Five Favorites and an update.

I've been out and about a lot lately and have come across so many things that I just have to share, if only to keep my finds in one place. Here's what I'm loving these days:

1. True Blue Spa Shea Cashmere Body Cream is so completely delicious smelling that sometimes I'd rather eat it than wear it, but that's neither here nor there. (I'm pregnant, not stupid.) I've been slathering this on the belly ever since I got it, and it's simply devine. Definitely a good find for the massive expansion coming my way in the winter months.

Shea cashmere 

2. Anything by Lotta Jansdotter. Most specifically, Simple Sewing for Baby.
LOVE her prints, love the simple Scandinavian style, can't wait to make Elska little outfits and goodies inspired by Lotta's designs.

3. Philosophy: The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. I have been using this on and off for the past couple of years and no matter how many times I switch it up I ALWAYS go back. I went out today and purchased a giant bottle of it that, no joke, will probably last me for at least a year. It's gentle but nothing makes my skin feel smoother than this stuff. It's amazing. Don't think I'll ever use anything else.

4. Hot fudge sundaes from either McDonald's or Dairy Queen. This has been the latest in a series of random cravings, and it's safe to say I want one of these for dessert every single night. In fact, I want one right now…

5. And last but not least, Elska's hiccups. I always heard pregnant women talk about their little ones getting the hiccups, but I never could imagine what that felt like. It's like a constant, rhythmic tapping that lasts several minutes, and I love it! I just think it's the cutest thing ever that before they're born, babies do these people things, and it's not like this should surprise since they are people, after all, but it's just adorable to me.

I'm happy to report that the pregnancy is coming along quite nicely- no major bumps or even hiccups, if you will (because I will). The doctor said we most likely won't be having another ultrasound unless we either want to pay for it or have insurance that will cover it, which really bummed me out but hey, it means we have a healthy little girl growing up a storm in my belly and that's what really matters. I will say that the belly is starting to feel quite heavy, but I don't look huge (yet). Most people find it hard to believe that I'm nearly seven months along, but when I look in a mirror it's really not all that shocking. I asked the doctor if I look normal and she said that since I'm tall the baby has more room to grow- and isn't forced to grow out instead of up and down. Whew. I have to say that even if no one else thinks I have gained that much weight, I can certainly feel the extra weight not only in my belly, but in other places as well. I've been trying so hard to use my regular wardrobe for as long as possible, but it's safe to say I'm at a point where I can't do it much longer, if at all. I own a grand total of three maternity shirts, one sweater, and two pairs of pants and I'm not sure how much I'll be able to rotate those items out before I start looking like a hobo.

We have successfully cleaned out the nursery-to-be, and are planning on starting the painting process this weekend. I am SO EXCITED! I have so many ideas for her room I can barely contain myself. I'm not big on bright colors (en masse, that is), so we're opting for a softer palette for the little one's room- one that can transition nicely into her later childhood years. Hopefully she'll like it when she's old enough to determine what she likes. I'm scouring Etsy for ideas and inspiration.

We also got our registry started and I will be the first to say it was completely overwhelming. After three hours and not even half the store covered, we had to bail out of there before our heads exploded. Not only was the selection daunting, it's safe to say that we have absolutely no idea what this baby will need or require when she arrives. We spent more time laughing at the pictures of women on the phone, reading and otherwise multi-tasking on the packaging of a pair of breast pump attachments than we did trying to figure out what exactly we needed out of a breast pump. I know that's what 14-year-olds do but we didn't feel much older than that given how clueless we were.

So, here we go: two trimesters down, one to go. Let the adventures begin.

Settling in…

…to this whole pregnancy thing. The nausea has passed for the most part, I have lots of energy and have gone on a cleaning spree (downstairs at least), and my appetite has returned to normal, although I don't feel like I'm eating all that much more than I usually did pre-pregnancy. However, there are some things that I enjoy eating IMMENSELY, much more than I usually did.

First off, tomatoes. I want them ALL THE TIME. In every form. I went to Costco the other day and left with a gallon of salsa and a giant bag of sun-dried tomatoes, and was thisclose to leaving with three enormous jars of pasta sauce. I held myself back from that purchase because I'm getting back into cooking and love making my own sauce concoctions on-the-fly. The next day, I went to Fry's and got a bag full of roma tomatoes because my favorite snack is cottage cheese with paprika and sliced tomatoes with sea salt. I also occasionally munch on a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, and I add them to pretty much every recipe I possibly can.

Second craving: pickles. Could that possibly be any more cliche? (While I do crave a lot of dairy, ice cream isn't high on that list. Anymore.) On the previously mentioned trip to Costco, I seriously considered buying a gallon jar of Famous Dave's Signature Spicy Pickles. A gallon. I picked them up and put them down twice, stared at them longingly, and then asked myself, What excuse could I possibly come up with when Cody comes home to a jar of pickles so big it doesn't even fit in our pantry? I had nothing, so I reluctantly walked away from that impulse buy. I purchased a much more reasonably sized jar of sweet and spicy pickles at the grocery store the next day, and let me just say that these are the best pickles I've ever had in my liiiiiiife.

Third: Lay on the spice; I will roundhouse kick heartburn in the face if it tries to come between me and my Sriracha! I'm a big fan of all things spicy now, but it's even better when it's the hot/sweet combo (funny… I like my men that way too). I have a recipe for spicy sweet popcorn that involves chile powder and brown sugar that I am anxious to try, most likely when we wrap up our Flight of the Conchords season two marathon, and I'll probably keep eating it through the Big Love season three marathon that will start if we ever get the DVD.

The last notable craving consists of things I used to eat during my childhood. I've had hankerings for Instant Breakfast, Nestle's Quik, and spaghetti with ranch dressing, to name a few. Totally loving the memories these things bring back- the simpler times of my life that I've all but forgotten about.

Yesterday, Cody and I went walking at the mall and ventured into a maternity store for the first time. In the span of a week, my tummy has popped, and Baby Alley has finally started to make his or her appearance, at the sure cost of pants that fit. While I'm not a huge fan of the elastic waistband jean look, I do believe that it's time to seek out and invest in a couple of Bella Bands. If it allows me to wear the jeans I already have, bring it on! Plus, my dear friend in California said she would send out some maternity wear that she doesn't plan to use again. I love me some hand-me-downs from my fashionista friends.

In the meantime, here are a few favorites from our shoot with Session Nine Photography:

Alley 44

Alley 52

Alley 54 GOOD LORD! There's a WHAT in there?!?!

Alley 58

Alley 2

Alley 6_2
Oh, my. How I adore my husband.

Lush

Lush is one of my happy places. Like Anthropologie, I could spend hours there… in fact I think it borders more on the edge of obsessive, but we just won't share that with the nice sales folks who work there. I don't want to scare anybody. Haha. I want to try EVERYTHING they have and I can't go in the store without getting one of their famous hand treatments. They sell a lot of their items by weight, so you can buy just as much as you want/need, they have a fantastic return policy, and will give you samples of anything you ask for. I love that all of their products are made without preservatives, that they are all natural and, strange as it sounds, you can probably eat most of the things made to put on your face/body. Not that you'd want to, but still. Can't say that about Neutrogena.

Their only Arizona location is in Scottsdale, 35 miles away from our house, but it's not too bad because my parents live very close to the mall, so I can just get my Lush fix when I'm on one of my frequent jaunts to visit the fam. Last week I bought a small tub of Ocean Salt, and I am pretty much in love with this product. I have so many favorites from Lush that I will share here, on a list that I am sure will only grow over time. But for now, here ya go:

Ocean Salt- face and body scrub
Ocean salt
Fresh Farmacy- face wash:
Fresh farm

Wiccy Magic Muscles Massage Bar:
Wiccy
Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter:
Lemony flutter
Aromacreme deodorant- aluminum-free, and works better than ANYTHING I've tried before!
Aromacreme

Coconut Powder- I layer this over my deodorant, and wear it all over when I want to smell sweet and tropical. A fave of the husband- he says it reminds him of our time in Hawaii.
Coconut
Big- shampoo. Strange looking because it has sea salt in it- but it works better than any shampoo I've ever used. Also worth a try: their solid shampoos. Non-messy and great when you're on-the-go.
Big

American Cream conditioner- my hubby LOVES how this smells. When I mentioned that to the sales person there, she gave me the solid perfume version. What a deal!
American cream

Rub Rub Rub shower scrub- smells fantastical.
Rubrubrub

To treat yourself to one of their hand treatments: rub Lemony Flutter all over hands, followed by Ocean Salt. Rinse off, then follow with a dab of Dream Cream and you will have new hands… on your hands.

Natural products during pregnancy = bliss.