From Bejiggly to Bellefit (GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!)

During pregnancy, you spend 9 months (or an eternity if you are April the giraffe) watching your body expand in ways you didn’t think possible.

With both of my pregnancies I pretty much peed on a stick and as soon as the tests were positive, I had offensively huge boobs, my waist was gone, and the “birthing hips” emerged.

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Approximately 7 months

I’m also petite, ringing in at a whopping 5 foot 1, so there’s only so much real estate on my body. I tend to show later – like after 18/20 weeks, but once that happens I basically can’t breathe because my stomach is up to my throat.

With my first pregnancy, eight plus years ago, I gained a total of 25 pounds and hung on to the last 8-10 pounds for about a year. I blame it on living in Boston at the time and needing insulation from the cold. I knew nothing of post-partum girdles and corsets back then. Nothing.

My most recent pregnancy was MUCH different. First of all, I was 39 and I honestly feared how my “advanced maternal age” would affect weight gain and weight loss. Plus, at 32 weeks I got thrown for a loop when I was put on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy because of some spotting. Up until that point, I clocked an hour on the treadmill (just walking) every. damn. day…trying to maintain an active lifestyle.

Still, with life as a mom, running a very energetic 8-yr-old from school, to dance, to playdates, etc., coupled with a two hospital visits, a first trimester of dry heaving and puking, and a dash of someone looking down on me saying, “she’s been through the ringer…let’s throw her a bone”, I only managed to gain a total of 18 pounds and still birthed a healthy, 8-pound, baby girl.

9 months

I had the balls to allow a film crew in my house to film something for our alma mater (Go Gators) at nine months preggo, even though it’s a known thing that the camera adds 10 pounds.

All of that being said, I turned 40 just two weeks after delivering, and that was looming in the back of my head. EVERYTHING is harder when you’re older, including losing baby weight. Thankfully, you lose a significant amount on the table, which provides a nice running start. But then this thing happens to your body. In minutes you go from having a hard round belly filled with a baby, to an empty one that is so bejiggly (don’t fake the funk, mamas), that you don’t even know what to do with it. And it happens no matter how much weight you’ve gained. It can be a confidence killer.

This is where I discovered the magic of Bellefit. And it is magic, IF you use it as directed.

I received a bundle, which contained a dual-closure girdle and a corset. The website is great and walks you through exactly what size to order, but I did speak with a real person because I was cocky and thought I for sure would need a small. Pffft. Spoiler alert – I was wrong.

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With this bundle, you get two sizes so that you basically ease into wearing it and tighten it as you go along. So I started with a large girdle and worked my down to the medium corset. I had no idea how long it would take to see results, nor when I should tighten things up, so I just went with what felt right. I began wearing it the day I was discharged from the hospital (two days postpartum), from the moment I woke up to the second I went to bed. I did not sleep in it (although some people do). There’s also an accompanying free app that helps track progress. (Sidenote: My phone used to be filled with nothing but an iTunes account brimming with 90s hip-hop and multiple photo filter apps to give the appearance of Botox. Now it’s filled with apps to track baby weight loss, the last time I fed my child, and live baby monitor feeds.)

Then….when I had a photographer in my home to do a newborn shoot/family photos seven days after delivery, something happened that rocked my world. I took my favorite AG skinny jeans out of my closet and had a stare down with them. In my head, this voice was saying, “Back away from the skinny jeans…you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.” But I flicked that voice off and started one leg at a time…fast like pulling off a band aid. And…They. Effing. Fit. No shimmying, no lying on the bed, nada. They slid right on like I hadn’t skipped a beat and I wanted to cry.

skinny jeans

That’s when I started to do measurements. I’ve never been one to weigh myself or attach a number to anything physically, because it messes with my sanity. I much prefer to judge how I’m doing based on how I feel, look and how my clothes fit. So busting out the measuring tape and scale was out of character for me, but I felt like I needed cold, hard, quantifiable evidence that this was really happening. It went something like this…

11 days pp

one month pp

2 months pp

Here are some other deets and a timeline for my experience.

2/8/17: (two days postpartum) I started wearing the dual-closure girdle on the looser hooks. You will have to lie down to get it closed at first, and it is tight. But not debilitating tight. It actually feels really good and supportive keeping you all sucked in. It feels good from a posture perspective too.

My experience was definitely faster than I anticipated. On day 4, I no longer had to lie down to get it closed. That was so motivating, I did the jig in front of my mirror.

2/18/17: Graduated to tighter hooks on dual-closure girdle without lying down!

3/6/17: (one month postpartum) This is when I measured my hips. At 39 weeks pregnant, my hips were 41 inches. At one month postpartum, wearing Bellefit, I was at 38 inches and graduated to the medium corset on the looser hooks. And hips don’t lie…ask Shakira.

3/25/17: Graduated to tighter hooks on corset and continue to wear it presently and track my progress.

Guys, even my newborn can’t believe it!

sienna

A few more things to know.

This is NOT one of those Kardashian-esque waist trainers. It’s a legit post-partum support system made of medical grade materials.

I wear Bellefit like its my religion. It’s the first thing I put on when I wake up, after I pee holding one child with the other one yelling at me to pour her milk. I am better at sticking to my Bellefit regimen than I am at remembering if I brushed my teeth or put on deodorant before I head to the carpool line (#newmomprobs).

Speaking of peeing…In the interest of full disclosure, I am telling you now to allot time to get the hooks undone before you have to pee. Even if you are the queen of kegels, sometimes you are ready to pee before you realize it. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, mamas.

*****GIVEAWAY TIME!!!*****

Bellefit is, without question, one of my favorite things on the planet and their customer service is just as good as their products. They’re supportive and knowledgable and, such an awesome company. So awesome, as a matter of fact, that they are allowing me to give away a Bellefit bundle (1 Bellefit Corset & 1 Bellefit Dual-Closure Girdle, retail price $254!) to one lucky reader!

bundle

To enter, head over to my Instagram (@whineandcheezits) and follow the directions on the post there. It will be the one with the picture from this post of me wearing my skinny jeans and shocked look, because I live for that picture and that moment.

You can also receive $20 off your Bellefit order, using the promo code RACHEL20. So really, everyone is a winner!! Use this link to order >> https://www.bellefit.com/a/6/

The Bellefit Bundle giveaway is open through Friday, April 14th and the winner will be announced on Instagram shortly after.

Good luck!!

Bellefit Postpartum Girdles and Corsets

Chalk it Up to Chalking it Up

I’ve never really met a stage I didn’t like.

(I mean, my friend and I recently murdered Ginuwine’s Pony at her 40th bday bash. Even though it’s sideways, it’s still a gem.)

I had ballet and tap shoes on my feet about 30 seconds after I took my first steps.

I’ve danced in front of big audiences. Cheered in front of big crowds.

I even missed a few days of my senior year of high school for an 18-episode stint on MTVs, The Grind (yes, that one and yes, Eric Nies was even hotter in person)

So suffice it to say, I am not shy. But for some reason, I HATE having my picture taken. I always feel weird “posing” for the camera. My lip starts twitching from fake smiling and I have one eye that sometimes goes rogue in photos – I call it my doll eye.

doll eye

It just never feels natural. I mean come on…when are you ever casually walking down a beach with a well-behaved child giggling and skipping together while your makeup is flawless and the wind is blowing your hair into beautiful tousled beach waves.

Spoiler alert – never. Because what really happens is that you go to the beach, your child only wants to make a sandcastle while you try to sit in a way that your post-baby body rolls don’t come pop out somewhere, your expensive blowout from the night before is destroyed and some asshole preteen throws and football to his friend who kicks sand in your kid’s eye and the hysterics start which ruins the day. Am I right?

“Natural” is hard in a photography setting. So when I was talking to photographer, Courtney Ortiz about her new Chalkboard Sessions…I was intrigued.

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She covered the back wall of her Hollywood studio in chalkboard paint with the purpose of having kids come in with moms, dads, sibs, whatever, and just draw. No rules, no formality. Just pick up chalk and go with it.

My daughter loves to draw. She’s constantly doodling or engaging in some sort of art project leaving shreds of paper all over my house like she’s leading me on some cleaning treasure hunt. So I knew it could be right up our alley. When I told her what we were going to do she said, “So I can draw anything?”

“Yup! Anything?”

“No rules?”

“Nope! Whatever you feel like doing, babe”

“Can I draw someone throwing up?”

So, Courtney – maybe there should be some guidelines 😉

We get to the studio. The chalkboard wall is exactly as described and we were pumped. We strategized about what to draw, chose colors, discussed what it should look like, and just started creating. We did not sit in front of the camera and pose for an hour. We didn’t have to tilt our chin at an awkward angle or laugh at something fake funny.

We literally just drew. Every once in a while, Courtney would say, “Hey guys, turn around for a minute…or sit there…or look at me”. Other than that, she just followed our lead. Let us set the tone. She was snapping away from different angles.

And something amazing happened. When I got the pictures back I was immediately struck by the fact that every single smile and laugh was a real one. Not a contrived one. They were authentic, in the moment smiles because we were enjoying THIS moment Courtney facilitated.We weren’t there to”take pictures”. We were there for Courtney to take pictures while WE created our artwork and just spent time together.

That’s when I realized that this woman is a creative genius.

She has created a format where you are so distracted by doing something natural with your kids, that the pictures come out exuding true, organic laughter and levity. It makes so much sense! We were so into what we were making in the moment that we weren’t even paying attention to the camera. We were too busy drawing a princess castle, and deciding where to put the flowers, and what color her hair should be.

Totally in our element while Courtney was simultaneously in hers.That’s a magical equation right there!

Courtney went beyond taking our picture. She captured very REAL and loving moments between us. She captured the silliness and the fun. That’s what makes these so special. And for the record,  there are some AH-MAZING pics of us actually looking at the camera that I will no doubt print and hang on my walls (confession: my house is a shrine to my child), but the ones I loved most were the candid, action ones and I’m sharing a small sampling below that give me the feels.

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sobel_8

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And I loved it so much that I’m geeking out over what Courtney is allowing me to do.

Ready? I am giving away (like for FREE, you guys) a Chalkboard Session with Courtney Ortiz at her Downtown Hollywood studio. You will get a studio session with an 8×10 signed original print – that’s a $225 dollar value. FOR FREE.

Here’s what you need to do if you want it. It’s only two steps!

  1. Like the Whine & Cheez(its) page on Facebook (if you don’t already)
  2. Comment on my post for this blog letting me know you’ve liked the page AND tell me what you love most about your mother (or special woman in your life).

Want Extra Entries?!?

Follow Whine & Cheez(its) on Instagram  (using whineandcheezits) and do the same exact thing on the post I have up there about my session…and don’t forget to tag @CourtneyStudios!

Winner will be selected at random on Monday May 2nd!

And if you’d like to have your own “moment”, you can  book your Chalkboard Session with Courtney today! You will not regret it. I mean if you want to do Mother’s Day like a boss…I’m telling you that she will LOVE a session with Courtney.

xx

Rachel

 

 

Whine & Cheez(its) Review: Read Between the Wines Game

I’m not really a game person. Actually the thought of a game night doesn’t do it for me. I’m more the “crack open a bottle of wine (or 10) and shoot the shit” kind of gal. But, my interest was piqued when I received the game “Read Between the Wines” to take for a test run. The last time I played a drinking game, was probably flip cup in the 90s. But this was WAYYYYYY more refined.

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Because my squad is all over South Florida running in different directions at different speeds, it took about a month to actually nail down a date/time for our grown-up playdate.

The game comes with everything you need, minus the wine and glasses (which I happen to have a bounty of). I told everyone to bring a bottle of wine (dealer’s choice) and I would provide the food, including “The Dip” (I’m kinda famous in some circles for my spinach artichoke dip).

wines

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Once everyone said their hellos and caught up, I got super bossy and moved everyone to the table so we could get to business. I made the mistake of not really reviewing the rules/directions BEFORE everyone got there which did not work in my favor. I totally screwed up the first couple of rounds and even left some things out.

That's me screwing up the directions and my friends laughing at me

That’s me screwing up the directions and my friends laughing at me

And if I wasn’t leaving things out, my friend since before birth, Kelley, was totally derailing my wrangling with side conversations at every turn. It’s kind of her thing after a few drinks (in addition to a super squeaky voice) so we are used to it and love her immensely for it.

But once we got rolling it was highly entertaining. Basically I served as the “wine waiter” and poured a small sampling like a super knowledgeable sommelier, for each person. Then they had to taste it and write a description of the wine based on a theme I gave them from a deck of little cards provided (that’s the part I originally forgot and it’s kind of a big deal).

For example one theme was to describe the wine using sports-related terms to which I received clever responses like “tastes like burnt ball park hot dogs” and “not a home run”. Another example was to describe the upbringing of the grapes for this wine which elicited some dicey and questionable responses. Let’s just say my friends are beyond inappropriate and I effing love it.

Once everyone turned in their responses, I read them aloud and the table had to guess who said what. The winner with the most correct guesses at the end won. And the prize was (most appropriately) a bottle of wine.

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This pic speaks volumes. That’s Elise hard at work carrying the weight for her teammate, Kelley (the derailer). Kelley and I had many moments like this growing up.

We went for a few rounds, the responses definitely got funnier and more inventive (and more salacious) as we went (combo of the wine and the inherent hilariousness of my friends).

We had a great time and lots of laughs.

Thank you to all of my girls who came to play and for being such sports while I (and Marissa – my unofficial photog) were like paparazzi trying to capture all the moments. And congrats to Lorin and Debbie (the winners)! Lorin, btw, treated the game like a psychological evaluation based on the descriptions, which was clearly a winning strategy because her team took home the gold.

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I only have two MUSTS  in terms of advice if you are going to engage in this game.

  1. Study up on the rules beforehand. It’s not that they are difficult, but there are a few different steps and after a couple of glasses of wine they are not so easy to navigate (totally my fault)
  2. You CANNOT play with lame people. I’m not kidding. Don’t invite people to be “polite”. Invite funny people only or your game will suck.

If you want to experience Read Between the Wines you can purchase it at www.readbetweenwines.com or click here. And because I totes have your back, I got my readers a discount code for 15% off – RBTWINES

This is a GREAT holiday gift for the game lover who also loves wine. (Or even the teachers who are with our kids all day ;))

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Club W

Oprah is Not the Only Chick with a “Favorite Things” List

I think it’s safe to assume that one of the most popular Oprah segments of all time is her “Favorite Things” shtick. People probably had dreams about being in the audience and hearing the words, “You get a car, You get a car. YOU GET A CAR!” I mean, the woman has literally outfitted her entire audience with everything from her candles of choice to real automobiles!

oprah-s-favorite-things-o

I’m no Oprah, but I do always have a short list of my favorite places, things and people, filed away in my head. And when I love something, like really effing love it, I’m basically like a walking advertisement telling anyone who will listen. You know, minus the giant neon spinny sign, a meth addiction and crazy dance moves on the corner of 441 and Glades Rd.

Sometimes, you just have to appreciate the awesome stuff at your fingertips in your very own backyard. I have always loved feeling like a local, wherever I live. I love walking into a dry cleaner or a restaurant and having them know me by first name or recognize me right away as a regular. It’s one of those things that make this ginormous, jaded world we live in, feel just a little warmer. I am super loyal if I find a brand, restaurant or even doctor I love. And if I get an “experience” vs. just a product or service, I am totally yours forever.

There is nothing better than stumbling on something in your neck of the woods that you love so much it becomes an obsession, am I right?

So I decided to share of some of my current FAVE local spots, shops, and people, etc. to show the locals that I love, some love. Yes I frequent some behemoth brands like my daily Starbucks, but I also think it’s super rad to support our local peeps.

And before you ask, these are not paid promotions. Nobody is giving me anything in exchange. This is truly a pure, unadulterated list of one Boca gal’s regular haunts.

Here we go…

  1. Nail Depot (East Boca location).  When I met my manitherapist, Stephanie, it was basically love at first sight. So much so, that after my very first appointment a few years ago, I booked a standing every other week spot with her. Not only does she give good nail, but she is hilarious and has become more than my manitherapist. She has become a friend. I’m not even lying. We have an ongoing group text with another Depot gal (Kelly – who I love too, but she ditched us to move to the boonies). We laugh the entire time I’m there, and unlike most places where I just don’t want to make convo when I’m pampering myself, we do not shut our mouths and we hug after every appointment. She’s the best!
    My hot date every other tuesday

    My hot date every other tuesday

     

  2. Samantha Lea. Nobody is allowed near my hair except for Samantha. I did know Sam personally wayyyyy before I moved back to Florida, but that’s not what has kept me loyal to her for the last handful of years. She’s like the hair whisperer. Everyone I have sent her way loves her. She cuts (and colors) my hair, my daughter’s hair (she’s a saint) and my husband’s hair, among countless friends. Who has the energy to find someone for color, someone for cut and someone for blowouts…what do I look like a freaking Kardashian?! She’s the bomb.com and does it all.
    Doing what she does best!

    Doing what she does best!

     

  3. Raw Juce. I mentioned this gem in my last Lifestyle Mag article because I literally have an addiction to their raw oatmeal parfaits. It is like crack. Really, healthy crack and I love it like a fat kid loves cake. You don’t even know. If you haven’t experienced it, you need to. It is hands down the best juice joint in Boca.         Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 10.49.39 AM
  4. Jennifer Haley Bags. This is a newer obsession via my person, Marni, and her “new mom friends” I have willingly embraced (because, Praise Yeezus, they are awesome and not duds I just have to tolerate – I’m looking at you Lynn and Shirley ;)) So, Jennifer Haley is local and makes the most GORGEOUS bags…and…SHE is just adorbs and a pleasure to be around, which is a bonus! After Marni got hers, I obviously needed one because that’s what best friends do (seriously, she has gotten legit pissed at me if I forget to tell her about a new lipstick or hair product I’m into). I bought two (so far) but really I wanted 20. They are that awesome. (And I’m not the only one who thinks so…many, and I mean MANY celebs are into them in a BIG way.)
    I want to sleep with this bag. That's how much I love it.

    I want to make out with this bag. That’s how much I love it.

     

  5. Casa D’Angelo. A little more than two years ago, this guy I met on Match.com picked me up for our first date and took me to Casa D’Angelo in Boca (one of the handful of  incredible restaurants the group owns). We ordered the most unbelievable food (because that’s all they serve there) and then didn’t eat because we were SOOOO nervous. Because fate works in mysterious ways, he now works for the group and we have more than made up for our lack of eating the deliciousness they serve up. You can’t get better Italian.
    If there is an occasion, we are most likely to celebrate it here. Doesn't get any better!

    If there is an occasion, we are most likely to celebrate it here. Doesn’t get any better!

     

  6. NK Threads.  If you monogram it, they will come. These two local women do just that…and they come in droves. Seriously…they can (and do) personalize ANYTHING. I’ve bought shirts, bags, waterproof pouches for my kid’s wet bathing suit. You name it, they can personalize it and make it super cute. Last week I posted a pic of a hat I got from them and had like 6 girls in 30 seconds ask where they could get it.

    "The Hat"

    “The Hat”

 

This is just a glimpse into the things that I love in Boca (I haven’t even touched upon dade and broward), but I just might have to make this a regular feature. You might have also noticed a pattern of me forming friendships, rather than just being a patron, because this tends to happen with people and places I regularly go to. I just don’t know any other way!

AND HERE COMES THE GIVEAWAY!!!

The fabulous ladies at NK Threads are generously gifting a monogrammed wristlet (just like the one in the picture below, with the monogram of your choice) and here’s what you have to do to be entered to win – it’s only 2 super simple steps (and a bonus round if you choose):

  1. Share the Whine & Cheez(its) Facebook Page on your page (not just the post but the actual page).
  2. Comment on my Facebook post for this particular blog telling me what YOUR favorite local spot is and why.
  3. BONUS: There are also 2 ways to score bonus entries. 1) If you share the page or post on other social networks (Instagram, Twitter), you’ll get a bonus entry for each one, so be sure to tag Whine & Cheez(its) so I know (I’m whineandcheezits on insta and whinecheezits on twitter). 2) If you get your friends to “like” the Whine & Cheez(its) Facebook page (not just the post), you’ll get a bonus entry for each like. Just tag them in the comments of my post so I can see how they came to me and give you credit.

wristlet

 

I’d also love to know if YOU share my affinity for these things and to know what you guys are into. Tell me what I need to try!

 

 

 

Club W