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The other day Chris told me a very upsetting story. He was upstairs with Isla when suddenly she stood in front of our mirror, pulled her shirt up and said something along the lines of, “My belly is fat, Daddy.” He was shocked and when he relayed the story to me I nearly cried.

This did not come from me. I swear it and I know it. I have NEVER said those words since that sweet child came into this world. And that’s not because I have some crazy six-pack abs. On the contrary, I will likely never wear another bikini and don’t often marvel at the state of my post-baby belly in the mirror. The truth is, breastfeeding has been kind to me and I’ve easily dropped my baby weight, but I haven’t been comfortable with my mid-section since I was 16. There’s quite a bit of mushiness leftover and I’m alright with it. I hope to dedicate some time in the near future to my own health and I’d love to get a little stronger in some areas, but motherhood, and specifically being the mother of a daughter, has brought me to a place of acceptance. I made a promise to myself and to my daughter (though not to her face) after she was born that I would stop criticizing my body and that I’d never let her hear me be critical of my appearance. No trash talking or comparing other women’s bodies either.

That’s not to say I don’t think about this stuff in my head. Do you have any idea how many of these “outfit photos” I delete and deem unworthy of ever seeing the light of day? A LOT. But I keep taking them. Not because this is the most creative outfit ever and you guys all need to go out and look like me, but because this is me and this blog is called Really Risa and sometimes I get dressed and take pictures and tell you why I love something I’m wearing or how I’m feeling. And because it helps me. It’s therapeutic as a stay-at-home mom to have something that is mine. This space. These pictures. It’s really nothing. But it’s something to me, no matter how many of you read it. So yea, I’m as critical of myself as everyone else. You’re your own worst critic, right? Right.

Isla asks me on a daily basis why I wear make-up. “What you doing, Mommy?” followed by, “Why? What? Why?” My response is: “Because I like it!” The truth is more along the lines of: “Because I’m breaking out like a teenager and my face is asymmetrical in ways that are upsetting and getting worse with age and the list goes on.” But my toddler does not need to hear those reasons. So she steals my makeup brushes and mimics me in the mirror and smiles up at me and then moves on and goes about her day. We don’t say things like “girls need makeup” or “makeup makes you pretty” or anything like that. In fact, we don’t talk much about physical appearance at all. We tell her she’s strong when she lifts big things and helps with Theo, we praise her for working hard when she solves a problem and encourage her when she can’t quite figure something out by telling her to “Keep trying!” and “You can do it!” We praise her thoughtfulness, encourage her empathy, talk about kindness and friendship and constantly tell her we love her.

Simple, important messages.

Some days she wears a tutu, other days she wears the super hero underpants she picked out from the “boys’ section” at Target. Some days she wants to be a “cowboy,” other days she carries a raccoon purse and twirls around the house. She loves Diego, Paw Patrol and Buzz LightYear. She also loves mermaids, cats and butterflies. We just go with it.

This also goes for my son. Not just because I want him to be respectful of women and care more about their character than their appearance, but because women don’t have a monopoly on body image issues.

I have no idea where Isla learned the phrase “my belly is fat” and if I get my hands on the person who said it in front of her I’m going to have a very strongly worded conversation with him/her. My hope is that she has no idea what that phrase means and will forget she ever heard it. In the meantime, let’s all agree to be kinder to ourselves, to our daughters and to each other. I won’t be jealous of your rock-solid abs if you promise not to be envious of my mushy middle parts.

But seriously. You’re beautiful. Inside and out. Repeat that until you believe it and then live it because it’s true and you’re the only person you need to convince.

And our children are watching.

{ON ME: Zara top + shorts; Naot sandals via Carella’s Art & Sole; Made by Mary necklaces // ON ISLA: Zara dress; Saltwater sandals}

outfit outfit Outfit

Hers and Mine, Style


Hers and Mine: RompersIt’s been so disgustingly humid and every day “feels like 108″ so rompers are the only things between me and my birthday suit. Well, and my one favorite pair of black cut-offs with tank tops, but today we’re talking rompers. This crescent moons romper by dRa Los Angeles is by far my favorite. It’s baggy and breezy in all the right places, making it my uniform for sweltering summer days. I wore it on my birthday with a linen army vest, to my cousin’s bridal shower with a belt and blazer vest and sometimes I wear it with flats. I’m hoping to find ways to transit it to fall, too, though I bet you 10 million dollars this fall ends up feeling more like summer. Because global warming.

There are so many cute rompers out this season but my search for fall jumpsuits has been a little more difficult (short legs and all). Hopefully I’ll find one worth photographing soon. In the meantime, click the links below for a few of my favorite short rompers that should last you until Christmas the way this heat wave is going.

{ON ME: dRa x Kelli Murray romper; Madewell sandals (old); Nena & Co. “Lucia” carryall; Made by Mary necklaces // ON ISLA: Zara romper; Target sandals}


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Nine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryAt nine months old, Theo continues to amaze us with his laid-back personality. He’s happy nearly all the time and spoils us with his endless smiles, belly laughs and slobbery kisses. He’s a little lover, that guy.

He’s now pulling himself up onto all the furniture, can climb a step or two (and tries to throw himself face-first back down) and is Speedy Gonzales with the crawling. He will eat everything you put in front of him but his favorites include any kind of fruit, salmon, chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, cheese, omelets and the soil from our houseplants (little bugger). His favorite person in the whole world is his big sister, who makes him laugh hysterically every second of every day, even when she’s trying to push him away and steal his toys. He’s a clingy mama’s boy and I’m soaking it up since Isla’s new favorite phrase is “Don’t touch me!” He’s a fearless fish who loves the ocean, the pool, the splashpad and the bathtub, and he took his first beachside nap last month, making his mama quite proud. He loves his kitty, swinging next to his sister at the playground and waking her up with his chatting and yelling at bed/nap/wake-up time. His absolute, hands down, no competition favorite activity is dancing. Ellie Goulding dance parties with his mama and sister are his specialty. He prefers shoes, stroller wheels and house plants over toys, and licks/bites/scratches our leather sofa like a proper house pet. He was sleeping through the night until our mini vacation last week ruined everything, but we’ll get back there. Did I mention he’s happy? Yea, he’s the best. Seriously. No matter where we are or what we’re going he just goes with the flow. He loves peek-a-boo, snuggling, hiding behind the bedroom curtains and playing with all the doorstops (exactly like Isla did at this age). He thinks “NO THEO!” is the funniest thing he’s ever heard and is already giving us a run for our money.

This month we’re going to take another vacation with family down the shore, spend as much time outside getting wet and wild wherever we can find water, meet Theo and Isla’s new baby cousin, work on some new words (ahem, “mama”), enjoy Friday happy hours in our neighborhood, work on walking and stop eating the plants. Please. Pretty please. Stop. Eating. The. Plants.

Happy nine months Theo Jon! We love you more than kids love ice cream trucks.

(Theo at eight monthsseven monthssix monthsfive monthsfour monthsthree monthstwo monthsone month and his birth story)Nine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in NurseryNine Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Nine Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Nine Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Nine Month Photo Shoot in Nursery



Eight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryTheo turned eight months over the weekend! We were down the shore celebrating on the beach and forgot the camera so Isla and I took his monthly pictures in the nursery this morning. I can’t get over how much these two love each other and how well they play together now that Theo is getting a little older and more mobile. She still steals every single toy from him, but he loves her so much he just goes with the flow. I mostly just sit back and watch as they figure it all out together.

Theo was sick all last month and it was awful. But we’re all on the mend and hoping to get through the rest of summer feeling healthy thanks to all those new antibodies. Last month Theo learned to crawl, can almost stand up with the help of the furniture and gets into everything. He giggles and chats all day long, adores listening to music and watching his sister dance and loves to scream at Isla to see who’s louder. He is the most ticklish human who ever lived, loves to squeeze our cheeks and give us hugs and kisses and is incredibly affectionate. He’s a mama’s boy through and through and I spend my days soaking up every snuggle. He’s not really sleeping through the night thanks to all those illnesses but he takes three long naps a day in his crib so we don’t mind. Theo is obsessed with the beach, cannot control his excitement during bath time and is a fish just like his big sister. He eats anything and everything we give him, including strawberries, hummus toast, blueberries, cheese, eggs (any way), chicken, pancakes, pasta, peaches, sautéed pineapple and pork, to name a few. He enjoys early morning swinging at the park, stroller naps and eating at restaurants with his brunch-loving family. Oh, and this guy has four teeth!

This month we’re going to spend as much time outside as possible, live at the sprayground, visit the aquarium, welcome a new cousin to the family and hopefully get back down to the beach.

Happy eight months little fish. We love you like every week is Shark Week.

(Theo at seven monthssix monthsfive monthsfour monthsthree monthstwo monthsone month and his birth story)

Eight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in NurseryEight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Eight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Eight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery Eight Month Photo Shoot in Nursery



Amanda Hall StudiosI had big plans to finally wear and post an outfit this week, but the kids and I are sick with the plague (no really, it’s terrible) and didn’t even leave the house this weekend. My sister was visiting, too, and it was just sad, sad, sad. So Instead I leave you with these two adorable photos from my sweet girl’s school portrait session. There’s no laser beam background and she dumped water on her dress and threw out her hair clip before it was time for her pictures, but I’d say they’re the most gorgeous school pictures I’ve ever seen. Even though I’m a little bias.

(images by Amanda Hall Studios

Amanda Hall Studios