Wednesday, June 28, 2017

3 Things I Couldn't Wait to Tell you About

When life gives you lemons graphic tee: From H&M and only $10 dollars right now. Have you ever seen a more perfect t-shirt for Summer? Yeah, me neither.

Elf Moisturizing Lipstick in Ravishing Rose: I found this on clearance at Target for like $1.50 but I would have happily paid the $3.00 that it usually costs. This color is beautiful and it's almost like a lipstick/chapstick combo.

bkr little water bottle: I got one of these in my fabfitfun box and it is the most perfect, cute and tiny water bottle. I love it because it fits in my diaper bag and I can grab it on my way out the door with the baby. They sell them in a bunch of colors and different sizes at Nordstrom (for $35) or you can get one in your own fabfitfun box for $39 dollars (for the whole box) with code: SUMMERLOVE

Is there anything I need to know about right now?
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Fabfitfun Summer Box 2017


Please excuse my no makeup, no shower, nursery mirror selfie...but I just HAD to share a picture of this beautiful Michaels Stars Ruana with you guys (and the nursery does have the best lighting in our apartment). This scarf, turned shawl, turned cover up came in my 2017 fabfitfun Summer Box and it is seriously the most comfortable thing. It's so light and it's the perfect length (even for my super short self). It could easily be dressed up with some jeans and strappy sandals, or dressed down as a swimsuit cover up. 

This seasons box was filled with some really awesome Summer essentials like the bkr little water bottle, the Eau Thermale Avene hydrating sunscreen, and the Cargo HD picture perfect highlighter among other awesome things. 

This is my first fabfitfun box and it did not disappoint. The only thing that makes me sad is that this is only a seasonal box, I'd love to receive one of these in the mail monthly. 

If you NEED this box (believe me, you do) go to fabfitfun.com and use code SUMMERLOVE at check out for $10 dollars off of your first box!

Special thank you to fabfitfun for introducing me to these awesome products! #fabfitfunpartner #fabfitfun
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Postpartum (or Anytime!)

If I'm being completely honest, pregnancy and giving birth were a walk in the park compared to my recovery after having Kensington (Okay, the giving birth part wasn't exactly fun either, but for me the pregnancy part really was).

I haven't had a chance to finish her birth story yet, but long story short I lost about half of my red blood cell count from a tear during labor. For the weeks following, this left me feeling light headed if I stood up for too long. I wasn't allowed to take a bath or a shower that was too hot. I was afraid to walk while I was holding Kenzie because I was terrified of fainting and dropping her. I cried, a lot and I was so, so tired all of the time. I felt myself experiencing symptoms of the baby blues.

Overall, I felt awful and I wasn't being kind to my body.

At six weeks postpartum I'm happy to say that I'm feeling completely back to myself. It took some time and a lot of grace to get where I am right now. If I've learned anything over the past few weeks, it's the importance of being patient with yourself and of course showing yourself some love.

Here are a few self-care practices I did (and still do) so I could keep myself feeling happy and healthy.

Take a bubble bath. I cannot stress the magical healing powers of a bubble bath enough. As I mentioned, I wasn't allowed to take any kind of hot shower or bath until I got my hemoglobin levels back up and it was torture. Now, I take one every single day and just those 15 minutes work wonders for my day.

Get dressed every day. It's so easy when you aren't feeling like yourself to stay in your sweats all day. But when you look good, you feel better and just taking a few extra seconds to put on a pair of jeans and a top you like will improve your mood.

Ask for help. I couldn't be more grateful to Daniel and my parents for all of the help they gave me when I needed it the most. When I reached my limits they were there to pick up the slack and the greatest self-care I could give myself was to be fair to my body and acknowledge those limits.

Eat Well. Or eat what you like to eat. You'll feel more energetic and better overall if you put good food into your body.

Hydrate. Drink all the water. This one is pretty self explanatory.

Splurge on something for yourself. Yes, babies cost money and you may not have a ton of extra. But buy yourself something, anything. Because especially after you've done something amazing like giving birth to your own little human, you deserve to treat yo self. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Read some positive quotes. I'm a big believer in the healing power of positive mantras. Pick a few of your favorite quotes and read them to yourself every day until you believe them.

Give yourself grace. Be patient with yourself and your body. If you're working through a tough time just remember that you've done, and are doing amazing things. Your body and mind may need time to heal, so be graceful through that time and you'll eventually start feeling more like your old self.

What do you do to practice self-care? 
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Kensington Grace (Weeks 5 & 6)

1// I love putting you in all the bows but it only lasts about five or so minutes because you somehow manage to knock them off and into your mouth every single time. 

2// Baby wearing has been a LIFESAVER! I put you in your solly wrap and you fall right to sleep while I get some stuff done. 

3// Your one month photoshoot. You slept through half of it and cried through the other half, and the pictures came out as cute as could be. 

4// Your dad's first Father's Day. Sometimes you look just like a mini him and it melts my heart to see the two of you together. 

5// Our little flower child. This is the same outfit we brought you home from the hospital in, but it fits you much better now, 6 weeks later. 

6// I caught you in the middle of a yawn but you looked like a little monster. I love your rawrrr face. 

7// Another shot from your shoot. Your little pucker face just melts me into a puddle on the floor. 

8// You're so strong and always trying to lift your head up when you're on your tummy. You make a cute little turtle face, just like your mama did when she was a baby. 

9// Still your favorite place to nap, right on our chests. You both look so sweet here, the two greatest loves of my life. 

We love you with all our hearts, precious girl!
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Monday, June 12, 2017

Thankfulness on Thankfulness


Yesterday my mom pointed out to me that I've got bags under my eyes that kind of make it look like I recently got into a fight. I'm living my life nap to nap and I don't feel like I'll ever not be tired again. Daniel and I haven't had a meal together since Kensington got here because she has this incredible ability to get upset as soon as our food is in front of us. 

And yet, I've never been so thankful. 

I'm thankful for the sweet, beautiful baby girl who makes me wonder how I ever did life without her. 

I'm thankful for my perfect, helpful and caring husband who is not only the greatest team mate I could ever ask for but also the worlds best dad. 


I'm thankful for my family who reminds me every day what unconditional love is. I know that Kensington will never question whether or not she is loved by the people in her life. 

I'm thankful for the long nights that I spend awake with a hungry little baby that sometimes sounds like a little pig when she eats. 

I'm thankful for the cuddles and the baby kisses and the short, perfect naps. 

I'm thankful for our little three person family and I'm just so so thankful because I have so many reasons to be. 

Our lives aren't perfect. Caring for a teeny tiny human is scary, and overwhelming and hard. But it's also wonderful, full of awe and just so great. I'm thankful because I can be, because I have no reason not to be.

Despite my apartment that I can't seem to keep clean, the fact that my baby is crying real tears these days (and breaking my heart in the process), and that I'm lucky if I can get a shower during the day, I wouldn't trade this time in our lives for anything in the world. 

I hope you have something in your life that makes you so, so thankful and that you hold onto it. 

What are you thankful for this week? 
Wednesday, June 07, 2017

More or Less in June


More... Summer Less... Spring.

More... Pool days (with pool floats like this one) Less... Mall days.

More... Wide awake baby Less... Sleepy baby.

More... Iced green tea lattes Less... Chai tea lattes.

More... Easy beach reads Less... Thrillers.

More... Farmer's markets.

More... Daisy bouquets.

More... Prioritizing blog writing.

More... Chubby baby cheeks.

Less... Putting off exercising.

Less... Take out dinners.

Less... Nerves about having a new baby in the house!

What are you hoping for more or less of this month?
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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Kensington Grace (Weeks 3 & 4)

Our sweet baby is officially a month old. I am seriously blown away by this ridiculous thief called time and the way that it has the ability to change your tiny munchkin of a baby so much from day to day.

At one month: 

Kensington loves: chugging bottles, staring at anything with a light on it, peeing whenever her parents take her diaper off of her, turning her head to follow voices, and smiling in her sleep.

Kensington hates: bath time, being swaddled when she's awake, sitting still, and getting the hiccups every day.

Weeks 3 & 4 in pictures: 

1// You and your dad always fall asleep cuddled up close to each other and it just melts my heart. 

2// You have the most perfect little heart shaped lips. I am always kissing them and you are always giving me serious side eye for it. 

3// I've just started putting you in bows and you usually try pulling them off of your head. 

4// This is how you look coming out of a nap right before you realize how hangry you are since you slept for too long. 

5// Your first Memorial Day bbq. You slept the entire time and everyone soaked up all of the baby cuddles. 

6// You don't mind being a little naked baby, but you definitely mind when I try to put clothes back on you. 

7// You were so fussy this day, nothing was making you happy but when you laid down and looked up at me I think you realized you weren't alone and it settled you down. 

8// This is your favorite way to sleep. Unfortunately you've started getting little heat bumps on your face because both of us are like little heaters! I still can't help but let you lay like that whenever you want. 

9// You're finally starting to fit into some of the outfits we bought you but this was not one of them. This sweet yellow outfit reminded me of a pineapple and even though I knew it would be too bit I put you in it anyway. I loved you in it. 

We love you with all of our hearts, Kensington Grace. You are the absolute light of our lives. I can't wait to see what the next month brings for you!
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kensington Grace: A Birth Story (Part One)

Our itty bitty baby doll. So small, but so long. 

Wednesday May 3rd. I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 8pm to begin my induction process. Daniel had a Wednesday night class that didn't let out until 9:50 so we packed up the car with my hospital bag and he took me to my parents house. The plan was for them to take me to the hospital, get me checked in and then Daniel would meet us there when he was done. I tried to stay as calm as possible, knowing that when I left our apartment it would be the last time without a teeny tiny babe. My mom and I watched movies and we went out for Mexican food for dinner. Around 6pm the hospitals charge nurse called to say that they had too many active labors and that they would need to push my induction. She told me to relax, get some sleep and expect a call from them around midnight or 1am to come get the process started. I managed to get about 3 hours of sleep before I was up checking my phone and waiting for the call...

Midnight came...and went. So did 1am, 2am, and 3am.

Finally around 4am I assumed the hospital forgot about me (up to this point they hadn't been the most organized) so I called labor and delivery and they asked me to be at the hospital by 5. This worked out fine for us, as we are just about 15 minutes away from the hospital and it gave me enough time to take a hot shower (best decision I made all morning) and have breakfast (second best decision I made all morning). 

Thursday May 4th. After we arrived at the hospital they admitted me right away and got me started on pitocin. I was only dilated to 1cm but I was 80% effaced so they decided to start the pitocin on a low dose to see where it got us. My doctor came in shortly after that and broke my water (hello, uncomfortable feeling) and I proceeded to get water ALL OVER the labor room floor. Thankful for a husband who doesn't mind cleaning up my messes. 

After that, Daniel decided to sleep a little bit more, and I watched movies while I waited for anything to happen (spoiler: nothing did for a very long time).

Eventually my parents came to the hospital. My mom was planning on being in the delivery room for the birth but until things got up and running my dad hung out with us as well. Daniel, my dad and I played monopoly and I kept getting myself into trouble because every time the nurses walked in to check on me I was laughing a little too much so they kept upping the dosage on my pitocin and by about halfway through monopoly my contractions were strong and consistent enough that I was ready for my epidural.

We called for the nurse, who went to get the anesthesiologist right away. He came in, had me sit on the edge of the bed and I began preparing myself for some pretty bad pain. Surprisingly, I hardly felt a thing. Which was great because I had to be stuck twice. The first time the needle tried going into a blood vessel, which is not the place you want it to be. Luckily, they check before they start administering the medicine and so he removed it and started again. That second time was a little bit more uncomfortable, but still didn't really hurt.

As soon as the epidural started kicking in, I kept asking my mom and Daniel to tell me when I was having contractions because I couldn't feel a thing. It was magical. At this point they checked me again and I was dilated to 4cm, and although we were moving along, I knew we still had a ways to go.

Four hours later, around 3pm or so, the nurse checked me one more time and saw that I was dilated to 9cm! I couldn't believe it, as I had expected it to be a good amount of time longer before we were that close. I couldn't get any rest so I hung out with my mom and Daniel, ate ice chips while we waited for the real fun to begin.

To Be Continued!
Friday, May 19, 2017

I Could Use A Strong Cup of Coffee

If we were meeting for coffee I'd ask you to ignore my messy bun and sweat pants. Coffee is a casual thing, right? I've pretty much been living in the same three pairs of sweat pants and even though I've gotten a nice shower every day I can't seem to find the time to do anything with my hair once it's clean. 

If we were meeting for coffee I'd tell you that I have to order tea, even though I could really, really use a good cup of coffee. I've had to add some iron supplements into my diet after Kensington's birth because of a few complications and caffeine is an iron blocker. It's been juice in the morning for me, and I'd tell you how that just isn't going to cut it for much longer.

If we were meeting for coffee I'd ask you to fill me in on all the things going on in the world lately. Somehow two weeks ago I went in for an induction and suddenly time lost all meaning and I've got absolutely no idea what's going on in the world. Have I missed anything too important?

If we were meeting for coffee I'd show you all the baby pictures. Because I made a perfect, tiny little human and I just want everyone to know. 

If we were meeting for coffee I'd ask you what you were reading lately. Now that we're getting into the swing of things around here, I'm finally looking for a couple of good books to start reading. I'd love any and all suggestions!

What would you want to talk about if we were having coffee? 
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kensington Grace (Weeks 1 & 2)

I can't even begin to wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow we'll already have a two week old. Until I can get a minute to sit down and actually write her birth story, I thought I'd just share baby K's life in pictures over the past couple of weeks.

1// My first morning with you in the hospital. We had plenty of visitors but I managed to soak up as much cuddle time as I could steal away from the rest of the group. You slept through everyone coming to see you, but we've got the pictures as proof for you later. 

2// This was taken right after your first bath, which you HATED. You cried the whole time, but once we got you some skin to skin contact right after you felt much better. 

3// Sweet baby in a dockatot. This thing has been a lifesaver for co-sleeping. You're not the biggest fan of being swaddled but when you're being fussy it does the trick to get you to sleep. 

4// I have so many sweet baby outfits I can't wait to put you in, but you're still just too tiny to fit into most of them. Yesterday we bought a couple of preemie outfits and those are only a little bit better fitting on you. You're just our teeniest tiniest little thing. 

5// I'm just so in love with those big baby eyes. The jury is still out on what color eyes you might have.

6// We had to take you back to the hospital because of your jaundice levels. You spent all night under the UV lights which was like little baby torture for you, and when you were allowed to sleep next to us you were so much more content. 

7// Your little milk drunk baby face makes us laugh every single time. 

8// You got to meet your great, great grandmother for the first time on our very first Mother's Day. You are surrounded by generations of family and I know it'll be quite awhile before you understand how important and wonderful that is. 

9// As soon as we put you in the car you pretty much fall asleep like a little angel baby. Those chubby cheeks just melt my heart. 

Daniel and I are just soaking up every single minute of baby cuddles while we can. Today I introduced baby wearing, and I feel like I just discovered life's greatest creation. We're so happy, so tired and just so in love with our little bird. I think we're going to be pretty great at this parenting thing.
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Peralta, Party of 3: Welcoming Kensington Grace

We're happy, and sleepy and just the most content and cuddly family of three. 

Our sweet little girl has completely wrapped herself around our hearts and we couldn't imagine life without her. 

We love you, precious girl. 

Plenty of stories and pictures to come! 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

This month I'll be having my first Mother's Day with a teeny tiny babe of my very own.

Since I know things are going to get very busy for us in the next couple of weeks, I wanted to get a head start on trying to pick out a gift for my mama so I don't end up waiting until the last minute and miss out on getting her something great.

If you're looking for some suggestions, I recommend starting here.



Happy almost Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Have you picked out a gift yet? What are you thinking about getting for your mom this year? 
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Monday, May 08, 2017

Everything I Remember From Sixth-Grade Home Economics.

I went to middle school in Ohio and in sixth grade I couldn't wait to take home economics. They taught us things like how to cook pancakes, the "correct" way to wash dishes, and how to sew.

Considering the fact that I can only cook pancakes from a box mix, Daniel always gets mad at me for the way I do the dishes and I have absolutely no idea how to sew, I started reflecting back on some of the other skills that I learned from that class that at some point or another I've probably let go to waste.

The one thing that I remember from that class above all else was a project that we did where we were given one of those mechanical baby dolls to take home for a weekend.

Do you know the ones I'm talking about? They look scarily similar to real life babies and when they send you home with them they give you outfits, a car seat, a diaper bag and everything else you might need to care for your little crying, eating, sleeping pretend child. I've never seen anyone else do one of those projects outside of my middle school and I'm not positive that they even do them anymore.

It's supposed to act as a form of birth control, reminding your little middle-schooler self that you absolutely cannot take care of a baby. At the time I couldn't have been more excited to bring mine home, and my parents were more then happy to sign the permission slip for me, so my naive self went to class on a Friday and packed up my baby as happy as could be.

My mom decided to take full advantage of the project. She decided we would use that weekend to do everything. She prepared a full list of errands for us to run and we spent all day out with this baby that looked real enough that I was getting pointed at and whispered about pretty much everywhere we went. Considering even today I get weird looks when people see my pregnant belly and try to guess if I could possibly be over 15, I can only imagine how I must have looked at 12 carrying a full diaper bag and baby.

At the time I thought that my mechanical baby was broken considering the fact that she cried in every store and restaurant we went to. By the time we got home, 12 year old me was discouraged and tired and ready to hand the baby over to my parents or even my 8 year old sister, but I had no takers. We went to bed that night and the baby woke me up over and over. I got to the point where I was so exhausted that I slept on the floor next to the mechanical baby with it's bottle and blankets and diapers and sensor so I would be prepared for anything and everything that it might throw at me.

I remember being close to tears when I didn't guess on the first try what they baby needed, and all I wanted to do was take it back to school.

Needless to say the baby project did it's job. I didn't have a baby in my teenage years and as I sit here just days away from meeting my baby in real life I'm hoping that my 25 year old self will pick up things on a quicker learning curve than middle school me.

I'm only slightly nervous that I'll have flashbacks of not knowing how to care for my pretend child, while I'm begging my baby to tell me what she needs. However I'd like to believe that I'll have picked up a few more natural mother instincts by now. And if not, I can only hope that my mom will be much more willing to help me out now than she was for my project :)

Did you ever take home economics? What do you remember from those days? 
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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Today is Baby Day

To our littlest love,

Today your dad and I welcome you into the world with open arms. After nine months of anticipation, wondering and planning it's finally time for you to make your debut and I can only imagine that you will far surpass any amount of perfect that we've already imagined you will be.

We've spent the last nine months planning for your arrival. Your baby clothes are hung, your bedroom is ready for you (although I can't ever imagine you sleeping anywhere far away from me) and both physically and emotionally we couldn't be more ready to meet you.

We've dreamt about what you'll look like, who's eyes you'll have and what color. Whether you'll have my ears, or your dad's nose. Speaking of your dad, I'm much more nervous about your arrival than he is, although he's had much less experience with babies. The two of us know we have a lot to learn but we hope you'll be patient with us while we figure it out along the way.

For you, I hope that you'll enter this world in wonderment. That you'll dream big, fight for the things you believe in and never stop searching for the thing that makes you most happy in life. When you find that thing, whatever it may be, I hope you'll hold on to it. I haven't met you yet, not officially, but I think for me that thing is you.

I hope you always dance when you're given the chance and knowing your dad I know he'll give you that chance as often as possible. I hope you'll meet new people, try things and never be afraid to experience life.

You're entering the world into a family that loves you beyond your wildest beliefs. Upon finding out about you, you quickly became the family favorite and I know that theres nothing you could ever do that could change that in the eyes of anyone waiting here for you. You've got aunt's, uncles, grandparents, even great grandparents who are anticipating meeting you.

You are so, so loved little girl.

I hope you're kind and thoughtful. I hope you're curious and that you strive to learn new things. I hope you're a reader (and coming from our family, I'm not sure how you couldn't be). I want your imagination to run free. I want you to feel confident in everything that you do, and I want you to take every opportunity that life offers you.

You are so special, I knew it the first time I felt your little flutter inside my belly. I hope that you'll give me the chance to be the best mom for you and that you'll forgive me as we go through the inevitable trial and errors of a mom and daughter kind of love.

No matter what I hope you never forget that as soon as I found out about you, you became the most important thing in my entire life and I love you more than all the stars in the sky.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

Love,

Your mom

Last night at 8pm Daniel and I checked into the hospital for an elective induction to welcome our sweet baby girl. By the time any of you are reading this we are either still waiting for her to arrive, or just welcoming her into the world. I can only imagine we are exhausted, overwhelmed with emotion and so, so in love. I'll check in soon with updates and pictures. Happy baby day to us, and happy Thursday to all of you! 
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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Garlic Broccoli Soup

One thing I really wanted to do prior to Kensington's arrival was to have some meals prepped and ready to go in the freezer.

At least for her first couple of weeks I knew we'd have a lot of people in and out that would help make sure we were eating well, but once it was time for everyone to go back home I didn't want to be left without quick and easy (and healthy) meals that we could just re-heat and have ready to go.

Unfortunately I got to the point where the thought of standing all day in the kitchen to do any type of meal prepping sounded like the last thing I wanted to do, and I started thinking of what I could go pick up from Trader Joe's to fill the freezer that would still be as easy to make.

Luckily for us when I told Daniels grandma about it she was sweet enough to offer to come spend the day cooking in my kitchen and made us enough meals that our freezer is now completely full. She made us three types of enchiladas, a couple of casseroles, some breakfast quiches, a turkey that we sliced for sandwiches, red chile beef, some grilled chicken and a few other things. I also made myself some cheese potatoes (which have been a comfort staple since I was a little girl) and soup.

I love soup no matter what time of year it is. I especially love to have soup in little baggies in the freezer because they're so quick to reheat and always taste better after the first time they're cooked. I don't love cheese soups or anything overly heavy like that but I do like broccoli soup and when someone told me this recipe for a garlic broccoli soup, I knew I had to try it. It has literally everything I love, garlic, butter and veggies and it comes out so creamy and delicious. With some homemade croutons or a baguette it's such an easy meal. It also only takes about a half hour with prep and cook time which I am all about.

Ingredients: 
3 Heads of Broccoli (roughly chopped) 
1 Tbs Flour
3 Tbs Butter
Garlic (amount based on taste preference)
1 Large Container Chicken Broth
1 Carrot 
Water (to balance out some of the broth)
Salt 
Pepper

Directions:
Melt butter in a deep soup pan.  
Add garlic and brown the garlic in the butter. 
When garlic is fragrant (but not burned) add chopped broccoli and carrot. 
Cook the vegetables until they are somewhat softened. 
Add the flour on top of the vegetables and cook for a minute or two. 
Add your container of chicken broth and a cup or two of water, depending on how much space you have. 
Raise your heat and let cook for 15 minutes. 
Blend vegetables and broth in blender or food processor until soup is smooth. 
Add salt and pepper to taste. 

I put the soup in individual baggies and put them directly in the freezer. Let me know if you try out this recipe!

What are some of your favorite freezer recipes? 
Monday, May 01, 2017

More or Less in May

More baby... Less pregnancy. Kensington's due date is May 10th but we've scheduled an induction for this week and I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified.

More family time... Less work.

More eating at home... Less spending money out.

More reading... Less Netflix.

More coffee on our front porch... Less being bedridden. 

More Spring flowers.

More baby cuddles.

More budgeting.

More happiness.

Less anticipation.

Less worry.

Less wondering.

Less waiting.

What are you hoping for more or less of this month? 
Friday, April 28, 2017

A Birthday Shoutout & Gift Ideas You Haven't Thought of Yet.

Today is Daniels 25th birthday. 

A monumental birthday, as it marks a quarter-century for my sweet husband. The first weekend we ever spent any time together was on the weekend of his 20th birthday. Since then his birthday has always unluckily fallen during a time when one or both of us was gone, usually due to some kind of military training or the fact that we were long distance for awhile, so this year I wanted to wish him all the birthday love and do my best to make today as special as possible. 

Daniel is one of those guys that is hard to shop for. There are plenty of things I could get for him, but I was having trouble coming up with anything that seemed special enough, especially on a year that I think he deserves a little extra birthday love before the baby arrives. He also never really asks for anything which makes it even more tough, but when I do hear him mention something he sort of wants I always try and keep it in the back of my mind. 

This year I decided to try and think outside the box a little bit. Rather than getting him something to have, I decided to try and find something for him that he could do. He's an active guy and he likes trying new things so in the past I've done things like sign us up to go skydiving (and immediately regretted it upon our arrival). I've also gone the less terrifying easier route and gotten him some of his favorite accessories like the Jord Wood Watch I got for him last year. 

For his gift this year I did a couple of different things. I got us tickets to go see Cedric the Entertainer at a new comedy club that opened up near our house for tomorrow night. I'm only slightly concerned that I'll laugh so hard that I go into labor, but that would be a story for another blog post. 

He also found a local indoor rock climbing gym that he and a friend have been going to a couple times a week, so as another gift we purchased him a climbing package that he can use as little or as often as he'd like. 

In my search for gift ideas I came across things like a local brewery tour on Groupon that would have made a great gift (if I were able to go drink with him) and a bunch of other local things like festivals in the area that I think he would have loved to check out. If your man is more of a wine drinker, there's usually great deals on winery tours on Groupon as well if you have any in your area. Or you could try something like this Weekly Tasting which isn't a monthly subscription but would make a really fun celebration with friends if you're planning on making the birthday more of a party. 

In the past I've also purchased subscription boxes like this Sprezza Box which is a fun gift, and one that Daniel decided to continue past the one month that I bought for him. Each month it came with things like mens ties, socks, wallets, etc. and each box was themed depending on the month or time of year. 

As stressful as gift shopping can be for the guy in your life there are so many unique things that are out now that you can really find something for anyone. 

Happiest 25th birthday to my best friend. 

Do you have any out of the ordinary gift ideas you would suggest? 
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Body Image During Pregnancy

When your weight is a subject of conversation for any period of time its only natural that it can take its toll on the way you think and feel.

Add in aches and pains, lack of sleep, maybe some nausea and all the other fun symptoms that come along with pregnancy and suddenly the fact that everyone has an opinion on your size, whether they think you're gaining too much or too little, can be hard to hear.

Before I got pregnant, I only weighed 90 pounds. Contrary to popular belief, this was not by choice. I felt like I ate, and ate and for some reason I couldn't put on or keep on weight for any significant amount of time. I know for many of you this seems like a problem that you're probably over there rolling your eyes at, but believe me, being on either side of the weight spectrum comes with it's own judgment and having to explain to people (as if it's any of their business) that no, I promise I don't have an eating disorder, gets old after awhile.

Flash forward to me at nine months pregnant, and I've put on an entire half of myself pre-pregnancy. That's right, I've gained around 45 pounds over the course of this whole thing and not so shockingly the need for everyone to make comments about my weight has not stopped. If anything, it's probably gotten worse.

Now here's the thing, I've worked hard to gain this weight for this baby. I'm proud of every single pound that I've put on because I know that it's all been for her. Throughout this pregnancy I have felt my absolute most beautiful even though I was continually having to go up a size in pants and now I'm not sure if 95 percent of the clothes that I wore before the baby will still fit me after she arrives.

But I'm growing a human for crying out loud. And damn it, these pounds are important and special.

Despite the fact that I can't seem to have a conversation with anyone anymore that doesn't either revolve around when the baby is due, how much my life will change once she gets here, or how big I've gotten since the last time that they've seen me, I still feel good.

I feel good because I know that my body is doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing for myself and this beautiful, extraordinary child that Daniel and I have created from seemingly nothing.

I'm here to tell you that whether you're pregnant now, or ever have been, your body is so special and every single pound is beautiful. 

I'm also here to tell you that if you've every struggled with your weight for any other number of reasons, your body is so special and every single pound is beautiful. 

As long as you're taking care of yourself and you feel good in your own skin that is all that matters. People will always feel like they have some right to tell you how you should or shouldn't look or how much weight you should or shouldn't put on, etc.

But what matters is that you remember that especially during a time like pregnancy, your body is doing one of the most amazing things it will ever do and when you look back on it later you can do so knowing that your tiny human is better and healthier for every little bit that you gave them of yourself.

Your body is special, every single pound you have is beautiful and you are so important. 

Remind yourself of that today and remind someone else who might need to hear it.

Happy mid-week, my beautiful friends. 
Monday, April 24, 2017

What I Read in April

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Plot: Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends -- and the mix between the regulars and "the weekenders"can sometime make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens...in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything - Via Goodreads

What I Thought: This was an easy, quick read perfect for a couple of days by the pool. The characters were mostly likable and the setting helped me pretend I was on vacation on an island for a bit. The story had just enough suspense and a little romance and overall it was a pretty good book.

Should You Read It?: I don't think by any means that this book will become your new favorite of all time, but its a good story and worth the read.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Plot: In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare's hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room...

Some things can't stay secret forever - Via Goodreads.

What I Thought: Twisty, twisty, twisted! I wanted to read this last year around Halloween time but I never got the chance. I wish I had made the time then because this story had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire thing. I read it in a day and a half, and now I can't wait to read another book by Ruth Ware.

Should You Read It?: Yes!

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Plot: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. 

Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. 

The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims - Via Goodreads

What I Thought: I had mixed feelings about this book. I wanted to read it for awhile (and before they make it into a movie with Leonardo Dicaprio) but I kept putting it off. It reads almost like a history book and although the imagery was really well written, I found myself getting bored by too many details in some sections of the story. The chapters about H.H. Holmes are really well written and incredibly creepy, which kept me wanting to get through the chapters about the fair so I could read more of the others. Overall, it was a well written and incredibly informative book, but not the best for entertainment value.

Should You Read It?: If you're looking for an easy, entertaining read then this is definitely not the book for you. But if you're looking for something interesting where you might learn something along the way, than I say yes give it a try.
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