Life Lately Vol. 4

We are making a little more progress in his nursery — we got him a nightstand (in white) that we put next to his recliner (we went with the light gray color) and his ottoman and book shelves are being shipped this week. Andy has been painting his dresser as well, so once that is done we will install some new hardware and it will get moved back up to his room (it’s in the basement for painting now).

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I did a huge Target haul online last weekend and it feels SO good to have the majority of our little guy’s gear ordered and on the way. I planned it out so that we could use our 20% off coupon from Black Friday paired with all of his Target gift cards so that the whole order is basically from Santa. ;) We still need to purchase bottles and a few other things but I want to wait until my breast pump arrives to order those to make sure everything is compatible.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before or not but I joined a mom’s group and it has seriously been just what my soul has needed during this season. The girls in my group are all around my age, have careers, and are either pregnant or have little kids. It has been so refreshing to have this authentic little group that provides community and encouragement.

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My new go-to drink has been a grande decaf latte with one pump of peppermint. It has a festive flair but is way less sugar than my favorite holiday drink. We have a Starbucks on-site at work which is super convenient when you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

My new treadmill came last week and I am so in love! We went with a commercial NordicTrack treadmill and it has been SO nice to be able to run downstairs to work out and not have to drive, park, change, etc. at the gym just to go for a walk or run! I’m thinking this is going to be so slick once baby arrives since I can either bring him downstairs with me or watch him on the baby monitor while I run. My favorite feature is the bluetooth capabilities — it’s so nice to be able to ditch the headphones since the treadmill can stream my music from my phone or iPad.

I’ve caught some sort of sinus infection and am trying to rest as much as I can to kick it as quickly as possible. I’m just so thankful that it isn’t the flu! Either way, being sick while 35 weeks pregnant has brought the exhaustion to a new level! 

On that note, the allergic reaction situation is still going strong. My doctor checked in with me on it last week at my OB appt and she said it’s most likely being dragged out due to my immune system being suppressed during pregnancy. I’m really hoping this clears up before baby arrives because the itching / burning is still so unbearable even seven weeks after the exposure!

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I’ve been on a stir fry kick the last two weeks have been making this orange sauce for it that is amazing. I just dump a bunch of the ingredients in the mini blender until it tastes how I want it but it consists of soy sauce, orange zest, coconut oil, ginger, freshly squeezed orange juice, a squirt of honey, vinegar, and a pinch of cornstarch. I toss it into my pan that contains chicken and whatever veggies I have in the fridge — usually green beans, broccoli, peas, celery, carrots, red onion, and sometimes some fresh pineapple chunks. I add sesame seeds and red pepper flakes once it’s done — such an easy weeknight meal!

PS I’m linking up with Kristen today.

What have you been up to lately?
Do you prefer to work out at home or at a gym?

Thanksgiving + Black Friday Weekend

After attending a few meetings, I left work around lunchtime on Wednesday since it was so quiet in the design studio!

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I had some time to kill before an appointment later that afternoon, so I headed to The Galleria to knock out some Christmas shopping and to browse through Barnes & Noble for a bit. I picked up a few things for Andy’s gift and then put my feet up with an iced Americano with a pump of gingerbread syrup at the bookstore. An afternoon at B&N was just what I needed before the holiday weekend and I’m so glad that I made it a priority. I whizzed through this book (would highly recommend it!) and then started this one but plan to head back to the store in the next couple weeks to read more of it as we get closer to baby time!

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Upon arriving home later that evening, I did some of our Thanksgiving prep to make the morning a little smoother. I quickly whipped up a batch of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly squeezed orange juice), and prepped a pomegranate so that it would be ready for the salad I was making the next day. This was my first time dealing with a pomegranate (I usually buy them pre-seeded), and let’s just say it was a labor of love. I did the whole “peel it in a bowl of water” trick but it was still very time consuming and messy to say the least!

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The next day, we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Andy and I made turkey, ham, lemon-garlic green beans with almonds, cornbread, and a fall salad while his siblings brought a few other sides and dessert to complete the meal.

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Side note — we recently picked up one of these tools and it is seriously the best thing ever! It saves so much time and makes your life a million times easier — would highly recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one in your kitchen drawer.

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I threw together this autumn-inspired salad and really liked how it turned out! It had spinach, fresh cranberries, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and apples. I tossed it with a homemade dressing that contained pure maple syrup, olive oil, fresh lemon + lime + orange juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all throughout the weekend and it’s definitely one that I plan to make again!

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Andy’s sister and brother-in-law brought pies and I swear, there’s nothing like pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of coffee! It definitely hit the spot!

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After the family left, Andy and I settled in on the couch to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day.

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The next day, we headed out for a little Black Friday shopping later in the day (mainly to avoid the crowds). We wound up purchasing this little gadget and a new Christmas tree since the one in the photo above is way too tiny for our new living room! I took a nap upon arriving home and then we spent the evening watching Home Alone 2 (we typically watch a holiday movie or two every weekend leading up to Christmas).

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On Saturday morning, my sister and I ran an errand, grabbed coffees, and walked around the indoor track while catching up. We both agreed that this is something that we should do more often since it’s way more fun to walk with someone than by yourself. :) Another nap happened when I got home that afternoon (seriously, story of my life these days), and it felt SO good!

Sunday was spent washing all of our baby’s clothing while Andy painted the dresser for the nursery. I’m hoping to get all of his clothes organized by size this week so that we can start putting his room together in anticipation of his arrival. I also finished all of the thank you cards from our baby shower and worked on a scarf that I’m knitting — it was such a relaxing day!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?
Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

First Round of Holiday Treats

On Saturday, morning, my small group and I met for a virtual meeting (we meet every other time in person) and I always leave feeling so refreshed! It’s been so fun doing this study with these girls and also hard to believe that this is our third year together.

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I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to stay active until my treadmill arrives, so after doing a few things around the house once my small group meeting was done, I headed to a track to walk for a bit while I listened to the latest episode of my favorite podcast. It’s so strange to feel exhausted after something like going for a s l o w walk — definitely not something that I’m used to but am reminding myself that growing a human takes a lot out of you!

Upon arriving home, I started prepping for our sister baking night — on the agenda: homemade Chex mix, Oreo truffles, and Muddy Buddies!

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I mixed up the first batch of dry ingredients before they arrived so that we could get started right away. Our family has always added Kix and Cheerios to our homemade Chex mix (and omit the bagel chips) — I think the Kix are my favorite part!

I had also prepped the Oreo truffle filling earlier that day. It was my first time making the truffles in the food processor and all I can say is that it was a total game changer. It crushed the cookies super fine and then it swirled the cream cheese in so smoothly! I rolled the truffles into little balls and then put them on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet before popping them in the fridge so they could harden. That way, all we would have to do that evening was just dip them in melted chocolate — easy peasy.

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Once my sister and her girls arrived, we got to work right away!

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As batches of the Chex mix baked, we dipped our truffles (which are seriously the BEST thing ever if you’re an Oreo fan) and whipped up a delicious batch of Muddy Buddies. We discovered the secret to good Muddy Buddies is to make more of the sauce than it calls for and it use less cereal so that each piece gets coated and kind of clumps together.

It was so fun to spend the evening making holiday treats with them and we’re already looking forward to making / decorating homemade sugar cookies in a couple of weeks! This holiday season feels like it is flying by so we are trying to do as many holiday things as we can before the season passes.

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The next day, Andy and I hit the shops to knock out a bunch of Thanksgiving-related errands. Our first stop was Starbucks for a holiday drink — I swear, each year the gingerbread latte tastes better than I remember.

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On our way to grab T-day groceries, we made a few pit stops at furniture stores since we’re still trying to find the perfect dining room table. There was a table we liked at West Elm, but we felt like the color was a little too warm for our liking. We’re super picky about furniture and I feel like we are starting to annoy ourselves with the search for a table. The one we really want is something like this but in a cooler toned wood.

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We also stopped at a Macy’s furniture gallery but quickly realized that the tables there weren’t really our style — it was still fun to pop through and look around though.

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After enough messing around with furniture shopping, it was time to get down to business. This was my plan of attack that I crafted before we left the house that morning.

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After three different grocery stores, we finally had everything we needed! We came home, ate a late lunch, and then I headed out to meet my auntie for a coffee date. Catching up with her was the perfect end to a long weekend!

Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
What recipe does your family like to make each holiday?

A Weekday Date

On our day off last Friday, we headed to a furniture sale that was being put on by a local home staging company. We had first heard about this sale during Parade of Homes and were excited to attend in hopes of finding some pieces for our new house. Unfortunately, the sale was a bust — not much inventory and what they did have wasn’t really our style.

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After leaving the sale, we headed to Michael’s in search of a few filler pieces for our new Christmas planter that we have on our porch. We both felt like it needed a few more red accents, so we picked up a few springs of holiday greenery to stick in the pot. While we were there, we also browsed through their Christmas trees and garlands but didn’t see anything that we loved enough to take home with us.

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We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to the theatre to see The Grinch. We were both so impressed with the new version of this holiday classic — the animation, story, and music were great!

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Afterwards, we headed to Einstein’s Bagels to see if any of my mugs for them were in the store (I did some dog illustrations for them), but unfortunately all they had was the Caribou Coffee holiday collection in stores. I snapped a pic of this display because it was nice to see all of my designs together as one instead of spread out on different shelves like at the Caribou Coffee shops that we visited last weekend.

We made a quick pit stop for paper plates and napkins since we’re hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday and then we were on our way!

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Since Andy was off from work, he was able to attend our 32 week OB appointment! Baby was measured and got his heartbeat checked — everything is right on track! I have two more OB checks and then I will start having weekly appointments until he is born.

A Target run was our last stop of the day since I needed to grab a few items to make Oreo truffles with my sister and nieces that following day. We grabbed a few groceries, browsed through their Christmas section, and then on our way out we ran into one of my friends and her husband! I used to dislike running into people while running errands and now I really enjoy it — crazy how things have changed since flipping over to the extrovert side of life ;)

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Target had the cutest wrapping paper and gift bags — I always feel so inspired while browsing through items like this.

I was so excited to see the snow falling down as we walked out of Target! We headed home, made dinner, and then relaxed on the couch while watching Christmas Vacation, which is one of our favorites.

Has it snowed where you live yet?
Are you hosting or attending Thanksgiving this year?

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?