I Call ‘Bullsh*t’…

Rarely do I delve DEEP into the ‘big issues’ on this blog or social media in general. Whether it’s politics, personal matters, relationships, family, etc. Mainly for fear of ‘stirring the pot’, judgement, and all the other crap that I have come to realize… just. doesn’t. MATTER.

AND, to keep from talking about the big issues that plague us everyday (if you’re not one of them, you’re full of crap), would take away from the importance of transparency and authenticity that I have preached over and over and the fact that despite the misconceptions and perfection that we so often see on social media… it’s not real life. It’s a string of moments that simply made the cut. The ones we share with the world to simply say ‘look how happy and perfectly put together my life is’, which not only affects our sense of success and magnifies our shortcomings, but also furnishes our children with an unprecedented brand of expectations, and BOOM – *cue the anxiety*.

Motherhood. Style. Beauty ‘tips and tricks’. Vacations. Happy times. Smiling faces. Don’t get me wrong – I not only enjoy, but LOVE sharing, engaging with, and reading about all of the above. I truly do.

But, something inside of me recently has had enough of this illusion of unattainable perfection. We’ve ultimately let social media determine our self-worth and value. We get caught up in this cycle of looking to others for validation and reassurance rather than seeking that from ourselves. We have come to believe that there is more value in on how you “package yourself” than there is in the “real” you.

Basically, I call bullshit on it all.

Let’s start talking about the real shit. The shit we deal with on a daily basis. The everyday struggles that are not worthy of hanging in an 8×10 or displaying on our beautifully and strategically thought out instagram feeds.

Did you know that according to a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association, more than a third of American adults view social media as harmful to their mental health. Just 5% view social media as being positive for their mental health? 45% agree on positive and negative effects.

That’s probably where you’ll find me.

Social media is not a bad thing. I’ve found GREAT joy, an amazing community, entertainment, support, and love from complete strangers on the internet that I’ve connected with via all social media outlets. I’ve also seen A LOT of highlight reels. Am I guilty? Yes. Do I blame those for only sharing the happy times? Hell no. Do I think this phenomena has created a sense of isolation, social anxiety, envy, and harmful effects on one’s mental health? You betcha.

We need to start talking about THAT. The pictures that didn’t make the cut. The relationships, the struggles, the drama, the dysfunctional family dynamics, the sadness, guilt, regrets, hurt… we’ve let social media replace real life and real connections.

SO, allow me to take the first step: Let’s get messy.

FAMILY.

Social media will present you with a lot of ‘Leave it to Beaver’, fresh ouuta page 29 of a Land’s End catalog kind of families. Rarely do we see the reality behind the matching seersucker get ups… and I can guarantee you wouldn’t see that reality in any catalog.

Dysfunctional family? Yup, I got one. They’re batshit crazy. Ya love ‘em and stick with ‘em despite it all. Because they’re ‘family’.

Well, again… I call bullshit.

First of all, to anyone out there who is battling internally with sacrificing love for respect or vice versa (whether it’s family, a friend, or significant other), neither is worth sacrificing. I started to deeply reflect on that sentiment the other day when I asked my husband the famous question: ‘would you rather be loved or respected?’. I came to the conclusion that the two come hand in hand. Don’t allow either one to be compromised. I am, of course, still battling this myself – therefore far from an expert.

However, it did light a fire within me. Made me dig deep, rethink, and reevaluate all the relationships we simply tolerate or worse – fight for. Whether it’s walking on egg shells, seeking approval, love, respect, kindness, honesty, etc. IF you’re constantly seeking it…

Walk away.

And know the thing you should be focusing on is the fact you have that love to give. If you have that love and respect inside you to give to the wrong people… imagine what you have to give to the RIGHT ones. The ones who deserve it and have earned it. It’s not always blood. It’s not always family. And that’s OKAY.

For the folks in the cheap seats, let me repeat myself – THAT’S OKAY.

I have expelled much energy and time seeking explanations, closure, answers from all the wrong people. I think sometimes we get too busy and caught up focusing on all the ways people abuse that kindness and trust, that we neglect to acknowledge the fact that we have that inside of us to GIVE! AND that’s what makes us who we are.

Don’t compromise that for anyone. Don’t let all the explanations and answers that have gone unsaid leave you bitter and ultimately consume your mind and thoughts. If you’ve done your part, you’ve done your part. That’s all we are responsible for.

It’s OKAY for us to talk about these real life, messy, and complicated topics.

Perhaps, I got a little side tracked – but main case & point being… we don’t see any of that when scrolling through our feeds, do we? Leaving most to think to themselves – ‘oh, dear god… look at this magical unicorn of a family, meanwhile, my kid just yelled proudly from the other room “Mama, I pee peed on the couch!” and your husband has been in the bathroom for an hour playing candy crush.

See where I’m going with this?

I know I am not the only one who refrains from talking real life on these platforms for fear of being judged, not receiving the validation we’re seeking, airing our dirty laundry where we could just post a photo of our avocado toast and call it a day.

AND, then comes…

MOTHERHOOD & SOCIAL MEDIA:

As if we didn’t need another outlet to highlight our incompetence and shortcomings… Maybe it’s time we bring back the ‘community over competition’ notion.

That Pinterest worthy casserole? Maybe she perfected the one recipe she knows how not to screw up and THAT deserves an ‘atta boy’. (hi! 👋🏼)

The perfectly dressed Von Trapp children who are smiling while eating vegetables and asking for more? Maybe ya didn’t catch the total meltdown mama dealt with for an hour prior to that photo…

The immaculate kitchen? *Not pictured* the clutter and the mess that was making her so anxious, she finally said ‘enough’ and slaved all day to make it look that way (and taking breaks to keep the kids entertained!) It’s an accomplishment… and one she should be proud of and broadcast to the world!

The beautiful bouquet of flowers that adorn her dining room table? Maybe those came from an apologetic spouse and what you didn’t see was the huge fight that they’d had the night before and the tears, anger, and frustration. You just see the flowers.

It’s easy to judge someone’s life based on the photos we see while mindlessly scrolling. Ultimately, we are all sharing the WINS. So, to the exhausted mom who’s hanging on for dear life while scrolling and thinking to herself- how? Why? What? You are not alone. You are enough. AND if you EVEN find yourself questioning if you are – you are.

IF it sounds like I’m being a tad contradictory.. you’re probably right. Calling bullshit on the facade, but cheering on the individual creating it? This is simply a mere reminder that we can admire someone else’s green grass without hopping on the self-loathing roller coaster. We don’t have to completely disconnect from all social media to counteract this epidemic – we just have to change the way we approach it. It’s important to remind ourselves that behind these beautifully curated feeds are human beings. I think that’s what we’ve lost on social media – reality. The reality that no one has ALL their shit together ALL the time. The reality that we all have our own struggles. The reality that social media ISN’T reality. I think if we don’t lose sight of that fact, we can start to enjoy social media again and put to rest the stress and anxiety that comes with the slippery slope of comparison.

At the end of the day, I suppose this is nothing but a rant to encourage more of us to celebrating progress instead of perfection. We’re all just wingin’ it.

Try this…

When you see that photo of a perfect & spotless living room and look up to see your mess of a house, dishes piling up, and what appears to be a Leap Frog crack den – I want you to see that mess is magic. A messy, magical life playing, creating, having fun, and just being kids. A home that’s lived in and loved in.

These are signs of life, not failure. Remind yourself that what you see everyday behind your screen are brief moments in time, and not someone’s whole story. If all we see is each other’s perfection, we are very likely to miss each other’s pain.

Today, a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders with that realization. Repeat after me: TODAY, I WILL NOT COMPARE MYSELF TO STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET. I will not place my value and happiness in the hands of my social media following.

Today, I will break the cycle.

Motherhood… not for the weak hearted.

Mom guilt.

✖️

It’s inevitable. Motherhood often feels like a game of guilt management. Sometimes the guilt is overwhelming and debilitating. Sometimes just a low simmer, but in some capacity, it’s always there… and there is never any shortage of fuel to feed the beast that leaves us with the general feeling of incompetency. Top it off with our carefully curated social media world, which not only affects our sense of success and magnifies our shortcomings, but also furnishes our children with an unprecedented brand of expectations, and BOOM – *cue the crippling anxiety*. 👋🏼

Being a mother is as hard as it is beautiful.

Sleep training, cry-it-out or coddle?

Breastfeed or *heaven forbid* the ‘F word’ formula?

Screen time at a restaurant to keep the kid from screaming bloody murder?

Looking at your phone while your child plays on the playground? (Cut it out with the Judgey McJudgerson looks over there, Karen.)

McDonald’s for the second day in a row?

… Around every corner, we will be faced with some sort of scrutiny or judgement. Someone who puts that false sense of doubt in our minds that we are doing it ALL wrong

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. The majority of us are doing our best. And, that’s all our little ones need. Happy moms. Loving moms. Not always the Pinterest mom, the dedicated room mom (stop it, Donna. Just stop), or the perfect mom who has all her shit together all the time complete with matching monogram ascots (Spoiler alert: they don’t.)

Motherhood is not for the weak.

It’s watching their chubby little legs run fast down the sidewalk and seeing that they’re going to trip but not being able to get there fast enough.

It’s holding them and carrying them upstairs and then suddenly realizing that your arms can hardly sustain their weight anymore.

It’s dropping them off at school and watching them walk into the building and holding your breath — literally, holding your breath — watching them wave at you while they stumble along carrying a backpack that’s bigger than them until you see some kid say hello to them, and they don’t look back.

Currently for this mama, it’s days that consist of multiple tantrums, lots of sass, and the occasional target run when she manages to throw anything and everything she can get her hands on. BUT, I know her determination and that strong and stubborn will will truly take the world by storm one day.

It’s the promise of them finding their own way — the dream of them becoming who they already are — that isn’t for the faint of heart in the here and now.

I don’t think any of us realize how all-consuming this job is. I think it’s time we talk candidly about what the ‘books’ didn’t tell us. The good, the bad, and the ugly. So often these days we see this highlight reel on social media constantly on repeat as we scroll through Instagram depicting happy, well behaved, perfect children who eat their vegetables, never talk back, and don’t know the word ‘NO’. Hell, I’m guilty! That’s what the platform of social media has evolved into. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE seeing AND sharing those beautiful and perfect moments.

Is it everyday reality? Um, no.

Am I saying the everyday reality is unbearable and I want out? Not for a single second. EVER.

Maybe it comes down to the 2019 cliche notion of us comparing our bloopers to some stranger online’s highlight reel. Yeah… 2019 is making it unbelievably easy to compare every step of our journey to another’s. There is no RIGHT way to parent. YES, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I devoured any and all baby books preparing me for giving birth, parenting, and all the other sources that provide a false illusion that we actually know what the hell we’re doing. Hell, that’s enough to send you into a whirlwind of overwhelming WORRY & comparison!

Bottom line – there is no right or wrong way. You could have a PhD in psychology and still make a multitude of mistakes in raising your children.

At the end of the day, when this little sassafras looks over at me with that little mischievous grin & runs at me full force with a big hug and sloppy kiss… I see a happy kid. Fed, clothed, and above all, loved to the ends of the earth. She’s blissfully unaware of the weight on my shoulders that I carry everyday just trying to keep up. And she doesn’t need to. That’s the magic of childhood, and something I never want to take away from her.

Our job as mothers is to provide shoulders for our children to stand on and pray that they grow wings to outsoar us. The best gift is to watch them fly and hope they look back long enough to appreciate who and where they came from.

Mom guilt is a bitch. And, today… I’m telling it to eff off. I think there should be solidarity in the club for every parent who is trying to do the right thing and operating from a place of love, shouldn’t there? We’re all in this together, no matter the age or the stage. So… today, I’m tuning out that snarky inner-critic self talk. Today, I’m reminding myself to bask in those rare, ‘super mom, I totally have my shit together’ days, and just keep rolling with the punches, learning, loving, grinning and bearing those (‘That’s it, I’m changing my name and moving to Mexico) kinda days until I get it right – which I’m pretty certain, as a mom, I will never fully get there.

…and that’s okay. Maybe that’s just the universes driving force that propels us every morning to try harder, do better, and love bigger.

Also, wine. Wine helps, too.

Cheers, mamas! XO

Your Late 20’s: The Middle School of Life

Growing pains, without the braces.

“So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”

– Office Space

It’s official. In the blink of an eye, I have approached my late 20’s. I can’t help but reflect on the past decade of discovery, transitions, decisions, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way (mostly the hard way).

Our generation does come with it’s own unique set of difficulties and challenges which require a fresh and innovative approach if they are to be overcome. Now, there are a million and one articles out there that will tell you how important it is to travel and see the world, to knuckle down on your dreams, and enjoy your youth before committing to a marriage or career that may not leave you fulfilled or happy, so, as much as I agree with all of that, I won’t bother you with it again.

Yes, everyone has their own journey, their own struggles, dreams, accomplishments, regrets, lessons learned, etc. However, this is my blog…

SO, here are a few of my personal meandering thoughts that I’ve come to consider enormously important to my own happiness and well being, and maybe, just maybe, might be imperative to yours as well.

1. Make more time for meaningful relationships. Be intentional with who you spend your time and energy on. Surround yourself with the people cheering you on, who fuel your passion, and inspire you to do and be better.

2. Learn to cook 1 meal. ONE. (Y’all, that’s a huge one for me… and one I’m certain I’ll put off until the eve of my 30th birthday.) Whatever. We can just skip that one. Carry on.

3. Do something that gets you out of your comfort zone, out of your shell and into the world. Safety nets are comforting, but will rarely get you where you want to be.

4. Get comfortable with saying no. Don’t want to go to that party? Stay home. Don’t want to leave your bed or put pants on that particular day? Say ‘screw the pants and bail’. ‘No’ is a complete sentence. It does not require justification or explanation. Give yourself permission to rest without feeling guilty about it. BUT, don’t get too comfortable. Balance is key.

5. Dance for no reason (when did we stop doing that?!). My 3 year old reminds me of this on a daily basis. They don’t care who’s watching, who’s judging, or even if there’s music.

6. Run a marathon. KIDDING. Just making sure you were still paying attention. However, if you’re into that kinda thing – you do you, boo.

6. Be more mindful of what and where you’re spending money. Shop small. Support a friend, a small family business, a local mom & pop shop. When you support a small business, you’re supporting someone’s dream.

7. Don’t feel rushed to have it all “figured out” (whatever that means). Keep it simple. One foot in front of the other. I’ve met many 20 somethin’s who have a set game plan in place (you GO, GLEN CO CO!), and I have met plenty of 40 & 50+ yr. olds still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. It’s not a race.

8. Get to know your parents. Ask questions. I guarantee you, you’ll eventually want to. Do it while you have the chance. They’re growing older, too… and maybe they really did know what they were talking about when they warned you about that ‘bad boy’ back in high school.

9. Go to the movies alone. You don’t have to share your popcorn and you don’t have unnecessary commentary in your ear while you’re trying to pay attention to Ryan Gosling’s abs.

10. If anyone makes you feel self-conscious for posting selfies, keep taking more selfies because you won’t look this good in your 60’s. (Unless you’re Christie Brinkley… in which case, maybe slow down on the selfie game).

11. Leave any relationship, friendship, job, or situation that’s no longer serving you. The time fillers, the coffee dates that leave you feeling drained and uninspired. Drop it, boo. Time is precious. Just ask any mom.

12. Quit chasing after the people who have left you, cut you off or abandoned you. Start cherishing the ones who have stayed through it all. The only people you owe your loyalty to are the ones who have never made you questions theirs. You never have to chase what wants to stay. You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

13. Make amends. Friends, family, yourself. Let it go. Maybe not for their peace, but for yours. The more we declutter the weight of the past, the more room we create for the good stuff. And it’s all about the good stuff, right?

14. Focus more on being ‘happy’ rather than being ‘right’. Put that pride aside, hold on to your own truths, and let that be enough. I promise you’ll sleep better.

15. Learn to rest, not to quit. It’s okay to not be okay. Just don’t stay there. Nothing is permanent. Keep going.

16. Stop handing out 3rd and 4th chances. Don’t waste your time on those who have showed you their true colors. Believe them when they show you, and move on. It’s not selfish, it’s self respect.

17. Chalk up all your struggles, disappointments, failures, and short comings as stepping stones to who you’re becoming. These set backs are not because you’re doing something wrong, it means you’re doing something right. It makes your sweet days of success that much sweeter knowing you fought to get where you’re at, and you didn’t give up.

18. Stop complaining. Count your blessings. The more goodness you acknowledge in your life, the more goodness the universe will throw your way. Remind yourself that someone out there would kill for what you have.

19. Drop the baggage. The grudges, the guilt, the mistakes. Remember what it taught you, but also remember the airline ‘excess baggage’ fee is not cheap. You’d be surprised at how liberating it can be to travel with just a carry on. 😉

20. Go after what you really want. Don’t wait for the right time. There isn’t one. There are 7 days in a week and ‘someday’ isn’t one of them. The Universe is never going to put it’s hand on your shoulder and say, “Today is a good day to start.”

21. Be uninhibited with your life, but especially with your emotions. Start your search for whatever you’ve been looking for and do not settle until you know you’ve found it.

22. Fall back in love with your life by falling in love with yourself first. Be kind to yourself. Forgive your own mistakes, try to love all your wounds, stop blaming yourself for the things that didn’t work out, and learn to accept all your flaws. The love that you give to yourself is worth more than any love you could ever receive from other people.

23. Lastly, know when to unplug. Know when to put the phone down, stop reading nonsense advice from some hippie stranger on the internet, pour yourself a damn strong drink, and continue on being the badass you truly are.

“Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong. Even while you wait for certain things to fall into place, may you never forget you are still free to thrive in this space; making the most of little things, making room for brand new things, fully living with all you have, even in your in betweens.”

-Morgan Harper Nichols

There you have it, folks.

Mother’s Day: an open letter to all mamas.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

-Washington Irving

I am sitting down to write this as Mother’s Day is coming to an end (‘cause let’s face it… after that one late period, you’re never on time for anything again. Ever).

I love that we set aside a whole day to honor and celebrate the women who raised us. I celebrate my own mother, who we now call ‘Gigi’, and who has set the bar pretty damn high. Beautiful, selfless, and the strongest woman I will ever know. This day has also taken on a whole new meaning to me because of the little one who made me a mom.

I never knew before what it felt like to have my heart roaming around on the outside. It’s overwhelmingly wonderful and terrifying. I never knew the role of ‘mom’ would continue to make me a better person on a daily basis. More patience. Less sleep. More love. More selflessness. Less me. It truly is a love that transcends all other affections of the heart.

The day to day mom life is well… hard, exhausting – time stands still, patience dwindling, finding yourself staring out the window looking for the Amazon Prime guy for some quick adult conversation, while looking at the clock questioning if it’s too early for wine.

Don’t let the above scare you. Motherhood really is wonderful. Too often we get caught up in the daily grind and complaints, exhaustion, and being a tiny little human’s snack bitch that it seems to triumph over sharing the gift that motherhood truly is.

…and boy is it. I tend to get a bit nostalgic over Mother’s Day, birthdays, milestones, going off to preschool, etc. Basically, I’m an unstable basket case of emotions who in the event of all the above, is left wondering – what is happening? Where is the time going? And why didn’t I add ‘live in nanny’ to my baby registry?

However, I can’t help but think about the ones grieving on this emotionally charged holiday. The women who suffer in silence, and the heartache they silently endure.

The mom that was never able to meet her child.

The children grieving the loss of their own mother.

The stepmoms.

The mothers who have lost children.

The estranged mothers, estranged children…

Then there are the women who would give anything to become a mother.

But can’t. The unfairness is incomprehensible.

Now, I promise I didn’t set out to write a sappy, depressing, and emotionally draining blog post. Mother’s Day IS a reason to celebrate, and to acknowledge all moms. And, also a reminder to encourage everyone to show compassion for those that might be hiding sadness behind their smiles today.

Be kind to yourself mama.

You may be sad, but you are loved.

You may be basking in all the magic and emotions of your first Mother’s Day, or even your 20th. Enjoy. Celebrate. No matter what age, they are always your babies.

Your children may be gone, but you are still a mother.

Your mother may be gone, but you are still her child.

You may not have your own child yet, but you have the spirit of motherhood in your heart.

You may be having a wonderful day, but there is just something missing. Or a little bit of sadness forcing its way through the cracks in your tough exterior.

And that’s ok.

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL. Love, cherish, and cling tight to every fleeting moment you have with your little ones and the mothers who have shown us unconditional love, unwavering patience, and who have never given up on us.

It’s not an easy job, but it sure is the best one.

XO

Jaclyn 

Top Favorite Editing Apps for Instagram 2018

There it goes again.

Blogger envy.

It happens to all of us. You’re reading a post on someone’s blog – the content is good, but the images are what first grabbed your attention. You love the blogger’s sense of design and you can’t figure out why your images don’t look anything like that. And you’re not alone – content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without images.

But, which editing tool is right for you?

So, here’s a little round up of my favorite photo editing apps. Whether it’s your IG feed, stories, collages, or any special design you can think of!

Photo editing:

I get a TON of messages about what I use to edit photos. Well, first of all I can’t really pinpoint one single app. I really enjoy editing photos (I know – it doesn’t sound thrilling, but hand me a glass of Pinot, my headphones, and an SD card full of unedited photos, and I’m one very happy girl!) I love making them my own so sometimes I even mess around with a few different apps to achieve that perfect look!

Good news is that I do it all from my phone so it’s super easy and anyone who’s staring down at their screen right now can do it!

Lightroom

I always start with Lightroom. I personally think it’s the best for the basics – exposure, brightness, vibrance, sharpening, etc. But it’s also great for the little details, luminance, lens corrections, and retouching. So much goodness you’ll have to check it out for yourself. I recommend tinkering with the app as much as you can to find what you like and create your own unique look.

Also, it allows you 1TB of cloud storage so you can access your photos from anywhere and you can save your editing presets and batch edit. It’s a simple way to apply the same settings from one photo to all the images from a session that are taken in the same location with similar lighting. Once you batch edit, you can still go into each image and make any final adjustments. It saves a ton of time and also keeps your photos and feed consistent!

A Color Story

A Color Story is one of my favorite apps for filters with over 100 fresh and colorful filters. Usually, I’ll edit on Lightroom and if it still needs a little something, I’ll add a filter and usually adjust it just slightly so it adds the perfect bright & airy look I’m trying to achieve. I use this app more for enhancing the bright whites, rich color, and REALLY making your image pop!

PicTapGo

PicTapGo is by far the easiest and quickest photo editing app to use. It features over 70 different photo effects that you can apply and adjust individually. You can also mix and match to create your own filter ‘recipes’. The app also takes note of what you use most often. You can save your favorite combos or it will automatically bump your fave filters up to the top, making them easier to access.

The editing options are somewhat limited beyond filters. So, if you’re not looking for an extremely comprehensive photo app, PicTapGo is very easy to use and creates beautiful, unique images.

So, now that we’ve covered editing your content…

I also get a lot of messages about my Instagram stories. Whether it’s graphics & design, collages, adding text to those perfect ‘pintresty’ looking photos.

Design, Text, & Layout

Word Swag

Hands down, WORDSWAG is totally my JAM. (An example above just creating a simple ‘before & after’.) It’s like a graphic designer in your pocket. You can create beautifully custom text layouts that would normally take minutes – or even hours – with just a tap.

Use Word Swag to:

1. Make your own stylish quotes

2. Make unique graphics for Instagram stories, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

3. Make graphics for your blog

4. Create announcements & flyers

5. Caption your photos

For instance, I use this app the most for creating stories & graphics for my Rodan + Fields business and it never fails that I get a ton of DM’s asking me how I made them or if they can use them themselves. (Of course they can – but I personally love making them my own!) Plus, what might look like you spent hours on was simply done in a couple of minutes!

Mixgram

Mixgram is my favorite go to for collages – so many layout options and you can easily format them to fit any platform whether it’s Instagram square, IG stories, Facebook header… you name it. For some of my content, I’ll even create a collage or layout on Mixgram and then upload it to WordSwag to add text or captions. It’s perfect for creating content that really grabs people’s attention! Also, look up ‘WordSwag backgrounds’ on Pinterest and you’ll find a ton there as well as the free ones that are already available through the app. Here’s a couple of examples from my IG stories. So simple and a great way to display your content!

So, there you have it…

I hope this answered some of your questions. Have fun, get creative, and enjoy the process!

XO jaclyn

It’s okay not to be ‘okay’…

I am a day late on shedding some light on World Mental Health Day, but perhaps that’s fitting… and perhaps it deserves more attention than one day. Procrastinating? Cancelling plans? (Guilty!) Wheels in your mind spinning, but getting nowhere? Any of that sound familiar?

I, myself, have suffered from my fair share of depression and crippling anxiety. Words that I never imagined I would put out into the world on display. I have a wonderful family, a daughter I still can’t believe is really mine, and an over all pretty beautiful life… so why would I ever want to shed light on the darkness the world doesn’t see?

It’s a weakness. The stigma. ‘Snap out of it’. ‘You’re just having a bad day.’ ‘You have a great life, why are you so bummed? There’s starving kids in Africa’.

Scientifically, no one needs a reason to be depressed. It’s a flaw in chemistry, not in character.

Imagine if you got blamed for having cancer. Or if your pancreas isn’t able to make the right amounts of insulin. The stigma that we should be ashamed if our brains aren’t able to make correct levels of serotonin is just… silly.

Though I didn’t plan on sharing this tid bit & putting my ‘crazy’ on parade for you all… I realized that would be contradicting the exact point I’m trying to make.

Shortly after Milana was born, December of 2016… postpartum in full swing. I was a mess. I remember the day like it was yesterday. The day of my husband’s company Christmas party. The days & weeks leading up, the postpartum was full blown.

I had heard a few things here and there about postpartum depression, but no one TALKS about it! I was too busy reading, researching, and gaining a false sense of security like anyone knows what the hell they’re doing while preparing to push a human life out of YOU! What to Expect When You’re Expecting… yes, you were a nice resource & I read you front to back. BUT nothing can compare you for what’s to come! Many days, I still don’t know what to EXPECT! (Except for that glass of wine at the end of the day!)

I was so worried about the pregnancy, the birth process… that I suppose at the time, everything that followed took a backseat. Not knowing what the hell you’re doing being sent home with a tiny little delicate human assuming & TRUSTING that maybe you’ve done a little research on that as well. The overwhelming lack of sleep being the next.

I’M A NEW MOM! Easiest birth in the history of child bearing, perfectly healthy baby girl. YES, I was on cloud 9! I truly had it ALL & felt complete. Fast forward a couple days, weeks, and failed attempts at breastfeeding & the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced (yes, worse than childbirth!)… it was a different story.

….the big whammy, the worst whammy, the most unexpected of them all – Postpartum Depression.

You would think that would have entered my mind at some point considering if you are & have ever struggled with depression and/or anxiety – you clearly have a higher risk for getting a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like PPD. But, at first I shrugged it off as the ‘baby blues’. Let’s face it, you’ve got a lot of new challenges – and a lot less sleep. I assumed (and kept telling myself) that the emotional & crazy overwhelming feelings came with the package.

Ya know what’s worse than the downward spiral, the non stop river of tears? Not knowing WHY. Not having a reason WHY (at the time, and in my nativity thinking that I needed to supply or justify one). I remember how helpless it felt not being able to convey to my husband, my parents, friends, anyone… WHY.

Though I didn’t experience the extreme PPD that I had heard nightmares of, but… depression is depression. The stigma, the ‘hush hush’ & silence that surrounds it, and the feeling we have to validate how & why we’re feeling the way that we do… is well, BULLSHIT.

BUT, back to the day it all came to a head. As I was scavenging my closet for something to wear to my husband’s Christmas party… should be the jolliest time of the year, right? Don’t get me started on finding something to wear. That’s already a challenge to begin with – throw in a post baby body & the endless tears that I just COULDN’T. STOP. It seemed downright impossible.

Through the tears, I managed to half ass some makeup and put on a happy face. And, just like that… I DID! Danced the night away and put a happy face on! HA. KIDDING. That would be one helluva boring story…

I assured my husband I was fine and to go ahead, but followed it with the typical wife, new mom… ‘don’t linger, I need you!’

Fast forward 20 minutes. FULL. BLOWN. PANIC ATTACK. I’m no stranger to panic attacks & crippling anxiety. I experienced my first around the age of 16. But, this one… this was one for the books. I felt like I was drowning, like I was screaming for help, but no one could hear me. The world was spinning, and I couldn’t find the damn ‘off switch’. Except, this time I felt like I was dying. Ya heard me right. Dying.

Yes, I had experienced all of the lovely tricks on the mind that anxiety can play on you. This time the physical symptoms kicked in – BAD. Heart racing, mind spinning, blood pressure feeling like it’s about 500/200.

Long story, short (kinda/sorta)... I ended up in the Emergency Room. Experiencing such a crippling state of anxiety, the kind where you think you might just die right then and there. I did slightly weave into conversation that I had had a history of anxiety & depression. They ran all kinds of blood tests, monitored my blood pressure, and vitals…

Enter Doogie Howser. Explains to me everything is normal, blood panel is fine… (as he looks at me like I am batshit out of my mind crazy) and then continues with the most condescending question I had ever gotten from a medical ‘professional’.

“So, you ready to get outta here? These beds are for sick people.”

I was in SHOCK at what had just come out of this dudes mouth, like he had legit just received his certification online that day and I was his first lucky patient!

As I sit here and think about the big picture and the stigma, the silence, & the shame that surrounds the mental health world – we as a WHOLE need to cut that crap out! If you don’t understand it, that’s OKAY. However, it doesn’t mean it isn’t so. I encourage you to do your research, to allow yourself a little brain checkup from time to time without the shame, and to check on your strong friends, too. Who knows? Maybe the ones who appear to be the most put together need it the MOST.

To anyone who is silently struggling: You are incredible. Nothing is more terrifying than battling with your own mind every single day. You make this world a little more wonderful, YOU got this, better things are coming your way, and you are NOT alone.

Staying a little younger a little longer…

Let’s talk about AGING. I know, yuck. But, it’s happening folks… and that’s something we can’t change. However, how we age and how fast we start showing it – we can change!

Is it just me or does it seem everywhere we look these days – a new product, some miracle ingredient or serum is being praised and coveted for its anti aging benefits? Raise your hand if you get so confused knowing which ones are really necessary and which ones are actually the RIGHT ones for you?! Well, unfortunately I can’t see a show of hands… BUT if you’re like me, I imagine you’re a little torn and overwhelmed over ALL the products on the market.

Which ones actually work?

Which ones are worth investing in?

We don’t all have the same skin type – which are the right products specific to mine?

There’s about a million of them that promise the same thing – to instantly deliver younger and more youthful looking skin… (here’s a Solution Tool that can also match you with the perfect products specifically for YOUR skin concerns!)

Maybe you’re in your 20’s or 30’s and you’re noticing the first wrinkle or two. Maybe you’ve been paying more attention to folks a bit older than you and either amazed at how young they still look and wanting to know their secret OR perhaps you’re noticing a woman who appears to be in her 40’s and has spent the past couple of decades basking in the sun lathered up with baby oil and in return she looks a couple decades older than she is. Then you find out you’re the same age… *cringe*

Thanks to the advances in the dermatology world… it is possible to correct sun damage, discoloration, and all of the aspects that contribute to our skin aging. However, it is much more difficult to correct than to PREVENT & protect before the years catch up with us!

Want to know the most important time to start preventing & protecting? *Drumroll*… your TWENTIES & THIRTIES!

Collagen & Elastin

Together, collagen and elastin keep connective tissue firm and help it to hold its shape. As your skin loses collagen, it loses elasticity and, on average, we lose about 1% of our collagen every year after the age of 20! Total BS, right?!

There are a few things we can actively do to stay young for a little bit longer. Every day we get a little bit older and that means our cells lose their youth too. But there is evidence out there, that biological aging can be slowed down or at some point even be reversed.

I’ve broken it down to the most important things we can do to slow down the aging process and correct any damage that’s already been done!

1. WASH THAT FACE, girl. EVERY night. Drunk, tired… do it! No excuses. Throughout the day the skin on your face is continually covered with bacteria, pollutants, viruses, dirt, and old (dead) skin cells. Daily facial washing removes these impurities. Without washing, your skin would be covered with a thick layer of dirt and grime which make it difficult for other products to penetrate the skin properly.

2. TONER. Many people are still unaware of what toner really is — and many people still have misconceptions as to its true purpose. Applying toner after washing your face shrinks pores, restores your skin’s pH balance, adds a layer of protection and close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin, help with moisture.

If you want to talk science, a toner is a fast-penetrating liquid that delivers skin a quick hit of hydration and helps remove some dead cells off the surface of the skin. The result: plump, glowy skin. On a makeup-related note, toner is like a primer for the rest of your skin-care routine like serums and moisturizer.

3. MOISTURIZE! Wrinkles or dehydrated skin? Your skin is craving moisture. This has been the #1 thing that well, a.) I thought was crap because I have oily skin and the last thing I needed was added hydration and b.) had such trouble finding the right one that wasn’t to heavy or made me extra oily. No thank you. Wrong. Dehydrated skin is the number one factor that will instantly age your skin and add to that dull, dry, and uneven complexion.

4. EXFOLIATE – don’t wait to exfoliate! Exfoliation is the removal of dry/dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and is one of the most important aspects of your home skincare routine. It also increases blood circulation, which in turn helps you to achieve healthy and glowing skin.

5. SPF, SPF, S P F…You most likely already know that consistently using sunscreen can help prevent premature wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and skin cancer. But a small 2016 study found that daily use of broad-spectrum sun protection may also visibly reverse existing sun damage, including rough texture lack of clarity, and hyperpigmentation. So, if you want to preserve (and maybe even improve) your beautiful self, use a sunscreenr moisturizer with SPF 30—no excuses—every day. Any questions?

…SO NOW THAT WE KNOW the basics when it comes to caring for your skin: cleanse, tone, moisturize, apply sunscreen… I have to let you in on one is my most favorite anti aging discoveries of ALL discoveries. VITAMIN A!

Amid so many possibilities (and products) to help your skin look its best, though, there are a few nutrients that skin really needs – vitamin A is one of them. What does it do and why is it so important? IT ENCOURAGES HEALTHY SKIN CELL PRODUCTION 🙌🏼 Retinal, retinol and retinoic acid are important to cell production and growth. Vitamin A also stimulates fibroblasts – the cells responsible for developing tissue that keeps skin firm and healthy – in the deep layers of your skin. Because vitamin A and carotenoids play such a big role in cell and tissue growth, not getting enough can lead to weakened skin, causing problems ranging from dryness to wounds that heal more slowly.

We keep hearing about this thing called micro-needling, right? It seems like every beauty magazine, article, editors, blogger, and bloggers are RAVING about it. So, what exactly is it? Some choose to shell out a lot of money with procedures at the dermatologists office, HOWEVER… in 2018 and all of it’s beauty – there is a nifty little beauty tool that can deliver those very same insane results in the comfort of your own home without even having to put pants on.

Count me in!

Oprah magazine has deemed the AmpMD system by Rodan & Fields the gold standard and THE best spent minute in the world of anti aging. The AmpMD system consists of a derma roller with over 200 tiny little needles that actually pierces the top layer of the dermis followed by the RetinalMD Intensive Renewing Serum – which is the most powerful form of Vitamin A you can get your hands on without a prescription. So many of the products we’re using simply sit on the surface of our skin without going any deeper and that’s why we don’t really notice those dramatic results these products promise to deliver.

If you only have ONE anti-aging product in your medicine cabinet, this would be it. This form of Vitamin A is powerful enough to increase cell turnover, boost elastin & collagen production, but also gentle enough for everyday use.

After following these skincare tips for a little over 6 months, I can’t believe the transformation my skin has undergone! I want to shout it from the rooftops, but for now I’ll start by sharing them with you! Below are a couple of my must have go to’s and products I absolutely swear by! (Click on image to purchase or read more info!)

Redefine Regimen by Rodan + Fields

Active Hydration Serum.

This is great for ALL skin types (yes, oily too!) It increases your skin’s hydration by 200% in your first use and actually helps balance oily skin and gives you that supermodel GlOW!

Microdermabrasion Paste.

It’s a sugar/salt scrub that removes the top layer of dead skin cells and leaves your face feeling like silk!

AmpMD System

Microderm Roller with RetinalMD (Vitamin A) Can you say GAME CHANGER?!

Well, there you have it ladies & gents… class dismissed!