Tag: my life


To a NICU Mama… Family

It’s been 6 months to the day since we were able to bring Maddie home from the NICU. She was there for 13 days. 13 days wondering if there was another tube in her or if she was hooked up to a different machine. 13 days hoping she would remember to breathe. 13 days wondering if she was going to ever come home.  Maddie’s NICU stay was easily the worst time in my entire life. There were times where I would sob and literally say,” She will never come home.” I lost out on a lot of things new mothers are supposed to experience. I grieved over those losses. There is nothing that hurts more than seeing your child struggle to live and not being able to help. In retrospect, 13 days isn’t very long. There are so many families that spend much more time there and my heart hurts for them. 

If you are a NICU mom, this is for you. If you are newly a NICU mom, I promise that it does get better. Right now, it’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to scream. You are not alone in those actions and emotions. Eventually, this will be a memory and it will be ok.

I’ve been trying to write something about how it is to be a NICU mom for months  but I could never get out the words in the right way. I decided to abandon what was “right” and just write. Here’s what came out. 

Madalena at 1 day old.

Madalena at 1 day old.

nicu mama

You are strong.

You may have spent little to no time with your baby. If you were lucky enough to get a minute or two with her, you could tell she was struggling. If you were lucky, the first memory you have of him is his discomfort.

You spent your first night as a mother without your baby. If you were able to take him home from the hospital when you were discharged, you still wondered if he was healthy enough to be home with you. Just know that you are strong and you are enough.

You may have been one of the few who left the hospital a mother without their child. You are a warrior. You battled tears every drive you made to and from the hospital to see your child. You fought back screams every time the doctor said, “She’ll need a feeding tube” or “He’s not quite ready to come home yet.” You held your breath every time a monitor would beep. You prayed that it wasn’t your baby and that, if it was, it was a mistake.

You may have been one of the few who could have crawled into a dark corner and sobbed for hours. You may have done that. But you battled back and you made sure your daughters nursery was ready for her when she came home.

You may have been one that stayed in the hospital with her. Your days and nights were only different because of the light outside. You spent all day look at your baby, looking at her monitor, and looking back at her. You’d tell the nurses you’d sleep only to lie down and stare at the ceiling- fearing the next “ding” would mean your son needed help that you couldn’t provide.

You may have been one of the few whose “it’ll only be a couple of days” turned into “she’ll have to stay for at least one more week.”

Maybe for you that “one more week” turned into “maybe next month” or even “maybe her due date.”

Maybe “maybe her due date” turned into never at all.

Maybe you aren’t even a NICU mama yet – I pray that you never are.

No matter what kind of NICU mama you are, just remember:

You are strong. You are a fighter. And you have so many NICU mamas in your corner.

Madalena at 6 months old.

Madalena at 6 months old.


Meant to Live Life

When you look back at the past few weeks, what kinds of things do you remember? If you could categorize your thoughts, where would they go? Would you put them in the “Memories with the Kids” category? “Date Night with my Spouse”? “Vacation with my Family?”

Or would the majority of your thoughts fall into categories more like these:

  • Budget is a Little Tight
  • I Hate My Job
  • I Ate Terribly/Didn’t Exercise
  • I Gained Weight
  • My Significant Other is Annoying Me
  • My House is a Mess
  • I’m Stressed

If you’re thoughts fall primarily into the latter category, welcome to the club. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten all the good things going on in my life because I am wrapped up in how much laundry there is and how I need to change my eating habits to see some weight loss. Shoot, we set ourselves up to thing this way when we make resolutions every year to lose the weight or eat clean. I can look back at 2014 and 2015 and remember thinking “I will be the fittest ever this year!” Neither year produced that for me. I remember that, but I have to think a little harder about the good things (aside from my daughter being born, of course).

It’s so sad how so many of us are focused on all the wrong things. All the time you spend stressing out about things could be spent doing things to alleviate that stress!

Think about it. Stressing about a tight budget isn’t going to help anything. Stressing never gave anyone some extra money in a bank account. Stressing never folded laundry or put away dishes. Stress is toxic.

Research has shown that stress can actually do physical damage to your body. Your body needs stress in certain amounts. It’s what helps pump your blood through your body so you can react appropriately in fight or flight situations. Stress is a good thing. The problem is that we are in a constant state of stress. Constant stress can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, kidney and liver issues, stomach ulcers, and it could even eliminate your ability to react to an emergency all together. Stress can literally kill you. (source).

Aside from the physical harm stress does, stress can kill your relationships. If you look at polls and surveys, stress about money nearly ALWAYS listed as a top reason for divorce. Stressing about how you look can push away friends and significant others for a multitude of reasons as well (I could literally write an entire post on how food and aesthetics can ruin a relationship).

With all of this stress, when are you finding time to actually LIVE? I have an answer for you – You’re NOT. You’re not living. You’re going through the motions and waiting for things to change. Guess what? Things don’t change if you don’t change them.

meanttolive

I was listening to Switchfoot this morning – The Beautiful Letdown album (yeah, yeah, throwback, I know)- and I think I actually listened to the words for the first time. We were meant to live for so much more than bills/food/weight/annoyances/insertotherstresseshere. We are not here to spend our days stressing about things that we can’t change. If you can change it, then change it. If you can’t, stressing is a waste of your time. It is literally a waste of your LIFE. We were meant to LIVE.

 


I Think We Should Take a Break Fitness

This post is honestly mostly for me to sort out my thoughts, but I know I’m not the only one who’s going through what I’m going through so I thought I’d make it a blog post.

If you’ve been following me on my other social media accounts, you know that my weight loss isn’t exactly going well. Not from my lack of trying, either. I ate at a calorie goal and did well, then it stalled. Then I switched it up and started eating a more plant based diet. GAINED weight. Gave the plant based thing some more time since it can be a big adjustment for your body. Nope. Still a gain. The other day, I mentioned eating based on the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) method and I started logging yesterday and today. Epic failure.

I know what you’re thinking. I couldn’t have possibly seen results from 2 days of IIFYM. You’re right! The reason it was an epic failure was because of how time consuming figuring all that out was. On top of being time consuming, I was started to get irritated at the lack of flexibility there was. Sure, you can eat to fit your macros, but if you don’t have a ton of calories to work with, there is very little flexibility.

That’s when I realized: why the fluff am I trying to go through all of this trouble? What is the point? What is my end-game and what is the long term plan?

To answer those fairly quickly:

  • I want to look good.
  • The point is to look good after having a baby.
  • The end game is to look good.
  • The long term plan is to look good.

 

See the problem?

I am so focused on wanting to look good that I am completely ignoring all of the OTHER things (and frankly, more important things) my body can do.

Before I get a bunch of  “I told you so’s” hear me out.

It is ingrained in us to like what we see. We want people to like what they see when they look at us. And that’s not a bad thing some times. What IS a bad thing is when the focus and the priority of your day is looking good. I will be the first to admit that, over the past few weeks, that has been my focus. I still go through my daily routine and I completed the tasks I need to complete. I’m a good wife and a good mom. Outside of those priorities, though, my brain was 100% focused on what I could do to look better. I hated my body.

In church today, I was thinking about the past couple weeks and how I’ve just been bummed out and depressed because of my lack of progress. That’s when I got hit like a ton of bricks.

wonderfullymade

Me hating my body is telling God that I hate the body he gave me. It’s me saying the work he did to create me before I was even a thought is worthless and garbage. I am made in His image and hating my own body is like hating Him. Let that kick you in the gut for a minute.

It would be like someone painting a piece of art specifically for you just for you to focus all day on the fact that you hate it. In reality, it’s a piece of art that was wonderfully made. It’s made up of all the same things as other paintings- paint, canvas, brush strokes- but it has a different look that is totally it’s own and it is beautiful.

Truth be told, the body I have is NOT garbage. My body can do amazing things. I can run, jump, squat, press, and climb. It carried, grew, and kept a baby alive before it brought that baby into the world. It can run on no sleep efficiently and it can recharge when it needs to. Does it look the way I would like it to? No. And I don’t think it ever will. But I am learning that that’s ok. I am NOT an elite athlete or a physique or bikini competitor. I don’t model. I don’t have a job that requires me to look a certain way so I don’t need to look the way the way people who have those jobs do.

All of this being said, being happy with my body is not an excuse to not take care of it. I was given this body for a reason, so I need to take care of it the best I can. In my case, that does mean I need to lose a few pounds. Those pounds don’t have to be gone overnight, however. I don’t need to do anything crazy to lose that weight. I don’t need to spend hours at the gym or count my calories or be strict on my macros. Those things will make me look good, but how long can I actually keep that up? 1 month? 6 months? 1 year? Certainly not forever. All I need to do is find balance. Make healthy choices. Stay active. Go back to basics. Those things can be made into lifelong habits.

 

I have been counting calories/macros for 5 years. 5 YEARS. I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I know healthy habits. I just need to put them into practice. That’s why, macros and calorie counting, I think we need a break.


Life

Be Yourself.

How many times have you heard those two words? “Just be yourself!” “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

It seems like such an easy sentiment, but how many of us struggle with being ourselves? You don’t have to raise your hand, but I’ll go ahead and admit that it’s hard!

Whether you’re in school and being influenced by what is popular or you’re at work trying to be what your job needs you to be or you’re on social media trying to be what’s most viewed, it can be really hard to be yourself. So much so that those words have almost lost their meaning. What does it mean to be yourself?

For me, being myself is allowing myself to do what I like to do without thinking about what people think. Obviously, there are some limitations (I’m not going to do crack and not care what others think because crack is whack and it’s illegal), but I need to care more about the things that matter to me and less about how other people will think about the things I do.

In the social media sense, you may have noticed that I really don’t blog as much as I used to. I’m not the best writer and I feel like I can’t express myself well in writing. I’ve switched over to YouTube as my main platform and I LOVE it, but it is a TOTALLY different world from blogging. I notice that a lot of my favorite channels have a very common set up: bright lighting, white backgrounds, glitter backdrops- the works. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely NOT. I love the content of these channels. I did notice, however, that, when I started making videos, I would pull so much inspiration from these channels that I was accidentally trying to imitate them. I thought that if I acted like those people that the rest of my channel would follow suit. That didn’t happen. Glittery backdrops didn’t appear and my subscriber count didn’t shoot to a million. When I look back at those videos, it’s actually kind of cringeworthy. I look stiff and uncomfortable. It wasn’t until I said, “wait, this isn’t me” and rebranded everything that I really got comfortable. When I changed Keeping Carrie Fit to Carrie Crista, I was much more comfortable and confident in my content. Even further, I cut out the DIY stuff and decided to focus more on just health and beauty and I feel even BETTER about my content.

If you don’t like doing something, don’t do it. If you have a blog and you don’t want to make a million images for pinterest or headers or footers or whatever, don’t do it. If you want to focus on JUST old school Nintendo, do it. Don’t feel like you have to do what other people do to reach a larger audience because you’ll look back and realize that the content you hate doesn’t really do well anyways.

The point is, things got easier and things are going better now that I’m able to really be myself.

allthingstoallpeople

I’ve had to put this into practice in my real life as well. There have been some changes in my life and I’m really learning that I can’t be happy until I am who I want to be. Not who someone at church or work or a friend wants me to be. I heard the other day, ” You can’t be all things to all people,” and that really resonated with me. My life is for ME to live. I need to decide what is important to me and be THOSE things. What’s important to me?

  • Being the best wife I can be to my husband- which, admittedly, I need to work on in some aspects.
  • Being the best mother I can be to my daughter.
  • Being a hard worker
  • Enjoying art and music
  • Strengthening my faith in God and really practicing what I believe on days that aren’t Sunday
  • Being healthy and fit so I can be energized and healthy enough to be the first two things on this list.

There are other things that are important to me, of course, but those are just a few.

Bottom line, when it comes to my life, I’m working on putting stock into the things that matter to me. I’m working on being myself.


Life

This “Good buy or Good bye?” is a NYX makeup review!

 

 

There are so many different brow products on the market. Some of the hottest include the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow and Brow Wiz. NYX has recently come out with a dupe for the Brow Wiz called the Micro Brow Pencil. I picked one up to see what I thought about it since it was so similar to my favorite Brow Wiz.

Is the NYX Micro Brow Pencil a good buy or should you kiss it goodbye?


Life

 

If you’re just getting into makeup, you may be wondering what brushes are used for, why there are so many of them, and what the purpose of them is in the first place. I can help answer those questions with these makeup brush basics! While using your hands and using the applicators your makeup comes with may work, using brushes helps get a more even finish and it helps your makeup just look better overall. IN this video, I’ll talk about all types of brushes- foundation, concealer, blending, powder, eyeshadow…all sorts of brushes!

I use my Coastal Scents 22 Brush Set and LOVE it, so those are the brushes I’ll talk about in this video, but these makeup brush basics work for any brand!

 

 

**SOME links provided may be affiliate links.


Upcycled/DIY Makeup Brush Holder – No priming, sanding, or buffing! Life

Makeup is something that I’ve always loved to do, but I never really used the proper tools. I just kind of did what worked for me at the moment and went on with my day. My husband is very much aware of my makeup obsession, but he noticed that I owned maybe 2 makeup brushes so, for Christmas, he got me a 22 brush set. I was SO excited to learn how to use them and, now that I’m more comfortable with using them, I use them in my regular makeup routine. The only downside is that 22 brushes is a LOT of brushes, especially when there are no duplicates and I use every brush at least once a week, and I have NO counter space in my bathroom.

I had been using a mason jar to hold the top 10-12 brushes that I used daily, but I found that I was digging into the remaining brushes often enough that I needed to find something to hold them all while still fitting on my sink. I went to Target and couldn’t find ANYTHING worth the money (shocking, I know!). There were so many things that I loved, but they either weren’t big enough to hold all my brushes or they were way too much money.

I decided to go through my house to see if there was anything I could use and, lo and behold, I found a pot our realtor gave us when we moved in to our house! It was the perfect size- big enough to hold all my brushes, but tapered at the bottom so it fit on my sink. The only downside- it was BRIGHT yellow. I love yellow, but that thing would have been hideous in my bathroom. My bathroom is small, but it doesn’t have to be ugly. I turned to my good friend Martha to help me fix the color and voila! A bright yellow pot turned into a chic gold makeup brush holder!

brushholder

You’ll need 3 things to recreate this easy DIY

  1. A flower pot
  2. Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Craft Paint (I have the pearl and metallic set and I am OBSESSED with it! This is the “Gold” color from that set).
  3. Paint brush or foam brush

 

Step 1: Wash your pot and dry it completely. You definitely don’t want little dirt specs to ruin the finish of your paint!

Step 2: Paint the inside of the pot.

Step 3: Paint the outside of the pot.

Step 4: Let dry and pain a second coat if you want to. I had to do two coats of gold because it was BRIGHT yellow.

diy makeup brush holder

That’s it! Super easy!

You’ll see that my pot is white on the inside- I just used a cheap white acrylic paint. If the inside gets chipped, I’m not worried about it since my brushes will be inside the pot. It is important to make sure the outside is painted with a multi-surface paint, though, since there’s no priming or buffing.

This whole project cost me a grand total of $0. If I hadn’t had the paint already, it would have cost me about $2 for the paint. You can’t beat that!

Carrie Signature



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