Woohoo, it is Friday!! I love a good, short work week, don’t you? This Style the Bump post is all about bright hues and effortless chic. Whether you are pregnant or not, this little frock is too perfect for summer to miss. I have seen this style dress in a local boutique, but I got mine read more
We’ve all seen them: The Pregnant Woman in Pure Barre kicking your seat. It seems like regardless of that bump and any tiredness, she’s there and zoning in hard to her 55 minutes. What’s the secret of the pregnant chick at Pure Barre? Pure Barre Pregnancy Modifications. Pure Barre can be a lot to take read more
Summer office style can be hard to get just right. I outlined some of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck with your office style a few weeks back, so make sure you read that post HERE! In today’s outfit post, I’m showcasing neutrals from head to toe. The interest read more
The hubs and I are house shopping. In case you are wondering what that has to do with the $40/week grocery challenge, let me fill you in. We had one of “those” budgeting discussions this week. The one you dread, but you know is good. With that said, I took it upon myself to make read more
Woohoo, it is Friday!! I love a good, short work week, don’t you? This Style the Bump post is all about bright hues and effortless chic. Whether you are pregnant or not, this little frock is too perfect for summer to miss. I have seen this style dress in a local boutique, but I got mine from Pink Blush Maternity. Pink Blush has both a regular line and maternity line. They are my favorite for reasonably priced outfits that still look killer cute. Everything I’ve gotten so far has been very high quality as well. They run great sales and I’ve been very impressed with their customer service. They have a regular line and maternity and are well worth checking out!
This dress is casual and cool for the heat wave that’s coming back to Birmingham soon. What drew me in to this dress was the cut outs and details in the neckline. The linen look is perfect for the south as well…it’s charming and sweet. I punched up the casual cool of the dress a bit with adding some boho fringe in the shoes and a bright green pop of color with the clutch.
Since the pop of color was enough of a statement for me, I kept my jewelry simple and feminine: stud earrings, initial necklace and neutral bracelets completed my look. I wore this outfit to work earlier this week and would wear it to grab dinner with friends or for church. I have gotten so many compliments on this simple little frock and myfringy shoes that I’d highly recommend you check them out if you’re looking for a simple summer go-to look. I am counting down the days until the beach in a few weeks and am thinking I may just have to pack this outfit with me when I go.
I have teamed up with my friend Stilettos and Diapers to bring you pregnancy chic fashion today, so make sure you check out Molly’s blog HERE to see what she’s rockin’ with her baby bump. Molly is one of my Blissdom besties I met a few years back and y’all may have seen her around on my blog before or on my Instagram. She’s just the best and I know if you don’t already follow her, you’ll want to!
Thanks to Jett Walker Photography for these fun shots! Make sure you check her out if you are in the Birmingham area. Speaking of the Birmingham area, we are house hunting tomorrow, so wish us luck!
We’ve all seen them: The Pregnant Woman in Pure Barre kicking your seat. It seems like regardless of that bump and any tiredness, she’s there and zoning in hard to her 55 minutes. What’s the secret of the pregnant chick at Pure Barre? Pure Barre Pregnancy Modifications.
Pure Barre can be a lot to take in with or without pregnancy. I always had so much respect for the women in my class who were showing up and working hard if not harder than other women in the room. Now that I get to be the pregnant woman in the studio, I wanted to share how you can maximize your Pure Barre routine during pregnancy.
I have heard from countless women how Pure Barre has helped them maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and how it has helped them to bounce back more quickly. Be aware of these modifications for your class and take them as needed. Some you may not need until third trimester and some you may never need. However, it’s great to have these options available to you.
These tips are a compilation from what I’ve learned from Pure Barre, my doctor, other Pure Barre teachers (shout out to Alyssa) and my own experience. I highly recommend you talk to your doctor before you jump into class during pregnancy about modifications you may need while you are expecting.
The MOST important thing you can do during pregnancy is listen to your body. It is imperative to be mindful of any little twinge of an uncomfortable feeling… not meaning the wonderful burning sensation you are supposed to feel during PB. What I’m talking about is more of a singe of pain; any type of strain you feel in your lower abdomen or lower back.
Remember to take continual deep breaths to give your body and most importantly your baby the oxygen they need. AND, that is is SO important to stay hydrated during pregnancy. I used to drink (1) 16 oz bottle of water during class but during pregnancy my goal is at least 1 and a half bottles which equals 3 (8 oz) servings. Continue to do everything you have always done as long as you can do it and are not in pain. However, if you modified plank before you got pregnant, continue to modify plank.
-During the first hundreds section, you can keep your legs bent at the knees and either hold on under your thighs, bringing your chin towards your chest or rest your head on the ball and do the arm movements.
-Roll up: You may leave your feet on the ground and utilize your arms to help you grab behind your thighs to help you roll up.
-Planks: Can all be done from knees. Planks are a great form of exercise for the abs and lower back since you are in a neutral position during forearm and straight arm plank.
-Pushups: Can be done from knees with shins on the ground. If a deeper modification is needed, you can also do pushups against the wall.
-Most thigh exercises can be done as normal. If you feel too much pressure in your back during waterski or chair, remember you can always work upright at the barre as well.
-Don’t push yourself too far. Take breaks if needed and don’t work as low if you aren’t feeling up to it that day.
-Avoid any exercise laying on the stomach again and make modifications as needed if you feel discomfort during full foldover.
During the ab exercises against the wall:
– Instead of focusing on any choreography for the legs just focus on squeezing both your obliques in and down towards the spine and squeezing the lower abs up and in … you’ll need this during labor!!!
– During roundback, as your baby grows you may need to adjust your height up or down (depending on where baby is sitting… and it may be different each day) to make sure that you are squeezing and feeling your abs as much as possible.
-During roundback, you can keep your opposite foot planted and stay holding on behind the top leg the whole time.
-In flatback, you can keep both feet on the floor the whole time and/or just do kegels.
-Stay holding on behind the legs if needed.
-Work up higher and use the ball… remember to actively push into the ball with every contraction, whether it be a tuck, squeeze, circle or back an inch, up an inch… this is forcing your abs downward keeping them pulled in (a good reminder for those of us who aren’t pregnant as well!)
-My doctor has advised me against using the tubes for resistance. Your abs don’t need any extra pressure or strain other than the baby and you working out. Using tubes can elevate your risk for the abs splitting.
-In the second section of abs when we roll back, use the modifications from the hundreds in the warm up or stay sitting upright with the ball and mimic the movement of the class.
-In the third section of abs, I usually keep my chin tucked into my chest and do lower body curls like the rest of class just without resting my head. It’s best to continue to work the top of your core as best you can the whole time and you don’t want to be lying on your back with all the weight of your legs on you. Again be mindful of any strain in your abs and lower back.
Remember that for back extension you still want to work your back so you can extend the opposite arm and leg while on all fours, be mindful of squeezing your shoulder blades together and contracting the lower back. Switch sides when the class is half-way done with the exercise.
ROCK IT OUT DURING BACK DANCING!!!! Baby can hear the music and will dance along with you! You can keep hips lower or widen stance if needed.
-Lay on your stomach – this means no back extension and nothing on the mat laying on your sweet baby belly. A modification for laying on the stomach for seat work is the classic table top position on all fours with the working side leg extended behind you.
-Rotate too much to one side or the other during thigh stretch, roundback stretch or ab work.
-Use tubes for additional resistance during ab work.
Always stretch additionally…. Different types of stretches and for longer periods of time. Stretch before class and stay after if you can and stretch more. I’m fascinated by how my body does during each class. Sometimes during first trimester, my stomach felt too heavy to stay on my toes, but then second trimester I felt awesome on my toes even though the baby was bigger. So odd!
If you are pregnant and doing Pure Barre, what have you found helps you while taking? What modifications have you had to make? Any odd sensations you’ve felt?
How far along? 25 weeks. Baby is the size of a rutabaga, whatever the heck that is. In case you missed my last update, here’s my 24 week update.
Maternity clothes? I’m wearing mostly maternity clothes now and the clothes that aren’t maternity are longer shirts or dresses. These shorts are from The Swanky Stork and a nice cool linen to get me through the summer.
Stretch marks? No.
Other Body Changes: Still just mild growing pains. I bought a bathing suit top 3 weeks ago in Ireland and wore it this weekend to the pool for the first time. I can’t believe how tight it is now after that short time frame!
Sleep: Good. I feel a little heavy when I turn now.
Best moment this week: Ordered our first piece of baby furniture!!! We got a glider from Storkland in downtown Birmingham.
Miss Anything? Tennis! This time of year it’s so nice to be outside playing with Baseline Birmingham or the hubs.
Movement: Feeling lots of movement multiple times throughout the day now. I was cracking up during church because I realized I had my arms crossed and resting ON my stomach. I felt Leyton kick my arms…so surreal.
Food cravings: Give me allllll the watermelon. And still on that blueberry donut train…
Anything making you queasy or sick: No
Gender: boy…Leyton Samuel. Eric is named after his grandfather who we love dearly and call Grandpa Sam. That’s the inspiration for Leyton’s middle name.
Symptoms: Back pain, right side upper abdominal pain. When I’m doing Pure Barre now, during abs, I definitely feel weird things like my upper stomach going numb or not feeling much. I feel the need to sit higher and to always have the ball in my small back as well.
Belly Button in or out? In, but it feels like it could be a reality that it could pop out now eventually, eek.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: Feeling so emotional. I am normally not a big crier and it takes a lot to get under my skin but that’s not necessarily the case now. I’ve been watching the last few episodes of the season of Grey’s Anatomy on DVR and it’s been an ugly crying situation.
Baby is the size of: A rutabage and measures around 13.5 inches in length. Baby fat is starting to come into play.
Looking forward to: Home searching! Ready for a crib and nursery.
Summer office style can be hard to get just right. I outlined some of the best ways to get the most bang for your buck with your office style a few weeks back, so make sure you read that post HERE! In today’s outfit post, I’m showcasing neutrals from head to toe. The interest comes in with the pattern in the skirt, the pops of metallic in my jewelry and headband and the little details on the jacket.
As I’ve had to get used to changing my style and clothes to fit my bump, I’ve also been trying to make a few other changes around here for an overall healthier lifestyle. I’ve talked a little bit about moving to more all natural products and I took another small step in that direction this past week by switching over our laundry detergent to method. Their new 4x concentrated formula is hypoallergenic, fights tough stains, and smells good! I am such a sucker when it comes to yummy smelling things! There’s a fragrance for everyone (fruity (ginger mango), floral (spring garden), herbaceous-woody (beach sage and fresh clover), and free + clear (no fragrance). This beach loving girl totally went with the herbaceious-woody beach scent!
method has teamed up with ASOS for giveaways, fun style picks and more, so you can get more fashion inspiration here. If you decide you want to try out method for yourself, you can use the coupon code THREEFORME for $3 off your online purchase of method.
Shop the Look: Skirt & jacket: Dress Barn Outlet at The Outlet Shops of Grand River | Tank: Dress Barn Outlet (similar) Shoes: Charming Charlie’s Outlet (Similar) | Earrings: Charming Charlie’s Outlet (Similar) |Headband: Ann Taylor Loft (similar) | Bracelet: Charming Charlie’s Outlet (Similar on sale) | Necklace: Monograms Plus (Similar)
The hubs and I are house shopping. In case you are wondering what that has to do with the $40/week grocery challenge, let me fill you in. We had one of “those” budgeting discussions this week. The one you dread, but you know is good.
With that said, I took it upon myself to make our grocery budget $40/week for a few weeks. Between my love for a good deal, the challenge of the competition with myself, Winn Dixie’s help, and the motivation to save for a home, furniture and moving expenses, it was game on!
I have to put in a disclaimer here that Eric is very appreciative of my meal planning and grocery shopping each week and knows our budget for groceries is abnormally small anyway. We usually spend $60-70/week on groceries by shopping the sales and I kept this principal in mind this week but also relied heavily on planning meals around what we had in our pantry.
Here’s how we spent under $40 this week on groceries:
1. We used up ingredients in our pantry and freezer.
2. We bought based on what was on sale ONLY.
3. We went without some things we’d normally buy.
4. My co-workers and I split groceries each week and contribute to salads and such throughout the week for lunch.
5. We bought a portion of a cow several months ago and ate off of that.
6. I used up meat I had frozen while it was on a stock up, low price like frozen chicken tenderloins.
7. I always buy extra frozen vegetables, nut butters, and nuts when they are on a stock up price!
8. I spent a large chunk of my allotted cash for deli meat that was on sale so the hubs would have something hearty for lunches. He also enjoys crunchy peanut butter and honey sandwiches for a frugal variation.
9. I planned out my meals for the week ahead of time based on what was on sale in the weekly flyer.
10. We’re not picky eaters and got creative with the options we had in our cupboard!
Here’s what we had for our meals for the week:
Breakfast each day: Banana & all natural peanut butter or a protein shake
Lunch: Salads or Chicken and veggies for me and turkey sandwiches for the hubs
Snacks: Nuts, protein shakes, juices, fruit, popcorn, whole wheat toast, Hummus/Lentil/Quinoa Chips (some of this is at our offices)
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner: Scrambled eggs & Whole Wheat Waffles (already had on hand)
Monday: Steaks (from freezer) and Mixed Baby Kale Salad
Tuesday: Frozen Pizza & Fresh Fruit (Splurge meal! It was on sale for around $4 and I couldn’t resist the deal.)
Wednesday: Chicken Salad with Green Beans and cous cous (canned chicken was on sale and cous cous was in our pantry)
Thursday: Whole Wheat Pasta with Olive Oil, Red Pepper Flakes, Sea Salt & Broccoli (Had everything on hand, broccoli from freezer)
Friday: Dinner with family for brother-in-law’s birthday
Saturday: Zoe’s (Coupon for 1/2 off a sandwich from their mobile app)
Want to know how I did on the $40 Weekly Grocery Challenge? $35.99!!!!! Yes, I even had room to spare!
To help you cut back on your grocery spending, Winn-Dixie is giving away $150,000 worth of free groceries to customers! Thirty (30) Winn-Dixie customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana will win free groceries for a year, valued at $5,000 each, by entering the Great Grocery Giveaway. Additionally, every person who enters the giveaway will automatically receive a $10 off $100 purchase coupon. Everybody wins!
Customers can visit http://www.winndixie.com/freegroceries now through June 16 for official rules and to enter-to-win the Great Grocery Giveaway. That is an AWESOME coupon, so make sure you use it and buy items on sale for maximum savings!
I polled my FB followers for some more frugal meal ideas and here’s some of their suggestions: American Chop Suey from Lysska B. (ground beef, spaghetti sauce, and elbow macaroni. You brown the ground beef, drain and add spaghetti sauce. Mix in cooked macaroni.), Ramen noodles with left over beef and green onions from Alexa S., and wheat or gluten free pasta with any roasted veggies and a touch of evoo, sea salt and pepper topped with parmesan cheese from Tiffany B, One Pot Pasta from Lauren L., Egg scramble with LOTS of whatever veggies are in the fridge … served with fruit and bacon if we have any from Rachel E., Hot dog hash (Chop up turkey hot dogs and cook in skillet. Throw in a can of diced tomatoes and cook on low for 10 min. Doesn’t sound good, but it is so yummy!!!) from Katie T., lots of Mexican and spaghetti variations, Chicken/Shrimp paella from Kate W.
If you want more of my meal planning tips and ways to eat healthy on a budget, make sure you read my Meal Planning Series and make sure you sign up for my email newsletter in the sidebar or at the top of my site to get the Clean Eating Pantry Staples list!
What’s your favorite frugal meal? Bonus points if it’s healthy.
How far along? Whew, friends! It took me a while to catch up from Ireland and jet lag on blogging. Due to that, I missed several weeks in my pregnancy series. In case you missed my last update, here’s my 20 week report.
Weight gain: Now that I’ve hit 15 pounds, this is the last time I’ll probably update on my weight report.
Maternity clothes? I’m still wearing a mix of maternity clothes and regular clothes. Shirts are staring to feel a little stretched out if they are not maternity, and a little short. Yikes. This dress is from The Swanky Stork and you may recognize it from my post on wearing heels without pain last week.
Stretch marks? No.
Other Body Changes: I had to invest in a new basic bra while we were in Ireland. My back is starting to hurt in the exact same spot I am on the front now. I see more massages in my future…I also am getting weird numbness on my tailbone sometimes when I sit. My doctor assures me this is all “normal.”
Sleep: Good. I wake up in the night on my back and can’t help but have the hazy panicked feeling that I should be on my side, but I’ve also heard that this is normal and not something to be too worried about.
Best moment this week: Good quality time catching up with friends and family after being out of town. Walked with a friend on a local trail, went to dinner with two couple friends, had a productive and fun day and date night with the hubs and enjoyed Birmingham Fashion Week with some blogging buddies.
Miss Anything? A flat tummy for bathing suit season. Went to the pool for the first time today while pregnant. That was a little humbling.
Movement: Feeling lots of movement multiple times throughout the day now. Eric has only felt it once and it was very faint to him.
Food cravings: Nothing stands out from this week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: No
Symptoms: Just the back pain
Belly Button in or out? In, but it feels like it could be a reality that it could pop out now eventually, eek.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: Hopeful…for home searching! Trusting God that He already knows where we will live and how our careers will shake out during this heavily changing time.
Baby is the size of: As long as an ear of corn and probably a little over a pound and a half now.
Looking forward to: Getting settled and being able to nest.
Spring and summer mean lots of weddings, baby showers, wedding showers, graduations, parties and lots of events! Inevitably, you’ll need a few go-to pairs of heels. And, not only that you’ll need a way to rock your heels while looking and feeling your best. And, let me assure you, pain doesn’t have to be a part of the equation. I’ve teamed up with Rack Room Shoes to help you find some of the best looks for a great price without sacrificing looks.
How to Rock Your Summer Heels:
1. Gams: First things first, get your legs lookin’ right! It’s time to exfoliate that dry winter skin away, lather up with lotion, get your faux tan and shave. Set the stage for the beauty of a woman’s feminine legs and they will always shine!
2. Be realistic: If you have blisters and were on your feet all day the day before, take it easy. No need to pull out your sky high heels when your feet are riding the struggle bus! Opt for a shorter heel like the one pictured above (and, yes, that’s a sneak peek of a future post).
3. Opt for Wedges: …or at least shoes with a thicker sole. Thin soles usually give me pain on the bottom of my foot. Sometimes even to the point of numbness. You want a thicker sole or a little bit of a platform, which will offset some of the pressure when you’re walking. A rubbery kind of material will absorb some of the pressure you may feel.
4. Shake it Off: Literally take your shoes off every once and a while and stretch your feet out. I’m infamous for doing this at the office. While your feet are under a table or desk, no one has to know but you.
5. Shoe Inserts: If you have shoes that your feet slip in a decent bit, invest your $7 in some foot inserts at the pharmacy. Many times these inserts help your foot avoid friction and therefore blisters from slipping. Well worth it!
I’m a big fan of these striped wedges for a dressed down look or dressed up from Rack Room Shoes! And the best part, they don’t hurt. Holla! If you are in the mood for some shoe shopping, Rack Room Shoes is known for it’s everyday “Buy One Get One 50% Off” promotion on all styles so take advantage while you get your go-to shoes for spring and summer! Spring footwear trends identified by Rack Room Shoes fashion experts and buyers include wedges, floral patterns, bright colors, boat shoes, ankle details, casual comfort shoes and jeweled sandals, so there’s plenty for you to choose from to get your deal!
WHAT!? Bet you didn’t think healthy and cookies and ice cream could go together did you?! When you meet my friend Callie of Luv Cooks, you’ll understand how this awesomeness happened. Callie is a professional food stylist and an incredible cook and baker. We teamed up to share some of our best hostessing tips with you for the summer and to show you how to put a healthy twist on a lighthearted summer party! Consider this your official invitation to our Healthy Cookies and Ice Cream Party!
Make sure you head to Callie’s blog to get this vegan coconut coffee ice cream to pair with my recipe for the perfect healthy cookies and ice cream social! Special thanks to the Outlet Shops of Grand River’s Le Creuset who provided the pretty blue cookie platter and beautiful ice cream bowls!
My dilemma to create a healthier cookie recipe all began with a pregnancy craving…imagine that! I have always loved my mom’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She makes the recipe on the Quaker oatmeal jar with a few tweaks. I tried to make it via a different recipe a few weeks ago and let me just tell you, the pregnancy craving was not satiated. They were not the same. And that decadent, fluffy texture melded with the oaty density was worlds apart. I was not a happy pregnant lady.
So, the quest began to re-make the recipe my mom makes with a few healthier tweaks. Now, is it clean eating or paleo friendly? No. Is it delicious and slightly better for you? YES. Glorious YES. I asked some of the dietitians and cooking experts at eMeals about replacing all the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, and they told me that was a bad call. Long story, short it messes with the chemical make up of the cookie and won’t rise and react the way you want the cookie to. The solution? Use half whole wheat flour and half regular.
Also, instead of regular chocolate chips, I upped the ante with dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively impact your health. It is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies show that dark chocolate can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease, and that’s a big win for chocolate and this cookie in my book!
Another tip I learned from our on-staff dietitian is to let the dough sit in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours or even overnight if possible. It helps the cookies have a better texture! Without further ado, here’s my healthier version of Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.
In the winter, I played with lots of red! But, now that spring is here, I’m ready for something a little more fresh when I want a bright pop of color on my lips. I finally found the perfect hue in Milani’s Uptown Mauve color.
In college, I had this great fuchsia color I wore and then it was discontinued. Oh, the stress of losing a color you love and having to start the experimentation again. It took me years to find another color I loved like my college hue. The great thing about this Milani shade is that not only is it pretty, but the wear and color feel amazing on as well!
This lipstick goes on creamy and smooth. I haven’t had any issues with it feathering out and it lasts for a long time. As you wear it, it transitions from a little bit of glossy sheen to a stain look on your lips. And at around $5 for the tube, it’s pretty hard to say no to at least trying it out!
In the photo above, you can see me wearing this bright hue. But, I’ve picked out several other mauve shades below that should help point you in the right direction whether you want something more muted, more pink, more neutral, etc. Look for this same photo on my Instagram feed today to enter to win the awesome Laura Cox Designs necklace I’m wearing in the picture!
If you love beauty products, you’ll want to scope out my Beauty Bits columnist friends The Style Gathering sharing about the Beauty Blender, MyScoop with summer beauty tips, and style briefs with another can’t miss lip.
Pregnancy cravings are no joke y’all. I’ve found that a lot of times I crave sweets and I’m trying to fend off those cravings with fruits but sometimes they get the best of me. When a salty tooth hits though, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do about the pregnancy cravings: SALT situation. I love nuts but I already eat those pretty regularly and you have to be careful with portion sizes on nuts due to their high calorie count.
As I was researching healthful salty foods, Simply 7 came to the rescue! Simply 7 is “chips” made from quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, and other all natural ingredients. I’m not going to lie, I was a little upset though when I came home one day and realized the hubs had devoured the whole bag of the barbecue flavor before I ever got to try them. Eric can be a pretty tough critic on my “health” foods so to me that says a LOT about the awesome flavor of these chips!
As you know, I LOVE quinoa and it’s slightly nutty flavor. And since the quinoa chips use this awesome little protein pod, check out all the great benefits you get all from indulging your salty tooth:
High Protein – 9g/Serving
Gluten Free Certified
Non-GMO Project Verified
No Trans Fat
No Artificial Colors or Flavors
All of Simply 7‘s products have no artificial colors or flavors and I love that because honestly it can be hard to find in quick grab and go food options! I believe you should be able to read an ingredient list and actually know what you are eating so I love that Simply 7 only offers snacks that have no unrecognizable or hard-to-pronounce ingredients. It’s so important to take your health into your own hands and educate yourself on what you are consuming! I hope whether you have pregnancy cravings or just love a good salty snack, you find that this helps you reach for a healthier option next time the urge for salt hits!