Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas // My Wish List

Happy Friday everyone! Unfortunately I haven't had much time for blogging lately as things have been busy with work, doctor's appointments, and getting things checked off the list before baby comes. (It's less than two weeks from my due date - ahhh!) However, I've been seeing lots of my favorite bloggers post their holiday wishlists this week, and so I couldn't resist joining in on the fun!

This year, I have to admit that I haven't really thought much (at all) about gifts, including what I want or buying gifts for other people (sorry friends and family!). I'm just slightly distracted by the fact that a) I could literally go into labor at any time in the next few weeks and b) we're going to have a newborn to take care of extremely soon. All I really want for Christmas is to have a smooth labor, a healthy baby, and to come home and soak up every moment as a new family of three :) But since my birthday AND Christmas are both coming up, here are a few things that I've had my eye on...

Christmas Wish List

Gift Cards To Non-Baby Stores - This is really what I want more than anything this year! Because my birthday is December 1st, there's always a lot of pressure to try and think of the things I want all in one month. And this year it's especially tough since I'm basically living in maternity leggings and the few giant shirts I have left that still fit me, and so it's hard to even think about shopping for things I might want for 2015. I know some people feel gift cards are impersonal, but I'd honestly love to get them for my birthday and Christmas this year! That way, I can treat myself to some shopping post-baby, plus you get so much more bang for your buck shopping the after Christmas sales anyway! I'd love gift cards to Lululemon (so I can get some new workout stuff, which will hopefully be a good motivator to get back to in shape!), Sephora (because this mom-to-be loves her makeup), and Nordstrom (because it will be so nice to be able to shop for normal person clothes again!)

Anthropologie Golden Monogram Mug - I love me some hot cocoa in the winter and I'm pretty sure I'm the only blogger out there that doesn't already have the black and white version of this mug.

Eyefi Mobi Wifi SD Card - A few of my blogger friends have these wifi camera cards, and they allow photos from your camera to go straight to your phone or computer! I think this could definitely come in handy, especially with all the baby pictures I'm sure I'll be taking in the months to come!

O Holy Night Print from Lindsay's Letters - I discovered this adorable online shop on Instagram, and I'm in love with all her beautiful holiday stuff! Although her canvases are absolutely stunning, I'd settle for one of these letterpress prints of one of my favorite Christmas carols - I just can't decide between white with gold foilcharcoal with white foil, or red with white foil? They're all lovely!

Cordless Stick Vacuum - Ugh, I can't even believe I'm putting this on here...pretty sure you're getting old when you put a vacuum cleaner on your holiday wishlist, ha! But we have hardwood floors throughout our whole house now, and although I love them, it can be a little bit of a challenge to keep up with the dog hair. Lola doesn't shed too much, but it's enough to be annoying and I feel like crap accumulates on the floor really quickly. We alternate between sweeping and using our traditional corded vacuum, but I feel like neither works super well on the wood floor. I'd love some sort of lightweight coordless electric sweeper/vaccuum type thing that I could use on kitchen tile, the wood floor, as well as on our family room rug. I want something that's powerful enough to pick up hair, yet won't damage the floors. This model has a ton of great reviews but I'm open to suggestions!

Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anna - I've always loved Nars, but recently they've been made some fabulous updates to their products/packaging. I've heard fantastic things about these ultra pigmented lipsticks and I think that this smokey rose shade would be perfect for the winter months.

Target Hooded Tunic - I've seen Katie and other bloggers raving about this comfy sweatshirt and it looks like the kind of thing I could live in all winter, while still being relatively cute! I haven't seen it in the stores, but it's still available online - I'm debating between the heather gray and the red.

Rifle Paper Co. Clear Rosa iPhone 6 Case - I absolutely love my new iPhone, but I just have a plain clear case on it right now. Cute cases are finally starting to come out for the holidays and since I am obsessed with all things Rifle Paper Co, I think that this case would be perfect!

Ina Garten's 'Make It Ahead' - I have (and love) a bunch of her cookbooks, they're fabulous!

Ugg Shearling Slippers - I could definitely use a new pair of slippers this season! I've had cheaper versions of this style of slipper that I've liked, but I'm thinking maybe it's time to upgrade? I haven't tried them on but I like that they can be easily slipped on and the sole looks super durable.

And because I can't not put a few baby-related things on my birthday/Christmas list, I had to include these adorable Pendleton baby booties and this classic baby blanket! I'm kind of obsessed with all things Pendleton right now, and I think both of these items would be perfect for our little boy!

What about you? What's on your holiday wishlist this year?

PS: I'm linking up with April and the gang for their 'My Favorite Things' post!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Maternity Style // Wardrobe Essentials

Happy Monday everyone!

This post has been a long time coming, but now that I'm almost done being pregnant (what?!) I figured that it's high time I share what pieces have helped get me through the past few months!

I've really enjoyed my pregnancy and attempting to style my growing bump has been a fun part of the process! Although I was able to wear my "normal" clothes for the first few months, because I'm fairly tall (5'10'') it seemed like a lot of things, especially dresses and tops, started to get very short very quickly once my bump "popped". I am fortunate to have a job where I work from home and so I really didn't have to buy too many maternity clothes since I can wear sweats/yoga pants daily. However, that didn't stop me from doing a fair amount of shopping! I may have gone a little overboard, but I think that's kind of normal for a first pregnancy since it's all new and exciting! But because I didn't have to buy much in the way of dressy/professional clothes, the maternity wardrobe I put together is comprised mainly of casual, comfortable pieces with a lot of options to mix and match.

Here's what worked for me when it came to maternity shopping:

  • I personally had the best luck with big box stores like H&M, Old Navy, Gap, and Target. I did find a few things at Destination Maternity, which features clothes from both Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity, but that was a little more hit or miss for me.
  • Although I did buy a fair amount of maternity clothes from those places in-store, I also bought things online too as there are a lot more choices available! ASOS is another awesome online option for maternity clothes, especially dresses!
  • I stuck to places that were pretty budget-friendly overall, but I was able to find some really good sales at the places I shopped which was super helpful since shopping for maternity clothes can really add up! Maternity clothes seem like they don't get marked down quite as much, but keep an eye out for sales (especially online) because they do happen!
  • Buy early! I was a little hesitant to start buying/wearing maternity clothes in the beginning of my pregnancy and wanted to keep wearing my normal stuff. However, so many maternity pieces really do fit a lot better and are just so much more comfortable! Plus, you really only have a short time to wear all this so you might as well get your use out of it!
  • I tried to stick to a fairly neutral color palette of black and gray with the majority of maternity pieces I purchased. This has given me a lot of options for putting different combinations together, plus it helped to transition between seasons as well. I'm also hoping that it will give these pieces some longevity so I can use them down the road.

Finally, here are the five key pieces that have been staples for me...

Maternity Essentials

1. Comfortable Jeans: I have a few different styles of maternity jeans and I personally like the full-panel type myself. I have a pair of dark blue skinnies as well as gray skinnies (that I don't think are available any more?) from Old Navy that are both full-panel that I really like a lot. I have gotten a ton of wear out of these distressed black skinny jeans from Gap as well and just love them. I also found a few pairs of J Brand maternity jeans on Rue La La as well that were a total steal!

2. Cute Tops: I found some great options at H&M - the striped one is no longer available online, but this gray one is probably my favorite maternity shirt that I have and it comes in multiple colors. I've also had luck at Target, Old Navy, and Destination Maternity when it comes to shirts!

3. Versatile Dresses: I personally have enjoyed wearing more stretchy, fitted pieces that really accentuated the bump during my pregnancy, particularly when it comes to dresses! I've found a few really cute options at Old Navy (including this one that's on super sale right now!) that were very simple, solid color dresses that I've been able to get a lot of use out of. As far as other dress options, I found the dress for my Michigan shower on ASOS (it's no longer available but this is similar) and this dress for my Portland shower at Destination Maternity.
4. Oversized Sweaters: Since the weather has cooled down this fall, I've been all about comfy sweaters! And what's great is that I've picked up some awesome open cardigans and oversized poncho type sweaters from H&M recently that are actually not maternity! They work perfectly with leggings now, but I know I'll get a ton of use out of them postpartum as well.

5. Solid Basics: Tanks and leggings are definitely the maternity staples I've gotten the most use out of during my pregnancy. I personally really liked the leggings from H&M and the tanks from Target, however, there are tons of great options out there for both!

These are the pieces that have carried me through the past 37.5 weeks, and it's what I'll be wearing through the next few weeks until baby boy arrives. (And I'm sure I'll be wearing many of these things for awhile after he's born too as I transition back to my normal wardrobe...) I'm thankful that there are so many cute options these days when it comes to maternity clothes because it definitely makes shopping and dressing during pregnancy that much more fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Friends // Preggos Take PDX

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that my friend Natasha and her husband, Ryan, visited Cam and I in Portland this weekend! Natasha and I met through blogging! back when we were living in Tahoe but haven't seen each other since Cameron and I moved to Portland last year. When we first met, she was pregnant with her first baby; she's now pregnant with her second baby and I'm pregnant with my first (and we're both having boys!) - it's crazy how time flies. It was so much fun to catch up on life and talk about all things pregnancy while she was here! Plus it was really great timing for them to come visit this past weekend - Natasha and Ryan got to have some time away together before becoming a family of four and Cameron and I got to take a break from our all our baby prep to enjoy all the things we love about Portland. And we all ate a ton of delicious food!

You can see Natasha's post about their visit here, but I thought I'd share a recap as well...

We usually take out of town guests to Blue Star Donuts, and so that was one of our first stops during their visit. They always have good seasonal flavors, but the Valrhona Chocolate Crunch is my all-time fav! (And getting some Stumptown coffee during a visit to Portland is always necessary!)
Heading out to dinner on Friday night :)
We ended up going to Double Dragon, a quirky little restaurant that's quickly becoming a favorite of mine. It's not too far from our house and I love their very Portland fusion take on Asian food.
After dinner, we had to hit up Salt and Straw since it's another place we always take out of town visitors! (Plus, it gives Cameron and I an excuse to try their current seasonal flavors!) This month, they're featuring their Thanksgiving flavors and they are SO GOOD! I got a waffle cone of Spiced Chevre Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans - it was amazing!
Spending time with blogger friends means you can take lots of photos like this and they understand :)
Another great thing about the weekend is that they happened to get some gorgeous weather, along with the peak of color for the changing fall leaves, while they were here. Everything looked so pretty!
Ryan and Cameron seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves this weekend commiserating about the tribulations of being blogger husbands...ha! We had a great brunch at Broder (our go-to neighborhood spot despite the perpetually long wait...) and then couldn't resist getting a photo by this nearby sign...
Seriously, how perfect is that?! :)
Saturday, we also made stops at Schoolhouse Electric (which was already very festive!) and the Rose Garden, along with a bunch of other fun little stores. One of the things I love about having visitors is that it gets me out to places in Portland that I love but don't go to nearly enough!
I couldn't have a blogger friend visit me and and not go to Nuvrei for macarons! Their new Mac Bar is fantastic and I love all the seasonal flavors they have right now- the Chestnut macaron is awesome!
(Not pictured - the delicious pizza we had at Oven and Shaker before getting macarons!)
Saturday night, we went out to dinner at Olympic Provisions in Southeast Portland!
Although I've tried a wide variety of their delicious meats at Feast and the Farmer's Market, Cameron and I had never tried the restaurant itself before. We had heard lots of good things though, and it definitely did not disappoint! It was fun to try a new place with friends visiting and we all loved it.
We started with the Chef's Choice charcuterie and cheese plates - I'd definitely recommend them!
I ended up ordering two small plates, the honeycrisp apples and the spatzle - both were so good!

I haven't posted many restaurant reviews here on the blog lately (and my Portland page desperately needs updating!) but if you're looking for a great meal, I'd highly recommend Olympic Provisions!

Olympic Provisions on Urbanspoon

Sunday's weather was rainy, but we still managed to pack in some delicious eats before Natasha and Ryan headed back to Tahoe! We started with breakfast at Pine State Biscuits and then made a stop at Pip's Original for donuts and coffee before heading to the airport. If you haven't been to Pip's, I'd highly recommend it - their donuts are amazing, but their drink menu is also really solid! I ordered a Ginger Molasses Latte, which normally is not something I'd like, but it was so good and didn't have any sort of fake-y taste at all. Plus, it's just such a cute and cozy spot to go on a gloomy day!

We had such a great time showing our guests around Portland this weekend, and I'm so glad Natasha and I got to see each other while we're both pregnant! I'm really hoping Cameron and I can take a trip down to Tahoe some time next year to visit them once we both have our babies! :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recipe // Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread

Happy Monday everyone! Fall is well underway and I've definitely been slacking on my baking this season! (Baby-related things have been taking priority...) However, I did make a recipe recently that Cameron and I both really enjoyed and so I'm excited to share it with you today!

I recently had a few bananas on hand that were on the verge of going bad and so I knew I wanted to make banana bread...but since it's fall, I've really been in the mood to make something involving pumpkin. Hmmm...what's a girl to do? You guessed it, combine them! I came across this recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread and thought it sounded perfect!

This seasonal variation of banana bread fills your house with the smells of fall, and it's super easy to make. The result is really moist and delicious, especially when you warm up a slice and top it with a little bit of softened butter - such a perfect treat on a chilly day!

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread
Recipe Adapted From: The Messy Baker

4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
 1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
 3 ripe bananas
 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Cinnamon Swirl
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar, but white would work too!)
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two loaf pans. (I doubled the original recipe and made two loves, one larger and one smaller - however, you could definitely half it if you only wanted one loaf!) In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. In a large bowl, add pumpkin puree and bananas, mash together with a fork or, my favorite, a potato masher. Add brown sugar, melted butter, and yogurt, whisk to combine. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk. Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  
(You could also add nuts to this bread if you like!)

For cinnamon swirl: Stir together sugar and cinnamon. Add half of the batter to the pan and top with cinnamon swirl mixture, and then top with the remaining batter. (This is how it was done in the original recipe and although it was good, next time I think I would just skip putting the cinnamon sugar in the middle of the loaf and put it on top instead! I felt like the swirl got a little lost in the bread and it would be much better on top of the loaf.)

Place pans in the oven. Bake for 60-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I know that's a huge range on time, but it all depends on the pans you use. When I did it, my smaller pan cooked quickly but my larger loaf took a long time to get cooked all the way through!)

Last but not least, I'm announcing the winner of Minted giveaway today so if you entered, be sure to hop over to that post to see if you won! 


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