Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Holiday Gift Guide...Gifts Under $50

Third time is the charm!!We've tackled the high price ticket items as well as the ladies' presents, but I wanted to put together a list of everything $50 and under to nestle soundly under the tree for anyone on your list this year...sure crowd pleasers no doubt!
**I gave these as hostess gifts for a wedding shower and they were a huge hit!

24 Weeks...Sweet Caroline

{I included Jeff this week as daddy needs a little attention, too} ;)

How Far Along? 24 weeks, 5 days…108 days to go!
Size of Little Miss? 12.5 inches long and 1.25 pounds, which equals an ear of corn--skinny little thing isn't she?
Maternity Clothes? So thankful so many of my pre-prego clothes still work though the bottoms have all been switched out for maternity wear. Being pregnant in the winter definitely has its perks. Although, I had to spend quite a bit on new workout gear...those XS tops and bottoms obviously have to be put away for awhile-HA!
Weight Gain? 17 pounds…only up 1 pound, even after all the Thanksgiving deliciousness--I'll take it! I'm definitely on track with the 1 pound per week guidance my doctor gave me, though I am finding I am getting full a lot more quickly these days. Snacking is helping me in this area.
Stretch Marks? Not so far--thank you Lord!
Gender? As if you didn't know ;)...pink, pink, and more pink!
Movement?She is a quite the little mover in the afternoon and evening, and loves to offer her Mommy a sweet little jab every now and then in the middle of the night
Sleep? That's a joke, right? Between going over my to-do list at all hours of the night, bathroom breaks, and having to sleep on my side, this area is a big fail.
Food Cravings? More with the apple cider and I love english muffin sandwiches for breakfast!
What I Miss? Holiday cocktails, running {still doing the elliptical and strength training, but I want to run a race right now SO badly}, and I'd most certainly like a cold ham sandwich, too.
Symptoms? Itchiness, Braxton Hicks--oh yes, now I know what these puppies are and OUCH, and swollen legs {ewww}
Best Moment of the Week? When we were flying home Sunday, Jeff got out his book and read a few chapters of the baby book he bought...he is so intent on figuring out as much as possible about pregnancy and what's to come

our fun walk on the beach in Hilton Head
and basically the only time you'll ever see me without makeup
And there you have it, Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Goodies...and Ebates!

Today's post is a smorgasboard {can't believe I just used that word} of goodness! Random one might say, but oh well, so be it.
1. First things first, from a few tweets and emails, it's as though there are people out there who are unaware of the holy grail of online shopping that is Ebates. Ebates is a website that you sign up to get cash back when you shop online. There are TONS of different stores that participate like Gap, Land's End, Dell, Ulta--the list goes on and on. Basically, you venture to the Ebates site and then use their link to follow to the other websites to shop. Ebates tracks your purchases and you earn cash back...free money people. I am guilty of forgetting to use it, so there is no telling how much money I could've seen by now. Oh well, I've now put a post-it on my computer as not to forget! Very helpful for all my Cyber Monday expenditures...yay for discounts. P.S. They also show you all the online coupon codes and such, too!
2. Tonight is the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show...is it pathetic that I am so excited for it I could squeal? I just love to see what's coming into the stores {minus the $2 million dollar bra} and if those ladies don't give us all the motivation to eat normally through the holidays, what will. It's OK though, I'm sure I'll be having my nightly bowl of ice cream ;)
3. I've got 1/2 of our Christmas cards addressed and stuffed--only about 40 more to go! I had no idea how many more cards we'd be sending out now that we're married...my hand hurts from all that writing. I've found some cute ways to show off the cards we receive this year though!
4. The smell of mistletoe is now everywhere in our house...Yankee candles, Glade plug-ins, and anything else I can get my hands on that smells like Christmas trees and such--I can never get enough of that smell--it is my absolute favorite!
5. To escape from the scariness of baby books and let my mind relax a bit, this past weekend I picked up "Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang" at one of the airport bookstores and I am so happy I did...it is absolutely hilarious and a fun read--I love me some Chelsea Handler!

A Little Bling for the Holidays…Giveaway!!

Christine, the fabulous southern lady behind Miss B Jewelry Design, created her shop in response to the growing demand of a small hobby of hers. What began in a small bead store in Greenville, South Carolina, has quickly grown into a campus-wide fashion statement at her college. Each of her pieces capture the style and ambiance of her two favorite places: NYC and the South {sounds familiar, right?}. With a delightfully simplistic style, Christine designs pieces of jewelry that pronounce the elegance and charm of the South, yet maintain a chic and modern appeal. Miss B Jewelry Design is now being carried in several boutiques from Birmingham, AL to Greenville, SC, but she has been gracious enough to do a little giveaway for me, since all of us like to have a little sparkle during the holidays.
She is giving away a free pair of earrings from either her Fall or Silver Collections, and here is just a sampling of some of her gorgeous baubles:


To enter, leave me a comment with the following information:
For 1 Entry: "Like" her Facebook page
For 2 Entries: Like her page and become a follower of my blog/let me know if you already are
Entries will be accepted through next Tuesday, and the winner will be announced the following day.

Good luck friends and thanks for playing along!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Home, Home at Last

We're home and back from the beach...ahhh, how I missed my own bed and the unpredictable Tennessee weather. We had a great, relaxing time in Hilton Head, but I'm happy to be back. We ate, took it easy, ate some more, walked on the beach, spent plenty of time cheering on our teams in some football {let's not even talk about the end result}, and definitely got our share of Black Friday shopping thanks to the hubby.
All in all, a great trip, though I missed my family like crazy. However, it does make my heart happy to know that next year we'll have a new little turkey at our dinner table ;).
Now that we're back home, I got to work early this morning to do more Christmas shopping during Cyber Monday...this could be very well the only Monday I look forward to. I woke up to hoards of endless emails with all sorts of fun discounts and I was like a kid in a candy store. If you've yet to jump on the Cyber Monday bandwagon yet, here are just some of my favorite discounts I've seen:
Amazon helped me buy the rest of Jeff's presents, and it feels so good to have his list knocked out so early. Now I only have a few other things to buy for family and the wrapping fun can get started. Lots on the agenda this week--work dinners, picking out/decorating our live Christmas tree, nursery furniture getting delivered tomorrow, and fun blog posts featuring giveaways...not to mention, there are only 26 days until Christmas--yippee. And seriously, I've said it before and I will say it again, if you haven't bought Michael Buble's holiday CD yet, you're TOTALLY missing out...it's fantastic!
Alright, back to the daily grind...red cup in one hand, Mastercard in the other ;)
Hope you all had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Holiday Gift Guide 2011...Gifts for Her

We are back for the 2nd installment of my holiday guide for 2011...this time, it's all about the ladies, which i know the majority of my readers should love--feel free to send this on to the beaus in your life to give them a little "hint" or two ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for Caroline...23 Weeks!

Happy Thanksgiving from our little turkey!

How Far Along? 23 weeks, 5 days…114 days to go! Yall, time is flying by these days.
Size of Our Wee One? A LARGE mango—I love how they differentiate between small and large. Yummy, mangoes are one of my favs, too.
Maternity Clothes? I’ve bought a bunch and I am starting to bring them into my wardrobe…saving a lot for our NYC trip and holiday shindigs and celebrations, but I did score from Gap last week (yes, again). If Jeff thought pregnancy meant my shopping addiction would go away, poor man was wrong. Check out my new goodies:

Weight Gain? 16 pounds…really watching my caloric intake this week—just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean I want to look like one ;)
Stretch Marks? Nope—I thought I saw some the other day, yet, low and behold, it was just the remnants of my spray tan—oops.
Gender? Baby girl…When people ask if I know what we’re having and I say girl, I can’t help but smile and get supremely giddy.
Movement? Caroline loves to kick and play for her Mommy and Daddy, yet it seems when anyone else puts their hand on my tummy, she gets a little shy…it’s quite funny as there are a few that are VERY anxious to feel her kicks
Sleep? Better this week…Jeff was gone one night, so I had the bed to myself and definitely took advantage of all that space…I could get used to that!
Food Cravings? Apple ANYTHING, sweets, sweets, and more sweets—the homemade cranberry sauce was just icing on the cake!
What I Miss? The energy I once had…I get so tired and I have to sit down and rest…it’s just not in my DNA, but I know I need to. However, I will be fully rested for my Black Friday shopping extravaganza. Poor Jeff has to try to fill Mom's place this year, and I don't think he knows what he signed up for.
Symptoms? Itchy belly ALL the time, endless amount of trips to the bathroom, and I think I am starting to resemble Humpty Dumpty—or so I feel when I roll out of bed.
Best Moment of the Week? Thinking HOW different the holiday season is going to be next year—we’ll have a 9 month old and if I think life is good now, it’s just going to get amazingly better come March.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfulness...I Was Here

This year, more than ever before, I think I have an
abounding list of "things" to be thankful for...
An incredible husband--we celebrated 5 months of wedded bliss. Not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars and God for bringing him in my life...he's my best friend,  partner-in-crime, and I wouldn't want to go through this adventure with anyone else.
A close-knit and supporting family. There is lots to say for a family that is as close as ours is. Sure, we're all crazy in our own ways, but I am thankful for each one of them...they add so much to my life and I am a better person because I have them in my world.
The best friends a girl could ask for. Honest, sincere, caring, and always there when the going gets tough or when we're celebrating exciting happenings in each others' lives. There is no one like them and none could ever be replaced.
A job that brings me joy...there are good days and bad days with any type
of career, but my good days outweigh the bad and I am lucky to work for a
company that values and rewards its employees.
My health. Pregnancy thus far has been relatively easy and I am thankful for that. I'm healthy, trying to stay as active as possible, and just enjoying this exciting time in my life.
I am thankful for the men and women who sacrifice day in and day out to protect our country...they are so unselfish in what they give up for each and every one of us and I pray that they can return home safely to their family and friends.
Having a real relationship with God...He's with me day in and day out and I know that no matter what happens, He is always looking out and watching over me. The older I get, the closer I feel to Him and I am so happy He is in my life.
And most of all, I am thankful to become a mother. A little less than 4 months to go until we meet our sweet Caroline and words cannot express the love, excitement, and joy I have in my heart to welcome this child into the world. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she will be loved and showered with hugs and kisses and will know how happy we are she came into our lives. Nothing is going to be better than having a child of our own. 

My cup truly runneth over ;)

And on a semi-related topic, has anyone else heard this song from Beyonce titled "I Was Here"? This is an incredible song, a testiment to living each day to the absolute fullest, to touching hearts, to doing everything you wanted, to making a difference, bringing happiness to others, and leaving a mark. We should all be living this way...we're never guaranteed a tomorrow, so live each day like it's your last. OXOX

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I'm Cooking This Year...

Growing up, I rememeber helping my Mom prepare Thanksgiving dishes to bring to my Grandparent's house and how we would spend so much time in the kitchen, making sure each dish was prepared perfectly...afterall, turkey day is a lot about the food, am I right?
Even now, I am just like her in that I agonize over each and every detail of what I make, as food=love. This year, the dishes I am making are a little different than usual since we'll be in Hilton Head, though I just have to make some of my most treasured favorites so that it'll feel like home. Here are the items on my to-do list for tomorrow night and Thursday morning:
**this time, I'll be using pumpkin butter and pecans instead of preserves
Sweet Potato Casserole {my family's famous recipe}
Autumn Chopped Salad {via Espresso and Cream}
German Chocolate Heath Bar Cake {via Cookbook Jungle}
And because you all love to hate me when I post the infamous "Eat This, Not That" series, I read that the average person consumes more than 4,500 calolries and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving...obviously the "fattest day of the year" by a landslide. However, check out these quick switches to help keep yourself on track during turkey day! Enjoy your time with family and friends ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The Good: I only have to work 2 days this week before we venture off to Hilton Head for the long holiday weekend
The Bad: I have so much to accomplish at work that I am not sure how I can get it all done...busy season is back and rearing its ugly head!
The Ugly: The rainy, gloomy weather that has washed over Nashville the past 24 hours...so much rain, yet it's 70 degrees--what in the world? I hate days and days with rain with no sunshine...kinda hard to get in the "groove"

The Good: Our first Christmas tree is decorated as well as the rest of the house and it made the holidays seem all the much closer...only one tree to go! {pictures to come!}
The Bad: I am completely exhausted from everything we packed into the past 2 days! Junior League volunteering for Tis the Season + decorating the house + hoards of laundry for our trip + registering for Caroline...this lady needs another day to recover
The Ugly: Me at the gym this morning--my eyes were barely open because I was so tired and I didn't even "try" to look semi-decent...but at least I made it, right?

The Good: We are all registered for Miss Caroline and Mom and Jeff treated me to whatever I wanted to eat for dinner after we were done...my first experience at Tavern and the burger with fries was out of this world good!
The Bad: I can't lie, registering wasn't the most enjoyable experience and I am so glad we are done--too overwhelming and let's just say we need some practice when it comes to figuring out how to use 1/2 of the gear we have to get. I felt like a pro when we registered for wedding gifts as I knew everything we needed to complete a formal china placesetting, as for this, I feel as though I am in total unchartered territory
The Ugly: Breast pumps and everything associated with them...who knew trying to feed your baby the "natural" way seems to be more difficult than with formula? Oh vey!

Here are a few snapshots of our "excursion":
 at this point, we were about to throw in the towel ;)
 delirious and ready to get out of that store...NOW
 highchair=torture chamber. Mom said by the time we figured out how to get
the tray on, the baby would've starved...we have a long way to go people!

And because we simply have to end on a positive note, I get to go home tonight, make pumpkin pie, and then pick the hubby up from the airport after a brief travel trip for work...what could be better than that?
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