Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#FitMomTalks: Tina Haupert of Carrots 'n' Cake

I recently did a shoot with my blogger buddy, Tina, and I wanted to post her awesome #FitMomTalk today! I paired up with Tina about a year ago to take photos (and now video) of her on a regular basis for her popular fitness/lifestyle blog, Carrots 'n' Cake, and also her latest business venture, Designed to Fit Nutrition which provides custom meal plans. Tina has a two-year-old son, Quinn, and is definitely a fit mom inspiration.  I am so happy to share what she had to say:
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again?
For work, maybe a day or two, which I totally regret. Looking back, I wish I had taken several weeks away from work. For working out, I was back at it just a few weeks later with walking and light workouts in my driveway. By 5 weeks, I was back at CrossFit and running just a short while later.

How did that schedule/routine look different from before baby?

Before a baby, I felt like I had all the time in the world to work and exercise. Now, life is a lot more scheduled, which means I can't dillydally with my time anymore. If I have a free hour to work or workout, I am doing exactly that-- no watching TV or playing on Facebook!
Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Absolutely! I used to want to hit certain numbers at the gym and look a certain way, which, of course, was directly tied to my fitness routine. Now, I just want to enjoy my workouts and have a good time. Exercise is so much more about being happy and healthy nowadays!

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom?

Time. Balance. Mom guilt. Some days, I feel like I am top of the world doing it all, but a lot of the time (maybe too much of the time), I feel like I am failing at everything. Of course, I wouldn't give it up for the world-- working from home and spending time with my little guy is the absolute best-- but it's still tough sometimes. I feel like I am pulled in a million directions.
What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your son (either one-on-one or as a family)?We love being active as a family, especially when the weather is nice. Some of our favorite activities: Stroller running, family walks and hikes, and partner workouts in our basement.

Thanks Tina! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Snow Baby: Photos from the First Boston Blizzard of 2017

Like much of the east coast, we got hit pretty hard this weekend with over a foot of snow, lots of winter, and some really cold temps. So what did we do? Stuff the baby in the snowsuit, grab the dog, and go outside! Luckily, she loved it (and we all knew the dog would too).

Monday, January 2, 2017

Update! New Year, New Goals

Jordan Wells, Kadeja Gaines, and Keely Witkowski/b.fetching
As one of my friend's would say, it's been a minute. Meaning, quite a long time (haha). Here we are in 2017 and frankly I couldn't think of a better time to hop back on the blog, I've missed it! A lot has been going on this fall and somehow the time to write has been hard to find...

One of the reasons for this is I've actually been writing on another blog! This fall I became the Events Editor for MommyPoppins, a website devoted to any and all awesome kid activities in the Boston area (they're also in a bunch of other cities across the country). It's been fun! It's helped me feel connected to what's going on in the city and also involved in the family-friendly events I'm now interested in since I actually have a kid!
I've also been working a lot! I've had an on-going collaboration with the fab fitness blogger Tina of Carrots n' Cake. We meet up every couple of weeks to take photos of workouts, cooking healthy recipes, and even shooting a few videos. Tina also started a nutrition consultation and meal planning business with Kerrie of KFit Body called Designed to Fit and I've helped them out with photos and videos as well.
I also got to work with some really fun clients this fall, companies like Puma and Linx Dance Studio, and also some impressive individual fitness gurus:
Around the holidays I even wound up doing a bunch of family shoots for friends and neighbors and I LOVED it! Kids are so funny to work with and with a little patience (ok - a lot of patience) and a good sense of humor, we were able get some memorable shots. Some even wound up on holiday cards:
2016 was a hard year for a lot of reasons. I am focusing on the many positive things that came out of it as well, and there were a good amount of those. 2017 is looking bright so far and I'm excited to share what's coming up- more FitMom interviews, fitness photos, studio work and reviews, and everything in between.

Happy New Year! What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

SmashGal Shoot Recap: Tennis Athletic Apparel

Tennis, anyone? This spring I had the pleasure of doing a shoot with women's tennis apparel company, SmashGal Activewear. SmashGal is known for cute print skorts, which can be worn for many different activities. They wanted the photos to be energetic and empower women to be active.

We had three awesome models and the shoot was produced by the team at patientMoon Wellness Marketing. The photos are now up on their website, what do you think??

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

#FitMom Talks: Barre Instructor and Fitness Fashion Blogger, Jessica Diaz

Now that it's September it's time to feature another awesome fit mom! This month I'm talking to barre teacher and blogger, Jessica Diaz. Jess had so much awesome advice for new moms regarding fitness; I think you'll really enjoy this one - 
Tell us a little about yourself and your business: Jessica Diaz, Mom, Barre Instructor, certified personal trainer, spokesperson for the American Stroke Association, and co-founder of a fitness and fashion blog called Ms Fit For Society. I teach at Asana Charlestown and EquinoxChloe is 8, and Chase is 5.
How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
I did not return to work after maternity leave. I was working in television advertising and marketing and the long hours and fact that my husband was traveling a lot made staying home with my daughter the best option at the time. And just about when I was considering going back to work, I had my son. So I was home through my second pregnancy and until my son was about two years old. So in total… it was almost 5 years between having my first baby and going back to work.

There were many times through those 5 years that I wished that I had a job that was flexible, that would make financial sense (childcare vs. paycheck), and that I loved enough to pull me back into working. I didn’t find that until my son was about one.
After both of my pregnancies, I turned to my favorite workout, Barre, to get back in shape. I had gained quite a bit of weight in both pregnancies and loved that Barre really focused on building back core strength, and was also non-pounding/jumping so it was a great option for me post baby (especially because I was exhausted all of the time). However, what I found was a lot of the classes at the time did not offer some of the modifications I needed. So I started researching different modifications and different exercises and started incorporating them into classes or just doing my own version of barre class at home. I started to see my body not only started to transform quicker, I also enjoyed the workout more, and reduced my feelings of strain during certain positions. 

After a few months, my body was back to better than pre-baby shape. I decided then that I wanted to become Barre instructor to create classes that offered more options for post-baby clients, barre beginners, and/or people working with injuriesIn 2012, I got my teacher certification and created a Barre program for a yoga studio. I have been teaching ever since.

In terms of the timing of when to back to working out. I would say really listen to your body. I think there is this huge rush to get back into shape. And we have to keep in mind that our bodies just went through 9 months of pregnancy, a delivery, and probably some sleepless nights on top of it all. I see so many women back in the gym six weeks post baby. I tell my clients that If you are feeling great, and have been cleared by your doctor, then by all means get back to it as soon as possible. But if you feel you need more time to recover, please take that extra time. Post-baby you can always look into breathing and stretching exercises to get started before jumping back into intense workouts. With my daughter, I did not really start working out until she was about 4 months and about 3 months with my son.
How did your schedule/routine look different before kids?
When my babies were infants it was really difficult to have a schedule. But once I got them on nap routines, life was more predictable. I went back and forth for a while between wanting to be that mom whose’ baby “just does and goes with whatever the mom is doing and can nap anywhere on the go" vs. "having a more structure schedule and being home for nap times”. The freedom of the first option was nice, but I really found being home for naps and having a little more structure seemed to make my babies much happier. 

In terms of scheduling workouts, I found, and I tell my clients this, is to learn to be more flexible. I used to be the type that had to get to the certain class/workout and get my spot etc. …that totally changed. I still had my top choice workouts/classes I wanted to do, but I had a plan b workout always in mind. Plan b maybe was a walk with the baby, or an at home workout.  It was important for me to not miss the weekly workouts I scheduled for myself, I just learned to be flexible with what they were.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how?
Yes, so much! I can honestly say post-baby was when I truly fell in love with fitness. It became not only important to me to get in shape and be healthier, but it also was my dedicated time to myself. I also think having the goal of losing that baby weight also helped keep me motivated.
What is the biggest challenge you've found in working and being a mom?
I am very fortunate my schedule is part-time and for the most part I have structured it around when I need to be home with them. And still I find it hard balancing it all. I give so much credit to moms who are working full time.

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your kids (either one-on-one or as a family)?
This is a new one for me …Sports! I was never into sports growing up. Horseback riding that was it. As my kids get older, and as they are experimenting with different sports it has been so much fun. I just played tennis with my five-year-old. He was already way better at it and it was so much fun. My daughter is into ballet; I love watching her dance. And my son is starting lacrosse, so again, a whole new way to incorporate staying active and having fun.

Thanks to Jess for sharing her story!

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here!

Monday, August 29, 2016

My 5 Pregnancy Must-Haves

When I was pregnant, I really tried to be healthy and aware of my nutritional intake. Additionally, anything that promised to make my life even slightly more comfortable was greatly appreciated. Looking back, there were definitely a few items I felt grateful for so I decided to share them in case soon-to-be mamas would find it helpful!

 1. Vitamins: This seems obvious but while there are tons of prenatal vitamins out there, not all vitamins are created equal. I started using one that seemed to have all of the right things but I did have to take it with food (otherwise I felt queasy) and the aftertaste was not super pleasant. Then I discovered the SmartyPants gummy vitamin (I even blogged about it) and the rest was history. My husband even got addicted to their Men's Gummy. Finally, a vitamin I actually look forward to taking!
2. Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow - Gray: Don't be fooled by the "pregnancy pillow" category the Snoogle falls into - anyone can benefit from these bad boys. I was having a lot of trouble sleeping and the old pillow-between-the-knees trick wasn't cutting it. Enter the Snoogle, an approximately $60 investment that is worth every penny. It's supportive and snuggly... and may get commandeered by your dog when you're not looking.
3. Stitch Fix: I was slow to jump on the Stitch Fix bandwagon even though I'd heard such great things. When one of my friends mentioned they did maternity clothes, I gave in. She told me to give my SF stylist as much info as possible regarding what I was looking for but did warn it might take more than one try before I got anything I liked. I followed her advice and was thrilled when I got my shipment- I kept three of the five items! Comfortable, attractive, and "not frumpy" (husband's words) - exactly how I was hoping to feel, even as a pregnant lady.

4. Lotion: When you're pregnant, your skin gets crazy dry and itchy, especially if you happen to be expecting during the winter. I'd highly recommend finding a quality lotion with shea butter like this one from Arbonne. I used it every day and also appreciate that Arbonne is a vegan company and does not test any of its products on animals.
5. Pre-natal Yoga: pre-natal yoga is not just a work out. The class is full of gentle stretching targeting specific areas of pregnancy discomfort. There's also soothing mantras, tips for getting better sleep, and the occasional head, arm or back massage. Ahhhh.
So there you have my top five! Do you have any of your own to add? I'd love to hear them!

note: this post contains affiliate links; however, all opinions are my own

Friday, August 19, 2016

📷 Happy World Photo Day! 📷
I would be remiss if I did not do a post today because... drum roll please... it's World Photo Day! According to the website, World Photo Day was started in 2009 and celebrates the "passion for photography in our communities." Sounds good to me!

Here are a few ways they suggest you can participate today and every day:

SHARE YOUR WORLD: Show us what you see. Share your world in our World Photo Day gallery and add your perspective to our growing mosaic of images from around the globe.

GROW YOUR PASSION: Get active in developing your photography skills. Expand your knowledge and look for new techniques online or in classes or groups near you. Then pay it forward: create opportunities where you can pass on your knowledge and experience to others.

CONNECT YOUR COMMUNITY: Help your community celebrate photography where you are. Organize a photography walk, hold a photo exhibition, start a photography club. See how photography can flourish in community through mutual encouragement and sharing of ideas.

You can also submit a photo on their website to the 2016 gallery here:

I chose this photo of Jenn taken last summer. A side plank at sunset in Boston, how perfect is that??

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to the Blog - a Restart

yesterday morning at Cohasset Harbor. Ahhh...

It's been quiet over here, hasn't it? I guess having a baby will do that to a blog sometimes. Now that things are settling down on the home front (getting the hang of parenting, baby settling into a quasi-routine, the dog back up and walking), I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like things to look like going forward. One thing I definitely would like to get back into on a regular basis is blogging.

I love the communities that develop with blogs and how people within those communities can turn to each other for advice and inspiration. I've been using blogs for years to learn more about so many different topics - photography, eating clean, parenting, etc - and I would love it if I could help others do the same. Going forward I hope to cover a variety of things including:

-fitness photography: what I'm doing in my work and also featuring other photographers
-FitMomTalks: readers are loving this series and I'm excited to keep it going!
-my own fitness goals: I'm restarting my own personal fitness regimen and I would love to use this blog to help stay accountable
-ETC: parenting challenges, what I'm learning alone the way, South Shore living, *travel*... all the other things going on in life!

So how does that sound? Will you join me? 

Monday, July 11, 2016

#FitMom Talks: Jessica Oar of Be PowerFULL

I am so excited to get back to these FitMomTalks! This week I'm featuring Jessica Oar who has some great advice for moms/business owners and the benefits of moderation -

Tell us a little about yourself and your business: Jessica Oar, owner/founder of Be PowerFULL. My mission is to help women to get fit, find their personal power and live FULL lives. I advocate against restrictive dieting and white-knuckling through intensive training programs. Instead, I inspire, educate and coach women who lead busy lives (lots of moms!) to find a sustainable healthy lifestyle where they love how they move and eat and get great results, too. I train locally out of my home gym in Norwell through group and private sessions, I work with clients all over the country through my one-on-one private coaching (customized meal planning and fitness) and I run my signature Fat-Loss Lifestyle online course/coaching group several times a year. It's all here:

I am a mom of two boys! Benjamin, almost 4 and Nathan, almost 2 (at some point, you stop counting months!). They are boys through and through and are total sweethearts. I'm lucky to live this life as a mom boss so that I can spend more time with them than I was able to when I was a sales manager in corporate america.

How long of a maternity leave were you able to take before you started to work (and workout!) again? 
Oh, man, I loved maternity leave! Such a special time in my memory, with both children! With Ben, I was able to take in that awe of being a brand new mom and with Nate, because we had childcare for Ben, I was able to spend some great alone time with him to really get to know him. I was lucky to have 12 weeks of maternity leave after the birth of both boys. It wasn't until my youngest was one, actually, that I left my former career in media sales and launched my business. I'm so happy that I did, because I'm doing what I absolutely love. It fills me to the core and affords me the ability to spend more time with my family!

I remained relatively active throughout both pregnancies with resistance training and yoga, however, I had an unexpected c-section with my first delivery which proved to be a very tough recovery for me both mentally and physically. I started walking when my son was 3-weeks old and gradually added in more when my body was able. It was probably about 4 months until I felt like myself again in the takes time, moms! With the birth of my second, I had healed and I was able to have a natural V-BAC, from which I bounced back much easier. What an incredible experience. However, I will say, nothing prepares you for life with two! Between sleeplessness, stress, a promotion at work and a lack of prioritizing self-care, I was the heaviest I'd ever been 6 months after Nate's. This is when I really did most of my work with leaning into a life of moderation. It was essential for me to get results for myself in a way that was shame-free and that I could maintain with all life's stressors.

How did your schedule/routine look different from before kids? 
I have always been an athlete and a fitness enthusiast, playing multiple sports in High School and college, and always looking for my next goal. The year before starting a family, I trained to become a triathlete and completed 5 sprint triathlons in my first (and only!) season. While I believe we can prioritize more time-intensive training like this into our life and make it work if it's that important to us, for me, the long bike rides, swims and runs proved to be virtually impossible with my schedule as a corporate career woman and mom. 
Rather than spend 4+ hours on my fitness each week, I learned to get efficient with my fitness. Since having children, I've fallen in love with metabolic resistance training which gets me the biggest bang for the buck and gets me back to my busy life in no time. I typically do 3 - 4 twenty minute workouts a week, with a mix of heavy and moderate weights. I've also recently fallen in love with power lifting and heavy strength training and plan to compete in a meet within the next year.

Did your fitness outlook and goals change after becoming a mom? If so, how? 
Actually, no. I've always used fitness as a way to clear my mind, deal with stress and focus on my health and mental balance. As a Mom, I turn to my fitness as a way to honor the woman that I am, aside from my role as a caregiver. Self-care is an essential part of my life and I believe every Mom should have it at the top of her list. The younger me, the one who dieted and trained like crazy on all-in restrict-then-binge plans, believed self-care was about discipline only. I now believe that self-care is a combination of discipline and self-compassion...learning when to push and when not to...balance. I don't eat well and workout to look a certain way anymore, I do it because it makes me feel empowered, at peace with myself and confident. My training make look different now than it did in my 20's but I'm actually in the best shape of my life now and I owe that to weigh-training.

Read more about that in one of my recent blogs:

What is the biggest challenge you've found in working/running a business and being a mom?
My new bosses (Ben and Nate!) don't always agree with my schedule, which means, on days that I don't have childcare, if naps don't happen, work doesn't happen. When you own a business, there's no clocking out, even on vacation. I've learned to block out time in the evenings or weekends to be sure the projects I care about move forward. I see this as a challenge and a blessing because I'm creating what I love and making a difference with people who need my help!

What is your favorite fitness-related activity to do with your sons? 
We love to go on hikes and walks! The boys each have their own set of dumbbells so they'll often be doing squat presses or push-ups next to me as I train next to them in the playroom or our garage gym. I love that they see fitness all-day, every day and they know I value taking care of myself. I hope they grow up prioritizing self-care as well!

Thanks to Jess for sharing her story!

Twitter: @jessicaoar1

To read more #FitMomTalks, click here!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

News! Where I've Been the Past Two Months

Wow, it's been a while since I posted here. I had every intention of scheduling posts in advanced, keeping everything up to date and then, well, life got in the way...
Baby Katherine arrived on Memorial Day (May 30) and it's been a whirlwind ever since. She's been a very good baby but I've learned that even the best babies are still crazy time consuming! Which I did not totally get until she arrived! In addition to baby showing up, I wound up needing an unplanned c-section which required more recovery time then I was prepared for. Oh and then the weekend she was born, Apollo tore his ACL and needed surgery which we scheduled the week after she was born (followed by 6 weeks of bed rest! For a dog!). So needless to say, we've had a lot going on over here.
yes, his cast has smiley faces on it.
Luckily, all the surgeries were successful and we're bouncing back (finally). I'm gearing up to start shooting again which I'm excited about. Summer is always a fun time to be outside making photos, right??
I hope your summer has been going well so far; let me know when you are ready to do some photo shooting! :)