My Favorite YouTubers

This is a post I was planning on writing anyway, but now that we’re all stuck at home for who knows how long, I figured this was the perfect time for it! If you’re like me and you have a child (or children) to entertain, you probably don’t have a ton of extra free time, but one of my favorite things to do when I do have a few minutes to myself is to watch YouTube videos. So whether you’re interested in motherhood, beauty, travel, food, home decor and DIY’s, or something else, I’ve got a channel for pretty much everyone on this list!

Motherhood & Lifestyle

Tara Henderson – Tara is probably my number one favorite YouTuber. I first found her channel when I was pregnant and was watching a lot of labor and delivery vlogs. I first watched her labor and delivery video of her daughter Shay, which led to me binge watching a ton of her videos! I think the reason I like her so much is because she’s so relatable. She shares a little bit of everything on her channel, from motherhood, fashion, beauty, to travel, home organization, and home decor. So if you’re looking for a good mommy/lifestyle vlogger, Tara’s your girl. You can also follow her on Instagram at @taralynnn.

Aaryn Williams – I found Aaryn on YouTube through Tara, and she’s another one of my absolute favorites. She shares pretty similar content as Tara, and she is so funny. She’s been doing YouTube for a long time, so if you want to just binge watch a bunch of videos, she’s got plenty of them on her channel. She is also so relatable and I can always count on her videos to keep me entertained during my pumping sessions. You can follow her on Instagram at @aaryn_williams.

Caitlyn Neier – I honestly don’t remember how I found Caitlyn, but she’s one of my newest favorites. She shares a lot of “day in the life” type content, as well as fashion, home decor (she has amazing decor style), motherhood, cooking, and cleaning. She works from home and has a three year old little girl, so I enjoy seeing how she balances her work and life, but still gets everything done! You can follow her on IG at @caitlynneier.

Brittani Boren Leach – I found Brittani just through the suggested videos on YouTube that were similar to the ones I was already watching. Brittani is a boy mama, and a lover of iced coffee and Target, so I feel like we could totally be best friends! She shares lots of motherhood and lifestyle content, which is definitely my favorite kind of video to watch. Her channel has really grown and evolved over the years, but she has plenty of videos if you’re looking for a good binge session. Follow her on IG at @brittaniborenleach.

Olivia Zapo – I don’t really remember how I first came across Olivia’s channel, but I’ve been following her for quite a while. She originally started out as more of a fashion/beauty channel, but once she became a mama (she has a little boy who’s almost 2 and is due with her second boy any day now) her channel kind of evolved to include more motherhood and lifestyle content. BUT she does still share lots of fashion and beauty if you’re interested in that! She’s also big on sharing real life and lots of positivity, which I love about her! You can follow her on Instagram at @oliviazapostyle.

Beauty

Casey Holmes – When it comes to makeup, I usually keep it super simple, but I still enjoy watching Casey’s makeup videos. She shares both simple, every day looks, and more dramatic, full face looks, so she really has something for everyone. She also shares some fun, random videos like the one she did recently where she let her baby pick out what products she should use. Even if you aren’t into makeup, Casey also has a second channel (CaseyHolmesVlogs91) where she shares more lifestyle, vlog type of videos. AND she also owns a small online clothing store called Rosie Daze Boutique, which carries the cutest pieces! Follow her on IG at @caseyhl91.

Home Decor & Home Projects

Rachel Metz – I just recently found Rachel’s channel by accident, but I really like her videos! She shares tons of one room makeovers, easy DIY’s, and home organization videos. Her channel is super motivating and honestly makes me want to redo my whole house! If you’re into home decor or home makeovers, you’ll definitely love her channel! You can follow her on Instagram at @rachel_metz.

Kristen McGowan – Kristen’s channel is another one that I found through recommended videos that were similar to ones I was already watching. Her videos are a little more focused on decor than Rachel’s, but she also does a lot of one room makeover videos. She also does a lot of organization and “shop with me” videos, which I love. Kristen’s channel really just inspires me to decorate and organize! Follow her on IG at @kristenmcgowan.

Travel

Sailing La Vagabonde – This is pretty much the only travel channel that I watch on a regular basis. Elayna and Riley (and now their little guy Lenny) are an Australian couple that lives on their sail boat and sails around the world. It’s so fun to watch their adventures and see all the beautiful places they visit. It’s also been really cool to see how they have grown and evolved since their baby was born, but they’re continuing to do what they love, and just bringing him along for the fun! You can follow them on IG at @elayna.carausu and @riley.whitelum.

Food

Sam the Cooking Guy – I think my husband actually discovered this channel, but he always makes such delicious looking stuff, and I was intrigued. We like to watch Sam’s videos when we’re wanting to try something new for dinner, but we also just watch because everything he makes in every single video looks so good. I also really like him because he’s super casual and laid back, and his videos almost always include a bit of humor and sarcasm. You can follow him on IG at @thecookingguy.

Our Labor and Delivery Story

In typical new mom fashion, I am SO behind! Hendrix is officially 9 weeks old and I’m just now getting around to sharing his labor and delivery story. But I’m finally making the time to write it all down, so I hope you all enjoy!

Hendrix was born at 39 weeks, 5 days, on Monday, September 9th (9/9/19 – a pretty awesome birthday if you ask me!) at 12:08 p.m. I was in labor for a total of 35 hours, which at the time felt like forever, but we were both safe and healthy for his entrance into the world, which was the most important thing to me!

Let’s rewind a couple of days to Saturday, the 7th. That day I just felt a little off all day. My lower back was killing me, I was feeling pretty crampy, and overall, I just didn’t feel quite like myself. I was sure that I was going to go past my due date, so I didn’t really think anything of it, and just figured it was due to being almost 40 weeks pregnant. That day I did eat some pineapple, drank some red raspberry leaf tea (which I had been drinking daily since around 37 weeks,) and bounced on my exercise ball a little, but I wasn’t really expecting anything to come of it.

That night I went to bed around 10:30 p.m. I woke up a little before 1:30 a.m. on the 8th to go to the bathroom, and as I was getting settled back into bed, I felt my first contraction. They really weren’t painful at that point, so at first I wasn’t sure if they were actually contractions, or if it was just gas/cramps. I laid there for about an hour, and I wasn’t really timing them, but they continued to come about 10 minutes apart, lasting around 35 seconds each. I started officially timing them around 2:30 a.m., and around 3:15 a.m. I decided to move to the living room to see if moving around, laying in a different position, drinking some water, etc. would make them go away.

Around 5:00 a.m. I decided to take a shower, just in case this was the real deal. My husband had checked on me a few times, but I told him to keep sleeping so that he would be well rested when things really got going. My contractions were getting a little longer, lasting around 45 seconds each, but were very inconsistent at anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes apart. They were bad enough that I couldn’t sleep though, so I just spent the next few hours trying to keep myself entertained to keep my mind off the contractions.

7

Around 8:30 a.m. I decided to call my midwife. She is very big on laboring at home for as long as possible, so I figured she was going to tell me not to go into the hospital yet, but my contractions were getting more painful, and since this was my first time going through this, I just wasn’t sure what I should do. Like I thought, she told me I wasn’t ready. She told me to wait until my contractions were between 2 and 5 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute, and it had been that way for an hour. She also said that by the time I was ready to go in, I absolutely should not be able to talk through the contractions. So I just continued to labor at home for the next several hours.

At 1:30 p.m., (contracting for 12 hours at this point) my contractions were lasting about a minute each, but they were still very inconsistent with how far apart they were. Most of them were between 3 to 5 minutes apart, but then I kept having random ones that were more like 8 to 10 minutes apart, so I was so confused on what to do! They continued that way for the next few hours, and finally around 4:00 p.m. we decided to head to the hospital. We knew there was a good chance they were going to send us home, but I was getting more and more exhausted and more and more uncomfortable, so I just wanted to find out if I was making any progress at all.

We got to the hospital around 4:45 p.m., and after getting checked in and changed, they hooked me up to the monitors to check my contractions and the baby’s heart rate. He looked good, but like I already knew, my contractions were super inconsistent. I was dilated to a 3 and almost fully effaced. The only time I had been checked during my pregnancy was at 37 weeks, and I was at a 1 then, so I had at least made some progress since then. They had me walk around for about an hour to see if I would make any more progress, but unfortunately, not much was happening, so they decided to send me home.

They knew that I had been in labor for quite a while (almost 18 hours) and that I was already exhausted, so before I left they gave me a shot and an oral medication to help me manage the pain and to help me get some rest. They said that it should pretty much just knock me out for a few hours and that when I woke up my labor would have either stalled out and I would know that it wasn’t the real thing, or it would have picked up and I would be able to go back in.

The only thing I had eaten all day was a bagel with peanut butter, so we stopped on the way home to get some food. By the time we got home the medicine they had given me was really starting to kick in, so I was only able to eat a few bites of my food before I had to go lay down. I was expecting to sleep for a while like they had told me, but I woke up about an hour later (around 9:00 p.m.) to contractions that were WAY more painful than the ones I had been experiencing earlier. However, they were back to being around 10 minutes apart, so because I was so tired from the medicine, I was still able to doze off in between them. Around 11:00 p.m. I got up and moved to the living room where I was bouncing on my exercise ball and just trying to find any position to help me get comfortable. I was in a LOT of pain at this point, but my contractions were still averaging around 7 minutes apart, so I just kept moving around to try to find some relief.

Around 2:00 a.m. on the 9th I started to have a little bit of bleeding. This freaked me out, so I decided to call my midwife again. She said that it was normal, and it was probably just my bloody show, but she said if I felt like I needed to go back into the hospital, I could. I could tell by the sound of her voice that she didn’t think I was ready to go back in yet, but I was so exhausted at this point and I just wanted to get admitted and get my epidural so that I could get some rest.

We left around 2:40 a.m. and got back to the hospital around 3:20 a.m. They checked me again and I was 5 cm dilated and fully effaced. Since I had made some progress, they decided to go ahead and admit me so that I could go ahead and get my epidural and rest a little before I was ready to start pushing. I was officially admitted around 5:00 a.m., and I had my epidural by 5:30. I was able to sleep from about 6:30 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., which felt amazing. The midwife, which was not my midwife, just the one on call (but she was great) came in right after I woke up to check me. Travis and I were both shocked when she told me I was 8 cm dilated! My water hadn’t broken yet though, so she went ahead and broke it to help baby boy move down some more.

8

After she broke my water I just rested for a little over an hour, and around 10:30 a.m., things really started to get going. Around that time I started having a small spot of my right hip where my epidural didn’t seem to be working, and I was feeling my contractions just in that spot. My nurse (who was amazing, by the way!) had me go ahead and press my button to get another dose of the epidural to see if that would help, but unfortunately it didn’t. She checked me again, and could feel that baby’s head was right there, basically ready to go. She was able to turn his head just a tiny bit, which almost immediately took the pain away in that spot, but I also immediately started to feel a TON of pressure. Along with the pressure, I also started to feel a lot more pain. My nurse told me that they don’t usually have people push their button for another dose of epidural that close to pushing because they don’t want them to be too numb to push, but she said that I really shouldn’t be feeling that much pain with the epidural, so she had me go ahead and push it again. It really didn’t help, and it seemed like my epidural had stopped working. I was still somewhat numb from when it had been working, but I just wasn’t continuing to stay numb, and it just seemed to be wearing off.

At this point I was feeling so much pressure and quite a bit of pain, and my nurse could tell that it was time to push, so she called the midwife. They were really busy that day, so it took her a few minutes to actually find the midwife, and I was really struggling to NOT push with each contraction. What seemed like hours later (but was really only a few minutes) the midwife came in and started getting all of her gear on. I don’t really remember much from that point on, but one thing I do remember, is that while she was getting ready she stepped back out into the hall to grab something, and I freaked out and started begging them not to let her leave. I was just in so much pain, and I wanted my baby out NOW, and I didn’t want to wait for anything!

I started pushing around 11:15 a.m. with an epidural that was only partially working. I knew that I needed to try to relax and keep my breathing calm, but I just couldn’t do it. I really wasn’t scared or nervous or anything, but I just could not control my breathing. I felt like I was hyperventilating, and everyone had to keep reminding me to try to relax.

I don’t remember a ton about the time while I was pushing, but I do remember that I was SO thirsty and my lips felt so chapped, so in between contractions I kept asking for water and chapstick! The only other thing I really remember was seeing his hair. Most of the time when I was pushing I had my eyes closed, but at one point I just happened to open my eyes mid push and I saw his hair! That was during one of my last few pushes and I was getting really tired, but seeing that really helped give the the motivation to give it everything I had to get him out into the world!

After 35 hours of labor, and just under an hour of pushing, Hendrix Elliott Withrow finally made his way into the world at 12:08 p.m. on September 9th. He was 7 pounds even, and 19.5 inches. They immediately put him up on my chest and my husband cut the cord. We got to do skin to skin for the first hour before they took him to clean him up and take his measurements, and it was absolutely the most amazing experience of my life. I surprisingly didn’t cry, which I don’t know how is even possible because I cry about everything, but I think I just had so much adrenaline and excitement about him finally being here, that there was just no room for tears!

I was never really scared or nervous about labor and delivery, but it was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m currently still in the stage where if you asked me if I ever want to do it again, I would tell you no, but that may eventually change. I did have a second degree tear and had to have stitches, (I don’t know how many, she didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask) but my recovery really wasn’t too bad. I was able to get up and walk just a little as soon as the rest of my epidural wore off, and other than some soreness, I felt pretty normal after just a few days.

The past nine weeks with our little guy have been the most exhausting, but also the most rewarding nine weeks of my life. I already tear up looking back at pictures from those first few days, and it makes me so happy but also breaks my heart at the same time to see how much he’s grown and changed in such a short amount of time. There are definitely days where I get frustrated and overwhelmed, but then I remember how amazing it is that I brought this tiny human into the world, and I know that all of the struggles are 100% worth it!

Third Trimester Recap

Ok so I am currently one month postpartum, so clearly I’m a little behind! But I’ve been busy! Our little man, Hendrix Elliott Withrow, was born on September 9th, and we’ve just been soaking up all the snuggles and love with him! Our labor and delivery story will be coming soon, but I still want to go ahead and share my third trimester recap since I did the same with trimesters one and two!

Symptoms

Much like my first two trimesters, I was blessed to not really have many symptoms during my third trimester. I was definitely more tired than in the second trimester, which meant that I took a nap almost daily. I peed a million times a day, but that was nothing new since I had been dealing with that my entire pregnancy. As far as cravings go, the only thing I consistently wanted throughout the entire trimester was peaches. I was also enjoying sweets more instead of the salty/savory I had been wanting at the beginning of pregnancy. I had a few aches and pains, which is to be expected in the third trimester, but nothing major, and I was able to continue exercising (basically just walking on the treadmill) all the way until the end!

28 weeks

Diet and Exercise

I ended up gaining about 35 pounds total. I had been hoping to stay more around the 30 pound mark, but 35 is still within a healthy range for my starting weight, so I wasn’t too upset about it. Like I said earlier, I continued to walk all the way until the end, but that is pretty much all I was comfortable doing as far as exercise goes. I tried to keep lots of protein, fruits, and veggies in my diet, but I’ll be honest, I gave in to most of my cravings. I am normally a big sweets person, so when I was craving more savory things during the first trimester, I thought maybe sweets wouldn’t be an issue for me during my pregnancy. But, by the third trimester I was definitely back on the sweets!

31 weeks

Nursery

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen plenty of the nursery. We went with a beach/surf theme, and I’m so happy with how it turned out! It actually is not 100% finished yet, we’re just missing a few small details, but since his arrival, I really haven’t gotten a chance to focus on finishing it. I’ll get it all done eventually, but for now, I’m just enjoying spending time in there with my baby boy!

Life in General

The last trimester was spent just preparing for baby and enjoying the time we had left with just the two of us! My husband worked a lot during this trimester since he knew he would be doing a little less once baby arrived, and I spent the majority of my time shopping, organizing, and making sure we had everything we needed for our baby boy! We didn’t go on a ton of date nights throughout my pregnancy, but we made sure to get one last date night in about two weeks before his arrival! Since my pregnancy was fairly easy and complication free, the third trimester was pretty much just waiting and trying to enjoy the end of pregnancy!

37 weeks
39 weeks

Products I Loved

I really didn’t used any new products during my third trimester, but I was still loving all of the ones I had been using through the rest of my pregnancy. Clothes were a struggle at this point, and even my maternity shorts and shirts started to get too small, so I bought this dress a week or two before he was born, and pretty much lived in it until the day I went into labor.

What’s In My Hospital Bag

You guys. I seriously can’t believe that I’m already at this point in my pregnancy! I’m officially 38 weeks today, so he literally could come at any time within the next three-ish weeks! I started packing my hospital bag around 34 weeks, and I have now officially added all of my last minute items, so I’m ready to go!

I will be linking everything that I can in this post, so just follow the link if you see an item that you’re interested in! I also have an IGTV video to go along with this blog, so if you want to see a closer look at any of these items, make sure you head over to my Instagram to check that out!

For Mama

Robe – I purchased this robe from Target and I love it! It’s so soft and I just think the lace adds a pretty detail. It comes in black as well, but I chose the gray because it will match better with the items I plan to put my son in for pictures. I plan to to wear the robe just around the hospital after I give birth so that I can be comfortable and have easy access for breastfeeding.

Nursing dress / night gown – I ordered this night gown in dark gray from Amazon to wear at the hospital after I give birth. The material is so soft, and the buttons at the top make it super convenient for breastfeeding. I feel like this will be really easy and comfortable right after giving birth, but will also make me feel a little bit cute and put together as well. I only ordered one, but I have a feeling that I may be ordering a couple more and living in these for the first few weeks after he arrives!

Nursing bras – I’m bringing two different kinds of nursing bras, just because I’m not sure which I’ll be most comfortable in. I bought two of these bralette style ones from Target, and I’m bringing two of these sleep bras that I ordered from Amazon. Both are really comfortable, so I’ll just have to see which I prefer while I’m in the hospital.

Nursing tank – I am bringing one of these nursing tanks that I got from Target. I’m planning on wearing the night gown the majority of the time that I’m in the hospital, but I’m bringing this too just in case we have to be there an extra day or even if I decide I’d rather wear the tank and pants.

Sweat pants – I’m just bringing a pair of old sweat pants that I already have and won’t mind if they get ruined. Just like the nursing tank, I doubt that I will wear these while I’m at the hospital, but I just want to have some options. I feel like I will be most comfortable in the night gown, but the last thing I want is to be stuck there with no other options, so I’m bringing these just in case.

Maternity leggings – I am bringing this pair that I got at Motherhood Maternity. Again, I really don’t know if I will wear these, but they’re so comfortable, so I wanted to have them as an option. They keep everything sucked in really well, which I feel like I will really want right after giving birth.

Underwear – If you’ve had a baby before, you know that granny panties are an essential right after giving birth. I purchased this pack from Target and they are so stretchy and comfortable! I know people say that black is the best color option, but they didn’t have a pack of all black, so I will just make do with the colored ones.

Socks – I am just bringing a couple pairs of my regular socks. I know that people say the fuzzy ones with the no-slip grips on the bottom are the best for the hospital, but I live in Florida and I will never wear those socks again because it’s so hot, so I just don’t really see the point in spending the money. Plus, I’m pretty sure the hospital will give me a pair with my gown, so if I really want to wear them, I’ll just wear the ones from the hospital.

Cardigan – I’m just bringing a big cozy cardigan that I already have. This is another thing that I’m not sure if I will actually wear (because again, Florida) but I know that it can be cold in the hospital so I want to have it just in case.

Coming home outfit – I purchased this black maxi dress on Amazon to wear home from the hospital. This dress is super stretchy, loose, and comfortable, which I’m pretty sure is going to be exactly what I want at that time. Plus, I’ll definitely be able to wear this postpartum as well!

Slippers – I will be bringing a pair of slippers that I already own. Since I’m not bringing no-slip socks, I figure I will be wearing my slippers quite a bit. They’re easy to put on, they’re cute, and they’re comfortable, all of which I feel will be important to me while at the hospital!

Flip flops – The only other footwear I plan on bringing besides my slippers are a pair of basic flip flops. I plan to wear them to the hospital, as well as home, and I can wear them in the shower and around the hospital too if I need to.

Toiletries – I am bringing travel sizes of all of my basic toiletries that I use on a daily basis. Shampoo & conditioner, body wash, face wash, small loofa, a razor (just for my arm pits, I don’t plan on shaving anything else while in the hospital,) dry shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste, contact solution, lotion, hairspray, etc. I will also be bringing several hair ties, my hairbrush and comb, a headband, chapstick, my glasses, extra contacts, tissues, and just a few other basic items to make myself comfortable during and after labor.

Hair dryer – This one is obviously not necessary, and I went back and forth on whether or not to bring it for a long time, but in the end, I decided to. We’re not having any professional photos taken in the hospital, but we do plan on taking lots of our own, so I want to be able to at least semi put myself together afterward so that I’m comfortable being photographed. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to bring my straightener, but if I have room, I may throw it in my bag with the rest of my last minute items.

Makeup – Just like the hairdryer, makeup is definitely not necessary, but I just want to bring the basics to make myself feel a little more put together. The only things I plan to bring are my face moisturizer, foundation, concealer, powder, a brow pencil, and mascara.

Postpartum necessities – I know that the hospital will provide me with pretty much everything I need to care for myself postpartum, but I wanted to bring some of my own items as well, just to make myself feel a little more comfortable. I am bringing two different kinds of pads, some of the Depends style underwear, a few nursing pads, and the Earth Mama nipple butter and perineal spray. I also bought myself some Tucks pads, but I plan to just use those once I’m home and won’t be taking them to the hospital.

Vitamins and medications – I definitely plan to keep taking my prenatal and fish oil after I give birth, so I’m bringing 3-4 days worth of these pills to the hospital. I also heard that stool softener and gas relief pills can be helpful postpartum (especially if I end up with a c-section for some reason) so I’m bringing both of those as well. I know the hospital will probably provide me with both of those if I need them, so I may not use my own, but I feel like it doesn’t hurt to have them just in case!

For Baby

I’m honestly not bringing much for our little guy because the hospital will provide almost everything we need, so this list is quite a bit shorter than mine!

Swaddle, hat, and mittens set – I am bringing this set from Lou Lou & Company. This is what I plan to have him in for his very first photos announcing his birth, and will probably be what we use for most our other photos as well because it matches the robe I’m bringing for myself.

Footed sleepers – I am bringing these two footed sleepers from Target for him to wear while we are in the hospital. I know there’s a chance we won’t use these while we’re there because I know a lot of times babies are just swaddled while in the hospital, but I just want to have the option to put him in something else if I want to.

Coming home outfit – I purchased this coming home outfit from Gigi and Max, and I’m so excited to put him in it! I’m not a big fan of baby clothes that have quotes or sayings on them, but I found a lot of that when searching for a coming home outfit. I love this one because it’s so cute and simple, and doesn’t have any words on it!

Socks – I honestly don’t know if I will need any socks for him while we’re at the hospital because all of the outfits I’m bringing already cover his feet, but I figured I should bring a couple pairs just in case!

Hat and mittens – I will be bringing the hat and mittens that match the swaddle I’m bringing, and I will also be bringing an extra hat and mittens that match the two footed sleepers. He may only wear them for photos, but I just want to have options!

Pacifiers – The last thing I will be bringing for baby are two different kinds of pacifiers. Again, I don’t know for sure if we will use these at the hospital, but I want to have them just in case. I’m bringing one of these Avent pacifiers and one of these Bibs pacifiers and we’ll just see which he prefers!

Extras

A few other general items that I plan to bring include:

Car seat – This one is a no-brainer. Can’t go home without it!

Empty folder – I’ve heard that they send you home from the hospital with a ton of paperwork, so I’m bringing an empty folder to put it all in. This way, it’s all in one place together, and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of it all.

Baby book – I’m bringing this so that I can have the nurses do his footprints in it when they do their set after he’s born. If I have any time I may fill out some of the detail of his birth as well, so that it’s still fresh in my mind and I don’t forget anything.

Snacks – These will be mainly for my husband while I’m in labor, but I may eat a few of them afterwards as well.

Boppy – I’ve heard that having your breastfeeding pillow in the hospital while learning to breastfeed can be super helpful, and the nurse that did our hospital tour recommended it as well, so I definitely plan on bringing mine.

Throw blanket – This obviously isn’t necessary, but I’m all about having things that will make me feel more comfortable and like I’m at home, so I plan to bring one of our super soft throw blankets. Even if I don’t end up using it, I’m sure my husband will!

Water bottle with straw – I know that most hospitals will give you a water cup while you’re there, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to have my own with me! I’m bringing one with a straw to make it easier to drink while I’m lying in the bed.

Car seat cover – I’m bringing this to put over the car seat for our trip home!

Letter board – I plan to use the letter board to share all of his birth details for photos. I already picked out all of the letters I will need as well as a bunch of numbers and punctuation marks, so I plan to bring those in a small bag rather than bringing the entire box of letters.

Electronics – The electronics we plan on bringing are phone chargers, a portable charger so that we can charge our phones even if the outlets are on the other side of the room, our camera with extra batteries and charger, and a speaker with charger.

Second Trimester Recap

Oh my gosh you guys! Time is flying by! I seriously cannot believe that I am already in my third trimester! I am currently 29 weeks, which means that we are approximately 11 weeks away from meeting our little man! I’ve been pretty bad about doing updates here on the blog, but I have been doing regular updates on Instagram, so if you want to stay up to date, go follow me over there!

16 weeks

Symptoms

Similar to the first trimester, my second trimester went pretty smoothly. I struggled with some bad headaches towards the beginning of it, but those have since gone away and the rest of my symptoms have been pretty mild. I’ve had a few random cravings (cantaloupe and english muffins with blueberry cream cheese being the two big ones,) I have to pee all the time, and I’ve had a few aches and pains as my belly grows and things are getting stretched out, but honestly I haven’t dealt with anything terrible! I had pretty good energy during the first half of the trimester, but I definitely started feeling a little more tired toward the end.

20 weeks

Low Lying Placenta

During my 20 week ultrasound I was diagnosed with a low lying placenta. It was not considered placenta previa, because my placenta was not actually covering any part of my cervix, but it was still a little closer than they typically like it to be. Mine was about 8 mm away from the cervix, and they like them to be at least 30 mm away. The worry with it being this close is that it greatly increase the chance of the placenta tearing away from the wall of the uterus before it’s supposed to, which can cause severe bleeding. It’s not really a major risk for the baby, but it is definitely a risk for the mother. At that appointment my doctor was not worried about it at all because he said they almost always move away as the uterus expands. He didn’t put me on any pelvic rest and I was able to continue with all my normal activities, but he just told me to call if I had any bleeding. He said that it was just something we needed to keep an eye on, so we scheduled another ultrasound for 24 weeks.

20 week doctor’s appointment
20 week ultrasound with his legs up over his head!

Unfortunately, at my 24 week appointment, it had not moved at all. At this point, my doctor was a little bit more concerned, but he still felt pretty confident that it would move away. He told us that if it hadn’t moved by 28 to 30 weeks, it probably wasn’t going to, and we would have to start discussing the possibility of a planned c-section. The thought of that freaked me out a little, but honestly if I had to have a c-section I would rather it be planned than an emergency. After that appointment I spent a little time educating myself on c-sections and what to expect, just so that I can feel a little more prepared if I do end up in that situation. We scheduled another ultrasound for 28 weeks, and just crossed our fingers that my placenta would move.

24 weeks

Going into the 28 week appointment (which was technically in the third trimester, but I still wanted to include it in this post) we had prepared ourselves to hear that it hadn’t moved, but to our surprise, it had! And not just a little bit either! It had moved from 8 mm away from my cervix to 49 mm away! The ultrasound tech said it was actually all the up at the top of my uterus now, and is no longer a risk we have to worry about!

Baby and Mama Growth

The one nice thing about the whole placenta situation was that we had a couple of extra ultrasounds that we wouldn’t have normally had, so we got to see our little guy a few extra times! He has been right on track size wise, falling right around the 50th percentile for babies his age. He’s a nice healthy boy and he’s growing fast!

I experienced a big growth spurt between 20 and 24 weeks and my belly seemed to really pop. During that four weeks I gained about six pounds, whereas most of the time before that (and since then) I only gained about one pound a week. I have also continued to exercise about 3 to 4 times a week throughout the second trimester. I gained about 13 pounds total during the second trimester, putting me around 17 to 20 pounds (17 from the day I found out, but 20 from my lowest pregnancy weight because I did lose about 3 pounds at the very beginning) for my whole pregnancy so far. I’m hoping to stay right around the 30 pound mark by the time I make it to the end, but we will see how it goes!

I felt my first movement around 21 or 22 weeks (a little later than normal due to my anterior placenta.) It was pretty inconsistent at first, but quickly became more regular. He definitely has days where he’s more active than others, but I’m feeling him every day and this point and it’s such a cool feeling! My husband has felt him a few times as well, and he always says its like there’s an alien in my belly!

Glucose Test

I took my one hour glucose test at 26 weeks, and I did pass, but just barely. My doctor considers 140 a fail, and my blood sugar was at 139. I honestly hadn’t been too worried about it because I just figured that since I was gaining weight at a steady rate I must be fine, but being that close made me realize that I probably needed to be a little more careful. Since then I’ve just been trying to watch the carbs and sugars a little more, and making sure that I’m eating plenty of protein and veggies!

Baby Shower

My mom, sister, and nieces came to visit from Missouri when I was 27 weeks, and they threw me a virtual baby shower! Since most of my family and friends are back in Missouri, we weren’t able to all get together in person, but my sister created a Facebook group for everyone, and we held our shower through that group! She sent party boxes to everyone, we played games, I shared photos of my bump and the nursery, and we opened our gifts during a live video feed so that all of the “guests” could see us open them! It was not a traditional shower, but it was perfect for our situation and it all turned out so well!

Products I Love

As far as products I used in the second trimester go, I’m still loving my pregnancy pillow and my Burt’s Bees belly butter that I was using in the first trimester. I have also been living in these maternity shorts from Target and my husband’s t-shirts. The only book I’ve really been reading is Mama Natural, which is a week by week pregnancy guide by Genevieve Howland. I have a couple others that I’ve been skimming as well, but Mama Natural is really the only one that has really kept my attention.

Overall I really enjoyed the second trimester. We hit a few minor bumps with the low lying placenta issue, but we are now in the clear with that, and I’m looking forward to this last trimester! Baby boy will be here before we know it!

Body Image During Pregnancy: How I Really Feel

Being pregnant is hard. Even when you have a relatively easy pregnancy, as mine as been so far, it is still a huge change, and can take a toll on both your body and your mind.

One big thing that I, like a lot of other women, have struggled with throughout my pregnancy so far is body image. There’s no question that a woman’s body goes through some major changes during pregnancy, and even though some women handle the changes better than others, I think almost every woman struggles with their body image at some point during their pregnancy.

June 2016

As someone who considers health and fitness a big part of my life, seeing the changes that are happening in my body is hard. In addition to my belly growing, my arms and thighs are bigger, my boobs are bigger, my hips are wider, my butt is flatter, I’ve lost a lot of muscle, and I honestly just don’t even recognize the body that I’m currently in. I have continued to work out throughout my pregnancy, (not so much in the first trimester, but pretty consistently through the second so far) but workouts are definitely not as long or as hard or intense as they were pre-pregnancy. As far as weight gain goes, I’m doing really well. At just over half way (23 weeks tomorrow) I have gained about 13 pounds, putting me right on track to stay within the recommended 25 to 30 pound range.

21 weeks pregnant

Even with all of that though, some days I really struggle to wrap my mind around the fact that I am currently the heaviest, and most out of shape I have ever been. And I still have 17 more weeks to go for things to keep growing! That honestly freaks me out a little.

April 2016

I cannot tell you how many times I have either said out loud to my husband or thought in my head, “I can’t wait to get this baby out of me and get back in shape!” Now don’t get me wrong here, I am SO grateful to be pregnant. I am so grateful that I was able to get pregnant so easily. I am so grateful that my pregnancy stuck. I am so grateful that up until this point, (and hopefully through the rest of it) I have had a complication free pregnancy. But right along with that gratefulness, I can’t help but feel a little down about the way my body currently looks.

April 2016

Negative body image, whether pregnant or not, is not something you can just get over. It takes time and it takes a positive mind set, and for me, it takes remembering WHY I’m going through this. When this pregnancy is over, I will have my sweet little baby in my arms, and I know that all of the negative thoughts I had about my body will mean nothing, because that little boy will mean everything.

I have good days and I have bad days, but honestly, as I get further along, and ironically, as I get bigger, it’s getting easier for me to accept the changes that are happening in my body. I’m slowly learning to look at pregnancy as the amazing miracle that it is, instead of focusing on all of the negative that I see in myself. I’m literally growing a human that is half me and half my husband, and that is absolutely incredible.

22 weeks pregnant

So, pregnant mamas, new mamas, mamas who maybe aren’t new but are still struggling with their post baby body, or even those of you who aren’t moms but are just having a hard time with your body image, this one is for you. You are beautiful just the way you are, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself. So I’m going to try my hardest to enjoy the rest of my pregnancy and be thankful for what this body is doing, but I cannot wait to see what else my body can do once my little man is born!

First Trimester Recap

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram, and don’t know yet, I’m pregnant! My husband and I are expecting a baby boy in September and we are so excited! I am currently just a couple days shy of 17 weeks and I am so happy to finally be in the second trimester. I’m finally feeling more like myself, and I finally feel like I can stop being so paranoid about a miscarriage.

Throughout my pregnancy so far I have been very interested in hearing about other people’s feelings and experiences during pregnancy, so I figured I would share mine as well! I’m going to share everything from whether or not my pregnancy was planned, how I found out, how I told my husband, symptoms I had, products I’ve been loving, and everything else in between! I’m going to try to keep this as brief as I can, but it’s probably going to be a lengthy one, so make sure you grab a snack before you start reading!

Also, just FYI, some of the pictures in this post are pretty low quality because when I took them, I never really intended to ever share them, but that’s just real life for ya!

Finding Out

First things first, YES, my pregnancy was planned. At the end of April last year, I stopped taking birth control and started using the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) to track my cycle for a few months until we were ready to start trying to get pregnant. If you aren’t familiar with FAM, I highly suggest reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. It taught me so much about FAM, and just about how the female body works in general (they really don’t teach you anything in school.)

By October, we decided we were ready to start trying to get pregnant, so using FAM, I continued to track my cycle so that I would know when I was about to ovulate. During October and November, we didn’t necessarily actively try to get pregnant, but we also weren’t trying not to. It didn’t happen in those two months, so in December I decided that I really wanted to try, and we were successful!

I had my first positive pregnancy test on January 3rd at 4 weeks, 2 days, but I was almost certain that I was pregnant for about a week leading up to that day. One of the things I learned by using the Fertility Awareness Method, is that after you ovulate, your basal body temperature (which you track daily with FAM) rises, and stays raised until you start a period and your temperature drops. If you temperature doesn’t drop, and you don’t start a new cycle, then chances are, you’re pregnant!

Another thing I learned is that for some women, your temperature will actually raise even more about a week after ovulation if you have conceived that month. So for example, my average pre-ovulation temperature was around 97.2 to 97.4 degrees, and my post-ovulation temps were around 98.0 to 98.2 degrees. The reason I was almost certain I was pregnant before I actually had a positive pregnancy test, was because at about 9 days post ovulation my temperature increased even more (ranging from 98.4 to 98.6 degrees) and never came back down. Because I was tracking my cycle, I knew the exact day that my temperature was supposed to drop and my period was supposed to start, so when it didn’t, I knew, almost without a doubt, that I was pregnant.

My husband was getting ready to leave for work for the day, so I told him the news and asked him if he wanted to know for sure before he went to work of if he wanted to wait until he got home. He didn’t want to know yet, so I waited until he left to take the pregnancy test.

When I finally took the test, it of course was positive, and I had a whole mix of emotions. I was both shocked and excited, and I almost didn’t feel like it was real! I really didn’t feel pregnant at all, so I was kind of in disbelief. When my husband called me on his way home, the first thing he said was, “Well, did I do it?!” so I told him the news and sent him a picture of the pregnancy test! He is definitely not the type to get super emotional, but I could tell he was both excited and nervous.

The day I found out I was pregnant! 4 weeks, 2 days.

I really didn’t want to tell anyone (including our parents) until I had been to the doctor, so we kept it a secret for the next week weeks until after my first doctor’s appointment. It was HARD to not tell anyone during those four weeks, but it was also kind of nice to just enjoy the news with my husband for a little while before spreading the word.

My Doctor

My doctor is an OBGYN, but he also has a nurse midwife in his office that does most of the low risk, complication free deliveries. I will mostly be meeting and working with the midwife, but I have met with the doctor as well. I chose to go this route because I like that they take a bit more of a natural approach, while still providing the traditional hospital birth. I am not someone that is all about doing things the most natural way possible, and I knew that I definitely wanted to deliver in the hospital, but I also want to avoid any unnecessary interventions. I like the thought of delivering naturally, but I’m not opposed to an epidural if I decide I need one. I do however want to (if at all possible) avoid things like induction, drugs and procedures to speed things up, and c-sections, which is exactly the way my doctor and his staff do things.

Sharing the News

My first doctor’s appointment was at 8 weeks, 2 days and it was such a relief to see our little bean on the ultrasound! After the appointment we went ahead and shared the news with my mom and sister, my husband’s parents, and our best friends. Of course they were all very excited, and it was so nice to finally tell someone! We waited until after our second appointment at 13 weeks, 2 days to announce on social media and share the news with everyone else.

8 weeks

Symptoms

During the first couple weeks after I found out, I had very few symptoms. My biggest symptom at this time was that my boobs got bigger almost immediately, and they were SO SORE (and didn’t stop being sore until I reached the second trimester.) I also started having to pee a ton pretty much right away.

The majority of my symptoms started around six weeks. The biggest symptom, that hit me HARD, was fatigue. I was absolutely exhausted from weeks 6 through 10 and I literally did not have the energy to do anything!

Another symptom that started around week six was nausea. Luckily, I have not had bad nausea at all during this pregnancy, but I would say it was the worst during week six. During that week it was pretty much all day, every day nausea, but after that one week, thankfully that stopped. Since then, I have really only been getting nauseous if I get really hungry, so I’ve been making sure to take snacks with me everywhere I go.

12 weeks

The one other major symptom that I have been experiencing is bloating. I start the day looking not pregnant, but by 8:00 p.m., I am so bloated that I look like I’m 8 months pregnant! This really hasn’t eased up yet, so I’m kind of expecting that it’s going to continue through my entire pregnancy.

A few other symptoms that I experienced throughout the first trimester are headaches, constipation, dizziness, cravings and aversions, vivid dreams, and just some random aches and pains in my stomach and pelvic area from things getting stretched out and moved around in there.

Diet and Exercise

Honestly, a healthy diet and exercise routine were non-existent during my first trimester. Even though I didn’t have a lot of nausea, I did have a lot of cravings and aversions, so I basically just ate what sounded good, which was mostly dry, crunch carbs. I ate a lot of cereal, pop tarts, crackers, gold fish, chips, etc. I also went through phases of craving Subway sandwiches, and potato soup from Panera. I have also been obsessed with pickles my entire pregnancy (not with ice cream though!)

8 weeks, 2 days

As far as exercise during my first trimester, I pretty much didn’t do anything. I was so exhausted that I just could not get myself to the gym. There were a few weeks where I managed to get in about 30 minutes of cardio once or twice a week, but most weeks I couldn’t even handle that. Thankfully by about 11 or 12 weeks I was starting to feel better and started easing my way back into working out.

Finding Out the Gender

My husband and I both thought we were having a boy from the very beginning. He was hoping for a boy, and I was kind of hoping for a girl, but for some reason we both just really thought it was a boy. When we first found out I was pregnant, we kept saying that we wanted to find out as early as possible, but after our first doctor’s appointment, we were just so excited to have a healthy baby that we decided we would just wait until the 20 week ultrasound. After a few weeks though, I started getting really excited to start planning the nursery and picking out clothes, so I changed my mind again and decided that I did want to know early. My husband was ok with finding out early, so at our 13 week appointment, we did the Sneak Peek blood test. This is the same one you can order online, but it’s a lot more likely to be accurate because it is done with an actual blood draw rather than just a finger prick. We got the results via e-mail a few days later, and we were both so so excited! I do still think I want a girl in the future, but I am so excited that we’re going to have a little mini version of my husband!

Our pregnancy/gender announcement!

Products I Love

Prenatal VitaminNew Chapter Perfect Prenatal. I love this prenatal because it is a whole food, fermented vitamin that has ginger included to help ease morning sickness. It has never made me nauseous and I can take it any time of the day. I also take their Wholemega for Moms which is basically a fish oil supplement that has DHA to help with baby’s brain and eye development.

Belly Butter – I have tried a couple so far, but my favorite is the Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter. I have been using this regularly since about 12 weeks and so far I haven’t noticed any new stretch marks. I also tried the Zoe Organics Belly Butter and Belly Oil and I do like them, but I just prefer the Burt’s Bees because I like the smell a little better and I like that it absorbs into my skin faster.

Pregnancy PillowPharMeDoc U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow. I bought this pillow super early because I am normally a back sleeper, and I knew I needed to get use to sleeping on my side early on. This pillow has really helped me be able to get comfortable while sleeping on my side and I’m definitely glad I bought it so early. The U-shape is great because I can tuck it under my belly and my back, but one side does zip off if you prefer to have just the J-shaped pillow. My husband and pets all love this pillow too, and they’re constantly trying to steal it!

Birthday Trip to California

Well, I’m officially old. The big 3-0. Half way to 60. Thirty is a big one, so I feel like it’s only appropriate to celebrate a little bigger than usual. So what’s bigger and better than taking a vacation?!

Southern California is somewhere that I’ve always wanted to go, so I figured my 30th birthday was the perfect time to go! It was a fairly short trip, (2.5 days) but honestly it was plenty of time to do all the things I wanted to do! We stayed in the cutest little Airbnb in Long Beach, and visited Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and the Santa Monica / Venice area.

Our first day was a long one, but it was probably my favorite day of the trip. I started my day at 2:30 a.m., Florida time, in order to catch our 6:00 a.m. flight. We had a 1.5 hour drive to the airport, plus I had to actually get ready (not just rock leggings and a ponytail) because we jumped right into exploring when we got there, and of course I wanted to be cute for pictures! My friend Jill came from Missouri and met us in California, and we were able to find flights that landed at exactly the same time. Once we got our rental car, we headed straight for the fun!

Our first stop, per my husband’s request, was In-N-Out. It was my first time having it, and it was good, but honestly, I don’t really get what all the hype is about. But, my husband was so excited about it, so I just went with it. From there, we headed to Laguna Beach. The one place that I was dead set on going on this trip was the Pirate Tower at Victoria Beach, so we made that our first stop. The tower was built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase for a senator that lived on the cliff above. Today, you cannot go into it, but it makes for a really cool photo backdrop. This was also my favorite beach area that we visited, because it had that rocky coastline that you would normally see more toward the north.

After checking out the beach and the Pirate Tower, we just explored the area of shops and businesses right along the beach. My husband and I always buy a couple of t-shirts anytime we visit somewhere new, but we like to find shirts that are a little more unique and local, rather than the things that you would find at the typical tourist shops. We found a really cool store called Laguna Surf and Sport that had their own line of t-shirts that had the perfect vintage, local vibes that we were going for.

From there, we decided to head back to Long Beach to check into our Airbnb. We knew that there was no assigned parking with the place we were staying, but we totally underestimated how difficult it would be to find somewhere to park. We spent about 30 minutes driving around trying to find street parking, before we eventually just gave up and paid to park in the parking garage of one of the hotels several blocks away. It really wasn’t that far from the house, but because we had all of our luggage with us, we decided to take an Uber back to the house. It was only around 6:30 p.m. when we got there, but at that point (thanks to the 3 hour time difference, the travel, and the day’s activities) we were all exhausted, so we ended up just ordering Domino’s and crashing by about 8:30 p.m.

Day number two we hit Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. The weather this day started out nice, but we knew that it was supposed to rain in the afternoon, so we wanted to make the most of the nice part of the day. The first thing we did was take the ferry in Newport Beach over to Balboa Island. We walked along the main strip on the island that is full of cute little shops and restaurants. We made sure to stop at Sugar ‘n Spice, which is the home of the original frozen banana in Newport Beach. I got a chocolate dipped banana, rolled in sprinkles, and it was delicious!

From there, we headed back to the mainland and decided to make our way toward Huntington Beach before the weather got too bad. We checked out the beach, spent some time watching the surfers, and then headed to lunch at Ruby’s Diner. The food wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was definitely good, and the vibe was super fun. By the time we were done, the rain and wind and temperature drop had arrived, so we decided to do a little shopping to get out of the weather.

Eventually the rain stopped, and even though it was still super windy and pretty cold, we decided to do a little more exploring. We drove to Rancho Palos Verdes, and went to a place called Pelican Cove Park. It was SUPER cold and windy up on the cliff, but the views were absolutely gorgeous! From there we went back to Long Beach and roamed around a little shopping center before heading back to our Airbnb. Just like the day before, it was pretty early, but we were all exhausted again, so we ended up just ordering food in, and chilling at the house for the evening.

On our third and final day, we had breakfast at the Long Beach Cafe, then made our way just a little to the north, and spent the day in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to take a picture on a lifeguard stand (this desire may or may not have come from watching the OC back in the day…) so the first thing we did was find an empty stand and jumped right into our mini photo shoot. We then spent a little while watching the surfers, before heading back up to walk down the boardwalk.

The Venice boardwalk was really cool, but it honestly wasn’t quite what I was expecting. There were a LOT of homeless people, and it was honestly just kind of dirty. But there were a lot of cool shops and vendors, and it definitely made for some interesting people watching! One totally random thing that I really loved at the boardwalk was watching the skateboarders at the skate park! We watched them for about 30 minutes, but I honestly could have stood there all day long! We also made our way over a couple blocks to get a few shots of the famous Venice sign, which was decked out for Valentine’s Day!

By the time we got to the end of the boardwalk, our feet were killing us, so we decided to rent some bikes and ride all the way back down to the Santa Monica Pier. It was a Monday, so we were hoping that the pier wouldn’t be totally packed, but holy cow were we wrong. There were so. many. people. and honestly, it kind of ended up being a let down because we couldn’t just hang out and enjoy it like we had been hoping to. Both my husband and I get major anxiety in huge crowds like that, so we were a little stressed out! But we did manage to walk to the end to get some cool photos, check out a few shops, and of course, buy a few t-shirts! I definitely still enjoyed it, but looking back, I wish we would have tried to get there right when the pier opened, so that maybe it wouldn’t have been quite so crowded.

After the pier, I really wanted to go find Ocean Avenue to take a picture by the sign (random and weird, I know) but at this point we were all getting a little hangry, so we decided to just head to an early dinner since we hadn’t eaten lunch. We wanted to find something local, but as it had been our whole trip, parking was a big issue. We eventually just gave up and went to the Cheesecake Factory because we were starving! After dinner we headed back to Long Beach to pack up our stuff and get ready for our early flights home the next day!

Overall the trip was really fun, but I do wish that a few things would have been different. If we go again in the future, I will definitely want to go during the spring or summer so that we can get some better weather. We also wasted a lot of time searching for parking, so I would definitely want to make sure that we stayed at a hotel or Airbnb with it’s own parking. Lastly, I wish we would have eaten at more local restaurants, rather than eating places we can go at home too, but that really only happened because we didn’t plan very well. Now that we’ve got some experience though, we’ll be able to plan better for our next trip!

Now, where to next?!

December Favorites

Just like the rest of 2018, the month of December has flown by. I seriously can’t believe that it is officially 2019! This month my favorite things were mostly either fashion or home decor items, but I do have a beauty item in there as well! Keep reading to find out what I’ve been loving this month!

1. Forever 21 Camo Jacket

In case you didn’t know, camo is in again, and I’m here for it. I don’t know why, but I’m seriously loving it. A couple months ago I saw a camo utility style jacket at TJ Maxx and fell in love, but it was the only one I could find in the store, and it was about two sizes too big for me. But after seeing it, I was on a mission to find one somewhere else. A few weeks later, I was shopping and decided to check in Forever 21. For the most part, I’ve stopped trying to shop there, because let’s face it, I’m almost 30 years old and their stuff just does not work for me anymore, but I knew there was a chance they would have one. I walked in the door, immediately spotted this one, and made a bee line for it!

I love this jacket because it’s lightweight, which is perfect for the chilly, winter in Florida, evenings. Plus, it was only around $30, it’s comfortable, and it’s just oh so cute! I couldn’t find the exact one I have on their site, but the one I linked above is very similar!

2. Wooden Blanket Ladder

I have been wanting a blanket ladder for FOREVER, and my husband finally got me one for Christmas this year! I’m a throw blanket fanatic, but I have a few that are special to us and I don’t like to actually use them because I don’t want them to get ruined by our pets. For the longest time they were just hidden away in the closet, but now I can finally display them!

I love this one because it has more of a modern look than most blanket ladders I’ve seen, plus the little shelf just adds a cute touch! Also, the color of this wood is just beautiful! This one rings in at around $90, but it is totally worth it!

3. Good Chemistry Queen Bee Perfume

I’ll be completely honest, I first found this perfume purely because of it’s cute packaging. I was strolling through the aisles at Target, looking for stocking stuffers for my husband, when it caught my eye. Once I smelled it and read a little more about the company thought, I just couldn’t resist buying it!

This scent is the perfect combination of floral and fruity, with notes of black currant, peony and amber. They had several other delicious smelling scents as well, but this one was definitely my favorite! Plus, as you might have guessed by their name, all of Good Chemistry’s products are vegan, paraben free, proplyene glycol free, and cruelty free! I bought the roll on, just because it’s easy to take with me, but they do sell bottles as well!

4. In Bloom by Jonquil pajamas

As much as I could love to sleep in men’s basketball shorts and a baggy t-shirt every night, my husband isn’t the biggest fan of that, so I’m always on the hunt for some cute and comfortable (and affordable) pajamas. I found these at TJ Maxx for $17 (they normally retail around $60) and I seriously love them! I really wish they would have had them in more styles/colors because I totally would have bought them all!

I love the print, the fabric is SO soft, and they have pockets. Everything is better with pockets, right?! Also, as I was searching for these online, I discovered that this line has a ton of other cute pj’s and I kinda want to buy them all! I couldn’t find this exact set online anywhere, but the pair I linked above are a similar style.

Safavieh Round Jute Rug

This cutie little rug is another item that was on my Christmas list that I’m so glad my husband bought! I’m obsessed with jute rugs, but haven’t really found a spot inside the house that one would work yet, but I knew I wanted one for the porch. I of course want to put a large rug in the area of the sofa and coffee table (and chairs when I find some I like,) but I have a special plan for this little beauty!

We will eventually be adding a hanging chair in one corner of the porch, and this rug will go underneath it! I love the way the pattern on this rug really makes it pop, plus the color of the print matches the cushions on the sofa perfectly! I can’t wait until we get the hanging chair so I can show you guys this whole little setup!

5 Ways to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Christmas is just a few days away, which means that the new year is right around the corner. And with the new year, comes new year’s resolutions. For most of us, we make our resolutions with all the best intentions of keeping and achieving them, but within a few weeks they’re long forgotten, and we’re back to our old ways.

But, it really is possible to keep your resolutions. All it takes is a little planning, some support from your friends and/or family, and a continual reminder of your goals. So in the next couple of weeks, when you sit down to create you resolutions for the new year, make sure you put these five tips to use to help you achieve your goals!

1. Write Them Down

One of the easiest ways to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, is to write them down. But don’t just write them down and then toss it in a drawer never to be seen again. Write your goals down, and then hang them somewhere that you will see them on a daily basis. Having this constant reminder will really help you remember what your goals are, and why you made them, which will in turn help you stick to them.

2. Rely on Your Support System

Sticking to a long term goal can be hard, but having someone there to support and encourage you will make it so much easier. If you have a goal to lose weight, find a couple of friends with the same goal, and work together to achieve your resolutions. Work out together, share healthy recipes with each other, encourage each other when you’re feeling discouraged, just be there to support each other. It’s really amazing what a good support system an help you achieve!

3. Break it Down

A big resolution can seem daunting, but breaking it down into steps, or smaller goals can make it seem more obtainable. Say your resolution is to save $10,000 by the end of the year. But rather than just leaving it at that big goal, divide it up and figure out how much you need to save each month, or from each paycheck to reach your goal. This will also help prevent you from putting it off and thinking that you can make up for it later. With that goal to save money, if you know how much you need to save each month, you’ll be better able to avoid making unnecessary purchases, because you’ll have a specific goal to stick to for that month, rather than just thinking about the final goal.

4. Keep the List Short

You know the saying quality over quantity? Apply that to your New Year’s resolutions. Ten resolutions are going to be a lot harder to keep than two or three, so keep your list short. Instead of giving yourself a bunch of (for lack of a better term) half-ass resolutions, chose just a couple of resolutions that are truly important to you. This will allow you to really focus on them, and not be distracted by the other goals. Plus, if your resolutions are truly important to you, you’ll automatically be more likely to stick to them.

5. Reward Yourself

Once you reach your goal, or even as you reach your smaller goals along the way, make sure you reward yourself! You worked hard to get where you are, so make sure you recognize that hard work! Buy yourself that new dress you’ve had your eye on once you’ve lost your first five pounds. Treat yourself to a manicure when you reach your monthly money saving goal. Enjoy a cookie once you’ve had your 15 servings of veggies for the week. You get the picture! Having a reward waiting for you at the end of the finish line will help push you to achieve your goal!