December 2018 Books

This is my last stack of books for 2018! I’m anticipating reading a lot of books over the course of the next few months as I’m home on maternity leave cuddling a little newborn and I seriously can not wait! Don’t forget, you may view all of my past book reviews by clicking here.

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Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth // Ina May Gaskin
I was really excited for this book after I found myself really enjoying her other book; however, this one was a little too “crunchy” for me. I tend to have a conservative approach to our health and wellness, but this was on a new level. For example, home births are not my thing — I’m all for diffusing essential oils, taking supplements instead of medications, and changing my diet for the sake of my health but when I am giving birth, give me a sterile hospital room because once that baby is here I want to come home to my nice clean sheets. ;)

My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired // Benjamin Spall + Michael Xander
This book was SO inspiring! I’m thinking that I probably won’t have the best morning routine these next few months as we adjust to a new schedule of baby sleeping + eating around the clock, but this is something I’d love to incorporate into my life once he gets on his own little schedule. I used to have a really solid morning routine and I felt like it really helped me set my day up for success.

The Vaccine Friendly Plan // Paul Thomas M.D. + Jennifer Margulis Ph.D.
I always love these types of books — not only are they super informative, they just really make you think about the decisions that you’re making for yourself and your family. Would highly recommend this book if you’re interested in an alternative vaccine schedule for your children.

5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life // Bill Eddy
My love for psychology once again shines through — I usually just add random psych books to my library request list and this was one of them. After dealing with a couple of crazies this past year, this book was actually really applicable! ;)

You Don’t Own Me // Mary Higgins Clark + Alafair Burke
You guys know that MHC is one of my favorite authors and this one didn’t disappoint! These are such easy reads and after whipping through so many non-fiction books this month, it was refreshing to read a page-turning thriller by one of my favorites!

Live the Life You Love // Barbara Sher
I found the recommendation for this book in a magazine article and was really excited to read it; unfortunately, it wasn’t really what I was looking for. I felt like most of the info didn’t feel new to me and felt a little redundant. I did, however, start reading another book by her (they both became available as e-books through my library at the same time) and I am really enjoying this one so I’ll be sure to share it in my January 2019 book review at the end of this month!

What are you currently reading?
Any book recommendations that I should read in the new year?

A Day in The Life (Last One Before Becoming a Mom)

Today I’m capturing a day in the life and it will be my last one before becoming a mom since my due date is this upcoming Wednesday! This is by far my most-requested type of blog post so I’m hoping to start doing these more regularly — maybe every other month or so especially since my life is going to be so different in these next few months as we bring home baby and then when I go back to work later in the spring.

Below is a play-by-play of my day yesterday — I’ve been enjoying a little down time, baby prep, and running some last minute errands until our little guy arrives. It wasn’t the most exciting of days, but I felt like I accomplished a lot so that’s a success in my book.

The last time I did one of these posts was last fall — click here to check it out!

Wake Up
I’ve been sleeping a little better lately mainly due to sleeping at an incline. Around 37 weeks, I started having trouble breathing whenever I laid down — my doctor said it’s most likely because baby is getting bigger and squishing my diaphragm / lungs. Ever since sleeping with a few pillows propped up behind me, I’ve been snoozing through my usual 2:30am middle of the night insomnia + snack time which has been SO nice! I’m still waking up a lot earlier than I’d like (4:30am), but it’s nice to at least not be WIDE AWAKE for a span of 2-3 hours each night.

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Breakfast
I always wake up starving, so I usually make breakfast before taking a shower. I’ve been really into green smoothies lately and this one is on heavy rotation over here. In the blender I add organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk, organic spinach, organic dates (they’re supposed to help with labor so I’ve been popping three per day), peanut butter, half of a frozen banana, plain 2% Greek yogurt, and some ice.

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I always pair my smoothie with a hot cup of coffee with this creamer since the frozen drink makes me so cold! I sipped both of these while reading my new devotional and then hopped in the shower.

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Shower + Get Ready
My outfit choices these days are a little limited due to this full-term baby bump, so it’s pretty easy to choose an outfit when you literally have three options that still feel comfortable. Thank goodness for these comfy tees and my favorite maternity jeans! That being said, I’m really looking forward to shopping my closet again in the next few months. I snapped this pic in the “kid bathroom” upstairs and every time I go in there, it makes me so happy to see his little hooded bath towels hanging on the towel rack behind me! My sister gave us those and an adorable little bathrobe as part of his Christmas gift and I’m so excited to use them — babies after bath time is the absolute best!

Lately I feel like it takes me FOREVER to get ready and I’m not sure if it’s pregnancy-related or if I’m just dinking around too much but either way, it always feels like a major accomplishment once I leave the bathroom and head downstairs. Speaking of stairs, I’ve reached the point where I can only put my socks and shoes on if I’m sitting on our staircase — it feels so strange to have reached this point because I feel like up until 37 weeks, I didn’t really feel like I had many limitations and then they all came at once!

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Morning
I worked on my blog all morning and answered a few emails from work — I’m trying to pre-write a bunch of posts so that I can still have content going up even when it’s baby time. This whole “not knowing when baby is coming” is both exciting and a little unsettling because it makes it hard to plan out your week! ;) While I was working away, my OB’s nurse called to see if I could pop in later that day for a quick check-in instead of going in on Friday morning. I added it to my calendar and then wrapped up my post before making a quick lunch so that I could head out to run errands before swinging by the clinic for my appointment.

I forgot to take a picture, but I promise you didn’t miss anything special — I had an egg scrambled with egg whites and colby jack cheese with an orange on the side. Not the fanciest, but it was a good mix of protein, fat, and carbs which is how I prefer to structure my meals.

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Run Errands
On this particular day I needed to swing by our local co-op to pick up a few things — I grabbed a canister of this for making lactation energy bites once baby arrives, some flax seeds, and this that I love to use on my salads and in stir fry sauces.

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Afterwards, I swung by Goodwill to drop off a few items that have been sitting around the house for too many weeks — it always feels so good to drop off a box of donations! #clutterfreeisthewaytobe

I arrived at the clinic about 20 minutes early and used that time to make a quick call to our insurance to double check a few things such as hospital stay and whatnot. Normally I dread these types of tasks, but the customer service guy was super friendly and was telling me about his kids and grandkids so it was kind of entertaining. I also ate one of these before jumping out of my car and heading into my appointment.

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I headed into my appointment, had vitals taken, got a quick ultrasound to check on the little dude, got my belly measured and was on my way! I only have one more OB appointment left (unless he arrives before then) and if he doesn’t arrive by my next one, we will be discussing induction options. I’m really hoping he decides to come on his own, but we’ll see what happens. :)

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After the appointment, I made a quick stop at Target to see if a nursing tank I wanted to try was in stock. They didn’t have it, so I’m thinking I might just order a few from Amazon at this point because I'm not having luck finding anything that I like in stores. I picked up a few items that we needed and then headed home for the evening.

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Dinner
I was starving by the time I got home, so I quickly unloaded my bags and threw together a quick salad. I also ate an apple after this because my hunger has been out of control lately. I worked on this blog post while enjoying my dinner and then changed clothes and headed downstairs for a workout.

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Treadmill
I’ve been committed to keeping up with my workouts even as we get closer and closer to the due date! I feel like the time on the treadmill usually flies by really quickly because I use this time to listen to a podcast, read, or listen to music. I typically walk or run each day since I know I’ll have to take a little break once he is born so that my body can heal.

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Energy Bites
After the treadmill, I made a quick batch of these little energy bites for a treat. I don’t really measure anything but these consisted of old fashioned oats, organic dark chocolate chips, honey, almond milk, ground flaxseed, and peanut butter. As I’m typing this out, I’m realizing I forgot to add unsweetened shredded coconut — oh well, I’ll add that next time! I didn’t add the brewer’s yeast to this batch and will save that until baby arrives since it’s used to increase your breastmilk supply. No need for that quite yet. ;)

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Bath
Lately I’ve been taking an evening bath in our soaker tub because it feels SO good at this point in my pregnancy. I always add a few scoops of these along with some natural bubble bath that we pick up from Trader Joe’s. I also ate a grapefruit around this time because I seriously can not get enough of these ruby reds right now!

Bedtime
Before bed, I usually read for a little bit, do a session from my Calm app, and then am off to dreamland. I try to be in bed by 10pm most nights and typically fall asleep right away!

PS I’m linking up with Kristen today.

Are your days pretty routine or do they tend to look different each week?
Do you eat breakfast right away in the morning?

Following Intentionally

As we kick off this new year, I’ve been doing some thinking, planning, and prepping about how I can be more intentional in the months that are ahead of us. One thing that really came to mind was to really cull who I follow on Instagram — focusing on friends and inspirational accounts.

I’ve realized that following those whose feeds are made up of mostly sponsored or perfectly styled posts just aren’t what I need to soak up right now. In this season of life I’m craving that raw, real life connection and / or inspiration. Last Sunday morning, I sat down with a homemade blueberry waffle and a hot cup of coffee to really think about the accounts that I choose to follow. Since my list is under 100, it was completely manageable to sit down and write down each handle in this post (the rest of those that I follow are real-life friends and are not included in this list) — it really helped me think about whether I wanted to continue following that account or not. I figured I’d post it here as a reminder of why I follow who I follow — my hope is that you can find some new inspiration from this list!

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If you’d like to check out my feed, you may do so by clicking here. I also have a health + fitness account that will be getting a bit more love once baby is born and I’m back to my usual fitness shenanigans (right now I’m just walking and running these last few days before he is born).

Bloggers
@nicolevcole - love this girl’s heart for her family
@hungryrunnergirl - I’ve followed Janae’s blog for YEARS and love her honesty and zest for life
@sarahshaneyfelt - I started following Sarah a few years ago and feel like we are pretty similar!
@emilyanndunham - Love Emily’s blog!
@victoriastrader - Victoria is the most adorable mom to her two littles and I love her outlook on life + style
@shopvictoriastrader - I follow Victoria’s shop account now that we have a little boy on the way!
@hannahelizabethhardy - Love Hannah’s blog!
@amycotton - This pretty girl just had twins!
@kylashattuck - I love reading Kyla’s blog posts about living intentionally and living well.
@jamieleakey - Jamie’s feed is filled with her simple approach to parenting their two adorable boys
@simplybeffie - I’ve followed Beth for many years and love her handlettering style
@lauravbeck - I’ve also followed Laura for years and it’s been so fun to see glimpses of her cute little girl!
@pbfingers - Julie’s blog is one of the first I ever read!
@brittanywhitacre - I recently came across Brittany’s blog and it’s been so fun reading about her two boys
@emilyayerthomas - Emily’s blog is filled with inspiration for living intentionally
@kelseympeacock - I really enjoy Kelsey’s honest and open voice on her blog
@michaelanoelledesigns - This girl’s blog is filled with so many fun things — beauty products, style, and home design

Life + Style Inspiration
@emilyley - I order a planner from her every single year and love her mindset towards running a home
@onelittlemomma - My hair inspiration! Plus she’s a rockstar mom of FIVE adorable boys
@alysonhaley - I’ve followed Alyson for years and love her personal style
@shopalysonhaley - I’ve purchased a few items from her shop since I love her style and she’s petite
@jen.daniels.l - Another MN designer — this girl’s feed is full of real life moments with her kids
@lindsey_reed - Love this girl’s transparency and outlook on life
@ginazeidler - Another Minnesotan — Gina is a local photographer
@wisemanmemories - I’ve followed Ashley’s fitness account for awhile and love this personal acct of hers
@amikkoch - Another MN creative — love her cute style and pics of her puppy and little girl
@laurengleisberglately - I love this girl’s style and approach to life / parenting
@whitv - I just love her style and her little baby boy is the cutest thing ever!

Design Inspiration
@jessbruggink - I sit next to her husband at work and love her design aesthetic
@laura_lee_deyoung - This girl has the best illustration style
@whitneyhansenmckenzie - Whitney used to work at the company I worked at
@whitneymckenziestudio - Whitney’s design account
@petitcollage - LOVE this company and their illustrative style for kids’ products
@alyssanassner - Such a fun illustration style
@cariboucoffee - I follow Caribou since I’ve designed a lot of products for them over the past year

Health + Wellness
@amandalynne21 - This mom of twins not only rocks being a mom but she also has a great workout routine
@drmeghanbirt - Such a great resource for healthy / natural living
@ashleylwiseman - Ashley has such a balanced approach to health, nutrition, and fitness!
@allisonwollenhaupt - Love this girl’s approach to clean eating and fitness
@cobb2208 - I follow her for running inspiration — she is a beast!
@sarahdhaglund - Sarah’s my go-to gal for all things health / wellness related
@learning2loveburpees - This girl’s approach to fitness is so inspiring
@laurengleisberg - Love her outlook on nutrition and fitness

PS I’m linking up with Lindsay and Jessi today!

What are some of your favorite accounts to follow in IG?
Do you take inventory of your IG account on a regular basis?

January 2019 Goals

It’s a brand new year and I am SO excited!

December Goals Check-In:
Click here for the original post!

1. Finish Packing Our Hospital Bags
Done! There will be a few things I need to grab once it’s go-time such as my makeup and toiletries but they’re already in cosmetic bags and ready to go in case we need to leave in a rush!

2. Go on Dates Before Baby Arrives
Done! We went on a few holiday dates — not as many as we would have liked to due to some family things going on but we are thinking we can still do a few in January since baby will be so tiny and can just sleep in his car seat if we go out to dinner.

3. Fill Out My Tentative Birth Plan
Done! I was feeling kind of overwhelmed by this but after talking to a friend of mine about her method of writing hers, I whipped mine together and feel good about it!

4. Clean Off My iPhone
Done!

5. Nursery Prep
Done! I’ll be sure I share more once we get a couple more things ordered.

What a productive month it was! I think knowing that this was our last month before baby really lit a fire underneath me to get a lot of the baby-related tasks accomplished. Well, that and that whole “nesting” instinct that moms get before their baby is born is for real! A few of our closets got a good cleaning this month just because I felt like I needed to do something constructive, ha ha.

January 2019 Goals:

1. Have a Baby!
No big deal, right?!

2. Soak Up this Season
Babies don’t keep and I’m all for spending our days holding and loving on our new baby boy. Speaking of which, if you have any book or tv show recommendations, send them my way — I’m going to have a lot of down time while feeding him!

3. Participate in The Simplicity Challenge
We’ll see how this month goes as I anticipate it being a little bit of “survival mode” over here as we become nocturnal due to baby, but I’d really love to participate in this home organization challenge either this month or next to kick our year off on an organized note! I’ve heard most of these tasks take less than 15 minutes each and that feels pretty doable!

4. Have Grace for Myself
This is definitely going to be a month that is not only exciting, but also challenging as we learn how to best take care of our littlest love. I want to remind myself that it’s okay if the laundry piles up or if we’re still in our jammies in the afternoon. I also want to prioritize taking care of myself during this next stage of life — even if that’s just sneaking out for a pedicure, taking a hot bath once Andy is home and can watch the baby for a bit, or grabbing a latte with a friend.

5. Accept Help
This is SO hard for me but I know that we are going to need some help this month whether it be with meals, cleaning, or just having someone come over for company since it will be just me and the little guy during the day while Andy is at work.

What do you hope to accomplish this month?
Do you like to set goals for the new year?

Reflections on 2018

2018 was a big year for us — it was filled with a lot of good things along with a few challenges.

We lived, we loved, we celebrated, and we grew. I read a lot of books, set and accomplished a lot of goals, made new friends, and went on dates with Andy.

The best part of 2018 was finding out we are pregnant with our son, who is due to arrive any day now!

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One of the hardest things about this past year is that Andy’s dad passed away the day after Christmas after a rapid decline in health over the course of the past few weeks due to heart failure. This is still very fresh news to us as we grieve the loss of a great man in our family.

This was the year that I turned 30, which I welcomed with open arms in anticipation of a new decade ahead of me. I had some amazing job opportunities such as designing + illustrating for Caribou Coffee, Ulta Beauty, PaperSource, and Target. We bought our first home and started preparing a nursery as we get ready to welcome our little son into the world.

As I look forward to 2019, there’s a whole host of goals I’d love to accomplish, but what keeps weighing on my mind is this feeling of the need to slow down. There were many days in 2018 that left me feeling frazzled, burnt out, and just exhausted (okay, most of that exhaustion was probably pregnancy-related but work with me here). I’ve been doing some prep work before the new year rolls around to really evaluate what worked for me and what didn’t work for me in 2018. There are some dreams that have been on my heart for many years now and I’d love to do some exploration to see how I can kickstart some of these once we settle into a routine with our little guy and once he gets a little older. I know these newborn days are so precious so I really want to be intentional about soaking them up and spending time just cuddling our little boy even if other things have to slide because of it.

Changing from a strict INTJ to an ENTP over the past few years helped me fuel some of these changes — a lot of the “striving” is gone and I find myself letting go more than I used to. Some areas of my life still have my death grip on them, but it’s a work in progress. ;) One thing that becoming an extrovert really taught me is that we really need people in our lives and I’m so thankful for the friends and family that I have around me — for both the good and the bad days.

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One thing that I’ve been learning this past year is that sometimes our expectations of people can never be fulfilled — even when we really want them to. There was an incident this summer that has left a lasting impression on me and really taught me a lot. We had just found out the gender of our baby and so I stopped to pick up cupcakes for Andy and I since we decided not to do a gender-reveal party. There was a middle-aged woman at the cash register and she asked if I was celebrating something since I had two cupcakes covered in sprinkles in my hands, to which I told her we just found out we were having a baby boy. She was instantly filled with such enthusiasm and joy for us — exclaiming how exciting this news is and how she was so happy for us. She even told me to bring our little boy into the store once he was born so that she could meet him. I thanked her, grabbed my bag, and as soon as I got into my vehicle I burst into tears.

Here was this random stranger who was SO happy and SO excited for us — the reason why this was so hard was because she was genuinely more excited than some of the people that we had told about our news of having a baby and finding out that he is a boy. It was in this situation that I realized that not everyone will cheer for you and that is okay — we can’t control the way others act. What is most important is finding your tribe that is willing to walk alongside you and do life with you — celebrating the good times and overcoming the hard times.

Another thing that has really been on my heart is opening up and practicing vulnerability here on my blog which can be kind of scary. There have been a few posts that I’ve published over the last few months and then taken down a few hours later because I was feeling unsure about how others would perceive them — would they be able to handle my honesty and vulnerability? Most importantly, was I okay with being this vulnerable? Sure, I love sharing a good J.Crew sale and a fun weekend recap here on the blog, but what really brings people together is opening up and sharing. I hope to do this more in 2019 not just to free myself, but also to inspire others who might be going through similar situations.

For those that read my blog, thank you for your support whether you’ve been following me since my early days or even if today is your first day stopping by. I hope that you will continue to be encouraged, inspired, and entertained by the content that I plan to publish in this coming year.

I’ll be ringing in the new year with sparkling white grape juice (#39weekspregnant) and am looking forward to all that 2019 brings!

What are your NYE plans?
Do you have any special traditions this time of year?