Browsing Category

Sabina’s Life

BLANQI Baby Bumps, Sabina's Life

The 3 essentials to making it through 5 months of pregnancy-induced bedrest

5 months.  20 weeks.  150-ish days.  However you say it, it’s a long time!

4 months into my pregnancy with my first child, Kai, I started having contractions and went into preterm labor.  “Preterm labor occurs when regular contractions begin to open your cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy should last about 40 weeks. If preterm labor can’t be stopped, your baby will be born early. ” (WebMd.)  Needless to say, I was rushed to the hospital where they were thankfully able to stop the contractions and the labor.  I was subsequently placed on strict bedrest.  Yep, STRICT bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy.  That meant only getting up to use the bathroom…for five months.  I will discuss the controversy regarding bedrest in a later post – all I knew at that time is that it had been ordered, so that’s what I was doing.  What I want to share with you right now is how I survived pregnancy bedrest without driving myself insane! 🙂  For me, it came down to 3 essentials –

606

 1. Smile.  Be optimistic and don’t feel sorry for yourself –  I told myself that it was for the baby’s good, and that it was not a time for thinking “if only I could”.  Knowing that it was for the sake of the baby, and not, say, a broken leg, completely removed any frustration.  It’s amazing how your state of mind shapes your reality.  In fact, according to studies done by positive psychology researcher Suzanne Segerstrom, “Optimism is an individual difference variable that reflects the extent to which people hold generalized favorable expectancies for their future. Higher levels of optimism have been related prospectively to better subjective well-being in times of adversity or difficulty.”  Dr. Segerstrom wrote that when faced with uncontrollable stressors, optimists tend to react by building “existential resources” — for example, by looking for something good to come out of the situation or using the event to grow as a person in a positive way.”

Not feeling very optimistic?  According to Licensed Master Level Psychologist Here are a few ways to help change that:

           a.  Reprogram thinking:  Reprogramming thinking can help us develop an optimistic outlook where we expect positive things to happen, and feel confident and positive about how we can manage our current situation.

b.  Create a healthy support system:  Our support systems can also offer more pleasant moments and positive experiences. Having kind and caring people in our life can help us feel grateful for what others offer, and give us a chance to do something kind for them.

c.  Thinking creatively – There are always more solutions to a problem than appears on the surface. Sometimes we must use creative problem solving in order to make change happen. Creativity also helps us think bigger and expand our view of what’s possible.

DeathtoStock_Wired7

2.  Learn.  While it was tempting to catch up on all of my favorite series and those reality shows we won’t mention here ( which I totally did, by the way), I made sure to balance every bit of entertainment with something educational.  It could be a documentary on HBO, mastering photoshop skills, reading history books etc..  It was a terrible feeling to look up at the clock and realize the whole day had gone by to the tune of the Kardashians (eek!), so I quickly alternated the mind-numbing shows with things of value – those that I felt I left with something, some sort of accomplishment – it made me feel much more useful and satisfied, and as though I was utilizing my time doing something of worth.  “Your mind may be the closest thing to the Holy Grail of longevity and happiness. Education has been widely documented by researchers as the single variable tied most directly to improved health and longevity. And when people are intensely engaged in doing and learning new things, their well-being and happiness can blossom.”  Philip Moeller for U.S. News

DeathtoStock_NotStock7

3.  Create.  With so many hours in the day, you definitely need to give your eyes some rest from the tv, computer, and books.  I loved painting and crafting and preparing things for Kai’s nursery.  All those pinterest DIY boards you collect but never actually do?  Well, there’s plenty of time for it now 🙂  I used a breakfast-in-bed tray as the actual surface onto which I laid out whatever I was making, and had a rolling file cabinet as my supply station.  I painted all sorts of cute little wooden animals for the nursery, and I even did some needlepoint!  It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated – just something to keep your mind busy, and ultimately, happy.  In fact, “Positive emotions and creativity make us feel interested in the world around us. The ability to be fascinated and allow ourselves to explore and discover makes us feel open and alive. It’s also what draws us to learn new skills, perspectives, and ideas—resources that we can draw on to solve life’s problems. This boosts our resilience and our satisfaction with life—both part of the equation for overall happiness.” (This Emotional Life, PBS.org)

749

 Additionally, according to an article published in US News & World Report, “in terms of happiness, a close companion of learning is the degree of engagement people have with tasks that provide them knowledge and fulfillment. People who are intensely absorbed in a task can lose track of time and place. Hours pass like minutes. They may be tired by the task but emerge energized and happy. This condition is known as “flow,” a name coined 30 years ago by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

So there you have it – Optimism, learning, and creativity.  Those five months were still trying at times, but went by surprisingly quickly.  Even better?  The little bundle of joy at the end of the bedrest tunnel!

Share your stories with us below!  How did you stay busy during bedrest?

xx Sabina

Sabina's Life

How I disconnect to reconnect – a small tip with big impact

You don’t have to be a business owner to be glued to your phone (however, if you are one, it’s pretty much a requirement.)  I’m constantly on my phone.  And I mean constantly.  If I’m not talking on it, I’m looking at it, touching it, or listening to it.  It’s a necessity, really, and I’m thankful for such an amazing technology that allows me to have the world at my fingertips.    Having said that, it’s also a necessity to at some point put it down.  So what’s my simple tip, the one thing that I don’t do?  I don’t keep my work email on my phone.  *GASP*, I know!  I disconnect to reconnect…

DeathtoStock_Creative Community5

 

Here’s why:  I have an evening email-check cutoff of about 8:00 – anything after that can wait.  If it’s an emergency, I will get a phone call, period.  The only thing that checking my email at 1o:00 will do is give me anxiety and the urge to reply – chances are, the person on the other end of the email will not reply to your email until the following day anyway.  I simply step away from the computer, and don’t get back on until the morning. I have learned over the years to practice restraint, and to realize that the world will not come to an end should I not read my inbox.   So, as I do dinner and bedtime with Kai and Sienna, as I sink into my favorite chair to read or watch tv, I can do so in peace, without the anxiety-inducing  “dings” of my inbox raising my heart rate.  It’s a foolproof way to resist any urge to reach for the phone, to see if  “such-and-such” wrote me back.  Yes, it seems like such a small thing, but it has such a big impact – not only will you be more relaxed, but so will those around you when you give them your undivided attention.  It will allow your mind to rest, to disconnect and reconnect with your life outside of work – because at the end of the day, that is what life is all about.  Don’t believe me? 😉  Read below.

xx Sabina

 

DeathtoStock_Creative Community7

 

In an article on npr.com, writer Patti Neighmond quotes psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of  The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age – “when you’re texting or answering email, the part of your brain that is engaged is the ‘to do’ part, where there’s also a sense of urgency to get the task accomplished, a sense of time pressure. So we’re much more irritable when interrupted.”

“We are behaving in ways that certainly tell children they don’t matter, they’re not interesting to us, they’re not as compelling as anybody, anything, any ping that may interrupt our time with them,” she says.

“In research for her book, Steiner-Adair interviewed 1,000 children between the ages of 4 and 18, asking them about their parents’ use of mobile devices. The language that came up over and over and over again, she says, was ‘sad, mad, angry and lonely.” One 4-year-old called his dad’s smartphone a “stupid phone.” Others recalled joyfully throwing their parent’s phone into the toilet, putting it in the oven or hiding it. There was one girl who said, “I feel like I’m just boring. I’m boring my dad because he will take any text, any call, anytime — even on the ski lift!’

Steiner-Adair says we don’t know exactly how much these mini moments of disconnect between a parent and child affect the child in the long term. But based on the stories she hears, she suggests that parents think twice before picking up a mobile device when they’re with their kids.”

Via –  For The Children’s Sake, Put Down That Smartphonewritten by Patti Neighmond

Do you have any tricks or tips on disconnecting and reconnecting?  Share with us below – we would love to hear!

 

Favorite Finds, Sabina's Life

Top knot + favorite find

Half top-knot, half bun, half up half down, half updo…whatever you call it, I’m crazy excited that my hair is finally long enough to do it!  I used to live in top knots when my hair was long, so this feels sort of like coming home after a very long trip – easy, familiar, comfortable…yes!  And so nice to finally have a quick dirty-hair solution ( don’t judge 😉 and don’t judge the roots ;))  Speaking of excited, I’m super thrilled about my new necklace from Chrissy and the lovely gals at Layered + Long.  I’m not much of a jewelry kind-of-girl, but I wanted to something to wear, something close to my heart, to show my love for my little ones.

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

I’ve been searching for something delicate for ages, but haven’t come across anything that spoke to me, that is, until one day when I was browsing Etsy and stumbled upon Layered + Long.  I found myself oohing and aahing over all the beautiful, delicate pieces.  I was (barely) able to narrow it down to two – a personalized Extra Small Skinny Bar Necklace and a Tiny Gold Triangle Necklace

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

 

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

I wear the pieces 24/7, and am absolutely in love.  And, fyi, they are the perfect gifts for baby showers!  Want to snag one for yourself?  Of course you do!  And you’re in luck, because they have so generously offered a coupon code for all BLANQI girls!  Just use BLANQI10 upon checkout for your special discount, and enjoy your own piece of Layered and Long.

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

About the mama behind Layered +  Long:

“My name is Chrissy Lavdovsky, and I’m the designer of the jewelry brand Layered + Long. I live on a cliff overlooking the ocean in the historical town of La Conner, Washington. My jewelry line focuses on delicate, minimal necklaces that look elegant on their own or layered with other pieces. I like to play with the juxtaposition of feminine and edgy and combine strong geometric forms and clean lines with touches of sparkle and color.  I’ve always had a strong need to create; my primary inspiration is making things that people love. I was that kid who would make the teacher some crazy over-achieving present (that she had no idea what to do with, I’m sure). I graduated with a degree in art history, then ended up at Goldman Sachs selling bonds in Chicago. It didn’t take me long to realize I should be pursuing a more creative path…It all began on my living room floor with my 2-year-old and dog beside me. I found selling on Etsy to be the perfect outlet for me, and Layered + Long quickly grew into what is now: my dream come true.”

etsy-featured-shop-layered-and-long-jewelry-process-002

 

Image:  Chrissy Lavdovsky

Sabina's Life

I named my daughter after the dog

No, no, I did not name my daughter after the dog, but I came close.  You see, in my early twenties I didn’t have a reserve of baby names.  I just had my favorite name, and I was going to give it to my firstborn daughter.  As it so happens, my “firstborn” was of the furry variety.  Word of the wise – don’t give  your favorite name to your dog – they live a long time, and trying to explain to your daughter why she was named after the dog, not to mention explaining it to strangers…well, you get the point.  So, my dog is Mila, and my daughter is Sienna. I had a few other names in there as well, like Mia, Nina, and Simone, but my husband had some sort of aversion to all of those ( damn all those exes! ;))  In the case of Sienna, I happened to love the way it sounded, and with Sabina being her middle name, it had a nice flow to it – as simple as that.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 9.01.09 PM

Fast forward a few years, and Sienna starts to read.  What an amazing feeling to have a reading child!  She reads everything, and a favorite activity on the way to school is to read the backs of cars.  She and her brother Kai start with the make – Audi, Chevrolet, Honda, and so on, gradually moving on to the model.  Toyota – what a marvelous car, with such cool and exotic names!  Prius, Sequoia, Tundra…Sienna???  “No!  I’m not prepared for this” I think to myself.  Cringing in the driver’s seat, I slowly turn to face the wrath of my wee-one, mentally preparing my long speech about how I had no idea there was a car with her name and so on and so forth. I’m picturing her coming home crying after school, telling me everyone made fun of her for being named after, of all things, a minivan.   Sienna’s eyes are locked in mine, penetrating my soul with that “what the…?” look as I prepare my speech of  “it’s not that bad, you could’ve been named after the dog” when she suddenly  bursts out with glee – “I’m famous mamma, I’m famous!”

Yes you are my dear, yes you are!  *Phew*

 True story

 xx Sabina

p.s. fast forward 13 years and Mila is still going strong 😉

Favorite Finds, Sabina's Life

5 reasons for kids to wear cotton in the summer

I have a confession to make – I love, love, love cotton! ( I’m pretty sure it has something to do with growing up with a mother who shunned all but natural fibers – I can still hear her voice echoing down the hall, telling me to always wear cotton underwear 😉 )   As it turns out, mother knows best – there are many great reasons for kids to wear cotton, especially during the warm summer months!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

1.  Breathable – Cotton allows better air circulation, which helps in absorbing and removing body moisture caused by sweat.  It breathes better than oil-based synthetic fibers like polyester, and keeps sweat and moisture out to minimize fungal breeding ( yep, fungal breeding!)

2.  Cool – Cotton is light in weight and in color unless it is dyed. Being light-coloured will help the light to pass through instead of being absorbed and hence we will not feel the heat as much. If you wear loose clothes instead of tight fitting clothes, there will be ample of space for the air to pass through. ( The Human Touch of Chemistry )

3.  Tough – Summer is for climbing trees, building forts, rolling in the grass, and playing in the mud.  Cotton is as tough as your little one and will hold up against warm weather antics and super heavy washes.

4.  Sensitive – Cotton is soft, doesn’t trap moisture, and doesn’t irritate delicate skin like synthetic fibers.

5.  Odorless – Cotton releases sweaty, stinky odors more easily than other fibers.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

It’s actually not that easy to find clothing made of 100% cotton, so I was super excited when I came across Marya’s store, Swallow’s Return.  Beyond adorable designs for the little ones and mom!  I fell head over heels for this modern-yet-girly flutter sleeve dress.  It satisfies both my modern aesthetic with the geometric print and Sienna’s princess aesthetic with the blush pink flutter sleeves and long length.  She twirled around in excitement and lit up with joy like a little firefly!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

  If you haven’t already, do yourselves a favor and go, no run, over to Mayra’s store and get your hands on one of these cute creations, then sweat, rinse, and repeat 😉

 

xx Sabina

 

Sabina's Life

Life lessons according to Iris Apfel and my 7 year-old daughter

IMG_6486 (1)

Photo of Iris via lifestylehunters

If you’ve been reading any fashion publications as of late, I am sure you are well acquinted with the new documentary IRIS, a film by Albert Maysles, which spotlights the 93 year-old fashion icon.  According to Magnolia Pictures, the studio behind the film, it is “More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment.” ( – See more at: http://www.magpictures.com/iris/#sthash.QKTqwILI.dpuf )

I have come to the conclusion that Iris and my 7 year-old daughter Sienna have many things in common, and can teach us all some much valuable lessons:

Live out loud – don’t be afraid of color

Iris:  “Life is grey and dull.  You may as well have a little fun when you dress and amuse people.” Iris

Sienna:  “You need color in your life mama. Color makes you happy.  Stop buying black.”

March to the beat of your own drum

Iris:  “ I like to improvise. I always think I like to do things as though I’m playing jazz – try this, try that.”  Iris

Sienna:  “I like to freestyle mama…check out my crazy moves.”  Sienna, in the parking lot, breaking it down, wildly flailing her arms around.

Overdo it – be eccentric

Iris:  “More is more and less is a bore.” – refinery 29

Sienna:  “The sparklier, the better!” Sienna, in her oversized glitter headband, glitter hair clip and glitter purse.

Embrace individuality

Iris:  “What’s my style is not your style, and I don’t see how you can define it. It’s something that expresses who you are in your own way.” – via  One Kings Lane

Sienna:  “Stop picking out clothes that YOU like – pick clothes that I like,”  pointing at the bejeweled rainbow tie-dye fringe dress.

Happiness is everything

Iris:  “I would advise you to be happy rather than well-dressed. It’s better to be happy.”  via Bustle.com

Sienna:  “This is the best outfit ever!”  in her leopard tights, frozen tee, leopard cardigan and leopard sneakers ( rainbow hued )

xx Sabina