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In My Journal, Writing on
July 9, 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo – Writing Challenges to Encourage Aspiring Authors

How to Win at Camp NaNoWriMo

If you have seen me in person the past few weeks, you may know that I’ve been obsessing over an online month-long event called Camp NaNoWriMo, an offshoot of NaNoWriMo (known in long hand as National Novel Writing Month).

The original NaNoWriMo is set during November, making it my absolute favorite month. I’ve mentioned this event several times in the past, as it’s a really exciting way to become involved in a writing project (check out my thoughts the first year I “won” the NaNoWriMo, but since November is going to be a really intense month for me (Hello first-time-mommy status!), I wanted to make sure I also participated in the smaller (but equally as fun) self-paced summer session of NaNoWriMo.
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In My Journal on
July 3, 2016

What I Ate While Pregnant – Second Trimester Pregnancy Diet

Second Trimerester Pregnancy Diet

I can’t believe I’m seven months pregnant now, that’s insane! Jack will be here in two short months and we are only just now starting to prepare the house. Wish us luck! These next few weekends are packed with home projects.

As time has gone on, my pregnancy diet has really changed. I’ve filmed two What I Ate videos over the course of my pregnancy so far, one at five months pregnant and one at six months pregnant, and it’s fun to me to look back and see the differences in them. Now that I’m at seven months, I’m thinking about filming one again. What do you guys think? Should I film a video every month until I’m due?

What I Eat In a Day – 5 Months Pregnancy Diet

  1. Iced Vanilla Coffee (Mio Energy Iced Vanilla Java with Milk)
  2. Energy Bites (Peanut butter, rice crispies, dates, and maple syrup or honey)
  3. In my Honest Company lunchbox (eaten during work hours)
    1. Apple
    2. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    3. Vanilla Snackpack
    4. Brightside soft baked granola in cinnamon brown sugar
    5. Snapea Crisps in XO Eco by Blue Avocado container
    6. Cheese and crackers
    7. Orange juice
  4. Pastellitos
  5. Chicken and pasta
  6. Orange creamsicle push pop

What I Eat in a Day – 6 Months Pregnancy Diet

  1. Smoothie bowl (strawberries, bananas, Welch’s  white grape juice, homemade granola, kiwis) – I’ve been obsessed with these!
  2. French vanilla Folgers coffee with Dunkin Donuts vanilla creamer
  3. Hamburger with Cape Cod original chips
  4. Chips and cowboy caviar (made with mixed vegetables, beans, and homemade dressing)
  5. Caesar salad
  6. Pizza
  7. Coffee Cake

Thinking on it, I get a lot hungrier at work! I definitely snack more when I’m not at home.

Thankfully I haven’t craved weird things. Did you have any of those funny movie-worthy cravings, like pickles and chocolate, when you were pregnant?

Keep up with more day-to-day pregnancy updates on my snapchat (rebecca.kelsey) and on Instagram @rebeccakelsey.

In Beauty, My Journal on
June 18, 2016

If I Had $100, What Would I Buy? (June 2016 Edition)

For the third post in this series (check out my March wishlist and April wishlist posts if you missed them), I actually had a hard time coming up with a list that reached $100. My brain the past two months has been on a minimalist kick, reducing/reusing everything and anything to the absolute most that I can, which is good news in my book.

So, if I had $100 to spare in my budget this month what would I buy? Read more

In Motherhood, My Journal on
April 27, 2016

It’s a BOY! 5 Month Pregnancy Update

I can’t believe it. Now we know for sure that EJ (the little nickname we had for baby #1) is officially Jack. We are having a baby boy. Wow!

If you missed my BIG reveal, take a look at my recent post: Why (and How) I Kept my Pregnancy a Secret for Five Months. That post also shares some of my symptoms and a video from my four-month update.

Now that things are all out in the open, getting dressed in the morning has been a heck of a lot easier now that I don’t have to hide my bump. Good thing too because this bump is large and in charge now. These past three weeks I have really popped.

My baby bump at 5 monthsI know that I have definitely gained some weight this month, and moving around has been a bit more challenging, but I’m trying to focus mainly on my health and making sure I’m still active rather than the number. Thinking about weight gain was putting a damper on things, so I’ve just decided to stop getting on the scale and only learn about my weight during doctor’s visits.

My hunger has definitely increased this past month, I feel like I’m constantly eating while I’m at work. I typically have my lunch box next to me and I’m sneaking food from it the majority of the day.

Some other things that have changed this month has been the amount of hair on my body. The fine blonde hair I’ve always had on my stomach is now longer (which is totally weird to me) and the hair on my legs and other areas I typically shave grows back a lot faster. No change on the hair that sits on my head, sadly, I was hoping that would get thicker.

My skin is also a lot dryer, but thankfully no stretch marks as of yet.

Changes, week by week:

Here is a video that goes into my symptoms as well as what it has been like at my new job and what baby kicks feel like.

 

 

I’m sharing a lot of updates on my social media accounts, so do follow if you can as it’s hard to share posts on my blog and YouTube channel while I’m figuring out how to write and upload during my free time.

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

Thank you all so much for the support these past few weeks. It has meant the world to me. I can’t believe I’m already half-way through this journey.

Have you been pregnant before? What symptoms did you feel at five months?

In Motherhood, My Journal on
April 11, 2016

Why (and How) I Kept My Pregnancy a Secret for Five Months

Easy calendar pregnancy announcement.

Surprise! Chris and I are expecting a bundle of joy this September.

I am currently 19 weeks and 4 days pregnant, just 3 days shy of being 5 months along.

Here is a happy video sharing the news and going into my symptoms for up to week 16:

It was not my intention to keep this secret for so long. I had initially only planned on waiting until the first trimester passed (three months) but some other factors came into play that made me and my husband want to keep things under wraps a little longer.

It all started December 2015 when I began feeling symptoms very shortly after conception. At the time, I thought I was insane for wondering if I was pregnant because I was taking birth control pills. As it turns out, there are so many factors at play with hormonal birth control that any mishap can mess up the whole system. That little misstep led Chris and I to a little miracle, baby EJ.

We’ve been calling our bundle baby EJ because we aren’t going to be able to find out the sex until April 15 and Chris and I have had our baby names picked out for years. EJ is short for Emma Aurora and Jack Douglas, we’ll know for sure who is joining our family later this week.

When we first found out, the day after Christmas last year, there was a few weeks of panic. I had been working freelance all of 2015, with varying successes. I was (and still am) really proud of the amount of work I was able to get, but with a third mouth on the way we knew freelance was no longer an option for us.

So we both started looking for more work. I started getting a few hopeful bites and interview requests quickly, and around three months I was up for a job in the marketing department at a local accounting firm. After one month of interviewing, it ended up not working out.

So, the secrets started building. At this point several of our family members were aware that we were having financial concerns and because of that, we didn’t want to add in the extra worry that we knew they would feel once they found out we were expecting.

My Mom found out about the baby shortly past the three-month mark, mostly because she was noticing differences in me before anyone else did, so it was nice to vent with her, but I also felt guilty over how much concern she had for us. It just solidified our decision to keep everyone in the dark until a new job was eminent.

It was another month of hiding until I started getting traction with my resume again and two companies in advertising seemed very interested in me, so after a second round of interviews (at about four months pregnant) we started telling our family and close friends. At this time it was becoming a lot harder to keep my weight gain a secret and emotionally it was taking too much of a toll to constantly judge my appearance, so we decided that at least the people we saw the most frequently should be brought into the loop so I would only have to worry about my weight during interviews.

Pregnancy photos week 16, 17, 18, and 19.

I’ve popped!

 

There were a lot of shocked faces (and about three people that surprised us by saying they had noticed a few clues), but overall the responses were so positive that our hearts felt warm again and we were able to celebrate with our family in private.

Two days later, I got a job at AB&A Advertising. It was such a joy, but also another level of fear. How can I keep my pregnancy a secret at work?

A week and a half after starting my new job, I knew I needed to fess up. It was the responsible thing to do, since I knew the earlier my job could prepare for my leave the better, and the reveal was also needed to keep me happy emotionally, as focusing on my looks so much was only alienating me from what should be a happy time.

So, I got to work early one day and started speaking with my supervisors. To my immense relief, I was met with happiness. While, of course, practical questions came up (as they should), I had found myself with a wonderful and supportive team. I couldn’t be happier to be with AB&A Advertising. I know now that I am exactly where I need to be.

For the few months I kept my pregnancy a secret from friends and family, as well as through the interview process and at work, these are the steps I followed to keep my baby bump hidden.

How I kept my pregnancy a secret:

  1. Establish that you rarely drink caffeinated beverages (and other pregnancy no-nos) from the get-go. During my onboarding, I was given pizza and soda to celebrate (which was so fun) but I made sure to mention how I rarely have soda since caffeine makes me jittery “so this really feels like a treat.” My office loves coffee, so this gave me an excuse to always say no.
  2. Establish a love for hydration. Since I was going to the bathroom very frequently at this point in the pregnancy, I made sure I always had a large water bottle at my desk so that I’d have a reason to get up often. Finding other reasons, like talking to someone on the other side of the office, also made it easier to feel comfortable taking more bathroom breaks.
  3. Wear baggy clothing and layers. Since my office was business casual, I had a lot more leeway in the outfit department. I went on a shopping trip right before starting so that I could buy some high quality larger clothing that I could grow into. The baggy clothes kept my bump hidden, with the addition of jackets, cardigans, and sparkly jewelry that brought more attention to my upper body than my lower. See some of my outfits here and here.
  4. Wear flared skirts and skater skirts. My favorite outfit for when I was bloated included my white flared pleated skirt from Plato’s Closet. The purposeful shape made it easier for my belly to expand comfortably without being obvious.
  5. Buy maternity SpanxThere are safe versions of Spanx for pregnant women so that they can smooth the lines of their body while also minimizing thighs and butts without putting pressure on your baby. Since I was feeling bigger in those areas, this became a dress staple for me. It wasn’t comfortable, not by a long shot, but it made me feel more confident in my outfits. Belly bands are also really helpful to expand your wardrobe.

While I don’t recommend people to keep their pregnancies a secret for so long, these tips helped me keep it under wraps while I figured out my next move.

And today, at 19 weeks and 4 days, I’m now sharing my happy news with my extended friends and blog followers. No more hiding. It’s time to celebrate.

In Fashion, My Journal on
March 15, 2016

How I Saved Almost $1,000 on my Wedding Dress

The dress of my dreams ended up being from the Goodwill!

Recently I wrote a comprehensive post on how to get married for under $10,000 (exclusively on VisiHow) and afterward fell totally back into the moment of my wedding day and all that it meant to me, prompting me to go back through my wedding related blog posts. To my horror, I realized I had not written a post about my wedding dress! My thoughts on what my wedding dress would be a few years ago versus the process I went through to actually chose my dress were completely different, so I knew I needed to share with you how I ended up with the dress of my dreams and saved $1,000 jut by being flexible.

Several years ago, I shared my first wedding vlog where I talked about how my dream dress was the Snow White Alfred Angelo Disney collaboration, for $1,199. Considering my wedding Budget was $10,000 – that’s a huge chunk of the budget!

My original dream dress versus my used wedding dress:

Is it okay to buy a used wedding dress?

Looking at the two dresses now, I’m startled by how similar they look as I didn’t intentionally go out looking for the same style. Honestly, if my budget had been bigger I may have never considered shopping around, but boy am I glad that I did.

It all started around February 2014, when I had found a wedding package with Grand Salon Reception Hall. As I was doing the numbers and seeing what was left in the budget, I thought to myself “Would I be heartbroken if I didn’t get the Snow White wedding dress?” and to my surprise, I wasn’t. I always thought it would have to be THAT dress after seeing it online that first time many years ago, but my heart was more open minded to other options that I had anticipated.

So I started looking around Etsy and adding some lower cost items to my Pinterest board, keeping my mind open, and then one day my Mom and sister called me in a rush telling me that they had found the perfect wedding dress for me at the Goodwill for only $60. Technically, it was $100 but my Mom was able to get the price to $60 because she’s just clever at things like that.

If you’ve never been to the Goodwill, it’s a store where they sell gently used items at a steep discount. Every item they sell is a product they received from a tax-deductible donation.

I wasn’t able to tell much from the photo she texted me but they were so enthusiastic about it that I said to go ahead and make the purchase, taking a risk on the potential of such a steep deal (wedding dresses are non-returnable at the Goodwill).

When I came back from my vacation and saw my Mom again, she passed off the dress and I tried it on. To my surprise, it was almost a perfect fit.

Trying on my dress for the first time in my sister-in-law’s bedroom:

Used Wedding Dresses

We only needed to bring up the length in the front, trim a bit around the bust, and add some buttons in the back to pick up the dress for dancing.

And boy was it fun to dance in!

The alterations ended up costing about $200, bringing my total cost of $260. That means I spent 80% less than I originally planned, an almost $1,000 difference from my original dress.

As I was prepping this post, I searched my dress for a tag and found one printed into the dress. The website is no longer live, but the brand is NY Atelier Vestidos de Novia (Bridal R Us). I’m sorry I can’t give any more information than that, all I can say is that I’m really glad the previous owner donated their dress. It really made me feel beautiful on my special day.

So, I hope that this post helped show you all what other options are available. Your dress dress may very well be in a thrift store!

Do you have any ideas about your wedding day that you feel are more flexible than you originally thought?

More posts about my wedding will be coming soon, even though it’s two years later! I want to make sure I fill in those content gaps and let you all know even more about my special day.

In My Journal on
March 13, 2016

The Sunday Special

What I’ve been feeling this week, in blog form. Enjoy your relaxing Sunday, Kind Friends, and let me know if you’d like to see a post like this every week. I’ll be back next week to share with you more content. In the mean time, keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Favorite Home Decor Day Dream:

Stunning home decor from Oh Joy

Dainty lights from Amazon, featured in this Oh Joy photo sharing her new dinnerware for Target.

My Sunday Jams:

jagged little pill by Alanis Morissette (Spotify Landmark Edition)

I totally miss 90s music! I feel like it’s a little harder for me to find music I connect to in this generation. What music are you loving recently?

Sunday TV Marathon:

Colony on the USA Network

Alien shows are my favorite and I love how this show keeps their influence on the community ambiguous.

What I’m looking forward to on Monday:

Who will Ben choose? I’m so excited, this is my first season of The Bachelor and it was drama city.

I hope you all had a wonderful week! This next one will hopefully be even better.

Comment below some of your favorite links, shows, products, and more from the past week or so. I’d love new suggestions!