Alix

Pregnancy Update: Alix.

alix-stowers-pregnancy

Hello hello! Alix here, just checking in with a little update on pregnancy so far :)

At 22 weeks I’m officially past the halfway mark, which is simultaneously exciting and kind of terrifying because I have a feeling these next few months are going to fly by! And there’s so much to do?!

The most exciting bit of news I can share is that we found out our little one’s gender! Right from the beginning, for no real reason except a gut feeling, I was convinced we were having a boy. Almost everyone I spoke to guessed girl (most vehemently my mom) and everyone kept slipping and referring to the baby as “she,” but in my mind it was totally a little boy. I even got Richard on the boy train once the baby started moving SO MUCH and he too became convinced we were going to have a very active little man running around. Well… to say I was surprised when we got the news that it was a girl is an understatement! But it was the most wonderful surprise ever!! We would have been thrilled with a boy or a girl, our only hope is to have a healthy, happy baby; but knowing that baby is now a “she” has made everything feel so much more real and I can’t tell you how excited I am. I’m trying soo hard not to buy all the baby clothes, but I did slip and buy a sweet little newborn set when we got the news because hey, I’m only human.

My symptoms have also done quite the 180 now that the second trimester is really underway. No more vomiting (thank goodness!) and much less nausea. I’m still pretty sleepy in the afternoons, but it’s nothing compared to the exhaustion of March and April. And thanks to my ridiculously giant pregnancy pillow, I truly look forward to climbing into my nest of fluffy goodness each night. At first I thought they were a little gimmicky and I wouldn’t need one, but after just two nights of sleeping with it I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to sleeping without a cocoon of pillow around me. It’s amazing. Other things I am very grateful for these days: Tums. The heartburn is no joke! Also, Wunder Under leggings which I splurged on thanks to advice from Bundle moms - they really are the comfiest for growing bellies!

Richard and I are gearing up for a pretty busy summer, getting in as much travel as we can before baby girl arrives. We’re SO excited to be heading to the south of France in July for a family vacation / baby moon! If you have any tips for traveling while pregnant I am all ears. I know I’ll need some compression tights for the flights and super comfy walking shoes, any other recs are very welcome!

The other big thing on our minds these days is getting the house ready for October. We plan on turning our guest room into the nursery and I recently started putting together a registry, which has been super fun and a litttttle overwhelming. The guest room has basically been our storage / junk closet for the past few years so I think it will be easier to envision everything once we get rid of all the clutter in there. I can’t wait to clear it out, paint, and get it all set up for her!!

Other than that, I’m just trying to stay cool (DC… why must you be so humid??), eat right and stay as active as possible while I can still see my feet :) Hope you’re having a great week, thanks for following along!! Xoxo

 

 

Q and A: Bundle Mom Alix Stowers.

SpringComposition2017.jpg

When we launched The Bundle of Joy, we always had the vision to create a vibrant, authentic community of brilliant moms. We put out a call to our community to see if anyone was interested in writing for our blog and low and behold, we connected with Alix and the rest is history. She is expecting her first baby this fall and we have loved reading her posts: About AlixMaternity Fashion and Her Favorite Natural Beauty Products.

Upon discovering she is just as talented and she is beautiful and graceful, we knew we had turn the table and interview her for our blog.


AlixStowers2.JPG
  1. Tell us about yourself!

    Hi there! My name is Alix and, as you will quickly come to learn, I have a serious love of flowers. I spend pretty much every day interacting with fresh blooms -- whether I'm creating arrangements, photographing them, or painting them -- and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    In addition to all things floral, I am also passionate about art and design. I studied Studio Art at The College of William & Mary and got my MA in Art & Museum Studies at Georgetown University. I spent my post-grad years working in galleries and museums to promote contemporary art and artists, which I loved, but in the back of my mind I always missed being in the studio and creating things myself.

    About four years ago I decided to take a break from the museum world and took a job at a local flower shop. It was a super scary transition and I had a LOT to learn having never formally trained in floral design. Luckily, I had a fabulous boss / mentor who taught me everything I know while also allowing me to explore my own creative pursuits. I was able to learn all the ins and outs of running a small business by day, and by night I started building a portfolio of photography and paintings based on arrangements I made at work. I'm telling you... it's been all flowers, all the time, ha!

    I currently live in Washington, DC with my husband Richard, our sweet pup Emma, and we are super excited to be welcoming a baby girl to the family this October!
     
  2. How did you start your business?

    In 2017 I started a blog, Living with Petals, as a way to share my obsession with all the beautiful flowers I got to work with every day. I hadn't planned to sell anything on there, but was pleasantly surprised to begin receiving inquiries about whether my photography was available for purchase. After selling a few pieces informally through the blog and my instagram, I decided why not add a little online shop, just to see what happens! 

    I didn't have a formal "launch" or anything like that, I just slowly started posting some of my favorite photos and small floral paintings and within a year, was selling work and even receiving requests for custom commissions. It was a pretty gradual / organic process and I'm definitely still learning all the time (for example - shipping framed photography is WAY more expensive than I realized! And you can NEVER have too much bubble wrap!), but I have loved building up the business and getting to share what I find beautiful with others.
     
  3. Is this your full-time job?

    Not yet. I still spend my mornings at the flower shop, but after our baby is born this will become my full time gig! I'm looking forward to really being able to commit to my work and I think it will be good to have both the time (and pressure) to pursue my art full time. I'm also excited that it will allow me to work from home so I can spend lots of time with our baby girl!
     
  4. What advice do you have for people who want to take a passion and turn it into a business?

    Don't feel like you have to have everything perfectly figured out in order to start. Experiment and put yourself out there, because the longer you wait the more time you have to second guess yourself. If you are lucky enough to have a passion, be generous and share it with the world because I guarantee that if you authentically love what you're doing, others will too :) 
     
  5. What is your process?

    My photography is very intuitive, I'm really drawn to color and texture and am a firm believer that more-is-more when it comes to flowers. I really like capturing a LOT of one varietal, (like these dahlias) and especially love when the image becomes almost abstracted due to the repetition of shape and form.

    My floral paintings always start out with a real arrangement I made. I usually work from a photograph as the flowers just don't last long enough to paint from life, but it's always an original photo of an original arrangement by me.

    For commissions I work closely with clients to ensure they are a part of the entire process. Some folks come to me with very clear ideas of what they want, like a painting of a bridal bouquet, and others just have a general color scheme they want incorporated into an abstract painting. I love working on both kinds of projects and really enjoy getting to know my clients along the way. My favorite thing is to see pictures of where my work ends up in their homes. It's the coolest!
     
  6. What are your best selling items?

    I sell more commissions than anything else - which is great because I love working on them so much! It's awesome to be able to collaborate with the people who will be living with the piece to ensure it's exactly what they want. 

    The next most popular items are my small floral studies. I like to think that they're the most economical way to keep fresh flowers in your home because in painting form, the flowers will never die ;)
     
  7. Anything else you want to add!!!

    Thank you so much for reading! Please don't hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions OR have any advice on turning your side-hustle into a full time job. I'm both excited and a little nervous to see what will happen when I transition to working full time for myself this fall, and would love to connect with anyone who has done something similar! I hope you have a wonderful day!
PeoniesProcess.JPG

My Favorite Natural Products

alix-wellness-products

Ok friends… time to talk about one of my favorite ways to spend money ;) skincare and beauty products! (Soon to be replaced by baby clothes, I’m sure!)

If, like me, you are a somewhat anxious pregnant lady, you may have also become an obsessive reader of ingredient lists. While only your doctor can say what’s right for you, I figure the fewer toxins in my products, the better, right?  I was shocked to find all the parabens and sulfates hiding in many of the things I’ve used forever. Yikes!

I started transitioning my routine to include more natural products about a year ago, so I have definitely gone through fair amount of trial and error. For example, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect deodorant for summer months. I like Schmidt’s most of the time but it just doesn’t cut it June - September. According to my friends over on Instagram - I should try the brand Native next. I hear good things about Meow Meow too, which I may also have to try if only for the name.

In terms of my skincare routine - I try to keep it pretty simple these days (exfoliating cleanser, gentle toner, and a mineral sunscreen / moisturizer). I LOVE the Tinted Nutrient Day Cream by Josh Rosebrook! It doesn’t really offer much in the way of coverage, just evens everything out a bit, but the consistency is fabulous and doesn’t make me super oily by the end of the day like some sunscreens tend to.

I had pretty acne-prone skin before pregnancy and was hopeful that once I became pregnant, my skin might somehow magically self-regulate and I would achieve the glowy, clear-skinned face of my dreams. Alas, I’ve looked more like I did when I was 14 than I’d like to admit. Hormones - so fun! However, there is hope if you too find yourself breaking out like a teenager. While most traditional over-the-counter acne fighting ingredients are considered off-limits (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids...) the Aztec Secret - Indian Healing Clay Mask has saved. the. day. I have to use it 3 times per week, which is definitely a commitment, but the results in just three weeks have been so worth it.  Plus, it’s a nice relaxing self-care ritual I have really come to look forward to! I still have a few cystic bumps here and there, but they are much improved and I can’t recommend this product enough.

I don’t wear a ton of makeup on a day-to-day basis, which you would never know by looking in my medicine cabinet because I practically hoard the stuff! I have not found the perfect all-natural swaps for some of my staples (for example, nothing compares to my Cle de Peau concealer that I can’t give up… I’ve tried! But it’s just that good). Some great natural brands and products that have made it into my regular rotation: W3ll People Expressionist mascara - it looks so natural, never clumpy, and doesn’t melt down my face in the hot humid temps. I also love the Tata Harper Lip Tints and the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer for the perfect faux glow. I still use my trusty Dior foundation when I need more coverage, but the Alima Pure Pressed Powder Foundation is all natural and provides the perfect finish for everyday use. It works really nicely over the Nutrient Day Cream I mentioned earlier too.


One of my favorite places to discover new products and brands is a small shop in DC called Take Care Shop -  Follain also has a great online selection if you don’t have a good local option for non toxic bath + beauty! Thanks so much for reading this week and if you have any recommendations, please shoot me a message! I would love to learn about your favorite natural skin and beauty products!

natural products

Maternity Fashion

alix-maternity-fashion

Hello hello!  

I am so happy to be back and writing for the Bundle of Joy blog, this time about something that I am thinking a lot about these days.... maternity fashion!

Full disclosure - I am by no means an expert in this arena. As this is my first time dressing a bump I am still very much learning (and making some mistakes) as I go. But for the rest of you first timers out there, maybe you can learn a thing or two, or at least what not to do, from me :)

I’m now in my 18th week of pregnancy and am officially no longer able to wear my old pants. For a while I did the old hair tie around the button and through the loop of my jeans trick… it’s effective but... definitely not the most attractive option in the world. Thanks to a very sweet friend, I was upgraded to the “Instant Button” , which is essentially the same concept just using elastic made to look like the top of your jeans. Effective and attractive. These were a great solution for that awkward stage where you’re not quite big enough for maternity clothes, but your old clothes definitely aren’t comfortable anymore. My sister-in-law, who is also expecting, swears by the Belly Band. I have yet to purchase one for myself but hear only good, comfy things about it!

During the day I work as a floral designer so, fortunately, I am able to keep it pretty casual most of the time. This usually means sneakers, leggings and a loose tunic, which was basically my work wardrobe pre-pregnancy as well. The one thing I did invest in early on (out of necessity) was a new bra. I went up several sizes and even my old sports bras weren’t going to cut it, fit or comfort wise. I got two great bras from Uniqlo - no underwire but still totally supportive and very soft. Highly recommend!

Other stores I have purchased maternity clothing from so far include Old Navy (super affordable leggings and tank dresses), the Gap (I found a really pretty floral wrap dress there that I love!), H&M (I got a pair of white jeans that are super soft and fit well, I did NOT however realize how hot full panel pants make you so… I won’t be wearing them as far into the summer as I had hoped), and I also did a Stitch Fix box of maternity clothes. I didn’t keep everything, but I got a great striped dress and wrap cardigan that will double as a nursing cover so it was still a success in my book!

Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ve been wearing a ton more dresses. I love that they aren’t tight in the belly area at all (I do not miss my high waisted jeans!) and I’ve been able to wear a lot of dresses from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe as well, which I hope to do for as long as I can. I’m trying to mostly buy things I can wear both now and after delivery, so I forsee lots of loose and flowy maxi dresses in my future for this summer!

I think my biggest piece of advice so far would be to just go ahead and put your comfort above style. We had a few weddings to attend this Spring and I did not realize just how much of a toll the added weight would take on my feet in heels. Skip the heels, ladies! Unless (like me) you really want to wear them,  in which case go for it - just be sure to bring along bandaids. I was seriously blistered within MINUTES of leaving the hotel! Ouch!

Anyway, as I’m still very much learning and figuring out how to navigate bump style, I’d love to hear from other moms about what has worked for you. Where were your favorite places to find maternity clothes? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

 

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great week!

Xoxo