Our first baby!

Finally, we are excited to share with everyone that we are having a baby!  It’s due June 10, 2015.  I am just starting to really get excited at the end of my first trimester because I feel like I can finally relax.  On Wednesday, November 26, we had our first ultrasound and got to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  It was so surreal.  I went from “feeling pregnant” to realizing there was a baby inside of me.  It’s hard to explain, but something changes when you actually see it.

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meme credit to Earnie Sotirokos

I really had to pee when we got into the ultrasound room, but the tech reassured me that my full bladder would help us see the baby.  Our first view of the baby was it sitting completely vertically….my full bladder was pushing the little babe to stand straight up.  After I went to the bathroom, we got to really watch it in it’s relaxed state, and I was surprised to see it jump around a little bit.

Now, to answer the questions that everyone has.

1. Yes, we are going to find out the sex.  We get to find out at the end of January.

2. I have been “extreme” in my first trimester.   I am mean, emotional, tired, huggy (very huggy), clingy, overly sensitive, full of rage, unable to eat or even get a whiff of most things without wanting to puke, sneezy, nose bleedy, and everything else that they don’t tell you about (my big toes have hair on them…..hmmm).

3. I have a bump but it’s still one of those:  is she pregnant, or does she need to do some sit ups?

4. We aren’t sure if we are going to tell anyone the name(s) we like.  They’re a little different, but nothing to call your grandmother about.

5.  We traded in the convertible for a Subaru Forester, and we LOVE IT!  We want our baby to be safe, and I needed an excuse to get rid of that snow sled!  Here is a pic!

It's a dark gray limited edition

It’s a dark gray limited edition

I look forward to writing more about our pregnancy and sharing it with all of you!

Half-Time

The craziness of the holiday season is officially here, but I’m determined to stay focused and think about the things in my life that I’m thankful for.  I mean that is the whole purpose of Thanksgiving, right!?  It would be easy for me to list the everyday items that I’m grateful for, like my job, my husband, loving friends and family, but this year I’m thankful for the new baby that’s growing in my belly.

I hit the half-way mark in my pregnancy, and thought it might be fun to quickly document how i’m feeling.  All of these crazy gals that I blog with will likely become parents or have another baby, so I’m hoping that this is a tradition that can be passed on from one momma to another.

21 Weeks

Weeks pregnant/baby size: I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant and baby M is the size of a pomegranate

Sleep:  It depends….some nights I can sleep for a solid 10 hours and other nights I’m lucky if I’m able to sleep for 4-5 hours.  I often wake-up between 3-4 am and have a hard time going back to sleep. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude…maybe my body is just getting ready for the midnight feedings I will experience in a few short months.

Cravings: DONUTS.  I’ve been able to maintain a healthy diet at lunch and dinner, but donuts are my weakness.  It doesn’t help that the local grocery store sells day old donuts in packs of 6 for half the price.  Gets.me.every.single.time.

Clothing:   Maternity clothing is my new best friend.  I wear a belly band to work almost everyday, and I love the Destination Maternity pants I picked up a few weeks ago.  The undershirts that I typically wear are now uncomfortable so I’m slowly finding more and more maternity items that I need to add to my wardrobe.

Love it: My energy is back to normal!  I’m not overly exhausted after work each day and my daily routine of laundry, cooking, ect. has resumed.  My husband is VERY thankful for this! 🙂

Hate it: I’m still feeling very irritable about silly day-to-day things.  I’ve also noticed the effects of “baby-brain”-  Couldn’t find my car in the grocery store parking lot….check.  Misplaced my work ID two days in a row….check.  Missed a vet appointment….check.  The list could go on and on….

Holiday ‘Health’

The Holidays are a whirl wind, a blurr, and nonstop hustle bustle!  All in the best of ways, of course.  It makes it hard to commit to any type of routine.  There is twice the cleaning, twice the cooking, twice the errands.   These past couple of weeks my mentality has been :

one work out is better than no work outs.

So, no- I have not been to yoga once a week.  I have not consistently walked the dog daily.

That said, I am still celebrating!  I mentioned I am so foreign to squatting that I was unable to squat the weight bar, with NO WEIGHTS!  Hey little ladies- guess what!  I did it!  I am not yet at a full five reps in a row, but I am making progress.  I did manage three sets of one, and another time I even got two sets in.  The weight is less of the challenge, it is more so the body form that I need to learn.  Its tough to set a strong and safe foundation for your body to drop into, and maintain it as you come out.  My legs are trying to give up and get up any way possible.   I also have increased the amount of weight I can dead lift! (I honestly never thought I could care about such victories).  One night I lifted my entire body weight off of the ground.  I also think I blacked out, but who cares!?  Once is more than NEVER!  I see a difference in my strength.  Maybe slowly that will make the difference in my motivation.

So this time when I grabbed my celebration beverage, I went all out!  WINE SMOOTHIE!  Helllllooooo happy!

My roommate asked; “Is this a new high?  … or a new low?”   What!?  I needed a snack AND a glass of wine.   This is better than ice cream isnt it?

Make it in any fashion you choose.  With the holidays coming I was itching to sniff a red wine.  I am not eager to indulge in reds.  I often feel they are too ‘footy’ for me.  So I was in search of a friendly, sweet, fruity, slightly tangy red.

This season try Dona Paula Estate 2011 Malbec.  Again in the $12-$20.00 range, a wine that wont break the bank.  With the word tannins mentioned, I knew this would have the slight tang I was craving.  Although you may take this for Christmas day – or where ever beef makes your holiday menu- I did this:

6 slices Frozen Peach

1 Frozen Banana

1/2 cup frozen red raspberries

1 cup malbec

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AAAAND…. enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours !

Turkey Day Triumphs over Carbs!

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming!  All of us know that when we are preparing to make a side, we think…..hmmm….How can I make this taste amazing?  Often times, it involves adding cream, cheese, or bread, and a lot of times you’re adding those things to a starch!  I find myself really bloated, stopped up, and uncomfortable after dinner, so this year I am trying to ease up on the carbs, but not the flava!

Eat your green beans!  I found this amazing Emeril recipe and made it 3 years ago.  Every year, my husband demands it for Thanksgiving.  The most delicious way to eat green beans is with BACON!  The best part about it is, it only takes about 30 minutes on the stove right before the meal.  No oven!  Here’s the recipe!

brussel sprouts

Yuck!  Brussel Sprouts!  Don’t be quick to deny brussel sprouts.  They lose their bitterness if you cook them right. S&D Café makes an amazing Brussel Sprout Salad that my husband gets on a weekly basis.  I used to have their recipe, but lost it after a little while.  I guess this is my version of their already amazing recipe.

You need:

1 1/2 lbs of brussel sprouts

Olive Oil

Sesame Oil

Pine Nuts

Honey

Garlic

1. Core your brussel sprouts.  I take a paring knife and dig out the center.  Then I pull the leaves apart discarding of the outer most leaves and what’s left of the core – that little ball.  Then, rinse the leaves you’re using.

2. Put your leaves in a pan with some olive oil (just enough to coat them) and sauté for a 2 minutes.

3. Add some pressed garlic and let it simmer for another minute or so.  I usually use 2 cloves.

PSST!  Make sure your leaves just get tender, but don’t wilt.

4. Take the leaves off the stove and put in a bowl.  While you’re doing that, put a handful of pine nuts in the pan and sauté them for a minute or 2 on medium heat until they start to toast a little bit.

5. Add a tsp of sesame oil, some salt, pepper, toasted pine nuts and drizzled honey onto the sprouts in the bowl and mix around.  I usually drizzle about 2 tbsp. and mix it for a little while.  Sometimes I add more of everything depending on the flavor.

That’s it!

You can serve this recipe hot or cold.  I love it after it’s been in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Off to TARGET we go!

With the holidays quickly approaching I wanted to share how I plan on tackling my gift list. It all starts at my go to place…TARGET! Anyone who knows me, knows about my love…no…obsession with TARGET! TARGET is my go to for everything especially the holidays. Not only can I save on toys and clothes for the girls, homegoods for the women, and electronics for the men but I can also save money on my groceries, holiday decorations and baking items!

Me on every trip to TARGET!

Love me some TARGET!

TARGET offers numerous ways to save. My personal favorite is the Cartwheel app! Out of all the apps on my phone this one is used the most! I love that I can find the savings I want from the comfort of my own home and the app has a scanner which can be used to scan barcodes to offers in store! I also love the barcode widget that I installed on my phone’s homescreen so checkout goes smoothly. But I must say, my most favorite thing about the Cartwheel app is that it always has amazing deals on the things I use most.

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Another great way to save is with the TARGET RedCard. The RedCard can either be linked to a debit account or it can be used as a credit card. With either, debit or credit, you save 5% on every trip!!!

Target also offers coupons through their online circular. You text them a code for the specific coupon and bam, they text the coupon to your phone! Everything is conveniently stored in your phone so you don’t have to mess with a stack of coupons.

Convenience, great prices, and great products all under one roof; you can’t beat that! Especially when shopping for the holidays!

Movie Review: Interstellar

As the winter months start creeping in hubby and I are always looking for things to keep ourselves entertained indoors.  One of our favorite dates is just a plain old dinner and a movie.  Two Sundays ago we decided to venture out to see the much anticipated Interstellar! We are both sci-fi nerds and knew from that it sounded so interesting and Matthew McConaughey you can’t go wrong with seeing him in anything!

Drum roll please…I loved this movie so much!  Not only did it live up to my expectations with the amazing cinematography but it really made me delve in and think about/wonder what’s really out there beyond what we know now.  I thought that Matthew McConaughey’s character was so amazing and I felt that he really connected with the audience and become super relatable.  I found the basis of this movie the most fascinating part since it really made me stretch and explore my own thoughts on what’s really beyond our tiny galaxy.  A quick tip: you really should see this film in IMAX a lot of the shots were just done on IMAX making the movie all the more exciting.  We went before lunchtime and saved ourselves about $10 vs. going in the evening.  If you are looking for something to do on a freezing afternoon duck inside the theaters and catch this flick before it leaves, I’m sure it will be one of the best films of the year!

“Love isn’t something we invented. It’s observable, powerful, it has to mean something… Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space.”

Let me know what you thought of Interstellar!

Scents for Cents

Have you ever heard of a cricket box?  Yeah….I hadn’t either until last week when I stumbled across these three cute vintage boxes on an online Facebook page.  I knew I had to have them but I needed to first think of where I was going to put them and also what I could use them for.  I searched online and found that one of the traditional uses was to store potpourri….and I had my solution!

This quick and easy project took only minutes to create, and the fragrance of the potpourri can be changed depending on my mood or the season.  Right now two of the boxes feature a holiday scent, while I plan to place the third box in a linen closet filled with freshly scented potpourri.

Potpourri boxes

The unique design and variations in the brass are clear indicators that the boxes are hand-stamped.  The largest box is around 4″ and the smaller two boxes measure between 2″-3″.  (One additional note: the brass could be polished to achieve a more polished look, but I felt the vintage look matched the other accessories in my home.)

Supplies

The total cost of this project was $14.97.  Here is a short breakdown:

  • Cricket boxes (purchased online, similar boxes can be found here): 3 for $10.00
  • Mesh bags (AC Moore): 3 for $1.47
  • Balsam potpourri packet (AC Moore): 1 for $1.00
  • Seaspray potpourri packet (AC Moore): 3 for $2.50 (The original price was $4.99, but I used a printable 50% off coupon.)

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I simply cut the top of the potpourri packets and dumped the contents into one of the mesh bags.  You can see from the pictures above and below that the size of the potpourri depends on the manufacturing company.   The seaspray bag (below) had much finer particles, but the mesh bag was still able to hold them.

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Once the mesh bags were filled with the two different scents I selected, I simply folded over the tops and closed the lids.

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Easy peasy!  What holiday scents do you enjoy?

Seeing Red!

Red everywhere. Red lips. Red hair. Red nails. Red accessories. It is everywhere- and I LOVE it. I was not always so confident in such an aggressive fashion statement. For many years I had been shy about bold expression. For a long time I found myself buying the same army green, grey, or navy clothing. Never did I veer away from clear lip gloss and nude-medium brown make up.

Ah- but behold: a reformed woman!

A couple of years back I gave in to the curiosity of the Beauty Box (sample box) subscription. The concept is to pay for a monthly subscription of beauty samples that will be sent directly to your home. There are many out on the market now; Birchbox, Ipsy, Julep Maven, and many more. Psst- click here for an article that helps you find the best box to help your beauty regimen. I chose Birchbox, and I am a die-hard fan. Birchbox is a very reasonable price per month or annual and it allows you to personalize a profile to ensure samples are relevant to your needs. Birchbox also has a point system that is a great way to counter the idea of paying for samples (which you can sometimes otherwise get free at beauty counters). Earning points through various activities amounts to $10 or more dollars off future purchases- once I got a high end face wash for $6.00 and free shipping! Score!

Because of Birchbox I am now a fearless woman of the beauty world. Birchbox has allowed me to creep from no eyeliner and clear lip gloss to winged eyes, bold red lips, and full and beautiful brows!

 

It is hard to try new trends when cosmetics are so pricey. The opportunity to test allows you to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with out guilt and disappointment. (Tip: When I find the few products that I am not in love with – I throw them in a jar in our guestroom with a ‘help yourself’ sign! Now if my guests forget their face wash, shampoo, or lotions there are plenty of small options for them to try themselves!)

{Bathroom Organization}: Repurpose a glass cookie jar to organize and store travel/sample sized toiletries in guest bathroom

Tip: When I find the few products that I am not in love with – I throw them in a jar in our guestroom

After learning what a sample can do, I started aggressively searching for samples. Ask at beauty counters or when online ordering. When preparing for my Olive Oyl Halloween costume I was in lust with the idea of a red lip to sauce it up. BUT NEVER WOULD I EVER wear a red lip. I hadn’t even moved past clears and sheers.

Popeye & Olive Oyl ❤

When recently buying a few staples at Sephora I got a Dior Rouge Baume sample pack. There among many pretty colors was the red of my dreams. Color ‘999’. It is the true red I dreamt of, not too dark, not too pink. It complimented my skin tone. Being a baume it goes on a bit more sheer than a true lip stick, but you can add layers to create the depth you prefer. It is also smooth and creamy like a friendly gloss.

This is the lip color for lip gloss wear-ers!

I quickly went to the nearest general retail store to by a cheap knock off. WRONG. Do not bother. Each red of each brand will vary in tones and shades and textures. Once you find the one you love- go get her (in fact, go get two!)  I ended up finding my tube at Nordstroms.

What do you think!?

NEWBY TIP:

Being new to lip color I learned quickly why there is a need for lip liner. Colors that are bright show the bleeding in the naturally imperfect line of our lips. When I inquired about the right way to pick a lip liner the beauty professional at Sephora advised me perfectly! She showed me a wax liner pencil. Specifically Make Up Forever brand. She understood quickly as I explained I had never worn such loud color before that a liner may add more drama than I desire. Liners intensify your chosen color even more. A clear wax pencil can go on first and act as a barrier. You can also use it as an ERASER for outside the lines after applying the color. What a blessing!
I now pair my lovely red lip with a fire engine red nail color called ‘Red My Lips!” SAVINGS ALERT:  if you have not already go by the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Starter Kit today! This saves money and time. Gel stays for a week or two depending on how much time you spend it water. Looks professional. The process is quick. LOVE it. Money well spent.  Saves me a fortune on avoiding salon manicures.
So my advise- if you see the girl in the red lip and just WISH you could pull it off – YOU CAN! Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try yet another sample!

Take a Chill Pill!

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I work in a high-stress environment in my job.   Things are constantly changing, and I organize 3 fairly large events per year (including a 3,000 person 5K Run/Walk), as well as multiple volunteer committees.  At the end of the day I feel satisfied because I work for a non-profit and know my hard work is making a difference.  I told you in my first post, I needed to work on handling stress in my job.

The entire month of November is not an enjoyable time for me because there’s so much to do for my last event of the year – the Jingle Bell Run/Walk!  So, I don’t get excited for “the holidays” until Thanksgiving is over and we are half way to Christmas.

Lately, I have not had time or energy to exercise, but here is what I have been doing for myself:

1. Take a chill pill!  Okay, I don’t take any pills, but I do have a post-it note sitting right in front of my face on my window at my desk that says, “TAKE A CHILL PILL”.  This helps me remember that this is JUST A JOB!  Did you know that people are dying in Japan from working themselves to death!  It’s true!  It’s called Karoshi!  I heard about it from the documentary, Happy! 

2. I schedule massages for my most stressful times!  I have a monthly massage membership at Massage Envy.  I have wanted one for years.  I like to schedule them the day before a big event.  I used to wait and save them as a reward the day after, but this way is much better.  Why not treat yourself to an hour of relaxation when things are at their busiest?  This puts things into perspective, again.  It’s just a job.  I come first.

What do you do to relax or treat yourself, and when do you feel you “deserve” it?