Author: Kirsten

Surviving Quarantine: 30 things to do at home

Surviving Quarantine: 30 things to do at home

Hello and Welcome to 30 days of Staying at Home (Hi friends, it’s been awhile, I’m just over here working on surviving quarantine with my fiancé, daughter and old pup. What can I say I have been busy with my photography business and keeping my…

The Cliche Resolution Post: Looking back this decade

The Cliche Resolution Post: Looking back this decade

Call me cliche but making new year resolutions bring me joy. Do I stick with them, let alone remember them after three months? Maybe not, but I don’t just set one(full disclosure: I am a Monday person, I look forward to fresh starts and forming…

Tips for staying healthy this holiday season

Tips for staying healthy this holiday season

Ways to stay healthy this holiday season and still enjoy yourself


It is the holiday season and that means all the sweets, booze, carbs and a very hard time staying healthy. Some may say it is the best time of the year to indulge. But if you are like me who tried to eat right and stay healthy all year long it’s almost heartbreaking to look down at that table spread and feel like you can’t eat it. Well, I will go ahead and be the one to tell you it is a hundred percent OK to treat yourself here and there this holiday season. Thanksgiving and Christmas will pass and come January the whole world will be making an effort to be healthy (at least for the first three weeks of resolutions). So if you take on “moderate indulgence” and a little physical activity here and there it will make January 10x easier to get back on track. I created a little list of tips on ways to stay healthy this holiday season and still enjoy yourself below.


 I by no means am a nutritionist or in any medical field, just a fellow health enthusiast with a sweet tooth with some tips for you to take into consideration!


Staying Healthy This Holiday Season While Enjoying Yourself


  • Start your mornings off right! 
    • December is the perfect month for those hot cups of coffee filled with sugar and whip cream but step aside. Start your morning with a hot cup of lemon water before anything. Lemon water has so many healthy benefits for digestion and skin! By starting your morning with hot lemon water you are waking up your body with something good for it! This will help mentally trigger that the day has started off right and in good health! By all means have that cup of coffee after. Maybe skip the extra sugar and treat yourself with a little dairy free coconut cream whip cream, still sweet but way better for you!
  • Be aware of portions.
    • So it may be a personal problem but come holiday meal times(like the actual holidays where there is 3 main dishes and 27 sides to choose from) I feel the need to make a mountain of food and end up going back for seconds. STOP RIGHT THERE. You know what is good for you. Load up on veggies and protein but when it comes to casseroles and carbs, pick one and portion it out. I promise you will fill up with much less food than you think.
  • Don’t be a grazer and stay busy.
    • The aurdoves that keep bringing you back. The spread of chips, dips, and cheese trays. Be aware and conscious. Have some veggies and some cheese and crackers but keep in mind you will be eating later. If you find yourself repeatedly going back to the snack table distract yourself. It is ok to munch here and there but there is also plenty of things to keep you busy. Help out cooking, set the table, get a head start on dishes or try and socialize with that Uncle who only talks sports stats. Stay busy.
  • Booze control.
    • I come from an irish family that isn’t shy of drinking at gatherings. So many things to celebrate! Just be responsible. Keep it light. Beer and wine have a lot of calories. If you are staying in the same location for the night look up a fun cocktail to make or treat yourself to a low calorie beer. If you are driving make a mocktail! Or treat yourself to one drink early one and sip on it slowly then wait awhile before getting behind the wheel. Sadly enough you will not be the only one on the road that night and it is best for you to be fully aware of your surroundings!
  • Add a little physical activity to your day.
    • If you are in the South you have no excuse to not be outside everyday for a brisk fifteen minute walk, well unless it is down pouring. Get your blood moving. Whether it’s going out for a walk or jump rope. Taking your kid to the park. Doing 15 squats while you brush your teeth. Do something active. Let your body know you care. Feel like an overachiever? Go to the gym and spend thirty minutes on the treadmill and spend another thirty weight training. One fun way to incorporate fitness and pleasure is by trying out a yoga class that incorporates wine, beer or goats! 
  • Save the sweets!
    • It is easy to say that almost every corner I turn there is a sign for warm apple pie, a box of assorted chocolates or a tin of Nana’s homemade cookies. All my weaknesses. But do I NEED them? Not at all. In fact I can spread the holiday spirit by making healthy alternatives! Treat yourself with something small everyday. By all means you can have a cookie but if temptation is hitting you hard try out an advent calendar. With this you get one small piece of chocolate a day. If you plan to have your piece at night after dinner you can remind yourself throughout the day that you get that special sweet treat EVERYDAY and that is better than eating 12 cookies and feeling like a lazy bum afterwards!


Just a few friendly reminders to keep with you this holiday season! What is you trick to staying healthy? Comment below!

Wishing you a happy holiday!

Thanks for the read-


Eight (healthy) cocktails to spice up your holiday this season!

Eight (healthy) cocktails to spice up your holiday this season!

The holidays are here and that means family gatherings, aka bring on the holiday cocktails! Now we all know the spiked eggnog and irish coffees make for the perfect winter’s evening but holy crud the calories they hold! For some calories shmalories. But for all…

Tis’ the Season: Seven Gluten and Dairy Free Desserts

Tis’ the Season: Seven Gluten and Dairy Free Desserts

Came for the holidays stayed for the desserts Thank you October for starting Fall off just right, but now it is time for the holidays, and that means all the desserts! This year will be a little different for me though. Ever since I began…

Down Seven Pounds in Three Weeks: My Exact Mealplan

Down Seven Pounds in Three Weeks: My Exact Mealplan

Why a meal plan made the difference.

Almost a year after giving birth I finally looked in the mirror disappointed for the last time. It was time to get my body back, I just didn’t know where to start. I began researching ways to get your body back being postpartum. The results were unreal, and A LOT to choose from. What really got the fire burning was when I scheduled our engagement photoshoot. I know I won’t be where I hope to be for my wedding but I was ready to lose weight, and wanted to do it fast. 

(Note: There are affiliate links in this post for your convenience!)

Where did three weeks come from?

Beach Body’s 21 Day Fix popped up several time in my diet and exercise searches. This a workout and diet program by Beach Body. It looked true to its ads but I was not ready to pay the price ($67). But I did get two things from it:

  • Eating the correct portions will help train your stomach
  • Trying something for three weeks can form a new habit.

Prior to starting, my diet was so-so, I ate with my emotions to say the least.  However, since February I have not eat red meat, pork or poultry (I still eat seafood and eggs). But I would indulge in a daily ice cream cone, straight up bread and butter and I loved cheese on everything.

A Meal Plan Is Necessary

I decided in order to be serious about losing weight I will have to give up dairy and gluten.  For three weeks, can’t be that hard? And if it was I could eat all the bread and ice cream once I hit day 22. There is an end date. This made going through a strict diet so much easier. Knowing that I would be able to have something again helped in giving it up in the first place. Mindsets are so wild!

I did end up buying portion control containers. I had no idea I typically ate 4 servings for one meal. FOUR SERVINGS!! Eating the correct portions makes a huge difference, and made it super easy to track calorie, fat, protein and carb intake. I use the MyPlate app to keep track of everything!

A meal plan was crucial to have. Or else you will just want to snack all day. I did a “rough” meal plan the first week. By rough I mean I wrote down a bunch of ideas but did not actually plan it out. But I did track every meal I made and created true meal plans for the following two weeks. This made grocery shopping and any prep work a breeze.

The results are in

After three short weeks I dropped seven pounds (Started at 148 lbs ended at 141 lbs and went from a size 8 to a size 4! The amount of bloating that went away after no gluten was un real. There is no BS behind it. I ate well and stayed hydrated. As for exercise all I did was walk at least 4 times a week for 20-30 minutes. For rewards I let my self have a glass of red wine once or twice a week.

Starting out, I took Vitamin B12, and still do on most days. When you’re not eating meat you can lack B12 and may feel weaker than normal. By supplementing with a vitamin it will help increase your energy level. By day 13 I was hardly missed dairy. Gluten was everywhere and it didn’t bother me to not have it.

Now that I have finished the diet, I gave myself one week to eat correct portions but allow gluten and dairy. To be honest I had an ice cream cone 7 days out of the diet and felt like death. In honor of that feeling I started the diet over and will stick to it for another three weeks. However this time I plan on incorporating more exercise to see how much of a difference it makes!

Spreading the love, and the meal plan

Are you serious about losing weight and detoxing your body? Do you want to change your lifestyle so you can feel and look better? Or are you just curious about what I ate to lose the weight? 

Well, lucky enough, by tracking all my calories and food I created a gluten-and dairy-free-21-day meal plan! The meal plan includes grocery lists for each week ( I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s), each day has three meals planned and all calorie intake is noted daily! I am here to share whatever I can to help anyone out on their health journey!


Thanks for the read!



Medical Disclaimer

This mealplan is for reference and informational use only and is not intended in any way as medical counseling, or medical advice. The information contained should not be used to treat, diagnose, or prevent a disease, or medical condition without the advice of a competent medical professional. The author, writer, editors, and graphic designer shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any damage, or injury alleged to be caused directly, or indirectly by the information contained in this e-book. You should always consult your doctor before starting any fitness, or nutrition program.

What To Get A One Year Old: Someone’s birthday is right around the corner

What To Get A One Year Old: Someone’s birthday is right around the corner

In just half a month my sweet baby Ray is turning ONE At first I had no clue what to get a one year old baby girl. Do I throw a party? Does she need a new outfit? Toys, books, socks?! Then I went to…

A Weeks Worth Of Autumn Inspired Vegetarian Dinners

A Weeks Worth Of Autumn Inspired Vegetarian Dinners

Sometimes we just need a list of vegetarian dinners right in front of us or else we order dominos. These recipes were carefully chosen by none other than, well me. I spent many trials and testings of different recipes to find these seven wonderful vegetarian…

All About Ray’s Arrival: Delivery Story

All About Ray’s Arrival: Delivery Story

For this post I will be going into detail about Ray’s labor and delivery story, so apologies in advance for the lengthiness.


It was a Tuesday morning in the middle of November. I was in my final semester of college and a little less than three weeks away from baby’s due date. November is the nearing the end of the semester and it was time to prep for finals and complete any unfinished projects. I worked it out will all of my teachers to complete the finals the week of my due date and felt like everything was in place!

A Walk Around the Town can induce labor?

As I was tying up some loose ends, one project I still needed to complete was observing a culture outside of the classroom. I reached out to one of my best friends, Madge, and asked if she wanted to check out an India inspired art collection.

We met downtown and found the building the gallery was in. Turns out it was the headquarters for a radio network and the lobby was displaying all of the art. Not exactly what I had in mind but it did the trick, and it made for a quick visit.

Bagels, coffee? I am Hungry

Seeing our art walk did not take more than fifteen minutes to gather a decent understanding of the artist’s purpose, we decided to grab a quick breakfast. Stopped down on Water St. for some Tug Boat Tony’s, where we enjoyed some New York styled bagels on the patio and chatted up on life.

Soon after we walked up (up as in walked up a decent hill) to Front St. it started to rain and Madge had to pee. We stopped by Java Dog, she used the bathroom and I decided to get my favorites, an iced chai tea. While I am in line about to order I suddenly felt like I wet myself and I could not stop it from happening. Luckily I had I long rain jacket on that covered my booty so it wasn’t a big deal.

Did my Water Just Break?!

The thought ran across my mind that this could be my water breaking. But it couldn’t be, could it? In the movies it is like a water fall splashing to the ground. This was like a 7 second trickle. Anyways I asked Madge, she said no don’t think so. We were on the same page. Never the less I needed to change my pants before class. So I headed home and when I got there I mentioned to Matthew my water may have broke. We both did not take it very seriously. WE STILL HAD THREE WEEKS. Our nursery was not ready at all, we did not even have a name, there was no way this baby could be coming, nope, no way.

I remember googling water breaking and it said it should smell like sweet almonds. Like what? All it smelt like to me was “male fluids” (otherwise known as semen) which we later found out is another smell people believe it to smell like.

Carry on

Not knowing what to do I went to class. This probably wasn’t the best idea. My water continued to break in random spurts. I called my mom when I got out, she said to go to the doctors. So I did. They pretty much gave me the same thing as a Pap smear and I waited a couple minutes for them to come back and tell me, yep, that was my water breaking, I tested positive for amniotic fluid, we should go to triage.

When I got home I told Matthew the deal, we didn’t really “pack a hospital bag”, we didn’t think I was in labor. So we brought a few things, mainly school stuff because there was much to get done and made our way to the hospital. We did make a quick pit stop on the way so Matthew could get his whooping cough vaccine and flu shot, yea still thought we had time for that too. (Thinking back now I remember how good Bojangles sounded as I waited in the car while Matthew got his shots, and really regret not getting it.)

Triage? Nope we have you set up for labor and delivery.

We got to the desk at the hospital and they told us we would be heading back to labor and delivery. WTH. I was having zero contractions and had so much else left to do. But we headed back, met our nurse, got changed into my hospital gown and hooked up to an IV. This was around 5 o’clock on Tuesday, let me remind you my water broke earlier that MORNING at about 10 am ( and I had yet to eat anything since that dang bagel).

The doctor came in and checked to see if I was dilated. I was a whopping 1 cm. And PSA getting your cervix checked is NOT COMFORTABLE at all, they literally jam their whole hand up there. Sorry to be graphic but it is the truth. Apparently my cervix is slightly crooked, maybe that is why it was so uncomfortable. Because my water broke they did not want to check often due to risk of infection and that was fine by me at least for the next 14 hours.

And so Begins Pitocin

Shortly after being checked they started me on Pitocin. For those not familiar, Pitocin is suppose to help increase contractions and speed up labor time. This wasn’t really the case for me. The worst thing about the Pitocin is that you can’t eat.  I hadn’t ate sense 9 am that morning. I was starving. No wonder women are so pissed off during labor, the pain of contractions plus being hangry, no thanks.

My mom showed up and brought her laptop so we could watch a few documentaries for a paper I had to write. Matthew went home to get more of our stuff for over night and take care of our dog and then came back and traded places with Mom.  Really the night went on without much happening. I do wish I would have slept a little bit more but I was pretty antsy. The following days were exhausting and that extra 4 hours of sleep I skipped out on really would have been useful.

On to Wednesday November 14th

Around 7 am on Wednesday morning I still was at 1 cm. Talk about discouragement. The doctor decided to re-break my water, which pretty much consisted of her going in with a plastic like knitting needle and popping a balloon. This time it was much more like the movies, water gushing everywhere. They restarted Pitocin and by 10 am I was beginning to feel contractions. How to explain a contraction, hmm. I think of 15 lbs od bricks pushing down on my hips and lower back, but let’s have the bricks covered with sand spurs. Luckily the pain is not constant, it comes and goes.

Mom was  still at our house with Hogan and doing what she could to help prep for the baby homecoming. Meanwhile I tried walking around the hospital room, bounced on a yoga ball a little sat in a squatted position. Anything I could do to breathe through the contractions. I will say I am happy we took child birth classes, at least I wasn’t completely clueless. Matthew said during this period of discomfort that I said more curse words in that hour or so then I have in our entire relationship. My filter left the building about the time my water was re-broke, sorry!

4 cm: you got to be kidding me

The next time the nurse came in to check me I could have sworn I was at 7 cm. But no just 4 cm dilated. At this point I didn’t care I was ready for my epidural. Originally I thought I would be able to do the whole “natural birth”, but honey NO. My mother gave natural birth to all three of us kids, and kudus to her and any other women who took on that amount of pain. But we were on hour 26 and I was ready for any help provided.

When people explain epidurals it is a little scary. A giant needle going into your back where if you move so much can go wrong. But in reality the needle was the least of my worries. The anesthesiologist came in not long after I put in my request. She had me sign paperwork saying I was agreeing to get the epidural. Then she had me sit on the side of the bed and had Matthew stand before me.  You have to arch your back over, almost like the cat yoga position, so they are able to place the needle in the correct spot. The only partially stressful thing about the epidural is having to stay still while they place the needle in. During this time contractions are still coming and going, staying still during this is hard. So another little tip: Get the epidural early.

Soon after the epidural procedure was complete and they put the catheter in (not a very pleasant experience) my Mom arrived with my baby ( well 22-year-old) sister that lives out in Texas.

Everyone is on route

Not long after my sister arriving, my dad flew in from work. My (almost whole, just missing my brother) family was there and I could not be happier. Matthew’s Mom was the last to arrive and made it in good timing all the way from Pennsylvania. Originally I did not want anyone but Matthew and the doctor to be in the room during the delivery, but after a long thirty hours I did not give a hoot.

My mood is pretty swell at this time. Mentally I was relieved to have some sense of comfort after the epidural. My body felt better but could still feel contractions. It wasn’t till I asked my nurse if I could get up to pee that I realized something was a little off. The nurse responded with “You shouldn’t be able to feel that you have to pee”. I did feel it, matter of fact I still felt my entire left side of my body and could move it around pretty easily. Not to big of a deal but when it got closer to delivery time it would have been much nicer if I couldn’t feel a thing!

Baby is coming

We all had a bet when the baby would come. I said 5:27 pm, Matthew thought it would be much later. Around 4:45ish contractions really started to pick up. All I could do was breathe and wait for them to end. Just staring at the monitor next to me, I could see when the next one was coming. Little note: don’t watch the screen focus on something better, visualize a happy moment or anything else besides looking at that dreadful screen.

Our nurse, Katie, came in not long after and I was READY to be checked. It was dark in the room and all I could feel were contractions on and off and the feeling of having to use the restroom. Seriously, it felt like I was going to sh*t myself and there isn’t another way I can put it. Katie checked me and yep, full 10cm, I was so ready to push but Katie was not. My doctor was in the middle of preforming a C section and I needed to wait for her to finish before we could deliver the baby. Katie said I can start to push because it can take some time so I did. I pushed then waited for 15 seconds before pushing again. Matthew said on the second push he could see the top of little baby’s head. That was when Katie told me to hold back as much as I could. 

I held back for one more pushing session and finally Dr. Chalk arrived.

Next push and we heard the littlest cry, more like a meow, anyways baby girl was here!

My memory is foggy for the following fifteen minutes. I was exhausted, elated relieved and still pretty anxious. They put Ray on my chest for skin to skin. We did delayed cord clamping and Matthew cut the cord. I can’t remember if that was before or after the placenta came out but that was nothing compared to pushing out the baby.

Once everything was said and done (literally five minutes after she came out) I fell asleep with her on my chest. Our cat nap did not last long, maybe a few minutes if that. Ray, who was still unnamed at this point, weighed in at 6 lbs and 15 oz and a whopping 20 cm. She is perfect.

After all her meet and greets we moved to a new room and practiced nursing. She latched almost immediately ( SO THANKFUL FOR BIRTH CLASS) but my milk ( colostrum) was barely coming through. We ended the night with Matthew’s mom bring us a much deserved Jersey Mike’s sub and a lesson in swaddling.

And just to think this girl will be 1 in only a month.

Thanks for the read!


One Year Till I am MARRIED: Some wedding flower Inspo

One Year Till I am MARRIED: Some wedding flower Inspo

One Year Out Because wedding flowers make me excited. October came and hit me smack in the face. We are officially one year out from our wedding month. It is time I get my sh*t together and start executing all my planning.  What we have:…