31 December 2014

My Pregnancy Must Haves [Part One]

Now that I'm more than halfway finished with my second pregnancy (?!??!), I wanted to share some of the products that I've been loving in the maternity world. Part two of this post will come near the end of my pregnancy as I grow more large and in charge. ;) 
pregnancy must haves
one || Egyptian Magic || I wish I could say that I made it out of my first pregnancy without any stretch marks, but that simply wasn't the case. (Sorry 'bout your luck hips!) Regardless, well hydrated skin during pregnancy (*ahem*cold, dry Alaskan winter) never hurt anybody. I've been primarily slathering on Egyptian Magic, but I also love Palmer's Cocoa Butter and Burt's Bees oil!

two || Rosebud lip balm || This almost requires no explanation. Almost. I become a serious mouth breather during pregnancy. No really!  My nose is stuffed from conception allll the way to delivery. Gotta keep the lips protected from the insane amounts of air that passes over them on the reg. ;)

three || Camelbak || It seems that I've made a habit of spending my first trimester nauseous. (I have to admit that the morning sickness was not as bad this time around. Still sucked. But not as bad.) Keeping fluids down is so important and I've noticed that when I'm nauseous I don't drink anything unless I'm reminded. Keeping a water bottle around serves as my reminder. Love Camelbaks!

four & five || Josie Maran & Blemish Stick || My skin hates being pregnant. Boy or girl, it doesn't seem to mater, my face becomes breakout central! Since your standard topical acne treatments usually contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (should be avoided during pregnancy)  i've been using tee tree oil on blemishes instead. This Burt's Bees Blemish Stick paired with some argan oil for hydration seems to be holding the hormonal acne to a reasonable teenage level. ;)

six || Ava Anderson Deep Conditioner || Without getting too hippie on you, I do try to pay a little extra attention to the chemicals that are in the products I use during pregnancy. I love that this deep conditioner is non-toxic and uses natural ingredients. The coolest part? It works! My hair is soft, healthy and manageable. 

seven || Snoogle || I literally can not say enough good things about this pillow to do it justice! I sleep with a regular body pillow when I'm not pregnant, but whip this baby out pretty early on in pregnancy. Like my mouth breathing tendencies, I seem to become a wicked snorer the moment I become pregnant. (Hey Kyle, I didn't get into this "situation" all by myself. Quit complaining about the middle of the night log sawing that happens in our room.) This pillow helps me not only sleep/lay more comfortably, but quiets my snoring down a few decibels.  

eight || Ole Henriksen Eye Gel || Fake it til you make it, right? No matter how much sleep I get, I'm exhausted by lunch time. This eye gel is so amazing. It reduces puffiness and is incredibly hydrating. I like to keep my in the fridge for a little extra cooling effect. 

nine || Leggings || Whether my regular pants fit or not, I love wearing leggings almost daily and using pregnancy as my excuse. I love these leggings from Forever 21 because they come in a variety of colors and cost at most $5! (That's code for I have a shit ton of them.)

ten || Simple Wishes Nursing Bra || I never really used nursing bras during my pregnancy with Mallory and I'm quickly learning the error of my ways! I love the support the offer while still being comfortable as things...change. ;) This particular nursing bra can also be used for hands free pumping, a feature I'm sure I will need this time around..

eleven || Trident White gum || Mouth breathing makes for unpleasant smelling breath, amiright? To top it off all foods seem to leave a strange aftertaste in my mouth. Ew. What's the deal with that?! 

twelve || S. Pellegrino || Drinking sparkling water is a tried and true nausea fighting trick from my chemo days. I like mine with lime!

Well, there you have it! My current pregnancy must haves. Soon I will be entering the land of, inappropriately wearing flip flops and obnoxiously loud breathing. Cheers to that!

What are some of your pregnancy must haves?
Disclosure :: I received the deep conditioner and nursing bra in exchange for my review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

30 December 2014

Our Christmas (2014)

You don't mind if I take some time to post an entry into my online mommy/baby journal, do you? I certainly appreciate it ;)

Oh, was Christmas good this year! So so good. It's amazing how the magic of Christmas does a full circle once you have children of your own. Even though it was our first Christmas away from family, we still managed to make it special. We squeezed in everything I mentioned in this post which made for a busy and festive time. (Side note :: We definitely recommend exchanging parent stockings on Christmas Eve! It was our first year trying this one out and we loved it! All was calm, so Kyle and I were able to enjoy each other's company and quietly exchange gifts over a mug of glühwein/kinderpunsch.)

We didn't go super overboard with Mallory's Christmas gifts. We tried to keep it simple and stick to the list. Good thing we did because it took miss thang alllllllll day to open her handful of gifts. After taking a break to eat breakfast and another break to eat a cookie and FaceTime her grandparents, we threw in the towel and opened the remaining couple of gifts for her. Of course, leaving the wrapping paper and boxes to be played with. ;)

Kyle thinks he is hysterical with his note. 

Thank goodness she is so young because Santa made some rookie mistakes this year. No batteries were purchased and zero toys were preassembled. Better luck next year, right? After a nap we went outside to blow off some steam (read :: Mallory throw a mega temper tantrum) in the fresh snow!

All Christmas stuff has been packed away until next year when we will be celebrating with not one but two babies! Eeeek!

I hope you had a very merry Christmas!

29 December 2014

Hopes & Plans || 2015 New Years Resolutions {Link Up}

Welcome to the "Hopes & Plans" link up! Any hopeful or goal-oriented post is welcome! It can be your life's dreams, aspirations, monthly goals or simply your chore list. Share with us! I hope for this to be a place where we can come to be inspired and motivated by the things other people have in the works. The possibilities are endless! Most things in life begin by first having a hope and then some kind of plan.

I saw this resolution/goal guide by Lauren Conrad and really liked it! I think it is a great way to incorporate both wishes and remedies into your new year. Using her guide as my own, here are my hopes & plans for 2015...

Go on more dates with Kyle. || Looking back on 2014, I would say we went out (sans baby) mayyyybe 3 times. We can and should do better than that!

Return to a healthy weight for my body after delivering our baby boy! || My own fitness was not a priority after Mallory was born. I think that may have been a mistake. I do so much better, both physically and psychologically when I'm fit. I can find a way to balance my parenting goals with my personal fitness/health goals. (More on this after baby woody is born.) 

Breastfeed our son for at least 6 months then, however long he wants to after that. || I loved breastfeeding Mallory and hope to be able to give baby woody the same start in life. Although, I'd really appreciate it if he caught on quicker than his sister did. ;)

Save more money. || Ok. That's kind of vague. Maybe I should just say "spend less money." ;) We would love to see our student loans vanish in a hurry...

Visit North Pole, AK. || Oh yeah! Why wouldn't we want to go to a tourist trap of Christmas-y goodness? I don't like any of our children would forgive us if we didn't. ;)

Clean up my diet. || This goal kind of holds hands with my "healthy weight" goal. I think if we eat out less frequently and incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet we'd be in a good place since our choices aren't terrible to begin with. Guess I need to bone up on my cooking skills. ;)

Organize the linen closet. || I don't know that I've paid any attention to this closet since we moved in and I tossed everything in there. It's baaaad.

Own these. || Clearly I have trouble pulling the trigger on this purchase. Come spring, they are mine!

Take yoga classes again. || Yoga was something I really enjoyed pre-Mallory. I think it is possible to find an hour or two a week to sneak away to a yoga class. Right? Maybe? I hope so. 

There you have it. Short, sweet and simple! 

Well, I hope so anyway. 

Cheers to 2015!

25 December 2014

Merry Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

Ugly Sweater

Can you believe I talked Kyle into wearing an ugly Christmas sweater?! I didn't even have to! His work Christmas party this year was an ugly sweater party and he actually got super into it. This isn't even the sweater he wore to the party! The day of the party he found out his boss had the same sweater so he sent me on an emergency ugly sweater replacement mission.


Photo With Santa

We used Tiny Prints  again this year for our holiday cards. 

Photo Christmas Card

Photo Christmas Card

I say "holiday" because last year I was so late sending them out that they were actually New Years cards. Oops!

Photo New Years Card

Photo New Years Card

I hope you are having a magnificent Christmas Day and can't wait to hear all about it!
Check out Mallory's Birth Announcement, also from Tiny Prints.

24 December 2014

Glühwein and Kinderpunsch

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are all getting off work early and enjoying some serious family time. Sometimes I think Christmas Eve is more exciting than Christmas Day. All the anticipation and traditions. Mmmmm :) It's just the best day ever.

One of our family's Christmas traditions is enjoying a nice mug of glühwein. Glühwein is a German mulled wine drink that is served hot! It's absolutely delicious! Today I'm sharing my dad's glühwein recipe. Well, at least I think it's his recipe. It may just be one that he stole but has been calling his own. I'm sure we'll never know. ;)

I don't like to leave the kids (or the pregnant) out of anything festive, so I've included the kinderpunsch recipe that I've been using. Kinderpunsch is essentially the alcohol free version of glühwein. So so good!

If you try either of these recipes out, let me know. I'd love to hear how you like them!


4 quarts of sweet red wine
6-8 cinnamon sticks
12-15 whole cloves
2 oranges
1/2 lemon
2 cups sugar (to start)
1 pint brandy/amaretto (we've used rum too and that works just fine)

1. Combine all liquids in a large pot on low heat. Allow to simmer for apx. 15 minutes. Do not allow this mixture to boil. Ever. ;)
2. Slice both oranges as well as the half lemon and add them to your pot.
3. Break cinnamon sticks in half. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves and sugar to the pot.
4. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved. *You can continue to add sugar to taste. 
5. Using a ladle, serve into a festive coffee mug and ENJOY! 

5 tea bags in a berry flavor 
4 cups water
2 1/2 cups apple juice
1 1/2 cups orange juice
4-5 lemon slices
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves 
*Can be further sweetened with honey if you'd like although I think it is plenty sweet as is!
This is the tea I used in mine.
1. In a large saucepan on the stove, heat your water. Add your tea bags and allow to steep for about 5 minutes. 
2. Remove tea bags keeping your burner on a low/medium heat.
3. Add your apple juice, orange juice, lemon slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves. 
4. Allow to simmer for approximately 5 minutes (or longer just to enjoy the smell.) ;)
5. IF you have a fine strainer, you may want to strain the mixture a couple of times. I don't typically strain mine unless my lemon slices really go crazy in there. 
6. Using a ladle, serve into a festive coffee mug and ENJOY!

23 December 2014

My Favorite YouTube Channels

Thanks to pregnancy induced insomnia I have been logging some serious late night hours on YouTube. Curled up with my snoogle, headphones in, ice water and peanut butter sandwich nearby is my mama happy place these days. I really admire some of these YouTube beauty gurus; they're ballsy! It's exposing enough to write my thoughts here on my blog, but videos? No way! 

Anyway, beauty videos are like TV shows for those of us with ADHD ;) Short and sweet. (Well, for the most part.) We get to learn a thing or two by watching them apply their makeup, see product reviews, tour their homes, "get ready" with them, learn a few DIY projects, see their recent shopping hauls...it's kind of like blogging but in a video. Vlogging. Duh.  Genius! 

YouTube Beauty Channels

Here are some of my favorite "YouTubers" ... (in no particular order)

YouTube Beauty Guru

Meghan Rienks || In the past I believe, Meghan did more beauty videos but now she is mostly a lifestyle vlogger or "internet personality." (I don't know YouTube lingo really.) She won be over when she shared her Depression Story. Whether she is doing a fashion, gift guide or get ready with me video she is so funny and seems so real! Big fan. 

YouTube Beauty Guru

Shay Danielle || Shay is an aesthetician from Canada whom I've been following for quite some time now. She has a daughter about Mallory's age so I've really enjoyed keeping up with her pregnancy and life with a baby/toddler. Her husband's humor kind of reminds me of Kyle's. Aside from that, Shay is obviously stunning and knows her stuff when it comes to make up. Maybe one day I can apply false eyelashes like she does...

YouTube Beauty Guru

Makeup By Tiffany D || If you get anything from this post, go listen to everything she says in this video about nail care! I swear by some of the products and routines she mentions. Tiffany is expecting her first child soon and frequently gives us pregnancy updates, but as her channel's name implies, she focuses on makeup. She has a variety of tutorials and product reviews on her channel. I feel like she does a great job of explaining things and does more practical/wearable looks. Oh, and her house is amazing!

YouTube Beauty Guru

Jaclyn Hill || This is the makeup major league channel right here. Jaclyn used to work for MAC and now does freelance makeup work. Holy cow is she good! A lot of the tutorials on her channel are more advanced and dramatic but she is full of information. I love her 5 Minute Makeup video and eyebrow tutorial.

YouTube Beauty Guru

Casey Holmes || Casey reminds me so much of one of my good friends! She is so funny and down to earth. Casey does a wide variety of hair and beauty tutorials but also throws in a good mix of get ready with me videos, and monthly favorites. I really enjoy hearing what music she is listening to and seeing her seasonal fashion essentials. Recently, she shared a simple holiday makeup look with a gorgeous red lip. Love!

There you have it, the women who keep me up at night. Jk. It's a little dude in my belly who keeps me awake, they keep me entertained. ;)

Do you have any favorite YouTube channels?! I'd love to add to my subscriptions...

18 December 2014

Chunky Style

I had a mild panic attack earlier in the season while looking through some of my favorite retailers' sweater selection. I was seeing a whole lotta the cropped sweater look and was not pleased. Long live the oversized sweaters and tunics!! (Alright fine, the cropped look is cute as long as you aren't sporting a pregnant belly.)  I'm convinced that chunky sweaters look good on every body type whether you're expecting, concealing those extra holiday pounds or just dig the look. (For the record, I fall into each of those categories.) 

Forever 21 has a killer selection of sweaters this year! If you have the time and patience to sift through their racks, I highly recommend it. 

women's fall fashion

women's fall fashion

women's fall fashion

women's fall fashion
shoes || Forever 21
pants || Stitch Fix - Kenzie Jeans (similar)
sweater || Forever 21 (similar
watch || Michael Kors
lipstick || Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suade
bag || Michael Kors (similar)
What's your vote, chunky or cropped?

16 December 2014

Christmas Gifts || One Year Old Edition

Initially, I intended to keep things pretty low key for Mallory this year. She is too young to really get excited about Christmas and is perfectly happy playing with the dog food bowls/emptying cabinets. 
My idea was to stick with this little guide we see all over Pinterest "something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read." While I did check each of those boxes during my more purposeful shopping; I came across a bunch of other good ideas for her too. 
I didn't purchase everything on this list, but the bulk of it will be under our tree on Christmas morning! 

one || VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
two || Toy Balls
three ||  Fisher- Price Doodle Pro
four || Wooden Puzzles
five || Little Tikes Jr. Play Slide
six || Black & Decker My First Tool Set
seven || Sophie The Giraffe "First Words" book
eight || Mittens
nine || Little Mommy Baby So New
ten || Tea Set
eleven || Crayola Bathtub Body Doodlers 
twelve || TOMS
As far as stocking stuffers go, I'm keeping it simple with; tin containers, sports balls, toy cars and other Target $1 bin wonders. 
Did you go all out for your tiny ones this year?

15 December 2014

Hopes & Plans [Link Up]

Welcome to the "Hopes & Plans" link up! Any hopeful or goal-oriented post is welcome! It can be your life's dreams, aspirations, monthly goals or simply your chore list. Share with us! I hope for this to be a place where we can come to be inspired and motivated by the things other people have in the works. The possibilities are endless! Most things in life begin by first having a hope and then some kind of plan.

Here is how I did with last week's hopes and plans...
|| Finish Christmas shopping! Not quite, but only a couple more to go!!!

|| Mail our Christmas cardsI'm saying this is done even though it isn't actually happening until today. The FedEx guy delivered our order from Tiny Prints in an empty box?! A couple of hours on the phone with FedEx later, the cards were on their way to my door...again. (The box had somehow come open in Maryland but the delivery man didn't find it strange that he was lugging an open, empty box...) We have them now and they are addressed and ready to roll!

|| See our little boyYES! He was just perfect. I have to say that we were quite pleased that he wasn't cooperating with the monographer, because it meant we got to look at him just a little bit longer. Doctor said everything looks great! 

 This Week's Hopes & Plans ::

one || Hammer out a list of things we will need for baby Woody. I went through all of our boxes of "baby things" to feel out what we already have stashed away. Things look good so far but I need a list or things will be forgotten!
two || Wrap a few gifts. This is tough to do with a toddler at gift level, but I have got to have some things wrapped or I won't be sleeping at all on Christmas Eve!
three || Bake or cook something festive! I usually rely on family for this one.. ;) Time to step up my own kitchen game. 
Your turn! What's going on this week?

11 December 2014

Christmas Trees & Traditions

The Christmas trees in Alaska aren't going to be what you expect. Well, the ones you cut down yourself anyway.  I had been bugging Kyle since before I shared his last name to cut down a tree and he never agreed, until now! In Alaska, you don't go to a tree farm to cut down your own tree, you consult a map for authorized areas. (I really think that is the only reason Kyle agreed.) Anyway, the day had finally arrived! We decked the baby out in her winter threads and out the door we went!  
christmas traditions

As we started walking, I could just feel Kyle laughing. He had every right to! These trees may smell like Christmas, but they certainly didn't look like Christmas. They were all tall, skinny and sparse! We walked around for about 45 minutes before selecting the most plump tree we could find. After all of my nagging about cutting down our own Christmas tree, we sure as shit weren't going to leave empty handed! 

christmas traditions

christmas traditions

christmas traditions

This tree has affectionately been named "Jimmy" and is strictly being used for his aroma and ability to house a few lights. Thankfully, I had set up and decorated our artificial tree earlier in the week. We are still laughing at our Jimmy Christmas tree daily! 

christmas traditions

christmas traditions

christmas traditions

After we Kyle loaded the tree on the car and we were heading home, he looked over at me and said "that was a lot of fun." He was absolutely right! It wasn't about finding the perfect Christmas tree, but about spending time together, having a great time, and doing something festive for Christmas. It got me thinking a lot about the amazing family traditions I had growing up, the ones Kyle and I have already created for our own family and how those will evolve as our children grow up. 

Kyle and I each brought traditions into our marriage that we have and plan to continue. Our Christmas Eve activities are a perfect blend of traditions from both sides of the family. We begin the evening by eating a big dinner complete with a ham and way too many sides, then we sit around the Christmas tree and read the Christmas story from the bible. After the story, we open our Christmas Eve gift which is always crazy festive PJ's and once the kids are a little older will also include a movie or game of some kind, you know to give Santa some space to do his thing later on in the night.  Everyone then goes off to change into their jammies and we all pile in the car to go look at Christmas lights while rockin' out to Christmas music. We when get home it's bed time! 

At this point in our lives, that's really it. As I've mentioned before, this is the first year we are spending Christmas 100% on our own as a family and Mallory is too young to really notice or care what is going around her. 

Some family traditions we look forward to carrying on :: Making reindeer food and cookies for santa. Helping the kids build a fort so they can all camp out together waiting for the big man to arrive. Drinking gluhwein together on the couch until the kids are no longer stirring so we can put together their stockings. 

Some traditions we are excited to create :: Exchanging stockings together, just as a couple, on Christmas Eve after the kids are asleep. Having two Christmas trees; one for the adults and one for the kids. Maybe even cutting down our own tree! ;) 

christmas traditions

christmas traditions

So, cheers to the most wonderful time of year with a a young family! 

What are some of your family traditions?

Before you go, a little Starbucks giveaway!

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