Southern Utah Staycation

It’s fun to tell people that we live in Utah when we are traveling, because they always ask questions about snow. They immediately picture beautiful snow-capped mountains, and ask us how often we ski.

Then, we get to explain that we live in Southern Utah, where it is quite different than they might imagine.

We love living in Saint George, and even after living here for close to seven years, I am still amazed at how much I have yet to discover. It’s a place of natural beauty and adventure, with a plethora of exciting outdoor activities. If you’re curious on what there is to do where I live, click Here.

And while we do truly enjoy where we live, my husband and I also have a love of travel. However, now that we are parents of a six-month old baby, there is a lot more work to be done in regards to what to bring, where to go, and how far we can go!

This, of course, spurred the idea of a staycation- to take a vacation in the exact city that we already love and live in.

And although we have traveled to many diverse and beautiful places, I think this trip was one of the most relaxing, carefree, and still extremely memorable trips we have taken. However, if you don’t live in Saint George, I highly recommend looking into visiting! I also recommend the idea of a staycation; especially those with young children. It can be time spent within your own city, or even time just spent at your house! Here is a great article with tips on vacationing right in your own home.

That being said, the best decision that we made, was to stay at The Inn At Entrada.

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The Inn is very different than any resort I have stayed at before. Instead of imagining a hotel resort with rooms stacked right on top of one another, this beautiful place boasts a variety of private suites and casitas spread out next to the allusive Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club. As a guest of the Inn, you are allowed access to the private facilities, including their gorgeous golf course, restaurant, fitness center, and pool.

(Yes, the famous pool. You know, the one featured on High School Musical 2? Yep, the film was shot here and the actors did indeed stay at the Inn during filming!)

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We had the pleasure of staying in what is called an Anasazi 2-Bedroom Suite. If you’re interested in more details or on booking it for yourself, click Here.

It is a two bedroom, two bathroom luxurious suite, that features ample living space.

The full-size kitchen is absolutely gorgeous- and fully stocked with kitchen supplies- you don’t need to (and won’t want to) get your morning coffee elsewhere. The Inn provides you with a great selection to brew right in your own kitchen.

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I love that there is such incredible natural light throughout the suite. You can see the large windows and skylights in the kitchen! *sigh*

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We wanted to give my readers an accurate feel to how large the kitchen actually is, so here you have it! More than enough to dance in! 🙂

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If you make it out of this dream kitchen, surely it will largely be due to the inviting fireplace in the living room. Above that is a large TV, if you feel obliged to look at anything other than the amazing scenery outside.

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I am telling you, you will feel at home in this suite. In fact, my little fam decided we liked it here better than our own home, and tried to come up with schemes in hopes to never leave The Inn.

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There was something so sweet about being able to read to our baby in total comfort and quiet during our stay. It is one of our favorite things to do, and the Inn provided a perfect space to do it in!

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Traveling with a baby can be nerve-wrecking for multiple reasons, as you want your baby to be as comfortable as possible. We had more than enough room for her toys and books. There even was a closet with a full-size washer and dryer! Which, as all new parents know, is an absolute dream while traveling.

As someone who enjoys hotels and travelling, I have endured my fair-share of bad hotel beds. Who hasn’t? Even a lot of the higher-end resorts have led me to disappointment in this category.  I think some of the time, we as guests just cross our fingers and hope for the best. I am happy and confident to report that the beds at Entrada were beyond luxurious and comfortable. You can tell the linens are high-quality and well looked after. And, as you might expect, the room was beautiful. I haven’t mentioned yet, but the Inn features “Smart House” technology. As in, you click a button on a remote and your blinds descend from the ceiling. We decided that this is a “must” in our future home… One day! 🙂

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The bathroom connected to our Master bedroom couldn’t have been any better. It was immaculately clean and bright. There was: a large, walk-in closet, a large, walk-in shower, a beautiful vanity with two sinks, and my favorite- a whirlpool tub.

I think that may have been Presley’s favorite as well.

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Yes, she absolutely adores her otteroo! You can get one for your little one, here.

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So, yes, the suite absolutely was incredible. And this trip, we craved relaxation more than adventure. So, while Saint George is the perfect place for exploring nature and pushing your physical limits, we decided to take it easy and enjoy what the Inn at Entrada had for us.

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There is plenty to enjoy just within the grounds of the resort. We love walks as a family, and there was quite a lot to look at! The Inn has beautiful ponds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, pickleball courts, waterfalls, bridges, etc. It is such a pretty area!

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There are also a few little friends that live here! We saw a bunch of ducks, bunnies, and frogs!

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We relaxed by the pool, and I succesfully managed to refrain belting High School Musical songs aloud, which I am very proud of. We also participated in a friendly game of pool-side ping-pong.

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There a few dining options on location, as well as Downtown St. George being fairly close by.

We ordered pizza to our room one night, grabbed some take out another. However for lunch, my husband ran by the “Snack bar” at Entrada, which is the most casual dining option that is offered there.

Normally, I wouldn’t report on this.

And to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. However, to this day, those are still the absolute best chicken strips and fries that I have ever had. I still dream about them. That’s all I have to say on that.

To burn some of those delicious calories off, we could have hit the Entrada Fitness Center, which again we had free access to. However, we decided to switch gears, literally, and go for a bike ride.

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Biking through Entrada was so much fun! It is such a beautiful community! We absolutely loved it!

As a guest of the Inn, you also have access to the private golf course at Entrada.The Johnny Miller Signature Design 18-hole championship private golf course weaves through ancient black lava flows and meandering streams, stretching across 7,085 yards.  Entrada distinguishes itself year after year as Utah’s premier golf experience. Entrada is ranked as the number one year-round golf course in the state by Golf Digest Magazine.

We weren’t able to golf this time around, but it is on our list!

With so many amazing options just within Entrada, we didn’t even have to leave the gated community to have an amazing time.

The Inn at Entrada is much more than a place to stay. They take a step above in everything that they offer there. The accomodations were so incredible!

I am not kidding when I say that we were sad to leave.

I highly recommend the Inn to anyone and everyone, as they have accomodations for just one person, up to a 5-bedroom Suite!

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, or if you know of any other hidden gem resorts that we need to see next!

The gorgeous lifestyle photography was done by Ashley Meagan Photography

The Truth Behind My C-Section: The Presley Autumn Lee Birth Story

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When I was six months pregnant, my husband and I took a birthing class at our hospital. It was a strenuous course, and I commend my husband for taking it with me. They discussed the different types of births, and gave us a tour of the different birthing rooms and suites. I squeezed my husband’s hand when we went into a room with a birthing tub. I admired the beauty of the room. I envisioned the birth I dreamed of; the magical moment I would meet my baby. I honestly was fighting back tears imagining what beautiful story would unfold within these walls.

The tour ended with a brief stop at the operating room. A woman in our group was pregnant with twins, and one of them was breech. So, she announced to the group that she was planning to have a scheduled C-Section. My heart dropped for her as I stared into the operating room. It was so sterile and cold-looking. After admiring the warmth that was the traditional rooms, I shivered at the idea of having my baby cut out of me. No, that wouldn’t happen to me… We left the hospital that day, with the ‘perfect’ birth plan still dancing in my head.

At the end of my pregnancy, I had been having braxton-hicks on and off for a few weeks. Nothing too serious. Presley being my first baby, I had no idea what to expect. But, I knew I didn’t want to go to the hospital only to be sent home. The night before I went into labor, I was having light contractions again. I was 39 weeks and 5 days at this point. I felt HUGE! I began dilating earlier in my pregnancy, and baby was measuring pretty big. I thought I would have my baby early… But here we were. Sleep was non-existent at this point. My heartburn was insane, my body was constantly uncomfortable, and every contraction made my heart skip. “THIS COULD BE IT.”

I was ready to have this baby! I remember the quiet moments that night. I sat on the couch in the wee hours of the night. I would poke at Presley and talk to her- mostly about how Mommy was ready to meet her and it was time for a Birthday! She would kick and punch me in return- I knew she was strong! The contractions didn’t stop, but they were light and far apart. I eventually got a little sleep. I woke up at five AM, and was still having contractions. I started timing them.

I woke Dakota up and told him to call his boss and let them know he wouldn’t make it to work. “You think this is it?” He asked. “I think this is it!” I went and took a bath, because I heard sometimes it can make the contractions stop if it isn’t the real deal. Well, my contractions stayed! At this point, I started to get excited. I ate a tiny bit of oatmeal, which I absolutely regret not eating more! It would end up to be my only real food for over 36 hours. We grabbed our bags (which had been packed for weeks!) and went to the hospital.

We walked up to the check-in and the lady asks what we are here for. I stared down at my huge belly. “I think I’m in labor.” I reply nervously. They take me into a small monitoring room first. I am instructed to put on a gown and they start hooking me up to machines. The nurse shows me where my contractions were being displayed- Yep! I was having them! Dakota and I started to get excited. She left the monitor on me and left us alone. This was it! I was mentally preparing to enter my glorious birthing room and let Mother Nature guide me to my baby. I was thinking of the tub, the birthing ball, the massages and breathing we had learned.

After a while, the Nurse came back in. But, the way she started talking, I immediately became disappointed. She let us know that my contractions had slowed down. I was still having them, but they were getting farther apart instead of closer together. She let me know it was perfectly normal for first time Mom’s to come in multiple times. She said we could go walk around a while and it might start them up again, and we could potentially come back even that same day. I was crushed. She left the monitors on me and said she would send my reports to my doctor before they discharged me.

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We were just absorbing the idea of leaving, when the Nurse came back in. She looked at us and exclaimed, “Well, you’re having a baby today!”

I was so surprised! Had my body finally kicked into baby-gear? Had I started dilating significantly more? And then my bliss turned sour. She started pointing to the monitors and explained how with every contraction I was having, our baby’s heartrate was decreasing. She explained that happened for a few reasons- it could be simply that she was in a position that she was squeezing her umbilical cord with the pressure of the contractions. Or, the cord was around her neck. Or, the placenta was beginning to fail. No matter what was going on, they weren’t going to let us leave until she was out.

It was not instantly an emergency situation- I did not need a C-Section right away. I was still intending to have a vaginal birth. However, everything I ‘wanted’ for this delivery went out the window. I was worried about my baby. My mental process was simply to get her out. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t help her while she was still in me. I wanted her to be out so that I knew she was OK. I was panicking on the inside, but I tried to remain calm. The nurse took us to a delivery room- I did not ask for a room with a tub. I did not ask for a birthing ball. My idea of a slow and peaceful labor was gone.

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They let me know that they wanted to help the labor and contractions as much as we could, so they would be starting me on pitocin. Pitocin- a thing I planned on avoiding. And now, I saw it as an aid to help get her here sooner. They hooked my IV up immediately. Shortly after the pitocin was doing it’s job, my contractions’ intensity sky-rocketted. I had been having contractions for hours, but now my pitocin contractions were unreal. I can’t describe the pain, because there is nothing to compare it to. I looked at Dakota and told him, “I don’t think I can go through another contraction.” I gripped the side of the hospital bed with tears in my eyes. I felt like I was being ripped apart!

The epidural, the thing I was so afraid of ever getting, was such a welcomed idea. My anesthesiologist was incredible. He was so nice and made the experience so great. It was honestly the easiest part of my labor. Dakota held me as it was placed. I didn’t budge, I didn’t cry, I held still. I did receive instant relief. However, I eventually had issues with my epidural. I won’t spend too much time focusing on it, however I was still able to feel pain. I had issues with my catheter. They placed one, and then took that out and placed another. It was causing so much pain that I begged them to just take it out. These circumstances are very abnormal, and with the epidural I should have not felt anything. So, I have no idea why I had that happen, and my doctors don’t know either.

I was hooked on pitocin for hours. They had broken my water early in my labor to also help my labor progress. Unfortunately, there was meconium in the water- meaning my baby had passed feces in the womb. This put her at a risk of aspiration. Essentially, she could suffocate on her own feces. More panic.

After hours, and hours, my body was not progressing. I was stuck at a 7.5. They had me switch positions as much as I could. The contractions got intense, no matter how much medication they pumped through my epidural, I still had pain. It got so bad again, the point it had earlier when I begged for an epidural. Ripping pain. Yet, I had the epidural. The doctors told me they couldn’t give me any more medication- I was at my maximum. My epidural medication was so strong that it greatly impacted my blood pressure, I felt as if I would lose consciousness a few times. Luckily, the monitors they had on me read this, and they were able to give me stabilizing medication for my blood pressure. How could this be happening? I never planned on any of this.

After nineteen hours of labor, I was still stuck at a 7.5. No progression in hours- not even a little bit. My baby’s heartrate was still dipping with every contraction- the entire labor. After this much time, they were concerned for baby. I was trying so hard. I was fighting so hard. This whole time I was so concerned about my little bean. The precious baby I had felt and loved the past nine months. I just needed her to be OK. I was so incredibly exhausted, but I needed to keep strong for her.

My doctor eventually came in and somberly said, “I think it’s time we start to consider a C-Section…”

I tried to be brave but I felt the tears building in my eyes. Everyone left the room and it was just my husband and I. He came to my bedside and held me as I cried. I felt my body had failed. I couldn’t get this baby out on my own anymore. And she was in danger. We had been fighting together, I know the labor was tough on her too. I just needed her to be out so that she could be ok.

Dakota got dressed in scrubs. They wheeled me away first. No one was allowed with me while they prepped me for the surgery. They transferred me to the operating table. I remember looking around at this room- the room I so feared and never desired to be in.

The nurses and doctors were great, but they were at work. This was their every day. I was simply just another name on the board. They assembled the tools and made casual chit chat. What their plans for Thanksgiving were. Someone put on a radio. I remember thinking how odd this was. How perfectly ordinary for them. But, it was the strangest, scariest, most emotional day of my life.

I had a new anesthesiologist now, and he was much more procedural and less personable than my first. He administered the proper medication for the surgery. I remember feeling so cold. I was shaking so hard, involuntarily.

They had to re-administer a catheter at this point, and again, I could feel it and I had pain when I should have been entirely numb. However, the medication was working for my stomach area properly. Dakota was now allowed into the room. I remember being so happy to see him. It had felt like I was alone for so long while they had prepped me. He sat close to me, grabbed my hand, and it began. There was a huge, blue screen blocking our view of what was happening. I was mostly numb, but again, for some reason, part of my body would not accept the epidural. There was nothing we could do. So I had some feeling during the surgery. I kept apologizing to the nurses and the doctors, it was so painful and I was trying to just remain calm and happy. It was finally time to meet my baby! But nothing was going right, I was so exhausted, and I was frustrated that I was still hurting despite the epidural.

But then, they pulled her out. I could tell. And we heard her! The doctor lifted her up.

THAT WAS MY BABY. MY BABY.

Joy, pure joy. She was here. My beautiful, beautiful daughter. She was breathing. I was so happy. But then, she had to be immediately whisked away by the NICU team to get her lungs sucked out. I only saw her for a second. They told my husband to go follow the NICU team. And just like that, I was alone again.

This was the worst part for me. I didn’t know what was happening with my baby. The doctor was sewing me up and that was where the pain was the worst. The tugging of my skin and incision- not just pressure, but searing pain. Again, you’re not supposed to feel this and most women don’t experience this, so don’t let this scare you.

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I was crying and shaking again, laying on the table. My shakes were uncontrollable. I remember hearing my teeth chatter HARD, nonstop. They layered several blankets on top of me.

I didn’t get skin to skin with my baby. I wasn’t the first person to hold her. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord. Small, minuscule details in the scheme of things. But, moments I had dreamed of. And here I was. A nurse that I didn’t even know stayed behind with me and held my hand as I bawled and got stitched up. I was so scared something was wrong with my baby. I saw my baby for just a moment, and she was out of sight. I didn’t hold her. I didn’t get to look into her eyes. I didn’t get to study her cute, little features yet.

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And then, the glorious moment. My husband returned with her into the operating room and had tears streaming down his face. I remember his first words to me were “she’s perfect”. I finally got to look at her. She was so strong. She was perfect! She was breathing fine. She was alert. I couldn’t wait to hold her. I was wheeled back into the delivery room, my husband carrying Presley in his arms. I remember that feeling so well. I did it! She was OK. We were a family. We were finally a family. And as tough as it was, it was so worth it just to finally have her here. I would have done anything.

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November 17th, 2016 my life began. No, it was not what I expected. But she, she is beyond my wildest dreams. Presley Autumn Lee came into this world a little tornado. 8 lbs and 9 oz of the sweetest babe you have ever met. She is the greatest soul. My purpose, my heart.

I still have bad days. I have encountered issues postpartum that I never planned on. But when I wake up each day and see her eyes light up, I am happy. She is happiness.

I love her so much, because she taught me what that really means.

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April is C-Section Awareness Month. I haven’t typed out her birth story before because I did struggle with it. I didn’t realize it could happen to me. But, today, you have about a 1 in 3 chance of ending up with a C-Section. Yes, even if you are healthy. Even if you are young. Be aware, be informed. And if you do have a C-Section, that is still birth. You are still empowered. You are scarred, but not broken. ❤

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Put your oxygen mask on first, momma.

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I have sat down to write this post several times.

And each time, for some reason, I never follow through.

I do struggle with what happened when Presley was born, and how I felt after- and there are many people out there that won’t understand that. I did end up with a beautiful, healthy baby. So, that in itself, should eliminate any negative feelings, right? It’s one of the most insensitive and judgmental comments that I hear far too often… I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my feelings. They are my feelings. And if you think I am not insanely grateful every single day that my baby is here and she is ok- you must not know me. There were multiple times in pregnancy and labor that the thought crept in my mind that our baby might not make it. I bargained and pleaded with God many times. Please, please let our baby be OK. I am immensely thankful that she is here- but I am allowed to have feelings, too.

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I recently had a few articles written about me.

Cosmo’s Here

US Weekly’s Here

Huffington Post’s Here

I google myself and am in awe with how many articles there are… I did end up on a personal journey of struggle (and also acceptance) after I gave birth. It is certainly something I did not expect. I had such a beautiful pregnancy- for the most part. I loved being pregnant. I had such a connection with Presley. My husband and I grew incredibly close. Don’t get me wrong, pregnancy certainly had its low points. However, overall, it was such an amazing time in my life.

Women tend to be pretty vocal about the pains of pregnancy- the food cravings, the pain, the waddling, the heartburn, the swollen feet, the morning sickness. However, after the baby is born, it’s almost as if we aren’t allowed to talk about it. We have to pretend that we have everything together. Again, I think that it’s because we don’t want to portray any slight perceptions of ingratitude for our babies. I never realized how much judgement is out there aimed at moms until I became one.

Oh, you have stretch marks and you don’t like them? There is a woman out there that would love to have stretch marks but is infertile- so don’t complain.

You’re literally weak from exhaustion because you haven’t slept since your baby was born? This woman has been trying to get pregnant for years and would love to switch places with you- so don’t complain.

Let me be clear- I do have all the sympathy in the world for those who struggle with infertility. We went through a few concerning medical events, and came to the conclusion that “when the right time comes” I would most likely have a hard time getting pregnant. In fact, I was planning and researching the right doctor to discuss and do further testing in the weeks right before I found out I was already pregnant! Life is funny, isn’t it?

What I am trying to say, is that it’s not up to you to decide how someone should feel. It isn’t your place to judge someone for what they struggle with. If you are a new mom and you’re having a hard time- you are ALLOWED to feel. You can have a beautiful baby and still have bad days. You are allowed to have an opinion of your labor. It is OK to talk about your postpartum depression. This world needs support and love instead of judgement and criticism.

I was so mentally conflicted after I had my daughter. I was filled with the most genuine, selfless love that I didn’t even know existed. It is the highest, happiest, most pure feeling that exists. And then, out of no where, I am thrown waves of sadness. And also, more surprisingly, a grip of anxiety. I am someone who has never had true anxiety attacks until after I gave birth. I didn’t want to leave the house at all. I was afraid of driving. I didn’t even want to answer my phone. I would burst into tears in public, not knowing why. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. My thoughts raced constantly. I can’t justify or explain or tell you why I felt this way. I didn’t understand it myself. I had anticipated a period of baby blues. But, after a couple of months had passed, I knew that I needed help. My baby deserved the best mom in the world- I wanted to be that mom.

I needed to put my oxygen mask on.

It’s always been such a fascinating idea to me. I’ve been taught to help others. You sacrifice for the ones you love. You put other people before yourself.

So, the first time I took a flight, and heard the instructions of what to do in an emergency, I was taken aback.

“…Place the oxygen mask on yourself first, before helping others who need assistance.”

When I made the appointment with my doctor to discuss what I was going through, I was terrified. I ended up canceling the initial appointment. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be grateful for what I had. I thought, if I tried hard enough, I could just overcome this. But then, I got worse. The more I obsessed about being OK, the deeper I fell into my symptoms.

To most people this may be a surprise. It is certainly not something I advertised. Again, there is a lot of judgement here. I loved my baby, I truly, madly, insanely did. I didn’t understand my depression. So, I knew it would be nearly impossible to find true support and understanding around me. I eventually opened up to someone very close to me. She told me she went through a very similar experience- even down to the feelings of failure in regards to a C-Section. She told me that she now realizes she struggled immensely with PPD. She confided that the first year after her baby’s birth, she doesn’t really remember. She wasn’t really “there”. She told me, “I wish that I would have gotten help.” That day, I rescheduled with my doctor.

Mommas, you need to put your oxygen mask on first. It is so hard to fully accept this concept considering it is in our nature to do the opposite. During pregnancy, you literally sacrifice your body and mind for someone else. Your needs and wants completely 360. Your baby gets fed and cleaned and loved- and you’re sitting there with an empty stomach, in the same clothes as yesterday, with layers of dry shampoo on your scalp. How often is this the case? It’s what we do. But, there is balance. You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children.

It’s ok to ask for help.

Whether its your doctor or your family or your friends or your significant other. I don’t know why we feel that we have to do it all, but that’s how I felt; initially. I know so many moms who know that something is not right with their mentality. But, they are too afraid to talk about it. Did you know that:

  • In pregnancy, reproductive hormone levels in a woman’s body are 20-30 times greater than normal. At delivery, hormone levels drop abruptly, along with changes in amino acids, neurotransmitters, and thyroid hormones.
  • The sudden drop in estrogen, progesterone, endorphins, and other hormones may trigger depression the same way moodiness may be triggered by premenstrual changes in these hormones.
  • Thyroid levels may also drop sharply after birth. A new mother may develop a thyroid deficiency that can produce symptoms that mimic depression.

I am not saying that medication is the ideal answer for everyone. Yes, it did work for me. Yes, I took many measures and alternative methods first to avoid it. Yes, it changed my life and I am so glad that I did seek treatment. Yes, it took time for it to work; and yes I had to adjust my medication to find the right dose. It is a work in progress. And yes, my doctor and my plan includes eventually not being on them.

How else can we put our oxygen masks on?

  • Try to shower & dress everyday. It might sound silly to those who don’t understand. But, new moms know how much this can lift your spirits.
  • Give yourself permission to do less. Your house does not need to be spotless. Sometimes, the dishes can wait. Allow others to help you with housework. I had many people offer to help us in the beginning, and I turned them down because “I felt bad”. Don’t feel bad. Take help when it is offered to you.
  • Join a mother’s group or postpartum group. but be careful! There are good and bad ones out there. Find the one that works for you- that offers support instead of criticism.
  • Get out of the house. This one was hard for me, for some reason I had a lot of anxiety leaving the house. But everytime I forced myself to, I did feel better and glad that I got out.
  • EAT. One of the best things I did for myself is meal prep. When the baby is sleeping or you have help with watching your baby- see if you can make your meals in advance. It is a life saver. I used to seriously not eat or eat very poorly in the beginning. Changing how I ate greatly increased how I felt.
  • Be gentle to yourself. Becoming a mother is a life-altering event. It takes time to understand it and adjust to it. You’re doing a great job.
  • Little things. It’s amazing how the little things can affect you. It sounds so dumb, but when I painted my nails, it made me happy. Taking a walk. Go to the gym. Handing the baby to my husband and proclaiming, “I am taking a bath.” Going on a date with my husband. It took a while to accept that I am allowed “me time”. I used to think that being away from my baby for even a small amount of time made me “a bad mom”. If she was out of my sight, I felt insanely upset and distraught. I learned, that allowing myself a “break” didn’t make me a bad mom. It made me a better mom. I was more refreshed and happy. I have noticed that when I am happy, Presley knows it. She builds off of it. Momma, you are allowed to be happy.

 

 

 

Newlie Louise Backpack Diaper Bag

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I will be the first to admit it…

I used to not be a purse kind of girl.

My husband would make fun of me when I carried around a beat up coin purse with all of my cards and cash the entire duration of our dating phase. Hey, it wasn’t pretty. But, it worked.

Well, it turns out that once you become responsible for a teeny, tiny human, they require a LOT of stuff. And, a little coin purse isn’t going to cut.

And in comes Newlie to save the day!

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This gorgeous bag right here is the Newlie Louise Backpack Diaper Bag.

Here’s why I love it!

  • Made of water resistant nylon accented with high quality faux leather
  • Water resistant light colored lining makes finding things easy
  • 3 exterior organizational pockets
  • 6 interior organizational pockets including our signature insulated pocket for both baby bottles and toddler snacks
  • Matching water resistant nylon changing pad with foam cushioning

And, you guessed it, it is functional and cute as both a shoulder bag…

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AND a back pack!

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Newlie also offers Stroller Straps that match, so you can hook your bag right onto your stroller!

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*Swoon*

This bag is so durable and so gorgeous! There is plenty of room for EVERYTHING baby needs! And, Momma can stay on trend!

I LOVE THIS BAG!

It is currently available in two shades online  Here

Oh, and this dress from Indigo and Sage is AMAZING! So soft and comfy! Just throw it on and you’re feeling cute! (AND IT HAS POCKETS! NEED I SAY MORE) Get it Here

Check out @newlieco and @indigoandsage on Instagram!

Buff Boxx: The Ultimate Fitness Subscription Box

image1(1)How is your fitness going?

If you’re anything like me, motivation certainly comes in waves. One day I am eating kale and doing yoga, and the next I wake up from a taco-induced coma on my couch, surrounded by a sea of beefy-5-layer wrappers.

It’s called balance!

One of my favorite new ways to stay motivated (fitness-wise) are subscription boxes!

And I have found the best one ever!

Buff Boxx!

Buff boxx has male and female versions of their boxes! Inside you will find Reebox Athletic Apparel, Fitness Accesories, Workout & Meal Plans, Healthy Snacks, Premium Supplements, and Discounts for Fitness Brands! All for $49.99!

(They also have a “lite” version for $29.99)

What I REALLY love about Buff Boxx, is that a portion of all proceeds goes to a charity of your choosing! (The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Animal Welfare Institute, and Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, just to name a few.) Seriously, how great is that?

Your Buff Boxx is also custom to your size, and if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, they will handle it! 🙂 Not to mention Free Shipping AND Free Exchanges!

Ok, now to the fun part!

This is the un-boxing of my Buff Boxx that I received in March 2017!

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I received all of this in my box! I was surprised at the quality AND the quantity that I received. The tanks are SO cute! The reebox tank is super flattering and bright, and the branded Buff Boxx tank is super comfy and soft!

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I was not expecting wireless earbuds, so this was a wonderful surprise!

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I am SO excited about this Protein Energy! My box came with three packets of this! It has 120mg of Caffeine & 20g of Protein per serving! It’s a beautiful solution to replace a coffee & protein shake routine in the mornings- Now you only need one product! (or, you can even add it to your coffee! or oatmeal or pancake mixes…) 🙂

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My box included FOUR different flavors of the Syntha-6 Protein Crisp bars! 20g of protein and only 2g of sugar per bar! It’s great to switch it up from the mundane texture and flavors traditionally associated with protein bars for this crispy little number!

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I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the meal plan and workouts included with my Buff Boxx. Perfect for the person who works out all the time- and needs new inspiration! And even great for the newbie- who needs help in getting started! Seriously, Buff Boxx knocked it out of the park with these!

Now get yours!

Use Promo Code: BAYBAYRUTH for $5 off your first boxx!!!

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Ellie Box

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Hello babes!

Today I will be telling you all about one of my favorite subscription boxes EVER!

Every month, Ellie will put together 5 amazing items for your active lifestyle!

For $49.95 you will receive a sports bra, a top, leggings or capris, some type of accesory and a piece of equipment! (AND THEY ARE ALWAYS SO CUTE!)

Sometimes, they even offer discounts- so make sure you follow them on Insta to stay in the loop! @ellieactivewear

Oh, and it’s commitment free! You can opt out risk-free of any month if you’re just not feeling it, or you’re saving money for tacos!

This is March 2017’s Ellie Box!

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Okay, I am OBSESSED with this shade of blue! It is so flattering on every skin tone!

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The details on this tank are to die for! You can tie it in the back or leave it open. The material is super breathable and it feels durable yet, still soft & comfy. ❤

The leggings fit EXTREMELY well, which is something I was really worried about. Mom bods are sometimes a challenge to dress. The rise was so flattering and perfect, and the material is the right amount of stretchy!

The Yoga Mat Towel is such a fun idea, and I can’t wait to use it!

And how cute is that water bottle? You know drinking water is good for you, and having a pretty bottle to drink it out of sure makes it a lot easier!

I absolutely needed some motivation for the gym, and this box brought it!

The power of a new gym outfit, am I right?

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All in all, this was a home run for me! My expectations were outrageously exceeded! I loved every item in this month’s box! I think this is my new favorite outfit! What do you all think?

Thank you, Ellie Activewear! ❤

UnBoxing Zala Hair Extensions

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Let’s talk hair.

I would consider myself some type of hair extension connoisseur. Since my first set at age 18, I have tried just about everything (Bellami, Luxy Hair, Foxy Locks, Tape in Hair, etc.)… Clip In Hair Extensions are my go-to! I love the versatility that is possible with clip ins. You don’t have to have them in 24/7. There are also tricks to get them into ponytails, buns, and braids- which is easier than other types of more permanent extensions.

I initially heard about the Zala Hair company FOREVER ago, and finally just pulled the plug and purchased a set from them.

Zala is a hair company based out of Australia. http://www.zalacliphairextensions.com.au/

Their Clip In line currently ranges from 16″ to 30″. They also offer tape in extensions! It always makes me nervous to order internationally, however I received my extensions one week from the day I ordered them, so- pretty quick! It even arrived one day earlier than the tracking estimated.

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Here is what I received in my parcel! The Clip In Range booklet was really cute and includes care tips, before & afters, color range, install how-to, and more! I think this would be REALLY helpful if this was the first time you bought extensions!

They also included a free matte lipstick, which was a nice surprise! I haven’t tried it yet, but it was a cute touch.

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I ordered the 100& Remy 24″ inch 5 Piece 130g set in the shade Ice Queen Platinum Blonde #60.

It is the lightest blonde that Zala offers, featuring an ashy tone. Zala has lots of pictures and videos to help you find extensions that will match your hair! And they also offer a color matching service on their website!

**ALSO, I ALWAYS look for coupon codes before I buy ANYTHING! I found coupon codes on instagram before I bought, which saved me a couple bucks! I highly recommend you do the same!

I have not toned the hair at all; however, I plan to. It doesn’t exactly match my hair yet, and because this is 100% Human hair, you can dye/tone it. Although I highly recommend BABYING your hair extensions, and doing as little as possible to them!

 

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Here are my feelings from the initial un-boxing;

I LOVE this hair. 24″ is the LONGEST hair I have ever had. So, I feel like a mermaid-fairy-princess. I’m obsessed! The hair quality feels amazing. It is super soft! To find BLONDE hair extensions that feel this great, is essentially like striking gold. So, I am very happy.

The shade was really great in my opinion. I will have to tone the hair, but I think it will be fairly simple to get them how I want them.  (And I expected to tone them from the get-go.) Most brands that offer a platinum blonde typically feature a strong YELLOW tone, and these did not have that! So that is a plus in my book.

MY ONLY CON is that this set is not enough hair, volume-wise. I bought the smaller gram 5 piece set in hope that it would be enough. It was a risk and honestly, I was doubtful it would be enough from the start. I was HOPING though, because my goal was to save money! (I paid a total of $149.30 SHIPPED with my coupon code, which is AWESOME for this hair.)

It doesn’t look bad necessarily, but I really prefer a look with more volume. So, I plan on investing in additional grams from Zala, so I can complete the look that I want!

Thanks for reading,

XX,

Ruth.

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Meal Prep Breakfast with Me!

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Why Meal Prep?

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine published a study suggesting that investing time on preparing meals at home is linked with better dietary habits. Well, yeah, that makes sense. HOWEVER, this study doesn’t mention that terrifying moment when you wake up and realize that you have nothing to eat, and you have five minutes to get to work. Hello Fast Food, Starbucks, or even worse; NOT EATING!

Or, you wake up to a small clan of children who immediately need your full attention and… good luck even peeing by yourself, let alone accomplishing cooking.

I AM NOT a nutritionist or a trainer. I don’t count macros. I am just a new mom who has been trying some recipes and planning ahead, and THIS is what works FOR ME. If you follow my snap chat, you have seen that I have been consistently meal prepping the whole duration of 2017. This IS NOT something that is normal or easy for me.It has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

However, the more often I have been doing it, the easier it gets! And (gasp) I am starting to look forward to my meal prep days! It has ended up saving us so much money, I feel so much better physically, and IT IS SO CONVENIENT.

***Granted, as of right now, I only need to make meals for my husband and I, as our daughter is still a newborn. If you have a large family, this might not work for you, or you will need to make adjustments! 🙂

Enjoy!

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What you need for FOUR breakfast meal preps of veggie egg muffins & sweet potatoes:

2 large Eggs, 4 Egg whites, splash of milk, salt & pepper, 1 Large sweet potato, any veggies of your liking (Today, I am using red onion, red pepper, roma tomato, & jalapeno.) This is the greatest part of veggie egg muffins, they are so customizable for different tastes! You can use any veggies that you already know you enjoy. Many other variations I have seen include garlic cloves, broccoli, spinach, etc. Get creative!

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then wash and dice all of your produce!

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Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

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In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add your diced sweet potato (and onion if you’d like), cook for about 8 minutes or until softened.

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Pour your whisked egg mixture into muffin tin. Add your veggies! (Some people prefer to saute their veggies before they mix them into their eggs. I have tried both ways, and my husband and I prefer to add them fresh and uncooked.)

You will also be placing your sweet potatoes from the skillet into the oven! Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Keep your eye on them and take out according to your preference.

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I top my egg muffins with fresh cilantro and SOMETIMES even a little cheese! 🙂 Allow to cool! Then I transfer them into meal prep containers! We got ours for super cheap off of Amazon. They are awesome because you can microwave them, freeze them, and throw them in the dishwasher!

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I prefer to only make enough for the next couple of days! I personally would not let them sit for more than four days in your refrigerator!

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Wake up panic-free knowing that you’re prepared!

Microwave yours for 1-2 minutes and you’re all set

You can drive by that Fast Food breakfast place with ease. 🙂

I will post my other recipes for meal prep down the road! I promise everything I post will be EASY & TASTY.

Thank you for reading,

XX,

Ruth

Welcome

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The Ruth Lee Diary

W e l c o m e
The Beginning

When I say welcome to this website, I really hope you do feel welcome.

This is a place for everyone.

I will be featuring my favorite products, favorite places, and feelings from the heart.

This blog is a few years in the making, and I am so ecstatic to officially be launching! It has been a dream of mine for so long.

Feel free to leave any suggestions, questions, or comments!

XX-

Ruth