Little Letters

adventure seuss

Dear Seuss:  You’re quite the adventurous little beast (please note that she’s prowling the top of the bed, sniffing Penny who likes to snooze under the top quilt in the morning).

Dear Self:  Happy birthday tomorrow!  Pretty crazy that you turned 21 TEN WHOLE YEARS AGO.

Dear Baby:  So many hiccups.  Every single day.

Dear KC:  I’m so excited to go eat some steak with you tomorrow.

Dear Clothes:  Remember when so many of you fit?  Man, those were the days.

Dear Scale:  Um, seriously what is happening.  We probably need to break up until at least 8 weeks post-birth.

Dear Bar Method:  8 months pregnant and still taking full classes!  Thigh sure is a lot harder with a giant, heavy bowling ball belly though.

Dear Haircut:  I can’t wait.  Hopefully the little lady stays put long enough so I can get to my appointment in a few weeks!

Dear Pajamas:  You’re all I want to wear these days.  I have a feeling maternity leave is going to be very sexy.

Dear KC:  Sorry in advance for my pajamas-only clothing policy.

Love, Chelsea

Pregnancy Update — April

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I found out at my doctor’s appointment last week that if you go into labor after reaching 34 weeks they don’t stop you from delivering.  Um yeah, so like, you have the baby.  I had no idea about this (I was under the impression that if you went into labor after 37 weeks that was the case), so my face was like, “Whaaaaaaaaat…”  The idea that I could, in theory, have a baby basically anytime after Friday?  Yeah, it’s CRAZY.  I’m hoping that this little peanut hangs out until at least 39 weeks or so, but this news did cause me to go home and wash all the blankets and clothing up to 6 months we have for her over the weekend, so that’s one less thing on my to-do list for now!

weeks: 33 1/2

baby’s size:  pineapple (the other option here was honeydew melon, but i’ve never encountered a 17-19″ 4.5-5lb honeydew, have you?)

i’m feeling:  pretty good, considering how far along i am.  i’m definitely tired, and at the end of the day it usually feels like i’ve run a marathon, but i’m still working out, walking, and teaching bar method classes, so it’s nice to know that my body is still capable of being active despite all the extra weight and energy going to my midsection.

food love: ice cream!  once it’s in front of me, i can’t stop.  so cold and so delicious.

food hate:  my food aversions seem to have ended, and my palette is kind of returning to normal, which is exciting.  i think it probably comes along with the whole “getting to the end of pregnancy” thing.  (and now when i try kc’s beer it sometimes even tastes good!)

3 pros for april:  1. my last shower is this month and i’m really looking forward to it (and being able to finish off the registry and nursery for good!)  2. i’m getting down to the wire with maternity leave — i’m really looking forward to (hopefully) having a little time off before she arrives to just chill.  3. my birthday is this month (on friday!) so i’m hoping that kc and i get to go out for a nice dinner to celebrate another year.  and so funny to think that he was there for my 21st birthday (he bought me my first drink!), and now we’ll be celebrating my 31st together.  time flies!

3 cons for april:  1. getting to the end of pregnancy apparently means everyone and their mother feels the need to comment on how “big” you’ve gotten.  smiling through the comments every single day gets a little tiring sometimes.  2. we’ve started some of our “baby prep” classes, and the first one — our birthing class — was kind of a giant waste of a day.  (a lot of people took the class very seriously.  kc and i about died laughing our way through the “coping techniques,” one of which was guided imagery to a “happy place.”  we took the opportunity to talk each other through really stressful traffic scenarios.) 3. feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed by the approaching due date.  i’m sure it’s totally normal, but pregnancy hormones + birth anxiety can be a lot sometimes.

currently living in:  a very limited wardrobe.  i’ve only got a few things that still fit now — like my maternity jeans (which i still don’t love, but certainly do the trick) and old navy maternity maxi dresses.  i also got some maternity shorts from old navy, which are actually kind of awesome.  but really if i had my way, i’d just wear pajamas 24/7 at this point.  so comfy.

looking forward to:  maternity leave!  i’m done with work at the end of the month and i really can’t wait to sleep in and relax a little (assuming this little lady stays put long enough to let me!)

dreaming about:  no longer having the restrictions of pregnancy.  i can definitely see how people get to the end and are just ready to have the baby out.  everything is a lot more challenging with a big belly, and i’m sooo ready to eat and drink all the things you’re not supposed to have during pregnancy (like raw oysters, sushi, soft-cooked eggs, and beer.  omg beeeeeeeer….)

Only one more monthly pregnancy update to go, unless Baby D decides to arrive much earlier than expected!

Birthday Wish List

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My birthday is on Friday, and honestly, this year it feels super unimportant.  I’m normally someone who loves any reason to celebrate, (I generally refer to April as my “birthday month,” because why claim only one day when you can claim an entire month, right?) but this year I’m so focused on the impending birth of our little lady, that I really haven’t given my own date of birth much thought.

I thought I’d post the few things I’m asking for this year (fair warning: my list is reeeaaaally boring this year), mainly because I like to know what people like to receive for special occasions.  So here it is, my super-boring birthday wish list.

I’d like…

  1. For people to stop commenting on or joking about how “pregnant” I look.  Yes, I’m 8 months pregnant and I’m 5’1.  There’s not a whole lot of vertical space in my midsection for this little lady, so yeah, I’m looking pregnant (I think it would be a little weird if I wasn’t looking pregnant this late in the game.)  My weight gain has been within normal limits, baby and I are more than healthy, so that’s really all there is.  No need to comment on how “OMG big/huge/pregnant/fat/giant/uncomfortable/tired” I look.  I actually think I look pretty good, all things considered.  Sure, it’s weird hauling a watermelon-sized belly around, but I’m growing a person, so the big belly comes with the territory.  So unless you want to say something positive about my pregnancy or the way I look, I don’t really need to hear the comments/jokes/whatever on my birthday.  (And how fun that society totally has this thing about telling pregnant women how “huge” they are!  Let’s just not, ok?)  IMG_4463
  2. Sephora money — because I’m on the hunt for some new blush!
  3. Prenatal massage (because I could literally go into labor in less than a week, and this super-heavy bowling ball belly makes my back/hips/legs/feet so so tired these days)
  4. Soft, thin jammies for the hospital/nursing.  Specifically, I’d like a nightgown, robe, and some comfy slippers. gap nightgowngap robe
  5. A date night out with KC (because I suspect they’re about to become much fewer and farther between!)
  6. Any items remaining on our baby registries (because, hi, we’re not made of money over here) bugaboo

*ahem, yes, we did decide to get the Mercedes of strollers, because it was the only all-terrain one that I could actually lift when folded (I have a super crappy back and can’t lift more than 20-25 pounds). Hooray for gift cards!

Little Letters

treats

Dear KC:  Remember when you decided to go to Costco yesterday and brought me home the big pack of organic raspberries?  You clearly know the way to my pregnant heart.  But the giant box of Oreos…  I think we’re both in trouble there.

Dear Baby:  What about how you could technically be here one month from today?  That’s really crazy to think about.  (But I feel more ready to meet you every day!)

Dear Round Ligaments:  OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING???  Was it something I said?

Dear Work Friends:  You guys are the very first people to ever throw me a surprise party (and I was definitely surprised).  That surprise baby shower was so thoughtful and sweet!

Dear Pool:  My big pregnant belly has been dreaming about swimming lately.  We should probably have a date soon.

Dear Hands:  Um, we need to get you guys a manicure ASAP.

Dear Birthing Class:  Sooo, you’re happening this weekend…  Things are getting real over here.

Dear The Jinx:  Jesus Christ.  (And really, if that show doesn’t convince you of the idiocy of Texas juries, I don’t know what will.)

Dear Birthday:  You’re a week from tomorrow.  I’m so tired, all I want this year is naps.

Dear Feet:  Sorry.  About everything.

Love, Chelsea

Current Crushes: My Favorites for Face

I posted awhile back about a few of the beauty items I was using and loving, but didn’t get much into my skincare routine or what I use on my face on a daily basis.

I’m always curious to know how people care for their skin and what products they use, so I thought I might share my current routine with y’all, in case you’re looking to change up your own routine a bit (or in case you’re just nosy like I am).

A little background — I have problematic skin.  I’ve suffered from random bouts of acne since middle school and have tried just about every topical medication on the market and eventually went on Accutane in high school.  Accutane tamed things for a few years, but my acne returned when I went to law school (coincidence?  I think not.) and I started using Proactiv.  I used Proactiv religiously for years and found that it worked wonders.  However, a few years ago it stopped being effective, and I was tired of having to shell out money every month for the products.  I wanted to get into a routine that was more sustainable long-term, and more focused on anti-aging, so I pestered my husband into buying me a Clarisonic brush for my birthday (which was everyone’s obsession 2 years ago).  I gave the Clarisonic a go for 9 months before giving up on it completely.  Honestly, the brush made me breakout worse than anything had in the past, and left my skin feeling tight and looking shiny.  I loved how clean my skin felt after using the brush, but the downside (the way it made my skin look) far outweighed any of the benefits.  I finally decided to shelve the brush and get back to basics — gentle cleansing, no product swapping, letting my skin breathe, etc. — and I really noticed a difference.  My face cleared up in a matter of weeks, and aside from the random pregnancy hormone-fueled breakout here and there, my skin has behaved and stayed clear since I stopped using all the fancy gadgetry and products.

Also, obviously I’m super pale (it comes with the red hair), so I tend to be prone to redness (with my lovely pink undertones and easy ability to blush over anything).  My skin tends to be more on the dry side, especially in winter, so I focus a lot on moisturizing and trying to keep my skin balanced and even-toned.

I’ve divided up my routine into three categories — prep, base, and finish.  I’ve made a lot of changes to my skincare routine over the years (and some recent changes as well), so I’ve noted the products I’ve been using a long time (years) vs. things that are newer in my repertoire.

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PREP

    1. Cleanser:  I use the Dove White Beauty Bar to wash my face every morning and every night.  I’ve been using Dove soap on my face since middle school and stick with it because it’s so gentle and mild.
    2. Makeup Remover:  I use Neutrogena’s oil-free eye makeup remover to remove any traces of eye makeup in the evenings.  It’s gentle and non-greasy and ok for contact lens wearers like me.
    3. PM:  At night after washing my face and removing all my makeup, I use Tarte’s Maracuja Oil on my face, Tarte’s Maracuja C-Brightener Eye Treatment under my eyes, and Burt’s Bees classic beeswax lip balm on my lips.  If I have a blemish, I use Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick for spot treatment.  I like the Maracuja Oil because it’s moisturizing but still feels light and surprisingly non-greasy.  The eye cream is one I’ve been using for about a year and a half — I am always on the hunt for the best eye cream out there (and have tried many).  This one is nicely hydrating and doesn’t irritate my skin (as many do).  And of course, you guys already know about the Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick if you’ve been reading my Pregnancy Favorites posts.  It’s kind of smelly (due to the tea tree oil), but it’s natural and works well, so it gets my vote.
    4. AM:  In the morning after washing my face, I use Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Moisturizer with SPF 15, Tarte’s Maracuja C-Brightener Eye Treatment under my eyes, and Burt’s Bees classic beeswax lip balm on my lips.  I’ve been using Neutrogena’s moisturizer for years now.  Occasionally I’ve strayed and tried something new, but I always find my way back to Neutrogena’s classic because it’s light, has SPF, and doesn’t make me break out.

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BASE

  1. After prepping my face with moisturizer, I use Laura Mercier’s oil-free tinted moisturizer (in Cameo) for light, all-over coverage.  There’s a total cult following for this moisturizer, and for good reason.  It somehow provides awesome, even coverage without having that thick, cakey “I’m wearing foundation” look.
  2. For under my eyes and any other spot that needs concealing, I use YSL Touche Eclat concealer (in Shade 2) and/or Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer (either in Fair or Brightener… I can’t remember which one I have).  Bonus for the Maybelline concealer — if you buy the shade lighter than your skin tone it works great as a highlighter as well as a concealer.  The YSL concealer is pricey, but it provides really natural-looking coverage, which is tough to find in a concealer, and it doesn’t crease — even when worn all day.

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FINISH

  1. To set my makeup, I had been using Laura Mercier’s Invisible Loose Setting Powder (great for a matte finish, because the LM moisturizer is fairly shiny), but recently I switched over to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (in Diffused Light) because I’ve felt like my 3rd trimester skin could use a little extra pick me up (I’m really tired these days, so the lighting powder gives that “lit from within” effect which makes me feel a little bit less “I’m 100 weeks pregnant.”)  The Hourglass powders aren’t cheap, and I think whether you like them or not totally depends on whether you’re someone who likes that sort of luminous, glowy look.  I used to wear a lot of glitter back in the day (hi, I started wearing makeup in the 90’s), so the whole luminous thing is totally up my alley.  I’ll probably be horrified by it in like 10 years (or my daughter will be horrified for me.  Y’know.), but hey, I’m into it now, so what can you do.
  2. I, being the pale vampire that I am, of course finish things up with some blush — my go-to is Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blush.  I use the Blissful shade, but am on the hunt for a rosier hue to use occasionally.  I’ve heard good things about Hourglass’ blush — and given how much I like their powders (I have both Diffused Light and Luminous Light) I may just need to give them a whirl.

Easy Meals: Tabbouleh

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I have this thing about freezer meals — I just don’t love things that have been defrosted and reheated most of the time; so I’ve been trying to think of easy meals that I can prepare once the baby arrives.  Specifically, meals that come together in 30 minutes or less, and utilize fresh ingredients.  I’m still planning to make some frozen things to have on hand (like my favorite cookie dough), but our freezer is small, so I think I’m going to be limited in what I can really prep and freeze.

And I don’t know about you, but when I’m exhausted and have zero energy for cooking, I tend to get into this rut of ordering out and not eating well, which really just makes me feel even worse after awhile.  So a quick meal like this that will last through multiple shifts?  I think it might just be a lifesaver.

This week I went back and revisited one of my favorite easy meals — tabbouleh (or, my interpretation of tabbouleh).  This recipe is so simple and healthy, plus it makes a lot of food and saves well in the fridge — all of which add up to a good meal for post-baby.  You could totally even throw some of the leftover tabbouleh over lettuce, dress it up with a dijon/oregano/red wine vinaigrette — and voila! it’s a delicious salad.  Put a dollop of hummus on top and you’ll really be in business.

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Tabbouleh with Tzatziki (+ Hummus and Pita)

serves 4-6 generously

Tabbouleh:

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat (feel free to substitute quinoa here to make it gluten-free)
  • 1 large chicken breast (to make this veg, omit the chicken and add in cooked chickpeas for protein)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size
  • optional: couple large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped; kalamata olives; cooked chickpeas; crumbled feta
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook bulgur wheat (or quinoa) according to package instructions.*
  2. Grill or roast chicken breast with some olive oil, salt and pepper — then dice.  (I roast mine at 350° for 30-35 minutes).
  3. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl, season with fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper, then toss to combine.  (Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper — you’re seasoning a lot of food here!)

*I generally just cover the wheat with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a bowl, then place a dish or lid over the top and let it steam until the chicken is done cooking (about 30 minutes).  Once it’s ready, I’ll dump it into a strainer and press out any excess moisture before adding it in with the rest of the veggies.

Tzatziki:

  • 1/2 – 3/4 large English cucumber, grated
  • 8 oz greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • small handful fresh mint leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place grated cucumber into a clean towel and squeeze over the sink to release excess water.
  2. Once well-squeezed, combine cucumber with rest of ingredients in a small bowl, season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, then stir to combine.

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Spoon tabbouleh into pitas and top with tzatziki and your favorite hummus.  So delicious!

Little Letters

teeny wardrobe

Dear Baby:  Soooo, maybe your daddy and I went to Gap last weekend to buy you a “coming home from the hospital outfit” and ended up buying you a whole teeny-tiny wardrobe because your mama can’t make up her mind about anything these days…  Thank goodness for that employee discount.

Dear Nursery:  You are so close to being finished!  And I can’t even believe how adorable you look.  I think you’re probably my favorite room in the whole house right now.

Dear Belly:  Holy moly you’re big.  How is it that there’s still 8 weeks to go?  Is it possible to get even bigger?

Dear Closet:  Ugh, nothing fits.

Dear Washing Machine:  I realize that I have washed none of the baby stuff yet (I was saving it for the beginning of my maternity leave, which starts a bit before my actual due date), but I’m not really sure how I’m going to wash everything if I can’t reach the bottom of the washer with this giant belly in the way.  I feel like a t-rex with this big belly and short little arms.

Dear Third Trimester:  You’re really tiring.  I could literally sleep like 16+ hours a day at this point.  Apparently the end of pregnancy turns you into a cat.

Dear Waist:  Remember when I had one?  Ah, memories…

Dear Tabbouleh:  You are so delicious!  What a good choice this week.  (And it made me not feel so bad for eating half a pint of Ben and Jerry’s afterward…)

Dear Baby Foot:  Um, just so you know, pushing through my right waist isn’t the preferred exit strategy.

Dear KC:  Can you believe we’re going to be parents after next month?  It’s kind of crazy, considering that when we started dating I couldn’t legally buy booze yet and you thought shopping at Pac Sun was fancy.  Man, so much has changed!  (Except for the fact that I still love you a whoooole lot.)

Love, Chelsea