Friday, May 31, 2013

Showered With Love. Again.

G and I have already been overwhelmingly blessed and showered with love and excitement in anticipation of his arrival. I wrote about my first of three baby showers, given here in Maryland by my mother-in-law and sisters-in-love a few weeks back, and since then also celebrated with family and friends at home in NJ.

This shower was very special to me, as it was attended by family and friends that have known me for most of my life, and are intimately familiar with the strong desire I have had to become a Mom from a very early age. 

In true form, my Mom and sisters outdid themselves again, just as they did a few years ago for my bridal shower. I was filled with love and excitement as we spent the day laughing, talking babies and enjoying everyone's company. I wanted to share a few photos from the day so you could get a closer look, and so I can remember what a special day it truly was. 

All photos courtesy of my sister, Amanda-joy Photography.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Personalized iPhone Case Review :: A Shop Crystal Faye Giveaway!

No doubt you have all heard of Crystal Faye's fabulous online shop by now. Her site is chock full of monogrammed and sparkly goodness, including tons of fabulous accessories perfect for ladies and Momma's who are fashionable and on-the-go.

You may remember my reviews of her awesome Monogrammed Yoga Pants, and the classic favorite Monogrammed Tumbler as well. Each time I visit her site, I get swept away filling my shopping cart with jewelry, gear and pretty items for my house.

This month, I had the pleasure of reviewing one of her personalized iPhone cases. I felt like my phone needed a summer pick-me-up, and the instant I saw this bright, floral pattern, I was sold. After all, a girl can never have too many phone cases, right? 

But, let's be honest. It is way too hard to look through Crystal's shop and only find one item you could use for your summer wardrobe/collection.  So, Crystal and I got together and decided that we should offer my readers something a little more personalized to you and your unique tastes. Maybe you want to stock up on accessories for your business, or perhaps buy some of your best girlfriends monogrammed koozies for your upcoming beach trip?!

Kicking off today, I will be giving away a $25 gift card to be used on ANY purchase from Shop Crystal Faye! And don't forget to use my code NEST10 during checkout to receive 10% off your order in addition! Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. This giveaway will be open until 6PM on Thursday, June 6th, and a winner will be selected and announced by end of the day on Friday, June 7th!

Good luck, ladies!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The 'Before Baby' Bucket List

When I first started brainstorming for this post, I thought I would fill it with fun ideas about date nights, traveling and spoiling myself with massages and pedicures before G's arrival. But, what I've come to realize is that time starts flying by, and before you know it, your house is covered in baby things that need to be put together, washed and organized, and you then realize that your house is already closing in on you, and the organization you once took pride in throughout your home has been flipped on it's side. It is nesting at it's finest (or worst), and it has caused me to rethink my 'before baby' list.

So, in an effort not to lose my mind, I have formulated a plan of action for the next six weeks. I say 'six' weeks because I know there will be lag time, and I don't want to be organizing all.the.things up until the minute I go into labor. It is also worth noting that my pregnancy brain has gotten worse since the last time I mentioned it. So, if I am forgetting something important, please let me know! 

  • Enjoy final baby shower with some of my sweet girlfriends (coming up on June 9th) - soak it all in!
  • Organize all gifts, make any exchanges necessary
  • Categorize bins in nursery closet and fill with appropriate items
  • Organize diapers, wipes, first aid items, misc. items and diaper pail in changer
  • Go through drawers and decide which outfits to hang
  • Purchase remaining crib liners, sheets and protectors as needed
  • Wash all bedding, blankets, burp cloths
  • Complete nursery bookshelves
  • Pack Gavin's hospital bag - choose hospital and going home outfits
  • Pack my hospital bag (if you are looking for a great checklist for both you and baby, check out the Christian Blonde's complete list and FREE printable HERE!)
  • Purge and organize all kitchen drawers and cabinets
  • Make room in one cabinet for baby items
  • Wash pacifiers, bottles, etc.
  • Purchase and prepare breast pump for hospital
  • Setup Pack N Play, bassinet for our room, bouncer, rocker and swing
  • Oh wait, first remember to purchase swing
  • Install carseat and have it checked
  • Have house cleaned (scheduled deep clean for 6/29)
  • Plan and prepare freeze ahead meals
  • Make shopping list for food & household items (shop as close to due date as possible)
  • Complete childbirth and breastfeeding classes (scheduled for end of June/early July)
  • Organize guest room closet for extra baby items and storage
  • Remember to put my feet up
  • Try and squeeze in a mani/pedi or two
  • Download iPad movies for hospital & update Netflix instant queue
And we can't forget the few house projects we are hoping to complete, or the normal weekly workload I'll have for my clients. Oh, and did I mention spend time with my hubby in there? I'd like to make time for that, too, as much as possible. 

With the due date quickly approaching, I would say I have a full plate. Any advice for the home stretch?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

32 Week Bumpdate :: Starting to Feel 'Ready'

This week felt extra special for me. Gavin is squirming a lot these days, and I am almost able to make out whether what I feel is an arm, leg, etc. He also gets the hiccups pretty much every day. Poor little dude

The end of May is fast approaching, and I am just starting to get to the point where I am feeling 'ready' for our Little G to make his big debut. Sure, I'm still scared of going through labor and delivery, but I am so desperate to meet him and lay eyes on his sweet little face that I am beginning to forget about the inevitable pain and surprises that will occur before then. 

We also celebrated B's 29th birthday over the weekend. I loved having the extra time with him while we took a quick trip down to the beach. Turns out it may end up being our last one as a married couple with no babies. On our way home yesterday, we talked about how different things will be next time we load up the car, Gavin in tow, to spend a few days 'relaxing' down there. There is nothing that excites me more right now than picturing our weekends with Gavin. 

The weather was pretty unusual for Memorial Day weekend. It was chilly and rainy on Friday, and stayed breezy for most of Saturday and Sunday. The sun was shining, but this Momma wasn't exactly feeling like it was the ideal time to lay on the beach all day. So, we spent our days taking walks on the beach, did a little beach shop shopping, indulged in a few of our favorite beach treats, ate yummy meals and caught up with some friends at a few of our favorite watering holes. 

The days seemed long, but the weekend flew by. I couldn't stop thinking about how much our lives are getting ready to change on our long, traffic-filled ride home yesterday. We even played a little bit of a guessing game about what day we think G might make his official arrival. Most people tell me I'll probably be late, it being our first baby and all. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that may not be the case. I guess we will have to wait out the next eight weeks to find out.

  •  How far along are you? 32 weeks as of 5/28/13 
  • How I'm feeling: Still battling heartburn and starting to slow down a bit. Between the pain in my hips in the morning, and how tired my legs are at the end of the day, I now totally understand what people mean when they say that the 3rd trimester gets uncomfortable. Oh, and peeing ALL.THE.TIME.
  • Total weight gain: 19 lbs. as of 5/15/13 (getting weighed in again tomorrow and I have a feeling I broke the 20lb. mark)
  • How big is baby? My app tells me that G could be as long as 19 inches and weigh close to 4.5lbs! I am just DYING for my doctor to give me a more real estimate. I have actually been dying to get another ultrasound, and word on the street is that that may not happen at all. I think G is head down most of the time. I have deduced this by where I feel the biggest kicks versus where his hiccups usually come from. Any advice on figuring out his actual position without the doctor?
  • Maternity clothes: Obviously. And the summer heat is arriving this week. Oy.
  • Stretch marks? I could cry while writing this. I found my first set of stretch marks on the backs of my thighs, right below my big ol' butt this morning. I am beyond depressed about it, and it looks like I may now be one of those Moms that wears the bathing suits that have skirt bottoms from here on out.
  • Sleep: Getting comfortable is not easy, and there are not enough pillows in this house for me to bring into bed and wedge in all different places. But, once I'm comfortable enough, I'm pretty much out like a light.
  • Best moment this week: Spending a long weekend away enjoying one of our last extended periods of time as a married couple without a baby. Celebrating B's birthday was extra fun, too!
  • Movement: G is active almost all the time, or so it seems. He is constantly squirming, kicking and getting the hiccups, but I love sitting there and feeling him move and grow, even if it's a tad painful from time to time.
  • Food cravings: Still craving sweets like I have throughout this pregnancy, and nothing satisfies my mid-afternoon hunger like a hot bowl of mac n' cheese. Mmmm.
  • Food aversions: Eating well other than when I am feeling huge and full.
  • Labor signs:  Braxton Hicks are still kicking. They're irregular but still happening almost every day. I am also starting to feel like my belly is dropping a little. Before it was a comfortable support for my boobs, and now it's more like the belly is starting to rest on the tops of my hips/thighs.
  • Belly button in or out:  Next!
  • What I miss: Laying on the couch and feeling comfortable. It takes me far too long to get comfortable now with this basketball/watermelon around my midsection.
  • What I'm looking forward to: My NJ shower was awesome. G and I were spoiled by all of the love and presents we received, and I barely got all of the loot home in one carload. We have our last shower coming up on June 9th, hosted by two of my besties. It will be a fabulous time for me to catch up with girlfriends and get some much needed advice from all of the young Mommies that I know.
  • Milestone: 32 weeks feels like a pretty good one in itself. We are done with our true out of town weekends, so we will be local from now until G's arrival, for the most part. Most of the baby laundry is done, but I am still feeling like there is a LONG way to go before the nursery is organized in a way that makes sense and doesn't make me feel overwhelmed. It is my goal to continue working on the nursery and my kitchen over the next two weeks. The nesting is in full force
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Life Lately :: Being Thankful for the Everyday

    One of the things that I am learning lately is that life is all about adjustments. Or, at least it feels that way sometimes. From an early age we learn to adjust to new environments, new routines, new people, and the list goes on. 

    At this point in my life, I have been learning to adjust to a different slew of things. Constant heartburn, decreased blood circulation in my legs if I don't rest enough, discomfort during and after a road trip, and feeling like I've just run ten miles after a few trips up and down my townhouse stairs. 

    It is so easy to get wrapped up in these small, everyday things. Things that bug me, the new discomfort I'm learning to cope with and the constant swirling of 'things to do before baby' in my head. 

    And then something like the Moore, Oklahoma disaster happens. And, just like last month with Boston, and many times before, I find myself glued to the news coverage, and brought to tears over the pain that the families are enduring, and little things like a woman finding her dog alive in the rubble that once was their home.

    It is so easy for me to overlook just how many blessings are in my life in the form of everyday things. Waking up next to my husband each morning and a few wet, puppy kisses to start each day. While I do not take for granted the amazing feeling of having our first born son growing inside of me, I do sometimes forget just how special these last few weeks will truly be. Especially when my rib cage hurts and I had another bout of insomnia at 4AM the night before. 

    There are so many things to be afraid in the world we live in today. Sometimes I think I'll find a way to homeschool my children so I don't have to worry about them being out there and vulnerable to the crazy people of this world. But, the truth is, I can't live that way. As much as I worry, and want to protect my family, and control what happens to them each day, it is not possible. The only thing to do is trust that God already knows the plan He has for each of us, and that brings me some comfort. 

    After all, we all need a place to find comfort in these uncertain days we are living through. I am finding mine by trying to remember to be thankful for my everydays, and by praying for the safety and well being of my loved ones.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2013

    An Album Perfect for Summer Nights :: 'To Be Loved' Review

    I think it goes without saying that our taste in music changes as we grow. But, although I may not listen to the local rock station like I did from time to time in high school, there are a few artists that I have loved since the moment I first heard them, and I don't think my age, or the season of my life will change that. 

    There is something about Michael Buble's voice that just relaxes me. I would be lying if I said I didn't buy an album of his about once a year to add to my collection. I still love popping his CDs into the player in may car and turning up the volume. Especially the holiday ones! I have also been known to play his music (often on repeat) during a dinner party, and had a playlist chock full of his covers and songs on the cocktail hour playlist for our wedding. 

    Well, Michael just released another brand new album called 'To Be Loved' which features covers of classic songs, as well as a few that Michael wrote himself. To Be Loved, out now, finds the Grammy winner covering songs by Frank Sinatra, the Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, Van Morrison, and more. In the mix of golden standards are four original songs co-written by Bublé, dipping into his personal life for inspiration.

    My personal favorite is the new tune where he teamed up with Reese Witherspoon. It's called 'Something Stupid' and it's perfectly fun and playful. And who doesn't love to hear Reese's natural singing voice?

    To find out more about his new album, or to order a copy for yourself, click here

    I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the album to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    'What's In Your Bedside Drawer :: A Sponsored Post for

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

    If you were to wander into our bedroom on a random weekday, and take a peek through the nightstand drawer beside our bed, you would find a whole host of random items that have no other home. Only a few of them are bedside 'necessities,' but alas, they have all found there place tucked into that small drawer in the corner of our room. 
    • At least two tubes of chapstick. I seriously put the stuff one every night before bed, and again each morning once I'm dressed and ready for the day. You could say I have a slight obsession.
    • Tylenol & Tums - every pregnant girl's medicine cabinet has both of these in it, especially during the second half of their pregnancy. My bedside drawer just happens to be a much more convenient place for me to store these items in case I'm in desperate need.
    • Earbuds - I always keep a set of earbuds in my drawer to use with my iPad. If B is asleep and I'm fighting insomnia, or just can't stop watching old episodes of Felicity by 10PM, I pop those babies on and it gives me at least another hour of viewing time.
    • Basal Thermometer - yep, I still have my thermometer tucked away in my drawer. Of course, I'm no longer temping every morning, but I was for quite some time (or at least it felt that way). I'm sure it will hang out there until it's needed again someday. 
    • The pretty ring box from my engagement ring. I hardly ever actually put my ring in it, but it's such a pretty box, I couldn't part with it.
    • A few love letters and notes from B during the course of our relationship up until now. In the back of my drawer, there is a ziplock bag full of letters, notes and even a copy of our wedding invitation. Again, probably not the best place to store these things. I should really get on that.      
    • My iPad and/or Kindle - duh. 

    It's a funny thing, how things collect in your bedside drawer. Maybe because you want to remember where you put them later, or maybe because you just need a place to hide things that would otherwise sit out and collect dust. 

    As a woman, it was important for me to reserve a place in my bedside drawer where I could keep all of my 'essentials.' Like I mentioned above, this was my basal thermometer for most of last year, and the year before that, it was a handy place to leave my birth control for safe keeping. 

    I am huge on reminders - on my phone, on a list, wherever I'll see it most. Perhaps your bedside drawer is the place you like to keep these things. Anything from coffee dates with friends to work functions to taking your birth control & booking appointments with your physicians. Did you know you can use for all of these things? (Reminders: ) Simply setup your reminders, and them have them sent straight to your smartphone! How convenient! Seriously

    Now, the fun part! Go enter for a chance to win a variety of prizes by entering the 'What's In My Bedside Drawer?' Pinterest contest from! Find out more by following the steps below:

    Every girl has that bedside drawer that holds the bedroom essentials: their Kindle, a pair of reading glasses, sexy lingerie. – whatever fits their personality. No matter what your drawer says about you, there’s birth control that will fit right in. Find the best method for your routine and style at 

    This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of

    Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    30 Week Bumpdate :: The Final Countdown Begins

    30 weeks?! How is that even possible? I feel like  just saw those two pink lines I had been waiting months for just a few short weeks ago.

    Reaching 30 weeks has been a huge milestone for me in so many ways. It feels like the end is in sight, and although that scares the daylights out of me in some ways, with not knowing what to expect as far as labor & delivery goes (yet), it also fills me with so much excitement as we prepare to welcome Gavin. 

    Although the end may be in sight, I'm not quite to the point where I'm dying for this baby to come out just yet. Ten weeks is still a good amount of time for G to keep growing and thriving in there, and we still have a bunch of stuff left to do around here before we are good and ready for him. I still need to update our hospital records with the pediatrician that we chose, we have childbirth and breastfeeding classes coming up at the end of June, and I have barely started thinking about packing our hospital bags. I have piles and piles of baby laundry to do, drawers and closets to organize, and we are still planning on having new railings installed on all of our stairs before G's arrival. Not to mention, I am actually planning to pay someone to give my house a good, deep clean shortly before my due date. 

    We still have two more baby showers, one of which is at my parents home in NJ this coming weekend. I cannot wait for this special celebration with the family and friends I have grown up with. 

    So, you can imagine my anxiety when I had one of those days over the weekend where I felt like I may have pushed myself a little too hard. My Braxton Hicks were more regular than I was used to, and I just felt like there was too much tightness going on down there in that belly. I took this as a sign that it was time to slow down, propped my feet up and drank plenty of water. The rest of the weekend was very relaxing and I am so glad I gave myself the break from running around. It made a world of difference.

  •  How far along are you? 30 weeks as of 5/14/13 
  • How I'm feeling: Feeling great as long as I don't try and do too much in one day. Heartburn is still raging, but my doc cleared me to take Zantac up to twice a day. One every 24-36 hours has been working wonders. I am still feeling some discomfort in my rib cage (right side), which I read could mean the baby's head is up in there. But, all other signs (kicks, bulges, etc.) point to him laying head down. 
  • Total weight gain: 17 lbs. as of 5/3/13 (getting weighed in again on 5/15)
  • How big is baby? G is somewhere around the size of a head of lettuce, close to 18 inches long (whoa!) and a little over 3 pounds according to my 'What To Expect' app estimates. 
  • Maternity clothes: Yes! Dresses, tanks, leggings - basically whatever is comfortable that day.
  • Stretch marks? Still no, somehow!
  • Sleep: Sleeping pretty well, but often waking up and having to shift everything around to alleviate hip pain.
  • Best moment this week: B spoiled me on Mother's Day. He cooked all of my meals, and barely let me lift a finger all day long. It was a much needed, relaxing day!
  • Movement: Still one active little guy!
  • Food cravings: Frozen Yogurt with all.the.toppings. (Yes, still. Oh, and brownies.)
  • Food aversions: Nothing at this point. Between 5-7PM each day, G is at his most active, and that makes me feel full and uncomfotable for a bit, but I have still been able to snack/eat dinner most nights.
  • Labor signs:  Braxton Hicks are definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. They got pretty frequent on Saturday, hence my 'time off.'
  • Belly button in or out:  Well, the answer to this questions hasn't changed in about 15 weeks.
  • What I miss: Cocktails, waking up feeling refreshed, and not getting out of breath every time I climb the stairs.
  • What I'm looking forward to: Two more baby showers and getting to celebrate with lots of family and friends. We are also planning for a long weekend at the beach to relax and celebrate B's birthday at the end of the month.
  • Milestone: I passed my glucose test (hallelujah!), and reaching 30 weeks feels like a pretty big one for me. We are narrowing down our list of 'must-have's' and must-do's' before G arrives and I am feeling pretty confident that we'll get it all finished.
  • Monday, May 13, 2013

    Those Unsolicited Pregnancy Comments

    Friends of mine had told me about all of the comments and unsolicited belly rubs I would start receiving during my pregnancy. And, for the first 26 weeks, it didn't happen much. Sure, a few family members and friends would give the belly a little rub, but most of the comments I was receiving were glowing and positive. 

    Until I reached the 28 week mark.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I know people always mean well (for the most part), but if I hear someone tell me I look like I'm due any day ONE.MORE.TIME. I might scream. Oh and let's not forget all of those 'wow, he must be one BIG baby!' jabs.

    Since I see 'the bump' each and every day, I don't feel like I look that huge. But, reality sets in when we attend a social function full of people who don't see us often. Just last week, we attended a work event for one of my clients. There were close to 60 people in attendance, and I got lots of comments and sweet looks, followed by startled reactions when I told them we still had ten weeks to go. Is this really necessary?!

    If I already looked like I ballooned to someone twice my size, I could understand, but I think that people need to give pregnant women a break. After all, it's the only time in your life when you can gain weight for good reason, indulge in some of your favorite treats here and there, and look healthy and 'glowing' while you're at it.

    I have to say that the unsolicited comments have been irking me more than the random belly rubs. This is most likely because I have yet to get many from complete strangers. Hopefully that won't change, but at this point, I am not counting anything out.

    So, what is it about pregnancy that makes people so free with what they say? Now that I've been pregnant, I will be sure to carefully articulate the compliments that I dish out to other pregnant women. Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart, ladies.

    Friday, May 10, 2013

    DIY Home Projects :: Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Basement

    Don't you feel like basements are always the room in your home that is most likely to go largely unused?  This is a ton of wasted space that could be used to improve the quality of life and improve the value of your home.  Below are some great options for those of you looking to renovate your basement.

    Home Office
    Image source

    Millions of Americans every year either work from home or spend part of their working week from their home. Instead of working from your kitchen table or your bedroom, why not transform your basement into a home office?

    The great part about a basement home office is that you can customize it however you want. For larger basements, you may want to section off a portion of the basement for your actual office and another section for a conference room. My home office is actually a separate room in our basement. So I can work quietly with the door shut, if necessary, and I have the apace (including a large closet) to store all of my business items and then some.

    If you have a walk-in basement or can afford to dig out an entranceway into the basement, you can actually setup your home office to be entirely separate from your house.  This is great for those who work full-time from home.

    One additional benefit is that if you use your office completely for work, you can qualify for a home office credit on your taxes.  Talk to your tax professional for more information on this.

    Entertainment Room
    Image source
    One of the top basement renovations that most homeowners choose is an entertainment room.  Your know, your basic 'man cave' in our house. You have several options when choosing an entertainment room.  This can be a room that is enjoyed by the whole family or can be completely transformed into your husband's own man cave.

    Family rooms are a great choice as it gives everyone somewhere to go play and unwind.  You can put in a foosball table, a pool table, darts, or even some classic arcade games.  Entertainment rooms are fantastic for hosting home poker games as well.  You can use this tutorial on how to build your own poker table to create a quality table and save a ton of money.

    When choosing this option, be sure to put in extra insulation for the basement to help block out the noise.

    Additional Bedroom Space
    Another fantastic option for a basement is to turn it into additional bedroom space.  Depending on the size of the basement and the purpose of the bedroom, you can create a second master bedroom or make a couple of smaller bedrooms.

    If you are a family with kids sharing a bedroom, this would be a great option as it would give each child their separate bedroom.  You may even want to install a bathroom in the basement.  This will be both a convenience and a safety precaution for your family and guests.

    Next, do what you can to make the bedroom not feel like it is in a basement.  Conceal pipes, wires,  and anything else that would give away that you are in a basement.  Another added plus to making a basement bedroom is that it will help increase the resale value of your home.

    Organize Your Space :: A Linkup with Double the Fun Blog!

    So, can we talk about nesting for a minute? Sheesh, it is a crazy thing. Each week I fill my to-do lists (both physical and mental) with all of the items I would like to accomplish around our home that weekend. These items can range from cleaning the bathrooms to organizing and folding every single item of baby clothing we have. And then some.

    I typically do some type of 'Spring Cleaning' every year. We wash our windows, clean out our closets and drawers, and just try to start fresh when the weather starts to change. But this year is different. I made it my mission to go through and purge every closet and drawer in our home, and have been pretty successful so far. Other than our kitchen because, let's face it, who really wants to organize all of their kitchen cabinets? I will get it done before Gavin arrives.

    But, one of the projects that I finally found the motivation to tackle, after reading about Aliya's upcoming 'Organize Your Space' linkup, was our bathroom cabinets and vanities. Since the recent completion of our master bath, we have been floating back and forth between it and our other upstairs bathroom, and I was having trouble remembering which vanity had what products in it. And poor B basically had to get ready in both bathrooms each morning before work.

    So, last weekend, I went through everything I have collected over the last year, purged the old, and organized the necessary to leave us with much more streamlined bathroom storage, as well as a nice 'guest' bathroom space for when we have visitors. 

    I started with the vanities, and could not believe how much stuff we have accumulated since moving into this house. How many sticks of deodorant and boxes of cold medicine does one couple need? I think it's safe to say that my toiletry list will be short for the next few months. 

    Once I got rid of expired items, items we no longer use and things we just don't need, I was able to create a much more clutter-free space under the vanity in our guest bath. Now we have extra space for when visitors are in town, and for some of Gavin's things once he's big enough to warrant some bathroom vanity real estate. 

    I had seen this pin months ago, and saved it for when we were ready to transition this bathroom into our guest bath. Then two weeks ago, I found that adorable iron stand at our local Hobby Lobby, and knew it was perfect for the look I was going for. 

    Now, when my Mom comes to stay with us after G is born, she will have a place to keep all of her things, as well as some items right on hand, in case she forgets anything. I plan to change out the travel items with the seasons and/or as they get used, but love the simplicity and organization that it has given the counter tops of this vanity.

    Next, I moved on to finish the storage space in our master bath. Since our bathroom is on the very small side, I knew we had to maximize our storage. And, since a 24" vanity can only lend itself to so many items, we purchased a wall mounted cabinet in the same espresso finish to hang over the toilet. 

    This cabinet has been an absolute lifesaver. I was able to organize most of our everyday items neatly inside it, and it leaves our sink top clean and open. I did purchase a few organization bins from Home Goods to fit inside of the cabinet and vanity, and they helped organize all of our necessities even more.

    Now that everything has a place, I feel like my Spring Cleaning has really started, and I might be ready to tackle the master bedroom closet! Or those annoyingly full kitchen drawers! 

    What are you hoping to clean and refresh this Spring? Be sure to check out all of the fabulously motivating projects that are linking up over at Double the Fun today!

    Thursday, May 9, 2013

    Maternity Fashion & Style :: 2nd & 3rd Trimesters

    Back in February, I wrote about my maternity fashion must-haves, and what you could find me wearing most days during the first half of my pregnancy. Back then, the weather was chilly, and my belly was about half the size it is now, so I was relishing in a cute little bump, and stretchy pants with a high waistband most days. 

    Now that the weather has changed, and I can almost taste the dog days of summer as they approach Maryland rapidly, my style and taste has changed. I am no longer comfortable in leggings with a waist that comes about my naval every day. I need to have options. Some days, I can barely muster up the strength to change out of my pajamas (a circumstance that I'm sure will happen much more often once G arrives), and others, I am still feeling good enough to rock my once favorite maternity leggings.

    I have spent lots of time (and money, sorry B!) carefully purchasing maternity items that I think will last, have a reasonable price tag, and will (hopefully) still be in style when it comes time for Baby #2 thoughts. Admittedly, most of my threads have come from Old Navy, Motherhood, Target, and of course the fabulous bin of borrowed items that Aliya so graciously loaned me. This combination has armed me with plenty to choose from, and I still get a tiny bit excited when I pick out my outfit most days. 

    But, let's call this the 'Season of the Dress,' shall we? 

    All of the dresses you see above are Old Navy or Gap. In fact, the one I wore to my shower (from Gap) is one of my absolute favorites. I had been waiting for it to go on sale for weeks and just happened to catch it $20 off the day of my shower while I was browsing our local store. Call it fate!

    Another absolute favorite dress of mine also came from Old Navy. I bought it shortly after I found out I was pregnant (around December 2012) and it is by far the article of maternity clothing that I have received the most compliments on. 

    While you may find me in maxi dresses pretty often, they are not my only second half wardrobe staple. I picked up an adorable pair of white jeans a few weeks ago. They fit me perfectly, but aren't too snug, and pair really well with all of the colorful summer tops I am starting to wear. 

    Once, I hit 23 weeks, there was no more hiding the bump, no matter what I wore. I have almost fully embraced my new body, so (for now, at least) I am comfortable rocking form-fitting tops that display my belly in all its glory. Sure, somethings make me look larger than I feel, or larger than I thought I looked just yesterday, but I'm OK with that.

    I think the most important part of dressing your bump is knowing what makes you feel good. Sometimes, it may just be a favorite necklace to dress up a tank top and leggings. Or maybe those wedges that are way in the back of your closet from last summer. I have even rocked my loose fitting non-maternity tops on several occasions. And, pair anything with a cute and colorful skinny belt, and you are good to go!

    The best advice that I can give is to embrace your body throughout your pregnancy journey. Sure, some days I feel gross and huge, but then I try to remember that God made my body to carry my children, and that is such a beautiful thing.

    Another plus? I can still grab frozen yogurt twice once a week and blame it on the 'pregnancy.' Once Little G is here, I have trouble believing I will be able to do that without any guilt.

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013

    Our First Baby Shower. My Heart Is Already So Full.

    Little G and I had the honor of celebrating our first baby shower here in Maryland on Friday night. This shower was thrown by my mother-in-law and sisters-in-love and boy did they go all out! Everything was covered with animals, boy colors and G's and each detail fit my tastes so perfectly. I can remember daydreaming about the day when I would have a baby shower of my own, and cannot believe that the summer is already approaching, and the time has come!

    G and I were showered with love, yummy food and of course, tons of adorable presents! 

    I got to see a bunch of girlfriends and family members that I never see enough, and it was so much fun to see so many happy, smiling faces all there to help us celebrate the biggest change our lives have seen so far!

    I truly believe that God sends certain people into your life to be forever friends. They can come in the form of family, of the women that marry into the same family as you do, and of friends that you meet throughout your journey. I am blessed to have many of these women in my life, and I cannot wait to share this next adventure with them as I learn to navigate the waters of motherhood.

    I want to say another special 'thank you!' to all of the ladies that helped to make my night so incredibly unforgettable. I was so happy to see each of you there, and cannot wait for everyone to meet our Baby G!

    Monday, May 6, 2013

    Summer Celebration :: Our HUGE Giveaway!

    Each year around this time, I fill with excitement. When the days become longer and warmer, it does something good for my soul. And once May rolls around, I feel like summer has basically started. I get out my flip flops, sunblock and beach towels and start planning our first trip to the beach. Obviously our trips this summer will be much fewer since I don't plan on leaving the county after June 15th, but that still leaves us some time to steal away for a few days, hopefully returning sun kissed and relaxed.

    Not that I need another excuse to shop, but when the seasons change, I always get inspired to stock up on some fun, new items that will last me through the summer. I love items that are brightly colored, fashionable, and easy to travel with. Of course, there are the every summer staple items, and each year I try adding a few new ones to my repertoire.

    When I find an item that I just don't know how I ever lived without, one of the first things I usually do is share it with a few of my best girls, because I don't want them to miss out on the fun! Lucky for me, I have a few friends that do the same. A girl can never have enough beauty and fashion secrets, am I right?!

    Now that summer is just around the corner, isn't it time we all had a little shopping fun? IRL bestie, Aliya and I wanted to share a few of our most favorite summer items with all of you, and one lucky reader will win this ENTIRE BAG full of summer goodies!

    1. Adorable Canvas Beach Tote from Old Navy with a punch of coral on the inside - of course we had to provide you with some sort of tote to keep all of your fun prizes in! This bag is perfect for the beach, to use as an extra diaper bag, or just for running errands around town. I foresee this bag traveling everywhere with Gavin and I this summer. You will love it!
    2. Fabulous printed Koozie with Matching Headbands (by All for Color) - A girl can never have too many accessories! These All for Color items are bright, fun and totally girly. Use the koozie to keep your beverage cold while sitting on the beach, and the headbands are perfect for keeping those pesky fly aways out of your face!
    3. Summer Shades in this season's hottest color (by All for Color) - these are one of my favorite items. All for Color shades in wayfarer style and the teal is too cute for this season!
    4. Yes to Cucumber's Calming Face Wipes - Both Aliya and I have mentioned these wipes before. They're perfect for freshening up, or if you're like me, you can use them to get some of your makeup off right before you fall into bed at the end of a long day. They are refreshing and smell great, too!
    5. OPI's Strawberry Margarita Nail Polish - no summer is complete in my world without a few fresh coats of Strawberry Marg. Throw this one in your beach bag and have it with you for touch-ups while you're out of town!
    6. Herbal Essences Tousling Spray Gel - Natural, beach waves are all the rage this year. I love to hop out of the shower, tousle my hair a bit and not worry about it again for the rest of the day. You will love this spray gel, and won't leave home without it this summer.
    7. Burt's Bees Refreshing Lip Balm in Pink Grapefruit - I have chapstick with me EVERYWHERE. From my nightstand drawer to my car console, you will find tubes of this stuff everywhere. I even throw some on with my makeup each morning in place of gloss if I'm feeling extra 'beachy' that day.
    8. Olay Fresh Effects "Shine, Shine Go Away" Facewash - Obviously, being in the sun and the heat all day can leave you looking and feeling a little shiny and oily. Pack this new face wash from Olay and you'll be good to go after a quick wash!
    9. Hawaiian Tropic Shimmer Effect Moisturizer - And, of course, you can't be in the sun all summer long and not moisturize. Now that I'm pregnant, I am ashamed to admit how often I moisturize my skin, but there is no such thing as too much lotion, right? The shimmer effect of this new moisturizer will leave you feeling sun kissed and ready for a fun night out! Or if you're me, a fun night in sipping on a virgin cocktail while your hubby rubs your feet.
    Are you excited yet!? We have been bursting at the seams in preparation for this giveaway, and we just know that whoever wins this bag full 'o goodies will be celebrating a fabulous start to their summer!

    Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. We're kicking things off today, and will keep it open until Friday, May 17th! A winner will be selected and announced by Monday, May 20th so you get your goodies in time for your Memorial Day weekend plans!