Weekend Notes

What an awesome, productive weekend. So much completed!

Ian was in Vegas from Thursday through Saturday night (that poor soul) for a work conference. He stayed at the Red Rocks Casino and woke up every day to gorgeous mountain views. Not a bad life, if you ask me! 

Thursday, my aunt took the train in from Raleigh, and we got started bright and early Friday morning with nursery decor. As a gift to us, she offered to sew our cribskirt, our changing table skirt, and our drapes. Y'all, Y'ALL -- it is looking so good. Just so stunningly beautiful. I have a few more touches to do (art on walls, et cetera) and then I can't wait to share the nursery photos.

I worked on Friday while my aunt toiled away in what we affectionately nicknamed my sweatshop -- the card table set up with her sewing machine in the middle of the nursery. Don't worry, I did let her out from time to time for potty breaks, doggie visits with Drake, and delivered glasses of wine brought to her at 5pm every day. 

Saturday we went to ten stores (TEN ... literally, ten) looking for new curtain brackets; who knew they were so hard to find? Or maybe we were just looking at the wrong places. She spent Saturday  afternoon piecing the drapes together and I did some painting on our screened porch of a shelf for the baby's room.

One thing we did do while my aunt was in town was this -- we ate well. We didn't go out to any restaurants at all, but I had coffee and blueberry scones for us in the morning with butter and lemon curd (this just-add-water mix you can get at $4.99 from World Market is amazing, one of my very favorites!). Lunch was typically sandwiches, and dinner was takeout. This may not be very fancy, but it gave us full reign to stay in yoga pants all day and not even have to worry about showering. Yep, sad but true.

All of the work we had was wrapped up by about 6pm Saturday evening, but with the sewing machine still warmed up, we put together some easy paci holders for baby girl! 

Making these is quite simple. You will need suspender clips, and I purchased two packages of two clips from Hobby Lobby. They are $2.49/package, but I used my Hobby Lobby app to show the cashier a coupon for 50% off, so each clip was about $0.63. Then, we just used ribbon that I already had on hand, folded it in half through the suspender clip, tucked under each of the raw ends and slipped between those ends a thinner ribbon (this is what loops through the paci handle or hole), and then my aunt stitched the sides and ends of the ribbon together. So simple and all four were done in about five minutes!

I was sad to take my aunt back to the train station on Sunday morning because we just had the absolute best time together. She helped me to create the nursery of my dreams, and I truly mean that. Our little girl will be sleeping in the prettiest room in our home. What a true labor of love this project was, and I can't wait to wrap up the final touches on it soon!


Five On Friday: Cocktail Countdown

Happy Friday and thank you all SO much for your amazing comments on yesterday's Coffee Talk post. I loved reading about everyone's thoughts about those times when things just don't click—and how you get through them. It's normal, one hundred gazillion percent normal. And isn't it just refreshing to know we are all in the same boat?

For today's Five On Friday, I am going to break tradition and do a themed post ... I have cocktails on the brain (six weeks but who's counting) and maybe it has to do with the warmer weather and the thought of cocktails on the patio, but I've been salivating over my Cocktail Me Pinterest board recently!

Here are my top five cocktail wishlist recipes for patio sippin'.

Moscow Mule  #lulugracevintage #belvedere vodka

Moscow Mule. It seems like everyone started loving these after I was already pregnant. So I missed out on the Moscow Mule boat. I steered clear of them before ditching liquor because I mistakenly thought they had bourbon in them. That I just can't do, but vodka? Oh yes madam.

rose derby cocktail: grapefruit, honey, gin, rosemary via MINT LOVE SOCIAL CLUB

Rose Derby. This recipe can be found on Mint Love Social Club, and she can do no wrong in my book. The cocktail queen. A beautiful blog to follow!

Lavender Collins Cocktail

T H R E E.
Lavender Collins Cocktail. Not only are these beautiful, but just about anything with lavender in the ingredients has my full attention. You can find the recipe here for these delicious and pretty cocktails. Please don't be scared off by the idea of making a lavender simple syrup; it's way easier than you would think. If you can boil water, you've got this, mama.

This sparkling blueberry lemonade is spiked with St. Germain (elderflower liqueur).

Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade. Lemons? Love 'em. Blueberries? Love 'em. Sparkling wine? Yes please. St. Germain? Now you have my FULL attention. Find the recipe here.

apple and pear white sangria

F I V E.
Apple and White Pear Sangria. I'm known in my extended family as The One Who Provides The Sangria. Which is not a bad title to claim. Find the recipe here for this light and refreshing sangria recipe. And remember—red sangria may be tasty, but on a boat, it can be a recipe for disaster. Stick with white and you're ready to crank up the speed!

Happy weekending to you and yours -- and I'm curious, if you were ordering one of these cocktails from a menu tonight, which one would be your choice?

Hope you will link up with us today!
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Coffee Talk (REAL Talk)

Just a random little post today, but maybe one we all can relate to.

Yesterday was one of those days where Ian and I just weren't really clicking. It's like we were on two separate planets. With different languages. Different body languages. Different everything.

Real meanings were getting lost in translation through texts. Text messages can great, but they can also be the devil. Know what I mean?

Then, we got to a good point and he asked if he could grab a few happy hour beers out with a friend. Sure, no prob. And I thoroughly enjoyed a few hours at home after work to do my solo thing -- trashy Bravo shows, Pinterest scrolling, you know -- the usual.

The thing about being pregnant and sober when everyone else around you has had drinks, though, is that it can make you into a crazy woman. Like, all of the sudden you are the Alcohol Police. So when he came back home, I was just not having an ounce of his silliness, and BAM, back on two planets again.

In his defense, he did draw a bath for me which was nice. And that helped me cool my jets before bedtime.

I've never personally liked the advice "Never go to bed angry."  I just don't think that it's necessary to feel the pressure of having to end a fight before letting yourself fall asleep. By the time we went to bed we were cool, but we weren't 100% "us". So, my amended version of that advice is this: "Never get out of bed angry." That's what works for us. Maybe you fall asleep feeling totally peeved, but if you can snake your little foot under the sheets in the morning and connect with that person again, murmur out some "I'm sorry / No, I'm sorry" apologies, and cuddle for a bit before getting up, that's the good stuff.

So we did that this morning and then we had the most hilarious chat over coffee. I saw the clock ticking, and I knew I was going to be having to rush to get ready for work, but just standing in the kitchen holding our mugs and laughing was suddenly the most crucially important task ever.

What were we laughing about? We decided that since Ian is self-employed and represents several companies, I am going to start just filling out random employer names and job titles on all of the pregnancy-related paperwork I have. We decided that he is going to be a Ringling Brothers Trapeze Artist, a Magician, and an Adult Film Star.

A little peek into our crazy life. It's not always roses and love notes, folks, but as long as I end up laughing with the husband over coffee like we did this morning, I'd say we're doing okay. :)


What's For Dinner: Easy Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

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At brunch with girlfriends Sunday morning, our girlfriend Sarah told us about her recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin. I rarely cook pork tenderloin, but Ian had just recently mentioned that it would be a tasty and easy dinner idea. I just can't wait to share this recipe because it was delicious, easy, and it made enough for us to enjoy it for two nights!

The package I bought had two tenderloins in it, so I washed them both and froze one of them. I started off by cutting four pieces of bakers twine (about 8" long) and soaking the twine in a cup of water to keep it from burning.

I used a 9x13 glass dish coated with a little non-stick cooking apray. To assemble the pork, all I had to do was create a slit down the center of one of the tenderloins (going about midway down, no need to go all the way through). I added in sundried tomato pesto, spinach leaves, capers, and feta cheese. I drizzled a little olive oil on the meat and spread it in with my fingers and then added a little sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Then, I just tied it up with the wet twine and tied it in knots to hold it all together.

Into a preheated 350* oven it went for about 45 minutes. Once done, I let it sit for a while and then I cut off the twine.

To serve, we cut the pork into medallions. As a special treat for us, since it wasn't a weekday, I made mashed redskin potatoes with gravy. We almost never eat mashed potatoes, so they are quite a treat.

With my remaining tenderloin, I'd like to try a sweeter version next time, maybe with chopped dried apricots, pear, walnuts, and goat cheese. This was definitely a recipe worth repeating!


Week 34 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 34 weeks

Size of Baby: A cantaloupe (17.75 inches). Our baby weighs 4.75 lbs now!

Gender: g-i-r-l

Weight Gain: Up a total of 18 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight -- but since I lost three pounds in the first trimester, up 21 pounds total from my lowest pregnancy weight.

Maternity Clothes: Absolutely necessary. Standard work outfits for me are either maternity jeans with tops or maxi dresses with a cardigan or denim jacket. On the weekend, it's maternity leggings, baby. Ahh, they feel so good.

Nursery: I am so excited to say that by the end of this weekend, we will be several steps ahead on our to-do list ... my aunt is coming into town to sew for us as a gift for Baby Girl! She is making our drapes, our changing table skirt, and the cribskirt. I have all of the fabric on hand and I'm just really excited to get everything looking so pretty!

Movement: Yes, enough now to wake me up in the middle of the night. Crazy!

Symptoms: Occasionally feeling tired or feeling lower back pain, but overall still feeling great. Had a TON of comments this past Saturday about "any day now!" from strangers. Umm, not so much. Six more weeks, thank you very much. And thank you for insinuating that I look absolutely huge. I'm thinking the dress I wore may need to get retired. :)

Sleep: Slept well this past week! We are loving our new memory foam mattress, although I'll be darned if we didn't go with the one type of mattress that makes it really difficult to roll out of bed. You just sink right in. I've also retired the Snoogle pregnancy pillow for now. I'm finding a pillow between my knees keeps me comfortable and on my side for a lot more of the night. It's definitely uncomfortable now to be on my back for a significant length of time.

Cravings: Still loving peanut butter and sweet tea. Jimmy Dean egg, sausage and cheese croissant sandwiches have also been a favorite for work lunches recently ... random.

What I Miss: Being nimble.

Best Moment This Week: I had a few big highlights this past week. First of all, Saturday I scored some major finds -- first at the Shower Me With Love warehouse sale (lots of Kissy Kissy and Magnolia Baby layette pieces on major sale) and then at a church consignment sale. And I'll be darned if I didn't completely go back on my word and buy a wipe warmer! There was a great one at the consignment sale that I picked up for $4 after everything went half-off. I figured that for $4, it was worth seeing if it helps to decrease 3am screams over cold wipes. And don't you worry, I sanitized the life out of that thing (twice).

Also, we had our hospital tour on Sunday. I can't tell you  how surprised I was to find myself so emotionally moved by the tour. The labor and delivery floor was everything I'd want it to be. Nicely appointed, calm, serene, lovely. The nurses all seemed so serious yet caring. Everything there was just perfect. And thinking that the next time we're there will likely be to meet Miss Priss ... that's pretty darn moving. I was able to hold back the tears on the tour, vowing not to be that girl, but as soon as Ian and I were in the elevator to the parking deck I lost it. It was just such a beautiful experience.

Looking Forward To: Nursery progress and seeing my aunt for the first time since Christmas, when I looked like I did in Week 22 below! She will definitely be able to feel Baby Girl moving around this time.


Sharing Finances In Marriage: An Update

Recently I had a really great blog comment that asked about how our "Yours, Mine, Ours" finance philosophy has changed and will change with a baby on the way. If you didn't get to read the original post, you can catch up here. Basically, after we got married, instead of tossing in all of our funds into a single "pot", we decided to keep three main accounts -- one for Ian, one for me, one for us.

In the almost three years since we've been married, we have maintained the separate accounts, but I will say that we are leaning heavier than ever on the joint account. So much of what we do is for us as a couple, for our home, for Drake, for Baby Girl, or for experiences that we have together.

I cultivate money and prosperity in my life daily. Every second, every minute, every hour, my money is working for me, the energy of the universe is working to support my money growing and more money coming to me than leaves me! So mote it be! For me, Money Grows on Trees!

Our joint account covers all of the typical expenses:

  • Mortgage 
  • Utilities (gas, cable, internet, cell phone, water, etc)
  • House projects/repairs 
  • Home decor 
  • Twice-monthly cleaning service 
  • Lawncare service (a new addition)
  • Security system bills
  • Drake expenses ... from rawhides to vet bills 
  • Groceries 
  • Meals we eat together 
  • Vacation expenses 
  • Gas, if we are on a road trip together
In regards to our pregnancy, anything that is associated with our daughter gets put on our joint card -- from clothes to her closet renovation to the bills that are (lawdamercy) already coming in regularly.

Our joint credit card ran a promotion for the first quarter of this year where all gas purchases earn 5 points per dollar (versus the typical 1 point per dollar), so, since January, we've been putting all gas on our joint card, even though Ian drives much more than I do. He also puts in a much larger monthly contribution to our joint savings account, and we use that account to pay the joint credit card bill.

We have tossed around the idea of combining all of our expenses, and we are not totally opposed to that idea, but as for now I'm still content having a small account I keep for myself that I use for little things like haircuts, lunches with girlfriends, payment of my personal credit card (shopping trips, girls vacations, gifts, et cetera).

Financial advice by Dave Ramsey but can be applied in a lot of areas of life

Ian has also urged me during this pregnancy to treat myself as I'd like using the joint card -- within reason, of course. I'm a frugal person by nature, so I truly don't go crazy with this. But, if I have a prenatal massage or pedicure planned, or if I need a small dose of retail therapy, he sometimes tells me to put it on the joint card. It is a nice gesture and an easy way of him thanking me for carrying this bambina of ours. :)

The biggest change within the past year is that we hired a financial advisor through our bank who has really helped us increase our investments. The returns have easily outweighed the small fee we pay him, and I would highly suggest seeing if your bank offers advising services that can help you maximize your dollars. I'm ashamed that I also went about five years at my company without ever starting my 401(k) investing (lazy!), so our advisor really urged me to take advantage of that, and stat. The small amount of matching they offer was free money just waiting to be earned!

So there's the update. While we do maintain separate accounts, the bulk of our spending has been shifted to our joint account, with just the "fluff" items being covered by our own solo accounts. We are extremely transparent with each other about our spending habits and what we have in our personal savings accounts. I think as long as we are both satisfied and content with this set-up, we will keep it. 

What works best for you?


Five On Friday

The first weekend of Spring and it will be a gorgeous one here in Charlotte! Much, much needed after a doozie of a week. This week tested me ... lots to do every single day, late work hours, job-related stress, and busy nights. So a relaxing weekend couldn't come at a better time!

Five On Friday time ... hoping you will link up with us this week! Thanks to all of you who join the party weekly :)

Last night some sweet coworkers hosted a little dinner for two of us with babies on the way! It was such a nice way to get out after work, and of course they completely spoiled us rotten. I consider myself very lucky to work with such caring ladies.

I didn't fill out a bracket ... did you?
I used to do that years ago, but now I frankly just don't care. :)

Southern Charm on Bravo ... who's watching?! I'm embarrassed to say that I might be a little hooked. It's trashy but it takes place in Charleston, and it's fun to think of that drama happening a mere three hours away in city I adore so much.

Monogram lovers, did you catch the Pretty Printing sale going on now at Zulily?! The items are adorable! If you need a free invitation to join Zulily, click here. My top three picks:

Tortoise Monogram Necklace, $39.99

Personalized Gift Labels, $18.99

Green Monogram Clutch, $34.99

Dare I say that I hope to get a little color on my legs this weekend?! Saturday's high is 75, and I fully intend on writing some thank-you notes outdoors with my pasty stems propped up on the patio table!

Go Outside

I hope you will link up with us today and post about five things going on in your life, too! Just post the logo below to your blog, link to one or all of the hostess blogs, and bam -- that's it!


Thursday Thoughts + Libby James Album Giveaway Winner!

Happy first day of spring! I am oh-so-ready for warmer temperatures and long, sunny days. I used the dark evenings and the chilly temps as a major excuse for not getting out on neighborhood walks, but I'm really looking forward to getting out a little more often now. I also have some painting projects to complete that were a little too tough with the chilly temps. Ian's attending Daddy Boot Camp this weekend for three hours which should give me plenty of time to knock out a few of the painting projects along with my other to-dos ... thank you notes, addressing some invitations for a shower I'm cohosting, and purchasing lots of spring flowers for our yard.

Ian has already agreed to plant them all while I stand over him and direct him on what to plant where ... God bless that man.

Tomorrow is Five On Friday and I hope you will join us for the weekly link-up!

Positive Affirmations for Abundance

Lastly, I am thrilled to announce the winner of the Libby James Album giveaway ... drumroll, please!

Unknown said...
Thanks for sharing this great resource. You've read my mind... photo printing and organizing seems like such a daunting task. It's the thing on my to-do list that keeps getting moved to the next day even though I understand the value in having our wedding photos in print for years to come! Hard for me to pick a favorite photo from our wedding but it definitely would be one of the raw, emotional, candids... like the one of me with my dad just seconds before walking down the aisle.
Kate Madden said...
By the way the "Unknown" listed above is me-- Kate Madden. Had to go in and figure out how to change my profile! ;-)
Kate, I will put you in touch with the Libby James folks so you can get started on your gorgeous album.

And for everyone else, great news ... if you'd like to order your own album, you can use code ALIZADVENTURES20 for 20% off of your order! This will be valid until midnight on March 26th. I absolutely love our album (and putting it together was a joy ... and easy!) so I hope you will take advantage of this awesome opportunity.


Week 33 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 33 weeks

Size of Baby: A pineapple (17 inches). Our baby weighs 4.25 lbs now!

Gender: Pink, pink, pink. Lots and lots of pink.

Weight Gain: No gain or loss from last week. Up a total of 16 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight -- but since I lost a few pounds in the first trimester, up 19 pounds total from my lowest pregnancy weight.

Maternity Clothes: Oh yes. I hit up Old Navy last Tuesday and purchased two dresses and two tees. All four pieces were on sale, plus I had a $20 rewards certificate to throw at the total. Just a little something to make sure I have clothes for the warmer temps that (hopefully) will be headed our way soon.

Nursery: It's looking so cute -- but still lots of tasks to check off the list. On the checklist: cribskirt, changing table skirt, drapes, hang things on wall, paint the rocking horse and a shelf, wash/dry the crib sheet and mattress pad. Have you noticed that this is the very same list as last week? .... Yeah.
Movement: Goodness gracious yes! I posted a funny video of it on Instagram over the weekend (@alizadventures).

Symptoms: I've noticed an increasing sensitivity on my stomach area. The full-panel maternity jeans (which I still wear, don't get me wrong!) now only come midway up my stomach. They used to come up several inches higher. Sometimes that sensation of the top waistband cutting across my stomach bothers me. Also, when washing dishes or washing my face at night, I don't like it if my belly touches the sink. No stretch marks, no swelling, no major exhaustion, no pains besides the pain of getting full really easily after eating!

Sleep: Sleeping well each night with the rare 4am wake-up. Not so fun when it happens, but I'll usually scroll through the phone for an hour under the covers and then fall back to sleep.

Cravings: Peanut butter and sweet tea always sound awesome. And I still have Honey Nut Cheerios each and every morning on the way to work. I've been drinking my red raspberry leaf tea pretty religiously since 30 weeks, and I enjoy having the iced version of that in the mornings. (Some studies have shown that this tea helps to shorten the laboring process. We will see. Check with your own healthcare provider blah blah blah.)

2 brewed cups red raspberry tea with chia seeds and water added

What I Miss: I honestly do miss nice, sweaty workouts, but it's just not really worth it for me anymore -- they exhaust me afterwards and make my lower back hurt so badly.

Best Moment This Week: For sure, my spa visit to Edamame on Saturday! I was there for about two hours, and every single minute was heavenly. I received a full-body exfoliation followed by an hour-long massage. I was absolutely falling asleep at the last part of the massage. It's a maternity-centered spa, so everything about it was built for preggos -- including tons of products to sample in the spa restroom like various belly butters and pregnancy stretch mark oils. This was such a nice treat thanks to a gift card that my parents gave me for Christmas. Needless to say, I booked another visit in a few weeks!

Looking Forward To: This week we really get cracking on our to-dos. We have our first childbirth class tonight (!!!), Ian has Daddy Boot Camp on Saturday, and we have a hospital tour on Sunday. Things are becoming real!

PS: Today is the LAST day to enter the Libby James album giveaway -- entries will be accepted through midnight Eastern time tonight!
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