Mar 31, 2016

75 Days to Go

That's right folks. Just 75 short little days until we get to meet our son. You know, give or take some days/weeks. I have three different pregnancy apps on my phone (don't judge) that remind me daily that our time as just a couple is quickly coming to an end. While we are thrilled about becoming parents, we've also settled into the mindset of "Let's live it up while we still can!" I mean, 75 days is less than 11 weeks and that means roughly 11 weekends of "freedom" before our family becomes three and our lives start revolving around diaper duty and feeding schedules.

I've mentioned countless times on here that Jared and I are guilty of doing the same things a lot- we are creatures of habit for our date nights and weekends, for sure. The 75 day reminder has me itching to get out and do more with my hubby though so we've devised a fun "plan" for the next couple of months. We're going to commit to one unique date/outing each weekend, and we'll take turns being the one to plan them. That way we aren't sitting around on a Friday evening scrambling to think of something to do and debating on if we should spend the money or not. Spoiler alert- that always results in us doing nothing. 

Remember that passport I made for Jared way back when? Well, we only stamped off about half of those things so we're determined to knock out the rest of them on our quest to date it up during the final countdown. There are museums we haven't seen yet, a quirky restaurant that we've always meant to try and I'm hoping the weather continues to cooperate so we can hit up some fun parks for long walks and maybe even a bike ride or two.

I love continuing to date Jared year after year. How we date each other has surely changed since our early puppy-love days and will continue to change and evolve as we become parents and enter into a new phase of life together. But it's comforting to know that no matter the phase of life, I'll always have this guy by my side and we'll always be on a lifelong date together. ;)

So let's hear it. What is your favorite date to go on with your significant other? Or, what was a must-do 'before baby' date you went on? I'm looking forward to soaking in these last couple of months and enjoying every second with my man.

Mar 30, 2016

Digital Photo Organization

It's 2016. I think just about every single one of us has digital clutter, correct? Hundreds (or thousands!) of pictures and videos on our phones and even more saved to memory cards, computers and goodness knows where else! It can be incredibly overwhelming and until about a year ago, my photo organization was non-existent. The wake-up call came for me while working on photobooks and realizing how much longer the process took simply because I couldn't find the photos I wanted at the time I wanted them.

I knew I needed a system in place going forward. I didn't want my computer to just become a pit of endless photos that never saw the light of day again. My system is basic, but once I got it in place my life got a lot easier, honest. A lot of people have asked me how I go about the organization as well as the creating of photobooks so I'm happy to share today!

The steps I take now to keep digital photos organized:

-Regularly upload your camera's card/phone photos.
I was guilty of having multiple SD cards laying around and would use whichever one I saw first in one of my 2 cameras. That made finding anything a huge pain in the butt. I try to keep a designated memory card with each camera now and save the other ones for back-up/emergencies. Don't let your photos sit around on memory cards forever either, upload them and proceed to the next steps!

-Cull the photos immediately upon uploading.
Culling your photos basically means getting rid of the crappy ones. You upload over 200 photos from Christmas... go through them all. Right now! You don't need 27 photos of your tree's lights and chances are only a handful of the pictures of your rambunctious niece actually aren't blurry. Delete the ones you don't need to keep so you don't waste time sifting through them later when you're ready to print or share them.

-Label everything.
Everyone's system is different but here is what I do. I have a yearly folder, then monthly and then I name each folder by the event and/or date depending on what I feel like will help me find things the fastest. Sometimes I just have random photos and nothing really to name them, but I'll still label them March 14-20 which then goes into my March, into my 2016 folder. However if I attended "Lacey's Baby Shower" in March, that folder will be titled that. 


*Note about blogger photos
I also keep a separate folder for pictures I either take specifically for a blog post OR are copies of other photos that maybe I'd edited or resized and know I wouldn't be printing at any point.

Another worry for me was losing these digital photos. Even though they are nice and organized now- what happens when your computer completely crashes?! As far as printing and what photos projects you do with photos- that's up to you. But please, prints those photos in some form!! :) I have been making yearly family photo books through Shutterfly so in order to feel like my pictures are safe and I'll never lose one I:

- Create a yearly photobook through Shutterfly. January - December every year. Special occasions (like weddings) or big vacations (like DisneyWorld) get their own separate books, too.
- At the end of my order, I can add on a CD. They'll save all the photos I used in the book to a CD and I can purchase that with my book. Yes, I COULD do this on my own but this saves a ton of time and ensures I at least have a back-up of all my favorite photos. Even though I cull my photos in advance, not every single picture I took in 2016 will make the photobook!
- Save the entire yearly folder of photos onto an external hard drive. They are worth the cost, get one.
Fun Disney friend not included with purchase

So now I've got a hard copy in a book form, a CD of the photos in the book and also the entire yearly conglomeration of photos on both my computer and my external HD. I feel like my photos are pretty secure, not to mention- organized.

I hope this helps someone else who's photos need decluttered. It's an overwhelming process to start, so break it up little by little just to be sure it gets done. At one point I had close to 20,000 photos on my computer. Yes, 20,000. I started culling them a little bit each week. Just 20 minutes here and there, deleting stuff that I didn't need until it became manageable. You can start there, and then work your way into the yearly and monthly folders. Going forward after that should be breeze! 

Mar 28, 2016

Celebrating Easter

The weather for Easter could not have been more perfect. Lots of sunshine and temperatures up in the mid 70's yesterday. Jared and I attended church Sunday and afterwards took a short walk around the trail/lake on property there. We basked in the sunshine, talked about past Easter celebrations and daydreamed about what Easter will be like next year when we have a TEN month old!! I'm so tempted to buy him an outfit for next Easter already (hello, sales!?) but I've told myself I cannot buy any more unnecessary baby stuff at this point. I always love celebrating Easter but I truly cannot wait to celebrate it next year with a little one.
Best attempt at an Easter picture this year. #neededsunglasses

I mentioned Friday that our new chair was being delivered and I love love LOVE it. It's so incredibly comfortable and looks great in the nursery. I tried it out about a dozen different times over the weekend. Jared and I were out running some errands on Saturday when we came across this whale pillow at Hobby Lobby. At 40% off, we couldn't say no! Isn't he adorable??
Lately I have been really bad about remembering to take photos, so I really don't have many from this weekend at all- oops! I did however, finish and order my Disney photobook over the weekend and it definitely reminded me I need to keep up with photos and digital organization more than ever. I might do a post on that soon, as everyone's "system" is different and I've benefited a lot from seeing how other people manage their digital stuff. The pictures are never ending but having those books is totally worth the hours they take to put together. I'm still determined to be caught up on all my books before baby boy arrives- wish me luck! ;)

Can't wait to read all about everyone's Easter weekend- Wishing you all a GREAT week!

Mar 25, 2016

Friday Five {Baby Edition #2}

Happy Good Friday! I am so excited to kick off this holiday weekend and spend some quality time with Jared. At the end of February I themed my Friday Five post around all things baby and that might be a theme I continue for the next couple of months. A nice, tidy little way to sum up anything that's been going on in this crazy whirlwind they call pregnancy. Since 4 weeks have passed since the last official update I feel like there is lots of news and changes going on!

{ ONE } This week I officially started my third trimester. I've been taking some bump photos here and there, mostly on my phone and mostly in the work bathroom because it's the only big mirror I have access to. By chance, I wore the same maternity shirt for my 18 and 28 week pictures. Whoa, belly! That thing is large and in charge these days. This week the doctor actually told me little man is measuring in about 2 weeks ahead currently. Yikes!

{ TWO } Glucose test- I passed! I had the orange drink which was not bad at all. Like, I didn't love it but it was completely tolerable and went down easily. I was more nervous about the blood draw and the Tdap shot I got that same day, but luckily all went well with those. They did however determine that I'm anemic so I'll be taking an extra iron supplement to hopefully get those numbers up.

{ THREE } My in-laws generously purchased the chair for our nursery and we'll be getting it delivered today! This was the last big item we needed for his room so I'm excited about having it in place. Once it's in there we can really start on the fun parts of decorating and making the room a perfect place for him. I've got some crafty ideas up my sleeve and I'm hopeful I'll be able to DIY a couple things.

{ FOUR } I got the invitations to both our baby showers in the mail last week which was incredibly surreal, but so exciting! After years of having our fridge covered with other people's baby showers invites, it's pretty cool to see your own name on one :) April is going to be a FUN month.

{ FIVE } Picking out HIS NAME. Jared and I have shared/will be sharing the name with family members, it's not a huge secret or anything but I don't know if I plan to share it publicly on the blog or not. At this point I don't know what I'm comfortable sharing so I'm keeping the name off the internet for as long as possible. It feels awesome to have a name for our little boy though! I cannot wait to see what he looks like♥

Have a great weekend and a wonderful Easter, everyone!!

Mar 23, 2016

Easter Week Love

It's Easter week, the temperatures are back up in the 60s again and I am just thrilled about this time of year. It's all my favorite things rolled into a couple of months and right now my calendar has a lot of fun things on it that I'm counting down to. So in honor of all the pastel colors and bunnies and sunrise church services... I'm joining in on a link-up today that I haven't joined in on before. Thanks, Jenn and Jessi for allowing me a reason to dump all the Easter things into one post ;)

Our actual plans for Easter weekend are still a bit up in the air at this point. It seems to be the case every year- we're always doing something different but I still love to celebrate any way we can. Which means I'm planning on making this tasty treat for Jared and I at some point this weekend :)
There's still a chance we might be having some people over to celebrate the Easter weekend at some point, and if so I'll be utilizing this post. SO many tasty, good options for Easter menus.

I'm a sucker for cute printables, and there are always SO many freebies available out there- for every holiday. This link takes you to 14 really cute ones, but this one is my favorite for sure!

I've also been pinning and window-shopping for cute maternity dresses. I've really lucked out in not having to buy a ton of stuff up until now, but with baby showers, graduation parties and a wedding on the calendar over the next couple of months- I'd like to get a couple new items that I'll love and also that will be comfortable. Clearly I'm on a maxi dress kick ;) All of these are from Pink Blush.
Jared and I have continued our decluttering again now that we're back from vacation. Every time new baby stuff comes in our house it motivates me to get rid of other things we don't need/use/want anymore. It feels like we are getting really close to having our whole home decluttered and (mostly) organized which is exciting. Once we do, it's time to tackle the Spring cleaning for sure. There are some great checklists on Pinterest that I go-to every year to help make sure I clean every nook and cranny. If you aren't following my boards yet- please do! Happy Wednesday :)

Mar 22, 2016

Shopping is Productive

I had the best pedicure I've ever had over the weekend! Lacey and I have been meaning to go get our toes done for awhile and Saturday our schedules finally allowed it. We tried a new place and it did not disappoint. We got their "deluxe" pedi and for $30 they did all the normal stuff + an exfoliating sugar scrub, hot oil as a muscle relaxer, hot towels, and a warm lotion massage on our feet/legs. I honestly wanted to fall asleep in the chair- it felt so great and was just what I needed. I cannot remember the last time I treated myself to a pedicure but I'm thinking there will be at least one more before this baby arrives!

After our pampering we grabbed a quick lunch and also hit up Ikea. Yes, we braved Ikea on a Saturday and yes, it was terrifying. Luckily, we both just had a couple small items in mind we wanted to pick up there so it was a short trip. Well, as short as a weekend check-out line can be ;) I've read about these drawer organizers from no less than 10 blog/mom friends about how great they are for organizing little baby items so I snatched up two sets of them- you can't beat $5.99! Since I don't really have anything to put in his drawers yet, here's a photo I borrowed from Allison's post on organizing baby stuff.
I'd had high hopes of getting a lot more done this weekend, but I was just plain worn out. Sunday night I was feeling overwhelmed again (story of my life!) and stressed that I hadn't "done enough" with my weekend. Jared talked me out of my funk eventually and after some therapeutic coloring and a list-making session I felt better. On my to-do list I noticed there were a lot of things I needed to purchase. Various gifts, a couple household things, just odds and ends... So instead of making myself run a zillion errands in the coming weeks? I hopped on Amazon and shopped my little fingers off and crossed off a ton of "to-buy's" which felt great. Amazon Prime for the win. Shopping is totally productive, y'all! ;)

My weekend spilled into Monday when I met up with some fabulous local blogger friends at The Cheesecake Factory. I met all these women through blogging and even though they don't all blog still, I'm thankful for their friendship and for our get togethers. We laughed so much last night and swapped some crazy stories. It's nice that so many of them are new(er) mom's too- I can ask them all my pressing questions and hopefully not annoy them too much. Cheers to blogging and all the people it's brought into my life :) 

PS- How did everyone's brackets do through the first couple of rounds? I have 11 of the 16 remaining teams right, I'll take it!! Still rooting on Oklahoma all the way!

Mar 18, 2016

Ready to Regroup

This week has been TOUGH. There's just no way around it. I think the combination of the time-change, coming back from vacation, the crazy weather we're having and oh yeah- almost being in my third trimester alllllll caught up to me at once. I haven't slept well at all lately and if you have seen me this week- you would know that's the truth ;) Bags under my eyes and a ponytail every day this week at work... I just embraced it and hoped my coworkers weren't too scared of me.
And even though it's been an annoying, emotional week things could be a lot worse. There was a 12-car accident this week on the bridge that I take home every day. The road was shut down for hours, a car went into the river and I don't know how many people were injured (or worse). I feel very fortunate that I wasn't in the wreck or affected by it at all- and it really makes you rethink the little things you might have been complaining about an hour earlier. This life is truly a blessing and I can't take that for granted.

So I'm ready for this weekend and for some regrouping. Ready to shake off this week's slump and get on with it. Spending time with family and friends, getting things back in order and hopefully starting on a very long baby to-do list. All of the things that I've been saying, "I'll do that after vacation" suddenly feel very, very pressing. Even though I know there is still a good amount of time to get things done, I am ready to chip away at the to-do's and get a little sanity and order back in my life. Post-vacation chaos is real, folks.
At least we always have sports- right? :) Did everyone join in the March Madness bracket fun this year? The first couple of days of the tournament are generally pretty fun in our office. We have a TV in the common area just outside my office so it's on all day for score updates. Today my boss is buying everyone lunch so we can eat and watch some hoops as a mid-day break, which will be nice. I've got Kansas, Oklahoma, UNC and Michigan State as my final four- what about you all??

Mar 16, 2016

Daufuskie Island- The Weirdest Place Ever

Okay, okay- last vacation post I swear. Listen, Jared and I likely won't be traveling anyyyyyytime in the foreseeable future so let me bask in my post-vacationess alright? ;) We kept most of our schedule open except for a morning at the spa one day (best prenatal massage ever) and a half-day tour of Daufuskie Island another day. It sounded different and adventurous so we figured why not? This tiny island only has about 300 people living on it and had been named a historic district due to it's Civil War history.

So we booked our tickets and boarded a boat Wednesday morning to see what we'd gotten ourselves into. It was a 30-minute boat ride from HHI to Daufuskie and our captain kept us entertained with facts and information. We saw a ton of dolphins on our way over which was awesome- they were so close to the boat! The downfall of the boat ride was a man who sat right behind us clearing his throat the entire ride over. I wish you could hear Jared's impression of it... the dude sounded like a lawn mower trying to start up, I swear. Let's just say, we were happy to get to land and start the day.

Once on Daufuskie we were given keys to a golf cart, a map and told to have a good time. The only things we'd really gathered prior to the trip was that there were lots of historic things to see and some beautiful secluded beaches. So we cranked the radio in our cart and off we went. We quickly realized our golf cart was a slow one as an odd threesome of hipsters flew past us with their selfie stick. A girl and two guys... and we couldn't tell who was with who. But I'm getting off topic.

There were a few ancient cemeteries on the island which seemed so strange. Civil War era people buried on this tiny 8-square-mile mysterious island in South Carolina. They were tucked away in between homes and it's incredible that there were even still headstones in place. As we made our way down the dirt and gravel roads we passed a guy building a fence in the middle of no where. Just hammering away putting up a fence post in a wooded area with nothing around him. He waved and we waved back but I made Jared promise not to drive down that lane again. Everything was starting to creep me out!


Then we stumbled upon this little gem. The Iron Fish. Where everything on their porch is for sale and everything is based on the honor system. Take what you want and leave cash or write down your credit card information for the owner to charge. I kid you not. It was so eerily quiet yet I felt like someone was going to jump out from behind a tree and yell at us if we touched their stuff. No, we didn't purchase anything.

We trekked on and saw an old two-room school house, the buggy that belonged to the island's "famous" midwife and a church that looked JUST like the church from Walking Dead. Anyone else  see it?! I was completely weirded out by it but Jared thought it was awesome.

This post might seem like a bunch of jumbled thoughts, but that's kinda' how the whole exploration of Daufuskie was- a jumble. We didn't know what we were looking at or why so many weird things were there but it was fascinating just the same. The crazy thing is that there are also gorgeous giant homes on this island that super rich folks come to; they love the seclusion and I guess don't mind that their house is just yards away from a rotting mobile home? Such a strange dynamic to this place.

So tell me- what's the weirdest town/destination you've ever explored?

Mar 15, 2016

Hilton Head Vacation

After a very full day in Savannah we hopped in the car for an easy 45-minute drive over to our favorite island- Hilton Head! We spent that first day just walking on the beach, soaking in the sunshine and letting our minds switch into vacation mode. It was nice not having any set agenda for most of our trip so we just wandered where we wanted, ate at whatever time we felt like eating and took naps on the beach whenever the mood struck us! Total relaxation mode.


We stayed near the Coligny Plaza which is our favorite little spot for the two of us. There are plenty of condos to rent and you're next to tons of shopping and restaurants. Walkable options everywhere, or hop on your bikes and go a bit further to even more great places. Hilton Head is such a relaxed environment and at the time of year we went- it felt empty most of the time! Since we beat all the Spring Break/Easter/Summer crowds- we got a great deal on a gorgeous condo right on the beach. We went through VRBO.com for the second time and couldn't be happier.




It was fun getting into a routine during our short week there. We woke up pretty early most days and Jared would head out for a beach run/workout and I'd sit on the patio eating breakfast and reading blogs with the ocean waves crashing as my background noise. Talk about perfection. I could definitely do that every day for the rest of my life and be fine with that. :)

A few Shout-Outs & Recommendations:
Hilton Head Diner- Does not get enough love on TripAdvisor but we tried this place for brunch and loved it so much we ate there twice! We had breakfast food there but they've got a huge menu and everything sounded delicious. Plus, they're open 24/7 which is convenient. I may or may not have ordered a massive stack of chocolate chip pancakes. Okay, I did. And I didn't get a photo because I couldn't wait to dive in...

Frosty Frog Cafe- Okay, they are known for their adult beverages but their FOOD is so tasty! Their chips and salsa are so incredibly fresh and delicious and totally worth the heartburn. Jared and I have tried their wraps, burgers and even pizza from here and everything is yummy. Plus there are TVs everywhere so we stalked the NFL free agency drama going on while on vacation- can't miss that!!

Hilton Head Bicycle Rental- HHI is a very bike-friendly community so there are dozens of places to rent bikes for the week, but this is the one we've went with two years in a row. They seem to have the best prices around and usually if you reserve yours two weeks in advance there will be an additional discount. They deliver/pick-up right to the place you're staying so there's no hassle at all.


Bomboras Grille- This place was recommended to me by some people at work because lo and behold, this place is basically a Bengals restaurant- the owners are originally from Cincinnati. Our head coach Marvin Lewis has a home in HHI and he and wife frequent this place. Plus on Sunday's during football season supposedly it's a sea of orange and black so we had to stop in. We ate some ridiculously good lunch here and met the incredibly nice owner who greeted us with a WHODEY when he saw Jared's shirt :)

It's hard to sum up all the fun we had but it was truly one of the best weeks ever. It was fun having a few random strangers ask about when I was due or if we knew what we were having, etc. No one had asked me yet so it took me by surprise but I won't lie, I loved the attention and loved telling people we had a little boy on the way. The owner of the putt-putt place we went to was so happy for us he even gave us a free game to celebrate!



I'll be back tomorrow with just one more vacation-related post because the island tour/excursion we went on deserves it's own day. TRUST.ME.

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