Etsy: It’s All In The Details

My baby shower back in June turned out to be a big “to-do.” First my mom was going to handle everything, but then was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was scheduled for surgery the month before, so we had to figure out a plan B. Enter my hubby and bestie!

I knew I wanted some level of involvement, so Steve kept me in the loop. Almost daily he would say, “Natascha emailed me things from Etsy again.” As my eyes grew wide with excitement, he would get puzzled. He doesn’t understand why girls love Etsy so much. Here’s my take – the uniqueness of the hand-made items add a personal touch, and I also like the thought of having something not many people have.  It’s all in the details, as they say, and Etsy is king of the details! Here are a few of my favorite Etsy details from the shower:

baby shower cake

This ballerina cake-topper was my FAVORITE! I was so excited when they showed it to me, and couldn’t wait to see it on the cake! Apparently whoever made the cake thought the cake-topper was bigger given how “Welcome Tiny Dancer” (HOW FITTING?!) is written, but it still looks beautiful!

baby shower chair decoration

Guys, this is so cute! I’m not really into the big gaudy chair, but Steve and Tasch wanted my chair to stand out ever so slightly. The pink and gold went with my color scheme, and the cut-out shape is perfectly detailed!

Baby shower photobooth

So this was the most unexpected thing they did – a photobooth! Who doesn’t love a photobooth?! Since there seemed to be an underlying theme of ballerinas, they included the phrasing, “tutu cute” on the back-drop, and got adorable little props!  Steve set up our camera and we all had a blast!

My First Birthday As A Mommy

Today’s my 33rd birthday, and my first as a mommy! How exciting, yet, it doesn’t feel any different from previous birthdays. Should it?

Ready for birthday date-night with the hubby!

Ready for birthday date-night with the hubby!

Over the weekend, my husband and I went out to dinner for my birthday and we started talking about being parents. I told him I don’t feel like a mom. For example, people ask me, “Do you feel like a mom?” My answer is “no.”

Do I love being Sloane’s mommy? Absolutely! A lot of it, I think, has become second nature to me, that it doesn’t feel different because it’s just a part of who I am now. Also, not much of my life has changed. It’s not like I had to scale-back on partying or spending a lot of money on frivolous things. My husband and I aren’t drinkers and we don’t really go out to dinner much – I’d say we’re homebodies – so our overall lifestyle hasn’t changed. We’ve seamlessly incorporated her into our lives.

There’s a part of me that feels a little disappointed that I don’t feel different, especially on a day like my birthday. Maybe once I get home from work tonight and spend some time with her I’ll feel different. I love coming home to that little munchkin!

Working and Breastfeeding

Next week I’ll be a mommy for four months, and be back at work for three weeks. The first week back was a little rough: It was tough to leave Sloane, and it was painful on my boobs. For 15 weeks, whenever Sloane needed to be fed, I swooped her right up and breastfed her, which was often times followed by a pumping session to make sure I began my stash for that dreaded day of heading back to work full time.

From day one I was pumping.  Since she was a preemie, the hospital had me “triple feeding,” which is where you breastfeed, bottle feed (with pumped breastmilk), then pump. At the time I wasn’t sure why I was doing it, I was just doing what I was told as it was best for my preemie. Honestly, it was probably explained to me, but I was likely in such a fog to really grasp it. Upon further research, triple feeding is used to help mom’s whose milk hasn’t completely come in to ensure that baby is getting enough food. Basically, I was very well acquainted with the breast pump before heading back to the office.

My first week back I spent much of my time in the mother’s room pumping. I went in every three hours, and pumped. I felt like I was pumping more than I was working. I probably was since I was just getting reacquainted with everything. As the week went on, I wondered how I was going to be able to actually going to get work done once everything was back into full swing.

breast pump

Little did I know that concern was the least of my problems. That weekend, I developed an extremely clogged duct. It was not mastitis, and I did everything in my power to make sure it didn’t turn into it, but it was painful enough where there were times I thought it might just be easier to give up breastfeeding, since the pump doesn’t have a strong suck in comparison to my baby. Even saying that makes me feel guilty, and makes me realize that I’m not ready to give up breastfeeding just yet.

I’m back at work for two weeks now. The duct healed, and another fear of mine has yet to happen – where she forgets how to latch. I think because she was on the breast and bottle since day one, she’s OK with it. I really hope I didn’t just jinx it!

I’m A Mom!

It’s been a while! Here’s what I did on my “summer vacation:” I had a baby!  Sloane Raven Sage was born June 12, 2016…Seven. Weeks. Early.

Let me start at the beginning…

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, no major complaints, that is until my glucose test. I went into it under the impression that I had nothing to worry about. I ate fairly well (better than most of my other pregnant friends who didn’t have gestational diabetes [GD]), continued my pre-pregnancy workout regime of yoga and spin classes, and gained the right amount weight. When my initial test came back abnormal, I was shocked. When I went in for my three-hour glucose test, I was beyond nervous, and then devastated days later when I was diagnosed with GD. I have to say, my numbers were extremely borderline, but I’m told that does not matter when it comes to GD. Once I received the diagnosis, I had to set up appointments with the nutritionist to set up an eating plan and then learn how to test my blood.

Turns out these appointments were classes. The eating plan class was beyond overwhelming. I walked out defeated and crying. I basically had to relearn how to eat. Five meals a day, and making sure I paired my carbs with proteins. I’m a vegetarian on top of it all, so there was the extra layer of difficulty. Luckily, my husband is extremely health-conscience, and helped me with my meal plan and measuring everything out. My fears quickly eased and I felt much better.

Fast forward a week later, and I was in class learning how to test my blood. I was under the impression that it was something I was going to have to do six times a day. Turns out it was only four. Four was still a lot! Anyway, I was actually extremely nervous to prick myself. The finger tests always hurt so much! It took a few tries in class to actually get the blood, but I got it, and it was painless.

Now I was all set up on my fancy new app MySugrPro, and logging my carbs and blood sugar. It was thrilling to see my numbers in check and that eating well was paying off. It was still very stressful! Every piece of food I looked at was a number. I’d see a piece of fruit on a coworker’s desk and think, “I hope she pairs that with a protein!” I was completely consumed!

June 11, 2016: My baby shower!

baby girl shower

What a great day! My husband and best friend planned an amazing shower for me after a struggle with who would be able to put it together. Not long after we had booked it, my mom was unfortunately diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was scheduled for a hysterectomy shortly. We went back and forth as to if we should keep the shower, and mom was adamant that we move forward with it. She wanted to continue to help, but it really wasn’t feasible. The day was beautiful, spent with family and friends, with great food, and a fun photobooth!

13710061_10100415953158794_2607119637857953882_n

When we finally shlepped everything home, I took a nap while Steve put together the baby’s dresser. We then went grocery shopping, ate dinner and went to sleep.

At 1:30 AM, I got up to pee, as I typically did as a very pregnant lady. When I stood up, I peed a little. I brushed it off as, “Third Trimester Problems” and went to the bathroom. There was a tiny bit of blood, but I talked myself down from that, as well, since I bled in the first trimester. Went back to bed, and got right back up because it felt like I had to poop. Did my thing, went back to bed, and got right back up again. This went on for about 45 minutes, while Steve was sitting there Googling if it’s labor. Finally, I got back into bed, and couldn’t get comfortable, and that’s when I told Steve to call my doctor, who said to go the hospital.

The car ride over to the hospital was about 20 minutes, and I was definitely having contractions. Steve was timing them. When we got to the hospital, I went straight to the bathroom, where there was a ton of blood. After signing in, the nurses took me to the examining room where I was told I was 2cm dilated. They gave me magnesium and told me, “This is to stop the labor, but, it might not work.” The “might not work” part was stated over and over, and good thing, because it didn’t work.

I was taken to labor and delivery where I was told I was now 8cm dilated and I asked for my epidural. Just in time, right?! I feel like it took the anesthesiologist forever to come to the room and give it to me. Finally, the Dr. came in and said, “You’re fully dilated, plus one. You’re ready to push!”  The “plus one” threw me off, but OMG, I was about to push! I started at 6:45AM…and at 8:45AM, she finally came out!

They had the NICU staff on call since she was a 32-weeker (Guys, I was one day away from 33 weeks, and they kept referring to her as a 32-weeker. Drove me crazy!) They took her to the table where they were working on her (my husband didn’t get to cut the umbilical cord), it felt like an eternity, till finally they brought her over and said she’s fine! She was placed on my chest for about 30 seconds before bringing her down to the NICU. She needed no help breathing, but, obviously needed immediate attention.

Once they brought her down, they weighed her and measured her: 4lbs 7oz, 18 inches long, and was doing well! My husband was able to go down a few hours before me, and sent me tons of pictures in the meantime. It was sad to see her hooked up to so many wires, but I was still relieved to hear that she was OK!

We spent the next 10 days on pins and needles in the NICU.  As I mentioned earlier, we live about 20 minutes from the hospital, which isn’t bad, but were lucky enough to get set up next door at the Ronald McDonald House. At first I was super- uncomfortable about it because there were surely people more in need of it than us, but was told we wouldn’t have been given a room if that was the case. It was great because we stayed in the hospital till about 11pm and I walked over every morning for her 5:30am feeding.

Every morning was nerve-wracking. I’d walk in every day and ask the nurse, “How’d she do?!” Some days I’d get glowing reviews of how well she ate, other days she’d be back in the isolette, or back under phototherapy, and one day, they even had a feeding tube in her nose just in case. Good news: She never used it! Overall, she had pretty standard preemie issues: not holding her weight (she dropped down to 3lbs 9oz), not holding her body temperature, and jaundice.

As the days went by, as eager as I was to bring her home, the more nervous I got. Did you know they don’t send babies home based on weight anymore? We took her home at 4lbs 3oz! She needed to prove a few things before coming home: gaining weight without the fortifier, hold her temperature, and pass a car seat test. To this day, car seats still freak me out because of it. In case you’re wondering what it is. They place babies in the car seat for 90 minutes, and monitor them. If their heart rate drops below a certain point during those 90 minutes, they wait 24 hours, and try again. She passed on her first try. Honestly, I was shocked! I was so proud that she had passed her first ever test, though!

Nothing can ever prepare you for having a baby, especially a preemie, and then bringing that baby home! The love and support from friends and family, as well as everyone at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital where we were, and the Ronald McDonald House really helped us get through it! Sloane will be four months next week, is around 12 pounds, and is a happy and healthy baby!

14264956_10100443626456284_7675216978653856174_n

iPops! Customize Your Fitbits and Apple Watches

Apple Watches and FitBits allow for you to express your fashion sense in very limited ways – color and choosing the face of your Apple Watch. While that is fine for most of us, I know there are some people out there who would prefer to express themselves one step further. iPops allows for you to do just that!

iPops was founded by Lucy Simones – a wife and mother of three – who was interested in making her watch a little more custom to herself. While she loved her watch, she realized she was wearing less and less of her other wrist accessories like charm bracelets, and thought of iPops as a way to bring together the best of both worlds!

 iPops is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to continue to fund the charms. Head over there now to donate as it ends today!
The charms are $7 each, and also come in various packs that start at $12.99.
I have an ice cream cone charm that I slipped into my purple FitBit, which fits like a glove! I’ve worn it to many yoga and spin classes, and lived to tell about it.  iPops is definitely a fun product that can give your watch and FitBit that extra flair!

12th Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest

Cheap Chic Weddings and Charmin teamed up again for the twelfth annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, which launched this past Monday, and runs through May 15th!

Remember that time you won the toilet paper wedding gown contest and cousin Jen’s bridal shower? These dresses are nothing like that!

Think you’ve got the chops? Here’s how to enter:

First: Plan your design.

Second: Grab some Charmin Toilet Paper (Ultra Strong, Ultra Soft or Basic), tape, glue and/or needle and thread (that’s all you can use)! To help offset the cost of designing these memorable creations; Charmin is providing coupons by request at TPDresscontest@gmail.com

Third: Make the dress and headpiece on your model or mannequin and take some clear, unaltered digital photos (front, back and side). The dress must be able to be worn by a human!

For the first time ever, the finale event will be broadcast live across multiple online channels. Top ten entries will be chosen then online voting will be open to the public.

The top ten dresses and their designers will be flown to New York City to participate in a live fashion show finale event on Haven Rooftop at the Sanctuary Hotel in New York City on June 16, 2016 where the top three winners will be chosen.

At the Finale Event, the dress entries will be judged by members of Cheap Chic Weddings, Charmin, Edward Meyer of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, The Sanctuary’s Hank Freid, and celebrity guest judge Mikie Russo, event planner to the stars and member of the OK! TV Entertaining Team.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share Confidence On International Women’s Day

It’s no secret that women love to dress themselves in dark colors. It’s slimming and chic. But did you know there is actual proof that dark colors boost confidence?

Last year, a survey of over 1,000 people was taken about colors they associate with various qualities such as attractiveness, intelligence, and confidence. Black was ranked as either number one or two in all positive qualities. Additionally, men and women alike find the opposite sex most attractive in the color.

Today, on International Women’s Day, Woolite wants to #ShareConfidence with this touching video of women being photographed and feeling confident in their dark clothes. With social media and the internet constantly boasting pics of over-photoshopped women, it’s so easy for women to feel insecure, and this video is not only refreshing to see women exuding confidence, but also how these women want to share their confidence with other women.