Lazy Saturday Reading

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Here are a few finds from the interwebs for some lazy Saturday reading…

Have a great weekend!  I’m looking forward to those Memorial Day sales to do some shopping and get out of the house!  There’s a gift card T got me for Mother’s Day to J.Crew that is burning a whole in my pocket about now…

Speaking of, have you entered the giveaway for a $200 J. Crew gift card?  Get to it!  And may the odds be ever in your favor…

J. Crew Gift Card Giveaway!

JCrew Giveaway May 2015

I don’t know about you, but I consider J.Crew (and its counterpart- J.Crew Factory) to be in my top 3 favorite places to shop.  Hands down. Such classic stuff- totally my style!  T got me a gift card there for Mother’s Day and I’m excited to get out of the house to use it and treat myself to a few new pieces!  And right now through May 25th, J.Crew Factory has 50% off everything in store and online– that’s where I’m headed this Memorial Day weekend!

And just for you guys, I’ve teamed up with a few other bloggers to bring you a giveaway for a $200 J.Crew Gift Card!  See below for all the juicy details…

JCrew Giveaway May 2015J. CREW GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $200 J. Crew Gift Card

Co-hosts: Laura Jane Atelier // Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog // Deliciously Savvy //  everychicway // Taffeta & Tulips // The Lush List // The Style Files // Prosecco & Plaid //  Fashiony Fab // God’s Growing Garden // Primp & Proper

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email becky@ohmygoshbeck.com with any questions.)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter daily. Giveaway ends 6/12 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Ombre Nursery Mobile

DIY Ombre Mobile

When I was prepping and decorating Bryce’s baby nursery, I knew I wanted to make my own mobile not only to save money versus buying one, but also so that I would have a custom mobile in the exact colors of his nursery.  I originally pinned this tutorial, but I didn’t have a Cri-cut or a sewing machine, so my mother-in-law helped me out and we improvised on making our own version that doesn’t require any machines or special tools!  Trust me- this is very do-able and affordable if you have the time…otherwise, plenty of folks on Etsy sell these for about $40 a pop.  Would also make for a fantastic baby shower gift if you can stealthily figure out the nursery colors ahead of time!

It’s been a while since this was made (plus I’m a little sleep-deprived at the moment), but I think I captured the supply list accurately and included step-by-step instructions below.  If they don’t make sense or if you have questions, post a comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer it!

DIY Ombre MobileDIY Ombre Nursery Mobile for Baby

What you’ll need:

-8 sheets of chosen scrapbook paper, (I used 4 different colors, so two sheets of each color…you can also use paint swatches from the hardware store if you want to match it exactly to your nursery color scheme!)
-Fish line or clear jewelry string (I used unscented dental floss!)
-8″ embroidery hoop (or larger/smaller depending on your preference)
-Paint & brush (to paint the hoop)
-Glue
-Hook to secure mobile to your ceiling
Optional: 1 inch circle punch (or just use a circular object to trace your circles i.e.- shot glass, baby bottle cap, etc.)

Directions:
1) Paint the embroidery hoop and let it dry completely.

2) Make your circles.  If you don’t have a circle punch (which will save you lots of time), you can trace the circles using anything from a shot glass to a baby bottle cap to a half dollar or quarter. Using various sizes will give it a nice look, or you can make the circles uniform in size.  Cut out the circles and sort by color.  I made about 60-80 per color in various sizes (each strand had anywhere from 3-6 circles on it in each color.)

3) Cut your string to desired length.  Since I hung my mobile from the ceiling, I made mine about 2.5 feet long for the strand section and used unscented dental floss since I was using white in my color scheme (you can always use fish line or clear jewelry string.)  Make sure you allow for an extra couple of feet for securing to the embroidery hoop later as well.

4) Take each circle and match it to one in the similar size and color. Starting a couple feet down the string, sandwich the string between the circles down the middle and secure with a good super glue. Continue doing so until you finish the strand.  I made 12 strands, with 3-6 circles in each color.  Allow to dry.

5) At the top of each completed strand, take the excess string and weave it through the embroidery hoops to secure it.  Space out each strand evenly around the hoop.

6) Pull the strings together above the embroidery hoop and knot them all together a few times at your desired length.

6) Cut off any excess string at the bottom of each strand.

7) Hang the mobile (I used a hook in the ceiling) and placed the knotted string in the hook.

And there you have it!  A custom, DIY ombre mobile for your baby’s nursery!

DIY Ombre Nursery Baby Mobile

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Check out the full nursery tour here.

 

Frozen Old Fashioned Oatmeal Recipe

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Fellow Chicago blogger and momma-to-be Katie posted a link to a recipe lately about how to make frozen oatmeal, and I knew I had to try because 1- oatmeal (particularly old fashioned oats) are excellent for breastfeeding mamas and 2- I don’t have time to make myself breakfast most days with Bryce (let along 40 minutes for oats), so something that is quick & easy is key.  So I tried out the recipe and tweaked it a little bit to add a bit more protein and flavor.  The result?  Awesome-ness.  Best hack ever to change old fashioned oatmeal into instant oatmeal with just a couple minutes in the microwave.

This is an easy recipe to prep on a Sunday and freeze so you have full-fiber, satisfying breakfasts for the entire week!

Frozen Old Fashioned Oats
Frozen Old Fashioned Oatmeal

Adapted from this Popsugar recipe

Servings: This recipe makes enough for seven breakfasts if you use three “oatmeal muffins” per serving.

Ingredients

8 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups steel-cut or old fashioned oats
7 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chocolate PB2
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  • Bring water and salt to a rolling boil. Pour in oats, stir, and reduce heat to simmer, cooking for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, PB2 and vanilla extract. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly grease 21 sections of two 12-cup muffin tins, and pour in the oatmeal.
  • Freeze flat for five hours. Remove pan from the freezer and allow to thaw for a few minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently pop the oatmeal “muffins” out of the pan, seal in a freezer bag, and keep frozen.
  • When you’re ready to eat, place two to three in a bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Add your favorite toppings (think nuts, dried fruit, brown sugar, milk, chocolate chips, etc.) and enjoy!

Frozen Old Fashioned Oats 2Linking up with Peas and Crayons and The Big Mans World.

Bryce’s One Month Update

Week 1-4

Week 1-4
Bryce’s One Month Update!

Height:
at birth: 19 inches
at 4 weeks: 21 inches

Weight:
birth weight: 7 lb 2 oz
at 4 weeks: 8 lb 6 oz

Nicknames:
Chicken Fried Bryce, Bryce-a-roni, Bryce & Beans, Bryce Cream Cone…all food related for some reason :-)

Clothing Size: 
Newborn, some 0-3 months

Milestones:
-Bryce is definitely tracking movement with his eyes and focusing in on toys/stimuli, and is very strong!  He holds up his head and can push off of our chest when we hold him. 

-T and I went for our first date night to see Pitch Perfect 2…I was constantly checking the time to get back home! Also had my first “mom’s night out” at a blogger event– took a lot of coordination with feedings, pumping, etc. but I managed to pull it off!  Lastly, I went grocery shopping on my own with Bryce– it took longer than I expected but I pulled it off!  Nice to get out of the house, too.

-Bryce got his newborn photos taken, and they turned out SO well.  Absolutely precious.

Likes: being swaddled/swayed, snuggled and sung to, eating, going on walks, riding in the car

Dislikes: getting diaper changed, tummy time, baths

Sleep: going between 5-6 hour stretches at night now, which this sleep-deprived Momma is  fan of!

Best Moment: Bryce gaining lots of weight at his checkup- means we are doing something right in terms of feeding!  I also made the decision to exclusively pump, and it’s been such a more enjoyable experience for everyone all around. Such a relief!

Worst Moment: it’s tough when T is at work and I have to set Bryce down after I’ve fed/burped him to pump because he often starts crying and there isn’t much I can do for those 20 minutes or so…it’s agonizing!

Eating: every 3 hours or so during the day, longer stretches at night

Mommy Body Update: I’ve been itching to work up a sweat. And just this week, I started running again!  It was so nice to just listen to my music and just run on my own.  I haven’t had my 6 week post-partum checkup yet, so I’m only doing 1.5 miles at a time so I don’t overdo it.  Feels so good!  Also, I am hungry.  All.the.time.  And that raging sweet tooth gets the best of me sometimes!

Resources: So far, a lot of advice from fellow Mommy friends, coupled with the lactation consultant and pediatrician.  I rented The Happiest Baby on the Block from the library and plan to watch it as it comes highly recommended from the doctor.

Overall:
Slowly adjusting to my “new normal.” Bryce is definitely helping me slow down and be present in the moment.  A productive day for me would involve a couple things now like getting a load of laundry done and showering- that’s it!  And I definitely have mommy brain– I have to write everything down or I will forget! 

When I heard the saying, “the days are long, but the years are short,” I didn’t believe it.  I do now!  I swear I can see him growing before my eyes!

Motherhood is hard– not gonna lie.  It’s exhausting and frustrating at times, but it is so worth it when he smiles at you, grasps your finger or just stares into your eyes.  Makes my heart melt!  We are both learning about each other more and more every day, and I can’t wait to see what each day holds.

Get Fired Up Grilling!

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This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®  Smithfield® and Farmland®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #GetUpandGrill #GetFiredUpGrilling http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

It’s almost summertime, and that means it’s time to get outside and fire up the grill!  For the first time in a couple weeks, T and I took a break from the freezer meals I had prepped and we threw some ribs on the grill for a fun dinner for us to enjoy.

I shopped at Walmart for some delicious Farmland pork ribs and made some super tasty apple BBQ pork ribs that were fall-off-the-bone, finger-lickin’ good.  I found a recipe on Pinterest that I liked, and we tweaked it a little bit for the grill.

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Then I assembled the ingredients…didn’t really take a lot! Just BBQ sauce, green apple, red onion, seasoning, honey and of course the star ingredient: Farmland Extra Tender Pork Back Ribs!

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Then got to prepping:

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Then T threw the packet on the grill (he’s the certified grill master in our family…)

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About half way through, we coated it with some BBQ sauce…

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And after it was done (and we could smell the awesome-ness inside), we opened the packet up…what a beauty!

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We served it with fresh asparagus and rice on the side.  What a delicious meal it was!  Hit the spot for us!

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Visit the Get Fired Up Grilling website www.getfiredupgrilling.com for additional recipes and tips from BBQ Pitmasters Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone and to win a trip to the American Royal BBQ contest and other great grilling prizes!

Do you have a BBQ rib recipe that you swear by?  What do you like to grill? Tell me about it in the comments!

Insta-Lately (May)

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What’s been on my mind (or Instagram feed lately…)

Made these Strawberry Shortcake Smoothies from Iowa Girl Eats for breakfast—so refreshing and tasty!
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The many faces of Bryce-a-roni…seriously, I could just stare at him all day!

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Enjoying some sunrise snuggles while Izzy holds down the fort.  What a great big sister!

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Naked baby.  Because, well, so much cute.

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My first walk solo with Bryce and Izzy.  Went well, and I am glad we practiced before Bryce was born with the stroller.  Still could use more hands, though.  It’s tough!

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Spruced up the office with this wood plank US map from Hobby Lobby…love it!  Next project will be to make a gallery wall on the other side of the office, which is currently empty.  Want a mix of frames, canvas and a few other things like this to round out the wall.  Lots of baby photos, that’s for sure!

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Izzy has been such a great big sister lately, and I haven’t been able to give her as much attention as I had pre-baby.  Luckily, the folks at chewy.com sent over a little care package of treats and a toy, and she was one happy pup!

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Babywearing.  It’s a thing, and let me tell you, it’s awesome to have some free hands!  I have the Baby K’Tan right now, but just snagged an Ergo Baby carrier on Zulily on crazy sale, and I think it might be a little easier to use…

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Linking up with Olives & Wine.

Links & Loves (May)

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Wanted to share some links & loves that have been on my mind lately, plus a super cool baby in sunglasses…

These 10 everyday easy Mom outfits are right up my alley.  In the coming weeks, I know I need to revisit my closet in a major way.  I have lots of dresses, skirts, blazers and more “professional wear” but lack the casual stuff.  I really want to get a solid capsule of casual wear and invest in just a few key pieces.  Perhaps Sarah’s Top 10 Remix Challenge will help me figure out what these pieces should be?  In the meantime, I ordered a few items on sale from J.Crew Factory with a gift card T got me for Mother’s Day and got a few nice pieces that I’m excited to wear!  And I signed up for Wantable’s first ever style collection, which will arrive later this month. Apparently, it’s just like Stitch Fix, so we will see how it compares.  Check it out (including their fitness, makeup, intimates and accessories options here.)

On the nursing front, I found this blog post to be incredibly helpful.  I decided to exclusively pump for a number of reasons, and it really makes things SO much more enjoyable for Bryce and for me.  Seriously, such a relief. (Plus, this contraption is the best thing, ever. Let’s just say my Amazon Prime membership is getting a nice workout these days…)

I finally got some PB2 to use in making lactation cookies, and now I’m on the hunt for more recipes where I can use it.  (I also got the chocolate version.)  Let me know if you have any thoughts!  And if anyone wants to ship these to my doorstep, I wouldn’t complain.  Clearly, I’m all about the protein right now.

Lastly, looking forward to the weekend for a date night out to see Pitch Perfect 2.  I’ve been eagerly anticipating it, and I may or may not have been singing/dancing around to the soundtrack with Bryce-a-roni…

What’s been on your mind lately?

Bump Style: Drape Front Jacket

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*Photos taken at 37-ish weeks.

Shop the look:
Jacket: BB Dakota Lillian Drape Front Jacket c/o Shopbop
Tank: Target [maternity, available in many colors and part of buy one, get one 50% off sale!]
Necklace: old (option, option, option, option)
Shoes: Payless
Pants: Destination Maternity

This is one of the last sets of maternity outfit photos I have…sniff sniff.  I had ordered this drape front jacket with my Shopbop credit and was dying to wear it to work before I adopted a yoga pant and t-shirt uniform for the next few months.  Don’t get me wrong- I kind of like this new dress code, but I really enjoy dressing up and putting together outfits (let alone doing my makeup and blow drying my hair- which haven’t happened for a while now!)

Regardless, I can’t wait to wear the jacket again post baby!  The drape front was really flattering for the bump, but I’m anxious to see how it lays without one.  The gray will pair well with lots of colors…can’t wait to remix the heck out of it!

Linking up with  Mix and Match Fashion | Penniless Socialite & The Tiny Heart | Doused in Pink & Curly Crafty Mom

Surviving the First Month with a Baby

Surviving the First Month with a Baby

Katie recently did a post on her May goals with her baby on the way, and I wanted to adapt these for myself on my goals for surviving the first month with a baby!  So here’s what comes to my sleep-deprived mind at the moment…

I intend to focus on three areas- 1. Things To Look Forward To 2. Baby Care and 3. Self Care. I’m hoping these three things will keep me in the moment and be present over perfect.  I’m a big Type A/busy body personality, and Bryce has really challenged me to stop and slow down and enjoy the present.  Hopefully these goals will help me be mindful of that and help me survive and thrive!

Surviving the First Month with a Baby

Here are my goals surviving the first month with a baby:

Looking Forward To:

  • My first Mother’s Day!
  • Visits with friends that get to meet Bryce for the first time
  • Bryce’s 4 week check-up (hoping he is putting on the pounds, which would mean he’s eating well!)
  • T and I hope to have a monthly date night…and in May, I think it will be us going to see Pitch Perfect 2.  Can’t wait!
  • Venturing out for some time away at a blogger Fash Bash event in a couple weeks!  (There is also a great contest going on now until midnight..check out my Facebook page for details!)

Baby Care:

  • Send out Bryce’s birth announcements
  • Attend a Mom & Tots walk at a local trail with gals from church
  • Attend an event on baby development to learn more about specific milestones to look for
  • Focus on breastfeeding (it’s tough!) and research alternatives if it doesn’t end up working out

Self Care:

  • Taking daily walks with Bryce and Izzy (and squeezing in some squats/lunges/arm exercises when time permits!)
  • Try to stick to healthy eating and snacking
  • Stay off my phone, particularly at night time and between feedings
  • Try to blog for a little “me” time

What are your goals this month?

Palm Breeze Sparkling Alcohol Spritz #VacayEveryDay

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Now that May is officially here, I know summer is right around the corner.  Especially when we have beautiful weekends like this with 70-80 degree highs!  Love it!  I look forward to many more warm days full of family walks, runs on the trails, bags tournaments (or cornhole, depending on where you are from) and backyard BBQs and campfires with cocktails (now that I can finally have them again- woo hoo!)

I don’t know about you, but I am not a beer drinker.  The smell and taste just aren’t appealing to me.  (Although there is one beer out there I can tolerate—it’s a “root beer” beer and doesn’t even taste like beer, which is why I probably liked it!)  Luckily, that leaves more beer for the husband to enjoy.  But what do I like?  Fruity cocktails.  All the way.

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I was intrigued to try a new product: Palm Breeze. It’s a sparkling malt flavored beverage and actually says it is a “flavored beer” on the can.  I was skeptical at first, but the Ruby Red Citrus flavor sounded really appealing to me so I decided to give it a shot. (They also have a Pineapple Mandarin Orange flavor, too.)

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Much to my surprise, it is light and refreshing and not overly sweet. It smells fruity and has a light citrus taste to it.  And no bitter beer-like aftertaste from the malt!  Victory!   It really was quite tasty and reminded me of a fruity club soda cocktail or citrus soda concoction.

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I’m so glad I found a new, tasty drink for the summer to enjoy and share with friends & family!  And it’s a lot easier to prep than a typical cocktail that I would drink.  All I do is crack one open and enjoy- no fuss about it!  (Of course, you can add some other things to it to spice it up a bit, but I loved it on its own!) Next time you are at the grocery store, pick up a six-pack and give it a shot—I think you’ll like it!

PS- Palm Breeze is hosting a Girls’ Night Out where you and your girlfriends can be pampered with free beach style blowouts, tasty hors d’oeuvres and Palm Breeze drinks in San Diego, DC, Austin and Dallas.  If you live in these cities, be sure to check it out!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monthly Outfit Round Up- April 2015

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What a month April has been!  Here are the outfits I blogged about this month….AKA the last month of the bump.  I have a couple last maternity outfit outfits I plan to share with you, but otherwise, this is it!  It went by so fast in retrospect.

Click on the links below to view the full posts.

Monthly Outfit Round up- Maternity- April 2015

Monthly Outfit Round Up:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Which look is your favorite?

Linking up with: Passion for Fashion Rachel the Hat, Friday’s Fab Favorites, Favorite Fashion Friday, Fun Fashion Friday

Perfect Spring Wedge

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Now that I’m officially a mommy, I’ve definitely changed my style to be a bit more functional and practical.  Now, I opt for more flats so I can get around easier, even for spring and summer unless we are talking wedges.  I love a good wedge because they are versatile- they function as a casual shoe and a dressier shoe. They pair with shorts, dresses, and everything in between and really help to elongate the legs. And best yet…they are comfortable and easy to walk in (even when carrying a baby!)

I received these Clemence cork wedge platform sandals in khaki green suede from a company called DUO.  DUO is a British tailored footwear brand for women that love great design and customization. They have a wide array of boots, booties and other shoes available in 21 different calf sizes and 3 different widths and and the brand boasts a lasting quality and innovative personal service.

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I sized up to a 10 Wide and they fit perfectly (although I think my feet are still a little swollen, and I’ve heard that your feet can go up in size after pregnancy.  Crazy, right?!)  Anyways, I love the crossover suede straps—they hold my feet in so I don’t have to worry about lifting my shoe off the ground like I would with a flip flop or similar shoe. There is also extra padding behind the buckle, which is huge because I often get blisters there. And although I haven’t left the house all that much with a now 2 week old to put these to the ultimate test, I have worn them around the house, moving around a LOT, and I must say, they are pretty comfortable- especially when carrying a baby.  That’s the ultimate test, I’d say!  Talk about a perfect spring wedge!

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Can’t wait to wear these beauties more!  I can see them working with with a coral dress or my olive cargo jacket, or even a plain white tee with shorts or jeans.  The possibilities are endless!

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Linking up with  Mix and Match Fashion | Penniless Socialite & The Tiny Heart | Doused in Pink & Curly Crafty Mom

April 2015 Clothing Budget- Maternity/Nursing Edition

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April 2015 Clothing Budget
April 2015 Clothing Budget- Maternity/Nursing Edition:

This month’s clothing purchases were a mix of a things, as my little nugget was born this month.  You’ll see if definitely affected my clothing purchases!  I grouped my spending into three categories: nursing essentials, lounge essentials and casual clothing.  These items will definitely suit my new lifestyle!

Nursing Essentials:
-Nursing cami tank: $20 (exact) Got this in white way back in October and love the material and how it holds things in versus a cotton cami.

-Nursing v-neck nightgown: $20 (exact); got in the black/gray stripe and almond cream color.  I suggest sizing up- the elastic band around the chest can get quite tight and you want to be comfortable when you sleep.

-Nursing v-neck sleep cami:  part of large online order with gift card, registry completion code, Ebates cash back and Target debit card, totaling $35 out of pocket.  Got in teal and gray. (exact)

April budget- nursing essentials
Lounge essentials:
-Aerie cropped foldover yoga pant: $15.86 for all four items below after gift cards (exact); got in navy and light blue

-Aerie sweatshorts (exact, exact)

April budget- lounge essentials
Casual clothing:
-Latika embellished sandals: part of large online order mentioned above, currently $20 (exact); got in black and glitter a size up, as my feet have grown and I am in need of new sandals this spring/summer!

-Black and white side split striped maxi skirt: part of online order, currently $20 (exact)

April clothing budget- casual

=$110.86 for April…not bad!  I know I’ll be getting great use out of all these pieces for the coming weeks (and months) for sure!

In terms of c/o or sponsored items, I also picked up this amazing BB Dakota jacket from Shopbop with my credits, this adorable tee/onesie from Hello Apparel, and these wedge platform sandals from Duo (post coming soon!)

What did you pick up this month?

To view my past clothing budgets, click here.

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy | Because Shana Said So | Tucker Up | Franish

Baby Boy Nursery Reveal

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Hi there!  First off, thank you so much for the sweet comments on little Bryce Nolan’s birth.  It’s been a whirlwind so far and I can’t believe he is a week old already!  It’s been an incredibly rewarding (and challenging!) experience thus far, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Anyways, I had a few minutes in between feedings for Bryce, so I wanted to do a post on his nursery reveal!  This baby boy nursery is one of my favorite places in the house and I love how it turned out. If you have questions/comments on where items are from, please post a comment and I’ll try to answer it.

Enjoy! :-)

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Mirror

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IMG_3567 Oh the Places You’ll Go printable | Letter B: Hobby Lobby | Customizable alphabet name printable

IMG_3568 DIY Ombre Paper Mobile (inspired by this pin, but done a little differently- post coming soon!)

IMG_3566 Crib | Sheets | Crib skirt | Tie dye lumbar pillow | Shark decorative pillow

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Glider & Ottoman: Buy Buy Baby | Red throw blanket | Basket: TJ Maxx

IMG_3564Blocks: BB Blocks | (And the chair is one that has been passed down in my family for six generations!  I have the names of everyone that used it written on the bottom…love this piece!) | Red trash can | Red storage cubes | Pirate/octopus pillow | “Readers are Leaders” printable | Curtains: handmade by my MIL

IMG_3561 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star printable | Letter B: Hobby Lobby | Peggable wire baskets: Home Depot | Dresser: Ikea | Wipeable changing pad cover