Monday, June 30, 2014

Sun Lovin' and Cancer-Free {Part II}

Last year, as my 30th birthday approached, I talked a little bit about skincare and what I was going to do to start taking it more seriously. I created the post, Sun-Lovin' and Cancer-Free {a little play on Fun-Lovin' and Fancy Free, tee hee}. The bulk of the post was about the skin cancer epidemic and what steps I was going to take to {hopefully} prevent it from happening to me.

I definitely feel I've been doing well with my skincare regimen this past year. I've been wearing SPF every day, whether that's with actual sunscreen {for pool/beach days or being active outdoors}, or just my daily moisturizer and foundation.

Between then and now, I've had another baby. And even though the bulk of my pregnancy was in the winter months, I actually managed to get some melasma on my forehead and a tad on my cheeks from it. Melasma is often called "the mask of pregnancy" because it most often appears in pregnant women. The problem is, it doesn't often go away after the pregnancy is over. The darker pigmentation of the skin tends to stick around, and can often worsen with sun exposure. I've seen some of my darker-toned friends struggle with it during and after pregnancy, while I, a fairer-toned person, managed to go two pregnancies with out it. While mine is pretty minor and not that dark, it freaks me out to think it could get any worse. Mine is mostly on the left side of my forehead {the driving side...interesting}. But now I am crazy about sun protection there. Summer is here and I've been doing a lot of walking and running outside to start losing this baby weight, as well as spending time at the pool and beach with my kids. In addition to already having my SPF 20 moisturizer, I've often been spraying SPF 50 on those areas before going outdoors, but I still worry that just being in the sun at all, even with SPF, will cause the color of the melasma to darken and become more noticeable.

So, a hat it is. I thought I would get one of those big fancy beach hats, you know, like this:

And as cute as it is, It's definitely not me.

I love Fedoras a lot, but I didn't think I'd get the coverage I really needed from it {really wanted the nose and cheeks to be protected too}. I've always been told I had a good face for a baseball cap, but couldn't find my good ol' Roxy one from many years ago. So I scoured online for a cute trucker style hat and found one I love:

Photo: #californialove Love my new beach/pool/sun kidding around with skincare anymore - sun lovin' and cancer-free!

Photo: #motheranddaughter love this #babygirl #farrahmadison

Yes, much more my style...perfect for outdoor workouts and beach/pool outings. May be getting my kids a good hat too, if they will keep it on.

I've been wearing the hat a lot while driving too, since I suspect much of the culprit was the sun from that window! {Always be aware of this and protect your left side, people. Doctors often find skin cancer in the left arm and side of the face, much more than they do in the right.} I am doing what I can with products to hopefully reverse some of the melasma that is already there...if I find something that works, I'll be sure to let you know about it - I know I'm not the only one suffering from this.

Stay protected and have a happy summer, my loves!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Organized Diaper Bag

As a mother of three young children, I am constantly on the go. Now that it's summertime, that's even more so. With an infant, I like to be prepared for anything while we are away from the house and for me, that requires a pretty darn organized diaper bag with all of the things I might need while we are out.

Here is what I keep in my diaper bag and how I keep it organized.

My diaper bag is the J.J. Cole System 180 bag and I've had it since Breckin's diaper days four years ago, but it is still available online. It comes with a portable changing mat, plenty of pockets and a detachable pacifier case.


It's worked great for me, so I was glad that I still had it in my closet when I found out I was going to have Farrah.

1. It's always a good idea to have spare clothes for an infant. Spit up happens, right? And stuff out the other end as well. I keep mine in a gallon size Ziploc bag for a few reasons. One is it keeps them protected should anything spill in/on the bag. Two is it doubles as a spare bag for soiled clothing. I label mine with her name - a good idea if you take your child to daycare.

2. A bottle and formula. My formula container is by Munchkin and is available at Target. It has 3 compartments so you can carry formula for up to 3 bottles. I just measure out the amounts for each feeding into each compartment. Simply pour into a bottle with the correct amount of water. I carry a bottle and usually if I'll fill the bottle with water at home and heat it to hot, so by the time I have to use it, it's usually the right temperature that she likes.

3. Wipes and diapers of course! I typically keep 4-6 diapers in the bag.

4. In a small Ziploc bag, I keep the changing supplies, i.e. creams, powders, ointments, lotion, etc. This way, if anything happens to pop open or leak, it's safely sealed in a plastic bag to prevent making a mess in the diaper bag. It also makes changing easy because I'm not digging in the bag looking for anything, I can just grab the Ziploc bag.

5. I recently started carrying a Tide-To-Go pen. My kids attract stains and usually I end up getting a little something on my own clothing from them.

6. Infant gas drops are a must right now. Farrah is typically pretty good, but usually has a bout of gassiness once a day where it bothers her and these really seem to help when that happens.

7. A burp rag, for obvious reasons.

8. Pacifier wipes by Munchkin. I also got these at Target. Great for wiping dropped pacifiers or toys before giving back to baby, since we all know everything goes straight into their mouth!

Other things I might carry depending upon where we are going or what season it is are sunscreen for the kids {will carry baby sunscreen when she's 6m+}, spare clothes for the older kids, a baby blanket, travel-size bathing supplies {also in a Ziploc}, healthy snacks for the kids and me, my wallet and phone if I'm not carrying a purse, and small toys for entertainment when she's a little older.

What do you keep in your diaper bag?

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What I Want Wednesday

This is going to be a different take on the typical What I Want Wednesday...while there are many things I crave that are of the materialistic variety...there are a few things I crave a little more.

1. Farrah to sleep through the night every night.
Yeah, I know, she's only just shy of 7 weeks old, so I in no way expect this to happen any time soon. She has actually had a couple long stretches of 6 or 7 hours, which do make me so happy when they happen, but I never expect it to happen often. It will be nice to get back to the days when my sleeping schedule is actually a schedule.

Photo: #sleepingbeauty #farrahmadison We've had a busy day...this #babygirl is pooped :)

2. To Lose 30+ lbs.
This 3rd pregnancy surely did me in. I hate the scale...I hate not fitting into my pre-prego clothes...I hate that all of my hard work has gone down the drain and I'm {again} starting from scratch. I want this weight GONE. I am so impatient, I realize that. But I don't think my feelings on this subject are going to ever change. Just have to keep working out and eating right - stay the course!

Photo: First #postpartum #run this morning followed by a good 10 minute visit by my old friend the #jumprope #cardio #getittight #postpartumfitness

3. My boys to get along more than they fight.
Having a newborn in the house, while a happy and wonderful time, can also be a stressful and exhausting time. Add into the mix two boisterous boys that are constantly bickering and you are ready to down a bottle of wine by the end of the day. And some nights, I do.

A rare get-along moment: Using their imaginations with some big cardboard boxes I threw out in the backyard for them.

Now of course the rest of my "wants" are materialistic in nature.

OK, rant over. xoxo

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Grilled Quinoa & Veggie Salad w/Citrus Vinaigrette

*This recipe was inspired by this recipe from The Chew.

Grilled Quinoa & Veggie Salad w/Citrus Vinaigrette


  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper
  • Lemon Juice
  • 2 Zucchini (cut in spears)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (cut in wide slices)
  • 2 pint Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tsp Mayo
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 cup Dry Quinoa (cooked to package instructions - I personally like to replace 1/2 the water with 99% fat-free chicken stock; it adds flavor.)
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. I used my Foreman grill and it worked perfectly. Brush zucchini and red pepper with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper. Grill each for 4-5 minutes per side.

Toss tomatoes in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil and a couple pinches of salt and some ground black pepper. Create a foil packet with tin foil and toss them in there, then place on the grill for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice up zucchini and red pepper into smaller pieces, then set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp lemon juice, mustard, mayo, honey, a pinch of salt, ground black pepper, and whisk in 1/4 cup Olive Oil.

Combine quinoa and all veggies in a serving dish. Pour in your citrus vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe yielded enough to provide me healthy lunches for most of the week. I made it on Sunday when I had some time to meal prep. Hope you'll try it!

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Monday, June 23, 2014


Well, I'm making some changes to the blog yet again. While you can still type in the old blogspot address and be redirected, I wanted to let you know that the official website url for my blog has changed to {That's right, I went and bought myself a .com...Rollin'! Totally kidding.} I have my reasons for the change...the main one being that I originally started Style Oyster with the hopes of it being more fashion- and style-oriented...however, it has become a lifestyle blog of sorts where I not only share fashion and style inspiration, but also tidbits about my life and family, as well as fitness and healthy eating. I'd still love to actually start doing more outfit and home decor posts, but my blogging has never been just about that, so I wanted to find a name that encompassed my life as a whole. So California To Carolina it back story is that I was living a sunny life in Huntington Beach, California, which I was suddenly plucked from when I fatefully met my true love and we moved across the country to Charleston, South Carolina and started our family. The rest of that is history.

I will note that I've changed my name across much of my social media {as I was able}. Mainly my Instagram account name has changed...but if you were already following, I don't think it will affect will just see a different name! Twitter and Pinterest remain the same...and my Facebook page name and url are currently pending changes {they may never change depending on Facebook, but I will be sure to update links if they do.} So be sure to follow accordingly. Thank you for your continued readership and support!

Design changes will be made if the site ever looks odd for any reason, please bear with me.

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A Glimpse Into Our Daily Life

I will admit that it's been hard to get into a schedule since Farrah was born. But now, she's almost 7 weeks and I've begun to find ways to fit motherhood, housekeeping and fitness all into my schedule. For those of you wondering how it's possible to manage more than one's a glimpse into my daily schedule for you.

I recently got into the habit of just staying up and being productive once Farrah has her first morning bottle. Since she's still so young, she often wakes up once in the middle of the night and then again around 5am. I now stay up after that 5am bottle because she will go back down to sleep and the boys and my husband are still sleeping as well.

Feed Farrah and put her back down to sleep. Since everyone else is also still sleeping, I'm able to clean up our downstairs living area and kitchen, get some laundry started and folded, pack baby bag and anything needed for the boys, etc. It really makes my day go a lot smoother to get things like that out of the way and start the day with a clean house because then when the kids are awake, I am able to spend more quality time with them.

Go for a run. I just started this one this morning, but plan to keep it up to help melt the baby weight off faster. Right now I run about 30 minutes. I hope to pack more miles into that 30 minutes soon as I start getting back into running shape...and also lengthen the run time. I also added a little jump roping at the end of my run this morning.

Feed Tanner and Breckin breakfast. Get Farrah fed again and changed. Have boys get dressed and ready for the day. Continue doing a few small chores as I go.

8:30AM-11:30AM {M/W/F}
Take Breckin and Farrah on a walk in our neighborhood. We usually go 2.5-3 miles before it gets too hot for them. After that, the kids will have outside play at our house - we have a trampoline and tree fort in the backyard and I've set up a sprinkler, chalk and other toys to keep them occupied. I'll feed Farrah once again, sometimes I will do this out on the front porch {with a fan on Farrah} so I can hang out with the boys while they play outside. She usually has another nap as well. {She's still very into sleeping and eating...but is starting to have more active periods, or just sits awake but content.} If I am able, I try to squeeze in a T25 or Insanity workout, but often this ends up having to wait until Jake is home to help with the kids.

8:30AM-11:30AM {T/TH}
Take Tanner to Karate camp. Breckin, Farrah and I meet some of my other mommy friends to walk the Cooper River Bridge at 9:30am. We usually walk for an hour or so, then I will usually feed Farrah while sitting on a bench watching Breckin play at the play park under the bridge. After she's done eating, we drive home.

Make and serve lunch.

We usually do a daily activity such as pool, play park or just playing outside. Farrah of course gets fed again sometime during this time.

Farrah and me at the play park the other day
We leave to pick Tanner up from Karate camp {T/TH} and I'll run any errands needed as well {groceries, etc.} I start preparing dinner. Jake gets home around 5:00pm normally, unless he's picking up extra hours or playing volleyball at the Windjammer after work {he does that on Tues eves right now - sometimes we'll go out there and hang out with him so the boys can have some beach time.}We eat dinner and Farrah also has another bottle.

This is when I typically make sure the kids get bathed, into their PJs and teeth brushed. I will then put a movie on some evenings for them and before they go to sleep, we read a nighttime story. Tanner is entering 3rd grade, so I like to have him read a book to us too.

Jake and I relax and watch our favorite shows - currently Orange Is The New Black, Game of Thrones {borrowing the series from a friend}, and a few other things. We feed Farrah her bedtime bottle and then go to bed.

And that's how it's done...for now. Seasons change, school will start again and Farrah will begin to be more active in the coming everything will change accordingly. It's not very glamorous, but it's my life. :-)

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Five on Friday

It has been A WHILE since I've participated in 5 on Friday with A. Liz Adventures, Carolina Charm, Hello! Happiness and The Good Life Blog. It's been a whirlwind few weeks around here with the birth of Farrah Madison and then our very unfortunate {or fortunate, depending on how you look at it} car accident last week. I know I haven't been posting as much, but I will be back in the swing of it soon...we are beginning to get on a schedule of sorts it may become easier to work in blog time.

Anyway, with all of that said, I did have a pretty great week this week and I think I'll get on with my Five on Friday!


I took two bridge strolls this week with three other recently postpartum mommies. We found each other in a mommy group on Facebook and decided to meet up! I haven't walked the Cooper River Bridge since earlier on in my pregnancy, so it was nice to be back. It is also quite the workout pushing Breckin and Farrah in my Sit n' Stand stroller up the incline! {I have a large double jogger, but felt it would be a little too wide for the bridge with everyone having to go around me.} Good news is, I'm pretty certain my butt and thighs will get back in shape in no time if I keep up this routine! We are going Tuesday and Thursday mornings and I love having other moms to stroll with. All in all, we do about 3.5 miles each time we go.


Last night my friend, Suz, and I went to see Florida Georgia Line and Nelly in concert. It. Was. Awesome. We were pretty close to the stage...I love FGL soooooo much. It was my first big night out postpartum and it was a good one. Tyler Hubbard is definitely on my hall pass list.


I'm five weeks postpartum today and I definitely feel a lot better. Can't quite get the old jeans on yet, but I know with some hard work and determination, I'll get there soon enough. I am starting T25 on Monday. So with that in addition to the bridge strolls and neighborhood walks, I should start seeing some results soon! Ready to feel like myself again!

After T25, I will begin Insanity again. It worked after Breckin! Here is a little timeline of my progress. I didn't take pictures week 3 and here are 1, 2 and 5 {today}.


We're finally going to brave a family beach day this Sunday {Father's Day}. I've taken them out to the Windjammer on Isle of Palms already just for a couple of hours while Jake plays beach volleyball, but we haven't had an official tote-everything-we-own-and-set-up-camp-in-the-sand full on beach day. I told Jake I wouldn't be able to do it alone with the boys and the I need him to not be playing volleyball and just hang with us. Can't wait because I really miss having fun in the sand and waves with the kids. Here is a throwback to one of our first family beach outings when Breckin was a baby:


And of course, I can't get away without posting an update on little miss Farrah Madison. She is eating well and sleeping better...we are going anywhere from 3-5 hrs between feedings at night. She is such a mellow baby {unless she's hungry!} I can't wait for her to start smiling and cooing on her own...I swear sometimes when she looks at me and gives a little smile that it's a real one and not the gas-induced kind...I can just see it in her eyes. I love the way your babies look at you are their whole world. It's heart-melting.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Moment Before Impact

You know those last few moments you have before something really bad is about to happen...where it seems like time freezes and so much races through your thoughts at once? Sometimes life, certain images or people flash before your eyes as you brace for the impact of a possibly life-changing or life-taking event. This happened to me on Wednesday night.

It was of course a rather normal day. Around 20 min to 5pm, I got Breckin, Farrah and I in the car and ready to go pick up Tanner from his after school care. After just a few minutes on the busy two-lane highway by our house, I saw a Jeep Liberty driving in the opposite lane coming toward me start to gradually glide over into my lane...I remember thinking "Oh my God, she's not correcting herself..." and all of a sudden, she strikes the truck traveling in front of me (I was about four or five car lengths behind him). This hit sent her sliding down my lane on only her two driver-side tires headed straight for me. I braked so hard and remember knowing at that point there was nothing I could do to avoid the wreck. She was coming at me and it was all happening so fast and I didn't have enough distance to stop since she was closing in and I of course couldn't swerve into the oncoming traffic lane. I remember my thoughts during the last seconds before our impact: "This is it, I'm going to die, or be permanently injured at best. Please God, protect my children."

Next was a loud BOOM and an instant deploy of my airbag.

What I heard next was both chilling and relieving at the same time. Both Breckin and Farrah began crying. I was out of that car within 5 seconds of it stopping. I had so much adrenalin that I didn't even know if I was hurt or not...and I just didn't care. I was alive and able to move...that was all I needed. I swung Breckin's door open and quickly unbuckled his carseat and set him on the ground as I went to get Farrah from her carseat. I was acting so hastily because of course I wanted to see them and hold them and inspect them up and down for injuries...but also in the back of my mind was the worry that maybe the engine would catch fire...I just HAD to get them out and away from that vehicle. I couldn't reach Farrah over Breckin's carseat, so I went to the other side and as I did, the woman responsible for the wreck was next to me in her vehicle trying to get out. She had blood streaming down her face...her windshield had broken in on her. I remember her saying to me, "Please help me, my foot is stuck..." and she seemed so disoriented. But my mind was on Farrah and getting her out...and I quickly said "I'm so sorry, I have to get my baby." Almost immediately, the two businesses across the street had people out helping us and directing traffic. I am so thankful to them. I couldn't open Farrah's door all of the way and I remember asking the men that had come to our aid to please help me get my baby out of the vehicle. I was frantic.

They took Breckin to one of the offices so he could be in air conditioning and have a drink of water and some candy (anything to make him feel better) as I tended to Farrah...who despite everything was sleeping peacefully in my arms (which of course had me worrying that maybe her head had been shaken and she wasn't very responsive). Four-week-olds can't really tell you if anything is wrong. I just held her and kissed her over and over and repeated "It's's's OK..." We called my husband and gave him the news that as far as we could see, we were all OK and that he needed to go get Tanner for me and get to the wreck site as soon as possible (which would be a daunting task since we just held up traffic at a quarter to 5pm.)

My husband eventually arrived. The guy in the truck that had been struck (also OK) and I both gave our accounts of what happened to the police. The EMS came and checked out my children and were confident they were fine - not so much as a scratch on either of them (thank the Lord). I had some bruising and burns from the air bag, but I was thankful it was just that.

I've been in car accidents before...but this was by far the scariest. I have never been in a wreck with my children. It's amazing the thoughts that go through your only worry being that they be protected. I thought I was a goner, so I wasn't wasting my prayers on me.

Here are some pictures from the accident. Ours is the red Jeep. You will see why I think it's a miracle all parties pretty much walked away without serious injuries. The woman driving the Jeep was taken to the hospital for her cuts, but she is ultimately fine.

We actually decided to go ahead and get a new car knowing that insurance was going to call this a total loss. You'll never believe the first thing that came up in my search under SUVs in my price range:

Haha, yep. A year newer, the nicer model and 50K less miles. After that wreck, I feel confident driving this. My cargo is too precious.

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