iPhone apps I use practically everyday (and you might, too):
Twitter. My first and forever social media love. This is where I stay caught up current events, politics, local happenings, and pop culture. This is also the number 1 spot for me to stay engaged with the Black community and learn more about my role in the journey to racial reconciliation. Black Twitter is like, the most amazing, thoughtful, helpful, HILARIOUS thing to happen to the Internet.
Clue. Because ladies, we are WAY TOO OLD to not know what’s happening to our bodies on the regular. I chart my periods, moods, and pain here (this includes random headaches or fatigue). You can remove the parts of charting you don’t want (ovulation, for example, if you aren’t trying to make more babies). You can also receive push notifications as a heads-up when things are heating up (i.e. DO NOT PICK A FIGHT WITH YOUR HUSBAND TODAY, YOU’RE A LITTLE CRAY). Speaking of husbands, mine actually started charting my cycles way before I did. Because he’s kind and gentle and brilliant.
Audible. For a monthly subscription fee, you get one free book each month, plus discounts to a bajillion other audio books. I try to get through two books per month, and I’ll listen to everything from celebrity memoirs to heavy women-in-the-Church theology. This also keeps me from checking my phone while driving (yikes) or gorging on NPR all day in the car.
Wunderlist. I know I’ve talked about it before, but it just cannot NOT make the list today. My husband and I started using it three years ago when we had a knock-down drag-out discussion (lol) about rhythms and grocery shopping and how alone I felt in the household duties. He found this app and we’ve been using it happily and faithfully ever since. In addition to our grocery lists (which we have categorized by store), we keep wish lists for ourselves and dream projects for the house on there. It’s a great place to store ideas for gifts and travel, as well.
Google Maps. Just kidding. I mean, yes, but that’s boring. Let’s go with VSCO. This is where I collect photos that I know I’d like to share someday. I’m able to edit them at my own pace, while I either come up with a clever caption or wait for the Lord to give me something to share (this does NOT mean the Lord isn’t clever. He very much is). I do try to keep a certain aesthetic look on my Instagram, a concept about which I am absolutely unashamed, and I prefer the M5 and the S2 filters with a few tweaks thrown in.
Skincare items to consider if you hope to avoid aging like a leather bag:
Sunscreen. You knew it was coming, right? I live in the South and grew up in the land of baby oil in the summer, but even I learned early on that sunscreen didn’t stop me from getting tan. Now I wear it every day on my face, neck, and chest… even when I have no intention of spending time outside. This one has replaced my morning moisturizer, but there are also some fun powder ones out there, like this and this, that I’d love to try!
2. Vitamin C serum. This sweet little ingredient is famous for fighting wrinkles and aging by tightening and brightening the skin. It also helps turn over new cells and repair what has been damaged. I’m saving up for this one because I love the brand so much, but this one from Trader Joe’s works great in the meantime! I use it first thing in the morning.
3. The right cleanser. You don’t have to wash your face twice a day. You don’t have to buy the same thing everyone else buys, either. But you certainly cannot use soap. After many failed attempts at finding the right product, I went to a professional who matched me up with the best thing I’ve ever tried. I saw results in less than a week!
4. A spin brush. I didn’t believe the hype until I tried it, but it’s for real. You’ve got to do more than just slap some soap on your face. I use this brush two or three nights per week, and it both exfoliates my skin and cleans out my pores. I’ve read the reviews, and this little gal holds her own against a Clairsonic, which is about four times the price!
5. Sheet masks. Here’s the thing. I really don’t care if they work, and I don’t think anyone else does either. These guys are all the rage from Korea, and I can see why. They’re a fun, affordable way for me to spend a Friday night. I feel pampered and fancy and my skin feels amazing after using them.
Steps you can take to heal your post-baby abdominal separation/diastasis:
1. Hire Tyler Brown. This can be a one-time thing, but I have to give my brother credit with writing me the program that brought my abs back to life. He does online/phone consulting and delivers the programs straight to your email inbox for a one-time fee. Hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Buy an abdominal binder. I thought I’d missed the boat, being four years out from the twins who blew my belly out. As it turns out, waist training is a thing right now and that gear works for restoring your abs too! The binder allows you to do things like crunches that you wouldn’t be able to safely accomplish without support. I’m very fresh into this, but the reviews have sold me.
3. Practice yoga. I started with Holy Yoga, which I will continue to subscribe to even after starting attending classes at my local gym. Yoga allows for so much freedom and modification, but it also shows you your progress each time you practice. And when you’re working on something like growing your muscles back together, you need to see wins on a regular basis.
4. Read Mummy Tummy. This book helped me understand the whole concept behind diastasis and why it’s important to heal from the inside out. Even though it highlights and covers the Tupler technique, the entire book is worth the read. It helps you build the foundation for healing and getting your core back to the way it used to be.
5. Engage ALL OF THE TIME. This is similar to the Tupler technique but even simpler. It’s not an exercise, but you’d be surprised at how effective it is. I started acknowledging my abs all of the time. When I bend over to pick up a baby, I engage my core. When I lean over the table to serve my family dinner, I engage. The more mindful I’ve become of my abs, the more I realize they are for me and not against me. They want to help me. They want to heal. And they take the steps to getting stronger as often as I let them.
Hope this helps! Glad to see so many of you sharing similar experiences on my recent Instagram post. Let’s do this together, shall we?