Monday, December 11, 2017

Skincare: Pregnancy Routine

Hi everyone!  I'm so glad I'm getting the chance to get this post to you-all about my pregnancy skin care routine!  I'll let you in on the not-so-secret-secret...I'm being induced Sunday night #cuepanicattack so, I am going to hopefully jam pack this week with the pregnancy related posts I want to so desperately get out to you before this baby comes! Eeeek-can you believe it?!? Who would have thought we would go from this day, to this coming Sunday??? #crazytalk #allthefeels 

Anyway, excuse the "thrown togetherness" of this post-we took these pictures in a hurry, but I'm so excited to finally share my skin care routine because these products were game changers for me, and I'm sure some of you will find them just as beneficial!  

I sometimes use the Simple Micellar Water-if you've seen the ads for this product and were just as confused as me, let me explain how it works, it's really very simplesee what I did there...You apply it to a cotton ball, a cotton pad, perhaps a washcloth, heck I've even used it on a tissue in a pinch! Then use it cleanse the skin! That's it...yes, that is all folks...there is no water needed for this product!  And did I mention that it's under $10, and can be found at almost any convenient store?!?  I've tried the Garnier version, and in my opinion, it's not as good.  So, I can tell you, without a doubt, this is one product you don't need to break the bank on!  When I'm not using this no-water cleanser, I will use this cleanser.  

This product is fabulous for getting off makeup, including eye makeup-but I can't say how it removes water proof eye makeup, because well-I don't wear it!  This is my go to for a cleanser because it doesn't require water and with being so dry in the winter, plus I've been indulging in long hot showers, I don't need more water to deplete my hydration.  It's also super convenient for gym bags, and while traveling!  I prefer to use a cotton pad, and I like mine to have a smooth side and more of an exfoliating side.  

I recently switched to this toner after reading about it in a Fit Pregnancy article.   This product can be found on Amazon and I'm loving it.  Again, I use the cotton pad for application.  

If you follow me on Instastories, you know I'm in the midst of trying a new line of repair/color correcting products and this is one of them. Spoiler alert: the other two made me break out, so I'm choosing to continue with this one to see if I think it makes a difference.  A post about these products is in the works, so stay tuned!  I apply this with my hands-it goes on almost like water-doesn't feel oily or have a gel consistency.  

I've been on the hunt for a sunscreen that won't impact my makeup, won't increase my oil, but also has good protection.  I bought this product from the Dermstore after having used a couple Super Goop items, which I plan on blogging about soon!  I really try to apply the proper amount-which if looking to apply to the face, is a nickle size amount. 

I wrote a whole post on my experiences trying out all the popular primers these days-but this is one I discovered after I tried out all those products.  I've been using it ever since!  It smells great, it's on the cheaper end, I see great results immediately, and it lasts throughout the entire day!

Who would have thought to double up on primers? Well, thankfully I'm here to tell you that you can absolutely trouble shoot your primer. I was told to apply the base primer all over, and then apply this oil-controller, pore minimizing primer to my trouble areas, which are really my cheek bones and chin.  

These two primers combined have been an absolute game changer! 

For my nighttime routine, I will either use the same Simple Micellar water, depending on how I feel, or I'll use this cleanser. Hint: this product will last almost forever, so no need to buy a full sized bottle, save your money and buy a smaller size!!!  I use the same toner, but then will apply this face butter, followed by this oil.  I have very dry skin, especially in the winter.  I see a huge difference in my skin in terms of dullness and acne when I don't hyper moisturize in the winter.  

So far, I'm very please with how my skin has been throughout this pregnancy.  I've had some minor breakouts-all things considered, and am so thrilled with these products.  Stay tuned for more! 

You can read about the products I used while on accutane here

Friday, December 8, 2017

Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour-Hallway

Welcome back! What's so exciting about a hallway you ask? Well, when you've lived in several tiny houses and small apartments, you become an expert at utilizing all the hallways, corns and nooks and crannies!  This apartment was no different!!!

This hallway led to the kids' bedrooms-there were two, and the second full bathroom.  It was fairly wide, which was why I was able to take advantage of it and turn it into another unique play space.  You can check out our other unique play space HERE.  


This was the hallway's entry point and it veered off left.  Right next to this room, clearly Hannah's, were the boys' room, and essentially across from the gallery wall was the bathroom.  Another one of my favorite spaces, but you'll have to wait a couple more weeks to see that one! We stuck the piano here and it was wide enough, which was great it didn't have to take up space in a bedroom or the main living space.  

This is taken from standing at the entrance to the boys' room; you can see the hidden wall from the angle. 

This is where we kept the kids' shoes, it's an IKEA shoe cabinet.  

This apartment was a major downsize from the house we were living in the previous year.  I lost a lot of wall space, but still wanted to keep all my sentimental pictures, framed art, and this mirror that was in Hannah's room, but didn't have a place that year.  This blank space was the perfect place to just hang everything I still loved.  

This print was bought on Etsy 

I can't remember where I bought this, but it was online!

Both of these prints had been by my coffee bar, but that space got downsized #ofcourseitdid but I still love these messages...

This is from Home Goods and had been hanging over the boys' desk that we did not bring with us.  It's just a wholesome reminder...

Both of these were also from Home Goods, but the Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful was also from the boys' desk area, and the heart print says you are loved which ironically were lyrics to one of the songs in my sister in law's off broadway musical she wrote, so this sung to me #literally 

I also hung some random old family pictures that were just missing a home but had too much sentimental value to just put away in a box.  There was honestly hardly any thought put into this-just sentiments and love and it ended up giving the apartment such a homey feel-not everything about decoration has to follow a rule!

Between the two rooms was a wicker basket with stuffed animals the kids loved to play with!  I've mentioned before I love baskets for additional storage that looks stylish, put together, but is also practical and functional.  What's also great about baskets is that there is always something or somewhere that could use a basket! Baskets get recycled all the time in my house! 

Check back next week when I take you into Hannah's room!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Alright people, I've been planning this post for oh so long and I'm so glad to finally knock it out!  If you follow me on Instastories you know that awhile back, I tried out #alltheprimers and then some!  I was in a makeup funk, and I decided to try out new primers and these were my initial testers.  I've mentioned my Sephora addiction before, and thankfully with their return policy it allowed me to purchase all of these either in full size, travel sizes, or as samples with other orders.  One or two tries was enough for me to know if I'd be sticking with it or, to save you the headache, I've tested out seven of the most popular primers out there!  

I was really interested in the Murad primer because it has SPF in it.  I had been using the Clarins SPF  and I was hopeful this would eliminate that product. This has a gel like consistency, but dried into what felt like a smooth texture, but I noticed my face inconsistently felt oily throughout the day.  This product is also supposed to reduce the look of pores, and I did not notice that effect at all.  In fact, I noticed an oily look to my face.   

People talk a lot about this primer, but it did not do me any favors-I could see every pore!  My makeup did not blend well after, it looked streaky, and by mid-day, you'd never know I was wearing any makeup!  My face was also shiny after this primer.  

I am a huge Hourglass fan!  I've been using their foundation for years now, and I recently switched to their new stick foundation.  Just like their foundation, this primer did not disappoint! It  has a super silky feel to it, it dries matte and was pretty darn perfect. 

I was so curious to try Cover FX because it's one of those new brands that has a lot of unique products.  But this primer was disappointing.  It was very hard to blend my makeup and I ended up looking like I was wearing a mask.  I had creases around my eyes, and it did not reduce the look of my pores.  It was cakey over my chin, which is one of my trouble spots.  My makeup easily came off on the nose pads of my sunglasses.  My face was shiny and felt wet throughout the day.

This Blur Stick was pretty impressive, in fact, I thought it was going to be the one.  It lasted most of the day, dried matte, felt like the silkiness of Hourglass and I did not have any post-gym wipe off!  I felt like my pores were hidden and my makeup blended well.  However, towards the end of the day it started to come off on the nose pads of my sunglasses and I started to look oily.

People love Becca products, so I was curious about this primer!  It was very hard to get out of the tube, but it dried right away and did not feel wet.  However, it looked like a mask and required a lot of blending.  

 I've used several Tarte products over the years and am usually very impressed, and this time was no different!  This primer had the perfect feeling, gave good coverage and did not impact makeup blendability.  It never looked oily and my pores looked well hidden. 

Overall, it's important to keep in mind that everyone has different skin needs-what works for me, might not be the answer for you!  Thankfully, Sephora has a great return policy and customer service, and many of these products mentioned can be purchased in mini sizes, costing less!  

I used almost all of the Tarte primer before my search expanded...stay tuned for my pregnancy skincare routine which includes the new primers I've been using, and loving, and a special blog post on SPF products!  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour, Dining Room

For Flashback Friday I'm taking you back to our apartment in Baltimore!  
The dining room. 

Admittedly, this was a hard room to work with.  It was a shared area with the living room, was kind of tight, and was also the walkway into the kitchen. And many times it stored our hanging laundry from the washer.  While I don't love that it was kept minimal, that allowed it to remain functional. Often times, the table top was full of mail, homework, groceries, and stacks of papers.  The corners held overflow bulky was the minimal side of the room, while the other living area stole the show.  Had we lived there longer I would have loved to re-work the space with a better, more stylish, statement buffet and hutch, but for the 12 months were were there, it worked.  

The dining room table and chairs were Craigslist finds!  I wanted a natural farmhouse table, and Ikea does have one, but it was too costly in my opinion and this was able to fit the bill-it has a leaf so it's expandable and collapsible, as well as in the somewhat style family I was going for.  The lucite chairs are so in,  and the two head chairs were a set, and the other four were a set.  The chairs add a really awesome style aspect, and they were truly comfortable, surprisingly sturdy, and definitely easy to clean!  

The white buffet/hutch was a Craigslist find several years ago, and has gotten a few coats of paint.  I used white chalk paint again, to ease with painting.  

I also changed out the knobs.

It was a great piece that allowed us to store necessary items, like cookbooks, overflow paper goods, my dreidle collection, but also show some sentimental items. Like those candles.  When my parents redecorated the house I grew up in, those candles were brought it.  When I got married, my parents sold my childhood home, and I've taken those with me to every home as a memento.  

I love this picture!

I've talked about my Masterpieces collection a few times; I order the decal from Etsy and the hardware can be found at Ikea.  I've done this in four apartments and I love it.  It is such an easy, beautiful, and space saving way to show the kids' artwork.  With older kids we're making the transition from artwork to classwork, and this is just as great! I can't wait to get this back up in our new place!  I collect the artwork all year long, and then at the end of the year I divide it up by family member and send it off so they have something to display!  

Across from the buffet/hutch is a three drawer Ikea Hemnes dresser, another second hand find!  It was here that stored snacks, tin pans, and disposables.  

The top was used for my candles, pictures and the flowers are another memento from my childhood home.  

I had both of these picture frames made on Etsy.

How sweet is this frame?!?

I also keep some of the religious artwork here as keepsakes.  

I kept a recent family picture above, thank you Abbie Sophia; time for a new family picture!!!

I hope you all have a great weekend, and check back next week for a continuation of Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour!!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

34 Week Bumpdate

Total Weight Gain: I'm up 30 lbs this pregnancy, which is my lowest gaining pregnancy thus far. However, I gained 20 lbs before I was pregnant, and I was still 10lbs over my desired weight before I gained the 20. So, that puts me right around needing to lose 60ish lbs.  It's a big number, but I'm not concerned.  I'm noticing stretch marks in the weirdest places, but I'm indulging while I have these last few weeks...

Maternity Clothes: Definitely!

Sleep:  I still sleep much better if I have my fan running, but it has helped a lot now that it's cooler.  I still need lots of pillows and the heartburn definitely kicks up a notch as soon as my head hits the pillow! I sleep with a bottle of tums next to my pillow!

Best Moment this Month: I met my new OB, and it was so nice to be back with a doctor who values my opinion, lets me advocate for myself and lets me have a voice in my care.  All the baby movements are incredibly reassuring as well.  I enjoy that it wakes up with me, and sometimes even keeps me up at night!
We also had a special new addition to the family and he has been a major perk in our house.  My transition continues to be rough and I was so hopeful that a puppy would help ease that, and even my husband commented tonight that, "Marshall is working his magic..."

Movement:  It's not as frequent as it was in the previous weeks/months, but I can definitely get movement on command, and it typically will wake up with me and go to sleep with me. 

Exercise:  I am still with my trainer twice a week, but we will bump it up to three times a week in the upcoming weeks.  I thought I would be able to make it to the gym the other days, but my schedule is jam packed with appointments that I don't have that chance, and now that we're in the home stretch, with a to-do list a mile long, I'm willing to put exercise on a bit of the back burner. 

Gender: We still don't know!  I'm getting asked all the time!!! I still think boy, but am having to remind myself that there could still be lots of pink in my future!

Labor Signs:  I've had a few contractions that seemed different, but nothing that stuck around for long or was cause for concern. At my next appointment they'll check to see if I'm dilated! 

Belly Button In or Out:  Still in, but every day is closer to being out!

What I miss:  I don't really miss anything.  I'm sleeping, I'm able to move well, exercise, no real health concerns...but I do miss my thighs not rubbing together so much...

What I'm looking forward to:  With my recent diagnosis of cholestasis, the end of this pregnancy is drawing!  I am hopeful to get maternity and newborn pictures all squared away soon!  I've had to let go of exactly where I thought the house would be when I gave birth, especially since I'm going to deliver 3+ weeks earlier than expected...but there are still some major projects to get done, things to organize, and I can't wait for those to be complete!

For comparison, you can check out Hannah's bumpdate HERE 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Intuition Strikes Again

Sometimes my intuition freaks other people out, sometimes it freaks me out!  But the truth is, how do you know the difference between an intuition and just being nervous, or anxious?  In this case, I think it's a little of both...

I had been having a lot of itching on the palms of my hands since before I was pregnant.  I was worried about it, because it didn't seem normal, and I continuously mentioned it to my husband.  There are blessings and curses to having a husband that's a doctor-usually he can be reassuring, but sometimes, you know too much and you worry in an extreme way...that's me-extreme worrier, always nervous, always anxious, especially with this pregnancy, which I've talked about before.  Anyway, when I switched OBs, and I already mentioned we did not click, I requested a blood test to check my bile levels.  He begrudgingly agreed, called me sometime after, and reassured me my levels were within the normal range. Done. 

Fast forward more than a month, I transfer to a new OB.  The first appointment was with her nurse practitioner because by the time I made the switch, I was needing another appointment too soon for her to fit me in her schedule.  The nurse practitioner happened to be great, I felt completely comfortable, and I figured I'd sail through the rest of the pregnancy feeling confident in my care.  However, while at this appointment, I brought up some of the same questions I asked the first OB.  Things like, how long do you let women stay pregnant/what's your induction policy, will they follow previous post birth plans put in place by other medical professionals...let me explain: I had undiagnosed PUPPS with Moshe, which I believe turned into hormonal hives for three weeks after he was born. However, at the time, I saw a dermatologist and nothing but time helped these hives go away.  When I was pregnant with Dovy, convinced I was allergic to the epidural, my OB sent me to an allergist/immunologist.  She determined I was not allergic to the epidural, rather my hives were just hormonal.  She suggested I receive a dose of IV steroids post birth.  My doctor was on board, and followed the allergists' protocol for my second birth. With Hannah, I was in a new hospital, with a new team of doctors.  They followed this protocol, it was never questioned.  When I mentioned it to this new OB, he questioned it.  He wanted to know why my steroids were through the IV and not oral?  He also had not heard of IV steroids being given as a preventative measure.  I am not willing to compromise on this-whether it was a fluke or not, I have managed to escape from post-birth hives two subsequent times, and I would like for that to happen this time, as I don't think  I can handle hives post this baby.  That discussion led into my current itching situation and the blood test the old OB did not want to order.  However, due to a progression in the itching, the nurse practitioner wanted to re-run the blood test...she had a feeling the numbers would indicate an increase in bile levels beyond what is normal.  

 Several weeks ago, I was in the shower-my quiet place I go to escape, when I instantly became nervous.  Now, sometimes my fears are specific, and other times they aren't.  This time, they were specific to: what if I have a stillborn? What if I made it this far only to have it taken away from me? What if I have a stillborn and I need my Dr again?!? He's in NY! What will I do???  The nurse practitioner re-checked my bile levels, and I assumed because they were normal in the past, why wouldn't they be normal now?  Friday afternoon, about two weeks ago, I get a phone call from the nurse practitioner, asking me to call her so we could discuss my blood test results.  
Bile levels: 12
Cutoff: 10
Complications: fetal distress and stillbirth
Plan: Ursodial three times a day, weekly non-stress tests

I don't necessarily think I had an intuition about this-I was going to be nervous about a stillborn because that's what's to be nervous about in the third trimester.  If my water broke, ok, it was beyond viability.  But a cord knot was the time-sensitive concern now that I was far enough along.  

If you follow me on Instastories, you know I've now had two non-stress tests, both have been fine.  However, because of the risk of still born, I will be induced between 36-38 weeks.  
If you're keeping track, you know I'm 34 weeks pregnant!

Induction: 2-3 weeks...
The countdown is on: 19 days and counting!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Flashback Friday: Apartment Tour, Living/Family Room

I definitely had good intentions about showcasing our apartment in Baltimore before we actually moved from there.  However, they say man plans and G-d laughs...and I think G-d is definitely laughing.  Our current house, which we purchased, has quickly turned into a money pit and suffice to say it will be quite awhile before I have newly renovated and decorated spaces to show you!  Delayed gratification will be worth it right?  Here's to hoping...

It had been quite awhile since living in an apartment with one designated area for living and dining. 

This was by far one of my favorite spaces out of all of our apartments.  Even though the space felt tight many times, when it was put together, it was so bright, sophisticated but also kid friendly.  The rug is from Rugs USA-they have several options, and you can score a huge, modern rug-or any style for that matter, around $300, you just have to wait for sales and promo codes!

The end tables were relatively cheap end tables that previously were black and bought online.   

Before we moved to Baltimore, I painted them with Annie Sloan chalk paint and spray painted the pulls.

Our couch, which is still with us, was a hand-me-down from when my parents to us when we got married.  Slip covers have gotten much more sophisticated over the years and this stretchy fabric has held up really well and is easy to wash.  The throw is from Target. 

The pillow covers were purchased on Etsy 

My lamps were a steal from Hobby Lobby before we moved from Baltimore 

Wicker baskets are always a good idea!  They help collect the clutter while still giving an organized and put-together look. The wire baskets have held many different items over the years: games, toys, just depends on the current need.  


Hidden in the corner are the homework caddies I had made on Etsy and they get so much use and are just fabulous.  They have holders for common homework supplies, or a snack-whichever fancies your kiddo!  It makes doing homework much more manageable since you can sit on the couch and do their homework.  

I am a huge fan of the Expedit/Kallax Ikea unit.

These are two units-a unit of 4x2 and a unit of 2x2.  

The baskets are also from Ikea.  

Ikea is great for inexpensive, yet trendy decorations, and spray paint can transform anything!

That green plant was my favorite place to take pics documenting my ultrasounds!

The play, live, laugh, dream pictures are from Pottery Barn a few years ago, came as a set and were under $30!  I just had to frame them-again, Ikea has several cheap frame options. The storage cabinets are the Besta from Ikea.  They are a great, stylish and functional addition to any room! We had them for several years in our kitchen, and then moved them into this area for game/project storage.

The marquee letters were another favorite, especially for the kids.  Nordstrom sells marquee letters, but this is a much more reasonable option from JoAnne Fabrics. They are more of a cardboard and are easily painted, but also easy to hang because they are light.  

Again, in small spaces, you need to utilize all the free wall space and corners that you can!  This is a towel rod spray painted gold, with Ikea hanging containers which were perfect for housing the markers, colored pencils, and crayons. 

On the other side, is our beloved wall unit.  We happily passed it along to a newly married couple, so it did not make the move with us to Ohio.  That was literally our only new piece of furniture we bought when we got married 10 years ago...

Our art on a cart made the move to Baltimore, but it got some love.

Paper magazine files hold different learning materials: work books, stickers, paint books, and coloring books. 

It's a love hate relationship with play dough. 

These wooden stackable bins were a major score from the Target clearance section!  

This cart makes it really easy to have the kids pick out the items they want to play with, or need for homework.  

Stay tuned for our dining room!!!

You can find our entryway HERE
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