Pregnancy Update + Baby Name Announcement

Hi, everyone!

I wanted to pop in and give a little pregnancy update now that I’m officially in my third trimester! I appreciate everyone asking and checking in on me. But whew, this pregnancy has been a doozy pretty much right from 6 weeks. Thankfully my nausea has really subsided, though I still take some over the counter medication for it because when I don’t, I’m in for a rough day …still! I still have some weird food aversions, but I can actually cook again. Now it’s mostly just the exhaustion and standard aches/pains of growing a human. If you’ve been following for awhile, you know that my pregnancy with Henry took a turn with a spike in my blood pressure toward the end landing me with a gestational hypertension diagnosis then leading to an induction 3 weeks before his due date. Hopefully this time my BP stays level stable, though there’s about a million more other outside stressors happening in the world today!

Navigating pregnancy during Covid has been a little more anxiety inducing than I had originally anticipated. Some days, it’s just a lot trying to know and feel confident in the right decisions to make for our family. All while trying to work, entertain a toddler, grow a baby, and keep the household running with little help from the outside world. Thankfully, I have a super supportive, level headed husband that I can tackle these challenges with! So when I say I’m tired, it’s pretty physical and mentally. There is so much unknown with the virus, especially with pregnant women and the baby. What we do know is that the virus gives me a higher risk to complications and my doctor advised us if we have the luxury of staying home, with the high amount of cases this winter, we should do so. So we’ve been basically staying to ourselves as much as possible, to keep us safe as possible. In the mean time, I’m starting to feel those nesting vibes so the baby clothes are already washed and put away in the smallest sizes, haha! With all that being said, we are obviously so excited to meet our next little man.

With no baby shower to share the name with our closet family and friends like last time, we decided to share on social media! Our immediate families already know, of course. We had a short list of names going in to the 20 week scan when finding out the gender and once I heard “it’s a boy!”, I knew he was Jack. The same kind of feeling happened when we found out Henry was a boy, I knew he was Henry! I never really feel if it’s a boy or girl like a lot of people do, so it feels kind of special to have this. After a day or two of “thinking” about it with Nick, it kind of just became his name naturally in conversation. Plus, it helped that we would run names past Henry and “baby Jack” stuck with him. If you’ve happen to talk to him he probably spoiled his little brothers name to you, haha! We had already decided if it was a boy, his middle name would be Joseph as a representation of my family. My dad and brother’s name is Joseph, so it feels really special to pass that down! As we’ve grown our family we realized middle names are what we prefer to use as the more meaningful names. As for first names, there isn’t much behind it beside that we just go with names we like!

So that’s that! I’ll be here washing baby clothes, laying low and anticipating the day we get to meet Jack. Thank you all for all the support!

Xo, Anna

2020 Christmas Activity Calendar

Hey guys!

With 2020 being a weird one, I wanted to make it a little extra special with all the time we will be spending safely at home. What started with wanting to put a few activities in Henry’s advent calendar (mainly things we already do) it quickly turned into an activity a day so we wouldn’t rush through all the fun! Also, it makes typical things I give him (like Christmas stickers) more intentional. I kept things VERY simple because, let’s be honest, pregnancy has my energy pretty low and I don’t want to commit too much! You can always add a little something more to the activity. I’ll include some ideas I have for that possible spike of energy. Everything that requires an activity is something we just already have laying around or I’ve already bought for the season so I’d assume other parents might too. Full disclaimer, a week a go I did a huge holiday Target run, because with covid on the rise, I wanted to limit my trips so I came out with allllll the Christmas things that are just sitting in the basement already. So let’s get to it!

Here is our official calendar along with a blank one! Printable PDF file (click here):

Use these ideas to make your own calendar in what fits in your schedule, you’ll notice some are even easier than others or the things on weekends are more fun with both parents present! Here is my full list of ideas along with some explanations.

  1. Play with Christmas stickers

2. Get out and read all of the Christmas books

3. Decorate something (I have window clings to decorate front door)

4. Bake cookies (Pillsbury ready to bake dough, anyone?!!)

5. Build and decorate gingerbread house (bought a premade set at target)

6. Make a Christmas craft for gifts, I ordered this set! (I put this early in the calendar because his attention span usually doesn’t allow for him to knock out the same activity multiple times, so we have all month to work on them)

7. Make paper snowflakes

8. Learn about Christmas colors (red/green) and color a picture

9. Read the Polar Express then watch movie

10. Find the hidden candy canes (will put them around the house) then eat one!

11. Drive around to look at the neighborhood lights

12. Set up the train under the tree

13. Learn about how another country celebrates Christmas (I grew up celebrating St. Lucia Day the Swedish Christmas tradition)

14. Write a letter to Santa

15. Find and count all the trees around the house (meaning all the decor), you could easily add some sort of Pinterest tree craft to add in here like this one!

16. Talk about Jesus and the nativity set

17. Finger print light activity (like this)

18. Christmas music dance party! (or you could do karaoke depending on your kiddos willingness to preform)

19. Drive thru Christmas lights (we have tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo for this)

20. Build a fort by the “fire” and drink hot chocolate (I’ll put on the TV fire screen saver)

21. Have a Christmas movie marathon

22. Find and count the snowmen around the house (mean all the decor again), you can add on cotton ball snowman activity to this like this one.

23. Make reindeer food (oatmeal, red/green sprinkles)

24. Open one gifts! (we always do this Christmas eve)

Some extras weather/covid dependant:

-Decorate cookies

-Sled ride in snow

-Build snowmen in snow

-Donate toys

-Donate food

-Visit Santa

-Christmas Pjs all day

I hope you found this helpful and not too stressful. Be sure to tag me if you plan on joining the fun! Merry Christmas!

Xo, Anna

Toddler Gift Guide

Hi, guys!

I’ve been a little MIA because if you’ve been following on Instagram, we are expecting baby number two! I’ve been feeling pretty rough, but I did want to make an effort into gift guides for my followers this holiday season.

Everything included in this one are products we already have or a few he is asking for this year. I do plan on following daily sales and posted in Instagram stories when I see them so be sure to follow along!

Why so early? Well it’s not that early to me, I like to get a head start so I’m not buying all at once. But this year there is expected delay in shipping and lots of places are doing all month long deals versus one day!

It is all linked in the free LikeToKnow.it app which gives me a small commission for your purchase. Feel free to reach out with questions.

Links to all products shown: http://liketk.it/30uOS

Happy shopping!

Xo, Anna

5 Potty Training Must-Have Products

A while back, just before Henry was 2 1/2 we decided to take the plunge into potty training. After doing some research, talking to a few fellow mom friends I got the “Oh Crap Potty Training” book. I took my time reading and then we decided to take the plunge! I followed it mostly, but did make a few tweaks along the way due to Henry’s personality and with him being in a crib we decided to wait on night training. Now if I would’ve known we were going to be quarantined a month or so later, I would’ve just waited because you really have to stay home and concentrate at this big task… oooh, the irony!

I’ve been meaning to do this but am finally getting around to sharing my 5 favorite products we used during this time for anyone else that is getting started for this big milestone!

 

Oh Crap Potty Training Book, click here for the link. Like I had mentioned, we followed this pretty much fully, but I did make some tweaks like prizes the first week or so and holding off on night training.

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Bjorn Toilet Training Seat, click here for the link. So I know, this is a little expensive, but it really is my favorite. Henry preferred this over the actual potty seat from day one. It has the pee guard and is just super sturdy for your wiggly toddler.

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Training Undies, click here for the link. These have extra padding to help catch any leaks getting to the potty which are great when you’re on the go in the newly trained stages.

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Potty Chair, click here for the link. To this day, I always have this in my trunk because I realized how gross toddlers are in public bathrooms. They. touch. every. thing. Plus, you know, COVID. I got it originally thinking it’d what he train on, but he preferred the seat like I mentioned before!

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Travel Potty Seat, click here for the link. This little guy folds up in a neat little bag and you can throw in your diaper bag for that middle of the Target trip scream of “I HAVE TO GO POTTY!”.

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Bonus tip: Grab a pack of Post-it notes to cover the automatic flusher in public bathrooms! The last thing you want is a toddler scared of the potty!

 

I’m always here to answer questions on what worked for us! Good luck and congrats!

Xo, Anna

My Favorite Drugstore Makeup & More

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Hi, friends!

I’m excited to be back on the blog and one topic that I realized I never mentioned was makeup! Truthfully, if you see me during the week, I don’t wear much makeup or any at all really. Usually, I only have enough time to shower or do my makeup… and showering usually wins!  I’m a total drugstore makeup gal, and I have been for my entire life because if you haven’t gathered it yet, I totally value convenience…  and frequent Target, hah! Every once in a while I add in something from Sephora, but basically only because my more makeup savvy loved ones gifted it to me and I got hooked.  So, let’s get started!

Primer- Maybelline Face Studio Master Prime Primer

Foundation- Revlon Colorstay(when doing full makeup)

BB Cream-NYX Professional Makeup Beauty Balm BB Cream (I do this on lighter makeup days versus foundation.)

Concealer- Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer

Powder- Maybelline Fit Me Loose Powder

Bronzer-CLINIQUE True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer (Probably the only “higher end” product I consistently reorder)

Blush- TARTE Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush OR MILK Lip + Cheek (both of these are from Sephora that I got as a gift, not sure if I’d re-order but do really like them for now!)

Highlighter-Maybelline Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

Eyeshadows- I really do LOVE Urban Decay shadows, but due to the price point, I’ve been exploring other options. I got this pallet at the Sephora sale and have been using it anytime I put a shadow on (it’s only 10 bucks for a palette of 6 colors)! SEPHORA COLLECTION #Eyestories Eyeshadow Palette

Eyeliner- NYX Liner Stick

Eyebrows-NYX Professional Makeup Microbrow Pencil (drugstore) or when I feel like splurging, ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Brow Wiz (Sephora)

Mascara-COVERGIRL LashBlast Fusion Mascara or L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara

Lips: NYX Professional Makeup Butter Lip Gloss on the regular or when I want red, I use BITE BEAUTY Creamy Matte Lip Crayon, Candy apple

Setting Spray-Milani Make It Last Prime + Correct + Set Makeup Setting Spray

That’s a wrap. Happy shopping!

Xo, Anna

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5 Tips to Elevate Your Loungewear Look

Take your loungewear from drab to fab with these 5 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦 and 𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘺 tips! 💕⁣

👉🏼Give your tee a front knot.⁣
👉🏼Brush your hair & throw on a cute hat.⁣
👉🏼Opt for “nicer” sneakers.⁣
👉🏼Pull in some denim, like a jacket.⁣
👉🏼Grab a trendier (diaper) bag.⁣
💕And you’re out! ⁣

You can instantly shop this look by following me on the LIKEtoKNOW.it shopping app or following the link this link. http://liketk.it/2Taj5

Xo,

Anna

My First Skin Care Routine

Hi, guys!

Time flies when in quarantine and I haven’t written a blog post in so long. One of my quarantine activities was to learn about skin care and actually invest in some products… and then stick to it! Well, it’s been over 30 days since starting my first skin care routine so I think it’s fair for me to comment now.

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I will tell ya, something about getting into your 30s makes you realize that your skin ain’t lookin’ any younger. I was always so intimidated by the crazy amount of products out there and I had no idea where to start. A Sephora sale was about to happen so I pretty much spent the week leading up to is researching. I didn’t want to break the bank and was trying to keep things simpler, to begin with.

I stumbled across a brand called The Inkey List and was really intrigued by their price point. Everything is around $10-$15 bucks! While doing some of my research and browsing on Sephora’s I ended up on the actual Inkey List website. They have a tool called a recipe builder where you input your skin concerns and it then simply tells you what products to use! I’ll be honest I didn’t buy all the products they suggested, but I did love how they have the categories of cleansing, hydrate, treat, moisturizer then SPF. It made it so easy for a newb like me to figure out where to start and what to get so I went all in.

Here is which of their products I’ve been using:

  1. Cleanse- Most days, just the Salicyle Acid Cleanser. If I have makeup on, I double wash and using the Oat Cleanser first.
  2. Hydrate- Hyaluronic Acid
  3. Treat- 15% Vitamin C + ECF Serum (day), Glycolic Acid Toner (at night) and Brighten Eye Cream
  4. Moisturize- Multi- Biotic Moisturizer, but recently switched to Peptide Moisturizer(I prefer it)
  5. SPF (I’m loving this brand’s SPF which works amazing under makeup)

I’ll add that I have used the Aztec Secret Indina Healing Clay Face Mask here and there to help with my blackheads too. Is my skin perfect? Nope. Has it’s improved? Hell yes.

Here is the before and after of using these products for 30 days.

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If you want to get in on skincare and don’t know where to start, head over to The Inkey List website and find the recipe builder to see where to start or just click here. This is not paid or gifted (though I wish, haha), I just truly am loving their products!

Talk soon, Anna

A Year In Review, I’m 32!

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Here we are another year has gone by. If you would’ve told me last year that we would be in quarantine this year I would spit out my drink laughing…. ha! Celebrating will look a little different this year but I’m excited to spend the day with my two favorite guys. As I’m always reflecting around this time I want to dive into what this last year has brought for me and what’s to come!

My blogging has gotten turned up a notch as I’ve landed some fun collaborations with some of my favorite businesses, reached over 1k Instagram followers organically (it was a goal I set to achieve by the end of the year) and I’ve continued to network with so many inspiring women in this industry that I now call friends!

Though my school loans are nearly paid off and I’ve been out of the sales/marketing field full time for a minute in a sense, I’ve had a passion for social media marketing reignited in me with constant research and learning with my website/blog. I am now brainstorming ways that I can circle back to the roots of my first internship and help educated small businesses in it someday.

As a mom, I’ve grown in my confidence and have enjoyed toddlerhood wayyyyy more than the newborn stages. Whether its the anxiety settling or just experience, give me a tantrum over a mystery crying baby anytime!

I was feeling like I was missing mom friends in my life that were local and I am so glad to say that I found some that I can enjoy a mimosa with while the boys run wild or call when I need out of the house ASAP! I can’t wait to see where these friendships go as we also watch our kids grow together.

In the home front, we’ve conquered more projects from new doors to finally hanging some art on the walls! Henry is day potty trained and is making this home feel smaller with his big personality and endless energy. We plan on sending him to a 2 year old preschool in the fall because I’m legit boring him he’s so smart! Nick and I also decided we want to low key expand our little family so we will see if/what happens with that adventure. 🤪

I had my four year anniversary with Stitch Fix and continue to be extremely proud of the company I work for. Raising Henry and working at home can have its tough moments but overall it is worth it!

We traveled to Philly for our family vacation, Deep Creek half a dozen times like usual, New York to celebrate my grandmas 90th birthday (which was so special) and Michigan to see family which is always a good time. Hopefully, this virus will allow us to take a few trips we had in mind this year now that Henry is a little bit more mellow and flexible!

Thanks for your endless support with reading my blog, liking my posts and supporting me on and offline. It means the world to me!

Off to blow out the candles to begin another year,

Anna

My Morning Favorites

 

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Hi, all!

Awhile back when doing a poll on my Instagram feed many of you voted to see more of my favorite everyday products. Truthfully, I’m so used to using the things I use that I forget to share! I keep things pretty simple around product-wise. I usually try to wake up before my son to get some work done and enjoy a silent start to the day. It takes a bit of adjusting, but it really helps me start my day off calmer and at my own pace. As I was thinking of my morning routine every day, I came up with five products that I’m always reaching for.

Cheers

  1. Vital Proteins
    • Guys, I swear by this stuff! It’s helped my hair grow after all the postpartum nonsense and now I can’t stop using it. I feel like I have pregnancy hair without pregnancy. I put it in my coffee each morning and it’s simply become part of the routine. You can find it by clicking here.
  2. Yeti Mug
    1. Lucky for me, I got this in a Christmas gift exchange and I was SO pumped! I love this mug. I haven’t used any of my other mugs since I got it. It’s perfect for mom life with its lid AND keeps your coffee warm for so long. It is perfect for a gift to yourself or a fellow mom trying to drink warm coffee more often! Find it by clicking here.
  3. Robe
    • As soon as I wake up, I’m always reaching for my robe. I have a rotation of a few knit robes I grab to keep me cozy in the cool mornings. I have two versions of this one from Target! I love how soft it is… and pockets! Find it by clicking here.
  4. Water Bottle
    • Okay, so this may be kind of silly to have to this list, but I seriously walk around with a water bottle all day every day. I’m sensitive to migraines and making sure I’m hydrated is a huge factor in this. I don’t use anything too fancy, just this one I found at Target and have been loving it. It’s lightweight, spill-proof to a curious toddler and holds 28 oz of water. You can find it clicking here.
  5. Quip Toothbrush
    • I always wanted an electric toothbrush, but they always take up so much room and our bathroom is tight. When I saw this, I was so excited to try it! I’ve been using it since Christmas and love it. They also send you new toothbrush heads as a subscription so you don’t even need to worry about it. You can find it by clicking here. 

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll keep sharing more of my favorite products in the weeks to come!

Xo, Anna

*Links are an affiliate for me to earn a small commission but none of the products are sponsored, just truly products I use every day!*

An Ambulance Ride

When the newborn sleepless fog began to lift, Henry was about 4 months old. We headed to my parents for my dad’s birthday party. For whatever reason, Henry flipped. Like no other flip out before. Not a colicky thing, it was so much more intense… He would not stop crying, okay more like screaming, for anything! For like a really long time. He wouldn’t nurse, he wouldn’t sleep, he was just screaming. I couldn’t soothe him, Nick couldn’t, my mom couldn’t… and at one point I just broke down with an overwhelming fear something was wrong. This was the first of his episodes (it’s what we would end up calling them). These episodes would continue to happen in the next week or so and I was just chalking it up to just a really fussy baby with some clueless first-time parents.

Then the day of Henry’s four-month well visit came. It happened again… in front of the doctor… and he couldn’t stop… and I couldn’t calm him down. I was helpless. The doctor kept coming back into the room, telling me “I’m sorry if you can’t calm I’m down soon we need to talk” and she kept checking his pulse and heart rate. I knew something was wrong. He screamed his lungs out for probably an hour. His pulse and heart rate were scary high. Our doctor needed him to be check for a heart condition ASAP and an ambulance was on the way.

I was so scared. Not to mention I was so upset that even all of these nurses and doctors couldn’t do anything else but just pitying me and my screaming baby. Nothing anyone could do could was calming him. But wasn’t I supposed to know how? I’m his mom. But I didn’t…

Just as the ambulance pulled into the doctor’s office he had worn himself and fell asleep in my arms. This episode had finally ended. The doctor was still extremely concerned that he had this type of heart condition that essentially is that his heart rate would get so high it literally didn’t know how to slow down in these moments. Which obviously isn’t a good thing and would need to be managed.

Then there before my eyes was my baby was on a strapped to a stretcher going into an ambulance. A sight I will never forget and I know has shaped me into the kind of parent I am today.

Once we were at the children’s hospital, we had a pretty crappy experience but the most important part Henry was fine. His tests came back negative and we were diagnosed with a really high strung baby who would eventually grow out of it. Which as difficult as he was as a baby, thank God, that’s all it was.

I spent the rest of the year on eggshells trying to not set him off one of his episodes because truthfully, I couldn’t bear not being able to calm him. It was so embarrassing to me, let alone in public. Eventually we figured out what would likely set him off and got him on a strict schedule because it was the only thing that actually helped. He couldn’t be overtired and he liked knowing what to expect. Which left little time for outings and forget leaving him with a babysitter.

Throughout the year I’d say he was just a fussy baby. But really we had a fussy baby, I mean, we had a really fussy baby. Gosh, he even freaked the doctors out. He was freaking tough. Only a few people witnessed these episodes, just family really, who can attest to his stubborn screaming fits.

As time went on, he mellowed out. Like a lot. It’s like as soon as he could start talking he felt more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, he can still throw an epic crying fit but more like the standard toddler would not the medically threatening kind.

Not too long ago, I started to feel myself relax and be able to enjoy things as thoroughly as I should without worrying so much. I think back and wonder if I did have postpartum anxiety … I think probably so. Did I realize it at the time? Maybe, but those stupid forms I had to fill out with a screaming baby in my arms didn’t do anything. Did friends hint that I should mellow out? For sure. Did they know the whole story? Would the even get it? Probably not because I wouldn’t go around anyone with him to witness it.

Why am I sharing it now? Truthfully, I don’t know. I just know writing it out was therapeutic, like a weight has been lifted and I will share it in case it can help even one person. Some days I find myself slipping back to that heavy weighted feeling in my chest and it’s hard. I know to most people I have outwardly seemed like I have it all together as a mom (maybe?😅) and it’s most certainly not true. We all have stories that shape us and this is part of mine.

Xo, Anna