3 Month Subscription Conscious Box Giveaway

Before you roll your eyes and think, NOT ANOTHER SUBSCRIPTION BOX, let me tell you I love Conscious Box for many reasons but I'll admit mostly because it's the most generous box I've seen. The CB teams strives to introduce subscribers to live a healthier lifestyle with high quality mostly organic brands from beauty, food, household items, kids snacks to even pet treats. Bonus the box is filled with items I would use and tons of coupons (including the $100 voucher for WINE. what!) There is the gluten-free box, a vegan box and the classic box, which is the one I subscribe to. If the subscriber does love what they  get, not only are there coupons, there is a discount on the items purchased directly from CB. Each month there is a theme, and this month's theme was of course, "sweater weather". It came with organic coffee, natural cold suppressants, and introduced me to organic dog treats along with an organic energy drink (I had no idea those even existed!) Sign up with details below! I opened up the comment section just for this giveaway. Giveaway is opened to US readers only. If you don't want to wait for the giveaway, you can sign up here for one month free. 

The Struggle is Real...With The Occasional Donut

As some of you know, I lost almost 70 lbs before I was pregnant and kept it off for about a year. I was embarrassed at first when I couldn't lose my baby weight, especially without a baby. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done- watching my discipline grow and my body change. Grief changed my body more than pregnancy did and that was hard. It IS hard. I’m already fighting the demons of sadness, anger, a broken heart, why in the world would I fight with my body, too? 

I gave up losing weight for vanity long ago and embraced my new body. I love my body now more than I did when I was struggling to lose weight. Maybe if I had Max I’d have a different opinion, but each curve tells the story of how I carried him. A part of me feels crazy because if the stretch marks and the pregnant pouch can hold on to the small memory I have of him, I am really okay with that. I still eat healthy, I will still be annoying about loving my green smoothies but my now goal is to take care of my heart first. I eat what I want whether it was my favorite kale southwestern salad or a donut, I work out for energy and slowly I can see my body changing with no goal in mind. A part of me is crushed that baby pouch that once carried Max is going away. My body tells a story, and while it’s a sad one, it’s my story and I’m proud to tell it. 

Take care of your heart before taking care of everything else. My original goal was to carry a healthy baby and I did, but due to a completely freak accident he's not here. My goal now is to survive and if that means eating an extra slice of pizza, I am okay with that. And so is my beautiful body. 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

I carved my first pumpkin EVER. It was fun and I can't wait to do more. 

I carved my first pumpkin EVER. It was fun and I can't wait to do more. 

+ The Power of Collection

+ Lomography released a turquoise enhanced film. Beautiful! 

+ Sleater-Kinney reunites! My jr high self is so so happy but too cool to show it. 

+ Quitting your day job to do what you love is scary and Vanessa writes her experience

+ Best sleepover ever

+ Do you handle more than two Instagram accounts? This should save you some time

+ I always forget the power of simple food making. Love love this post from Fine n Simple

+ Pretty Little Liars Books are free on iBooks 

+Friday night pizza night...for breakfast

Happy Friday! I'll be back this week with more blog posts! 


Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

Bring on the fall decorations! 

Bring on the fall decorations! 

+ I'm looking forward to Keiko posting more of her Tokyo trip

+ Take me back- a Trapper Keeper, but for your tablets. 

+ Instagram on your desktop? Yes, and it's beautiful. 

+ Soup in a pumpkin!

+ When I visited Disneyland Paris, I was bummed The Mark Twain ride was closed and now I know why

+ The ranking of sweaters in Twin Peaks. 

+ I'm thinking of deleting Facebook for this blog. I've been thinking about it for some time and after reading this post (btw, this is one of my favorite things on the Internet, it always makes me laugh) and this post, it may happen sooner than later! 

+ Friday night (inspired Fall) pizza night


Marge Simpsons Nails

Last month I had a giveaway and I was tempted to call it off and keep everything to myself.  MAC Cosmetics came out with Simpsons collection and one of the items included this cheeky Marge inspired nail decal set. I love the decals alone but I wanted something to really rep Marge. I didn't want to buy the color of her dress (that strange green color) but I did have a blue in my collection that matched her HAIR! I also had the yellow. And they glitter! The decals apply easily, and file them down. I recommend adding a bonding aid to your nails. It adheres the polish and the decals much better and lasts a few more days longer. I also used a foundation for the polish after the bonding aid. Take that, nail chips! 

SHOP THE POST

 

 

Spanish Cheesecake (With An American Twist)

When Rustica Spanish Cookbook showed up at my door (well, my PO Box), I was nervous. I've never cooked European food unless it was Italian and I didn't know how to behead a fish according to one of the recipes. I sat for a few days on the cookbook, reading it like literature. I was schooled on Spanish food and the culture behind it. I realized I've never tried an authentic dish inspired from Spain. Seriously. Nothing. I fixed this with Spain's version of cheesecake. I had a graham cracker crust in the pantry that was waiting for the right moment and I'm glad I took the chance. The combination with the American detail tastes delicious. The broiled top gives it a crunchy texture to the normally creamy dessert. I don't have a blow torch, but a few minutes in the broiler gives it a similar effect. 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

Ruthie sent me an amazing embroidered handmade necklace with my favorite cat on it. Thank you, Ruthie! Get your own from her shop. 

Ruthie sent me an amazing embroidered handmade necklace with my favorite cat on it. Thank you, Ruthie! Get your own from her shop

Fall Flowers

Never underestimate the power of a good bouquet. it can light up a room, enhance decorations, and bring a new form of life in a room. My favorite flowers are from Bouqs, I got the Dawn, perfect for cozy autumn. Aline also sent me Harvest Moon, thank you Aline! 

Fall Flowers20 Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights Bouqs on ourcitylights

Bouqs contacted me to work together, it's a company I've been using to send flowers and they are always a hit. The flowers come from a farm near a volcano, hence the "volcano flowers" term. They're a responsible company environmentally and treat their employees as such. I've yet to read of another flower corporation to offer on-site child daycare, competitive healthcare, high living wages, and pay for adult education. I love knowing that's where my money is going when I buy a bouquet. Plus they look beautiful, even when they are on the last days. 

Bouqs on ourcitylights
Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses
— Alphonse Karr

Every day Look with Kat Von D. Everlasting Blush

The title is misleading because my "every day" look is pounds of bright lipstick but I thought I'd try something different and I like it so far. Out of all the items in my makeup bag, I'm loyal to only one blush. If I love it, I will use it 'till it's demise- sometimes it crumbles on it's own from so many uses. After using Kat Von D's Love Eyeshadow Palette (no longer available), I was impressed with the makeup. I picked up Everlasting Blush in Truth. What intrigued me about it was the promise it would stay put on your face. I don't pull my hair back and by the end of the day, my blush ends up on my hair. 

*I took the photo in two different lights on each side of the face and the blush game is strong.

What's on my face- Hourglass Immaculate foundation, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, Thebalm Time Balm concealer (when Sephora stopped carrying this I had a bit of a panic attack and ordered a handful on Amazon. It's my favorite and best undereye concealer I've been using for years), Kat Von D Everlasting Blush in Truth, Dipbrow pomade, Tinted Brow Gel, lipgloss, Bonlook glasses, eyeliner, eyeshadow

A side note- if you're curious if Hourglass is worth the hype (thanks for the intro, Ashley!) it is. The photos above have a light Valentine filter but none of the photos have been re-touched in terns of air brushing or manipulating the nature of my skin, wrinkles, mustache, frizzy hair and brows, etc. 

A side note- if you're curious if Hourglass is worth the hype (thanks for the intro, Ashley!) it is. The photos above have a light Valentine filter but none of the photos have been re-touched in terns of air brushing or manipulating the nature of my skin, wrinkles, mustache, frizzy hair and brows, etc. 

And there were more photos like this below, than pretty posed ones. I'm still cute, no? :P 

ourcitylights is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors 

Halloween at Home

It was only last year we began decorating for Halloween. I never thought I had the "right" home for Halloween- pink just isn't spooky and ghoulish, unless you are absolutely terrified of the color. I didn't want color to determine whether or not I should celebrate, so why not! Let's make it a kawaii (cute!) Halloween! 

Halloween details- Pink Jack-o-lantern’s from Daiso, Hello Kitty inflatable (alternative here), bat vinyl sticker from walltowalldecals, Jack-o-lantern vinyl sticker from supervinyldecal, pink faux pumpkins from a craft store, pink candle from Candelles, mantel banner from Angela BianchiCuts, fresh fall flowers flowers from The Bouqs (thanks, Aline!)

I'm looking forward to what else I'll be adding this month. 

Halloween Costumes for Plus Sized Babes

The last time I dressed up for Halloween (and I should mention it was the first time in over 20 years) I had the hardest time finding a one in my size. It seems there isn't much of an in-between and I can either throw on a white sheet and call me a ghost or throw on a white lingerie and call me a nurse. I want something balanced. I want something I can walk in and say "This is it!" without having to spend so much time and money on making it. I love DIY costumes but I have no shame in just walking in and purchasing store bought. Below are my favorites! 

1. Wonder Woman in skater dress. Do you remember when skater dresses were called A-line skirts? Anyways, I love this dress. It can be flattering if you're worried about that, but I love how I can just put on a pair of red shoes or boots. If you're running from work to a party, wear a cardigan over the top, add some dark rimmed glasses and you're Diana Prince! 

2. Snow White- I love the cut of this costume- when I think of Snow White, I think of overly puffy sleeves and itchy ankle length skirts. This is not too puffy of sleeves, a classic length, and looks like Snow White got a modern makeover. Add some red lipstick, carry a red apple as an accessory and you're set. 

3. Batgirl- See #1! Add a cardigan or even a thick belt to cover the Batman belt and it can be worn from work to party. And TBH, I'd wear this whether or not it was Halloween.

4. Pink Marionette- You're already a living doll! May as well go the extra step to dress up. I may be getting this one, and not just because it's pink. 

5. Sexy Ariel/Mermaid inspired- So because we're a little curvy we have to dress up as Ursula?  I think this costume is sexy without showing too much, but there's the option to show a little more if that's your thing. The fitted skirt has a metallic sheen that looks like you're under water when the light hits it. It's fun, sexy and next year maybe go as a mermaid zombie to recycle it (I saw a zombie nun costume so this doesn't sound crazy to me). Buy the skirt here, and the sexy wig here

If you don't love these costumes like I do, Torrid and Hips and Curves carry the most unique kind and I've tried their clothes and I'm happy with the quality. 

If all else fails, you can put on some cute cat ears, and a Halloween themed tee. Trick or treat! 

ourcitylights is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling. 

I have so many projects bookmarked in Happy Homemade Home book, I finished my first one. I made a frame for my vanity and used my favorite lipsticks. Go to page 234 in the book to find out how to seal it! Lipsticks pictured: NARS Schiap and HeatWave, Marc Jacobs Beauty in Cabaret, Radiant Lipstick (now defunct). 

I have so many projects bookmarked in Happy Homemade Home book, I finished my first one. I made a frame for my vanity and used my favorite lipsticks. Go to page 234 in the book to find out how to seal it! Lipsticks pictured: NARS Schiap and HeatWave, Marc Jacobs Beauty in Cabaret, Radiant Lipstick (now defunct). 

+ Anthropologie is having a Cozy Drive- bring any sweater to your local Anthro and receive a $10 gift card. Sounds like a sweet trade. 

+ I never thought I'd see the day- a library without books. 

+ After this news, I'm seriously thinking of getting rid of cable for good. 

+ Pumpkin Patches in OC 

+ How to Believe in Yourself

+ I Quit Liking Things On Facebook For Two Weeks. Here's How It Changed My View of Humanity

+ Friday night pizza night

+ One day I will visit

+ The Myth of the Maxxinista. Well that's depressing. 

+ Such a cute collaboration and for a great cause. 

Happy Friday! 

October 2, 2012

On Oct 2, 2012, Scott and I went on a mini-vacation in LA. We stayed in a fancy suite that week (thanks, AmEx points!) and saw one of our favorite bands play, The Shins. I was wearing my favorite dress, I had one of the best dinners, and it was one of our best dates. We made plans, we looked toward the future. I'll even say it was one of the best days of my life. 

One year later, Oct. 2, 2013, I gave birth to the cutest (seriously, the cutest!!) boy. Before we drove to the hospital, I checked his seat to make sure he'll be comfortable when he came home. I woke up that Monday, and I remember tweeting a gif of Oprah with a digitally loud "HAPPY MONDAY!" It was a happy Monday. I was going to meet Max! Finally! No more heartburn, no more cankles, no more pelvic crushing pain! My gosh, that baby was so adorably fat. I went to the hospital and the day quickly transformed from remembering it as one of the best days of my life to the worst day. I didn't get my prize at the end. Driving home, I kept looking back at his empty seat.

I thought one year later, I would write something thoughtful to remember him by. But I don't need a blog post to do that, he's with me everyday. Child loss is an awful experience and I found glimmers of light and hope in it, I hold on to it like I could hold on to him, and have never let it go. I can't believe I'm saying this, but looking back now, Oct 2 still holds a special place as one of the best days of my life, even if it didn't go my way. I got to see Max with the promise I'll meet him again one day. Happy birthday, Max. We'll celebrate together in no time. 

HBDMM.jpg

September 2014 Favorites

Let's take a look back at favorites for September.

Favorite Instagram feed is theconnoisseurofcute. Elizabeth is a Texan shop owner who finds inspiration in the most unexpected places. I love her taste in curb appeal and I'm envious of her novelty wardrobe. 

Favorite TV show is The Good Wife. In the hundreds of reality TV shows, it's refreshing to find a well written show. It's funny, suspenseful and there's an emotional connection with the characters. My favorite character is Louis Canning. He's the best villain on TV! 

Favorite purchase was Charge Up Introverts. I'll admit I'm not an introvert or extrovert- I'm somewhere in between. That won't stop me from reading any resources that will help me succeed in blogging and relationships. The digi-book is written by Allie Lehman and Claire Deane, two women who have built successful companies from the ground up, all while being a little shy. 

Favorite moment was when Fall came. It's becoming one of my favorite seasons. 

Here's to October 2014! Check out past favorites here.

Fall Bedroom Before and After

I found some older photos of my house before it was decorated. It's surreal to see it so empty. Everything from the fixtures to floors have been replaced. The decor is the same as it was since I took the "after" photos and for good reason- it's a classic color and I've yet to get sick of it. 

Now, we've made it our own. My bedroom will never be as clean as it was when I first began decorating it. It's been featured here and here on my thoughts on one of my favorite rooms, and I always think of these photos when I bring out the autumn-inspired comforters. I've never featured my own photos on my blog so I'd love to have this in the archive when I look back at what we've done to the house. We've added a treadmill, installed a walk-in closet, it was a nursery at one point, and I've decorated my vanity area. These photos are Pinterest-worthy, but trust me, it's a mess at the moment. 

Transient
Transient

Most of the time, I have an all-white comforter set. I love all white for one reason- it's low maintenance. If something needs to get replaced, instead of searching for a matching set, I just replace it with anything else that's white. Plus regardless of the color, we wash our comforter and sheets once a week. We love texture with it, it adds depth to monotone color. We got our set from Macy's and they're on clearance right now- I may pick up a couple more pieces, they're my favorite so far. The lamps are from Crate and Barrel. I've had them for three years and I'm not getting sick of them anytime soon. The bedding is from zgallerie, but I can't find this particular style. 

Transient

I should also note, my bed is rarely made. A beautiful white pile of linens is much more cozier. 

ourcitylights is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a weekly collection of things I find darling

Here's another shot from my iPhone from the Lulu Guinness Impossible Film. I'm tempted to buy another pack!

Here's another shot from my iPhone from the Lulu Guinness Impossible Film. I'm tempted to buy another pack!

+ Real friendships don't develop easy

+ Walt Disney Secret Characters 

+ Plant based protein cheat sheet 

+ 12 Banned Books Every Woman Should Read

+ 3 Tips on Dealing with Difficult People 

+ Where you born between 1979 and 1983? We're too young to be Gen X but we're too old to Millenial. We're Xennials

+ I discovered this blog last week, one of my new favorites. 

+ Friday Night Pizza Night

+ There is one more week to raise money for Forever Footprints Walk in honor of Max. You can read about it here if you missed it and donate here. We just got our team shirts in designed by EmandSprout. I can't do much for him anymore. We gave him a memorial, built a garden in his name but I'm still moved to do more and the least I could do is walk for him. 

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! 

Check out more Friday Darlings posts here

Lulu Guinness x Impossible Film

I am so excited for this collaboration. Impossible Film has been updating their film with better quality which includes better color formula, better battery and adding fun decorated frames. I had to get the Lulu Guinness iconic red lips, colorfully decorated on the film frame. I've been using the Impossible Instant Lab with my current iPhone 5S. 

They came out warmer than what I imagined but I like the contrast of the frame to the photo. You can buy the film here. The film works with SX-70 cameras and Impossible Instant Lab. Thanks to the ABM team for sending me the fun glasses! 

You Don't Win Friends With Salads

Well, with this salad you do. I love this strawberry and quinoa salad. It's easy, filling, and delicious. I ordered it from Plated, it comes with everything in the recipe. The only thing you need is a hungry cook! 

A little cooked quinoa, roasted almonds, spinach, fresh strawberries, and mix together with the dressing made of 1 tsp each of honey, lemon, mustard, olive oil and sprinkle got cheese. It's so easy! Scott and I had seconds and we still had leftovers. Thank you, Plated! My other Plated post is here

Favorite Fall (and Winter, and Spring, and Summer) Basics

Before I had a bad fall (no, really, that's not a terrible pun, I really did fall), I did a little shopping to update my basics for fall and winter. Inspired by Danielle and Emma, I wanted to share my favorites, too. I'm bummed new clothes currently sit in the closet and I can't go out much to wear them. Sitting at home binging on Netflix in leather leggings just isn't as chic as it sounds. What I love about the pieces I added are they'll look great by next fall, too. I'm starting to dream about TV and book characters. 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 

These are basic pieces but there's a little detail to them. Instead of the basic black pant, I went with a patterned pant, instead of a basic white button up, I went with a peter-pan collar with a peplum silhouette. I love wearing all black but add a little bit of texture, detail or shape to make it not so basic. I'll be adding my favorite accessories, and they'll work all year. I can't wait to wear them, as soon as I'm on feet and out of this boot cast, I'll be back to outfit posts *hair flip emoji*

Honorable mention that wasn't included- duh.  


Child Loss and Social Media

Sadly, child loss happens often enough and leaves an online community confused on how to help grieving parents. There is no standard for what to do in this situation, and I'm sure I'll go back and edit to add more. Everything in this community is sugarcoated from our styled photos, our perfected blog posts, but I can't sugarcoat this topic. Every loss is different and I'm sharing mine. Some families want the complete opposite of what I share from my experience. I'm writing this post with love. It's been one year and one thing Max's death taught me was to not sit down on this sensitive topic. It's awkward, unfamiliar, painful and with a little bit of awareness, we can make it easier for the next parent in need. People mean well, but that's not enough to merit the pain added. Let's change that. 

Social Media and Child Loss: What to do, what to say, and how to help

What NOT to say and do

+ Hold your little one's tighter...but quietly. Sometimes the words don't come out right when I hear this, but this blog post nailed it. "Enough already." Please don't use their tragedy to highlight your life publicly. This goes along with the next tip...

+ Tagging them in your kid's photos- I see this a lot and even a year later, I'll get my name tagged on Instagram and Facebook on other people's kid photos. By other people I mean complete strangers who were moved by Max's story and while I think it's sweet, I don't know how this is supposed to help a grieving parent. Again, I know people mean well and it's a symbol of telling your friend "Hey, we're in this with you!", but what am I supposed to say to that? "Aw, how adorable! You're using my loss to gloat on the baby you get to hold alive! Darling!" Please don't do this. If you really want to help, be sensitive about this. 

+ Don't be positive- "It's for a good reason" I heard this a lot and I still can't wrap my mind around why there would be ANY reason for a healthy baby to be dead. Don't sugarcoat their tragedy. It's condescending and belittles their pain. 

+ Don't be a stranger- You don't have to know someone to be nice to them. Sounds like common sense, right? It's a good reminder. If you've never even heard of the person or know who they are but it's on your heart to say something- say it. The nicest things have been said by strangers and I'll never forget that. 

+ Don't be nosy- There's this cloak of anonymity online and it makes people a little too comfortable (and crazy). People emailed me asking for photos of Max, if I was selling his stuff, they wanted to know every detail and it was scary. Respect the family and this includes the child.

+ Never, never, ever ask for dibs on the crib. Or anything else that belonged to the child. It doesn't matter if you're family, best friends, church friends, or neighbors. Let the parents take that step on their own, if at all.

+ Don't tell them they'll be happy again- Part of the reason child loss makes it harder is people are trying to jump through hoops to make you happy instead of feeling the raw emotion of grief. Let them cry, let them be sad. Especially in the Christian community, it was worse when I was told I was going to be happy again in no time. Jesus never preached to be happy and was full of sunshine. He was a man of many sorrows and he preached love. And please don't scold them if they decide to take medication. I've been scolded for not taking it, but I've also been told I needed to. Just love them, their grief and their ugly cries. 

+ Don't bring Jesus or any form of religion unless you know what they believe in. I found comfort in my faith but I also met mom's in grief groups who got angrier at the mention of it. 

Don't be silent- Ask if they need help, let them know you are there for them. Even if they say no, again, it's not about you. I learned it's so much easier to say "no" than "you weren't there for me". 

Don't expect a thank you- I'm pretty sure they're not shopping the card section at Target picking out their thank you card's anytime soon. Send your package, letter, email, comment without any expectation. It took me MONTHS to get around to my emails and cards. 

What to say and do 

+ Start with "I'm Sorry"- It's simple, it's beautiful, it's caring, and it's a start. 

Email- Email was one of the things that helped me in my grief. It's FREE, it's quick, and it's something that I can look back to when I was in my darkest. 

+ Visit, text, call- I remember when people told me they really wanted to visit or call but it was awkward... for them. It was a little hurtful because awkward goes away, but friendship doesn't. Sometimes I didn't want to talk, I just wanted someone there with me. Crying spells are normal, they will rival the ugly cry face of Claire Danes and if it's awkward, it's okay.  

+ If you're going to send a care package- think comfort when you're packing it. Teas, soaps, socks, and mugs to name a few comforting things. Maybe even something to distract them like a movie, or an Apple or Amazon gift card. 

+ If you want to send one thing- make it about their child. It's a small memento. There are a ton of etsy shops that make personalized and monogrammed pieces. There is also a service to name star after their child, plant a tree in their name, or help build a garden by sending a small pack of seeds and small basket of gardens. If you're good with crafts, make something in their child's memory.  

+ If your friend has a stillbirth or miscarriage, I wrote a post on Melissa's blog about what helps. Pack it all up, put in a basket and allow them to mourn comfortably. 

+ Send food- When the "love bomb" was sent (it was a package from a group of online friends and strangers who I am forever grateful to) inside were gift cards to my favorite restaurants. With everything going on, we were able to have a special Thanksgiving dinner thanks to the gift cards, I didn't have to worry about what to cook, bake, it was all taken care of. I also had neighbors and online friends send me delivery and home cooked meals. I was in a state of zombiehood and could barely think about food, let alone make a meal. 

+ Honor special holidays with them but add them to your phone and computer for future reminders. It takes five seconds to open iCal and add a note with a reminder for the next year or two. I don't know what will be harder- acknowledging the first Mother's Day and the first would-be birthday or everyone forgetting the second and third.  

+ Remind them they are good people. There's a common belief when people do good, good things happen. You put in the universe what it gives back. Positive thinking brings your positive things. Really? So am I not a good person because my baby died? Did he not deserve good things too? What did I do wrong? One of the things I had the hardest time dealing with was a nurse telling me "God loves you, he'll save your baby" and a few minutes later I was told there was no heartbeat. I couldn't help but think, "God doesn't love me". Scott wrote a piece on being "blessed" and it's a different perspective when "blessed" is everywhere. Remind your friend terrible things happen to good people. 

+ Don't let them grieve your friendship, too- I had to say goodbye to so many friends and family members who I thought would be there when I needed them. They disappeared and I felt like I was grieving them, too.  

Encourage. Send a letter, an email, a tweet, if you live close by offer to do their laundry, the dishes. I will never forget how my family stepped in and did everything from scrub my bathroom to sort my mail. It all helps. I'll also always remember how my close friends kept bugging me, they didn't stop asking even if I kept saying no. 

Remember...

+ Let them be themselves and not their tragedy- The best way someone described social media and child loss to me was like a bad car accident. Everyone is going to want to slow down and take a look. Some people will genuinely care and get out and help, but there are also those looking for morbidity's sake. Yes, it's a messed up analogy but after talking to dozens of mom's in my child loss groups, it has to stop. It's sad it happened but please don't make their tragedy your circus. 

Let them be sad- Someone who I thought was a friend told me she unfollowed me because she couldn't handle the sad tweets I was posting and she'll follow again when I feel better. This is how I filter who friends are. They will be killjoys. They will be a drag for a while. If you love them, be there for them in dark times, and remember those sad times won't last forever. If you think they are suicidal or may harm themselves, talk to them about it. Let them know they have someone to go to. 

Let them be angry- I think one of the worst things I've experienced with blogging is the feedback I got from sharing my anger. It was a story how I went a little crazy on a woman who told me not to worry about Max because I'm young and I'll have more kids. First, you don't ever say that to a grieving parent. If I had ten more kids, I would still be missing one. A commenter called me "terrible" for acting out on my grief, and I got a few emails from people letting me know how wrong that was. I already feel bad enough as it is but now you're telling me how to grieve? Unless you've buried your own child (or loved one), this is not the time to prove what's right and wrong. I'm a little angrier on the topic but Diana is much more graceful.  

Let them be happy- Just because they have a good few days doesn't mean they're okay and not breaking inside. Enjoy it with them. 

They're still parents, just childless parents- It's really hard to jump back into social media. The babies you thought you'd grow with, the advice they want to give, I don't think I've wanted so desperately to feel like a part of something than motherhood. Especially online, whenever I chimed in on advice, I felt like a bad luck charm. My friends allowed me to share what was on my mind and treated me like a normal person. Child loss is terrible but the parent's aren't diseased and please don't treat them as such. It makes it harder to get on with our lives. Be their friend, act normal. Listen to them talk about their child.

+ What would you want?- Be sensitive. Be compassionate. This post doesn't just go for child loss but for a friend who's grieving over anything. Family. A pet. A friend. Be the light in a dark moment. Tell them you're thinking of them. Ask how they are. It may be a loaded question, but be prepared for a loaded answer. Even if they just tell you they're fine, they know you're there.

*I'm not an expert, I'm not a doctor, or a therapist. This is my own experience and after doing multiple Google searches, I've yet to find how a community can deal with the topic. This blog post is from my own experience, every parent is different but I hope this helps.