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Home Sweet Home

zen

Still no baby, yet.  I’ve been quite anxious because I really don’t want to get medically induced (as of now, I’ll be induced on New Year’s Day).  *SIGH*  So, in the meantime, I’ve been nesting like crazy and picking up things to create a zen (or spa)-like environment for the home.  My favorite acquisitions have been Nordstrom’s hydrocotton towels (which are currently 20% off, by the way), Aveda’s eucalyptus oil, and Deneve’s electric diffuser.

In addition to getting home stuff (for the current and new house), I’ve also been doing some cleaning out.  Locked out of my eBay account for several months because I had forgotten my password (and was unable to reset it because all of my phone and address info was out of date), I finally remembered it today.  It just came to me–like magic.  So, I took the opportunity to list a few items for sale.  All of these things are from my stockbroker days (when the job required me to dress to the nines–like they say, “Always Be Closing”).  Needless to say, being pregnant and a soon-to-be-stay-at-home-mom doesn’t and won’t require as snazzy of a uniform.

People are always talking about post-partum depression.  Don’t know about that but I’ve been feeling some “pre-partum” depression (if you can call it that)–meaning, I’ve been getting panic and anxiety attacks and melancholia about the health of the baby and/or the thought of not having D by my side at all times.  And then I’ll break out in tears just feeling incredibly grateful for having D in my life and finally knowing what true love really is (I know, it’s sappy but I’ve always been a sentimental person).  Perhaps it’s the raging hormones inside me but one thing’s for sure–I don’t think I’d make it through this pregnancy if it weren’t for D.

Down to the Wire

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So the baby’s due in exactly one week and I have a feeling he’ll be late.  Reason being there are a set of things that have to happen before (real) labor which haven’t happened, yet (the “bloody show” being one of them).  Plus, there have been decreased movement from him for the past couple days which has me worried.  That plus the impending move (again) has me stressed out.  I’ve been told, time after time, to stay as active as possible (in other words, walk lots) to encourage the baby to arrive on time but it’s easier said than done (with my cankles, swollen balloon-like feet, and fatigue).

Thankfully, all of my holiday shopping is done.  As far as shopping goes, the only things I’ve been getting now have been baby stuff and things for the house.  Our Turkish towels from Bed, Bath, & Beyond have not lasted well and I discovered the other day that Nordstrom’s hydrocotton towels are actually less expensive, softer, and (supposedly) last longer (in terms of fluffiness and shape).  I placed my order for the new towels a couple days ago and will let you all know how they hold up.  So given the fact that Bed, Bath, & Beyond has an amazing return policy (not as great as Nordstrom’s but pretty close), I took the Turkish towels back and exchanged them for other things that we can use in the new house.  Another discovery for the home has been Archipelago scents.  So far, my favorites are Agave Sage, Bamboo Teak, and Verbena Basil.  In addition to the diffusers, the brand also has a great line of candles.

As for the new house, I’ve been tasked with selecting the design, colors, appliances, etc.  Although I enjoy doing it, it’s also a huge undertaking, especially with the baby on the way.  Architectural Digest has been a fantastic resource for interior design and decorating ideas.  More details to come.

Noodle & Boo Vs. Mustela

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I am just about done with gathering all of the baby stuff in preparation of my due date (Christmas Day).  In doing so, I’ve had to compare two lines of baby toiletry lines:  Noodle & Boo and Mustela.  Both lines rinse off well.  Both lines are supposed to be hypoallergenic.  However, both also have very distinct fragrances.

Noodle & Boo smells quite sweet–I would describe the scent as “very sweet almond oil.”  “Sweet” is the operative word here.  Perfect for girls but not so much for boys (in my opinion).  Mustela (although I believe almond oil is one of the ingredients) smells “cleaner” and less fruity/sweet.  So, I’ve decided to stick with Mustela and, so far, my favorites are the Mustela Cleansing Fluid for Newborns and Mustela Baby Lotion.  I like them so much that I’ve started to use them myself (especially the lotion).

Holiday Gift Ideas

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For those of you who plan on taking advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to shop for gifts, here are a few ideas to get you started:

(1)  Aromatherapy–Pregnant or not, many people appreciate a soothing scent.  Great for the office or home, male or female, this gift is perfect for just about anyone.  Ideas include diffusers, candles,  and/or soaps.

(2)  Philanthropic Causes–Donate to a worthy cause in honor or memory of someone important in your life and/or help create awareness of a charity.

(3)  Food–Food has always been my favorite things to receive as gifts.  Whether it’s a hearty batch of soup, a dozen boxed cupcakes, and/or a basket of trail mix, food is a sure crowd pleaser.

(4)  Classic Movies–Know someone who’s a fan of movies from the 80s, 50s, or any other decade?  Amazon has some great deals on DVD sets.

(5)  Activities–Recent studies show that money can buy happiness: it’s better to spend money on experiences instead of things.  Ideas include a cooking class, gym and/or workout class, art class, museum exhibit and/or event, etc.

(6)  Cold Weather Accessories–Many people I know (including myself) tend to lose gloves, ear muffs, and/or scarves every winter so it helps to have an extra set just in case.  Ideas include ear muffs, scarves, gloves, and/or hats.

Thanksgiving Menu

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Hope everyone is geared up for Thanksgiving.  I am just recovering from three weeks of bronchitis and flu (on my last day of antibiotics) and it feels great to be blogging, again.  For those of you who have never tried Breathe Right nose strips, I highly recommend them (you can buy the regular version at any drug and/or grocery store but I’ve only seen the menthol version online).  They might even make great stocking stuffers and/or holiday gifts.

As for Thanksgiving, it will be a quiet one for us (with only a few weeks until the baby arrives).  This year, the menu will be provided by Whole Foods and a local Chinese restaurant:  Peking duck with scallions, Szechuan string beans, chicken corn soup, mashed maple sweet potatoes, mixed fruit platter, and strawberry cream cake.  Short, sweet, simple, and hits the spot.

Trafficked

bloodyhandcuffs
 
Somewhere over the rainbow
Someone will hear my cry of “No”
 
Lured in a parking lot
Before I knew it, my arms tied in a knot
 
Could this be happening?
Head against his car slapping
 
Eyes blindfolded
The terror has unfolded
 
Taken to a cold house
He tore open my blouse
 
Threw me onto the bed
Monster and his friends then fed
 
Once untied
I asked why and cried
 
“Right place at the right time,”
He said, “You’ll earn me a pretty dime”
 
I stared out the window
From this place of hellish limbo
 
And saw a line of men
Foxes to devour a hen
 

McRipOff

FishFilet

Every couple weeks or so I’ll crave McDonald’s–specifically, their Filet O’ Fish Sandwich.  What I’ve noticed for the past couple years is that the price has risen and the sandwich has gotten smaller.  What is now $4.38 (including tax) used to cost less than $3.00.  WTF?

Pregnancy Must-Haves

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It occurred to me last night that I should come up with a list of pregnancy must-haves to help those who might need some (fashion and beauty) tips.  Of course, every pregnancy (and woman) is different so bear in mind that these are things that have helped me through the third trimester (to get the best deals and selection, start shopping as soon as you start trying to get pregnant; but keep all tags/receipts until after you get pregnant):

(1)  Maternity clothes and shoes.  No need to go crazy here–just a few pieces to put into rotation are fine.  Suggestions include a couple pairs of leggings (great for every day and for all seasons), two to three wrap dresses (easy to wear and, again, for all seasons), hosiery (for fall and winter months), cocktail dress (nothing too fancy–just something to wear for more formal occasions [i.e., weddings, holiday parties, etc.]), rain jacket/windbreaker, winter coat (for fall and winter months), nursing tanks/camisoles (again, great for every day and for all seasons), and comfortable shoes (Nordstrom.com has an excellent selection of wide sizes).

(2)  Maternity underwear.  Bras (go without saying) are definite must-haves.  If you don’t want to stretch out your pre-pregnancy underwear, get maternity panties ASAP (you’ll need them before you realize you do).

(3)  New skincare routine.  Since the first trimester, my skin has gone into overdrive in terms of oil-production.  It’s high school all over, again.  Whether your skin  is changing for the better or worse (oilier or drier), it’s time to re-evaluate and change your skincare routine.  Basics include a cleanser fit for your skin type NOW (versus pre-pregnancy), toner, moisturizer (if you need it), and SPF protection.  My favorites include Dr. Weil’s Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Cleanser, Christian Dior’s Toning Lotion with Velvet Peony Extract, La Mer Moisturizing Cream (yes, it’s pricey, but a little goes a long way; there’s something about that sea kelp formula that WORKS), and Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42 (great for all seasons–if you have dry skin, you can use moisturizer underneath).  Also, your nails will likely grow quite fast so keep a good set of nail clippers on hand.

(4)  Prenatal Vitamins.  This one is self-explanatory.  Of course, use per your doctor’s instructions/directions.  Same goes for your diet.

(5)   Aromatherapy.  Have a scent and/or scents on hand to relax you (especially if you’re prone to pregnancy blues, anxiety, and/or depression).  Whether it’s candles, perfume, lotion, soaps, and/or shampoo, it’s nice to have something that smells pleasant around you.  My favorites include Origins Smoothing Souffle (body cream that smells like mint), pine cones, and  Nature’s Own Essence Peppermint Essential Oil.

(6)  The book, What to Expect: The First Year (Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway).  Even if you already have other baby books, this is a great resource that offers some interesting perspectives.

(7)  Simple and/or streamlined makeup routine.  Even though I’m less of a makeup fiend than I was during pre-pregnancy, it still helps to have a set of go-to items for days when I want to glam it up a bit (but not take two hours to get ready).  The three main areas that need coverage are face, eyes, and lips.  Basics include a foundation, mascara or false lashes, and lipstick or gloss.  If you’re blessed with flawless skin, all you need on your face (in place of foundation and/or powder) is a good SPF (and maybe moisturizer).  My favorites include Christian Dior’s Airflash Spray Foundation (pricey but a little goes a long way; wear a shower cap and apply with your fingers to get the most natural look; great if you want an air brushed and I-just-walked-out-of-a-magazine look [with every little effort]), Ardell’s Natural Lashes (Demi Wispies), Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Gel Eyeliner (favorite colors are Caviar, Espresso, and Ivy Shimmer), Estee Lauder’s Automatic Brow Pencil Duo, and Christian Dior’s lipstick and fluid stick (CD’s selection of color is amazing; this stuff glides on and has a subtle shimmer; there’s something for everyone).  If you need makeup brushes, nothing compares to Chanel’s brush line.  Nothing.

(8)  Jewelry and/or accessories.  At a time when you’re feeling nostalgic for your pre-pregnancy clothes (and shoes), I find that there’s nothing that some makeup, nail polish, and/or jewelry can’t fix (and, cake, too–but that’s another topic).  A simple but eye-catching piece of jewelry can do wonders for your outfit (and your mood).  If you’re shopping for jewelry, try to look for something that you would consider passing down to your child and/or children.  This makes wearing (and buying) jewelry all the more meaningful (not to mention fashionable).

Half the Sky

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Half the Sky is a book (and now documentary) by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn that explores the some of the biggest atrocities of our time (sex trafficking, gender violence, etc.).  The documentary is available on Netflix and I highly recommend that everyone watch it (makes it a great Friday night movie).  Violent crimes against women and children have always brought out a visceral reaction within me and the book and the documentary do a good job at not only creating awareness of these issues but also highlighting ways that we can help the situation.

Bottom line:  the book and documentary are a must-read and a must-see!

Baby, It’s Cold Out There

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As a pregnant Jewish woman, I do not feel bad about not fasting for Yom Kippur.  As a matter of fact, I have never fasted for any holiday (primarily due to my being anemic).  But don’t get me wrong–I’m not going to go out and grab a plate of bacon or pork ribs (I don’t  and have never kept kosher but I feel the need to be somewhat observant of the holidays–at least in my own way).  As I’ve said before, I’ve never believed that the path to salvation lied in what we ate.

The weather is finally starting to get nippy.  Thank goodness I got my raincoat/windbreaker and winter coat during the summer.  It sure feels good to have something I can just put on at a moment’s notice with the change in the weather.

Speaking of the change in weather, do you get cravings for certain things in cold weather?  I certainly do–pumpkin pie (Whole Foods has the BEST), hearty soups (Harris Teeter has a pot roast with veggie soup–perfect with rice), and pastas (Bolognese sauce and sausages, please).  D’s office is having a “chili fest” the week after next.  I have to admit that I’ve never made chili.  But I’m sure I can find a recipe online and tweak it.

So, I know I’ve been a bit MIA lately because of all the tech issues and my feeling bummed about my condition (placenta previa).  I’ve been using eLance, which is wonderful for start-up businesses and individuals who have projects but also strict budgets.  Web designers, IT consultants, ghost writers, editors, etc.  It’s quite the resource, actually (just pay close attention to the reviews of those you hire).  I believe in helping freelancers and mom-and-pops (of course, I’m biased) and think that eLance is a good way to go about it.

In other news, I’m in talks with Nordstrom about doing another beauty/fashion event for next month (featuring La Mer and Christian Dior).  On the one hand, I feel fatigued and out of it (due to the fact that I recently started the third trimester of my pregnancy).  But on the other hand, I miss doing events (especially ones that have to do with makeup :)).  Ah, the smell of the cosmetics in a department store…