2 In beauty/ pregnancy

My current skin care essentials that won’t break the bank

skincare essentials
This post contains affiliate links

I have always been really blessed with overall good skin.  But these past winter months have been harsh, and being pregnant on top of it, I had to change up my routine. I used to be able to get away with a quick exfoliator, some witch hazel, and some moisturizer from the drugstore.  Early into my pregnancy, my face became so dry and inflamed. No matter what I did, it was red and irritated. (So different than my pregnancy with Maxwell, I had a glow the entire time.) I went in for a facial for a quick fix and she was able to recommend some products that are hydrating yet wouldn’t break the bank.

Here are my current skin care essentials:

(And in true blogger fashion, I’ve linked them all for you)

The Body Shop Aloe Vera Calming Foaming Wash

body shop aloe vera cleanser

This is such a gentle cleanser. I use it every morning on my face in the shower. It leaves my skin feeling clean and fresh for the day yet it’s also calming for your skin.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Rosewater

rosewater spray

As soon as I get out of the shower, I use a few spritzes of this rosewater spray for some extra hydration before applying my daily moisturizer. It helps to lock all that moisture in. I also keep it in my bag and will use throughout the day for a little pick me up for my skin and to give it a glow.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream

The Body Shop vitamin E cream

This is my go-to all day moisturizer. It’s hydrating, yet not heavy. It won’t leave your skin feeling greasy throughout the day and won’t clog your pores. You don’t need alot, just a little dab goes a long way. I love to put a little extra on my lips too.

I also love Caudalie Vinosource sorbet as well and will switch them out time to time.

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk

caudalie cleanser

I use this as my night time cleanser but you could also use as your daytime as well.

The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Night Cream

body shop aloe night cream

I had never used night creams. I had the thought that putting moisturizer on overnight would clog my pores and lead to breakouts. This has a velvety, whipped texture that’s perfect to use overnight for moisture and to repair skin. It’s not oily, or greasy, and will help keep your skin clear.

Facial masks

So about 2-3 times a week, I take a little “me-time”, apply a mask and sit down with a cup of tea.  My favorites are Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask and Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mask.

my current skincare essenti

 

skincare essentials

0 In csection/ Motherhood/ pregnancy

Maxwell’s birth story

cesarean section

As a labor and delivery nurse, I think it’s natural that I love reading and hearing about other people’s birth stories. They are each so different and so beautiful.

I have thought for a long time about sharing Maxwell’s birth story.  At first, it wasn’t one that I was proud to share as it wasn’t the birth I had hoped for. But over time I’ve learned that every story is different and truly it doesn’t matter whether you had your baby vaginally or by csection. Two years later and as I prepare to bring baby #2 into the world, I’m finally getting to it. (#procrastinatorsunite)

So here goes…

My birth story is not at all what I had envisioned when I first got pregnant. I had hopes of going into labor naturally on my own and seeing how far my body could go and what it could do. I dreamed of a delivery where I would work my butt off but it would all be worth it in the end when they placed my baby on my chest for my husband and I to marvel at this miracle we created. But that wasn’t the birth experience I was given.

pregnant

At about 35 weeks pregnant, I started showing signs of preeclampsia. My legs were swollen, I was spilling protein in my urine and my blood pressure was elevated. I had mentioned it to one of the OB’s at my appointment and explained that my mom also had a history of preeclampsia and that I was concerned. The doctor pretty much brushed it off, told me to eat more protein and lay off the carbs. I left feeling like my concerns were not being heard, and deep down I knew to trust the voice in my head.

At my 36 week appointment I saw another OB in the group. My blood pressure was still elevated, and I still had protein in my urine so she decided to run further lab work. I went to the lab for my testing and they explained that since it was Friday, they wouldn’t have the results until Monday.

That weekend, I started having awful headaches and just felt like something was off.  Monday morning came around and I logged into my online portal where patients could check the results of their labs and have access to all of their medical records. My lab work showed that my protein-creatinine ratio was 0.3 which was borderline. I called the office and left a message with the nurse that I wanted one of the OB’s to call me back to discuss my results.

preeclampsia

The next day, Tuesday, I still hadn’t heard back from the doctor I had seen on Friday. I was working at the hospital that day and texted my favorite OB in my practice and told him I wanted to discuss some things with him. He happened to be on his way into the hospital and we agreed to talk when he got there. I explained my labs and my symptoms and he scheduled me to see him in the office the next morning. The next day at my appointment, my blood pressure was 150s/90s, my legs, arms and face were swollen. Overall, I felt like crap, and I kept getting headaches on and off. We decided that while everything looked fine with the baby on ultrasound, it would be safer to head into the hospital for induction.

I remember we were driving home to go pack my bags and get the dog to bring to my parents and I had this overwhelming sense of anxiety. I just felt like something was going to go wrong and I was upset that this was not happening the way I wanted it to.

So off to the hospital we went, it was Wednesday and I was 37 weeks and 2 days. My cervix was pretty thick and only a fingertip dilated so I spent the first night and the next day getting cervical ripening to help make my cervix favorable for pitocin.  On Friday when my OB came in, my cervix was only 1 cm dilated and about 80% effaced.  My OB wanted to break my water and start pitocin. I mentioned trying a foley balloon instead to which he said “he didn’t think that was a good idea” as I also didn’t want a prolonged induction.  So they broke my water and started pitocin. In hindsight I wish I advocated for myself more but what’s that saying? “Shoulda, coulda, woulda”.

I’m not sure how long it was after that, but it didn’t feel like a long time, I soon started kicking into labor. My contractions felt like one was coming after another and I felt like I wasn’t getting a break. I got my epidural and shortly after, Maxwell’s heart rate had one prolonged decel that felt like an eternity. My OB came in to check me and I was only 5-6cms. We tried repositioning side to side but it wasn’t coming back up to baseline. I don’t know how long it lasted, but the next thing I knew we were going right back to the OR.

Once we were in the OR, it all happened very quickly. Next thing I knew, the baby was out and I heard my OB say “it’s a boy!” and he handed him off to the baby nurse. When they brought him over to me, I felt relieved that he was here and healthy but I was still in shock of how everything had happened.

csection

cesarean section

Back in the recovery room, I started having feelings like I couldn’t breathe and just this overwhelming sense of doom. Anesthesia and my OB both came back to see me and agreed it was probably from the epidural and maybe my level was too high. Looking back now, I know that it was a panic attack.

I went home from the hospital with feelings of guilt from having a c-section and not being able to do it naturally. Should I just have kept quiet and let things happen naturally? But what if I ended up having a seizure or stroke? Did my OB jump the gun by going back to the OR? If we waited a little bit longer, would his heart rate have come back up and would I have ended up with the delivery I envisioned? My husband tried to help by saying “you have a healthy baby and you’re healthy, what more could you ask for?” But I wasn’t healthy mentally. I didn’t want to hold my baby, I would cry when I had to breastfeed him, and at night I would stare at him obsessively to make sure he was still breathing.

I was 10 months postpartum when all of my feelings came to a head.  I literally wanted to run outside of my body and run away somewhere. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew it wasn’t right. I decided to go on anxiety medication and made a few appointments with a therapist. After a few sessions I realized my anxiety was due to feeling like I wasn’t in control of my own birth experience and feeling guilty for not being able to have a vaginal delivery and breastfeed.

Almost 2 and a half years later and I can say I still feel like that birth experience was robbed from me but in the long run does it matter? The answer is no. My son is the healthiest, happiest, most loving soul and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

However, this time around, I’ve changed OBGYN practices where I feel 110% supported and where I can play a more active role in my experience.

 

birth story

1 In DIY/ home decor

Easy Modern Farmhouse Bathroom update

easy diy bathroom update
This post contains affiliate links

I’m so excited to FINALLY share with you guys the details of our Modern Farmhouse Master Bathroom update! (I had all intentions of getting this up sooner, but ya know, life.)

So when we first moved in to our new house, I loved that we had a master bath. It needed some work, but being that we just did a huge bathroom renovation at our previous home, and expecting a baby, we put it off.

One weekend after watching Marie Kondo, I was going through our house on a whirlwind. I mean I literally ripped through every room. I stepped into our bathroom, and well, one thing led to another.  We (I say “we” but I mean “me) decided to do a quick little bathroom update for just under $200.

This is what it looked like before.

easy diy bathroom update

 

It wasn’t terrible, but it needed a little refresh.

  • First thing I did was pull out this shelving unit over the toilet and paint. The color we chose was Sherwin Williams Passive Gray. I love this color because it has a nice cool tone to it. I wanted something very airy and clean looking with some touches of rustic/earthy elements to it for a modern farmhouse feel.
  • Next, we painted the bathroom vanity. Our vanity takes up a great deal of space in our bathroom.  To give the space a brighter look I decided to transform it by painting it white and then doing the hardware darker to give it some contrast. For the cabinets we used Rust-oleum cabinet transformations kit in pure white (we had some left over from our DIY distressed bedroom furniture we did in the fall).

bathroom update

easy diy bathroom update

 

  • Our shower is the main focal point of our bathroom. I desperately wanted to get rid of the glass shower door but because there was no tub, and we were just looking to do a quick weekend update, I left it. Instead, I put up a cute shower curtain to cover the glass door to dress it up a little.

easy diy bathroom update

 

  • Next, I added some shelving. To decorate the shelves, I got some apothecary jars and baskets to help organize some of our personal items. I also found a cute little vintage sign and some greenery.

 

diy bathroom update

 

I love the way it came out and for a little under $200, it looks like a totally different space! Not bad for a weekend 😉

I’ve linked some of my bathroom faves below:

shower curtain

floating shelves

Vintage bathroom sign

apothecary jars

soap dispenser

 

modern farmhouse bathroom update

0 In travel

4 tips for planning your visit to the Ice Castles

ice castles

Last weekend we visited the Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The Ice Castles are man-made using over hundreds of thousands of icicles to create these breathtaking sculptures, archways and tunnels. It was absolutely beautiful, and definitely a must-see with your family in the winter time. I’m sharing some tips for planning for own visit.

ice castles

If you’re not in the northeast, Ice Castles also offers other locations including:

Dillon, CO, Edmonton, AB, Excelsior, MN, Lake Geneva, WI, and Midway, UT.

Here are 4 tips for planning your own visit to the Ice Castles:

1.) Buy tickets online and make reservations ahead of time.

You definitely want to buy your tickets online. You can buy tickets here.  We went at 1pm right when they opened on a weekend and it was super busy.  (I hear going during the weekday is the best if you can swing it). If you go later in the afternoon/evening, they have a really cool light display and light up all the castles.

We also made plans to stay overnight as it was a 4 hour drive for us. We stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites in Plymouth. It was an easy 25 minute drive from the castles.

ice castles

2.) Dress warm.

Inside the Ice Castles, it’s 15 degrees cooler than it is outside so dress warm. (One good thing is that it definitely wasn’t as windy once you’re in the castles). Dress the kids in snowpants and other snow gear so that they can get down and explore. They had lots of tunnels and a slide. And be sure to wear boots as it is all ice. (Get my boots here. I have them in wheat/black).

And check out these comfy sweaters on Amazon

ice castles

3.) Hit up the slide first

When you get there, they offer a horse and carriage ride that goes around the castles and the surrounding property.  We did that first and then went inside the castles. They also have a big slide. I recommend doing that first once you’re in as the line is long. And then go and explore. You can stay in as long as you’d like, but once you exit, you can’t go back in.

ice castles

4.) Take lots and lots of pictures

The photo opportunities are endless. They have lots of archways, a couple balconies, and even a little ice couch so bring your camera!

ice castles

ice castles

 

ice castles

ice castles

 

ice castles