Her Morning Coffee

All The Fall Feels

vanessa evigan
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Hello Fall you have finally made your way to Nashville and I couldn't be happier. I can finally cozy up to the fire and enjoy a hot pumpkin spiced latte without feeling like I'm melting. So many of you were asking me for your favorite denim and other fun clothes for fall so I decided to pack it all into one post! It's hard to get a post written these days with a baby so I am taking advantage of my parents being in town and getting to work! Hope you find some fun new pieces for your closet!

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My Favorite Sweaters All Under $100

I wanted to start with my favorite sweaters for fall all under $100

The three sweaters shown above are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G and so stinking soft, not to mention cute and fit fantastic.

I will start with the blue sweater with big bell arms, I mean come ON! Everyone needs this sweater and it comes in several colors. I had a hard time picking but went with blue since it's fall and felt more neutral. I think I may have to get it in all the colors now that I know how great it fits. There is a beautiful rustic brown color and a purple mist that almost looks lavender with a hint of pink! Shop it HERE for only $39!!! Whaaaat!? Super affordable for a really cute sweater.

Now let's talk about the most yummy cozy ivory colored turtleneck I have found, ever. It feels like creamy butter. I know it's odd that I compare everything to food. This sweater is such a unique fit and keeps me super warm. The sleeves are slightly flared which I LOVE. The sweater is a bit fitted through out and more fitted on the bottom with an upward v pattern that is super slimming. I have a very long torso so it comes just to the waist of my low rise jeans. This sweater is just under $100 and so pretty. I'm wearing a small in the Ivory. It's available in black and wine as well! Must have for fall. Buy it HERE !!!

The last sweater I am sharing about is the lose one size fits all distressed sweater . So fun and so soft. It's made to look distressed, it falls shorter in the front and longer in the back. For $54 this one is a steal. I love to pair it with my boyfriend jeans or a cute pair of holey skinny jeans and some booties. I wear a tank under it and as it gets colder,  I will be wearing a long sleeve top for extra warmth.  I'll also wear a cute plaid scarf with this or an oversized wrap as a scarf and call it a day. Shop it HERE ! One size fits all!!

Crazy About Scarfs! Here Are My Favorites!

I feel like I can never have enough scarfs. I LOVE them. I'm finding them super handy for breastfeeding too. I will use one to drape over the boob instead of a blanket, less to keep in my diaper bag and way cuter!

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I will start with the blue scarf shown in my first flat lay picture and shown on the model above. This is the softest scarf and can be warn as a cape or a scarf. I love that you can double even triple wrap it up and the fringe adds such a cute touch. This favorite of mine is only $35. Shop it HERE

Next is the plaid scarf. I mean come on, everyone needs at least one cute plaid scarf in their life. I choose this one! It's only $24 and super cozy. Shop it HERE

Last is this super soft infinity scarf. These are my favorite because they are so easy. Double wrap and you are out the door! This one is only $19. Shop it HERE

Dreamy Denim

I have been all about trying new denim post baby. I have also jumped back into some of my old favs.

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1. These are so fun and super comfy. Lose fit boyfriend style. Under $50 Shop them HERE

2. I am so in love with these jeans. They are a more relaxed fit but not baggy. I like that they are straight with a cuff. They look adorable with a high heel, throw on a blazer with a cute T under it. My favorite is the twisted front T. You can find it HERE. Wear these jeans during the day with a cute pair of flats or mules. My favorite mules are THESE . Shop the jeans HERE

3. The softest stretchy jeans ever! I was able to fit in these a few weeks post pregnancy. I love them! They fit like a glove and are very comfy. Shop them HERE. They are on sale now too!

4. Last are the most awesome jegging jeans I own! High wasted which I am really loving to hide my mommy tummy. They look awesome with the twisted T. Put them on with a cute bootie like THESE or a high heel for the evening! The jeans are just under $60. Shop them HERE.

My Clutch

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I love my clutch from Gaia For Woman. Not only is it so freaking cute, I love what this company stands for. SHOP THIS CLUTCH HERE.

More info about Gaia and their mission:

GAIA creations are handmade by refugee women resettled in Dallas using vintage, artisan-made, & sustainable materials.

Our mission is to empower refugee women through employment, encouragement, and dedication to their long-term success in our local communities.  

Through a living wage and continued training and development, our goal is to lead the women to financial independence and self-sufficiency. Studies show that unlocking a woman's potential can cultivate a brighter future for not only herself and her children, but for the community as a whole.

 

Avène

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I love teaming up with companies that support things that I'm super passionate about. Avène is not only a skin care line with wonderful products, they are raising awareness in the battle against bullying, something I was affected by as a kid and have been talking openly about for years to try and help raise awareness.

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I was recently sent a kit with three products from Avène to try. It's no surprise that I walked into my dermatologist office here in Nashville the other day to pick up a product and saw they carry Avène products. All the more reason I felt confident trying this kit I was sent. I used the Eau Thermale mist before I apply my peptide serum and was blown away at how calm my skin felt. The nurse at my dermatologist told me to spray my face with it and then while my skin was damp apply my peptides and then the Xera Calm A.D moisturizer from Avène. My skin is feeling baby soft and much calmer than it was before using the line.

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Avène products are known for soothing and relieving eczema which is a skin disorder that effects thousands of babies, children, and adults. A young girl named Carissa has been living with a very sever case of eczema and has been bullied in school because of it. This breaks my heart. I'm so thankful for Avène and Kind Campaign who have come together to raise awareness and share Carissa's story of hope. Now that I have a child of my own, the thought that he may be bullied at some point in his life brings tears to my eyes as I type this. I can't imagine watching him have to go through what I went through or what beautiful Carissa has been going though. I'm forever grateful for Avène & Kind Campaign for the beautiful work they are doing in the fight against bullying! You can learn more about Carissa's story of hope HERE.

To find the Avène products that are best for your skin, visit their website aveneusa.com. I highly recommend the Eau Thermale and Xera Calm A.D moisturizer!! #AveneHope

Cozy Fall Favorites & Breastfeeding Friendly

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It doesn't feel like fall here yet, but I am ready for it. Stocking up on cozy sweaters to get me excited for fall and ready for winter. This fringe sweater by Lovestitch is so cozy and so soft. I love how it's also super breastfeeding friendly! You can use my discount code VANESSA15 to receive 15% off when you visit LOVESTITCH

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I've talked a lot about this sweater the last couple weeks. It is honest to God the softest most amazing sweater I have ever bought. I can wear it out and it's super cute but also lounging around the house it almost feels like it could be a robe. It is a duster and my favorite new fall purchase by far. Shop it HERE

WRAP CENTRAL!!

These two wraps below are the same just in different colors and I am obsessed. My mom stole the grey one from me for a week! They are so cute and so comfy and I am gonna wear them forever! They are more like a cape. These will be one of those statement pieces that are in my closet years to come and friends will say "where did you get that?" Something that will never leave my closet! SHOP THE GREY ONE HERE

SHOP THE BLACK ONE HERE

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I'm OBSESSED with Ingrid & Isabel wraps for fall. They are technically "nursing wraps" but I will be wearing them way past my breastfeeding days!

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This company has wonderful maternity clothes as well as nursing. Shop this grey and white one HERE

Shop the solid black version of it HERE

SHOP THE REST OF MY LOOKS BELOW

My Tomgirl Jeans

My High wasted skinny jeans

My stretch jeans

My Shoes

My Postpartum Essentials

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It would be a total and complete lie if I told you I had this mom thing down or that I wake up and am able to put makeup on, do my hair, and look good. Most days consist of me covered in throw up, dancing around the house with Maverick, and keeping him happy and myself fed while he is napping.  I am enjoying it so much though and learning at least 5 new things a day. Eat or nap when he naps, do everything fast, do squats while you rock him to sleep to get the blood flowing, just to name a few! Of course right when I think I have it down, everything changes and he shows me a whole new side of himself that I get to learn about and adjust to!

It is a honest to God miracle what are bodies are capable of doing and what we are made to do. Carrying and delivering a baby is in my opinion the craziest and coolest thing our bodies are designed to do. It amazes me every day when I look at our little boy, what my body went through to give him to us, what a miracle it is. I'm totally blown away by it all, from how babies are made, to how they come into the world, and everything in between, the whole process fascinates me.

My birth story isn't exactly what I had planned it to be, but I wouldn't have it any other way now that I look back. Maverick arrived 7 weeks ago and I'm still recovering from my C-section. Today feels like the first day since I had him that I could possibly take a gentle yoga class.

I planned on a vaginal birth with an epidural. After pushing for almost 4 hours and being in labor for almost 24 hours I had to have a C-section because I developed a fever and he was just too big and wouldn't come out. I struggled a lot in that moment when our doctor came back in the room and told me I needed a c-section. I felt like I failed and was devastated. I cried really hard and had all sorts of "poor me" thoughts but then I remembered how many woman have done this before me and that some woman actually schedule them! After my operation, when they handed him to me for the fist time and I held him, all those feelings were gone and I never thought about having it any other way ever again.

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The recovery however has been longer than I would have hoped and a bit tougher than I had imagined. I have had moments of depression from hormonal imbalance and have become a bit of a helicopter mom which I'm hoping I get through soon. I don't want to be a helicopter mother. I have a constant feeling of a deep need to protect him at all times and I'm struggling with a little bit of a control issue. For the most part, I'm feeling really good about motherhood and loving every single moment, even the late night feedings. I know he won't be this size forever and I don't want to miss any special moments with him so I'm embracing the hard times and soaking it all in because it won't be forever. and I know I will look back and wish I had these times again with him as he gets older.

I have been doing a ton of research when he sleeps and finding things that have been really helping me to recover and feel less pain and make my life easier so I'm still able to hold Maverick through recovering and give him all the attention he needs and more! The doctor advised me not to exercise for 6-8 weeks and not to pick anything up heavier than Maverick, I will admit, that has been hard and I have been a bit naughty and doing more than I probably should around the house.

Here are some of the things that have really helped me and the items I don't think my husband and I could live without.

I just discovered these about two weeks ago and wish I had sooner. The C-Pany has saved my life and been keeping me more sane. I sleep in them and I wear them all day. There is a thicker piece of material that lays across the incision and helps to keep pressure on the incision. I have found since I started wearing these, my pain has subsided. They also pull all the way up the waist to help slim your tummy.

Buy the C-Pany HERE

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Now that I'm healing up a bit, I have found a lot of comfort when I wear my postpartum recovery belt. My friend Kristen Graham who just had a baby a month before me suggested this one. I had tried a few and liked this one the best. It has three pieces so you can support different parts of your body at different times or all at once. I find it helps my posture and my back aches less when I wear it. It is intense but I'm finding I'm using the tummy one during the day and it is helping me a lot and shrinking my stomach quicker and I'm still eating a ton! I read not to diet while breastfeeding because it will not be of any help to the milk flow so the recovery belt and breastfeeding are what I'm relying on for now.

Buy the Postpartum Belt HERE

I have been grabbing my 5 pound weights as much as I can to keep my arms toned and use to holding the little guy all day!!  As if holding a baby all day isn't enough right? Well, I'm finding that I'm using only certain parts of my arms and new mussels I didn't know I had, but the other parts are getting weaker from not exercising. When I get him down for a nap and have the energy, I will use these bad boys to do a little toning and strengthening each day. Buy the Weights HERE

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I won't get too into this next idea but I highly suggest looking into encapsulating your placenta. I did it through Bosom Buddy Nashville. They were our Doulas and the most incredible woman to work with. I couldn't have done this whole process without them. I feel a huge difference in my mood swings and crying spells when I take them. I have tried to stop them just to see if it works and realized quick I need to keep taking them. I am a very firm believer in this process. Also, it you are in the Nashville area and looking into hiring a Doula, I would refer these woman over and over again. Our experience with them has been incredible.  We worked with Leslie and Ashley and they feel like family to me now. I'm forever grateful for them and the help they gave us throughout the last 5 weeks. I credit them for how easy breastfeeding was and every question I had throughout the last 7 weeks they have been able to answer for me.

I also love this New Mama Bottom Spray I found thanks to my friend Jenn Brown! It kept me feeling fresh down below especially in the hospital right after the surgery!!! I'm not gonna lie, a shower did not sound fun to me while recovering in the hospital. Maybe this is TMI but I lived on diaper wipes and this spray for a few days. I'm still using the spray to freshen up during the day.

I have found it hard most mornings and some nights to take care of myself. I'm a big skin fanatic and never go a night without washing my face. If Maverick is awake and I'm not able to get a good wash in, Micellar Cleansing Water has been a savior for me. It gets all my makeup off and you don't have to wash after. This is the only product I have found that doesn't leave a residue or have a smell. It's super gentle and does not break me out. I wipe down with it morning and evening. It leaves my skin super clean & hydrated and it's dirt cheap. They also make wipes but I like the cleansing water better. The Micellar wipes would be a great option to bring to the hospital so you can clean your face in the hospital bed!!

Now enough about me! Here are my baby essentials that we could not live without.

Baby Must Haves

The DockAtot is a MUST. I am not kidding when I say this thing goes everywhere with us. We have two! Maverick is currently sleeping in it next to me while I type on the kitchen counter. I keep one in the car for when we go to visit friends too. Let me say I am not a safety expert but I have done my research. This is NOT a product that is listed as safe to let your child sleep next to you through the night. Co-sleeping is one of the leading causes of SIDS. I only use this during the day when I am able to check on my son. I use it on the couch while we watch TV, I put it on the kitchen counter when I'm cooking... far away from anything that could splash on him, I use it when I need a quick shower and leave him where I can see him, and when I am putting makeup on. He loves it. I have even brought it into the bathroom with me in those first days home when I didn't realize I could leave him alone for 3 minutes while I peed and he would live.

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Although Maverick has a killer nursery set up with a crib that makes me want to sleep in it, we are keeping him next to us in his Halo Bassinet for now and that thing is genius. It swivels all over and can pull up onto the bed which is great for me after having had a c-section. He wasn't loving it at first so we added this little baby sleeper topper accessory and he sleeps like a log in it. He outgrew the topper this last week so I bought an additional Halo mattress and he is sleeping great in it now.

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The Lalabu Soothe Shirt is my life savor. I swear the second Maverick slides into this thing, he is happy and so am I. I'm able to do stuff around the house while he is with me. I love that I can wear it out and throw a cute Kimono over it and I look like a half normal human. You can breast feed with this top on as well. You have to remove baby first, but the chest area pulls down for super easy access! I put this on when I'm going to shop at the mall, grocery store, or just for a stroll around the block. I have been using it while I put my makeup on or cleaning up the kitchen. I highly recommend them. They also make shirts for men! I got one for my husband the other day and it's awesome!!! Grab one HERE

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If you are looking for a good sling wrap, I have tried several and the Maya sling wrap is by far my favorite for many reasons. I will start by saying it is the only sling I have tried that has built in padding in the shoulder. The padding is huge for me because if I have the sling on for longer than an hour my shoulder hurts but the Maya sling with padding doesn't hurt me at all. I will wear it for several hours at a time and my shoulder is fine. I also love that it has a large pocket on the bottom where you can keep a phone, diaper, keys, wipes and probably a lip gloss and energy bar if you wanted! They offer lots of different colors and the fabric on the Maya sling is softer than some of the others I have tried. The way I am wearing Maverick in the sling is not the "correct" way. I have found a few different ways to wear him and a few of them are probably not considered safe but I keep my hand on him and my eyes when he is in these positions just to be extra causious . Grab one HERE!

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Last I wanted to add this little head pillow in the mix that I recently found that Maverick has been enjoying. (That is not Maverick in the picture) It's purpose is to help prevent babies from getting flat head. I find Maverick likes it whether he is laying on my legs or in his crib or on the couch, it sorta props him up a little bit and it's so soft and so cheap! I have tried a few flat head pillows and this is my favorite by far. It is the softest and least bulky! Buy the Anti Flat Head Pillow HERE

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June Star Photography

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Maverick is our first child so of course we can't get enough pictures of him and are in constant awe of him every day. It's amazing how much he is changing and we want to keep documenting those changes.  I'm sure we will be like this with all our kids. I have always loved the famous Anne Getty photos. I had her books growing up and always imagined I would have my children take pictures similar when the time would come. Once we had Maverick I was on a quick mission to find someone in our area who took adorable infant pictures that had a similar feel to Anne Getty photos. I was so happy to have found June Star Photography.

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Maverick was just about 9 days young when we did our photo shoot with Heather who is the photographer and owner of June Star Photography. I was so nervous because it was one of my first days out of the house with him. Heather sent us a very thorough email on what to expect and how the shoot would go. I was anxious that morning trying to figure out as a new mom how to get him sleepy before the shoot since it's easiest to work with an infant when they are sleeping.

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When we arrived at the studio I was still anxious but excited. The studio is located in Franklin, Tennessee in a small, cozy, rustic, and adorable space. It has high ceilings with pretty fabrics, hats, clothing, and toys from floor to ceiling. She uses all her own materials for the shoot so you don't have to stress about bringing anything. Heather's studio is located upstairs from a cool little home goods shop which came in handy once we had been there for a few hours and I needed a little break. My husband was with me, so we were able to switch off during the photo shoot. Heather likes for there to only be two people at the shoot because the space is small and the less people the more calm the setting. The room is heated to about 85 degrees since that is similar to the temperature when the baby is in the womb! I didn't really think it would be that hot but it was, so I suggest wearing clothes that are light and bringing a cold drink. There is a spot to grab a bite to eat near by and a tea but bring a cold drink to hold you over, trust me you will want it!!

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Heather was wonderful. Her energy is very calm and she is great with babies. She is a mother of two so she knows what she is doing! She was very patient with us as well. Maverick was not sleepy when we got there and didn't want to sleep for most of the shoot so we didn't really start to get our shots until about two hours into the shoot. That made me even more anxious and apologetic but Heather wasn't bothered at all by this. She blocks enough time out so she can really take her time. Once he got sleepy, Heather was able to get the beautiful shots I had hoped she would be able to get. I breast fed him every hour to get him calm and sleepy and give him small breaks. I was so amazed with her setup. She uses comfy pillows and all sorts of things under blankets to prop the babies up and get them right where she needs them.

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Pictures are such a huge part of our lives and I am so thankful to have found Heather with June Star Photography. Our experience was wonderful and I hope to get back there in about six months to do another shoot with her. I had looked into a lot of photographers in Nashville and she was by far my most favorite. I can't say enough good things about her and I highly recommend her. I like to add that Heather did not pay me to post about her and I paid full price for our photo shoot so this is not a paid advertisement. I love sharing about my experiences with companies when I am happy with the outcome, and I really love supporting small businesses like June Star. Visit her site HERE to learn more about how you can set up a shoot with her.

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Cuddle + Kind

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As most of you know, I love working with one-for-one companies. Or any charitable company for that matter. Cuddle + Kind dolls feed 10 children for every one doll sold. Can you imagine for just $48 dollars you can feed 10 children? That blows my mind. Each doll runs between $48 - $68 and all the dolls are handcrafted in Peru, fair trade. These dolls are non- toxic, safe, and adorable. It's really important to my husband and I that we teach our son how lucky he is from a very young age. We want to educate him on the world and show him the importance of giving back. I know he can't understand yet, but planting the seed early on is important to us. We are happy to be working with Cuddle + Kind to make a difference in children's lives.

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I am in love with the family who started this cause. They are a family of 5 on a mission to help feed children in need. What's not to love about a family who is dedicating their life to helping others in need! I love that the woman who craft these dolls in Peru have jobs now thanks to this incredible family. Their goal is to feed one million meals a year. How amazing is that?? That literally sets my heart on fire. How adorable are they? They beam with light and that makes me so happy that I have the chance to spread the word about their amazing company.

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I hope you will take a moment to visit their site HERE and buy one of their cuddle dolls for your child or a friend! This would make a perfect baby shower gift. What a beautiful story to tell a child once they are old enough to understand,  that this doll we hold together fed 10 children in need and gave work to woman in Peru who wouldn't have had work otherwise. I just melted in half thinking about it all!  Cheers!

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How To Help Victims Of Hurricane Harvey

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The devastation from Hurricane Harvey is absolutely unfathomable.

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Since Harvey hit Texas, I have been watching the news in utter disbelief. My heart is broken for the families effected. In the 2010 Nashville flood, my husband came home to his home under water and lost everything. Hurricane Harvey has brought up a lot of emotion for him and it's been hurting me to watch. He was out yesterday answering phones for the Red Cross and helped raise a lot of money. I have felt helpless being here with a newborn and not being able to get out and help so I thought I would do some research and find legit places to donate.

I wanted to share what I have found. Lot's of different ways you can help donate if you are wanting to make a donation and not sure where to donate and exactly where your money is going.

UPDATE: Undies are in need for girls, boys, men, and woman in all sizes. If you can collect new ,packaged underwear and mail it to

Undies For Everyone: 1700 Bissonnet St, Houston TX, 77005

Visit UNDIESFOREVERYONE.ORG to donate by hitting the donate button on the site

As always, It's important to do your own research on any organizations you choose to donate to. I found this ProPublica article from 2015,  it's a good resource. The Huffington Post has an article on where & how to give, here. CNN has some ways to help, here.

The Texas Diaper Bank supports the basic needs of vulnerable babies, children with disabilities and seniors. The Texas Diaper Bank is asking for cash and diaper donations to help provide for the victims in Texas. Click here to learn how to donateSource.

You can donate to the Red Cross directly, here or text 90999 to donate $10. Here is the link to understand how your TEXT will be charged. If you’re looking to volunteer your time to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are in need of volunteers to help at shelters. You can learn how to volunteer for the American Red Cross here and for the Salvation Army here (Source)

ABC KTRK 13 has a list of shelters in Houston, here.

The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services is working to help provide food and clothing to victims seeking shelter. Donors can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or click here (Source)

The global crowdfunding community is attempting to raise $2 million to “provide relief to survivors in the form of emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents recover and rebuild.” Global Giving says all donations made to the fund will be exclusively used to support local relief and recovery efforts. Click here to learn how to donate.  Source.

Pets affected by Hurricane Harvey are being taken in by animal shelters across Texas, including the SPCA of Texas, Austin Pets Alive and the San Antonio Humane Society. The Houston Humane Society is also available, with limited staff.  (source)

If you feel like your heart is pulling you to help, I hope these links are helpful for you to find a good place to donate. Just a few dollars can help!

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Drone Footage of the devastation covering Houston

The Owlet Smart Sock 2

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So it's been almost 4 weeks since Maverick was born and life couldn't feel better. That little bundle of joy brings more wrinkles to my face every day. I have never felt more love and more fear in my entire life. I have been told my fears are normal "new mother" fears! Knowing I am responsible for this beautiufl new life is both exciting and mildly terrifying. The fear of "is he still breathing" would be my biggest fear. I check on him every 3 minutes but better to be safe than sorry. We are finally getting use to all his little sounds he makes through out the night that were keeping us up the first few weeks. I'm sure once we are totally use to them, he will have a whole new set of sounds as he gets older that we will learn. He is sleeping next to us in his little Halo bassinet right now but there will be some point when we have to show him to his crib (insert me crying).

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The Owlet Smart Sock baby monitor is incredible. This little monitor is worn on his foot and can stay on all day if I wanted it to. Night time is probably the time we will use this the most but during the day while he sleeps and I work around the house, it's nice to have it on him to make sure he is still breathing. A normal baby monitor is great but it doesn't provide you with insight on what is going on inside your baby. The Smart Sock uses proven technology (pulse oximetry) to track your infants heart rate and oxygen levels from the comfort of your own home! The monitor also has an app you get on your phone that alerts you if your child's heart rate is dropping. The sock is soft, simple, and secure and our little guy doesn't even notice it's on him. 

If I can help save even one life by suggesting this sock, I would feel like I made a difference. Sudden Infant death Syndrome is horrible. I remember when I was 17 years old, I had a friend in school who lost a sibling to SIDS. I will never forget it and it's my biggest fear now that I have a child.

I have teamed up with my friend Ashley Wilson from www.Beauandarrownashville.com to help her friend raise money for their son baby Kipp who tragically passed away recently from SIDS. Owlet is currently matching funds raised. You can visit the link HERE to donate and learn about sweet baby Kipp's fund.

The only report I have heard negative on this monitor is that there have been some false alarms. Now, that would give me a minor heart attack for sure, but I rather a false alarm and freak out than my child stop breathing and me not know.

Get your Owlet Smart Sock here!!

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Best Breastfeeding Tops!

vanessa evigan

So it's been 11 days since we brought our baby boy Maverick home and it has been nothing but a joy for us. I have never felt love like this before and I am so excited for all the times we are going to have with our son. I have been breastfeeding since day one and now that I am home and friends are visiting, Maverick is taking a nap next to me, so I thought I would take a moment to share with you my favorite tops for postpartum. I have been trying to find tops that hide that little extra tummy and are easy for a first time mom who has not totally mastered breastfeeding! I don't know if we ever "master" breastfeeding, we just get more confident with it as the latch gets easier and the discomfort subsides, I do think finding easy tops to wear can help a lot. I have been a take it all off and get to work kind of feeder, but that won't work with guests over and when we start getting out.

I have literally been living in this top I am wearing above. I have it in every color they make and it is the greatest top ever. I'm wearing a small. Free People has brought this top back in all different new styles and I have never been more excited about this fit and style I am currently wearing. I am linking this below and a few other tops that I have found to be pretty easy for breastfeeding. They will be great for fall as well. I am currently having pretty bad hot flashes and then really cold, so it's been nice to have this top because not only is it the perfect weight, its very cozy. I am also linking my favorite nursing bra that I am wearing under the top in aqua blue!

My Special Engraved Bangle To My Son From Evermore Co

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If there is one thing I can say that continues to make me happy about Nashville, it's the community of woman I'm meeting here. I feel like I'm constantly shocked by the kindness and support I've received since moving here. Between the Nashville blog community, and the woman I'm meeting who have started their own businesses, I'm in awe of the love and support everyone shows towards each other daily.

Not long ago a woman named Ann who started a company called Evermore Co reached out to me through Instagram. We met for coffee and I knew immidiatly she was salt of the Earth. We talked about designing a special gold bangle with my sons innitals and I was so excited to begin the process.

Not only did I fall in love with Ann's heart the day we sat down for coffee,  I fell in love with the story behind why she started this company. 60 years ago Ann's Grandfather gave her Grandmother a simple gold bangle for their wedding anniversary. After her Grandmother passed away, her Grandfather gifted bangles to his five grandchildren to keep the tradition alive. Ann started Evermore Co and handcrafts the bangles right here in Nashville.

And so I begin my collection of Evermore Co bangles to keep the tradition going for myself and my family. I love the idea of a bangle per child or every wedding anniversary adding a beautiful bangle with a word to represent that year. My first bangle has MAM initialed on it because our soon to be born sons name starts with an M and his middle name starts with an M as well, to follow with our last name A for Adcox! We chose to put the A in the center to separate the two M's. Ann designs beautiful simple rings as well that can be stacked. Those are next on my list.

Bangles have always been my favorite pieces of jewelry and having my sons initials close to me all day long keeps me smiling. This bangle goes perfect with my stack that I have had for over 13 years. It's funny, a month ago someone asked me where I got my rose gold and gold bangles. I had gotten them downtown in Los Angeles at the jewelry district so I wouldn't have to pay and arm and a leg. I was trying to find bangles like them that I loved as much as the ones I wear in solid gold and half way decent in price and I couldn't find any. When Ann reached out to me, I couldn't believe it. Her bangles are exactly what I had been looking for. She is so wonderful to work with and loves what she does and that love shines through in her work! This pic below is a close up of what some of the initials can look like! If you shop her store be sure to use this discount code FREESHIP17 for free shipping on your first order.

What's To Come In The Next Month

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Walking into Wednesday with a big 30 pound bowling ball and a bunch of fun things to share!

If the baby doesn't come on his own, I will be induced on Tuesday August 1st very early in the morning. I have been getting a lot of questions asking why I am doing so many giveaways in one week. A giveaway is when a lot of us bloggers team up and go in on a really big gift together to give away to one lucky winner. I feel like it's important to do these because it is giving back. I'm also going to be giving birth and depending on how everything goes, I won't be posting as much for a while so I wanted to do some fun stuff before his arrival. Unless I bounce back quick (which I am hoping I do) and am blessed with a really wonderful sleeper (which I am really praying for) Then I could be down a few weeks. In the mean time, I'm gearing up for the next month and finding things I think my readers will enjoy.

I'm so excited for this next chapter in life and sharing all the things I learn along the way. I plan on being as real and honest along my journey.

What is to come? I will be posting a mom must haves round up, what I took to the hospital for new moms, my favorite baby items, what works and what hasn't worked in the first few weeks of new parenting, and a lot more in the next few month. I will continue to post clothing finds and updates on health, food, home decor, and recipes . I will also have a really fun post coming to you about how to throw a killer baby shower, and a full tour of our babies new room! I also re-did our white room while nesting and can't wait to share those pics with you too. Lot's to come! Please keep checking back. I am so thankful for all my readers and I will soon be putting out my first news letter so stay tuned and please sign up for that so you can stay up to date!

SHOP THE LOOK:

My Cover Up Wrap

My Maternity Tank

My Maternity Jeans

My Favorite Watch

My Bangles

 

Weekend Nordstrom Roundup!

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The Nordstrom Sale is still going strong and the early access has ended and the sale is open to ALL!!!! The sale only lasts until the 6th of August so grab your favorite sale items now before they fly off the sale rack! I keep finding the cutest pieces to add to my closet. I also have found some things I have in my closet that went on sale and I am SOOOO excited to share with you!! I wanted to share a few more great finds that are at such great sale prices that you can wear through summer and into fall! Hard to think about Fall when It's this hot out but it will creep up on us and we need to have a few new things to keep us at the perfect temperature! I'm in LOVE with the red and black plaid cape and these little jackets that are so fun and simple to throw over any T or lacy cami. Such a great way to dress up a pair of distressed jeans too! I'm really excited to get back into non-maternity clothing so these are all getting me ready and excited! I can wear all of them pregnant too which I'm loving so I won't have a stack of clothes sitting around after the baby comes that I can't wear anymore. Shop all these looks below!

My love for ponchos will never die. This one is sooooo good and it's Under $60

Shop it HERE

This Poncho is possibly my favorite one that is hanging in my closet at the moment! I am so excited it's on sale!! It's under $60SHOP IT HERE

Nashville On The Rise/ My Favorite Spots To Visit!

vanessa evigan

I must say, I am proud to be a Nashvillian now! Leaving Los Angeles was hard but Nashville is on the rise and nothing makes me happier than seeing all these wonderful places opening up all over Nashville.

It's no surprise to me that Nashville has become one of the fastest growing cities with an average of 100 people a day moving here. Millennials are flocking to Nashville faster than any other city in the country. The cost of living is low and the job prospects are high. In 2016 Forbs ranked Nashville # 30 as the best place for business and career. I have watched the city bloom in the last 5 years and I'm so excited about all the growth I'm seeing. I'm proud to say I live in Nashville now days. We have some of the greatest restaurants in town and it's no secret that if you're in the mood for great music and entertainment, Nashville is the place to visit. The town is full of creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs not to mention genuinely nice people. Did you know Nashville happens to be one of the number one spots for bachelor and bachelorette parties as well? If you're planning a visit to Nashville or thinking of moving here, you're in great hands. I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots to visit and some of the neatest places I have been so far that truly blew me away and made me feel like Nashville is really catching on!

Lemon Laine

I recently visited Lemon Laine with a few girlfriends and I fell in love immediately. Laura Lemon is the owner and she was such a treat. Lemon Laine is a natural beauty and wellness shop filled with products that are good for you. The spot is so clean and beautiful and full of all the best natural products. My favorite thing they offer is the oil bar.

This is such a fun thing to do with a small group of friends. This would be a perfect birthday idea, bachelorette party, or place to take your best friend, sister, or mom for a fun experience before grabbing a bite to eat. The oil bar costs $65 per person and what this entails is learning about what type of skin you have and ways to improve the issues you are dealing with. They walk you through the oils and let you smell all the different all natural oils that smell heavenly. You select your base oil based on your skin type and then further customize your oil just for your skin. I went for calming and added some anti-aging properties. You leave with a nice size bottle of wonderful oil for your face which can also be used on your body and hair. I love that you sit at a very beautiful airy feeling bar where you can have wine or champagne while learning all about these wonderful oils that will transform your skin in the most natural way! Be sure to make an appointment!

The Urban Cowboy

Next up on my list is The Urban Cowboy! There are very few words to describe my love for this place but I will try. I'm a creative and this place brings it all out of me. Visually, The Cowboy is at the top of my list. The moment I first saw the lounge in the B&B I got chills. It may sound strange but I actually wanted to cry. I felt more creative just standing in this space than I had in a long time.

The Urban Cowboy is a bed & breakfast in the heart of East Nashville. You may have heard of them before. They have a New York location and have recently come to Nashville and we couldn't be more excited to have them. The owners are magical people and have really put something special together.

I love their catch phrase "arrive as strangers, leave as friends." That is exactly how it feels once you leave. This place is a true gem. They have eight experiential suites housed in a historic Victorian mansion. You are walking distance to some of the best bars and restaurants in East Nashville. The decor alone will have you drooling! Attached to the B&B is their Public House Bar where they have incredible food cooked in their wooden fire and the cocktails are out of this world.

The Public House Bar has both indoor and outdoor seating and for all you dog lovers, they allow dogs in the outside dining area. Sitting outside on a summer evening with one of their incredible unique refreshing cocktails and something yummy out of the wooden fire, is my idea of the perfect evening. The Public House is friendly and cozy with a romantic vibe because the outside area is lit up with warm hanging lights and bench tables. I can't say enough great things about The Urban Cowboy and the owners are such special people so there is a lot of love that has been poured into this place. It's a must visit! Each room is completely different, decorated in the coolest decor I have ever seen for a B&B. Be sure to call in advance because they book up fast.

Sweat and then float at Pure Sweat + Float Studio Nashville. If you're looking for a great way to drop some water weight and relieve pain this is your place. Their infrared saunas heat you from the inside out helping with weight loss, detoxification, lowering blood pressure, relaxation, anti aging, and so many other benefits. Floating in the Epsom salt pod, was one of the most calming and healing experience I have found especial being pregnant. The pod is made to make you feel like you are back in the womb. The benefits of floating are deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress on spine, hips, and joints, increases endorphins, helps with insomnia, and so many more benefits. So wonderful if you are pregnant as well. This is a great treat for your body and a wonderful place to visit after a long night out on the town to help heal and detox your body.

The Thompson Roof Top

Last but certainly not least, I want to share the Thompson Roof Top Bar L.A Jackson. I'm so happy Nashville has a beautiful rooftop spot to visit now. L.A Jackson is located on the rooftop of the Thompson hotel in The Gultch. I have had brunch at the Marsh House which is located in the hotel right when you enter. It's Southern cuisine and it's such a bright and perfect spot for Sunday brunch. Venture up to the rooftop bar for the most beautiful sunset while sipping yummy cocktails and delicious snacks. They have a DJ , specialize in Southern brews, with a menu of Southern small plates, snacks, and cast iron dishes. They have an extensive wine list and fantastic cocktails. This is a perfect spot to bring a large group of friends or have a romantic date night with your honey. The view can't be beat and the vibe is hip and happy!

My 4 Favorite Nashville Restaurants Suggestions:

I also wanted to share a few spots I have recently visited that I am loving for lunch, dinner, and drinks!

Husk is wonderful for dinner

Cafe Roze perfect for lunch and a great spot to grab a drink in the evening

Butcher Bee is a unique spot for great drinks and an eclectic menu lunch or dinner

Rolf and Daughters has a romantic vibe with very unique food and incredible cocktails

Make reservations!!

 

My Nordstrom Sale Top Picks

vanessa evigan

Hey Friends! The Nordstrom sale is no new news but I must say, I have been enjoying snagging some fabulous finds as they have gone on sale. I'm all about a good sale. I wanted to share with you my top pics so far. I'm getting my last shopping fix in before the baby comes because my shopping addiction will be all about the baby in no time. Mama needs a few more fun items to get excited about and that will motivate me to drop the baby weight quicker! The sale has just begun and is for card holders only at the moment but in a few days the sale will be open to all! Hope you enjoy my top choices! Happy Shopping!

SHOP THE LOOK:

My favorite Booties! Under $100

My favorite Cropped Sweater Under $80

My favorite Boyfriend Jeans Under $55

My favorite Hobo Bag Under $300

My favorite Lace Tunic Under $55

My favorite Off The Shoulder Top Under $50

My favorite Vintage Floral Slip Dress Under $200

My favorite Plaid Tunic Under $65

My favorite Fleece Wrap Cardigan Under $40

My Heavenly Fab Fit Fun Box!!

vanessa evigan

Ya'll...I just said Ya'll!!  So, I had no idea what a Fab Fit Fun Box was until recently. Let me start by saying I'm not getting paid, this is not an add, and I was not paid to talk about this box. I just love it. Here's the deal.... I'm one of those people who loves to try new things and I love surprises. If you're a Fab Fit member, every 3 months the most wonderful box of goodies shows up on your doorstep. The summer 2017 box is my fave! I'm in love with everything in this box. The highlighter by Cargo has become my new obsession and this amazing cover up by Michael Stars has gone everywhere with me recently. The yummy eye serum is wonderful, I love the SPF 50, I have been using it all over my neck and chest before I swim. The pink water bottle makes me so excited to hydrate myself, loving the Himalayan salt, and the necklace is so adorable. Everything in this box has gone to use already. I love the idea of trying new things and the cost is sooooo good! Each box is valued around $200 or more and you pay $49.99 four times a year. Don't worry I did the math, on my calculator because I'm terrible with numbers. Reminding you again, I am NOT getting paid to talk about this box nor will I make a dime if you become a member. I'm just so in love with this company and think they have come up with such a fun girly way to make ladies happy!!!! So here it is broken down, Winter, spring, summer, and fall, expect a Fab Fit Fun box to arrive at your door. Total yearly value is at least $800. You are paying $199.96 for the year and not all at once. Every season you would be charged $49.99. Just that Michael Stars wrap alone costs at least $50! That totally got me excited. I have a discount code MORNINGCOFFEE you can use and receive $10 off your first box! When I find a company I really like, I try to team up with them to offer my readers a fun discount and introduce you to something that may be new to you, that I LOVE! Hope you enjoy!

More On Gestational Diabetes

vanessa evigan

Happy Monday Friends. Hopefully you had a wonderful weekend enjoying some relaxing down time. I got to see my sister so my weekend was perfect. It's been a little over a month since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and I wanted to share some new thoughts, ideas, recipes, and feelings with you. I'm currently 36 weeks and my induction date is set for August 1st. I'm hoping he comes sooner on his own but I'm at peace with the idea of an induction now if he doesn't. If you currently have gestational diabetes, you are not alone. If you just found out you have GD and are super bummed, I totally get you and am here if you feel like reaching out. I'm writing this post today because some days are harder than others. About a week ago I had a tough few days in a row. I would like to start on a positive note by saying, I'm slowly but surly beginning to believe that being diagnosed with GD is a blessing in disguise. A woman told me this when I first learned I had GD and I didn't believe her. Now, I kinda do. Aside from having to prick my finger 4 times a day which is getting really old and annoying and not being able to eat much fruit or any sugar for that matter. The reason I say this is a blessing in disguise is for a few reasons. 1. From this moment forward you will watch EVERYTHING you put in your mouth and if your levels are anything like mine, that means getting very serious about sticking to a very healthy and strict diet. You can do this! The good news is you are only giving your baby and yourself the best of the best nutrients. As hard as it feels and as sick as I am of chicken, eggs, and veggies, I'm sure my baby boy is getting the best nutrients, where as before I was diagnosed, we were kinda on the Carb Queen diet and Cheetos were a huge part of our life, which is horrible for both of us anyway! 2. The weight gain has slowed down, baby is still getting proper nutrients and growing, and I'm not getting much larger everywhere else, which means it will be easier to drop the baby weight once he comes. 3. I have connected with some wonderful woman who are going through this or have already so my community of woman who are in the same shoes as me has grown and makes me feel a lot less alone.

Let me be sure to mention I'm not a doctor and everything I write about in this post is based on my own experience and my doctors advice and the advice I have received from other woman who have been through the same thing.

I wanted to share a few things that have really helped me. I'm not gonna lie to you and say I'm doing fantastic and everything is rainbows and butterflies over here because it has not been easy. I cry a lot and feel very frustrated a lot of the time. Especially when I eat clean and healthy and my levels are still high. I will say however, my doctor eased my mind when she told me it has a lot to do with hormones and my placenta and the chances of me and the baby having diabetes after birth isn't very likely.

What I do not do is read a lot on line because it makes me crazy. What I do do is reach out to people who have had GD. I share where I'm at and I'm honest about my fears and my concerns, so other woman will reach out to me and share their experience, strength, and hope about it. I reach out to friends of friends who I don't even know because it's nice to hear positive stories. My mom is a big researcher and has looked into everything that I refuse to read which is good and bad. One thing she found that I am very happy with is the book Real Food For Gestational Diabetes. It's the only book that has made sense to me and has some good helpful eating tips in it. It explains GD in a way that I could understand. It's not a complex book which I like. Life the last month has felt like all I do is wake up, check my blood, eat, wait two hours, eat, check my blood and repeat this until bedtime when I have my midnight snack with my medicine the doctors have me on. It really begins to feel like groundhogs day but I know the final result of holding my baby will make me forget I ever had GD. My midnight snack is something I really look forward to. I found a gluten free bread I LOVE called Canyon Bakehouse 7 Grain. You can get it at whole foods. I have a piece toasted with whipped organic cream cheese (also from wholefoods). I look forward to this snack at night because it tastes so good. This is one of the only snacks that seems to be very consistant on keeping my levels good in the morning.

I wanted to share a few tips that I noticed have been extremely helpful for me. Before my bedtime snack and before I take my medicine, I have two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with water. I know, gross, get use to it because the health benefits behind it are incredible for now and long after baby comes. Then I eat one slice of gluten free bread with whipped cream cheese on it. The toast and cream cheese was a suggestion from my doctor and through trial and error I found it worked best for me. I also love coconut peanut butter as one of my snacks on toast. Make sure it's a no sugar added brand. I LOVE North Shore Goodies coconut peanut butter the best. It's a bit expensive but if you love coconut and peanut butter, it's worth every dollar. It's honestly magical.

I'm about to share the holy grail of diabetic deserts with you, a pancake recipe that didn't raise my insulin levels, and a cookie recipe! Massive shout out to my dear friend Julie Mangus, a wonderful therapist who gave me this mousse recipe because it will be with me for the rest of my life. Side note, for anyone struggling with fertility, Julie is your gal! She started a support group around the topic. And thanks mom for the coconut pancake recipe. I will be happy to go back to regular gluten free pancakes after this is over but this has been a nice substitution. Keep in mind the pancakes are more like a biscuit but with organic maple syrup and butter they do the trick just tine. Be sure to eat eggs or some sort of protein with any carb you eat! I also found a cookie recipe that didn't raise my levels!! I have been able to eat something that gives me my sugar fix and doesn't mess with my levels. Again, everyone is different so please try this and see how you do. I eat a few bites of the mousse and it kicks my cravings. The pancakes I had 3 and I had eggs to add more protein and my levels were fine and the peanut butter cookies are a good snack. Just have one or maybe two ;) Hope this all helped and that these recipes make you as happy as they did for me!

Coconut Cocoa Mousse

Dairy Free Cocoa Mousse

Ingredients:

*Coconut cream scraped from the top of 4 (13.5 oz) chilled cans of full fat coconut milk. Use BPA-free coconut milk

* 5 tablespoons cocoa (adjust according to taste and/or desired thickness)
* 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
* a touch of Himalayan sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

When you are ready to make the mousse, open up the cans and scoop the thick coconut cream into a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer or with an electric hand mixer fitted with whisk attachment (try to keep as much liquid out of the cream as possible)
Add cocoa, honey and vanilla extract (if using) to the bowl and beat, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks become visible, about 5 minutes.
Divide the mixture evenly among ramekins and refrigerate until ready to serve. Mousse will become thicker as it chills in the fridge.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 243 calories, 19 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbs and 3 grams of protein.

This mousse has been a huge lifesaver for my sweet tooth. I served it to friends as well and they fell in love.

Flour-less Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I have been craving cookies and can't have them and it has been so upsetting. The carbs turn to sugar and the sugar raises my levels. I found a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction and I changed a few ingredients to make sure I wasn't effected by the sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup (58g) old-fashioned rolled oats1
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (250g) peanut butter at room temperature or cold2 (I tagged my FAVORITE Peanut butter)
  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) packed light brown sugar3 (SUB 2/3 Maple SYRUP INSTEAD OF BROWN SUGAR)
  • 1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (SUB COCOA NIBS INSTEAD OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the oats, cinnamon, and baking soda together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the peanut butter and brown sugar with a large rubber spatula until combined. Pour in the dry ingredients and slowly mix until everything is combined. Depending how thick and/or cold your peanut butter is, you'll have to use some arm muscles. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  2. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Scoop the dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake two batches - 7 cookies on each baking sheet. Gently press down on the dough mounds with the back of a spoon to slightly flatten as pictured in this recipe. If you find the cookie dough balls are oily-looking from your peanut butter, blot each with a paper towel.
  4. Bake for 9-10 minutes. The cookies will look very soft and underbaked, but that's ok. For crispier cookies, bake for up to 11-12 minutes. Sometimes I press a couple more chocolate chips into the tops of each cookie immediately after coming out of the oven. This is optional and only for looks!
  5. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh stored covered at room temperature for up to 7 days, if they last that long!
  6. Make ahead tip: For longer storage, freeze the cookies for up to 3 months then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Coconut Flower Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 t baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 - 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 T honey ( I USE MAPLE SYRUP BECAUSE THE HONEY RAISES MY LEVELS)
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup to taste on top
  • Grass-fed butter for cooking

DIRECTIONS:

  • Thoroughly mix the eggs, coconut oil, and honey together.
  • Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract.
  • Throw in the coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix, but remember, not too much!
  • Melt a dab of butter in your skillet and then using a measuring cup, add a little batter to the pan. I recommend figuring out how many pancakes you’d like to make beforehand so that you can use an appropriately sized cup or ladle.
  • Remember that you aren’t likely to see many bubbles forming on the top, so carefully check the underside of your pancake before flipping. Extra kudos points for those of you who can flip without a spatula!
  • For best results, serve your pancakes right away.

 

 

My Summer Essentials- Why I Spray Tan & Skin Cancer Real Talk!

vanessa evigan

Ladies and gentleman summer has arrived! The time to play outside, spend time in the pool, BBQ with friends and family, travel to the beach, boat on the lake, whatever your summer looks like we all face a similar issue.... the sun. Some of you may think the sun is your best friend, I use to, until I realized the sun didn't think I was it's best friend. I found out at 28 years old I had skin cancer on my arm and my days of baking were over. I'm 100% guilty of going in tanning beds when I was younger and baking in the sun for hours without sunscreen. I spent most my days on the beach as a teen and in my 20's. I'm also fair skin and light eyed, not the best combo for a sun lover. I'm even Italian! I just didn't get the brown skin like my mom and sister did. Either way, no one should be baking in the sun if they want to look good into their 30's, 40's 50,s and older. My grandmother is 90. You wouldn't know it from the looks of her skin. She never baked in the sun! My first word of advice is learn to put sunscreen on in the morning just like you learned to brush your teeth! Replace your daily moisturizer with one that has SPF. I love the Rodan+Fields body sunscreen. It smells nice and is lightweight and will keep your skin hydrated. You will be so thankful you did. Find a sunscreen that feels good on your skin and learn to love it. TIP: I have discovered iT Cosmetics makeup and I'm obsessed. It has SPF 50 and covers my skin like butter. It does the trick for me so I'm not needing any other sunscreen on my face but re-applying is very important so either keep an extra tube in the purse or a powder with SPF to keep your face safe all day. I LOVE all Jane Iredale Products. The Powder Me Dry Sunscreen in translucent or bronze if you want a little tan look are amazing to keep in the purse over the summer to keep applying SPF and it goes well over everything!  The These are my top picks for sunscreens.

Jane Iredale Powder Me Dry Sunscreen

iT CC Cream Face

ELTA MD Face

ELTA MD Body

Rodan + Fields Body

Now let's take a look at what's in my bag that I am leaning on every day for summer must haves. If you are living anywhere that is above 85 degrees a little pretty hand fan is a MUST. I am in love with the one I have by Fancy Hand Fans. If you use the code FANOFTHEFAN you will receive a 10% discount! I pull this bad boy out on the airplane, restaurants that clearly don't have proper air, or just sitting indoors when I am needing some more air. The fan I choose is so pretty and elegant I have no problem fanning myself down anywhere! Sunglasses are a MUST if you are spending a lot of time outside. If you haven't found your favorite pair yet I love my Warby Parkers. I have the Laurel in Oak Barrel and they are under $100. If you are looking for a little more color in your life, check out Diff Eye Wear! I love them too. Use my discount code EVIGAN25 and receive 25% off your order! I live in hats because sunscreen is not enough for my sensitive skin. I am in love with Lovely Bird Hats. Probably my favorite of all time! Something you probably have never thought of unless you are above the age of 35 and looking at your hands as a dead giveaway for age. The tops of our hands need sunscreen! We wash the sunscreen off when we use the bathroom so I love keeping this small sunscreen in my purse that literally goes on like deodorant so you don't get it on your palms of your hands! It's amazing! Age Shield Hand Balm SPF 30 by Rodan+Fields has the most handy one around in my opinion. If you need a little refreshing pick-me-up because you are melting I LOVE the Rosewater by Heritage Store. It's magical and beyond refreshing. I highly recommend it! I use the 4oz size so it's easy to travel with! If you are pregnant or nursing and your nipples are totally falling apart, I discovered a really nice all natural nipple balm by The Honest Co. It is very soothing and I find my nipples are not addicted to it if I stop using it. The iT CC cream and Rodan+Fields body sunscreen are what I am using right now and loving. See in above sunsreen reccomendations for direct links.

Why I spray tan? Because when I was 28 years old I got skin cancer on my arm. It hurt BAD. They cut in deep. I have this lovely scar to remind me any time I want to go sun-bake that this could have been on my face. I'm really lucky it is on my arm and not my face. Skin cancer is real and it will effect you or someone you know. The facts: Each year in the US alone over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. I could go on and on but friends this is scary and real. If you want more info read HERE. Don't bake, spray! Or find a tanning solution you like that you can do at home. The only one I have found that doesn't leave me orange and doesn't streak is the Foaming Sunless Tan by Rodan+Fields. I have tried them ALL. I like Jergen's Glow but I can get a little orange with that one over time.

Now that I'm living in Nashville, I have finally found a woman who I LOVE for my spray tan. She uses an all natural and organic formula and I look brown not orange. Her name is Joule and she comes to the house and sets up shop in 5 minutes, sprays you in about 7 and is finished and out all in about 15-20 minutes! Shes a magical unicorn. If you are in Nashville and looking for someone wonderful check her out here Beautiful By Joule. Her solution is also Eco-Certified and Parabean free, it also doesn't smell and I can smell EVERYTHING pregnant. I'm like a German Sheppard. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend Chocolate Sun. All natural and organic as well! 

Last thing I would like to share with you is melasma. It is not fun. This is the clinical term for all those wonderful dark marks you can get on your face and body after being in the sun. Some show up on woman as a mustache, or what looks like an actual face mask. It is not a pretty sight and very hard to combat. Especially in the summer. What worked best for me is a compound formula that my doctor ordered in for me with a combination of Reta .05% HYQ 8% and HCT 1%, This is very strong and can cause some skin sensitivity and you CAN NOT go in the sun when using this. Try it during the winter. You also can not use this pregnant or breastfeeding which is when melasma can get really bad. Talk to your doctor about this. If you are looking for something to work a little slower and not cause as much sensitivity using the entire Revers regimen by Rodan+Fields is wonderful as well. It will take longer but it is not as harsh and it brightens the skin and the outcome is beautiful. I used this as well at one point and loved it!! You can find it here at Rodan+Fields Reverse. Keep in mind you need to use the entire regimen to see the results you want.

My Non-Maternity Maternity Top Picks For Summer!

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If you know me, then you know Show Me Your Mumu is one of my favorite clothing companies around. If you don't know me, you just learned something new about me! I had all my bridesmaids in Mumu bridal and I wear Mumu clothing all the time. I love that so much of their collection I'mable to wear pregnant and it's not a maternity clothing line. I take a small in everything pregnant too, and I'm NOT small right now! The great part is I can wear it all once baby comes. I am wearing some of the little dresses as tops over shorts and feeling so sexy and stylish. I wanted to share with you two of my most favorite patterns right now that I have recently found and that have been big hits on my LikeToKnowIt page! I will direct link them after I show you a few more pictures! The models on line are wearing the same items I'm wearing and they are not pregnant like me so you will get a feel for what the clothing looks like on a person without a bump! I linked a few of my favorite styles in these patterns as well and a sexy yellow dress that is just like my off the shoulder dress I am wearing above! Happy Shopping!

Speaking Truth & Gestational Diabetes

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Two weeks ago I sat in my doctors office after my ultra sound patiently awaiting her arrival to tell me everything looked fine and I could be on with my day. When she came in the room and told me "baby looks good" there was a different tone in her voice. I could tell there was a "but" coming shortly after that sentence. "But baby is very big, in the 95% for growth right now and his stomach is measuring bigger than we like to see." I had no idea what this meant. About five weeks prior I had passed my gestational diabetes test so when she told me I would be going home with a diabetic kit to prick my finger 4 times a day and monitor by blood sugar levels for the next week, I felt bummed and discouraged to say the least. She said "everything will probably be fine but we rather be safe and monitor you until we see you back here next week to read the results." I'm a massive baby and hate needles so just the thought of pricking my finger had me in tears. I remember back to that time as a kid when I had to get that test done and it hurt so bad I'm pretty sure I have been traumatized ever since at the thought of having to draw blood from my finger. "Suck it up Vaness, you're a big girl and will be pushing a baby out of your body in no time so if you can't handle a little prick 4 times a day, you're in serious trouble." Is what I kept telling myself as I walked to my car.

Dang-it! I knew it had been too good to be true for me this entire pregnancy with no nausea and just slight depression. I got in my car and started crying. I felt like I had failed and that I was already hurting my child and I'm not even a real life parent yet. When I had asked the doctor what can happen to the baby when you have gestational diabetes, I only heard one thing she said and it sent me into a tailspin and I couldn't calm myself down. "Although it is extremely rare, still birth can happen" and from that moment on, I knew I had to make serious changes. The only issue is, I eat so healthy already, I didn't know what to cut out and what was okay to eat so I had no idea where to begin. I felt so alone sitting in my car in Nashville far away from my mom who I wanted to crawl up to and be held by and cry like the big baby I am. NOPE can't do that now that I'm a real life grown up and a 4 hour plane ride away from my mommy. I called my husband and thank God he is the calm in every one of my storms. He talked me off the ledge. I still didn't feel great or at ease. I also didn't want to read anything online because I find all the fears and negativity people share online to be so damaging for my anxiety.

We were on our trip to Telluride this past weekend and it wasn't until a woman who before this weekend was a stranger to me, asked me "how are you doing?" Instead of saying "great"  and putting on a happy face so I wouldn't have to be vulnerable with her, I looked at her and said with sad eyes "I'm hanging in there, I'm not feeling great at the moment and it could be because my doctor thinks I may have gestational diabetes." I started to feel myself holding back tears. She came right back with "Oh my God, one of my best friends had it with both her kids and everything turned out fine. I'll connect you two." I learned right there in that moment yet again, the power of speaking your truth and not trying to hide what is going on is detrimental. Had I not spoke up and shared how I was really doing, I never would have spoke to the only woman who has been able to ease my mind.

As soon as I returned home I had my follow up doctors appointment and sure enough after reading my levels from the past week the doctor diagnosed me with gestational diabetes. I knew I had it because I read my numbers myself every day and they were sky high. I started crying in her office and asked as many questions as I could rememer to ask which was maybe two. I was in shock. I guess I thought by some miracle she would tell me I didn't have it. She said she was worried about my fasting levels and I would probably need to go on medicine but that diet will really help control the issue. She told me how important it was that I followed a very strict diet and how important it was for me to count my carbohydrates all day. Again I left feeling alone and lost at where to even begin when I'm already gluten free and don't eat bad foods.

I cried the entire drive home and then pulled it together like the big girl I know I can be, and called the woman who my new friend from Telluride suggested I call. Within the first five minutes of our conversation I already felt at ease. She was blunt and positive and that is exactly what I needed. Telling me to look at this as a positive and explaining all the reasons why. She shared her pinterest board with me that had healthy recipes and snack ideas. She said "trust me this is a blessing in disguise, it may not seem that way now but it is." She had it with both her kids and was forced to eat extremely healthy and it helped her to only gain the weight that was necessary for baby. She felt better through the whole pregnancy and knew she was giving her baby all the proper nutrients. She was able to drop the weight real quick and both her kids were healthy, beautiful babies. She explained to me that she loved being diagnosed because it meant she knew they would induce her early and she would have time to get her nails done, shower, put makeup on and be off to the hospital looking good without having to guess when baby was coming and how the whole process would work. That made me laugh but I needed to hear that and that is so me! I'd love to be able to have makeup on and my nails done before I go into labor! I liked the sound of all of this because for me I am wondering at any moment if I could go into labor and have been living in fear of what that will look like when the time comes and at least having a little bit more of a plan, sets my mind at ease. I also felt understood and I think more than anything that is what I was looking for. I have felt sick every single time I put anything in my mouth from an egg to a raspberry. I didn't realize until I was diagnosed how important food combining is and learned I wasn't eating enough protein with my carbs or fat with my proteins! I am on the mend, not fully there yet, but I am trying to stay very positive and reach out to any woman who have been through it before me for tips, advice, and yummy safe recipes. If you have recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and feel alone, please feel free to email me. I'm no doctor and have nothing but suggestions of what has worked for me since I found out and I would love to connect with woman who have been through this before and can offer strength and hope!

Big tip: If you have just found out you have GD..... DON'T EAT FRUIT IN THE MORNING! I have been eating fruit all day since it's what I crave. No bueno! You can eat it but later in the day and stick with berries only. Be sure to mix with plain yogurt to add the fat. Only 1 cup of berries on top of 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt! The body has a very hard time processing fruit in the morning.

LINK TO MY PINTEREST GESTATIONAL DIABETES BOARD

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SHOP MY GREEN RUANA WRAP ON SALE ONLY $21.99

SHOP MY MIRANDA PRINTED PULL OVER PANTS ONLY $68

SHOP MY MATERNITY JEANS ON SALE FOR LIMITED TIME $69.50

Our Messy Not So Perfect Life

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This post feels very vulnerable and scary to post. I'm by no means giving advice because I don't think I have much to give, I'm just trying to be real and Instagram can make everything look so wonderful and perfect and I want to share real truth and beauty at the same time.  I'm posting this very late at night in hopes that I can hold my promises from earlier today that I would post this but hoping that not many people will end up reading it.

Five years ago on May 5th, I met my husband Miles while visiting a friend in Nashville. One year ago today, we got engaged. A lot has happened in between. We were married October 29th of 2016 and found out we were pregnant two weeks after returning from our honeymoon in South Africa. We are grateful, very excited, a bit scared, and feel very lucky to be welcoming a little boy into the world on or around August 5th. However, life is a bumpy roller coaster as everyone knows. Thanks to my hubs, I have learned to love the bumps, bumps can sometimes be fun. I was on a very smooth ride most of my life. I hated any bumps and certainly hated flipping upside down! I did jump off that ride around 27 and life has been wild and crazy ever since and I wouldn't change a thing. My husband is constantly challenging me and getting me to do things that make me step out of my comfort zone almost every week!

Pictures make things look so "perfect" and we are far from that. I find that daily, I'm comparing myself to every beautiful couple I see on social media and that is so unhealthy.

Miles and I have been learning how to understand each others messy selves for five years and I know that will be the case for the rest of our lives. Some days seem so easy, others are a lot more challenging. My grandfather told us before he passed away at 90 years of age, the trick to a happy marriage is patience and tolerance. We laughed but he is right in a lot of ways. He did leave out the part about connection, having fun together, passion, and good conversation but he was married happily for 70 years so I will give him that! 

Let me start by saying that I was a horrible communicator my entire life and I still wouldn't consider myself a good one but I'm working on it. I'm really good at a lot of other stuff but I hated confrontation and didn't know how to have a proper argument with anyone especially a boyfriend. A fight in my mind meant we would probably break up so I avoided confrontation at all costs. My husband on the other hand is wonderful at confrontation. In fact, I think he loves it. For those of you reading this that don't already know, my husband owns a wellness retreat center in Tennessee called Onsite. I linked the website in case you want to understand more about it and I'm really proud of what my husband does and how many people him and Onsite help all over the world. I like to say going to Onsite is like doing 9 months of therapy in a week. It's amazing and I can vouch for that because I have been there and done a program called The Living Center Program. I worked with horses doing Equine therapy, experiential therapy, and dug really deep into issues I never knew I had, and learned I have an ego, I'm stubborn, and I'm hard headed. Onsite has both short term and long term programs as well as wonderful couple-ship programs. We have yet to do the couples program but are going to at some point because we both believe in doing work on ourselves individually and as a couple. I share all of this with you not to promote Onsite, although I love it and would promote it all day long, I share this with you because a lot of people who meet us think we are "masters in relationships" when they hear what Miles does for a living. That couldn't be further from the truth. We are totally relationship challenged a lot of the time to be honest. What we do have working for us? We are aware of it and aware of our weaknesses and very willing to look at our own stuff and work on it. I struggle at everything in life but try so hard to do my best! Miles would tell you himself he struggles with a lot of things that he is really good at helping others with but he and I both strive to get better and better at relationships, not just with each other but with our family and friendships.

In the beginning of our relationship Miles had a lot of conversations with me and shared his needs all the time but I was unable to do that. I didn't know how to. It never felt "safe" in the past for me to express my needs in my other relationships. It wasn't until I started dating Miles and he created a safe environment for me to feel like I could ask for things that I needed, that I found my voice and boy did I find my voice. He made me understand I could have an argument, I could disagree with someone, or even have a big full-blown meltdown and I wouldn't be getting on a plane and moving back to Los Angeles if it went South. I'm not saying Miles is a guru by any means, he's just been practicing this for a lot longer than me and he's really good at this area in his life!

Miles made arguing so safe that I probably do it more than I should now. Sometimes I do it just to feel like I'm "strong" or "confident" or to try and prove a point. Lucky he knows how to handle me and ring me in and back to reality. Sometimes his calmness in the midst of an argument while I'm at a 10 and he's at a 2 makes me want to throw knifes and I'm not a violent person! The fact that he works in the help industry only makes me more frustrated sometimes during an argument because my ego gets so big and I know I'm headed down a rabbit hole that he already sees I'm about to jump in!! Again my ego getting in the way. He has a much better way of "arguing" than I do and over the years he has been helping and teaching me how to do this in a peaceful and healthy way. A way that I really believe has grown us closer.

Over the five years Miles and I have been together we have had our share of struggles and at one point almost didn't make it but we made a choice a year ago and I'm so glad we did. We decided we were going to work through the hurdles instead of letting them take us down. We continue to struggle but with each struggle it feels like we get a whole lot closer.

I have no advice to give EXCEPT I strongly suggest learning your partners Love Language. If you haven't heard of this you have GOT to get the book "The Five Love Languages." Miles and I speak completely different love languages. Usually you will not be the same as your partner and therefor you will neglect their love language because if you don't seek it then you don't speak!

Something we started doing recently is checking in with each other every day. Usually at the end of the day because we both have busy schedules and are not together all day long. Even if it's just 5 minutes to say "what do you need from me right now that I may not be bringing to the relationship?" We aren't good at this one yet but we are working on it.

When one of us has a bit of a blow up which is usually me because I get so upset so easily especially being pregnant, we circle back around and apologize, take ownership for our behavior,  and look at where it came from and why we got there in the first place. If we can figure that out, then we are able to try and deal with how to avoid the same issue coming back up in the future.

Acts of kindness are really a big deal for us. Miles and I both like to be told we are doing a good job or be acknowledged for something we did that was sweet for the other person so we both try really hard to enforce the appreciation and not let it go unnoticed. This is hard when life is busy and there are a million distractions but taking a moment to really notice each other and be present for a moment with each other is so important and can be like a little sprinkle of fairy dust on our relationship.

Sometimes something as simple as him putting a dish in the dishwasher or me stopping him in the morning to tell him how good he looks before he walks out the door, can make the entire day a much brighter one. Or a long hug before we go our separate ways will literally fuel me for the entire day and keep a smile on my face.

Last but not least the way we argue. We do it in a kind and loving way now days. I use to throw out mean hurtful things just because I was feeling hurt or unheard. Bringing up anything from the past was a big stupid thing I use to do. I mean LEAVE IT IN THE PAST VANESSA SERIOUSLY!! I must admit I'm still working hard at this one. Mean words are really hard to forget and almost impossible to take back so I'm very careful what I say and if it's something I wouldn't want said to me, then I don't say it. The way Miles has shown me to argue works for me. He usually starts with a strength of mine or brings up a weakness in himself. It really sets the tone to a safe and even level. Then he addresses the issue and he's able to do it in a soft voice and a kind manor. When he does that, I hear him and we get through the argument with bells on! I'm much more likely to receive constructive criticism and think about it instead of getting defensive and shutting down. I do shut down a lot but I always come back around and I'm able to look at the argument from another pair of glasses. We are both a constant work in progress, but hey, everything is a work in progress and a beautiful work it is and I think we are darn good for each other and help each other grow! 

Thanks for reading this vulnerable piece of my life!