Valentines: 5 Ways to Treat Yoself, Ladies


This morning, I was getting the kids ready for school and realized, CRAP. It’s the day of the Valentine’s party at Ricky’s school, and guess who forgot to put together the Valentines over the weekend? That’s right. This mom.

To be fair, I’ve had so many little things on my plate lately, and I wound up in the maternity ward of the hospital because of pre-eclampsia symptoms AND contractions. Plus, my short-term memory is kind of wonky, what with 4th pregnancy brain and all, so I can’t take all of the blame for not being on the ball this weekend. Some of it, definitely. Haha.

So I was rushing around trying to get the kids ready, bags packed, Valentines done…and Rick came into the kitchen, when I was just elated that I had gotten all of this stuff done in the span of like 15 minutes, and I exclaimed, “THE VALENTINES ARE DONE!”

And he looks at me, super confused, and says, “ohhh, Happy Valentine’s Day?”

Of course, if you look at your calendar, today ISN’T Valentine’s Day, so this was basically the funniest thing my preggo brain had heard so far this week (hey, it was Monday at 7 AM!), and I collapsed into giggles. Can you tell that we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day falls so soon after the holidays, and my birthday, and our Anniversary is next week, so it just never winds up being a priority for us.

But this weekend’s trip to the hospital, and my focus on helping moms put more focus on themselves, has me wondering if we should be a little more indulgent of self-love this holiday. And because I like this idea SO MUCH, I’ve pulled together FIVE WAYS you busy ladies out there can treat yourselves to a little R&R (or special products) this special week.

1. Take a bubble bath

Honestly, at the end of a long day, this is one of my favorite ways to relax (especially as a preggo). And on the weekend, it’s like the best nap time indulgence ever. My hubby knows this, and typically gets me new bubbles + candles + lotions for Christmas and/or my birthday, but bath products are an AMAZING (and inexpensive) gift to yourself! I usually grab some at Target (plus some epsom salts), or HomeGoods (they have really yummy candles).

2. Read a book

I’ve always loved to read, but after Ricky was born, I put down my habit. In fact, from the time that he was born until he turned 3 1/2, I don’t think I read more than 3 books. I re-engaged with my love of literature last summer by adding book apps (Kindle, Google Books and 2 apps from our local library) to my phone so that I can read on the go, and always have my book with me in a convenient little package. I never thought I’d actually LIKE reading on my phone, but I wound up reading over 100 books last year just because it was accessible! And let me tell you, it’s been fun to re-engage my brain with something that’s not just work related. I’m so glad that I picked this habit back up!

3. Get yourself a treat

I’ll be the first on to admit that I can be a little stingy when it comes to spending money on myself, especially for things like skin care and makeup. But I’ve also noticed that as I’m aging (AHHHH!!!!) I really need some better products or I’m going to wind up spending an insane amount of money on dermatology by the time I’m 40. A few months ago, my friend Molly introduced me to the Beauty Counter products (they’re all natural, but EFFECTIVE) and I fell in love. I’m ordering some myself, so I thought I would share with some of you who might be interested – I’m hosting a social with her through Sunday, and we’re giving all of the free product earned BACK (by random drawing, depending on number of products we earn) to anyone who makes a purchase! Check out info on the products/giveaway here (note: You have to select “Cortney’s Social” on Molly’s BeautyCounter page when you buy if you want to be entered to win. This just lets us know you’re part of our group.).

My personal favorites:
The Cleansing Balm – because it works like 5 separate products, lasts forever, and starts showing results right away (super hydrating for winter, too!)

Charcoal Mask – I love charcoal masks because they pull impurities out of your skin. The BeautyCounter charcoal products are more concentrated than what you buy at the drugstore, which makes them WAY more effective (they also have a charcoal bar, which is for more regular use).

Lip Sheers: They look really concentrated, but they go on sheer (and they’re super moisturizing, which is helpful for a gal who experiences super dry lips in the winter). My fave color: Petal.

Sun protection: Last year, all we seemed to hear about was the dangers of toxic sunscreen. Since BeautyCounter bans over 1500 ingredients from their products as a whole (The US bans 30 or so), I feel safer about this sunscreen for my kiddos. And since warm weather is just around the corner, I’m ready to start stocking up (although that might be wishful thinking).

You can watch our video on the products here – but be warned, two of our children were causing chaos in the background, HAH!

4. Do something fun.

This sounds sooo simple, doesn’t it? I don’t know about you, but oftentimes my family gets so wrapped up with everything that has to get done – grocery shopping, cleaning the house, etc. – that we don’t find time to intentionally do something fun, especially when the weather is crappy. Planning something fun to do (especially with President’s Day next week – and an extra day off of school!) like going to the Children’s Museum, the Zoo, etc. is a great way to reconnect as a family, and also feel like you’re getting out and doing something outside of your normal routine (which feels rejuvenating!).

5. Work out!

There’s just something about getting in a good workout that makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Your body feels better, you boost your confidence and you release happy hormones into your body. My personal favorite workout right now is PiYo (through Beachbody, where I’m a coach). You can try it for 30 days with their current trial offer, here, if you’re looking for a great new program that’s low impact, with great results!

Loving Yourself with Positive Self Talk


You guys, 2017 got off to a rocky start for me. Our life has been busier than ever before, and although this pregnancy has been relatively NORMAL (knock on wood), it’s still considered high risk because of our previous losses. On top of this, I’ve been playing this mental game with myself. I’m struggling to keep up with all the moving pieces in our life, and I’ve been really DOWN on myself about it.

You see, before we had kids – and even when we just had Ricky – I used to be this uber organized working mom who has the memory of an elephant for everything going on in our life. Our life ran seamlessly, even when we were running by the seat of our pants. Bags were packed the night before. I easily got up at 5 AM to start working, and our household was still pulled together and we were out the door by 7:30. It was easy to plan workouts, be on top of things, and LOOK like the mom who had it all together.

But I just can’t keep up like that anymore. I’m struggling to get out the door on time in the morning. I feel like there’s always something I’m forgetting, like blankies for nap time at school, or my charger for my laptop when I’m out at client meetings all day. Important things, you know?

So I’ve gotten really down on myself. My husband commented to me early in December, that I’m actually TOO hard on myself. I manage a lot – we have a lot going on – and kids just make things more complicated. There’s so many more things to remember and plan for, and less “quiet time” for thinking (courtesy of my kiddos who talk about all the things, all the time, haha).

And yet, I still struggled with telling myself how I wasn’t doing enough. I felt like I was constantly failing at some aspect of my life – either I wasn’t dedicating enough time to work, or I wasn’t dedicating enough one-on-one time to my kids, or I wasn’t spending enough time cleaning the house…

Suddenly, all of my “not good enoughs” took over my life, and I spent every waking minute trying to spend more time doing all of these things. It took up all of my energy, and I wound up being so committed to everything else that I forgot about myself.

Over time, I realized that one of my biggest problems was simply that I wasn’t filling myself back up. I wasn’t LOVING myself – and by not giving back to ME, I had created a circular problem where I couldn’t GIVE to any of these things at my full capacity…because I wasn’t RUNNING at full capacity.

This realization was shocking to me. And since then, I’ve slowly been trying to set aside a little bit of time for myself every day. It’s helped, for sure. But it hasn’t been super consistent, and it hasn’t been super intentional. So I decided to run my February challenge group as a Love Yourself Challenge, so that I could really focus on being more intentional about loving myself, while also helping other women love THEMSELVES as well.

Preparing for this group has been eye opening to me. I’ve ready lots of articles and guides on how keeping your MINDSET positive and healthy can affect your sense of self-worth, your self-confidence, and how you pour into everyone around you.

It’s affected me so much that I want to focus my personal digital presence on how all of us can give back to ourselves with just a few minutes every day, and how we can carry that self-love throughout the whole year.

One of the things that’s really changed my outlook is the idea that I need to be KIND to myself. I’m human, I’m not perfect, and I’m going to make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean that I need to totally railroad my mindset because I didn’t do things perfectly.

This month, I challenge you to BE KINDER to yourself. This is a challenge that I issued to the women in my challenge group just this morning, but I think it’s SO IMPORTANT that we can all use this challenge in our lives! Every time you find yourself berating yourself, or talking down to yourself or criticizing yourself, I want you to STOP. Reevaluate what you’re saying. Instead of being negative, find a way to turn that to positive. Or just replace that negative thought all together with something positive!

Example: Instead of telling yourself, “I totally screwed up on that client meeting, I should have been more prepared and had been anticipating that they would have wanted x, y and z” – focus on the positive, and how you can deliver x, y, and z, this month – “It didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped, but they LOVED my ideas for how we can drive x, y and z project forward this month!”

Or, instead of “I am the WORST MOM, I can’t believe I forgot the kids’ lunches AGAIN!” – “I am the BEST mom, my kids get to have hot lunch today, which is a total treat!”

And instead of standing in front of a mirror, criticizing everything you hate about yourself, focus on the things you LOVE. Start your day by telling yourself that you’re BEAUTIFUL. Tell yourself that you’re VALUED. Tell yourself all the things your family LOVES about you.

The last one has really started to help me get back into my go-getter mindset – and I really encourage you to do the same, and see how much of a difference it makes when you feed your mind and body with POSITIVE comments on a regular basis, instead of criticism!

Pregnancy #4: Halfway, and Why I Haven’t Posted About It

Pregnancy #4 Halfway, and Why I Haven't Posted About It
Hi friends,

It’s been a while. How’s your new year going? Are you feeling refreshed and renewed?

I feel like our life has been super chaotic lately. It’s always chaotic…but it’s more so this year. I realized the other day that I’m about halfway through my pregnancy – my 4th pregnancy – that sounds so crazy!!!; and I haven’t really posted about it at all. Which is weird, because I’ve been such an oversharer with my previous 3.

This time around is a lot different than before. I’m feeling more grounded than I was during our pregnancy with Christopher. After losing a child to stillbirth, pregnancy becomes infinitely more difficult, and my anxiety was constant and unwavering while Chris was in my belly. And after he came out. For a while, I actually would wake up to check and make sure he was still breathing, like, hourly. It’s that paranoia that comes after losing a child, and it’s unshakable.

This time, it’s almost the opposite. Like, I know that I’m pregnant (I was super sick up until recently, so I BETTER know that I’m pregnant!), but it feels almost surreal. Like time is moving SO fast, and we’re definitely a ton busier than we were before, so it kind of slips my mind that I’m pregnant.

Although I will say that giving myself daily injections in my belly is a good reminder, hah!

Pregnancy #4: Halfway, and Why I Haven't Posted About It

Other things are different, too. We already have the baby stuff, so I’m not stressed about making sure we get everything checked off of a list. I’m not nervous about taking care of a small baby. I’m not apprehensive to how my kids will react to another child. I’m not freaking out about how my work will be affected by another child.

Overall, I’m just a lot calmer, because we’ve been through this rodeo and so much more over the past few years. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that when you work hard and focus on what you need – not necessarily what you want, but what you really NEED – everything kind of falls into place. You don’t need all of the latest gadgets and what-nots to successfully raise a small child. Although they’re cool. Like, really cool.

I also don’t feel that anxiety about…will this be my last baby? Because I have this immense peace in my heart that this IS our last baby. I’m comfortable saying that after this one, my body is closed for more babies. I wouldn’t rule out adoption, or fostering down the road…but this is it for mama actually CARRYING the babies.

Side note: pregnancy gets a lot effing harder as you get older. More morning sickness, more aches and pains, more overall uncomfortable-ness starting a lot sooner.

It’s really freeing to feel this way during a pregnancy. If I could go back in time to give myself some good advice with my first pregnancy, it would’ve been to calm down and let things work themselves out. I don’t need to control everything. I don’t need to KNOW everything. Knowledge, wisdom, expertise, baby things…they all come with time. All that you truly need at the beginning is some love in your heart and the essentials, and you’re golden.

But I do want to know…if you could go back to YOUR first pregnancy, and give yourself some really great advice that only comes after having parenting experience, what would it be? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

That’s really everything, for now. Oh, except we FIND OUT if it’s a boy or girl next week, and I AM SO EXCITED!

That always feels like a pivitol time in pregnancy, when you stop just counting the weeks, and start actually counting DOWN to delivery <3 <3 <3 Hope your year is off to a fabulous start, friends!

My word for 2017 is PROACTIVE.

My word for 2017 is proactive - here's why.

I have a confession to make, you guys. I had a massive, massive set back to…well, just life, I guess, in December. It wasn’t really one thing that set me back. It was just all of these little things that made me feel like I was just drowning – just doing things that were on my to-do list, and I started falling behind in my personal life.

My work was busy. Rick worked every single day from before Thanksgiving until after Christmas, putting in 100 hour weeks. The kids were crabby, because we got hit with this huge blast of frigid weather that made it nearly impossible to go outside. And of course, there are the holidays, which are their own little joy of stress for parents. Sure – there’s a ton of fun that comes along with the holidays, especially when you have littles. But when you’re already feeling pretty slammed…well, you have the makings of a personal hurricane on your hands.

Slowly, I started to just focus on what needed to get done, and anything extra was falling completely off of my plate. I stopped working out. I stopped meal planning. I stopped giving myself time to take care of ME, and the results meant I was eating crap or takeout pretty much every day, I wasn’t planning ahead (which is SUCH a necessity) and made myself feel like I was constantly playing catch up, and I didn’t feel very good about myself.

Of course, that never happens overnight – so it kind of snuck up on me when I finally realized that I was just out of energy and out of balance.

At the same time, I was trying to think about 2017. How do I want to grow my company? How can I better focus on my family? How can I give myself a little bit of time to feel like I’m a whole person, instead of just the person that does everything for everyone else?

This all came down to a conversation that Rick and I had over Christmas break, about how our life has suddenly gone from being proactive to being very reactive. Instead of planning and being prepared for what can sometimes be (okay, often is) a very chaotic lifestyle, we fell into the bad habit of just reacting to everything. And that made life increasingly hard.

To be perfectly honest, there’s not a lot we probably could have done to prevent this from happening. After all, we weren’t expecting our life to go from 60 to 100 in the blink of an eye. But with the plans we have for 2017, nothing’s going to slow down – in fact, our life will likely only get more busy (Hellooooo new baby!), and we need to really buckle down, and focus on getting back in that proactive seat.

So my word to live by, at least for the next six months, is proactive. I like having a word that defines my world, because I can focus on building towards a common goal across all of the different aspects of our life. Being more proactive in my business, in my family life, in my health, in every way I possibly can be.

Part of this is just getting back to basics – taking better care in planning for myself and my family. When I have a plan, and a schedule, I know that I can fit in the meal planning. I know I will remember to order our groceries online, so that we don’t have three days in a row where I meant to go to the grocery store to pick up dinner, but didn’t have time, so we’re ordering take out. It means I can plan out where my workouts and meals will land, giving myself the ability to PLAN for a healthier lifestyle as opposed to wishing I could get myself on track with a healthier lifestyle.

And as part of this, I want to help all of you find that right balance in a way that actually works for your family, too. As a Beachbody coach, I have to tell you that having an accountability group, easy to access meal planning and the ability to work out wherever I am (which is usually at home….) is really essential to my proactive focus. If you can try all of this out for FREE.

If you want to try out some of the amazing workout programs offered through the Beachbody program for 30 days with no charge, and take part in an accountability group that helps you find that balance and sense of community you’ve been looking for as a busy working parent, you can try out the BEST programs like 21 Day Fix, PiYo, Hammer & Chisel and MORE from the comfort of your own house for 30 days, absolutely free of charge.

I personally lost 30 pounds last year with the 21 Day Fix and PiYo programs, in combination with the Shakeology shakes, and I can honestly say that it’s changed my life from making my health something that should be a priority to something that I can actually MAKE a priority.

I’d LOVE to have you join us to see if this is the program that can help you be more proactive about your own personal well-being this year. If you’re interested, email me at cortney@amplifyup.com, and we’ll get you set up and added to our winter accountability group.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide + Massive Giveaway!

If there’s one thing I love about the holidays, it’s finding all sorts of magical ways to make things fun for my kiddos. Calls from Santa, baking cookies, going out to see the lights, gifts from our elf….basically, anything that makes this time of year memorable and fun.

But along with the holidays comes a lot of prep work. Making sure you get the right gifts for everyone, prepping food, wrapping presents, etc. etc. etc. And because this time of year literally seems to fly by, it’s easy to get so focused on everyone and everything else, that you leave yourself by the wayside.

And while I’ve shared lots of little things in my Facebook videos this month for moms to indulge in for themselves (my stocking stuffers just arrived, by the way!), sometimes you want a little something unexpected under the tree as well. So if you haven’t taken the time to grab something fun or useful for yourself yet this year, I have some ideas for you, courtesy of a few great brands that I’m partnered up with this month!

Watch the video here:

The Cybex Priam

Quite possibly my FAVORITE STROLLER EVER is the CYBEX Priam. I didn’t anticipate loving it quite as much as I do, but it is seriously amazing. Super luxe, the seat is beautifully appointed and plush. The handlebar and stroller bar are trimmed in leather. And there’s a variety of seats to choose from for your little one.

And did I mention the color? I am OBSESSED with this gorgeous red-orange. I wasn’t sure if it would be my favorite, by looking in the photos, but it is truly lovely, and it works for either gender.

I’ve actually been tooling around with it in the snow – yes, we’ve got lots of snow up here in the frigid tundra – and it handles like a champ. Even
better? If you’re active in the winter, you can actually get SKIS for this stroller. Hello, outdoor winter activities! This is honestly the coolest invention for a stroller I’ve ever heard of!

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cybex

Now, I’m pretty obsessed with nice strollers. I’ve had others that are really nice, too. But this one….well, this one is truly worth the price, in my opinion, because you get great functionality, lots of add-on features, plus a giant heaping of style, all wrapped into one. And the timing couldn’t be better. My other fancy stroller has gotten pretty beat up over the past few years with the boys, and we needed a nice new pram for the new baby’s arrival. LOVE it!

The gb Pockit Stroller

If you’re a busy mom like me, who is constantly on the go and oftentimes not realizing that they didn’t grab the big stroller before they left the house, then you NEED one of these gb Pockit strollers. It’s super compact and great for travel, or just keeping under the seat of your vehicle for those times when you need a stroller quickly, but don’t have one handy.

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I love that it folds down to a super compact size. Folded down, it’s small enough to fit underneath an airplane seat! It maneuvers well, and is just a quick way to get in and out of a [store, airport, to the park, etc.] without a huge hassle.

eBags makes travel easy

When you’re a mom, traveling can be stressful. From making sure that you have everything you need, to staying organized, to just making sure your stuff doesn’t get lost, there are so many things to worry about on TOP of carting your kids through the airport or keeping them entertained in the car.

ebags

eBags makes all of this easier. Their packing cubes are honestly a lifesaver for travel. I actually love them now for keeping my giant diaper bag organized, too. I can keep one compartment of diapers and wipes, one for snacks, and one for travel toys handy – and then I just grab the whole container out so that I’m not constantly digging through all of the compartments of my bag trying to find what I’m looking for.

They’re super light, which makes them extra handy (because who needs to add MORE weight to their already heavy bags, amiright?). These are great for daily use for moms who are on the go and could use a little more organization, but also a fab find if you have any upcoming spring break plans, are planning to travel for the summer, or if you need some way to keep all of your car trip activities organized (and out of the way)!

I’m also digging their cloud based luggage tag, which helps you easily track lost luggage – or in my case, a potentially lost school backpack. I’ve actually hooked mine onto Ricky’s backpack so that if it gets lost at school or while we’re out and about, someone can easily get it back to us!

munki munki jammies

You already know that I’m a HUGE fan of munki munki jammies, and I am seriously digging their Disney line this holiday season. Something that I LOVE to do at this time of year is get new jammies for everyone in our house, because they’re just a fun treat (and then we all have something new to wear when we open up our presents on Christmas morning!).

munki munki jammies giveaway

munki jammies are so soft and comfy, and they’re made in a way that’s flattering to many body types. That’s such an important concept for moms who’ve gone through lots of body changes with their pregnancies/kiddos over the years! Personally, I like pajamas that fit well but aren’t too tight, that are lightweight while not being too thin, and have fun little details that get me excited about lounging in my jams at the end of the day.

Honestly, because otherwise I won’t even get out of my yoga pants for bed. #momlife

munki fits the bill for all of those things, and more. I also really love that the fabric they use is partially bamboo, which makes it antibacterial and safe to wear after surgery (or childbirth/a c-section). I’m super excited to not just wear these babies now, but pack them in my hospital bag when this baby comes!

Faux Real Shirts

Faux Real is just a fun brand that has super cute stuff for the whole family. Leggings, shirts, baby onesies…there’s so many fun pieces of clothing in their arsenal. I loved their suit-shirt for Chris, and he’ll be wearing their ugly Christmas sweater shirt this week, too – it’s ADORABLE.

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If you’re looking for something unique to gift to a friend, a co-worker, or for a fun event, they have exactly what you need!

Win all the things!

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This post was sponsored. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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