Dear Carter

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I’ve contemplated when and how to bring this up on here but now almost a month in to motherhood it finally seems appropriate to document my journey to motherhood. Now that the initiation phase is over (I think.)

It all started back in March when Chris and I found out we were expecting. To be honest I think we had both already expected that we would never be parents. After 7 years together we figured if we were meant to be parents it would have happened already. But boy were we pleasantly surprised- over the moon actually.

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I honestly think I was reluctant to shout it out to the universe because I had waited so long- and not to mention a guilt of sorts of being blessed while several other women I know personally have struggled. I didn’t know if I was struggling to have a kid (medically speaking anyways) but I did know that look of “but you don’t have kids?” and the awkward sense of being judged when the subject comes up and not being a part of the kids club.  Kind of contradictory to the previous statement of accepting that there was a possibility of not having kids I know. At the end of the day I still had Olivia and she has been the daughter I always dreamed of- fur realz.

Let’s fast forward through the Spring/ Summer of 2018. This is a fashion blog so we’ll start there (forewarned this most likely will become a baby/ baby fashion in addition to but more on that later.) I actually only bought two maternity dresses- one for my gender reveal and the other for my baby shower. I don’t like form fitting dresses and A-line and flowy dresses were the solution to my ever growing baby bump. I used to think it would be dreadful to be pregnant in the Summer but it actually turned out to be the ideal situation. The end of my pregnancy turned out to be the biggest struggle. Feet were so swollen only my Chloe ballet flats fit. I was terrified I would never fit into my shoe collection again. I thought I’d have to say goodbye to my Louboutins. Pants were not an option. Jumpsuits were the answer to a So. Cal chilly day.

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But enough fashion talk let’s get back to the star of this story- my precious baby Carter. First and foremost his name. If you have known me since I was about 9 years old- or entered my life at any point since then you know I’m a HUGE Backstreet Boy fan. I used to joke with my old boss that it’s in my unwritten contract that whenever the Backstreet Boys are in town I automatically get those days off. Since the names Nick, Alex, and Kevin were already taken (I know too many Brians and Howie was out of the question) I opted to go with the next best option, and the ideal one I concluded in the end- Carter would be the winner. I love Aaron too despite popular public opinion. I’ve met him a few times and to be honest he’s one of the nicest most humble celebrities I’ve ever met. Carter was almost Connor but that would have been after a UFC fighter per my boyfriends request and I would not be naming my kid after someone who fights.

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My pregnancy for the most part was easy. I was very blessed and fortunate for this. First trimester was full of nausea that lasted all day which made Disney trips and work a challenge. I never thought I’d want to be sick after riding the Jungle Cruise but man that boat is rocky. Second trimester was a dream considering it was in the middle of Summer and included a work trip to Vegas. The most random symptom I got during this trimester was nose bleeds. But my Dr. said this was because of being in dry weather and likely the elevation of flying. Third trimester was not awful but not ideal either. When you commute an average of an hour and breathing conditions are impacted by fires you feel like the forces of the universe are working against you. Not to mention the fact that the Holidays were upon me so I made every attempt to prepare before Carter’s arrival. No joke I was putting Christmas lights up the day before I went into Labor.

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Sunday, November 25th at about 4 in the morning I started having contractions. I thought it was just my iron pill (required for my anemia that developed) doing me dirty and I was about to vow to never take an iron pill again. Early morning after the pains started getting sharper and closer together I realized it wasn’t my iron pill. I was having contractions. I called the hospital and they said that they were still too far apart to be admitted. Around 3 PM they were between 5 and 10 minutes apart. Chris meanwhile was stating that we couldn’t do anything because we had a turkey in the oven. Fast forward to about 5:30 PM when contractions were now officially 5 minutes apart consistently. I lost my mucus plug and was in so much pain walking became a challenge. At this point I wanted to go to the hospital but Chris made me wait because it was the mid season finale of “The Walking Dead.” Finally 7 PM, the Walking Dead was over and I made the executive decision to go to the hospital. This decision would not be made without a struggle either. A week before we bought a new car- a 4 door as opposed to our Coupe so we could comfortably drive Carter from the hospital and around in general after his arrival. Well wouldn’t ya know the second we pulled into the neighborhood the breaks on the car started to grind. We thought the breaks were faulty so we couldn’t drive it to the hospital. Turns out it was just a palm tree seed that dropped and somehow lodged itself into the break area of the car. Shout out to STG of Montclair for towing us back to their dealership after we got home from the hospital to figure this out without a fee. Now that’s good customer service!

Alas, we got to the hospital around 9. At this point a wheelchair was absolutely necessary. I was admitted and 2 CM dilated. But the hospital wanted to wait to see if I was dilating even further to officially admit me. About an hour or two and lots of pain and tears later I was officially 4 CM dilated and the hospital was finally ready to acknowledge I was in active labor. My water had broke at this point and I told Chris I was going to die if I didn’t get pain meds. I swear the epidural lady went on a holiday vacation to Aruba or something and the only thing they were willing to offer me was Fentanyl- the pain medicine that killed my mom. Well, I’m allergic to Vicodin, makes me have seizures so the options for pain management was limited. I told the nurse my reasoning for not wanting the Fentanyl and she said “so you don’t want it?” Desperate times call for desperate measures so I reluctantly obliged to take their recommendation. Didn’t help anyways.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity I got the epidural. Thank GOD! After that labor was a breeze. I joke now that I can push all day long and twice on Sunday. Around 3 in the morning the nurses told me I could expect Carter before noon, and sure enough at 11:33 AM arriving at 6 llbs and 4 ounces and 20 inches long- Carter Joseph Gonzales made his debut. It was love at first sight. I wanted nothing more than to hold my precious baby right away but there was still the matter of delivering the placenta and getting sewn up. Plus, Carter was born with meconium. Basically he pooped before I delivered and he ingested it causing breathing problems. The NICU team was on standby in the delivery room. As I was getting sewn up I watched them work diligently to stabilize him. After what felt like forever I finally got to hold my baby. Carter is strong willed just like me and his Dad. And no joke before he was even an hour old he was trying to lift his head up.

The entire staff at the Kaiser Hospital in Riverside was beyond incredible. They took such gentle care of Carter and made sure we were well informed before we left. I’m not gonna lie that past few weeks have been full of happiness and lots of sleepless nights. I don’t think I’ve ever paid as close attention to someone’s breathing patterns. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world and I can’t wait to watch him grow up and start making memories that make him look back and say his childhood was magical.

Carter- you are the perfect angel I waited my whole life for and I promise to love you unconditionally for eternity. Let’s start this grand adventure called life and make every minute count. X0X0X0- Mommy.

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I had been on the fence about doing a maternity shoot and then a newborn shoot but then I discovered a photographer who would do both- Kayleigh Ashworth.  Not only is she one of the sweetest souls ever but she has an artistic vision that captures the beauty of pregnancy and the vulnerable innocence of a newborn. I never thought I could be moved to the point of tears by photographs but that’s exactly what her work did. I will forever cherish the images she captured of the most magical part of my life. 

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Fashion With A Theme

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Umbrella: Amazon Shoes: French Connection Bag: Skinny Dip London Overalls: H&M Shirt: Lazy Oaf

It’s no secret I love magical destinations to shoot beyond the typical garage door shoots (which I get it, I’ve been there and done that!) But sometimes a destination just absolutely inspires a look. Don’t get me wrong, like every other fashion girl I’m over the moon about Spring. Not only do we have longer days (thank goodness, more time to shoot!) but we have bright colors and fun floral patterns galore to look forward too!

Right now I’m seriously digging bold colors in heavy fabrics. It’s slightly deviating away from the traditional color palette of Spring but it’s a perfect compliment for St. Patrick’s Day! And wouldn’t you know I found the equivalent of the bloggers pot of gold over the rainbow when I stumbled (more like directed by a co-worker) across this quaint little ally way in Downtown Redlands. It’s called Orange Alley but feels like you stepped into the streets of Italy. Me and my best friend tried the quaint little restaurant Copehouse Bar and Bistro. The food was divine but the ambiance was beyond anything I could have ever hoped to find. While enjoying a beautiful, cloudless and warm Spring afternoon, Michael Buble and Lady Gaga’s duet’s with Tony Bennet hummed softly in the background.

Dear Fellow Fashion Bloggers, if you’re looking for a fun backdrop to compliment your bold Spring pieces, look no further than Orange Ally and this beautiful art instillation of Umbrella Canopies. I’ve had the luxury of connecting with some fabulous ladies of the blogging community of the Inland Empire (today’s adventure brought to you by Patricia of the BlueLillypad.com)  and we’ve been sharing styling tips since pretty much the minute we’ve met. I’ve been given compliments for my daring use of color and I appreciate it so much! For those of you wanting to experiment with bold hues if you want to take baby steps, pair your daring saturated hues with something your familiar with- whether it’s muted metals or denim like I did in this look. Life is too short not to have fun with fashion, right?

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When Fashion, Art and The Desert Collide

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Dress: Owl Fish Purse: Coach Hat: H&M Sunnies: Ray Ban

Today’s fashion adventure took me to the desert oasis otherwise known as Palm Springs. Literally just a hop skip and a jump away from me it was so refreshing to be able to dress for the strength of the desert sun rays instead of the cold less than 60 degree weather that has consumed So Cal for the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, the cold was a nice change of scenery for the first month or so but this So Cal girl missed the days of sunshine and summer dresses!

The thing I love about Palm Spring is it is such a laid back environment- but style never seems to be sacrificed. There is not only fashion enthusiasts everywhere you look but fashion and art are around literally every corner! The spring art instillation of Desert X is no exception. A little advice to anyone taking a day trip to experience the exhibitions- you literally need a whole day! Stop first at the ACE Hotel and pick up your map, and plan your trip accordingly. The only stop I didn’t get to see was Claudia Comte’s exhibit but fortunately the instillations will be hanging out for a few more weeks. The destinations I did get to visit were Phillip K Smith’s “Circle of Land and Sky” and Doug Aitken’s “Mirage.”Some people have described these installations as a treasure hunt for adults, and it’s sooo true! Each instillation uses the mesmerizing landscape of the desert and inspires each admirer to become immersed in it. Truly an amazing, once in a  lifetime experience. I put serious thought before venturing out on what shoes would work as I know walking in the sand in heels is not an ideal situation- plus I didn’t know how much of a hike I was looking at. Flats and sandals work fine- or in my case my favorite Steve Madden gladiators. And alas, anticipating a slight gust of wind I had to wear something that I knew would pick it up and add drama to my shoot. Mission accomplished.

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Doug Aitken’s “Mirage” is quite literally a fun house with an art deco edge and breathtaking scenery. 

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At Phillip K Smith’s “The Circle of Land and Sky.”

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So Pretty Much My Life is Over Because I Just Finished Reading the Greatest Book Ever Written

So Pretty Much My Life is Over Because I Just Finished Reading the Greatest Book Ever Written

Roughly a month ago I ventured down the best sellers aisle at my favorite book store looking for something new to read. I had just finished reading the last book in the Sweet Valley High series (which is equally an amazing page turner) and I was looking for something particularly to make me laugh.

Then the large pink font caught my attention. Naturally I turned to the back of the book to read the synopsis.

“Babe Walker, center of the universe, is a painstakingly manicured white girl with an expensive smoothie habit, a proclivity for Louboutins, a mysterious mother she’s never met, and approximately 50 bajillion Twitter followers. But her ‘problems’ have landed her in shopping rehab-that’s what happens when you spend $246,893.50 in one afternoon at Barneys.”

Key words and phrases that caught my attention, “Louboutins” and a “spending problem.” This very well could be my life story!

Except I didn’t grow up a billionaire who had the luxury of renting the animatronic dinosaurs from Jurassic Park for a dino themed birthday party (I rather enjoyed my Barbie themed birthday parties so that’s ok.) She elaborates on the split personality that sometimes devours a perfectly good girl when they fall head over heels for a guy. Girls you know how it goes, one minute you are a perfectly sane well balanced functioning member of society, the next minute you are a crazed psychopath spewing nonsense and acting like a deranged mental person. It happens to the best of us. I guess that’s why they call it crazy in love.

Throughout the book I found myself wondering. Who is this person? And if I were super rich would we be best friends? Probably not, because 1 diva plus 2 divas us too many divas. But from one self proclaimed shopaholic, to another with a problem waaaaay worse then mine and therefore immediately making me feel better about my shopping problem, I applaud you and respect you. I guess if you’re going to have an epiphome about your problem the designer flooded floor of a Barneys fitting room is the way to go.

And getting to rehab only to be scolded for your “white girl problems?” OMG! That happened to me when I was hospitalized for almost a month! Believe it or not you can be pretty and have issues it happens, but thank you hospital staff for proclaiming me as the “Britney Spears” of the hospital wing!

I laughed, I cried from laughing so hard (like the time she fell in love with a guy only to find out it was a girl, these days in LA it really could happen to anyone.) But more importantly she helped me hone in on my own voice. Sometimes, ya just gotta say screw grammatical properness and unleash your inner valley girl. If you’re looking for an entertaining way to spend your hours by the beach or the pool, I highly recommend this book.

Cheers on an amazing memoir, Babe Walker!

To All The Fashionistas Who Started Off As Princess’

There has to be something to be said about the fashionistas such as myself who were privileged enough at a young ago to express themselves through fashion. Some days I felt like Punky Brewster and fought to the death about matching my socks (who fit in when I was born to stand out.) Most days I felt like a Princess (blame my Grandma who till this day still says I’m her little Princess.) This attire was very similar to Sophia Grace, minus the tiara. Apparently schools have rules against these things smh.

Every year from kindergarten until I graduated high school, on the first day of school I wore a dress. In grade school it had to pass the twirl test, which meant that if I twirled I could get a good rise out of it. As I got older, my dresses started to resemble more of a Taylor Swift look. Later on I would look to her to accentuate this look with cow girl boots. Thanks T. Swift!

Sometimes, even till this day my boyfriend will tell me I look ridiculous for wearing a rather extravagant dress to a less than mediocre event, but hey like Sophia Grace and Rosie, sometimes you just gotta unleash your inner princess and just “grab your tutu!”

I still have shoes that look just like this. Once a princess always a princess!

I still have shoes that look just like this. Once a princess always a princess!

Top Shop! I Finally Made It!

Top Shop! I Finally Made It!

So after a month or so of the store officially being open, I finally ventured out to experience the 2 story greatness.

Located at the Grove in LA, Top Shop is everything I could have hoped and dreamed it would be. When you walk in, the sight of all the clothes, styles and trend stories literally is enough to take ones breath away. I’d be lying if I said I did not squeal for joy. The first thing I saw, was this uber cute, very structured floral lantern bandeau dress. (Lately I’ve had a thing for structured pieces.) I was afraid of price points but considering the design that was put into the majority of the pieces, I’d say they were pretty reasonable with a few notable exceptions. The exceptions to these price points? $20 for a basic cropped tee? No thanks. And most of the pieces were made of polyester, but again they have notable accents in design, and embellishments so people such as myself who have reservations about investing into polyester experience no buyers remorse.

I fell head over heels in LOVE for their screen print skirts!  This one had two slits on each side of the skirt making it easier to walk in.

I fell head over heels in LOVE for their screen print skirts! This one had two slits on each side of the skirt making it easier to walk in.

I was only half way through the first floor of the store when I realized I had a pile that was already growing bigger then me. I thought I was in trouble but then my friend pointed out they have a PETIT section! Let it be known this is perhaps one of my favorite things about Top Shop! There is something for all body types and the thing that always lacks from Forever 21, and H&M. Then one of the friendly associates started a fitting room for me in the personal shoppers side of the store. This aspect of the store reminded me of Nordtstroms for some reason. The idea to enhance the customer service experience is there, but the execution falls somewhat short. I was put in a beautiful fitting room, offered water etc. But the service kind of stopped there. I was not given alternative suggestions, offered a variance of sizes etc. Perhaps it was because I brought one of those brutally honest friends who told me when one piece was simply not working. Friends like that are rare but appreciated.

Unfortunately this piece was not available in petit, and I looked like I was drowning in the fabric. But with a few alterations and this would be amazing!

Unfortunately this piece was not available in petit, and I looked like I was drowning in the fabric. But with a few alterations and this would be amazing!

I ended up walking away with a super cute black and white striped mini dress and a very retro floral print, black and white skirt. Only $140 spent! Not too bad! I probably could have done a lot more damage if I was not focused on expanding my work wardrobe.

I loved the structure of the sleeves in this piece!

I loved the structure of the sleeves in this piece!