Monday, September 26, 2016

bebé dos:: sixteen weeks

How far along: 16 weeks!

Gender: We're seeing pink!
Name: Julianna Cate (Anna Cate)
Total weight gain: +8 from pre-pregnancy (as of home scale).
Clothes: Been wearing some maternity clothes -- miserably uncomfortable jeans, super comfortable leggings, a couple of ruched shirts, and the bump is visible. It's not huge but it's noticeable.
Sleep: Loving naps. Will I ever not?
Cravings/Aversions: Craving milk, cottage cheese, raspberries and whipped cream, sugar. Trying to not give in to the sugar -- working on fruit only as my "sweets" between now and Katie's wedding. I CAN DO THIS!
Symptoms: Emotional - was moved to tears by the silly auto-tuned "Backin Up" song on YouTube last night. Noticeable small baby bump. Peeing every 30 minutes.
Diabetes Management: It's been okay. Had mom's delicious, scrumptious red beans & rice with Daddy's beef ribs on Saturday night and it spiked me up to 202 one hour after eating, even with my two units of insulin. I really can't eat anything for "dessert" after dinner, either -- had raspberries and cream after my quinoa and gumbo last night and was 150 two hours postprandial. So far, mornings are the most tolerable (although it seems my sugar spikes one hour after, but then crashes when my natural insulin hits), lunch can be hit-or-miss depending on what I eat (sandwiches are a no go), and all my sugary snacking never helps. As I mentioned earlier, I'm trying to not buy anything sugary (or even fake-sugary!) so it's not in our house to tempt me. I've been super self-conscious about gaining so much weight so fast, and especially after quitting nursing over the last month, I've definitely seen my numbers creep up rapidly because I haven't adjusted my eating habits to not sustaining TWO babies. I try to have grace with myself but I also need to rein it in, and would really love to fit into my tiny bridesmaid dress by October 22!
Exercise: Today is the FIRST day it's been really nice outside!!!!!!!! We played outside for a bit. Last week we went on a jog/walk one evening -- trying to up those "sessions", as well as do more barre3 videos at home. Working on it! Drew has a goal to lose 15 lbs by Thanksgiving (putting him around 160 - 165), so we're trying to keep one another accountable and motivated.

Mood: Very irritable most of the them, easily angered, easily annoyed, but also happy / grateful / excited too. Wearing ill-fitting or tight clothes does not help the situation EVER.
Miss Anything: Nursing. Last week was the last time I nursed Lilly -- we went from all day long to once a day (first thing in the morning), then gave her a lot more whole milk throughout the day to keep her full overnight and only gave in if she was having a full on morning meltdown, but she's slowly grown to accept a bottle or sippy cup of whole milk now and we're officially weaned. Bittersweet!
Best Moment this week: Katie's shower was a highlight -- it was a long day of work prepping everything, decorating, and entertaining everyone, but it went GREAT, we had a small but quality group of women there, and I'm excited to move onto the next thing. I also felt AnnaCate move for the first time on Thursday night!!!!!!!!!!!! Love her little soft kicks!

Told Anyone? Everyone knows! Strangers still don't approach me or assume I'm pregnant, but I'm getting closer to the "cute phase" rather than the "burrito phase." PTL!
Looking forward to: The rest of sweet fall, cooler weather that's here to stay, wearing my plaid flannel shirt and maternity jeans, selling those damn too-tight maternity jeans, ordering new photo prints from our Labor Day shoot to hang all over the house, Laken's birthday party, Caitlyn's reception this Sunday, Katie's bachelorette party, going to fall festivals, seeing the Boudreaus when they visit, getting more progress done on 2017 weddings, embroidering and appliquéing fun fall outfits, more Tennessee football (UNDEFEATED!), seeing family, going for walks, seeing the zoo and maybe Cheekwood!

Overall Life right now: I'm done with my fall '16 wedding season, which I'm grateful for. Excited to have weekends and less busyness, especially now that Katie's shower is over (it was a lot of work!). Working on eating healthier, cooking more crockpot meals and soups since I have the time and need the healthy habits, and getting more exercise. I would love to have a "barre body" with cut arms -- I was in really excellent shape the first time around when I got pregnant with Lilly and maintained a lot of that muscle definition throughout my first and second trimesters; I thought I was still in great shape this time but I think a good deal of it was just skinny from nursing (and therefore showed more of my muscle definition without a lot of effort). All the sugar and carbs I've been eating (I eat a lot, y'all) have definitely SHOWED now that I don't have nursing to lean on anymore so I need to curb the cravings and show some restraint. Definitely what they say about showing more the second time around has been true -- even to the extent where my hips and shape has morphed into "ready to birth another baby" mode super fast, which surprised me a lot. Pants that were comfortable throughout my entire pregnancy the first time around cut into my waistline and hips now (YIKES!), so I'm really pretty dependent on maternity leggings for comfortable loungewear and everyday athleisure clothing. I had gotten two pairs of designer maternity jeans in the early days, in the two sizes I wear pre-pregnancy (26/27), thinking one would work in the early stages and then the other would carry me to the end. Well, that 26 pair was miserably tight from day one (and that's even with me being -4lbs when I was still nursing and had quit drinking my calories), so you can only imagine how awful they were when I tried to wear them this week at 15 weeks!!!! Once it cools down permanently I'll wear the 27s more often. Right now they still feel so low on my hips that it's uncomfortable to me (WHO on earth likes their pants that freaking low?! Even with a belly panel?!) but maybe as I grow it'll get better. We'll see. They could've just been an awful investment, and I probably should've gotten a pair in real life that I'd tried on beforehand. But you live and learn.

I'm going back today to post the bumpdates from weeks past. I'll set them as their actual "written" dates, which you can look at here!
Julianna Cate's Bumpdates

Thursday, September 22, 2016

recent target finds

Oh Target. The nemesis of our bank account. My haven! My refuge! Our air conditioned home-away-from-home. My reason to get out of the house. Source of quality generic diapers, the best pumpkin banana baby food, the only underwear I'll wear, awesome beauty products and home decor, and Ben & Jerry's exclusive flavors. Bye bye money!!

I had a major pregnancy craving a few weeks back for Ben & Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream, which I hadn't had since 2008. Lo and behold, Target stocked them a couple weeks ago when it's nowhere else to be found!!! Guess how long that pint lasted! 🙈 (Which is also why I'm self-forbidden to buy another. It's okay - craving satisfied. 👍🏻👍🏻)

The CUTEST Cat & Jack toddler clothes are on sale this week so I couldn't resist these Halloween candy leggings, baby joggers, gray leggings (I have some in the same shade!), and cute blanks. If they only had those gold glitter sneaks in a 5, I'd so have bought them too.

This beautiful and cozy flannel! I've been dying to wear it since I got it in like JULY, but it's never been cool enough. Waaaah!! Fall, where ARE YOU??

HANDLE these baby boots. Drew actually picked them out but I'm in hardcore love // mama-mini-matching heaven. They slay me!!


Have you been taken victim by the fall goodness of Target lately? What'd you find!?!?

Monday, September 19, 2016

bebé dos:: fifteen weeks

How far along: 15 weeks!
{wearing the maternity jeans from hell}
Gender: All sugar and spice over here!

Name: Julianna Cate (Anna Cate)
Total weight gain: +6 from pre-preg. Maybe. Cringe.
Clothes: Not wearing anything ruched but clothes don't fit like they normally would.
Cravings/Aversions: Drinking milk, cottage cheese, raspberries and whipped cream, damn cookies
Symptoms: Emotional.
Diabetes Management: Not great.
Exercise: Please let it be fall so we can go outside again!
Mood: Grumpy.
Miss Anything: Wine and being skinny.
Best Moment this week: Seeing LJ and Caitlin?

Told Anyone? All the people.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

maternity musts:: wardrobe

Although I haven't been pregnant with Baby #2 for very long, I've put a good amount of thought and research into how I want to do this pregnancy the same and differently than Lilly's. I was adamant about not wearing much maternity clothing last time, but I also opted for oversized leggings and Drew's shirts a good deal of that time too! I want to look stylish and feel confident rather than slobby this go-around, so here's what I've comprised as my maternity wardrobe musts!

A really, really fabulous pair of jeans. Requirements:  Soft. Well-fitting. Flattering. I got a designer pair off Ebay and I hope it's really worth it. I imagine it will be. I got a pair of so-so Target jeans with Lilly and I hated them, rarely wore them, and they were not worth the cost per wear.

Super-comfortable everyday-wear leggings. April says these are boss. I lived in oversized regular fold-over waist leggings with Lilly but they were less flattering and not as long-lasting as maternity.

One pair of comfy pants that are NOT leggings. There will be days (either swollen days, or slouchy days, or whatever) you do not want to wear jeans or clinging leggings, and all you want to do is wear your husband's huge-ass holey sweatpants out in public. A nice pair of comfy elastic-waistband joggers will save you those days. I got mine from lululemon right after I found out I was pregnant with Lilly and wore them throughout pregnancy and before/after. A couple of pairs of slightly oversized athletic shorts come in handy, too. (I wear basically the same size in these joggers/shorts as I do postpartum.)

A gorgeous nice dress. Mine was a bit of a splurge during my pregnancy with Lilly, but it's nursing-friendly and looks amazing even postpartum as a normal person! It's big on cleavage, but it covers everything else up so I feel glamorous but not skanky. This needs to fit perfectly (but room to grow), be ultra-flattering, and make you feel gorgeous. You only need one, but any holiday parties / weddings / special events you get asked to attend, you'll feel like the belle of the ball. (I've already worn mine to:  New Year's Eve party, Drew's promotion dinner, LJ's rehearsal dinner, NWPG holiday dinner, church, concerts, date night... you name it.)

A more casual but still pretty dress (maybe for a different season, if your pregnancy will be spanning a few!). I got a seafoam green knit jersey dress from Target and wore it a TON -- to two of my showers, to church, to client meetings, casual get-togethers, errand running, you name it. Very livable. The one I have is not as wearable postpartum because it's longer in the front (and "low-high" isn't a trend) but it got worn a TON during pregnancy! 

A few really soft, comfortable, flattering t-shirts. Especially if they're actually maternity, you'll live in these. I wore so many of Drew's shirts and sweatpants on my days at home slouching around with Lilly -- I'm determined to feel attractive and like I've put some effort into my appearance this go-around. Comfy leggings and a soft shirt are just as comfortable as sweats and a big top, so why not look presentable? #activewear #haha

A couple of nicer tops that can accommodate a bump. This is one area I like to go non-maternity -- there are plenty of flattering styles nowadays that can be worn as a "normal person" that still fit over a bump. My favorite are Lilly Pulitzer Elsa tops. I can wear either an XS or S in those, so I just opt for the S and they fit great up until I deliver! I have three of them that I rotate for work, church, and occasions I want to look a little dressier. Piko tops are also great options for non-maternity shirts you can wear during pregnancy -- they're stretchy, flowy, and very comfortable. I don't usually care for the empire-waisted blouses I see out there (they usually make me look fat and make me hot), so my suggestion is to eschew those and just invest in a couple form-fitting maternity t-shirts instead.

For fall/winter - an attractive sweatshirt that will accommodate the bump. If it's cute / has a cute saying / not enormous but still big enough, you'll not feel like a slob wearing it out and about, and you can wear it over jeans/leggings/joggers/whatever!

For fall/winter - at least one neutral-toned open cardigan you can toss over anything for warmth. Layers are key for fluctuating pregnant temperatures; I lived in my grey and white Breton-striped cardigan last time and have worn it postpartum too. I think I'd like to update this year to something either camel or cream colored.

For fall/winter - at least one lightweight but warm jacket you can throw over athleisure outfits and feel put-together but also ready to brave the elements. Ability to zip is great but not required.

For fall/winter - at least one non-maternity coat big enough to either belt or just hold together, so you don't freeze your ass off. Not a huge deal for Southern states where it doesn't get too miserable. (Or at least as a Tennessee girl, I wouldn't buy a maternity coat strictly for that reason.)

At least one skinny belt you can fasten under your boobs to show off the bump. This was the style I rocked almost daily when I went out anywhere. It helps define the bump.

A sports bra that can contain your boobage for athletic purposes. I never had to deal with big boobs pre-pregnancy but by my second trimester with Lilly (and then the first 10 months postpartum while nursing) I had some major stuff to contend with.

At least one or two stretchy bras with cups for late-pregnancy comfort. I tried to wear my normal underwire bras in my 7th and 8th months and I remember one miserable dinner trying to affix a safety pin to the center clasp to expand the band size (unsuccessfully). I got the bra expanders but they didn't work great for me. I'll be wearing a racerback and normal Coobie bra this time around when my ribcage has gotten so big!

5 nursing bras for postpartum. I like the Stella ones from Target and Coobie bras (via Zulily),  although the Coobies don't hold up super well. I had to wear a bra (AND a nursing pad) 24/7 until Lilly was almost a year old, so comfort was key and they had to withhold a range of bizarre boob sizing changes. (Shrink... Expand... Almost burst... Shrink...)

A couple of nursing tanks. I had the Target henley style ones with Lilly but I hate them because my huge boobs would always pop those damn buttons straight open! Pointless!


A few tunics from your normal closet. Swimsuit coverups can be great for this! I have a navy anchor tunic from J Crew Factory I had in big rotation last time, as well as a Lilly Pulitzer Captiva coverup that I swapped out from time to time. The LP coverup and a pair of leggings were what I was wearing when my water broke and I went into labor with Lilly!

Maternity Spanx. I've heard these help out varicose veins really well (ouch!) but also if you want to wear any super body-conscious dresses or skirts sans lumps, this is the way to go.

Some bodycon dresses and rotating crop tops (as long as they can accommodate big boobs). This time I'm going to try this out -- could go great or terrible. All my pieces for this option are non-maternity; we'll see how it goes!

A couple of pairs of colored solid leggings (the one-size-fits-all with fleece lining are what I opted for) to layer under longer tunic sweaters. These were nice to have but not absolute MUSTS.

Maternity pantyhose, if you're in a cold climate and wearing a lot of dresses. I maybe wore one pair once? (I have black and nude pantyhose.)

Totally Optional: A pair of stylish glasses you feel confident in. I bought a pair of Warby Parkers for my birthday last year and they've helped me feel cute rather than a slob when I can't bear to put my contacts in!


Cheap jeans. Just get a nice pair, even if it's secondhand.

A ton of empire-waisted tops. They're not flattering; you can do the same effect by belting a longer top (that you'd otherwise wear as a normal person). Don't waste your money on a ton of "maternity blouses"!

A lot of maternity activewear. Last time I got away with sports bras (as long as they could accommodate a larger chest), oversized t shirts, and one actual "maternity" active top. I can wear it postpartum (it's black and not obviously ruched) and it's still fitted enough when I am largely pregnant to cover the bump while still looking very polished and put together. Some of my pre-pregnancy Lululemon tops were loose enough to accommodate the bump, too!

Monday, September 12, 2016

bebé dos:: fourteen weeks

How far along: 14 weeks!

Gender: G-I-R-L!!!

Name: Julianna Cate (Anna Cate)
Total weight gain: +4 from pre-pregnancy, +7 from lowest pregnancy weight.
Clothes: Clothes are uncomfortable, but some things make me look pregnant and most things make me look fat.
Sleep: Enjoying early bedtimes and naps.
Cravings/Aversions: Drinking milk, cottage cheese, raspberries and whipped cream
Symptoms: SO HORMONAL. Emotional roller coaster!!!!! Cry at drop of hat.
Diabetes Management: So-so. Need to eat so much better.
Exercise: Couple of jogs, some short barre videos, walking around Target.
Mood: MOODY.
Miss Anything: WINE. x1,000,000
Best Moment this week: Announcing our pregnancy and a great visit with the Zielonkos!

Told Anyone? Made the big announcement Sunday after brunch at Loveless!
Looking forward to: Getting next Sunday's wedding over with, visit with Laurajean.

Q&A on baby dellinger dos

If you didn't see it already, we made our special announcement over the weekend! Thank you all for the sweet words of excitement and congratulations -- we are over the moon and so excited for Lilly to be a big sister! I'm always super nosy and excited for friends who are expecting, so in case you're the same way, I've written a little Q&A of things you may be wondering about Baby Dellinger Dos!

Was it planned? To say the least. With my developing T1D after Lilly's birth, we had to undergo a lot of medical planning and strategizing to make sure another baby would be healthy and I'd be starting off in a safe blood sugar level range to get pregnant. While it might have taken away a little of the "let's just see what happens!" mystery (which is way overrated and infuriating for anyone who really wants a baby anyways), the Type A planner in me was totally fine with that. Also, we had my wedding schedule to work around since I learned the first time not to ever have a baby the same month (or close to it!) you're due!!!

When are you due / how many weeks are you? I am due March 13, 2017, so I'm 14 weeks now.

Are you showing yet? As many of you know, subsequent pregnancies tend to be physically noticeable quicker (because the miracle that is a human uterus is so elastic and remembers what it was like to house a baby since the last go-around). While I'd still argue I'm definitely in the awkward "I ate too many burritos and just look chubby / thick in the middle" phase (WHY DOES IT LAST SO LONG?), I can definitely push it out to get a makeshift bump when I want to. (And especially after eating a big meal!) Hoping I get to the adorable bump phase real fast.

When did you find out? I took lucky test #7 (yes, I'm that impatient and also - vacation mojitos) while we were on vacation in Tybee Island, Georgia, on July 5.

How did you tell Drew? Along the lines of me being super impatient and pre-emptive, I had appliqued and monogrammed Lilly a "Big Sis" shirt (with Lilly Pulitzer fabric, obvs) and even taken secret photos of her wearing it before we left for vacation. (JUST IN CASE.) I was super stealthy, stashing it away in my suitcase with an "I'm a Big Sister" book (that I picked up impulsively one day) just in case in needed to whip it out over vacay. Despite taking six negative tests over the course of a week leading up to it (because I am that insane and was taking them way too early), I was pleasantly surprised by a positive result that morning at 3am. Woke Drew up at 6 when Lilly got up to eat that morning, put her in her new shirt and told a very grumpy / groggy Drew "LOOK AT WHAT LILLY'S WEARING!" excitedly. He was  less than enthusiastic but cheered up once he had some coffee. :D The first person I told outside of him was my father, who wasn't able to join us on our family vacation. Called him while my mom and sister were out walking on the beach so he could be the first to know, and then had Lilly traipse out in her new duds shortly after they returned. (Note: the generic Walmart brand of pregnancy tests is actually more sensitive than the digital Clearblue ones, so if you're a psycho and want to waste your money on a billion tests before your period is due you want the earliest possible result, I recommend getting the Walmart one and DEFINITELY DON'T TAKE IT BEFORE FIVE DAYS PRIOR.)

Does Lilly know? As much as a 16-month-old can! She's really great with babies -- always hugging the friends she meets and kissing boxes/catalogs with pictures of babies and saying "AWWWW!", so we know she'll be the best big sister ever. But as far as her actually understanding what's going on, that's doubtful.

Do you want a boy or a girl? Obviously first and foremost we want a healthy baby. But when it comes to petty preferences, I wanted a girl so Lilly would have a sister (I'm super close with mine!), and Drew wanted a boy because he's already outnumbered in our household (and he'd be such a great boy dad).

Do you know what you're having? We do we do!!! We're keeping it secret just a liiiiiittle bit longer, though. What do you think we're having?!?!?

How do you know the gender so early? 1. Being high risk has its perks, and 2. Our insurance covers the Verifi blood test that checks on chromosomal issues at 10 weeks. We found out at 12 weeks. (And baby is all clear for chromosomal abnormalities!)

Any names picked out? We had one name for sure picked out and one as a definite set of initials but an uncertain middle name. We'll announce it when we reveal the gender!

Are you still breastfeeding Lilly? Barely. My OB said I could finish out the first trimester but needed to stop by the second, so this past month has been a heart-wrenching (and tantrum-throwing) disaster trying to get her to give it up. She nurses once a day now but we're working on eliminating it completely since I'm technically 2nd trimester now. (WAHHH!)

How have you been feeling? HA! Miserably nauseous from weeks 6 - 10 (WAY WORSE THAN THE FIRST TIME AROUND!), and totally crazy. Emotional roller coaster is the biggest understatement I've ever heard -- I have zero patience whatsoever, and I go from absolutely furious to sobbing in a matter of mere seconds, and poor Drew takes the brunt of all of it. I have taken it upon myself to solve all of the world's societal issues this pregnancy and seriously get so pissed when I hear or think about instances of injustice. The negative side has been people debating with (one another on) my hot-headed posts on Facebook. I'm working on shutting up and figuring out better actionable solutions rather than just airing them for people to decide whether or not they think they're problematic. (Sighhhhhhh.) Also -- "tired" means something altogether different when you couple first trimester exhaustion with a BUSY BUSY BUSY toddler.

How is your diabetes now? Since I'm pregnant now, it has to be strictly controlled and within tight limits. That means for the time being, I'm on a long-acting insulin overnight and taking a small dose of fast-acting insulin with dinner. Now that some of my energy is returning, I'm trying to actually work out so I can control it better organically, but it's a reality that it will continue to get worse up until the end by the nature of the disease. So they'll just keep upping my meds, and we should be alright.

Do you want more children after this one? We used to want three total, but with my health and also how seriously crazy I get every pregnancy, we resigned ourself to two so this is, Lord-willing, our last. (We also have plenty of friends who had unexpected pregnancies and babies who defied medical procedures intended to eliminate the possibilities of them, so we can't defy God's will, but we also plan to take every precaution necessary -- especially considering the medical risks my health entails.) We are so INSANELY grateful to have our one perfect little girl and this possibility for new life in our family. My first pregnancy really taught us what a precious and fragile gift it is to have a child (and how we can never take for granted the OPTION to, nor our health and ability to), so we are overwhelmed and overjoyed that God has given us Lilly and even these precious fourteen weeks of "new baby." (And also we reserve the right to change our minds at any point of time because our family = our decision. :D) 

We're also particularly thrilled because my best childhood friend is due just under a month before me, and we have had several other close friends announce they're expecting around the same time period!!!! We are definitely entering the phase of life where friends and family are beginning to start or continue growing their own family units, so it's really nice to be in good company. I'd always hoped to have two little ones close together in age, and with this timing Lilly and new baby will be 22-23 months apart, which is perfect to me. 


So there's all you could have possibly wanted to know AND THEN SOME about our growing family! What do you think we're having?! And what do you think we're naming him/her?!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

we have news!

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, we have a special announcement!!

Our family is growing! 

Baby Dellinger Dos, expected to arrive in early March 2017!!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

bebé dos:: thirteen weeks

How far along: 13 weeks!
Gender: G-I-R-L!!!
Name: Julianna Cate (Anna Cate)
Total weight gain: +2.
Clothes: No maternity but shorts aren't fitting that well and certain clingy items show the burrito bump.
Sleep: Send naps!
Cravings/Aversions: Sugar!!! It's awful. Peaches & raspberries, kiwi and cantaloupe, yogurt granola parfaits, cake, ice cream, cookie butter.
Symptoms: SO HORMONAL. Emotional roller coaster!!!!! Cry at drop of hat.
Diabetes Management: So-so. Need to eat so much better.
Exercise: Walks, little barre, some yoga at home.
Mood: All over the place. Sad, happy, grateful, disenchanted, all the above.
Miss Anything: WINE.
Best Moment this week: Gender reveal party!!!! So glad we did it!!
Told Anyone? All close friends & family know now!
Looking forward to: Hearing heartbeat tomorrow, wedding festivities this weekend.

labor day:: currently

Taken from Jennifer today!
{iPhone snap from Lilly's photo sesh this AM bright and early!!!}

Reading… Blogs. Had a couple overdue books over the summer so I haven't checked out more yet.
Watching… Baby Daddy. It's cheesy, ridiculous, and like fast food entertainment but we like a little fluff here and there.
Trying… to work out on a more consistent basis. Not nursing anymore is killing me -- waaaah easy calorie burn all day long!
Cooking… Nada. Made some brunch items this weekend but I rarely cook, in all honesty.
Eating… Crepes! We went to Red Bicycle this morning and had Mexican and hot chicken crepes. Nommm!!
Drinking… Coffee leftover from brunch! Need to up my water intake though.
Calling… My sister mostly.
Texting… Group text with mom & sis. It's constant! 
Pinning… So many baking recipes I can't have! Also obsessed with party dips...
Loving… TBBC pajamas. Really wanting matching mom and daughter PJs!
Hating… Mosquitos. Everywhere I go I get bit!
Discovering… How insensitive people are over social media. Posted about an ethnic group that's being oppressed and you wouldn't believe the ugly backlash it warranted!! 
Feeling… A little sad today. Maybe nostalgia as we took Lilly's one year photos? Sad her first year went so quickly? Not sure.
Listening (to)… Hootie & the Blowfish. It's an odd phase...
Celebrating… Labor Day and a fun three day weekend! Hoping to do something fun tonight.
Smelling… Lemon apple candle! I'm usually allergic to apple scent but this one's been ok!
Ordering… a sweet personal crest for my little one. So excited to see it!
Considering… A gold star chart to incentivize working out & no sugar.
Starting… to get stoked for fall!! Gimme pumpkin spice creamer NOW!!
Finishing… this post and probably going to rest my eyes since it's lazy Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2016

five on friday

It's that time! Linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha:

ONE:: Dips for Entertaining
{Samoa Dip - yum!!!}

So, every evening I've been obsessed with Pinterest (again - is it 2010 or is it just me?) and lately, I can't keep myself from pinning a billion and eighty-two dip recipes! Granted, I do have a lot of parties on my horizon and I pretty much never use an actual caterer (because I'm cheap - maybe in my thirties!), so I have to keep up a nice arsenal of good party dips. There are so many variations, too!!!!! Tiramisu dip (yum), pumpkin spice dip (made several of these for Kat's "Little Pumpkin" baby shower last year -- not the best tasting, esp when you use diet cool whip -- but it was festive!), apple dip, you name it!


It's the most basic time of the year! SEPTEMBER IS HERE and I am so grateful it came in with a legitimate cooler day. Probably can blame Hurricane Hermine for that, but it feels good for the short-term! (PS -- Dying over the "Ain't afraid of no Harry Potter Hurricane" meme going around right now!) I'm not rushing to pull out full length pants or anything, but I was legitimately cold inside at Target the other day and it's total open-the-windows weather right now. No me gusta the 90s-temps forecasted for next week though.... Sigh. 

THREE:: Lilly's One-Year Photos
So yes, I have a sixteen month old.  But we are finally taking her one year photos (the last in her heirloom baby collection 😥😢😭) Monday morning. We did this for a couple reasons -- our photographer lives in Virginia now, so we're at the mercy of her Nashville travel schedule; we got Lilly's actual first birthday professionally photographed so that phase of her babydom was captured; and I like to have different seasons and places depicted in our family photos (since I almost exclusively use them to decorate our walls). So a September shoot with a walking toddler baby it is! We're planning to rock a couple coordinating Lilly Pulitzer dresses which I hope will look timeless and classic. It'll obvs be a summery look but that's ok! Our previous shoots have been in winter (engagement), summer (our wedding), winter (post-wedding), spring in Charleston (maternity), spring (newborn), fall (six month), and spring (birthday party). So it's time for another summer, right?

FOUR:: Lilly Sale Purchases

{not the actual new loot, but coupla Lilly pieces!}

I got my first shipment in from my four (gasp!) purchases from the Lilly P sale the other week! Lilly's orange and pink shift dress came in (and is precious, as you can imagine), as did my beach shorts. And boy are they comfortable! I got this super cute Gap Athletic long-sleeve open back top on clearance in Savannah a couple weeks ago and it's the perfect neon corally-pink that goes SO WELL with my Lilly printed capris/pants. If we lived near the coast, it would be the perfect early morning beach walk outfit! For now, it'll be my errand running / casual put together at home / athletic everyday wardrobe. Obsessed! Can't wait to get in my Marlowe dress and the t shirts, to see how they fit.

FIVE:: Last-Minute Brunch Prep

{it's baking day!}

If you saw my post yesterday afternoon, you'd know we've got a champagne brunch party to throw tomorrow morning! I'm so excited! Got to get to monogramming, ironing, and food prep today. And maybe try on the color-coordinated outfit I was planning to wear, to see if it's remotely practical. I really don't know what on earth I'll wear if it looks silly (or too formal -- it is a silk cocktail dress so it may look so out of place!), since I don't own a lot of yellow clothing. I used to have this beautiful yellow beaded cardigan that was STUNNING. So sad I got rid of it at some point of time. What was I thinking? (Maybe it was pilling and awful and my memory just doesn't reflect that. I usually don't get rid of things until they're at their last limb. But I always have purge regret!)

Other items I've thrown away in the past and regretted:  that ivory silk mini purse from Banana Republic with the gorgeous brooch clasp (my mom threw it out), my original pink tennis shoes (mom also threw these out), my red cardigan with rhinestone buttons, my yellow beaded cardigan, my brown puffer vest (don't miss it now but I did a couple years ago).... ok so maybe I don't remember and miss all that many things I've thrown out in the past. But my dress collection is still intact. Hoarder max.


Got any fun Labor Day plans? Our pool is closing Sunday... wahhhh! In all honesty I'm actually ok with it, since I've been a little over it just because we did so much vacationing this summer and got SO MUCH pool and ocean time, but I think I'm just being weird this year and that's why I could ever get "enough." Happy Labor Day to you all!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

components for the perfect at-home brunch ++ labor day champagne brunch planning

You may have guessed anything having to do with champagne + brunch is my favorite!!! We're hosting brunch this Saturday for a group of 10-12 at our house, and I'm working on all the last minute details and sourcing / shopping today -- hooray!!!

Ham Biscuits
Sausage Balls
Veggie & Pancetta Frittatas
Yogurt & Granola Parfaits
Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Limoncello Sparklers
Sparkling Lemonade
Sparkling French Berry Lemonade

I'm planning to do some rearranging in our living room -- move the couch 90 degrees so it's situated in front of the picture window, then bring our outdoor long table and wicker chairs inside to make one long table everyone can sit at. I may put the settee on one short side of it to maximize room and utilize some of our round-back chairs too. We'll see how much room we're looking at once we get it moved around.

I plan to leave the faux wood table top exposed, but put a yellow seersucker runner down the center (which I need to sew and probably monogram before tomorrow). I might pull out the white hemstitch napkins, but I did buy some yellow striped luncheon napkins that'll do the trick and fit with my sunny color scheme -- sometimes simpler is best! (Not sure I have time to press all those hemstitch ones!)

We'll be using our green & gold rimmed china, as well as our crystal, but some pretty Lillian brand faux gold cutlery. It may feel odd for everyone to eat on china plates with plastic cutlery, but I love the look (they're so real looking!!) and sometimes you just have to mix and match. One day I'd love to own a set of gold utensils and maybe rose gold, too!

While there will be no topper (definitely not one that says "baby") and probably not even an actual cake, I do plan to make chocolate chip cupcakes with espresso buttercream, like I did for Drew's birthday last month. They were such a hit -- scrumptious recipe, and divine with the swiss meringue buttercream variation -- and I love incorporating flavors from our wedding day into our everyday entertaining now. I'd love to use the gold edible paint I have, but somehow it doesn't translate too great with cupcakes. :/

I planned to get a lot of flowers at Trader Joe's to decorate, but the yellow pickins there were slim to none and just didn't seem like they'd last an extra two days. I may see if our local Publix has anything good looking by the weekend, and if not, I'll just deal without a legit centerpiece. I took home some flowers from last week's wedding but the lilies are dying and George (the cat) keeps eating the greenery! AGH!

My ULTRA over-enthusiastic plans included getting a huge piece of artwork to replace the three frames situated above our couch, paint the dining room Sea Salt (it's a boring orange-tan now and I'm over it), and paint / switch over the office to a somewhat functioning guest room, since we're going to have houseguests the next two weekends in a row. None of that's happening, of course, but a girl can dream!

So, what am I missing?
- Sew or iron "hem" on seersucker runner
- Monogram runner
- Prep & cook / bake / assemble food items
- Make pot of coffee
- Get out china & glassware
- Set table
- Rearrange furniture
- Blow up & tie balloons onto mailbox
- Get cupcake liners
- Bake, fill, & frost cupcakes
- Chill champagne & lemonades
- Update seasonal mantle display
- Get flowers?

Components for a Perfect At-Home Brunch

A time frame that makes sense.
For me, 11am sounds like a sensible brunch party timeline. Late enough for your guests to sleep in, ample time to finish prepping food and getting those hot items in the oven just in time, but not too late to ruin anyone's appetite. I make it a little earlier for holiday gatherings like Christmas or New Year's.

Simple, elegant, tasty menu. 
Not too complicated -- I recommend two meat options, one bread/pastry, fruit (and/or yogurt) - can be a self-serve station, and something sweet. Don't forget coffee & mimosas or a signature drink!

A party without a cake is just a meeting, didn't you know???

Ample seating for your guests.
Since our kitchen table is a little small (fits about 8 tops), we utilize our outdoor furniture by bringing it inside to maximize space. Feel free to mix and match chairs.

A few simple decorations.
A pretty table runner or printed napkins, a floral centerpiece (or some configuration of candles -- I love clear vessels and colored tapers for a fun, inexpensive look!), and a pretty food display is all you need.

An intimate but fun guest list!
Your guests make the party, so choose wisely!