Monthly Archives

July 2021

5 Secrets to Taking Gorgeous Maternity Photos

By Lifestyle No Comments

Congratulations, you are pregnant! Whether you are feeling gorgeous and powerful or big and puffy; these five secrets will help you take gorgeous maternity photos.

1.) Good Photographer

It cannot be overstated that your photos greatly depend on the photographer you choose. There is a reason why you are paying them and that is for their expertise. It truly does make a difference in the quality of your photos. The biggest advice I can give you is to pick a photographer whose aesthetic matches your own. If you like moody photos, choose a photographer who edits that direction. If you like light and airy photos, choose a photographer who can handle that type of photo. Don’t feel bad being picky on this as it makes all the difference in the outcome of your photos. BUT I will be very clear that you need to pick a photographer within your budget. Do not go broke trying to pay for maternity photos. It’s a balancing act finding a photographer who fits the look you like while also fitting in your budget.

2.) Pick and Outfit You Are COMFORTABLE In

You are pregnant and with that comes a ton of body changes. It is so important to find something to wear that you are comfortable in for your maternity photos. There are a ton of outfits that you can choose for these maternity photos, but don’t feel pressured into a certain type of outfit. Pick whatever makes you feel beautiful and comfortable because that will transfer through to the photos. If you choose an outfit that you are uncomfortable in or doesn’t feel like you, that will come through in the photos that are taken. An example of this that I struggled with is a form fitted dress versus a flowing dress. In general I drift towards form fitting dresses that land before my knee than I do flowing dresses down to my feet. However, since I was feeling big and uncomfortable, I knew I would like the outlook of the photos better if I chose a flowing dress that wasn’t tight.

3.) Pamper Yourself

One of my biggest recommendations is pampering yourself before your photo session! For me that meant splurging at Drybar for someone to style my hair. The reason I suggest this is because your hormones are at their highest, especially as you get closer to your due date. At this point I was seriously so filled with hormones, everything made me cry and I felt so self conscious about my belly and how much my face had swelled up. Going out and getting my hair done made all the difference in how I felt during out photo session. I felt beautiful and a bit more like myself! Trust me, this is an area to splurge on as it will make you feel so much better!

4.) Keep Expectations Low

When you look at Pinterest, all you see are the best of the best maternity photos. Chances are you will not love every photo that is taken of you when you are pregnant. You will have those photos where you don’t like the angle or the way your face or body looks. That is completely normal and to be expected. You may also go into the photos expecting certain shots that you had seen online. The online problem with holding out hope for a certain shot is that they rarely live up to your expectation. I would highly recommend going in with your expectations a bit lower. Be okay that a different shot might be your favorite, that you may not like them all, and that it may be a bit harder emotional than you planned. But speaking from experience, looking back at those photos after having my daughter is everything! I may look different, but I love the photos and cherish them!

5.) Have Fun With Them

Go into the photos with the goal to have fun! Go into it remembering why you are getting these done in the first place. You want to make memories and remember this time in your life. To do that you need to step back and look at why you are having the photos done. If you can gain that perspective back you will be able to better enjoy your maternity photo experience.

Below are some of my favorites from our maternity session! Hope you enjoy them and my 5 secrets to gorgeous maternity photos.

Photographer: https://www.instagram.com/victoriaisabeltate/

Dress: https://www.indiefashionboutique.com/

Hair: https://www.drybarshops.com/

How to Make Chicken Meuniere with Tomato and Parsley Sauce

By Food No Comments

Now that I have a baby, easy dinners are where its at! I never understood the need for moms to have easy dinners to make until these last few weeks with my newborn. Tasty but easy dishes are a gold mine for moms. This chicken meuniere is an easy and tasty dish that is perfect for a weeknight. There are not a lot of steps to this meal and the dish was very tasty and light. Chicken Meuniere is lightweight yet tasty and the sauce added a fresh aspect to the dish.

I will say that I had to make a couple changes to the recipe just based on how the cooking was going. The recipe didn’t say to drain any remaining liquid from the pan before making the sauce but there was too much so I omitted the extra olive oil. I very well could have done something wrong, but that was my experience. The blend of flavors in this Chicken Meuniere was excellent and really made the dish stand out.

Overall Review: 4.8/5

If you are busy and looking for a meal you can prep ahead of time this would be the one. I don’t think you would have any issues making the sauce ahead of time and refrigerating it until you cook the chicken. That would cut your cooking time in the evening down significantly as all you would have to do is cook the chicken and heat the sauce up. I highly suggest you try making this for your next family meal! Pair it with some cooked veggies or mashed potatoes for a more filling meal! If you try this Chicken Meuniere, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

For more recipe reviews: CLICK HERE. xoxo-Kayla

Chicken Meuniere with Tomato and Parsley Sauce

Recipe from Giada de Laurentiis's Weeknights with Giada cookbook
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Flour For the bowl mix
  • 1/2 tsp Salt For the bowl mix
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Chicken cutlets 4 oz pounded to 1/4 inch thick is recommended
  • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Plum Tomatoes Seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata Olives quartered
  • 2 tbsp Capers Rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1/2 Large Lemon Grated zest
  • 1/4 cup Parsley Leaves

Instructions
 

  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil and butter
  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper and season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Take chicken and dredge in flour mixture
  • Shake off excess flour mixture. Place cutlets in skillet for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Transfer to a plate and keep warm (I place in microwave to keep warm)
  • In the same pan add olive oil, tomatoes, olives, capers, wine and lemon zest. Scrape any brown bits from bottom and mix in the pan. (You may need to drain pan beforehand so its not too runny) Cook for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes soften. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Pour tomato mixture over chicken and serve warm.

8 Things I Learned as a New Mom

By Lifestyle No Comments

Congratulations mom! Wherever you are I hope that you are healthy and enjoying your life as a new mom. However, it is very easy to get frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, and more. I am far from an experienced mom, as I type this I have a newborn baby girl who just turned a month old. She spent over a week in the NICU so I’ve only had her home for about 3 weeks now. These are the things I have learned over those few weeks and I hope it helps you as you navigate those first few weeks as well!

1. Prepare for the Unexpected.

The first and most important piece of advice that I could give to any new mom is to prepare for the unexpected. The date they give you to expect your child to be born is just an estimation, they will come on their own time. Health issues can arise for you or for your baby at any time (oh the joys of pregnancy!). For me, that meant six weeks early due to sudden severe preeclampsia and the potential complications that posed to me and my daughter. This meant that the six weeks I thought I had left to prepare for her arrival were gone, all plans had to be escalated and quickly! We also had to mentally prepare that she would be in the NICU for some time after her arrival, so I wasn’t able to hold her for long, I wasn’t there to change her first diaper, etc. So try to prepare, at least mentally, for the unexpected. Things can happen in an instant and being able to ebb and flow with the changes is critical.

2. Soak It In.

You have heard people say it over and over, “The days are long but the years are short.” It’s hard to keep that perspective when you are exhausted and dealing with a tiny human day in and day out. However, it is so true. As I am typing this, my daughter is here next to me and already a month old. It feels like just yesterday we had her and were in the NICU feeding her for the first time. You child will only be that tiny once, and while its exhausting, its also magical and fleeting. Try to find a way to enjoy the moment you are in. For me, gaining that perspective was by watching other moms and babies in the NICU. I realized how precious time is, how precious life is, and how blessed we were that our daughter was doing so well. Sometimes you just need a bit of perspective to see things in a new light.

3. Housework is Not Critical

Let me free you from the belief that you need to stay on top of all housework with a newborn. You do NOT need to do it all. I can promise you that the housework will be there when you are ready. Personally, I was never OCD about housework before my daughter arrived anyways, but I do think that being able to set it aside and focus on her is crucial. She will only be this little once, the kitchen needing cleaned will be there for the rest of my life. So, if I put it off for a few hours or until the next day, no big deal. It will get done. I hope that you can find a way to have that perspective, because it will free you!

4. Accept and Ask for Help

I struggle hard with this one; I hate asking for and accepting help. Helping others and being there for them is easy and something I love doing. Admitting I can’t do it all and need help takes a humbleness that I don’t like showing. But you are a new mom! You deserve the help! So don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty, don’t feel like you are failing. It is quite the opposite. What’s really happening is that people know you were thrust into a whole new world full of exhaustion and new beginnings. Because of that they are trying to walk with you and support you. Be okay with the support, say thank you and let go of the guilt momma.

5. Hold Your Baby.

This one is just my own personal testament. I refuse to believe I can spoil my newborn baby. She went from being in my belly 24/7 to out in this cold world. If she needs some extra love and extra time in my arms, by all means she can stay there. I believe wholeheartedly that holding and comforting my newborn baby is crucial and a magical thing. She needs me and needs someone to love on her and make her feel safe. And lucky for you momma, your baby wants to be held by you! Enjoy those special moments and hold your baby as close as you can!

6. Formula or Breast milk – Whatever Works for You and Baby

Seriously, I have never bought into the belief that you are a bad mom if you don’t breastfeed your baby. It was something I was personally never interested in, but I talked to my husband and agreed I would give it a shot due to the medical benefits and bonding in can bring. And while I am breastfeeding and pumping for my daughter, we use formula as well and have no issues with that. Formula is an amazing invention that allows babies to be fed and grow with all the nutrients they need! Breast milk is amazing, but guess what?! At the end of the day, as long as your baby is fed, the rest really doesn’t matter. Momma, let go of any guilt of doing what society or family want you to do. Do what you think is best and what is best for baby and move on!

7. Give Yourself Grace

Last night, my daughter was screaming bloody murder and we could not figure out why. We had fed her, changed her, held her, all the things we could think of. After about a half an hour we decided to give her another bottle and see if maybe she was hungry again and low and behold that was it! Poor little thing was just hungry and I didn’t realize it. Those moments make your heart sink as a new mom. But I realized after that I am still learning, this is all new and there is no guide on how to take care of my baby girl. So each day is going to full of trial and error, its going to have good and bad moments, but in each moment I will give myself grace. I am learning and that means giving myself patience as we handle each new thing. So momma, don’t be too hard on yourself if you do something wrong or miss something. It’s going to happen and doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you a REAL mom. It makes the moments you do know what they need all the more special.

8. Treat Yourself

This actually happened by accident and wasn’t a planned purchase. But Amazon Prime day fell not long after my daughter was born. We saw an awesome deal for a Nespresso and some pods and I decided to treat myself. It wasn’t anything crazy expensive but it allowed me to get something for me that would help me feel better on those long mornings. You have went through quite a lot momma, if you need something to treat yourself too and feel like yourself then do it! Don’t feel bad doing something just for YOU. You have and will continue to work incredibly hard and you deserve to treat yourself every once in a while.

Most of all, I hope you remember that you are doing great. You were designed and chosen to be this babies momma. You CAN do this! On the hardest of days hold onto these few scriptures that hopefully will bring you comfort.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Matthew 6:25-27 ‚ÄúTherefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

For more blogs by Cultivate Confidence – CLICK HERE