Monday, August 31, 2015

Pregnancy | First Trimester

Instead of doing a symptom by symptom breakdown of the past 3 months, I have decided to do a general narrative. There have been plenty of ups and downs over the last three months that I want to remember.

First Trimester Recap

Size of Baby: Baby M  has grown from the size of an Apple Seed to a Peach! Baby is currently 2.9 inches long and 0.81 ounces.

Gender: The unknown is killing me as I am a planner and wanted to start decorating the nursery the second I found out we were expecting. Trying to be patient and am looking forward to our ultrasound in 4 weeks!  

Weight Gain: During the first three months, I lost a few pounds due to nausea and food aversions. It's amazing how many calories I avoided due to not wanting sweets! Hausa subsided in August and I am currently up one pound from my start weight. 

Maternity Clothes: Although I have not gained much weight, my pants are getting a bit snug around the waist. I am hoping to get through September in dresses and cardigans. 

Nursery: Waiting on the gender. Believe me, I have tons of ideas hanging out on Baby Morris' Pinterest board.

Movement: Nothing just yet. I will say though that I have experienced a lot of aches and pains in my lower abdomen over the past three months. Lots of tiny aches and pinches, which I did not expect.

Symptoms: June and July were spent avoiding strong smells at all costs. I have experienced a wide range of food aversions many of which are still hanging around. For the first two months, I hated the though of anything sweet. Thankfully I am over that one! I still have a hard time stomaching any type of meat. Thanks to pregnancy, my boobs have gone up at least a cup size which has made them extremely sore as well. My selections of bras that fit has decreased drastically. When I go for a walk or short run I have to make sure to wear two sports bras. Pregnancy exhaustion is in full force. It is guaranteed that I will take a nap at least four days a week after work. I also go to bed at an embarrassingly early hour.

Sleep: I have only had a few nights of restless sleep.  I am so exhausted at night that I fall asleep very easily.

Cravings: My diet these days is mainly carbs and fruit. I have been living off of grapes, peaches, watermelon and pears this summer.

What I Miss: Cold lunch meat. I have tried a few heated subs and they are just not the same on a hot summer day. Also, over easy eggs. I was surprised when I read they were on the no-go list when pregnant.

Exercise: I really think exercising has helped keep my energy levels reasonable and nausea non existent. I go on walks 5-6 times a week and am slowly starting back to Pure Barre.

Best Moments: We have had lots of great moments these past three months, hearing baby's heartbeat each time we go to the doctor is on the top of my list. Telling our family and extended family we were expecting. Sharing the news with friends.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan

Our weekends have finally started to slow down which means there is a bit of quiet time Sunday evenings for meal planning and grocery shopping. Here is what our menu for the week looks like. If you need any meal inspirations check out all my Weekly Meal Plan posts.

Monday: Dinner @ Durham Bulls Game 

Wednesday: Crockpot Lasagna

Thursday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin w/ Fig & Goat Cheese Salad 

Friday: Date Night! 

Here is a sneak peek at my weekday menu as well!

Breakfast: Fruit & Yogurt Parfait 
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Five

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday! I had a doctor's appointment last night to check up on little one and he/she is growing like a weed. Every time I see babe on the screen I am in awe how much they have grown over the last four weeks. Next time we visit it will be for the 20 week anatomy screening! Since it is Friday, I am sharing five things I am loving this week!

{One} Currently Loving.  I have been trying to reduce my screen exposure before going to bed in hopes of getting a great night sleep. I picked up this adorable coloring book from Amazon this week and have been working on it for a few minutes each night before I head to bed. Coloring books are not just for kids yall! 

{Two} Currently Eating.  Fresh Corn Salad. I had this for the first time a few weeks ago at Parker and Otis. It is so simple to make at home. Next time I am making a bigger batch as this one did not last long in out house! 

{Three} Currently Reading.  I stumbled across this article on Facebook regarding a woman's experience with finding herself through fitness. This quote stuck out to me- "What could you spend all that time thinking about if you weren’t thinking about being thin?" I have struggled with body image issues since a teen. Pregnancy has helped change the way I think but I am not 100% there yet. It was a great reminder that are bodies are capable of so much and should not be limited to how clothes fit. Read the article here.

{Four} Currently Loving. Anything and everything bebe related. I tend to get overwhelmed with all the pregnancy and newborn information out there. I tend to save them all on Pinterest for later consumption. You can check it all out on my newly un-hidden board! 

{Five} Coming Up.   My parents are coming into town tonight to attend the Darius Rucker concert and visit our new home! They have also graciously volunteered to help us around the yard as we have no idea where to start! You can always follow along with me this weekend on Instagram (@ashley_carole) or Snapchat (anm0616). 

What are your weekend plans? Any must reads for a new mom? 

Linking up with Lauren ElizabethClareKarliAmanda & April .
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pregnancy | Baby Morris Q & A

Thanks so much for all your kind words, well wishes and congratulations regarding our announcement. Joe and I are over the moon excited about this sweet little baby.

Here are some questions and answers that I've been asked most frequently since revealing the news! I hope to catch y'all up on what has been going on behind the scenes for the past few months!

How far along are you?
13 weeks. Just entering the second trimester.

When are you due? 
March 1, 2016. Next year is a leap year so, there may be a chance that babe will have February 29th birthday!

How did you find out?
I took a pregnancy test the morning of our three year wedding anniversary. I saw a very faint line on the cheapo tests I bought online. I truly thought my eyes were just seeing things and refused to believe it was true. So I waited until later that afternoon and tested again with a blue dye test. It was still there- a very faint line!
That night at dinner, I gave Joe his anniversary gift which was a 6 pack of his favorite beer and a World's Best Dad pint glass. It took him a second to catch on as he first thought it was in reference to Charlie (our firstborn pup). Once the news finally set in I could tell he was a mix of shocked and thrilled!

How are you feeling?
I truly feel for mothers that experience morning sickness especially since I have felt pretty good these past three months. Not 100% myself but not getting sick either. Food aversions are no joke though. My diet has mainly consisted of fruit, bread and some veggies.

Will you find out the sex? 
Goodness yes! I feel like finding out the gender is one of the only things in my control during pregnancy. I want to be prepared as possible for this little guy or girl.

Let me know of any questions that I may have missed. Next week I'll share a recap of the first trimester. Then I'll try to keep baby updates to once a week. No promises though as I am completely thrilled about this little one!!

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Baby Morris

So, Joe and I have been keeping a little secret. We are thrilled to finally share the news! Baby M is expected to expand our little family on March 1st. We are both beyond thrilled about this new phase in our lives. 

He is going to be the best guard dog and friend for this little one. 

I'll be sharing more this week! 

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Five

I always think it is interesting to look back and see the posts that have the most traffic. I feel like my favorite posts get buried over the years. So today I wanted to highlight a few of the most visited posts over the last three years. It is always interesting to see which posts get the most traffic compared to which ones are my favorite.

August 2013 Friday Five 
Surprisingly this is one of the most visited posts on my website thanks to a little shoutout to Bourbon and Bowties. Since this post, I have developed quite a collection which I need to share on the blog soon!

I had gotten a few great pieces from Stitch Fix boxes. Unfortunately, I don't feel like the price per box matches the quality of the items. I am on the fence on if I will give it a try again. 

A look into a day of clean,  healthy eating. Each of these meals are still a favorite!

This is one of the only beach body plans I have completed all the way through. It was tough and exhausting. The major takeaway was that I needed to clean up my eating to see results. I have come a long way since then with my relationship toward food. As you can tell in my post about Detox Eats. 

Burlap Wreath
This DIY project still hangs in my kitchen with a large monogram in the center. The photos in this post are horrible thanks to bad lighting. Ugh. Creating wreaths are still my favorite craft projects.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Currently Crushing On.

First off, thank you all for the kind words and prayers for my family regarding the loss of my grandparents. This summer has been a very trying season for us losing such strong foundations of our family so close together. I know they are both rejoicing in heaven together and am blessed to have them watching over me.

Alright, let's get to today's post.  I'm sharing a few of my favorite finds from Pinterest and around the web.  You have to check out these delicious salads and hilarious video. I hope you enjoy!

Favorite Eats

This Kardashian inspired salad.  Sliced chicken breast, mozzarella, tomatoes, sprouts, avocado and sunflower seeds. Delish!

I have been hesitant to buy a spiralizer as I feel like it is such a one purpose tool. However, this post has me re-thinking my stance.

I made some delicious cake mix bars last week for work with a few creative changes. They were a huge hit and everyone wanted the recipe. I can't wait to share the recipe with you next week!

Fitness Favs

This video perfectly sums up my feeling toward workouts currently. Check out Buzz Feed Violet. It is my new favorite channel.

Also, these workout hacks feature some old favorites that I had forgotten. Love the idea of squeezing in some upper body strength during my favorite TV show.

Fall Ideas

I have already seen tons of fall essentials roundups popping up on the web.  Some of my favorites have been Design Darling and this one from Glamour.  Honestly, I am ready for a bit cooler weather.

Are you ready for fall or do you want summer to stay around a bit longer? 
In NC, we are stuck with summer for at least 4 more weeks. We still are experiencing highs in the 90s!

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Saying Goodbye

This weekend was spent with my family saying goodbye to my dear grandmother as she went to heaven last Friday. She joins my grandfather who went before her just 22 days ago. I am blessed to have them in my life for these last 28 years.  I will always remember my summers spent at their house helping in the garden and enjoying peanut butter and molasses sandwiches.

Christmas 2014

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Five

Alright loves. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Today marks the last Friday of summer break. I have been back working on our preschool assessment for the past few weeks. So I'm already back into the swing of early morning commutes and missing sleeping in. However, something about knowing Monday is the start of a new school year is a bit depressing. I am looking forward to spending this last weekend enjoying this last bit of freedom.  Since it is Friday y'all know what that means. Here are a few things I am loving this week...

One. Summer Goals. In June, I shared five simple goals that I wanted to complete by the end of August. Well, I am about halfway through my list. I have tried several new restaurants including Parker and Otis and The Pitt. This week I completed a simple DIY project with coasters. I also donated what felt like 1/2 my closet to the bargain box. I sent the other half to Thread Up :). I have got to get my but in gear to try a few new DIY projects to meet my goal before August wraps.

Two. Currently Craving. When visited Parker and Otis for lunch this week they had the best corn salad. Now I am on a mission to make my own at home. I found this recipe for Mexican Corn Salad which seems pretty similar. Can't wait to try it out. 

Three. Makeup Love. After seeing this diverse palette on Kate's blog I knew it would be a perfect addition to my makeup routine. I love all in one palettes as they simplify getting ready in the morning. Tarte is quickly becoming my favorite brand due to the elimination of parabens, mineral oil and sulfate sin their products.

Four. Favorite Drink. Almost everyday I fix myself a glass of cucumber mint water to take with me to work. I use my favorite bottle from Target and just ad a few slices of cucumber and a sprig of mint.

Five. Happy Friday! Apparently, I can't emphasize this enough. I hope everyone has a great day and a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with TiffClareKarliAmanda & April .

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

DIY Agate Coasters

Ever since moving into our new house I have been looking for the perfect coasters. (It's the little things right?) Our old ones were shattered in the move and it was time to upgrade. I stumbled upon these beautiful coasters on Anthro's website and knew their had to be a cheaper way. After a quick google search I realized that I could make them myself! 

With only three easy steps and less than 30 minutes I crafted these beauties which now reside on our coffee table. I have already gotten tons of complements with these. They would make a perfect gift for a housewarming party or even Mother's Day. 

What You Need

Tip. I ordered the stones from a wholesale retailer online. There were tons of options regarding size and color of stones. I purchased the 4.5 inch blue and teal stones. This size ended up being perfect and would hold an Olivia Pope sized wine glass.

Once you have the stones there is really only two steps to make it table worthy.

Step 1.  Use the gold leaf pen to color the edges. Make sure you don't smudge the paint onto the stone. This took a total of 10 minutes with touchups.  You may want to do 2-3 coats to get the gold effect you desire. Afterwards, set them on old newspaper while the paint dries.

Step 2.  Secure the adhesive rubber feet unto the bottoms. Add four adhesive per stones to ensure a secure base. That is it! I love how simple this was and how much of an impact it has on our coffee table.

{Jessi & Jenn}
Linking up today for What's Hap-pinning Wednesdays. 

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Friday, August 7, 2015

Five Thoughtful Housewarming Gifts

We have been happily living in our new house for almost a month. Since moving in, several things  have popped up I wish we had. I decided to do a little round up of these items as I think they would make perfect housewarming gifts.

{One} Address Stamp. This is number one on the list for a reason. I love handwritten letters and feel like I don't send them enough. When we moved from Wilmington I was sad to have to say goodbye to our beautiful address stamp we used for every piece of mail. Now a new permeant address means a new stamp. I love the calligraphy on this one.

{Two} TLC in a Jar. One of the not so fun aspects of movings is that something always gets misplaced. For me it seems to be little odds and ends like tissues and chapstick that I have no idea what box they made it into. I love the idea of having a jar full of necessities to have on hand when you can't find things. 

{Three} Personalized Door Mat. Our little doormat has seen better days. I would love for our front door to get a makeover with a personalized door mat. 

{Four} Fig Tree. I am dying to add a live plans to hour new home. Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees are very popular right now and would look perfect in just about any room. 100% better than the fake ficus with christmas lights Joe had in college. 

{Five} Neighborhood Info. Our neighbors have been extra welcoming and helpful. With so many new neighbors, it is hard to remember everyones name! I love the pineapple theme of this gift. Maybe I should switch this around and give one to each of our neighbors with our contact info. 

Linking up with TiffClareKarliAmanda & April .

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Great Giveaway!

Today I am popping by to share a great giveaway that I am hosting with some fabulous ladies. With back to school around the corner I know I would love some extra cash for back to school supplies! The rules are simple just follow along each of these beautiful bloggers to enter. You get two free entries just for following me on Instagram and Bloglovin! Good luck and fingers crossed!


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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Home: Powder Room

Today I am sharing a little sneak peak at our house. When deciding on what room to update first I figured I should go for something small that could be completed in a day. That's how I decided to update the powder room.
Current Powder Room

There is nothing horrible about this design but it is jut not my style. I loathe the oversized black frame on the mirror. I want this little bathroom to look larger and brighter. As I shared before, Pinterest is my go to for design inspiration. I found this beautiful mirror and knew something similar would be perfect for the half bath. 

I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on accessories in such a small bathroom. Thankfully online shopping makes it easy to find a dupe for cheap. I found this beauty at Wayfair. 
Vanity Mirror

In addition to a new mirror, I plan on updating the light fixture and adding a bit of decor. I look forward to sharing the final results with you soon! 

{Jessi & Jenn}
Linking up today for What's Hap-pinning Wednesdays. 

What's your go to for design inspiration? What is your favorite style?

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