My Babymoon Heroes || Azura Bay + A Few Other Brands to Love

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A “babymoon” might seem like the cheesiest thing a pregnant couple can do but, after two non-baby-moon pregnancies, taking a vacation during this one was one of my top priorities. The transition from two kids to three is daunting (less than one to two, but, any change is nervewracking) and I knew that AJ and I likely wouldn’t have the time to get away together for a long while after this pregnancy.

So, I saved up my money from this little job here and booked us a trip to Cancun.

And let me tell you right now, all of the cheesiness is gone from the term “babymoon” now. It’s necessary. It’s healthy. It’s smart to get away.

This was by far my favorite vacation we’ve taken together — we had no agenda, nowhere to be, no one to see or please. Just each other and the beach and lots (and lots) of food and virgin drinks. We didn’t take nearly as many photos as I planned; the sign of a trip well-taken, I assume, but it was a beautiful escape that I’d 100% recommend to any mom-to-be, whether this is your first or fifth babe.

I packed fairly light for our four day excursion, but one area I went a bit overboard on (intentionally) was with swimwear. I rarely get to wear my swimsuits, so when given the chance, I decided to bring three along, even though one was really all that was necessary.

Of all the pieces (all from ethical brands either new or secondhand), my Azura Bay pieces proved to be some of the best for the occasion.

What I wore:

Black & Gold Maria Bikini Set

Lemona Romper

Neither of these pieces are “maternity” but I love the extra room in the romper for a bump and, of course, all you need to wear a bikini is a body to put it on ;)

Azura Bay stocks ethical brands from all over the world, simplifying one of the most tricky aspects of ethical shopping: finding ethically made, affordable, and beautiful undergarments.

Other Trip Heroes:

Encircled Chrysalis Cardi: although I didn’t get any photos in this piece, I wore it on both plane rides as a scarf/pillow, and wore it as a wrap dress at the resort.

Sotela Stella Jumpsuit: this piece is a forever favorite for so many reasons. You all know my love for Sotela, and this jumpsuit is a true staple in my wardrobe. It’s bump and breastfeeding-friendly too!

Bikyni Set: One of my other favorite swimwear brands, I purchased the top a few years ago and they so sweetly sent me over a pair of bottoms for our babymoon.

QuiQuattro Turkish Towel: I’ll be sharing a full post on this brand in the coming months, but when I decided we were going to Mexico, this towel was the first thing I packed. I love using it at home too — so beautiful and functional.

Sseko Crossover Slides: The only pair of shoes I brought for the trip, other than the sneakers I wore on the plane were my trusty Sseko slides. I love this brand and everything they stand for.

We had such a relaxing, beautiful time and decided that we want to make it a yearly thing — likely with all three kiddos in tow next time ;)

Have you ever taken a babymoon? Tell me where you went!


*This post wasn’t sponsored by anyone, but some of the items mentioned were gifted as part of a long term ambassador partnership with the brands. Thank you for supporting the brands that make SL&Co. possible!*

4 Ways to be a Better Listener (And Why it Matters)

I always thought that I was a good listener until I actually put it to the test. Our Sunday school class was going into a series about listening that really resonated with me. I picked up a book my mother had given me about the subject and decided that I would learn to be a better servant, better wife, and a better friend by becoming a better listener.

It’s harder than you’d think. 

Most people don’t think of themselves as bad listeners, which may be a big part of the problem. Perhaps we don’t check our phone as much as that one person we know, but there always seems to be so many distractions keeping us from fully immersing ourselves in one moment.

Too often I find myself thinking more about what I am going to say than fully listening to what someone else is telling me. Women often accuse men of jumping too fast to “fix” things instead of just listening to their problems, but a lot of the time I find myself doing the same thing to my husband when he’s telling me about his rough day. Many of our personal arguments are often caused by misunderstandings, or not really listening, to what the other is saying. It’s humbling to think that maybe people don’t need my input as much as they need me just to shut up and allow them to be fully heard.

Most people don't think of themselves as "bad listeners", but when you find it hard to focus on what the person is saying rather than thinking of how you're going to respond, these 4 tips will help you value the person you're talking with and become a better listener.

Listening is difficult when we disagree with what’s being said. We only listen to what we like to hear instead of trying to understand things from the other’s point of view. With the present election coming up, and all the social issues around us, it’s easy to want to cloister ourselves in with other people who agree with us and chuck rocks at the “other side”. There needs to come a point where we humble ourselves enough to let go of our defensiveness and hear them out even when we strongly disagree with their opinions. We may find that we can learn something from them, or that their viewpoints were not as wacky as we first believed. 

Though I am still growing in this (I’m no expert, by any means), here are a few tips for better listening:

Slow down

Don’t assume that you already know what someone else is going to say. Listen to them without interrupting or interjecting your “helpful” advice.

Put away distractions

Put your phone out of reach, or turn it off when you are dedicating time to listening. Checking your phone during a conversation greatly increases the other person’s sense of insignificance, almost like they are the distraction begging you for some time together.

Know when to help

A lot of the time people don’t want to hear your fix-all solutions to their problems, they just want someone there to share their pain or experiences with. Don’t treat people like projects because they will catch on to that attitude and close themselves off to you. There are times when people can be stuck in a cycle of harmful self-shaming where you can interject—lovingly, tenderly, with much care for their personal benefit.

Stay humble

Listening is a chance to serve others and allow them space to feel valued and validated. There will be times when you hardly get to say anything that you may have wanted to share with them, but it may be for the better.

A lot of listening has to do with living more simply, with less distractions and a lot of patience. Know that to be a really good listener takes time and effort; but it is a skill anyone can learn.

At Home Date Nights || "Date Crates"

I've been dying to share this at home date night with you all for so long! We decided to try something new this month and have a date night shipped right to our door step.

Sound too good to be true? It kind of was, in fact. I heard about Date Crates on Instagram and after reading a little bit more about them, I knew I had to try it out- so we ordered one (actually it was a gift from my mother-in-law. Thanks Chris! ;) 

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At Home Date Nights // Coffee and Game Night

Today I'm so excited to be starting a new series that I hope to continue into the new year! It's no secret that having intentional alone time is paramount to the success of any relationship- but there are also usually a million excuses standing in the way of them happening. 

We cant afford it. We don't have a babysitter. Our schedules are too busy. We've already done all of the fun dates in our town. Why spend money when we can just watch Netflix at home? 

These excuses are all too common and while there is truth in them- it's so important to make time for each other. Aj and I know the struggle all too well- the babies are usually the main reason we don't go out often. Our babysitters (my parents) moved away a few months ago, and so in lieu of paying someone else to watch them AND spending money on a date (except for special occasions) we decided to experiment and try doing fun dates at home. 

The good news is these dates don't have to be expensive at all, and with a little planning and use of resources (we recently discovered Personal Capitol's services*, which help us manage our finances all in one place, but that's a story for a different post!), date night takes on a whole new meaning. 

I want to share our date nights with you all in hopes that they both inspire you to try to save a little money and get creative at home AND to push Aj and I to do it more. Accountability is never a bad thing. The ideas probably won't be revolutionary, just simple and completely do-able. Look for them each month in the coming year! (Hear that, Aj? ;) 

SO- without further ado, our first at-home date: 

Again, this date is so simple that you definitely didn't need me to think of it, BUT it's a tried and true classic for a reason- it's fun!

What you'll need:

  1. Game of your choice (we literally only own cards, Scrabble and Apples to Apples....we need to up our board game game...)
  2. Drink of choice (I made Jameson spiked hot chocolate- recipe to come soon!)
  3. A little bit of mood lighting. 
  4. Each other.

Try to focus on connecting with each other a little bit deeper than you do throughout the day. Go deeper than "how was work" or "what should we do this weekend?"

If you're the competitive type, try not to let it get in the way of having fun. Scrabble can get pretty brutal- so we had to be extra careful ;) But, for the record, I won...

What are some of your favorite at home dates? Do you think we are secretly 75 year olds for playing Scrabble? 

*This post was not sponsored by Personal Capital, I simply believe in the company and wanted to share!*