Current Crushes

current crushes

I recently hit the Sephora VIB sale and spent entirely too much money.  And really, I could have easily doubled what I spent — that store is like the adult-equivalent of letting a seven-year-old run rampant through The Sweet Factory for me.  (You can try EVERYTHING!  And you have your own money to BUY IT ALL!)

And let’s not even talk about the impulse purchase section by the checkout.  Um, of course I need everything I just bought in travel-size.  Even if each item is like 1oz and $19.

Clearly, I am the obvious target-consumer for Sephora’s marketing campaigns.

Anyhoo, here’s some of the stuff I bought and some of the things I’m currently loving (makeup and otherwise):

1. Blush: I’m obsessed with blush.  Sometime during college I owned up to the fact that I have SPF-100 skin and realized that a healthy-looking flush was necessary to make it look like I wasn’t about to let-loose my fangs and bite someone’s neck.  I’ve tried a lot of different blushes over the years and have finally found my absolute favorite blush brand: Tarte.  Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush is like a freaking feat of nature.  Somehow it gives you the perfect amount of color and stays all day long (those of you who wear blush can back me on the fact that finding a blush with staying power is near-impossible).  I have two colors — I use Blissful (a light, bright peachy-pink) during the spring and summer months and Memorable (a limited-edition darker rosy-pink I got last year) during the fall and winter.  I also got the NARS cheek palette at the Sephora sale — I like it ok so far, but I’m still kind of figuring out the colors.

2. Shimmer Powder: I also purchased Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in luminous light at the Sephora sale.  I’m still kind of on the fence about whether this is worth the purchase price (not cheap!), but I wanted something for the holidays to boost my makeup look (and let’s face it — I grew up in the 90′s, so I pretty much would love to cover my entire face in glitter and call it a day).  I love the idea of a subtle sheen for candlelit date nights and the upcoming holiday parties, so I’m hoping that this powder is just the thing for that.  (I had purchased the Diffused Light version a long time ago, and while I find the color it a little chalky for all-over coverage, I like it as a light powder highlighter — if that makes any sense.)

3. Free Gift: Those of you who regularly shop at Sephora know that they have those 100 and 500-point gifts you can redeem at the counter with your beauty points.  I have amassed some ungodly amount of points, but never seem to find anything I want to redeem when I’m shopping there.  This time they had the Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm in Strawberry as one of the options, which I decided the try out (despite the fact that I absolutely hate the name “Chubby Stick” — seriously, who are their branding people?)  I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it out — it feels like chapstick (my go-to lip coverage on most days), but gives you just the slightest hint of color.  And awesome perk — it’s so sheer that you can actually put it on without a mirror, without worrying that it will look like some makeup-hungry 6-year-old got their hands on you.  Perfect for everyday wear — I’ve been throwing it into my purse and work bag and wearing it just about daily.  (Another good option which is a little cheaper is the Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain sticks.  They aren’t quite as sheer as the Clinique sticks, but over chapstick they have pretty much the same effect — I’m wearing Romantic in the photo above.)

4. Accessories: Since I’m pregnant, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on buying a ton of new clothes which are only going to fit me for only a limited period of my life.  So rather than giving into my “OMG I have nothing to wearrrr” complaints, I have been investing in a few accessory pieces instead (since those always fit!  Am I right?)  I got a new statement necklace at Banana Republic recently (so fun for the holidays!) as well as the gold and leather necklace in the photo above (and let’s just ignore my hair up there, ok?  I kind of don’t believe in brushing it anymore.  Lucky KC.) — the necklace isn’t on the website for some reason, which is probably why it was on super sale when I bought it.  I’ve got my eye on these earrings as well — I guess we’ll see if I get into the store while they’re still available!  I also snagged a new pair of booties on super sale at Nordstrom Rack recently (I got the gray leather).  They’re surprisingly comfy despite the fact that they have a bit of a heel (I have the knee and back of a 150-year-old, so I generally opt for flats), and make me feel like I look at least a little bit stylish, even with my baby bump, which these days mostly just makes me look like I’ve been hitting the Halloween candy HARD.

5. Currently Coveting: I’ve been going back and forth over whether or not to purchase a new lipstick — specifically MAC Sin.  I love the look of a deep, dark lip color on some other ladies, but will I look like I’m some sort of goth?  Or like I totally just fell out of 1996?  (Remember the brown lipstick everyone wore with their super-light, powdery makeup back then?  I was obsessed but too young to try it out.)  Maybe I’ll pull the ultimate cheap move and order it from Nordstrom, since their return policy is crazy-amazing.  (Um yeah, I’ve totally returned lipstick there before…)  Oh yeah, and since the world apparently decided that diaper bags should be the ugliest looking accessory ever, I think this tote in chestnut might be just the thing to haul kid-gear for quick outings when le bébé arrives.  (Dear Diaper Bag Designers:  No.  Just no.)

I was going to add in what I’ve currently been using on my skin (both with and without makeup), but I think I’ll save that for another post, cuz it’s kind of long.  (And are you even interested?  I mean, I realize I kinda just post whatever on here and don’t worry too much about who actually reads it, but y’know…)

Hope you’re having a good week so far!  And feel free to post comments if you have any questions. :)

Little Letters

dr. snap

Dear Dr. Snap:  You are the most hilariously named soda.  (KC and I like to make endless jokes about “Paging Dr. Snap to the burn ward” whenever someone gets insulted.)

Dear The Fault In Our Stars:  Remember how I watched you with KC, and even though I read the book and totally knew what was coming, I still full-on sobbed for 20 minutes after the movie ended?  Um yeah.  Pregnant.

Dear Hormones:  I can tell that you are crazy because I am the most sensitive EVER.  (I literally cry at Christmas commercials, Disney commercials, and any video where animals are being nice to each other.  I can’t even deal.)

Dear KC:  It might be a long 9 months.

Dear Morning Sickness:  I hope you’re just taking one final victory lap before you get the hell out of here for good.  Ugh.

Dear Starbucks:  The Christmas decor is up!  I’m gonna buy so much Decaf Christmas Blend…

Dear Thanksgiving:  I’m so excited for your arrival.  And not just because it marks the official start of the Christmas season (when I get to badger KC with endless amounts of holiday music and cheer).

Dear Baby:  There’s a decent chance we might find out what flavor you are the week of Christmas…  I can’t even think about it.

Dear Belly:  You sure feel a lot bigger than you look these days.

Dear Friends and Blog Readers:  Thanks for all your nice words and support this week — you guys are the best!

Love, Chelsea

First Trimester Favorites

Despite the fact that my pregnancy wasn’t a “surprise,” I’d say it was still surprising.  First off, I found out I was pregnant at a pretty unconventional time — at barely 3 1/2 weeks along (when it can’t yet be detected by a home pregnancy test).

I wasn’t planning on finding out early.  While some people fret and fester over each potential “pregnancy sign,” I was more the “wait it out” type — figuring I’d know one way or another when that time of the month rolled around.  However, I threw my neck out a few months ago — what started as a (literal) pain in the neck, escalated overnight one night so that I woke up in searing pain unable to move.  KC was sweet enough to zip around the house during this wee hour of the morning, grabbing anything that might help my poor paralyzed self, and then stayed home the next day to take me to the doctor (since I couldn’t drive, given that I couldn’t move my head!)  We went to the doctor, who promptly prescribed some of the “good pills” and recommended an injection as well to help with the spasming.  I told her that we’d been trying to get pregnant — and while I was pretty sure I wasn’t, it was in between the time when I would have conceived and when I’d ultimately find out if there was a bun in the oven.

My doctor quickly said that all the fun was off the table if I was pregnant (no pills, no injection), so she ordered a blood test to see if they could detect the pregnancy hormone (though she said it was likely too early to tell, even with a blood test).  I did the blood test in the morning, then returned home with KC and promptly heard nothing.  Feeling confident that I was not pregnant, that evening I whipped up some potstickers for KC and I, and opened a bottle of IPA (because if you can’t take pills, self-medication is the next best thing, yes?)  I got 2 sips into my beer when the phone rang — my doctor, saying “Yep, it looks like you’re pregnant!”  My surprise must have been visible, because KC just reached across the couch, grabbed my beer and said, “I guess I’ll be finishing this.”

Ah, life.

And on to my next point — though we had been “planning” to get pregnant, I was still wholly unprepared for how quickly things (can) change once you’re pregnant.  I say *can* change, because I’m sure that there’s plenty of people who zip through their first trimester with nary an uncomfortable moment; however, that was not the case for me.

Sleeping became uncomfortable pretty quickly.  I’m a stomach sleeper, so learning to sleep on my side has been, well, challenging.  I’d wake up multiple times every night with my arm asleep or my shoulder aching.  About 8 weeks in I finally gave in and ordered a pregnancy pillow from Bump Nest.  While they’re not cheap, let me tell you that that sucker has been worth every penny so far.

Even Penny is a fan (that little beast sneaks right into the crook of the top every morning after I get up):

penny pillow 1penny pillow 2

Also, not pregnancy-specific, but I love the Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick.  My skin freaked out about halfway through the first trimester (it was like being in middle school all over again.  Joy.) and the blemish stick was a total lifesaver.  A lot of medicated lotions and creams are off-limits when you’ve got a babe on the way (no retinoids, salicylic acid, etc.), so the blemish stick is a nice alternative since it’s made from all natural oils.  I also bought a couple of the Burt’s Bees Mama Bee products — the belly butter and the nourishing body oil.  The body oil has a pretty strong citrus scent (it actually smells a little citronella-y to me).  I don’t mind the smell, but given that your sense of smell is in overdrive while you’re pregnant, it’s something to note.

Another solid purchase during the first trimester was the Ingrid and Isabel Bellaband.  While it’s a little pricier than some of the knock-off belly bands you can get at Target or Old Navy, it’s infinitely more comfortable and does a way better job keeping your pants up when they’re not buttoned.  (Ah, the glamor of pregnancy…)

I’m still fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but found that a lot of my shirts were a little too short (I needed something longer to cover up the fact that I was buttoning my jeans with a hairband before my belly band arrived.  Classy.)  I went on a little shopping spree and found a bunch of cute stuff at Banana Republic.  My current favorites for in and out of the office are: this tee in black (so soft!), this blouse (which is totally cute with a statement necklace), this top in black (which can easily go from office to cocktails… er, mocktails I guess… wah wah), and this sweater in cocoon (I’m totally obsessed with the drop-hem on the shoulders).

Things that were not such wins for the first trimester were unfortunately any and all cures for morning sickness.  I did TONS of research on morning sickness and tried a bunch of tips of and tricks — small meals, crackers on the nightstand, vitamin B6, preggie pop drops, ginger everything, bland food…  And sadly, all were a total bust.  The nausea I had was pretty brutal (24/7 starting day one of week five) and quickly descended into throwing up multiple times a day (which, as you can imagine, makes it a little harder to “hide” a pregnancy at work — people either totally know you’re pregnant and suffering from morning sickness, or they think you’re drunk all the time.  Uh, not ideal.)  The good news is that the morning sickness stopped being all-day/everyday sometime during week 10 and has stayed on-and-off since then.  All I can say about morning sickness is: if you’ve got it, I’m so sorry (it’s miserable!)  And if you don’t: you are one lucky lady.

So anyway, that’s my own personal, non-expert advice for things that worked for me during the first trimester.  If you’re newly pregnant or thinking about becoming a mama, hopefully this is a little helpful!

“Are You Pregnant?”

baby

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been asked that in the past few years.  Hundreds of times, at least.  And while I am now pregnant, the 30 years and 4 months which preceded this pregnancy — I was not.

I’m fully aware of the fact that KC and I have been together for a “long time,” given our ages.  And that we’ve been married now for close to 3 years (which, according to the outside world, is apparently an eternity to not get knocked up).  However, even given these circumstances, it still shouldn’t give people the right to basically ask, “So, what’s going on in your uterus right now?”

Because the world seems to have this fascination with calling out someone’s pregnancy first, “spotting a bump,” or somehow being the very first to know when someone conceives, you might be wondering, “Why shouldn’t I ask someone if they’re pregnant?”  Well, first, if you’re not pregnant — saying, “No, I’m not pregnant” opens the door to all other sorts of questions:  “Don’t you want to have kids?”  “Are you guys planning on having kids?”  “Are you going to have them soon?”  “Are you trying?”

Ignoring the fact that one of those questions is literally asking whether someone is getting down with their spouse on the regular without a goalie, these are all wayyyy too personal to ask someone, unless they want to volunteer the information to you.  There are all sorts of reasons that a person might *not* be pregnant:

- They just aren’t.  They’ve got other stuff going on and they’re not ready for children.  Maybe they’re trying to work through something sticky in their life or their marriage and don’t have the emotional space to deal with pregnancy.  Maybe they are ready for kids but their spouse isn’t.  There’s a hundred-plus reasons that someone might not be pregnant.  You just never know.

- They don’t want to be — they’re not interested in having kids.  Contrary to popular belief, you can actually have an amazing and fulfilling life without kids.  They’re not for everyone, so don’t assume that because you want children, everyone else must want them too.

- They’re actively trying, but haven’t gotten pregnant yet.  From personal experience, this can be a really tricky time for people, as getting pregnant is not always as easy as high school health class would have you believe.  When it seems like everyone else gets pregnant at the drop of a hat, if it doesn’t happen that way for you, it can be a little tough and emotional at times.

- They want to be, but are having trouble conceiving.  This is another extremely touchy subject.  I’ve had a few friends who have had difficulty conceiving, and it’s an extremely challenging and emotional process.  I think a lot of women grow up with the idea that getting pregnant is just something that is “supposed” to happen, and that it should be something that they can do with little difficulty.  Finding out that it’s not so simple can be devastating — and likely, not something you want to discuss with everyone.

- They recently were pregnant but had a miscarriage.  Yeah, and then don’t you feel like an asshole for dredging up those feelings?  Miscarriages are extremely common (I guarantee you know multiple people who have had one, even if you’re not aware of it), and everyone deals with pregnancy loss in their own way.  Some people are very open and are willing to talk about it, but a lot of people suffer the loss in private and prefer to keep it that way.  So having someone asking them, “Are you pregnant?” after that’s happened?  Not cool.

Then, the flipside.  You are pregnant, and someone has just asked you, “Are you pregnant?”  Well, if you’re at the point in your pregnancy when you’re telling people you’re pregnant — great!  Problem solved.  But, if you’re still at an early point in your pregnancy where you’re not ready to share it with the world, this is extremely uncomfortable.  To illustrate this point a little better, here’s my experience:

The first trimester of pregnancy I felt like complete crap pretty much 24/7 starting day one of week 5.  I was nauseous, exhausted, and puking on a way-more-than-regular basis.  Though everyone talks about this “pregnancy glow,” I felt about as far from glowing as you can get.  Not to mention that it felt like I had the words “I’M PREGNANT” tattooed to my forehead and all I could see was how my body seemed to be changing at a rapid pace.

8 weeks into my pregnancy, we had a wedding to go to.  Two of our very good friends were getting married and we knew that a large contingent of our group of friends would be in attendance.  KC and I devised a plan to have me carry around a beer or glass of wine most of the night, periodically swapping it out with whatever KC was drinking so I wouldn’t be carrying a full beverage around all night long.  Despite the fact that I made sure to pose for pictures holding alcohol, toasted to the bride and groom with a half-full glass of wine, and made multiple trips to the bar to grab a drink, I still got asked by four separate people whether I was pregnant.  I laughed and turned it into a joke by saying, “What are you trying to say?  Do I look like I’ve gained weight or something?  Thanks a lot!” with a quick eye roll for effect.  But really, I was so extraordinarily uncomfortable, because I was pregnant — I just wasn’t ready to talk about it with everyone and their mother (literally).

I get that some people feel ready to tell the world about their pregnancy as soon as that little pink plus-sign appears, but I am not one of those people.  And I’d guess that there’s just as large a group of people who don’t feel comfortable talking about their pregnancy until they’ve reached a date a little further along than when that test comes up positive ( be it 10 weeks, 12 weeks, post-ultrasound, whatever).

So in the event that you’ve “spotted” someone who you think is pregnant (maybe, like me, they’ve done a poor job covering up their non-drinking at a social event), take a moment to think about the situation.  If they wanted to tell you, they would tell you, so there’s no need to ask.  Just file your observation away for when the announcement may come, and feel free to toss in an “I knew it!” if you really want to if and when it does. :)

Little Room + A Little Announcement

As you may recall from last week, KC and I recently spent some time redoing the little room off of our downstairs family/laundry room.  As a little refresher, here’s how the space started:

basement 4floor 1Green walls and ugly painted floors.

The walls got a fresh coat of paint and KC installed some plank flooring, and voila, brand new room!

unnamed 2 unnamed 3 unnamed 4

I think it turned out pretty nice.

Now, what will we be using this little room for?  Well…

unnamed

We’ve got a little addition coming our way in May, so the little room will be just that: a room for the little one.

And, yes, I realize that I do sometimes look like that ↑ after eating a burrito or a large lunch, but there is, in fact, a baby in there. :)

Little Letters

Fall Evening

Dear Rainy Fall Evenings:  You are the best.  And I think I’m now completely spoiled and can never live without a fireplace.

Dear Beef Stew:  Omggg what about how delicious you are?  I might have to make you again immediately.

Dear KC:  You being out of town is the worst.  Come back.

Dear Laundry:  Just when I think you’re finished, it’s like everything is dirty all over again.  #firstworldproblems

Dear Squirrel Living In Our Wall:  You seem to have taken your shenanigans elsewhere.  I hope you’re setting up shop for good somewhere else.

Dear Thanksgiving:  You’re coming up so soon!  I guess I should start figuring out how we’re gonna fit a gigantic turkey into our tiny fridge again…

Dear Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale:  I saw you at the store recently and got so excited — not just because you’re amazingly delicious, but because it’s like the official start of the holiday season.  (Not to mention that you remind me of my wedding.)

Dear December:  omgimsoexcitedicannotwait.

Dear Banana Republic:  What about how cute your stuff is lately?  I will buy all the things.

Dear Starbucks:  The red cups are out, the gingerbread is here, and Christmas Blend is on its way.  Ahhhhh I love it!

Love, Chelsea

Little Room Redo

We have a little room off our basement laundry/family room that we’ve used as an office, workout room, man cave… many things.  Unfortunately, after we redid the laundry room, the little room became kind of a de-facto storage space — housing a lot of the things that used to be kept in the basement.

basementWe decided to clean out the space, take the stuff off the walls, and add a fresh coat of paint.  I liked the green walls ok, but they needed some patching and we didn’t have the original paint color to touch up, so we opted for a brand new color to reinvent things a little.

basement 1

basement 4I chose Glidden Silver Birch with an eggshell finish– a super light gray with a beige undertone.  (Which is now my most favorite color for interiors at the moment.)

A little note about choosing gray paint — there is no “true gray,” which makes choosing a gray paint color really difficult.  All grays have an undertone to them — the most common undertones being blue, purple, green and beige.  If you gather up a bunch of gray paint chips and hold them up in the space you’re planning to paint, you’ll see the undertone pretty clearly.  A gray that you were sure was “the one” at the store can suddenly be OMGPURPLE in the space you’re planning to paint.  Lesson: paint chips are your friend.  Gather up a lot of them and look at them in multiple spots in the space you’re planning to paint before you go ahead and buy that gallon.

Anyhoo, here’s the space with the freshly painted gray walls:

basement 5basement 6Nice right?  (It looks awesome in person, if I do say so myself.)

However, despite the amazingness of Glidden Silver Birch, it couldn’t really detract from the glaringly obvious problem of the space:

basement 7Oh hey, hideous painted floors.

floor 1

Whoever had owned the space before us decided to paint the floor in here; and from the looks of it, they also decided to paint without a drop cloth and generally wreck the space while the floor was still wet.

Because, why not?

I approached KC about re-painting the floor, but he had a better idea: installing a floating laminate floor.

floor 2We found our flooring on sale at Costco.  It was $25/box and we ended up buying 4 boxes to cover the 6′ x 12′ space (we have most of one box left over).

The flooring was awesome because it came with all the sound proofing already attached to the planks.  (With a lot of laminate flooring, you generally have to buy sheets of soundproofing material that lays down first, then lay the boards over that.)

These are snap-together flooring pieces that you cut to fit with a circular saw.  Word to the wise: make sure you buy the correct saw blade for cutting laminate.  We bought a cheaper blade first and basically burned through it (literally) and had to go back and buy another one in order to finish the room.

KC was in charge of the flooring project, so I sadly don’t have a lot of real-world tips and advice for you.  (Aside from get yourself an awesome husband.  It really pays off.)

KC figured out how to lay the flooring by watching tutorials on YouTube (ah, the power of the internet).

floorKC installed the flooring over the course of a single day, and finished up the edges the next night by installing white quarter-rounds around the edges to match the white baseboards (since there’s a little gap between the boards and the edge of the wall):

floor 3Um, a bit of an improvement, no?

I’ll have more pictures of the finished space up next week!

Halloween Recap

How was your Halloween?  I hope it was spooky and full of treats.

Ours started off with a little appetizer spread (you guys know I can’t resist a cheese plate!  Come on.)

Halloween Cheese PlateI got a big wedge of this triple cream French cheese at Trader Joe’s (I can’t remember the name!  But it was delicious.)  I served it up with three kinds of crackers, tomatoes, grapes and some macadamia nuts and pistachios.

My sister and her tiny clown August came over early to celebrate:

Halloween Tiny ClownThat cheese plate was basically just for the two of us.  Let’s be honest here.

Also, look at August’s long legs!  He’s basically as tall as I am.  His daddy is 6’6, so we’re all convinced that he’s going to be a giant.

While we waited for Alexis’ husband and my brother + his girlfriend to arrive, KC, Penny and I got dressed in our costumes.  We bought Penny a shark costume this year:

Halloween SharkAnd because we base our costumes off Penny (we’re very cool), we decided to be Shark Week together.  KC was Discovery Channel Shark Week (made himself out of an old cardboard box), I was a shark-bitten scuba diver, and Penny was the fearsome aquatic beast:

Halloween Shark WeekTotally terrifying, right?  Riiiight.

That’s fake blood on my arm, and I was fairly certain that my arm was going to be stained red for the next week (because it was $1 at Target.)  Luckily, makeup remover + rubbing alcohol did the trick and I’m no longer looking like a bite victim.

Also, just in case you were wondering — yes, we literally dress up just to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters at our house.

The coolness factor just keeps multiplying.

I had made a big pot of beef stew which was simmering away on the stove, and (luckily) ready shortly after everyone finally arrived.  It was a pretty fun night.

(And we did get more trick-or-treaters than last year — 10 kids!  Two of them were dressed like Elsa from Frozen.  Go figure.)