Inspiring a more beautiful world one woman at a time!
I love shoes!
Seriously, LOVE them! With the baby my wardrobe simplified and now I find that shoes are my perfect accessory! I also love girl bosses who have a business, run the household and take care of a family! So today I would like to share with you a friend of mine who is in the business of shoes and making dreams come true.
So you know how you get ready for your wedding and you want those amazing shoes Maholo Blahnik shoes to wear as your something blue? I was that girl, but I couldn’t afford them. I know many girls have been there and have to choose between the dress, a couple extra guests on the list or the shoes! Maybe you are preparing for prom or a special occasion his summer and you really want to stand out, this may be the perfect option for you!
Kristine thought of the girl who wants to be in the perfect shoe for the perfect occasion and started a business to make it easier! A designer shoe at an affordable price? Yes, please!
It was my dream for a long time to have a photo with the city skyline in the background. My husband and I visited New York often together, we live only a couple of hours away. We have gone there for a weekend, for a day, and even our first honeymoon was in New York.
We spent half of our honeymoon at a bed and breakfast in the upstate NY and it was a dream. Then we went to the city for a few days and stayed in the beautiful Novotel in a room overlooking Times Square.
The day after we got there my husband of six days at that time was moving the car parking spot and was t-boned by a taxi on Park ave. He left his phone (it was supposed to be a quick move the parking spot trip) so I got a call from the ambulance drivers phone to go to the hospital to meet him.
In the end its a crazy story, married for 6 days and could have lost each other. If I was in the car with him, I would have been severely injured, the car was totaled and we had to rent a car to get home. It was my dads car by the way.
Now when we go back to New York, its so many memories!
Our second date was in the city where we almost had our first kiss on Park ave, but I thought it was too early.
We got engaged in Central Park. And we will continue making memories.
Favorite spot for food in New York: Halal Guys. We love truck food and we always get it for lunch in the city. You stand in line for a while, then you sit on whatever surface is available and eat. The full experience is great because it brings so many memories for us and you can’t get truck food like this anywhere else in the state or in the country.
I hope you enjoy these family photos. We had so much fun working with our photographer and would recommend her services any day! She was amazing with our baby and got his attention to make sure he looked into the camera and smiled.
I am really loving all the blush tones this year! I have a little obsession with cherry blossoms this year. You can find the dress I’m wearing here. Also a similar one here. And another option here and here.
Shoes are Manolo Blahnik, you can buy them here or rent them for a special occasion here.
I am wearing Mary Kay products, on the eyes: Into the garden collection eye shadow palette, it was a spring limited edition and I only have 2 left for grabs.
Lipstick is Matte Mauve Moment – current favorite for a pink nude type of lipstick for this spring, you can get it here, and Light nude lip liner you can check out here. Bronzer is a must this season, I am not tan yet, I am using this bronzer here.
Mascara is a huge deal right now because I am not using any eye liner and giving all the volume to my lashes with this amazing mascara, check it out here, and the review I wrote on it here.
Today is Mother’s Day. You would expect that I would be thinking about what it means to be a mom and how motherhood changed me. But it’s not what I am thinking about.
I have been a mom for five minutes and I feel like I still have so much to learn! Every day brings new joys and new learning experiences, new opportunities to learn about myself and about my baby. One day I hope to be like the mom my children can adore and see Jesus through every word (thats hard for me), and every eye roll, and every hug and every tear.
This past week my thoughts have been consumed by more insecurity and negative thoughts of my body, my wifery (if that makes sense), and the way I am doing this motherhood thing. Today I am thinking of WHY. Why is it that some days I am not able to see past the imperfections of my body and feel proud of what the stretch marks mean, and feel proud of the wide shoulders and strong arms that carry a big baby boy around all day long?!
Why is it that some days I am not able to see past my questions and struggles as a business woman to confidently help others?
Why is it that the emotions and insecurities I used to struggle with as a teen are not going away? Maybe this one you also feel with me.
Every time I share my thoughts with a woman or a teen girl, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a married and a single woman, I find we all have something in common. We, a woman, each have the girl inside who is scared and wants to be loved for who she is, especially on the days when she can’t love herself. I feel like a lot of my adulthood revolved around either hiding this girl or pleasing her need to sulk in loneliness.
Today I would to speak to that girl whom you like to hide, from one soul sister to another.
I am with you.
Let me hold your hand, look deep into your eyes until the human connection makes you teary, squeeze your hand a little and feel that lump in your throat that you’re unable to swallow.
I am with you. I feel your pains. I feel your insecurities. I see the imperfections in the mirror.
I am here to tell you that you are beautiful, you are not alone and NO, you don’t look bloated, and NO, you don’t look 4 months pregnant. People don’t see what you see, they see the smile, the genuine laughter, the strong hugs you give that take your breath away a little, they see that bright lipstick, they see your hair curl and fall into your face, and they think its cute.
You are beautiful! Especially because it is Mother’s Day take a moment to love you, the real you. If you are a mother and if you are not, take a moment to hug that young girl who’s hiding deep inside, bring her out to the sunshine (even if its raining all weekend like it is where I am). Spend a minute with God and let His presence and truth fill your heart with hope. Because when you are filled with love only God can provide and truth only He can make true, you will be equipped to love yourself truly, be a better daughter, a kinder friend, and a more patiently loving wife.
Take time today to beautify. I love that word because to me it brings hope. You can take anything and make it more beautiful! I believe God does that with every one of us! Start with your hair, do something special, not like every day, add just a little more mascara then usual, wear the good shoes and that dress that makes your body curve in just the right ways. (if you don’t have a dress like that talk to me)
Go out of the house, love yourself and go love on your mom. Bring her flowers with some good quality time.
I am a mother now and I love things, but no matter how many things I have on my wish list, the best gift for me is spent with my baby when I don’t have to worry about taking care of anything else but him.
I am a mother now, but I am first a woman. I believe that if I am a better woman then I will also be a better mom. If you’re not a momma yet, take the time now to better yourself and prepare because that strength you will need later.
I hope you will be inspired to be the best version of yourself, the woman God wants you to be. Set aside and fight insecurities! Encourage the woman next to you! Hug your mama extra tight tonight.
your soul sister.
P.s. Photos are taken by Delaine, a New York City photographer. It was a dream to work with her! Something you may never see, she really is good at what she does, is how busy and hectic that morning was for me, my hair wasn’t the way I wanted it, the dress I wanted to wear didn’t come in on time, and other stuff that just kept getting in the way of how I wanted to feel that day. So I put my good shoes on and wore a little extra mascara.
p.s.s. Blue shoes are my favorite. It’s the best statement color because it looks good on everyone!
Two weeks ago I took an oath and became a citizen of United States. You can read more about my experience HERE, and see pictures from the ceremony.
When I was in college my two friends Scott and Eileen had a great time making fun of my accent and my immigration status. I was in the process of getting my green card at the time and they came up with a list of things I needed to do to become americanized.
Here is my list:
Watch a football game
The first football game I watched was super bowl 2013, we just moved to a new city and were newly married. One of our new friends invited us to a super bowl party and in a couple of weeks we will see him in Ireland where he currently lives. Also, our son was born on his birthday. I just liked the commercials that year, Beyonce was performing the half time show and it was my favorite one so far, I’ve seen 3 more super bowl games since then, and that year also had the absolute best puppy and horses commercials.
Drink a beer
I hate beer. I never liked the smell of it, so I don’t drink it, but the first time I tasted it was by accident actually. I was running Rochester Flower City Half Marathon 7 years ago and at one of the stops they were giving out beer instead of water. I almost choked on it because it wasn’t what I expected. Now I will only taste beer from a brewing company our friends started, even though I don’t think I will ever like beer.
Eat a cadbury egg
I don’t know why this one was significant. I just never tasted a cadbury egg or knew what the big deal was. So my first Cadbury egg tasting was during Intro to Psych class; I’m sure my friend Eileen brought them the next day after adding that to the list.
Attend a baseball game
I am not a huge sports fan and baseball is definitely farthest on the list. My first game in person was in Rochester NY with friends from Grace road church. I remember it was very cold, very long, and it was the first time I had Dippin dots ice cream. Turns out ice cream was better then the game and my friends had to explain everything to me.
Shoot a gun
The first time and so far the only time I shot a gun was in 2011. A good friend of mine took a bunch of us through some good training on safety and let us practice with different guns. Let me tell ya, I did some damage to the dirt in that field and took very memorable photos.
Go to a hockey game
Apparently there is a theme to becoming an American and it has to do with sports. I didn’t grow up with sports, its not something a girl does anyway, and even now I am not a huge fan of sports, but I have attended multiple sports events to support events, fundraisers and sometimes just because my husband wants to go. My first hockey game was in Binghamton, NY, with southern tier young professionals group in 2013. It was a great way to meet people in a new city and I haven’t been to a game since.
Visit New York City
The first time I went to New York to go to visit and not just drive through the city was in 2010. I went by myself via train, it was the most memorable time as the city was hit with a huge snow storm and it was very cold. I walked the streets for hours, window-shopped, did some actual shopping and caught up with good friends. My favorite part was going to see Wicked on Broadway and people watching. That trip was so important for me, I found inspiration to run in New York and I came back 4 months later to run in my first half marathon, I found peace and forgiveness, I let go of things that were causing me a great deal of pain at that time of my life. I don’t remember how many times I’ve been to the city now, but last time was 2 weeks ago for my baby’s 6 months birthday. It is one of my favorite cities and I will go back every chance I get.
P.s. Lately we have been using AirBnB instead of a hotel to stay in New York. It’s been the best experience ever. If you’d like to receive $50 discount on your stay via AirBnB comment below and I will email you a code to use!
Family photos from our last trip to New York city 2 weeks ago.
I can’t believe my baby is 6 months already! This photoshoot was just a dream!
I love my family!
We love the faces he makes and enjoyed our trip this May!
That morning I felt so frustrated, so alone and so rushed as I was getting ready for my ceremony. I even had a dream about my first half marathon race in New York. These feelings were similar, 7 years ago I ran my first half marathon in Queens NY, and after I crossed the finish line I walked away with a medal weighing heavy on my heart and felt my heart break with every tear that ran down my cheek.
It was such a big accomplishment, yet I felt so alone. There was no one there to witness this super important event, no one to cheer me on. My naturalization day came with similar feelings, except I invited friends to come, and they came. They responded, they texted and were present before I even I realized that I needed to be the one to invite them.
I gave up my citizenship of Ukraine on Friday. I gave up the country I was born in and grew up in. Today, I realize that for almost 15 years I tried really hard to fit in and be this American, which I wasn’t, be this person I thought an American should be. So who is this american that we all chase trying to become? Is it a dream that drives us as individuals to achieve, because in achieving THE dream we become the evidence of what this country is built on?
I was brought up valuing community; the people around you – they mean everything and share everything with you. The pain, the joy, the sorrow and the bliss. Everyone knows everything and you don’t mind one bit doing life with people all up in your business. Ukrainians value community, it’s not spoken of, but you know it when you go to a friends house for a baby shower and leave 9 hours later or when you have people show up at your house within hours notice, or no notice at all, and you all sit around the dinner table drinking tea until it’s 1:30 am and you can’t be late to work anymore, so they go home. I married an American and I had to learn this new way of doing community.
The American dream is about each individual achieveihg their dream life. Today I gave citizenship of the country I grew up in and I know in my soul that for me, being an American means to take the old and the new into the same melting pot and live from the lessons of the past. I didn’t have anyone come to cheer me on my first race because I didn’t ask, I felt alone because I didn’t let anyone in. Maybe I just needed a break from everyone knowing my business like when I grew up, but I am so thankful for the reminder to reach out, to ask, to let others know what goes on with me and invite them into my life.
Perhaps later I can share with you more about what my American Dream is, but for now, I hope to make you appreciate your country, your origin, your ethnicity and your nationality. Be proud of where you come from and proud of where you are going. I hope to inspire you to think of what your dream is and take the reroute if your dreams have taken the back burner spot. Detours in life happen, but you can always turn around.
I feel blessed to have friends who either showed up, or responded to my invitation to come witness my swearing in ceremony. I feel freedom. I think that I will continue to experience freedom and learn its meaning in many new ways in the years to come, and very soon as I am rushing to get a passport for our first trip out of the country as all american citizen. As my country of birth has been at war and without peace for a some years now, I have peace, knowing that no new law or regulation or mistake can make me leave a place I know and now call home and the many people I now call family.
I will take lessons from both countries. I will be the dream chaser like a true American inspiration. I will be a gentle soul and a true friend or the community like my parents taught me to be, and I will do my best to inspire you to hug your close ones tight, be present in their life and get all up in each other’s business because that’s what makes us not alone, but a community.
P.S. here are some fun things that happened during the ceremony. The whole thing took about two hours, and if you have a baby, you know they will be hungry and need a nap and a diaper change within that kind of time frame. So I sat there, then nursed my baby without a nursing cover of my nursing friendly shirt, I rocked my baby gently to sleep for a 30 minute nap and he woke up just as my husband got there. That way I didn’t hold him in my arms as I went to get the official papers. And my friend who came with her baby got to experience the same thing and some baby talking on top of everything. We ran into a couple of people we knew in the court room and it was a memorable day as I shared this experience with 66 individuals from 47 countries. Also, I had to surrender my green card, which was my travel ticket for so long!
Ok, so I’m still a woman, still the girl who would much rather not post a ‘no-makeup’ photo for the world to see, but this mascara has given me so much confidence I have to share with the world.
I am a beauty constant in a small town of upstate NY. I work with women to help them find their most beautiful version of self, just like makeup helped me!
This mascara is a new product to Mary Kay, it’s been a year since it came out and I started using it, I’m always talking about it, so I decided its time to share with you all!
Here is my before and after..
truth is, after I had a baby my lashes were so thin and everyone talked about their hair falling out, I felt like I lost my lashes. So mascara to the rescue!
The key to this mascara is the product + the wand. Application tip: Apply the mascara with long bristles first for the first coat, then apply it with the short bristles (adds product) and finish by spreading it out to the ends with the long bristles again.
After I had the baby everyone started telling me this is your “new normal” so get used to it. Get used to this life as if it’s going to be BAD, as if I should expect it to be a punishment. Punishment for love? (I mean, we all know where babies come from)
Frankly, I do feel waves of guilt and feelings of “this is my punishment” crawling their way into my mind slowly and it’s a conscious effort to keep that space clear from negative emotion. Ok, so most days I fail at keeping the attic of my brain clean, but so what, it doesn’t mean I should give up, it means I should fight harder.
This week I learned something about myself. Not that I didn’t know it, not that I had never heard it before, I just learned it. I mean really learned something about myself that made me feel all empowered and like I am getting to know this new ME, at this stage of my life. I just sat there marveling at this quality and I think I am going to continue getting to know me and instead of getting down on all the failures, I will attempt with all my effort to build on my strengths instead.
This week as I reflected on some circumstances of my life, I learned that I am resilient. So many times I’ve fallen down, been disappointed, yet I still stay positive and keep trying. The thought of completely giving up has not registered long enough to become reality. This is huge news to me. It means a great deal of self empowerment and a true encouragement.
If I was honest though, at the same time this week an overwhelming feeling came over me when I was painting my nails. There is one thing I NEED – to be able to walk into a grocery store or shake anyone’s hand before a business meeting with a nice looking manicure. So about a month or two ago I started doing my own mani/pedi. I wash dishes, cook, constantly wash my hands – so it means doing my nails every other night if I’d want to keep my manicure fresh. Who’s got time for that?! I really got fed up – because while baby is down for the night, I’d rather cuddle on the couch with my husband then wait for the nail polish to dry.
So instead of feeling all beat up about my new normal – I am now going back to get my manicure done and embracing womanhood – because its empowering. Because when my baby boy is growing up I want him to know that a woman isn’t meant to do it all, she is meant to be the best at the role she was designed to do. I want him to know she is beautiful and graceful at every moment of joy and every moment of diaper spill all over the floor. I want him to know a woman who builds a life on her strengths and isn’t destroyed by her failures.
Yes, I am aware that the new normal is having a little human cry for you from early morning until night, and then in the middle of the night, tugging on your body parts expecting food every two hours, without considering that you may be hungry too, since it always happens as you are about to sit down to eat. The new normal is pregnant – but not too pregnant so people can still look at you and say “awe, you’re all belly”. Then in 3 months you’re expected to loose the baby weight, go back to work, have him sleep through the night and roll over (what if your baby doesn’t want to yet?) There is the house, dishes (every day), meals to cook (every day), clean floors, shower and washed hair at least 2 times a week, change all the diapers, put on makeup (every day), give time for your husband, spend time with friends.. I know I am missing a lot more on this list as every mom’s to-do list is different, but seriously, can we just stop and celebrate how resilient a woman’s body is?
You allow your body to go through so much and experience the joy of giving birth (whoever says that by the way never had to go through it without the drugs), then you bring the baby home to experience the “New Normal”.
Let me just say that after 5 months of this new normal I think that WE – The Woman – are pretty freaking amazing. Let me just stop for a paragraph and tell you – husband, girlfriend, sister, co-worker – go celebrate your woman, especially if she is the mother of your offspring. Let me stop and tell you that if you’re not celebrated and you’re too exhausted to ask for it and demand it – you are amazing, you are resilient and you are beautiful. Your every effort will not go in vain, even though dishes in the sink and the pile of laundry on top of the dining room table remind you of the better version of you there once was. Be the best you today. Be the best version of you for your baby and for your husband, but most of all – be the best version you can be for yourself.
The new chapter of life where quiet frankly you – the mom – are the hero, the lifesaver is a great kind of normal, not a punishment.
Today, I will let the dishes sit for a little longer so I can hold my baby in my arms and take in every sigh, smile and every cuddle he will give me. Today, I will not let the Instagrammable world of expectations become the reality for my life. I will let the love of God allow me to love myself for who I am, and my every imperfection to be able to truly love on my family and friends.
p.s. if you are a new mom, kudos, you did it. Not feeling me on this one yet? Just wait until month 4 – after three months of cluster feeding and growth spurts, I really think it gets a LOT easier!
Are you getting unwanted advice from everyone and their mother yet?
When I was pregnant and through the first months after R was born I was getting all kinds of advice from moms and even women who are not moms. THE BEST advice I’ve ever received hands down is from a couple who also have a newborn, they said to listen to what people have to say, but only take the advice that you need, that applies to you! So in this case, I am writing from my personal experience, this is what has worked and not worked for me and my baby. So take what you need from this post and I hope you find it helpful if this applies to you!
We got lots of help from friends and family with baby items, some we haven’t started using yet, some we really love, and some items we really didn’t find practical or useful at all. Here are a few that I wish I didn’t buy or ask for on my registry.
1. 4moms tub
It’s certainly fancy! It’s has a temp reading to tell you if it’s warm enough for the baby, but honestly, you can get a thermostat for that or even better – use your judgement. You know your baby best and I trust that you will get the appropriate temps for the tub!
The water in this tub stays shallow, my baby wasn’t comfortable, so my husband had to hold his head while I washed him so he wouldn’t fall to the side. I have a big baby, and on top of that he kept growing so fast that within 3 weeks the water was not even covering his tummy and I have to put a warm wet towel on top to keep him warm. Maybe it’s best for tiny babies if you have something for their head to keep them from rolling to the side.
The actual baby tub I love is hand me down from my mom, she saved it from my baby sister who is now 9 years old. It’s the only hand me down item I got so I’m cherishing it! My baby absolutely loves it and I adore it for how easy it is to use! I am always on the look out for the items that I can keep using and not buy a different one once the baby grows out of it. I know this one I will keep for a while, once my baby can sit, he can just splash it all he wants!
2. Wipe warmer
Again, this is my opinion. Waste of money on this thing. The wipes dry out if left open inside the warmer, and by the time I take it out and get to the baby’s bottom, the whole thing is cooled off.
I tried a few different brands of baby wipes and found the one my baby liked the most. I still use it. It’s a Wegmans brand (our local grocery store) sensitive thin wipes. The price is great, its super soft, just moist enough, and my baby doest react negatively to it. (I love all organic stuff, tried them all, our favorite one is Burts Bees baby wipes, but they are the most expensive on the market and when you go through SO many wipes, it’s not worth it for me.
3. Blooming bath – the Flower bath thing
I love the idea of this as a bath for my baby and I didn’t actually purchase one myself or tested it out (just being honest) but every mom I’ve talked to who used it, did not like it as much as a traditional simple bath tub. My friend who used this also has a big baby (our babies were actually born the same weight and length) and it was very uncomfortable to keep the baby stable and comfortable while washing him.
it’s larger then it looks
you have to put it in the dryer to dry it because its big and heavy with water once your bath is done
you have to pour water over it to keep it warm, to keep the baby warm
creates unnecessary steps after the bath to take care of it, the ‘clean up’ seems too much work for a mom who has to bath the baby, dry the baby, lotion, and put a diaper on, especially if your baby does not love bath time
it’s super duper cute – and we, the women, buy most of the things that are cute
best for babies who can sit on their own
portable, easy to transport around
saves space if you don’t have a lot of storage for a tub
4. Diaper bag
This is MY opinion. So don’t judge please, make your own decisions on this one. I love my purses, I love being a woman and after giving birth I felt like I needed something of my old stuff to make me feel more womanly to help me come back to the new normal and feel sexy again. Because there are so many things after the baby that make you feel SO NOT sexy, you have to work hard on this one, in my opinion.
Diaper bag, even though they have SO many cute ones now, just didn’t make me feel like a sexy mom. I have a beautiful diaper bag, exactly what I asked for and I love it! So far I used it twice maybe… I think I will get more use out of it once my baby is older and I will need more space in the bag or when traveling and I need something thats organized well.
Instead I’ve been using my own purse as a diaper bag and use a ToteSavy insert for organization. It’s worked perfect so far! It helps to keep me organized and not have to carry lots of stuff around. You may not find it as easy if you need to bring a lot of bottles/formula, I am breastfeeding and for now its a very convenient solution.
5. Baby wrap carrier
I think this item is LOVE it or HATE it kind of thing. I hate it, not because of what it is, but because my baby hates it. I tried 3 different ones, I tried to wrap it around and after trying it and fighting it, I returned all of them but one – baby K’tan wrap. I only used this carrier when we were on vacation and I needed something easy to carry him.
Every baby is different. R gets hot and over heated very quickly, so I can’t use a carrier that will heat him up being so tight next to me. He is very independent (which makes me happy and saddens me at the same time) and doesn’t want to be pressed into me all the time. I also found it so difficult trying to do the whole wrap around me. I want something that’s quick to put on and take off, simple and easy is my friend now.
I hope you found this helpful! In the end, what you feel is best for you and your baby, every one is so different, so what I didn’t like you may love!
Can you stop time please!? My baby boy keeps growing and getting so long! I am sitting here looking through his newborn photos and catching baby fever just starring at my own baby!
Motherhood isn’t what I thought it would be.
I have 10 siblings, and being the oldest, I of course thought that having kids would be just like having to babysit all the time. Even though I am babysitting all the time, 24/7, being a mom is so much more then that! No one prepares you for the struggles and certainly no one can prepare you for the love that grows towards another human being.
I loved my pregnancy journey and I love being a mommy to a beautiful baby boy! As I sit and think back to my favorite pregnancy moments, I went back to my third trimester photoshoot.
P.s. take pictures earlier, maybe around 32-35 weeks if you are pregnant. I felt amazing but looking back at these now I am amazed at how big my belly was and how just huge I looked!
Thank you for following my pregnancy journey! It was the busiest time of our life, but also one of the absolute best!
After taking a little bit of a break, I’m back and excited to share with you my favorite baby things, baby moments, experiences, set backs and celebrations!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram! CHECK OUT our story of day to day things and shout out when you find me on Instagram!