3.28.2016

39 Weeks Pregnant!

I sorta kinda hoped I wouldn't be writing this post. Well, if I'm being honest, I really hoped that. I just knew he was going to arrive in my 38th week and once I get my mind set on something, that's the way it needs to be. I get my hopes up easily. Everything has stayed about the same since my 37th week update, aside from just becoming more and more uncomfortable. I think the woman in Target the other night could tell I'm just over it, too. We went there to buy a breast pump and get a few last remaining things when this woman pointed at me and said to her friend, "Mmm hmmm, she's about to have that baby!" in a "woah, she is LARGE!" type of way. And then the other night when Brandon and I went on a nice date downtown, there were so many stares! This guy even told his date (loudly), "She's pregnant." as I walked by. Nice observation. Brandon keeps reminding me, "People stare because everyone loves a pregnant person!" but sheesh, way to make me feel like a martian! 

Thanks for letting me vent for a moment. What drove you the most crazy when you were pregnant when it comes to the way random strangers acted towards you? I was fully expecting someone I didn't know to touch my belly at some point during pregnancy (I've heard that happens a lot), but it never happened once! 


As far as specific symptoms go... My legs, hips, hands, and wrists ache. Yes, my hands! I think that's so weird. We went on a few 3+ mile walks this past week—then the aches started. And a little bit of swelling. My rings are finally fitting tight, but I'm determined to keep them on. 

Through the night, I'm getting up about every 1-3 hours to use the restroom, depending on the night and how well I'm sleeping. I've learned how very tough it is to get comfortable when you're this pregnant! Laying on my side hurts terribly because I get a Braxton Hicks contraction that pulls everything in my belly to that particular side. I'm a back sleeper, so sleeping on my side isn't my favorite anyway. Since you're not supposed to sleep flat on your back while pregnant, I just prop up about four pillows behind my back and sleep almost in a 90 degree angle. It's surprisingly comfortable! Well, until it's not. Then I get up and move around for a moment. 

At my 38 week appointment, I was still about 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced, but his head is down and engaged. I'm anxious to know if anything has changed since then... I have my 39 week appointment today, so I'll know soon. Although I really don't think it means much. You could be 3 cm dilated for weeks. Here's what I've tried to get labor going: eating eggplant, pineapple, dates, spicy foods, and drinking red raspberry leaf tea. I've been staying as active as possible—walks, lunges, squats... you name it. Also, baths and taking evening primrose oil! We've also driven down Chalmers Street twice, which, for those of you who aren't familiar with Charleston, is an extremely bumpy cobblestone street downtown that is otherwise known as "Labor Lane." Since I've tried it all and nothing has really worked, I'm determined these old wives tales are just that—tales.

The nursery is all complete except for blinds, but I think we will just wait on that. We need them throughout the whole house, so whatever we choose for Baby's room will need to be put throughout. We originally wanted to do plantation shutters inside the windows, but taking on that expense on top of this kitchen renovation just didn't make the most sense. Especially since I wasn't positive on the shutter idea. I'm afraid they will block out some of our natural light! What do you think? Then I thought of doing the natural colored roman shades that we would leave rolled up at almost all times, except for at night and when needed. But I am afraid I would get tired of that look. We have so many natural tones in our house already, I really want to keep our windows white and bright. We will probably just do those thick, white wooden blinds. But since I'm unsure still, the baby's room just won't have blinds until I decide for certain. He won't be sleeping in there at first anyway. I will share the nursery reveal soon! Don't think I could love it more.

Here I am with my brother after Easter church and brunch. We're all so excited for him to become "Uncle Mark!"


A couple new things on the "baby gear" front...

This BABYBJÖRN Travel Light Crib will be awesome for traveling. We have a pack n' play for keeping set up in the house or for when he needs more space while traveling, but this one weighs just about 10 pounds and sets up in one simple movement. Everything breaks down in a few seconds flat and is stored in a small bag—mattress too! The BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Balance Soft will be perfect for moving baby around the house. In love with this color—it's part of their gorgeous new Watercolor Collection.

My ToteSavvy came in last week! It allows you to turn any bag you already own into a diaper bag. It has tons of pockets for all of the necessary baby things, plus a portable changing mat. I love that the entire thing is nylon and can be wiped clean. I got it in the soft grey color, but it also comes in black. Cannot wait to share my diaper bag essentials once I get the hang of mommyhood! 


Love this seersucker duffle from Gentry's Closet, which I'm using as our hospital bag. It's the perfect size and I love that it can be monogrammed. We have WSS on the duffle bag and also on the matching toiletry case, which I packed full of smaller items. I'll share more about this bag and what I packed in it after I see what we used!



previous BABY updates


3.26.2016

weekly roundup


Happy Easter weekend! I hope you have something fun planned for today, but if you're making it a relaxing one like in the photo above, I'm pretty jealous! We are finishing up some last minute things before baby arrives in (hopefully) about a week or less. There's still a good bit more to do on the kitchen renovation front, but electric, plumbing, flooring, and sheetrock are all done! Brandon decided to take on painting himself - it's really just the ceiling and a small portion of the walls that won't be covered with cabinets. I think the hardest part about doing a renovation with the baby coming so soon isn't the fact that we don't have a kitchen, it's all the dust involved! That, and having our things out of order. I have wanted to dust and clean all of the dusty areas so badly, but I know there's no point because it's just going to keep happening. So for now, we are working on keeping certain areas of the house taped off and as clean as possible, like our bedroom, the baby's room, our guest room, and the front living room. Everything else is A MESS!!

The perfect blonde.

Y'all, this photo has about done it for me. Precious.

In case you're wondering what Rosie Huntington Whiteley really eats.

There is so much to love about Erin Fetherston's bright and airy home.

I've mentioned before how much I love the NuFACE Trinity. It's basically a mini face lift. I cannot wait to use mine again once our baby is born. Anyway, there is a great limited edition NuFace bundle available now with REN, a clean skincare company I love.

Save 40-60% off at Bloomingdale's until Sunday. So many good deals. Like on Barbour coats, denim, fun spring dresses like this one and the one I wore to my baby shower, and fun jewelry like this, too.
I had some fun shopping online yesterday for some pieces I feel will transition well into new-mommyhood. Here's what I scooped up. It's all from Nordstrom and can be mixed and matched with pieces I already own, too.




image via

3.24.2016

spring steps

I shared 20 dresses I love for spring—and now here are the shoes to go with them!


top row // 1, 2, 3
middle row // 1, 2, 3
bottom row // 1, 2


3.22.2016

20 dresses i love for spring

Something about spring just calls for a great dress. Here are some favorites that are brand new for the season!


1        2       3       4       5
6       7       8       9       10
11     12      13     14      15
16     17     18     19      20




3.21.2016

our kitchen renovation - part one

Some may think we are crazy for starting this renovation when I was 37 weeks pregnant (38 weeks now). And yes, I would have to agree with you. But having a renovated kitchen before the baby's due date was a "deal" we made when buying this house back in the middle of December. We had the absolute best of intentions of starting it way earlier, but time just escaped us and we couldn't get it all together in time. Cabinet design took longer than expected, our contractor search took a while, and mainly - how the heck did it get to be March already!? Wasn't it just January? 

At my 35 week appointment, we asked my OB what her opinion of all this was—should we put our cabinets in storage once they arrive and wait until the dust settles after the baby is born to begin the renovation? That was what my gut was saying, at least. But she told us to go ahead and start the project because at the end of the day, anything we could get done before the baby arrives would be a win. So we took her advice and got started about a week and a half later! 

I'd have to say she was right. All of the dust that has been flying around here... I'm so glad it's taking place before he gets here.

I hate to share unfinished projects and this one is far, far from finished, but having just one kitchen renovation post would be a mile long. So let's break it up and start from the very beginning. 

This is what our kitchen looked like when we first viewed the house. 

We bought it and first thing, switched out the appliances (except for the range). 

Said goodbye to this fridge.

For this one.  And there's a new dishwasher over there, too.

Ultimately, we decided to sell the Wolfe range on Craigslist and get a gas range that matches the fridge and dishwasher. We wanted to make the Wolfe work because I really love the look of them, but it needed to be cleaned and serviced...and if we are getting a brand new kitchen, then I just wanted everything to be new. 


But we never even plugged in the new range once we sold this one above on Craigslist! So we went about a week with no stove or oven before starting the demo. The Friday before last, we emptied everything out of the kitchen and on Saturday afternoon, Brandon started the demo. Thanks to our friend, Jake, who stepped in to help, it was all pretty much finished that evening.


On Sunday, Brandon pulled off that beadboard ceiling cover and scraped the popcorn ceiling that was underneath. 

On Monday, electricians and plumbers arrived! We are moving the gas range to where the old sink was (the opening in the wall will be sheetrocked in). Then, we are moving the sink to underneath the window (which is going to be widened and totally replaced). Also, our electric is just old and needed to be updated. So that's what's happening in these photos.



Meanwhile, some fun things... like picking out countertops.


I really liked this slab of Shadowstorm at Vitoria International. Some people call it a quartzite and some say it's a marble, but regardless, it's way more durable than something like a Carrara marble. I loved it.


 But ultimately, we decided on this slab of White Carrara Extra Honed. It was my first "vision" and I didn't want to choose something else on impulse.


Our sink is here, too! It's the Hyannis-30 by Nantucket Sinks.


We chose this faucet...


...and this pot filler
And our cabinets were delivered on Friday! More on that soon. Our contractor is being so helpful with our rushed timeline, so he is working his hardest to keep everyone on task. Today our new window will be ordered and the contractor is having our electric finished and the recessed lighting installed. The hardwood floors are being put in, too. Also today, our AC ceiling vents are supposed to be moved to less visible places because we realized they will interfere with our can lighting layout. Then tomorrow, the sheetrock people will be here to finish the ceiling and patch the walls. Wednesday and Thursday are priming and painting days. Then Friday (hopefully) is cabinet install day! As soon as we get that finished, I'm hoping to have our countertop fabricators here to measure so we can get that ball rolling because their lead time is 2.5 weeks after measuring. So no, there is absolutely no way everything can be done before the baby gets here, but if we can just get to Friday, I will be feeling great about it all! 

Next on my list is to order cabinet hardware and our light fixture for above the sink. I now know why renovations take so long! Even with a great contractor, there are so many decisions to be made and so much work and time that goes into everything. God bless any of you who take on more than one room at a time while living in the house! 
xo

3.17.2016

beauty favorites + giveaway


By now, you probably know how I've made a big overhaul when it comes to beauty products. I do have some exceptions on occasion, but for the most part, the majority of the products I use are all considered "safe" and "nontoxic." When I made this change, I was a little worried that shopping for beauty wouldn't be as fun, but I've been so pleasantly shocked at how many clean beauty products there are out there! You just have to search a little harder for them.

A good place to get familiar with safe products is by just walking through the beauty aisles at Whole Foods. I did that recently and was googly-eyed at the amount of options—I just wanted to try everything. So I was super pumped when my friends there gave me a sneak peek of their "hello, beauty" bag. It's a limited-time bag that is being released for their inaugural "Beauty Week," which is happening now through March 22nd! The bag is full of full-sized products and deluxe samples, which are always nice because they give enough product to really get a feel for if you like it or not. Because let's be real, those tiny one-use samples are just never enough to really know.

This mask below? It's possibly my favorite charcoal mask I've ever tried! More on that in a moment. 


There's the loot. It's all valued at $80, but these bags are being sold at Whole Foods tomorrow, March 18th, for $15 in celebration of Beauty Week. Another really cool thing is the bag is made by RIJI Green, a company committed to ending human-trafficking.

Here's what's inside:
  • Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk 
  • dermae Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask
  • Acure Pore Minimizing Facial Scrub
  • evanhealy Rose Geranium Facial Toner HydroSoul
  • Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant +
  • MyChelle Perfect C Serum 
  • Mineral Fusion Lash Curling Mineral Mascara (Gravity)
  • Burt’s Bees Sunset Cruise Lip Stick 
  • Weleda Skin Food
Since I've had time to try out all of the products, I wanted to share some of the ones that were the big standouts to me!

 ^^^
The Evan Healy Rose Geranium Facial Tonic was a big favorite of mine. It's used to hydrate, tone, and refresh any skin type, but especially combination skin. I read up on the way this product is made and it's extremely labor-intensive to say the least. It's distilled in alembic copper at low temperatures over a period of three to four hours, which creates a 100% plant-based hydrosol. (Conventional practice is to distill quickly at high temperatures in stainless steel containers, apparently.) This made my skin feel so refreshed and it smells really good, too. I love a good mist like this to put on after I wash my face and as a midday pick-me-up.


^^^
This Burt's Bees Lipstick in Sunset Cruise is my go-to spring/summer shade to wear. I also found it to be really moisturizing because it has yummy things like beeswax, moringa oil, raspberry seed oil, and vitamin E inside. It's a good lip product to throw in your purse—the kind where you don't need a mirror to apply it. 


^^^
This mask is a new top favorite. It's the derma e Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask and it's loaded with natural detoxifiers. You can see above that it comes out dark grey and thick. It dries on the skin and as it does, you will notice little dots where it's reaching in and cleaning out the toxins out of individual pores. But then, just when you think it's finished doing all it's going to do, you'll feel gentle exfoliating crystals in it that you can lightly scrub over your skin as you rinse it off. My skin really does feel cleaner, smoother, and brighter after using this. Buying the full size version of this, for sure!



Want to win one of these bags so you can try out all nine of these clean beauty products?
Enter below! Ends March 22nd at 11:59pm.

Thanks to Whole Foods for partnering on this post!

3.16.2016

37 week pregnancy update + baby gear I can't wait to use

Same dress in a different print/color: here and here   /  also wore this dress on our honeymoon!
37 weeks and feeling like I'm about to pop. I had so much energy in my third trimester and then the 37th week arrived and it all totally went out the window! I'm so achey and I truly do feel like he is going to come out at any minute! It's like he is in there planning his escape route—checking out every single space he has and punching it to see if he can get out. At 35 weeks, I was already 75% effaced. At 36 weeks, I was also 1cm dilated. Today is my 37 week appointment, so we'll soon see how much more ready my body is for this baby! I've had some big contractions, but they've just been sporadic and not in any sort of pattern. Sleeping has been a big joke, but I'm so thankful that this is the first full week that I've had that problem. I just can't get comfortable. But it's all worth it! Just so ready to get this show on the road and snuggle my baby.

There's still so much to do around here, though, so I'd also be happy if he decided to stay in a good bit longer while Mommy and Daddy finish up some business around the house. As in, finish the kitchen renovation! (We basically have it all down to the studs right now. Yikes! I've pretty much accepted the fact that W may come home to a kitchen-less house ...and that's ok.)

Other than that, nesting has been in full force! I've organized almost every item to my name, cleaned every hairbrush and makeup brush (why?), cleaned everything from the window sills and baseboards to the inside of our cabinets, and made an accordion file full of our family information from medical, to home, to kitty boy stuff, etc. Brandon has been the biggest champ and has washed every single washable baby item, as well as every other linen in this house. And this is just some of it...  I would love to know what all of you mommas did during your "nesting" phase! I've heard some funny stories. I still have a list of things I want to do, but I'm getting a little worn out, so we'll see how that goes. Oh, and our hospital bags are packed and the carseat is installed! I am definitely planning on doing a blog post about what I've packed in our bags. You all were so helpful with that on instagram

Just realizing I may not have shared this in a baby update, but here's a photo of the beautiful table set up that was at my baby shower Brandon's cousin, Shelly, and Aunt Retta hosted for me. Everything was so special and the company was fantastic! We were showered with so much love and we can't wait for everyone to meet our baby!


Also, I thought it might be fun to share some new baby gear I'm so excited to use!

I was a very picky person when it came to choosing the nursery glider. It had to be white with a washable cover. It had to have a high enough back so that my head could rest on it during late nights rocking our baby. It needed to be large enough so that it felt roomy, but not so huge that it took up the entire room. And I really wanted one that had a unique shape. See, I told you I was picky. I was really starting to get discouraged on the whole glider search after looking high and low for one that had every single bit of criteria above. I was failing miserably and growing worried because most gliders take 10-12 weeks to come in. I pretty much resorted to buying one that I wasn't totally sold on, but then I walked into Celadon. The glider I have pictured below was literally sitting by the front door staring at me when I entered the store and I fell in love with it immediately. It's called the Patti Glider and it's perfect in every way. Of course, by the time we went back, it had been sold, but Celadon was able to special order this one for me and it came in with plenty of time to spare.


You know, I hadn't really thought of looking for a glider at Celadon, but they have so many styles—although I've learned that they sell quickly! So if you're local to Charleston and a new mom (or just love a swivel chair in general), definitely check them out. They saved the day for me ...majorly. 

And if you're not in Charleston, you'll still love their website, I'm sure. :)



I've heard rave reviews over this thing and cannot wait for W to lay in his. The DockATot is a comfy lounging dock for little ones ages 0-36 months. You may notice that ours is in the crib and please know it is not made to be used in a crib or bassinet, but it's a convenient place for ours to be stored in the meantime. It's created for safe co-sleeping, supervised tummy time, play time, snuggle time, supervised naps, as a changing station, or really just any time you need to put baby down in a comforting spot. I've heard this is a game changer when it comes to getting your baby to sleep because the contours of it mimic the feeling babies have in the womb. 



As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to have one of these. (And thanks, Baby, for coming in perfect time for their new spring collection!) Check out the Solly Baby Instagram and all of you mommas will be obsessed, too. I can't wait to share photos of these in action, but here's my Solly supply below—the natural & grey stripes wrap, the sky wrap, and this swaddle set (which happens to be the softest material I've ever laid my hands on—and you can completely customize which two colors you would like).



I mentioned wanting one of these in this post last fall, so this has also been a long time coming! I chose the grey and white stripes because it will go with pretty much everything. This is not just a nursing cover, but also could be worn as a scarf, used as a carseat/stroller cover, or just wear it as a poncho like I'm wearing it below.



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3.14.2016

15 trader joe's favorites

I love a good Trader Joe's run. Don't really go there for the bulk of our groceries, but it's our "fun foods" go-to. Easy to throw together meals, sweet treats, the best snacks, and a few other wildcards. I've gotten to a point where I have certain things I always throw in my cart subconsciously, so I thought I'd share. What are your favorite TJ foods?

Gluten-Free Waffles
Easy to throw in the toaster and only $2 for a box! 



Mini Churros
I'm telling you, buy at least two bags every time you go. Just bake them for six minutes & roll in the sugar mix they provide in the bag.



Arancini Bites
I had never had a rice ball before trying these on a whim, but they are warm gooey cheese-filled amazingness.   A longtime favorite of ours. Great as an appetizer or as a side item for an easy meal.


Spicy Thai Pasta Salad
An easy meal on the go! I like to munch on small meals a lot, so I'll just kind of pick at one as a snack here and there over a couple days.


Salad Mix
Might not seem like a fun addition to the list, but with these salad mixes priced at $2 each, it definitely beats buying at a conventional grocery store. And it always seems fresher, too! I always pick up a bag of one of the mixes—spinach/kale for smoothies, or something like this for salads!



Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Chicken Tenders
Such an easy meal - just throw them in a pan on the stove and let them do their thing. They are so, so good.


Parmesan/Gouda Cheese
This is a hybrid cheese and I cannot tell you how good it is. I fell in love with it at the sample stand where they were serving it with marinated artichoke hearts. I'm telling you... It's a game changer.


Baked Cheese Crunchies
I don't know what it is about these that makes them so good, but I really have a weakness for cheetos as a junk food splurge—and these really take the cake.


Guilt Free Guacamole
This is made with greek yogurt and it's possible that it tastes even better (to me) than the real deal. I always eat it with the chips listed below. And I really have to practice self control while doing so.



Black Bean & Quinoa Tortilla Chips
A healthier take on a tortilla chip—and with so much more delicious flavor, too. Plus, the bag is under $3, so that's a win.


Goat Cheese Medallions
The reason I love these is two fold. They are cheap and they are so conveniently packaged in little sealed medallions. I just eat goat cheese here and there, so the individual packets allows it to last longer.


Tomato & Basil Hummus
So, so good with the chips above or with carrots!


Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza
To me, this pizza beats any meat lovers pizza. It has three different types of cheeses and eggplant, zucchini, red onion, and red and yellow bell peppers. I always pick one up for when Brandon and I have a pizza night (about once per week). He likes their personal pan deep dish pizza.



Cinnamon Roll Bread
I mistakingly bought this one day thinking it was their organic raisin bread (which I love and should have added to this list). Officially the best mistake I've ever made. It tastes like a legit cinnamon roll! I haven't allowed myself to buy this again because I ate the entire loaf at an embarrassing rate, but I thought this was a worthy mention if you're in for a splurge. While our package lasted, I toasted a slice (or two) each morning and had it with my coffee.


Vanilla Almond Cluster Cereal
I put this on yogurt or eat alone with almond milk!


image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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