Haven Life Insurance

This post is sponsored by Haven Life, all thoughts are my own

This post is sponsored by Haven Life, all thoughts are my own

Something shifts the moment you have a baby. You start thinking about things in the long term picture. The things your parents talked about like 401ks, finding a house in the best school district and life insurance becomes a top priority. Suddenly your life is no longer just your own.  You share it with your spouse and your child as a whole entity.

Finding the right life insurance for you and your family can feel overwhelming.  As a new parent I solely focus on things I need to do for my son. Anything for myself or my husband becomes a lower priority. But life insurance is for your child because it's the safety net that protects them if anything happened to you. 

Most of the time, you can't buy affordable, high quality life insurance coverage online. It takes weeks for a decision. Enter Haven Life- a startup backed by MassMutual. Haven Life makes it so easy to research and purchase quality coverage. Once you submit an application online, you find out immediately if you're approved for coverage and how much it'll cost.  If you're unsure of how much coverage you might need, you can also calculate your specific needs to view suggested options that best fit you and your family. Having access to affordable, high quality coverage where I can find out if I am approved for coverage in just a few easy steps online is such a relief and one less hectic process I have to stress about. Visit Haven Life to find out more. 

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC15DTC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. 

Baby C with Shane Co

shaneco1.jpg

I know I've kept you in the dark on baby C's name during my pregnancy.  I am so excited to finally share what C stands for with the help of Shane Co!

I knew I wanted a custom engraved pendant with my baby boys initials on it.  I'll be wearing this piece regularly as layering piece so I wanted something that would last and not risk tarnishing or falling apart.  Quality was the main focus for what jewelry company I would trust with such a precious and sentimental necklace.  I knew I could count on my friends at Shane Co to deliver exactly what I was looking for at an amazing price.

I chose this gold pendant in 14k gold: SHOP IT BY CLICKING HERE

I opted for his three initials, CLM for Caspian Lee Merlet

Bravado Nursing Bras: My first two weeks

This post is sponsored by Bravado Designs, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Bravado Designs, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What a whirlwind mommyhood is!  I'll be two weeks postpartum this coming Sunday and I wanted to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by sharing my favorite nursing bra company along with the top two things I have learned about breastfeeding in these past 10 days.

If you caught my IG post featuring my Bravado Ballet Nursing Bra you read how overwhelmed I felt after taking a FOUR HOUR breastfeeding class.  By the end of class my eyes were glazed over and the only thing my brain cared to remember these past few weeks was that cold cabbage leaves can help reduce engorgement.  I had been told so much about the "breast crawl" and pumping and 289 other things but it was the few things I wasn't told about in our breastfeeding class that I wish I knew before hand. So below I am going to share the top two things I wish I knew about breastfeeding that wasn't taught in my class. 

1. Engorgement.  On day three of mommyhood my milk came in and I woke up with rock hard boobs.  I was in so much pain.  I frantically texted my other mommy friends and family asking them if this was normal.  They assured me it was and advised switching between hot and cold compression to relieve the pain.  I used warm washcloths and a frozen bag of peas. I did try to cold cabbage leaves but that didn't do squat. There was a point at the end of the day where I was crying on the couch with frozen peas on my chest and enjoying the feeling of relief.  I wore my Bravado Ballet Nursing Bra during this time and it was so silky soft.  It offered breast support without feeling restrictive or painful on my chest.

2. Night Feeding.  Night feeding took about 5 days to find our rhythm.  By rhythm I don't mean a time schedule for when my babe would need to nurse, I mean finding what positions worked best for me and baby without having to disrupt our sleep too much.  The first few nights I'd prop myself up with three pillows behind my head for each feeding and grab my nursing boppy pillow to support the baby.  Doing this song and dance would jolt me awake and I would find it hard to fall back asleep.  I also found myself not wanting to remove the pillows behind my neck and back after the first round of night feeding so I'd sleep sitting up and wake up with terrible neck pain.  Since we are co-sleeping I finally decided to try side-lying nursing.  WHAT A LIFE SAVER.  I wear my Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra.  It's super soft to wear at night and the clips on the strap are easy to unhook one handed (you will be learning to do a lot of things one handed while breastfeeding).  I find myself easily being able to fall back asleep after each feeding since I don't have to change my sleep position and baby doesn't need to be readjusted either. 

Shop my two favorite nursing bras by Bravado Designs below.  Both come in a variety of colors and are under $50!

Bravado Silk Seamless Nursing Bra  SHOP IT BY CLICKING HERE.

Bravado Ballet Nursing Bra SHOP IT BY CLICKING HERE

MiaDonna: The Eco Diamond

IMG_5437.JPG

They say diamonds are a girl's best friend.  I have to agree.

There is nothing like the sparkle of a diamond to draw the eye in.  I think diamonds are a classic, versatile gemstone.  You should be able to wear them with an evening gown or with your favorite jeans and t-shirt.

My favorite setting for diamonds: A pair of diamond stud earrings.

But at what cost?

It's 2017 and being aware of how diamonds are sourced is a common concern.  There have been blockbuster movies made about the dark world of diamond sourcing and countless articles published.  What I love the most about MiaDonna is their diamonds are conflict free and eco-friendly. 

How?

MiaDonna's diamonds are lab grown diamonds made in the United States.  Now before you jump to conclusions you should know they are chemically, physically and optically IDENTICAL to mined diamonds. The problem with mined diamonds is the sources are often in villages where the miners and their families can be abused and forced into mining.  This means even young children are unwilling made to mine and source diamonds.   Mining also has a huge impact on our earth.  Enormous amounts of soil are removed in the process and the long term effects of this could be devastating to our eco-system.

This is why I am so excited to proudly wear my MiaDonna Martini 1.00 carat earrings set in 14k white gold and even MORE excited to announce I have an extra pair to giveaway to one of my lucky readers!

Simply follow this link to enter our IG based giveaway: https://instagram.com/p/BWsrEtcgwww/

More to love about MiaDonna-

MiaDonna gives 5% back to the Greener Diamond Foundation, which you can read about here: https://www.miadonna.com/pages/the-greener-diamond

MiaDonna creates gorgeous engagement rings: https://www.miadonna.com/pages/ethical-conflict-free-engagement-rings

MiaDonna offers at home try on: https://www.miadonna.com/pages/home-try-on-jewelry

MiaDonna offers custom designs: https://www.miadonna.com/pages/design-your-own-ring

Nursery nesting with FreeShipping.com

Nesting is definitely one of those things I heard about but didn't really understand until this last month.  Every time I thought we were done with decorating the nursery I felt like there was a little something missing.  With my big 38 week pregnancy belly I am moving at a glacial pace these days and a trip to our strip mall with all our go-to stores seems impossible.  

I have been relying heavily on online shopping for last minute items.  One item I wanted for our nursery was a side table to put next to the rocking chair.  The one I fell in love with was from Target. I knew I wouldn't make it to the store anytime soon so I would need to order online.

So you're probably asking what the difference is between FreeShipping.com and just buying directly on the retailer's site. How about 10% cash back and automatic coupon codes?

I went to FreeShipping.coms main page and typed in the retailer I was looking for: Target

After putting TARGET into the search box I clicked on the "Target 10% cashback" option in the drop down menu

I saw in the next screen that they had coupon codes available below so I scrolled down to see what they were.

I clicked the "visit store" option and was redirected to the Target website where I was able to purchase the side table I wanted.  I got free shipping and 10% cash back!

My package arrived in 5 days and it was exactly the final touch our nursery needed!

I know with a newborn we will have even less time to make trips to our local Target and shop in store.  It's so helpful to have a site I can order from that provides free shipping and will help us save money with cash back options.  I hear diapers are expensive and FreeShipping.com is going to be a life saver getting them direct to my home while putting money in my pocket!

The loneliness of the first trimester

 

 

 

My therapist was the first person I told I was pregnant.

It happened on a Tuesday. I usually have therapy every Thursday but this week it was Thanksgiving so we switched days.  I walked into her office, calmly sat down and before she could ask me how I was doing I blutered out "I'm pregnant."  A month prior my husband and I were walking our dogs before heading out to dinner and a concert.  The leaves in our neighborhood were all this gorgeous fire red color and covered the sidewalks and streets.  Suddenly a feeling came over me that it was time to start family.  I turned to him and said "I think we should start trying for a baby."  I remember picking up a small autumn leaf that day and taking it home to remember that moment. 

I had no idea if conceiving would be easy or hard for us.  We had decided as a couple that going into pregnancy we wouldn't take any type of fertility tests prior to trying unless we were unable to conceive in the first six months. I have a history of hormonal imbalance and cysts on my ovaries so I knew there was a chance it could be tricky.  We had also decided to not tell anyone we were trying.  I didn't want the attention if I skipped a glass of wine at dinner with friends.  I didn't want anyone asking me about it every month.  I didn't want the self induced added pressure and anxiety. 

 I had decided to order a large package of pregnancy test strips to have on hand for the coming months.  I didn't want to obsessively be running to the drugstore monthly if I was a day late.  I knew for my personality it would be best to have them "just in case".  I noticed I was about 5 days late but I had no hope that I would see those double pink lines.  So when that second line appeared I started laughing. I didn't believe it.  There was no way it could happen that fast.  So I took another test.  And another....... Pretty soon my bathroom floor was covered in tiny double pink lined strips of paper.  "These things are expired" I thought.  I jumped in my car and drove the 10 blocks up the street to the drug store to buy one of those $30 three packs. The ones that basically use the exact same kind of tests I had at home but have an added plastic stick around them. The fancy expensive kind. I remember shaking at the checkout line and preparing myself for disappointment when I got home. Again, those two pink lines appeared on all three of my shiny plastic covered pregnancy tests.

Every emotion I had ever felt in life rushed through me, but the one that hit me the hardest was guilt.  I felt guilty for being pregnant.  I felt guilty we had conceived so easily.  I felt guilty that others that were trying were not pregnant yet.  I felt guilty I had not told anyone that we were trying.

When I called my OB GYN's office and told them I had taken over 10 pregnancy tests that all came back positive I asked them if there could be a mistake.  They assured me that was not possible and congratulated me.  We set up an appointment for what would be my 9 week ultrasound and advised me to call them if I felt anything was wrong before then.  

That felt like a loaded statement.  How would I know if anything was wrong?  I had never been pregnant before.  So what else is a girl to do than rely on the internet for answers.  

What a HUGE mistake.  

I don't think I have seen a better example of "misery loves company" than on baby and pregnancy online chat forums.

For every first time mom that was posting concerns and questions were ten women hissing at her to stop complaining and that it sounded like "the exact same thing that happened to me before I miscarried."

Those first few months were the loneliest months of my life.  It was holiday season and I was doing a fun dance of avoiding friends and family.  My work was suffering and I had to lie that I was sick with the flu.  I had to lie to a lot of people I care about.  I had to lie to my best friend.  I had to lie to my dad. I had to make endless excuses of why I couldn't attend a party or why I hadn't called back.  I spent most of my time in bed feeling like I had the world's worst hangover while I read things online that I was probably having a miscarriage or something was wrong with my baby.  Nothing seemed helpful or supportive and I had no one to talk to about what I was experiencing.  

My husband and I decided to not tell anyone right away that we were expecting.  I didn't want very many people knowing in case I miscarried.  The fear had been installed that this would probably happen.   We ended up sharing our news with the tiniest handful of people (mostly because I couldn't stand lying to them anymore) but we made it very clear this was not to be shared with others and to not get too excited because we would not be in the clear for another few months.  We were both on edge and prepared for the worst.

Then we made it to our 9 week ultrasound.  A small fraction of relief came over us when we saw our lil ones heart beat on the monitor and the outline of what looked like a tiny peanut.  Suddenly it all felt very real.  I was pregnant.  Really pregnant.  There was photo evidence I was growing something inside me. The last weeks of nausea and fatigue were for a bigger purpose.  We were on the road to being able to confirm this exciting chapter in our life.

The next day we were scheduled to fly to Thailand for our very belated honeymoon.  While my OB said it was perfectly safe for us to go I still was half ready to come back no longer pregnant.  Our trip was bittersweet.  I was coming out of my first trimester symptoms but the traveling was rough on my body.  Every day I grew a little more confident in my pregnancy.  I had the signs of the tiniest bump (which was probably just bloating but it was still exciting).  I was feeling confident in our future as parents. We definitely had to forgo some things we had originally planned but we knew it was for the safety of our baby.  OUR BABY.  The little being that became more real, every day.

We had our 12 week ultrasound shortly after we returned from Thailand.  This was it.  This would confirm our baby was safe.  That the odds of me miscarrying after this were very, very slim.  That they could see and make sure the baby was forming correctly.  I don't know if I have ever felt such a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders than when I heard his heartbeat.  Than when I saw the actual formation of what looked like a person flicker on that screen.  Than the feeling of my heart bursting as his little hand waved hello to us.  This was our baby and we could finally tell everyone with absolute confidence. Our baby was no longer a secret. He would be a real human coming earthside soon.

Telling family and friends was supposed to be this amazing joyous moment for us but we were received with mixed emotions. I would love to say everyone was thrilled and responded with enthusiasm but that wasn't the case and unfortunately this seems common with other pregnant women/couples. It is disappointing since you don't know the feeling until you've experienced it.  You don't know the months of being sick.  The months of being paralyzed with the thought you'll lose your baby.  The months of keeping a secret from people you love in order to protect yourself. 

When there is a baby announcement there is so much more in the announcement than announcing a pregnancy.  We're announcing that we've made it out of the dark and into the light.  We're announcing our fears and dreams of becoming parents. We're announcing a leap into a new journey.  A journey that started very lonely but now is meant to be filled with family, friends and love.  A journey we are asking you to be a part of with us.

Our journey started with a walk on a fall day and will continue for many years to come. I no longer feel lonely but I ask anyone reading this to be kind to yourself or others who are just beginning their journey.  We don't have to go it alone. 

 

 

Weekly Round Up: Issue 4

Would you believe me if I told you that all these dresses are NOT maternity dresses?  They just happen to be bump friendly.  I rounded up these three you all seem to love and my new favorite designer dupe purse below! All the dress are $51 or under. Shop the looks with the direct clickable link or click the images in the carousels. 

If you're looking for a chic and unique maternity look or if you just love this dress it's actually NOT a maternity dress.  I sized up to make sure my bump would fit.  The fabric is stretchy and the back is open.  Shop is for $51 and these awesome door knocker earrings.

Dress:  CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Earrings: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Another non-maternity dress that just happens to be bump friendly.  I sized up to a medium and it still fit at 35 weeks!  Also fun straw hats for summer are a must and I linked a few favorites below, just click on any of the images in the carousel below!

Dress: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Hat: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

How boho fabulous is this dress?!?! Also not a maternity dress but the adjustable open size makes it bump friendly.  I feel like I'll be wearing this alot when baby arrives too because it's so light and comfy.  I linked my new favorite sliders and even some parasol for you if you want an extra fabulous way to protect yourself from the sun this summer.

Dress: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Sliders: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Parasol: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

IMG_5212.JPG

Lots of love on IG for this designer inspired bag.  At $31 this is a major style steal since it looks hella expensive IRL. 

Bag: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Labor Soothing Date Smoothie

I hate dates!  They are like raisins on steroids.  I seriously cannot get past the texture of them without gagging and on their own they are way, way too sweet for my tastebuds. 

When my midwives recommended I start eating 6 medjool dates a day (starting at 36 weeks) my stomach dropped a bit.  They say they help ease labor.  I have heard this both from midwives and other moms so I knew I was going to have to find a way to get them into my diet.

So first off I just want to rant on all the awesome benefits of medjool dates.  Please keep in mind when you make these smoothies to use medjool dates.  This was stressed to me by my doulas and midwives.

Fiber- dates are full of fiber which is something everyone probably needs more of but especially third trimester mama's because pooping is hard!

Potassium- An awesome natural electrolyte.  It helps balance water/salt.

Magnesium- You know those leg cramps you are getting, especially at night?  Magnesium will help sooth those.

Folate- Getting enough folate will ensure your baby's spinal chord matures properly.

Vitamin K- this maintains proper blood clotting which is important for mama's during and after labor and if your OB or midwife hasn't mentioned it yet you'll learn about a Vitamin K shot for your newborn.  If they have not brought this up to you by your 35 week appointment I strongly urge you to ask questions about it.  I'm still doing my reading and research on this. 

Ingredients:

-6 medjool dates (make sure to remove the pits)

-1 banana

-2 tablespoons of almond butter (depending on how you label honey as vegan or not I opted for this almond butter with honey and flaxseed)

-1 cup unsweetened almond milk

-a dash of cinnamon (I like a heavy dash to balance the sweetness)

-5-6 ice cubes

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency.  

This smoothie is delicious.  My husband got a taste and deemed it his favorite smoothie ever. The sweet dates balance with the almond and cinnamon really well.

Below I linked the medjool dates I bought along with two other 36 week plus must haves to help with labor.

 

Happy drinking mamas!

Oh Baby

ohbaby8.jpg

One month until baby C arrives!  What better way to celebrate than with sharing our maternity photo's.  

I knew with our maternity session I wanted something with a little glam and sophistication.  I am actually a bit moody in personality and since I am about to turn 32 and my hubs is 33 I really wanted a look that captured this era of age for us.  I also wanted to go almost full opposite of my boho baby shower look

I opted for a long black gown.  I wanted something dramatic.  Can you believe this beauty is only $51?!?!?! Such a style steal.  There are a lot of really pretty customized maternity gowns out there but most of them did not look wearable again for the future and are basic jersey stretch fabric.  I couldn't justify dropping $200-$300 on a dress I would never wear again when there's still items we need for the nursery.  

I sized up two sizes in this dress since it's not technically a maternity dress but the fabric is stretchy.  I wanted to make sure my bump had the room it needed.  For jewelry I opted for these statement lion door-knocker earrings (because baby C is due to be a Leo just like his mama) I managed to style my own hair in a mix of fishtail and regular milkmaid braids, which is a miracle because I am terrible at up-dos. 

Shop the look below!

Dress: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Earrings: CLICK HERE TO SHOP

Photography: Christine Shields www.christineshieldsphotography.com

Location: Cistus Nursery, Sauvie Island, Oregon

High Fiber Raspberry Smoothie

Let's talk about pooping!  

Once I hit my third trimester I was blessed with constipation.  This is pretty normal in pregnancy but that doesn't mean it's ever fun.  Even if you're not pregnant not being able to go is a total BUM-mer (hahahahaha I've got the jokes) 

This recipe has four ingredients, is vegan, filled with fiber and a total cure for that sweet tooth. 

 

Ingredients:

- Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Protein Powder

- Raspberries

- Unsweetened  Almond Milk

- Ice Cubes

 

I start with 1 cup of frozen raspberries (8 grams of fiber)  You can opt for non-frozen but I think frozen ones add that extra thickness that makes the smoothie almost desert like.  Continue with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and 3-4 ice cubes.

Then add two scoops of Bob's Red Mill chocolate protein powder (9 grams of fiber)  This will put you at 17 grams of the recommended 37 grams for the day.  If you click the highlighted blue links they will take you to a shoppable Amazon link.  I opt for Bob's Red Mill protein powder because it's filled with so much good stuff.  I love that it's vegan, has added chia and probiotics which everyone could use more of.

Blend everything in a Ninja blender or  Vitamix until desired consistency.  Top with option raspberries and cacao nibs

This is a great treat for the AM or a late afternoon snack.

Weekly Round Up: Issue 3

Forever 21 is having an awesome sale right now.  They have styles for up to 20% off with code: SUMMER20 at checkout.  This week I decided to link some Forever 21 items
I love right now and are inspired by my looks from this week that I shared on my IG.  The sale ends on 6/18 so grab up your goodies while you! 

Another mama-to-be asked me what size I got this jumpsuit in for my bump so I wanted to relink it.  I sized up to a medium and this was taken a few weeks ago at 32 weeks.  My bump has grown one inch since then and I'm happy to report the jumpsuit still fits! I also linked two bags with a similar hue that are both under $30.

A lot of summer and fall abies are coming so that means all the baby showers!  I recreated my baby shower look with Forever 21 pieces and YES that includes flower crowns!

This look and my next one are my "Let's pretend we live in the French countryside" looks.  I think it's all the gorgeous roses we have blooming right now that's put me in the mood for lots of flowy floral dresses.

Here I am thinking about all the brie and wine I wish I could eat and drink.  Are you sick of off the shoulder dresses yet?  I was for about a week then I got over it and bought two new ones.  

Summer Beauty Products: June Edition

I'm hella lazy these days with my beauty care routine.  One, I'm pregnant and two, it's hot out now so basically everything feels like it runs off my face.

I've been mixing and matching new and old goodies for the summer heat and lazy girl mirror time.  Here are a few of my favorite products.

 

I did a full blog post on Live Botanical in the past and this toner has been my go to since then.  I spray it on my face in the morning when I get out of the shower for a nice pick me up.  The citrus scent is especially great for summer.  Live Botanical is a Portland based company that is organic, GMo-free and fair trade. 

Blood Orange Restoring Toner $18, shop it here

I switched out of my matte lip glosses and lipsticks and opted for some gel lip stains for summer. I have all three colors.  These are easily buildable and won't dry out your lips like the other stains. They give you that perfect "cherry popsicle" look for summer and at $4 a pop you might as well get all the hues! Shop them here.  

My under eyes have been feeling rough lately.  My sleep patterns are off and I needed something that would help with my puffiness and hollow look. This gives that extra little plump effect I was looking for. I saw results in as little as three days!  This is extra hydrating so I suggest using it only at night and skipping for day wear/under makeup.  Shop it here for Prime shipping. 

I'm really into not doing my hair lately.....My routine has been washing it and letting it air dry.  I have a slight natural wave and if I am looking for extra texture I'll braid it while it's still wet and let it dry that way.  I love this spray because it gives that cool girl beach texture without leaving my hair crunchy.  It also smells super yummy so I can easy use it during the week without having to wash my hair every other day.  Yay!  Shop it here

I naturally have oily skin that is also uneven.  I have always had issues with powder or liquid blush sitting correctly. I love this illuminating stick from NYX.  I opted for the color Coralicious and use it like a cream blush on the apple of my cheeks and blend upward to my cheekbones.  It goes on super light and gives you the perfect amount of tint.  Shop it here.  

This product was a suggestion from a Sephora employee.  I am absolutely obsessed.  I have been looking for a face primer and he had suggested this to help hydrate without over drying my oily skin.  This is the first time I have found a primer that keeps my foundation matte without it creasing.  The green tea is also great to combat any redness from the heat.  I apply this after my Live Botanical toner.  Shop it here. 

This was an accidental purchase when I was visiting LA and the California sun had burnt and dried out my lips.  I was at the drugstore and picked it up at random but I am addicted now.  IT's super hydrating without being sticky and adds a nice gloss.  I apply it every night before bed and it can be applied over lip stain easily as well.  I love that it's 100& natural too.  Shop it here

More under eye help!  Some days my dark circles are more tragic than others.  I have tried every under eye gel patch under the damn sun (yes even model and Kim K approved Skyn ones) but these are my favorite.  I keep them in the fridge for extra cooling power and apply them in the mornings when needed for 20-30 minutes.  Shop them here with Prime shipping.

Expectancy Rings Giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER @dearmomme!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

I'm so excited to share an amazing giveaway opportunity I have for you with Expectancy Rings

Win a ring you can customize yourself to help celebrate your bundle of joy!

Rules:

-Follow me on IG @nicosolovely

-Follow @expectancyrings on IG

-Find the original post here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVQqTfFABlR/?taken-by=nicosolovely  and tag two friends in the comments

Giveaway ends on June 22nd at 11pm PST.  

Open to all moms-to-be or new mothers.

Open internationally 

I found my love on the internet

IMG_4627.JPG

I had just recently moved back to LA to pursue a career in wardrobe styling.  I was working part time in clothing retail, part time at a styling house and trying to grab freelance opportunities for styling gigs anywhere I could.  In this world you don't meet very many straight men.   While I wasn't actively searching for The One I knew I wanted to date and maybe, just maybe I would meet someone I actually connected with.  I was building new friendships with coworkers and catching up with old friends in my free time.  Going out to bars and events wasn't where I was looking to meet anyone.  I had mixed experiences dating online back in Portland but decided to give it a whirl in Los Angeles.

I am genuinely first attracted to men by their face.  It's just how I roll. I'm a visual person. I love squinty eyes and a little bit of a goofy smile.  I also really like that white bread.  While I was on the dating website I saw a face flash on my screen of this dark haired, blue green eyed guy.  I checked our "match" rate and it was 80ish%.  I'm not sure how they calculate that but I was going to put trust into the system. The rest of his profile photos were of him out with friends, a Halloween party, playing darts, at a birthday party and at a park.  His info was pretty minimal but nothing sent me red flags.  Then there was a question on the site that every profile has "What do you spend most of your time thinking about?"  His answer: What I'm going to eat next.  SOLD. However,  I didn't message him.  I think I was in this headspace where I was going to try and be more formal with my dating strategy and let the men pursue me.  I've sort of always been the aggressor.  So true to my nature I aggressively stalked his profile for the next week but I still didn't message him.  All the while the website sent him a notification every time I viewed his profile.  This was information I didn't know until he told me and I am still surprised he decided to message me after all those email notifications but he did!  We made some light small talk online and he was quick to set up an in person date.  

Our date was set for June 12th at Cat and the Fiddle in Hollywood.  I don't remember if I was nervous other than the superficial fear that comes with online dating where the person looks nothing like their photos. When I walked in he was sitting at the bar watching the basketball game.   I remember the exact shirt he was wearing ( I regularly slept in it at our sleepovers and then turned it into a handkerchief for our wedding day) He was tall and had the same beautiful eyes I first was captivated by online.  We moved over to a booth and ordered drinks.  His side of the story was he was intrigued when I ordered a Guinness.  We had our small talk over careers, other dating horror stories and chatted a bit about my time in Portland.  I found out his two friends (one of which married us) had actually set up his profile for him much against his will.  

After a few drinks he suggested we play darts.  Growing up in Las Vegas it's second nature for me to make any game a gamble. I asked him what the bet terms were and he replied, with a smirk, "Loser has to plan the second date."  SNEAKY SNEAKY.  I was already committing to a second date.  Much to my competitive nature I did not give up easily, but I did lose by half a point.  I was a woman of my word and I planned the second date......which turned into a third date and after that we were pretty much inseparable.

6 months later we moved in together.  We got a dog together.   We got engaged.  We went on trips.  We changed careers.  We got married.  We moved to Portland.  We made a human (due in July).

All these things I would have never expected from online dating but I am so happy I didn't listen to the stigma of it.  That I brushed off the creepers that messaged me.  That I trusted the websites 80ish% compatibility match.  I don't know any other way I would have met my amazing love.  So thank you internet.  You are filled with a lot of crap but you are also filled wonderful surprises.  Some that lead to a winning game of darts. 

 

Weekly Round Up: Issue 2

Time for this weeks round up of my featured outfits on Instagram.

A lot of these looks are non-maternity items that just happen to be bump friendly but I've also linked some specific maternity options if you're looking for that bump hug. 

This dress isn't maternity but the built in slip has some stretch and is long enough for my 32/33 week bump. I'm usually an XS in this paticular brand but sized up to a Small for the baby belly.  It's also on sale!

I wrote a blog post about pairing olive green with black and white that you can read here and shop this EXACT dress (for under $16) , but I've also linked some other dress options (maternity and non) with these olive green sliders and hat below. 

My "on the whim outfit" was my favorites this week.  I'm surprised how incredibly comfortable these sandals are and my beloved duster I thought I lost I found a few weeks ago!  It's the perfect summer layering piece.

If you follow me on IG you'll know what a thrill it was for me to finally find a jumpsuit I can cram my bump into without any discomfort!  This jumpsuit is non-maternity so I'm excited to wear it after baby as well and at under $18 it's such a great wardrobe staple.  My bag was gifted to me by Skagen and I had a lot of compliments on the color.  These shoes are a great pop of print and come in pink if you want a lighter hue for summer.

Dress Lily

Happiest of Mondays!  I am writing this with a HUGE mug of coffee.  I got zero sleep last night but I am hoping this fabulous striped dress will distract everyone from the dark circles under my eyes.  I guess this is great preparation for motherhood.

This dress from Dress Lily is lightweight and perfect for summer.  The slouchy shoulder adds a fun laid back touch and I know it will come in handy for nursing.

Stripes are always a hit or miss on me.  I find smaller stripes are easier to accessorize with.  I love pairing black and white with olive green.  I cannot get enough olive green. If you're worried about green clashing with your skin tone I suggest starting with accessories like a hat, shoes or bag. You'll find adding the color to your black and white pieces in your wardrobe can soften any harshness and help turn the black and white into a wearable daytime look. 

This dress is a great starter piece if you're wanting to try out stripes and is effortlessly cool looking.

At under $16 you can't say no to this frock.  Shop below!

Maxi Dress:  Dress Lily SHOP IT HERE

Shoes: http://bit.ly/2pqYFmS

Hat: http://bit.ly/2mBZziE

 

This post is sponsored by Dress Lily and product has been provided for review.

Weekly Round Up: Issue 1

Happy Friday babes!  I wanted to start to implement an easy way to shop my looks every week.  On Fridays I will now be sharing weekly roundups of looks I've posted from the weekend before and week off.  I've made shopping each post easy and direct so you don't have to wait on e-mails anymore.  Enjoy! 

This dupe looks just like the real deal.  This dress is sheer so I paired it with a romper slip which won't ride up, is buttery soft and both the dress and slip are breathable material.

This boho dress offers a ton of stretch and is lightweight enough for summer wear.  Pair with sunglasses and a straw bag for an easy weekend look.  Shop the pieces below. 

I love the Birk look of these but at a fraction of the price.  They have that snug and comfy molding of the foot sole too. They come in this cream color or black.

Snake print is better than florals.  This gorgeous maxi is a piece I always get compliments on and it's 50% off right now!

CLOROOM

There he is in all his glory.  My lil baby C who's doing an ace job impersonation of a basketball.

As my due date inches closer I am starting to put thoughts into what I will be packing in my "hospital bag".  The idea of a hospital gown irks me so I am opting for comfy lounge wear while I try to bring a small human into the world. 

Cloroom makes beautiful 100% silk loungewear.  It's perfect for the hot summer heat that's hitting us now.  I'll be rolling around in bed in this set until my due date. 

I fell in love with this set Lion Heart, because I am zodiac obsessed and a Leo (baby C is set to be one too if he arrives close to his due date) The embroidery on the pocket is so cute and the kind of attention to detail that I love.

Angel likes snuggling up to to silk too because she's extra just like her mama.

I got a size medium so I have room for after birth while my body adjusts.  From how I've been sizing up in everything this last trimester I would say the sizes run true to size. 

This PJ set is sure to bring comfort and a touch of luxury to my stay while bringing my baby into the world.  Cloroom is currently having a 25% off sale to celebrate the launch of their website.  Shop PJ sets, robes and eye masks here.

My other mams-to-be ,what kind of loungewear are you packing in your hospital bags?

 

Cloroom provided Lion Heart set for promotion/review.

Tropical Baby Shower

I will be straight up honest and say....I HAD ZERO INTEREST IN HAVING A BABY SHOWER.

When I think of a baby shower I think of a stuffy tea party with awkward games where chocolate bars are melted to look like poop, women wear pastels and family is invited that I haven't seen since I, myself, was a baby. 

I have too much social anxiety for all that.  

Luckily when my dad and step-mom offered to host one I decided to throw it out to them the idea of a co-ed backyard BBQ.  They have a super lush backyard with a big pool in Las Vegas so I decided to go with a tropical theme to really embrace the surroundings and celebrate that baby C will be a summer baby. 

I wanted a few funny games, hot dogs and to see our friends and family for a whole day while I floated around in a fabulous dress and enjoyed some much needed sunshine. 

 

The main long table ensured a community style setting.  Since we were already surrounded by so much greenery we opted for white place settings and let the fruit and floral colors really pop. 

PIneapples lined the entry way along with one of my favorite bump photos as guests arrived. 

I opted for three games and two cards guests could fill out.  More on those below!

We got a few pineapple floats for the pool.  I love that bright yellow against the blue!

Center pieces were a focus of fresh tropical fruits, palm leaves and bird of paradise flowers. 

Our cake took my breath away!  Those flowers are made of sugar!  I loved the watercolor effect with the gold leafing.  Not only was it beautiful but also delicious.

Fillyboo is THE maternity dress destination for all the boho mamas-to-be.

I loved the yellow golden embroidery of this design and off the shoulder style. 

Dress courtesy of Fillyboo  Capricorn Dress  SHOP IT HERE

Florals, flower crown and cake by Kai Lava Check out her work here

Big thank you to my step-mom who organized and threw us the beautiful event and to all our friends and family who braved the Vegas heat to celebrate baby C with us!

Games:

I opted for three baby games.  I wanted games that were fun and funny. We also opted for gift cards for all the winners.  I found Amazon gift cards are something everyone loves!

Don't Say Baby More info here

Mommy or Daddy?  Our friend Amanda put this one together for us.  She gathered information from both our parents (funny or embarrassing things from when Kevin and I were babies/little) and had the facts put on cards where people filled them out guessing if the fact was about mommy or daddy.  The kept the key and read the answers out loud.  The person with the most correct answers won!

My water broke! More info here

I also had guests fill out prediction cards and Wishes for Baby cards to put in baby C's baby book.

Shop the boutique below for the baby game items needed to play the games listed above and my decor picks to create your own tropical oasis (everything is Amazon so easy hassle free shipping!)

Some fun action shots from the shower below <3

My hat obsession

I'm proud to announce that my hat collection has now spilled over to two shelves in my closet....and that's with my hats being stacked on top of one another.

My collection really grew when I moved back to Portland a few years ago.  With rain taking up such a huge chunk of our year hats are my ultimate PNW accessory.  No umbrella, no problem.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite hats to shop below ( including the ones that get the most love on my Instagram) and share with you how I get the perfect fit EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

I am usually a size Small in hats.  Even with brands I shop again and again sometimes their sizes will just be a little off on certain styles.  So I started using these bad boys for when my hats fit a little too big.  They do the trick every time.  I strongly encourage anyone who owns multiple hats to buy a pack.  Buy them here for under $11.

71eLMnlMvUL._UX385_.jpg

 

  Below are some of my favorite hats by Peter Grimm Hats, Brixton, Missguided and Free People!