Bear with me.....

I’ve had a lot of downtime this week while our family of 7 is battling norovirus to lay and reflect, while my body aches with pain and choosing to stay strong and positive as our house smells like a portapotty, and resembles a bomb going off. This week one of my favorite designers took her life, and it shook me weirdly hard because she seemed so optimistic and I really felt she was my spirit animal with her love for glitter like myself. It was no secret I was a Kate Spade-aholic, shoes, purses, wallets, watches, phone covers, stationary, you name it, I love it, I’m that person taking selfies in front of her stores  and gushing constantly of my love for the line. It got me thinking about a lot of things regarding this epidemic in this country and how we can navigate the future. Being a mom to 5 boys and having suffered from anxiety and depression starting in college, I’m always over analyzing situations with my kids, making sure I’m doing the best I can so they don’t end up anxious or depressed and praying to God that they feel enough every single day. I am nervous to write this in fear it could be misconstrued, but I feel like there’s even more that needs to happen for us out there, more than any medicine can touch. There has to be a change inside of us, a change that begins with us getting real and raw with ourselves vs masking our issues. A change that begins when we stop sugar coating life and loving ourselves, imperfections and all. A love for ourselves that doesn’t involve an income, house, car, purse, to make us feel enough. I think until we truly grasp that concept, we’re going to be treading water. 

Medicine has saved my life, still currently on zoloft, I 125% believe that, because the out of control feeling from anxiety and depression is unlike any other. You feel helpless, out of control and doomed. But medicine can only get us so far. We have to dive deeper, we have to look into our past and our present and dig deep. We’re so good at avoiding, avoiding hurt and feelings at all costs, but when we avoid, we create more problems. So let me tell you a little about me. 

I grew up in a divorced family. I lived in a trailer and we had food stamps. I fought with my mom and moved in with my dad. I went to college only to drop out after wasting thousands of my dads hard earned money. I spent so many years of my life never feeling enough. I chased boys and would mold myself to what they liked. I did dumb stuff to get attention, I literally couldn’t NOT be in a relationship because I felt like I had no purpose. When I moved out on my own to a one bedroom apartment, I forced myself to get two extra jobs because I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts. I would drink cheap wine to fall asleep and keep myself insanely busy all with a smile on my face not letting anyone know. I was a nanny and worked for some wealthy families, I saw their houses and fancy cars as things that would make happy. If I could have those things I wouldn’t be sad. So I fixated on buying things to make me happy. Ugg boots would bring me joy, right? 

I met my now husband at this time and we fell in love insanely fast, moved in after two months, got engaged and pregnant shortly after. Pregnant before marriage, just to add to my never feeling good enough but we didn’t want to get married til after our son was born. I hid from social media because I didn’t want friends from high school to see me, I had gained weight from pregnancy, was now a mom and wife who had no idea what she was doing and was still chasing that idea of “I will be happy if we have more”. We had baby 2 and my first earth shattering battle with anxiety and depression that rocked me to my core. Thankfully Xanax and Zoloft reigned me in and I weaned a few months later. My husband finished his MBA and got offered an amazing job. A job that changed our entire lives in a sense. We had to relocate and could now afford a fancier house. We could have rented something smaller but this giant 3,000 square foot home with granite counter tops and a gorgeous neighborhood was what I had to have. “I will never be sad if we get this house Jordan”. Because you know a pretty house solves all problems. He of course wanted to make me happy, gosh I was such a gem (eye roll). 

I started sharing our shiny life on social media. Look at our new house, look at my kids dressed perfect, because now I could afford Baby Gap. It was ALL about appearances with me at this point and it’s legit nauseating to even type this. I was threatened by every woman around me, and constantly comparing myself to them, I had no self respect or self love for who I was and how blessed I was. We got pregnant with baby #3 which meant we needed a bigger car. I found a Land Rover, I had to have, once again, “Jordan I will never be sad if we get this car, pretty please” and of course, we got the dumb car. I thought people would think I was cooler, or fancier, or worthy. This bull crap carried on. And guess what I was still comparing myself, still never feeling enough, still negative self talking, and just a mess y’all. I started a blog and chased perfection, sharing only photos that were perfectly posed, no messes in the background, and you’d never see me not smiling. I had an image to obtain to the Mom blog community, how could I ever let them see the real messy me. The one who’s bathroom is disgusting with hair in the sink, the one who yells at her kids for not smiling perfect, the one who trash talked everyone but would shame others for being “judgemental”.  We then moved to our now house and got pregnant with #4 where I fell into my depepest depression yet and this was the turning point. 

I was helpless, flailing on the floor, bawling my eyes out, I had no sense of reality, I couldn’t think past the next 5 minutes and was terrified I would somehow die. Sleep deprivation paired with anxiety is awful. Once again thank god for my doctors, Xanax and Zoloft. As I was in the deepest pit I kept praying and asking myself “Allie you have it all, you have the car and house, you have healthy kids, an amazing husband and yet look at you”. This is where my biggest change happened and I’ve been digging and unraveling ever since. It’s been about 4 years and it all started with finding my purpose and who I truly am. I started reading personal development books, Brene Brown “Gifts of Imperfections” was such an eye opener to me. 

For years I thought “self help” books were for people who needed help, but I clearly didn’t need help. I was so far gone thinking I had life figured out with grasping straws to get shiny objects to buy an ounce of happiness vs looking inside and around myself for that joy. Digging through my past and uncovering my hurt and things I would always hide of my life was huge. I literally didn’t want friends to come over in high school because I was ashamed we lived in a trailer, I would wear name brands to feel better about myself and tear others down to build me up. I started getting real and raw and OWNING my life, my past decisions, my choices and every single moment that led me to who I was that day.  I started sharing my gut wrenching moments, sharing the ugly, sharing that motherhood and marriage was hard, sharing that I was on anxiety meds, sharing that I didn’t feel enough, sharing that I would stand in the mirror and tell myself I was ugly, sharing that I judged people before getting to know them, sharing it ALL and not hiding the chaos of life. I started making my mess, my message. By the grace of God through this I somehow started an at home business and landed myself in the top 1% of the company having my name in shining lights and strolling across stage in front of thousands, I had an amazing income and title, and last year it hit me, I was on stage looking out and instead of feeling complete joy for the achievements, I felt empty, I knew I still had some work to do on my insides. I was still ironing out the details of chasing things but that moment let me know, the titles and shiny lights aren’t it either. Last fall after that event, I got rid of the stupid Land Rover and felt a huge sense of relief, that’s when i knew real change was happening inside me. I didn’t need a car or purse to be enough. I didn’t need a title or rank to be enough, I was finally enough and in love with myself that I didn’t need affirmation from others, not friends, my company or followers on social media. I was enough for ME! 

The growth meant a lot of boundaries and detaching myself from people who brought more harm than good into my life, it required me not allowing others choices (my dads alcoholism and my moms constant ups and downs with me) and letting go of others control over me. At the end of the day, the choices of others have NOTHING to do with you. It took me countless hours of reading and reflecting and realizing that HURT people HURT people, because I was once a hurt person who lashed out at others. When someone has something mean or hurtful to say, it has NOTHING to do with you, and everything to do with them and an insecurity they face. I’m not fully healed and I’m eager to continue the journey but every single day, every scenario at hand, I’m given choices, choices to honor my self or to fall back on old habits. At the end of the day i control who I let control me, I control if I let my kids awful behavior ruin my day, I control if I let the jerk who cut me off get me angry, I control if I let my husbands comments bounce off me, or settle in deep. I’m not a doctor or a specialist, I didn’t even finish college but I do believe we need more awareness into WHO WE ARE as a person, what brings us joy and what doesn’t, being honest with ourselves and those around us. To stop feeling like we have to be everything and enough for everyone else. To stop saying “yes” to things that stress us out, to start listening to our bodies and resting when we need it. To start fueling our bodies right so we can function properly, to stop digging ourselves in a hole with alcohol and drugs (not medication FYI) If we all focused on being enough for US, and loving every freaking aspect of ourselves there will be a change. It’s not easy or pretty, it’s downtight excruciating to dig at wounds and work through our issues but you’re worth it. You are so worth it my friends. I’m a mama to 5 little men, currently still on Zoloft and still working daily to be the best version of me.

If there’s one thing I want my boys to grow up with, it’s that sense of love for themselves. To be happy in who they are, to like the things that bring them joy, even if it’s not cool or trendy. To love their quirks and to not hide their imperfections. I believe if we can achieve that in ourselves and our families we will be stronger as a country and stop the rate of suicide and death dominating the news. 

It won’t be easy, but I believe it will be worth it. 

Family Movie Night 80's-90's List

Every friday night we have been having a family movie night with the boys and let's face it, there is only so many cartoon movies my mom heart can take so we decided to start introducing our boys to the classics from our childhood in the 80's and 90's and we compiled an amazing list with the help of our friends.
Heres the list:
*I cannot vouch that all are perfect language, we've had a few with some colorful words*

Richie Rich
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
The Sandlot
Little Giants
Cool Runnings
Harry and the Hendersons 
National Treasure
Home Alone 1&2 
Little Rascals
Dunsten Checks In 
The Goonies
Parent Trap
My Girl
It Takes 2
Free Willy
Mighty Ducks 
Angels in the Outfield
Rookie of the Year 
Milo and Otis
Space Jam 
Blank Check
The Flinstones
Homeward Bound 
Man of the House
Jungle 2 Jungle
Santa Clause 
Mrs Doubtfire
3 Ninjas 
Mouse Hunt
Dennis the Menance
Problem Child
The Princess Bride
Big Green
The Great Outdoors

Let me know any that we missed!

2B Mindset Offical Test Group- Postpartum Journey

I figured I needed to type everything out from my journey alongside creator Ilana Muhlstein for our first nutrition program, 2B Mindset. I had the honor of being in the official test group and doing the program months before it launched. What transpired from learning from Ilana and changing my mindset has been a life changer.

I started the test group when I was 6 weeks postpartum from baby #5 and let me just say its the best postpartum journey I have ever had. One that didn't involve me hating myself and the scale. One that didnt involve me looking in the mirror and ripping myself to shreds, one that didnt involve the negative self talk that always crept in from sleepless nights, trying to get dressed in clothes. This was the FIRST time I have ENJOYED my postpartum journey and these stages of my sons life that go way too quick. Thinking back to how much energy and time I spent negative my past 4 postpartum rounds makes me sad, but we always have the choice to do better and be better and I am forever grateful this came into my life when it did.

But First: What is 2B Mindset?
Nutrition First program, exercise is "extra credit"
Laid back, flexible lifestyle approach.
YOU CHOOSE the foods you eat
NO restrictions, NO cutting out food groups
NO counting, NO points.

SO back to 6 weeks postpartum and starting. I had dropped the first 15lbs postpartum pretty easily, but I was battling the scale creeping UP instead of DOWN, which was annoying since I had 20lbs to go. I wasnt really looking forward to doing workouts and workouts are OPTIONAL with 2B Mindset so that in itself took so much pressure off of me.

The next thing I was a tad nervous about was I was breastfeeding and did not want to mess with my supply. I was already supplementing my supply with fenugreek, oatmeal, and all these random bars and shakes that were supposed to boost my supply so I was terrified to lose any milk since my son was so young. 

I had a hard time initially rewiring my mind around the concept of 2B, I felt a tad out of control because I was used to counting calories and portions, and always had the "you need 500 extra calories for breastfeeding" so changing that mindset took a few weeks as I allowed my body to be in charge and followed Ilana's tips and leaned into this new lifestyle. What I found was INSANE.

I didn't need supplements for my milk supply, I didn't need 500 extra calories or to even WORRY ABOUT calories, I didnt need to exercise like I had thought to remove the stubborn weight. My milk supply boosted, the scale steadily moved and inches melted off! I was in LOVE with my new postpartum body and even more in love with everything around me. For once I could focus on being HAPPY in all aspects because the regular postpartum struggle wasn't clouding my days.

In less than 2 months I had lost 11lbs and 10.5 inches from the 2B Mindset all while breastfeeding. The worry of working out constantly wasnt weighing on me which was HUGE. My clothes fit better, I wasnt hiding in pictures, and my confidence skyrocketed!

And check the growth this stud muffin made:

For breastfeeding mamas: 
DRINK MORE WATER!!! I aim for my weight in ounces daily!
Your weight fluctuates every morning from milk, so dont get discouraged.
GRACE, give yourself lots of grace through the weeks and dont stress. 
Allow your body to adjust and tweak your meals along the way.

What I also gained and most importantly:
Control over my binge eating.
Not feeling bad for having treats.
Not "trashing the day or week" if I fell off track
Not being stressed about food for ONCE IN MY LIFE.
2 vacations without weight gain (HUGE VICTORY)
HAPPINESS and JOY through my days because I FEEL AMAZING
FREEDOM from not counting calories or foods
FREEDOM from NO restrictions

So you have 5 kids, how do you make 2B work for your family? 
It all starts with us, so the first few weeks I focused solely on me and finding what foods tasted best and what meals were easiest to make then I started including everyone. The boys are loving zucchini noodles and the different flavors. Its funny to see kids and what they like. My one son only likes broccoli roasted with salt, while the others like it raw. Which zucchini my one son LOVES it as noodles but weirdly not when I slice and saute, so its fun to see which resonates with each kid, and for dinners I focus one night on a meal each of them likes, and then the other nights might not be "their fave" but they have to finish haha. These are things I wish my parents had done with me because I boycotted ALL veggies until a few years ago when I realized how bad of shape my insides were in from not eating healthy. I always tell my kids "I will never feed you something that is bad tasting" so I try to make everything fun and enjoyable. If I wont eat it, I cant expect them to haha so flavor those meals fun y'all! 

My kids now ask for veggies, it wasnt always this way, so give it time and embrace it. Soon their tastes will also change just like yours! 

Heres a peek at my meals!


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*must not be working with a current coach*

What to Pack for the Hospital (Mom and Baby)

As we prepare to hit the baby hotel aka the hospital for Teddys arrival, I finally got our bag packed! We went into pre-term labor at 36 weeks and all I had at the overnight hospital with me was a toothbrush, so learn from my procrastination skills and pack ahead. Thankfully Teddy didn't come at 36 weeks but the second I got home from the hospital I packed my bag for me and him.

Here's a sneak peek of what I included in mine. My first baby I am almost certain that I walked in with enough stuff for a 1 week stay, so this is my simplified list after 4 babies.

Scroll to bottom for video. Links for products under pictures

For Baby:
2-3 Outfits (they give you a onesie in the hospital so I usually let the baby trash that one and then I bring a few, along with a cute coming home outfit) The Oh Boy outfit can be found here at this boy clothing company USE CODE ALLIEDARR for 10% off and the One Handsome Fella is from Carters.

2-3 Blankets (they also give you one at the hospital which I love for those "hospital pictures" but then I love wrapping them up in cute ones for additional pictures. Hands down a must have is a blanket from Jennifer Ann personalized with their name. I went with Teddy and Theodore to cover all my bases. Jennifer also has a FB group where I snagged a few more items HALF PRICE!

Booties or Socks, my friends swear by these booties because they "stay put" on their teeny feet so I am giving them a whirl since I lose baby socks at a rapid pace. The booties are from Zutano. They snap on so hopefully they hold. I got brighter colors so I don't lose them.

Camera- I bring my more fancy camera for those first moment shots of baby, heres where I come up with ideas for those pictures.  Because when I look back every year on their birthday, these pictures of their tiny features bring me to tears. So capture those moments girlfriend!

Also along with camera....CHARGERS galore, for your camera, phone, computer, whatever you need.

For Mom:

Mom clearly needs a little more haha.

2-3 Nursing Tanks, these are a Godsend my friends, they keep you covered and feeling semi human after birth. And will also be a daily staple the next few months. My favorites come in a 3 pack of different colors and can be found here (amazon prime for the win!)

Toiletry Bag- Pack whatever you would need for a weekend away, toothbrush, hair stuff, make up, chapstick, face wash....all the stuff you need to put yourself together. I cant tell you how good showering and putting a little make up on feels the day after birth. 

SNACKS- I might be a rule breaker during labor and sneak snacks, but these are also awesome for late night feedings or late nights when you just stare at your baby. I pack protein bars and also Shakeology to give me a boost when I am feeling depleted. 

Nursing Bras- I am borderline obsessed with these bras in the picture. They are comfortable and easy access. They are "sleep bras" which I wear all day, because they are awesome! They were both less than $10 on amazon, I just buy the colors that are cheapest! Heres the black one and the $6 grey one.

Underwear that you can toss if need be. Since your body is leaking all sorts of wonderful stuff and you're wearing big pads, grab a pack of undies a size or two up. I grabbed some on amazon as well. Can you tell I don't like leaving my house for things haha.  

Postpartum Leggings- from BLANQI! GUYS these are actually my #1 pregnancy must have. I was nervous buying them because they are pricier, so when I first bought them they had the Postpartum leggings on sale, so I grabbed those for after baby. Well I put them on around 20 weeks pregnant and never took them off, they are FREAKING AMAZING. I now own 3 pairs lol, one of which is now in my hospital bag. They pull up high to right under your breasts and are SO COMFY, there is no digging into your skin, just pure heaven. You can get yours here and save 20% off! 

Sleep shirt that buttons up- These are so handy for being comfy and also feeling semi covered in the hospital. I grabbed one at TJ Maxx and got a size up, because nothing is worse than tight clothing after a baby, so size up and get comfy. Its easy nursing access as well and comfier than those hospital gowns. 

Going Home Top- This nursing sweatshirt is THE BOMB! I love that it doesn't look like a nursing shirt at all and is still stylish. Ive noticed a lot of shops coming out with identical ones to this grey one, but I got mine from Seraphine Maternity 

Lastly, cozy socks are a must!

Heres a video on all the items as well <3 nbsp="" p="">

Not picture are Car Seat and also since its December my favorite car seat over to keep them toasty!

Best EVER Healthy Brownies

I forgot how AMAZING these were until I whipped them up last week and they were gone in 2 hours. They are so addicting and also its kind of insane how little ingredients make them and they bake up just like brownies. Very fascinating to watch!

Like I always give as a disclaimer, especially when I say that the recipe is paleo, gluten free, dairy free, grain free, is that I WILL NEVER share a recipe that doesn't taste good. I have made so many that taste like cardboard and its just time and money wasted, therefore I will save y'all the hassle and only post things that are magical, like unicorns. I also am not a fan of reading books before getting to a recipe, so let's get to the real reason you're here. THE RECIPE FOR THESE BABIES!

The BEST Paleo Brownies:

Here is what you will need. ...

4 eggs
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup pure honey plus more 2-3 TBSP if needed after you check sweetness level
3 TBS coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

*HOLIDAY TWIST- You could add a drop or two of peppermint oil*

Melt the coconut oil and mix everything together, I did not even use my mixer, I just hand mixed it all, it was so easy. Pour it into a pan, I chose a 10 inch pie pan but a 9x9 or 8x8 would work!

((Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, mine was done quick so I would check it around 20 minutes!))

While its baking make the frosting, which is so freaking easy as well. The only downside is you have to let it chill for awhile before you whip it.

Here is what you need:
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut oil
1-2 TBSP honey
1 tsp vanilla

Melt them over low heat in a saucepan.

Once melted place in a dish in the fridge for half hour, you could put it in the freezer to speed that up a little. After that whip it in your mixer on high until somewhat fluffy.

((it tastes like fudge, no joke!)

After its done baking let them cool, cut your brownies and place on a plate and frost them!

Enjoy for as long as they last in your kitchen!!! *hide some from kids if necessary*