Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks

Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.comCollage 2

Today, I hit 28 weeks of pregnancy, and realized that it was time to do maternity photos! Of course, my self-shot photoshoots are never as good as the ones I get to do of other people, but I still love doing them. I shot Asa’s at 28 weeks as well, and it’s kind of interesting to see the differences between the two. With Asa, I wanted incredibly pared down, makeup-less, super simple, and all of the focus to be on the belly. This time around, I wanted to be flowing and ethereal and beautiful and… well, all of the focus is still on the belly.

And I didn’t intentionally get girlier with this shoot just because it’s a girl, but I think my subconscious decided that’s what we were going to do.

Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com

If I had patience, I would have waited for my husband to get home to take these pictures, but I always find it’s hard to communicate to him what I really want without stepping on his toes about how he photographs. Being married to the perfectionist photographer who is taking your pictures while also being a (less perfectionist) photographer with a very clear vision of what you want can be… interesting. We have such different styles of photography — I tend to focus on the person, leaning towards spontaneous and natural shots with a touch of lightness and fairytale to them, while he tends to focus on the technicality of things to get perfect lighting and perfect posing and he prefers everything to be set up just so.Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com He also tends not to pay attention as much to the people in the shot, and often snaps the shutter right as I am talking, fixing my hair, blinking, or generally just not paying attention to what he’s doing. Together, shooting others, we make a great team — I can focus on people, he can focus on technicalities, and our photos turn out beautifully. But when he’s shooting me… I think I’m a little too controlling over photos of myself to really relax and just let him work.

It’s something I need to get over.Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com I attempted a few shots actually in the woods, but let me tell you: wrangling a “dress” (it’s a piece of fabric I have yet to sew into anything), a tripod, a camera, branches, and a pregnant belly while also swatting away mosquitoes and ensuring you don’t step through any rotten logs does not make for pretty pictures. Even if the woods do have enchanting light.

Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com Outdoor maternity photoshoot: 28 weeks | www.eccentricowl.com

But, you know. They turned out mostly to my satisfaction in the end! And now, all I have to do is make it through the summer without dying. If you need me, I’ll probably be in Asa’s kid pool with him, because this pregnant lady does not take summer well.

Happy Friday!

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Real life versus blog life

Real life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.comReal life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.comWe have deer that just hang out in our yard. They were out today. I love them.

Do you ever find that, reading back through blog posts or looking at pictures, your blog life seems much more beautiful than your real life? I read on one of those forums I mentioned earlier (GOMI, if you’re curious, which provides some great insight, a lot of laughter (for me), and maybe some hurt if you’re one to take offense easily) that several people have seen fashion bloggers “in the wild” and they dress nothing like their blogging selves, or act nothing like their online persona.

On one hand, I want to semi-defend bloggers, since the two times I met someone who reads my blog or follows my Instagram, it was a last-minute errand at the end of the day and I had already changed into my yoga pants for the evening. (One instance, I put on jeans and a nerdy tee; the other instance, I was in yoga pants, boots, hadn’t washed my makeup after an emotional episode, and badly needed to wash my hair. Ahem.). Really, especially with the “fancier” blogs, those people probably don’t dress that way every single day. I don’t post outfits I hate, and sometimes I post lazy jeans-and-tees, but only rarely because in a way my style is aspirational to myself. I blog how I want to look all the time.Real life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.com Real life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.com On the other hand, though, I try hard to post what I’m actually wearing on a daily basis, with the occasional dream outfits just for fun, because… that’s what this is. I definitely don’t understand consistently wearing clothes for a blog that you wouldn’t wear in real life, unless you’ve stated that you’re blogging purely for the costumery.

As for personality on the blog versus real life, well… I hope I come across the same way in either situation (I am probably chattier and laugh more in real life, which is something harder to convey in blogging…). I do get curious, though, whether people envision my life as it really is, because I have no qualms bringing up anything in my life whether it’s good or bad, or if it’s some softer, dreamier version of how I live.

Real life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.com Real life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.comIn my blog life, if you haven’t read far back enough, it looks like I have an endless closet (true), I live in a gorgeous area (I do), I have no issues finding clothes during pregnancy (well…), and life is pretty good (it’s not bad.) In real life, we live in my parents’ unfinished basement (we do pay rent) because my husband’s work can’t (or won’t…?) pay him quite enough for us to survive on our own, most of my clothes no longer fit, and many non-blog days are spent in yoga pants because I don’t have a car and can’t go anywhere anyway.

Put bluntly, life isn’t quite enchanting, but it’s not bad. There are new opportunities for my husband at work that will hopefully give us the bump we need to find our own space again, I get to start a garden here and reap the benefits of home-grown foods, and my parents are really wonderful people. I would love to have my own house right now, especially with the second baby on the way and nesting kicking in, but work is not an option for me, so here we are.  Real life versus blog life | www.eccentricowl.com

Dress, ASOS maternity | cardigan, Target | boots, Kohl’s | belt, from this skirt

Do you find that your blog life unintentionally seems dreamier than real life (or, if you’re not a blogger, do you ever find your perception of a blogger’s life changes when they reveal more about themselves?) I think even sharing on Facebook amongst friends can become an “edited” version of real life.

What sticks out to me the most, though, is that lately I’ve noticed many bloggers (usually more popular ones) who stage so. many. shots on Instagram, or who have an overall color scheme (when you scroll through an Instagram feed and it’s all go the same look…), or who only use images from professional cameras transferred to a device to share on Instagram. I totally understand wanting life to look perfect online, especially if you have followers who expect a certain quality of posting from you. I considered trying to streamline my Insta-shares to have a better “look” at one time purely for aesthetics, but then I thought… what for? My entire theme, so to speak, is real life. I don’t want to be fake. (That’s not to say that the feeds of those whose entire aesthetic melds is fake — some people just live pastel lives –, but sometimes it can be)

And right after I noticed the overall theme of “blogger feeds” on Instagram (and read about it on GOMI), I saw three different bloggers post the “magazine, coffee, flowers, sparkly something” staged picture in a row in my feed. And it made me laugh. And realize that I’d rather be myself than a certain type of blogger.

I may not always have pretty words or perfect pictures to share, but that’s a-ok with me. Someday I’ll make a “day in the life” video so y’all can see just how not-perfect life is, and maybe share yours with me. Because the imperfect people are the ones I like the most. Real life is pretty fascinating, isn’t it?

I’m going to end this ramble before it becomes another blog post entirely. I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday! (I forgot it was St. Patrick’s day. I am not wearing green (yet), but I wore this yesterday grocery shopping, so… here, have an outfit that is not festive!)

(Edit: I see nothing wrong with cultivating what you share online, at all! I forgot to say until someone commented, choosing what you share and what you keep to yourself is fine. I just think when a blog gets to that place where everything is perfect and there’s no more personality in it, it starts to feel staged, and perhaps fake. Not that I don’t enjoy pretty pictures and positive, perfect blogging; it’s just more interesting to me to read reality as well as see pretty things.)

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1960’s wiggle dress and playing dress up

1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com One of the things I love about having a blog is that it allows me to wear and share things that I can’t wear for more than the time it takes to shoot the outfit, or I just don’t wear because… still trying to get over that inner fear of being different in public. This outfit falls into the former group (and maybe a little bit into the latter, but mostly the former.) The dress itself is made of material that stretches, but the lining does not. Therefore, the lining hikes up to just under my belly/over my butt when I walk, and it’s impossible to bend over or reach for things without lining-seams popping. I really need to just remove the lining entirely, but I’m too lazy and afraid it might ruin the structure of this gorgeous 60’s coat and dress set. 1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com 1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.comI also cannot wear these shoes for more than 30 minutes without pain, now that I’m carrying an extra person. My hips also protest heels most of the time.

So the reality of today is that I decided I wanted to play dress up in head-to-toe vintage, and showcase a beautiful set that I rarely get to wear. I bought it while I was pregnant with Asa, on a guess that it might fit my not-pregnant self, and I’ve been hoarding it in my closet due to popped lining seams and reticence to let beautiful vintage see the light of day for fear of ruining it. And now, I’m back in my standard at-home-all-day pregnancy garb, which is yoga pants, a camisole, and a cute polka dot shirt. I kept the hair rolls and the lipstick, though.1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com 1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com 1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com The only thing I can’t vouch for being vintage is these shoes — they certainly look vintage, but I think they’re probably repros. No idea, though; I thrifted them. The earrings were my grandma’s and the sunglasses are thrifted but also vintage.

Personally, I do usually prefer vintage with a slight modern twist, such as a graphic tee with a vintage skirt, more because it fits my lifestyle and personality better than full-on vintage all the time. But I have those days where I wish that people still dressed like this for grocery store trips, and thus… a blog post like this is born. 1960's wiggle dress and playing dress up | www.eccentricowl.com

Vintage dress & coat set, vintage glasses, and heels, thrifted | earrings, grandma’s | lipstick, Milani matte Diva

Do you wear vintage head to toe, or do you prefer vintage with a modern twist? (Skye, I already know your answer. Haha!)

I hope you’re all having a wonderful day! And by the way, I can’t remember if I mentioned: if you want to join in on my week of lipstick challenge, you can even though it’s late now — post to my Facebook wall, or hashtag #eolipstickchallenge on Instagram so I can see!

Happy Thursday!

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The Difference Between Pregnancy #1 and Pregnancy #2

Vintage Hippie Dress, Nude Lipstick | www.eccentricowl.comVintage Hippie Dress, Nude Lipstick | www.eccentricowl.com With my first pregnancy, I was one of those women that other pregnant women seem to love to hate on the internet. It was a very, very easy pregnancy. I had about 4 weeks of mild only-on-the-weekdays nausea followed by 2 weeks of get-up -too-early-and-you’ll-puke, and then after that… I kind of forgot I was pregnant. I felt great, I felt beautiful, I felt like everyone should just always love pregnancy no matter what. (well, okay; I didn’t, I wished everyone could feel the way I felt while I was pregnant with Asa, but I understood that wasn’t the case.) I only needed to sleep with pillow support between my legs at around 7 months, and had no ligament pain outside of that. I had very few food aversions (bread and peanut butter), had no “bad” cravings, ate everything, loved red meat, stuck to a mostly Paleo diet, and really, really loved being pregnant. Except for the last two weeks, when I had a bad case of PUPPS followed by 68 hours of nonstop prodromal labor. That, I wasn’t so fond of. Vintage Hippie Dress, Nude Lipstick | www.eccentricowl.com This second pregnancy, however… it’s like night and day. I’m 14 weeks in and still feeling sick if I get up too early. I already need a pillow for support at night, and when I walk, it hurts. I hate the smell of meat cooking. I can’t stick to a Paleo diet because I hate meat and also any veggie that is not artichokes, asparagus, or (homemade) french fries. I try making green smoothies, and my stomach turns. I’m tired all the time. I feel chubby unless I’m wearing something that clearly emphasizes it’s a baby belly and not a donut belly. I never forget I’m pregnant; it’s always there. I gag every morning for no reason, and several times I’ve almost thrown up (literally, the dry heave before the real puke) while changing Asa’s full diapers, which NEVER made me sick before. I hate water.

Besides which, this pregnancy seems to have made me into an antisocial grouch in many ways, but especially when it comes to attention from my husband. I feel bad, but I just want to be left alone, which was not the case with pregnancy number one. I’m hoping all of these things will fade away as I get more settled into the second trimester, but I was feeling better by now with Asa so I’m in that stupid land of despair where I can’t convince my pregnant brain that things will get better. Vintage Hippie Dress, Nude Lipstick | www.eccentricowl.com Vintage Hippie Dress, Nude Lipstick | www.eccentricowl.com So, I am trying to enjoy what I can. The fact that my pregnancy cravings for artichokes means I’m less worried about how much they cost, because when I crave this little healthy food, I’d better eat the stuff that does sound good. The fact that I can say “the baby wants it” when my husband asks if we really need more chocolate. The fact that I have a husband who is understanding of my no-touchy-ness.

But really, I’m already looking forward to labor. To having a newborn to nurse and cuddle and stare at. To not being pregnant any  more. To my clothes fitting again. Vintage Hippie Dress, Nude Lipstick | www.eccentricowl.com

Dress, vintage/thrifted | necklace/crown, c/o Oasap (old) | boots, JC Penney | lipstick, Milani Nude Creme

But, at least I can enjoy wearing fabulous vintage that I wouldn’t choose normally, like this dress, whose print reminded one of my friends of abstract Daleks. Which, being a Doctor Who lover, made me adore it even more.

What differences did you mamas out there notice between pregnancy #1 and pregnancy #2? The night-and-day quality of mine so far has everyone convinced it’s a girl.

Happy Tuesday!

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Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink

Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.comFlorals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.com I have been caught up in the comparison game for as long as I can remember.

Well, perhaps not quite that long — before thirteen, all I cared about was swimming, rollerblading around town with my best friends, and getting done with my homework as fast as possible so that I could play with their Barbies.

But somewhere around fourteen, things changed. I went through puberty, started growing curves where most of my friends had none (and not in the desirable places, but in the hip/thigh places), got jiggly in areas that had previously been slim, got acne, and over a period of about six years, gained somehwere around 60 pounds. So, obviously, I started comparing. To my thinner, acne-free, more popular, seemingly happier friends. Friends who complained (and sometimes still complain) about thighs that I wished I had, hair that seemed to always be perfect, skin that was, to me, unblemished.

Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.com Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.comAnd then I got married, and started comparing myself to other wives. To my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law, who are less emotional and much better at cleaning. To my friends, who posted picture-perfect images of their houses with beautiful decorations. To fellow mothers, who still found the time to go to the gym, have coffee dates, have playdates, and somehow stay sane.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained more confidence, but comparison has never stopped. I even started comparing my current pregnancy to my last one; how I was not 174 pounds by this time with Asa; how I was lighter to begin with, how I wasn’t this tired, how I didn’t break out, how I just felt better and looked (to me) better and how much less I am enjoying it this time around, from what my memory tells me.  Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.com Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.com

It’s hard not to compare. Sometimes, comparison can be a good thing — you look up to someone, you want to be like them, you set healthy goals, you make doable changes. But most of the time, it’s not. You compare yourself to celebrities and Pinterest moms and people who obviously have a lot of money, or help, or just set up their homes prior to sharing with the world so that everything looks perfect. You don’t see them in their normal everyday routine, because all that is shared is the pretty things they do.

Even Facebook friends share positive and pretty rather than harried and messy. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, necessarily; I do that, too. And I am okay with friends sharing their positive moments. I like seeing people be happy, love their kids, make pretty things, and have good lives. It’s better to me than seeing people constantly complain about what they have and never strive to make it better. But sometimes, it’s nice to see real, too. The dishes that aren’t done. Wet hair and no makeup. The admission that you’ve lived in yoga pants for the entire week and they have burp-up on them. That you ate ice cream and didn’t go to the gym to work it off. Florals, polka dots, and many shades of pink | www.eccentricowl.com

Target top | Vintage shirt c/o Cut and Chic vintage | thrifted vintage heels, scarf, and belt | antique hat box

Today, I want to break the cycle and stop with the comparing, and I want to encourage you to do the same. What do you love about yourself, your life, your job, your kids, whatever? What is it you have that no one else does? Sure, you  might not be the most beautiful, the most successful, the most patient, the most Pinterest-worthy, the most active, but you’re still you. You still have things that someone somewhere is probably looking at and wishing they had. You’ve achieved things that nobody else has. You’ve got talents that are unique to yourself. Dreams that only you dream. And you have the choice to use your life to make someone else’s better.

Here’s to no comparing. Here’s to being yourself and being okay with that. Here’s to being real. Sharing the mess sometimes, just so someone else can realize it’s okay.

What comparison do you find yourself caught up in? Break the cycle.

Happy Monday!

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