International Women’s Day

 

Good morning! Today we are going to change gears a bit. I had a post planned which shared some of my travel essentials that are packed in my carry-on bag and stowed above my head during today’s flight from New York to San Francisco.

mom rusty and ash

But then, as I read Grace’s post, I was inspired to share some thoughts with you all today in honor of International Women’s Day.   I am thankful for the strong women in my family who have shaped and inspired me for over 30 years. These four women are radically different from each other and therefore shaped and molded me in their own way.

    • Mom – My mother worked night shifts as a neonatal nurse in order to have more time with us while we were growing up. Even though she worked four, ten-hour shifts per week she made my brother and I her priority – never missing a chorus performance, awards ceremony or birthday. She proved that a working mother could also be engaged in her family. I realize now, as I grow older, just how much she sacrificed for us during these years as night shift can wreak havoc on one’s body. Her caring and nurturing heart, helped me develop a softer and more loving side when I needed it most.  She also taught me that with hard work, anything was possible.
    • My Aunts – Each of my three aunts, while very different and unique, impacted my childhood by helping me see the world and inspiring me to aspire for my dreams. My Aunt Rusty worked in one of the largest investment banks in New York City back in the 1980s when women were rarely seen in this environment. She stood up for her beliefs and rights as a female, exposing me to the trials and tribulations females faced in the professional world. Within our family, my Aunt Annamay is the woman who is impassioned to support those who were born with less. Years of teaching English as a second language in an Arizona border town has allowed her to share with me and my family the difficulties so many people face each day and remind us how much we have in our lives. My Aunt Linda inspired me with her passion for shaping children’s lives as a school principal.

I am not sure whether it is because of the recent press or the fact that I am currently carrying a tiny baby girl who will enter the world in June, but this year more than ever, women’s empowerment has been on my mind. I’ve had many discussions with friends, family, and co-workers about this topic over the past four months.  The wonderful thing about these discussions is that I have learned something from each of them. Living in New York City has provided me with the opportunity to become close with friends and colleagues who are very different than me.  I love that these differences mean that our views often do not align, nor do the way we share our views with the world. But, this difference in opinion, has also inspired me.

I shared, via an email with a relative recently, that I personally don’t believe that marches, boycotts and countless phone calls to government officials, is the only way to show support for today’s women.  I firmly believe that we can each take action in ways that are just as unique as each us. So while I may not have images of me at one of the many Women’s Marches on my social media feed, I thought today was a perfect day to share my thoughts on a few ways any woman can be a strong woman in today’s world while supporting others. 

working for it

Invest in the future by mentoring young women. This year I have made the decision to invest time mentoring women both personally and professionally. Through my alma mater, The University of Georgia, and my company, Procter & Gamble, I have had the opportunity to work with four incredible women as they forge their paths into the workforce.

Focus on supporting women versus competing with them. I learned a long time ago, that the comparison trap is an evil place to live. Regardless how hard you work to climb the professional ladder, how much you train or how many different filters you layer in Instagram; within moments someone will come along who is climbs faster, gets results faster or receives more likes and engagement. It is easy to fall prey to the numbers game and spend hours comparing yourself but over the past year,  I have found that I gain much more by supporting women. Sometimes this means finding happiness for that friend who is promoted faster, celebrating a friend’s half marathon PR after you have a horrible race or sending a quick note to someone who needs it most.  

NEW Women

Find your support network and nurture it. Over the past year, as I’ve come in contact with women who feel toxic or don’t support other women, I do my best to create a distance. Whether it is unfollowing them on social media, disassociating with them in the workplace or not meeting with them again, I believe that we are responsible for doing our best to surround ourselves with people who inspire and support us. Some people call this their tribe or girl gang. Whatever the word, find the network of women who uplift you most. I am so thankful to have seven women, whom I call mentors or friends, within my company that inspire me on a daily basis. These women have advocated on my behalf, helped me navigate through office politics and been there to high five and celebrate the wins over the years. Though they live across the country, they have proven multiple times that they are just a phone call, email or text message away. Depending on the size of your company or office, it may be difficult to find many women but even one can make a difference. Once you find them, make sure to nurture the relationship by ensuring it is a two-way street.  In my personal life,  I have realized that my friend groups and circles have evolved over the years due in part to our time abroad as well as changing life stages. While giving my friend addresses for baby shower invites, I realized that there are women in my life now that have made a huge impact in a short time while others have unfortunately fallen out of the circle. While I don’t harbor negative feelings towards those that I’m no longer close with, I have made a conscious effort to nurture the friendships that are most important to me at this point in my life. This year that has meant traveling to Iowa to see dear college friends, connecting via email, phone, and text with friends who aren’t local and continuing to be the organizer and planner for those that live in New York City.

Remember that your actions speak louder than words. While it is wonderful to advocate for women in ways that are personally meaningful to you, remember that it is not what you write on a Facebook post or piece of paper that speaks the loudest. Instead, it is the way you carry yourself and serve as a role model 365 days a year.  Wherever you are, there is someone watching you and she could be an easily influenced teenager or a lost 30-year-old. Just because something isn’t shared on social media doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or come out of your mouth. Let us learn from example and choose our words and actions wisely.

I only hope that my daughter has the opportunity to see and experience the world from a similar vantage point that I did. Realizing from an early age that thanks to the support and hard work by the women who came before her, she can enjoy the right to vote, freedom to choose and equal opportunity school and workplace that allows her to thrive and grow.

I would love to hear your thoughts in honor of International Women’s Day. How do you show your support?

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Baby Diamond– Weeks 20 through 24

 

Happy Sunday friends! This gorgeous albeit cold weather calls for some time spent outside, but I wanted to drop by to provide you guys with an update on my pregnancy. It is hard to believe that we are now in Week 25 of pregnancy. Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday we were sharing the news with our friends and family. These days, we are quickly realizing that we have a lot we want to get accomplished in a short amount of time before Baby Girl Diamond greets us. How far in advance did you have your nursery completed and your hospital bag packed? Tomorrow I start the week with the feared glucose test, which checks for gestational diabetes. The test includes chugging a bottle of orange substance drink that contains 50 grams of glucose and then having my blood taken exactly 60 minutes after I finish drinking it. Talk about a fun morning, right?

Weeks 20 through 24 flew by, due in part to a busy schedule which included a visit from my parents and a work trip to Las Vegas. In just two short weeks I will begin the third trimester!

xtend barre

Baby Size:  According to my Pregnancy + app, she has grown during this period from a grapefruit, when she weighed just 8.57 ounces to a eggplant by week 24 when she weighs around 1.4 pounds.  She also doubled in length during this month period and is now at least 12 inches!  This growth spurt must explain why my belly popped so significantly during week 22.  The above photo was taken yesterday, during a workout with my friend Elizabeth who is expecting her second child just a month before Baby Diamond arrives.

Weight Gained: I don’t have a scale at home but based on how I’m feeling, I am guessing that I’ve gained a total of fifteen pounds. I have started to feel clumsy and akward, not aware of my size when I’m trying to do things like navigate my way down a narrow airplane aisle or maneuver my way in and out of bed. It’s hard to believe that I’m only going to get bigger from here! Luckily, most of my weight gain seems to be in my chest, hips and stomach as my arms, legs and face look very similar to how they looked pre-pregnancy. In fact, yesterday during a barre workout, I caught myself thinking that my legs and arms look a bit leaner than they did a few months ago.

orangetheory

Workouts: Over the past month, I have averaged six workouts per week even when I traveled to Las Vegas. I find that an hour of movement each day helps me sleep better, feel better and have more energy.  When I’m not traveling, my average week of workouts includes two Orangetheory Park Slope workouts, 1-2 Pilates classes at A-Line Pilates in Carroll Gardens, 1-2 Barre classes at XTend Barre in Brooklyn Heights, 1-2 workouts at the Dodge YMCA and one walk or jog outside with a friend.  My goal for the next month is to incorporate more swimming as I felt incredible in the pool during each of my two swim workouts this month.  I have a few questions to ask my doctor tomorrow, during my appointment, regarding some sensation I’m having during certain workout movements and running. Until I better understand this sensation, I’m sticking with incline walking instead of jogging or running. If you want more details, you can read the post I shared last week which details my favorite maternity workouts and workout gear.

Cravings: Most of my cravings have subsided and I am definitely over the Greek and Italian food craving that raged during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy but the fruit craving is still going strong. Since week 21, I find that I am hungry more often and have an insatiable thirst. I’m sure some of this thirst is due to the cold, dry air as well as the flights I’ve taken recently. These days I never leave home without a full bottle of water and at least a few snacks such as dried mango, cheese sticks, apple and a bar. I am also craving fresh, home cooked meals when not traveling so Bo and I have been spending more time in the kitchen together experimenting with recipes from some of our favorite cookbooks.  I have also started to crave certain foods which I’ve restricted during most of pregnancy, such as soft cooked eggs. I enjoyed poached or over easy eggs twice in the past two weeks, when dining at a restaurant who served organic, pasturized eggs. My doctor has assured me that having these on occasion from trusted sources is fine, especially as I near the third trimester.  The other cravings that I’ve enjoyed giving into these past few weeks, in small amounts, are ice cream and cheese. I can’t wait to visit Cowgirl Creamery when we’re in California this week!

Food Aversions: Unfortunately, I still have no desire to eat pork.  While I typically love pork tenderloin and pork chops, each time Bo suggests cooking these for dinner I immediately request something different. Last night during a double date with friends, I also had no desire to try the duck appetizer which was shared by the table.

Symptoms: It amazes me how much my stomach grew last month! I went from barely showing to popping in a huge way.  The two main symptoms I felt this past month were some aches and pains, especially my feet and legs, after a long day of standing or walking as well as a constant appetite. The other symptom or change that arrived this month was feeling her kick! It started as slight flutters during week 20 and now we have a soccer star, especially during mornings and evenings. It’s so fun to share these moments of movement with Bo.

Sleep: Oh man there were some rough spots during week 21-23 as I could not get comfortable in bed. Finally, last week I figured out how to use my Snoogle in a way that supports my body but also feels comfortable. Since this discovery, I’ve slept much better. I wish I could sleep later, especially on the weekends, but find it hard to sleep past 7 AM.

seraphine zadie maternity dress

Wearing: I am so thankful that I finally visited Seraphine Maternity in SoHo during week 22 of pregnancy. Since I’d popped it was great to find a few quality dresses and tops that I can wear throughout my pregnancy. I walked away with three dresses, two tops, one sweater and a pair of maternity tights for less than you’d expect as many were included in their sale!  These are my favorite items I bought during the mini shopping spree:

The quality of the material and the cut of the clothing is so flattering that I’ve felt incredible wearing each piece these past two weeks.

Other Random Thoughts: I experienced some anxiety this week over a few sensitive subjects – giving into cravings and our registry. In regards to the cravings, I’ve had a number of conversations with different friends, doctors and family members regarding things to avoid during pregnancy and which ones are truth or just hype. As you all know, I’ve had a very healthy pregnancy to date and avoided all recommended items for the first 23 weeks including lunch meat, sushi, undercooked meats, unpasturized cheeses and juices and alcohol. After enjoying a delicious poached organic egg at Little Owl yesterday, I had feelings of anxiety and guilt. It’s hard to explain the feelings, but I’ve been talking about them with Bo and my friends since then.  In regards to our registry and nursery, it’s been quite the week. We are so thankful to have showers coming up in Brooklyn and Savannah over the next six weeks, but trying to ensure our registry is in shape is not an easy task. It turns out that many items change out seasonally or upgrade annually, so over 25 things that we put on our registry in January, have now been discontinued at BuyBuy Baby.  I am working my way through all the great recommendations that friends and family members have provided and will DEFINITELY do a more detailed post on our registry.  In addition, our nursery is feeling a little too pink and gray for my liking at this point, so we are trying to incorporate pops of green and yellow into the design through blackout curtains, prints, and the crib sheet and skirt.

Your Turn: Any questions? Any tips as I enter the third trimester?

Follow:

Baby Diamond– Weeks 20 through 24

 

Happy Sunday friends! This gorgeous albeit cold weather calls for some time spent outside, but I wanted to drop by to provide you guys with an update on my pregnancy. It is hard to believe that we are now in Week 25 of pregnancy. Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday we were sharing the news with our friends and family. These days, we are quickly realizing that we have a lot we want to get accomplished in a short amount of time before Baby Girl Diamond greets us. How far in advance did you have your nursery completed and your hospital bag packed? Tomorrow I start the week with the feared glucose test, which checks for gestational diabetes. The test includes chugging a bottle of orange substance drink that contains 50 grams of glucose and then having my blood taken exactly 60 minutes after I finish drinking it. Talk about a fun morning, right?

Weeks 20 through 24 flew by, due in part to a busy schedule which included a visit from my parents and a work trip to Las Vegas. In just two short weeks I will begin the third trimester!

xtend barre

Baby Size:  According to my Pregnancy + app, she has grown during this period from a grapefruit, when she weighed just 8.57 ounces to a eggplant by week 24 when she weighs around 1.4 pounds.  She also doubled in length during this month period and is now at least 12 inches!  This growth spurt must explain why my belly popped so significantly during week 22.  The above photo was taken yesterday, during a workout with my friend Elizabeth who is expecting her second child just a month before Baby Diamond arrives.

Weight Gained: I don’t have a scale at home but based on how I’m feeling, I am guessing that I’ve gained a total of fifteen pounds. I have started to feel clumsy and akward, not aware of my size when I’m trying to do things like navigate my way down a narrow airplane aisle or maneuver my way in and out of bed. It’s hard to believe that I’m only going to get bigger from here! Luckily, most of my weight gain seems to be in my chest, hips and stomach as my arms, legs and face look very similar to how they looked pre-pregnancy. In fact, yesterday during a barre workout, I caught myself thinking that my legs and arms look a bit leaner than they did a few months ago. 

orangetheory

Workouts: Over the past month, I have averaged six workouts per week even when I traveled to Las Vegas. I find that an hour of movement each day helps me sleep better, feel better and have more energy.  When I’m not traveling, my average week of workouts includes two Orangetheory Park Slope workouts, 1-2 Pilates classes at A-Line Pilates in Carroll Gardens, 1-2 Barre classes at XTend Barre in Brooklyn Heights, 1-2 workouts at the Dodge YMCA and one walk or jog outside with a friend.  My goal for the next month is to incorporate more swimming as I felt incredible in the pool during each of my two swim workouts this month.  I have a few questions to ask my doctor tomorrow, during my appointment, regarding some sensation I’m having during certain workout movements and running. Until I better understand this sensation, I’m sticking with incline walking instead of jogging or running. If you want more details, you can read the post I shared last week which details my favorite maternity workouts and workout gear.

Cravings: Most of my cravings have subsided and I am definitely over the Greek and Italian food craving that raged during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy but the fruit craving is still going strong. Since week 21, I find that I am hungry more often and have an insatiable thirst. I’m sure some of this thirst is due to the cold, dry air as well as the flights I’ve taken recently. These days I never leave home without a full bottle of water and at least a few snacks such as dried mango, cheese sticks, apple and a bar. I am also craving fresh, home cooked meals when not traveling so Bo and I have been spending more time in the kitchen together experimenting with recipes from some of our favorite cookbooks.  I have also started to crave certain foods which I’ve restricted during most of pregnancy, such as soft cooked eggs. I enjoyed poached or over easy eggs twice in the past two weeks, when dining at a restaurant who served organic, pasturized eggs. My doctor has assured me that having these on occasion from trusted sources is fine, especially as I near the third trimester.  The other cravings that I’ve enjoyed giving into these past few weeks, in small amounts, are ice cream and cheese. I can’t wait to visit Cowgirl Creamery when we’re in California this week!

Food Aversions: Unfortunately, I still have no desire to eat pork.  While I typically love pork tenderloin and pork chops, each time Bo suggests cooking these for dinner I immediately request something different. Last night during a double date with friends, I also had no desire to try the duck appetizer which was shared by the table.

Symptoms: It amazes me how much my stomach grew last month! I went from barely showing to popping in a huge way.  The two main symptoms I felt this past month were some aches and pains, especially my feet and legs, after a long day of standing or walking as well as a constant appetite. The other symptom or change that arrived this month was feeling her kick! It started as slight flutters during week 20 and now we have a soccer star, especially during mornings and evenings. It’s so fun to share these moments of movement with Bo.

Sleep: Oh man there were some rough spots during week 21-23 as I could not get comfortable in bed. Finally, last week I figured out how to use my Snoogle in a way that supports my body but also feels comfortable. Since this discovery, I’ve slept much better. I wish I could sleep later, especially on the weekends, but find it hard to sleep past 7 AM.

seraphine zadie maternity dress

Wearing: I am so thankful that I finally visited Seraphine Maternity in SoHo during week 22 of pregnancy. Since I’d popped it was great to find a few quality dresses and tops that I can wear throughout my pregnancy. I walked away with three dresses, two tops, one sweater and a pair of maternity tights for less than you’d expect as many were included in their sale!  These are my favorite items I bought during the mini shopping spree:

The quality of the material and the cut of the clothing is so flattering that I’ve felt incredible wearing each piece these past two weeks. 

Other Random Thoughts: I experienced some anxiety this week over a few sensitive subjects – giving into cravings and our registry. In regards to the cravings, I’ve had a number of conversations with different friends, doctors and family members regarding things to avoid during pregnancy and which ones are truth or just hype. As you all know, I’ve had a very healthy pregnancy to date and avoided all recommended items for the first 23 weeks including lunch meat, sushi, undercooked meats, unpasturized cheeses and juices and alcohol. After enjoying a delicious poached organic egg at Little Owl yesterday, I had feelings of anxiety and guilt. It’s hard to explain the feelings, but I’ve been talking about them with Bo and my friends since then.  In regards to our registry and nursery, it’s been quite the week. We are so thankful to have showers coming up in Brooklyn and Savannah over the next six weeks, but trying to ensure our registry is in shape is not an easy task. It turns out that many items change out seasonally or upgrade annually, so over 25 things that we put on our registry in January, have now been discontinued at BuyBuy Baby.  I am working my way through all the great recommendations that friends and family members have provided and will DEFINITELY do a more detailed post on our registry.  In addition, our nursery is feeling a little too pink and gray for my liking at this point, so we are trying to incorporate pops of green and yellow into the design through blackout curtains, prints, and the crib sheet and skirt.

Your Turn: Any questions? Any tips as I enter the third trimester?

Follow: