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How To Shop During Your Pregnancy

  1. Invest in at some staple pieces, like jeans and a black maternity dress. I have one pair of blue maternity jeans and one pair of black maternity jeans I purchased from Target. My other investment pieces were two black dresses. A tank top dress and a long sleeved dress that are comfortable for my growing belly. I like the following brands for black dresses. Some are maternity and some you can easily size up as long as they have the side ruching. These basic pieces are the foundation for the rest of my wardrobe and can easily be used when building looks.

Black Dresses:

Isabella Oliver

Michael Stars

ASOS

2. Make sure you’re comfortable in whatever you buy. Don’t fall into dressing to keep up with the latest trends. Comfort is key, and when you aren’t comfortable you won’t wear that piece more than once! Buy to be comfortable and to get your money’s worth!

3. Find the appropriate undergarments to grow with you during your pregnancy. This could also fit under being comfortable in what you are wearing. Buying maternity underwear and bras was a whole new level of happiness for me! Also look into Bellabands , this will help you continue to wear your favorite non-maternity jeans for much longer.

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Our Master Bedroom Makeover With Apt2b

AJ and I have been together for almost 8 years!! After we had dated for quite some time, and decided to move in together our home decor was a mash up of furniture from both of our past apartments. Needless to say it could use some updating and it was time to freshen up our Master bedroom. We were so excited to partner with Apt2b to give our favorite living space a much needed makeover. They have many modern and affordable pieces to choose from with a wide range of furniture and home decor perfect for your entire house!

Here is what our bedroom looked like before we started this little renovation. Our bed, side tables and tv stand were all a dark black-brown color. Our bed lacked dimension and texture in my opinion as well. I mean we didn’t even have a dresser, and I’m ashamed to admit we even put some clothes in our TV stand drawers. I mean we needed help!

With the help of Apt2b, we were able to collaborate on a whole new room! We chose a new bed, nightstands, bedside lamps, bench, rug, and dresser. I wanted to brighten up the room and make it super stylish, yet functional for our family.

BED /NIGHSTANDS / LAMPS / BENCH / RUG / DRESSER



I loved working with Apt2b so much, that I recently started remodeling my office with pieces from their line as well. I can’t wait to show you that space once it is finished!

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The Skinny On Stretch Marks

Products I use:

Stretch marks. Some Mamas wear them proud, even tattooing them like a badge of honor and some Mamas want to act like they never happened. Even though your baby may not even be here yet, they are leaving their mark on your belly, and maybe even  your chest, hips, thighs or buttocks. When I was pregnancy with Willow, I got them on my chest in a nice purple color! Now, I know what you are thinking, will I get these lines of love and how do I prevent them???

Well here is the 411 on stretch marks… 50%-90% of women develop them during pregnancy. You are also more likely to get them if your mom, dad, or grandparents have them. So in terms of avoiding these linear beauties, genetics definitely trumps prevention. Now don’t go running to give your entire family a full body check just yet, there is some more information you need!

Stretch marks come from tiny tears to the underlying layers of tissue under your skin. There are many other factors besides genetics that determine if you or when you will get stretch marks. Such as weight gain during your pregnancy. Those that can maintain a steady weight gain throughout their 40 weeks have a less chance of developing stretch marks.

Age, this is my favorite factor in terms of stretch marks! It is the one time that it pays to be a little older! Studies show that women in their 30’s and 40’s actually have only a 30% chance of developing stretch marks, where as teens and women in their 20’s have a 90% risk. As a Mom in her 30’s this was music to my ears!

Finally, abdominal girth, and baby related factors like twin pregnancies and high birth weights may also contribute to those little linear lines. When babies begin to grow and your belly stretches to accommodate the little one it creates excessive tension on skin’s dermis.

Now that we know the factors and risks of developing stretch marks, let’s get on to the fun information…how can we prevent them???

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to prevent your skin from stretching during your pregnancy, it is just a fact of life. However, there are some tips and tricks we can do to help our skin throughout our pregnancies.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy is a great place to start in the prevention of stretch marks.
  • Hydrating your body will help your outer most layers of your skin maintain moisture. I cannot reach the deep underlying layers where stretch marks start, but it will help you feel less itchy as your body stretches to accommodate stretching. I have used Shea butter, coconut oil, and bio oil.
  • Nourishing and hydrating your body from the inside out is a must! I drink at least 4 Liters of water a day to help me stay hydrated. Also vitamins C, D, E, and zinc have been shown to help form collagen which can help prevent dermal tearing.

So you may say stretch marks are inevitable, but know that they do fade with time and can become less noticeable with each day. Let me know your experience with stretch marks and what you have found to help them!

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Intentions vs. Resolutions

We’ve all heard “new year, new me” before and though it’s nice to make new year resolutions, I’ve found it’s not the best way for me to enact positive change in my life. Resolutions can feel constricting and rarely last past January.

Intentions, on the other hand, have been a driving force for my happiness, fulfillment, and overall sense of well being. I came into 2018 armed with some new intentions that have provided me with focus and motivation for who I want to be and what I want to accomplish this year.

What’s the difference?

Resolutions attach us to a specific outcome so instead of being at peace with a new goal, we’re in fear of not completing it and the shame that may bring. Intentions free us from this pressure! You can put aside the challenge of a resolution. A new beginning shouldn’t be a challenge anyway!

Instead, intentions can help you invite these new positive things into your life. Intentions only ask us to be mindful, present, and aware of what we want. Setting intentions helps realign your energy and capacity.

How are intentions set?

Setting intentions for me involves starting my morning with a quiet moment of awareness where I consciously state to myself and the universe what I am inviting into my life. I try to remind myself of my intentions every chance I get so every possible action and moment is in the right direction.

Gratitude is also an important part of setting intentions. I conclude my day with a quiet moment to reflect on the ways my intentions helped manifest small positive change in my daily life.

This cycle of inviting and thanking has led to BIG positive changes over time and has never failed in uplifting me. It only takes quiet moments, awareness, and gratitude!

SO, what are my 2018 intentions?

  1. Good health
  2. Quality time with family

As you all may know by now, I’m pregnant with twins. Since twin pregnancies can be considered high risk and are more challenging to carry to due dates, I want to do everything in my power to help them stay put until April! Setting this intention of good health has helped me make healthier choices with excitement and happiness and not out of restriction. I’m also making my intention to soak up every moment we get as a family of three and preparing to do the same when we become a family of five!

What are your 2018 intentions? 

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A Busy Mom’s Extra Green Pesto Pasta

I know I’m not alone when I have that “UGH” moment after a long day at work when I’ve just arrived home and I’m about to let out a sigh of relief when I can finally put on my comfy clothes and let the stress of the day fade away BUT then I remember that I haven’t made a plan for dinner yet. The worst. Exacerbated by the hungry faces asking me what’s for dinner.

This is usually when my savvy mom skills kick into gear and I get creative with stuff that’s in the fridge, however, one of these instances has led to one of my favorite meals that’s perfect for when you’re busy with returning back to work after the holidays and still wanting to stay true to the cutting back on takeout and unhealthy foods resolution.

Cue: A Busy Mom’s Extra Green Pesto Pasta!

SO easy! So realistic after a busy day! With the help of some go-to grocery store items, this dish is ready in the amount of time it takes to boil some pasta.

Ingredients:

1 package of pasta (Willow loves bowtie but any work!)

1 jar of pesto sauce (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s)

1 handful of fresh cherry tomatoes (feel free to add in more! They’re extra sweet and juicy after being warmed from the pasta!)

1 bag of spring lettuce mix

3 tablespoons of salt (for boiling water)

Half a lemon

Parmesan cheese & favorite Italian spices to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring pot of water + 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil
  2. Throw in pasta & follow cooking instructions on bag
  3. In the meantime, cut cherry tomatoes in halves
  4. When pasta is al dente, strain and place back in the pot
  5. Add pesto and Italian spices to pot of pasta
  6. Add fresh cherry tomatoes and squeeze lemon juice on pasta
  7. Stir! (This is the hardest step ;))
  8. Serve on a bed of fresh spring mix lettuce and add parmesan if you’re inclined for some cheese
  9. Enjoy the happy faces and well fed family!
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Our Baby Moon To Big Bear

We were able to take a little vacation that I deemed our “baby moon” right before the holidays. With the twin pregnancy, I am considered “high risk” and basically got a travel ban after I was passed the 6 month mark. We had short notice when it came to planning, but I was able to throw two fun days together in Big Bear! It is the perfect destination for a family getaway.

Aj and I packed up the car with Willow and headed to the mountains. Big Bear is only two hours away from LA, but is exudes cabin life and makes you really feel like you escaped the busy activity of the city.  I found an easy cabin on Air Bnb that was within walking distance to the Village and was under $100 per night (score).  This way we were close to food, fun and some shopping. Aj and I loved our cabin so much, we would come home every night, collect kindling and make fires in the wood burning fire place. It is now on our vision board to get a cabin in Big Bear!

Shop The Look:

Now for the fun part, all the activities Big Bear has to offer! If you have kids I really recommend going to Alpine Slide for a day! It has different activities such as go carts, golf, snow tubing and even a bobsled slide… yes I said bobsled. The bobsled was the biggest hit with Willow! There is a ski lift that brings you to the top of the slide and don’t worry adults ride with the small children to the bottom! After the slide, we did several rounds of snow tubing until our baby was worn out! She fell right asleep on the way to our cabin!

The next day I planned a day at the Big Bear Equestrian Center complete with horses and a hayride. It is a beautiful ranch and the staff are beyond accommodating and sweet. We even took a hayride to the North Pole to meet Santa (they had real reindeer too). Willow’s mind was blown and it was entertaining for the entire family.

What are your travel plans for 2018?? I am looking forward to traveling as a party of five in 2018 as well! We have Italy on our list!

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Why Winter Break Needs To Be Over

Disclaimer: I love my kid, like a lot.

Even though I could squeeze her until it hurts, I also need my alone time and my sanity. So at the end of winter break (yes I know it was only a little over two weeks) I am ready for the sound of the school bell.  Call me selfish, but I bet you have felt the same way as me at some point over the break.

Winter Break needs to be over because:

  1. Quiet, I just need some quite time.
  2. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
  3. My bank account and the sitter need a break!
  4. I want to throw my activity planner out the window (no more play dates, museums, or Disneyland trips for at least a month…okay maybe a week).
  5. Mom, Party of One, needs to happen. I want to watch daytime television in my pajamas, or get ready for work without any interruptions.

Are you sad to see Winter Break come to an end? Or do you feel like school can’t start soon enough??

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Pregnancy: The Exhaustion Is Real

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka 

Pregnancy comes with many beautiful qualities, and many what the hell is happening to me moments. I like to call these “the little things no one tells you about” symptoms. When I was first pregnant with Willow everyone talked about how amazing they felt, when really I was feeling borderline narcoleptic over here. I literally had no energy and could easily fall asleep anywhere. I kept reading that I would be the energizer bunny when the second trimester hit, but I almost felt worse. I just thought this was normal for me and everyone is different, so this is just my plight.

With the second pregnancy, this Mama got a little smarter and realized I don’t want to be the girl snoring at the party. So here are some tips that have helped me beat exhaustion with this pregnancy. It is important to note that some fatigue is related to pregnancy hormones. Although there isn’t anything you can do to change hormone levels, I have found that these little actions help me feel alive and energized.

  1. Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. You really might have to rearrange your schedule to allow yourself to rest more. Embrace your inner slacker and become less busy if possible. If you have more energy in the morning, schedule activities then and rest in the afternoon. Remember it is okay to say NO, and to put yourself first. Plus who is going argue with the pregnant lady?
  2. Eat regularly. This has been a lifesaver for me this pregnancy. I eat every two hours to avoid any dip in blood sugar (this has also helped my pregnancy weight gain remain steady and on point.)
  3. Moderate exercise. I know this one sounds like the complete opposite of what would make you feel better. Yet, regular exercise, even a 20 minute walk can release mood-elevating hormones and put a little pep in your step. So ignore the couch calling your name and set aside a little time for exercise.
  4. Set an earlier bedtime. Go to sleep one hour earlier than you normally would. This can give you a bit more energy in the morning.
  5. Ask for help! This is what I wish I would have done more of during my first pregnancy. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman, and there are people who will help you! Asking is the first step!!!

 

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#AskAbby: How are you preparing for the newborns?

Like all expecting moms, I’m not immune to the stress that comes with preparing for a new baby (or two babies in my case!) but one thing that has been useful in managing my stress is a handy to-do  list.

This list is comprised of actions that need to be completed before the babies arrive and is not inclusive of my shopping list for baby items and the nursery (I will be writing a blog post on my favorite baby brands soon but would love any recommendations!)

 

  1. Making sure the house is as organized/clean as possible to come home to after the babies are born. This is a must! The last thing you want to be worried about is cleaning up or clutter when your hands are full with newborns. Thankfully I’m able to get some help in this area, but planning ahead so everything is immaculate for the first day back at home is important.
  2. Getting my general to-do’s out of the way. Whether it’s getting the oil changed on the car or paying bills… any of my general tasks will be done before the due date or hopefully far in advance since these boys may arrive early! This will help make sure my brain is fully in the moment with the babies when they arrive.
  3. Planning meals for the first month or so of the newborns being home. I’m the queen of easy meals but having a plan thats suitable for the whole family is important. Homemade frozen dinners, healthy takeout and/or meals prepared by family and friends is key!!
  4. Planning Willow’s schedule. I definitely want Willow around as much as possible with her new baby brothers but I know there will be moments when it may be best to have her occupied. I’m arranging drop-offs and pick-ups for school and some playdates so she’ll be able to have some fun while mom and dad hopefully get to have a nap.
  5. Clearing phone memory. This may be a ‘huh’ on the list but newborns grow SO QUICKLY and I know I’ll want to capture every moment (x2). I would be devastated if I miss the new cutest thing ever  because my phone ran out of memory.
  6. Arranging the nursery in a realistic way. Though aesthetics are important, I know when two new babies are crying and need a diaper changed… I’ll be less concerned with whether it looks cute! Setting up the changing table where everything is within close reach and being practical in my decor is important!
  7. Packing my hospital bag. Though we still have a couple months left, this is something I’m taking care of early on since I know the babies could arrive unexpectedly. I’ll probably consistently remember things to add to it since I have a slight case of pregnancy brain!
  8. Making our labor playlist. Going into labor is very memorable experience and special moment… I want to make sure the background music is not a stressful decision in the moment. I’m curating an energetic one for when I may need some motivation and a peaceful one for the quieter moments.
  9. Going through Willow’s baby items. From books to blankets, I don’t want to overbuy baby items that I may already have. Plus, it’s pretty nostalgic and fun to go through her old stuff!
  10. Organizing and saving important phone numbers. From our pediatrician to local emergency numbers…. I want to make sure I’m as prepared for every emergency situation with the fastest way to get help.

 

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A Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

Oh, how exciting you have been!

I got to learn about how the biggest blessings sometimes come after long periods of frustration (emphasis on blessings, click here to check out my full post on fertility and our long journey to getting pregnant with twins). Though our road to grow our family wasn’t as quick or simple as we hoped, twins were well worth the wait!! Since finding out the news earlier this year, our family has gone through some major changes in preparation for our two new additions!

We moved! I LOVE our new home!! Though it’s still a work in progress and decorating a new home has been an interesting feat midway through a pregnancy, it’s been a joy to to fill it up with the help of Willow now that she’s a little bit older to have an opinion. Though we’re still working on a few rooms, our new home is certainly being filled with new memories! We’ve already hosted a few parties! Christmas Day, the twins gender reveal, and countless girls days with my sister, niece, and friends!

With the family expanding, thank you for giving me the time to discover a newfound love for trying new recipes. Since we will soon have more mouths to feed, it was especially fun to get a famous chef in the kitchen (major thanks to Cat Cora for enlightening me on how to make the best cookies!! Recipe here). I’ve also found some other new healthy favorites, and started to get Willow in the kitchen to help! Check out all of these here.

Speaking of food, time for a snack (pregnancy food cravings have been hitting me every two hours)!

So I’ll leave you with this 2017 – thanks to you, I am ready and looking forward to the new year! I can’t wait for EVERYTHING that’s to come!

I wish you and your families a 2018 filled with love, laughter and light. Thanks for following along.

Love,

Abby