Take That Shot – of Turmeric!

The benefits of turmeric juice, turmeric shots, When I started on my accidental hippie journey, I wasn’t anticipating learning about using plants as medicine. Sure, I already knew to drink echinacea tea when I caught a cold, but that was about it. Garlic for acne? Elderberry syrup for immune strength? These were all things that I needed to learn.

I have a love of Indian food that started when I cared for an Indian baby at Children’s Hospital. His mother always brought her own food rather than buying things in the cafeteria. There was a strong, almost overpowering, aroma of curry that seemed to surround her near meal times, but her food looked delicious. And despite her intensely stressful situation, she stayed healthy and her skin positively glowed.

This was when I started learning about turmeric and its many healing properties.

Turmeric has been used as more than just a food flavoring for over 4,000 years. The characteristic orange-yellow coloring has lent this root to be used as a food dye alternative, but turmeric powder (and its most powerful ingredient, curcumin) also carry many health benefits. 

Turmeric is chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that turmeric not only decreases inflammation within the body, but also aids in the body’s natural protective mechanisms to collect and dispose of free radicals.

Basically, turmeric cleans up areas in the body that house cell-disruptors, calms down other areas of chronic inflammation (making it a natural alternative to pain medication when taken regularly), and supports the immune system.

Pinterest is full of turmeric recipes, especially for Golden Milk lattes, a coffee-free beverage loaded with anti-inflammatory turmeric and healthy fats like coconut milk. I’ve also heard of people adding turmeric powder to their morning bulletproof coffee mugs.

As always, how herbs and roots are prepared influences the effectiveness of their use. Some brands of powder add colors to make it brighter. It is best to avoid these brands, especially if using turmeric for the medicinal benefits.

So when I was contacted by The Pulp Story about trying out their turmeric juice shots, I jumped at the chance to try their shots of juiced turmeric. Through juicing, the delicate enzymes are kept whole. This process keeps the curcumin and other beneficial enzymes intact, which makes the juice shots potent.

For the past week, Peter and I have been taking a daily “shot” of turmeric juice. I love the convenience of the individually bottled shots, which means I can throw one in my lunch box for health on-the-go. I’ve been able to try all four flavors, and I can honestly say they are all delicious. I appreciate that some flavors are more mellow, like the “Turmerics of Endearment”(just turmeric and pineapple juice), while some also include ginger juice and cayenne (“Some Like it Spicy’). I haven’t given any to Tristan, but he would probably like the “Cherry Poppins” or “Pomegranates of the Caribbean” flavors since they are the most fruity.

daily health routine, turmeric juice shotsMy morning routine is delicious!

The biggest change I’ve noticed in the past week is a decrease in my sugar cravings. This makes complete sense, considering the anti-inflammatory benefits. I’ve also been sleeping better, which is great since pregnancy-induced insomnia is a very real thing and I don’t have time for that. Not sure if my increased energy is from the antioxidants in the juice or the side effect of actually sleeping, but either way, I appreciate it!

To get started with your own Pulp Story experience (they have cleanses!) check out their website. Your package will be delivered in dry ice, keeping your juice as fresh as possible. Once they arrive, be sure to keep them in the fridge.

Have you ever tried using turmeric medicinally? Let me know in the comments!

 

{Note: I was provided with these products for free. All opinions are my own. Please read my full disclaimer here.} 

How to Eat More Plants

plant-based diet, how to eat more fruits and vegetables

Plant based diets are all the rage recently, and for good reason! Not only does a diet high in fruits and vegetables help with increasing your energy and clearing mental fog, but research is showing that going plant-focused can actually play a huge role in reversing chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Thankfully, some medical professionals are reading the research and taking the time to not only educate themselves but also their patients, like Dr. Jami Dulaney in Florida and Dr. James Loomis in Washington D.C. (but formerly from a hospital I worked for back in St. Louis!). If you can find a doctor like this, hug them and don’t let them go. The last cardiologist I worked for was absolutely astounded that I “could stomach” a lunch of sautéed vegetables with grilled salmon over brown rice as he downed his usual cheeseburger. He ended up needing a cardiac procedure himself. True story, and one of the reasons I’m so passionate about quality patient education now.

“But I don’t like eating vegetables!”

This is the number one complaint I hear when I talk to friends or colleagues about plant-based nutrition. It must be a pretty popular complaint, too, because the food industry is catching on and helping all of us make healthier eating a little easier. Here are my favorite tips for sneaking in more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet:

Switch out your pasta

Not only have pasta manufacturers gotten better with gluten-free pasta options, now they are also coming out with protein pasta options. I bought this brand, Pow! Pasta, and the only ingredients are green lentil flour and quinoa flour. I’ve really missed my pasta since going to a less processed diet, so this allows me to have my hearty comfort foods without the guilt.

If you are going entirely non-processed, “zoodles” (made from spiraled zucchini) or spaghetti squash are also good options. But if you’re looking to “hide” veggies in your diet (especially for picky family members!) plant pasta is definitely your best bet.

Start your day with a smoothie

I love smoothies. I especially love that I can throw basically anything into them and as long as it tastes like bananas, my son will chug them down. For him, it doesn’t matter what color they are (so I can throw in some extra kale or spinach). But for pickier eaters, adding in other things for a more recognizable color (like blueberries or blackberries for purple, strawberries for pink, or a chocolate powder or chocolate protein powder – I like this one) can hide extra produce without causing the unsuspecting eater to revolt.

For myself, I like to add as many fruits and vegetables as I can into my smoothie, as I can drink my salad on the go a lot easier than sitting there munching. I prefer smoothies over juicing as I still get all the benefits of the fiber and pulp, and there’s less prep time since I tend to throw things like strawberries and kale in whole instead of chopping them up first.

Get Saucy

Along the same lines as smoothies, making your own sauces is a great way to hide extra veggies in a dish without compromising the appearance of the meal. Sauces can easily hide all sorts of things. For instance, when making homemade macaroni and cheese (with your sneaky pasta, of course), add or swap in pureed butternut squash to the sauce for extra nutrients. Making your own spaghetti sauce allows you the versatility to add in spinach, roasted peppers, zucchini, and carrots. Blend before serving and no one will know your secret! If your family likes a bit of texture to their sauce, mix in sautéed diced onions and mushrooms after you blend.

What not to do when going plant-based

Don’t buy too much.

If you are cooking for just you, spend some time on Pinterest and find some recipe ideas that sound interesting. Try a few new items/dishes at a time and work them into your rotation before you buy a year’s worth of seitan and find out you actually hate it.

Don’t force-feed the family

If you are transitioning over to a more plant-based diet for more than just you, include your family on this journey instead of forcing them to join you. Start with small changes, like the pasta and pasta sauce, and work out from there. Studies show kids’ taste buds change when exposed regularly to nutritious foods, so give them time to adjust and get excited about the new foods on their own. Give them a few nutritious options, and include their food preferences. If they subsist off of french fries, make them some homemade baked sweet potato fries. If they like mac and cheese, grab yourself some plant pasta (bonus – it has protein in the pasta!) and make a healthier cheese (or squash) sauce.

Don’t forget to meal prep

Meal prepping is honestly how I can eat so healthy. If I didn’t take the time to meal prep, I would constantly eat whatever is easiest/closest/fastest, and end up feeling like the garbage I just ate. I plan an hour or so once a week to prep healthy meals and snacks for the rest of the week. I chop up melon and pineapple, de-bunch grapes, make a big batch of quinoa, roast some veggies, hard boil some eggs, and cook up chicken breasts (Peter likes chicken in his daily salads). Throughout the week, those options are ready to pull out of the fridge, place in a container, and pop into the lunch box.

I also like to get some easy treat options ready, like homemade energy bars or homemade version of larabars.

To increase my fruits and vegetable nutrients intake, I also take my salad bar capsules daily, which provides extra nutrition from 26 plants, and I also enjoy a scoop of my plant-packed protein powder in my smoothies for nutrition from another 24 plants.

Eating healthy is possible, even with picky eaters. You just need to get creative!

How to Save Money When Shopping Online

how to save money, save money online, online shopping

I’ve always loved shopping online. Who doesn’t love getting things in the mail? Now that we live in the middle of nowhere, online shopping has become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Did you know you can’t buy a car seat anywhere in town? I heard a rumor that one store just recently started carrying maternity clothes, but I have yet to see them.

But I digress…

Shopping online can get expensive very quickly. I’ve been using apps to help me earn money back on my purchases and have saved hundreds of dollars in the past few months!

Want to know how I do it?

I never shop straight from the store’s website. 

Always always always shop through a money-saver website. Depending on the store, you will earn a percentage back on your purchases – on everything from hotels to food to toiletry items!

Before making a purchase, first check Dealspotr for any sales or coupon codes to apply to your purchase.

Second, compare the current deals on money-saving websites. I check Swagbucks, Ebates, and iBotta to choose the best deal. Then click to the store through the deals website so the cookies can track your purchase. Join any free store rewards program to earn special deals on pricing for even more savings!

When shopping in-store, save your receipts and submit them to a rebate site like iBotta.

A quick run-down of money-saving websites:

Swagbucks – Earn points to trade in for gift cards. I get most of my Amazon spending money through earning Amazon gift cards on Swagbucks. I then spend those Amazon gift cards through my swagbucks code to earn even more points. Sign up now to earn a free $5 gift card.

Ebates – I used Ebates years ago and just started using them again when I saw how good the deals were! For instance, I shopped through Ebates when I bought my Instant Pot a few weeks ago. Not only did I get $10 back for being a new Ebates customer, I also earned 3% back on my purchase. Combining that with the Kohls discounts and earning Kohls cash saved me mega bucks on my purchase!

iBotta – I’ve used iBotta for years, but they just recently added the ability to shop through them for Amazon, Groupon, and Thrive Market purchases, making them more valuable than ever before! Sign up now for a $10 bonus when you redeem your first rebate.

I’m so thankful to live in the era of online shopping, and even more grateful to be able to save so much money while shopping in my pajamas!

 

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!} 

Recipe: Watermelon Slushie

It’s hot here in the desert, but not hot enough for most houses to have central air conditioning. We bought a portable air conditioner a few weeks ago, which is very effective for the living room during the day. At night, it cools down enough to open up all the windows and let the cool breeze blow through.

I posted this picture on Instagram a bit ago about our new summertime treat – a homemade watermelon slushie!

watermelon slushie, watermelon mocktail, healthy mocktail

This recipe started when I wanted a mocktail and evolved into a slushie during a particularly hot day. It’s delicious, refreshing, and hydrating!

homemade fruit slushie, watermelon slushie, watermelon mocktail


You will need:

Cut-up seedless watermelon (frozen is best for slushy-consistency, fresh for more of a mocktail)

Frozen strawberries

lime juice to taste (I use about 2 tablespoons per serving

1 can lime La Croix sparkling water

collagen hydrolysate powder (optional, but I add it to everything for extra protein and ligament support)

To make:

I put everything except the sparkling water in the blender until combined. Add in sparkling water until you reach your desired consistency.


Tristan loves this combo, and I love the lack of sugar, food dyes, and other additives in most fruity drinks. I also love the extra dose of protein he gets with the collagen.

Enjoy!

Prepping for Baby: A Crunchy Mom’s Guide to a Holistic Pregnancy

One of my friends recently told me that I make pregnancy look easy. It made me smile, because  I truly enjoy being pregnant. It also made me laugh, because clearly, she doesn’t live with me. 🙂

Pregnancy, at least for me, is an extremely beautiful time, filled with many strange experiences I never would have expected. While I’ve thankfully never experienced horrible morning sickness like some of my friends, I have hyper-mobile joints that do not appreciate the arrival of extra doses of relaxin.

I also have a tendency to think I can handle way more responsibilities than I probably should, and so I end up exhausted.

My current routine has been working so well for me the past few months that I had to share with you all. Since starting this routine, I have seen an increase in my energy levels, my productivity, and even the brightness of my skin.

My prenatal must-haves are pretty basic actually:

healthy pregnancy supplements, natural prenatal vitamins, holistic prenatal, juice plus pregnancy, natural pregnancy

  • I start every morning with my salad bar capsules, automatically supplying Baby K and myself with nutrition from 26 non-GMO, vine-ripened fruits and vegetables.
  • 2 capsules of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, since I am not a tea drinker but RRL tea has so many benefits for the last trimester. I’ve been taking this my entire pregnancy. I like this brand personally.
  • 2 capsules chlorella powder for extra greens and antioxidant awesomeness.
  • 1 serving size collagen hydrolysate powder goes in my coffee every morning for extra protein. I started this when I developed SPD in June and noticed a significant improvement in my ligament strength (and a lot less pain!). I have used this brand and this brand. I prefer the second currently only because the packaging allows for all the powder to be used and not leave some caught under a rim.
  • This belly band has changed my pregnancy. I carry very low and entirely in front, like when I was in kindergarten and stuffed a soccer ball under my shirt to pretend I was pregnant. I wear this belly band all day, every day. It gives great support, is practically invisible under clothing, and is very comfortable. I tell everyone about it because it’s made such a huge difference in my comfort level.

Snacks:

Dates are high in iron and fiber, both of which are helpful to have during the last trimester. They have quickly become my favorite snack, along with with raw almonds (for protein and healthy fats!). When I pack my lunches for work or I’m at home, dates and almonds are my go-tos. When I’m out and about, I prefer to have Larabars since they are pre-packaged and super easy to throw into my purse. For drinks, I’ve been alternating between kombucha (I prefer the strong ginger flavor) and the “daily roots” Naked juice, which contains beets (warning, this flavor takes a bit of an adjustment period!). I also like to snack on grapes, apples, or cut up melon throughout the day for extra raw plant power.

I am more aware of my daily water intake this pregnancy, and try to make sure I drink enough water. For some reason, if I start my morning with coffee instead of water, I tend to drink less (of any fluids) throughout the day. I have noticed that I tend to drink more when I start my morning off with a big glass, before I even start my pot of coffee, so that has also made its way into my routine.

So there you have it. My basic baby-growing routine. As usual for me, it’s mostly food-related.

Now that I’m nearing the birth stage, I’ve been adding in more Spinning Babies routines to prepare for labor and birth, but not yet consistently enough for me to consider it “routine.” I’ve also enjoyed this prenatal yoga routine. It’s a bit of a workout for me, but I feel very accomplished at the end.

Any other hippie mamas out there? What are your prenatal routines?

 

 

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

Saving money on essentials: Amazon Prime Day is July 11!

I love having Amazon Prime. We live over 240 miles away from the nearest WalMart. None of the local stores here even carry maternity clothes or car seats. Plus, Peter’s birthday is coming up and I very much enjoyed being able to shop for exactly what I want to give him and getting it delivered to my office instead of the house so he doesn’t sneak a peak at it when I’m not home. 🙂

July 11th is the second annual Amazon Prime Day, where Amazon will slash prices on several items. Many of my friends were able to purchase deeply discounted Instant Pots last year (and many more friends are hoping IPs are part of the sale this year!).

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, don’t worry! You can sign up for a free 30-day trial in time for Prime Day (just be sure to cancel before the 30 days are up if you don’t want to pay for it).

The deals actually will be starting at 9pm ET on July 10 (tomorrow!) so be sure you have your wish list set up. Amazon will alert you when things on your wish list have special deals! Note: Your wish list is different than your cart. Be sure your items are in your wish list!

Here is what I’ll be watching for this year:

Instant Pot DUO80 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 8 Qt 

Six-Position LILLIEbaby 360 Ergonomic Baby and Child Carrier

Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 LX

Epic Automatic Electric Milk Frother and Heater Carafe
Meal planning, baby stuff, and coffee accessories. These have been on my wish list for quite some time, and I’m hoping to be able to bring them home to me soon!

What are your wish list items?

 

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

Settling Into Life, and June/July goals

Happy July!

We have lived in our little house for almost a full month now, and while we are still refining our routine, we seem to have found a natural rhythm. We are all making friends, participating in community activities. Tristan goes to toddler reading time each week and absolutely loves it! Peter goes to the gym in the mornings before I go to work, which allows us to have evenings free as a family. Peter also plays for my facility’s softball league this season, so Monday-Thursday evenings we can typically be found at the field for practices and games.

We have committed to a healthier, more plant-based diet for our family and have found it surprisingly inexpensive and easy to do. Check out our produce-heavy shopping trip this week!

Sunday mornings have become my “prep” days, where I batch-prepare most of what we will eat for the week. I cut up fruit, hard-boil eggs for lunches and snacks, and prepare healthy breakfasts for grab-and-go in the mornings. I also take this time to mentally plan out a rough meal plan for my lunches that I bring to work and our weekly supper menu.

We are officially 29 weeks, and for the most part I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve started dealing with some SPD pain in the past couple weeks, but that has almost completely resolved by being consistent with my prenatal routine (more on that soon!) and using a maternity support belt.

Now, let’s look at my poor, ignored 2017 goals:

2017 Goals Progress:

Personal Goals

Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January This was so beneficial for me. It was much more holistic than I had anticipated and I’ve really been mindful of more aspects of health since this course. I’m drinking more water, processing emotions (something that is very difficult for an ESFP personality type like me since we prefer to be happy all the time, even if that means that we have to ignore issues or just hope they go away). Crystal will be hosting another challenge later in the year; be sure to sign up to be notified for the next round!
Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge. I found a prenatal yoga routine on Youtube that I really enjoy doing, I just haven’t done it consistently. The CouchTo5k might have to move to next year, since with my SPD I’m proud of myself for walking consistently. And I made that goal before I knew I was pregnant.
Quit coffee for the month of January. I felt really good about giving up my coffee, and it was a good experience. I drink it daily again, but it’s because I truly enjoy it, not to avoid headaches.

Family Goals

Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %). We are 69% of the way to our savings goal for 2017!
Take an actual family vacation. We had a wonderful family vacation to Branson, MO before we moved to Nevada!
Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it. We are loving the plant-based lifestyle!

Business Goals

Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. I’m hoping to get started with this again now that we are settling into routine!
Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference. Not started yet.
Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses. Not started yet.
Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog. Done! Now hosting through Siteground, and their customer service is amazing!
Post in CHL at least 2 days/week. This will be happening again soon!
Send at least one newsletter a week This did not happen at all. But I will get on a schedule!
Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week. This also did not happen at all in June with everything transitioning.

 

Hopefully there won’t be too many surprises in July and I can actually get these goals accomplished! It sure would be nice to get to check some things off.

 

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read the full disclosure here.}

Amanda and the Terrible, Horrible, Hilariously Awful Journey to Nevada

If you missed the announcement last month on Instagram, we are currently living in Nevada! We decided to follow my dream of travel nursing and now get to explore the country. Our first assignment is in a tiny town in northern Nevada, and we love it!

But the journey here was a bit of a comedic atrocity.

Since we will be provided furnished apartments wherever we go, we sold all our furniture and downsized significantly. It was difficult going through our belongings (especially kitchen items!) and deciding what to sell and what to keep. Thankfully, everything we posted sold quickly!

On Wednesday, May 31, we loaded up everything that was left and sent our driver off with the Uhaul. Our first two days of the trip were pretty uneventful (we stopped the first night somewhere in the middle-western side of Nebraska, and the second night in Salt Lake City. We were hoping to meet up with some friends who live in SLC, but that didn’t work out (and you’ll see why).

On the way into Salt Lake, we noticed some people on the highway frantically waving to us. We tried to figure out if something was wrong and they were trying to alert us, until we saw their license plate – not only was it Iowa, but the same county! We waved back, and those of us who weren’t driving were able to communicate towns of origin and trade phone numbers. We texted for awhile and ended up Facebook friends. It was hilarious!

And here begins the “terrible awful:”

I woke up in the hotel in Salt Lake around 5am and noticed Tristan was breathing a bit heavily in his sleep. Poor little guy had a stuffed up nose and a fever. I gave him some water and went back to sleep snuggling him. I woke up just as he threw up on me. So into a tepid bath he went and I got cleaned up. Since we only had a shower stall in Grinnell, he had never had a bath before. He loved it and it perked him right up!

At breakfast, he turned around on my lap to give me a hug and smeared banana and yogurt all over my last clean shirt, so I had to wear one of Peter’s t-shirts.

We stopped somewhere in Wyoming to use the rest stop. I went in and the bathroom looked like it hadn’t been updated in about 40 years. One stall was occupied, one stall was just nasty, one stall was missing a door, and the handicapped stall didn’t lock. I laughed, because what else would be inconvenient today? Little did I know.

The rest of our trip in was pretty uneventful. We very much enjoyed driving into the mountains once we hit Nevada. It was basically a two-lane highway heading straight between two huge mountain ranges. No power lines or street lights to be seen, just nature. It was wild, untamed, and gorgeous.

We arrived to our pre-arranged accommodations at a camp ground shortly after 2pm. We had been told by the agency I work for that we were booked into a single-wide trailer for 3 weeks until a 2-bedroom house became available. Well…

The trailer was literally 20’x10′. The door was so narrow that we could barely fit through. My pregnant belly didn’t fit in the bathroom, and Peter could only just stand up in the shower because there was a skylight dome (that was covered in bugs). I think the campground heard the agency say that we needed someplace for 3 people and thought to themselves “this trailer can sleep up to 5,” not “3 people will actually live in this for 3 weeks.”

After a frantic phone call to the agency “yeah…this is absolutely not going to work” they put us up in a motel for the weekend and promised to find something for us the following week. “But this place has a microwave and a fridge in the room so you don’t have to eat out all weekend!”

Turns out, some of the rooms have a microwave and fridge. Not ours. And the parking lot was too tiny for us to bring the Uhaul back. And all of our clothes were, of course, packed towards the back of the truck.

So there we were, out of clean laundry, out of food, in this tiny town (you guys, Walmart is 240 miles away!). We went to the local store and had to each buy a few new outfits. They didn’t have maternity clothes, so I had to buy a few pairs of pants for work that are several sizes larger than my usual size, just to fit around the belly.

The motel managers moved us to a room with a fridge and a microwave, and the microwave shorted out in the middle of heating up our first round of food. I laughed so hard I fell over and cried. What ELSE was I supposed to do?? The manager replaced the microwave and we were finally able to “cook” our own food for the first time in 4 days.

Monday June 5th was my first day at the new job, and I was so happy to find out that my boss had connections with a local landlord. She explained the situation to him and he said he had a house available that we could move into the next day.

So, we have now been in the house for over a week, it’s fully furnished (with a brand new couch and brand new mattress!), and things have finally settled down. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated simple scrambled eggs or homemade coffee so much in my life.

We spent last weekend going through everything we packed and downsized by 10 boxes. Since the travel nurse life will have us moving every 3-4 months, we wanted to make sure that things are much easier next time. We will be getting a hitch attached to the back of the SUV so we can pull a trailer instead of renting a van and a driver. We will be packing more efficiently, and bring a lot more clothes, just in case!

Throughout everything, I have to say that Tristan has been the absolute best traveler. He adapted so quickly to every situation, and even though he had a fever, he found a way to be content and reasons to smile. His only concern was that he was with Mommy and Daddy and that’s all that mattered. His vocabulary has exploded since the move and he’s averaging 2-5 new words each day. He inspires me daily to find things to be joyful about and teaches me how to approach challenges with confidence.

Oh, and I love my first assignment. The people are so nice and the facility is wonderful (and the view from the front porch isn’t bad, either!)

My completely honest review of Lularoe

I love being a blogger. I get to try all sorts of things and report to you if they are worth your time and money. This time, thanks to a college friend, I get to report on clothes!

I’ve heard of Lularoe for a year or so, but never purchased anything. I have always heard amazing things about their leggings, but I don’t wear leggings as pants so I was never really interested.

I changed my mind once I looked at the catalog and saw all the tunics available. My style is typically a tunic with skinny jeans and ballet flats. So when Melanie asked me to review a baby-bump-friendly tunic and dress, of course I said yes!

I chose a red and blue striped Irma tunic in medium, and an orange striped Carly dress in X-small. I definitely could have ordered the Irma in a small and been totally comfortable. If I get any future Irmas, I will get the small. Even with a baby belly, I would have enough room (for reference, I’m usually a size 4 when not pregnant).

Because I am no stylist, I consulted Pinterest for ways to style my tunic. I chose to pull it in a bit by adding a button and wrapping string around it (you can also use a small hair tie). Belting is also an option. If I were more stylish, I would have such a belt.

Pregnancy update: We are 16 weeks along! I’ve been feeling little movements since about halfway through week 9, and definitely stronger now! Last week my coworkers started to comment that I look pregnant now. I think I’m a pretty good size for being 4 months, personally.

Review: I LOVE these pieces! I was skeptical of the Lularoe signature “buttery softness” that I heard about. Honestly, I thought it was a selling technique; a catch-phrase. Ya’ll, I was wrong. These are so soft, I feel like I’m wearing pajamas but I’m actually dressed for the day! I wear them to work and love that they are professional enough for work and comfortable enough for my growing belly. I also appreciate that these clothes are modest with decent necklines and longer hemlines. It’s unfortunately very difficult to find maternity clothes that are both stylish and modest.

And what is a maternity shoot without a couple family pics?? We had a great afternoon with our photographer/barista friend, Emma Lang! Emma was one of the first people we got to know in this town (at the coffee shop, of course) and she’s absolutely wonderful. Warm, genuine, and expressive, she’s a great friend and made the afternoon so much fun. Her art, Wild Iowa, decorates our home in the form of drawings and Christmas ornaments. She has all sorts of nature-inspired pieces. You can follow her instagram here.

Here is my favorite picture from the entire day! 

 

I survived! (aka, February recap)

2017, goals, goal progress, checklist

It’s embarrassing that I haven’t posted here in almost a month. In complete honestly, I have been avoiding posting anything for about two weeks now, just because I’ve been embarrassed about my lack of blogging.

I make sense.

Here’s a recap of our February, followed by a goals progress report.

I’ve been working an average of about 50 hours/week at my job. Between that, family time, and this whole growing-a-human thing, I’ve been wiped out. Exhausted. And definitely not ready to wake up at 6:30am to work on blogs.

In February I was given inspiration from a friend to start a new blog based on my love of Harry Potter, blogging, and wanting to create good things but not being the best at it on my own. It needs a lot more building work, but I’m hoping to have it live this summer.

We bought our car! In February we paid cash for a new-to-us Ford Escape with less than 100,000 miles, leather interior, a moonroof, and a fancy-schmancy stereo that has so many buttons I still haven’t figured out how to change the time. Tristan is still so excited about it that every time we open the garage, he points to it, lets out a happy yell, and claps excitedly. I’m thrilled that we were able to get a vehicle that is better for our family within our budget. It was a huge encouragement for us to meet that goal so quickly!

2017 Goals Progress:
Personal Goals
  • Complete the 15 Days to a Healthier You challenge in January This was so beneficial for me. It was much more holistic than I had anticipated and I’ve really been mindful of more aspects of health since this course. I’m drinking more water, processing emotions (something that is very difficult for an ESFP personality type like me since we prefer to be happy all the time, even if that means that we have to ignore issues or just hope they go away). Crystal will be hosting another challenge later in the year; be sure to sign up to be notified for the next round!
  • Complete 2 yoga challenges and 1 CouchTo5k challenge. Yeah, no. I didn’t make any sort of progress on this in February. 
  • Quit coffee for the month of January. I did it! I can’t tell if I have any more energy than usual, but coffee is back to being a treat that I choose to enjoy rather than need to survive. It’s more fun to have coffee with Peter on the weekends now that I’m not depending on it to wake up.
Family Goals
  • Save a certain amount (I will update you all on our progress by %). We are 42.5% of the way to our savings goal for 2017. 
  • Take an actual family vacation. We scheduled our vacation for May!
  • Find a meal plan system that works for us and stick with it. This comes and goes depending on our daily schedule and the severity of my pregnancy aversion to whatever is in the refrigerator. Hoping this improves with the second trimester!
  • Grow a garden. I’m actually going to delete this after this month, because we decided to not grow a garden. Between the timing of the baby coming and work and running two blogs and wanting to actually have some time to explore and create and just be a family, we opted instead to continue purchasing from Aldi each week and shopping at the local farmer’s market when it opens.
Business Goals
  • Get my blogging/writing done early before my family wakes up. This has been nonexistent in February due to my increased need for sleep in the last month of the first trimester. 
  • Complete 2 Pinterest improvement challenges. Keep track of numbers before and after to see if it’s making any difference. Not started yet. 
  • Stick to an organizing system for income and expenses. Not started yet. 
  • Transition to a different hosting platform for the blog. Done! Now hosting through Siteground, and their customer service is amazing!
  • Post in CHL at least 2 days/week. Again, nonexistent in February. 
  • Send at least one newsletter a week (be sure to subscribe! I share what I’m learning, what kinds of fun things we discovered, and good deals if I find them). This did not happen at all. 
  • Submit at least one freelance/guest blog post every week. This also did not happen at all in February. 

Well, we survived February…and already most of March. I’m looking forward to actually crossing more goals off our list in the March recap!

 

 

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