Once I found out I was going to have a little girl, my mom and I couldn’t resist starting on her little closet. I think, for any lover of fashion, there is just something special about seeing a tiny human in little dresses and miniature shoes. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been hoping to dress a daughter of my own for most of my life. So between my mom and some of the sweetest friends, Bunny’s closet took shape and suddenly I was swimming in tiny smocked dresses and mini mary janes. But as I’ve learned with my own closet, organization is important and often has to be adjusted as you figure out what you actually use and what you don’t. So this is my little Bunny’s closet after a bit of tweaking, but before we actually discover what works best to keep her things in order. Excuse the rough lighting in here – I think was this was the most difficult area of our house I’ve ever photographed.
Two of the large Rutherford Storage Baskets in ‘Whitewashed Natural’ with White Ruffled Cotton Storage Liners. One empty to slowly add clothing my baby grows out of before boxing it away in our storage room. And one with her 6 months and up shoe collection. (We’ve been out of control, I know. First baby… Give me a pass this time.) One thing I will say about these baskets is they’re not what I would call ‘whitewashed’ at all; my mom’s decorator was in town installing the nursery recently and mentioned that she considers them grey with a soft sage green tint. This happened to work well for us since I’ve incorporated a lot of green in the nursery, but take note if you’re expecting them to arrive white or cream.
I’ve found that the top shelf of a closet works especially well for decor items. I’ve tucked a little embroidered sun hat and a wooden bunny rabbit in a corner. And on the opposite side I’ve placed a photo box from a sweet friend with a teddy bear my husband gave me while we were dating and a pink hat from Rachel Riley on a hat stand.
I decided to keep the baby’s more casual onesies, pajamas, and socks we will be using often in her changing table/dresser. But I’ve hung everything else in her closet, organized from Newborn to 6 with these pretty closet dividers. (Nice that they come in a variety of sizing options too.) I used a mix of pink velvet hangers and puffy floral print hangers for knit or delicate items but I did keep in a few rogue Bunnies by the Bay hangers because they are too darling to throw out!
And I added this Bunny Print Canvas Hamper to hold the stuffed animals I am passing down to her. We’ve decided to make an extra bedroom into a playroom to help contain all the larger toys and plastic things little ones seem to accumulate, so I’m thinking of moving this hamper to that room as she gets a bit older.
I became interested in clean beauty about a year ago when I invested in my first non-toxic makeup products. Before that, I sort of imagined “clean beauty” as lackluster hippie-embraced products that couldn’t visibly improve skin and probably didn’t work well in makeup application. But after my first foray into all-natural products, I was pleasantly surprised and open to diving deeper into the world of clean beauty.
When I became pregnant, my mom encouraged me to switch up my skincare and begin using non-toxic products. This wasn’t easy for me – if you’ve followed me for long, you know that I’ve struggled with allergies and sensitive skin in the past few years and have only recently sorted out my skin issues. I was concerned my skin would take a step backward, but I was committed to making safe changes for my baby’s health. And I began wondering… If a product isn’t great for her, why would I want to use it? I once read that our skin absorbs about 65% of whatever we apply to it; that’s a lot of product we absorb each and every day. I was excited about making the switch for both my daughter and myself.
When making the switch to clean skincare I suggest doing a little at a time – it’s less wasteful and your skin will be able to slowly adjust. As you run out of products, replace them with non-toxic alternatives. And give each new product at least two months of consistent use to see a difference. My skin was fairly broken out at the beginning of my pregnancy due to hormones, a lack of allergy medicine I was no longer allowed to take, and all my new skincare products. But within a couple of months it had evened out and I began getting compliments on my “glowy” skin. I’ve been using the products below throughout my entire pregnancy and have been pleasantly surprised. Just like with food or anything else – there is a balance to this, but each switch to a healthier alternative you can make is worth it.
Hairsprays often contain toxic polymers and solvents, release volatile organic compounds when heated, and clog pores. My dermatologist suggested I use this clear plastic facial shield when spraying hairspray. I knew that I wanted to use a clean hairspray alternative as much as possible during my pregnancy and I chose this medium-hold non-aerosol spray derived from sugar cane extract.
Review: While it took a bit of time to get used to the spray vs aerosol application (spray this from at least a 6″ distance to avoid making hair damp) I did end up enjoying the light to medium hold this hair spray provided and the overall lack of fumes. For date night or days when I need my hair to last all day I will probably use my old toxic can of hairspray. But I plan on keeping this clean hairspray on hand for everyday use.
Pregnancy-Safe vs Clean Skincare
There is a difference between pregnancy-safe skincare and clean skincare and in this article I will be focusing on the latter because the two don’t always overlap, as I mention when discussing the daytime moisturizer down below. My doctor did okay three skincare products from iS Clinical which are pregnancy-safe and I continued to use these throughout my pregnancy, although about half as often as I was using them prior to my pregnancy. If you are pregnant, be sure to bring these products in for your OB to okay.
This cleanser is 100% natural, comes in recyclable packaging, and smells like a beautiful green blend of healthy botanicals when I apply it. It contains Broccoli Extract to purge impurities and fight free radicals, a Purple Clay Complex to absorb dirt and oil, and Papaya Enzymes to gently exfoliate skin.
I use this cleanser at least once a day, but always at night. I run my hands lightly under the water before applying two pumps of cleanser to my dry skin; it melts off makeup and sunscreen as it transforms from a creamy gel to an oil.
Review: This cleanser makes my skin feel like I’m doing a mini spa treatment at home each night. It removes makeup and cleanses my skin while somehow making my skin feel hydrated. Some nights I wouldn’t even apply anything else after. I will definitely continue to use this product!
I switched to this gentle, alcohol-free witch hazel facial toner after I became pregnant. I prefer the rose petal formula because rose water helps soothe redness and irritation in sensitive skin, but there are a variety of formulas like lavender and cucumber. I apply this to a cotton pad and gently swipe over my skin after cleansing and before applying any serum or cream.
Review: I was pleasantly surprised by the gentle, soothing feeling this toner gives my skin while still managing to remove leftover traces of dirt or makeup. I am a convert and I’ll happily be continuing to use this as my toner going forward.
This is the product I’ve been using as my daytime eye cream. Just a little of this diamond-infused illuminating cream helps conceal my dark circles and keeps my skin moisturized all day. This product is particularly great for creating a dewy, glowing makeup look.
It contains Jave Fruit Extract to minimize puffiness and dark circles and Marsh Samphire to maintain hydration.
Review: Dark circles are always a struggle for me and having a product that helps me disguise these has allowed me to cut down on my makeup application time. I will continue to use this as my daytime eye cream.
Alpyn Beauty was created to combat the harsh alpine climate and its products incorporate the strong botanicals that thrive there, making it a great option for those who live here in Colorado. I chose this as my nighttime eye cream because it contains Hyaluronic Acid for moisture and Vitamin C and Licorice Root to brighten. It has a little illuminating shimmer, but not as much as the daytime eye cream I’ve been using.
Review: When I use this at night, I wake up with really hydrated and brightened undereyes. I find that it really helps with moisture and hydration specifically, so I will be continuing to use this even after my pregnancy is over and baby girl is testing my tired eyes!
This was one of the first products recommended to us when my mother and I went into the Aillea clean beauty shop here in Denver specifically for pregnancy-safe skincare. The product is 100% natural and is a fantastic daytime moisturizer. But while researching it for this article, I discovered that one of the ingredients may be controversial for use during pregnancy.
I noticed one website refers to an ingredient in this moisturizer, Willow Bark Extract, as a natural BHA (salicylate) which breaks down into salicylic acid if digested by the body. Salicylic acid is generally a no-no during pregnancy, but some doctors are okay with applying Willow Bark topically during pregnancy and some are even okay with daily applications of salicylic acid at strengths of 2% or less. Since we aren’t digesting Willow Bark and are simply applying it to the skin, this article explains that it won’t be broken down into salicylic acid. I think this is one of those pregnancy issues only you and your doctor can decide; weigh your pros and cons and go from there.
If I had realized this connection sooner I would not have used this product during pregnancy just to be on the safe side. That being said, this moisturizer is non-toxic, vegan, and 100% natural. It contains Saw Palmetto to gently mattify skin and control oil, the aforementioned BHA Botanical Blend to gently exfoliate skin and minimize pores, and Tazman Pepper Berry to calm redness and irritation.
Review: When I’m not pregnant, I will definitely continue using this product. It’s a light, silky moisturizer that keeps skin hydrated and balanced (no shiny t-zone with this one) all day and provides a dewy base under makeup.
Tata Harper Crème Riche Anti-Aging Peptide Night Cream
I’ve been a dedicated fan of the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream at night, but when I became pregnant I left this product in my drawer just to be safe. I switched to the beautifully hydrating Tata Harper Crème Riche and found it to be the perfect night cream. It’s creamy, luxe, and each time I use it I wake up with dewy, plump, hydrated skin.
Crème Riche contains Hyaluronic Acid and Red Maple Bark to hydrate and plump skin and a Sugar Complex to encourage skin’s natural moisture production.
Review: I found the luxe, creamy texture and incredible hydration power to be on par with that of my favorite La Mer cream. However, I found that the La Mer cream softened and improved my skin texture with continued use, which I didn’t notice as much with this product. For a difference of almost $140 between the 1.7 oz Tata Harper cream and the 2.0 oz La Mer cream, I think it could be worth it to switch back and forth between the two each time one runs out.
The most hydrating, nourishing body balm I’ve ever tried. I would liken it more to a balm that melts into a deliciously thick oil on your skin. Acai, Babassu, Passion Fruit, and Raw Virgin Coconut Oils deeply hydrate skin while mineral-rich Patagonian Seaweed promotes skin elasticity.
My skin drinks this up! I apply it every night before I go to bed. Be sure to let product sink in or wear older pajamas when you use this; the oils can leave grease marks if you apply as much as I do.
Review: This product has been a godsend. I’ve loved using this during my pregnancy all over my belly and hips to prevent stretch marks. So many people I know have complained about an itchy belly during pregnancy but even at 38 weeks pregnant, I haven’t experienced that at all (even with an 8.5 lb baby in my belly!) and I think it’s due to this hydrating gem of a body oil. I will most definitely continue using this through my pregnancy and beyond.
I’ve always been an over-packer and my tote bag is no exception. I generally have one large tote bag for everyday use to carry on errands or while traveling, then I move a few essentials to various smaller bags if I want a different look throughout the week or during my trip. My family loves to tease me about my “luggage” I pack around with me, but the truth is there have been so many times someone needs something I carry with me and I can imagine this will continue once our little one joins our family. I’m just one of those people that doesn’t like to be walking around with a stain on my top after lunch or messy hands after a coffee spill or I touch a dirty door handle. It drives me crazy and I can’t think about anything else until I take care of it.
In this post I’m sharing the diaper bag I chose, the diaper bag essentials I’ve packed inside, the tote organization tools I’ve discovered and used over the years, and all the extra essentials I carry in my bag (and I have packed in my car!) and find myself reaching for all the time. What’s wrong with a little excess when it makes life a bit more comfortable?!
My Diaper Bag
I fell in love with the Louis Vuitton brand in high school when Newlyweds was on TV and Jessica Simpson was carrying around her Murakami white Speedy bag. I usually treated these bags very delicately and brought them out only on special occasions, but it wasn’t until law school I realized what workhorses LV bags actually are. I had about 50 lbs of books I needed for all my law classes which I packed into a large utilitarian backpack along with my laptop, but I found myself needing easy access to pens/highlighters, a bottle of water, a few snacks for the day, and a sweater for cool classrooms. The Louis Vuitton Odeon GM (you can see me wearing it in an IG photo here) became my new everyday bag and trust me when I say I put it through its paces! Exploding ink pens, spilled Crystal Light water bottles, and even an extra 2-3 books tucked into it throughout the day… It held it all in a convenient crossbody style without looking worse for wear.
My mom offered to treat me to a new diaper bag as a birthday gift this year. John and I had already purchased a personalized Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM in Classic Monogram the previous year and I had been carrying it nearly every day and stuffed to the top on all our trips, so it was an easy choice for me. I would have the Neverfull GM in Damier Azur for spring and summer (Rose Ballerine interior – I am having a girl, after all) and the Neverfull GM in Classic Monogram for fall and winter. This is a tote that I can use as both my purse and diaper bag. I feel confident in the durability because of my experiences with Louis Vuitton over the years and I feel sure of its ability to function as both a diaper bag and purse because I’ve been using my older Neverfull to function as both a carryon and purse on our international trips, packed full with souvenirs, my laptop, DSLR camera, and plenty of travel books. I’m nearly 5’8″ and I think the GM size looks appropriate on me (wearing it in IG photos here, here, here, and here) but I do occasionally pull in the sides when I have less in it for a smaller look.
Note: If you don’t like the way the untreated pale leather straps patina on the Monogram and Damier Azur color options, I would suggest the Damier Ebene version which has pre-treated leather trim that won’t show water spots or oil from your hands over time. I think the red interior of this version is a super cute touch as well.
The downside I hear about the Neverfull is that “everyone has one”, which is completely true. I see at least three of these bags every time I head to the grocery store or shopping mall. But… People do not buy these bags as fashion statements or to be unique anyway. They are gorgeous bags, but I would never tell someone to buy a Neverfull if they want to be extra edgy or push the fashion envelope. That’s not the point. Women buy them because they can accommodate anything they need to carry and consistently stand the tests of time and use as I’ve mentioned above. The straps and Neverfull bags themselves are actually tested by LV, filled with heavy weight, and slammed to the ground over and over again; you can rest assured this is a bag that will hold up to the strains of every day use.
One of the best parts about a Neverfull tote is how easily it can be dressed up. I added a Louis Vuitton Key Pouch to mine to keep dirty coins from staining or weighing down my wallet. (It also makes paying parking meters fast and easy if you live in a city.) And I tied on the Louis Silk Monogram Confidential Bandeau in Pink to the front for an extra girly touch.
Pre-Loved Louis Vuitton Odeon GM (Retired Style)
Pre-Loved Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM
Best Tote Organization Tools
So we know totes are great at being workhorses and holding everything we need, but they have a tendency to become black holes for all our things if there’s no system of organization involved. Yes, an organizer will add to the weight of your bag. But if you’re like me and carry a lot of things you’ll appreciate having everything in its place. I have several of these options and keep them on a shelf in my closet. I switch them out depending on my needs, the bag, and where I’m going.
If you’re looking for an organizer specifically designed to make your tote into a diaper bag, check out the ToteSavvy insert. I have the ToteSavvy Original Organizer in Blush for my Neverfull GMs; the organizer has eleven total pockets including an insulated pocket, key clasp, and washable changing mat. I like the handles that allow me to easily move the insert from bag to bag and the fact that my baby’s diaper essentials will only take up about half of the pockets, leaving room for my own things as well. I would personally use this whether I was using it in a diaper bag or not and would simply take out the changing mat.
If you want to go another route you can try a felt organizer that will help keep the shape of your bag and organize your things, but doesn’t include extras you don’t need like an insulated pocket or changing mat. I like the lightweight material of these organizers and the variety of sizes in case you need to free up a bit of room in your bag for larger items like a cosmetic bag or a camera or laptop. I have this felt organizer as well as this version with a zippered middle compartment but I can’t say that one is better than the other; I think you should pick based on the pockets and compartments you like. I’ve also heard so much about the Samorga bag organizers and just ordered one for my Birkin 35, but haven’t received it yet to compare. If you want the best of all bag organizers? Take a peek at the handmade-in-France, Alcantara beauties by 7 Rue Paradis; they take the cake for the ultimate in luxury bag inserts!
Already organized with lots of little pouches for your things? You might only need a flat bag shaper insert to keep the bottom of your tote bag firm and flat so things don’t tumble to the bottom and middle of the bag. I find I use this often with my Speedy 30.
Diaper Bag Essentials
Since I haven’t started using my diaper bag for baby purposes yet, I don’t feel I can share too many opinions about what one needs and what one doesn’t in a diaper bag. Instead, I’m going to include what’s already packed in my diaper bag ready to go and I can give a more in-depth review later. One thing I did focus on was having plenty of these little disposable diaper sacks, doggy-bag-like “baby bags”, and sealed wet-dry bags. I may not be changing my girl’s diapers yet, but I have seen enough to know that if I want my bag’s interior to stay ‘Rose Ballerine’, I need to protect it from disasters that will happen along the way!
I did include a shot of my portable changing pad we are planning on keeping in the trunk of my car. A friend suggested doing this in case my husband doesn’t want to carry the diaper bag with him constantly; he can either dash out to the car or toss this portable changing pad (stocked with diapers and wipes) into the bottom of the stroller. I thought it sounded like a great idea – we’ll see how it works.
Excessive Things You Probably “Need”
My husband is always amazed by the things I pull out of my “Mary Poppins Bag”. Need a wet cloth for your hands? Lens wipe for smudgy glasses or a smeared camera lens? Headache medicine? A hook to hang your purse? I have you covered! He’s learned to depend on my bag of tricks so much, he turns to me when he needs something and looks so disappointed if I’m carrying a small bag without all my usual essentials in it. Whether I’m just out for a day of errands or we’re traveling in another country, I rely on these items being at arm’s length.
The key to these items not weighing down your bag too much is to buy them in individually wrapped packages and stash them together in a small pouch or pocket until you need them. I’ve included all my must-have bag essentials in the slide below. Is it excessive? Sure, but you know what feels really great? Being able to pull out whatever you need whenever you need it. It’s the little comforts like this that make a difference… And make carrying a big tote bag 100% worth it.
I’m 35 weeks pregnant this week. In a way, I can’t believe it; I vividly remember being around 6 or 8 weeks and thinking this pregnancy would take an eternity! But it hasn’t and somehow I’m sitting here, wondering how soon I’ll get to meet this little girl of mine.
One topic I knew I wanted to share was how to wear non-maternity pieces throughout your pregnancy. When my mom and I went looking for maternity pieces the first time, I was horrified by the selection… Pajama-like materials that were sheer and flimsy. (Can you imagine a worse time in life for people to view your entire backside through your dress than while pregnant?!) While I have found some great maternity brands and pieces I’ll share in another post, I knew I didn’t want to splurge on a full wardrobe of items I’d never wear again or at least not for another few years.
Keep in mind as you read this post, I’m not a tiny person – I’m nearly 5’8″ and was at my heavier weight fluctuation when I became pregnant – so I’m proof that you can wear non-maternity pieces through eight or nine months pregnant without being a size 0. You just need to know what to look for.
When I first began showing, dressing my new body was tough. I had been an hourglass shape for so long, all my clothes had been chosen to accentuate my waist. Once our baby girl was growing and I was quickly losing my waist, I had nothing from my wardrobe to wear! So I set to work experimenting with different styles and brands to curate a new selection of clothing which I keep on a rolling rack to make getting ready easy each morning. Keep in mind, I’ll be giving birth this summer so these pieces are mostly for warm weather. But focus on the basic essentials and the overall silhouettes I mention and you’ll be able to translate some of these looks for winter as well. These are the tried-and-true pieces I’ve found… Follow my maternity hashtags #tcgbump and #tcgbaby for more.
Something I didn’t think about before pregnancy were which undergarments would fit me! Of course, there are maternity undergarments which I’ll cover in another blog post, but I wanted to share three non-maternity styles that I’ve been able to wear throughout my pregnancy so far.
Soft, Stretchy Bra
The Spanx Bra-llelujah Bralette was a favorite of mine even before pregnancy. I was checking out at Nordstrom one day and the woman ahead of me was buying four of these, telling the salesclerk she was getting rid of all her other bras. I had to try. And was immediately hooked! I was growing so quickly during my first trimester I did have to go up a size, but luckily the larger size still fits at 35 weeks. Note: This bra is currently on sale for $31.90 from $48 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re looking for more sale favorites, take a peek at my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale blog post.
Low, Stretchy Undies
The Low-Rise Hanky Panky Undies were another pre-pregnancy favorite of mine. They’re soft and stretchy – perfect for wearing under loungewear or while sleeping. And I’ve found that during pregnancy, they just stretch with your body and are low enough to sit right under your bump. Note: This underwear style is currently on sale for $16.90 from $22 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re looking for more sale favorites, take a peek at my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale blog post.
Soft, Stretchy Leggings
I have to credit my husband for this discovery. Apparently I was one of ten people on Earth who hadn’t tried the Lululemon Align Pants yet and he read an article by a woman who said these leggings were her most-worn pregnancy item. They’re super soft without excessive compression and somehow continue to stretch with my growing bump (our baby girl is now over 6 pounds!) without making me feel restricted or uncomfortable. I went up a size from my usual and they fit perfectly. If you’re taller like me and it bothers you to have anything resting on your bump, you can just push the Align Pants below your bump or go for a pair of maternity leggings in your last couple of months. My favorite maternity version are the Zella Mamasana Leggings, which go up over the bump and have slightly more compression than the non-maternity Lululemon version. I ordered a pair a size larger for my last month of pregnancy and then my regular size for wearing postpartum. Note: The Zella leggings are currently on sale for $42.90 from $65 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re looking for more sale favorites, take a peek at my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale blog post.
Nude Stretchy Slip
I’ve had this Free People Tea Length Seamless Slip for years now. I like wearing it with fabrics that are a bit sheer or with dresses that are cut a bit low. But I’ve found myself wearing it all the time while pregnant. It prevents that dreaded Princess Diana silhouette-in-the-sun moment and it smooths everything while wearing clingy fabrics. Another bonus? It protects your clothing from all the creams and oils we slather our bellies in to prevent stretch marks!
Styles To Look For…
Long, Flowy Tunics
Little did I know one of the most challenging parts of finding non-maternity tops that work during pregnancy would be the length! A top can’t just be billowy and flowy… It has to have enough length to cover your bump. I find that loose tunic styles work best, especially if you’re taller. Plus, they look great with leggings and skinny maternity jeans. I’m planning on wearing lots of these loose tunics for postpartum and beyond as well. I’ve usually only gone up one size (or at least the larger of the two sizes I usually order) in tops during pregnancy.
For lack of a better term, ‘tent dresses’ have been my favorite during pregnancy. They’re roomy and comfortable and fit the bump the full nine months. And after your bump is gone, you can continue to wear these dresses (they look amazing with straw hats and chic leather sandals) or belt them for a more figure-flattering look. I typically go up one to two sizes in these dresses.
On the higher end, I have become obsessed with The Row. Their loose, billowy dresses are perfect for pregnancy and beyond. One day, I was feeling really pregnant and uncomfortable having been up for a few nights in a row with heartburn… And I splurged on a dress from The Row. It’s ended up being the dress I wear the very most and it looks great paired with silk scarves and linen jackets. I plan on belting it after my bump goes down and continuing to wear it.
I was surprised by how much I love fitted dresses while pregnant. I would typically shy away from fitted dresses like this pre-pregnancy even when I was feeling skinny or fit, but for some reason I love seeing the curves of my bump in body-con tops and dresses. Body-con pieces make me feel really feminine and I think they can be quite flattering on pregnant mamas! The ones I’m wearing are mostly old ones I’ve had in my closet for years, but I took a peek online and have found some I think would be perfect.
Favorite Brands and Pieces…
Lastly, I wanted to point out a couple of brands I have ordered from again and again during my pregnancy. The first being Gal Meets Glam whose large selection of empire waisted, flowy dresses are accommodating to bumps of every size! I even chose a Gal Meets Glam dress for my baby shower. I usually went up two sizes in Gal Meets Glam to give me a bit of extra room. Another favorite brand of mine is Boden whose British styles are equally classic and quirky.
The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (fondly known as the #NSale) is probably my favorite sale of the year. I’m a fall + winter girl, so when the July sun is searing down here in Denver there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing the new fall sweaters, cozy coats, and chic boots. I use this sale both to stock up on essentials and basics like tees, underwear, and beauty products and to have a little fun with some new pieces for fall.
It’s obvious everyone else loves this sale just as much as I do. To reward its most loyal customers, Nordstrom opens up the sale a bit early to Icon and Ambassador status customers. Then it opens the sale up to any Nordstrom cardholder (if you’re a Nordstrom debit card holder like me, you still get access even though they only do the credit card now) and next week anyone will be able to shop the sale online. Items will sell out during the Early Access portion – I tried on the last pair of boots in the store yesterday. So if you have your eye on something, sign up for a card and shop when you can.
Early Access Icons + Ambassadors: Can shop in store July 9th and 10th and online starting Thursday, July 11th at 12:30 PM ET.
Early Access Nordstrom Cardholders: Can shop in store or online starting Friday, July 12th at 12:30 PM ET.
Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Can shop in store or online starting Friday, July 19th through Sunday, August 4th. Prices go back up Monday, August 5th.
Home + Gifts
When I first heard about the Barefoot Dreams blankets, I wasn’t sure what everyone was raving about – how could it be so great? One blanket later and I’m a forever fan. These blankets (they now make loungewear too) are buttery-soft and come out of the wash looking like new. Since being pregnant, I never sleep without mine tucked underneath my bump or between my knees. This Barefoot Dreams Blanket in Stone was my first purchase during this year’s #NSale; I’m planning on bringing it to the hospital with me for a little extra comfort post delivery.
I’m not sure exactly what’s been going on with the silver picture frames in our bedroom turning an odd shade of pink, but even my best silver polish won’t improve it. I saw these gorgeous Mother of Pearl Picture Frames at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I snapped them up right away. They’re the perfect blend of sleek and feminine and will go perfectly with the soft, serene colors in our bedroom. And they’ll replace the frames that have gone a strange tint!
I like to keep home fragrances like candles and oil diffuser reeds on hand for last-minute gifts. I stock up on these goodies and then stash them in my “gift cabinet”. Any time I need a birthday or hostess gift I can choose something from the cabinet and be on my way. A few of my favorites I came across during the sale? Antica Farmacista, Voluspa, and Anthropologie.
I couldn’t help but take note of the beautiful blue and white pottery pieces and Missoni Towels in this year’s sale. We have been trying to make room in our house for the little lady’s arrival, but if we had the space I would snap up that beautiful blue and white pottery in a heartbeat! And I think the Missoni towels would look so gorgeous in a sleek, modern or minimal home.
My favoritesection to browse during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is definitely the beauty section. This year I spotted a lot of my favorite beauty products and skincare gadgets; if you haven’t tried these items, I suggest you do. And if you’re looking to gift the beauty lover in your life, stock up now!
Dermaflash Set: Takes the place of dermaplaning with a facialist. Removes peach fuzz and the top layer of dead skin to help skincare products absorb better and makeup lay smoothly on skin!
BeautyBio GloPRO Microneedling Set: Brings professional microneedling to your home. I love this set because it includes the GloPRO, body attachment, and skincare products. It’s a great value and you’ll love the way your skin looks once you start using this and helping your skin build collagen naturally! Skincare products also reach deeper layers of your skin.
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream: If you’ve been following me for a bit, you’ve probably heard me mention the skin allergies I’ve struggled with the past few years. This nourishing cream has truly healed my skin and keeps it hydrated even through harsh, dry Colorado weather. It’s pricey, but this jar will last you well over a year. And the changes I’ve seen in my skin are definitely worth it.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duo: This is the brow pencil I use every day. I love the tiny little tip and the realistic brushstrokes it creates. After I fill my brows in I use the spoolie on the other end to blend the color. This set also comes with a clear brow gel.
Supergoop! SPF 45 Setting Powder: My favorite SPF powder is on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I love dusting this over makeup or a cc cream and knowing my skin is protected; I even carry it in my bag to touch up throughout the day. The brush portion is magnetic, so you can pop it off to wash it and keep it clean.
Simplehuman Round Sensor Mirror: If you don’t have one of these, you need to invest in this right now. This item is a game changer. The first time I charged it and turned it on I spent an hour tweezing and picking at my skin because I realized I had missed so much using a regular mirror! It’s a lifesaver when applying makeup too. If you have the counter space, I would splurge for the Pro Wide View Version. It makes a great gift – I gave my mom one for Christmas last year.
NuFace Facial Toning Device: This product lifts and tones skin with frequency. I haven’t been using it while pregnant and I miss it so much! It really does tone and tighten skin, especially around the neck and jawline.
My beauty shelves are well-stocked at the moment, but I did pick up this giant Kiehl’s Body Fuel pump for my husband’s bathroom. And I’ve been eyeing this Clé de Peau Beauté Eye Set. If you’re prone to clogged pores like me, this Dr. Dennis Gross Facial Steamer I’ve been contemplating would be a great investment. Trying to hold myself back, but indulging in #treatyourself while pregnant is just too easy to do!
While I love putting together fun looks and getting dressed up, I managed to stay quite realistic during the #NSale and invested in items I really need and use currently, as well as pieces I see myself wearing in the next few months as a first-time mom to a newborn baby! First on my list was my favorite bra during pregnancy – the Spanx Bra-llelujah Bra – which has been a complete lifesaver! And to go along with it, a few new pairs of Hanky Panky Low-Rise Undies which have managed to stretch right along with my bump and are still the most comfortable option for me to wear at 8 months pregnant.
I mentioned these Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas when I listed a few of my first trimester favorites in my Pregnancy Journey blog post. They were my favorite pajamas before pregnancy and some of my favorite pajamas to gift to good friends. Putting them on at the end of the day is like giving yourself a hug! I grabbed two new sets in Purple Shake and Grey Pearl to bring to the hospital with me. You can go with your smaller size because these run roomy, but I love wearing oversized pajamas so I go with my usual size and have been able to wear them throughout my pregnancy!
Speaking of Barefoot Dreams, I decided to treat myself (see? I told you – blaming it on pregnancy) to two new cardigans. These are the coziest cardigans you’ll ever own and look equally great with a tank and leggings, over a pair of pajamas, or paired with a simple tee and jeans. I plan on wearing these often once the little lady arrives because they’re equal parts versatile, soft, and washable. I chose the Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan in Pewter Pearl and the Barefoot Dreams Long Cardigan in Black.
If you need a fresh pair of leggings, I suggest the Zella High Waist Live-In Leggings. They are my favorites for their flattering fit, easy-to-wash fabric, and all-day comfort. I have even given these to good friends as a gift!
To help with my allergies and keep our house clean, we don’t allow shoes in the house. Instead, I have a pair of slippers I wear inside the house and it seems I’m always needing a new pair! I love gifting cozy new slippers to my mom and aunt at Christmas as well. These Ugg Scuff Slippers are cozy and hold up well to every day wear. Definitely worth snapping a pair up while they’re on sale!
Most years, I find myself stocking up on lots of clothing during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I replace basics that were stained or damaged during the last year and often invest in the staple pieces of my fall wardrobe. Basic tees and knits (like this ribbed long-sleeve), cozy fall sweaters, and denim jeans are some of my favorite things to purchase during this sale.
This year I focused on sweaters and, to my surprise, coats. They were some really gorgeous coats in this sale and I ended up choosing three of them.
Halogen Wool and Cashmere Long Cardigan: I bought this in the Heather Tan Cobblestone color, which is a really flattering warm beige. These are the kinds of cardigans I pair with everything come fall and winter. They are great for everyday. I took my usual size.
Vince Cable Wool and Cashmere Sweater: I cannot resist a chunky fishermen’s style sweater and this gorgeous Heather Forest version is no exception. If you don’t have a cable knit sweater like this, I would choose the cream Marzipan color because it will go with everything. But if you’re always building your sweater collection like me, go for the gorgeous green! I took my usual size.
Nordstrom Funnel Neck Cashmere Sweater: I love these beautiful cashmere sweaters and pair them with leggings in the fall and winter. When we went on our trip to the U.K. last fall, I even wore this over a silk cami and shorts pj set. So chic! This one is gorgeous too. These run roomy, but I take my usual size since I’m a bit taller and love the oversized fit with leggings and skinny jeans.
Ted Baker Wide Collar Brushed Wrap Coat: I saw this coat in the beautiful Dusty Pink color and my heart melted! I love this color and I could imagine toting my baby girl around this winter in our matching pink. The fabric is so soft and the wrap fit is flattering. Ted Baker has different sizing (1-5) but if you look at the size guide it runs true to size!
Vince Camuto Lightweight Long Coat: Oh my gosh, this color. It’s the most perfect sky blue and I couldn’t resist. This coat is unlined, which makes it nice for fall days and layering. I noticed the website suggests going down a size, but I found the smaller size a bit narrow through my shoulders so I took my usual size.
This colorful tweed Halogen Shawl Collar Blazeralso made the cut. I plan on styling it with a Chanel brooch, skinny jeans, and a great pair of boots.
If you don’t currently own a Barbour jacket, I would take a peek at the Barbour Quilted Jacket in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I’ve owned one of my Barbour coats since I was eight years old – they really do last forever! My favorite color option is the Navy.
Ohhh how the shoe department gets me into trouble! During the #NSale there are so many great options, it’s tough to know where to start.
This year, I really tried to focus on shoe styles I’ve purchased before during the sale and ended up wearing constantly. There are always a couple of pairs of booties I buy during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that I end up wearing all the time – for years! This year, I bought these Vince Booties in Cognac Suede and these Vince Camuto Booties in Black Leather. The Vince Camuto booties are a tad higher and the line is a bit slimmer through the foot. They both run true to size.
Update: Just ordered the Vince Camuto Booties in the Tortilla Suede color. These booties go with everything and it’s what I end up wearing the most throughout the fall and winter. I typically pair booties like this with a sweater or cardigan and jeans!
So many cute baby things! I’ll let you browse for your baby and gender, but I just wanted to share what I have my eye on for baby girl in case you’re having one too! If you’re in Denver, a lot of these items are not in store, so its best to shop online for the littles in my opinion.
I wore tape-in hair extensions off and on ever since I got them for our engagement photos in 2014. For the most part, I loved them. Especially when taking blog photos. My natural hair is fairly thick, but has a silky-fine texture, so it can be hard to make it look voluminous in photos and keep the style all day. Extensions can add volume, length, and hold curl for days.
The downside of hair extensions? They add a substantial amount of time to your getting-ready time. And over time (and the severity of this depends on the skill of your stylist) a little damage will be done to your natural hair as you take out and move up your extensions every 6-8 weeks. One day I wasn’t feeling well and I realized I just wasn’t up to blowdrying my hair for forty-five minutes. I wanted something more low maintenance and natural with a baby on the way.
So we took the extensions out (keeping a few in the sides so I didn’t panic!) and my stylist suggested this scalp and hair serum to help heal my hair. I just apply one or two droppers to my hair after shampooing and towel drying. I think it will take time to see a difference, but the serum is supposed to strengthen and reinforce the hair follicles so hair grows longer and stronger.
I used to get a dermaplaning service done with my facials. For around $100, a facialist uses a medical grade razor to remove the top layer of dead skin and peach fuzz from the skin. It’s a popular service and everyone is talking about this new exfoliation trend because it helps your skincare absorb better and makeup apply more smoothly. Skin feels like butter after!
But those services add up and now there’s a device that allows you the same experience from the comfort and convenience of your own home once or twice a week! Just cleanse and dry your skin, hold skin taut, and use light strokes of the Dermaflash at an angle to start removing dead skin and hair. Once you try this you won’t be able to go without it!
If there’s one thing I haven’t experienced this pregnancy, it’s a “pregnancy glow”. My skin has been breaking out like crazy and it’s from a mixture of pregnancy hormones and not being able to take 3/5 of my allergy medications during pregnancy. It’s disappointing since I feel I just sorted my skin out!
But people keep telling me I’m glowing and I’m certain it’s because of this primer I’ve been using. It has a beautiful, luminous glow without looking sparkly or shimmery. It literally adds a natural glow to skin!
4. Estée Lauder Double Wear Matte Powder Foundation
I like to keep a small powder compact in my purse for when I need a makeup touchup throughout the day or if I’m out without makeup and just want to add a bit before running errands or meeting someone for coffee. I recently tried carrying a really light, translucent powder and I felt naked! I really prefer having a more medium coverage foundation that’s buildable and can cover my dark circles if necessary!
This one is silky and mattifying. I like to apply it with the sponge for more coverage and a retractable travel brush for light, all-over coverage. I wear the color 2N1 Desert Beige.
My skin tone is neutral/peach with both pink and yellow undertones. When I have a spray tan I can get away with wearing bronzers that have a bit warmer tone to them. But when I don’t, most bronzers look orange on my skin.
I discovered this bronzer randomly and was pleasantly surprised by its neutral tones; it gives me a natural looking glow with just enough shimmer. It lends a beautiful beach vacation tan to any makeup look.
I am religious about using SPF here in sunny Colorado! And I’ve found one of the easiest ways for me to consistently apply my sunscreen is to have it in a powder-brush form. I previously used the Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 50 in Medium which I loved but the only frustrating part happened when I attempted to clean the brush with the Colorescience Brush Cleaner. It became clogged and I could no longer apply the rest of the powder.
This brush-on sunscreen has a magnetic brush head that can be completely removed for cleaning. The downside is the brush head can move or slide off if you press too hard. But… Since this version is less than half the price of the Colorescience version, I was happy to use a little extra care when applying it. Both versions are physical sunscreen only; I always break out when I use chemical sunscreens so this is something important I always look for when choosing an SPF! I wear the shade Light, but would need to use Light-Medium when wearing a sunless tanner or with a little summer color.
I switched from black eye liner to this rich chocolate some time last year and it’s all I’ve worn since. It looks softer than black liner, but still gives a smoky look and brings out light eyes beautifully. I like using the smudger on the end as well.
I recently discovered this lip pencil and I love the beautiful mauve-rose shade. It has a creamy consistency and the color is slightly more mauve/cool toned than the liner below. I like switching out between them both depending on the day and my mood! And I find I do actually use the brush end for blending out the line.
This lip liner is slightly more matte and more of a warm-toned neutral rose than the liner above. This has been my go-to lip pencil for years and I always get compliments on it when I wear it. It looks gorgeous with the lipstick listed below; both are featured in my “lip look” mini look book in the sidebar of my website this week.
In my opinion, this is the perfect natural-pink lipstick and I’ve been using it for years! The “frost” formula doesn’t look shimmery, but is really creamy and flattering on the lips. I always get compliments on this lip color and it never fails to make me look feminine whenever I swipe it on. This lipstick is featured along with the lip pencil above in my “lip look” mini look book in the sidebar of my website this week.
I still remember the first time I saw Lilly Pulitzer’s signature bright prints in the wild, so to speak. My parents and I were vacationing in Palm Beach and I saw a mother wearing a whimsical print that matched her children. I grew up between Iowa and London, neither of which are known for their tropical colors, so to see these bright patterns popping against swaying palm trees and a crashing turquoise ocean in the background was something special to me.
I used to save all my Lilly pieces for beach vacations or summer trips. But I’ve since realized the colors make me happy, so now I’ve embraced wearing them wherever and whenever! My best tip is to focus on one bright piece mixed with neutrals like white or tan if you’re nervous. I think you’ll find, as I have, that Lilly pieces are often in forgiving fabrics that can go anywhere – to lunch, to the beach, chasing after kiddos – and you’ll end up wearing them more often than you think.
Lilly is often offering gifts-with-purchase promotions (they’re currently offering an adorable wicker wine basket with two wine glasses) and I can’t resist them. My mom thought it would be fun to have a few matching sets of spring + summer pieces we could wear with the babe eventually, so we placed an order for some Lilly brights that came with some cute Lilly gifts. (At this point, we were on our second week spent clearing out the baby’s nursery and felt we deserved a little perk!)
We have a lot to get done in the next few months, so we aren’t planning any travel until after the baby arrives. I am so looking forward to our first vacation as a little family!
I’ll be honest, we basically coordinated all our pieces with that of the little babe; she’ll be the trendsetter of our little fam! When I saw this tiny little Baby Shift Dress with matching diaper cover, I knew we had to organize a look around it. I got the matching Lillith Tunic Dress which I was happy to find was slightly longer than the Lilly shifts, which I wasn’t sure I could pull off at nearly 5’8″ as a mom bending over with a tiny baby. I also added this beautiful white, slightly sheer Natalie Shirtdress Coverup to go along with this look; I think it will look perfect with a straw beach hat, solid color swimsuit, and slide sandals.
I wanted a new pajama set for summer, so I went for this super-soft Pajama Top with matching Pajama Shorts in one size up to fit the bump.
I discovered the beauty of Lilly’s Palazzo Pants a few years ago. They’re one of the few pants that are long enough for me and allow me to wear a print in a flattering way. I love being able to throw them on with a tank and sandals to run errands or be around the house while still looking put together. This periwinkle Racerback Top is a perfect match.
I loved the aquamarine color of this Off-Shoulder Pullover, so I ordered it in a size up to fit my bump this spring and summer and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived – I hadn’t expected it to be so soft! I have a feeling I’ll be living in it, paired with some leggings and sandals or sneaks as an easy on-the-go look.
How darling is this tiny Pink Bubble Dress?! To coordinate, I went with a flowing pink Melody Maxi Dress and my mom went for this pink Langston Top with tie-sleeve details. This pink Fringe Hem Cardigan is a perfect coordinating piece that goes with the little’s dress, but could be worn with something as simple as a white tank and white jeans.
My mom and I decided to order a couple different sizes in the baby clothes, so in case the baby is running smaller or bigger we could use one of the outfits for a winter beach getaway or save one for spring and summer. This little blue Polo Dress is in the smaller size and I think the tiny collar is just too cute! To match her, my mom and I both ordered the Elsa Silk Top in the same print. These tops have been my favorites for a long time; I love the soft silk material and they can easily be paired with white jeans and strappy heels to transform them into an evening look.
My mom and I also both ordered this pretty Sea View Button Down Shirt with blue sea turtles. It’s so beachy and relaxed; it would look perfect with denim shorts or jeans or even a pair of loose linen pants. If you’re looking to get something Lilly without the traditional bright prints, this is a great option that would still coordinate with the Baby Polo Dress.
Jewelry is one of my favorite things to get from Lilly because they have affordable options to add a statement pop of color to your look. I decided to get these blush and pearl Caliente Hoop Earrings and these earrings with dangling blue petals called the Cascading Petals Earrings. I thought these would both be great options this summer when not much else is fitting!
We are so happy to announce we will be welcoming a baby girl this August! We are both looking forward to a sweet little girl to love and protect, hours spent playing dress-up and having tea, and watching her grow up into a woman. Today John and I even talked about how blessed we would feel to become grandparents someday and make memories with her children. We just feel so grateful to be bringing this sweet little life into the world and cannot wait to meet her!
I did NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing) at my doctor’s office at my twelve-week appointment. The blood test scans for fetal abnormalities but also reveals the baby’s gender… The only downside is the results don’t come back for a few weeks. And those days seemed to pass by so slowly! So I decided to visit the SneakPeek clinic here in Denver, which promises gender results as early as nine weeks and within 24-72 hours. You can order the test and take it at home to send in as well, but I don’t really trust myself to draw my own blood so I took the test at their clinic and opted for the expedited delivery. But… The weather in Denver had other plans. A sudden snow prevented the mail planes from leaving the airport (the genetic lab is located in California) so it meant even more waiting for us!
Around this time, a girl I went to school with posted about her baby’s gender blood test being false. She just had her twenty-week ultrasound appointment (where the doctor looks for all the baby’s physical features to be developing properly) and they discovered the previous blood test had been wrong. Naturally, this made me really nervous about the accuracy of the blood tests and I didn’t know what to think! I wondered if we should even announce the gender once we got the blood tests. So we decided to find out together and then tell only family until we confirmed the results with the twenty-week ultrasound.
I purchased two cakes – one with blue frosting inside and one with pink frosting inside – and waited for the emailed results. The cake boxes were labeled on the outside and I planned on surprising John with the proper cake when I received the email. John insisted he wanted to be the one to deliver the surprise, so I waited with the unopened email in my inbox until he came home from work and opened it! He brought out the cake for me to cut into and find out our little one is a GIRL! I was shocked and beyond happy. I had been certain the baby was a boy and I even thought I saw a telltale mark in the cake’s frosting that was present on the ‘boy’ cake. So it was quite a surprise.
Once we knew, we went out and celebrated at dinner and picked up a few things for our little girl at Janie and Jack. Then I sent cute little duck bath bombs to our families. The rubber duckies change a container of warm water to either pink or blue and they were so cute I knew we had to share our news that way! It was a fun way to tell our families. And now that our twenty-week ultrasound has confirmed our good news, I can finally share with you! It was nice to have a little secret the past few weeks. I have been dancing around and singing to my bump, just wondering what she will look like and how her little personality will develop! I will always cherish these sweet moments of her still in my belly.
My grandmother, my mother, and I were all very close; my mother and I are best friends and continue to talk multiple times a day just as she and her mother used to do. And it fills my heart with joy to think I might be lucky enough to experience that kind of bond with my own little girl. And I also know how strong the father-daughter bond can be. My father and I are alike in many ways and I have always put him on a pedestal of sorts; there’s just nobody else that will ever make me feel as safe and secure as my father does. Nobody as intelligent, as handy with a tool kit, or as strong. No matter what, at the end of the day, he is in my corner and I can’t wait for my little girl to have that relationship with her daddy. John is going to be an incredible father; the way he’s loved me has proven it over and over to me. He’s kind, caring, loving, gentle, patient, and understanding.
So many parents say they don’t care about gender and just want the baby to be healthy and I can promise you that cliché is 100% true. While there’s always a part of each person that hopes to share some of their favorite things with a child of the same gender, the concern for that unborn baby’s wellbeing and health is overwhelming. The process of pregnancy and childbirth used to scare me, but when I became pregnant I stopped thinking about myself first. I just want my baby to be safe, to feel loved, and to be healthy.
I hope someday we might also get to experience raising a little boy of our own, but right now I am so overjoyed to welcome this little girl into our lives. I’m certainly happy I decided to clear out my closets in preparation for her arrival because my mom has already been filling the nursery closet – I have a feeling this will be one well-dressed little girl! (And I might be down yet another closet!) So far, we’ve been loving things from Feltman Brothers, Pepa & Co., and Rachel Riley. I’ve linked a few pieces my mom and I have added to her closet down below.
Before you get married, well-meaning people in your life will ask you some terrifying questions, such as, “Are you sure you’re ready to get married?” and “Are you sure this person is the one you can spend forever with?” These questions are ridiculous, of course, because no first-time bride or groom can possibly know the answer… In fact, they are impossible questions no matter how many times you’ve been married! We have feelings so sure we would bet almost anything on them. I knew I wanted to spend all my life moments with John. I couldn’t imagine life without him and I knew I loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone else.
But that truly certain, confident, assured feeling in marriage comes later after you’ve been there for one another over and over again and have begun to understand one another as only those in a marriage can. When you’re up at 3 AM with food poisoning. When you’re doubting yourself or your decisions. When you’re staring at what seems like an insurmountable challenge and you feel that person’s hand reach for your own. And sometimes that feeling shows up in the simplest of ways.
Last summer, John and I rolled up our Midwest-raised sleeves and launched into a landscaping renovation. We spent quite a few weekends under the unrelenting Colorado sun, covered in dirt, finishing this project together. Together we pulled up and removed a dumpster’s worth of mulch and landscaping fabric, spread over 8 tons of river rock by hand, installed a sprinkler system, laid sod, and planted too many flowers and trees to count. I remember being drenched in sweat, my muscles aching, but looking over at John and thinking I could do – would do – anything with him by my side. Knee-deep churning fresh soil as it started to rain, I realized we were quite literally in the trenches together. And that’s the kind of partners we try to be for each other every day.
When I think about the journey that led me to becoming a mother I can’t help but feel emotional. My parents have always told me that things in life happen for a reason and I believe it. My husband moved in just a few doors down from me, we officially met one another in law school, were placed in the same law school section and were in most of the same classes, began dating as we finished our law school experience together, I eventually moved to Denver for John, and we decided to begin our lives together as husband and wife. I had always known I wanted to be a mother… And John had mentioned wanting to start a family soon. But above all, we wanted it to happen when we were truly ready. We finished some projects, went on a few adventures, and were blessed very quickly with a baby.
How I Found Out
As I mentioned above, no one truly knows when they are ready for life’s major moments and the same is true for starting a family. I prayed for guidance and asked God to send me a sign to let me know when we were ready for this big step in our lives. That sign showed up in the form of ‘PREGNANT’ on a pregnancy test about a month later. We conceived our baby in the place where my ancestors lived. My great grandmother left Wales in the 1900’s and after the dishes were done each night, would look up at the stars and cry thinking of her home. I remember watching the sun set over the wild, romantic Bracelet Bay in Swansea where she lived, holding onto John, and understanding why Wales meant so much to her. I didn’t know it yet, but I was sharing that moment with my little babe.
We came home from our trip to England and Wales in December and I noticed some odd symptoms, like feeling queasy and suddenly possessing a near-superhuman sense of smell. I couldn’t stand restaurants or crowded areas because of the various food scents and even the scent of strangers’ perfumes and the laundry detergent on their clothes would make me sick. I took a test and discovered I was pregnant! We told our family members very early because we were so excited we just couldn’t wait.
I didn’t know how long it would take me to get pregnant or if I even could, so I feel grateful to become pregnant easily because I know just how many women struggle with infertility. And this is the reason I chose to stay off social media while I was dealing with 24/7 nausea, morning sickness, migraines, and fatigue in December and January. I’ll be honest, it was overwhelming and after a few weeks I began to feel a bit down and sad from the constant sickness. But at the same time, I know how incredibly blessed I am to carry this baby and I didn’t want to get on social media and complain about those special early days of my pregnancy. Instead, I tried to allow myself rest and comfort. I stayed in bed, drank my ginger tea, lived on toast and English muffins, and watched all the Downton Abbey seasons over again.
Things That Helped Me
I have received questions about my pregnancy journey and I know so many women get stressed about their own process to become pregnant, so I wanted to share the things that helped me in the hopes that it may help some of you.
First off, I highly recommend taking a Natural Family Planning (NFP) class or reading an NFP book to learn more about your body and your natural fertility cycle. We took one of these courses prior to our marriage and it has really helped us. In fact, we used NFP for 2.5 years before we were ready to have children and once we switched the “timing” we were pregnant within that very month. Obviously many other factors affect fertility, but I wanted to share this in case it helps any of you. I personally don’t like the way artificial hormones affect my mood and I believe this 100% natural form of birth control helped us conceive when we wanted.
There are lots of ways to track your cycle and symptoms via NFP, but I simply began with cycle tracking and found it worked for us. The tracking app I like best is called Flo because of its accuracy and ease of use. You can even use this app through your pregnancy!
I also wanted to share the optional Counsyl Family Prep Genetic Carrier Screen I took toward the beginning of our marriage. I wanted to be certain we were being responsible in conceiving our own children and this genetic screening scans to see if you are a carrier for over five hundred diseases and disorders. Only if you are a carrier for one of the diseases or disorders does your partner also need to take the test. It really gave me peace of mind, especially considering the amount of tests we have to undergo during pregnancy!
The Family Prep screening is different from the Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) you can take during your first trimester. The NIPT is also done via blood but tests the fetus’s risk of developing abnormalities versus your risk of passing them on to the baby. If you decide to do the NIPT, you can also find out your baby’s gender at around twelve weeks, which is a bonus! Once we got those results back and I knew our baby was doing alright I felt so much better.
The question of what helped me during the first trimester is a bit more difficult to answer. I was really sick and found that while ginger tea and ginger candies helped slightly, there was really nothing that prevented my sickness. I recommend drinking plenty of water and eating often – I ate about every 2-3 hours to keep dry heaves at bay (sorry for the TMI) and enjoyed cold fruit, icy smoothies, and breakfast foods like toast, oatmeal, waffles, and cereal. I found that allowing myself caffeine (okayed by my doctor) in the form of morning coffee and a hot herbal tea at night helped as well. I lived in these soft pajamas and cozy slippers and slept as often as I could since my nights were usually disrupted. I would watch soothing shows like Downton Abbey and Gilmore Girls while I rested. And my sister-in-law saved my life by recommending these prenatal vitamins that have been the only ones that don’t make me sick! Because I was living off carbs my first trimester and am prone to stretch marks, I knew I needed to start using something to hydrate my skin ASAP. I’ve found this stretch mark cream is a nice one and moisturizes without feeling greasy. My mom recently treated me to a huge pregnancy body pillow and I swear it’s the best thing ever; I feel completely cradled when I sleep and it helps to support my back.
John was such a great support over the first few months when I was really sick and continues to be today. I truly could not have done this with anyone else by my side. My mom flew in at the end of my first trimester for my twelve-week ultrasound and to help me begin to prepare the house for our little one’s arrival; she kept me calm through the first trimester roller coaster! She just came for another visit this week, including my twenty-week ultrasound. I love being able to share this journey with her, listen to her advice, and have her help preparing for our little one’s arrival!
Although it was my least favorite spot we visited, the French Riviera was beautiful – the perfect kind of beautiful that made me think we were on the set of The Little Mermaid or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – swaying palm trees, turquoise water, giant boats docked in the harbor, palatial French resorts dotting the coast. And beautiful pairs well with relaxation. The Riviera is designed for pure relaxation, which is why we scheduled three days there at the end of our trip. But… The Riviera is also really touristy. As soon as we left our hotel each day, we were in traffic winding up and down the hills facing the coast. A guide told us that places like Nice and Monaco used to be just as authentic as places we visited like Provence and the Jura, but construction hasn’t stopped since the 70’s and 80’s and now these cities have nearly every square inch jammed with condo buildings and mansions. I will say the French Riviera is worth seeing and experiencing at least once. And if you’re planning to only stay at your resort and lay by the ocean, it will be the perfect relaxing ending to a long trip.
If you go, here’s what I recommend. If you’re coming from Provence, stop at the village of Apt and the city of Aix-en-Provence on your way. Consider spending a little time in the fragrance capital of Grasse; I’ve heard their perfumery tours are incredible. Besides these, there are so many other villages and towns to explore along the Riviera: Nice, Monaco, St. Tropez, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Cannes. Pick a few and start exploring!
We stayed at Cap Estel in Èze and I would highly recommend this hotel. It’s absolutely stunning; set on a lush green lawn with the waves crashing onto the rocky shore below. They had Sothys products and Dyson hair dryers in the bathroom. Even if you’re not staying at the property, you can make a reservation for dinner at their romantic restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea or listen to their live music on the weekends. Further up the rocky cliff behind the hotel is the medieval hilltop village of Èze – it’s a short drive and worth an afternoon of exploring as well!
I did really enjoy just relaxing after our journey with a great book and listening to the waves crash next to me. My husband and I searched for sea glass on the rocky beach. One of my favorite nights was spent enjoying comfort food at a little Italian place in the Port de Beaulieu-sur-Mer overlooking the harbor. And shopping in Nice wasn’t bad either. Just expect a lot of tour buses and tour groups, even in the quiet season, and you’ll be prepared!