Fighting an Addiction

Anyone who spends time with me knows that I am addicted to sugar. Checkout this post from my birthday, when I was showered with lots of goodies. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I am addicted to junk food. On any given day, I consume a Venti Peppermint Hot Chocolate and chocolate croissant from Starbucks, cookies and chips with lunch and for an afternoon snack, and plenty of ice-cream after dinner. The other night I ate a whole container of Ben & Jerry’s Cookies and Milk ice-cream and felt so disgusted with myself, I decided to go sugar-free and see what happened.

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Here’s something about me: I’m game for anything. I signed up for a marathon on a whim. I like traveling and exploring new things. I enjoy supporting friends in their creative pursuits. I don’t mind eating out or having a drink by myself. I spent the night, away from my tour group, with the Maasai tribe in Kenya. They offered me a cup of cow blood to drink and I said no. You gotta draw the line somewhere!

I’ve read research indicating that one of the best things you can do for your health is to refrain from eating sugar. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

Today is day 8 of going sugar-free. I can’t say I feel any healthier, but it is nice to think of weekend plans that don’t revolve around dessert. I will say that so much of my diet is allocated to sugar and fat, that the first couple days I was practically starving. Entrees alone weren’t cutting it because I usually added dessert to every meal, resulting in me feeling faint by the end of the day. I’ve had to eat a lot of heavier items, like pasta and fried rice. I told myself I’d give it a go for a week and see what happens. At this point, I can go for another week.

Even though I am not trying to aggressively lose weight, I’ve lost 2 pounds in the past week. I gained 35 pounds with my pregnancy and figured if it took me 9 months to pack it on, I could give myself 9 months to lose it. It’s been 15 weeks since I gave birth and I now have 8 pounds left to go.

Going sugar-free for life is not an option for me. I love ice-cream too much. But curious how long I’ll stay down this path. Anyone want to tempt me with alfajores or red velvet cheesecake?

Would love to hear from anyone who has tried going sugar-free or who limits their sugar intake in the comments.

I Was Not Born to Be a Mom

I don’t identify with the cliche “I was born to be a mom.” I thought once I’d given birth, I would feel differently, but I don’t. I was born to work: read, research, analyze, communicate, report, present, troubleshoot, manage, consult.

I’ll be the first to admit that the first 3 months of mothering have been tough. Clearly being a mother is extremely rewarding, but spending every hour of every day trying to figure out how to soothe your crying baby (with very limited help from family or sitters or nannies) was excruciating.

It’s worth noting that one time when we hired a night nanny, Franco cried the whole time, even though the night nanny said she had a solid record of babies never crying around her. After that, Dean and I agreed we would no longer hire help with the exception of the full-time nanny who is caring for Franco now that I’m back at work. The point is that even so-called baby whisperers don’t always have the answers. Sometimes it really is mom and dad who know best.

And what’s best for this mommy is working full-time.

A lot of women told me to take as much time off work as possible. I took 13 weeks off post-partum. In retrospect, I should have returned to the office sooner. I prefer the adult interaction. I am energized by being productive career-wise. I thrive on the consistent schedule—even if it means less sleep. Plus I feel lost without the paper version of the Wall Street Journal!

I feel, obviously, like an outlier as I have never heard anyone say, “I was not born to be a mom.” Or “I was born to be a worker!” It’s scary to admit that I would rather spend the majority of my day in the office rather than with my child, but it’s also liberating. I’m sure there must be other mothers out there who feel the way I do. Isn’t that all we want? To hear from others who can relate to our own experiences? Wouldn’t it have been helpful for our beloved San Francisco comedian Robin Williams to know that many of us struggle from depression or whatever demons that we have, and that no one should feel alone in this zig-zagged journey of life?

There’s no shame in being/feeling different as there is much to learn from our collective and diverse stories.

Just because I wasn’t born to be a mom, doesn’t mean I won’t be a good mother. I have no doubt I will be, mainly because I myself was raised by a great mother. But also because I’m doing what I need to do to be my best self.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Here are some things I’ve been obsessing over lately.

harmless harvestHarmless Harvest 100% raw coconut water. It’s so refreshing and tasty. Omigoodness, I can guzzle this stuff like it’s going out of style. It must come straight from the fountain of youth. It’s expensive, but worth it. I get it delivered from Amazon Fresh. $2.09 for 8 ounces. You can also find it at Whole Paycheck. I mean, Whole Foods. Must try.

game of thrones seriesAren’t we all sad that Game of Thrones Season 4 has come to an end? I figured since I was an English major and not a Film major, I might as well dig into the books. I bought the whole series (5 books) and I’m currently making my way through book 1. It’s a great way to multi-task while breastfeeding! I should clarify that I bought hard copies of the books. I still haven’t made the switch to e-reading. I just can’t do it.

dr. bronner's soapIf you haven’t tried Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, you have to check it out. It makes your skin tingle! When was the last time your skin tingled? The first time Dean used it, he said he felt like he was in a spa. You gotta be careful with your private parts, though. It’s less tingle and more pants on fire. Also, there’s all this random text on the label. It’s kinda like looking at the wrapping around your In-n-Out burger to see what bible verse you got.

If I were rich, I would get a thai massage every day. I got one today. It was like the best workout ever, especially since I haven’t exercised in…shit…almost a year? For those of you who are in the Bay Area, I went to Balance Thai Massage in the Mission. All their services are 20% for their grand opening, plus I bought their Yelp Deal. All in all, I paid $45 for a 60-minute combination thai massage. I got stretched and prodded. It hurts so good!

hotel tonightHere’s an app where I spend several minutes every day dreaming about a staycation. Hotel Tonight. Have you tried it? Every morning at 9am, hotels release rooms at discounted rates. I could stare at pictures of swimming pools and spas all day long. MAMA NEEDS A VACAY!

What have you been obsessing over lately?

BlogHer 2014 Recap: 8 Things I Learned from the Conference

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 10.23.00 PMI was so excited to be able to attend the BlogHer 2014 Conference this year. It did not disappoint. I really enjoyed it and looking forward to attending more BlogHer conferences in the future. In this recap, I’ll start with the superficial and make my way to the key insights at the end.

1. Khloe Kardashian, to my surprise, was really pretty in person. She made an appearance at the Hairfinity expo booth Saturday afternoon and I was blown away by her beauty. Also, I’m not one who usually pays attention to these things, but she was wearing a low-cut top and her boobs looked amazing.

khloe kardashian

2. Since she’s supposed to be a modern-day fashion icon, Kerry Washington was really underwhelming when she came out on stage, especially since she purports to be a student of fashion. She looked like she threw on clothes from the Gap sales rack. Whenever I see her in magazines, she always looks perfect which was why I was so shocked by how average she looked in person. That said, she’s clearly a smart cookie and deeply involved and passionate about politics. I was impressed by how articulate she was.

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3. I love Guy Kawasaki even more than I did before. He was so gracious and asked to take pictures of us, just as we were asking to take pictures of him!

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4. Arianna Huffington was a really engaging keynote speaker. She was funny and charming and witty. Everything she said could go into a book of memorable quotes. One of my favorites was that we all need to “stop glamorizing being busy.”

arianna huffington

5. Apparently affiliate links are supplanting the sponsored post and making a comeback when it comes to monetization. I don’t necessarily agree, but affiliate marketing was something that was being touted throughout the conference.

6. Walking around the expo hall filled with all these sponsored booths made me realize once again the power every blogger has to cash in. It’s insane. I must’ve walked away with hundreds of dollars worth of swag. Everyone thinks these brands are simply looking for high page ranks and lots of traffic, but that can’t be true because those blogs are easy to find. They’re coming to large conferences so that they can talk to bloggers of all sizes. I felt like I was a school counselor, telling bloggers that I met throughout the conference that, yes they can monetize!

Major props to McDonald’s for throwing one bad-ass closing party with Run DMC.

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7. Even though there’s money to be had, you don’t have to make money blogging. One panelist kept insisting, it’s ok if blogging is a hobby! That got me thinking about when I started blogging back in 2005 and never did I expect to make money doing it. I did it because I wanted to write. Plain and simple. There’s so much pressure on bloggers these days to make money, but if you’re not passionate about it, then stop doing it. The same panelist made an analogy to being a marathoner. Marathoners run because they love how it makes them feel; they like being healthy. They’re not necessarily thinking about how to get sponsorship. That’s so true. Once again, it boils down to doing what you love whether or not you’re getting paid for it.

8. You don’t have to spend the time and money to go to a conference to glean these insights. Everything I learned at the conference will be recapped over and over by thousands of bloggers who attended. Feel free to read those recaps. But really it’s all about being authentic and developing your little piece of the interweb so that people want to come to you, so that brands are attracted to you. And yes, there’s a lot of networking going on, but you can just as easily find more blogs to follow and seek out the sponsors who were at the conference. It’s not rocket science.

Lastly, I have to admit that it was really difficult attending the conference as a new mom. I’ve wanted to go to a BlogHer conference for quite some time and figured I’d take the plunge since it was local (San Jose, California) this year. I am deeply grateful to BlogHer for providing complementary babysitting through Wondersitters during all hours of the conference, to Lansinoh for hosting a lactation lounge, and to a kind soul at the BlogHer registration desk who printed out a badge for Dean, allowing him to accompany me along with Baby Franco to the closing party. I can’t have fun unless I’m with my babies!

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Heading to the BlogHer 2014 Conference

bh_14_10_It’s been crazy adjusting to life as a new mom. Some days are really rough, then other days Franco will give us a break and be mellow. I guess he’s moody just like his mommy! I’ve been working on getting him acquainted with the nanny who will be caring for him when I return to work soon. Yesterday we tried a full day and I started bawling when the nanny came to pick him up in the morning. I loaded Franco into his carseat and he looked at me with his big black eyes asking, “Why are you putting me in this thing so early in the morning?” I have been popping Advil the past couple days, the stress of it all has taken its toll.

I’m going to the BlogHer 2014 Conference at the San Jose convention center this afternoon, taking Franco with me. Try packing for a 3-day conference for yourself plus your newborn plus your hospital-grade breast pump and all its accessories and bottles. Dean will be meeting us tonight, flying in from his work trip to LA.

This is the 10th anniversary of the conference and my first time. I figure since it’s local, I had to go. Also, the BlogHer advertising network is one of the primary ways I make money on my blog. Gotta represent! This is the biggest of all the blog conferences. I wish I knew how many people attend. I’ll have to get that stat. I’m looking forward to seeing Kerry Washington, Arianna Huffington, Kara Swisher and Guy Kawasaki! Woot-woot!

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