This week I discovered something close to cruel and unusual punishment, being almost 9 months pregnant during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The sale opens up to the non-Nordstrom card-holding public today! Sure, shopping shoes and accessories are options (if I go early, before my feet swell too much), but since there’s really no trying-on for this mama, I’ll mostly be sitting this one out. I’ve been browsing the sale online though, and there are a few deals I just can’t pass up—mostly basic tops and a pair of jeans that I may buy, hoping I can squeeze into them by the end of the year. And who knows, maybe they will be a little motivation to shed the baby weight. Sweet, sweet ice cream, I’ll miss you come September!
Do me a favor and shop the sale for me? Here are my Friday Favorites for this year’s #NSALE.
Lace Up Pointy Toe Flat
This bordeaux color is great for fall and these pointed toe, lace up flats by Halogen are right on trend.
It’s not just clothing and shoes on sale, Nordstrom also offers discounts on many household items and gifts. This set of six, stackable bowls by Gibson comes in 3 different ombre-style colors: blue, gray and pink.
I love these straw baskets—I can picture them in a kid’s room to hold stuffed animals and toys, or in the living room to hold throw blankets or magazines.
I’m loving this ankle-length denim trend—its perfect for showcasing a fun, pointed heel, lace up, open-toe, or bootie. (From left to right): AG ‘The Legging Ankle Jean’ | PAIGE ‘Transcend – Verdugo’ Ankle Skinny Jean | Vigoss ‘Thompson’ Distressed Skinny Jeans
Deep-V Neck Tee
This basic, deep-v neck tee would look great under a long cardigan, blazer, bomber or moto jacket. This particular look is from Lush.
Faux Leather Moto Jacket
I spent most of the last fall/winter seasons in search of the perfect moto jacket. There are lots of options offered at this year’s #NSALE. I particularly love this ‘Easy Rider’ Faux Jacket from BLANKNYC.
Crossed Front V-Neck Top
The details of this Lush blouse give an otherwise basic piece a little pizzaz.
Although they’re everywhere come fall and winter, it can actually be hard to find a great bootie. I like the look of this sand, suede pair from Treasure&Bond.
A Sleek Shoulder Bag
The metal details make this simple, black shoulder bag sleek and stylish. This bag by Vince Camuto is perfect for everyday or a night out.
This past weekend Mike and I met two of my best girlfriends, Jessie and Dani, and their husbands in Nashville, Tennessee. Jessie, Dani and I are all expecting babies within a month of each other. Since we don’t get to see each other often, now that we all live in different cities, it was really important for us to find some time to get together, swap pregnancy stories, eat a lot of food, and see one another’s growing bumps. And, Nashville just happens to be the most central meeting point for all of us.
On Saturday afternoon, we met each other for lunch at a Nashville-style hot fried chicken place, Hattie B’s. It’s a popular spot and the line was well out the door and around the corner. Although it was pretty hot outside, the wait gave us some time to catch-up and figure out what we wanted to order. I went for the mild tenders (too much spice is dangerous for my non-stop heartburn), with a side of pimento mac n’ cheese and collard greens. For dessert we had Mike’s favorite, banana pudding. The food was well worth the wait and it was easy for us to understand why the long line never eased up.
After lunch, we were in search of an air-conditioned spot where we could sit a little longer and continue the conversation before heading back to our hotels for a bit. Right around the corner from Hattie B’s we found Tavern, a cool gastropub. And although we didn’t order any food, just drinks, I did take a peek at the menu—which is full of sharable, small plates and tacos.
After Tavern, we parted ways to freshen up for our next meal. Dinner that night was at Husk. I’d been to the Charleston location, but was surprised to find that the menu was completely different. Even the dish I ordered at both locations, shrimp and grits, was prepared very differently—the Charleston location had more of a tomato-based sauce, while the Nashville version was a little soupier and served with mushrooms. Dani, Jessie and I also ordered cheddar biscuits and I had a few bites of Mike’s s’more dessert. Similar to the Charleston location, Husk Nashville is housed in a historic mansion in the Rutledge Hill neighborhood.
After dinner we decided to call it a night. It had been a long day of travel…and eating. We left each other with plans to meet bright and early the next morning for breakfast. It turns out, we picked another popular spot, Biscuit Love. Luckily though, the long line moved pretty quickly. The highlights of the meal were the Bonuts, fried biscuit donuts topped with lemon mascarpone and a blueberry compote, and the Chronic Bacon, sweet, thick-cut and spicy. I also ordered eggs, grits and a biscuit, which I washed down with an iced coffee.
Before saying our goodbyes, we had to squeeze in a quick photoshoot, by the Whatliftsyou wings mural by Kelsey Montague. Her wing murals can be found in cities all over the US and these Nashville wings mark her largest work to date.
I was so sad to say goodbye to my sweet mama-to-be friends and our weekend together. I think it was partly because I realized that the next time we would see each other, life would be so different. And also because being with them to share all our pregnancy feels was just so nice, that I wasn’t quite ready for it to end yet. I’d love it if we lived closer and were able to spend more time together over these past eight months, but I’m so thankful we were able to find a few days, no matter how short, to see each other before our babies arrive.
I convinced Mike to make a few more photo-op stops, before getting on the road back to Charlotte. We drove through the 12 South neighborhood and found the “I Believe in Nashville” mural located right next to Reese Witherspoon’s store, Draper James, and among some of the cutest shops and restaurants along 12th Ave. S. Next time I’m in Nashville, I will definitely be heading back to that area to do more exploring.
It’s been an interesting week. After spending two weeks with family in Maryland, New York and New Jersey, last Saturday, my husband and I had the car packed and were ready to head home. We made it just a few miles away from his parent’s house before our check engine light comes on. We’ve had a ton of car issues in the past, so we immediately decided not to risk driving any further and headed back. Once we turned off the car, it wouldn’t start again. I could go on and on about the car problems we’ve faced in the past few years—don’t worry though, I won’t.
So long story short, our trip was extended by five days, we traded in the car that I not-so-affectionately refer to as “the lemon,” bought a new car, and finally started our trip home. (Hence the late post—I just couldn’t get it together, y’all.)
During some downtime this week, I realized I have a few pictures from this past month that I haven’t done anything with, so I thought I’d share my June (in pictures) with you. Here goes…
From Top to Bottom: Food Truck Friday at Sycamore Brewing | Dinner(s) at my favorite salad place, Chopt | Strawberry picking at Hall Family Farm | Baby boy’s tiny collection of clothes | Riggins doesn’t like getting out of bed | Jon McLaughlin concert at The Evening Muse | National Donut Day at Sugar Donuts | Riggins and a blanket…again | My sister and I over-ordered at Sabor Latin Grill | The cutest baby shower cake | Me and my dad at shower #2 | Dunkaroo Cookie Dough from Do in NYC (the baby wanted it) | Haley at Chelsea Market in NYC | Sweet friends, family and my bump at baby shower #3 (this is one lucky baby!) | Rainbow water ice from Ralph’s Italian Ice in NJ (the baby wanted that too) | Dinner date with my hubs at Surf Taco in Belmar, NJ
I could not be happier that it’s finally Friday. AND, it’s not just your average Friday either. It’s the eve of a long, holiday weekend. I’m looking forward to some downtime, celebrating our great country and maybe a little fun in the sun. What are your plans?
Happy 4th of July, Friends! Here’s a red, white, and blue round-up to help you celebrate this patriotic weekend the right way.
Well, full disclosure I just can’t get my act together lately. Between work, some travel to visit family, and growing this tiny human, I’m tired, y’all! While I’m so happy it’s finally Friday and we’ve made it to the weekend, I have to tell you, it’s late on Thursday night, I have to switch positions in my chair every few minutes because I just can’t get comfortable, and I’m typing like a mad woman trying to pull this post together. Without any more complaining (from me) let’s get to it! Here are some things I’m loving this week:
Fruity Froyo Pops
I’ve been asked a few times if I’m having any pregnancy food cravings. And while my eating habits haven’t changed that much, there is one thing I just can’t get enough of—-frozen treats: ice cream, popsicles and smoothies! I’m drooling over these fruity rainbow froyo popsicles I found on How Sweet It is. Don’t they look good?
A White, Grey & Brass Kitchen
There’s nothing I don’t like about these grey kitchen cabinets. Found on Dust Jacket.
Words to Live By:
I had to cancel some work-related travel arrangements today and I knew good and well I had missed the cancelation window. I figured there would probably be a penalty to pay, but the lady I spoke to was really helpful and understanding and to my surprise she waived the fee and canceled the reservation without hesitation. So, I made it a point to let her know how much I appreciated her and her understanding. I’m feeling like right now we could all use a little more kindness and love. Even when I feel crumby, I’m consciously trying to find the good and positive in every situation. It’s really amazing what it does for your outlook and mood. And in turn, it usually helps do the same for others around you. Found on Instagram.
Tips For Home Office Organization
Since my husband and I work from home these days—and our home just happens to be a one bedroom apartment, I’m always looking for ways to keep my work clutter organized and tidy. Glitter Guide’s article on 3 Easy Tips for Reorganizing Your Home Office sounds especially helpful.
Lobster Rolls > Almost Everything
I’m a sucker for a lobster roll. Doesn’t this version, topped with potato chips, from Food & Wine look especially delicious?
Summer Jumpsuits For Every Occasion
A jumpsuit is a great solution when you’re not quite sure what to wear. They’re an easy, one-piece outfit—just add accessories and you’re ready to go. Looking for some jumpsuit inspiration? Look no further, Refinery29 put together a list of the best 17 looks.
A Beautiful Bedroom
I especially love this metal canopy bed and the pillows. You can find this room and more inspiration like this on Decor Pad.
Grilled Avocado Tostadas
This recipe from Not Without Salt looks right up my alley. My husband made grilled fish tacos the other night. They were so good and ever since I’ve been looking for similar grilled recipes to try. I’m definitely adding this one to the list.
I’m so into watermelon right now, I’m dedicating an entire post to that juicy, refreshing and delicious fruit. It all started when my husband brought home Lindy’s Watermelon Italian Ice and now, I just can’t get enough. And, truth be told I don’t think it’s just me—watermelon is everywhere right now. It’s the perfect symbol of summer. So, here are some of my favorite melon finds.
Berry Watermelon Fruit Salad
Doesn’t this look refreshing? Perfect side dish for any summer gathering. Find the recipe from Fork Knife Swoon here.
Here are a few things that helped me get through this week: ice cream, double episodes of the Bachelorette (anyone else watching and want to discuss Chad?), over-the-belly maternity pants, air conditioning, a Thursday night date with my husband, chewy, ultra strength Tums (my pregnancy heartburn is no joke), FaceTiming with my family, and a few lunchtime naps (a perk of working from home).
So, TGIF! And to celebrate my favorite day of the week, I’ve put together some Friday Favorites for you.
Draper James Plates with Southern Sayings
These charming, southern saying plates from Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s line of clothing, accessories and home decor, speak to me. And, don’t even get me started on the gingham—I’ll take one of each!
Frozen, Fruity Treats
I can’t get enough ice cream right now. Seriously, it’s out of control. But, I also know I need to find a healthier substitute and so this frozen fruit inspiration really spoke to me. How refreshing does this frozen watermelon look? You can find the complete list of 8 Easy Frozen Fruit Hacks on Refinery29.
A Little Encouragement for the Ladies
Yes, girl! Just in case you needed a little reminder this week—you’ve got this. Found on Pinterest.
Nike ‘Free Flyknit’ Shoes
Not that I’m doing a ton of working out these days, but I’m always in the market for sneakers—both athletic and casual. I’m especially liking these ‘Free Flyknit’ running shoes from Nike. Shop them here.
Toasted to Perfection
I’m also always looking for new lunch ideas to work into my weekday rotation—especially now, since deli cold cut sandwiches, my typical go-to, aren’t recommended for pregnant ladies. Avocado toast has been a great substitute and I can’t wait to get creative and try these other variations of elevated toast. I came across this delicious looking, toasty inspiration on the @thrivingonplants Instagram account.
A (Baby) Blue Mani
I’ve been thinking lately of stepping outside my manicure comfort zone (which is always a classic red or OPI’s Cajun Shrimp—I swear, 10 times out of 10 I could pick it out in any nail color line-up) and I’m really considering this perfect, light blue shade, Lapiz of Luxury by Essie. Thoughts?
A Summer Reading List
A few weekends ago, I found myself at Barnes & Noble for about two hours. I went down every fiction aisle, reading the summaries on the backs of many books, trying to find something to catch my eye. I left with a few new reads, but I wish I had found this list from Popsugar of “31 Books You Must Put in Your Beach Bag” beforehand.
My hair has not been touched by professional hands in 10 months. Yes, 10 months. It’s way too long, and way too boring. And while I’m still in search of a salon in Charlotte, I’ve been hunting for some hair inspiration for my next cut. I love this look posted on Instagram by @anhcotran.
A Pineapple Ice Tray
Is it just me, or are pineapples everywhere right now? I’m not complaining though—they make me think tropical, summery thoughts, and I like it. I may not be enjoying any fruity, frozen cocktails this summer, but I’m certainly loving these fun, pineapple ice trays. You can find them on Pigment.
Although we moved to Charlotte seven months ago, my husband and I are still finding our way around and exploring new neighborhoods. Last Christmas, my Aunt and Uncle gave us a gift certificate for a Charlotte restaurant tour. And since the weather is nice now, we decided to cash it in last Saturday over the long weekend. FEAST Food Tours offers a variety of Charlotte-area walking food tours. The tours last 3 hours, include about six stops and highlight various cuisines offered in a specific area. We signed up for the Dives to Dining tour in Plaza Midwood.
Our first stop was Pizza Peel, where we met the rest of our tour group and our guides. Kristi Martin, who left her corporate job to start the company, gave a brief introduction and an overall rundown of the afternoon. Most of the group headed to the bar for a selection of local, craft beers. This pregnant lady (me) and my support person (my husband) opted for iced tea. The pizzas were quickly served to the table. We had a variety of slices to choose from—a Thai chicken, supreme, pesto and tomato, and roasted veggie. I tried the pesto and veggie—the toppings were fresh and the crust was crispy, both were very tasty. The restaurant’s menu is packed with unique pizza creations. They even have a secret menu (shhhhhh!) with 20 additional pizzas to chose from.
Up next was The Diamond, a family-run restaurant, offering home cooking, that originally opened in 1945. The restaurant’s owners greeted us to give us the history of the place and the food they serve. It has a great traditional diner feel, without being overly kitschy. I especially loved the vintage wallpaper, light fixtures and jukebox. We sampled Southern Style burgers, which were topped with chili and slaw, fried pickles with ranch dressing and Cheerwine, a cherry flavored soda made in North Carolina. The fried pickles were the highlight for me.
Just down the street, we stopped next at Dish for some southern comfort food. This restaurant was featured on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, so the owner had some great stories to share. We tried the chicken and dumplings and fried green tomatoes served with a delicious horseradish sauce. At this point I was starting to feel full, but we were only half way through the tour. Kristi mentioned that her number one feedback from this tour is that people say it’s a lot of food. But, I appreciated that. You don’t always expect to get such generous servings on a food tour.
Our fourth stop was Fern, Flavors from the Garden, a vegetarian restaurant. I could tell my husband was a little apprehensive about this place—especially when they mentioned we would be sampling a deconstructed, jerk tofu kabob. It was his first (and probably last) experience with tofu. The flavors were great though and I enjoyed it. It certainly makes a difference when tofu is properly marinated and prepared—and Fern certainly has that mastered. The restaurants head chef came out to explain their menu, highlight their weekend brunch, and give some history on how he became a vegetarian.
And just when I needed it, a sweet treat was up next! FuManChu Cupcakes is not your average bakery. The walls are covered with works from local artists and the seating area has a coffee shop feel. It has an edgier feel than your typical cupcake spot. Some of their cupcake flavors are modeled after popular cocktails and contain alcohol. We tried the salted caramel topped with bacon and the strawberry lemonade. The filling and icing were definitely the stars of these treats.
Then it was time for the last stop on the tour. The most upscale spot we stopped at, Bistro La Bon—known for their tapas and small plates. The executive chef, Majid Amoorpour, came to the table to share his inspiration for some of the dishes on the menu. There we tasted a Swedish meatball and a goat cheese stuffed peppadew drizzled with honey balsamic.
Whether you live in Charlotte or are just visiting, I really recommend checking out FEAST Food Tours. It’s a great way to try new restaurants and foods and learn a little history about a neighborhood. Actually, that’s a great travel tip too, if you’re planning a trip to a new city, see if there are local food tour companies in the area. You’ll get to try a broader variety of food—all while being guided by a knowledgeable local.
Ok, friends. I have some exciting news to share today…
I’m pregnant! This August my husband and I will be welcoming a baby boy into the world. I’m actually pretty pregnant…about six and half months. It’s felt strange not talking about it yet on Hello Friday, but since this is my first pregnancy I’ve had a few reservations about sharing the news, or sharing it too early. After all, it’s a lot to process.
I’ll backtrack a little and fill you in on some of the details. We found out just before Christmas last year, so we surprised our immediate families with the news over the holidays. Everyone was really excited, but it was all so new and early, truth be told, it hadn’t really sunk in at that point.
It’s crazy how at the beginning, 40 weeks seems like such a long time, and now it’s all starting to fly by…maybe a little too quickly. I’m really thankful to be going through this experience with some of my best girlfriends—myself and two others are expecting right around the same time. Pregnancy can feel lonely sometimes, like it’s all happening to you, and you’re really the only one who can go through it. So, I’m lucky to have a great support team. I’ve felt more “homesick” over the last 26 weeks than I ever have in my 31 years. The short week I got to spend with my family, a few weeks ago, really made me realize it too. Saying goodbye to them was incredibly hard. All I can say is thank goodness for FaceTime.
Like a lot of women, my first trimester was rough. A few weeks after the New Year, when I was just about 2 months in, the nausea started. I struggled with really bad morning sickness—which ironically never actually happened in the morning. The mornings were usually the easiest part of my day. I couldn’t keep any food down. It was pretty miserable. It’s strange how weeks of repetitive puking (sorry, there’s just no cute way to say it), really takes its toll on your body. I kept thinking, if this was food poisoning, or a stomach bug, or even a hangover, the nausea would last maybe a few days max. But, this was day after day, week after week, with no relief. That went on for five weeks. I lost 20 pounds. I worried nonstop about the baby. I felt bad for my husband—we hadn’t been in Charlotte long, it was winter, and I was truly down for the count. In those weeks, all responsibilities fell on him—and I know I was zero fun to be around. But through it, he continued to be supportive and took care of me. Then miraculously I had two really good weeks and crossed my fingers that the worst was over. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The morning sickness came back again and lasted another few miserable weeks. It’s strange, because at that point you haven’t started showing yet, so I really had to keep in mind why I was feeling so terrible. In those early months it’s hard to connect the symptoms and feelings to the life growing inside you.
It quickly became clear I needed to find a doctor. Since we were still new to the Charlotte-area, we approached the search for a doctor a little differently. We toured the hospital first. Then once we confirmed we liked the hospital, based on the practice that delivers there, picked a doctor. I read reviews, thought I had done all my homework and then wasn’t able to get an appointment for another four weeks; which turned into a longer wait when the doctor had to cancel that appointment. Rather than waiting another month I called the office and begged to be seen by any available obstetrician. I got in that morning and as it turns out, I have a team of doctors available to me. I guess it’s a way to get comfortable with multiple people since you can’t guarantee who will be available to deliver when you actually go into labor.
The doctor prescribed medication for my morning sickness. I had some fear about taking medicine while pregnant, but at that point I must admit I was a little desperate. It worked like a charm, within a few days, I was able to eat and function again. Thank goodness! And since then, I can’t say I’ve necessarily felt 100%, but it’s been worlds better than those first months.
We found out in my second trimester that we’re having a boy. I swear, I already knew though—I had dreams about the baby being a boy and I just had a feeling. We’re really excited about it. And, I now know it’s definitely not a cliché to say regardless if it’s a boy or girl, you really don’t care either way, as long as the baby is healthy. It’s true. I just want him to be healthy and happy.
Pregnancy is a beautiful, crazy, unique, hard, amazing thing. If I’m being honest, there have been a lot of overwhelming moments for me. I’m already an anxious person—add growing a tiny human to the mix and it’s a little bit like the perfect storm. There have been a lot of nights where I wake up at 3am because I have heartburn, my back hurts, or I can’t get comfortable (even wrapped in my ridiculous, over-sized, pregnancy pillow, the Snoogle), and then I start to think a mile a minute and find it almost impossible to fall back asleep. I feel the most overwhelmed in those moments—when I start to panic that Donald Trump could actually become president soon after my son is born. Or, how much I want him to just be a good, kind, honest person, a gentleman who treats people with respect. I worry about all the mistakes I’ll make as a parent. Or, whether I’ll have the patience and resilience to make it all work. I consider how I may never sleep well again after he’s born, so why is it that I can’t sleep now? Or, how the three of us, Mike, me, and the baby will all be sharing a room in our one-bedroom apartment for the first five months. And, I think of all the things we registered for as baby gifts and wonder do tiny babies really need all that stuff, and where is it all going to go? Or, how at some point in his life, he’ll probably hate my guts, which seriously already hurts my heart and makes my eyes water. I know it’s all a little crazy, isn’t it? Can I blame it on the hormones?
I used to think the scariest thing about having a baby would be the delivery. Because, let’s be real, every movie ever makes it look terrifying. But, I think I’ve come to terms with that—I figure women have been giving birth forever, my body knows what it needs to do, and come hell or high water, he has to come out. Right? Plus, I’m guessing at that point I’ll just be ready.
I was going to share some things I’ve learned during my pregnancy, but when I sat down and thought about it, I decided I’m still figuring this out—I’m not sure I’ve learned anything as much as I’ve just tried to get through each day without taking a spoon to a gallon of ice cream, having to put on real pants, or crying in public. (Which, I’ve actually done once, in Target of all places—one of my happy places. Granted, one of my best friends was moving to England that morning and I also couldn’t decide what kind of cake mix to buy. I guess it’s kind of appropriate that I only had cake mix and icing in my cart when it happened. Thank you to the good people of Target in the Stonecrest Shopping Center for not looking at me like I was totally insane.) I think about how this time in my life, these 40 weeks, is the only time that will ever be like this. A time when I can focus solely on this little boy growing inside me. Before starting our family. I’ll never experience pregnancy this way again. If Mike and I are lucky enough to have more children, the next pregnancy will be totally different. So when I think of it that way and the miracle happening inside, it’s easier to put it all into perspective and enjoy and cherish it. Even the weeks I was so sick all seem worth it now. Especially when I get to feel him move, which is so often these days…it’s my absolute favorite.
Since life is quickly changing for me, I can’t be certain what the future looks like…and that includes Hello Friday. I suspect there will be some weeks ahead when my goals of weekly posts just don’t happen. If it comes down to blogging, a shower or a nap, full disclosure, the nap may win. But, I do know that I’m excited to share the rest of this journey with you and see where this adventure in #momlife takes me.