Stepping Into Spring With Pink Blush Maternity

Spring has sprung and so has my baby bump! At 34 weeks pregnant, I am feeling lethargic, anxious and less than attractive. One sure fire way to improve my mood when I’m feeling down is to dress myself up. Dressing up while eight months pregnant however, is no easy task. You are more than likely bored stiff of wearing whatever still fits you. Cue Pink Blush and their vast selection of gorgeous maternity dresses.

Pink Blush Maternity Clothes

Pink Blush Maternity

I wanted something feminine and comfortable to serve me throughout the rest of my pregnancy in a warm Georgia Spring. I was also keen to find something that could be worn postpartum for easy nursing. None of us are the perfect size and shape but I find it especially hard to shop for dresses to suit my frame as I am 6 feet tall. Short dresses on me could be deemed a criminal offense and typically, maxi dresses sit somewhere in the middle of my shins – hot stuff! So for me, finding the perfect midi dress is like hitting the jackpot.

Pink Blush Maternity

To flatter the bump and to suit baby’s nursing needs, I chose this hi-lo style midi number. Nothing says ‘Goodbye, Winter!’ like a pretty floral print and a little big of leg! I instantly fell in love with the dress that ticked all the boxes. This dress not only showcases the bump adorably but also hides a multitude of sins and is SO comfortable. That equates to the trifecta of cute maternity clothes in case you didn’t know!

I noticed the company’s tagline is ‘Effortless styles for the modern mother’ and they’ve certainly got it right. Pregnancy clothes are typically NOT cute, let’s be honest! If you’re searching for gorgeous, on-trend maternity wear, then I suggest taking a look at Pink Blush. You’ll find not only maternity wear but regular sizes, plus sizes, shoes and accessories too.

Head over to my Instagram now and enter my giveaway to win a $75 Pink Blush gift card!

 

This post was sponsored by Pink Blush. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Bargain Baby Gear – Where To Find Must-Have Newborn Products For A Steal!

I was always aware that babies are expensive little beings but I quickly realized just how expensive. It was an eye-opening experience setting up for baby! I am so grateful to our families for gifting us the big ticket items like the stroller, car seat, crib etc. Between those gifts, re-purposing furniture, building our own (thanks husband) and my own frugality – we have managed to set up for baby at a fraction of the ‘real’ cost. Hopefully this post will give you an eye for a great baby bargain just like I found in many stores.

Bargain Baby Gear

I am not in any way stingy. In fact, I have champagne taste but live with a sparkling water budget. I would definitely call myself frugal. I shop around A LOT and a nose around Goodwill is not beneath me, especially when they carry department store overstock (OMG!). My favorite stores for great deals are Home Goods, TJ Maxx and  sometimes, one particular Ross near my home. The gems to be found in these stores are hard to beat but it’s often luck of the draw with what bargain they may have in stock on the day you’re visiting. This is the perfect excuse to go often!

Where To Find The Best Baby Bargain

Goodwill

A year ago I walked into my local Goodwill (my first Goodwill trip ever) and quickly turned my nose up. I actually said ‘EW’. Fast forward to 2016 and while doing a donation drop-off at a brand new store, I gave it another chance and wandered into the baby clothes section. I am hooked ever since!

It hit me pretty quickly that bang in the middle of 4 different Goodwill stores in my locale are two Army installations. Army posts mean families moving in and out of the area constantly. This in turn means families purging their unwanted items often. The presence of military families also means there’s lots of babies around. While many, many adult garments at Goodwill may be ratty and suspect, the baby clothes are in a league of their own. Over the course of about 8 weeks I have purchased a hoard of completely unworn or worn-once onesies and full outfits. My total is usually under $6 and I come away with 6-8 outfits.

Honestly, I often feel guilty buying at Goodwill. I feel like I am stealing the eyes out of someone’s head. They have a ‘color-of-the-week’ offer which means that if you have a bunch of items on your arm bearing that color plastic barb, then that item is half price. In the infant section, this means your outfit could cost you just 49¢! On Sundays, ALL items with the color-of-the-week tag are 50¢.

Some of my Goodwill gold includes

  • Enough adorable infant clothing to dress every baby in North America. I will re-donate any items I don’t end up using. Brands including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, Janie & Jack, OshKosh, Little Me, Carters and more (49-99¢ per item)
  • V-Tech ‘Light & Move Learning Ball’  that has been thoroughly disinfected and is like brand new ($1.99 -versus- $14.99)
  • Two soft fold-out books including a Winnie the Pooh clip on stroller book with a tag on. Both washed like a dream (39¢ each -versus $7-10)
  • Brand new, unmarked board books and a complete Nursery Rhyme collectors book for baby’s library (39¢ each -versus- $10+)
  • Playtex Diaper Genie still in plastic and boxed! ($5 -versus- $30)
  • Four ‘What To Expect’ books including ‘When You’re Expecting’, ‘Baby’s First Year’, ‘Baby’s Second Year’ & ‘The Toddler Years’, all very recent editions! (39¢ each -versus- $11+ each)
  • GAP Maternity/Nursing blouse with tags on ($4 -versus- $34)

TJ Maxx

Ok, while TJ is one of my favorite stores, it can be as hit and miss as Goodwill. Their inventory changes constantly so if you spot something you have to snap it up there and then. I promise you it won’t be there next week, or even later that day. I have found so many baby items at a fraction of the cost and though most of their stock is passed season or slightly flawed, some of what I got is still this current season’s styles and prints. Have a good look at something you like in case it is damaged (it probably isn’t) and put it in your cart pronto! Sometimes the flaw and reason an item is there is a tiny as a seam sewn off center. If you aren’t fussy, you will never even notice.

Expect to find great deals here on baby clothing & accessories, nursery storage solutions, toys/books, baby carriers, stroller accessories, changing bags and occasionally bigger items like swings, rockers and bassinets.

I’ve scored:

  • aden & anais 2-Pack Original Muslin Swaddle Blankets, the big 47×47 ones! ($12.99 -versus- $32)
  • Blankets ($6 -versus- $20+)
  • Stroller bag hooks ($2 -versus- $10+)
  • Stroller organizer ($6 -versus- $20+)
  • 25 Pack Velvet Baby Hangers ($9 -versus- $15+)

Marshalls

At Marshalls you will find similar things to TJ or even the same. If you can’t find what you need at one, be sure to check the other.

Ross

I don’t shop here very often. In fact I have purchased something from a Ross store only twice. This past weekend I was looking for something specific so I perused my local and nicest Ross! I didn’t buy one because I have one already but they had Boppy Nursing pillows for $24! Granted, it wasn’t the cutest slipcover they make but those bad boys retail for $39.99!

I did buy a large faux sheepskin area rug for baby’s room for $30 versus the $60+ I’ve seen elsewhere!

Home Goods

I LOVE Home Goods. This place is the dream for kitting out baby’s room for a bargain. With goods much like Marshalls and TJ Maxx but with a focus on the decor side of things, obviously. Some of my finds include;

  • More hangers!
  • Storage boxes/Laundry Hamper ($4-25 -versus- $15-50+)
  • Diaper caddies ($6-12 -versus- $20+)
  • Clip on musical crib nightlight/soother ($6 -versus $20+)
  • A-Z Bookends ($7 -versus- $20+)

Amazon

Amazon may not be a discount store per se but as I am a Prime member it has been worth every cent. As a Prime member I qualify for free two-day shipping, unlimited free TV/movie streaming, unlimited photo storage, access to Prime Pantry (groceries on your door step? Yes please!) and more.

As a Prime member you are also eligible to become a member of Amazon Family. You can make an Amazon Baby Registry and qualify for a FREE welcome box choc full of baby items and free samples/coupons. As well as this you will receive 15% off an item of your choice on your registry and a number of other offers including a free Kindle e-book and discounted clothing.

For me, the best part about Amazon Prime are the subscription options. When you subscribe to diapers (you choose the frequency of their delivery) you get 20% off and a $2 off coupon on your first delivery. If you subscribe to a total of 5 items at once then the 5% savings on each one becomes 15%! The bargain price of sub $25 for 200+ diapers and peace of mind that they will arrive on my doorstep in 48 hours is especially worth it to me. I subscribe to dog food, baby wipes and other personal items which means I never have to remember them on my weekly grocery shop.

I am so happy with my baby bargain stockpile as I get such a kick out of having exactly what I wanted and still having a little extra cash in my purse! Off the top of my head, there is over $500 of savings just from the items I have listed (I haven’t listed every single item I have purchased on this journey!) including the retail value of the baby clothing from Goodwill.

How did you cut costs for your first baby set-up?

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12 Blogging Lessons Learned In 12 Months

Happy Birthday, Sass & Shamrocks! The blog is one year old today!  A whole year of consistent blogging, I can’t believe I did it! I wish I could say it’s been a consistently wonderful experience. It’s been rather stressful at times but it has been a profound and steep learning curve where I’ve learned lessons not only about blogging but about other people and myself.

12 Blogging Lessons in 12 Months

The blogging world is simultaneously simple and extremely complex. I jumped in head first and definitely felt like I was drowning very quickly. I don’t think it’s ever possible to learn it all when it comes to the internet, blogging and social media. The whole environment transforms so rapidly that every day there is something new to learn.

While I learned many complex lessons (the hard way), here are some of the more basic things I have come to realize which may help those those new to blogging or those considering set up a website for the first time.

12 Lessons In 12 Months

  1. Choose your host wisely. This is something I pondered for a while before purchasing my domain. I researched online  and read horror stories of transferring domain names to different hosting platforms which involved losing all content and subscribers. From the start I chose to go with Bluehost. Of course you don’t have to purchase a domain name at all. You can use any amount of free platforms to host your blog. However, if you plan to monetize your blog through ads or affiliates then many of the free options will not allow you to do that. Make sure you know what’s what.
  2. You are your brand. The way you communicate and let your personality shine through to your website will end up being your brand. Think about this especially if you are using your blog to promote your business. You may be extremely witty, opinionated or curse like a sailor but will this hurt your brand? That being said you must stay true to who you are and be honest in order to gain your readers trust and build a genuine following – maybe just save the F-bombs for your off-screen life.
  3. Screw niche blogging. While some bloggers have a blatant niche by default (travel, food, fashion, technology etc.) I don’t believe that every blog requires such strict boundaries. Most bloggers label their site ‘lifestyle’, inc. me for descriptive reasons. I don’t necessarily stick to this. Your blog will evolve just as much as you will as a person. I started mine to write about the trials and tribulations of adapting to a new life in the US, the challenges of being a military spouse and talking about my home in Ireland. Since then I have given into my creative side and posted many recipes, DIYs and started to pursue a potential photography career. Towards the end of the year my blog took a rapid swing toward pregnancy and parenting with the impending arrival of my first baby. Next year I hope to add photography to my categories and maybe even offer services in that field which will see the blog take more of a business oriented turn. In particular if you are blogging for fun, do not be bound by ‘rules’. It’s your blog. There are none!
  4. Keep it simple. I’m more drawn to clean, crisp layouts with easily readable font that aren’t flooded with ads and pop-ups. A fussy, cluttered site doesn’t encourage viewers to stay let alone read your content.
  5. Connect with like-minded people. For business, this is really important. You must have a target audience and know where to seek them out and connect. Don’t waste too much of your time promoting to the wrong people. For-fun blogging is different, while you may have the most in common with bloggers in your ‘niche’ (I am trying to use the term loosely) there’s no harm in connecting with others too.
  6. Don’t be a selfish group member. Blog groups are a great way to connect with other bloggers, seek advice and promote your blog. Many of these groups offer promotion threads where you can leave a link to be viewed/commented on/shared etc. In return, you must do the same for X amount of other links. These groups have been invaluable to me for getting my blog out there and for making new friends. However, there are a vast number of people who drop their links, do not reciprocate, do not follow any of the rules and even refer to the threads as ‘chore’ threads (HA!). Unfortunately you can’t do anything about others’ lack of integrity. You will come to recognize the bad apples’ pattern and not waste your time, instead giving your time and connection to worthy, honest group members.
  7. You can get what you want, if you’re willing to work for it. If your blog is for fun, you can have immense fun blogging. If your blog is to impact change, you can impact change. If your blog is monetized through ads and sponsored posts then you can work with brands. If your blog is for your business, you can promote your business. Obvious, right? Well it all ties in with my last point. If you are hard working, honest and build the right network all of these individual goals are achievable.  I personally know people who have reeled in a steady income from two months of blogging, people who have used their blogs to get into a position to fulfill a personal goal of theirs (eg, writing/publishing a book, selling a physical product they have created or simply sending out a message for nothing in return). I blog predominantly for fun although I have made money through ads, working with brands and posted affiliate links on occasion. In general I do not seek sponsorship but will collaborate if I like the brand. I have turned down many sponsored opportunities because I didn’t like the product/brand. I won’t post about things I do not like, use or have any interest in because they offer me cash.
  8. Get creative. I have always been creative but in recent years I spent so much time up to my eyes in technological academia that I didn’t allow myself a creative outlet. Since launching my blog I have embraced arts, crafts, cooking etc. more than I ever have. Other bloggers have been more inspirational to me than I realized. My creative side seeping out through little projects for my blog has in turn reignited my love for photography (that I knew nothing about). I am just about finished a year long professional course and am in the process of signing up for more advanced modules to see where the future takes me with that. I aim to be less lazy with my images and ditch the ‘iPhonography’ I’ve been habitually posting as my blog graphics and use my brand new Canon more and more. It’s amazing what avenues a blog is capable of taking you down, embrace them. You may very well find yourself doing something unexpected and realizing it’s your calling!
  9. Know your copyright rights. I have had many cases of suspiciously similar posts popping up days after posting mine but twice this year I had incidents of word-for-word plagiarism. It is so disheartening as well as infuriating that people just steal your work from under you. Sometimes it’s also comical the way they utterly deny it despite time stamps and well…logic. Have a copyright statement on your content. It helps to know the legal protocol and who to contact if you are being ripped off.
  10. Get to know social media trends. This was my biggest mountain to ascend. I have a love/hate relationship with social media and unfortunately you cannot get away from it when blogging. I have come to love Pinterest the most. Not only is it my biggest traffic driver and largest social following but it feeds my creative side and aids my photography/blog skills. Facebook is my enemy. Reach is poor no matter how strategically you play the game and I’ve known some bloggers to lose their pages without any explanation. I use it a couple of times a week but it isn’t my be all and end all. I love Instagram, obviously, because photography is a big hobby of mine but when it comes to the blog I am wary of it. The vast majority of IG followers only follow to gain a follower themselves. Shortly after, they may unfollow! I personally follow accounts of profiles I genuinely like or resonate with. Otherwise, I do not see a point. There are strategic times to post on various SM platforms, your insights will show you what your followers like and when they like to see it. Keep your content true to you but give it to them when they want it.
  11. Time doesn’t have to be your enemy. Don’t be afraid to take a break! I was totally overwhelmed with blogging at the beginning. What I did know is that I wanted to post consistently so I posted three times per week but I wasn’t happy. I had zero time and my content was crappy. I cut one post and started putting out two and have since whittled it down to just once per week. On occasion I will post twice. Read here to see how posting less actually benefited my blog and increased my traffic! If you are in the blogging biz and have to be connected at all times then you should consider paid scheduling services or even hiring a virtual assistant.
  12. Embrace change. Your blog changes on your terms but sometimes external factors change it for you. Example, my pregnancy gave a new avenue to travel down. If you are unwilling to budge or be diverse with content, your readers will get bored and disengage. Don’t be afraid of trying something new. If it doesn’t work, try something else!

12 Blogging Lessons Learned in one year

So here’s to another year, a new baby and seeing where this blogging journey continues to take me!

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Pregnancy & Privacy – To Bare All Or Keep Mum?

The pregnancy journey is thrilling, especially for first time mothers. You want to scream it from the roof tops while simultaneously wanting to not tell anyone out of  sheer worry. In our social media age a tendency to share every facet of lives exists for many. Whether it’s a status on Facebook, a photo on Instagram or a witty one liner on twitter it’s so easy to share your excitement without fully acknowledging exactly who can see it. I admit it myself that sometimes I snap a photograph with social media in mind and not solely to capture a memory.

Pregnancy & Privacy

Let’s be honest, many of use have ‘friends’ on social media we wouldn’t exactly consider to be close. Platforms like twitter and Instagram can invite literally anyone to view your content. This is why for the most part I haven’t documented too many milestones of my pregnancy on the blog. I find it rather eerie to think about who might be reading about such a personal experience of mine.

That said, I read blogs daily where people go into graphic detail about the inner workings of their womb. Some announce their pregnancy on the day they discover it. Others declare the gender of their baby to the public. I have even seen some publish teaser posts inviting readers to guess baby’s name! This is definitely a different pregnancy world to the one I knew growing up. Or at least the one I thought I knew. I personally am more private about my pregnancy. It is overwhelmingly exciting but I would rather contain that excitement within the bounds of my family and friends.

My crux with baring all throughout pregnancy however is not what I read online. I take no issue with what women choose to post and fully admit to thoroughly enjoying many of these posts! My problem lies with the people I meet in the street…

Whether it is due to being surrounded by such open accounts of pregnancy or just a  general sense of entitlement I have been taken aback by some of the questions I am asked on a regular basis. As soon as the bump ‘popped’ and my pregnancy became apparent, I noticed that some people took it as a green light to ask pretty personal questions. Or at least questions I feel are inappropriate and wouldn’t dream of asking others.

My Top Three Irritating Pregnancy Questions!

What are you having?

This one is the only one that makes me genuinely mad and want to respond with a passive aggressive, “a baby”. I do not believe that because some people happily announce their baby’s gender that it is free game in every other pregnancy. What makes people think they have a right to such a deeply intimate fact?

Another question comes with this one and it is, “Do you know but aren’t saying?” or “Do you reeeeeeally not know?”.

STOP IT. If you have been given a firm, “we haven’t found out” then please accept it and move on.

What names are you thinking of?

Note, this isn’t the question – “have you considered any names?”. This question seeks to know what those names are. BEFORE YOUR BABY ARRIVES. The baby is going to come out of me faster and more easily than that information. Keep walking.

When are you due?…because you’re tiny *stares at bump*

Admittedly, this is not an offensive question at all. However it is when paired with a disapproving glance at your belly and a comment about your size. Please stop skinny shaming me. I am 6ft tall and there’s plenty of torso for baby to hide in. FYI my baby is slightly above normal fetal growth rate! Relax.

See also my recent post on Dealing With Negative Nancy During Pregnancy

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Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

I haven’t documented much of my pregnancy on the blog because I wanted to keep it private but now a part of me wishes I had! Time has flown by and it has truly surprised me how fleeting these moments really are. It’s hard to believe I am in the final weeks of this pregnancy – single digits now!

Third Trimester Pregnancy Update

I swore at the beginning I would take a weekly bump photo and it saddens me that I didn’t. I was either too busy, feeling too gross or just forgot until I was already into another week. During the first 16 weeks, there was no bump to photograph anyway! Personally, I like to read about what different women experience at different stages. No two pregnancies are the same but it can be comforting to know what you could expect or even just know you aren’t alone in what you are experiencing. Now that I have officially entered the third trimester, I have decided to post a little update.

Third Trimester Bumpdate 30

How far along?

30 weeks

Baby’s Size

A cantaloupe according to my app! Baby weighs over 3.5 lbs

Total weight gain

18 lbs

Maternity clothes

Over-the-bump jeans (H&M Mama maternity skinny jeans are LIFE! They are super affordable too and often on sale.) since week 16 and some maternity tops since week 25 although most weren’t necessary they were just cute. I still have many wearable non-maternity tops. All my leggings are my pre-pregnancy ones.

Stretch marks

None, yet but the itchiest skin >.<

Sleep

There’s three scenarios here:
  1. If I can get to sleep at a decent hour, I am out until baby uses my bladder as a punching bag. Which is usually about 1000 times a night. In this case I usually get back to sleep.
  2. I get to sleep after midnight but then sleep through until the early morning.
  3. No sleep at all due to an overactive mind, baby thoughts, baby’s movement, wacky dreams and/or restless legs.

Longing for

  1. To nest. All day every day. I have an insatiable desire to organize ALL THE THINGS!
  2. A somewhat comfortable sleep position.
  3. To finally meet baby.

Movement

Lots and lots. It’s always a party in there. Mostly early in the morning, late afternoon and around 10pm. Now that baby is getting a bit cramped in there, the movements are less…violent!

Cravings

Nothing odd and nothing in particular! If I had to say anything I would say cinnamon rolls. But you don’t need to be pregnant to want those all the time.

Nausea

Some occasional morning weakness before breakfast. Since I was so sick in the first trimester I figure it will strike again somewhere in the third.

Gender

Waiting for baby to reveal all!

Symptoms

Indigestion after most foods but not so much heartburn, difficulty sleeping, back ache, fatigue, general lack of motivation to do anything and although my bump is small – the beginning of a very attractive waddle.

Belly button in or out?

A weird, neither in nor out at the moment and it freaks me out so much.

Wedding rings on or off?

Still on although at the end of most days they don’t want to come off.

Happy or moody most of the time

Both. Predominantly moody though. Mostly feeling a mix of excitement and overwhelm in these weeks where baby has become more ‘real’.

Looking forward to

Completing the nursery, finalizing name options, trying to relax knowing everything is ready (HA! When will that be?!) and giving you another update!
 Third Trimester Bumpdate 30

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Galentine’s Mason Jar Gift For Your Girlfriends

Valentine’s schmalentine’s, sometimes our real life long loves are our best friends. Did you know that February 13th is Galentine’s Day? Like Friendsgiving, Galentine’s Day has become a cute celebration of friendships and I am a fan. Show your best pal or even numerous gal pals some love this Valentine’s Day with a thoughtful yet inexpensive gift.

Galentine's Day Jar Gift

Whether they are a simple ‘thanks for being in my life’ gesture or a girls-night-in party favor, the ladies in your life will love them! Like I mentioned in my Candy Cane Hot Chocolate post, these mason jar gifts can be tailored specifically to each recipient. They can also be put together extremely inexpensively – or not but that’s up to you and your budget.

I put this one together using a mix of my own sample beauty products plus some new purchases. For example over Christmas when you purchase certain beauty sets they often come with free gifts that consist of sample sized products. I LOVE thisworks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray and through my own purchases/subscription boxes I have received smaller versions that I’m (just about) willing to part with! Add your BFF’s favorite shade of lipstick or nail polish and a cute nail file to create this hair, face and nails glam jar!

Galentine's Jar Gift

I am obsessed with jar gifts for their sheer versatility and meaning! It is so sweet to receive a gift from someone full of the things you love the most. It’s just so thoughtful!

Some jar fillers your gal pals will love are

  • Bath Bombs, homemade or fancy ones they wouldn’t buy for themselves.
  • Candy (a mix of their favorite kinds)
  • Mini Wine Bottles (because, y’know!)
  • DIY Facial Essentials
  • DIY Mani/Pedi Tools
  • Gift Cards
  • Emergency Handbag Kit (spare tights, chewing gum, lip balm, blister pads for those too-tight shoes she had to have)
  • Newborn First Weeks Survival Kit (coffee, eye mask, rejuvenating eye cream, her favorite body lotion, healthy snacks)
  • An occupation appropriate jar. For example for a nurse you could fill a large water bottle with compression stockings, instant coffee sachets, mints, hair clips, pens.

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Champagne Frosting

Valentine’s Day is a month away and in stores it’s hard to avoid. In fact, I saw Valentine outfits for babies in DECEMBER! What in the world?! I don’t typically observe Valentine’s Day in any major way like decorating the house or giving lavish presents but I do like to acknowledge it in small ways. I typically love all holidays but I guess I’m a bit of a Valentine’s scrooge. One thing I can get on board with over Valentine’s Day are the treats! Give me all the yummy meals, decadent desserts and sweets! If you don’t buy into the fancy, over-priced candlelit dinners and extravagant gifts then why not acknowledge your Valentine with a homemade sweet treat. You can’t ever go wrong with chocolate cake so I whipped up these easy chocolate cupcakes and got into the festivities with a delicious pink champagne frosting. All of the luxury and sweetness without the added cheese 😉

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Chocolate Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Valentine's Day Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Or maybe you could say “I Love You’ with the gift of peppiness 😉 Take a look at my Vanilla Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting for an alternative caffeine fix!

How sweet are these Valentine’s apt baking items?

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Dealing With Negative Nancy During Your Pregnancy

There’s always one. In every situation, pregnant or not there is always one negative person who has nothing positive to say on the matter. In pregnancy, the same applies. Whether it’s strangers patting your belly or unsolicited ‘advice’, there’s plenty of negativity to fill your nine months and beyond.

Dealing With A Negative Nancy During Pregnancy

I was home in Ireland briefly and sadly, I kind of regret going. Not because I received negativity but because I received support. I am aware that seems incredibly cynical and negative. I was finally able to share the pregnancy journey with those who seemed concerned, interested and happy for me. I cannot describe the feeling of going through such a special time and being the only one invested in it. So I won’t even try but it was very hard to leave a loving, familiar environment and return to one void of such happiness.

I have come to discover here that when I am in the company of others, all I hear regarding my pregnancy is what will or will potentially go wrong. I spoke in my last post about struggling with my mental health throughout this pregnancy. The last thing any expectant first-time mother wishes to hear is what they are doing wrong or what will go wrong. It baffles me that at such a special time in life, the only sentiments offered are negative. With all due respect – if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing.

I understand that some people don’t worry. I am a sensitive, intuitive person and worry comes with the territory. Don’t get me wrong, I am confident in this pregnancy. If it weren’t for the external factors I would say I am loving it. But I have the normal apprehension that is to be expected when facing delivering your first baby. Fortunately, in my battalion I also have my intelligence, a strong maternal instinct and a drive to succeed. Maybe I internalize too much but I cannot bear someone treating me like I know absolutely nothing. Condescending comments that almost infer I haven’t held, cared for or ever even seen an infant in my life. Negativity about the way I eat, drink or choose to care for myself during the gestation. Telling me with a loud cackle how my house will never be the palace it is now, again. UGH.

Like snowflakes, fingerprints and pregnancies – we are all unique.

Why is it so hard to live and let live? In my rant I have digressed. I have taken too long to realize that the health and well-being of myself and my child trumps literally everything else in my life. Giving these people power over your emotions is the worst way to manage. You must continue on boldly and bravely in your pregnancy. You are the mother. That intuition is strong for a reason. You know what is best for you and for baby. Embrace the positivity you receive. Be thankful for those people and their kind words, generosity and support. Give them the space in your head and heart.

Dealing With Negative Nancy During Your Pregnancy

  • Bite your tongue
  • Smile and nod
  • Say thank you
  • Firmly but nicely state that you do not wish to discuss certain topics if they are too personal or invasive
  • Don’t focus on the fact that your boundaries are being disrespected and allow it to become bitterness. Some people just truly believe they know everything
  • Try to remember that to them the ‘advice’ is coming from a good place and not one of malice
  • Don’t internalize it as condescension, often empty vessels simply make the most noise
  • Don’t go over the conversation in your head later on
  • Let others’ negativity go. Their know-it-all attitude is not your weight to carry
  • Use your time educating yourself on what’s to come – it’s the best way to minimize fear
  • Speak to your doctor about any concerns and worries potentially caused by what others say to you. He or she will be happy to clarify and reassure
  • Give supportive people your mental energy
  • Keep a pregnancy/gratitude journal
  • Embrace the journey, don’t let negative comments/people steal the joy that is now

If you’re struggling to fend off negativity or just feel overwhelmed in your pregnancy check out my recent post The Importance of Self Care During Pregnancy for some simple ideas to take a positive time out!

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The Importance Of Self Care During Pregnancy

The topic of self care is trendy right now but there is much more to it than a bandwagon. Finally, an idea with more substance than ‘adulting’ or the apparently vital role Target plays in our lives. The new year brings high hopes, willingness to embrace change and goals, goals, goals! This year, after an extremely emotionally demanding 2016, my main goal is self improvement. This resolution was borne out of necessity. With my first baby arriving soon there is simply no choice to continue in the mental state I was in. Stress is not good for your growing baby so it is incredibly important to ensure you have a safe, stress-free and happy pregnancy. Taking time for yourself is easier said than done but if I could prevent even one person from feeling the strain I have felt then I would be content.

Self Care During Pregnancy

Whether your stress is a direct result of work, relationship issues, financial problems etc. it does not matter. The physical affects of stress on your developing baby can be detrimental to their mental health in years to come. Even at this point I feel a large amount of guilt for inflicting my sadness and worries onto my baby. Clawing your way out of a rut isn’t easy and casting aside fears is less so. With every kick and hiccup from inside I am reminded and determined to be the best version of myself. Both for the baby and for my own happiness. Sometimes you will come to realize that your expectations of support are nothing more than expectation and in that situation you must be everything you need by yourself.

“So what can I do to minimize stress?”

First of all, like any issue, recognize that you need help and be able to admit it. Even if only to yourself. Fortunately with self care, YOU can help you. All it takes is remembering be to intentional.

Self care practices range from the tiniest trivial activity to life altering decisions and you get to choose what is best for you. Nobody knows you better than yourself! Simply put, do more of the things you love, the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. If that means taking a vacation or just putting on freshly laundered pjs then do it and do it solely for you.

As a highly sensitive and introverted person, time outs are a necessity for me. Unfortunately time away from the chaos doesn’t simply equate to positive, revitalizing me-time. I can often spend it in turmoil with a very messy, over analytical mindset. This serves me no purpose and adds to my woes. For self care to be legitimate and genuinely help you, you must be intentionally selfish and make it entirely about you.

Self Care Activities For A Happy Healthy Pregnancy

These activities are so easy but we often ignore them. Sometimes we just need a little nudge! What are some of your favorite self care practices?

 

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Candy Cane Hot Chocolate In A Jar Gift

Christmas week is here! Can you believe it? It’s a week of last minute scrambling, cleaning and preparation to go visit family for us. While Christmas is about so much more than presents – gift buying, wrapping and giving is in full swing this week. I love thoughtful little gifts! Who doesn’t? It’s quite special to receive a gift that’s been handmade just for you! That’s why I love putting together baskets and these DIY mason jar gifts. They are perfect as stocking fillers, for co-workers, secret Santa gift giving and even as last-minute gifts for the unexpected visitor (we’ve all been there!).

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate In A Jar Gift

At this time of the year you may already have some or all of the ingredients for hot chocolate jars in your home depending on how sweet your tooth is. For me, this is not an issue. ALL of the candy at this time of the year! This particular jar has an added dose of chocolate in the form of chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli white chips for a richer flavor) and a candy cane for stirring! You could also get your peppermint flavor from a layer of crushed peppermints as a topping in the jar or by adding peppermint marshmallows instead of the regular kind.

You will need:

  • Ball Mason Jar or similar
  • Decorative ribbon or bakers twine

If you are super organized you could have some pre-printed labels for the lid (I was not super organized!).

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate Jar Gift

Candy Cane Hot Chocolate

  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Mini White Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Candy Cane

LastMinute Jar Gift

Add hot water or milk with two tablespoons from your jar and enjoy!

Why not try some other hot chocolate flavors such as salted caramel, spiced white hot chocolate or even gingerbread!

Jar gifts can be absolutely anything you wish so be creative.

More Jar Gift Ideas

Manicure – Nail polish remover, nail scissors, file, buffer and a festive shade of polish.

21+ – Mini soda can, mini liquor bottle, decorative drink stirrer.

Coffee Lovers – Gourmet espresso sachet, espresso mug and mini dark chocolates.

The possibilities are endless and the results so personal and cute!

 

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