Saturday, July 8, 2017

My First Trimester: a Recap and Essentials

We are expecting a baby boy in January 2018! I am excited to say I have made it through the first trimester and am starting out week number 14! All said, it was not the worst experience I have had, despite those dreaded pregnancy rumors. I just wanted to record a quick recap of what I have experienced and the essentials that got me through the first 3 months...
but let me start from the top!

My husband, Les, and I have been married for over 4 years and have known each other for a total of 8. For quite a while, the idea of pregnancy scared me. I never thought when I was younger that it would, but for some reason the thought of going through this whole process seemed so intimidating and almost ....dare I say... gross to me. Then it was almost overnight that my feelings completely changed and I knew I was ready- funny how God works. On May 1 (a Monday), I took the first pregnancy test which obviously had that bold plus sign on it. The first "sign" for me was that I was "late". When Les came home from work, he barely got in the door before I could say "guess what!!"...and at first he didn't believe me, but this quickly turned into pure excitement. We were planning on seeing my parents and sister that Friday night and keeping the secret from them for even that long was so hard. May 5th, that Friday, was the one year anniversary of my aunt's sudden passing so the mood around the house was very somber. It was also my dad's birthday weekend so to honor him, we told them right away on Friday and they were all so happy- not a dry eye in the house!

On May 31, I had my first doctor appointment (right up the street from our house- the best part was taking the bus with my husband) and we saw the heartbeat for the first time! Wow- what an experience! To be honest, my anxiety was high prior to that. It's so scary to know that there is apparently something in your belly but you have no confirmation of it until that first appointment- it takes a lot of humbling and faith to trust that God is in control of that little life. I was having a lot of cramping the first few weeks, which apparently was nothing to worry about, but as someone going through this for the first time, it was very scary. Ultimately, I was just really excited to begin the journey of pregnancy and so far it has been awesome.

We started to announce to close friends and other family within the weeks following telling my parents- I have a really hard time keeping secrets, especially one like this! By week 12, we "announced" even more publicly on social media and week 13 we found out the gender (we chose to have the genetic testing which can predict the gender with 99% accuracy).

As I said earlier, I truly have had a very "easy" first 14 weeks. I have not experienced any nausea or morning sickness. The fatigue and very low energy was my most prominent symptom. I am a person who is used to "go, go, going" all the time- I come home from work and pump out chores every night and on the weekends we are always doing something, but those first 12 ish weeks, I was literally down for the count. My workouts took a back seat and I literally came home every night from work and didn't get off the couch until I had to relocate to bed. It was unreal and even my husband said who are you?! Additionally, I had a lot of back aches (still do!) and as I said, some cramping that ended around week 8. My appetite and diet hit rock bottom- I got to know the local bagel shop well and didn't hold back on eating whatever was in front of me. My veggie sandwiches from before pregnancy made me nauseous at the thought- definitely a food aversion. And other than those things, my chest felt the most pain, but I won't get into that in too much detail...

Now that it is week 14, my energy has returned and I have been getting back to the gym, although not nearly as much as I should yet. Walking and swimming have been my go-to exercises. My diet has also improved a lot and I am able to return to eating cleaner again, although don't get me wrong- the ice cream is still top on the food pyramid here. I definitely feel my clothes fitting tighter (um shoot maybe thats the bagels and ice cream) and just bought a "Be-Band" last week at Target.

Here are a few things that got me through the first trimester:

Mama Mio Tummy Butter and "Boob Tube" are both creams that I have been using daily to hopefully cut down on or prevent stretch marks. My belly hasnt grown much yet, so I cant tell if the tummy butter is working yet, but the other one has definitely helped with other things growing ;) (sorry guys who are reading this!). They are both a little pricey, but definitely worth it and all natural ingredients! 

These ever-so-sexy compression socks!! These were something I wore regularly prior to becoming pregnant as I have a bad history of varicose veins already and I am a nurse, but I definitely make sure I have them on daily now. I just purchased a 6-pack on Amazon for under $25, which is a great deal.

Water! Yes, you will be in the bathroom all the time, but it is so important to keep hydrated even more than ever. I bought this 24 ouncer at Target- the biggest one I could find- so that I always had a lot of water on hand.

A heating pad! I bought this so early on due to back pain and have used it very frequently since. For $15 on Amazon, it was worth every penny. And the"What to Expect" book- an essential. My mom gave this to me for Mother's Day:) I also really love "The Bump" app as it provides a ton of good information and answers to common questions and lets you know what size the baby is every week!

And finally my natural beauty products. I am so glad I made the switch to a lot of these prior to becoming pregnant but it is even more important now to take care of your body and not fill it with chemicals and carcinogens. Schmidt's deodorant is my favorite- you can buy it at Target. I also love Pacifica for face wash (another Target-found brand). But please be careful of what products you are using. Most essential oils are contraindicated during pregnancy, and especially the first trimester, mostly because they are not well researched but also because they can do harm to your baby. For one- stear clear of lavender! 

Ok I think I have rambled on quite enough. I leave you with a few photos from our mini gender reveal with my family. So excited for our little boy!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kitchen Reveal

Today I am excited to bring you a glimpse into our newly renovated kitchen. It was a three- week, very highly anticipated project that occurred partly out of pure desire to rid our lives of orange granite counters but also partly because there had been some water damage to our walls (#oldhomesarethegiftsthatkeepongiving).  As you might know, we live in a rowhome in South Philadelphia that we purchased almost three years ago. We absolutely love living in the city and to this day are still so glad we made the decision to buy where we did. It's not our "forever home" though (at least I don't think I want to be in the land of cheesesteaks and mummers forever) and in doing the kitchen renovation, I had to keep that in mind. We needed to make sure the look was classic and would hold up for a few more years for our use, while also making it something that would appeal to the clientele of South Philadelphia when we sell it down the road. I really look forward to the day when we have more room and a place of our own forever, but for now, this was a lot of fun. 

I stuck with a white palette because you can't go wrong with it. For the counters, we chose Silestone Quartz in Lagoon. It's a great marble-looking alternative and known for its durability. All the other floors in our house are original heart pine hardwoods and to find more of that and run it into the kitchen would have been a lot of legwork, so we opted to use Daltile Slate in Brazil Gray for the floors. I like how it's just a clean, classic, and neutral look that will work for years. The best advice my Dad gave me was to seal it right away with a matte slate sealer, which I did. This came in handy on night one post-reno when my husband was back in the kitchen cooking and the olive oil was flying and all I had to do was wipe it off and it didn't penetrate the slate. 

For the backsplash, we went with good ole' subway tile- the Rittenhouse 3"x 6" white from Daltile-and Alabaster grout. This was a hard decision for me- I was worried it would look too modern or too transitional (ps nothing wrong with either, just thinking about my preference here) but I think it's all in what grout color you choose. Dark grout= modern. White grout= transitional (think traditional and modern mix. ie pottery barn). Alabaster grout= juuuust right.  

And finally...the fixtures. The fixtures are what pull the whole place together. The faucet is satin nickel, purchased from Wayfair (Kingston Brass). I love how it looks with the 24" Barclay farmhouse apron sink I found on Amazon. The pendant light above the island is from Wayfair and the range hood is also from Amazon. We opted for open shelving on one side to open up the room- and it seriously worked! The brackets are Rubbermaid from Amazon and the wood is hard maple from a local lumber yard. After about 2 weeks of living with open shelving, I absolutely love it! No dusty dishes when you display things that are used on an everyday basis. 

For this renovation, we decided to keep our existing cabinets. When I painted my cabinets two years ago (click that link to see more), I did it thinking someday we would replace them, but turns out cabinets are muy muy expensive, and since my paint job held up nicely, we kept them! We also did not replace the appliances yet. This isn't HGTV- this is real life. Things cost money:)

Overall, this project went really well and I am thankful we were able to do it! One of the best decisions we made to open up the small room, aside from the open shelving, was to rotate the island so that the short ends were parallel to the side counters of the room. This made it feel like less of a rowhome layout and more open into the bottom floor of the house. We also "customized" the island by adding trim to it and decreasing its "builder-grade-ness". 

aaaaand for the melty cupcakes...

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post! 


These are the real estate listing photos....

And some other before photos.... 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hostess Gift Idea

I am headed to a Christmas party tonight and really wanted to bring a special hostess gift. I love the bottle of wine idea like anybody, but decided to step out of the box a little to come up with something different. I was inspired to create something that would last the hostess through the whole season, so I turned to good old paper whites- a bulb that can take 3-6 weeks to bloom. I found a small vase at AC Moore (craft store)..of course used my 50% off coupon...and some small decorative vase filler stones at Target (the Smith and Hawken collection). Believe it or not the city of Philadelphia has no idea what paper white bulbs are (I went and called EVERYWHERE and no one had a clue) so I finally found a 50% off paper white kit at Home Depot and threw everything else out but kept the bulbs. As you can see already, if you shop smartly, this project should cost very little. The stones at Target were $9.99 which I bought because they have a marble look to them, but I have found similar white or grey ones that are as little as $2.99 (Home Depot or craft store). 

Here is how to put together your vase:

1. Fill the bottom of the vase/container with your stones. Fill about 1.5-2" high. 
2. Nestle your bulbs in the stones, but don't let them touch each other. 
3. Fill the stones in around the bulbs to provide support so they do not fall over. 

...and literally that's it. 

The receiver of the gift should be instructed to fill the vase with water until just under the bulbs. The bulbs should not be resting in water, as they could rot. Keep the vase in a window or area with ample light, keep the water at that level, and as I said above, wait 3-6 weeks for a bloom! 

What a simple gift that is fun to put together and the host will think of you for weeks to come! (maybe because you gave them another thing to take care of, but hopefully because the flowers will be so beautiful!) 

After you have assembled your vase, wrap it as you desire. I decided to put it in a burlap sack and tied with ribbon, a sprig of decorative "berries", and a few hanging dried citrus. 

I hope your host enjoys this! 

adding pinterest script 3. Changing the Position of the Pin it! button The cool thing about this code is that you have some freedom over where the Pinterest button for Blogger will go over the image. Take a look at the code that you just copied and pasted into the HTML for the word 'center'.