DC / out & about

out & about: yayoi kusama’s infinity mirrors at the hirshhorn museum

March 24, 2017

Word spreads quickly here in DC when there is a new must-see exhibit, & a lot of the museums have instituted a lottery-based ticket system to keep crowds at a manageable number for both staff & visitors alike. It’s actually brilliant, but what it also means is that at 12pm sharp on Mondays, you better be at your computer if you want a chance at tickets for some day & time slot in the upcoming two weeks. OR have a friend that nabs a pair from someone that unexpectedly can’t use them. Crazy, right? So, in the spirit of sneaking in dates where we can (& in the spirit of sneaking in FREE dates because you better believe every extra dollar we have goes to baby prep these days), I snagged us tickets to the newest exhibit DC has to offer: Yayoi Kusama’s Inifinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum. 

If these photos look familiar, it’s because three weeks ago, your Instagram feed was flooded with them as the exhibit opened & everyone & their mother somehow went over the course of a week. People I follow that live in other states were there. It’s an INSANELY social media friendly exhibit, where you are literally let into the separate rooms with your “group” (just the two of us, in our case) for 30 seconds… Essentially, just long enough to get a picture, add it to your Insta story & gape at the surroundings for 10 seconds each. But goshdarnit, you don’t have to wait for a clear shot! It felt a lot like being in a social media experiment, or a case study on millennials, honestly… Like, someone is watching you on a screen predicting your every move, & if you DON’T get your phone out, you’re escorted to a small room to be questioned about how you fought the urge.

… I digress.

It was a REALLY cool exhibit, with our favorite room probably being the room titled, “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away”, in which we 100% felt like we were floating amidst (amongst?) millions of little orbs. There’s more to the exhibit than just the rooms (like the amazingly colorful art pieces that gave me all the ideas for future kids’ rooms) since Kusama has been creating since the 60’s. It was quite the experience & a really lovely afternoon at the museum with each other, juuuust the twooooo of us. The exhibit is here in DC until May, then it moves on to Seattle. Highly recommended, even with the crazy ticket process… & the lines that you still have to wait in once you’re actually there. Heh. The things we do.

We are getting soooo very close to my due date, & Jared has a cold that I’m hoping is perfectly timed with him getting over by the time we have a baby. Life is so weird these days, because it feels like everything is a suspended breath before baby shows up. We’re not in any rush (I’m pretty determined to have an April baby), so it’s just sort of this quiet dance, day-to-day, knowing that everything is about about to change, but still going about our daily activities. I know we have so much to look forward to but I also just want to stare at Jared’s face for hours, unadulterated in the quiet of our home, because when will things slow down ever again?? I know. I’m ridiculous & everything will be great. Change is just scary & great & also scary.

But it’s going to be GORGEOUS outside tomorrow & I’m going to get some sunshine all over my face! Spring in DC is just the absolute best.

Happy weekend!

xx

pregnancy

pregnancy essentials

March 11, 2017

As this pregnancy winds down (/picks up??), I’ve already started reminiscing about this little journey, starting with maternity clothes & now with the things that got me through pregnancy. I’m a chronic Googler/researcher about all things in life, so pregnancy has been 40% reading reviews on Amazon, 40% perusing guides on Pinterest & 20% outsourcing recommendation via social media. When you put those things together, you get this little list of my Top 10 Pregnancy Lifesavers.

 

  1. Papaya tablets – Heartburn has been one of my very few pregnancy gripes since 2nd trimester, & papaya tablets have been super helpful. I’ve tried apple cider vinegar & just straight up alka selzter chewables, but papaya tablets or a small cup of cottage cheese (believe it or not) are the only two things that have truly helped.
  2. Prenatals – I switched between a few types of prenatals in the beginning before landing on Vitamin Code‘s prenatals with Nordic Naturals Omega-3 supplements. The smells are minimal & the doses are reasonable – Another type I tried had 13 different pills to take! YEESH.
  3. Lavender Essential Oil – To be completely honest, I have not been bitten by the essential oils bug, but! Lavender & peppermint oils have been a staple in my life for the past few years for headaches & stomach drama. Lavender oil has been a savior for 2nd trimester headaches & 3rd trimester sleep issues.
  4. Oils & butters – Again, tried a few different things over the course of this pregnancy, & these two have been my favorites. I use the L’occitane butter for my belly & the Vitamin E oil for belly & chest. So far, no stretch marks at 37 weeks soooo… Fingers crossed. I don’t know how much of that is these products vs. genetics. The next 3 weeks is the scariest, since this belly seems to keep wanting to grow.
  5. Hydration – I am very terrible at staying hydrated, so drinking water was the biggest life change I really had to force upon myself when I found out I was pregnant. (Well, that & actually eating breakfast.) The first thing I did was order a 1 liter bottle from BKR, & this has been crucial for me to keep track of whether or not I’ve had enough water in a day, since I know I need to drink at least 2 full bottles a day. I usually shoot for 3. Coconut water is also my favorite for a quick quench, especially on days that Tart has events or I’ve got a long walking commute around the city.
  6. Tea – Coffee has been a huge contributor to my heartburn, so I’ve been drinking more tea than coffee this pregnancy. I love our local tea vendor’s Vanilla Cream Rooibus, but now that I’m full term, I’ve moved to a nightly cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea, per my midwives’ instructions. Not super flavorful… But I’ll let you know if it seems to affect labor like the comments section on Amazon would have you believe 😉 *Tea is hot topic (pun intended) when it comes to pregnancy, so chat with your healthcare provider before you listen to me.
  7. Books – I’ve tried to not inundate myself with too much information about childbirth & parenting techniques, since I really want to just follow my body’s lead for labor & trust Jared’s & my instincts when it comes to parenting, so these are the only three books I’ve read so far. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth was highly recommended by my midwives, & the insight from the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was a great resource, if not a little overwhelming without having a baby around to put into practice what you’re reading. I loved Bringing Up Bébé & will definitely be revisiting it as baby gets older. I have a couple more books on sleep that I want to read between now & 2 months post-partum, so I’ll report back if they’re practical!
  8. Amazon Prime – This goes without saying, but Amazon Prime is pretty much my life force at this point. Whether it’s baby registry or help-I-need-sleep-NOW, Kindle book, or realistic prices on prenatals, we’re probably expecting at least two packages a week. I can’t imagine this is going to slow down once there’s a new little human to figure out how to care for… So, all hail Amazon Prime. No, I’m not being paid to say this. I should be.
  9. Comfort – Pretty much as soon as 3rd trimester hit, my belly grew exponentially & sleeping on my left side was suddenly uncomfortable from the weight of my belly twisting my spine towards the mattress & pulling my shoulders & hips forward. It was really painful! This wedge pillow from Boppy is $13 & has been such a help. Just a tiny support under my belly or sometimes under my back, & voila – SLEEP. It’s also not a pregnancy essentials list unless I advocate prenatal yoga, but hear me out. I’ve never been to a yoga class & I don’t super love it the way I should as a proper millennial, but my other pregnancy gripe has been one particularly sore rib – I think there might be a pinched nerve from growing to make room for baby. Yoga stretches & Jared massaging it have seriously been the only things that have kept the rib pain at bay.
  10. Apps – There’s a million & four apps out there for pregnancy, & every single one of them has a perk that another doesn’t. I really loved Glow Nurture during the phase of my pregnancy that I couldn’t feel baby yet, & it has a fun bump tracking feature, along with a daily tip about you & baby (but avoid the forums at all costs… Yikes). Ovia just has a cute baby size feature that compares baby to a Parisian bakery pastry (impractical but adorable), along with some good articles & videos that pop up. As I’ve got further into my pregnancy, The Bump is really the only app I check often for baby size estimates. **I should also note that the Relax Melodies App has been an essential for sleeping. I’ve had this app for years, but combining pregnancy’s oft light sleep with apartment radiators clanking or the occasional snoring husband has made this app crucial! You can mix your own white noise sounds, which is perfect for someone like me that sits somewhere on the low end of the misophonia scale. (Self diagnosed, I should add.)

Some things for next time: A 2nd pregnancy is like, HA! to me right now, but assuming that subsides, there are a few things that I rationalized not spending money on, but in retrospect, would have been helpful. Next time, I’ll prioritize getting fitted for a comfortable bra at the beginning of 2nd trimester. Though I ended up buying some sale bras in larger sizes at H&M, I think their fit has contributed to some of my rib pain. I’ll also invest in that crazy pillow everyone tells you to get but I was like pffttttt, I can make do. I get it now. That shape seems like it would fix all my problems. Lastly, hopefully next time around, we’ll be in a financial place that I can invest in a pre-natal fitness class of some sort. I’d love to do barre or pilates or cycling… I’m just really terrible at self motivating when it comes to exercise, so a class setting would be ideal to stay active throughout pregnancy.

Phew! It’s basically the final countdown, guys! I’ll be back with my hospital bag essentials once I, you know, put it together. I’m a little bit in denial that this is all happening so fast, honestly. There is still so much to do! I was just trying to explain to Jared how it’s so bittersweet to be this close to the end. Sure, it’s nearly impossible to get comfortable & even walking is… weird… But pregnancy is such a secret club. I’m surrounded by pregnant friends (& now a sister!) & it’s been such fun to share this whole experience for the first time. I’m sure parenting is a whole new level of membership with handshakes & t-shirts & knowing looks. But all I can do is soak up these final weeks where I’m NOT counting down to baby (I won’t be antsy until April 2nd), & keep getting things ready around here. Three weeks is NOTHIN’! EEK.

Have a great weekend!

xx

dressing the bump / pregnancy / style

maternity style guide

February 23, 2017

tee: Nom Maternity | maternity jeans: Old Navy | booties: Madewell

We’re somehow coming up on the final month of this pregnancy starting in March… WHAT! I’ve been asked by a few people about favorite maternity brands & pregnancy clothing options recently, so I figured I’d put some of my maternity thoughts all in one place.

Be ye warned that I didn’t start wearing any maternity specific clothes until about 20 weeks, which was right at the beginning of cold weather, so consider this a fall/winter wardrobe. Additionally, let’s keep in mind that I consider myself to be the ultimate pear shape, so my sartorial decisions are guided thusly.

Swing tops: These guys are great for my work-from-home days, when I can pair a swing top with leggings. Also great with a pair of skinnies, a top layer, & a heeled boot – The heel being super important because #thighs. Never flats, since the flare at the bottom of the shirt can accentuate my hip/thigh zone. I have about 4-5 of these guys, as they were a pre-pregnancy favorite (from Urban Outfitters & Target).
Turtlenecks: I’ve always known that tight was going to be the right choice for me during pregnancy, & having a staple 3-4 turtlenecks has been crucial for a dressier look, when paired with black denim & a pump or d’orsay flat.
Boat necks: Showing off some collarbone has been a nice way to remind myself that I have bones in my upper body, as things have filled out over the past few months. Nice & tight, these have also paired well with a third piece AND a coat. I have 2 of these in my closet.
Long camis: When all my shirts suddenly started showing off some belly, I came SO close to buying that black maternity cami at Target for $20 out of desperation. But I held off & found myself at H&M, where I got a super long black, grey & white cami for $6 each from their basics line. If you’re wearing a full panel maternity jeans, you can for sure get by without this, but even at that, I don’t love the faux button on the jeans showing & prefer to cover that up. Those three colors have been all I’ve needed.
Sweatshirts: I got a couple of these simple crew neck sweatshirts during my stylist days at Madewell, & I’ve really loved have them as a cropped look during pregnancy. Paired with sneakers & a baseball cap, this is as close as I get to a farmer’s market look.
V-necks: I don’t need to explain this. Paired with boyfriend jeans or skinnies or even a stretchy pencil skirt, these are a staple that I would potentially buy the maternity version of now that the bump is bigger.

Other notes:

  • I’ve made it through this entire pregnancy without purchasing a maternity top. These are all just tops from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe or tops I purchased from favorite shops.
  • However! I wish I would have invested in a white maternity button down early on in bump-dom. My regular button downs didn’t last very long & I’m too close to the finish line now to justify buying one, but I’d like the option to layer with sweaters/sweatshirts this late in pregnancy.
  • I personally have stayed away from sweaters in these later months, since they just come off as bulky & unflattering on me. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to stay away from long turtleneck sweaters and knotted scarves, just due to my personal style preferences.

Long Sweaters: Much like swing tops, I’ve had to be a little careful here, depending on where the sweater length lands on my legs, but paired with a tighter shirt (usually a boatneck) & flat boots, this has been a pretty active go-to look for me. I’ve got about 4 of these in neutral or winter colors in my closet.
Duster: I only have a couple of these, but my dusters are a light knit & have been nice especially in late pregnancy when my internal temperature sits firmly at BURNING HOT every moment of the day. I’m more willing to pair these with looser shirts underneath since the length is more elongating on my legs.
Denim jackets: I have two denim jackets & one denim vest in my closet (again, thank you Madewell days) – One of my jackets is shorter, the other longer with distressing. I’ve found the shorter jean jacket to be my go-to, as it just seems to hit a more flattering spot when paired with dresses or longer shirts/sweaters.

Other notes:

  • I believe with all of my heart that a black leather jacket would have been CRUCIAL for my maternity pregnancy style. Next pregnancy?? Putting it in writing. Ya hear me, universe???
  • Blanket scarves have also been my saving grace, & I DID purchase this grey H&M coat on sale a few sizes up so I could zip up on the coldest & windiest of days. (I’m secretly hoping I can get it tailored for next winter, it’s kinda great.) This winter has been INSANELY mild (it’s 72 degrees today!) so there’s only been a handful of days that it’s been miserable outside.

Black skinnies: Madewell announced their maternity denim line LITERALLY four days after I found out I was pregnant, & you bet I hopped on board that train. I went with their black frost skinny jeans since these are some of my favorites for normal wear, but they now also have a really cute demi-boot cut available. I do advise getting these pretty early on so that the denim can grow with you as you fill out, & also going ahead & ordering your regular size & one size up. (Online returns are easiest to do in-store.) I’m right between two sizes in Madewell jeans, & since I ordered a little late (20 weeks) & after a 1st trimester of craving carbs, the larger size ended up being right for me.
Distressed blue skinnies: I found a pair of these on sale at H&M & it’s been a really nice fit in my wardrobe. The style I got from H&M is really soft & pretty broken in, so these have been great for a casual look, with some distressing to help me feel mildly edgy… An important thing at 8 months pregnant 😉 I also have a 2nd pair of distressed denim in black from H&M that I got on sale for $20.
Grey skinnies: As seen in the first photo of this post! Okay, to be completely honest, my grey skinnies are from Old Navy & I sorta loathe them. I can’t wear Old Navy jeans when I’m not pregnant, which is probably a pretty good indicator that they won’t be a good maternity fit. They’re way too stretchy, & even wearing as small as a size 2, they require a belt & don’t feel like they hold my leg shape very well. (I got them on sale, so I don’t lose sleep over this.) But! I get THE MOST compliments & “where did you get those??” about these grey jeans, so the color, not the brand, made the list!
Black leggings: I’ve never identified as a leggings girl nor did I think so much of my maternity style would be defined by them, buuuuuut c’est la vie. Unless I’m leaving the apartment, I’m wearing leggings. I ordered a pair of Blanqi leggings pretty early on & snagged a second pair during an amazing Black Friday sale. I’ve really loved these leggings, as they don’t collect lint & have a silky enough texture that they dress up really well. The belly coverage is seamless, which is great compared to my Target maternity leggings that have weird ribbing on either side of my belly. Combined with my two Target maternity leggings, I have 4 pairs of black leggings in my closet & it gets me through the week!

Other notes:

  • So you may have noticed that pants are where I’ve invested with my maternity wardrobe. They’re also the only articles of clothing that I’ve found I needed to purchase actual maternity items. You just can’t fake pants fitting. In all, I own four pairs of denim, four pairs of leggings.
  • When you’re shopping maternity denim, you’re going to pick between full panel & side panel jeans. I have two pairs of each, & I definitely prefer the side panel. I haven’t had any issues with the full panel fabric falling down or anything (both from H&M), but it just feels bulky & unnecessary when I’ve got a long cami option to go under my shirts. The LAST thing I want is to feel bulkier than I already do. Side panels have been the way to go for me, though I do recommend not being tempted to use belt loops as handles. Cough.
  • Doing it again, I’ll invest in a pair of maternity boyfriend jeans. I just never found a pair that I liked in stores, & honestly, ordering multiple sizes online from some place like ASOS just seemed so dramatic. Next time around, I’ll have a good base with my current options that I’ll have some energy to invest in shopping for boyjeans.

Midi dresses: THIS was unexpected, since pre-pregnancy, I always felt like midi just weirdly emphasized my calves & hips. But! Midi dresses have been my go-to dress length during this pregnancy, since the midi length paired with a heeled boot has somehow been the most flattering semi-dressy silhouette for me. Forever21 has been a GREAT option for some cheaaap jersey dresses that don’t need to last more than a couple months… Which is what Forever21 does best right? This is what you’ll find me in on most of these abnormally warm days between now & D-day.
T-shirt dresses: These guys got me through those awkward is-she-or-isn’t-she pregnancy months leading up to a fully obvious bump. I wore a lot of these to my old part-time job, so I had a healthy stash from Old Navy, Gap, J. Crew & Madewell. They’re a little awkward now with a bigger bump, since they pull tight across my back/butt.
Fit & flare dresses: I’ve worn these more often than I thought I would, especially when paired with leggings? Like, what? But for event days with Tart or a midwife appointment, this has been a pretty big staple for me. On warmish days, I’ll opt for tights over leggings, & the real trick is a waistline that can sit over the bump without getting too short in the front. Not the edgiest of looks, but a staple nonetheless.

Other notes:

  • While I’ve been able to make it through with my pre-pregnancy dress options, it was pretty crucial to have my black jumpsuit from Hatch throughout the winter & its more formal events. From networking events to Christmas Eve to a funeral, my jumpsuit got way more use than I anticipated it would. I received it as part of Hatch’s ambassador program, which was the only way it found its way into my closet, but if you are expecting a fall/winter pregnancy, I highly recommend investing in a jumpsuit!
  • I am wearing a maternity dress from ASOS for our baby shower this weekend – SO affordable & SUCH pretty options, if you’re in the market for actual maternity dresses.

Phew! That took way longer than I thought it would, but of course it did. Hopefully this is helpful information! The end of pregnancy is getting so close for me that I’ve already moved on to nursing tops & belly bands, but there is certainly still more growing ahead of me in the next few weeks. Will the leggings be upped to 6? Honestly, it’s likely. Happy baby growing, mamas!

Maternity shops to check out:
(& don’t forget to keep an eye on the sale sections!)
ASOS Maternity
Old Navy Maternity
H&M Maternity
Madewell Maternity Denim
Hatch*
Pink Blush*
Nom Maternity*
Bae the Label
Legoe
Amore & Grace
Ripe Maternity
A Pea in the Pod
*indicates companies I’ve partnered with, but honestly are really great

DC / out & about

OUT & ABOUT: the national museum of african american history & culture

February 11, 2017

FINALLY made it to the National Museum of African American History & Culture! (Quite a mouthful.) This museum has been in the works on the Mall since we moved to the District (if not before?), & it’s been on our must see list since it opened last year. Getting into a new Smithsonian is no easy task, since the tickets sell out QUICK & are quiiiite the process to get. So, when my friend Brooke texted me on Tuesday morning saying she’d scored tickets & could I join her & her little girl that afternoon, I moved my Tart schedule around & made it happen. This museum is seriously SO well done, telling such an incredibly important part of history in a hugely impactful way. Brooke & I agreed that it’s the most breathtaking Smithsonian to date, in heartbreaking & meaningful ways. While it’s no simple task to get in, you must go see this museum… Especially in this country’s current climate.

Other life updates… Jared gets back tonight from his second to last business trip before baby arrives, & I couldn’t be more ready to have him home. My right rib cage seems to take the brunt of little babe’s growth spurts, & neither heat nor pillows nor stretching help, but baby daddy’s back rubs seem to work miracles. Funny how that works…

Starting this Out & About series in hopes that it does, indeed, get us out & about. Now that I’m working full-time from home, it’s easy to look up from my computer & realize that not only is it already 7pm, but it’s also already Thursday (*insert whatever day of the week*) & what have I even accomplished? Walking to the grocery store becomes my Vitamin D intake for the day & I start talking to the plants & my unborn child more often than another adult. We live in a city full of too many wonderful things to not venture out & experience. & we want to share them with y-o-u. Neighborhood guides are HAPPENING, I promise. But this is a start.

Speaking of Vitamin D, we’re going into a 60 degree weekend here in the District, so here’s to maybe never having winter weather? Would I be mad? Nope. Not at all.

xx

baby / pregnancy

maternity photos with annamarie akins photography

February 2, 2017


Photos by Annamarie Akins Photography
Blue dress: H&M | Taupe Dress c/o Pink Blush: Mocha Draped 3/4 Sleeve Maternity Maxi Dress

I wasn’t sure I wanted maternity photos, to be completely honest. I wasn’t sure if they could be done without being cheesy. The maternity photo shoots I have seen & loved seemed to capture a glow & beauty that I wasn’t sure I’d exude. Jared helped me realize that I would regret it so much if we didn’t do what we could to capture this short chapter in our parenting adventure… & he was so right. All it took was finding the perfect person to do the job, & we were so blessed to for schedules & weather & everything to align with having the amazing Annamarie Akins Photography take these precious photos for us.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Annamarie in various capacities via Tart over the last couple years, & she has become such a dear friend. There is no one else that could have photographed this bump with such grace & delicateness. We are overwhelmed with so much love for this baby, & Annamarie knew exactly how to capture our current state of love, anticipation, & joy. Although, let’s be honest, it’s not hard to get Jared smiling these days. Already such a good (& dapper) papa.

With maternity photos checked off the pre-baby to do list, we are just one step closer to holding this little one in our arms. Even though I’m already more excited for photos with baby in them instead of a bump, w e will absolutely treasure these photos for the rest of our lives. Thank-you, Annamarie! Go check out this lovely lady’s work & for heaven’s sake, locals, have her take your photos!

xx

dressing the bump / pregnancy

dressing the bump – 30 weeks

January 20, 2017

beanie: jared’s (Zara) | coat: H&M (similar)| maternity denim: H&M | shoes: Vans via Madewell

GREAT NEWS: thus far, I have yet to buy a single maternity item at full price.  Going into a cold weather pregnancy, I was super nervous that my wardrobe was going to get pricey, since I couldn’t just rely on the flowy dresses of spring/summer pregnancies. Turns out, maternity clothes are perpetually on sale, if you’re paying attention.This makes sense to me since seasons are fleeting in both temperature and styles, so I’m sure stores have to keep new product continually moving. FYI for any other DC locals, I was told that H&M stores in the District do not stock maternity items except for online returns, which are almost exclusively then placed on the sales rack. I’ve found two (of my four) pairs of maternity jeans on the sales rack at the H&M in Georgetown, both times at least $10 cheaper than the online sale price. Let your inner scavenger shine, mamas. Otherwise, the stores in VA do carry maternity, if you ever find yourself at Tyson’s, etc.

Otherwise, while I’m normally SO ANNOYED when spring clothing starts showing up in January, I was banking on it this year, since my ever-growing tum officially outgrew my winter coat’s zipper. I thought for a minute that I could get away with just wearing my coat open with a blanket scarf, & I do!, but all it took was one windy, frigid day & I knew I needed something that I could zip during my commutes around the city. Thankfully, since I can always rely on H&M’s shoulder/sleeve to body/waist ratio to be completely off, I was able to find a coat 5 sizes up from what I usually wear, marked down to 70% off its original price. The sleeves are a little large & long, much to my clothier husband’s chagrin, but it’s otherwise everything I need. It comfortably zips now, so fingers crossed we can get through February together.

All in all, I feel like my pregnancy wardrobe is pretty well rounded now. With a final purchase of $20 H&M distressed blue denim, my actual “maternity” purchases have been limited to just pants & leggings. My shirts & dresses have mostly been items I already owned or purchased with pre & post natal fit in mind. Once I get a little bigger, I’ll report back with full list of my pregnancy wardrobe. Someone wants to read that, right?

So, there’s my little 30 week check-in! We have our maternity photos next week, & after that, I’ve given the bump permission to get as large & in charge as it wants. But until Tuesday, a manageable sized bump & some warm-ish January weather is aaaaaall I’m asking for.

PREGNANCY, AMIRIGHT?

xx

minus & plus

minus & plus

January 18, 2017

This month has been a little quiet so far, as Januarys tend to go, so I thought I might bring back Minus & Plus posts as a way to share some random facts about our recent goings ons. It’s always a good way to force myself to find the positive… Highly recommended. I guess we could call this new apartment edition… But don’t act surprised that some baby related stuff snuck in there.


This abnormally mild January is wreaking havoc on my allergies. Cue emergency humidifier purchase – Thank youuuu, Amazon gift card Christmas presentssss.
+
This abnormally mild January! I’m usually “all board the blizzard train” (which sounds like a terrible train), but we’ve got maternity photos going down on Tuesday & no one is mad about the 60°+ forecast. Yes, please.


Radiators, man. Since it’s been pretty warm out, we’ve yet to see the good in how much heat these guys put out, & I’m pretty sure they wait to start knocking until the exact moment we get in bed.
+
There’s really only one out of four that we don’t seem to have on/off control over. Sure, it’s in the bathroom, the tiniest room in the house that rarely actually needs heat, but 1 out of 4 ain’t bad. I’ve lived with radiators once before in college, & we were 100% at their mercy, so I’m counting this blessing as a big one.


Inauguration week = slowly watch the city shut down street by street, shop by shop. & bonus: I get to try to drive OUT of the city tomorrow.
+
I get to drive out of the city tomorrow! Tart has an event on Friday night in Richmond, so while getting out the city is most likely going to be a nightmare, I get to leave & not deal with any of the weekend chaos. & it could certainly be chaotic.


Our new building is no longer situated practically on top of a Whole Foods, & our laundry is not longer located next to our kitchen.
+
The walk to our new grocery store is just enough to get this work-from-home booty’s blood pumping, & since it’s not the highest grossing Whole Foods in the US (true story), I rarely stand in a line wrapped around to the meat counter at 8pm on a Tuesday night. I’ve gotten back in the laundromat groove, with our basement laundry letting me do four (or 12!) loads at a time. I’d forgotten how amazing that part is.


We were able to opt for an internet only package in this new place, & since then, have already encountered two previously taken for granted cable events – The NYE ball drop (just background noise, you know?) & The Golden Globes (we are award shows junkies, it’s our one thing). Already trying to scope out solutions for the Academy Awards because omg.
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We got to see La La Land, FINALLY, & loved it as much as we thought we would. I’ve had the soundtrack on constantly, & frequently wake up with it already stuck in my head. If you’re on the fence about seeing it, definitely go. I will tell you to expect a bit of a twist ending, since I think that’s why most people are having to see it twice. Not like a Sixth Sense twist, just different than what you’re expecting. I’ll stop now.


Speaking of waking up, my new wake up call is what feels like full body acrobats & stretches, which result in baby hiccups. I HATE having the hiccups, like, a lot, so my heart just BREAKS when the baby has them. Irrational, I know, since this is just little lungs/diaphragm practicing breathing but UGH. Let’s hope baby takes after its father, who is a freak that loves having the hiccups.
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It’s definitely feeling like a little human in there, with more body parts bumping under my hand than ambiguous thumps. So weird but so beautiful… Pregnancy in a nutshell.


Tiny baby things that are not used for very long are expensive yet essential to keeping a tiny human alive/happy + mama & papa alive/sane.
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But our baby registry is done & I can’t believe 1) how long it took to put together & 2) how proud I am of it. I want to show it to everyone, without expectations of gift purchasing, simply because it was so much work to create, ha. Much like fashion, most of the blogs about gift registry involved items that were very pretty but very expensive, so it took extra long since we needed 10 minutes to rationalize not needing the prettiest/top rated items & then another mmm 2 hours? to find the substitute we were comfortable with. Phew.
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Babylist is amazing & they’re not even sponsoring me to say that.

I’m off to pack for 6 days of Richmond livin’, then to make this DELICIOUS brussels sprouts risotto. (We add bacon, because of course we do.) Copy me, I dare you!

xx

dressing the bump / pregnancy

Dressing the Bump – 28 Weeks

January 6, 2017

turtleneck: Old Navy | maternity jeans: Madewell | oxford: Madewell

Happy third trimester to us! Also, happy this-apartment-is-big-enough-to-stay-inside-for-outfit-photos to me & my trusty photographer that was almost late for work because of me!

I can’t believe the words “third trimester” apply to me & this bump. I fell asleep to baby hiccups last night & woke up to a bouncing baby this morning (at 4am, but that’s fine), & realized I can already barely remember what it was like to just barely be able to feel movement back on our anniversary trip, laying on my stomach to apply pressure to feel the tiniest flutters. I can also barely remember what it was like to lay on my stomach.

In celebration of entering the 7th month of pregnancy, I thought I’d share some fun facts about this little journey, mostly for Future Kelsey, & the rest for those of you who aren’t sick of reading the words “bump,” “baby,” & “pregnancy” coming from me.

  • This baby was a surprise. If you had asked me about babies any time in 2016 leading up to August 4th, I would have said, “We think we might maybe start trying next year possibly maybe. Maybe.” Of course, the timing has been perfect & God knew it had to be a surprise or else I never would have thought the stars were aligned just perfectly enough.
  • Ask me sometime about my experience purchasing my first pregnancy test ever. It’s a good one, involving expensive paper towels and the nosiest CVS cashier ever, because of course.
  • I got to plot all day while I was at my part time job about how to tell Jared about the baby. Longest day EVER. I ended up leaving post its from our mailbox, up the stairs to our front door that started with “Jared & Kelsey, sitting in a tree…” & ending with “then comes…” on our front door. I still can’t watch the video I secretly took of him opening the door without weeping. It was a great day.
  • If baby’s birth date is in fact in April, it will be the first April baby on either side of our immediate families.
  • Oooo. Remember that part that I was like, “YEAH, we’re for SURE gonna tell you what the baby is once I figure out how!” a few posts back? I lied. We told just enough people the baby’s gender to decide we didn’t like telling people. It’s always been our plan to keep our babies’ gender a surprise until they’re born, but I thought it would be really hard to keep it to ourselves after how hard it was to not tell people I was pregnant. Turns out, it’s really not that hard to refer to the baby as… the baby.
  • I’ve been very lucky with pregnancy symptoms, with fatigue being the real killer 1st trimester (like, asleep on the couch for the night at 7pm) & headaches following me around in 2nd trimester. I had soooome nausea between weeks 8-12, which really only snuck up if I didn’t eat often enough. Heartburn is my current plague, with things like, oh you know, granola bars, bread &, I’m not kidding you, a cup of ice setting it off. Super great. My hair has definitely seemed greasier during pregnancy (a fact I had to prove to myself by cutting faux bangs) & my skin has been way more dramatic than ever, which they say to expect if you usually have well-behaved skin. I did find out recently that I am, in fact, NOT genetically predisposed to stretch marks, so fingers crossed…
  • I’ve so far had two cravings: Fresh pineapple & cauliflower. Both lasted about a week, but I can still go for either of those things at any time of day. Seriously, any time.
  • On the other hand, I haven’t been able to eat corn tortillas, pulled pork or cilantro since I was about 6 weeks pregnant, when I assumed I could eat our staple meal of homemade carnitas tacos with Jared & his sister & found out two bites in that it was a no go. Jared’s heart is broken, but I’m SURE I’ll come back around to them. Probably.
  • A fall/winter pregnancy has been lovely, though wearing jeans while sitting & pregnant is a special form of torture.
  • Gush Alert: If you know him, this won’t surprise you, but I can’t even find the words to describe how incredible Jared has been throughout this entire pregnancy. He’s 15 steps ahead of me at all times, & has somehow managed to make up for my lack of energy/mental capacity/strength by 100x. It’s been a truly amazing thing to witness him become a dad, even in these months leading up to sleepless nights & newborn snuggles.

I’m sure there are more fun facts, but the one thing I didn’t mention is the pregnancy brain that is hitting me HARD. I forgot my wallet when I went to the grocery store the other night, & yesterday had to google search “guest for gifts at wedding” because I could not think of the words “wedding favors” on my own. & I’m a wedding planner. So. There’s that.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

xx,
kelsey

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So long, 2016

December 31, 2016

Well! To round this year’s season of “Holidays, what holidays?” out, we did it! We moved! & survived! I am left marveling at my social media friends who are able to carry on with regular posts & photo-taking in the midst of moves, seemingly going from one put together home to the next. Our boxes have NOT magically unpacked, sadly, & I’m currently writing from bed because there isn’t currently an outlet near enough to the couch nor a desk to work at. What a thing to whine about. This whole process has been slooooooow goin’, since Jared is doing nearly 100% of the work while I try really hard to help & then end up regretting it. Moving while 6 months pregnant is definitely a “hahaha” worthy memory for years from now.

This Christmas/December was not much different from last Christmas… With losing my grandmother so close to Christmas, it was just hard to get into the holiday spirit. I kept telling myself that after the two holiday parties that Tart hosts, Christmas would begin. Instead, I was in the car the day after the 2nd party, on my way to my parents with my sister, & then eventually to St. Louis for my grandmother’s funeral. As soon as I got home, the packing game began, & Jared & I quickly adopted the mantra, “Next Christmas is going to be so awesome.” Thanks to our dearest friends & family, our stuff was moved while I either guarded the moving truck or pointed at where a box should go.

But the new apartment is GREAT. I’m supposed to be working on our list of Things That Need to be Bought RIGHT NOW because our decor:furniture ratio is just a bit off. We emptied out our storage unit on Christmas morning (another “hahaha” worthy memory…) & were reacquainted with a plethora of things that really should have been tossed two years ago when we filled the thing, leading me to believe that this is a storage unit’s only real purpose in life: Prolonging the eventual purging of things you don’t actually need. Ahead of me today awaits 6 boxes marked “decor” that I just know are full of dried flowers, weird thrifted vintage glass, & at least one thing involving burlap. If anyone has 2010’s phone number, please let me know so I can return all of its stuff. While our style has changed, I’ve also decided that interior design on a budget is, to me, 0% fun, so this should be really interesting. If you need me, I’ll be sitting here waiting for nesting to kick in.

The real reason I popped in here was to say a fleeting farewell to 2016, which I’m hoping is the close of two very weird years in my life. Not to say that I WOULD have put together one of these crazy year in review posts like I used to (because they take no lie, like 8 hours to do), but even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t have the photos or the blog posts to back the memories up. As a chronic memory hoarder, this actually pains me. I think it all started with our nice camera not working, followed by getting into the groove of Tart + part time job, completed by an overall sense of never-getting-it-together in our old, tiny apartment.

At any rate, with a babe on the way, I have no choice but to DO BETTER in 2017. I feel like this pregnancy has been to me how other women refer to their 2nd pregnancies… Time flies by, you don’t have time to stop & enjoy the milestones, the monthly bump photos don’t happen. With so many other baby announcements the past few months, it’s been easy to feel like I’m doing it wrong. I start getting hivey about maternity photos & where to register & if I’m sharing too much or too little on social media. STUPID, right? Comparison & thief of joy & whatnot. I’m working on it. With 6 months of non-stop craziness behind me, I’m hoping/praying/wishing that 2017 brings a change of pace. That I can intentionally slow down & enjoy these last few months of just Jared & I, while oversharing baby gushing if I want darnit & preparing a home for this little one. So, there’s my transparency.

2016, you were… Like one long breath being held. Whether it was Jared’s intense jobsearch turned 24-hour job switch, pregnancy tests on the bathroom counter, part-time job quitting, insurance drama, sick relatives, election year craziness in the most political city in the country, or apartment hunting, this has been quite the year of bated breath. In part, I have to thank you, because this is the first year that I’ve truly understood & appreciated yoga. I’m also so glad to see you go only because I am so hopeful to see the fruit of what we’ve sewn over the past year.

So, in the midst of dramatic Facebook memes about what a rotten year you were, thank you! & cheers!

Cheers to a year of deepened friendships.
To a healthy 1.9 lb acorn squash baby.
To Snapchat filters & Instagram stories getting a liiiiittle better with every update.
To safe travels to Atlanta & Canada & Seattle & New York & St. Louis & Nashville.
To the ever growing Tart Event Co.
To midwives & doulas & birthing technique research.
To a new brother-in-law.
To a husband that can make a mocktail as killer as his cocktails.
To making this city feel a little smaller, & a little more like home.

See you in 2017, guys.
Happy New Year!

 

dressing the bump / style

25 Weeks – Dressing the Bump with Hatch

December 22, 2016

jumpsuit: c/o HATCH, The Emmanuelle Jumpsuit in Black | heels: Madewell | lips: NYX Liquid Suede in Orange County

Back at it again with Hatch & this incredible black jumpsuit. Apologies for the 2984798 photos, but I really wanted to show how it looks with & without bump, since I have high hopes of wearing this silk piece of heaven as often as possible, even post-baby. This makes black jumpsuit #3 for my closet, & not even a bladder with a baby jumping (trampolining, really) all over it can talk me out of wearing a one-piece. Hatch has done it again with bringing all the modern, chic vibes to mama style. I wore this jumpsuit twice, once with the tie above the bump & once below, making two completely different looks with one simple switch of the sash. Hurry, hurry – This puppy is on final sale!

I have been out of town for nearly three weeks, starting with Tart events & ending, sadly, with a lot of traveling for my grandmother’s funeral. It was wonderful to spend time with family, reflecting on my beautiful grandma’s life & being together, which is all she ever wanted. The last week has definitely been a blur.

I’m back in DC now, wishing I could be taking in holiday goodness like City Center (pictured above), but instead up to my ears in boxes, cleaning supplies & paperwork as we prepare to move to a new apartment in the city. All. The. Things. I have so much to do but honestly would rather be wearing this jumpsuit, on the couch, drinking sparkling apple cider that I’m pretending is champagne, ignoring it all. It’s so strange that our last baby-less Christmas is going to be such a non-traditional. chaotic one, but hey! What has been NORMAL about this year, anyway? Wake me up on December 29th, when all our things are in our nearly-twice-as-large apartment.

Back to packing our little life up. There’s approximately two necklaces & one paper notebook I’m especially excited to see turn up… Hopefully. Also, my blow dryer blew its last breath this morning (BEFORE my bangs were dried, OF COURSE), so at this rate, I’ll just be able to throw everything away as I go instead of packing it. *face palm* I’ll be okay guys, really. REALLY.

xx