How to Get Your Postpartum Fitness On by Caroline Hagerty

  1. Forget everything you thought you knew about fitness.  Your go-to workouts and favorite exercises might not work anymore or worse- they may actually cause damage!  Err on the side of caution before beginning any workout routine AT ALL.  I assumed yoga was a safe bet because it is low impact.  Unfortunately, some yoga moves I previously had zero trouble with now cause me quite a bit of pain…. And not the gratifying post workout soreness pain, REAL pain.

  2. Get to walkin’.  With few exceptions, walking is the greatest postpartum exercise.  There is little risk of injury, tons of emotional and physical benefits, and it’s accessible [aka free + can be done nearly anywhere at anytime].  

  3. Seek out specialized professional help.  A background in physical therapy is super helpful!  A personal trainer may have tons of happy clients and success stories but if they do not have experience with postpartum clients, stay away!  Frankly, I would also stay away from male trainers all together.  There are online resources as well- I’m currently using the Mutu System and I love it so far.

  4. Think of your pregnancy essentially as an injury.  You need to heal and recover, regardless of what shape you are in.  When I first returned to the gym, I was anxious to target my problem areas.  My first workouts were running and weight lifting because I wanted to slim down my stomach and arms ASAP.  This was not a good approach.  My back pain worsened which only set me further back.  I now approach my workouts as a time to repair my core and pelvic muscles.

  5. Make adjustments to your everyday motions.  I definitely understand that sitting all day is a reality for many people- I personally spend a ton of time sitting whether at my desk or in my car.  Think outside the box to work around this, even if it feels goofy sometimes! I go on daily walks and stand as much as possible.  I even do laps up and down the hallways in my building or use restrooms on other floors to get some extra steps in.  Take the stairs.  Get a lumbar pillow. These small adjustments throughout the day do add up!  

  6. Be as active as possible during your pregnancy.  Many women do not think core work is possible during this time, but it actually is and will make postpartum bounce back much easier.  

  7. Redefine your idea of bounce back.  The reality is your body has changed and those changes are permanent on some level.  We have all seen the #momgoals bodies online, but even those moms will tell you their bodies changed.  In my opinion, bounce back is more about physical comfort than physical appearance.  Naturally, I look forward to fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I REALLY look forward to less back pain.

  8. Drink lots of water and make your water multitask!  I know drinking enough water is challenging for a lot of people.  I find it helps if your water can go an extra mile whether in flavor or benefits.  Some of my favorite water hacks are electrolytes, collagen, and matcha.  Electrolytes are essentially the good stuff [potassium + magnesium] in sports drinks but without the sugar.  I add magnesium to my water daily in the form of Natural Calm.  Magnesium helps me with my migraines and digestion.  I also love Vital Proteins’ collagen powders.  My favorite is their match powder!  This supplement gives me energy, better skin and hair, and a few extra grams of low calorie protein.  Both supplements can be stirred into water of any temperature- super user friendly!

  9. Treat yourself to fun gym stuff.  I splurged on a delicious Lush body wash and a few workout outfits.  Now I really look forward to my post gym shower.  

  10. Two part tip:  remember there IS such thing as too many kegels and always be kind to yourself.  

“Booty vicious, mind yo business! I been working, working on my fitness.” Lizzo.


How to Be Money Savvy-Ish by Caroline Hagerty

Financial matters are definitely not my forte.  Fortunately, a combination of a tight-fisted father and some self guided research has armed me with enough knowledge to secure great credit and relative* financial independence.  I do not own property or possess the ability to make any sort of investments, but I’ve never withdrawn an account or paid a bill late.  So, if you are looking to be more financially secure this year, here are some recommendations from me, a semi-successful millennial.

•Disclaimer:  I say relative because my partner and I are fortunate enough to come from supportive families.  For example, if I REALLY needed money for rent, I know my father would let me borrow some- ditto my father in law.  This is not the case for everyone, so I do want to recognize this privilege we have.

  1. Avoid retail credit cards.  Retail cards are credit cards issued by retailers, like Nordstrom or Banana Republic for example.  Unless you are spending a large amount- like several thousand monthly- avoid these at all costs.  They have super high interest rates and very limited perks.  Reward cards are different.  These usually accrue points for purchases and they do not affect your credit.  If you do want to sign up for a retail credit card in order to make a specific purchase such as furniture or tech items, be sure to read the fine print!  Close these accounts as soon as your items are paid off.

  2. Shop around for a credit card which best suits your needs.  In my early 20’s, paying an annual fee for a credit card was not an option because I did not spend enough to justify the cost.  Once I hit my late 20’s, my income and expenses increased which in turn made a fee-based card a better fit for me.  Personally, I have a Capital One Venture card.  I love it because I accrue basically 2% back on everything in the form of miles.  The 2% back can only be applied toward travel which is something I do fairly often.  Travel expenses do include things like Lyft rides, airport food, and more!  Eventually, as my family’s expenses continue to increase, I would consider having multiple cards to maximize my rewards.

  3. If you do elect to open a credit card, be sure to pay it off in full EVERY SINGLE MONTH.  Interest is a sneaky, terrifying thing.  I recommend using credit as if it were debit.  Never, ever spend money you do not have because if you don’t have it for the principle balance, you most certainly won’t for the interest!

  4. Prioritize debts with higher interest rates.  Personally, I have student loan debt and a car payment.  Recently I have made an effort to always pay more than the minimum payment in order to chip away at my debts faster.  But, life happens!  Some months I can’t pay more than the minimum payment on both accounts.  If I had to chose one account to pay off faster, I would choose my car because the interest rates are higher.  

  5. Even small interest is interest.  When I signed my life away at 18 to take out loans for college, I was wildly unaware of how much interest I would ultimately pay.  Often times young people don’t realize they could be paying double their tuition once all their payments are complete.  I made this mistake and only realized I have been paying $4 daily since 2007 in interest- almost $20K so far!  Unfortunately, like myself most young people need to take out loans in order to pay for higher education.  Be sure to shop around for loans and when possible, pay more than the minimum payment. 

  6. If you have children in your life, consider opening or contributing to an 529 account for them.  I use College Backer for my daughter’s account.  These accounts have restrictions in how and when the funds can be used, but they are low risk and perfect for college savings.  I plan on asking for contributions to my daughter’s account instead of gifts for birthdays and holidays.

  7. Consider assigning a monetary value to what your time is worth.  Before moving to The Valley, I lived in Downtown Los Angeles.  I loved it, but it was notoriously a bit difficult to get around.  For me this made grocery delivery services a no-brainer.  I used InstaCart and I felt the cost of delivery was less than the cost of my time spent (plus gas + parking).  I’m a huge believer in buying yourself time however you can!  I have a monthly housekeeper as well.  I prefer to spend weekends on social activities and professional development.  I do think utilizing my time and income this way has made me more successful professionally and emotionally. If you want to try out Instacart, use my promo code for $10 off: CHAGERTY33

  8. Unsubscribe and unfollow accounts which tempt you to shop.  Sometimes email blasts and IG posts prompt us to buy things we really do not need.  Recognize your weaknesses- for me, those are clothes and makeup.  I often challenge myself to go on shopping cleanses.  Out of sight, out of mind works well for me if I am trying to avoid purchasing things.

  9. Use your network for financial help.  When I was younger, I used to do odd jobs like alterations and babysitting for a family friend in exchange for help with my taxes and managing my financial accounts.  The lessons I learned were so valuable and I’m sure the feeling was mutual for them!  It’s very likely there is someone in your social circle or family who is willing to share some wisdom with you.

  10. Check your accounts frequently and take advantage of apps!  It’s easier than ever to take control of your financial health.  Financial health is super important, especially for women.  

I like boarding jets, I like morning sex, but nothing in this world that I like more than checks. -Cardi B


How to Nail Your Baby Registry by Caroline Hagerty

Babies require SO. MUCH. STUFF.  And quite frankly, stuff sort of gives me anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some stuff.  I’d say most people do!  But when you live in a  big city like we do, space is for stuff is often in short supply.  If you’re a busy person, time is also in short supply.  Stuff requites time!  Time to do laundry, time to organize, time to clean…ugh.  I feel anxious just thinking about it.  Stuff-anxiety goes hand in hand with stuff-guilt for me.  I hate the sight of stuff all over our apartment knowing it could have gone to someone who needed truly needed it instead of on our floor for weeks on end.

Yesterday was Christmas which is pretty much the official stuff holiday.  Gift giving is wonderful and it really fills my heart with joy to treat the special people in my life!  But after my first holiday season being both the gift giver and gift receiver of baby stuff, I’ve learned a few lessons.  Here’s my tips for how to make an effective wish list or registry along with some suggestions on how to really nail the perfect gift for the young families in your life.

  1. Don’t register for any clothes.  People LOVE buying baby clothes, ESPECIALLY for girls.  I get it, baby girl things really are irresistible!  But whether or not you register for clothes, people WILL give them to you.  Wait to see if you truly need more after your baby shower.  Chances are you’ll have plenty.  Also, resist the urge to buy clothes around the holiday season NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE SALES ARE!  I can guarantee you will be receiving plenty.

  2. Don’t buy too many of any given thing.  Babies are really unpredictable.  For example, everyone swears Pampers are THE very best diapers.  Even Chrissy Teigen is slangin’ their organic line (Pampers Pure) on Instagram.  When I was pregnant I swore only these gold standard diapers would ever touch my baby’s perfect tush!!! But…Pampers suck.  Obviously not for everyone, but they sucked for us.  Lots of leaking.  So, that left me with many giant boxes of diapers to either exchange or to give away.  Even if you find something your baby really loves, avoid buying anything in bulk.  They’ll likely stop loving it or physically outgrow it in a flash.    

  3. 1 SleepSack = an infinite amount of swaddles.  Every registry checklist I encountered recommended 5-8 swaddles.  Did you know babies should only be swaddled for a few weeks after birth?  I hardly think a swaddle per week is necessary.  Also, some babies don’t like it at all, my daughter didn’t.  SleepSack is a user-friendly one and done item that also prevents SIDS.  Truly a no brainer.  

  4. Follow up to #3: one mom’s no-brainer is another mom’s trash.  If an item doesn’t make sense to you, skip it no matter how much the internet loves it.  Or hates it.  Tons of moms online hate diaper pails but I love ours!  

  5. Seek out gift guides from relevant sources.  For me this was asking IRL working moms in urban areas.  I have a cousin who also lives in LA and has a young daughter.  Her tips were way more helpful to me than anything I found online.  A lot of online guides are really there to promote sponsored products which are often not what’s best for you or your baby.  I’m lookin’ at you and your click-baity nonsense, The Bump!!!

  6. If you are going to give your baby a pacifier, pick one as close as possible to your bottles.  My daughter rarely uses pacifiers, but when she does she only likes the Dr. Browns because her bottles are Dr. Browns.  I wish I realized this sooner because now we have approximately 25 pacifiers all over the apartment.

  7. Most parents love gifts that replace screen time.  Nonstop TV is not great for anyone, especially babies and their developing brains.  But the reality is most households- including ours- stream quite a lot of TV!  One of my favorite gifts we received is our baby play gym.  Definitely pick one with a mat to use for tummy time!  My daughter loves the music and stretching and I love knowing she is being mentally stimulated and safely entertained without a screen.  Other great options: Pack ’N Plays and baby swings. 

  8. If you can afford something and it helps your sanity, just buy it.  Don’t let anyone shame you for purchasing “unnecessary” items.  Your family’s budget is your business! One of the perks of being a dual income household is having more money to go around and it’s okay to spend some of that surplus on mommy and daddy.  

  9. Anything that buys new parents time is a winner.  It may seem odd, but the gift of delivered groceries, homemade freezer meals, laundry pickup services, a tank full of gas, or a housekeeper is heavenly.  Why?  Because TIME is the ultimate gift!  

  10. When in doubt, gift cards or cash are NEVER a bad idea.  Like, ever. 

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Marie Kondo, author of “The Lift Changing Magic of Tidying Up” 


How to Fail at Breastfeeding by Caroline Hagerty

I REALLY wanted to successfully breastfeed- I mean, breastmilk is super great for babies, free, AND burns a ton of calories?!  Mmmhmm, you know I wanted to sign my ass up for all that shit!! But I didn’t succeed.  I failed at breastfeeding.

Before I had my daughter, I thought breastfeeding was easy.  LOL to that thought now.  Sure- many women are amazing at it, but even those women wouldn’t call it easy.  

Below is a list of my suggestions, lessons learned, and missed opportunities which caused me to fail at breastfeeding but ultimately allowed me to do so with no regrets.  

  1. I didn’t take any breastfeeding classes.  I did sign up for one, but my daughter arrived early- ironically on the day the class was to be held.  

  2. The great comedian Ali Wong once said “breast is free”.  Not quite, Ali Wong.  Nursing is free...but you cannot exclusively nurse if you ever intend to be away from your baby for more than a few hours.  Do you want to go back to work? Have a date night? Sleep for more than an hour?  Then you’ll need ointments, bras, pumps, pads, pillows, coolers, freezer bags...need I go on?  My advice: buy all of that ONLY once you’ve successfully established breastfeeding.  I cried every single time I saw a tube of nipple cream or my expensive AF breast pump around our apartment.  All that wasted money was the gross maraschino cherry sitting atop my failure. 

  3. Think twice before getting your nipples pierced.  My scar tissue resulted in hospitalization for clogging and random leakage.  Very infuriating and counterintuitive tbh.  

  4. Don’t look at glamorous breastfeeding shots.  In the age of #freethenipple, these are plentiful.  I unfollowed many awesome, feminist social media accounts because their breastfeeding posts were (maybe still are) triggering to me.  Especially photos of beautiful, happy breastfeeding women.  I definitely think there should be more visibility of such imagery in our society, but for now I personally need to avoid it.  

  5. TREAT YOSELF!  Some context:  I tried to breastfeed for 3 weeks, mostly via pumping.  Due to jaundice, my daughter was bottlefed in the NICU for her first week of life.  Once bottle feeding is introduced to babies, it is very difficult to get them to nurse.  I pumped around the clock so she could have breastmilk from a bottle if not from my breasts.  Unfortunately, I never pumped more than 8-10 ounces in a day which wasn’t nearly enough milk for my growing baby.  My partner and I eventually decided exclusively formula feeding was best for all of us.  So I drank my favorite white wine, slathered retinol all over my face, and booked some rounds of laser hair removal.  Enjoying the things I couldn’t while breastfeeding didn’t cure my heartbreak, but they did make me feel better for a moment or two.  

  6. Take advantage of all available resources.  I met with lactation consultants, attended lactation support groups, reached out to moms in my life for advice, and spoke with members of the La Leche league.  I am thankful for all the women who helped me.  I am thankful for the peace I have knowing I tried everything I could think of before ultimately failing.  

  7. Let people around know you failed and that’s that.  Frankly, be blunt about it.  You really don’t owe anyone an explanation unless you’d like to offer one.  I found this approach made people uncomfortable so they’d stop offering me their well intended but deeply hurtful suggestions.  

  8. Cut yourself some slack.  Again, even women who love breastfeeding or who love childbirth or who love pregnancy wouldn’t call any of it easy.  Be proud of yourself as mother. 

“It’s fucking hard. I thought it would be easy. ‘Everyone fucking does it, how hard can it be?’ I had no idea. It is hard but it’s phenomenal. It’s the greatest thing I ever did.” Adele on motherhood.

How to be Pregnant While Fat by Caroline Hagerty

I have always been fat.

I have not always been comfortable with that adjective.  Thick, voluptuous, curvy.  All words I preferred at various stages in my life because I did not want to call it what it is.  And what it is and what I am is fat.

I find most people have not accepted to self-identify as fat without wincing.  It did take me approximately 30 years to do so myself (ps: I am 30 years old).  I think this is probably because we associate fat with all things terrible.  In reality, it’s just another physical attribute, like being tall or having brown hair.  It does not automatically mean unhealthy or lazy.

Throughout my life I expressed not wanting to have children.  The truth was I did not want to do anything at all that would make me even fatter.  I did not want to gain more weight, weight that would only become more difficult to shed as I aged.  But then, I did have a child.  And obviously I did get fatter.  

While I was pregnant, all my medical care was prefaced with the assumption that I would inherently have problems like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes because I am fat.  I obsessively gauged every weigh in based on time of day, outfit I was wearing, how much water I drank, and so on to calculate exactly how much guilt I should feel every single day.  I felt immensely anxious with all these tests and warnings from doctors that I was going to birth an unhealthy baby because I was fat and therefore most certainly unhealthy.  

But…the thing is, I am not unhealthy.  I do not have high cholesterol.  I do not have high blood pressure.  I did not have gestational diabetes.  I did not birth a giant baby.  In fact, while I have been fat my whole life, I have also actually been healthy my whole life as well.

I am no medical expert but I have been pregnant while fat AND healthy.  So I’d like to humbly share my top 10 tips on how I personally did it:

  1. Realize very deeply that being fat does not mean you are unhealthy.  You can of course be fat and unhealthy, but if that is the case I suspect you’d already be aware of your health issues prior to conceiving.  I was fortunately not unhealthy, yet I spent my entire pregnancy feeling that I was just because I am fat.  That mental state is actually unhealthy and didn’t do me any favors.

  2. Research the many ways to receive medical care as a pregnant woman and decide which is best for you.  Did you know in many other developed countries, women do not see OB-GYN’s at all during their pregnancies?  If you are a healthy woman, you do not NEED to receive care solely in a hospital.  Yep, that’s right.  Fat women can use midwives/birthing centers too because not all fat women are unhealthy!  Also, please know you can mix and match your birthing options.  I had a hospital birth with an epidural AND I had a midwife (not an OB-GYN) deliver my daughter.

  3. Find online visual content that does not make you feel like garbage.  There are photos of women who will feel more familiar to you than those on accounts constantly posting #flawless images.  I would actually suggest this to all social media users.  Nothing bad comes from looking at pictures of a diverse range of people!  

  4. Monitor the numbers that help you feel well, ignore the nonessential ones that don’t.  Personally, tracking time spent exercising worked better for me than tracking miles.  I did 30-45 minutes of cardio pretty much daily mostly in the form of walking, yoga, or swimming.  I also personally did not feel I needed to increase my caloric intake each trimester so I didn’t!  Knowing I was exercising daily and being satisfied by my meals made me feel way better than wondering why I couldn’t run exactly 6 miles each morning like some pregnant women out there.

  5. Take plenty of pictures.  Post them, or don’t, but please take them- even if only on a phone!  And please don’t be self conscious because you don’t have the picture-perfect C-shaped baby bump. 

  6. Accept special treatment if you want it.  I think often fat women feel we must compensate for the space we occupy by never being idle.  You are not lazy.  Your body is literally making another body.  So sit your ass down if you want to.  Say yes when someone offers to carry something for you.  Thin pregnant women do not deserve kindness or rest more than you. 

  7. Ignore all the outrageous maternity fashion tips.  “Rock your husband’s shirts” is terrible style advice.  Maybe you’re bigger than your husband!  Maybe you don’t even have a husband!  Maybe investing in your appearance isn’t a waste! Also, unpopular opinion: empire waistlines are not cute, pregnant or not. While pregnant, I bought size-inclusive designer maternity jeans for myself.  I wore them almost daily and they made me feel happy every time.  I still wore them for about 2 months after I had my daughter. None of my wardrobe purchases ever felt wasteful to me because I am worthy of feeling beautiful!

  8. Don’t pity yourself for not being as skinny as your friends.  You need to exercise.  You need to eat vegetables.  Not because you are fat, but because you’re a human being.  Thin people need to do all that lame healthy shit too.  

  9. Ignore any resources out there that say it is possible to not gain any weight or even lose some while pregnant.  It is possible!  However, I found if you entertain this possibility it will only make you feel terrible when it does not happen for you.  Plus, I am no mathematician, but if you grow a baby that weighs more than 0 pounds and grow an organ (the placenta) that also weighs more than 0 pounds, obviously the number on the scale will go up in accordance.  Weight gain is a normal, essential aspect of pregnancy.

  10. Accept the compliments even if you don’t always believe them. Also applies while being fat and not pregnant, pregnant and not fat, and any other physical combination available as a human.

I leave you with this quote I’ve always loved by the great J.K. Rowling:

“Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’?”

xoxo, Lini.

testing, testing, 1...2...3! by Caroline Hagerty

Hi there! Caroline here, aka Lini Victoria.

I’m a Retail Designer originally from South Florida, currently living + working in Los Angeles. I am new to motherhood and new to my 30’s. Creative expression is vital to me and I constantly find myself seeking out new ways to materialize my ideas. Being a new mom has made it pretty much impossible time-wise for me to pursue my love of painting and illustration, but I still crave an outlet for my ideas. Thus, a blog extension to my portfolio was born!

During my pregnancy I was surprised how difficult it was to find maternity content which felt relevant to me. I work full-time, so while I respect stay-at-home-moms, I cannot relate to them. I am not religious or a military wife, so that rules out another huge portion of the mommy blogs out there. A lot of the bloggers in Los Angeles live a lavish or obnoxiously wholesome lifestyle outside my reach. So, here I am! Not married but happily in a relationship with my baby daddy. Not on a shoestring budget but also not living lavishly. Just trying to be a better designer and a better mom a little more each day.

I’ll be sharing my stories about my journey to motherhood and also my journey as a designer working in retail spaces. I’m doing this mostly for my own personal fulfillment, but maybe someone out there can learn something from this creative exercise!

Enjoy!

Love, Lini.