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sculpture

    Spotted at the Met.
  • The first step to successfully learning a new skill? Love! Plus 9 others.
  • This is what happens when a girl tries to make out with random strangers in Grand Central. Can you say awk-ward?

Happy (long) weekend!

practical pregnancy essentials: what i couldn’t (and still can’t) live without

Practical Pregnancy Essentials - What I Couldn't Live WithoutIf you do a google search of pregnancy essentials, there’s a gajillion of these blog posts out there, and hey…I just needed to saturate the market a little more! There were some lists that I found to be more helpful than others and most were almost exactly the same. My list may or may not fall into that category depending on what you’ve seen/heard (I like to think that it doesn’t…) , but I figure if I can help out a pregnant woman in the future with even just one of my suggestions, than I’m more than happy to share. Because pregnancy can be difficult (amidst the joy, of course!), but there are things that have  helped me out immensely during times I needed it most.

1.) Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow 

If for any reason, I could only have one essential on this list, it would be the Snoogle. This oddly-shaped body pillow is the reason I’m able to get any good sleep. There’s something about the positioning of this curved noodle-like cushion supporting your head, back, belly and legs that feels so comfortable and natural. It’s amazing! Sure you can recreate the same effect with a bunch of pillows and/or blankets, but the Snoogle won’t take up 3/4 of the bed, leaving your significant other with just a sliver of mattress. We have a queen-size and it accommodates the three of us (me, Bob and the Snoogle) very well!

2.) A thick, natural body lotion like Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

Studies show that applying cream might not help to prevent stretch marks (apparently, it’s all hereditary), but I’m not sure how sold I am on that so I slather the stuff on my body anyway…just in case. I started out using the Mama Bee Belly Butter (which I still recommend), but I’m currently using Blissful Body Butter in Buttercream. It feels thick, luxurious and the cake batter scent smells delicious. So far, no stretch marks! Knock on wood. If nothing else, the moisturizer also relieves belly itch, which is very common. Coconut oil is great for the itchiness as well.

3.) Coobie Bras

I found these a few months ago through another blog post and I’m so thankful I did because these bras are soft, stretchy, supportive and the only ones I wear at the moment. There came a point during my second trimester when my upper body started expanding and my underwire bras started painfully digging into my ribs. Coobies claim to fit a large range of sizes, but when looking at some of the reviews, I feared they wouldn’t fit me since a lot of small-breasted women complained it was too big for them. But once I tried them on, they fit like a glove. I’d recommend these to any woman, pregnant or not, looking for a comfy seamless bra. They average at about $20 a piece depending on where you order from, but I found a great deal on a 3-pack at Zappos that I think is a great value (plus free returns!).

4.) Books and blogs/websites

I would have never known what cradle cap or thrush was or the differences between a bouncer and a jumper (and whether or not I needed one or both) if not for the wealth of reading material out there. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy book was great for giving straight facts in a neutral and relaxed tone. Ditto for the Babycenter site, but with helpful visual aids. Babycenter’s message board was and still is my godsend through this process. The answers to your weird or embarrasing questions will likely be addressed here (and hopefully put your mind at ease OR make you worry even more, depending!). I also referred to Lucie’s List when I started to compile my baby registry. It is the most detailed and informative registry list I’ve come across. La Leche League’s book on breastfeeding is so enlightening and easy-to-follow. I have a feeling I’ll be referring to it many times for the next few months. Pregnant Chicken and Alpha Mom are good for specific topics like what to pack in your hospital bag, checklists, must-haves for the budget-savvy and postpartum essentials.

5.) Sleep mask

During my second trimester, I suddenly became a light sleeper. Any glimmer or flash of light would wake me up instantly. Think: the first light of day at the crack of dawn or any time Bob would come into bed at 2am and put on his bedside lamp to read. Placing a pillow over my head made me feel too hot and stuffy, so a sleep mask really came in hand. I used a cheapie polyester mask and that worked just fine for me, but I’d recommend something soft and non-irritating. This one looks comfortable.

6.) The Tummy Sleeve

This is basically made to look like you’re wearing a tank top underneath your clothes. I wouldn’t have been able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes without it. I still fit into a few of my tops and leggings, but I always have to pair it with the Sleeve. The tops fall too high and the bottoms fall too low so this is what I use to cover the middle. I personally like to pair the black one with black leggings so that it blends in seamlessly. Back in my second trimester, when all I had was small bulge, I’d use this band to cover up my un-zippable jeans and no one was the wiser. If you’re new outie belly button popping through your clothes bothers you, the Sleeve will smooth it out for you. The material is soft, stretchy (so it grows to accommodate your belly) and doesn’t irritate. Initially I thought at $17 a pop, the price was a little much for what is essentially a tube top, but I have to say I’ve worn it so many times that it has paid for itself. I can also see myself wearing it postpartum.

oh hey!

me and bob

It’s been a while.

Things have been better since I last updated you. Actually, they got worse before they got better. Let me explain.

We had a mouse in our house.

A MOUSE. In our house.I was feeling miserable about it. Not only was I still adjusting to my new surroundings, but now I had to deal with this. And see, I don’t like mice. To me, they are filthy little creatures that carry diseases and they give me the creeps. Nothing is more uncomfortable when you’re walking on eggshells in your house, expecting a rodent to pop out at you any moment (Bob tells me they don’t “pop out”, rather they scurry away. But still). Any little sound or squeak inside the house and I jumped. And this mouse was sharp! He bypassed multiple types of traps set up around the house. I would have been impressed if I weren’t so disgusted. We finally had pest control come in to set traps and fill up some of the holes around the house with a filling that’s supposed to block rodents and insects from entering. Since then, we haven’t had any mouse sightings, thank goodness. Of course, then his grandmother who lives downstairs started seeing mouse droppings on her countertop shortly after. I did feel bad about that. A few days later, when his grandmother found the mouse dead by her front door (from natural causes?), a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Sorry to say it, but it’s true.

cupcakescupcakes2

Bob and I celebrated our birthday in a  low-key fashion this year. We went out to eat, just the two of us, at Bobby Flay’s semi-new restaurant Gato.  The life-changing scrambled eggs appetizer made my night! It was easily the best thing I’ve eaten in months. It was spicy and wonderful and had the consistency similar to a soft cheese spread. Second best thing? The berry crostata dessert. It was such a nice night and the first time we were able to slow down and enjoy each other’s company in weeks (which we’re trying to do more of before the baby arrives). The seemingly never-ending move really took up a lot of our weekend free time. I’m hoping the baby doesn’t come too early so we can have a few weeks of calm before she’s due to arrive later in the month.

eggs

My sister’s wedding was last weekend! I took very few pictures and they were only of the bride getting ready at the gorgeous NU Hotel in Brooklyn. No time to snap pics when you’re the maid of honor! But I would eventually like to post the pictures once I have the professional ones. A full photo of the bride’s dress (along with other beautiful moments from the wedding) needs to be shown off because…duh. Plus, there’s this video of my nephew Mason tearin’ it up with his dance moves that my dad has yet to send me. The kid is seriously so good. I’ve never seen anyone just feel that music and let loose like he does. I hope he never loses that!

getting readybouquet

I’d gotten to the point where I legitimately had NOTHING to wear. The weather warmed up considerably and I thought I’d get away with wearing my old summer dresses once that happened. As it turned out, I’d gained more weight than I realized and those dresses made me feel like sausages in casings. When I told my mom, she asked me, “Why did you think you’d be able to fit in your old dresses?”. Good question! I think part naïveté and part wishful thinking. I had held out for as long as I could on the maternity wear, but I had to give in last Monday. I went to Target on my lunch break and bought over $100 in dresses and one pair of comfy pants.

Okay and one eye shadow too because I have no self control in the beauty section. No regrets!

nice shoes

Things are going to start to quiet down within the next couple of weeks (here’s hoping), so I’d like to start picking up my DSLR regularly again. I miss taking pictures. I miss blogging too. And you guys, of course. How are you?

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making candy bars

Making nutty candy bars

  • I hadn’t particularly enjoyed any green smoothie until I tried this one. Note: next time, I’ll try with half a banana (or maybe a pear or apple), as I found the banana flavor a tad overpowering.
  • Skip the store-bought lowfat peanut butter and try this instead.
  • For the dog lovers who don’t or can’t own dogs: Walkzee is an amazing start-up (launching this summer!) that allows you to take shelter dogs on walks. Completely FREE. I’ve already signed up!
  • Are you a 90’s music fan? Watch this. Also, be prepared to feel really old.

Happy weekend!

the adjustment period

new kitchen

The new kitchen (as seen on Instagram)

While I don’t necessarily subscribe to the belief in zodiac signs, I have to say the personality traits of my sign are completely accurate. I’m a Taurus and I’m down-to-earth and extremely patient, but I’m also stubborn and very uncomfortable with change.

We moved in to the new apartment this weekend. It went well, for the most part. I say “for the most part” because, while the actual moving was quick,  the day was exhausting. We had a goal of unpacking pretty much everything that night, but unfortunately that just wasn’t possible. It was late and I was hungry, tired and cranky and our bedroom was cluttered with bags, boxes and loose shelves on the floor. What is that they say about your home reflecting your state of mind? It’s true because I went to bed that night feeling like the apartment looked—messy, frazzled and generally not in the right space.

old living room2

Our old living room, almost all packed.

But the next day I was feeling more energetic as was Bob, so we knocked out some more boxes and the place was starting to look less like a warehouse and more like a home. Even with that said, I was feeling very homesick, which was completely unexpected, especially since I’d been so ready to be done with our Astoria apartment just a few days prior. I was missing the old place and my routines. I missed knowing where everything was and feeling familiar with my surroundings.

And I can’t seem to find my hair brush anywhere. This bugs me.

But I know I’m just getting used to all of it. It’s an adjustment and it takes time. I know this. But I just need that time to sulk a bit. I need to get it out of my system. A stage of grief to go through, if you will.

old living room3

Next is the part where I break out of my Taurus bull-headed ways and make the best with what we do have: a bright and sunny kitchen to cook in, a normal-size refrigerator (for once!), a new car (thanks to a very very very generous family member on Bob’s side) among a dozen other things I’m grateful for (See? Maybe my stage of acceptance isn’t too far off. Progress).  I’ll have to take after the Aquarians out there and learn to be a little more flexible. Although my dad is an Aquarius and he is probably one of the least flexible people I know, so…there’s that. I probably take after him. After all, we do have a baby on the way and that will be another huge change that I’ll have to adjust to. Maybe this is all just preparing for me a different kind of life. After years of routine and order, it’s time for a little chaos.

But if I could only find that hair brush, maybe, just maybe, life would feel a little less unsettled right now.

old living room

the one when we learn how to swaddle and change a diaper on a doll

baby-doll

Bob and I signed up for a How To Care for Your Newborn class at the hospital. I think I may have held a newborn once or twice in my life but never for very long. I was always too nervous to handle my nephews when they were tiny, so I preferred to wait to hold them until they got a little sturdier. And I’ve never changed a diaper or swaddled a baby before. Ditto for Bob.

As I’ve been reading books and blogs, I’ve been discovering a whole new world of babies. Honey? Off-limits to any child under 1 year of age. Crib bumpers? Death traps! Drop-side cribs? Outlawed! I was so curious…how many more things do I need to be aware of?

So you see, this class was very necessary for the both of us.

We learned a lot. But the interactive portion of the class was most fun.

Bob is going to make an excellent swaddler, let me tell you.

swaddle3

But he might need more help with diaper changes. He slid the baby to the side on the changing table, to which I reminded him that our real baby will not be made of plastic, so he won’t be able to just slide Bebop. I mean.

diaper change2

I was better at the diaper changes, but I got the hang of the swaddle on our last try. Let’s be honest though, plastic babies are hard to swaddle so…

diaper change

swaddle2

swaddle

Next up, I’m going read The Happiest Baby on the Block. Not only did our instructor (who is also a certified doula) recommend it, but I hear it’s the best book out there for advice on calming your baby. And if the frantic, consistent jabs to my ribs are any indication, this baby will need some calm in her life.

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dk theater

Lincoln Center

  • I read this interesting article, “What You Need to Know about Organic Foods” a couple of years ago and it actually further inspired me to shop for food more mindfully. It’s short, but informative and eye-opening.
  • The lip-sync craze isn’t over yet: this sassy lady trio couldn’t be any cuter.
  • You will melt when you see this (hint: the video includes a puppy and a baby). No sound needed.

Happy weekend!

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