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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pregnancy Wardrobe Essentials For Under $250

So here it is - everything I bought for my pregnancy wardrobe, and yes you are reading that right, it was under $250! Whatever you do mamas, please don't go out and spend an arm and a leg on a whole new wardrobe the minute you find out you are pregnant!

All you need are these basics and the rest you have in your closet already. I promise! Loose blouses and your old 'fat clothes' work for those awkward FUPA moments in your second trimester, and your 'skinny clothes' paired with a blazer/oversized sweater and maxi dresses are perfect for the third trimester. Even for events like weddings, I wore my old dresses that had empire waists and didn't scream "Matronly!"  (Plus, I looked at it as the less maternity clothes I bought, the less tempted I would be to stay in them after the baby!)

Also, I did all of this shopping online (which I highly recommend) because jeans shopping is bad enough, but jeans shopping while feeling like a bloated weeble wobble hopped up on hormones is a recipe for disaster. Here are all the brands I opted for!

1. BeBands. ($18.99) These will be your first go-to item. I bought two Ingrid & Isabel BeBands from Target in nude and white. They allow you to still wear your normal jeans/pants but you can unbutton and unzip them. I started wearing these around week 12/13 at the beginning of the second trimester at Christmas. Sugar cookies may also have been a culprit. These allowed me to save money and stay in my normal clothes until the third trimester. 

2. Nursing Bras. ($24.99 - $29.99) As I entered the second trimester, my sports bras became way too tight to wear, but instead of going out and buying bigger bras, I opted just to get nursing bras because I knew I needed them in the future. I bought a size Large. While a bit big right now, I heard these bad boys will get out of control when the milk comes in, so be sure to go a size up from your regular size. I bought grey and white Le Leche Nursing Sports Bras from Target, three gray, nude, and white Seamless Nursing Bras & one nude Underwire Nursing Bras from Destination Maternity. (Be sure to buy your bras when they have their 'Buy 3, Get 1 Free Sale'!)

3. Yoga Pants. ($29.00 - $34.99) I really thought I could make my old ones stretch through the entire pregnancy, but when I finally popped starting in the third trimester at 7 months, the band was cutting me right at the belly button and was super uncomfortable. I bought two black pairs of Ingrid & Isabel Yoga Capris from Target and one pair of gray Yoga Capris from Old Navy. Best investment ever - I live in them almost every day!

4. Basic Tees. ($14.99 - $22.99) I figured you couldn't go wrong with some solid crew & v-necks. I bought gray, white, and red Crew Necks from Gap, and navy and light blue V-Necks from Old Navy. Also, be sure to wait to purchase these until the stores have their annual 40% off sales - they will be even cheaper!

5. Jeans. ($69.50) Alright, so this is where things could go awry. Luckily I ordered both of these pairs from A Pea In The Pod online and both magically fit! I had thought about investing in $150-200 in some designer JBrands or Citizens of Humanity jeans, but I couldn't bring myself to do it, especially not for something I would only wear 9 months. I had tried one pair on at Old Navy, but they felt 'too maternity-like' and I had read reviews that Gap's became too baggy, so I decided to try these LED jeans. They were in the middle of the road price-wise and fit and look just like my normal jeans. I bought a pair of the LED Skinny Ankle Jeans and the LED Deconstructed Boyfriend Jeans. They run true to size, so order what you wore before you got pregnant. I really like these and highly recommend you give them a try!

6. Tanks. ($16.95 - $26.00) Lastly, I bought a white and gray tank to wear under sweaters and blazers from Gap, and two more workout tanks from JC Penney. The workout tanks aren't maternity, but are long enough to cover the bump. I had a gray one pre-pregnancy and really liked the fit of it even as I grew bigger. Plus, there is a sale right now where you buy one and get the other one for a penny!


If you have any questions about these products or need any more advice, feel free to comment or shoot me a message. And I hope this gives you a beacon of hope when nothing in your closet seems to fit right anymore. Just buy these basics and you'll be all set!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Motherly Advice

So here are some tips and tricks my fellow mom friends have bestowed on me these past couple of months as well as things I've randomly discovered. It has been so nice to lean on people for advice and support during this time, rather than just trying to just find it all out on Google!

1. Instead of buying fancy burp cloths, just use cloth diapers. They are thick and do the trick! (Thanks Jen!)

2. Before you go and buy a breast pump, be sure to check with your insurance company to see if it is covered first. Blue Shield actually covered everything and the process was surprisingly simple. I called them, they gave me a list of providers to purchase it from, I ordered the Medela Pump from Yummy Mummy, put in all my insurance info, and received it in the mail about two months later! (Thanks Jill!)

3. Quick-Zip Sheets. I randomly came across these while researching a while back and love how much easier they make your life! The top simply unzips off so you can wash it, that way you don't have to take off the mattress and remove the entire sheet. I went with two Quick-Zip Crib Mattress Pads, a Drop-in Base with cover, as well as two white Heavenly Soft Extra Zip Sheets.

4. Instead of registering for specific bottles, you may want to go buy single ones and see which your baby prefers first. All babies are different and may like different styles. So while my friend recommends Dr. Brown's Glass Bottles, our baby might not be a fan! See which one they like first and then purchase more. (Thanks Jade!)

5. Alright so this tip doesn't come from a mom, but my baby daddy! Instead of purchasing one of those expensive $300 baby monitors, you can use an old device instead. We all have old iPhones and iPads laying around. Set one in the nursery and install the LiveStream App. It is free and allows you to stream video. That way you can stream it and watch the baby on your phone, computer, or even TV! (Thanks Kyle!)

6. These are best toys to buy that your little one will actually like. My friends say its the best ten dollars you will ever spend! Their picks are Baby Einstein's Take Along Tunes, the Oball Infant Rattle, and the WubbaNub Infant Pacifiers. (Thanks Marissa, Alison, & Veronica!)

7. Badger Baby Balm. It is natural, organic, and safe to use on the baby, and one of the customers at her store swore by using it on the nipples to prevent dryness and cracking during breastfeeding. Already ordered mine! (Thanks Marissa!)

8. My mama was kind enough to buy us our carseat and stroller and when I was purchasing them, I came across this great site called Albee Baby. It was by far the best deal because they offer NO TAX and FREE SHIPPING. This is huge for all of your big ticket items! We went with the Stokke Scoot v2 Stroller and the Stokke Pipa Nuna Car Seat. They also have a rewards program, so I used my rewards toward the Baby Bjorn Bouncer my friend swore by. (Thanks Amy!)

I wanted to pass along their knowledge and learn from you as well. Any of you have some motherly advice for me? What are some other good mama hacks out there?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Meditation & Motherhood

Today I wanted to blog about the importance of Mind/Body Connectedness during pregnancy, and boy is it a struggle. 

Your hormones are raging, your emotions and thoughts are racing, and you are now growing what feels like the alien from Predator inside your body causing the most random physical changes and symptoms. 

For me, meditation has been my saving grace during this pregnancy which has not been easy on me by any means

At the beginning of 2015, my health coach Emily urged me to start meditating daily and said that it would be life changing. And she was right. It has been said that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. That's the best way I can explain it. Sitting in stillness and silencing all of the doubt, fear, frustration, and anxiety each day is what helps you truly live in the here and now and be happy with the present moment. 

Last year was a very stressful year on my family and I, and honestly I don't know how I would have gotten through it without daily mediation. My body craved it. My mind craved it. Especially when life felt so out of control. I was in a great routine with it until... I got pregnant. 

I was so sick and miserable the first trimester that any sort of routine I had went out the window. Although my body physically started feeling better in the second trimester, I could tell my mind was falling back into its old habits - dwelling on past hurts, worrying about the future, and trying to control things beyond my control. It's tough, because pregnancy does require you to plan ahead (registries, nannies, life insurance policies, 529 plans, yada yada yada... the list goes on and on!) All of this planning was making it very hard on me to stay in the present. 

So when I was dealing with Restless Leg Syndrome and weeks of no sleep in March, I had been told Magnesium supplements would help, but I also knew I needed to get into a nightly meditation practice again that would help with my sleep. 

To kickstart things I began Oprah & Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Meditation Class and felt a complete difference in myself by Day 3. Despite these changes in my body, my mind was starting to feel much calmer, connected, and 'in flow' again. 

I cannot stress how important meditation has been in my life these past two years and I know it needs to remain a priority even with a newborn. Whether you are a mom or not, everyone could use a little stillness in our chaotic days! Just try it for a week, and let me know if you notice a difference. 

Here's how I started: I would listen to this Reiki Zen Song on YouTube and set my timer on my phone for 5 minutes. At first your thoughts are racing but as time goes on they start to silence and you are able to just sit and be present in the moment. Keep increasing the time as weeks go along. I reached my goal of 20 minutes and do that daily.

In this world of social media (which I would gladly bow out of and probably will at some point, if it wasn't for being able to share my blog and writings with all of you!) it is so important to realize that all of these posts are just filtered, photoshopped, snapshots of what people what you to see of their life. It's not real life. Comparison I believe is the number one killer of happiness. Meditation has taught me that happiness isn't found in things. It's a choice and that choice lies within me. 

Sorry for the babble and emo post, but this kid has put me through the ringer already and I always love to share with you all the things that actually work in my life. Now, try it out for a week, and let me know if it works for you too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Journaling During Pregnancy

Unfortunately, I am not one of those pregnant women who could say, "It was a breeze. I loved being pregnant!" If there is a symptom, I've probably experienced it. The latest - Restless Leg Syndrome. I was hoping that I would be able to recoup after Awards Season, but then the damn RLS set in and I spent the month of March wanting to chop my legs off with weeks without sleep. Not the type of 'relaxation' I had in mind. 

Thanks to Magnesium supplements, meditation, and warm baths during the night, I've been able to snag some more hours of sleep. Guess my body is just preparing me for life after birth! 

Now while there are lots of days during this process I would like to forget, there are are tons I want to remember - the baby's first kick, Kyle feeling it move for the first time, & putting together the nursery, which is why I've been journaling about this process since the day I found out.

The Happiness Project Journal allows you to write down what you are grateful for and take note of all of the little things that happen daily in your life. 

I've bought The Happiness Project for Mothers for lots of my other mom friends. It's a one sentence journal that allows you to track your journey over five years. 

For me it's nice because I keep it on my nightstand and jot down a couple lines about what happened that day. While I would love to journal more, I know keeping up with writing paragraphs a night isn't realistic for me. I also love that I will be able to look back and see what was happening on a certain day that spans over five years time. 

I know my life is about to change drastically in 3 months time. Good and bad, I'm doing my best so I can look back and have memories recorded of it all!