion, but lets see how I do: I tend to always be thinking about quite a bit, for example. What I could make, I make in the studio, what colors I enjoy, the most popular event of the day, how I could improve my studio, which episode of Futurama I enjoy the most, or what kind of sandwich I should pick up. I focus my work on speaking about what is going on around me and I interrupt it, and what effect it has on me. By considering these things daily I formulate what I could make that will have this same effect on others. I use references to pop culture and daily events as a tool for communication.

What has been the best feedback you've ever received, and the worst?

Feedback comes in a couple of shapes and colors, and as a maker you always enjoy when people like your work. I think everyone wants that, but at the same time I most enjoy when someone challenges the work in a critical sense.  It can be difficult at the time of the interaction but I feel that I get more from that type of feedback than any other.  

What are you most excited about as part of your collaboration with CAM and Art 314?

As a part of CAM and ART:314, I am most excited about being in this presentation and this grouping of artists. CAM has set up a way to support and promote Saint Louis Artists and Open Studios STL within the same night, which extends to the promotion of makers in Saint Louis. Not least of this,  selling work is what allows me to keep producing, so having the potential to sell work is also very beneficial of course.  

Thanks so much Hunter, for sharing with my readers a little bit about your work!  

I also encourage you to check out Hunter's website, along with more of his work here, and you can keep up with what he's working on through his Instagram here!

Now for the most fun part - I know you want to come to an awesome party, right?  

Readers of Light Sleeper, Heavy Dreamer can get a discount on tickets using code LSHD2374 and they can be purchased here!  I hope to see you there!  
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