Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Life Lately: 17 Weeks Pregnant

Holy moly, did the Holiday shopping season kick my butt.  Last year at this time I don't think I even had an Etsy shop yet, so this Christmas season was very, very new to me and my jewelry business.   I beaded until my fingers hurt and my back was in spasms, but I got it done!!!  Thank you to everyone who purchased something from me for their Holiday gifts, I so appreciate the support for my business, and I can't wait to see how it grows in the next year!

Lots has happened since I last blogged a month and a half ago.  Most importantly, we announced that we're expecting a baby in May!  T and I couldn't be more thrilled to be pregnant with our first child, and it's even more exciting that I'm just 7 weeks behind my sister April who's pregnant with her second baby.

Here's a little peek at my progress so far.

11 Weeks

On Halloween, we broke the news to our close friends using my costume.  A skeleton top with a little baby skeleton waving in my tummy.

12 Weeks

We finally received the great news and confirmation we were waiting to hear from my doctor, that everything was looking great and progressing normally.

13 Weeks

We waited until the 13 week mark to go public on social media.  There were a few family members that we wanted to wait to tell in person, so we held out until Thanksgiving day to announce.

17 Weeks

I had no problem taking weekly pictures and writing a pregnancy journal post for weeks 8-13, but then things got crazy and I got lazy.  So no updates until week 17, which is where I am now!

I am keeping a weekly pregnancy journal, but for now I've decided to keep that just for me.  There are so many things that I want to record, but don't necessarily think I'd want to share for the whole world to read on here.  (I'll spare you my current cup size...you're welcome) I always have loved to read what other pregnant women are going through, especially when I was newly pregnant and wanted to read everything I could about it.   So here's a little rundown of what I've been doing and how I've been feeling.

Loving- All the fruit I can eat.  And pizza, and ice cream, and McDonalds.  Ew, I know.  I eat like a kindergartener these days.  Veggies just don't taste as good as they used to, but I do make myself have as many servings of vegetables as I can.

Loathing- Not being able to imbibe in any Holiday cocktails.   The no drinking thing has really not been that hard, I just haven't wanted it at all which was surprising to me.  But lately I've been pining for a Holiday cocktail of some sort, especially something with champagne.

Workouts- Workouts during my first trimester were non-existent.  Between the nausea,  constant tiredness, and getting winded so easily it just wasn't happening.  Now that I'm in my second trimester I've really been enjoying prenatal yoga, and have found several Youtube videos that I do throughout the week.

Husband- He's been great.  I think it's really started to hit him more now that I'm actually showing a bit.  I've started to feel a few flutters this week, and I can't wait until I get to the point where he can actually feel the baby kick.  The poor man has had to take over litter box duty, his least favorite chore in the whole world.  He's so dramatic every time he does it.  I just laugh to myself and think, oh, just you wait for a baby with a stomach bug.  A litter box has nothing on that.

Gender- We were able to have the gender determined at our 16 week ultrasound, but T and I both looked away as the sonographer did her thing.  She wrote the gender in a sealed envelope and sent it with us.  We'll open it on Christmas Eve with our families, and I cannot wait.  It's going to be the best Christmas gift ever.

Symptoms- Other than a few weeks of nausea early on, I've been feeling great.  I actually haven't even taken a nap since I've been pregnant.  Around week 10 I started developing some back pain, which has been constant ever since.  Prenatal yoga and a few visits to a chiropractor thankfully have helped tremendously.  It's also a great excuse to get prenatal massages on the reg, which I'm not complaining about one bit.

Maternity Clothes- Maternity pants are a must, and have been since midway through my first trimester.  Although I don't have a huge tummy, I can't stand for things to be tight on my stomach.   So I welcomed that full panel with open arms as soon as I could.  I have a couple of maternity tops, but I'm trying to hold out for as long as I can before buying more.  Just wearing tunics and loose tops most days.

And that's it!  The first 17 weeks have flown by, and I can't believe how close I am to being halfway through this pregnancy.  So far it's been an amazing experience, and I think it will only get better and better from here!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Room Challenge: Week 6 Reveal

It's finally time for the reveal week of the One Room Challenge!  If you haven't heard of the One Room Challenge before, it's a six week challenge where bloggers participate in a room renovation, providing weekly updates for the full six weeks.  I've been hard at work on the final touches for this room, and it's finally ready!

If you're just stopping by, here's a little glimpse of what the room looked like six weeks ago.  Covered from top to bottom with blue and white striped wallpaper and a coordinating border.  If you were in there for too long the stripes would start to give you a headache.

I chose to go more of a masculine route with the room.  Every other room in our house is bright, white, and feminine, so with this one I decided to go a little darker and more manly.  After all 50% of our house's inhabitants are male, so I guess it's only fair.  So without further ado, here's a look at our new guest bathroom.


Wall Color- Valspar color match for Ben Moore's Solitude
Hand Towel Bar- Home Depot
Light Fixture- Similar on Amazon
Faucet- Amazon
Vanity Knobs- Amazon
Switch Plate Cover- Amazon
Bath Towel Bar- Amazon
Shower Bar- Amazon
Shower Curtain- Pottery Barn
Monogrammed Towels- Wheaton & Whaley
DIY Shelving Brackets- Home Depot
Wooden Shelves- 2x8 wood cut and stained with Minwax Early American
Mini Topiary- Little Letter Shop
Apothecary Jars (used for flower vase and cotton balls)- Amazon 
Black and White Print- Minted

You can also see my progress along the way through the links below: 

Week 4- No post

Thursday, November 5, 2015

One Room Challenge- Week 5

It's week FIVE of Calling It Home's One Room Challenge!  In case you're just joining, the One Room Challenge is a link up with other bloggers where we take on a room to re-do in just six weeks.  Weekly updates are provided along the way.

There's no way to sugarcoat it, the week 4 update just didn't happen.  I contemplated bs-ing my way through a post making what little progress I made that week sound like more, but in the end I figured I'd just skip the post all together.  The good news is, we worked our little hineys off this week, and now there's some real progress to share.

The biggest progress: we finally tackled the beast of prepping the walls and painting.  I love the color, too. We went with a Valspar color match for Ben Moore's Solitude.  A very pretty dusty greyish blue. We also installed the shower rod, shower curtain and a few of the new knobs on the vanity.  And there's a little sneak peak at a very manly print that T picked for the space.

The most challenging part of this week was the lighting situation.  I had the bright idea to go ahead and take the existing fixture out so we could paint, and didn't even consider the fact that we'd have zero light in the room after that.  There is a small recessed light over the shower, but the bulb is out and the whole fixture will also need to be replaced.  So we worked in the room several nights after work with a spot light and a floor lamp in the room as makeshift lighting.

I'm really excited about this last week.  I really enjoy all the little details that go together to make a room look complete, and this week I'll finally get to focus on those.  I already have the majority of what we need to complete the space, it's just a matter of getting it installed.

  • Remove Wallpaper, Repair Walls, and Paint Room
  • Replace Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures 
  • Replace Hardware and Faucet
  • Hang Shelving for Storage
  • Clean and Repaint Tile Grout
  • Hang new shower curtain rod
  • Purchase New Towels and monogram
  • Purchase Items for Shelving

 You can see the before and during shots of our bathroom here: 

Week 4- no post, I got lazy

*affiliate links used

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sayonara, Nine to Five

Well, it’s been pretty quiet over here for the last few weeks.  I wish I was one of those bloggers that could consistently post great content, but when my life gets busy my blog always takes a back seat.  So, the reason life has been pretty busy for me lately is that I’m preparing for my last week at work.  It still feels weird to even write that. 

Photo Cred: Will Crooks

Am I leaving my job to be a stay at home wife?  Hell no.  I wish we could afford that, but that’s not even close to being in the cards for us.  I’m leaving my 9-5 to pursue my jewelry business and hopefully grow it into the well-oiled machine that I think it can be. 

A little over a year ago, I started a little jewelry business, making necklaces for friends and family, and over the last 8 months, it’s become much bigger than that.  My jewelry is now sold in stores in five different states, and I’m still continuing to grow.  It’s become more than just a little side business for me, and if I ever want it to grow into something bigger, I have to take the time to devote to it.

Am I scared?  Hell yes.  Terrified.  I’m worried that I’ve left a secure job that I love to pursue a risky business with nothing to fall back on.  Not to mention in an industry that’s already completely over-saturated with businesses that make products very similar to mine.  But, I’ve weighed my options and at this point it’s worth the risk.

T and I heavily rely on my salary to pay our bills.  I’m not the breadwinner, but my income is needed to make things work for us.   Several months ago, I set some goals for myself.  I figured out how many necklaces I’d need to sell per month to still bring in enough money for my end of the bargain.  Three months in a row I almost doubled my goal amount.  That made me realize that ready or not, it was time. 

I put in an 8 week notice at work, the last thing I wanted to do was screw them over.  After all, if people suddenly stop buying necklaces, I may be crawling back to them asking for my job back.  And, I also hope to help them with some freelance work on an as-needed basis in the future.  ( I’m an HR Generalist for a local advertising agency, so they may need occasional admin support that I’d be happy to come in and help with. ) 

So, what are the next steps from here?  Step number one is to just make it through the Holiday season.  This is my first true Holiday season, I was just ramping up this time last year.  I have goals to fully stock my Etsy shop, do a few Instagram flash sales, and attend several Holiday shows around town.  And after the Holidays are over, it’s time to really get down to business.  Setting yearly and monthly goals, finally having organized finances, creating a business plan, and developing a strategy for what I want my business to become. 

I assume we’ll have a few tight months here and there.  We’ll probably be eating PB&Js for dinners some nights.  But that’s nothing that we’re not used to.  T and I lived on very small salaries for a few years after graduation. Our combined income was still less than a lot of my friends’ starting salaries, and we somehow made it work.  We know how to scrimp, we know how to save, and we can do it again if we have to. 

I've always dreamed of being a stay at home mom once we have children, but since we rely on my salary now I know we'd definitely need it once we grow our family.  Being able to run a business from my house would give me the perfect combination of making money for the family while still being able to stay at home with children.  And getting a good head start on this makes it even more possible when I have a while before kiddos enter the picture. 

What does this mean for your blog?  I still plan to continue to blog, I actually hope to have more of a presence on here than I’ve had in years past.  Don’t worry, I won’t just use this as a platform to shill my goods.  I really don’t plan on doing that at all, actually.  I do plan on sharing some small business tips that I’ve learned along the way, as well as continue to share what’s going on in my life.  From a business perspective, I think it’s cool that customers get an inside peek at who I really am, and how that influences my brand.

So that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m so excited for this season of my life, and can’t wait to share the good bad and ugly with you along the way.  Have a great week! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

One Room Challenge- Week 3

Another week has come and gone, and it's time for Week 3 of Calling It Home's One Room Challenge Linkup. If you're just joining in, you can view weeks one and two of my bathroom reno here and here.   I had big plans for this week, but that didn't really happen.  I was hoping to get the walls prepped for paint, and maybe start on the painting too, but we're still hung up on the prepping the walls part.   I love a house project where I can see the immediate transformation, and prepping walls for painting is not that whatsoever.  Patching white walls with white putty is about as boring as it gets, and that's why I've been putting it off for several days.

I did however purchase some new towels for the room which is exciting.  One of my good friends Elizabeth has a custom pillow and embroidery business, so I hit her up for anything I need monogrammed.  She has a great eye for this kind of stuff.  I usually  just tell her what letters I want, and she goes to town.  You can visit Elizabeth's shop here.

I also picked up the paint that we'll be using.  I had Lowes do a paint match with Ben Moore's Solitude, and I can't wait to get it on the walls.  Here's what it looks like.

And I bought this new shower curtain rod as well.  I know, super exciting, right?

Here's what our to do list for the room currently looks like:

  • Remove Wallpaper, Repair Walls, and Paint Room
  • Replace Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures 
  • Replace Hardware and Faucet
  • Hang Shelving for Storage
  • Clean and Repaint Tile Grout
  • Purchase New Towels
  • Purchase Items for Shelving

And that's it for this week!  I hope to have some more interesting updates for next week.

If you missed my previous One Room Challenge posts you can find them here:

One Room Challenge Week 1
One Room Challenge Week 2

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our Weekend- A Double Baby Shower

This weekend I got together with some of my girlfriends to host a double baby shower for my two good friends, Melanie and Sallie.  They're due about one month apart from each other, so we figured it would be fun to host one big shower for the two of them.

We kept it simple, and requested that each guest bring 2 packages of diapers, one for each baby, and we assigned each guest a size so that each couple received a good variety of diapers.  The shower was very laid back, the boys all drank beer and played yard games out back while the girls stood around chatting and rubbing baby bellies.

As a takeaway for each couple, we had everyone to write little notes in this Clemson themed children's book, Hello Tiger.

We served some dips, finger foods, and this tasty fall-themed apple cider punch.  The punch was a huge hit.  It was a non-alcoholic punch so that the guests of honor could indulge, and then we just served it with a bottle of champagne next to it, so anyone could top it off with champagne if they wished.

Apple Cider Punch

1/2 gal Apple Cider
1 qt. White Grape Juice
1 Bottle Sparking Apple Cider
8 oz. Orange Juice
2 Large Apples, Thinly Sliced (I used Gala)
Champagne (optional)

In a large bowl combine first five ingredients.  Serve champagne alongside the punch so guests can top their cups off with a little bubbly.

It was so great to see some of my close girlfriends that I don't get to see very often.  I just cherish every moment when we can all be together.  And I can't wait to meet those two sweet baby girls, they'll be here before we know it!

Hope y'all had a great weekend, too!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

One Room Challenge: Week 2

Week 2 of Calling It Home's One Room Challenge Linkup is here, and somehow I've managed to stay on schedule if not a wee bit ahead of schedule with the progress. The main task for this week was to remove all of the wallpaper, which is DONE! Thankfully the paper came down relatively easily.  We put probably a total of 4 hours of labor in, much less than I initially thought.

To remove the wallpaper, we used a combination of scoring the paper with a Paper Tiger, spraying it with a product called DIF, and scraping it with this scraper tool.  I think the combination of these three products made the process much faster.

I've also started the fun process of buying new things for the space.  I picked up new oiled bronze hardware (paper holder, towel ring, and tank lever) and purchased new knobs and bin pulls for the vanity. We removed the builder grade mirror hanging above the sink, and I plan on replacing it with a round wood mirror.  Originally, I fell in love with this one, but I can't justify spending almost $600 on a one piece. Luckily, I found this mirror through Wayfair this week, and I think it's perfect for the space.

We picked out the shower curtain too, masculine black and cream stripes with just a hint of femininity in the ruffle at the bottom.  

So we're now left with a complete blank slate.  A stark white room.  Here's what it currently looks like.

And here's what is still on our to do list:

  • Remove Wallpaper, Repair Walls, and Paint Room
  • Replace Mirror
  • Replace Light Fixtures 
  • Replace Hardware and Faucet
  • Hang Shelving for Storage
  • Clean and Repaint Tile Grout

This weekend we plan on repairing the damage done to the walls by removing the wallpaper, and hopefully beginning to paint.  Once the room is painted I can begin replacing the hardware on the vanity and purchase the new light fixture and faucet, and that's going to be the fun part. Come back next Thursday to see what progress we've made!

And if you didn't catch Week 1's post you can find it here.

(Affiliate links were used in this post) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Barbacoa Beef Tostadas

I love the ease of a crockpot recipe, but so many of them taste the same to me.  They all just end up tasting like a bland pot roast.  Every once in a while I'll come across a winner, and when I do we usually eat it on repeat.    About a year ago I tried this Barbacoa Beef recipe from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers and T and I both fell in love.  I've tweaked the recipe a bit, and this week we tried it on tostadas and it was a total hit.  Here's the recipe we used:

Barbacoa Beef Tostadas

For the Beef: 

3 lbs beef for stew (the kind that's already cut into cubes at the store)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp oregano
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and toss until the beef is evenly coated.  Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the beef from the liquid with a slotted spoon, and shred with two forks.  Add the shredded beef back in to the liquid.  Let it sit in the liquid for an additional 10 or so minutes.

For the Tostadas:

Packaged tostada shells
1 can of refried beans
Shredded lettuce
Mexican shredded cheese
Sour Cream (optional)

Warm tostada shells in the oven on 375 for a few minutes until they're shiny. This will crisp them back up if they've gone a little stale.   Meanwhile microwave the refried beans until warm and spreadable, about 1 minute.

Spread 1 Tbsp of beans on each tostada.  Top with shredded beef, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Weekend

This weekend we headed up to the mountains for a little getaway with my sister April, her husband, and two of their friends.  Oh, and two of the sweetest toddlers, too. The next best thing to having a mountain house of your own is having friends or family that have a place.  T and I love to go up to their place in Boone, especially this time of the year.  On Saturday, we braved the cold and rainy weather and headed to Sugar Mountain for their Oktoberfest celebration.

Weekend getaways are definitely a little different when you add two toddlers to the mix.  Dinners can be tricky, nap times are sacred, and bedtimes are much earlier.  But T and I didn't mind it one bit.  It was actually just the relaxing weekend we needed.  And any time we get to spend with our niece Camille is so precious. 

We got home yesterday afternoon, and quickly went to work removing wallpaper from our guest bath.  I'm participating in this round of the One Room Challenge, and my goal for this week is to remove all of the wallpaper in our dated bathroom.  Fortunately, the wallpaper wasn't initially put on the walls with a lot of glue, so it hasn't been too miserable to remove it.   A few pieces came off in full sheets.  We got a great head start and hope to finish it up in the next few days.

And that was our weekend!  Hope y'all have a great week.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

One Room Challenge: Week 1

We moved into our house this summer in July, and we've already knocked out several rooms on our to-do list.  One room that I've been neglecting was our hall bathroom.  Mainly because of the daunting task of taking down wallpaper.  I've enjoyed reading other blogger's One Room Challenge posts, and I work really well with a deadline, so I figured this would be a fun little adventure for the next month.

Here she is in her full glory...

Once you look past the wallpaper, there are some really good things about this bathroom.  There's a skylight, so plenty of natural light comes in.  The layout is fine, we won't be moving any plumbing around.  And for the most part, the toilet, shower, and sink are all in great condition.  I'll probably hit the vanity with a new coat of paint, but that's really all it will need.

Here's a look at what all we will want to change in the room:

Remove Wallpaper and Paint Room
Replace Mirror
Replace Light Fixtures 
Replace Hardware and Faucet
Hang Shelving for Storage
Clean and Repaint Tile Grout

As for the style of this room, I'm going for a bit more of a masculine look.  Well, more masculine than the other rooms in our house.  A dusty blue color for the walls, rustic wood, and dark metals.   I love the look of a ticking stripe shower curtain, too. (Weirdly enough, it's kind of an ode to the old wallpaper in there.)  Here's a little peek at my inspiration board for the room.


So there you have it!  I hope to tackle the wallpaper this week, that's definitely the biggest beast, and I can't do anything else until that's down. Wish me luck, and not too many broken fingernails. You can follow along with my progress as well as other bloggers' progress on their rooms by clicking the image below.

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