my pregnancy essentials

I've been waiting to write this post for a while because a) I feel like there are a lot of these out there already, and I wanted to gather a list I felt was really comprehensive and b) I wanted to wait until a little later in the pregnancy so I could cover all the bases!  I know now that the things you find essential in the first trimester are often replaced by something else in the third.  So at 29 weeks, here are the things I would genuinely say I wouldn't have wanted to live without during this pregnancy, in order of importance.  

1.  The Snoogle Pillow.  I'm a stomach sleeper, so transitioning to sleeping on my side was tough.  In the beginning, I was just using Darrell as a body pillow - not his favorite thing - so he literally asked me to go to the store and get a pregnancy pillow.  I wish I'd gone the day the test read positive, this thing is amazing.  There's no way I could sleep without it now, and I'm fairly sure that once Claire is born Darrell will be taking it for himself.  

2.  J Brand Mama J Maternity Jean.  I know what you're thinking - "I would NEVER spend that much on jeans I'll only wear for 6 or 7 months."  But these are really important.  Maternity jeans, on the whole, are no good.  The ones with the belly band will never fit your belly the entire time, so chances are you'll end up buying 2-3 pairs....or you could just buy this pair one time.  They don't fall down (unlike every other pair), they don't pinch or constrict the belly, and they won't give you love handles.  Order true to size - DON'T size up, I made that mistake.  You can usually find these on eBay for less than $100, which I highly recommend.  

3.  "Bumped" by Blanqi tanks at Target.  Blanqi makes two levels of these tank tops - one is a thicker, higher end version that retails at $70 at Nordstrom, and the other is $35 at Target.  I bought both, and actually WAY prefer the one from Target.  It makes me feel supported but not restricted unlike the heavier version.  Blanqi tanks basically support the bump and hold your pants up at the same time, both necessities in your late 2nd - 3rd trimester.  Before I actually was pregnant, I used to think the bump was like a hard, self supported entity - probably because the fake bumps maternity sites use look that way.  But guess what...it's not.  It sometimes feels really heavy, which is what causes a lot of women back pain.  This alleviates that, and also just makes everything under your clothes feel really smooth!  

4.  T Shirt Dresses by Isabella Oliver.  These are by far the most versatile piece of maternity clothing I have owned.  You can dress these up with heels, dress them down with a jean jacket and flats, shorten or lengthen them via the ruching, and they work for every season.  These will also fit your ENTIRE pregnancy - I promise!  I sized up one size, just because I knew I would appreciate the give in the third trimester, but these dresses still fit me great the entire pregnancy.  They really highlight the bump, and also manage to still make everything that is "normally" sized look small (like your waist and arms!) They're expensive, but the fabric is so high quality and they have lots of sales.  These retail for $150 normally, but I bought all three of mine for less than $100, and I think I'll be able to wear all three of them for any subsequent pregnancies we're blessed with!  I should also just mention that I've been a big fan of Isabella Oliver's maternity clothing in general.  These dresses, the Urban Ruched dress, the treggings (best maternity leggings ever), and their layering tees have been staples of mine since about week 14.  

5.  Lavender Oil.  This one is kind of random, but at about 16 weeks I started having a lot of nightmares and it gave me serious anxiety about sleep.  I'm a big fan of homeopathic remedies in general (I can probably count on one hand the pills of Advil or Tylenol I've taken during this pregnancy) so I was thrilled that this worked.  Just rub a little on your temples before sleep and voila, no more nightmares.  

6.  Honest Belly Balm.  This is by far my favorite stretch mark balm - it's the only one I've tried that actually made a stretch mark DISAPPEAR.  As in, I had one, and then I put this on at bedtime and when I woke up it was gone.  It smells a little bit like a dirty hippie, and you have to order it online, but it's worth it!  

7.  Tory Burch Reva Flats.  I know this might seem specific, but ever since I ordered a pair of these I've worn them non-stop.  A tip?  Buy them on eBay!  Don't buy new, there are so many great pairs for much less online! They keep an otherwise comfy outfit looking polished, and aren't as much of a surrender as tennis shoes.  I also just think they're really pretty......so there's that.  

8.  Mommy IQ & Hypnobirthing.  I haven't been a fan of any pregnancy books really....at all.  Most of them make pregnancy out to be horrible - which I haven't really found it to be!  I wanted to read a few books that celebrated what a blessing it is to be pregnant, and these two were pretty much the only ones I found.  Mommy IQ is wonderfully comprehensive, and so upbeat.  I highly recommend the interactive Kindle version, which has videos and interviews with Rosie Pope and her husband.  Hypnobirthing is the pain management method I'm planning to use, but I actually think that the book would be a wonderful read for anyone who's giving birth soon, whether they're planning to use an epidural or not.  It just highlights a lot of good points about giving birth - like how women's bodies are created for that purpose, and how to cultivate confidence in your own ability to carry and bring your child into the world safely.  

9.  Prenatal Vitamins - Honest Company & Trader Joe's.  I was a big fan of Honest Company prenatals in my first trimester because they didn't make me queasy at all, even if you took them on an empty stomach!  That's pretty rare for any kind of vitamin, honestly.  I do, however, think that the Honest Company ones are pretty expensive so after I was feeling better in my second trimester I switched to Trader Joe's.  They're also great, and although it's better to take them with food it's worth the drop in price.  

10.  ANYTHING striped.  I would say that 50% of my maternity wardrobe involved stripes.  That might seem excessive, but stripes flatter the bump, match everything, and work for a ton of occasions.  To me, there's just nothing cuter than a baby bump in stripes.  I bought tops from Target, Old Navy, Gap, and ASOS.  

11.  GapFit Maternity yoga pants.  When the baby is lower, like in the first and second trimester, your normal yoga pants will feel really constricting.  I love my Lululemon wunder unders, and I'm wearing them more now that they can comfortably be worn under the bump, but a few weeks ago that just didn't seem possible.  The GapFit pants are super comfy and not restricting, and now that I'm in my third trimester I've been wearing them with the waistband pulled up over the bump.  

Got anything else you would add to the list?  I've still got 10 weeks to go, so let me know if there's anything you think I'll be wishing I had near the end!  

*ps - i didn't receive anything free, or any compensation from any of these companies for featuring these products.  I bought them all and loved them, so I'm reviewing them just because I felt compelled to share!  


a little break.

Rather than just leave you hanging, I thought I would throw up a quick post letting you know that I won't be posting on the blog until next week.  We fell a little behind on taking photos (bump, style, and otherwise...) and just had a wonderful weekend with friends and family, so rather than put up content I'm not excited about, I'm going to work hard to get some good stuff done this week. Other things on the list: give our home a serious cleaning, get through jury duty without falling behind on work, and find a daycare for the baby in the fall.  Also, our spring weather has disappeared until Saturday according to the forecast, and as such I am sort of considering myself to be on strike.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I'll be back next Monday!  If you'd like to follow along daily, you can see me on Instagram here, and Twitter here!  


friday link love

So, our weekend isn't getting off to the best start ever...

Yesterday Darrell got a (really stupid) ticket for making a U-turn, literally first thing in the morning, and I think we would actually fight it if that didn't mean having to go to court in Herculaneum, MO.  Waving goodbye to $75 is never fun.  I've also been super frazzled lately - baby brain is kind of taking over and in the past couple of days I've taken one too many wrong turns and thrown several things in the trash that certainly didn't need to go there.  I'm perfectly capable of laughing at myself, but it's no fun feeling like you're constantly out of it, and I hope this passes!  

I'm thinking after all that nonsense we need a low key weekend.  My brain needs a rest, and lots of sleep.  The only thing I'm really hoping to do is squeeze in a showing of The Grand Budapest Hotel.    It's also going to be under 60 degrees for the next week, so I'm pretty mad at the weather. Right about now, I'm really kind of wishing we had planned a babymoon.  

Tired of my whining yet?  Okay, here are this week's links: 

I'm totally yucked out by the idea of a cruise and will NEVER take one (mark my words) but if you're into that sort of thing, this looks like a pretty awesome place to retire.  

This app for speed reading is incredible! I have always been a fast reader and wouldn't use it for fiction or anything like that, but my goodness I sure wouldn't mind having this for speeding through the baby books!  

Things you shouldn't say at a baby shower.  I second this entire list. 

I'd love to have this sweet tote for summer.  

How adorable is this list of things that some people believed as children?  I totally remember thinking in this way.   

The most amazing website that plays you background noise.  As someone who works alone at home, I was excited to find out this existed.  

I'm on the hunt for baby hats for this summer, and if this one came in adult sizes as well I'd buy us both one!  


maternity style 15

accessories: neckace and chainlink bracelet - jcrew, bangle - old navy, very old

I cannot believe I'm on number 15 of these maternity style posts!  I have to admit, when I first got pregnant I had a hard time imagining putting together as many outfits that I'd like to share with the world.  Now it's sort of become second nature, dressing this bump, although I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I am realllllllly looking forward to starting my post baby diet and getting back into some regular clothes!  In the meantime, thank goodness for chambray, fun jewelry, and flat shoes (yes, I've finally fully surrendered to flat shoes.)  I'm still pretty attached to wedges, but of course it's not warm enough to wear any of my cute spring wedges yet!  

On that subject, how cute are these bright boat shoes from Old Navy?  I'm kind of obsessed with them, they look surprisingly well crafted in person and I believe I got them for less than $20.  I have a few pairs of Sperry's and while these aren't quite as comfortable, they're a great substitute!  


what i want wednesday

In preparation for this summer, I'm thinking I may need to snap up one of these pretty little wireless speakers for the many trips to the park I have planned.  Baby girl will be here the second week in June-ish, and the idea of spending the entire summer inside seems insane (especially since we're predicted to have a fabulously mild season) so I'm thinking a good size diaper bag and the stroller with a little background music will be our daily essentials.  Also, our yard is pretty fabulous for those days I won't feel like leaving the convenience of having all our baby stuff here at home.  It's only $50, which is a relative steal for this type of thing, and I love how cheerful it is.  

You can find it here!  


awkward and awesome tuesday

Because what do you do when 3 good photos of you are taken while you're pregnant?  You post all of them, obviously.  

wearing: top - jojo maman bebe, jeans - old navy, necklace - ebay, flats - tory burch via ebay


I wore a new maxi dress to the office last week, not realizing that the back had a nice big cutout opening.  I hope everyone enjoyed the view of the bra straps I rearranged to be criss-crossed so that they'd be "hidden."  

Waking up in the middle of the night to pee, I decided to do that move where you swing your legs to use momentum to sit upright (that made sense, right?)  Well, it totally backfired with my pregnant belly in the equation, and I pretty much flopped right back onto my back.  I now know what it feels like to be a turtle.  

I wore my brand new coral colored J.Brand maternity pants to an outdoor party and I was feeling pretty cute considering I was the token pregnant girl until my friend's sweet puppy jumped up on me and smeared dirt on his paws from my thighs to shins.  This was the moment Darrell chose to point out that "I should get used to being messy because soon it will just be baby puke" annnnnnnnd let's just say I was not amused.  


Baby girl moves pretty much all the time now (enough that I'm worried how much she'll sleep when she's here) but I still think this goes in the awesome category because it makes me feel like we just hang out all day long.  It's also much easier for Darrell to feel her kick, and she likes to kick his hand on purpose when he's waiting to feel her.  Now if only I could get her to do the same for other people!  

Spray tans.  I know this is about as shallow as it gets, but for some reason everything just looks nicer when you're tan, and that still applies when you're pregnant.  Especially (weirdly?) to the bump.  The bump likes to be tan!  

Spring weather!! It was so warm on Saturday that I was actually hot in jeans and a very springy light sweater.  It seriously needs to never get cold again - and if it does, I'll just continue to wear spring clothes in protest.  

And since it wouldn't even really be an "awkward & awesome" without whatever food I'm obsessed with right now, this week it's root beer floats.  We made a couple Saturday night and ate them in bed.....which we were in by 9:30.  


how to monogram your hunter boots

After doing quite a bit of trolling around on tumblr in my life (probably more than any person should reallllly spend on a photo blog site) I got sort of obsessed with monograms.  My husband thinks it's downright funny and a little strange - and of course he received the brunt end of all my mania, because once we got married I had my "official" lifetime set of initials and decided that it was time to personalize everything.  To make this clear, just know that we have a 750 square foot apartment and within that space there are no less then three "H" monograms hanging on the walls.  

When I saw monogrammed Hunter boots on Pinterest for the first time,  I wanted some but always assumed that they were a custom order, something I was too late to jump on since I had already had a pair for about a year.  I obviously wasn't going to just spend another $150 to get the monogram.  

Then last week I was beyond excited when I saw an Etsy listing for a set of "hunter boot monogram vinyl appliques."  GENIUS.  I immediately ordered a set in gold (for less than $10) and applied them easily when they arrived about a week later.  The stickers look AMAZING. Just like they were painted on, and it took all of 5 minutes to do myself.  Like a crazy person, I'm now considering a painted monogram DIY on my Louis Vuitton speedy (which is something you DO actually have to order when you buy the bag) so I'll keep you updated on whether or not I go for it, and if it ends in tears...

You can get the Hunter boot monogram decals (in a few difference monogram styles and TONS of colors) right here!  


friday link love

This weekend is a momentous occasion because this weekend is the first WARM weekend of the entire year - it's going to be 65 degrees tomorrow and I plan to spend the day brunching and sitting outside with friends while they enjoy beers and I perhaps enjoy some sparkling lemonade.  And yes, okay, I'll probably have a jacket on the entire time and the 65 degree part will probably only last for about 3 hours, but I'm still pretty thrilled about it.  On that note, any chance you're tired of hearing about the weather yet?  Because I'm just not.  I'll read all the blogs only talking about how great the weather is and I've honestly been loving it.  It all just makes me think happy thoughts about walks to the park with baby girl once she gets here.

And now, a few of my favorite links from this week!

A man goes without any addictive chemicals for a month....no coffee, alcohol, nothing. As a pregnant woman, it's not like this is a foreign concept to me, but I remember when it sounded like a crazy challenge! This account of his month is really interesting. 

Stephen King on adverbs - I totally nerded out over this article, and as a Stephen King fan (because his writing is truly amazing) I totally agree.  

James Murphy is planning to make the subway in NYC more musical. 

Isaac Mizrahi's new shoe collection has some really adorable picks.  I love these striped slingbacks.  

It does seem true, doesn't it? People at Whole Foods are so angry. 

How to roll your sleeves in that perfect "J.Crew" style.  

This twitter feed is hilarious. Some of its best moments, here. 

This is much more NSFW than what I usually post, but this rebuttal written by the (obviously very well written) Duke University student doing porn to pay for her college was interesting, to say the least. Do you think she may have been treated differently if she were a man? 


maternity style 14/brunch

wearing: isabella oliver leggings, anthropologie shirt (old), banana republic jacket (old),  j crew factory clutch (old but, some super pretty spring options here), target shoes, michael kors watch (old, but I love this one as well)

This past Saturday we decided to venture outside our comfort zones of Rooster & Southwest Diner, and head to Cherokee street to try a new brunch spot.  Melt was better than we expected - I'm already scheming how to get Darrell back there next weekend.  The restaurant itself looks like something you'd see in Portlandia - coffee pot chandeliers, an old telephone booth, and those chicken salt & pepper shakers?  The hoarder in me kind of died over the whole place.  

I had the "Violet Beauregarde" (rad name for blueberry waffle) and Darrell had the "Bleu Ox" which is basically a ton of brisket & bleu cheese (as that's what he tends to order when we venture out of our vegetarian kitchen) and both were stellar!  My only comment - get your order "stacked" - portions aren't gigantic and you'll totally want the second waffle.  

Since it had dipped back down to COLD Saturday, I decided to just wear out the last of my autumn clothes and give in to the weather.  I would however, now consider myself firmly done with winter, and I even made the bold move of packing up the last of my winter coats.  I don't care if that means I have to freeze in a trench coat for a few more days - I just can't bear wearing them anymore!  Thankfully weather.com says we're headed straight into spring.  Any day it jumps above 60 degrees we've been going to the park for long walks, which are my current favorite form of exercise.  

Any awesome new restaurants you've tried in St. Louis lately?  Any weekend outings now pretty much revolve around food (for me at least) so I'm always looking for a new spot to try!  


73 questions with SJP

I just had to share this insanely adorable video of Sarah Jessica Parker, from vogue.com.  It's a totally random series of 73 questions, but it shows how beyond charming she is, and adorable in a way that is very, very "Carrie."  It just made me smile.  Enjoy!  

making me smile this week

A new again pair of springy sandals, thanks to my favorite cobbler.  Here's hoping my feet continue to stay the same size!  

We cleaned our whole apartment to spotless this weekend, and when I asked Darrell to go put on some cleaning music, he answered with a youtube video of "whistle while you work."  Which was perfect.  

Pregnancy lunches lately have been super simple - my favorite right now is 3 scrambled eggs and a hunk of my homemade bread.  

Fitz likes to make a little nook for his head on the bump.  I have a feeling a beautiful friendship is in store for these two.  

This hat melts my heart.  I can't wait until she can wear it - Darrell likes to joke that his whole life is about to get a lot more sparkly.  


awkward and awesome tuesday

wearing: dress - apricot lane, espadrilles - soludos, necklace - j.crew factory


Waking up in the middle of the night over more health insurance issues.  This is now an ongoing problem that we've decided to solve by switching doctors......at 7 months pregnant.  Normal, right?  

Morning nosebleeds, every morning.  Thank you pregnancy.  

Watching the True Detective season finale during dinner.  Just don't do it!  So icky.  

The noises I make anytime I have to bend over to grab something lately.  The other day after I had to get a pan out of the bottom drawer and I'm pretty sure I sounded about 90.  

Darrell pointing out that the shirt I've selected for pajamas just doesn't quite make it over the bump.  Uh-huh babe...I know.  


Trader Joe's, for being pregnancy food heaven.  Chocolate covered potato chips?  They have them.  Every single kind of citrus in the history of ever?  Yup.  

The clock sprang forward and suddenly it's much brighter for so much longer.  I don't even care about that lost hour of sleep.  

The hourlong walk we took yesterday afternoon.  It wasn't just not cold, it was WARM.  I wore a sundress and espadrilles and I think it was the happiest I've been in a month.  

Reese's Puffs.  Okay, I have a cereal problem.  We have the assortment of your 5th grade dreams in the house at all times.  


the perfect spring jacket

I'd argue that there are fewer days more difficult to dress for than the first few weeks of spring.  When I walked the dogs this morning, it was 40 degrees outside - weather certainly not worthy of bare legs & sandals.  However, we have a trip to the park planned this afternoon, when it's slated to hit 72 degrees!  What's a girl to do?  In March on days like that, your winter coats probably seem far too heavy (and too depressing!)  So yesterday I set out on a mission to find the perfect "coat" to carry me through to May, and I absolutely did!  I've never bought a trench coat before - most are too boxy, too manly - or on the opposite end of the spectrum, too girly due to the additions of ruffles, bows, or piping.  I headed into Gap with ideas of picking up a solid jean jacket, and while that's still on my list I put it off in favor of this tan trench coat.  I got it on sale (times 2, because the one I picked up had been an in-store return) so the price was unbeatable and I have a feeling I'll be wearing it for years to come.  It feels far more expensive than the price it's listed at.  I highly recommend stalking it on gap.com until they have one of their 40% off sales, which seem to happen frequently.  Of course I can't close it over the bump, but if I could I would only wear it for 3 months, so I figured wearing it open would suffice until the baby comes!  


friday link love

I think we can all agree that after this atrocious winter, March needs to step it up.  We're trying to force it into action by heading out to a fish fry tonight, making the most of the 60 degree weather we got today (and please let it never leave!)  If you've ever lived in St. Louis you know I'm not just throwing a random activity out there - fish fry Fridays are an institution here during Lent.  So fun, and probably the cheapest way to start off your weekend - a huge plate of food and a couple beers will run you in the neighborhood of $10.  

In an act of extreme optimism I also decided to unload my spring dresses & shoes from storage - although I left my saltwater sandals for now because I figured that veers into "jinxing it" territory - and I got them all unpacked and hung up yesterday.  Sometimes just seeing a coral sundress in the closet and knowing that the day will come soon when you can wear it is enough to make you feel warmer.  

Anything you're doing to "hurry up" spring this weekend?  

Since I know you're just dying to go to one now, this church and this one are my favorite fish fries in St. Louis.  And yes, I also find it hysterical that we have an entire website dedicated to ranking them.  

Did you see Paul Rudd & Jimmy Fallon's lip sync battle?  Paul Rudd was AMAZING.  

Hatch's spring collection just came out, and this dress is definitely my favorite.  

Signs you're definitely over winter.

Did you know that people all over the world throw "American" parties?  And as you might imagine, they are hilarious.  

Interesting article about a girl who did something new in New York City every single day last year! Some people amaze me with the personal challenges they give themselves.  

My mom bought us both these shoes last weekend, and I'm madly in love with them.  The perfect low wedge is a seriously elusive find.

The 36 types of people you meet in yoga class.  Avoid putting your mat next to #6, as in my experience they also "seriously" never wear deodorant.  

I have to say, I think this season of Girls has been the very best yet, so this Huffington Post article made me laugh and is also incredibly true.  

Such a gorgeous necklace, especially with a bateau neck striped top!  


maternity style 13

jacket - forever21 (similar), blouse - artemis shop, jeans - j brand

bracelets - anthropologie (similar) & banana republic (similar), bag - target

flats - target

earrings - jcrew (similar), sunglasses - ray ban

This past weekend St. Louis held it's annual Mardi Gras celebration in Soulard!  I encouraged Darrell to go and make the most of the day, but since Mardi Gras is essentially a drinking holiday held mostly outdoors, I skipped out.  My mom and I went shopping for baby clothes instead, and we may have squeezed in a little shoe shopping as well!  

Even though these flats were brand new, I was just sure they would be super comfortable for the entire day.  They surpassed my expectations - definitely the best $30 I've spent in a while!  I have a feeling they'll be in constant rotation this spring, and I highly recommend you pick up a pair while they're still in stock.  


awkward & awesome tuesday

wearing: tunic - old navy, jeans - gap, wedges - vince camuto, very similar, bracelets - jcrew factory & coach (very old)


The dude who creepily flirt-waved at me in the oil change line.  After ignoring you and staring straight ahead until one of us pulled into the bay, it was good and funny when I walked into the waiting room 6 months pregnant.   

My spatial awareness.  The bump has taken over and I whacked Darrell with our shopping basket no less than 5 times during a recent grocery trip.  Sorry babe....

I accidentally hung one of my maternity shirts in Darrell's closet this week.  Not a good sign for how big I'm getting.  

Calling my insurance company and the hospital FOUR TIMES EACH just to get a billing issue figured out, and having someone tell me something different each time.  This was more awful than awkward.  I'm now officially nervous for the aftermath of every appointment - this was one code entered incorrectly and suddenly I owe $500 instead of my usual $50.  Here's hoping I get it officially resolved ASAP.  


Discovering jane.com.  It's like Groopdealz only better!  I had been coveting the necklace from THIS blog post forever (also, that blogger's style is just so good), and never could find it.  One day it just popped up in my daily deals email for TEN DOLLARS.  Shopping cart, checkout, done.  

J. Brand Maternity jeans on peainthepod.com buy one get one free this week.  For the colored jeans, which are totally adorable for spring.  I got mint & coral!  

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  I'm not even ashamed to say that I had it for dinner twice this week.  

Shopping for baby clothes with my mom & sis!  So much cuteness.  Although I may be the least fun person to shop with for baby clothes - to say I'm picky would be an understatement.  Call me crazy, but I think bows the size of my fist are really gilding the lily when it comes to babies.  
(For the record, my favorite stores so far have been Janie & Jack, Old Navy, J.Crew, and Baby Gap.  


my tumblr blog

In the same vein as my recipe post last week, I've also lately been having a little trouble being inspired by Pinterest in the way of blog material.  Normally I scroll through what I've pinned lately and can come up with ideas fairly quickly, but there is just SO MUCH on Pinterest lately that I begin to feel a little frantic trying to zero in on just one thing.  Perhaps it's the layout, which shows you 100 photos at a time, or perhaps I just have mild ADD, but for whatever reason I've been working much more successfully with tumblr lately.  I follow a LOT of very preppy blogs lately (you've been warned!) but if that's your jam and you like bright colors as much as I do this time of year, you can head on over to my tumblr to see my latest posts.  It's a constant stream of outfit inspiration, quotes, and probably far too many monograms.  
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