The story before the “birth story”

The days leading up to Mila’s arrival were grueling. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually — I was tapped out. I kept grappling with trying to relinquish my constant need of being in control and giving it up to God/Mila/my body to do its thing.

I had three distinct meltdowns but the last one was the worst. I was starting to feel myself drift away. I was losing hope and sight of my baby’s natural arrival. I was inching closer and closer to an induction/hospitalization and I was losing it. I was lying in bed and tears kept rolling down my face. I had a couple meltdowns prior and Steven would come behind me, rub my back and tell me to “let it out”. This time, he asked, “What are you afraid of?” I’d tell him I was losing stamina. “Okay, what else?” I’m not going to be able to birth her at home. “What else?” He kept asking until I listed every fear that had been bottling up inside me for weeks. When it was all said and done, I was crying uncontrollably. My body was shaking, my eyes were burning, my head was pounding and all I could do was listen to the wails coming out of my body. It’s like I wasn’t in control (little did I know this would play a big a part in bringing my girl earthside…).

Everyone (EV-ERY-ONE) kept giving me their tips and “tricks”. Some told me to let it go. “She’ll come when she wants to come.” “Try not to think about it. Do something to get your mind off things.” “Go for a swim.” “Do nothing.” “Watch Netflix” (like who wasn’t already doing that during COVID?). Others recommended lunges, stairs, stretches, teas, foods, oils, herbs, activities (aka: sex) and the thing is — I listened to them all. I did it all. There was nothing I wouldn’t try. As soon as a new DM or text arrived, I’d scurry to figure out how I can get my hands on said magic potion. 

There was nothing I wouldn’t try to help my baby make her way out.

Looking back on it, I think I was so determined to speed things along because the last 2ish weeks of my pregnancy, I was totally comfortable. All the discomfort, aches, RLP, cramps, etc. were gone. I was actually feeling comfortable. The more settled into this pregnancy I became, the more I worried she’d never leave the womb.

For a while, the idea “she can’t stay in there forever” comforted me. But once the days of repeating that to myself turned into weeks, I actually began fearing that she’d die in my womb. She’d lose amniotic fluid, my placenta would no longer be viable, her umbilical cord would stop pulsing and I would lose my baby before having the chance to birth her. Pretty morbid, right?

That’s the mental game.

Things that are 99.99999% impossible started feeling like reality. My mind could not comprehend what my body was doing (or not doing) so it started making up the most outrageous outcomes — none of which would come with warning.

During one of the sleepless nights, I finally wrote a letter to Mila. Tears flowed onto my screen as I typed away. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything as vulnerable and one day, I’ll share it with her.

My midwives told me if I’m still pregnant at 41 weeks, I needed to get an ultrasound and NST (non-stress test) to make sure everything was still a-okay. Knowing the 42 week mark was the next “checkpoint”, Planner Taylor didn’t want to have less than 7 days to come up with a new plan if anything was amiss during the ultrasound, so I scheduled it for 40+6. That experience alone reminded me why we chose the route we did — to be as far away from a hospital/medical facility as possible. While most of the staff was kind, the entire setting felt uncomfortable, sterile, and caused my anxiety during my NST to heighten.

Thankfully, the results spoke for themselves. Mila had a ton of fluid, great movements, strong heart tones and the doctor cleared us for another week before needing to come back for another ultrasound and likely, an induction. Despite it all, I’d only seen Mila once during our 20-week anatomy scan so it was actually nice to see her once again.

Feeling comforted that my baby was still alive, I went to my 41 week appointment the next day absolutely determined. She checked my cervix, still 1ish cm dilated and 70% effaced. Asked if I wanted another membrane sweep (you’re already in there — go for it!). A few nights later, I started getting surges closer together. I’d been feeling them for over a week, but they were finally starting to pick up. I kept my doulas in the loop and they kept offering to come support me, if I needed it. I didn’t know how serious they surges were so I kept dismissing it and said I was fine. Doulas told me to sleep and when I couldn’t sleep anymore because of the intensity, I asked her to come over around 5:30 a.m.

By then, Steven drew me a warm bath (per her instructions) and it relaxed me to the point that my surges stopped! When she arrived, she found me eating a slice of toast with almond butter and chit chatting away. I’m sure she already knew it wasn’t happening that day and there I was thinking I just got a moment of peace. We went for a sunrise walk with the dogs and as the surges came, she kept telling me to move through them to keep them going. Things felt like they were picking up but when we returned from our walk, she told me to rest. I knocked out for two uninterrupted hours. When you’re trying to progress, uninterrupted anything is not ideal. At this point, it was time to call in reinforcements (my midwife) for boot camp.

We did all the things: alternating 15 min on/off the pump, swigs of cottonwood bark, utilizing every birth tool out there (peanut ball, birth stool, birth ball, etc.). Steven has some hilarious photos of the experience. None I’d let him share. We watched The Morning Show in between rounds (odd choice in preparation for baby’s birth, but whatever — I love me some Jen Aniston!). Around noon, midwife left. Told me to relax and if things weren’t going by then, she gave me castor oil to take at 4 a.m. With every fiber of my being, I did not want to take it. But it would be the Hail Mary before induction, so I agreed.

That afternoon, I had my weekly chiro appt still scheduled so I decided to go in for it at 4:40 p.m. Steven drove me and while on the table, I had 3 surges! My chiropractor is also a doula and was coaching me through them. I’ll never forget her cues and realizing how much tension I’d been holding onto. (Dr. Lindsay — I’m forever grateful for your help in that moment!)  When I left, the whole team hugged me. I’d seen them almost 10 times since my due date and they’d never done that but at that point, I was feeling the surges way more intensely that it didn’t strike me as odd. (The team later told me they all knew I was in labor and just wanted to send me off with all the good energy!)

And now for the actual birth story…

I’m Back, Baby!

Originally written on July 18, 2018. Never posted – not sure why I didn’t!

I had such high expectations to document our home search and buying process through this blog and I completely dropped the ball. Buying a house is HARD, y’all! It consumes SO much time, causes SO much anxiety and is SO.EXPENSIVE. Maybe I’ll be able to recount the 30-day whirlwind and do a post, but in the meantime, let me just say this…your down payment is nothing. You may afford your down (which we had in the bank, thanks to incredibly disciplined saving since we got married), but it doesn’t cover closing costs, inspections, whatever pertinent touch ups your home may need (unless it’s brand spankin’ new) and furniture. Ohhhhh lawwwdy, furniture! Rugs, drapes, dining table, appliances, couches…all of it. Steven and I both came from hand-me-down furnished places and since this was our first home, I wanted it to be a representation of us! I would tell people once we moved into our house, that’s when the big spending happened. Every transaction was $1,000+ and I would wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare that we ran out of money and had to foreclose within our first month. We didn’t even have a mortgage payment our first month – hah! Paranoia at its finest.

Okay, if anyone is in this process or considering, you bring the Xanax and I’ll bring my sage advice (for the record, I’ve never taken a Xanax, Mom!).

It’s been six months of living in this house. It definitely feels like our home (we even did an in-home session with the amazing Brittany Gilbert who I met on Instagram!)  and I’m so excited about making the time to get back into writing.

Every time we plop on our massive, 0% interest-financed-couch, turn on the TV that rests on our midcentury Wayfair TV stand and bask in those moments of doing nothing, I’m reminded that it was all worth it!

No Tree for Me

I love Christmas. I love the reason, the music, the spirit, the joy of gift giving (it’s my top love language)…I love it all! With that being said, I can be a Scrooge at times. My resourcefulness tends to deter me from going too far into seasonal decor or frivolous gifts.

When we got married, we had our first Christmas after two months of marriage. We talked about starting our own Christmas traditions and we decided on curating our Christmas ornaments. I didn’t want to go to the store and buy a preselected assortment of ornaments – we wanted our tree to reflect us and the year we just experienced.

2015 – Steven’s sweet cousin, Sarah, got us a wooden ornament with our names & wedding date embossed into it. We purchased a globe ornament and circled the Philippines to commemorate our honeymoon and first international trip together.

2016 – That year I learned calligraphy and made personalized ornaments for me, Steven and Amber.

2017 – The big move to Texas. We got a Texas shaped ornament that says “y’all” and another wooden ornament from the Christmas at the Silo’s concert.

My mom added to that tradition and has been getting us the Pottery Barn dated frame ornament as another way to highlight a moment from the year.

We’re currently in a 990 sq ft temporary dwelling that is furnished with more than we will ever use and there just isn’t much space for a Christmas tree. We’re going home for Christmas so it didn’t seem practical to buy a tree that we’d only enjoy for a few weeks (see that Scrooge-ness coming in?). Thankfully, Trader Joe’s sells these mini potted trees that can hold this year’s ornaments!


In just three years, we have a box full of ornaments that mean so much to us. I cannot wait for our kids to add to the tree and see what it’ll look like 10-20 years from now!

What type of holiday traditions do you participate in?

With love and warmth and just a teency bit of Scrooge-ness,


PS: And just so y’all know we are living in bizarro land…it was 80+ deg a few days before coming out of work to find my car like this:


Everyone just keeps telling me, “That’s Texas for ya!”


Black Friday on a Budget

One year during college (I think it was 2009), a few friends and I decided to experience our first Black Friday madness. We headed out to Cabazon Outlets around 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving and quickly realized we were about 5 hours too late. Parking was non-existent (nearby homes were selling spots on their driveway for $20!); the swarms of pushy people exasperated my anxiety of being in crowded spaces; the lines went out the door and the line we so happened to wait in had people in front of us smoking so many cigarettes that I later threw up from the nausea; and the cherry on top: I walked out with two pairs of jeans that were basically forced purchases to justify our trip out. NEVER.AGAIN.

With the convenience of online sales these days, I think most people can agree that shopping from home in your sweats is way more thrilling than any trip to the mall. Because let’s face it, way less rational thinking goes into clicking “add to cart” than  watching your total skyrocket at the cashier. (Why is it easier for me to say, “Actually, I changed my mind, I’m not going to buy that.” to a human being than convince myself of it when I’m checking out online?!) But when my inbox and Instagram feed started getting filled with teasers and sale announcements last week, I was in a much different mindset. Now that we’re living in a new state and adjusting to this monumental life change, we on a budget.

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You want to know see my wild purchases?

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  • Face wash / BeautyCounter. The lightest, cleanest option I’ve found at a great price point. My beautiful friend Justine Campbell introduced me to it and I’ve loved every product!
  • Foundation / Crunchi. Obviously, another clean, non-toxic product that I’ve used this entire year and it’s ah-mazing. It smells ridiculously good, free of all the cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting, junk AND it works better than any other conventional product I’ve ever tried. (I stopped using my current bottle every day just to stretch it until Black Friday. Mama lookin’ real natural at work these days)
  • Cleaning solution / Branch Basics. I’ve read about how this is the only product you’ll need for any household need — I’ve been itching to try it so the 20% off finally convinced me to try it.
  • A sweater and jumpsuit (okay so that wasn’t a need to have…I’m actually proud that only one blogger I follow influenced me to make a purchase. And how much does that look remind you of Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding?)

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  • Laundry detergent / dropps. If you have a few minutes and want a good laugh, click the link and watch the intro video. I already had a favorite natural, eco-friendly detergent but this video suckered me in and now I love these pods.
  • 10 pack of classes at my favorite barre studio that beat using ClassPass

Exciting stuff, right?! I needed to buy/refill all of these items but figured I should wait to see if BFCM would bring any good deals. So now, eight years later from my first (traumatic) experience, Steven still shudders at the words Black Friday and I try to suppress his PTSD with extra tight snuggles in the warmth of our bed as we drift off to sleep knowing we have all we need. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 

Xo, Tay

A Texan Thanksgiving

A Texan Thanksgiving

I’ve been very blessed with a work schedule that allows for every Friday off. Typically goes like this:

  • Sleep in (8 a.m.)
  • Go workout
  • Walk Amber
  • Clean the house
  • Catch up with a loved one (Dona my first Friday and my Daddy this past Friday)
  • Run some errands

…all before Steven gets home. By Saturday, I’m already feeling at a loss of things to do and always ask Steven, “So what are we doing today?!”. Poor guy works 6 of the 7 days so he certainly does not share the same enthusiasm (but he’s a trooper so he goes along with whatever I come up with).

It was the most beautiful day. The clouds were gone and the sun was beaming down! So we took Amber for a hike through yet another river (I swear we have a completely different dog in Texas) and tried to soak in the sun all morning.

My co-worker/boss, Brittney, texted me asking what we were up to for the day and asked if we wanted to hang out. She starts telling me of all these free events happening around town. Tiny homes + free tacos. Jazz music + free BBQ. We decided to go for it all and have  an afternoon filled with as much free food as we could get our hands on. Our first stop: Lockhart. 20+ miles out of Austin. We get there — no tacos. Just tiny homes and chips. We get our fill, hop back in the car and head back into town to get that free BBQ. We roll in, Steven & Britt go to use the restroom, I make small chat with these two guys who said the BBQ was gone within the first hour of the event and realize we are 0-2. Austin has so many cool events and happenin’s and yet we kept missing each one by a SMIDGE! We decided to cut our losses and go find food that would definitely be available … a restaurant. Britt asks us, “Do y’all like Mexican food?” We pretty much laughed and explained that CA is basically Mexico when it comes to food. She took us to her favorite place, Matt’s El Rancho, where the server asked if we’d like a “bob” to start. Looking absolutely dumbfounded, she explains that it’s basically guac, ground beef and melted cheese. That’s all we needed to hear before we said, “heck yeah!” It did not disappoint! The night went on for hours as we laughed, continued eating and quickly realizing Britt & I were kindred spirits. Steven later told her husband that he hung out with two of me all day. What a lucky guy!

Britt & Grant invited us to their Friendsgiving the following night and I wasn’t sure if Steven would be down for it but he happily agreed. We have two friends here (the Popes who came from Redlands) so we were definitely in need of expanding our friend base. Never have I realized how Californian I was until tonight. With each person who arrived, there was another meat, sausage, queso that I had never seen before. And what did I bring? Spinach (spanakopita). I clearly did not know my audience but they all liked it!

There was “swamp sausage” (basically cajun style rice mixed into the sausage), steak, BBQ chicken, another something sausage with cheese and jalapeños, risotto, green bean casserole, fried turkey that was caught the day prior by the dude who brought it. Oh my goodness – it was amazing. It was like popcorn chicken but with the freshest turkey you’d ever tasted. The Martin’s were amazing hosts and we were so grateful to be included! Back at home, we’d do Friendsgiving every year and I did my best to fight off feelings of loneliness and distance this time around so I was really touched to be in the company of friends — even if there weren’t ours!

Steven and I talked about our first Texan Thanksgiving the whole way home. We would never have known any of this if it weren’t for Britt and absolutely soaked in every second of it! Steven’s ready to go huntin’ with the boys and I…I’m still holding out for some freshly caught fish!

Sweet Ache

I’ve had no craving for sweets or junk food since I started the 12 Week New Body Makeover but I’ve been feeling kind of sluggish today and was craving some chocolate. My office had a party and I gave in and grabbed a mini ganache cake and I barely finished the last bite and I have the worst stomach ache. This is terrible. My body is resisting some of life’s best pleasures.

Week 2 in Full Swing

After successfully completing the first week of the 12 week challenge, I am more encouraged and motivated than ever. To sum up this past week: it was so easy!

Having your fridge and pantry stocked with ingredients for the week and a meal plan to follow has been such a blessing. Of course, there is a lot of grunt work in going to multiple grocery stores to get all the items (I had to go to three) and spending hours doing meal prep (and more hours doing clean up. Ugh.), I can officially say that I enjoyed my first week.

My diet at work is what concerns me the most. Either I wasn’t eating at all or I’d be going out to eat for every meal. It wasn’t hard to turn down lunch offers, either. I totally enjoyed everything I was eating. If you’re a calorie counter, the average day consisted of about 1,400 calories. Mine was a little less because I never ate M4 because I like to work out right after work and didn’t want to do it on a full stomach.

The weekend consisted of a night in with my boyfriend, Christmas party for his work and a birthday party for our friend’s daughter. Needless to say, there were many opportunities to go ham on my meals and I did. Haha, just kidding. Everything was in moderation. I didn’t deprive myself and I honestly don’t think Cassey would want me to either. I stayed on track with my eating and exercise the whole work week and a couple of meals throughout the weekend didn’t kill me. In fact, I weighed myself on Friday (lost a little over 2 lbs!) and then again on Sunday, and only a 0.5 lb difference! I’m okay with that!

Meal prep was a lot easier this week since I still had a ton of leftover groceries from last week. I will say though that this week’s menu is not the business. Already decided that I didn’t want to follow the breakfast plan, so I subbed it with last week’s menu. And I experimented with today’s lunch plan and I have the worst stomach ache. It was canned tuna with brown rice (why?!), apples (ate it on the side), celery (learning to tolerate it), egg whites (umm..okay…) and a “dressing” of lemon juice, some herbs and a bit of EVOO. I was telling Steven this recipe reminded me of that episode on Friends when Rachel makes an English Trifle for Thanksgiving but accidentally combines that recipe with a Shepherd’s Pie recipe. It just didn’t add up and I did not like it. Oddly enough, this week is supposed to have that damn tuna salad for lunch every single day! Last week was a M, W, F and T, Th and S rotation. I will definitely be getting more creative this week because I am not sticking with this tuna mush.

Aside from that, I’m drinking more water than ever. I’m also peeing more than ever too, but I guess more steps from my office to the bathroom is an added bonus too.

From what I’ve read on Instagram and Twitter, a lot of people have been getting results already too so that’s amazing! I do love the community of Blogilates and fellow popsters!

Now back to work as I try to not get distracted by this nauseating feeling resulting of today’s lunch.


Day One: Done!

Everything today was so so yummy. It was definitely an adjustment to eat my oatmeal without brown sugar (I loooove) or PB (I looooove). Everything was so darn good today! I’m excited to sleep so I can wake up and eat some more tomorrow!

Today, I attempted to cook spaghetti squash for the first time. I’ve seen tons of people rave about it on blogs and I totally underestimated the difficulty of cutting that thing in half! I immediately petition any help and suggestions from Facebook and then little resourceful ol’ me found a solution:

My 5 lb weight was just what I needed to get my giant knife through the squash!

Ya learn something new every day!

Probably should have slept hours ago but I got a late start on meal prepping for the week since my Body Pump class didn’t get out til 7 p.m.

On to Day Two!


Twelve weeks!

Tomorrow I will begin the Blogilates 12-Week New Body Makeover. I am notorious for trying new fads and diets. I typically always see results too, but it’s just never something I want to stick with. I enjoy indulging. I enjoy eating late at night. I enjoy adding salt to whatever it is I’m eating. (Note to Future Taylor: beware of kidney stones). 

But this time – it’s differentThe last time I went grocery shopping was three months ago. That is amazingly impressive and very hard to believe at the same time. I know I’ve been eating – I just can’t for the life of me remember what exactly what I ate. Thankfully, my office is located next to a natural food store so I usually would grab my lunch from there. But what my meals lacked in preservatives and artificial flavors were made up in $$$. 

Eating healthy isn’t hard for me to do. I actually enjoy kale and prefer water over any juice or soda. My problem is that I lack creativity, motivation and “time” (I know time is a real word – that’s not what the quotes are for. Keep reading … I’ll explain myself).

When left to my own devices, I will continually whip up the same clean meals: oatmeal with berries and PB, medium sized fruit or a handful of almonds for a snack, romaine lettuce, spinach and kale salad with tomatoes, bell peppers and lemon juice as a dressing and dinner is usually some dry, lean meat with broccoli. That is all I know! I’ve seen the pins, the recipes, the photos on my Instagram feed, but none of it was worth actually learning and making for myself.

In my brief 23 years of life, I have learned that if I am not motivated to do something, I pretty much won’t do it … at least, not up to my standards. I’ll probably do enough to get by but there’s no way I’m putting in 100% effort (This also applies to work, relationships, exercise, combing my hair…). This is the reason why I always need goals in my life, whether it’s set by my boss or by myself. They can be in any form, from metrics to crossing off at list five things from my to do list each day. When it comes to my diet, it takes too dang long to see “Abs are made in the kitchen” come to fruition. I’m an instant gratification type of soul, so I need results ASAP.

And concerning “time”, I work full-time, I just started classes for my MBA and I barely have a social life to begin with. I tend to have an important master to do list written neatly out as well as a scattered, frivolous mental to do list in my brain. You know what usually trumps my priorities? The pesky mental to do list because it is constantly burning in the back of my brain. Wouldn’t a simple solution be to just write it all down? You’d think! Except these tasks occur to me while I’m driving, in the shower, during a meeting, in the middle of a conversation, trying to clear my thoughts during savasana (if you don’t know what that is – you need to reevaluate your life and get in on it!) or right when I finally begin to wind down for bed. So in order to alleviate myself from the constant nagging, I handle the less urgent matters. That takes up quite a lot of time. Yes, I know I have the same 24 hours as Beyonce, but I mean, if you can marry Jay-Z, pretty sure you have an alternate source of power to begin with.

All that being said: I am excited to commence this 12 week journey. Why? Because Cassey Ho, the founder of Blogilates, came up with the yummiest meal plan I have ever read. It changes every single week! No longer can I avoid the grocery store – I have a set ingredient list and without it, I have absolutely no food to fall back on in my meager apartment. Secondly, the answer to my Type A need for lists and planning arrived at my door step last week! I now am the proud owner of the  Fit Journal. I am solely using it for health purposes. All other tasks will be written in my daily life planner. This bad boy is to monitor my water intake, every little thing I eat each day, how much sleep I’m getting in and continually track my progress over the weeks. I love the compact, user friendly design and I cannot wait to fill this baby up! This journal actually solves my third problem and will help me prioritize exactly what needs to be addressed and my mental list will just have to work around it!

So after three months, $100 at Trader Joe’s and an enthusiastic post on my neglected Tumblr, I am ready to take these 12 weeks on! 

I hope to continue sharing my experiences, feedback and updates with the world!