DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

Last year I didn’t have a Christmas wreath on our sad little front door but this year in our new house with a beautiful entryway there was no way I could go without! Wreaths out there were either too expensive for me, too big, too small or just…meh. So I made my own which I love because nobody else has one. I’m feeling festive so I guess I will share with you guys 😉

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

I purchased a plain artificial wreath but you could also use a fresh one! Once I fluffed up the wreath and gave it a good shape, I sprayed on snow, topped with a large burlap bow and added the CUTEST pair of ice skates in the center. Vintage holiday decor is my favorite and I have been eyeing them up at Hobby Lobby since last year. When I found them again I couldn’t bear to leave them behind. I don’t really have anywhere to hang more decorations so this was the perfect solution!

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

DIY Unique Christmas Wreath

Have you made any of your Holiday decorations?

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DIY Baby Changing Station Transformation

I don’t need to tell you that babies are expensive little beings. It is rather overwhelming looking around your home and realizing just how much you need to buy for baby. I think the worst kind of baby gear is the stuff that lasts five minutes and is then no longer of any use. Like a bassinet or a changing table.

DIY Changing Table Transformation

I was lucky to have an old TV cabinet sitting in my garage that had the perfect potential for a changing unit. This was achieved by simply changing the color! I was able to create a beautiful piece of furniture for the nursery that can be used as both a changing table and later, a storage unit. What I love about re-purposing a small cabinet is the versatility of the end result. You could remove the doors and add decorative storage boxes to make it more gender/theme specific or you can also choose to  keep the doors and hide boring necessities behind them.

DIY Changing Station Transformation

DIY Changing Station Transformation

I am doing the latter. I have decided to turn this into the ultimate baby changing station! The upper shelf which is usually for DVD players, game consoles and the like will be a place to store basics like onesies/bibs/burp cloths and the inevitable spare outfits we will need with some changes! Behind the doors there is one shelf which will be home to endless diapers, wipes and also health and bath products. All I am really adding to this piece is a standard changing pad.

For such a huge transformation and total re-purpose, this project is the easiest I have ever done. It had two steps.

I have two words people. CHALK. PAINT.

DIY Changing Station Transformation

Paint that magic potion directly onto your dust-free, un-sanded wood and watch it transform! Granted, it took four or five coats but if you are not in a rush and have patience then you can get away without prepping. I underestimated how many coats it would need and I went through two tubs before I gave in and bought a bigger one to finish it. If in doubt, buy the bigger tin! To save time and effort you can sand and fully prep the furniture from the start. The reason I didn’t was because I began during Summer and therefore in the height of my allergy season. It just wasn’t worth the agony in my eyes and the sneezing fits! Once you are happy with the coverage you can use a clear wax to seal and protect it.

I’m SO happy with the way this unit turned out and even happier that I have a piece of nursery furniture that cost me $25! All I purchased was the paint, wax and door knobs 🙂

DIY Changing Station Transformation

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Maternity Essentials for the Stylish Mama To Be

Initially, the thoughts of a maternity wardrobe horrified me which is strange because I love fashion, shopping and everything related. It wasn’t the fact that I would need bigger clothes. Or the effort of shopping for them but simply the fact that if you stick the word ‘maternity’ in front of any item of clothing it seems to triple in price. The sting in that is the amount of time you will actually spend wearing these pieces. It is so short! So in my pregnancy ignorance I assumed I would get away with leggings and my loose tunic style tops for the next few months. Yeah, I quickly learned that isn’t going to happen. My bump is still teeny tiny but I am rocking the maternity jeans a good few weeks now. Undershirts have become weird belly tops and button down tops no longer button.

Maternity Essentials For The Stylish Mama To Be

With that, I have started to pick up a few key pieces that are versatile enough to build different outfits around. Think essential basics like leggings, tanks, long tees, tunics, casual jersey dresses and layering items like shirts, cardigans and blanket scarves.

Luckily I will be spending my pregnancy sporting Winter gear. I cannot imagine being pregnant in the height of a Georgia Summer, ick. However, Winter really only arrives here in January so there is no need for heavy coats and huge sweaters. With upcoming trips to Ireland and Huntsville, I will need some cold weather attire occasionally but I hope to pull this off by layering basics with chunky cardigans already in my wardrobe!

Comfort is the winner for me with style taking a close second. Here are some of my suggested essentials to get you through your Fall/Winter pregnancy in total comfort and the height of style 😉

BASIC TOPS

Maternity Essentials

I would suggest buying these in white, grey and black or multiples of whichever your favorite color is! These are perfect for layering. Wear under sweaters, kimonos, cardigans, blazer etc. I love the longer length to cover the waistband of my jeans/leggings. If you are still doing the hair-tie trick with your pants, they are perfect for hiding that too!

SWEATERS & LAYERING

Maternity Essentials

None of these are maternity pieces which I love because you’ll wear them long after baby arrives. Kimonos are light and airy and look great over leggings for a relaxed but dressed up look. I LOVE this plaid kimono, get your Autumn plaid shirt fix without battling buttons. Chunky knitwear is a no brainer when it comes to layers so it needs no explanation. How cute is this layered sweater? It’s also peplum which means you can wear it without the bump stretching it out! Win!

BOTTOMS

Maternity Essentials

Maternity jeans and a pair of comfy leggings (or 5!) will be absolutely lived in throughout your entire pregnancy. I was lucky enough to get a 40% off any single item code for H&M which allowed me to pick up these jeans for a steal. Overalls/dungarees are a love or hate maternity piece but I adore this skinny legged pair!

DRESSES

Maternity Essentials

If dresses are your style then they will be your splurge item. However if you find a casual dress that can take you from day to night then it will be an worthwhile investment! Add a wide brim hat and chunky statement jewelry to dress these basic dresses up! I personally would pair dress #4 with denim leggings and over the knee boots as I don’t like bare legs with knit dresses but to each their own.

Check out my ‘Bump Style’ Pinterest board for ways to wear similar styles

 

 

What were your holy grail maternity items?

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Super Easy DIY Christmas Wall Art

If you can’t stand people who love Christmas, LOOK AWAY NOW because today I am bringing you some DIY Christmas wall art!

Super Easy DIY Christmas Wall Art

Move over Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving, it’s officially my time! I’m not obnoxious about it. I won’t decorate for a while and blast carols from my speakers but I ADORE Christmas. I find it amusing how genuinely disgruntled many people become when others get in the Christmas spirit. You don’t see me pitchin’ a fit when you all go crazy for pumpkins in August so hush. We can have Halloween decor in stores in July but now I’m the worst for loving Christmas 8 weeks in advance? As they say in the South, bless your heart!

Christmas was always a special time for me and since moving away from home it’s become even more. It was incredibly difficult last year to spend my first Christmas in 27 years away from home. It was even harder to participate in others’ ‘traditions’ that just did not feel right to me. Overall it was just a really emotional and sad time for me. I feel very strongly about carrying on my own Holiday traditions especially now that we are expecting. I can’t wait to have Santa Claus again in our home and the magic of Christmas that only children can bring!

So since November is just one sleep away I am sharing with you a super easy festive wall art I made over the weekend. This involves nothing but glue and some craft paint! You know me, I like the easy stuff!

diy-christmas-wall-art

I picked up this distressed hanging pallet piece a few weeks ago at the craft store and separately, this laser cut decoration. There was no real plan for either and placing them haphazardly on the counter resulted in this project! I decided to paint the cut-out gold + gold glitter top coat and attach it to the pallet. It makes a great piece of wall art that is simple yet festive! Remember you can also stain or paint an unfinished pallet very easily if you can’t find or don’t want a distressed look.

diy-christmas-wall-art1

First I left it painted gold with the leaf element glittered only but I loved the sparkle so much, I did the whole thing! It’s not overly glittery just a gorgeous shimmer than catches the light.

diy-christmas-wall-art2

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How I Tripled My Traffic By Posting Less

More posts, more traffic, more subscribers, right? In my case, wrong. I started blogging over 8 months ago and consistency was my initial goal. While consistency is important it doesn’t necessarily mean lots of posts –  a big mistake I was making. I would post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday consistently for months. I was drained. Although my stats and follow count were growing, my plate was full and my brain was empty. I was drained. I had more writer’s block than interest in my blog. What good were all my readers when I was churning out sub-par content? They would get bored and leave anyway.

Triple Your Traffic By Posting Less Often

As well as poor content, by posting three times a week my posts had a shelf life of just one day. One day to promote my blog meant joining every group thread that was applicable. While it is fine to join them all, it is easy to forget that you must also complete them. Fulfilling group requirements, managing your own social media platforms, building community AND preparing new content every day was exhausting. This is all in addition to my normal day to day life. Talk about burn out.

It became somewhat manageable. And by manageable I mean I was stressed, irritable and ignoring my own needs physically and mentally. When it really became too much is when we had travel plans or social engagements and I would be forced to take a break. Note I said ‘forced’ because that’s how the self-inflicted pressure made me feel. I would return home to masses of threads to complete, comments to answer and social media to engage with. I needed to manage the blog entirely differently. It was literally taking the reigns of my entire life.

I decided to give myself the gift of time

I dropped Friday’s post. Every week I started to schedule just two posts. I would publish my ‘lighter’ and shorter posts on the Monday and save the weightier post for Wednesday. This meant that I had Thursday through Sunday to get maximum exposure. I started to see my traffic rise and my posts shared to social media twice as much as before.

Then I hit the dreaded writer’s block. After weeks of scheduling, the well had run dry and with family events and vacations planned I was under pressure again. Knowing I would be away from my laptop for a couple of weeks terrified me. I would have minimal time to post and I would have virtually no time to promote. So I bit the bullet and posted just on Monday for a few weeks. The result? Shocking. I had three times the views on my posts at the end of every week. They were shared twice as much and a few of them went semi-viral on Pinterest giving me thousands of repins and thus, thousands of unique visitors and views.

Publishing a post every Monday has changed my blog and my life. I have time again. Time to plan, time to write, time to properly engage with my readers, time to be more creative, time for myself and all with the added bonus of a growing blog!

It’s really scary to try to do less in order to gain more but for your own sanity and ability to have an authentic voice I highly recommend it. That being said if blogging seven days a week is what YOU want to do then by all means do it! You have to find your balance. Ironically I have been posting twice a week again lately, not every single week but more often than I had been. With being pregnant and the holiday season now in full swing, I simply have a lot more to say. Lucky you, or poor you depending on how you see it 🙂

 

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My Favorite Family Friendly Halloween Movies + Handy List!

Hey Y’all! ABC Family or Freeform as it’s now called (ick) has started it’s 13 Nights of Halloween movie extravaganza which means only one thing. THE CHRISTMAS MOVIES ARE NEXT. Just kidding. Sort of.

I hate when the season ends and I find I have missed one from my list of favorites. I’m so particular about my holiday traditions that I will not stray from the timeline in which I do them so I have to wait a whole other year for a second chance!

I’m giving away too much of my crazy right now…

Anyway, I’ve thrown this list together to refer to. On it you will find all my favorite family-friendly Halloween movies with a few bonus ones for the adults. I don’t like gore or really scary movies so these are just quirky and slightly spooky, psychological thrillers.

Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Don’t forget to check out out my recent post chock full of ideas for hosting The Ultimate Halloween Party!

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Eat, Drink & Be Scary! The Ultimate Halloween Party Essentials

Americans may have been the ones to turn Halloween into the party that it is but did you know it’s the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain? Samhain (pronounced sow-in) marked the end of the harvest and the coming of Winter in old pagan times. The night of Halloween celebrates the short window of time in which the souls of the dead return to visit.

Ultimate Halloween Party Essentials

So there you go, it’s all a little darker than dressing like a minion and eating copious amounts of sweets!

The irony in my being in the US and enjoying Halloween now is that the holiday terrified me my whole life. Everything scares me. For about 12 years my brothers kept me out of their bedroom by threatening me with masks…

America celebrates everything and that is just one reason I love it here. I now have a vast collection of Autumn and Halloween decor which I just love to put up! This is my first year visiting a pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins and properly passing out candy the true American way and I am so excited. What I am not doing but would love to, at least one year is to throw a Halloween party. I’ve been snooping around Pinterest and here’s a list I put together of the ultimate halloween party essentials. Whether its decor, food, drinks or costumes to wear there’s something for the whole family.

Let me just put out a little disclaimer, these are all things I think are fun/clever/adorable and I hope you will too. I’m personally, not a fan of foods and decorations that are graphic or gory so you won’t find that sort of thing around here 🙂

The Ultimate Halloween Party Essentials

Deadly Decorations

halloween decorations

Also check out my recent post DIY Halloween Spider Web Wreath for an inexpensive and simple project!

Frightening Food

halloween party food

Find the recipes below!

  1. Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers 2. Witches Broom Marshmallow Pops 3. Mummy Pretzels 4. Monster Fruit Salad

Devilish Drinks

halloween party cocktails

See the recipes here!

  1. Devil’s Margarita 2. The Raven 3. Liquified Ghost 4. Hocus Pocus

For the too-cool-for-school men in your life who won’t drink girly looking cocktails *eye roll* why not try a cinnamon-brown sugar rim on the glass of their favorite seasonal beer?! It adds a fun twist!

Clever Costumes

I am a big fan of DIY costumes and not only are they cheaper than store bought but you will always be unique! If you choose a good one, you can potentially re-use whatever supplies you buy to make it.

Couples

couples costumes

Oh my, I just LOVE these relatively simple ideas!

ET, Deer & Deer Hunter, Lightening Strike and Forrest Gump & Jenny

Kids

kids costumes

  1. Rain Cloud by make it love it 2. Crazy Cat Lady by Crafty Morning 3. Sadness from Inside Out by love and lionSignOff

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Baby Weight Gain Woes

Today’s post is a bit of a rant I suppose. I want to talk about gaining weight during pregnancy.

Baby Weight Woes

I am 6 ft tall and my pre-pregnancy weight was 119lbs. My height, extremely long legs and physical build make me look very thin. This is something that has been a massive insecurity of mine for many years, mostly because of years of bullying, people suggesting I have eating disorders and telling me to go “eat a burger”. Not to mention the media and opposite sex constantly reminding me that I am not in fact a ‘real’ woman without the presence of curves.  I eat. I eat like a little piggy. Those close to me will vouch for the fact that not only do I eat but I eat my fair share of junk food. I have never had an unhealthy link to my body with food and I find it an awful shame to constantly battle those so quick to judge.

That attitude, in my opinion is more unhealthy than my appearance.

“A woman of a normal weight, like yourself, should expect to gain between 25 and 30 lbs throughout pregnancy” – my OB/GYN.

This kind of floored me. Not because I’m going to gain weight. Nope. Because she described me using the words “normal weight”. My own GP in Ireland would look at me sideways and warn me off “losing any more weight”. I’ve been the same weight at all my doctor visits for 8 years?! I was never actively trying to lose weight. It was refreshing to not feel like someone was trying to talk me off a ledge. I can’t wait to gain the weight, it is necessary for my growing baby. In fact, I bought my first ever scales to ensure month to month that I am gaining enough.

Body shaming works both ways. ‘Skinny’ shaming is as real as ‘fat’ shaming and they are all equally as vile as one another. The last thing pregnant women need is to compromise the health of themselves and their developing baby due to the cruel words of others.

Be sure to check out Morning Sickness Musts for tips on battling first trimester nausea!

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Morning Sickness Musts!

If you follow the blog’s social media accounts and saw my previous post, Little Pumpkin then you will already know that we are expecting! Baby Scott arrives next Spring and we are so flippin’ excited! I’ve been very sick in my first trimester and I strive to do all that I can to help other women deal with morning sickness misery! “Not another post about morning sickness!”, I hear you cry. There are endless morning sickness remedies out there. How do I know how many there are? Because I searched for them ALL. I read them all and I tried them all. Some worked wonders, other made me worse so I’ve compiled a list of what kept me at my best during my worst! Hopefully they can help you too.

Morning Sickness Musts

Intuitively, I knew I would experience morning sickness. It’s me. Everything turns my stomach, even at full health. I have a high pain tolerance but the weakest stomach and I was anxious in the early weeks of my pregnancy awaiting the dreaded nausea. I was 7 weeks 3 days at my initial prenatal exam and first ultrasound. The nurse asked me how I was feeling and I was on top of the world. She mused that I might be one of the lucky ones and I went home wondering if I was.

The very next day I woke up to the room spinning, stomach growling and vomit rising in my throat. T.M.I? Get used to it. Pregnancy and dignity don’t go hand in hand I’ve found.

I was floored and it was a vicious cycle. I was feeling deathly sick but starving at the same time. Let’s face it the last thing you want when you are sitting on bathroom floor waiting to vomit is a big meal. I learned my lesson quickly though. The reason I was feeling so sick was because I needed food. I needed to eat something the second I woke up and last thing at night. As well as this, I needed to eat frequently to avoid any sensation of hunger which in turn equated to nausea.

My Top 6 Morning Sickness Musts

  1. Eat immediately upon waking and right before bedtime. In the morning I found a dry, crunchy granola bar would give me enough energy and tide me over while I was getting myself up and dressed. I would go downstairs and have breakfast right afterwards. At night time I would eat the same but maybe add a banana. This was enough to fill me in case I woke in the middle of the night.
  2. Eat every 2 to 3 hours. This sounds excessive but for me it was the only way I got through my morning-noon-night sickness. I would eat at 9am, 12pm, 2/3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9/10pm. Some of these were meals (whatever I could keep down) and the rest were light, dry and downright boring snacks. Meals consisted of A LOT of carbohydrates and other plain but filling foods. Bread, rice, pasta, cereals etc. Snacks were crackers, granola bars, oatmeal and fruits that I could stomach like bananas, blueberries and strawberries.
  3. Don’t skip on water. I know, I know, it’s impossible to drink liters of water while feeling so awful. I added a teaspoon of the juice of a fresh lemon to every bottle of water I drank to add some flavor. The tartness made it easier to swallow. The days where I slacked on my water intake were hell. My head spun and the nausea was undoubtedly stronger. Not to mention the most important factor – all those fluids are necessary for babies development!
  4. Brew your own ginger tea. I both won and lost here. Who knew you could overdose on ginger? Not this girl. It’s rough. Trust me. I was so sick one day that I boiled the kettle, grated some fresh ginger and made my own tea. Grate your ginger into a bowl and pour hot water on top. Let it steep for a few minutes. Strain this water into a cup over a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of lemon then add more warm water. The key here is to not use too much ginger, a bare half teaspoon of grated ginger is enough. I used too much! The tea settled my stomach and I felt really good but the next two days were not pleasant. I had sent my body into a full digestive detox/cleanse and I don’t need to describe that to anyone.
  5. Put your go-to snacks EVERYWHERE. In the glove box of the car, in every handbag you own, in every pocket of your clothing, on your nightstand, on your coffee table, etc. Sometimes just walking to the pantry to get my food made the world spin. I liked to have things on hand at all times.
  6. Something I struggled with during the worst weeks of sickness was the gross metallic taste in my excessively dry mouth. I tried sucking on glassy, fruity candy but was overwhelmed by sweetness. I recommend ginger candies just for the purpose of settling the stomach but the taste can become overpowering. What worked best for me in the end was peppermints and occasionally chewing gum. Chewing gum helps to produce more saliva and I find it takes my mind off the ill feeling.

As I said my sickness began at week 7. It peaked at week 10 and by the very end of week 11 it became far more manageable. By the time week 12 rolled around I was waking up with more energy and barely any inkling of illness, which is typical of nearing the second trimester. The only time I feel sick now is if I allow myself to go far too long without eating. I really hope some of these tips work for someone else out there because it can feel downright hopeless and miserable.

Let me know in the comments what weird or wacky remedy eased your morning sickness!

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Little Pumpkin

Autumn is finally, officially here and while everyone’s talking about all pumpkin everything, I’ve been keeping a tiny pumpkin of my own a big secret!

Little Pumpkin Cover

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

Scott Pregnancy Announcement

Did I get to the point quick enough? I feel like I could burst with relief from keeping it quiet for so long! I agonized for weeks  about whether or not I would announce this on the blog but I figured I would end up posting related articles. It would seem a little strange to suddenly become a ‘mom’ blogger without ever mentioning becoming a mother…

Baby Scott will be making an appearance next Spring. Baby’s photos probably won’t feature on the blog but our adventures undoubtedly will. He or she will be our greatest one of all!

Little Pumpkin

Everything coming our way is very exciting. I have loved everyone’s blog posts that have helped me through this pregnancy so far and given me great advice for the future. I’m pretty excited to become a part of the mom club!

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