Mama, Play, Pure Barre, Think - Speak - Inspire

A Decade with Dani

Over the past 10 years, I’ve attended more events than I can count, have had the privilege to see some amazing people tie the knot, quite a few beautiful blessings brought into this world and been extremely grateful for all of the professional opportunities that have come my way. While there’s been a lot of heartache and loss, I am so lucky to have such an amazing support system by my side through it all.

In 2010, I moved to Charleston, SC, after living in Charlotte, NC for just over 5 years.

Charleston, SC

Seven months later (May 2011), I unexpectedly lost my sister, and my world, along with my the rest of my family’s, was turned upside down. Some days I feel like that was a life time ago, and other days, I can’t wrap my head around how quickly time flies.

Before my cousin’s wedding. AKA our last night together.

Five months after losing my sister, I found myself on a plane to Colorado to attend Pure Barre Training. Who would’ve thought it would become such a huge part of my life?

First and third photos were taken at training in August 2011. Second and fourth, three years later.

For the majority of 2012, I spent my days and nights all over South Carolina sitting on bar stools, tearing up dance floors and ensuring that Red Bull remained top of my mind for everyone I encountered. Somehow I found time to teach classes and having the balance of the two kept me sane… sort of. I even had the opportunity to represent the US in Amsterdam with some amazing men and women on the company dance and soccer team. Let’s be serious, I was a part of the team with the high kicks, not kicking goals.

I started 2013 on the right foot, literally, by running my first 1/2 marathon in Los Angeles. Midway through the year, I found myself packing my bags and heading back to Charlotte, NC to switch things up a bit career wise. This also allowed for me to join the Pure Barre Corporate Training Team in a part time capacity.

If competing on the dance team once wasn’t enough, I was lucky enough to be a part of it again in 2014, this time heading to Red Bull’s mothership in Austria.

In Austria dancing my heart out.

By this point, Pure Barre was getting more and more air time in my life. After a lot of consideration, I left Red Bull and got even more involved with Pure Barre.

In April 2015, I moved to Greenville, SC to take a full time position with Pure Barre. I was in Greenville for about a year in half, but Pure Barre years are like dog years, so it always seems longer.

The Pure Barre Greenville Team ❤

After a potential international opportunity in 2016 fell through, I decided it was time to give New England a try as an adult.

Four months after moving home, I got engaged. Five months after that, I found out I was pregnant. Woah. That escalated quickly.

Put a ring on it.

Hello, 2018, where we welcomed Braylon Kirk Thompson into the world. Thanks to all of the videos and photos I took throughout the year, I am able to piece together all of life’s events… cause honestly, some days I think I gave Braylon half my brain, so I’m not entirely certain what even happened last year.

March 26, 2018

Similarly, as I look back at everything that has taken place in 2019 I am grateful, proud and tired. Can we stress the tired?

Owner’s Convention 2019 in Las Vegas

As I kick off 2020, I do not necessarily have any resolutions. However, I do want to continue to get better with:

  1. Using my mental pause button more – don’t react / respond as quickly
  2. Taking things less personal
  3. Saying yes less, especially when it means I am saying no to myself
  4. Everyone is going through some sh*t, and we often don’t know the full why – people choose what version of themselves they show to us
  5. Practicing a growth mindset more often
  6. Finding more time to write. Somehow. Someway.

I’m pretty sure my Mom is probably the only one who read this. If anyone else made it through, I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start. Mom, if it’s just you, call me later on.

Walking into the next decade like.
Mama

100 Days In

One hundred days in to this little thing called motherhood. Some days, I feel like I just brought Braylon home from the hospital and other days, it’s as if having him here is all I’ve ever known.

Somewhat like my 50 Shades of Bay(baby) post, here are 100 thoughts, realizations…whatever you want to call them, that I’ve had over the past 100 days in no particular order…

I knew my life would change, but I don’t think anything could prepare me for how I would become a new version of myself.

For the most part, I enjoyed being pregnant. I was pretty nauseous and really really tired the whole first trimester, but comparatively speaking I think I was pretty lucky. Sometimes I really miss certain parts of it.

…mainly having two hands available to do all of the things.

Being really really tired found a whole new meaning in the “fourth trimester”.

Sometimes I have to stop to remind myself where this little human came from. It’s truly mind blowing and such a precious miracle.

Official theme for photos and videos of Braylon – CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP.

How can days seem so long, yet I’m constantly wondering how the heck it’s already 8pm?

I’m a prisoner in my home.

Oh, dear, please do not make me leave this house.

Wait, when is the last time I left the house?

When is the last time I showered?

When is the last time Braylon had a bath?

Do you seriously want to eat again?

Did I not just change your diaper?

What day is it?

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Do I talk to a baby more than any adult human being?

Allow at least an hour more than you think you’ll need.

… and you’ll still probably be late.

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I’m feeling great about myself…. tries on real clothes that are not athleisure… just kidding.

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If there was a way to be a parent first than a kid what a magical place the world would be.  Yeah, so basically Benjamin Button.

I’m turning into my Mother and now as a Mother, I can only hope that I literally can turn into the superhero that she is.

Sleep when the baby sleeps… oh, just shut up.

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No two situations are exactly alike, be veryyyy careful when offering new moms advice. Actually, be careful when offering any human unwarranted advice.

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The Internet is a wonderful thing.

The Internet is a terrible thing.

For the first month and a half to two months I found myself reading so many different things online — daily emails, googling any and everything, going down a rabbit hole on message boards from the past decade… and it made me start to feel a little cray cray to say the least.  I’ve definitely gotten a lot better at that and stopped obsessing (as much).

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I’ve never been good at asking for help.  Asking for help with Braylon has been no exception.  Hoping I can improve on this really soon.  Like three months ago soon.

Sometimes my mind starts to wander to the future and I try to bring myself back to the present.  There’s no sense in ruining the next 24 hours by stressing about the next 24 years. I’m really trying to actively be present in the moment with Braylon.

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If it weren’t for my Mom, I would have most definitely lost my mind.

Do you seriously want to eat again?

Taking care of a baby is a full time job.  Honestly more hours than a full time job.

Until you are in it (motherhood) there’s truly nothing that can fully prepare you for it.  No situation or person is exactly alike — different things work for different people no matter what anyone says (well, within reason people, c’mon)

I’ll do it tomorrow.

Priorities shift BIG time. There’s definitely days that I miss certain aspects of the old version of me, but then I look at Braylon and that doesn’t matter (or at least matters a whole lot less)

Laughing in his sleep. Priceless.

Seeing himself in the mirror. Even better.

Laughing at my jokes…. what, he’s not laughing at my jokes at this point? Oh, ok.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I can stand in for any person on Martin, Fresh Prince of Bel Air or The Office.

Caffeine and I became friends again. I tried to stay away, I really tried, but working more than forty hours a week and taking care of Braylon in the midst of everything else going on… it just wasn’t happening, honey.

I had hopes and dreams of blogging more once I was a Mom…. still waiting for that to magically happen… soon.

I’ve always hated doing dishes, but now it’s on a whole new level.

The dishes can get done tomorrow.

….or the next day.

Any time someone wanted to give me a “pass” since I was a new Mom…you better believe I took it.  I’ll keep taking them for as long as someone wants to give them to me actually. *18 years later*

“Being a Mom” counts as a workout, right?

Just like early on during my pregnancy, I planned to track EVERYTHING that happened with Braylon.  I quickly found that I would rely on photos, videos and various text / Facebook messages to piece it altogether. Guess it’s never too late to start and create a better log!

My Mom has always talked to herself (out loud) for as long as I can remember.  I’m convinced this originated with talking to me as baby and it just never went away… because even once Braylon can talk or is off doing his own thing, I don’t think I will be able to stop.

Stealing this one from my 50 Shades of Bay post. “These pants didn’t fit last week, so let’s try them again this week, surely this will fit. Give it up, girl.”

Oh, and this one…”Sometimes it doesn’t matter what your friend, coworker, relative, stranger, ANY other person felt, didn’t feel, did, didn’t…during their pregnancy. Sometimes, you just gotta focus on Y.O.U…. Or maybe all the time?” Just replace pregnancy with… LIFE.

Alright, I’m on a roll now… “There are some people that just know exactly what to say sometimes. Cherish those words. More importantly, cherish those people.”

I remember having really bizarre dreams throughout my pregnancy.  Now, I RARELY recall any dreams.  Is that because I don’t get into the deep sleep cycle EVER?! Did this happen to anyone else?

Stealing another one.  “Almost there.  Yes, with this post but I’ve found this being a common theme over the past months.  Planning is great and all, but there are certain things in life, like pregnancy, that you just have to kind of go with it.  Take it as it comes.  One day at a time.  I tried (key word tried) to stop obsessing about things as much as possible.  Focusing on what needs to be done in the next few hours…next few days… and so on.  I’m quite the planner when it comes to work and my personal life, but have tried to channel even more of the need for planning into my work and take a little bit out of my personal life.  It’s a work in progress.”  I need to take my own advice.

How can a baby grow from milk and milk alone?  It blows my mind.

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill

If you thought the 50 Shades of Bay post was all over the place, there’s a strong possibility that IF you’ve made it to this point, you’re just going to throw in the towel.

Is it possible to kiss your child too much?  Asking for a friend.

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The 24 hours before Braylon’s arrival and first few days after seem like they took place on another planet or during a different lifetime or were just a figment of my imagination.

Wow, I’m a control freak.

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I can do it all.

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I most definitely can not do it all.

No, I can do it all.

I’m convinced this car seat weighs 50 more pounds than it actually does.

“In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves.” – Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

I won’t write about the wide range (extreme opposite ends of the spectrum) of thoughts that I had about my marvelous significant other.

The dishes are still not done.

He’s been sleeping so well.

…whoops, spoke too soon.

Make that spoke too soon about everything. 😉

How is it already 8pm?

Ok, what year is it?

This is the worst day ever.

Just kidding, this is the best day ever.

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Is it possible to say anything without providing the person with some type of justification / logic behind it?

It shouldn’t take me too long to do this… *narrator* It took her much more time than she thought it would to do this.

How’s old the baby? …. I don’t even know. The other day I accidentally said three and a half weeks.

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Can someone please give me an IV? It is not possible to consume as much water as I need.

How do people have more than one child?!

Oh my gosh, I’ve got this, let’s have another!

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“You never understand life until it grows inside of you.” – Sandra C. Kassis

Some days I think I have more conversations with myself (in my head and out loud) and with Braylon than I do with adults.

Also, half the time I can’t differentiate from the conversations in my head with the ones that I’ve had with people…Did we actually talk about this or did I just imagine we spoke about this?

I want you to stay little forever… a few minutes later… I can’t wait for you to grow up… a few minutes later… I want you to stay little forever!

It’s hard to think back to what life was like before becoming a Mom even though it wasn’t long ago at all. One thing is for sure — I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

If you’re still here, I owe you a drink or a donut or something.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

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Last, but not least, watch What Do New Moms Do All Day

It took so much longer than I anticipated to get to 100. Guess that’s quite appropriate for what this post is about. Hope you have a marvelous Sunday and maybe this even prompted a nap!

Mama, Product Reviews

Faves, Finds & Flops: Mama Edition 1.0

fullsizeoutput_2b39.jpegIf you’re anything like me you’re overwhelmed by creating and / or purchasing from a Baby Registry. I was super excited to start mine once we found out we were expecting. I quickly realized how time consuming it was…and that was before I even stepped inside the store. One of the reasons I chose Babies ‘R Us was due to the great perks they offered. Unfortunately, the closer I got to my due date, the closer the store got to closing. Using my completion discount became a little tricky and they decided not to honor hundreds of dollars in rewards that I had accumulated. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.

I was also registered at Amazon. If I knew someone that was getting ready to register now, I would definitely recommend Amazon and then choosing one with a storefront as well (ex. Target or BuyBuyBaby!). You can easily sync all of your registries on The Bump making it easy to see all of your wish list items at the same time.

If you or someone you know needs any help, feel free to point them in my direction or maybe my Mom’s…I think she outdid me with the amount of time and effort she put into preparing for Braylon’s arrival!

Here are 12 products that I wanted to share with you. As I am sure you can imagine, there’s definitely some additional “mama products” that I am using a lot right now and more will continue to be added into our daily routines.

Be on the lookout for “non mama products” too! ❤

Storksak Sandy Diaper Bag – Braylon’s Daddy got this bag for us and I absolutely love it!  The pockets on the inside and outside are perfectly sized and placed.  The bag comes with a high quality changing mat and food and bottle bag. It’s a great size and easily attaches to my stroller via the stroller straps.

Jeep Everyday Backpack Diaper Bag – I couldn’t make my mind up on whether or not I wanted a bag or a backpack, so wound up with both.  The backpack doesn’t have as much space, but most definitely holds all of the essentials and is great option depending on what we have on the agenda for the day. I’m only 54 days in to this whole Mom thing, but imagine that both bags will get plenty of use!

Vitafusion Prenatal Gummy Vitamins – After I left the Doctor Office confirming my pregnancy (because 4 at home tests were not enough) I stopped by CVS and purchased some prenatal vitamins from The Honest Company. I am not sure if it was because I was still early on and extremely nauseous the majority of the time, but the vitamins did not seem to be sitting well with me. I ended up switching to the gummy vitamins from Vitafusion and LOVED them. Yes, I feel like a child taking them, but whatever. I’m just about seven weeks postpartum and still enjoying them.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter – My best friend, Ashley, gave this to me in October and I have been using it ever since.  The majority of the time, I used it on my whole body rather than just the belly.  Whether or not this butter was the reason I did not get any stretch marks during my pregnancy will always remain a mystery.  Either way, I enjoyed the fact that it was fragrance fee, the consistency and how it made my skin feel and look.

Gerber’s Knit Burp Cloths – The color / print of the ones that I have are a little different than what you see in the below (I think they may have been a Babies R Us exclusive), but highly recommend these. I loved the material and how they absorb the milk so easily. I have a handful of flannel ones from Gerber and Koala Baby, all of which work well, but the material of the ones below has been my personal fave!

The First Years Night Cravings Bottle Warmer & Cooler – I haven’t taken full advantage of this product’s features just yet. Behind the bottle warmer portion, two bottles can be kept cool, so you could easily have the bottles in the nursery with you and then pop them into the warmer for your convenience. I am mostly still breastfeeding, but have given Braylon bottles, so I’ve used the warmer to heat them up. Where we live right now, Braylon’s room is not far from the kitchen, so having this in the nursery is not entirely necessary, but this would be a great feature depending on the layout of the house. At some point I may find that I will take full advantage though!

Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer – Easy to use and store when not in use. You add 7 ounces of water to the container, throw it in the microwave with two minutes with the bottles, pacifiers, breast pump parts, etc. and then let it sit for another 10 minutes and voila!

Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – Braylon really really likes this. A little too much. I’ve basically made myself crazy with all of the things that I’ve read on the do’s and do not’s of sleeping and people have mixed feelings (uhhh, beliefs?) on this product, but this thing has been marvelous in our house so far.

NOTE: On May 15th, this magical device turned off (with the baby in it) and will not turn back on.  I’ve completed the form on Fisher Price’s website and hoping to hear back soon.  I’ve read a number of consumer reviews that said they replaced it, so fingers crossed. *tears, tears and more tears* 

Baby Trend Skyview Plus Travel System – I haven’t utilized the stroller in it’s full capacity, but so far so good for the most part. I wish the “peek-a-boo” window made it a little easier to see the baby and that it had velcro on the flap to keep it open (considering adding my own). Only complaint with the car seat, when securing him into the seat, you have to hold the two buckles perfectly aligned over one another to pop it into place…and it’s a little tricky, but with time I’ve gotten better at it.  The car seat is 11 pounds (assuming this is average?!), so now I’m lugging around 33 pounds – talk about a bonus workout!

Jensen Portable CD Player – I just purchased this today! I’ve been meaning to pick up one or order one online since my baby shower when I got three different CDs (see below). I love the size of it and excited that it has Bluetooth capabilities too. We’ve already tried it out and so far both Mommy and Baby love it.

Rockabye Baby Lullaby Renditions – I received the Jay Z and Rihanna versions at my baby shower and FINALLY heard them for the first time today. LOVE them and would definitely recommend. I also received this Hip Hop CD, which has songs from Outkast, Salt N Pepa, Eminem and more!


Spacedye Hug The Belly Maternity Long Legging – If you’re pregnant, know someone who is pregnant, planning to get pregnant, heck even if you’re not pregnant… I can’t recommend these pants from Beyond Yoga enough. They are on sale for $57.50 (normally $115) and if you use code oRNrpX at checkout, you’ll get an additional 15% off. If the code gives you any trouble just click here. NOTE: You can use the 15% off anything, not just *these* pants.

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What are your favorite products that you use as a Mom?! Any must try products in general? I’m open to anything — food, books, gadgets…you name it!