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Along Abbey Road | A Lifestyle And Family Blog : September 2015


This Made Me Laugh

This Made Me Laugh
There are three things in life that will always make me laugh hysterically:

1. Babies laughing uncontrollably
2. Seinfeld
3. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake

Hands down, without fail, you can guarantee I will be splitting my sides with any of those. And maybe I will be almost as cute as Beyonce while doing it and be all, "I woke up like this." And maybe, "I sneezed on the beat and the beat got sicker." (A girl can dream, right?)

I can't believe it took me this long to see this most recent segment with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake on The Tonight Show. (Please read here and here for all of my Justin Timberlake fangirling. Hashtag ILOVEYOUJT! Hashtag LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!) And as expected, I watched it six times in a row and laughed harder each time. What makes it even better is that the song they feature in it, "Open Your Eyes" by Snow Patrol, will forever make me think of Ryan Reynolds in Just Friends. That dude is hilarious (and fooiiine). He needs added to the list. Okay, we're adding him to the list.


1. Babies laughing uncontrollably
2. Seinfeld
3. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake
4. Ryan Reynolds

Guys, I just got lost down the Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively rabbit hole while looking for a picture of their baby. For the last 15 minutes I was literally just clicking through pictures of them, and then ended up scrolling through her Instagram. She is funny and silly too! She's included in the Ryan Reynolds bundle.

Alright, enough already. Let's get to the point! It's time for all of us to watch the Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake "Looks" segment below, and then freak out laughing even more at the end! Deal? Okay, ready, set, go!

Top image source from Cosmopolitan

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How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne

How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne
I never thought I'd be dealing with acne at age 27. I was under the false impression that acne was merely for teenagers in the oily throes of puberty. Funny enough, I didn't have acne at all as a teenager. I'd get the occasional pimple, but I really did have great skin. That's definitely not the case anymore.

My jawline is beginning to look like the moon—the bloodmoon in fact. (Did you see it last night?! Magnificent! Zany! Astronomical!) It's always inflamed, blotchy, and there are always at least four large and red pimples. Not fun, my friends. At. All.

How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne

(LUSH is my happy place! Bath bombs for life. Also, this graphic made me smile while I was in there the other day.)

I realized it was for sure hormonal acne a few months ago after observing my breakout zones and the timing. My breakouts get worse when I am ovulating and right before my period. And they are always on my jaw, lower cheeks and chin! HORMONES. And stomach issues.

This is not a good thing. Clearly. I have hypothyroidism, so there's that to factor in with wonky hormonal imbalances. I am also a mother of young kids, and I SWEAR my body is still adjusting to the hormone shifts of bearing children. However, I've arrived to the conclusion that a lot of it relates to what is going on inside my body. Specifically my stomach and digestive system.

I've been diagnosed with every bowel disease out there—IBS, Celiac's, ulcers... I'm waiting for the day the gastroenterologist tells me I have colitis or Crohn's disease. Each year I get tested and then the results change, and I am re-diagnosed with a new gastrointestinal issue. It's frustrating, and I am starting to see its unfortunate effects on my face. When the gut's not happy, ain't nobody happy!

And now here is a no filter iPhone photo of my bare, sweaty face after I scrubbed the floor so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. Even here it doesn't look as bad as it does up close and in the flesh.

How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne

I thought I'd try a few natural remedies for getting rid of hormonal acne to see if they made a difference in the quality of my skin and in my gut health. They go as follows (and not in order of importance, just in order of my shoddy memory):

1. Epsom salt baths. This helps draw out excess toxins in the body, and also doubles as a fake spa day after wrangling kids for hours. I've been lighting an apple spice candle and listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's Magic Lessons podcast. I highly recommend! Which leads me to my next thing...

2. Decreasing stress. Baths and candles and an inspirational podcast will absolutely aid in reducing stress in your life. Yoga, meditating and exercise is another one I like to do. Exercise is good for the skin because it also helps release toxins and gets proper blood flow to the skin.

3. Cutting out dairy, sugar, and eating more leafy greens. This one is preposterous to me. A world without cheese, butter, ice cream, and sugar is no world worth living in! Obviously, I still eat these, but I am trying to cut back on the excessive amount. Also, eating all the green foods is MAGIC for your skin. Liz Gilbert needs to add a segment in her podcast about that. One green smoothie a day keeps the acne away!

4. Sleep. It's 11:32 pm right now, and I am obviously not following my own rules. Aaaaannndd I ate a swirl ice cream sundae for dinner. And the closest I got to having green in my meal was the green logo on my napkin. Oops. Do as I say, not as I do, people! But really, sleep is the number one thing for having great skin. Pretend this is tip number one, okay?

5. Drinking tons of water. Alright, so I think this is actually the number one tip for glowing, radiant skin. The recommended amount of water per day is 64 ounces. That is at least eight glasses of water. Whenever I am diligent about my water intake, my skin starts behaving like its old self and clears up. Water is the real dermal elixir, really. My cousin's wife's mom has the most beautiful, flawless, hardly-wrinkled skin and she is in her 60's. It's gorgeous to the point where you are mesmerized by her face and ask upon meeting her for the first time, "What are your beauty secretz?!" Her answer: "WATER! Drink gallons of it, darling." Done.

5. Exfoliating. This is my weak spot. I hate exfoliating. I feel like I am abusing my skin, but all the skin experts always tell me to do this. They are always right. If you are fancy, you might have one of those Clarisonic brushes. If you are frugal (cheap) like me, you resort to a washcloth and this exfoliating scrub. The combination of the two works well for me. I also like to apply a Bentonite clay mask once a week. It looks scary and you feel like your face is melting as you wash it off, but your skin will be so smoooooth afterward.

6. Taking probiotics and vitamins. My gut feels so much better now that I have been taking probiotics to help with bacteria balance in there. I take Vitamin D, a B-complex vitamin, and Omega-3 fish oil as well. Oh, and I also drink apple cider vinegar tea first thing in the morning. It's full of that crunchy mother earth juju that gives your body superpowers. And if I'm not drinking that, I drink a bottle of kombucha. I swear on my life it helps get rid of the candida (yeast) and restores everything to its proper place. The result? Glowing skin. There is a reason that hippie guy selling you granola at the organic, raw farmer's market has eyes as radiant as sapphires and skin like a Greek god. I'm jumping body and soul onto that bandwagon.

I also really like this infographic as a guide:

How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne

I am obviously not a doctor (although I am really good at meandering my way through WebMD) and these are not proven results for getting rid of hormonal acne. These are simply remedies that have helped me clear up some of my acne. The trouble for me is staying on track with all of them simultaneously. However, the one time I have managed to follow the rules (rare, but it happens on occasion), I was very pleased and relieved to know there is a solution for hormonal acne out there.

If you are dealing with the same issues, I feel your pain, and I hope these tips help! And send your tips my way, too!

Infographic image source

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5 Hipster Movies To Watch On Netflix This Weekend

5 Hipster Movies to Watch on Netflix

Don't let that title scare you away! These movies are all actually really good if you have an affinity for artsy-fartsy, hip culture and an appreciation for the rule of thirds. And hey! They are quite funny, affecting, and entertaining, even if you don't care about all of the aforementioned qualities. And without pretentious bearded hipsters roaming the planet on their bicycles and hipster couples who wear matching vests and give their children stupid names, who else would there be to entertain the masses? ;)

5 Hipster Movies to Watch on Netflix

1. Moonrise Kingdom. Remember when everyone and their friend dressed up as Sam and Suzy for Halloween in 2012 and 2013? That was fun. I am a fan of Wes Anderson and his movies—I even named my kid after him! Just kidding. That was just a fortunate coincidence. Aside from the careful attention to lines and every last detail in the cinematography, his films are hilarious. It's very subtle and dry and fantastically hysterical. They are also always mixed with depressing, troubling human experiences, and he masterfully blends the two. (By the way, I feel like I should note that I am accidentally listening to Drake right now for the first time, and it seems like a bizarre mashup of worlds. Is Drake too mainstream for hipsterism? I was under the impression they only listen to music that hasn't even been made yet. So many questions!) Moonrise Kingdom is funny and weird and makes me slightly uncomfortable, therefore I give it a thumbs up. Also, it's not often that Wes Anderson movies pop up on Netflix. I look forward to the day The Grand Budapest Hotel makes its way to the 'Flix. For the record, I saw it all by lonesome at the historic La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas, and I feel like it's the most hipster thing I've ever done (except for compiling this list and using VSCO to edit my photos). And it was fun! Maybe I should grow an ironic mustache and start brewing my own kombucha, too. No? Okay, I'll stick to pretending my pajamas are real clothes and eating donuts.

5 Hipster Movies to Watch on Netflix

2. Comet. I haven't watched this one yet, but the combination of black-rimmed glasses, beanies and parallel universe romance has me convinced it will be wonderfully hiptastic. And Justin Long. He is awesome. (Have you watched Season 5 of Portlandia? I about lost it when Justin Long showed up as Lance's mom's boyfriend.) This movie is up next in my list! I will let you know how it is.

5 Hipster Movies to Watch on Netflix

3. Is The Man Who is Tall Happy? This is a documentary about Noam Chomsky. I had no idea who he was until I unintentionally discovered this film while flipping through my recommendations. It looked interesting enough and The Great Wikipedia told me he is "an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator, social justice activist, and anarcho-syndicalist advocate." If that isn't a mouthful (and a brainful), I don't know what is. Clearly, my interest was piqued. Lo and behold, this film was fascinating! It addresses all of the components of Chomsky's life and studies, and was created by French filmmaker, Michel Gondry. You will score approximately 3,457,281 hipster points in watching it.

5 Hipster Movies to Watch on Netflix

4. Amelie. I feel like this film can be placed in multiple categories. It wears many hats, and since it is a French film, it is sporting a hipster fedora by default. The storyline is quirky, colorful, and it is still as funny as the first time I watched it years ago. Definitely one to keep in your list forever.

5 Hipster Movies to Watch on Netflix

5. It's Such a Beautiful Day. I have never watched a movie where I laughed myself to tears within the first two minutes, and then found myself crying in sadness and empathy 25 minutes later. This animated film is comprised of simple stick figures, however it is strangely moving in its connection to humanity. I felt every type of emotion while watching it and sat in silence for a good five minutes after it ended, soaking up the message. And wondering to myself, what just happened? The film is ridiculously magnificent. (Oxymorons are hipster gold). Even the Netflix description says, "This movie is: Absurd." Also, I would like to be real life friends with Don Hertzfeldt.

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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Owning My Role As A Mom

Owning My Role As A Mom

These last three months have been full of introspection, realigning priorities, and focusing on being the best mother and wife I can be. I think I have some stretch marks on my ego from all the growing pains, but that's part of the process, and I am learning to embrace the uncomfortable bits along with the warm, fuzzy ones.

Let's talk about those uncomfortable bits. 

You see, I realized something was missing, even though being a full-time mom is everything I've ever wanted. Like everything in life, you don't really know how jobs, experiences, relationships, etc will look and feel until you actually DO them. And, I hate to break it to ya, but babies are non-refundable, "I just want to clarify this item is final sale, ma'am", non-returnable little buggers. And as the random stranger making small talk with you in the baby aisle at Target as you are weighing the pros and cons of pureed fruits and vegetables would say, "Too bad they don't come with a user's manual!"

I'd be able to buy a lifetime supply of the fancy organic baby food if I had a dollar for every time I've heard that one. It's true, though! 

Moving on.

I didn't anticipate the emotional and intellectual strain being a mom (oftentimes) brings. Hormones make us crazy enough, but then you factor in the guilt, the monotony of daily routines, and constant neediness, and it can be rough. I don't know that it's possible to prepare for the dramatic shift of having freedom and only needing to worry about yourself, to the instant selflessness required to raise a human being (or multiple). This is why people immediately complain about the lack of sleep when having a kid. It's a brisk slap in the face and it's shouting, "LIFE IS NO LONGER ABOUT YOU! WAKE UP AND NOURISH THIS TINY, FEARSOME CREATURE! YOU HAVE ANOTHER LIFE TO WORRY ABOUT. GET YOUR SHIZ TOGETHER, CAROL!" 

I would get into these funks where I was going through the motions and putting on a happy face, but it wasn't real. And I hated it. Wasn't being a mom what I wanted? Something was off, but I had no idea what it was. I started taking inventory of my emotions and what was triggering my motherhood angst. Here is what I found...

A) I am an introvert and need daily solitude to recharge. Being around people for too long drains me, and my children are NOT the exception. And all this time I thought they should be! I thought I was somehow being a bad mother if I didn't want to be in their presence every waking moment. Once this realization manifested itself, I felt so much lighter. I finally understood where most of my pent up frustrations were coming from. It was the simple need for space. Space to breathe and enjoy the silence—oh, is it truly golden! (I now fully appreciate the true meaning of that expression.) I was able to communicate to Matt my need for alone time, and we worked out a schedule. It has done wonders for my sanity and bringing back the energy necessary for being a parent!

B) As much as I had told myself over the years that becoming a stay-at-home mom was my dream and my choice, I was feeling resentment for what I was potentially missing out on. I didn't finish my degree because I had to work full-time to pay for my education, and in the mix of all that I got married and then pregnant a couple years later. Obviously, I pushed my education to the back burner, but I could feel the heat rising as I settled further into my homemaker role. I was frustrated and struggling with my sense of worth. The monotony of changing diapers, loading the dishwasher and going to the park seemed to only make my resentment worse. But why? 

I consider myself a creative type of person who needs to consistently be making or doing. It's a way to take the overstimulation out of my brain and turn it into a real and tangible thing. I blogged and used social media as the outlet, but even that began feeling awkward and forced. Again, something was missing. I took a break from blogging to figure out where I truly needed to focus my creative efforts. And then I took a hard look at my resentment and stared it straight in the face. Turns out my resentment led to a bad case of entitlement. Because I was feeling so unsatisfied and uninspired, I felt that my role as homemaker was inferior to the other great things I could be doing. How dare you ask me to make dinner? Why should I have to put away the laundry? I folded it, you know! I DESERVE to sit on the couch on fiddle-faddle on the internet. What else is there to do anyway? This mom gig is boring and I shouldn't be the one picking up after everyone's crap ALL. THE. TIME.

Ummm, actually, Abbey, you should. BECAUSE IT'S YOUR JOB. Act like you own the place and are the baddest mom in town! (That's basically the pep talk I gave myself.) I am not one for being a mediocre employee and I always gave a 110% when I was working. Being a mother is the most important work I will ever do, so why wouldn't I put my best foot forward everyday? 

This simple realization and finally getting over myself has COMPLETELY changed my life. I am not any less of an individual because I don't have a fancy education (which I plan to complete once the boys are in school), and my attitude adjustment was the solution. I used to roll my eyes at those moms who were cooking and baking everything from scratch, had clean homes and looked genuinely happy. I thought they were all just faking it like me. Okay, so some probably are, but a lot of them really love their mom job. And that's a beautiful thing. We all have to do lame, mindless tasks everyday, and mine just happens to be finding the match to all 374 pairs of toddler socks. I'll take it! 

Luke and Wes seem more fulfilled and cheerful as a result of my paradigm shift. Our children are a reflection of our actions and temperaments, and the last thing I want is them resenting me because I resented them on a subconscious level. (I feel like that sentence seems harsh, but it's the truth.) 

C) You know that whole creative outlet thing? (For the record, I really don't like the phrase "creative outlet" but I don't know what else to call it and I can't summon the brainpower to think of anything else to describe it at this point. By now I am almost free associating via my keyboard and I applaud you if you've made it this far. Here's a cookie.) I can confidently say I found my calling once I started my food blog. I always loved sharing recipes here, and styling and photographing food set my heart on fire with inspiration. Even just thinking about it right now is giving me butterflies, I swear! 

I once read somewhere that if you're trying to force something, it means you probably shouldn't be pouring your energy into it. This blog has brought so many amazing opportunities, but I've never felt that same passion on here attempting to "curate" a lifestyle. Have you tried branding yourself? It's exhausting trying to make EVERYTHING look perfect all the time. And since I've finally fully embraced my job as a mom, I honestly do not have time to carry my DSLR around with me to document it all. 

I feel like I am knocking all of the people who do this. I am not. More power to you if you can pull it off. I just can't, but I still love and appreciate a beautifully styled thing, whatever that thingamabob may be. And in my case, that jiggamaroo is food! I get food. Food gets me. We're a happy family. It stays where you put it when trying to get the right shot, and it does what it's told. And it's pretty! The beauty is in the perfectly imperfect look of it all. Styling food just comes out of my fingertips. I don't know how or why, but it just makes sense to me, therefore it is my new "creative outlet" and I feel an insane relief from the weight of the other stuff. But, I could not have found it had I not started with a "lifestyle blog" nor would I have learned about photography. See? Things always work themselves out and nothing is ever a mistake. 

Because I feel less pressure to make this space more styled as an image of my creative abilities, since I have that elsewhere, it has helped me to write how I truly feel about things and share my normal day-to-day thoughts and random musings. This was my intention at the beginning of the year, and I am stoked I found a way to actually make it happen. And frankly, I think it's more relatable, entertaining and what people want anyway. 

So yeah.

Cheers to taking ownership in our choices, having the courage to examine and reevaluate life when things aren't working, and finding our true passions! Carpe diem!

(If you got anything out of this post, I hope it's that you see how awesome my taste in movies and television is.)

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