Thanksgiving Outfit Idea & Life Update

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Hello friends!

A lot has happened since we last spoke! We welcomed our second baby into our family and she has been the biggest blessing. Needless to say, life has been a rollercoaster of emotions these past two weeks [mainly happy with a side of “how do we manage two babies and stay sane?”] Ha! 

LIFE UPDATE

SECOND BABY

My mom has been staying with us since we came home from the hospital, which has been a HUGE help. The hardest part of the newborn phase [for me] is the lack of continued sleep. So mom has been staying up late watching the baby while I get some sleep in between feedings. We are so fortunate to have her helping us and we do not take it for granted in the least!

In between the feedings and snuggles with the new babe, I’m adjusting to nursing, not working [office work, that is], trying to spend enough time with my oldest all while eating my weight in cookie deliveries and rugelach. [For those who don’t know what this is, it’s a Jewish pastry that I craved throughout my pregnancy. My mom bought me some once I got out of the hospital and I have been having at least two, err maybe three, each day. 😬 I told mom that once this bag was finished, we couldn’t buy anymore. 😅)

NURSING

In terms of nursing, breastfeeding is definitely much easier for me this time around. My daughter latched on on day two, whereas it took my son and I about two weeks to figure it out. I also know to drink my Mother’s Milk Tea and eat my lactation cookies to keep up my supply. I talk about that more in this post.  With my first, after I delivered I went back to eating like I did pre-pregnancy, which was a fairly low-carb, standard-calorie diet. I quickly learned that it was not conducive to nursing as my supply dropped significantly. I now let myself eat pretty much whatever I want [within reason], and I find I eat more while nursing than I did while pregnant. In addition, I try and drink 30 oz. of water after each feed.  This step is critical to keeping up supply as well. [New mamas, take note: save the 30 oz. plastic water jug they give you at the hospital! It’s great for your water chugging needs postpartum.] 

BODY

From an overall physical standpoint, I did gain a few stretch marks on my stomach this pregnancy.  I was lucky to have avoided them last time.  I am not complaining though as I am beyond blessed to have been able to carry a baby am so grateful. However, I am kicking myself for not putting on any cocoa butter or moisturizer. I even have some from my first pregnancy sitting out on my bathroom counter! Ugh. My daughter was almost a pound heavier than my son so maybe that’s what did it.  I also think the stretchmarks developed last minute as I didn’t notice them throughout the pregnancy.

MIND

Mentally, having a second baby has been easier because I have already been through this process once. Every little thing is not new and I’m not stressing out about every minor detail. Of course there are new challenges, such as spending enough quality time with my first when my newborn needs me so much right now. Sleep deprivation and hormonal mood swings are all still part of the picture, but expected, and therefore not as stressful this second time around. [Of course this is just my experience and I’ve talked to a couple of moms who felt the second baby was much more stressful.]

All in all, I am so grateful for this blessing in our lives and can’t wait to share what I learn with you all as we go.

THANKSGIVING OUTFIT IDEA

Now onto the holiday season that’s right around the corner! Thanksgiving is just two weeks away [What?! HOW??] and I think it’s safe to say that it’s my favorite holiday. Being Jewish, we don’t have all of the Christmas excitement that December brings [Hanukkah is wonderful but obviously not as mainstream or celebrated like Christmas.] So I think that’s why I love the Fall season and Thanksgiving so much. Being with family, eating delicious food, decorating your home and front doorstep with all the fall foliage and pumpkins…what could be better?!

Every year, I look forward to [and sometimes stress out about] my Thanksgiving Day outfit. This is usually my busiest time at work and if I’m not diligent about planning ahead, the holiday can sneak up on me.  We usually go to a big family lunch at my husband’s cousin’s house.  In terms of an outfit, I try to pick out something casual and comfortable [I do not hold back on seconds or thirds at Thanksgiving!] 😛 Sometimes I’ll go with jeans and a nice top, and other times I will wear a dress with boots if I want to feel a little dressier.  

OUTFIT INSPIRATION & SOURCING

We shot this look when I was 38 weeks pregnant and this dress is so comfortable and cozy.  For any pregnant mamas looking for a dress that is casual, yet still feels put together at the same time, this one is it. Not to mention, it’s not constricting at all and is only $28! I love Old Navy for their basic maternity dresses and this one does not disappoint.  

For my non-pregnant ladies, I linked a couple of sweater dresses that I think are really cute as well.  I decided to dress up my look with these knee-high boots that I got from the Nordstrom Sale last year, but you can also make it more casual with flats or flat boots. The heeled boots I’m wearing in the pictures are sold out at Nordstrom but there’s some sizes left on Amazon.  I also linked a few similar options below.  I threw on this large scarf [I got mine in a little boutique in Canada but this one is very similar] and paired it with my Tory Burch purse.  It’s an older style no longer sold but I love this one! Reminds me of the Gucci Marmont.

I hope this look inspires you as you put together your outfit for Thanksgiving!

Shop the Look: Maternity Dress [similar, non-maternity options: Sweater Dress, Sweater Dress] / High-heeled Boots, sold out [same but from Amazon, similar, similar] / Flat Boots / Scarf, in Camel / Purse, old [similar]

How to throw a Dr. Seuss-Themed 1st Birthday Party

Hi y’all!

My son recently turned 1 and we threw him a Dr. Seuss “Sam I Am / Cat in the Hat” 1st birthday party. The party theme was my husband’s idea so we called him the Creative Director / Chairman of the Board [I bounced ideas off of him] and me the CEO [who executed the vision] 😉.

I had so much fun planning it but it definitely got stressful at times because I just wanted everything to be perfect! [Who knew that measuring tables and buying the right-sized tablecloths can be so time-consuming?!] It ended up being a birthday / housewarming party because we hadn’t had all of our friends and family over to our new home yet.  The party was wonderful and it was so special to share the joyous occasion with everyone we love. 

If you’re looking to host a Dr. Seuss-themed party, I detail exactly how I set everything up, the vendors that I worked with and all of the decorations that I used.  

PARTY SETUP / DECOR

Here’s how we set up the decor:

FRONT YARD

I worked with Jose from LCJ Balloons to create the balloon clusters lining the walkway to our home. I originally was going to buy regular helium balloons but he let me know there was currently a helium shortage in the US [who knew?!] and that we’d have to go with “frame balloons.” I had seen these balloon clusters on Pinterest and wanted the same look. So he suggested I go to hobby lobby and buy wooden sticks to which he could attach the balloons. I did just that [see pic below – I got the small, rectangular ones] and then we spray painted them red and turquoise. It was such a festive way to greet the guests and set the tone for the party.

FRONT DOOR

I got the door sign below from Lulu’s Custom Design and used a red and white striped ribbon to hang it to the door.  [They don’t seem to have the original ‘Oh the Places you will go’ door sign that I customized, but I bet if you asked them for this design, they will make it for you.]

DESSERT STATION

The dessert station [aka our kitchen table in disguise] in our breakfast area was probably the most congregated area throughout the party, along with the kitchen itself.  In addition to kids wanting to grab a cupcake as they made their way through the house, it was truly the heart of the party in terms of decorations.  Jose set up a beautiful balloon arch behind the desserts that was the focal point inside of the house.

For dessert, we had a cake, cupcakes, cookies and Russian chocolates. [My family and I are Russian so these chocolates from Euro Deli make it to every birthday party/dinner/special event.] Nina’s Treats made them all and they were both beautiful and delicious. I used these white plastic trays for the cupcakes and these dessert plates.  I also got this tablecloth and this red and white striped runner.  

FOOD

We catered BBQ from Sonny Bryan’s.  It was delicious and they do a great job! We definitely got too much food, so my lesson learned is to order for about 85% of the RSVPs.  There’s usually a handful of invitees that don’t show up, some don’t eat and the others just graze.

I used these cups, straws and plates.

INTERIOR DECOR

For the inside of the house, in addition to the cake setup, I had a photo banner from here [no longer sold on Etsy so I found another one I like] with a picture of my son starting from Month 1 through Month 12.  I also displayed a cardboard cutout of Dr. Seuss, a garland for the mantle and balloons [these too] throughout the house. [I had the balloons filled with helium at Tom Thumb, our local grocery store.]  We also placed two of the cocktail tables that we rented inside so that people could nosh while standing and socializing.

OUTSIDE

Under the covered patio we had two tables that we joined together. I decorated them with turquoise tablecloths, red and white striped runners and flowers.  We also had cocktail tables with red tablecloths tied with a burlap ribbon where people could stand and eat.   We have a mantle outside that I decorated with this ‘Happy Birthday’ garland.  [I don’t see the exact one I bought on the Etsy shop’s site but she makes custom signs, so you can just show her the image if you want the exact one.] We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and did the cake out here to avoid lots of messy frosting on the floor. [I must say, I think my son had one lick of cake and that was about it. We definitely didn’t have the full on smashing that you see with some kids.  Ha!]  We brought out the high chair to which I attached red and turquoise balloons and a ‘ONE’ sign.  Behind the high chair, I had this garland.  I unfortunately didn’t have the photographer take a picture of the high chair setup before we started the cake, but I have linked all of the items above.

For the backyard, I rented a life-sized Jenga and Connect Four game, along with a kids table and chairs for drawing.  I printed out Dr. Seuss drawings that the kids could color and had little mason jars filled with crayons [inspo from Joanna Gaines, of course. ;)] I also used mason jars as flower vases tied with blue polka dotted ribbon [this was one of my favorite little touches at the party.] The tablecloths were white and red-striped plastic ones from Party City but they no longer have them in stock.  This is a similar option.  

I bought a baby pool and filled it with plastic balls, which was a huge hit for kids all the way up to ages 5 – 6.  We also had cornhole for the adults.

Jose made a beautiful number 1 balloon with a Dr. Seuss hat on top of it that we displayed. 

PARTY FAVORS

For party favors, I got these Dr. Seuss bags and filled them with these Dr. Seuss goodies. 🙂 Another lesson learned was that I placed these in the dining room and NO ONE remembered to take them on their way out.  I thought I would remind our friends and family to grab one when they left, but of course I was too busy playing hostess to even remember.  So for the next party, I will definitely be placing these by the door so that people remember to take one on their way out.

T-SHIRTS & HATS

I also got myself, my husband and my son matching ‘Sam I Am’ t-shirts. [Unfortunately ,the shop is no longer available on Etsy.  Here’s one option I found that allows you to print the decal for your t-shirt.]  I also got my son this onesie as a backup to the t-shirt and it is so soft and nice.  My husband was also super excited to wear a matching hat with our son so we got them these hats [dad’s and son’s].  

I hope this helps you if you’re trying to throw a Dr. Seuss-themed party! 

Favorite Baby Products for the First Year

Nursery Details:

Hi y’all! Happy AUGUST!!

I can’t believe that over half of the year has gone by and my baby is now one.  Hopefully my experience over the last year can help any of the new mamas-to-be as you create your baby registry and prepare the nursery.  I currently have four pregnant girlfriends and their journeys have inspired this post.  I am also expecting my second baby later this fall [surprise!!], so stocking up on essentials is on my mind. 🙂

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First Overnight Trip

 
 
 

Traveling for Work with a Newborn

The first time I travelled after the baby was born was my first week back at work.  I took a day trip to Houston and that was ROUGH. I had never pumped on an airplane or an airport bathroom / pumping lounge. I mean, heck, I had barely pumped period! In addition, I was still so physically exhausted at 3 months postpartum, that travelling / pumping / working / getting home late at night was exhausting.

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Motherhood, Life and my “New Normal”

Get the Nursery Look Below:

Dear friends!

It has been a hot minute since I posted last and that is because 6 months ago (how has it been that long already?!) I had a baby and am now slowly starting to get back into the swing of things. [And by that I mean into my new swing of things, or my new normal.] Although I’m now doing the things I did pre-baby [working, spending time with family and friends, attempting to exercise 😛], everything in life has shifted.

What I Would’ve Told Myself 6 Months Ago

Before giving birth, so many people gave me advice, tidbits and to-dos. So much of what they said I had heard before, but none of it really sank in until my precious little guy arrived. If I could go back in time, here are the pearls of wisdom I would share with myself:

  • You will love your sweet little sugar bear more than you thought possible. Your heart will expand along with your belly, and it will never shrink back to its previous size. You are forever changed in this way and your ability to love has expanded tenfold. With all that love comes a physiological need to make sure your baby is thriving. Ensuring he is fed, warm, happy and loved is something you need to do in order to be OK.
  • You will miss binging on Netflix, snuggling with your husband on the couch, going to a movie, getting your nails done, sleeping in and through the night for that matter, etc. But it will be SO worth it. Every minute of it.
  • Despite all of the changes, you will still be you and you will still have the same dreams that you did before. You don’t have to give any of those up just because you had a baby. You might need to put them on ice for some time, but don’t feel like you have to shut off a part of you that you need to feel fulfilled.
  • Your priorities will shift completely and things that were once important may get filtered out because they no longer are. You will also realize how much time you had before and wonder what the heck you did with it!!
  • You will cherish your mama and all the other mamas that walk this earth more than you ever did before. You don’t understand now but you will soon. A mama’s love is endless and enduring, and she has given you more than you know – physically, mentally and emotionally.

My Favorite Products

Throughout these last 6 months, I have been able to compile a list of the most helpful products / hacks that I hope will help you in your day to day life.  [These are not all related to motherhood, so even if you’re a young professional on the go or a seasoned mama who’s been there, done that, there’s a little something for you as well.]  

Here’s what I’ve been loving these last couple of months that have made life so much easier:

  1. Babybjorn – Hands down the best baby gift we received. My girlfriend recommended this toy to add to it and it keeps the baby entertained while I shower or cook dinner. I can put him in there and place him right next to me to keep an eye on him. [Although now that he’s starting to sit up on his own, I know this bouncer’s days are numbered…]
  2. Cosabella PJs – my MIL bought me these while pregnant and they are some of the comfiest pjs I own.  They’re great for nursing because of the nursing cami and I love that they come with a robe.  Pregnancy and nursing are not pre-requisites for loving these. My mom got a pair and wears the pants and robe and loves them.  My other favorite PJs are these from Nordstrom. SO soft and cute, these are great if you’re staying over at someone’s house and need some presentable sleepwear. I wear these several times a week.  [The button down top is great for middle of the night nursing as well.]
  3. Moisturizing cream – I recently discovered that I’ve been moisturizing ALL wrong for my dry skin.  Add in a baby and make that SUPER dry skin.  I ended up trying THIS one after reading Annie Lawless’ post and my skin feels SO much better, and the redness has subsided tremendously. If you’re dry/sensitive, I highly recommend! [If you’re oily, this same brand makes this one but I haven’t used it myself.]  I have also been using this cream for the last couple of weeks [also per Annie Lawless’ recommendation] and I love it. It’s even more hydrating than the Belif cream – it’s thicker and soothes my dry irritated skin.
  4. In other news related to skincare, I just started using the the slip pillowcase and slip scrunchies.  The pillowcase is supposed to help decrease fine lines and acne breakouts, let your skincare products stay on your skin as opposed to getting absorbed into your pillowcase and also keep your hairstyle intact. So far I like it, but I’ll provide my thoughts on this once I’ve used it longer.  
  5. Crinkly books – y’all, these are the cats meow. Baby Z loves to play with these, grab the objects coming out of them and more importantly crinkle them for the noise. These would make a great gift if you’re looking for something for an infant / early toddler.
  6. Tory Burch coley slippers – I’m in these all day erryday. My mom got me these for Hanukkah last year and I saved them until recently. I started wearing them at home ever since we got home from the hospital and they’re so cozy. I found them on eBay and Amazon still carries a similar style as well.
  7. Lactation cookies – breastfeeding is an incredible experience for so many reasons. However, nothing is scarier than feeling like you’re low on supply. These (delightful, trick-myself-into-thinking-I’m-eating-regular-chocolate chip) cookies are the bomb! I’ve read some negative reviews where some people don’t like how they taste but I think they are delicious. I have them once a day after lunch along with my Mothers milk tea. Now the tea does have a unique flavor and took some getting used to. But now that I’ve been drinking it daily and have become accustomed to it, I love it!
  8. Decaf instant coffee – I limited my caffeine intake during pregnancy and one of the ways I did that was getting rid of my cup o’ [caffeinated] Jo. I love the feel of a warm cup of coffee in the morning so I knew I didn’t want to wholly get rid of this part of my routine. I was also so nauseous that I didn’t have the desire to grind beans and make coffee. So I scoured the grocery stores for instant decaf and couldn’t find anything. Thank goodness for Amazon where I was able to find these.  I’m still drinking the decaf and might continue to do so even after nursing ends. I mean JLO abstains from alcohol and caffeine and looks like this at 48 so she must be onto something, amirite?!

[Her mantra-filled home can’t hurt either. I am youthful and timeless at every age is one she repeats on the daily.  But I digress… I could fangirl over JLO all day long.]

All in all, I am beyond grateful for each and every minute of this new stage of life. I am loving being a mom and feel that this was one of my life’s purposes. I am just figuring it out one day at a time and will share my learnings in the hopes that they help you as well.

Wishing you the most magical and fruitful 2019!!

Nursery Details:

Tanner Crib | Tanner Dresser | Bookshelf | Baskets and Liners | Animal Prints | Changing Pad | Antelope Rug | Sheep Mobile | Mounted Ram | Glider and Ottoman | End Table | Floor lamp

Photography by: Julia Lauren Phography