Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

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best of 2014!

January 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

2014-Final

What a year this one has been!

I’m charging head-on into 2015, but before I do, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on all the wonderful moments from this past year.  So, if you’re new to this blog or you missed a few posts here and there, I’ve pulled together some of my favorites from the last 12 months. 

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Baby

This marked the birth of our son, which turned my life upside down in the happiest, most wonderful (and yet totally overwhelming) way possible.  I think my favorite post of the year was on my decision to give up the idea of being a “perfect” parent and to focus on enjoying time with our son.  This is something I still struggle with nearly every day, but realizing it has made our lives so much happier and better.  If you’re going to read one post I wrote in 2014, head over there.

In other news…

I briefly turned into Godzilla at the sound of our baby crying… and wound up breaking our freezer.

The best advice I received as a new parent: Just Wait A Week.

Our baby broke a $500 jar of Vaseline.  Oops. 

I shared Baby Bear’s birth story, the most incredible night of my life.  And I surprised myself by dreading those newborn weeks so much, and then finding out that I actually liked them

We had an epic meltdown in the grocery store

I wrote letters to our son at one, two, three, four and five months… and then somehow completely forgot to keep going.  Baby Brain, people.  It’s a real thing.  I’m hoping to revive these in 2015!  (And, if you want to get all technical about it, I technically wrote two letters to him at one month old… with no recollection of the first when I wrote the second.  I blame the two combined hours of sleep I was getting per night at that point.)

I wrote about our decision to vaccinate, and why it shouldn’t be a decision at all.  Please inform yourselves about the facts on this incredibly important issue, for the safety of your child and others. 

I wrote about our struggles with breastfeeding and the solution that worked for us, as well as two posts on nursing mom style tips (here and here).  I wrote about the products you actually need as a new mom (hint: it’s not a wardrobe of pint-size newborn clothes)!

I wrote about why parental leave isn’t just a women’s issue — engaged dads make for happier families, and paternity leave is important too.

And finally, I wrote about life as a working mom, and the challenges I’m juggling with balancing my career and our family. 

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Style

Baby bump posts took up the first four months of the year!  I had so much fun styling my growing belly!  At the time, I felt huge and totally self-conscious, but now I look at those pictures with so much joy.  This pink ASOS dress and this LOFT top were my favorites of the whole pregnancy.  And this festival-inspired dress at sunset continues to be one of my favorite photos of the year. 

I wore head-to-toe leopard print at eight months pregnant.  And full-on sequins.  Because, hey, why not?

Post-partum dressing was a big challenge, but I did my best!  A great tropical-themed outfit here, and our puppy Rambo had a cameo over here.  I did a number of fun collaborations, and this dressbarn style was a big favorite, as was this White House Black Market summer style.  I waited nine months to wear this Mara Hoffman dress, which is basically the most perfect thing ever. 

I styled an outfit for our imaginary life in California, the one we almost lived.  And I shared my top five tips for dressing stylishly while pregnant

And last but not least, I was featured in the July issue of Glamour magazine!  Thanks again to my wonderful readers for pointing this out to me — without you guys, I never would have known!

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Recipes

Our crockpot was the workhorse of 2014 — life with a baby inevitably makes the slow cooker into your most valued possession.  They’re great for creating healthy, easy, low-stress meals that won’t burn when you leave the kitchen eleven million times while preparing dinner.  I loved our Southwestern Chicken Stew and BBQ Chicken for easy weeknight staples. 

I also focused more on breakfasts than ever before, and made egg dishes with quinoa and avocado toasts that were delicious and super healthy, and blueberry sour cream pound cake that wasn’t so healthy but was really delicious. 

And finally, you guys know me.  There were some dessert creations this year, obviously.  Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies that were surprisingly awesome, as were my No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

And finally, a two-ingredient cocktail that can’t be beat: Kahlua and Chocolate Ice Cream.  Yes.  I went there.  And it was glorious. 

(Caramel Sandwich Cookies weren’t the worst thing in the world, either.)

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Pregnancy

I shared our “ttc” (internet slang for “trying to conceive”) story, and ups and downs of finding out that I needed surgery almost immediately after we started trying to have a baby.  For silly superstitious reasons, I didn’t feel comfortable posting this until after our son had safely arrived, but so many families struggle with infertility, I think it’s important that we share these stories openly and honestly.  So I did. 

My biggest, most epic pregnancy meltdown: The story of the ceiling fan.  (Or: Why Pinterest and Pregnancy Hormones Don’t Mix.)

I wrote about my nervousness with all the ways that our life was about to change, the same way I felt about leaving New York when we moved to Texas

I tried to remember to enjoy being pregnant, and not just focusing on when the baby would finally get here.  (It’s tough, at the end, let me tell you.)

I confronted the terrifying reality that new parents have no idea what they’re doing.  And that I’d probably do just fine anyways

I ate an entire chocolate cake by myself

And on that note, I wrote about pregnancy weight gain.  I spent way too much time freaking out at the numbers on the scale at the beginning of my pregnancy, when I gained way over the “recommended” amount… which was, ultimately, exactly what my body and our son needed. 

And finally, despite the many, many posts about pregnancy, I wrote about the fact that there are so many wonderful ways to create a family.  Sure, pregnancy is one, but what binds a family together isn’t genetics: it’s love. 

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Life

In October, we left the baby behind for a pretty amazing trip to Mexico.  I slept for, like, fourteen hours a day.  And it was basically the best week of my life. 

I made over our breakfast nook and created the most gorgeous nursery in turquoise and whiteMy IKEA dresser hack went viral on Pinterest, and well deservedly so.  At under $400 for all the supplies, it simply can’t be beat. 

Chad and I had our five year anniversary, and I shared our very unprofessional (but totally wonderful) wedding video here.

And in September, we lost our beloved dog Calvin, who I still miss every day.

I shared some meditation tips for beginners – one of the biggest changes in 2014 was that I started meditating on a regular basis, and it has improved my outlook so dramatically.  If you haven’t given it a try, I definitely recommend it! 

I wrote about our new puppy Rambo, who eats poop.  We like him anyway. 

I had an incredible baby shower, and was so grateful to celebrate with our wonderful friends and family. 

I cancelled my trip to New York for Fashion Week because I was pregnant, and then promptly reconsidered.  I ended up going at seven months pregnant and had a total blast — my video diary was posted here

And I capped off the year by finally telling you guys about my disastrous Christmas dinner in 2013.  Oops!

What a year!  Just writing this has put a huge smile on my face.  It’s been a crazy, wild ride and a joy every single day.  Can’t wait to share 2015 with you guys, too. 

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Tags: baby · food · home · life · style

a really special holiday afternoon

December 31st, 2014 · 1 Comment

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The week before Christmas, I had an incredibly wonderful experience.  Through an organization in Houston, my law firm participated in a huge annual Christmas party for an elementary school in North Houston, buying gifts for a classroom of second graders.  For each classroom, a law firm sponsored the party and we visited the class, ate pizza and junk food, handed out our presents, and played with the kids for a few hours to celebrate the holidays. 

It was a really, really special afternoon and by far the highlight of my holiday season.  Before the party started, I sat down at a group of desks with four girls and colored with crayons, and after the party ended, I couldn’t leave for well over an hour because we were having so much fun trying out all the new toys, arts and crafts projects, and games they had received. 

And I want to tell you about a truly wonderful moment I had that day. 

When I went to pick out toys, I wanted to find toys that would be fun but would also help each kid learn and discover new interests — science kits and art supplies and crafting projects they could use again and again. 

And when I got to the classroom, we distributed each of the boxes and then waited as each kid unwrapped them… something funny happened.

One little girl opened hers, and it was a “Stomp Rocket” — foam rockets that soar into the air when you stomp on the launcher.  I was watching when she opened it and suddenly, she looked distressed.  The teacher came over and she pointed down at the box and said, “it’s a boy’s toy.”

And you guys, I’m well aware of the stereotype is that rocket toys are for boys and dolls are for girls, but I had purposely bought this as a present for one of the girls because I think that stereotype is garbage.  And yet… I felt terrible for picking something that she wasn’t excited about. 

But then, the coolest thing happened. 

The teacher came over and looked at the box and smiled at her.  She assured her that no, this wasn’t just a toy for boys.  This was a cool toy that any kid would enjoy.  And then — this teacher was clearly such a good one, who really cared about this little girl — she opened the box and assembled the rocket for her, right on the spot.  And once it was set up and the rockets were loaded, every kid in the classroom was gathered around this little girl’s Stomp Rocket.  Both the boys and the girls couldn’t wait to give it a try. 

And this is a pretty cool toy — these little rockets fly up into the air so fast, they’re super fun for any kid, boy or girl.  When she stomped on the launcher for the first time, the classroom literally erupted into shrieks as the rocket soared right into the ceiling. 

And do you know who stayed around it, watching it lift into the air again and again? 

The girls

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Every single one of them wanted to try this rocket, and couldn’t believe that it worked.  We had so much fun launching those rockets over and over — at least twenty or thirty times — and each kid who wanted to got to try, boys and girls both.  The little girl’s disappointment of being given a “boy’s” toy was quickly replaced by excitement about being given the toy that every kid in the classroom wanted to play with. 

And I was so, so happy. 

I hope that I’ll see that little girl again — I plan to sponsor the same party next year, although it’s unlikely that I’ll see the exact same kids as their classes and grades change.  But for this awesome afternoon, I got to see first-hand a barrier breaking down and a little girl getting excited about something she might not have been exposed to otherwise. 

It was a great way to close out 2014, but the best part?  Each kid in the class wrote a card that I got to take home. 

The sweetest one was one line long.  It said: “Thank you for my best day.”

These kids gave me my best day, too.  The afternoon I spent with them was the best moment of my holiday season, and I am so very grateful to them for it.

Happy New Year, everyone.  May your 2015 be filled with love, peace and joy. 

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Tags: life · work

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2014 · No Comments

Holiday-Final

What a year this one has been.

If I could capture with words my gratitude for all the wonderful moments in the last 12 months, I’m pretty sure I would explode the internet.  (Take that, Kim Kardashian’s butt.)

This year has opened my heart in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, challenged me in ways that I’m so grateful for, and given me more joy than I ever believed possible.  It has been a year of growth in every aspect of my life, of forcing myself every single day to be better than I was the day before. 

2014 gave me more knowledge, insight, and pure love than would have thought possible twelve months ago.  It was both the toughest and the single happiest year of my life. 

Merry Christmas to those of you who’ve been with me every step of the way.  There were two million eyes on this blog in 2014, and that’s a number I can’t even wrap my head around. 

I don’t say it enough, so for those of you who are reading, please know: Of all the things I’m grateful for, you guys are right at the top of the list.  You’re my companions on this this crazy journey we call life, and you guys are way more than just readers, or even friends.  You’re our giant extended family, and a huge part of our lives.  Thank you so much to each and every one of you for your support, encouragement, and advice throughout the year. 

I’m going to be taking a few days off to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, but I can’t wait for 2015.  If this year was any indication, it’s going to be a wild and wonderful ride.

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Tags: holiday · life