The Reality of My First Trimester

1) Heightened sense of smell is not fun.

Image from stayglam.com
Image from stayglam.com

I can’t escape the odors around me. All aromas, including the ones I once enjoyed, now seem too pungent and personal. Especially at night for some reason. And now that morning sickness and nausea have kicked into high gear, I start feeling queasy with any smell that makes its way into my nostrils. I’ve read articles that say this heightened sense of smell is like a fun “super power.” I think not.

2) I have a growing need for attention.

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by zazzle.co.uk

I’m not proud of this one, and yet it’s hard to fight. I feel the need to announce or remind people of my pregnancy in order to receive an excited and congratulatory response or get some slack for any undesirable behavior that I may or may not display. More than ever, I seek attention and special treatment, but I know I’m just setting myself up for emotional disaster.

3) Linus, too, has become an attention seeker.

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It seems like overnight Linus has become very high maintenance. Exercise, treats, and any sort of attention for that matter just don’t cut it with him lately. The guilt and frustration in not being able to keep up with him is overwhelming, and I can’t seem to figure out what’s causing his new surge of attention-seeking energy. Could it be that he truly senses that he won’t be our only “baby” for long?

4) I scoff at running as a suggested pregnancy exercise. 

Image by top10supps.com
Image from top10supps.com

My breasts are so sore that they hurt even when I walk, and putting on a regular bra wipes me out. So I’m in awe of those pregnant women who are willing to invest in a maternity sports bra for the sole purpose of running or jogging. With every stride I’d be like, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow…”

5) I’m determined to help change the world. 

Image from howtocopewithpain.org
Image from izismile.com
Image from izismile.com

More than ever, the injustices of the world plague me. Perhaps it’s maternal instincts kicking in and urging me to help build a kinder and better world for my kid. I could be more eco-conscious, give people the benefit of the doubt, practice generosity, adopt a dog, show more compassion. At this stage, when all I want to do is sleep and eat, such ideas seem laughable to me. But now I realize it’s not maternal instincts, but the growing, beating heart that’s challenging me to change the world — even if they’re but small changes.

Home Decor Must-Haves and Tips

It’s been a little over two months since we moved into our new home. There are still some areas that I’m dying to remodel so with my to-do list in hand I began examining the house today.

I hadn’t done a proper walk-through since we finished decorating the downstairs area, which was shortly after we moved in. It must have been the magic of the afternoon light shining through the windows or something, but I found myself pausing to set down my list and look around as my heart flowed over with gratitude and pride. We had done a damn fine job with the place.

Now, my husband and I tend to disagree over the small things while agreeing on the big things. The big things namely being wedding plan ideas, toothpaste squeezing methods, how we raise Linus, what constitutes as good music and movies, and future endeavors. Home decorating also falls into this list, and we both happen to enjoy eclectic and rustic / industrial decor. In other words, we love mixing and matching. We surround ourselves with pieces that have “character” because we, not to mention Linus, certainly are characters.

Fortunately, Amazon has been more than accommodating to our tastes, and our purchases succeed in reflecting our quirky personalities.

With my remodeling to-do list aside, here’s to embracing what we have now. And no matter where your home decor style lies, here are some decorating tips:

1. LAUGHTER: Keep it playful

Always with the pokes, jokes, and giggles, my husband and I are definitely a laughing couple. Just the same, anyone who meets us would most likely describe us as quirky (in truth, weird). I wanted our home to reflect just that, and the bathroom provides a great starting point.

nexxt Classic Multi Length Shelves, White, Set of 4
nexxt Classic Multi Length Shelves, White, Set of 4
20" Shabby Chic Wood Arched-Top Wall Mirror
20″ Shabby Chic Wood Arched-Top Wall Mirror

 

2. FUNCTIONALITY: Make it work for you

Our entryway was a bit challenging. I didn’t want to crowd the space with a console, and by this time I was done hanging up pictures so artwork was out of the question. Hanging candle lanterns solved the problem. They keep the entryway clutter-free and airy and also provide an inviting and unique light source.

Hanging candle lantern
Distressed Antiqued Vintage Style Metal Decorative Wrought Iron Hanging LED Candle Lantern

3. SIMPLICITY: It’s not complicated

Our pendant light fixture is a beautifully simple focal point in the kitchen. With its clean lines and industrial attitude, having meals under this fixture is always a joy.

 

Vintage Hanging Island Pendant Light Fixture
Vintage Hanging Island Pendant Light Fixture

 

4. HAVEN: Get away

When anything goes into the boho territory, things tend to get spicy and interesting, which are very desirable characteristics for the bedroom — except when your dog takes over your bed. Rich-colored tapestries tied together act as a dreamy canopy, creating a safe enclosure from the outside world.

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Hippy Mandala Bohemian Tapestries

 

Thanks for reading!

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Updated Nighttime Skincare Routine: Skin Saviors From My Pantry

When it comes to skincare, “cheap” and “effective” make a winning combination. Add “natural” to the mix — even better.

During the past month, I was re-living my teenage years, constantly whining and complaining about my acne flare-ups to my mom. Then one day, my mom brought over that all too familiar orange box of baking soda and set it in front of me. She told me that it was all over Pinterest, that it was good for fighting acne, and she suggested that I use it as a cleanser. First of all, I didn’t even know that my mom knew what Pinterest was. But…baking soda as a cleanser?

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I thought, what the hell. If it didn’t work, I would have an excuse to bake more often. So I gave it a go, and my complexion improved remarkably fast. All I did was replace my regular cleanser with baking soda. Here’s how I’ve incorporated it into my nighttime skincare routine.

I remove my makeup with Garnier Skinactive Micellar Cleansing Water (the blue waterproof makeup remover version). Next, I form a paste with about a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and water. I distribute the paste all over my face in a circular motion. The paste feels like a gentle exfoliant and dries quickly, after which I rinse my face. There is no residue, and surprisingly, my skin doesn’t feel tight from dryness. To tone, I follow up by applying apple cider vinegar with a cotton ball and spray my face with water to alleviate the eye-stinging that it tends to cause.

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For my serum, I apply three drops of Balanced Guru Nourish Me Facial Serum, which is an organic moisturizing serum I use at morning and night. My last step is moisturizer, which currently is Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-Enriched Renewal Cream and garners compliments from my husband. He says my face smells like orange Tic Tacs, which is all right with me.

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Grab-and-go Breakfast Egg Cups

The a.m. is by far my favorite time of day. It’s when I’ve reset and feel my best. It’s when Linus greets me with a loving gaze and playful nudge. And of course, the best meal of day, breakfast, is served and propels me into the new day.

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But, pity the fool who forces me to rush through my morning routine and pass up my sacred breakfast. If I have to skip it by flying out the door for whatever reason, I quickly get thrown off track and flustered.

But, that’s life, no? There will always be days in which I’ll miss my alarm or deal with an emergency. Having learned early on that I’m manifestly useless whenever I don’t have breakfast, I dutifully prepare grab-and-go breakfast snacks, such as these adorable and very versatile egg cups.

Veggie and Cheese Egg Cups

Ingredients

  • Beaten eggs
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Broccoli (raw and roughly chopped)
  • Mushrooms (raw and roughly chopped)
  • Green onions (chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Sweet Potato and Sun-dried Tomato Egg Cups

Ingredients

  • Baked and mashed sweet potatoes
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Chopped green onions
  • Beaten eggs

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Trying to Get a Bun in the Oven

For the past 5 months, my husband and I have been trying to conceive. We’ve been relying on my trusty Ovia app to calculate my fertile days. Due to our dutiful attempts, Linus has become accustomed to finding us behind closed doors and patiently waits for us to re-emerge.

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I, as a wannabe parent, have started to longingly gaze at pregnant women’s bellies–especially at work for I am literally surrounded by those who are in their second and third trimesters. (Sympathising co-workers recommend that I simply drink the water at work.) I have also gotten way ahead of myself and created a Pinterest board of pregnancy fashion.

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I now agonize over the few days prior to my expected period date. I swear I feel every early pregnancy symptom known to woman, which sends my hopes flying sky-high, only to get the most unwelcome visit from Aunt Flo. Why do PMS and pregnancy symptoms have to be so damn similar? 

So here I am again wondering if my fatigue, achingly tender breasts, cramps, bloating, nausea, dizziness, gas, thick cervical fluid, and appetite increase are all pregnancy symptoms. I shall find out tomorrow morning!

If indeed I am pregnant, I’m going to shout the wonderful news from the rooftops. If I’m not, I’ll drink my bloody disappointment away with a Bloody Mary, put myself together, and try again. Wish me luck!

Ladies, I would love to hear about your TTC and pregnancy stories! Please do share!

Doggy Days in Denver

You can imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered Rover.com was interested in doggy city guides in Denver, CO. Rover.com is a site where you can browse potential dog sitters and boarders, arrange meetings, and pick the sitter/boarder who you and your dog click with the best. Here’s the local Denver dog sitter page for my Denver readers.

I literally couldn’t get this post up fast enough. Despite my eagerness to take Linus out to explore and discover his favorite places, I’ve had quite a few obstacles, including moving and settling in, starting a new job, and getting snowed in for several days.

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There were a few days, however, when both scheduling and the weather were in agreement, and we hit the ground running and came upon various dog parks and a dog-friendly bar in Denver and surrounding areas.

Over the past year of owning my energetic and playful fur baby, I’d like to say I’ve become a connoisseur of dog-friendly venues and developed a keen eye for pros and cons while entertaining and exercising Linus. Thus, my rating system for each dog park is based on: size, terrain, pet station availability, friendliness of dogs, owner responsiveness, and cleanliness.

Englewood Canine Corral Dog Park

First up, we have Englewood Canine Corral Dog Park. While we appreciated the spaciousness and friendliness of the dogs and owners, the mulch caused some concern about splinters getting stuck in Linus’ paws. Otherwise, it was a pleasant doggy atmosphere surrounded by a beautiful park.

Linus’ rating: 4 out of 5

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Green Valley Ranch East Dog Park

We live just a few blocks away from a dog park. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to rate the Green Valley Ranch East Dog Park because our enjoyment there has been so inconsistent. In nearly all of the times that we’ve gone, we came across neglected dog poop and irresponsible owners who would leave their dogs with their children running a muck and unattended. The other disconcerting discovery is that folks seem to lose their dogs often around here.

Cons aside, Linus has enjoyed some romps with other playful dogs at the spacious 2-acre park with its shady area, benches, and available water bowls.

Linus’ rating: 3 out of 5

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Stapleton Dog Park

Expansive even for Linus’ long-legged standards, Stapleton Dog Park is impressive in its size as well as for its amenities. There are several covered sitting areas that provide shade and water bowls. Multiple entrances allow for the ample dog traffic here, and our brief exchanges with the owners and their dogs have been pleasant and fun.

The dog park is sandy, which makes it easy to pick up after Linus; but, it’s also a challenge to walk and run around in. When the sand became too hot, Linus found some relief in the shade. He did, unfortunately, have to avoid the territorial, stuck-to-their-master dogs if he didn’t want to get snapped at.

Linus’ rating: 4 out of 5

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Glendale Farm Open Space and Trail 

Having saved the best dog park for last, I just had to mention this vast open space even though it is outside of Denver. It is a heaven for active dogs and trail-loving owners. The moderately easy trail winds up at a steady incline to a breathtaking view of the adjacent winding Glendale Trail (where dogs must be leashed) and surrounding Pikes Peak and the Colorado Front Range. Near the top, there are picnic tables, benches, and a small agility area. The 17-acre space gave both Linus and me the opportunity to burn off some energy in meeting other dogs along the trail and explore the natural terrain.

Linus’ rating: 5 out of 5

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The Watering Bowl (a dog-friendly bar)

When I think about The Watering Bowl, I think about a place that formed from a brilliant idea with good intentions that simply never delivered properly. I also think about the utter disappointment it left me with. I just wish so badly that that idea focused more on the quality of food before it came into fruition.

They got the dog-friendly part down, for sure. The dog park/patio area provides ample space for dogs to meet and greet, and I know that Linus had a blast with that in addition to picking up crumbs at people’s feet. But, perhaps, it was rather too dog-friendly for my taste because nobody seemed to have the sense or urgency of picking up after their dog whose little poo nugget lay right next to our table. I took it upon myself to clean it up before our food arrived.

“We eat with our eyes first,” and how I wish that weren’t true in this case! I sat stunned and confused staring at this watery salad mixed with spray canned cheese nachos. It tasted just as disgusting as it looked. To get the horrid taste out of my mouth, I reached for my iced tea only to wash the food down with a taste of metallic water and cardboard. Perhaps the only close-to-redeeming food items were the dessert: caramel cheesecake for my husband and me, and a peanut butter and bacon dog biscuit for Linus.

While all expectations of this joint’s food have left me forever, I actually would still recommend The Watering Bowl — but merely to dog owners for meetings such as first-time dog introductions for prospective dog boarding, sitting, dating, etc. over a drink or two, which is what I’m thinking of doing through Rover.com.

Linus’ rating: 3 out of 5

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I hope these reviews are of some use to Colorado visitors and residents. So many more dog-friendly adventures await us out there!

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Linus, Me, & The Road — Our Road Trip to Denver, CO

In the spirit of celebration and jubilation of Linus’ and my safe arrival in Denver, I wanted to share a collection of photos from our road trip. Everything about the move has been nothing short of wearisome and demanding, and I’ve been made into a believer that moving is certainly one of the most stressful events anyone can face. Nevertheless, now that we’re here and settled in I am fixing my eyes forward.

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A few road trip tips – Prior to this trip, I had truly underestimated the value of keeping essentials within close reach, such as in the cup holder, inside the arm rest compartment, etc. Perhaps most of you travel savvy folks already know this. Still, it bears mentioning. Here are some items that I found especially handy while driving:

  • Hand sanitizer and hand lotion
  • Cell phone
  • Wallet
  • Water, coffee, and snacks
  • Napkins
  • Sunglasses
  • Chew toys and dog treats

Please visit my previous blog post regarding more road trip essentials.

Preparing for the Move — Car Essentials

The Final Countdown by Europe in Geico Commercial
The Final Countdown by Europe in Geico Commercial

“It’s the final countdown!” Four more days until I arrive in Colorado to move into our new house and finally reunite with my husband!

It’s been a long time coming — and it’ll certainly be a long time going as well. The trip will most likely span about 18 hours as we plan on taking the longer route going through Arizona, New Mexico, and finally Colorado. The plan is to stop, stretch, and rest every four hours. Especially with Linus riding in the backseat, frequent stops will be necessary.

In lieu of a passenger in the passenger seat, I’ll have my necessities sitting close at hand and at my disposal as we brave the long journey ahead.

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Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, relatively healthy. I have everything I want to satisfy any food craving along the way.

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Also in the passenger seat, I’ll have paper towels, toilet paper, a physical map (which is always a good idea during road trips in case you can’t find phone reception), my baseball cap, and a beanie.

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This is Linus’ stuff. The strawberry bag is filled to the brim with plastic/doggy bags and dog food, and the white envelope contains quarters (because you never know when you’ll need change). He’ll have plenty of water and bully sticks (Linus does love him a good bull penis), and just in case he has an accident somewhere indoors I’ll be prepared to oblige with the spray.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

 

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My New Look & February Favorites 2016

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In just a few weeks, I’ll be caravaning across three states to our new home in Colorado. This whole relocation business has lit a fire under me, beckoning me to make a change not only in lifestyle but also in my appearance.

So, once again, I chopped off my hair — even shorter than last time.

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My new do is a pixie cut. Now, I look very boyish whenever I dress down, (and never mind when I’m not wearing any makeup) which doesn’t bother me at all. On the contrary, I adore androgyny and all of the wonderfully sensual facets it produces.

When it comes to style, I enjoy mixing various looks together: feminine and masculine; vintage and modern; patterned and basic. In this case, since my hairstyle is on the masculine side, I put in a little extra effort to femme myself up when applying makeup, which finally brings me to my February Favorites.

Favorite Foundation: Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil Free Photo Edition

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This foundation has the medium/full coverage that I’ve been searching for. It is silky and creamy as the product’s name suggests, and when applied on the face, feels deliciously light and fluffy. The foundation has impressive staying power while giving a natural finish.

IMG_20160123_172233-2 (1)Linus’ tip:  Apply the foundation with fingers, and use a sponge to distribute and blend it in.

Favorite YouTube Channel: Variety: Actors on Actors

attends day one of Variety Studio: Actors On Actors presented by Samsung Galaxy on November 8, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

I have a fascination with the creative process, and actors are known to study and use various and interesting techniques for the big screen. I’m certainly the person who seeks out the behind-the-scenes scoop on movies and enjoy every opportunity to learn more about actors and actresses whom I admire. Variety’s YouTube series of Actors on Actors have paired up some of my favorites to discuss their roles and creative processes, and I’ve been eating it all up.

Favorite Fragrances: Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey Cologne layered with Wild Fig & Cassis Cologne

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I can’t seem to escape Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey. No matter how many fragrances I discover and enjoy, I always find my way back to my nectarine delight. However, I have a slight qualm with this one. It’s almost too jubilant and bright. If this cologne reincarnated into a person, it would be an ever-loving ditsy optimist whose naive eagerness overwhelms and annoys people. Worn on my wedding day, the cologne in all of its joyful glory, was appropriate. Worn on an almost daily basis, it needs a bit of woodiness to tone it down. Wild Fig & Cassis is more of the brooding and austere sort, and also if worn by itself, would be annoying. When paired with the Nectarine cologne, however, the woodiness is lifted up and the fruitiness is mellowed out. The combination makes sense year-round.

That concludes my February favorites. I hope you had a wonderful month of love!