Happy Friday! This month is all about PINK. I mean, literally, the sheriffs in our county are wearing pink badges. When I first saw one, I thought it was a toy badge. #oops. Any way… I love seeing so many people and organizations come out and wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. I mean, I wear pink all year round, so it’s nice to have some more company in my color.
Wearing pink is a fantastic first step toward promoting breast cancer awareness. But this month, I’m challenging you to do more than just wear pink. Take the next step, if you will, and work to end this stupid cancer once and for all.
Treat yo’self to some pink
Join our #AwareWithPink challenge (just do your thing, tag the tags, and get a chance to win a pair of pink Trekz Titanium headphones from Aftershokz. Best headphones I’ve ever tried, no contest). Or, just treat yourself to a pair. For every pair purchased this month, AfterShokz will donate 25% of proceeds to Bright Pink, a non profit that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer awareness and education.
This virtual event aims to get people to collectively run around the world, fundraising for organizations that empower women and girls. It’s not too late to jump in and contribute the miles you’re running anyway toward something greater than yourself.
Don’t want to do it yourself? That’s cool. Help a girl out and contribute to my fundraising page. K thx. 🙂
Host a Beauty Drive
I’m obsessed with this Feel Beautiful Again program by the Breast Cancer Charities of America. They put together beauty swag bags for breast cancer patients to help them feel like themselves after losing their hair, breasts, eyelashes, and other traditional markers of femininity. I’m hosting a drive in my building, collecting beauty products; you can too. It’s an easy, low cost way to give back.
No, really, I’m serious. Prevention is the best kind of healthcare. Go for a run (around the world!!), eat your veggies, take time to destress. Do it for you, and do it because you never know who you’re inspiring to treat themselves with the love and respect they deserve, too.
In case you need some inspiration to get involved, or if you just want to experience all the feels AND read some exquisite writing, read this. My friend and yoga teacher Lindsay is currently battling breast cancer, and she writes about her journey in a way that makes you laugh and cry and feel what she’s going through… even as she resists dipping too far into the ugly details of her treatment. Warning: if you read this at work, there is a significant risk that you will also cry at work.
If you follow me anywhere on the internet, or know me in real life, you probably know, or have gathered, that I’m super ambivalent about running. On the one hand, it’s a really convenient way to get exercise, especially with a certain baby around. And I like the way I feel after I run, or when I have been running regularly.
On the other hand, I pretty much think it’s torture. All the time. No matter what.
My ambivalence means I dip in and out of regular running (okay, let’s be honest, running is a generous word; let’s call it a jog or a shuffle).
I’m not the person who can go out and spontaneously run a few miles with friends. I’m the person who has to build up in tiny increments, 60 seconds here, now 3 minutes there, until after weeks of walk/shuffle intervals, I can knock out 3 miles without stopping. I’ve started the Couch to 5K program countless times over the last 5 years, and I’ve actually completed it twice. Each time I jump back in is like starting from scratch.
It’s like a bad boyfriend who won’t put a ring on it, but I just can’t give up on, either.
Anyway, all this to say: in October, I’m willingly submitting myself to more torture, but it’s not just about me this time. I’m doing it to support Every Mother Counts, an organization that aims to make pregnancy and birth safe for women around the world. It’s a cause that feels really, really personal and meaningful right now.
If I hadn’t had access to amazing care while pregnant and while giving birth to Mackenzie, I honestly don’t know how things would have turned out for either of us.
I don’t mean to be melodramatic. We both made it through in perfect condition, but the outcome could have been so different had we not had access to care: around the world, a woman dies every 2 minutes from pregnancy or childbirth complications. And 98% of those are preventable.
I’m so grateful that we are healthy. I’m so grateful that my mom had the same access to care and was there not only through my childhood, but also at Mackenzie’s birth, and in those first few hazy, confusing, postpartum weeks.
Imagining becoming a mother without my own mother’s presence and support is basically unfathomable to me. I honestly don’t think I could have done it without her.
Maternal mortality one of those big, scary problems that I want so urgently to do something about. I’m not a clinician. I can’t go volunteer, save lives, make a difference in the field. What I can do is raise funds and awareness.
It’s happening in a heated political climate in which I find myself newly horrified by the sexism and misogyny still so rampant and so accepted in the US and around the world. That, too, feels so big and so beyond my reach.
So I’m going to run. I’m going to run, and I’m going to make a dent, however small, in the care and opportunities available to women and girls.
This post was sponsored by everydayhero. I’m honored to be part of this incredible event, and as always, all opinions, running hatred, and political commentary are my own. I so appreciate your support of me, the sweat pink community, and our amazing partners.
One of the hardest things about transitioning from independent lady to a mom has been the loss of my autonomy. I always knew I valued my independence (case in point: the day I got my driver’s license remains one of the best days of my life, even though I now hate driving), but I never realized how much stuff I did until I needed someone else to enable me to do it.
Curl up with the latest New Yorker and a cup of coffee on Saturday morning? Not happening.
Squeeze in a pedicure between conference calls? Yeah, right.
Spontaneously dash off to a yoga class? Puh-lease.
I found myself sliding into a deep dark pool of woe is me. This little mommy is trapped at home and will never, ever, engage with society again or have a moment to herself.
It’s a scary place down there. I admit, I spent some time wallowing. I still occasionally dip in for another good cry now and again.
But in between wallow sessions, I put myself to the task of finding ways to enable my freedom again. Even if it was an assisted / modified freedom, it was better than hanging out in my pajamas on the floor of my apartment in last week’s makeup wondering how I’d gotten myself into this situation.
Here’s what’s helped me scratch the surface of those pre-baby freedoms in ways that help me get out and do stuff.
(Spoiler alert: the stroller is next on this list!) Since they’re open-ear headphones, I can still hear things around me, like cars approaching, or bikers trying to pass our wide load on the trail, or I can chat up fellow stroller-pushing moms.
Gotta make those mom friends, y’all.
Before we had regular childcare, I used to take a lot of calls with the baby on board. Once she was aware of her hands, she discovered that playing with headphone cords is really, really fun. And by playing with, I mean yanking them out of my ears.
Going wireless has saved me many a “sorry, can you repeat that?” and scored me many a new brand partner.
Outdoor yoga is awesome. Outdoor yoga with music is even more awesome. But you know what’s the awesomest?
Outdoor yoga with music that you don’t have to lug around a stereo for, rely on your pathetic phone speakers for, or bother your neighbors with.
2. BOB stroller
After asking the Sweat Pink community for jogging stroller recommendations, I bit the bullet, bought the stroller, and hid the credit card receipt from my husband. Hot damn it’s expensive. But in terms of liberation, it’s been amazing. I take Mac out almost every morning for a walk / jog along the lake in Austin.
Or, at least, I used to, back when sleep was a little more consistent. We’re working on getting back into a good morning routine.
I still don’t particularly like running, but it’s such a convenient way to get some exercise without having to arrange childcare. Also, I’ve realized that exercising with a stroller is AWESOME because it holds all those items you used to try to stuff into the waistband pocket of your shorts or running tights. I got the cupholder attachment because, cupholders. The surprise benefit of that attachment is that the zip pocket holds my phone, chapstick, wallet, and sunnies within easy reach.
Second reason running with a stroller is awesome: if you find yourself short of breath and about to DIE and needing to stop or slow down, you can save face by pretending to check on the baby.
3. Ergobaby 360
I use this carrier all the time.
It’s the only way laundry gets done, and it’s the reason I have done my hair 1.5 times since Mac was born.
It’s currently also the only way she’ll nap, so there’s that.
The one thing I don’t love about this carrier is that Mac overwhelmingly prefers the outward-facing carry, and the straps dig into her arms and leave big red marks. I know it’s really designed for inward carry, so the straps aren’t really built for outward carry. I also know that inward is better for her hips, but you know, whatever makes baby happy is what baby gets.
There you have it. My top 3 post-baby freedom finders. I still miss my autonomy like woah. I yearn for the days when I didn’t have to make elaborate childcare arrangements and a bulletproof pumping schedule so I can get a fucking haircut already. My great life goal is to binge watch something on Netflix. I don’t even care what it is.
But… as my dance teacher in college always said, when you feel like something is too hard or out of reach or just.not.happening, CHANGE YOUR MIND.
I’m working on it. Like, literally, right now, while I’m nursing and taking a call and writing this post. #mompower
This post is sponsored by Aftershokz. All opinions are my own, and these headphones really have been game changing for me. If you want a chance to win your own, join us for the #AwarewithPink Instagram challenge this October!
If you follow me on insta (@alysemb), you’ve probably seen that we’ve been spending quite a bit of this summer in Tahoe. It’s our way of escaping the Texas humidity—we Californians are just not cut out for that kind of heat—and also getting to spend some time much, much closer to family and friends.
My husband and I are so, so fortunate that we can both work remotely and swing our Escape-From-Austin-in-August plan. And we’ve done our best to make sure that our summer takes full advantage of all the beautiful nature around us.
Here’s what a day in the life typically looks like:
5:30am-ish: Mackenzie wakes up for the day. I hit the baby version of snooze (give her one of the many toys floating around our bed) and let her talk to it as long as possible while I resist actually waking up. I surreptitiously check my email on my phone and respond to anything that came in overnight.
6am: Playtime! She chews on various things, such as a sweat pink trucker hat, or one of her books. I down coffee, water, and sneak a few bites of breakfast.
Once I’m a functional human, I put her in her carrier so we can do dishes or laundry, and take a walk down to the lake so she can talk to the waves and the trees.
7:30am: on a good day, it’s nap time.
On a normal day, she’s convinced that only babies need to nap, and she is definitely NOT a baby. We keep playing.
8am-1pm: Mac hangs out with the babysitter and I power through work, with intermittent nursing breaks.
1pm: Gather up ALL the things you need to leave the house with a baby. Restock the diaper bag. Change her diaper and clothes. Stagger out to the car with baby items dangling precipitously from every part of my body, only to realize my keys are nowhere to be found.
1:30pm: Successfully in the car! Nathan, Mac, and I head out for a hike or other outdoor activity. While Nathan drives, I alternate between entertaining the baby and secretly answering emails on my phone.
We aim for at least one new spot a week, and rotate in our favorites on other days. That’s one silver lining to being dog-free right now: there is a whole new world of dog-unfriendly trails to explore.
Mac loves hiking in the ergo, most days. She gets a ton of attention on the trail, and she loves talking to the trees. It’s the most reliable way to get her to take anap, too!
It’s so dry up here that I drink a ridiculous amount of water every time we so much as step out the door. Hydration is my constant goal.
4:30pm: Back home, dusty and thirsty and hot. I convince Nathan to hang out with the baby so I can jump in the lake.
It’s like an instant refresh button. Oh, and more hydration.
Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
5:30pm: (Because, yes, life after baby is not so different from life as a senior citizen.): Attempt to eat dinner.
That means one of us shovels food in our mouth while the other distracts the baby, and then we trade places.
5:35pm: Family playtime. We all hang out on the floor for some tummy time and book reading (aka book chewing).
Nathan and I alternate being engaged with Mac and getting some work done.
6:45pm: the beginning of bedtime. Mac starts cluster feeding, fussing, feeding, squawking, feeding, fussing… until ….
8pm: She’s asleep!!
8pm-8:23pm: I crack open the computer and hustle to get back to work.
8:23pm: Just as soon as I’ve gotten my teeth into whatever project I’m working on, she’s up and its time to feed her again.
8:40pm: back to work.
9:30pm: Fussy baby = more nursing.
11pm: to bed I go.
1am: Mac’s midnight snack.
1:30-530am: bleary blur of half-sleeping, fussing, feeding.
… and then we begin all over again!
Other than the lack of quality sleep, our lifestyle this summer has felt really healthy and balanced. I love getting outside every day with our family, and I am convinced the exposure to nature and people is helping Mac’s brain develop in healthy ways and setting a good example for a lifetime of healthy habits. (Right? Right.) The only thing that’s missing is a dog (hint, hint, husband).
I’ve also been laser focused on hydrating this summer. Between Tahoe’s extremely dry air, the high altitude, and round-the-clock breastfeeding, I’m perpetually parched.
That endless task has gotten a lot more fun since Gerolsteiner sent me all the water I need for the #SparklingDetox (I confess, I’m already breaking into my supply… 🙂 ) #canstopwontstop
If you want to join me and the #sweatpink community on the most fun detox ever, here are all the details:
Gerolsteiner #Sparkling Detox
Drink only Gerolsteiner Mineral Water for the five days of the detox: no other beverages.* That’s it!
* Not to worry, smoothies are a food, not a drink. 😉
Simple, right? I’m already dabbling with this challenge by incorporating more and more Gerolsteiner into my day, and am loving how I feel so far. I’m excited to see how I feel after a full, dedicated week of healthy party time in my cup.
Come join us in the dedicated Facebook group to get advice, support, and recipes & workouts you can do during the challenge.
Gerolsteiner Mineral Water is available nationwide (here’s a store locator), and… just between us, there might just be a HUGE giveaway coming up in which 300 people will win a case of Gerolsteiner. Stay tuned for more on how to enter that… Enter here!🙂
In the meantime, go say hi to Gerolsteiner around the internets, and join our Facebook group!
What a lovely summer it’s been. Hawaii. BlogFest. Tahoe. I’m possibly the luckiest person on the planet to have spent my summer in all these amazing places and with all these incredible people.
We’re winding down our last couple days in Tahoe, before heading to Portland to visit the Flex & Flow team, and I’ll FINALLY get to see the studio in action! I’m so excited I can barely stand it. I was there back in December, when the studio was just an empty box in need of paint, floors, and some major TLC, and I was a super pregnant person waddling through Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators.
I’m trying to take advantage of our last few days in Tahoe to their fullest extent. What I’ve so appreciated about being here in the summer is that it gave me a chance to build up my fitness in a low stress, let’s-get-outside way.
My workouts haven’t been activities I’d normally call workouts. There are no machines, no instructors, no tracking miles or steps or calories or minutes.
It’s been a summer of hiking, of swimming, and morning yoga just because it feels good.
It’s my kind of #weirdworkout. After so many months of feeling out of whack post-baby, it’s beyond incredible to feel like myself again.
Plus, getting Mackenzie out into nature daily feels like bonus points in the mom column.
She goes nuts for the trees, the water, and the dogs we spy on the beach or on our hikes. Hearing her happy squeals are an extra reward on top of the endorphins.
I’m scheming how to pack my weird workout and take it back to Austin. I’m going to miss all this outdoor time and nature. And I’d much rather get outside with my family and just enjoy moving and sweating without focusing on hitting some magic number of miles, minutes, etc.
I like just moving for the pure joy of moving. I think that counts as weird in our quantified-self age?
One of my favorite things (okay, of about ten million favorite things) at BlogFest this year was that we had a beverage sponsor. And not just any beverage sponsor… a totally kickass, my-favorite-kind-of-beverage sponsor.
You see, if I had it my way, I’d drink only sparkling water. I love the stuff. During my pregnancy, it was my go to for mocktails and hydration – all the hydration – and the same still holds true now that I’m breastfeeding.
I just love how mineral water makes drinking water feel festive and fun, instead of a chore. Because yes, I am terrible at hydration; getting enough water is something I have to think about every day.
So when Gerolsteiner Mineral Water invited me to join their #SparklingDetox challenge, I was all about it. In fact, I’m so excited that, instead of waiting for the official start date of September 12, I might, ahem, be programing now. #DelayedGratificationIsHard
What is the #SparklingDetox challenge, you ask? It’s simple, really: for 5 days the only liquid I’ll be consuming is Gerolsteiner. This is my kind of detox: the restrictions are FUN, not, er, restricting.
And, I get to claim all sorts of health benefits, in addition to the joys of indulging in my favorite beverage. Every liter of Gerolsteiner contains 348 mg of calcium and 108 mg of magnesium. That’s 1/3 of the daily requirement for calcium and 1/4 for magnesium!
Want to join me?
Gerolsteiner Mineral Water #SparklingDetox
Drink only Gerolsteiner for the five days of the detox: no other beverages.* That’s it!
* Not to worry, smoothies are a food, not a drink. 😉
Simple, right? I’m excited to see how I feel after a week of healthy party time in my cup.
Come join us in the dedicated Facebook group to get advice, support, and recipes & workouts you can do during the challenge.
Gerolsteiner Mineral Water is available nationwide (here’s a store locator), and… just between us, there might just be a HUGE giveaway coming up in which 300 people will win a case of Gerolsteiner. Stay tuned for more on how to enter that… 🙂
In the meantime, go say hi to Gerolsteiner around the internets, and join our Facebook group!
Happy Monday, sweaties! I’m just cracking back into my computer and life after a blissful weekend spent mostly outdoors with the fam.
We did a little hiking:
A little naked lounging (okay, only Mac was naked):
And a lot of swimming.
As I went through this weekend, I realized there were a ton of things I’d recently discovered that are working for me in really effortless, awesome ways, and I want to share my latest favorites.
I found this wetsuit on super sale at Nordstrom (no longer on sale, sorry!), and you guys, it has revolutionized my daily swim. It’s so much easier and faster to get in the water, and I can stay in so much longer.
The only downside is that, because it was on super sale, I ordered it a size (or two?) too big, so I get a little ballooning effect when I swim. I figured, hey, extra drag, nbd, that’ll just make me a stronger swimmer. Then I spotted this shortie on sale at prAna, and I had to order it, too, this time in the right size.
I’m hopeful it will work, and it’ll be awesome having two, since I’m already loaning mine out to visitors who want in on the wetsuit wonder.
I still am not totally sure what BB cream is (#beautymoron) but I got a sample of this in last Fabletics shipment, and I fell in love. It evens out my skin tone without making me look like I’m wearing makeup; just a better, filtered version of myself.
I can easily stash my phone, keys, and chapstick in my pockets and have my hands free for baby wrangling, yoga poses, and other adventures.
I’ve also worn them swimming and they’ve performed beautifully in the water and dried quickly after.
4. Protein bites
I first made these shortly after Mackenzie was born, and have had them on repeat since. Lately, I’ve been making a double chocolate version with my faveBob’s Red Mill Chocolate Protein powder, Wild Friends Chocolate Almond Butter, and Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats (the oats make them a galactalogue, too!).
There’s the victim blaming that’s going on with the three runners who were killed in the last two weeks.
There’s been all this media attention on how sexist the media coverage of the Olympics are.
The frenzy has produced quite a few funny-because-it’s-true spoofs of the Rio coverage, including the most perfect example of mansplaining I’ve seen in a long time:
And this laugh out loud take on Miss California’s husband:
I’m glad these instances of sexism are getting called out. The spoofs and reactions to them are funny, but they also make me deeply angry that we’re still having this conversation—and, I fear, if His Orangeness gets elected, this conversations are only going to get more troubling. (Note to would-be ‘splainers of any gender: I will categorically delete any comments in defense of the demagogue).
Because my reading and social media time now happens almost exclusively while my 7 month old daughter nurses or naps in my arms, each new headline hits a little closer to home.
How will I explain to her that all sorts of people will judge her differently because of the body she was born into? How can I raise her to believe in herself and call bullshit on the sexism and the mansplaining and the condescension?
My dream is for my daughter to not understand the humor in these articles. I want it to fall completely flat. I want her to find this blog, years from now, and be (a) embarrassed by me in general and (b) totally confused by this post specifically.
My dream is for her to never have to identify as a feminist, because we will finally live the truth that equality and gender have no bearing on one another.
Can we do this? We can.
I don’t know how to begin, so I’m just starting where I can, right now, with something tangible that feels real and powerful. I’m participating in If Girls Ran the World, an event in which we will collectively and virtually run around the world together. It’s movement on a mass scale, all to empower women and girls.
I’m fundraising for Every Mother Counts, an organization that feels super relevant to me right now. If you’re so moved, I’d so appreciate your support, whether that’s with a tweet, joining the event, a donation, or just a virtual fist pump. Whatever you got, I’m taking it, and I’m adding it to my curriculum for teaching my daughter how to be fucking awesome.
This post was sponsored by everydayhero. I’m honored to be part of the effort to empower women and girls, and as always, all rage, opinions, and profanity are my own.
First off, thank you to all of you for your kind words and support around Tigger’s passing. I confess I felt a little silly admitting to just how much his death derailed me, but Suzi’s story and Shannon’s words were so validating about how grief is grief:
“If you’ve never loved a pup or cat, you might not get it. You might even roll your eyes. But if you HAVE, you will get this.” – Shannon, Badass Fitness
I’m trying to shake it off (oh Taylor, I will never grow tired of singing and dancing in my car to that song), and as part of that, I’ve been consciously focusing on doing things that make me feel amazing. Kind of like a gratitude practice, but with a dash of fabulous.
So – here goes. My #feelamazingeveryday top 5:
There are few things in life that make me happier than a swim in a beautiful body of water, whether that’s a pool, the ocean, a lake, or … anywhere else. 🙂 This summer has been a boom year for beautiful swimming opportunities, from the beach in Maui:
I’ve been trying to swim every day, and I’ve got a pretty good streak going. I just feel so much happier in the water, and also in a much more amazing mood after a good swim. My family benefits from that happiness, too. 😉
2. Slowing down and spending time with my daughter
In a lot of ways, motherhood has been a tough transition for me—more on that to come. I’m making a focused effort to slow down and spend quality time with Mackenzie every day. That means no checking my phone while she babbles at her butterfly mobile; no spacing out and thinking about work while she puts my sunglasses in her mouth for the umpteenth time.
I’m also trying to do at least one dedicated Mactivity per day, like hiking:
Or swim lessons:
3. Morning smoothies
I just recently got on a smoothie kick, and for someone who has been a casual smoothie drinker at best, this bug bit me, hard. It’s lifechanging, y’all.
I’ve been having an Amazing Grass peanut butter smoothie almost every morning. (Okay, probably because it tastes like dessert, but there’s no crash after).
I’ve also been traveling with the single serving packets. Of all the protein powders I’ve tried, this is one that holds up under dire preparation circumstances. As in, it still tastes good even if all you do is add water and give it as good a mixing as you’re able to, given the tools available (coffee stir stick in the hotel room, anyone?).
4. Creeping on other people’s dogs
Yep, I have been stopping just about everyone I see with a cute pup just to pet and chat. It’s good for the soul. I want a dog so badly, but know that (a) I need to give myself some time, and (b) getting a puppy is a terrible idea right now. We’re still working on getting settled in with this human puppy.
5. Getting a tattoo?
Okay, this one is entirely speculative. I’m thinking about my first ink. But I’m a total chicken. Should I do it?!
This post was sponsored by Amazing Grass. I’m so grateful to the brands who support the Sweat Pink community… and especially for the theme of #feelamazingeveryday. It was the perfect push for me to change my mindset from, wahhh, I miss my dog, to “what can I do today to feel amazing?”
Last week’s conference was a huge success. I need to write about it, about the people, especially, but I can’t even get my head around how to do that right now.
There’s always this crash that happens after. It usually takes me about a week to recover from Blogfest, but this year has been extra special.
We went straight to Tahoe (so long, steamy Austin!), and the adjustment has been rough.
I am wiped out. Mackenzie is wiped out.
It’s the HAF. The dreaded, cacophonous HAF (high altitude flatulence), which strains and contorts Mac’s little body, and keeps us bicycling and bouncing through the night.
It’s the dark moments pre-dawn, when despair gives way to melodrama.
I’ll never sleep again.
I am sure of it, each time I start a new set of bicycles on her squishy little thighs.
It’s the pediatrician’s raised eyebrow as he says, your 6 month old is physiologically capable of sleeping through the night.
It’s the moment when I look at my to-do list, rich with exciting projects I’m so inspired to charge into, especially after the heady dose of energy the conference always injects me with.
But I look at that list, and I just want to crawl away and hide.
It’s that Tigger died last week, and I pretended it didn’t happen so I could get through the conference without making everyone listen to me talk about my dog. Oh, and so I wouldn’t spend all weekend bawling my eyes out.
Post-conference, I’m flirting with the denial phase of grief and also, occasionally, bawling my eyes out.