Friday No. 28

Andy and I decided to both take the day off from work and we are both looking forward to the long weekend before the holiday next week. I'm also really excited for tomorrow since I have plans to make Chex mix and these little gems with my sister and her girls!

  1. I’m almost done Christmas shopping! We picked up a gift for our nephew last weekend and I ordered my bestie’s gift this week! We just have one more nephew to shop for and then I need to pick up some things for Andy but then it’s wrapping time! I also kind of want to purchase a stocking for our little guy — you never know, he could arrive before Christmas! ;)

  2. Speaking of shopping for Andy, I’ll probably scope out Black Friday sales at some of his favorite stores — Vineyard Vines and Nordstrom are usually where I purchase the majority of his gifts. These and these little minis make for great stocking stuffers, too!

  3. We’re planning to swing by Trader Joe’s this weekend to check out their holiday items and pick up a few unique ingredients for when we host Thanksgiving next Thursday! They always have the best seasonal items — I’m on the hunt for a red pepper or holiday flavored jelly to use for an appetizer and a little mini Christmas tree like the one I purchased last year. Also, I’m thinking anything peppermint flavored will be tossed into our cart as well!

  4. The shower caps that I designed for Ulta were recently added to their store shelves — there’s a unicorn one, panda bears, and sweet treats! I just placed an order on Ulta.com this evening so that I could snag each of my designs along with these lip balms for Andy to toss in my stocking and a new bottle of my favorite foundation since I’m almost out!

  5. I still can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving next week! I’m looking forward to watching this holiday classic with Andy, enjoying some relaxing days at home, and doing a little online Black Friday shopping for our little family.

What are your Thanksgiving plans this year?

Favorite seasonal item from Trader Joe’s?
Their pumpkin butter is my absolute favorite!

How My Diet Has Changed During Pregnancy

One of my biggest passions is nutrition, which I covered more in-depth in this post not too long ago. I always figured I’d continue to eat this way through pregnancy — and then once I hit about 6 weeks pregnant all nutrition went out the window for the first 12ish weeks. Thankfully, I didn’t really have a lot of vomiting episodes but I did have a hard time stomaching most foods that I used to love.

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My first trimester basically was a game of “keep the nausea at bay”; I only threw up a couple of times, but definitely felt that swirl of an unsettled stomach most days. During this time, I lived off of the following foods:

  • Baked potatoes

  • Organic chicken nuggets

  • Cereal (seriously, SO much cereal)

  • Toast with jelly

  • Crackers / Kettle chips

  • Pretzels

  • Frozen waffles

  • Smoothies

  • Bagels

Not glamorous, but simple carbs were the only thing that I could choke down. When my second trimester hit, my appetite came back and I welcomed all of the veggies and nutritional foods back into my life with open arms.

It felt SO good to be eating my normal diet once I hit month 4ish or so of pregnancy! We moved into our new house around this time and I was so excited to be able to cook in our new kitchen — I made lots of healthy homemade meals and snacks.

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Some of my favorites during second trimester were:

  • Roasted veggies and chicken

  • Salmon and veggies

  • Greek salads

  • Omelets (usually eggs, cheese, tomato, avocado)

  • Veggie wraps

  • Spaghetti squash with ground turkey and marinara

  • Stir fry

  • Soups

  • Flatbreads

  • Grapes

  • Raw veggies with hummus

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Towards the middle of my second trimester, I started having a lot of issues with low blood sugar (blacking out). I had a few conversations about this with my OB and after continuing to up my snacks and protein, this situation has improved SO much.

Before pregnancy, I ate about six small meals per day — breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Now, I eat about eight just to keep my blood sugar levels stable since my blood sugar tanks if I go longer than a couple hours without something to eat. I feel like this sounds kind of excessive but when I say small meals, they consist of things such as carrots with a side of cottage cheese.

I’ve lost a little steam since hitting third trimester — I’m still eating my normal diet but my meals have gotten a lot simpler due to the fact that I’m just really tired by the time I get home from work each evening. Below is a list featuring my current rotation:

  • Salad topped with buffalo chicken

  • Lots of oranges, pears, and apples paired with roasted almonds

  • Organic soups from Costco’s deli section

  • Cottage cheese with fresh pineapple

  • Homemade turkey chili

  • Greek yogurt topped with berries and almonds

  • Oatmeal with berries and peanut butter

  • Breakfast sandwiches (sprouted grain bread, cheese, and an egg)

  • Sprouted grain toast topped with cottage cheese and lots of black pepper (don’t knock it till you try it!)

  • Apples with peanut butter

In short, my diet is pretty similar to pre-pregnancy with the addition of more snacks and more protein so that our little guy can grow big and strong! I do find myself thinking about my food choices more than before and sometimes will force myself to eat something more nutritious than what really sounds good at the moment (aka making chicken and roasted sweet potatoes instead of eating a bowl of popcorn for dinner). :)

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As far as “eating for two” goes, I really haven’t abided by that mindset. I’ve mainly been eating my usual calorie intake (around 2k calories since I’m not on a rigid training schedule anymore) for the first trimester and a half, upping it slightly for the second half of pregnancy, and then just supplementing with extra snacks whenever I’m feeling hungry (my doctor agrees with this approach 100%). As part of a balanced diet, I enjoy a treat on the regular (usually a piece of candy or some sort of dessert) but haven’t been using pregnancy as an excuse to eat junk. It’s important to me to fuel my body in a healthy way that provides our little guy with the best nutrition so that he can develop and feel his best.

Are you a snacker or a three meals per day type of person?
Favorite healthy snack?

Itchy

I recently learned that pregnancy has either made my body super sensitive to a once-minor allergy, or my allergy has intensified over the years.

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After my baby shower, I started showing signs of what we think is a severe allergic reaction to latex (balloons). My hands were itchy and bumpy, but at first I just figured they were really dry after using so much hand sanitizer at work to avoid getting sick. Over the course of the next few days, I broke out in hives in my underarm area, ankles, and groin.

I went out for coffee with a friend one night after work and when I was changing into pajamas upon arriving home, I happened to look down and saw how bright red my legs were. On top of that, the itching was getting unbearable — part of my leg was bleeding from unconsciously scratching so hard on the drive home.

I stayed home from work the next morning and tried to get in with my OB but then remembered she is always out of the office on Thursdays (and that’s when something always happens!). I saw another doctor and she said it looked like some sort of allergic reaction but they also did some blood work to make sure I didn’t have this condition which can pop up in your third trimester. She prescribed a hydrocortisone cream and sent me on my way — I tried the cream but over the course of the next few days, the rash was spreading like wildfire and went from just a red rash to full blown hives.

Within a few days, I was covered head to toe in the most itchy, painful little welts and it is honestly the most uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced. There have been so many nights where it has woken me up out of a dead sleep and I find myself literally howling in pain.

I missed so much work due to this and nothing seemed to be working to get rid of it — I went back to the clinic two weeks after the hives started for my 30 week baby appointment and also to have my OB take a look at the rash and make sure it isn’t this. My OB sent me a referral to a dermatologist, who confirmed that it was an allergic reaction. My options for treatment were to take an oral steroid for 2.5 weeks or ride it out for another 4 weeks or so. Being pregnant, I chose the latter since the steroid would cause our baby to develop at a faster rate than he should and I didn’t feel comfortable putting him at risk in any way.

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The first signs of the rash started almost four weeks ago and although the hives have stopped spreading so quickly, the pain hasn’t ceased. Scratching helps in the moment, but as soon as the scratching stops, the burning sensation is far worse due to aggravating the already irritated skin. Throughout the day / night, my whole body itches so bad that it burns and feels like something is eating my skin, which is about as fun as it sounds. There have been so many tears and many sleepless nights over this rash, which is just ridiculous if you think about how something so trivial could cause so much discomfort.

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Ice packs and this lotion help a small amount, but otherwise nothing really seems to curb it. I tried this line of products as well but didn’t have much luck with it.

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In the areas where the hives have decreased, my skin is super dry and kind of scaly so I’ve been using this cream to help bring some life back to those areas. My hands, feet, and eyes are also really swollen which is probably partially due to pregnancy and partially due to the allergy,

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I’ve found that keeping my skin hydrated helps it to be less itchy which is great, because when I scratch, more hives seem to pop up. Showers and being too warm in general seem to also increase the itching so I’ve been trying to stay cool and dry as my body tries to heal from this.

I’ve always known I’ve had a latex sensitivity, but haven’t had a reaction since middle school when I broke out in a rash at the dentist —however, that was nothing compared to this. At one point a few weeks ago, I had so many little blisters on my fingers and toes that it even hurt to move my hands and feet! I had no idea that an allergic reaction could last this long either — it’s crazy how something so trivial such as blowing up balloons can affect the body in such a large way.

So, that’s what has been going on lately in these parts! I’m trying to focus on the upcoming holidays and the anticipation of our baby as my body works this allergen out of my system. It’s safe to say that we will be a 100% latex free household after this incident! ;)

Are you allergic to anything? I have seasonal allergies and am allergic to cats
Ever had hives?

Pregnancy Weeks 26-29

We’re officially in the home stretch until we meet our baby boy!

How far along:
29 weeks (this was written a couple weeks ago, I’m currently 32 weeks!)

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Size of Baby:
Butternut Squash (15 inches). Some days I look at my bump and am like “how is there a 15 inch baby in here?!” and other days I feel like there’s two kids in there, haha. I’m such a volume eater (lots of veggies), so I can definitely tell a difference in the size of the bump in the morning vs after a full day of meals when my stomach is jammed up closer to my chest.

Also, as I was writing this post I realized the time on the screenshot from my pregnancy app above — some nights that pregnancy insomnia strikes hard!

Gender:



Boy!

Movement: 



I can definitely tell that he is getting stronger / bigger because his little karate moves can be seen from the outside! This is so funny to watch and definitely makes it feel more “real.” I’m also feeling more of his whole body move vs just an arm or a leg now that he’s starting to run out of room in his little swimming pool.

Sleep:
This has been a little botchy due to my allergic reaction — I’m up every two hours itching like crazy. I feel like if it weren’t for this, I think I’d be sleeping okay! I’m SO tired by the time I go to bed, so I generally fall asleep fairly quickly.

Symptoms:

Just the usual! I’ve had some swelling in my legs so I’ve been wearing compression socks, which are about as sexy as they sound. However, my doctor wrote a prescription for medical-grade ones and the lady at the medical supply store helped me order some that look more like black tights vs granny socks. I just wear them under my jeans and no one is the wiser! I skipped out on wearing them for two weeks when my rash was really bad and definitely realized how much the socks were helping — I’m back to wearing them now and have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of swelling in my calves.

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Other than that, no new symptoms! I feel like I’ve been hungrier than usual but have fallen into a rut where nothing sounds good except fruit, cereal, and peanut butter. I’m trying to push through and eat other things but man, a bowl of Captain Crunch sure hits the spot! ;)

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Bump / Body:

Bump is bigger and is receiving more attention from those around me and random strangers. The whole “comments from strangers” still weirds me out a bit, but oh well! I also had my gestational diabetes test and failed the first one! I had to do the intensive 3.5 hour test and passed that one with flying colors so they said the first one must have been a fluke! SWEET RELIEF. Apparently failing the test has more to do with the hormone balance with your placenta vs your overall health / diet.

Maternity Clothes: 



Haven’t purchased anything new except this jacket because my North Face was getting too challenging to zip! I’ve never had a full-length jacket before and I’m loving the extra coverage on my windy walks into work!

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Cravings:



As mentioned above, fruit (specifically oranges), cereal, and peanut butter. I’ve also been eating a lot of yogurt lately — not sure if this is a craving or if I’m just getting lazy with making meals and have resorted to yogurt + berries + almonds or granola. I was on a cooking kick for the past few months but lately I’m just too tired to stand in the kitchen and make complicated meals, ha ha.

Supplements:



Still on my prenatal, folic acid, prenatal fish oil, and vitamin D. I’ll continue on these after baby as wel!

Fitness:


Just walking a couple miles each day for now! Haven’t been running due to it being winter outside but that will change once our new treadmill arrives!

Missing Most:

Someone had a huge box of kombucha in their cart at Costco the other day and that sounded really good to me. I’ve been making blended protein shakes for Andy lately and I’m craving one so badly! I know that some say you can drink kombucha and protein shakes while pregnant, but my doctor recommending skipping the shakes since there hasn’t been a ton of research on protein powders while pregnant.

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Nursery:



Ha! Literally hardly any progress here other than putting his new dresser in there. We’re hoping to paint his dresser this weekend — still hunting for a recliner and a few other things. We have had SO much going on this fall so I feel like we just haven’t devoted time to this project.

Favorite Products:


Hand sanitizer all day, every day since sickness seems to be spreading like crazy at work and all around us. Andy was sick all last week and I’m still surprised I never caught it!

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Favorite Moments:



Feeling him move more (this is definitely what I will miss most about pregnancy) and just seeing how he always responds to outside noises. He will move when I or Andy talk to him, when we play music, or if he gets startled (he doesn’t seem to like the hair dryer or when I use the ice dispenser on the front of the fridge).

We also had two showers last month — I’m 28 weeks in the photo above!

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It’s also been fun to stroll through the baby departments of stores whenever we’re out shopping — it still just seems so surreal that we will have a baby in our house in less than two months!

Can't Wait For:



Kissing his little face! I had a dream the other night that he came early and when he was born, he popped out in little printed pajamas, haha! I also can’t wait to see who he looks like and what color eyes he will end up having since mine are blue and Andy’s are brown. My guess is that he will have a lot of hair since Andy and I both have tons!

Holiday Day Date

On Saturday, Andy and I headed out to do a few holiday-themed activities amidst running errands for the week.

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It was freezing out so we bundled up and I was so excited when it started snowing on our way home later that day! I keep checking the forecast hoping for our first blizzard of the year but so far it’s just been flurries and light dustings. I look like I have no hair in the photo above, but hey, at least I was toasty warm in my hat, scarf, jacket, and gloves!

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After swinging by the library to drop off / pick up books on hold, we headed to Caribou Coffee to check out my contributions to their 2018 holiday collection. We were delighted to find that all of the drinkware I designed + illustrated was on the shelves!

The four mugs above are part of the “value mugs” collection — meant to be purchased and given as gifts. These four are my favorites since they really showcase my illustration skills and they were such a joy to create!

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I also really enjoyed illustrating and handlettering this little winter scene for their kids tumbler and cold cup!

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The two mugs above feature a removable faux leather sleeve that contains a tiny flask on the side — perfect for gifting!

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I typically do the copywriting on the drinkware that I design, but my creative director gave me the idea for this catchy Minnesotan phrase and I thought it was too perfect to pass up!

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I also designed these little coin purses / gift card holders!

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Speaking of gift cards, some of the elements used in my designs made it onto gift cards this year as well!

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This little dude did really well in terms of sales last year, so this year I added an additional sku with him sporting an ugly sweater!

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This stainless steel tumbler features a wintery cabin-inspired pattern.

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A few of my designs made their way onto adorable little ornaments as well!

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After purchasing a handful of mugs from Caribou, we decided to grab some lunch.

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We hadn’t been to Cafe Zupas in what felt like forever, and a warm bowl of soup sounded really inviting on a chilly day!

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After lunch, we headed to a few different stores to check out their Christmas decorations.

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We didn’t end up buying anything but it was fun to look around! I always love looking at stickers when we’re out and about — I’d love to one day have a job designing sheets of them! I thought these ones with the little gingerbread men were the cutest!

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When I was younger, one of our neighbors used to transform her formal living room into a Christmas village filled with tons of these little buildings, people, and accessories to create the cutest little holiday scenes. It was fun to see that they still make these cute little shops and houses!

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Originally, we had planned to see the new Grinch movie and get Starbucks holiday drinks but by the time we got to the theatre, the movie was sold out so we decided to save those two activities for this coming weekend. We wound up at a furniture store to take a look at recliners for the nursery and it ended up being a great choice because they had free cookies and massage chairs. Seriously, a pregnant woman’s dream come true!

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Our last stop of the day was our weekly Costco run — they had so many good samples yesterday with these being my favorite!

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We filled our cart and then headed home! I’m toying with the idea of trying out this recipe this holiday season, hence the massive container of cinnamon.

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Our new Christmas planter rode in the front seat with me to prevent it from tipping over — it’s been so fun to be able to pick out things like this for our new house! We’ve never really lived in a place where we’ve been able to full-on decorate for the holidays / seasons so this has been a treat!

Have you started decorating for the holidays?
What coffee shop is your favorite?