LET’S BE HONEST MAMAS: TECHNOLOGY WITH KIDS

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Life update! I feel like Zoe has hit the terrible two’s early. She’s still the funniest, craziest, happiest, talkative, little bundle of joy ever, but homegirl has got a sassy side. Welcome those throwing, hitting, kicking, rolling on the floor screaming tantrums. Luckily nothing out in public (like the grocery store) just yet, but man those toddler tantrums are real! So much of her tantrums come from her not being able to express herself just yet. Because she’s so independent she wants to be able to do things all on her own and when she can’t she just gets so frustrated with herself. And I don’t blame her, I’m the same way! Another trigger for her tantrums is the phone. As soon as she sees a cellphone she wants to play with it immediately. If we let her she could watch videos of herself alllllll day long! I basically hide my phone until Zoe goes down for her naps or when she goes down for the night. Which brings me to today’s post!

It’s another Let’s Be Honest Mamas post (you can read all about that and how it started here). A big shout out to our girl Hannah for bringing us together! And today we are talking all about technology with little ones. Of course the use of technology with kids is such a personal opinion, so please when you read on know that what I have chosen to do is what works for me and my family! Okay, now that that is out of the way let’s get to it.

1. Do you have an opinion on technology use with kids? Do you worry about being on your phone too much around your babies?

Before I had Zoe I totally thought I’d be one of those mamas that was 100% against them having access to technology until they were at least two. I wanted them to have time to grow their own imagination and not let them sit in front of the TV all day, every day. But once I had Zoe things changed. Of course when she was really little, having the TV on in the background was mostly for me and not for her. Even at 19 months she still won’t sit through a whole movie. It’s mostly songs or singing that she likes to watch. She’ll dance along to Moana, pretend to sing to Trolls. She loves Sesame Street. Living in the PNW means you have to get creative indoors when it rains 9 months out of the year, and technology can definitely come to the rescue when you need it.

As far as phones, Zoe VERY early on had a high interest in my phone. She loves to look at herself, and unlike TV she could sit all day and watch videos of herself (my little vain princess 😂). It doesn’t help that with Snapchat and Instagram stories all I want to do is take videos of her doing the cutest things. But now it’s gotten to the point where I pretty much have to hide my phone. Poor Eric constantly tries to call me but I can’t pick up. At least when it’s out of site it’s out of mind so she doesn’t ask for it. But I’ve had to get creative with my hiding spots because she knows them all. I think this is something I will definitely do differently next time around. Note to self, keep the baby selfies and video taking to a minimum.

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2. What age did you or will you allow your kids to play with your phone, iPad, etc.? Do you restrict what they do on it? Will you buy them their own tablet?

Zoe really started going after my phone around her 1 year birthday. After Christmas my parents gave Z an old iPad that they had lying around their house. The iPad is for car use only, and is only used for playing movies for those long excursions. Go to movies are Beauty and The Beast, Sing, Moana, and Trolls. When she wants my cellphone it’s purely to watch videos of yourself, snapchat or Facetime with her favorite auntie. Obviously I want to limit those interactions as much as possible, and I’ll definitely try to hold off longer next time around, ha.

3. At what age did you (or do you plan to) let your kids watch tv and for how much time per day? Certain tv shows/channels?

Like I mentioned previously, Zoe still hasn’t taken much interest in the TV just yet, but I would say she started engaging more around 13 months or so. I typically schedule it to help trigger her for things. She’ll watch a little bit in the morning while she’s eating breakfast. Super Why is her favorite show to watch during lunch. She just loves it and I love that it’s educational. She’ll repeat back sounds that they are making when they are spelling out words. I love timing Sesame Street whenever I have to change her afternoon diaper because for some reason that’s the one she HATES being changed for the most. It’s really weird. And before she goes to bed she loves to watch Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune with us. As far as channels, PBS Kids is where it’s at!

4. What are your/your babe’s favorite tv shows and movies? Are you concerned with the message it teaches and do you restrict any shows in particular?

At this time I’m not too concerned with negative messages that Zoe “watches”. I don’t really restrict what I’m watching if she’s in the room (I pretty much just have The Office, FRIENDS, or Parks and Rec on anyhow). I think restrictions will come around 2 when I know she’s more self aware. Her favorite shows are Super Why, Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Thomas and Friends. At least those are ones that keep her attention for more than 2 minutes. She’s ALWAYS moving.

5. If you do not use iPad/iPhones as entertainment/distractions while out, what types of activities, toys, explanations do you use?

Other things we like to do to keep Zoe occupied are books. We finally bought her one of those “First 100 words” books (not sure why it took us so long), but she loves to point at different objects, especially pictures of monkeys and dogs. She doesn’t talk too much yet, but she understands so much. We’ll say “Zoe, where’s the monkey” and she’ll turn to the page and point to the monkey. Basically she’s a genius, ha! She also loves to read “Quiet Time with Cassatt“. I have that book memorized so she’ll flip the pages and I’ll read out loud the words while I’m driving places. I also recently bought her this Crayola No Mess Markers And Paper Kit that she loves to doodle on. And when all else fails, pull out the Fruit Snacks.

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MISCARRIAGE UPDATE

I’ve gotten a few very sweet emails lately asking how I have been since publicly speaking out about my miscarriage, as well as what mine and Eric’s future plans are. You guys, no words! Thank you all so much for your continual love and support through this very difficult time for me. I thought I would post my response here. Honestly, most days have been amazing! Initially after posting about my experience I would receive the occasional pity hugs or looks. Those were not so fun. But for the most part I received nothing less than sheer admiration, love, support, patience, and understanding. Being able to talk to so many women who have undergone similar circumstances, its like this immediate bond.

To give you some perspective, I had my miscarriage in mid to late October. October 20th to be precise. It’s been a few months now, and my body is finally getting back into its natural groove. That first period though, what a doozy!! (TMI?) I feel emotionally stable enough now to have those exciting talks with Eric about our future again (if we are lucky enough). When it is just us two in our own little bubble sometimes I forget how scary it all was, or how sad this whole process still is. I have my occasional off days. For instance, a few days ago a friend of ours announced her pregnancy and instead of being ecstatic for her I immediately started to cry my head off. Luckily, not in her presence. I felt terrible because I did not feel excitement for her in her time but pity for myself. My brain fast-forwarded to the next several months of having to see her in each stage of her pregnancy. To see her beautiful growing tummy and knowing that mine won’t be there. To hear her talk with all the other “mommies” of the group about every big milestone and symptom of pregnancy. You guys, I’ve become envious of morning sickness. Is that normal?

Initially after I lost our baby I wouldn’t even dream of doing it all over again. The idea of being pregnant became this very scary thing. To be honest, it still is. The fear of going through the same painful experience is too excruciating to explain. But then you see all these babies and all these pregnant women (is everyone pregnant right now or am I just imagining things?) and you realize you want to be there too! I feel like right now me and patience are in an epic battle. I was fortunate enough the first time to get pregnant just two weeks into trying, and for some reason I just assumed it would be the same this time around. No such luck. Eric has to keep reminding me that my body went through a very traumatic experience and things will fall into place when it’s good and ready. I feel as long as I keep reminding myself this (over and over again) I’ll be okay. In the meantime, I’ll just be avoiding all you pregnant ladies like the plague!

I’m talking about my resolutions heading into this new year over on “The Village” site today (found HERE). I gave myself only three. The first one was to be happy, and I touched base on being happy for other peoples successes. Apparently I have already failed that one. Hoping to work on that over these next few months. Wish me luck! And to all you women out there trying, I wish you nothing but success, happiness, joy, and a healthy baby! And just remember, it won’t always be you, but one day it will be!

MISCARRIAGES AND MOVING FORWARD

I’ve been going back and forth about posting this for some time now. I’ve written it, deleted it, wrote it again, left it in draft format, and there it sat, collecting dust, and serving as a constant reminder of its presence every time I signed into blogger. There is no eloquent way to write this. I had a miscarriage. It was painful both physically and emotionally, and something, I am slowly learning, will be with me for the rest of my life. Moments will pass, milestones that you had mentally written down, that will go by unnoticed by anyone else but me and Eric.

Miscarriages are a funny thing. There are no badges of honor, no walkathons or t-shirts to encourage awareness. Most conversations about miscarriages always end with “Don’t worry, I know other people who have had one too and went on to have lots of healthy babies.” Of course everyone means well, but what I’m hearing instead is that my extraordinary sadness is in fact ordinary, insignificant, unremarkable. Why, at this moment, would I want to hear about someone else’s miscarriage when I’m lying on my bathroom floor trying to lift a million pounds of failure, embarrassment and disappointment off my chest?

It’s been a few weeks now, and still I catch myself crying out every now and again. Anger, sadness, loneliness. This holiday season has especially proven to be a hard one. We were going to surprise our parents Thanksgiving day by sharing the news. We were going to hold out and reveal the baby gender Christmas morning. Instead, there was no exciting news to share over Thanksgiving day, and there is no pretty envelope waiting under the Christmas tree.

I’ve been working hard to be kind to my body these past few weeks. Slowly getting myself back into the gym, eating healthier and taking lots of naps. Since miscarriages seem to be a big taboo I’ll give it to you straight. Let’s talk break outs for a second because that’s happening. Your body already feels broken as it is, let’s add a few pimples to the mix to really drive that stake through your self confidence. Hormones are also a b*tch! Never have I ever wanted so badly to have my period back. Food is a common enemy. For some reason all that ever sounds good is soup? And anxiety is off the charts! Let me tell you about my new pen pal, medical bills. Those things keep flying in like Harry Potter’s acceptance letters into Hogwarts.

We’ve kept this miscarriage a secret for a while now. Only my closest friends and our immediate family were given the news. Truthfully, that was what I needed at the time. But now that a little time has passed and the scars are beginning to heal I feel ready. I’m ready to break the silence, to get back into my regular routine and to just be honest. You have no idea how much weight is being lifted off my chest right now just being able to type this all out. Who knew blog posts could be so therapeutic!

The best way I can express my thoughts now, moving forward, come to you by an amazing New York Times article I read a few weeks back. “I can tell you that I want people to know. I don’t want it to be a secret or a shadow or something that is endured only alone. I want people to know that I have been through something, that I am tired but optimistic, that I’ve been knocked down but don’t help me up because I can get up myself. It’s fair, I think, to want witnesses for our suffering. But with the sorrow also comes hope. And after all, we are resilient creatures.”

I thank you all for taking the time to read this, for your understanding and for your empathy. Please, positive comments are much appreciated. And for any of you who may be going through similar circumstances, feel free to email me. If only for a listening ear, I am here. I love you all, be kind to yourselves.
xoxo

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

I found myself watching The Help this past week. No reason in particular, I just wanted to have something in the background while I was doing some meaningless work. I’d seen the movie before. It’s good, heart felt and eye opening. But this time was different. The movie took on a whole new meaning to me when it came to this scene:

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” 
These past few weeks have been emotionally and physically draining on me. Some days are better than others. But when this scene came on I immediately stopped myself from what I was doing and let out a good cry. You know the one. The kind of cry when you dramatically sob into your hands and collapse into a small ball on the floor. Where you think the whole world is caving in on you, and you take little sips of air to bring you back to reality. It’s quite an embarrassing scene when you think about it afterwards. Not at all attractive, like how they look in movies. Luckily the only one there to witness it was my dog, Teddy. Bless his little heart. He didn’t judge. He just sat right there next to me and gave me little kisses right when I needed them, and sat on my lap the rest of the movie. Even now as I type this I’m working hard to hold back those same emotions that came flooding up inside of me that day. I know this is all starting to sound so cryptic. Sorry for that.

The point is, this quote really had my thinking. Thinking about how we treat ourselves. I know firsthand that I am my own worst enemy. When something goes wrong, when something doesn’t go exactly how I planned, I turn inward. It must have been something I did. If only I had done this. Maybe I should have done that. Or those days when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see back. I wish I didn’t have so many freckles. Check out those raccoon eyes. How about those legs grow 5 more inches. I don’t think that should be shaking when I walkIf only I could look like her. Or for those moments when things just don’t line up and you feel like a failure not only for yourself but for those around you. Trust me, these negative thoughts run through my head on a daily basis. More now than ever, or at least since I was 16.

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” I want this to be my new mantra. I want this to be constantly running through my thoughts whenever I turn inward. 

I took this picture of myself the other day. I took it right after coming back from a grueling weightlifting class at the gym. I wasn’t feeling particularly beautiful this day. In fact, it was another one of those crying days. But I wanted to take a picture of myself to reflect. I took the picture and immediately stopped and looked at it. Instead of seeing the greasy hair, my flabby arms and those freckles (oh so many freckles), I decided to be kind to myself. I really looked at this person as that, a person. A person who was created out of love between two people, who is loved by her family and friends. A person with a past, who has scars. Battle wounds on her heart that are trying to be put back together. “Be kind to her”, I told myself. And immediately I did. I saw those freckles as little memories. Memories of days spent on the beach given kisses by the sun. Memories of holding my moms hands and seeing the same freckles staring back at me. I saw those arms who had given so many hugs to loved ones who are no longer here with me. I saw those bags under the eyes as moments of showing vulnerability as opposed to weakness. From many sleepless nights and crying spells. Those little bags are worn proudly as badges of honor for those moments of hardship recently endured. 

If you are still reading all of this blubbering I applaud you. But mostly I just want to say that I love you. Be kind to yourselves this week, and know that you’re in my thoughts. There are so many of you that I just feel connected through, whether it be through your comments, emails or your own blogs. Know that you are kind. You are smart. You are important. 

xoxo.

LITTLE LADY – CATHERINE SHORT

NAME: Catherine Short

AGE: 27

LOCATION: Chicago (Moving to Nashville in September!)

CAREER: Barista, and also assisting my husband with his design and marketing company. 

BLOG DESCRIPTION: A Short Blonde is a journey of celebrating and learning to embrace the highs and lows of life. Living my life well and hopefully encouraging others to do the same are important to me. My blog is filled with things I love whether that be a great recipe, adventures in travel, a good book, or my latest fashion inspiration.

A TYPICAL DAY: My days revolve around coffee: making and drinking it. 😉 On work days, I wake up very early (between 4:00 & 6:00am), but that enables me to be home by lunch time. I utilize my afternoons for either blog work, running errands, exercising, or baking. In the evenings (when we’re home) Jordan and I enjoy watching a television show together. Currently we have been marathoning How I Met Your Mother

OUTSIDE OF WORK: I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes, reading memoirs, practicing yoga, and traveling! Jordan and I try to plan at least one big trip a year, but our schedules are flexible enough for day trips throughout each month. I also spend far too much time on Pinterest, but don’t we all?!

SUMMER STAPLE: I’ve really fallen in love with hats: big floppy hats, baseball caps, fedoras, they all work! Hats are perfect for protecting my fair skin and camouflaging a so-so hair day.

VICTORIA, BC

Victoria, BC has stolen my heart, and quickly become one of my favorite cities – the local restaurants, the history, the water, the colorful money, the different languages, people complimenting you everywhere you go, I mean, how could it not be a favorite?

We decided to head out to Victoria in continuing on with our anniversary celebration. Neither Eric or I have been to this part of Canada before even though its just a short ferry ride away from Seattle. We set our alarms bright and early, making it to the docks at 6:30AM. We sat next to three of the sweetest Mexican women of all time. They LOVED talking to Eric and loved even more that he spoke fluent Spanish.

There’s so much I could say about the rest of our trip to Victoria, but I’ll let the pictures do the talking… along with a city guide.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel. Can I stay here forever? This was the first thing I saw as soon as we pulled in to Inner Harbor. The amount of pictures I took of this place is embarrassing, but oh so worth it!

^ The British Columbia Parliament Buildings. My jaw dropped at how absolutely stunning the building and grounds are. I felt like I was back in Europe all over again. So much history! The perfect spot to lay out on the grass and eat a packed lunch (which we totally did). 

Fan Tan Alley. I’m always a fan of hitting up Chinatown in any city we visit, but when I came across this gem in my research of Victoria I knew it was a must! Fan Tan Alley is the heart of Canada’s oldest Chinatown. With an alleyway of just 5 feet in width and shops and restaurants inside, Eric and I thought we were in Diagon Alley.

Christ Church Cathedral. I didn’t take many pictures inside, I wanted to soak in the artwork, the stained glass windows, the music, the organ(s). You should definitely look this place up online, so beautiful.

LITTLE LADY – EMILIE ANN

NAME: Emilie Woodhead

AGE: 21

LOCATION: Salt Lake City

CAREER: I am a full time wedding photographer! I am absolutely in love with my job and with capturing people’s love for each other! I get to meet so many new people and have so much fun while doing something I’m very passionate about. I also photograph my travels, adventures, and fine art portraits for my personal work! You can find my website at Emilie Ann Photography for more details!

… A TYPICAL DAY: A typical day for me involves waking up and either going to the gym or trying some new workout I saw on pinterest! Then the rest of the day would include editing photo shoots, answering emails, and either heading to photograph a wedding or an engagement or bridal shoot! In my free time I’m obsessed with the outdoors so I would probably either go on a hike or just take my camera out to the mountains to capture some photos. Other than that I would just chill with my family and sweetheart and watch a movie or just hangout around the house or around town *cough* or the mall *cough*. I have a slight obsession with clothes.

OUTSIDE OF WORK: Outside of work I attend Utah Valley University and am majoring in Art and Visual Communications! I’m graduating Spring 2015! Wahoo! I’m obsessed with branding and helping people follow their own business dreams. One day I hope to be able to hold workshops for photographers and become a motivational speaker. I’m an avid believer in Mexican food, beanies, and thrift shops and am always checking the local spots for cool furniture or treasures. I spend most of my time with my family and my love Tyler! I’m definitely a life-enthusiast and free spirited person who is always up for anything and for just living life to the fullest.

NEXT BIG PLANS: This Summer is a chalk-full of weddings that I’m so excited to photograph! And after finishing up school this year I’m hoping to travel to Europe to see the art I’ve been studying for the past 2 years!

SUMMER STAPLE: The Kimono!! Seriously, I have multiple kimonos and they are just so flowy and pretty! They’re so easy to just throw on top of a t-shirt or tank top to dress it up a bit and they are so comfy!! I can’t get enough of them!

HAPPY READING

Happy Monday!! I don’t know about you, but whenever the weather starts to get nice all I want to do is grab a good book and blanket and get outside and read in the sunlight. Us Seattleites need as much sun as we can get! Here are a list of books I have been reading lately! Any book suggestions? Leave your favorites in the comment section below! 🙂

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER – I’ve heard about this book for years but got it as a Christmas gift this last year and finally dove right in. It took me less than 24 hours to read cover to cover. Such a well written book about those high school years. You find a companion in each character or remember them from your own high school. A definite read!
OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO – The classic high school graduation gift. It might seem childish, but this book can teach you so much about life and all that it has to offer. If you ever need a little bit of encouragement head to the children’s section of the library, sit down on that giant stuffed dog and give this a read.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS – As mentioned on my YouTube channel, I’m a total groupie and read books right before the movie comes out. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into this book! Want to read it with me? Shoot me an email and we can be reading buddies 😉
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – A classic favorite since I was forced to read it in the ninth grade. I have told myself since then that I would name my daughter Scout one day!
TWILIGHT – I have no shame to list this as one of my favorite books. Whenever I’m in the mood for a good little romance and no fuss read, this is my book! Team Edward!
SPOTS – I started reading this book a few weeks back and have quickly come to adore it. The writing style from this new author and her autobiography growing up in South Africa during the apartheid is so raw. I love reading this tale through

Little Lady – Adri Cisneros

Introducing Adri Cisneros from Adri Lately!
… a little introduction:
Hi there! My name is Adri (pronounced Ay-dree) and I’m a beach loving gal from LA. Fashion is in my blood and has lead me to create my blog Adri Lately and work as a personal stylist. When I’m not playing with clothes, you can find me exploring LA with a chai in hand.
How would you describe your blog?My blog is a place to stop by for easy practical fashion inspiration. It’s wearable fashion that’s effortless and provides some tips on style plus some insight into my life.
What does a typical day look like for you?Oh gosh! Every day is very different. But it usually involves a Starbucks run (gotta have my chai), yoga, lots of emailing, and an excessive amount of time on Instagram.
What do you do outside of work?Being that I’m on a computer so much, I try to step away from it during my time off by going on as many dates with my favorite guy. Whether it’s hiking or trying a new place to eat, it’s definitely the highlight of my week.
Staple piece for Spring?A great pair of sandals that you can wear well into Summer is my number one for Spring. I usually go for a neutral color, but this year I’m on the hunt for a leopard pair which is a fun neutral.

Hairspiration

I’ve been getting a lot of emails, comments and traffic lately surrounding my Coachella ‘hairspiration’ post which can be found here. Per request I’m doing a more in depth tutorial on the low fishtail up-do. I love that you could rock this hairstyle at Coachella, prom, a wedding, or even for that dressy night out. So below you will find a helpful step by step tutorial to help you achieve this look.
If you recreate this look, make sure to tag me in your Instagrams so I can see! (@tanyajtaylor)What look would you like me to try next? Share in the comment section below!

STEP ONE: Brush through hair and create a center part using your fingers or a comb.STEP TWO: Take one side and loosely make a fishtail braid, securing with small elastic. Using fingers to pull apart bits and pieces to give it that messy look.STEP THREE: Repeat step two to the other side, creating your fishtail braid pigtails.STEP FOUR: Take one pigtail and lay horizontal to the opposite side, bringing to a slight upward angle towards top of ear. Secure with as many pins as necessary. Repeat on other side, bringing the opposite pigtail at a slight upward angle towards the top of the other ear. Secure with as many pins as necessary. Make sure to tuck the end pieces underneath braids, securing with pins, and there you have it! * To give it that bohemian touch and fun, pin in a flower!