Friday, May 27, 2016

Finding the Right Sports Bra (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

Happy Friday! I've got a fun giveaway for you to kick off the holiday weekend! 

Last year, I had the pleasure of visiting the Title Nine store here in Portland to get fitted for a new sports bra as part of their Fit Fest. Back then, Henry was just a baby and I was trying to get back in shape (which didn't really happen, but oh well...ha) and I wanted a bra that would be supportive but also work for nursing. I was able to find an awesome sports bra, plus it was a really fun experience.

Love this quote on the wall in the Portland store!
So that's why when Title Nine asked if I wanted to come back again for their Fit Fest event this year, I jumped at the opportunity! However, having an active toddler and being pregnant, my wish list for a sports bra this time around was a little different. Mainly that I didn't want it to feel like a sports bra! Since I'm really only doing low impact activities right now like walking and yoga (that is when I finally decide to pull myself off the couch at night to go to prenatal yoga one of these days...) I really just wanted something super comfortable and yet also cute that I could wear with shorts and a tank while chasing Henry around at the park this summer. But I remembered from last year that Title Nine has TONS of different options, so I was confident I would find exactly what I was looking for.

My second year, yet still struggling to take a dressing room selfie :)
Another main reason that I was excited about the Fit Fest was not only to find a bra that fits my current lifestyle but also one that actually fits my current body...ha! After having a baby, nursing, and now being pregnant again, I really wasn't sure what my current size was. That's where the ladies that work at Title 9 aka the "bravangelists" come in! The 'bravangelist' I worked with, Sarah, alerted me that I was actually wrong about both my band and cup size, whoops! And I know that I'm not alone, sooooo many women out there are wearing a bra that's the wrong size! and when it comes to a sports bra that's supposed to be supporting you while doing something active, if it doesn't fit correctly it can be disastrously uncomfortable. Luckily Title Nine's bravangelists are not only are trained to take your measurements and let you know what size bra you should be wearing, but they're also super knowledgeable about Title Nine's giant selection of sports bras and can help you find one that's perfect for your lifestyle. I ended up going with this bra (in the black and hot pink color combo) and I love it - it's so so comfortable and I really like that it has the option to convert to a racer back!

The bra I got is the black and pink one on the right - so cute right?
My bravangelist who helped me find my new bra!
So are you ready to upgrade your sports bra for summer? Well you're in luck because Title Nine Portland is having their Fit Fest on Wednesday June 1 and Thursday June 2! You can RSVP by calling 503-243-2220 and have one of their bravangelists help you find your perfect sports bra. And if you're not in Portland, you can get a personalized fit by going to your own local store, chatting with a bravangelist by phone at 800-342-4448, or by using their online Bra Genie (which is really cool!)

Last but not least, one lucky reader is going to win a the sports bra of their choice from Title Nine! The giveaway is open to anyone in the US and will include a personalized fitting (either in-store or over the phone, depending on location) and one bra. Entering the giveaway is easy, check it out!

Title Nine Bra Giveaway
  You can enter until Monday 5/30 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 5/31 :)
Good luck and have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Top 10 Baby Shower Gift Picks

Earlier this week, I shared some photos from my sister's baby shower and it got me thinking about baby shower gifts! Back when I was pregnant with Henry and trying to figure out what to register for for my own shower, I read tons of blogs for advice. Overall, I was pretty happy with the things I chose and we were really blessed by all the lovely gifts we received from friends and family. But now that I'm almost 18 months into this mom gig and getting ready to go for round two, I definitely have a much better idea about what (I think) makes a great baby shower gift!

This photo was from the Momma Bear Mag pop-up photo shoot here in Portland earlier this month, my friend Mary is so talented! Except I totally didn't realize how sheer my shirt was and you can totally see the belly panel of my maternity jeans through my shirt...whoops! No shame though because maternity pants are the BEST :)
When it comes to a baby shower gift, you can't go wrong with sticking to the registry. After all, the mom-to-be has spent time picking out things she'd like and so it's nice to respect her wishes. However, I feel like when it comes to baby showers, it's also OK to go off registry too! Often, the registry may include more big ticket items, as I think many expectant parents sort of assume that people are going to use their own discretion for things like clothes and other more personal items. Plus, I guarantee that no matter how many blogs and reviews she's read, a mom who is pregnant with her first baby doesn't really know everything she'll need for a baby. So if you already have kids, feel free to let your experience influence what you choose to give as I'm sure she'll appreciate it!

Here are a few of my personal tried and true favorites when it comes to baby items that would make great shower gifts, so hopefully this list might be helpful to any of you looking for ideas!

(Also, this post is not sponsored at all, it's just a list of things I wanted to share!)

1. Books - Henry is in a big book loving phase right now and so I can definitely attest to the fact that they make great shower gifts! Plus, wall book shelves like we have in Henry's nursery are super popular right now, so chances are a new mom might be looking to build her baby's library. Given Henry's age, I'm partial to suggest board books (here are a few of his favorites!), but I think that any book that is either special to you or you think would be meaningful to the new parents is great!

2. Swaddle Blankets -These seem to be a popular gift item for baby showers and for good reason - you use them for everything, especially in the beginning! Aden + Anais seem to be the most popular; they sell them at lots of different stores and they have so many adorable patterns! They're what we registered for (and I mentioned them in my 0-3 Favorites) and they've held up really well. But there are also SO many other companies out there that make really unique swaddles - Modern Burlap has so many cool graphic black & white options (I have this one), Milkbarn has lots of really sweet animal prints made from organic cotton, and Spearmint Love has so many beautiful designs.

3. Solly Baby Wrap - There is nothing sweeter than wearing your new baby in a wrap and I think that Solly Baby makes the best ones. I got this striped one for a shower gift and used it all the time when Henry was small, and I actually got my sister this one for her baby shower :)

4. Zutano Booties - I first came across Zutano booties on Amazon (which was one of the places we registered) and they had good reviews so I decided to add them to ours. We ended getting a TON of use out of them and I ended up ordering more pairs as Henry's feet grew. When babies are small, shoes are a joke and socks don't always stay on their feet. These booties are the best because they're super easy to get on, they stay on, and they're the perfect thing for when your baby isn't wearing footie PJs. They have tons of colors and patterns and come in both cotton and fleece.

5. Park Blanket - This was an item I registered for on a whim, but was pleasantly surprised by how much we ended up using it. (I also have this one) It's awesome for the park or beach and it's great to keep in your car. It also makes a perfect gift for a shower where you don't know the baby's gender :)

6. Zip PJs - We got lots of cute outfits for our shower, but as for the things that we got the most use out of, I'd have to say zip PJs hands down! They're awesome for diaper changes and so much easier than messing with snaps. The Hanna Andersson zip PJs are my favorites - they have so many adorable patterns and they wash really well - definitely a perfect shower gift!

7. Velcro Swaddles/Sleep Sacks - Even though we used swaddle blankets a lot when Henry younger, we didn't really end up using them for swaddling - he'd bust out of them easily and it was too much of a pain to try re-swaddle him in the middle of the night. The velcro swaddles are so much easier to deal with and it wasn't too long before we transitioned Henry in to sleep sacks. Halo is my favorite brand and they make tons of different options for both swaddles and sleep sacks.

8. Multipurpose Nursing Cover - This is something a mom-to-be may not think to register for, but it's such a useful gift! Not only can it be used as a nursing cover, you can also use it as a car seat cover or shopping cart cover too. Covered Goods and Milk Snob both have cute options!

9. Size 12 month (and larger!) clothes - Even though it's so tempting to buy tiny newborn clothes, I think it's really nice to gift clothes in bigger sizes! Babies grow out of those clothes really fast and it's nice to be able to have some things for down the road. However, since sizing varies from brand to brand and it's hard to know just how fast babies will grow, I would suggest buying larger size clothing items that will work for multiple seasons like onesies/sleepers/jeans/etc vs. jackets/super seasonal pieces.

10. Gift Cards/Gift Certificates - I know some people feel like gift cards are impersonal, but I think they are a perfect baby shower gift! You're inevitably going to need additional things down the road as your baby grows, so it's nice to have gift cards to put towards those items. Plus, diapers/wipes aren't going to buy themselves! I'm pretty sure I can vouch for 99% of moms when I say that I'd love if someone gave me a Target gift card :) And beyond gift cards, gift certificates for things like meal delivery services like Blue Apron (which I actually haven't tried yet but I've heard great things about!) or for a house cleaning service would be awesome for a mom-to-be!

So there you have it, some of my favorite ideas to gift for baby because they're all things I love! Hopefully this list comes in handy for those of you with showers to attend this summer :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Sister's Baby Shower

Earlier this month, we traveled to Michigan and one of the main reasons for our trip was for my sister's baby shower! She's due in August with her first child, a baby boy, and I'm so excited for Henry to have a little cousin! Plus, her baby and baby #2 for me will only be two months apart, so that's really special. Melissa and Ben will be fantastic parents and so it was a lot of fun to be able to put together an afternoon to celebrate their little man's impending arrival later this year!

A lot of the more traditional baby shower themes are kind of cheesy and just not my sister's style; we wanted to keep the decor more simple and ended up going with a lot white with some gold accents. These giant gold letter balloons were the perfect focal point for the room and weren't too overly babyish :)
Baby pictures of Ben and Melissa and (delicious) cupcakes from our local bakery!
The adorable invitations for the shower came from Minted and they helped set the perfect tone for the event! My sister specifically wanted an invitation with a stork on it because storks are actually a symbol of Strasbourg, France, which is where my brother-in-law Ben is from, as well as the place where they had their wedding this past summer. Minted actually had a bunch cute (and non-cheesy) stork invite options, but I thought the one that we ended up going with was elegant and just right for a spring shower.
Keeping with the white theme, we had some little onesies hanging up for decoration :)
Succulents were the favor for the shower and they all looked so cute sitting on the tables :)
Those cupcakes were so good!
We had my sister's shower at the same restaurant where we had my baby shower not too long ago!

One of the fun parts of a baby shower is opening presents so everyone can ooh and ahh over all the tiny baby things. Melissa and Ben got some really adorable gifts and kept everyone entertained :)

The attendees at the shower were a mix of our family in Michigan, some longtime family friends, and some of my sister's friends from high school and college. Since my sister and I were both in from out of state, it was really great to be able to see some people that we don't get to see as often as we'd like. The afternoon flew by visiting with everyone, and so I wasn't able to take as many photos of everything as I would have liked, but I did manage to get a some family pictures...

My mom and I worked together to throw the shower, even though she did most of the work to make things happen :)
My cousin Olivia is having a baby in June, Melissa is due in August, and I'm due in October - so many babies!
Family picture, before Henry had to be escorted home for nap time :)
Ben and Melissa and our Aunt Donna, who I know is an avid blog reader :)
The parents-to-be with all the ladies from my mom's family
Cousin picture!
Sisters (and future cousins!)
The baby shower was a lot of fun and I'm so glad that it worked out for us to come in from Portland the same time as Ben and Melissa came in from New York so we could all be there to celebrate together. I'm so looking forward to meeting my little nephew in just a few short months!

A special thanks to Minted for providing the invites for the shower! I've loved partnering with them over the past few years as I am a huge fan of their products and love how perfectly they help celebrate all of life's special occasions!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Currently: May

 Hey there! May is moving right along, and so I thought it was the perfect time to share this month's "Currently" post with some little snippets about what's been happening here lately!

Some recent favorites from my Instagram :)
Making: Some little thank you gifts for Henry's teachers in the nursery at church. I've been going a mom's group and a women's Bible study this year and there is a great group of ladies that work in the classroom where Henry goes during those activities and they are so sweet to him! Today is our last day for the year (they both activities stop for the summer and start up again in the fall) and so I put together a little tin with some homemade cookies and a tag with a note from Henry (ha) that says "Thanks for making my year so "sweet!" It may sound really Pinterest-y, but it was actually super simple to put together :)

Cooking: Whenever I need to bake something for any reason, 90% of the time I end up going with chocolate chip cookies. Sure, I like trying new recipes for other desserts and baked goods from time to time, but when I want something I know is going to be a hit, you can't beat a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies! (Plus, the fact that I can literally make them in my sleep doesn't hurt.) I've tried dozens of chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years, and I can confidently say I've found my holy grail recipe that I'll be using from now on. These chocolate chip cookies are perfection, and what's unique about the recipe is that they use melted butter instead of softened butter like most recipes call for. (Since the butter is melted, hypothetically you could brown it to really put them over the edge!) They also call for a tablespoon of vanilla and more brown sugar than white sugar, resulting in a chewy, flavorful cookie. I don't make them quite as big as it calls for in the recipe, so using a normal size cookie scoop I usually get just over two dozen if I make the recipe as is, so I usually double it. Definitely give this recipe a try if you're looking for a new go-to!

Reading: I'm starting to put together a list of books to read this summer, and this one, this one, and this one are all on my list. I'm very open to suggestions though, so let me know if you've read anything great lately, fiction or non-fiction :)

Wanting: Something to do a better job of cleaning our floors. Between a dog that sheds and a toddler that spills, I just feel like our floors are perpetually dirty. I've been thinking some sort of steam mop/vacuum thing may be the way to go, perhaps something like this? Has anyone tried it? Also, I'm pretty sure it's not having a kid that makes you feel like an adult but it's getting genuinely excited about the thought of getting a vacuum :)

Looking: At my Redfin app, even though we don't have plans to move any time soon. We would like to sell our house eventually, but it will probably be awhile before we're ready for that. However, the Portland housing market is crazy. so I just like keeping an eye on what's happening in different parts of town.

Wishing: I knew how to get Henry to eat things other than fruit and carbs. Seriously, meal time is a struggle these days! At the advice of our pediatrician, I just keep offering him a variety of different healthy foods at meal times, and if he decides not to eat it, then that's his choice. Man, it's frustrating though! I swear, some days it seems like he hardly eats anything, but yet every day he seems taller and heavier so obviously he's growing somehow? Toddlers!

Enjoying: Peony season! I know it's a total blogger cliche, but I don't care. They are seriously the prettiest flowers and having a bunch of them in the house just makes me so happy! (Plus they were the flowers we had at our wedding, and that was back before Pinterest/Instagram were even around!)

Eating: My diet so far this pregnancy has been questionable at best, I've definitely been indulging my sweet tooth a little too much! But my current craving for sure is definitely sour gummies! I got some really delicious ones from Trader Joe's recently and then this weekend I was jonesing for some Sour Patch Kids. Luckily, my husband knows my love language is candy and went out and got me not only Sour Patch Kids, but Haribo Sour Gummies too! (Bless him) I'm slightly concerned about my glucose test, so fingers crossed for that in a few months...

Loving: Henry's age right now. Although there are definitely parts that are frustrating, i.e. the picky eating, which I mentioned, and just the general frustration caused by the limited vocabulary at this age, it's also so so sweet and fun! He's becoming so independent and has such a sense of humor, but every now and then he still seems so little. I love seeing him beam with pride when he learns something new and I'm excited for lots of adventures this summer!

Hoping: To make it out to the Farmer's Market soon! Portland has tons of farmer's markets, but I haven't been to any yet this year, so I need to change that ASAP!

Needing: More discipline to get in bed at a reasonable time.
(I type that as I'm up way too late once again writing this post. Whoops)

Feeling: Excited about our 20 week anatomy scan that's coming up soon for baby #2! Since I'm seeing a midwife, they don't really do a ton of ultrasounds, and although I've gotten to hear the heartbeat multiple times, it will be nice to actually see everything and check in on how these bebe is doing! (Not to mention finding out the gender!) Also, it's a little crazy to me that I'm almost halfway through with this pregnancy, yet at the same time, I feel like I still have a long way to go? But I know the summer is going to fly and October will be here before we know it!

Wearing: These white maternity jeans from J.Crew - they are surprisingly thick (in a good way) and relatively flattering for being white maternity jeans. I was thinking about possibly doing a post with some of recent maternity (and non-maternity!) fashion favorites for spring, but since it looks like there are limited sizes left of these jeans, I wanted to share them ASAP for all my fellow mamas-to-be! Also, since white jeans + toddler means they'll have to be washed often, so far they seem to have held up well in the wash!

Watching: Still working my way through SATC (I'm on season 6, my favorite!) and I'm a little sad that it's that time of the year so many shows come to an end for the summer. We've been enjoying Blackish, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Silicon Valley, and Shark Tank lately, but I can't WAIT for The Bachelorette to start next week!

Bookmarking: This post from Cup of Jo - it's got links to lots of great parenting posts!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far!

Friday, May 13, 2016

May Visit to the Mitten

Happy Friday everyone! We got back from our trip to Michigan late this past Sunday and this week has flown by! Things are normally kind of busy when we get back from being out of town with things like unpacking, catching up on laundry, etc. but on top of that, the weather has been in the 80s and sunny all week so we've been out trying to enjoy it! Today it's actually supposed to be 90 degrees here in Portland (whatttttt) and it's really fun having this little blast of summer :)

Anyway, I wanted to share a few pictures from our time in Michigan because we had quite a bit going on while we were there! We flew in and the first weekend, we had the wedding of one of Cam's best friends from college which included two different ceremonies. Then we had my dad and Grandma's birthdays, got together with a bunch of different friends, and then the second weekend, we had my sister's baby shower and Mother's Day. So even though were only there for a little over a week, we managed to pack a lot in! I was actually looking back through some of my old blog posts and realized that Henry and I took a trip to Michigan last May, and it's crazy how much he's changed in a year! Also, I know I already posted a bunch of pictures from our trip on Instagram while we were there (especially of the wedding) so these are just some other photos (all from my cell phone, whoooops) that I never got around to posting on social media while we were there :)

The most hipster coffee shop in Detroit, it seriously felt like we were in Portland!
I loved my mehendi for the wedding and I have to have my Tim Horton's (usually multiple times) when I'm in Michigan
Cam was co-best man in the wedding and it was such a beautiful weekend. The bride and groom incorporated lots of personal details into every aspect of the wedding and it was really awesome to see how everything came together!
So nice it happened to work out that we were in town for my dad and Grandma's birthdays!
While we were in town, I met up with a friend from college who has a little boy that's Henry's age and we went with them to a gymnastics type class - Henry LOVED it. We got there early and he was so sad he couldn't go into the room right away when there was another class going on. But once he got in the gym, I don't think he stopped jumping the entire time! I definitely want to do more activities/classes with him like this here in Portland :)

 Last Friday, Cameron, Henry, and I spent the day in Ann Arbor (which is where we went to college/met/got married) and we lucked out with gorgeous weather! I actually took a bunch of photos while we were there, but didn't end up posting any of them on Instagram so they're ending up in this post instead :) Ann Arbor is such a great city that has so many great memories for us, and it was especially fun to be back there now that Henry is walking and could explore U of M's campus :)

First stop was lunch at Zingerman's where Henry devoured his grilled cheese sandwich :)
Checking out the Diag!
Henry REALLY wanted to get in the fountain but we compromised by letting him kick his feet in the water, ha :)
Cam proposed under the West Hall Arch and so it's always a special spot to come back to whenever we're in Ann Arbor. Plus, it was really pretty seeing everything in bloom for spring!
We finished our visit to Ann Arbor stopping by our old fraternity/sorority houses (which are right next door to each other). Things were pretty quiet since school is out and most people are home for the summer, but Henry had fun running across the lawn!
He was pretty over photos by the time we got to my sorority house :)
Hanging out with his cousin Luke!
Henry had a blast at my parents' house exploring and playing with all of his new toys :)
On our last day, Henry even got to go out on the pond at my parents' house for a little boat ride :)
He wasn't a huge fan of the life jacket...ha :)
Henry had fun in the boat...until he decided he was done, which is par for the course right before nap time :)
Being a toddler is really hard sometimes :)
Mother's Day!
I have a separate post coming next week all about my sister's baby shower so stay tuned for that! :)
Have a great weekend everyone!


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