Baby Shower Recap

I woke up on Saturday like a kid on Christmas morning. Despite my body being the vessel for this whole baby-growing phenomenon, there’s nothing that makes the pending birth of your baby seem real like a baby shower. 

bffs

My house was buzzing with excitement that morning as Emily, Jamie, and my mother-in-law (the amazing hostess trio) came over to transform my home into a winter wonderland. Emily had chosen a “baby it’s cold outside” theme, and they went to town with it! It was perfect! 

CollageRemember Kate’s cookies from this post? Her cookies made an appearance, and I was so pleasantly surprised!

cookies

Emily and my mother-in-law are both such sticklers for detail, and I was beyond impressed with how well everything came together. I was somewhat nervous about the showering being at my house and not having any idea (read: control) about what the plan was, but that was just wasted energy on my part. They had everything covered, and all I had to do was relax and enjoy myself. 

pics

Emily asked our moms to bring a baby picture of each of us, and it was so funny that of the pictures they brought, Cory and I were in same car seat, just different colors!

Not only did our local friends and family make it to the shower, but my brother and his girlfriend Erin made the trip to Richmond, as did Bobby and Whitney, our good friend Ashley, and my mom! 

Collage

At some point, the boys made it outside to smoke cigars, and I found myself wandering over to the gift display. Since it was a co-ed shower, we planned on not having a formal “unwrapping of the gifts” ceremony, but somehow all the ladies ended up in the living room oohing-and-ahhing over all the adorable baby gifts. 

Collage3

It was honestly such a perfect day, and we felt so loved. Having a baby is the most exciting thing to ever happen to Cory and I, and we are so fortunate to have so many people in our lives who genuinely share in our joy and excitement. 

cory

February will be a whirlwind of baby showers and baby celebrations, and we’re just overjoyed! I cannot believe it’s a little over six weeks away until we get to meet this little one! 

Friday Favorites #4

Good morning and happy Friday! This weekend is my first baby shower, so I’m abnormally pumped for the weekend :) I can’t wait to share it with you on Monday! For now, let’s get on to my Friday Favorites.


 

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser and Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover 

Okay, so I recently had a major breakout. I mean, bad. I was so caught off guard because my skin issues have cleared up for the most part during this pregnancy. I’ve actually just stuck to a soap + water routine because I was trying to avoid as many chemicals as possible. [I read somewhere that that’s the thing to do…]

face wash

Anyway, when I had my last appointment with my OB, she gave me the go-head to use something else, as long as it wasn’t an oral acne medication. After standing in the face wash aisle for literally 15 minutes, I walked away with these two cleansers. I use the purifying cleanser in the morning and the fresh cleanser + make up remover at night.

I love both, they smell soooo good, and my face has started to clear up! My skin has the tendency to react poorly to new products, but it hasn’t been the case with these. They’re mild and don’t leave my skin with a burning feeling, which some cleansers tend to do. I’m quite pleased!

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15

I bought this at the same time as the above cleansers because it’s “clinically proven to visibly reduce redness and soothe irritated or sensitive skin.” It honestly does leave my skin feeling hydrated and calm which is exactly what I need.

aveeno

The Jar Half Full: Mason Jar + Gold Foil Print 

Jamie reached out to me about her etsy shop [after I posted about being on the lookout for cute etsy shops] and offered to send me a mason jar and a gold foil print. Fact: we own at least 15 mason jars. I just love them.

jar

I love the work hard & be nice saying, because I think that’s what it’s all about. And when Jamie asked what I wanted my print to say, I knew what it had to be; because after you work really hard and are really nice, you need to know when to give up and have a margarita. AMIRIGHT?!

bar

I haven’t found a frame for the print yet, but it will go perfectly on our bar once I do.

Just FYI about The Jar Half Full 

  • Buy 3 or more tumblers, you get 10% off your order with the code “3PLUSANDSAVE”
  • Buy 3 or more prints, you get 10% off with the code “10OFF3PRINTS”
  •  Use the promo code “LUNCHBOX5″ between now and 2/15/15 and get $5 off a purchase of $30 or more
  • Follow The Jar Half Full on Instagram and Twitter

Elephant Hamper 

Can we all agree that this is the cutest hamper ever? I am obsessed with elephants, therefore I’m forcing my unborn child to be obsessed with elephants by making them the underlying theme in the nursery. When we found this hamper on Amazon, we had to have it.

hamper

My February Foodie Collection

Guys, until about 30 weeks, I had no sweet tooth whatsoever. I was all about them fries and cheeseburgers. Then, out of nowhere, this raging sweet tooth hit me like a ton of bricks. Like, I want cake all the time. So, when Foodie.com asked me to create a collection of all-things-chocolate, I wasn’t sure if I should pay them for the opportunity.

Check out I Dream in Chocolate

by Colleen Whitney Nichols at Foodie.com

 

Question: What’s your favorite animal? 

Full disclosure – The Foodie portion of this post was created in partnership with Mode Media and Foodie.com. You know the drill: all opinions and sweet tooth confessions are my own. I appreciate your support!

Weekly Reads Wednesday

I’m such a fan of Clare’s Weekly Reads Wednesday series, so I’m linking up – I don’t even know if it’s a link up, but I’m calling it one. If you’re unfamiliar, each Wednesday, Clare posts her favorite articles from the week; it’s that simple, and I love it. I think she reads the best stuff, so I always look forward to her Wednesday posts. Actually, she’s one of the only blogs I visit on Wednesdays, because I haaaate reading ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ posts.

Thank you, Clare, for such a fun idea!

wrw

Go check out Clare’s WRW post today, too! 

Life Lessons 

// What Ira Glass Explains in 1 Minute Will Change Your Life Forever

// 27 Life-Changing Lessons All Twentysomethings Should Adopt 

// 20 Popular Sayings and Idioms, Revised

Humor + Happiness 

// This Sniper’s Letter to Michael Moore is Going Insanely Viral  <— loved this! 

// 10 Times Steve Harvey’s Soul Collapsed on “Family Feud”

Parenting 

// Mayim Bialik: Don’t Fall For That Similac Commercial  <— Interesting. Do you agree? 

// 8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing About Your Pregnancy <— I think this could apply to all bloggers in general, not just women writing about pregnancy 

// Putting a Price on Family

Mental Health/Counseling

// 10 Things Therapists Wish You’d Understand about What They Do <—- TRUE

Did you read anything of note this week?

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Those of Us Who Think It’s a Dumb “Holiday”

I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day. I don’t consider it to be a holiday or cause for any real celebration. On the flip side, love is at the core of Valentine’s Day, and I love love, so I won’t judge anyone who enjoys celebrating it.

I think the only time we’ve ever done something romantic for Valentine’s Day was the first one we spent together. Even if you don’t like the “holiday,” as a new-ish couple, there is some unspoken obligation to address the day and attempt to do something cute.

valentine's day

Thank God Facebook is a time capsule of really attractive pictures.  

But after the first Valentine’s is under your belt, you can start doing meaningful things like farting in front of each other and beginning to wear your retainer when you spend nights together.

And then, maybe you’ll end up like me, and find yourself wanting to actually do something sort of cute – but not too cute - for your partner on this fake holiday after almost a decade of Valentine’s radio silence.

I’ve done some internet research, and here are some ideas that I came across…

// Buy a sarcastic card

Because who doesn’t love sarcasm? 

cards

 

purchase: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

// Make a Date Night jar

These are all over Pinterest [you should follow me,  btw] and I think they’re a great idea, especially if you’re keeping the gift-giving low budget. It’s totally thoughtful and is a gift that will keep on giving.

Another idea very similar is a “why I love you jar” — take a mason jar and fill it with strips of colorful paper with nice things written on them. I love this idea.

// Bake something [or pay someone to do it for you]

Not to sound like an old Southern grandma, but there’s a lot of love that goes into baking. I always appreciate a homemade baked good, and when I’m feeling lovey, I bake! I’m also realistic, and even when I have the best intentions, sometimes shit doesn’t get done. She has no idea I’m plugging her, but if you want someone to bake cookies for you, Kate’s you’re girl. I love her cookies!

kate2

 

// Alcohol

Who doesn’t love free alcohol!? I think getting a bottle of their favorite adult beverage, along with this cutesy little tic-tac-toe drinking game could be fun. I found this one on Amazon, and there were tons of other fun ones to choose from here

tic tac toe

I can’t tell you exactly what I plan on doing for Cory on Valentine’s Day, because he reads the blog, but I can assure you it won’t be anything sexy or over-the-top. I did tell him that I wanted chocolate this year, so I hope he pulls through ;)

[*None of the links in this post are sponsored and/or affiliate links. Just FYI!]

Let’s take a vote. Valentine’s Day: love it or hate it?

10 Things to NOT Do When You’re Pregnant

Guys. It’s February. Do you know what that means?

I’ll be having a baby NEXT MONTH. [Albeit at the end of next month, but, it’s NEXT MONTH.]

32

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve pinned approximately 87 posts that have to do with the “X number of things you should do when you’re pregnant.” I’ve read all 87 of them, but probably taken a fraction of the advice.

I didn’t take weekly pictures. I haven’t [and most likely won’t] make frozen meals ahead of time. We aren’t taking a “babymoon.” I won’t write a birth plan. I didn’t stick to a pregnancy workout regimen.

I’ve basically stuck to taking prenatal vitamins and avoiding alcohol and sushi.

Anyway – the “things to do when you’re pregnant” posts are quite popular, so I decided we need a list of things NOT to do when you’re pregnant.

not do

// When you’re at the “large and in charge” stage of pregnancy, experiencing a terrible breakout and pure exhaustion, do not – under any circumstances – look through old Facebook pictures and risk seeing photos of your skinnier, prettier self. This will lead to bad, bad things.

// Try on clothes at a store unless they are MATERNITY CLOTHES. I made this mistake by trying on non-maternity leggings at Old Navy at 31 weeks pregnant and ended up eating my feelings in the form of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. FROM THE DRIVE THRU.

31

// Watch or read anything having to do with birth stories, birth photos, pets, or soldiers coming home when you’re in public. You will weep openly and make a fool of yourself.

// Assume that your fitness levels are still the same as they were pre-pregnancy. This will result in needing to change your underwear, possibly passing out halfway through the ‘warm up’, experiencing private humiliation, and/or all of the above.

// Google

// Make plans to be anywhere but on the couch, braless and in your sweats, any time after 7pm.

penny

// Feel guilty about doing nothing. Some days you’ll shower [or not] only to end up spending your day in PJs on the couch and watching so much Netflix that it asks you, are you still watching? after the 8th episode of your show-of-choice, and you know what? That’s okay.

// Compare yourself to anyone. I just told Clare the other day that I was envious of all her yoga progress, mainly because I can’t even put on pants without a struggle. Thankfully, she’s a good friend and said, “remember, you’re growing a human.” 

// Tell anyone the name you’re considering for your unborn child unless you are 100% prepared for them to tell you flat out that they don’t like that name.

// Pin 87 blog posts about what to do when you’re pregnant.

Totally Truthful Thursday

// Cory and I are always looking for ways to save money. We love saving money. After reviewing our budget for 2015, we realized we could get by with cutting out cable and simply paying for Netflix and Hulu [plus another thing that I can’t remember the name of, but it’ll allow Cory to watch football. Awesome.] Edit to add: It’s called Sling TV!

Anyway, we’ll be saving about $100 each month. Hell yes. That said, it means we’re getting rid of our DVR. [Cue: heart palpitations.] While I can watch all my trashy shows on Hulu or Netflix, we’ll be losing our recording of our House Hunters episode! It used to be available online, but now it’s not, and I’m kind of sad.

HH

 

// Not that my life completely revolves around television (just in the winter) but have you seen TransparentIt’s such an honest, heartbreaking, comical show and my only complaints are that they episodes are 30 minutes long and the second season probably won’t be available until I have a toddler.

// I had a realization the other day: some people eat the tip of the banana. I, certainly, am not one of them. Oh, gross. No, no, no.

// I’ve reached the stage in pregnancy where I believe Mother Nature is preparing me for sleepless nights. I kid you not when I say I’m up every 60 to 90 minutes to pee. I cried the other night (morning) around 2:30am because I was just so fucking tired. You know that feeling, right?

tweet

// Do you ever spend way too much time looking at [read: critiquing] yourself in front of the mirror? Like, you get your face right up to the mirror, closer than it would ever be with any human being, and fret about what you see? It’s not healthy, but it happens.

// My fingers are swelling, so I took off my claddagh ring and my wedding rings. I’ve worn that claddagh every day of my life since fifth grade, and I never take off my wedding rings. Thus, I feel totally naked.

// I’m implementing this “novel” idea of asking for what I want. Like, no mind games or passive aggressive bull shit. Straight up saying: I want X. and seeing where it gets me. [So far, so good.]

 // Honestly, I can’t wait for it to be Friday at 5pm. I am so over this week.

5 Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

I don’t consider myself to be a subject matter expert on anything. I’m constantly making mistakes, learning from them, and attempting to figure things out. I tend to shy away from spouting out advice unless it’s specifically requested, (although I’m certain my younger brother would disagree with this) but there are some topics I really enjoy talking about.

Marriage (or relationships in general) is one of them.

I’ve said it before, but I think the cornerstone of any successful relationship is communication, hands down. Here are the 5 conversations I think you should be having before you get married.

conversations

Religion

  • Is it important to both of you? Only one of you?
  • What are your expectations of the role religion will play in your marriage?
  • How will religion play a role in the lives of your future children?
    • I knew a couple who broke off their engagement because come to find out, she wanted to raise her kids Catholic, and he was adamantly against that. I didn’t think it was possible to make it that far in a relationship without having that conversation, but I was dead wrong. It happens all the time. 

Finances

When you marry someone, you marry their debt.

  • Do either of you have debt?
    • How much? And what from? (i.e. student loans vs. frivolous credit card usage)
  • What are your credit scores?
  • What are your savings expectations as a couple?
    • (Please have savings expectations.) 
  • Will you merge bank accounts? (If so, when?)
  • Who will handle paying the bills?
    • What will each of your paychecks cover? (This may change over time due to promotions, job changes, etc., but you need to know where you’re at now.)

I know this is, like, the most unromantic topic to discuss, but you’re kidding yourself if you think your relationship will survive on love alone. Once the honeymoon ends, you’re left with a bill.

Kids 

  • Do you want them?

      Yes to kids? (part b)

  • What kind of parent do you want to be?
  • Are there parenting styles you absolutely agree or disagree with? (i.e. spanking)
  • If you have kids, who will stay home with them?
    • Plans change! Opinions change! That’s so okay. But you don’t want your burning desire to be a stay-at-home-mom or your husband’s expectation that you both always work outside the home to come as a surprise, you know what I mean?

Surprises in your relationship that come in the form of presents are great! Surprises in your relationship that come in the form of expectations are not so great.

Conflict

Everyone handles arguments differently, and it’s important to have the conversation about handling conflict when you’re not in conflict. If one of you tends to internalize and one of you needs to talk about everysinglefeeling, learn how to compromise.

Knowing Your Partner’s Love Language

I can’t stress how important it is to know your partner’s love language.

Even if you think it’s ‘psycho-bable mumbo jumbo’ I can assure you that your relationship will improve if you take the time to read this book. We own it, we read it, and we implement it. It’s amazing.

What are some of your ‘must-have’ conversations? 

How to Build Custom Closet Shelves (Nursery Edition!)

This weekend we finished one of the last “major” projects in the nursery: THE CLOSET.

custom closet shelves

For a good-sized house, our closets totally suck (except for the closets in our bedroom. Those are awesome.) The other bedroom closets are just small and inconvenient for storage. We jam-pack the closets in our spare bedrooms now, but that won’t fly once there’s a baby in the house.

We obviously weren’t going to make the nursery closet any larger, so we had to get creative to come up with extra storage space. After hours of hard work (mostly from Cory) I can say I am very pleased with the results!

before vs after

In case any of you are dealing with a similar first world struggle of small closets, I wanted to share a quick tutorial on how we added more space.

Step 1: Find Your Baskets 

All the measurements for the shelving were based around the baskets we found. The wicker baskets are from Target (exact: here) and the canvas ones are from Lowe’s (exact: here.)

Step 2: Gut the Closet

For us, this meant taking out the obnoxious wire shelf.

Step 3: Tape + Paint

We taped the trim molding on the floor, then used a roller to paint the walls, including the ceiling. We only needed one coat of paint, and the color we used is Creamsicle from Valspar (quart size.)

Step 4: Cut + Paint Plywood 

paint boards

 

Step 4a: The Cuts

  • The cut of the bottom shelf is the full depth of the closet.
  • The cuts of cubbies for the smaller baskets are obviously based on the size of the baskets you choose; but, they’re held together with wood glue and Brad nails.
  • Cut 1 inch ledger boards (used to attach the top shelf to the wall) 1 inch shorter than the length of the shelf.
  • The cut of the top shelf is half the depth of the closet.

cuts

Step 5: Hang the Clothing Rod

We bought our clothing rod from Lowe’s, but I don’t recall the exact type. You can buy something like this at a hardware store or Target.

Voila! There you have it: custom shelving for a pesky, small closet. We’re looking forward to filling the baskets with all things baby in just a few short weeks!!

Cyber Bullying: Why I Won’t Post Pictures of My Kid

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while now. But, I figure it needs to be addressed sometime, because people will ask.

Over the last few years, this blog has exposed me to some cyber bullying. It’s been in the form of nasty threads posted about me on “Get Off My Internets,” hateful comments on the blog, and hurtful emails from complete strangers. It’s weird and uncomfortable to talk about, but hey, it’s a reality.

I’d by lying if I said I have ice water running through my veins and these things never get to me, because they totally have. Honestly, the things people write are just flat out mean, and I’m way sensitive.

I know it seems harmless because these comments are posted by usernames and avitars, but behind those things are real people typing the most hateful words about other real people. 

Maybe they don’t consider me to be a real person because they’ve never met me. Maybe when they pick apart my appearance, my marriage, my intelligence, and my life, they don’t think I’m a real person who has real feelings.

I truly believe that the majority of those people wouldn’t ever dream of saying those kinds of words to my face. 

This is not a “woe is me” post, because I know I’ve willingly opened myself up to this kind of bullying. The unfortunate truth is that if you put yourself out there, someone will be readily available to pick you apart. While I don’t condone their hateful approach, they have every right to say whatever they want.

Which is why I won’t be posting any identifying pictures of our baby on this blog or related social media outlets. 

Cory and I made this decision before we were even expecting. And while safety concerns and maintaining privacy are major factors that contributed to this decision, so is cyber bullying. 

This upcoming generation will be prime candidates to experience online bullying, and I just don’t want to expose my child to it before they even have a choice (or at least before we can even have the “what’s okay to put on the internet” conversation.)

Because if you don’t think those cyber bullies who write about bloggers don’t write about their children, you are sorely mistaken. I can handle people saying mean things about me, but I can’t handle people saying mean things about my kid (or anyone’s kid, for that matter.)

I admit, it kind of feels like letting the bad guys win, and I hate that, because there are so many good guys who read this blog. But it is what it is. I give those guys enough material on my own. I gotta draw the line somewhere ;)

——————-

Disclaimer: So many of my blog friends and “real life” friends choose to post pictures of their children on the internet, and I applaud them! The great thing is that we all get to make our own decisions. I am in no way judging anyone who posts pictures of their kids on the internet. This is simply the choice that works best for me. 

 

A Day in The Life

5:45am – Cory’s alarm goes off. He’s going for a run. I’m going back to sleep.

5:45 – 6:57am – Get up to pee for the 800th time since going to bed last night, get back in bed, toss and turn.

6:58 – 6:59am – Finally get comfortable.

7:00am – Alarm goes off.

7:03am – Roll out of bed looking like a straight up ~*~goddess~*~

morning

7:03 – 7:30am – Shower [attempt to shave my legs, ha.], do hair and make-up, start to resemble a human.

hair spray

7:30 – 7:50am – Enjoy my daily cup of orange juice [pulp free, because I’m not gross], publish blog post, and respond to the day’s first batch work emails. I can already tell it’s going to be a busy one. “Busy” in the sense that I’ll be on the phone all day, not “busy” like traveling or doing trainings.

7:50am – Penny is drooling on my shoulder as I sit at the kitchen table, which reminds me that I should probably feed her. We have a “feeding ritual” with Penny; she’s not allowed in the kitchen while we serve her food. She sits and waits until we say “enjoy!”

penny breakfast

7:50ish – 9:30ish – Work, work, work. Work has been so busy lately. My officemate is onsite with a client this morning, so I stick around the house a little later than normal and continue to take calls and answer emails from my kitchen.

9:30ish – Get ready to leave for the office. Grab my lunchbox from the fridge, fill my water bottle. I walk into the living room and scold Penny. She knows she’s not allowed on the furniture, but she’s feeling a little sassy this morning, and I don’t appreciate it.

bad penny

I take Penny out one more time. I put her in her crate and start singing that damn Sarah McLachlan song.

crate

10am – 12:45pm – Seriously, the time flies. Work, work, work. Eat some snacks. Feel like I’m juggling 10 situations at once. Experience moments of deep depression each time I’m reminded that it’s only Tuesday. 

12:45pm – Leave the office and head to my doctor’s appointment. The fact that my appointments with my OB are now every two weeks makes me feel like I’m in the home stretch.

1:15pm – Meet Cory in the parking lot at the doctor’s office. Berate him for stopping to get himself lunch without offering to get me anything. He lets me have half of his pickle, so I shut up. I make a mental note to go buy some pickles.

1:20pm – Get called back by the nurse for the whole “weight check, blood pressure check, urine sample” routine.

1:20ish – 1:30ish – Wait for the doctor and provide gallons of laughs by making numerous inappropriate jokes. Cory says something that reminds me I’m writing this post, so I have him take a picture of me. I grumble over the fact that I look like Buddha, Cory grumbles over the fact that I never like the pictures he takes.

buddha

1:30ish – See the doctor. She asks me how things are going. Asks me if I’m experiencing any “leaking body parts.” I feel horrified.

1:40ish – Head home, call my mom on the way, duh.

2:00ish – 5:15pm – Free Penny from her crate, take her out. She’s really exhausted from all the napping she’d done so far, so she heads upstairs to nap until dinner. I head to my desk to finish out the workday. I take a picture to document it, and I realize I’m horribly messy. Shout out to all you clean-desk-havers out there.

desk

5:15 – 5:45pm – Make calls to my brother and my mom while I start dinner. I was so ravenous and all I wanted was spaghetti. Cory thinks spaghetti is the most boring dinner ever, but man, it was all I wanted.

6:00pm – 6:30pm – Cory gets home from work, we eat dinner and catch up on our days. Sitting down to dinner as a family [or couple, I guess] is really important to me; the dinner table is a ‘no phone zone’ and it’s a place for connection and conversation.

6:30 – 7:15pm – We clean up the kitchen after dinner and Cory wrestles with Penny while I lay on the couch like a beached whale.

7:15pm – The beached whale phase mildly subsides and we head to Sweet Frog. I’ve had Sweet Frog on my mind for a few days, so I finally decide it’s time to go. I can’t believe I haven’t “craved” this during my pregnancy, but it’s really only the second or third time I’ve had it since July.

sf

7:40 – 9:30pm – We’re really boring during the week. After dinner + dessert, we just hang out, but kind of do our own things. I write this blog post, Facebook stalk, and Pin recipes, workouts and makeup tutorials I’ll never end up trying.

9:30pm – Realize it’s an ‘acceptable’ time to go to bed!

And that, my friends, is a day in life of yours truly. 

What time do you have to get up for work in the morning?