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24 Things to Do in Your 9th Month of Pregnancy!

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So I don’t know what has been in the water around here but it sure does seem like a lot of people got busy about 9 months ago—there are SO many babies being born! I might just have to re-name the upcoming fall “baby season.” I guess really it wouldn’t have been 9 months ago if they are due this fall, huh? Well…good thing I am not a math major. Or a med student.

Since it is heading towards the end of August (already?!), we will be sliding into baby season here before we know it! Having had a baby, I know how crazy that last month of pregnancy can be- not to mention you feel swollen to the size of a whale and can barely move without peeing your pants, let alone sneeze or laugh. To add to the annoyance of feeling physically wiped, you are probably full of anxiety about all the things you want to get done before baby arrives but have no idea where to begin. Heck, you don’t even know all the things you want to do because your pregnant brain doesn’t allow you to remember if you even took your vitamin that morning.

So, for all you pregnant moms, or those thinking about getting pregnant, or those of you who are bored and just feel like reading everyone else, here is a list to refer to of things to do in your final month of pregnancy to prepare for baby…and keep your stress levels at bay!

 

1- Get Out!

Go on a date…or 10 dates, with everyone. See friends. Visit grandma. Watch a movie at the theatre. After you have a little one, your chances of going out decrease by…well A LOT. You don’t have energy, and if you are anything like me, you don’t want to be around people either. So schedule some time out and be social!

2- Discuss your birth plan.

This is something you will probably want to research yourself and talk to your medical provider about. Are you delivering vaginally or cesarean? Do you want an epidural? Will you be induced? How many people are going to be in the room with you? Are you planning on banking the cord blood? Skin-to-skin contact? Find out HOW to do that in my birth plan post. There is no wrong way to do it, but make sure whatever your plan is, that it is what YOU want to do and feel is best for you and your baby.

3- Get a Sleeping Area for Baby Ready

Newborns sleep, a lot. You don’t want to have to worry about setting up the crib or putting together a bassinet when you are exhausted yourself from having a baby. Having a place already set up (whether a crib, cradle, pack and play, bassinet, co-sleeper bed, whatever) will make you want to kiss yourself thank you when you arrive home!

4- SHOP

Whether you like it or not, people LOVE babies. Which means you are going to have your privacy invaded like crazy. Save yourself from feeling flustered because everyone is seeing you in your long johns and invest now in some cute comfy wear. May I suggest yoga pants or patterned leggings paired with a cute, simple, loose top? Trust me- you won’t be shopping for these things AFTER the baby gets here.

5- Pack a Hospital Bag

When it comes down to the wire, you usually don’t know exactly when the baby will be here. He might be three weeks early. She might come a week late. Unless you have a scheduled date with your doctor (even then it is subjective to baby terms) it is best to be prepared for anything, anytime! See my suggestions for what to bring in your hospital bag here.

6- Choose a coming home outfit for baby

Baby has to wear something on his way out of the hospital, right? Of course he does. He is going to be the kind of style in those new outfits you have waiting. Pick one and toss it in the bag!

7- Consider some baby health and CPR classes.

This is something I wish I would have done before I had my baby. Most people have no idea what to do in an emergency situation, and with babies, being able to react quickly and efficiently is important. Most hospitals and fire departments will offer these classes for free or at minimal cost- or they can point you in the direction of where to find them!

8- Narrow down your favorite names

Some people have the name picked out before they even spawn their precious babe. Not me. I named my baby almost 3 days after she was born. And yes, I felt like an embarrassed schmuck every time someone asked her name and I said I didn’t have one yet…two days after her birth. You don’t have to have a name when you go in, but having a few in mind to pick from will help you make a decision all the sooner once she is born.

9- Get your nails done!

You need to pamper yourself during that last month to get through the less-than-wonderful parts of being 9 months pregnant. Not to mention how many pictures are going to be taken featuring a baby in YOUR HANDS! Make those nails pretty and feel a little prettier yourself! I had tons of nurses commenting on how cute my snowflake designed toenails were during labor- a fun compliment to encourage me!

10- Schedule a photographer

Most photographers want to take newborn photographs within the first couple of weeks of the baby’s life. Choose someone now and make sure they can fit you into their schedule and then you won’t have to stress about it later when your post-pregnant mind can barely handle more than “cry, feed the baby, love the baby, cry some more.”

11- Tinker and Play

I had the lovely experience of holding a screaming newborn and trying to unfold my fancy stroller for the first time in a parking lot in the snow. The people who walked past had eyes that glared at me with the thoughts, “incompetence.” Save yourself the embarrassment and take a few minutes to play with the car seat, stroller, bouncer chair, and anything else you might have so you know how to handle it like a pro when baby gets here!

12- Clean the house- or hire a professional cleaner.

If you have the money to splurge, I suggest the latter. Get someone to come deep clean your tub and scrub the nooks and crannies of your kitchen for you. It feels so much better to bring a newborn into a house where you don’t feel compelled to immediately start housework. If you can’t afford a cleaner, try to choose One task per day to complete and slowly work on cleaning it up a little at a time (many of you know this because you have been nesting, right?)

13- Stock up!

You might find it helpful to stock up on the “staples” now so you don’t feel like you need to once the baby is born. Get a bunch of on-the-go snacks (if you can eat them with one hand, more power to you!) toilet paper, frozen foods, cereal, feminine supplies (a LOT of these), and extra diapers.

14- Media it up!

Babies eat a lot and need a lot of attention, even if they are just sleeping! That means you are left with trying to find entertainment for yourself to keep you sane as you spend endless hours feeding or holding the baby. Sign up for Hulu, download books to your Kindle, fill up your Netflix queue of things you want to see, borrow books from friends, download music to your ipod, and start stocking up favorite movies so you aren’t left with the “what can I do” question later.

15- Wash SOME of baby’s clothes

Washing a few things to have set and ready to go will help your stress levels immensely after having a baby. Don’t wash too many things though- you never know if your little girl will grow fast, how long she might wear something, or if she pops out…a boy! Hey- you have to be prepared for anything!

16- Make a list of helpers

There is no question about it, having a new baby is hard. Sometimes, you WILL need help. Find a few people you are comfortable with asking (your mom or best friend?) that would be willing to come hold the baby while you shower, or clean your kitchen while you nap with baby. Contacting these people before hand will help them to prepare and make it less complicated for you to have to figure someone else out on the spot later.

17- Decide when to announce the baby

Are you going to call everyone when you are in labor? Will you just text them with a baby once they make their arrival? Are you going to wait until you are home before allowing people to visit? Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by everything when you actually have the baby, decide now who you are going to tell beforehand and who you want to announce it to after and let yourself focus on more important things in labor!

18- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

Now- I was a weirdo, I actually got MORE sleep AFTER the baby was born. What can I say? I was miserable, and uncomfortable is an understatement. Plus I had to pee every 23 minutes. But if you feel tired, take a nap! Go to bed early! Sleep in! You don’t know how much you can get of that later, and you need all the energy you can get!

19- Journal about your story

Take the time to write about your pregnancy. Tell your funny stories, the best and the worst things about it, and even consider writing a letter to your baby. You will be amazed how quickly you forget the little things!

20- Don’t Be Shy!

If you are feeling sexy and have the energy, make some moves on your lover! You may not get another chance for a while, and even then, kids have a knack for ruining the romance moment!

21- Consider writing a will

This is something that doesn’t need to happen immediately, but the sooner you can get this done, the better and more secure the future is for your little one in case anything should happen. Even if you just take some time to do a little bit of research or contact a lawyer, you will feel grateful you did.

22- Make Decisions

Are you getting him circumcised? Is she going to be breastfed or bottle fed? Pampers or Huggies? Some decisions are bigger than others, but if you talk about what you want to do before they arrive, it relieves that much more stress later.

23- Make some meals

Spend a few hours and throw together some freezer meals that will be quick, easy, and tasty once the baby gets here and you don’t feel like cooking.

24- Indulge yourself.

You literally just spent the last nine months building a body, creating a life! And you are going to spend the next 18 years (or longer) teaching that little body how to live. Take some time to do what you love. Go to your favorite store with breakable items (you won’t be in there again for years!), get a massage, have your hair primped, do a girls night. Whatever it takes to give yourself what you deserve!

Hopefully this list takes the edge of the frantic need to remember everything you have to do before your bundle of pooping/eating/crying/perfect joy arrives! For a list of 17 things to do after baby arrives, click here!

Hugs and Loves!

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17 Things To Do AFTER Baby Arrives

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Finally! After 9 months of gestation, discomfort, an ever expanding belly, and cravings, you have finally crossed the delivery hurdle and are standing past the finish line… with a brand new baby in your arms. And then the question hits you like a freight train… WHAT NOW? Yes, you have motherly instincts that will help you a little, but the first several weeks after delivery are often considered some of the most emotional and exhausting of a woman’s life, and at least when I get emotional and exhausted, I have a hard time remembering all of the things I need or want to do! Now that it has been a couple of years since my baby, I think I have had enough time to remember all of the things I should have done during those very first few weeks (at least I hope I’ve had enough time, ha!) Here is the list I have compiled of things to do in those first few weeks after baby arrives!

1-Take Newborn Photos

If you plan on doing so. The most incredible thing about babies by far is how ridiculously fast they grow and change. You can literally almost visibly see it happening day by day. If you plan on having newborn photos taken, do it within the first 2 weeks. This is something I mentioned can be scheduled in my list of 24 Things To Do in Your 9th Month of Pregnancy.

2- Write Your Story!

Another amazing thing about babies… when you have one, it is shocking how quickly you lose your memory. Write down your pregnancy journey and the story of your child’s birth as a keepsake for yourself or your child. You will be amazed at how quickly all of the details fade, and having a child, at least in my opinion, is one of the most incredible things, so remembering the details might be something you treasure.

3- Invest in Epsom Salt

Oh, this stuff is HEAVENLY for helping to heal after delivery. It is natural and helps your skin feel soft but also has healing aids to help your body recover after having a baby, whether vaginally or via cesarean. Trust me, your body will thank me for it.

4- Sleep When Baby Sleeps

I can’t stress this enough. Your body is tired. It is trying to recover. You are more than likely sore or itchy. And you are coping with the 5 million emotions that come with having a baby. The best thing for your body to help cope and recover is getting rest and sleep, which unfortunately can be scarce with a baby. The great news is, newborns typically sleep A LOT. And I know all you want to do is hold them while they sleep, or you will want to have your visitor at times when they are sleeping so you don’t have to deal with baby’s awake needs with people there, but if your baby is asleep, the best thing you can do is try and catch a few ZZZs yourself. Don’t worry about your own “sleep schedule” because your body needs the extra sleep to recover and honestly, you just had a baby woman, don’t feel guilty about letting yourself sleep a little extra for once!

5- Send Out Announcements

This is something you want to do within the first couple of months usually, because let’s face it… it is a little weird to get a baby announcement and the kid is already sprouting teeth in the photo and the kid is obviously closer to 1yr old than newborn. Many parents like to do this right after their newborn photos are born. I personally didn’t send out any announcements through mail, but I found a cute photo and sent it to all of my friends/family/colleagues through email with the usual info (baby name, birthdate, weight, etc.) Yes, I’m a little unrefined and boring, but at the time I was just too tired to think about it. Maybe if I had made this list then I would have pulled myself together and gotten some sent out? Ha!

6- Schedule Your Baby’s Appointments

This is something you want to do pretty immediately as most pediatricians want to see your baby within the first two weeks of your baby’s life. If you don’t already have a pediatrician, finding one should be on the top of your priority list. Ask the nurses at the hospital for recommendations on where to start, or talk to your friends and family about suggestions for doctors they may have.

7- And While You’re At It….. Make Your Own Appointment

Depending on whether you had a vaginal birth or a cesarean, doctors will want to see you anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks postpartum to make sure everything is healing properly. At that time they will usually go over your plans for birth control if you plan to use any after baby, so doing some research about birth control methods previous to the appointment can be helpful.

8- Stock up on Snacks

And you get bonus points if they are ready to go without any prep or can be eaten with one hand. As your body recovers you need extra nutrients and energy to keep it healing and going, and if you are breastfeeding it is even more important. My favorite things were fruits and veggies that were just cut up and ready to go, or things like trailmix or granola bars that provided a little bit of protein.

9- Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

Especially if you are a first time mom, you will probably have a LOT of questions. And if you are anything like me, they will cause you anxiety if you don’t get answers! When you think of questions, write them down, then you can call a doctor or shoot a text to your mom or look online to find answers. Most hospitals have nurses on staff 24 hours a day to answer questions, and they were an amazing resource to me when I had questions about a clogged milk duct and why my baby hadn’t pooped for three days. Don’t be afraid to ask! Everyone understands you are doing your best!

10- Find Helpers and LET Them Help

This is another one on my list of things to do in the 9th month of pregnancy, but I really feel strongly about allowing people to help when you need it. Find people who can come vacuum your floors, wash your dishes, or make a run to the grocery store for you so that you can focus on resting.

11- Pump!!

For you breastfeeding mamas…. Yes, engorgement is the worst, and I highly recommend getting a pump and pumping asap. Not only does it help with the pain of engorgement, but it helps you build up your milk supply for when you need to have the baby fed and are not in a position to breastfeed. Many people will debate me on this because your body is still learning to adjust and it produces however much milk it thinks it is using, so if you pump then your body will think it needs more and thus will make more, thinking the baby needs more, leading to more engorgement. All of that is true, but from my opinion, the relief was so incredible that I would rather do it over and over again and build up milk supply for the freezer than live with engorgement for several weeks while my body adjusts. Especially where I had to return to work, having milk supply stocked in my freezer was something that was important to me.

12- File Your Paperwork

When you have a baby, there are all sorts of forms to fill out and places to report to. To eliminate hassle later, it is best to get this done early. The hospital will usually give you forms to fill out to get the birth certificate and your child’s social security card (for babies in the US), or you can request to have it sent to you. Also remember to report your delivery to your insurance and fill out any necessary forms they require to make sure your baby is covered. Most insurance companies require this to be done pretty quickly, within the first 30 (or so) days.

13- Watch Out for Symptoms of Post Partum Depression

This one is a HUGE one for me. I struggled with postpartum depression after having my baby, and it was the single worst, most horrible thing I have ever experienced. It is incredibly dangerous because many moms don’t realize they are suffering, don’t want to admit they are struggling, or feel too embarrassed to tell anyone about it. This post here lists some symptoms of post partum depression that are common and should be watched for, and this one here talks about people who are at risk of postpartum depression. It is not a subject to be skipped over or taken lightly, of all the things to do on this list, this is really the most important one to do in my opinion.

14- Lots of Skin to Skin

Skin to skin has amazing psychological, emotional, and physical health benefits for both baby and mama. Especially in the first few weeks of life, having skin to skin contact helps a baby to build trust, feel secure, and feel close to mommy while being provided with a feeling of safety in the strange new world they have entered. It can also really help build the bond between child and parent, so this isn’t limited to just moms! Dads should definitely do it too!

15- Let Yourself Heal

You just had a baby. Give yourself a break. Please. You don’t need to be bending and pulling to make the bed every day, wearing yourself out with housework, or straining your body as it tries to heal through doing too much exercise. This is a free ticket to sit in your sweat pants and eat whatever you want and snuggle your smooshy, wonderful bundle of joy while binge-watching Netflix for the next few weeks. Use it.

16- Make Your Fitness Plan

For later. As previously stated, let your body heal. Now is the time that you can make your goals and a plan for how you want to approach any health or fitness goals you might have, but clear it with your doctor before beginning and take things slowly.

17- Treat Yourself

In whatever way you want! You just had a baby, you are going through a lot of changes, and sometimes it is hard to cope with all of that. Allow yourself to splurge on YOU a little. If you see something you love on Amazon, buy it. Or you get a sudden burst of energy and want to bake some cookies, do it. If you are feeling pretty good about how things are going and would like a break, let yourself go out on a date. Don’t skip out on this one because truly, you deserve it!

If you aren’t quite to the fourth trimester yet, be sure to check out 27 Things To Do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant and my list of Must Haves for the Hospital Bag.

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27 Things To Do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant

Onyx and Blush Things To Do When You Find Out You Are Pregnant

You’re Pregnant. Honest to goodness, positive line on a stick, you have a little body growing inside of you. The vast range of emotions you feel when you find out your pregnant cannot be prepared for, but one thing is for sure, you had better start preparing now for that little bundle because nine months goes a lot faster than you would expect. There are a lot of people that say you shouldn’t be trying to prepare so early on in pregnancy and that you have plenty of time to think about things later, but it is never too early to start preparing and let’s be honest, you are way too excited/anxious to not do something, right? Now, I am not saying to run off and pack your hospital bag or anything (let’s reserve that for something to do in your 9th month of pregnancy, read more here!), but there are a lot of things you can (and probably should!) do now

1. Start Taking A Pre-Natal Vitamin

If you were trying to conceive then you might have already started doing this, but if you haven’t then start NOW. Pre-natal vitamins contain all of the necessary vitamins that your body needs to produce a healthy, growing baby during development and the first trimester is when all of the major organs are developing so you need to have those vitamins. You can get these by prescription from a doctor, but they can also be bought over the counter. Just look on the back and make sure it has folic acid in it (recommended by most doctors is 800mg).

2. Read Up!

It is never to early to start reading about pregnancy, babies, and parenthood. There is so much information out there that even though you have 9 months to read it, you still won’t read it all! Becoming educated about what is happening in your body is helpful because you can understand the stages of development and you gain awareness of what things you should be looking for so that you know if something isn’t right. Plus it is SO interesting, I am always amazed when I read about how that little bean develops inside! It is just fascinating. My favorite book was Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week, but I also LOVED reading pregnancy blogs and I loved reading the book I got for Tony about pregnancy, The Caveman’s Pregnancy Companion.

3. Make a Doctor Appointment

Maybe you already have an awesome doctor, in which case call them up and schedule an appointment. If you are like me though, you will probably have no idea where to even begin the doctor search. Start by asking people who they like, look up reviews, and if all else fails just find your nearest OBGYN clinic or even the closest hospital and give them a call. Then you can get some names and research them. And if you go to your appointment and find out you don’t like them, don’t be afraid to branch out and find a doctor you really trust because that will be important. Once you find a doctor, schedule an appointment. Some doctors will take you as soon as you find out, while others like to wait until you are 8-10 weeks before the first appointment.

4. Calculate Your Due Date

This is more just for fun than anything, when you go to your doctor’s appointment they will calculate it for you based on when your last period was and baby’s measurements, but if your doctor requests that you be 8-10 weeks to see you it might just be too hard to wait! There are a lot of sites that have due date calculators and you just plug in your information and it gives you the date! Of course it is subject to change based on the actual timing that you may not know, but it is usually fairly accurate.

5. Decide Who/When/How To Tell

This one is kind of tricky and there is a lot of controversy regarding this. Some say you should wait until you are out of the first trimester, others think it is fine to tell everyone. You can read more about my opinions on that here, but just know that whatever you decide to do is a good decision. Whenever you decide to tell you can get as creative as you want (I will post some fun announcement ideas soon!) or let it be a simple, special moment.

6. Alter Your Exercise Routine

I should add, if applicable. Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, but clear it with your doctor first before continuing. There may be some exercises you should refrain from doing or alter a bit so that they are safe for pregnancy. You can search pregnancy safe exercises or talk with your doctor about them.

7. Adjust Your Eating Habits

Having a baby means your body is working extra hard and needs all of the nutrients it can possibly get! Try loading up on healthy foods that have important vitamins and proteins that you need. Vegetables that are rich in folic acid like leafy greens, legumes, avocados, and green peppers are great. It also helps to start eating small meals, several times a day. This might be tricky if you are struggling with morning sickness, and if this is the case don’t feel bad. Eat what you can and here are some tips for morning sickness that might help you survive.

8. Take a “Before” Photo

This is something that I didn’t do and I regret it 100%. It is fun to be able to compare your photos as you grow from month to month, not to mention a fun way to help document your journey and your child will love to look back and see what it was like when you were pregnant.

9. Start Using Lotion Now

Everywhere. Every day. Multiple times a day. I am not convinced that doing a bunch of extra treatments really helps prevent stretchmarks, I kind of think you either get them or you don’t because stretchmarks occur when your skin lacks elasticity which is actually genetic, but it doesn’t hurt and hey, it might help. If anything it keeps your skin moisturized which is huge because when you are super pregnant and your belly starts itching from dryness, it is THE most uncomfortable feeling. Possibly aiding in avoiding stretchmarks is really a bonus.

10. STOP drinking, smoking, birth control, etc.

Does this one really need any explanation? All of these things are harmful to baby’s development. The second you know you are pregnant, ditch these things. If you are on birth control that is invasive, such as an IUD or a rod in your arm, contact your doctor immediately.

11. Download a Pregnancy App

This was one of my favorite pregnancy aids, I downloaded the babycenter app and loved it because I just put my due date in and it provided weekly updates and information right to my phone! Even though reading books is great, sometimes they can feel overwhelming so to have an app that has a ton of information all in one place, and each week provides a short synopsis of what is happening as well as tips and videos and photos was amazing. I loved my babycenter one but I know there are several great ones out there.

12. Start Documenting Your Journey

It will amaze you how quickly pregnancy brain sinks in and how easily you forget things about being pregnant. Start taking photos and writing about your journey. You can use a diary or get a notebook and write one line a day about pregnancy. You can also start a photo journal or photo book or write about it on your blog. There is a ton to do after you have a baby (check out the list I created of 17 things to do after baby comes here) without having to remember everything about pregnancy and writing it down, it is much easier to do along the way if you have the energy to do it!

13. SLEEP!

Your body is working hard, you need that extra rest! Take it while you can because by your third trimester, it is going to be hard to get good sleep and once you have the baby you can just plan on always being a little tired for the next 18 years. (jokes, but really!)

14. Make a To-Do List

What things do you want or need to get done before the baby arrives? Make sure to write them all down so you don’t forget then make a calender and schedule when to try and get them done. This will save you immense stress in that last trimester when you are rushing to finish everything before the baby gets here!

15. Check Your Medications

There are a LOT of medications that are unsafe for pregnancy, so if you currently take any, look at the bottle and find out what it says about taking while pregnant. Be sure to clear all medications with your doctor too. Also be aware that many over the counter medications can be harmful too, even medications for something as simple as a headache or heartburn. Find out what medications you can and can’t use and then try to find alternative methods that are pregnancy safe. This goes for natural medicines and essential oils too as some are unsafe for pregnancy.

16. Keep a List of Questions

When I first found out I was pregnant, I had more questions than I could possibly imagine having, but of course my first doctor appointment came and he said, “do you have any questions?” And my mind went completely blank. Keep a list with you and as you think of questions, add them to the list, so that you can be prepared when asked if you have any questions.

17. Become Acquainted with Symptoms to Watch for

Both positive and negative. Some bloating, cramping, spotting, nausea, tiredness, and soreness of breasts are fairly common symptoms, and whether you get all or some or none of them is going to depend on you and your own pregnancy. Be aware of some of the possibilities, but also be aware of the things to watch out for like heavier bleeding, severe cramping, or dehydration so that you can get to a doctor if necessary and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

18. Find Support

Pregnancy is a long, emotional journey. The sooner you find a support system the better. This could be your spouse/partner, friends, family, or even online support groups for other parents or pregnant women.

19. Try to Ease Your Symptoms

So you are sick. Really sick. And you can’t manage to go more than 45 minutes without yawning. And you can’t count the number of times you are going to the bathroom in a day because it is so often. Relax. This is normal and usually are signs of a healthy pregnancy. You may not be able to get rid of symptoms entirely, I mean you are building another human afterall- give yourself a break! But there are some tricks you can do to help manage your symptoms- not drinking a lot of water before bed will help reduce bathroom breaks at night. Taking naps in the day or going to bed early will help ease how tired you feel. And for morning sickness, here are some tips here

20. Research, Research, Research!

A lot of people don’t realize how many options are available when it comes to pregnancy, delivery, and parenting. Start researching now so that you can make well informed decisions about what you want to do. If you want some ideas for where to start researching, you can start with looking at different delivery methods, breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding, pregnancy tools to use, and various parenting methods. Try not to get lost in all of that information and follow what you feel is best for you and your baby!

21. Start Saving Money

Babies are EXPENSIVE. Maybe you are financially set already to have this child, but if you aren’t then now is the time to start saving up! When it comes to saving money, 9 months isn’t that long of a time. Start finding coupons for baby items to stock up when they go on sale and putting aside money each month that can go towards the baby.

22. Learn About Your Insurance

There is no nice way to say this really, but most people will agree with me when I say that insurance can be the biggest pain in the butt. Now is the time to call and inform them of the pregnancy, what your options are, what things they cover, and if they have any programs specifically for pregnant women. I know some insurance programs offer bonuses specifically for pregnant women such as 24 hour access to nurses, free books and informational outlets, free infant CPR classes (or similar), and even can offer freebies like breastpumps and giftcards.

23. Invest in a Pregnancy Pillow

ASAP. I didn’t get a good pillow to use until I was into my third trimester, and it changed my pregnant life. I was lucky (eyeroll) and got to have morning sickness for my entire pregnancy, and this pillow helped immensely with the nausea at night because it helped control stomach acid and heartburn, which both make nausea worse. Plus pregnancy can get extremely uncomfortable, it will be nice to have this on hand when you first start feeling uncomfortable rather than waiting until just weeks before you deliver. Trust me, you will be thanking me on this.

24. Avoid Reading Stressful/Negative Things About Pregnancy

Being pregnant already increases your stress levels and anxiety, don’t fuel it with online discussion boards about horror stories with pregnancy or read stressful information in books. If it is something that might make you worry or give you negative thoughts, save yourself the stress and skip it. You are already working hard enough to create that little person, don’t spend extra energy worrying and stressing about things you read.

25. Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is extremely important even when you aren’t pregnant, which makes it just that much more important when you are! Your body needs more water too because it expels so much energy while building a body, and the baby starts to use up that water too. Grab a giant, refillable, BPA free bottle and keep it with you constantly and drink every time you think about it.

26. Find Comfortable Clothes

You may not have a big belly yet, but over the next few weeks you will start to notice clothes fitting tighter and pants feeling more snug on your waist. I know, I know, you don’t need pregnancy clothes this early, but honestly they are THE most comfortable things and you might as well take advantage of them while you can. This early on, I would probably invest in some good leggings or something with a stretchier waistband so that you are comfortable until you get to a point where you will fit into maternity clothes. And I don’t even need to mention that it is just fun to look at maternity clothes, even if you don’t need them right away and there is no shame in that!

27. Stop Stressing and RELAX!

Yes, you are having a baby and your life is about to change and it is exciting! But these first few weeks can be very overwhelming and exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Try not to stress about little things, negative things, or things that just don’t matter. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself and being excited about your baby! That little miracle will be your most amazing accomplishment and the greatest love of your life!

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5 Things to Help Hold the Reigns of the Plastic Horse When You Are Going Round and Round

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Some days, you just don’t know where you are going. And that is OK! And some days, you just don’t know who you are. And that is OK , too! It is kind of like that quote, “Life is like a carousel. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, sometimes you go round and round. Just remember to enjoy the ride.”

For whatever reason, I always liked that quote (not sure who the original creator was), probably because it is cheesy. What can I say? I love the cheese. Lately however, I feel like I have just been going round and round and round. I thought I had it all figured out, only to have my crazy heart tell me that I should go in a different direction. Wait… did I say heart? hmm. Maybe it is the universe telling me. Or the JuJu Gods. The Colors of the Wind maybe? Whatever it is, I suddenly wasn’t happy with the said direction I had previously “chosen” for my life and to be quite honest, I haven’t totally figured out what direction is supposed to replace it. Hence… I go round and round and round.

And let me tell you, going round and round is not as easy as it has seemed. Maybe it is due to my high anxiety, but I find it extremely frustrating and stressful that I can’t seem to keep up with my life, like a storm chaser after a tornado. Or maybe I am the tornado and I am just spinning out of control? Anyhow, it doesn’t matter WHAT the reason is so much as that what matters is that it is important to find a way to keep calm so you can keep a firm grasp on that plastic pony while you go round’n’round. Here are a few things I have found helpful, maybe this list can help a few of you (my fellow “round’n’rounders” trying to figure out who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing) too.

  1. Find What you Love. When in doubt about who you want to be or what you are supposed to do, turn to your passions. I am cheesy and corny, so I already know how this sounds, but I am truly a firm believer in individuals being given their passions and talents for a reason. It is shameful not to engage in it. And more importantly, if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing you will never be as happy as you could be.
  2. If All Else Fails, Try EVERYTHING. If you don’t know what you love, find it. Believe it or not, there is a LOT of things to do out there in the world. That means there is a ton of potential for finding what you love and what you are good at. You will never know that you have the potential to be the world’s best Pooktre Artist if you never try it out. (BTW Pooktre Art is pretty dang cool!)
  3. Find an Outlet. Going round in circles on the carousel sometimes just makes you dizzy. Find something to distract you from the circles and helps you focus on just YOU. Find an outlet. For me, I like writing this blog. The writing isn’t my best, I don’t spell check, I just write for my self therapy. My husband does photography. Some people like to knit or play an instrument. Occasionally I draw for fun. This outlet needs to be something that draws attention to YOU. To something that makes YOU feel better.
  4. De-Tox. All of that pent of stress and anxiety? TOXIC. Find a way to relieve that stress from your shoulders and it will be much easier for you to focus. Studies show that people who meditate just for a few minutes every morning tend to be way more productive. (No, I am not looking up stats for this post- I have enough homework I am procrastinating, thank you! For more info on meditation and health benefits check out this WebMD article.) I like to escape into books. Or take a bubble bath. Many people love yoga (these people are usually skinny and can twist themselves into a pretzel- both tricks I have yet to master, but someday I’m sure I will!) Or maybe you just need to take an entire weekend and binge-watch an entire series of a television show on Netflix. If you have money, go get a pedicure or a massage. Just do something to relax and rid yourself of unnecessary stress.
  5. Don’t Waste Your Time Waiting for the Right Thing to Come Along. You will never get married if you wait around for the right guy to show up ringing your doorbell. You will never be a concert pianist without practicing. You will never go on that vacation if you don’t try to come up with a way to get money for it. All advice you have probably heard before, but it is true. Even if you don’t know where you are going or what you want to do. Don’t let yourself stop progressing just because you don’t know where your potential lies. Keep trying new things, focusing on yourself, and finding your own potential. Make life happen, don’t let it happen to you.

Sometimes you might just be going in circle in life, but sometimes you need to go in circles to help discover yourself. It is the time in life to discover where you want to go and who you have the potential to be. It is inevitable that some days, you are going to feel like the Lily Tomlin quote that says, “I always wanted to be somebody… but now I realize I should have been more specific!” You will wish that you had been more specific when asking to be a “somebody!” Unfortunately that is just life. Or maybe it is fortunate. When you start going in circles and feel the monotonous round and round motion of that carousel horse, you know it is time to start focusing on yourself to find what you are really supposed to be doing. With that, I will just say this once more! Don’t let life just happen to you, you should make life happen!

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Mommy Must Haves: The Hospital Bag

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I think I mentioned in my previous post 24 Things To Do In Your 9th Month Of Pregnancy, that it seems like this fall is baby season this year! So, as a follow up post, for all of my friends, family, readers, and everyone else having a baby or thinking about it, I have put together a list of my recommendations to stuff your hospital bag with as you anticipate your labor pain adventure your precious babe’s birth day!

(Side note: I am a chronic overpacker, so I didn’t need half of the stuff I brought… I will make sure to include the items you DON’T really need so you don’t break your back dragging your bags around the hospital!)

For Mom

  • Something to Do While you Labor. Occasionally labor goes really fast for women and they have a baby literally 20 minutes after checking in. Lucky brats. This is NOT the case for most women- I labored from 7:30 in the morning when I was induced until after midnight. And I didn’t pack ANYTHING to do. What a fool I was. Tony did try to help by purchasing me a magazine…but it ended up being in Spanish! Whoops! Save yourself the boredom and distract yourself from the pain (as much as possible anyway) and bring something to do. Card games, Books, Magazines, Games on a tablet or phone, or even writing thank you cards from your baby shower are all great options. (Especially that last one!)
  • Fresh Underwear. All I could do was pray thanks to God that my mother went out and bought me fresh, comfy underwear to wear after having a baby. You don’t have to buy new stuff, but make sure what you bring is clean and maybe a little bit roomy for comfort, but more importantly, to fit that giant diaper-sized pad you will be wearing! The hospital provides pads that literally go from your belly button to your mid back, and some sexy mesh undies to go over it. I found them terribly itchy and was so glad I had my own to wear!
  • Deodorant. Having a baby is hard work, whether vaginally or c-section. You better believe your body is going to be producing some major body odor and having something to swipe some freshness every so often is extremely welcome. (Maybe this is just me, but when I stink I begin to panic about everyone else smelling me, and that is the LAST thing you should be worrying about when having a baby!)
  • Robe. Well, technically you don’t NEED this as the hospital provides some beautiful smocks for you to wear….but as sexy and tempting as they were, I would have been glad to have something of my own to wear to make me feel a little more put together. Something that is short enough not to tangle aound your legs and still has easy access to your front as you (and baby) get checked often after delivery. Usually when you are sleeping because those nurses have an evil agenda. Ha.
  • Something Comfy to wear home. Don’t try for cute. You just had a baby, you aren’t going to be getting right back in those skinny jeans and cute bras. Wear a comfy nursing bra (unless you have boobs too big for a nursing bra…like me…again post coming soon on big boob problems) a loose t shirt, and some sweat pants. Or a maternity outfit. Don’t get stressed trying to impress anyone by dressing cute.
  • Some kind of comfy Socks, Slippers, or Flip Flops. Unfortunately after having a baby, those darn nurses and their sneaky, evil agendas make you walk. Especially if you had a c-section. (Something about being good for you? I think they just have an agenda haha) And to me, it is just disgusting to walk around the icky, germy hospital in your bare feet. Supposedly they can give you some sockies if you ask, but I never got any and I felt cleaner (and safer from hospital cooties) having my own slippers to put my feet into.
  • Insurance Card, Hospital Registration, and ID. Now, if you show up in labor, they won’t turn you away if you don’t have these documents, but it sure does make the process a whole lot easier if you have them ready to go! At some point they will make you provide this information so it is just best to have it in the bag! Because I was induced, my doctor got all of the registration stuff ready for me a week before I went in, so if you have an idea when your baby might come, see if you can pre-register and save some stress.
  • Chapstick and Lotion. Holy Moses, after labor and delivery, I ITCHED. Not everyone has this problem, but since I had a winter baby, have dry skin anyway, and from all of the medicine, my body was a dry, itchy nightmare. Having some lotion and chapstick readily available was the best idea I had when packing my bag, hands down.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste. Maybe Mouthwash. Keep bad breath at bay. Enough said.
  • Dry Shampoo. Or if you know you are going to be there for a few days, actual shampoo and conditioner. Travel size is fine. Like I said before, it is hard work for your body to deliver a baby, no matter how you do it. Afterward you just feel sweaty and greasy. At a time like this, clean hair makes ALL the difference.
  • Camera and Charger. Yes, you will be just like every other parent out there and want to take a zillion and a half pictures. And that is OK. Just be prepared for it. I am going to add BRING A PHONE CHARGER for this one too, because we took tons of pictures on our smartphones!
  • A treat for yourself! They won’t usually let you eat during labor, but afterward, you DEFINITELY deserve that piece of candy! Treat yourself!

What to leave at home:

  • Nipple Cream. If you plan on breastfeeding, the hospital typically will provide you with some of this if you ask for it. And trust me, you will want it. Breastfeeding is HARD work.
  • Squirt Bottle. After having a vaginal delivery, you just need to have something to help you freshen up and even to help you go to the bathroom! It might be something you can consider bringing, but again, the hospital typically provides you with one.
  • Breastfeeding pillow. Best invention ever. But when going to the hospital, it was just one more thing I had to carry and let’s face it, I was tired of carrying things. So I ended up doing JUST FINE with the hospital pillows and used my boppy once I got home.
  • Extra Clothes. Besides your outfit to wear home and your pjs or robe to wear around the hospital, you really don’t need clothes. You won’t be there forever, and you have no reason you need to get dressed. Enjoy not having to get dressed. (I will use ANY excuse not to have to dress up!)

For Dad

  • Change of Clothes. Unlike you mom, dad DOES have to keep getting dressed as the hospital does not provide him a glorious robe to wear. I would suggest sweat pants and a t-shirt. Tony wanted to look nice for all the baby pictures so he wore jeans. To each his own.
  • Cash. Mom might not be allowed to eat during labor, but dad is going to get hungry. Bring some cash for the vending machines, nearby gas stations, or the hospital cafeteria. Our hospital had a starbucks in it, so Tony was really excited he had some cash to spend on a muffin.
  • Something to do while mom is in labor. Same type of list as mom. Magazines, books, games, or maybe the two of you can download some movies to your tablet to watch?
  • Toothbrush and Deodorant. Dad’s get smelly too!
  • Pillow and Blanket. Not all hospitals will provide this for the daddy’s, however even if they do, dad might prefer to have his own stuff anyway.
  • Snacks. For the same reason you bring cash, dad will probably get hungry and may not want to leave the room or spend money at the vending machine. Having a few snacks handy, especially if it is in the early hours of the morning, will make him grateful!

For Baby

  • Going home outfit. The hospital provides a little shirt for them to wear in the hospital, but when they leave you don’t want them to go naked! Actually I doubt the hospital would let you take them naked…. Anyways- for this go for comfy more than cute. It is your baby’s first outfit, try to choose something that will be soft on that tender new skin and be sure to wash it with hypoallergenic or baby detergent first so that the clothing doesn’t irritate the newborn skin.
  • Blanket. The hospital does provide a blanket to swaddle the baby in while there, but when you are leaving it will be nice to have a blanket to wrap up your little bundle of joy. Plus, many hospitals now have an awesome feature where they have an on-staff photographer come and take pictures with your baby. I loved having a pretty blanket for these pictures!
  • Carseat. You won’t leave the hospital without it.

What to leave home:

  • Diapers and Wipes: The hospital provides these for you. And diapers are SO expensive, trust me, you should take FULL advantage of the ones they give you!
  • Nasal Aspirator: This is something necessary to have for newborns, which means that the hospital provides one right from the get go!
  • Pacifier: There are mixed opinions about this one. The hospital does provide them, but many people don’t recommend using them at all for the first two to three weeks to avoid nipple confusion. Sydney LOVED her hospital pacifiers, so even if you choose not to use them until later, make sure to take advantage of the hospital ones they give you.

I hope this list helps a few of you sort out what things you choose to bring and what things you choose to leave home. Remember, the reason you are at the hospital is to HAVE A BABY, focus on only bringing the essentials and avoid packing frivolous items so that you can focus more on being a mommy than on your strained back from carrying heavy bags!!! 🙂

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Bucket List: Build a House!

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Every year at the beginning of the year I make a list of all of these grandeur goals from my bucket list items thinking this will FINALLY be the year I check them all off! Then every year in December I look back and realize I haven’t scratched any of them off. Surely, I can’t be the only one to relate to this? But not this year! At the end of last month, I’m excited to announce I finally crossed one of my top goals off of my bucket list! Building a house!

Obviously I’ve been a little MIA for a few weeks, but between work and moving and finishing up with building the house, I haven’t had much time to post some updates on life! Now that we’re starting to settle in I’ll start posting some of the updates on the house as we finish decorating each room up. For now, I thought I would post a little bit about our journey to build the house and some photos.

Last fall we were living in an apartment that we loved when we suddenly got a new landlord and everything started going downhill at plane-falling-out-of-the-sky-burning kind of pace. We knew we had to move, but as we started looking for other places in the area we wanted to live in the prices were just crazy! So we started looking outside of our area and the more and more we looked around at renting, we both just felt unsettled about it. We’d never really considered that we’d be able to buy a house right now, but I was so disheartened by shopping for places to rent that I couldn’t help but look into buying, but even then as we browsed house listings we just couldn’t nail down what we wanted for the price we wanted. I mean, it’s a lot of money to spend on something you aren’t totally in love with, right?? And it’s a huge decision, it’s where we will be living, where our family is going to make memories, right? I couldn’t help myself but to be picky.

The problem with being picky is that it significantly limits your options. It’s both a talent and a curse that I have. (Now why can’t I apply that to food to make dieting easier??) So we started looking into building. I found a builder that I really liked and had great reviews, and we toured some of their model homes. Our first meeting with the builder, we chose our floorplan and some of the basic structural detail for our home. They had a floorplan that we loved and was perfect for our family, so we ended up just selecting that plan and then we made a few adjustments to make it work better for us. We were so excited about the whole process that we pretty much chose out all of our options (for things like floor, counters, cabinets, furnishings, etc.) within a couple of weeks. They broke ground about a month later and started to build!

It felt like both the longest and shortest 5 months following to complete our home! On one hand we were beyond excited and the time felt like it was dragging with how long it would take, but as we drove by several times a week and watched the progress, it really was pretty incredible that they got it all up and finished in such a short amount of time! Most of the last 6 weeks I have spent cleaning, purging, packing, moving, unpacking, trying to decide where everything goes in the new house. Once we got our new keys, there were a few things that we wanted to do before actually moving our stuff in, like painting and sealing the garage floor, so that added to the craziness, too. I’m really glad that we chose to get it all done before we moved in so we don’t have to do it later, but seriously the last several weeks have felt like an endless blurred tornado! I feel exhausted, but I’m so happy to finally be in my own new home with my family and I’m really excited to share some of these photos of our house-building journey!

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Our cute lot before building started. We basically have a lake house, haha.

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Fresh painted white doors

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We still have a lot to get unpacked and decorated, but I’m excited to show off each part of the house as we get it pulled together and will do room reveals as they come! If you have any questions for me about our house building process or journey, be sure to ask in the comments or shoot me an email!

XXOO

Sunny

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How to Create Perfectly Imperfect Easter Eggs

onyx and blush how to create perfectly imperfect eggsHappy First Day of Spring! Dying Easter eggs is one of my all time favorite spring activities, and since Easter is so early this year we decided to head over to my cute friend Kellie’s house this weekend and color some pretty eggs.

I think the thing I love the most about dying eggs is that there are soooo many ways to make absolutely stunning designs. I usually try to go all out with the fanciest pinterest ideas I can find (what can I say, I’m a total sucker for that stuff!) but then I get sucked in for hours trying to create the “perfect” egg, not to mention I get really grouchy if anyone tries to join in and mess it up… Please, someone tell me they understand acting that crazy?! Am I the only one??  And as we were prepping our bowls with dye, my three year old got this wild excitement in her eyes, and I realized that this shouldn’t be about me creating the perfect egg, I wanted it to be about her having fun and creating her own little masterpieces. (Look at that, life lessons embedded in regular old activities!)

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So, with that decision in mind, we started mixing up some dye and I let her have at it! There are a couple of different techniques we used do fun designs, and even though it was messy and my daughter’s methods were much less conventional than mine (props to her for thinking outside the box), I love how perfectly imperfect they came out! Here are some of the techniques we included :

-Marble Technique Eggs:

I added about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the dye, then right before dropping an egg in mixed vigorously to combine it as much as possible. Once you put the egg in you have to keep stirring it up a bit so that the dye and oil creates the cool marble effect on the egg.

-Blotting Technique on Eggs:

This one I came across accidentally as I pulled an egg out of the dye and tried to wipe it off with a paper towel, and accidentally used a section of the towel I had used on another egg, so the dye transferred slightly. You can use this to “drybrush” dye onto the egg, or dab off dye in some spots so there are patche of lighter and darker color on the egg.

-Glitter Eggs:

Because no holiday is complete without glitter, am I right? 🙂 I actually just used a tiny sponge (a piece of a paper towel would also work) then spread some glue (elmer’s glue or similar is fine) over the entire surface of the egg. Then throw the egg in a wax bag with a small pinch (or giant handful, I don’t judge) of glitter and shake it up.

-Ombre Eggs:

The key to ombre is PATIENCE. For mine, You start with the lightest color and dip the egg (or dunk the whole egg) into the dye. Then, using one of those wire egg things or just your fingers if you don’t mind the mess, take the egg and hold it partially in the dye to make it darker on that section. Then slowly pull it out section by section, so at the end one portion is darker than the other. I used light yellow as my base, then used red to dye small sections slightly darker than the last section.

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Ready For Spring!

onyx and blush art 16It has been a couple of weeks since I posted, so I’ll just give a quick update of my life status right now, I feel it can be accurately summed up in one word. CRAZY. Anyone else have the crazy bug spreading some cheerful chaos in their life right now, too? Yes? At least I’m not alone! We’re lucky this time around though, because most of the craziness is in preparation for good things to come. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve moved out of our old place, started building our new home (Yay!), enrolled Sydney in a new preschool (after I had a meltdown of course when her old daycare person gave me their notice…bittersweet feelings at their best), worked on some business plans, and I flew to San Diego for a marketing conference for work. Not bad for a to-do list in a short few weeks, right? But enough of the past, I’m ready to move on to the future! Who else is ready for spring around here?! We’ve certainly been spoiled the last couple of weeks with some warm weather, and thank heavens for that because I can’t imagine having to move in the cold and snow! But I’m ready for shorts and t-shirt and festivals and flowers! We took this photo at the Utah Arts Festival last year (could you just die over the cuteness of this H&M shirt??)  I’m especially excited about the next coming months because we have some really awesome fun things planned! Someone once gave me the advice that “you should always be planning your next vacation” and I love that because to me, it means to always be looking forward to something, always have that positive energy and excitement, and always be looking for new ways to experience the best things in life! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a vacation, but any kind of adventure or experience. So, today I’m going to give out the advice that you should always be planning your next vacation! Find something to look forward to and get excited! Plus, the tulip season is just around the corner, so I’ll just let that bit of happiness sink in 🙂 Happy almost spring, everyone!

 

XXOO Sunny

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Advice from the Greats

We can complain because rsoe bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses - Abraham Lincoln
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses – Abraham Lincoln

What a more fitting way to celebrate upcoming President’s Day than to live by the words which our founds have spoken. This quote has always been one of my favorite, and especially in my journey to overcome postpartum depression this is something that I have constantly had to remind myself over and over. I want to believe that I’m the type of person to see the positive side of everything, but I know that by nature I am more of a worrier and a lot of times that worry draws light on the negative stuff and overshadows the amazing things about life which is something I have consistently had to work on. I’ve definitely gotten better at seeing the beauty of the roses instead of the thorns, but I still need a reminder once in a while. I think we all do, sometimes, right? 🙂 Anyways.. I just wanted to celebrate the holiday by sharing this simple and sweet quote and I hope you all remember to rejoice that thorns have roses.

XO Sunny

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Mood and Vibe

Let’s just take one minute to appreciate the fact that it feels like we just celebrated new years and here we are sliding into February?? How did this happen?! I hope you all have had a great January so far and that next month is even better than the last!

Lately I’ve been really inspired by things that empower creativity. As I’ve spent the last few minutes (ahem…hours) on pinterest tonight I’ve found SO many things that I just love and now my mind is spinning with bright pictures and pretty things, which makes me infinitely happy. Anyone else feel like they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and get trapped in the wonderland that pinterest turns into sometimes?

Maybe my addiction is a little over the top…where’s the closest pinterest-addicts-anonymous I wonder…

Anyways… As I’ve been sitting here tonight a thought suddenly struck me and I’m just too excited to think about it any longer and had to put it into action. Like today. Right now. So here I am! I am going to start creating moodboards and share them in a series post called Mood and Vibe. Something I love about mood boards is that it takes an idea for something creative and combines various elements to create a certain feel (a mood or a vibe even? See what I did there?) that can then inspire creativity in a direction.From a creative standpoint, I know it’s sometimes hard to tap into that inspiration and moodboards are a great way to help with that. And since I love them so much, I just really want to share! Is that nerdy? Ha. I don’t care if it is!

So welcome to my very first Mood and Vibe post! I’ve really been in love with the blush pink, gold glitter, and turquoise accent stuff lately and combined them all into this board today. All of these images were pulled from my Pinterest account, so to see sources and find what other things have been inspiring me, be sure to check me out there!

Monday Moods 1

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PS – I’ll also be sharing these on my instagram, along with other inspiring things and my daily shenanigans, so be sure to follow along!

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