Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother's Day...A New Holiday to Celebrate!

Am I totally a nerd for getting excited about the opportunity to celebrate my first Mother's Day? Let's just hope the mister doesn't forget, since it is less than 2 weeks away! In perusing for some much-needed new necessities, I thought I would post a few gift ideas in case the hubby just happens to read the blog and needs some helpful inspiration in the gift department:

manicure/pedicure/spa massage package
naked 2 eyeshadow palette

Are any of you out there asking for something fun in celebration of Mother's Day?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Confessional Friday! Read All About It

I confess that this was one of those weeks that just flew by, and I am sitting here with a smile on my face, sipping a cup of coffee, and think to myself "well hello Friday!".

I confess that yesterday was a hodge podge of madness...fast forward to 2pm as we're supposed to be leaving to tour the daycare and see everyone at my office where Caroline proceeds to ruin her adorable outfit due to some major "blowout" action-bless little bit''s heart. She did feel MUCH better afterwards, though she was changed into a trendy sleep and play instead...typical, huh? I am happy to report that everyone at work was over the moon excited to meet her and she put on quite a little show with tons of smiles and ohhhs and ahhhhs.

I confess that get really excited when the UPS/Fed Ex man comes with deliveries. I am like a kid in a candy store lately with all sorts of fun goodies being dropped off...nerd alert.

Speaking of nerd, I confess that I am also now the obnoxious person on Facebook who updates her profile picture of pictures of her baby...what have I turned into? Funny yes, but I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

Another fun tidbit-I had a bunch of you friendly fans out there request a "day in the life" post to see what our life is really like....get ready for some madness, some looking at me with little no makeup, and some interesting tidbits of how we fill our days. I'll be working on this very soon!

And finally, I confess that the thoughtfulness of blogging friends makes this whole journey of sharing my life worthwhile. Angela and Sadie, your emails made my day and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write me a personal note about why you read my blog and how it relates to you and your life. Much appreciated ladies.

Happy weekend ladies...cheers to 2 days of fun!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

1. We have had all sorts of fun this week...Jenna came by to snuggle with CC on Monday, one of Jeff's best friends Cary was here on Tuesday for a meeting so he came over for dinner, Wednesday we travelled to Gran and Papa's house for afternoon fun at their house, and today we are headed to tour Caroline's daycare and to stop by my office so everyone can finally meet her. I am having a hard time keeping up, but a filled calendar makes me happy that we are able to get out and about more now!

2. Speaking of Cary, check out the sweetest little dress he sent Caroline last week...Jeff was so excited for her first piece of Masters gear-future golfing buddy for daddy?? He so wishes, though I informed him she'll be in ballet class instead ;).
3. Did you all see that Giuliana and Bill are FINALLY expecting a baby via a gestational carrier? I am obsessed with them, love their show, and love their whole outlook on life, and I couldn't help but shed a tear when they announced on Monday they are expanding their family...just goes to show that even though it may not be the "traditional" way of having a baby, it's happening the way God intended it to and a little Rancic is on the way.
4.  I've cooked dinner 2 times this week=success for me and happy husband indeed! Yes, this is bragging, but it's the most I have cooked in months so I get an A+ for effort. It may not have been a romantic candlelit dinner for two, as a certain someone was screaming in the background, but hey, you make the most of what you got!
5. This weekend is the Country Music Marathon here in Nashville. Can't say I am not a little sad that I won't be running the 13.1 this year, however, Uncle Aaron AKA The Godfather is participating and we cannot wait to go cheer him on embarass him silly on Saturday morning!
6. The crazies of the Real Housewvies of New Jersey are back on...I think I lose brain cells every time I watch, yet it's just so entertaining how can you not? It's like a train wreck waiting to happen.
7. We are officially a suburban family... this week, we ordered a Radio Flyer Wagon and a Sunbrella, all which we deem "necessary items" for the beach-my my my we are certainly a sterotype now.

That's it for today friends...off to "work" and catch up with some of my favorites in the corporate world before jetting over to the daycare to have a little looksee and give Jeff a dose of reality for what's to come in a mere 4.5 weeks ;). This is going to be entertaining.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Ready for My Close Up!

She may be tiny, yet I do believe we have a little camera ham on our hands friends. Taken just 1 week after her arrival, my favorite photographer did it again...she managed to capture some absolutely gorgeous shots of our little one. Candice, I love them and thank you for ALWAYS being there to capture the most important details for us. Love you much.
Here is a little sampling of a few of my favorites from Caroline's newborn picture session:
And because every little one needs their own arrival announcement, here is a little snapshot of the cards we sent to friends and family from my favorite stationery site Minted. They are exactly what I was looking for...simple, classic, and feminine!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You've Got Questions...I've Got Answers

I have received all sorts of questions as of late and I wanted to put them all into one big post as not to disappoint...actually, I did this so I would remember all of them {or so I hope}. I think everyone knows I am an open book so if there is ever a question you have for me, I am happy to answer away!
1. Are you wearing spanx to help your body recover from labor? Actually no! I found something better thanks to my best friend. She told me about a product called the BFF and went to the store to pick it up for me, just a few days after Caroline arrived. It's basically like spanx, but you can make it tighter and it really helps to pull in that little belly I still have. For those interested, I bought mine at Pickles and Ice Cream and got an XS. It's a little pricey, but well worth the investment!
2. Where does Caroline sleep at night? Thanks to Mimi, she sleeps in a bassinet right next to our bed. We knew we wanted her in our room for the first few weeks {possibly even months} just for peace of mind, and to make it easier for middle of the night feedings and such. We got the Kolcraft Bassinet with sounds, vibration, and it has an incline so she isnt sleeping flat on her back, which helps with reflux and such. We absolutely love it! Even better, it's got room storage underneath it as well. CC has yet to sleep in her pack n play since it's a little too large so this has been a necessity!
3. How are you keeping up with your normal routine right after having the baby? Maybe I should do a "day in the life" post soon to show you just how I feel like I am barely treading water. There is the good, the bad, and the ugly and I assure you each day has an assortment of all three... basically, I am just trying to stay as positive as possible and tell myself that this initial newborn stage will be difficult, but she's only this little once and I need to savor every moment.
4. What have been the items you have used most with Caroline so far? As far as newborn necessities, I am definitely going to voice my opinion, as I think it's helpful to "pay it forward" to other mommies out there. I was given lots of advice and I know it's been so beneficial, because the world of babies is just way too overwhelming.
Aden + Anais Muslin Blankets: hands down, the best there is. They are lightweight, comfy, easy to swaddle little bit, breathable, and have the cutest designs. I want 10 more of these!
Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs: a bib plus burplcloth in one...same great absorbent material as the blankets...these are the favorite in our house!
A&D Ointment: when CC gets redness on her bottom from one too many "wet" diapers, I apply this to her wrinkled little tushy and she seems to get some relief ASAP.
Soothie Pacifiers: I know they say some babies aren't picky about pacifiers, but Caroline is quite the little diva and will only take a soothie made by Avent. Lucky for us, these are the same pacis that are used in Wubbanubs, which make the thought of using a pacifier a little more appealing.
Cloud B Sleep Sheep: we love the different sounds on this handy dandy stuffed animal and we use it everynight to calm Caroline to sleep after she feeds. Now I can see why so many people use noise machines to help them sleep!
My Breast Friend Feeding Pillow: I wouldn't have had this to use if it wasn't for my good friend Amber. She brought it over to me to borrow and I haven't put it down since. This is WAY better to use for breastfeeding rather than the Boppy, as it straps on to you and is more "snug" during feeding time. It also has a little storage pocket, perfect for mini lotion, lanolin cream, and emory boards so I can file CC's nails when she is "occupied".
Green Grass Drying Rack: this is the perfect rack for drying multiple bottles and such all at the same time, not to mention it will accomodate all brands...it also adds a fun pop of color to the kitchen counter, too- quite the conversation piece I assure you ;)
Medela Pump in Style Breastpump/Bottles: Another alert of a must-have if you plan on feeding a la boob...thanks Amber, I owe you one for this, as well. This boob tube pumper makes it SO much easier to pump, and faster, too. Not going to lie...this is one of the least glamorous parts about being a mom, but nutirition wise, momma's milk can't be beat.
Carter's Sleep and Plays: Caroline has lived in these onesies since the day she came home from the hospital. They come with either zippers OR snaps, and they are the absolute best and most comfortable clothing for everyday wear. Plus, they are way easier when it comes to diaper changes which seem to occur way too often.
I'm sure there will be tons more products I rant and rave about in the future, but these are ones that stood out to me from day one, and have made life way more pleasant.
5. How tall are you? I'm 5'4", but almost 5'5" on a good day ;)
6. What's the best piece of advice you have been given? For me, it's something my grandmother has enstilled in me for as long as I can remember...it's all about knowing that I am not in control and that I should talk to God each and everyday and put my complete trust in Him. He listens no matter what-when I am happy, when I am sad, and I know that as long as I have Him on my side, I can tackle anything life throws at me. Having a relationship with God has transformed my life and I have my grandmother to thank for that.
7. What is your most prized possession? I know we shouldn't get wrapped up in possessions and physical things, but the one item that means the most to me is my wedding ring. It signifies a once in a lifetime love, a commitment to put my marriage above all other, and whenever I look at it, I know that I have someone that loves me unconditionally, forever and always.
If you've got other questions for me, feel free to send them my way!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Wedding/Summer How-To Game Plan

I've had quite a few of you out there in blogging land emailing me asking for tips on how to get in shape for the summer, how to get fit for your upcoming wedding, etc. Obviously, my game plan is now back in high gear to drop the pregnancy pounds as soon as possible, so I thought I would try to hit some of the high points to making any lifestyle change a successful one. And yes, I am going to be 100% honest with where I am at and my progress...hoping this can pep up others, too!  
a. Set Goals. You need to establish what you're looking to achieve with weight loss/muscle tone/etc. Before my wedding, I knew I wanted to lose a few pounds, but for the most part, I wanted to lean out the muscle I had and work on refining my arms, midsection, and legs.
Now, my goal is to refine/tone everything...yes, I said everything, with a focus on my legs, thighs, and booty as this is where I gained most of my baby weight.
I cannot believe I am going to share this, but here are a few pictures of me pre-workout aka what my body looks like now {5 weeks post delivery}...I'm currently at 127 pounds and I am wanting to get back down around 118-120=my happy weight.
b. Count the Calories. This is the number #1 thing to do to figure out exactly what may be inhibiting your weight loss-you can burn hundreds of calories by doing lengthy sessions of cardio, yet if you don't know exactly what is going into your body, you won't be able to figure out what you need to eliminate to lose that pesky weight. For me (given my BMI, height, starting weight, etc) I normally stick to about 1400-1500 calories a day, broken down by 3 small meals and 2 snacks, which helps to keep the metabolism going! {Also, keep in mind, this number is a bit higher for me right now since I am breastfeeding and need additional calories, so it's most like 1800-2000 calories}.
A great way to find out whow many calories you need to be consuming to lose weight is here.
c. The Workouts. During operation "think wedding skinny", I worked out about 4 times per week. The people at the Y loved seeing me so much, I am sure of it. Typically, I would run 3-4 miles on the treadmill (rotating between a 5.5 and a 6.5 pace), and would mix that with strength training with light weights (5, 8, and 10 pound weights depending on each exercise) 2 days per week. Before AND after each workout, I would do 5-10 minutes of stretching to keep muscles loose, and I always finished with a 10-15 minute ab workout...yes, I know this sounds like a lot, but once I got the hang of it, my gym trips lasted right about 1 hour.
Currently, my workouts connsist of running 2 miles on the treadmill, doing my normal ab routine, and lifting weights...right at about 45 minutes at the gym. I cannot wait until CC can go to the gym nursery so I won't have to be so rushed and she can have some playtime, too.
d. The Other Stuff. To really see a difference, you must be willing to make big changes. I limit myself to a few alcoholic beverages per week, and when I do drink, I consume low calorie/low sugar drinks-SkinnyGirl Margaritas, champagne, red wine, light beer, etc. However, I do admit, I let myself indulge and I allow myself to have a sweet or two each week-nothing crazy, but a sugar free popsicle or frozen yogurt every so often. Don't deprive yourself!
e. Dress the Part. Part of the motivation to workout is to look good while doing it. Spend some of your hard earned money on some flattering {yet still comfortable} workout clothes...this really helps me when I get in a lull. Even better, you don't have to spend your entire paycheck on a new wardrobe. I buy most of my tanks, sports bras, and shorts/skorts from Target and Old Navy...moderatley priced, fun colors, and the fit is fantastic!
f. The Most Important Detail. Stay hydrated! Sure, we all love our addictive drinks-coffee, tea, sodas, etc-but the most essential thing we can do for our bodies is to drink plenty of the good stuff, H2O! You should be drinking between 8-10 glasses a day so arm yourself with a great water bottle and keep refilling it!
All in all, my best advice is to get on a routine, and log each and every thing you eat and drink into a food/drink journal. I use the My Fitness Pal on my iPhone and it really helps to keep me accountable. I also recommend not eating late night (7pm should be the latest you eat dinner unless it's a special occasion), and try to eat smaller portions-after all, restaurant dishes are likely double what you should be consuming anyways.
I promise you, this isn't rocket science...it's learning to eat differently, working out to be healthy and fit, and knowing the end result is worth a little sweat. Having a goal in mind to work towards is something that also keeps us on track-for me, it's fitting into my new bathing suit {seen below from VS} for our beach trip in May, which is a mere 20 days away!
I hope this answers some of the lingering questions a few of you have had. I am an open book so if you ever need advice, support, or other suggestions, I am here to help...good luck my friends!

Friday, April 20, 2012

My Favorite Staple...The Dress

If you browse through my pictures, it's evident that I am a lover of dresses. It's my go-to wearable, and my closet has been taken over by casual sundresses, maxis for running errands, and fun cocktail styles for parties and weddings.
There is just something so feminine about a dress and I can't help but feel a little more put together when I am sporting one of my favorites. In looking for some fun new ones to add to the spring and summer wardrobe, here are a few of my new purchases and some I may have on my to-order list!
Await Your Return Dress via Modcloth
Smooth Sailing Taupe Dress via Lulus
Cascade Ruffle Knit Dress via Loft
Running Lines Tank Dress via Tobi
Color Block Key-Hole Dress via Old Navy
Jodi Dress via Francesca's

P.S. if you're on the hunt for fashionable, yet affordable dresses, check out some of these websites...they are always offering discounts and their prices are really affordable, too!
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