Friday, October 31, 2008

Go Gators!

We are leaving today to drive down to Jacksonville for the annual Florida/Georgia football game, also known as the world's largest cocktail party. I would be lying if I said this day is an easy one for my marriage every year. When a Florida alumnus and lifelong Bulldog fan get married, you're bound to have a few disagreements during football season. Granted, my beloved Gators have won every year but 3 in the last 18, last year Georgia took the victory and I haven't stopped hearing about it since.

We are sooo excited to stay with Meg and Bobby (Megan is one of my dearest friends ever) and also to see Dai and Andrew- Dai, Megan, and I were roomates all through college and they are two of my favorite people in the entire world. Also, since this is baby's first FL/GA game, it better be a good one!

I'll try to take lots of fun pictures to post when we return. Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween weekend!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A girl after my own heart

I was thrilled to see that my favorite design blog did a feature called "ten trades to detox your home." Did you know the air inside the average house is four to ten times more polluted that the air outside?! That's a scary thought. Check out what this young couple is doing to clean up their act...and their house.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Belly

My waistline is expanding, there is no doubt about it. I am now 14 1/2 weeks along and while most of my pants still fit, some require a little more effort. I am actually pretty excited about the belly, but I'm more excited for it to get just a liiitle bit bigger so I actually look pregnant and not like I've just been spending too much time at Krispy Kreme.

At first I was not excited about shopping for maternity clothes, until I realized that they have come a long way since our moms were prego! Here are a few cute items I picked up while we were out in Arizona. The first two are from BabyStyle, the others are from Mimi Maternity. Who knew gaining weight would give you such a good excuse to go shopping?!

Green is the new Black

A lot of people I know would like to start being more "green" and living a healthier lifestyle but aren't sure where to begin. I've done quite a bit of research on the theme of organic living in the last month or two and thought I'd share a few easy ways to adapt a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

First ask yourself why you want to explore this new domain: Do you want to create a healthier home for your family? Do you want to do your part to help the environment? Are you pregnant like me and paranoid about putting artificial chemicals into your body? Or do you just feel the need to be healthier in general? If your answer to any of these questions was yes, you are already moving in the right direction.

Once you realize your intention, then pick one are to make a change in (food, recycling, cleaning products, etc). If you try to change everything at once you may become overwhelmed, so think about where you think you could see the greatest impact, or where you'd like an immediate change, and start there. Once you've mastered that area, move on to another.

Let's begin with the first area that usually comes to people's minds: Food! A subject near and dear to all of us. When beginning to eat more organically, think about what you and your family eat the most of. Do you drink a lot of milk or eat a lot of cheese? Do you tend to consume meat every night? Or is the majority of your grocery bill spent on fruits and vegetables? Pick one of the above categories and begin buying organic.
With dairy and meat products you will be guaranteed products that have NO artificial growth hormones or antibiotics in them. With fruits and vegetables, you will know you are eating products that have not been treated with pesticides. If you need another place to start, here is the list of the "Dirty Dozen" as rated by the Environmental Working Group- those items that when tested are the dirtiest, chemically speaking, when they arrive to your local grocer: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes.
For some good news, here are the cleanest items from the same study: onions, avocado, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papaya.
Here's a little snippet from The Daily Mail paper in the UK:

Next up: cleaning products. These are an easy switch. Continue to use the products you already have until they are gone, don't just pour them down the drain as another part of being "green" is not being wasteful. The chemicals in traditional cleaning products are not only dangerous for our systems but they also pollute the water once you wash then down the drain. Check out your local Target- they now carry full lines of Method, Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Meyers products, all of which are environmentally friendly. OR, for something a little different, mix half of a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar (distilled so it doesn't smell), water, and a few drops of lavendar oil or vanilla if you'd like a scent- this is a great all-purpose cleaner that keeps your countertops clean and your family healthy.

Recycle! This is such a no-brainer. If you don't have one already, call your trash service and ask them to bring you a recycling bin to your house. Keep a separate bin for recyclables (or just pile them by the door like me), and leave your bin out with your regular trash when the time comes. Common household items that can be recycled are magazines, mail (may need to shred), cereal and other food boxes, milk jugs, Coke cans, yogurt containers, etc etc...These items will be regenerated into something else instead of sitting in a landfill. Plus this is super easy.

Cotton products: This is still an up and coming (and widely under-publicized) area of organic living. Many people don't know that on average it takes 1/3 of a pound of pesticides to produce one t-shirt! ONE! Cotton is by far one of the most sprayed crops out there, and while you aren't affected by using regular cotton, we could avoid a great deal of pesticides ending up in our soil and water supply if we used alternate or organic fibers. You may have noticed an increase in items in the market place that are bamboo or beech cotton- these are two sources of cotton that essentially replenish themselves within days of being cut down, therefore they are a completely renewable resource. Plus, they aren't treated with pesticides. And let me tell you- they are SOFT and fully comparable in price. I have a bamboo cotton blanket from Pottery Barn that is one of my top 10 favorite posessions, and am asking for a set of beech sheets for Christmas (found at Bed Bath and Beyond).
Also, here are some great organic dish towels I found this weekend at Williams & Sonoma:

This is certainly plenty of information for you to get a good start. In the coming weeks I'll explore ways to incorporate natural products into your beauty routine, tips on how to lower your electric bill, as well as some of my favorite products I've found since beginning this journey :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hormones do strange things to a girl...

As I mentioned in my previous post, I really haven't had any major pregnancy cravings. Sure one night all I wanted for dinner was KFC mashed potatoes, and I've developed a recent dependence on smoothies, but other than that I think I've been a pretty easy prego so far. Other than this little fact that befuddles Matt- I can't eat meat! The thought, the taste, everything just sends me right over the edge. For some reason I can eat bacon (preferably turkey) and fish, but that is it- no chicken, ground beef, steak, anything. I didn't realize how much chicken I ate until I couldn't eat it anymore. So in honor of my (likely temporary) vegetarian status, here are a few delicious meat-less recipes for you to try. The other upside of eating no meat is that you save a lot of money at the grocery store! That is unless you still have to buy it for your carniverous husband who doesn't deserve to suffer just because of your hormonal palate issues...

Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Relish
from Martha Stewart Everyday

Serves 4
2 limes
2 scallions
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 jalapeno chile
1 pint grape tomatoes
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, not sliced
4 flour tortillas (6-inch)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans
1 avocado
Reduced-fat sour cream, for serving (optional)

Start corn relish: Squeeze limes into a medium bowl. Thinly slice scallions, and add to bowl along with corn. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
Prep vegetables: Halve jalapeno (remove ribs and seeds for less heat, if desired), and mince. Halve tomatoes. Combine in an airtight container; cover and refrigerate.
Shred cheese: Coarsely grate cheese on a box grater; place into a resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate.
Make tostadas: Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Arrange tortillas on two baking sheets; brush both sides with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Rinse and drain beans; sprinkle over tortillas. Top with tomatoes, jalapeno, and cheese. Bake until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.
Finish corn relish: While tostadas are baking, pit and peel avocado; dice. Toss with corn mixture to combine.
For serving, top tostadas with corn relish, and, if desired, sour cream.

Cuban Beans and Rice Salad
from Cooking Light

1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked white rice
1 cup chopped, seeded plum tomato (about 3 tomatoes)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)


Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, and toss gently. Add rice, next 3 ingredients (rice through beans), and cilantro, if desired; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes 6 cups.

Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries
from Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous (about 1 [10-ounce] box)
1 cup dried cranberries (about 4 ounces)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed (I don't like peas so I would probably replace with some simple chopped spinach)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed


To prepare salad, combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over the couscous mixture; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; cool. Stir in onions, basil, and chickpeas.

To prepare dressing, combine lemon juice and the remaining ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Pour over couscous mixture, and toss well to combine. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Pregnancy Craving

Everyone has been asking what crazy cravings I've been having since becoming prego. Actually, I haven't had any food cravings at all. BUT, I have been majorly craving the color blue...I know, weird. I have this sudden desire to incorporate more blues and browns into our house decor and unfortunately, once I decide on something like that I go a little crazy making it happen. In other words, I'm impatient and I want it done immediately. I blame it on the hormones. Here are a few pictures that are inspiring me these days. I feel calm just looking at them :)

I also LOVE these idea boards off of one of my absolute favorite design sites. Check it out- you won't believe some of the before and after transformations.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You've Got Mail

Today we had a doctor's appointment and got to see our little baby! Everything looks great for now and we got some amazing pictures. We got to see fingers, toes, a good strong heartbeat, the little was too cute. Here's a picture of our little pumpkin. The technician seems to think it's a girl but it's really too early to tell...we should know for sure in a few weeks. I'm DYING to know!

And since I just can't help it, here are a few adorable birth announcements from too cute!!

Oceanfront property in Arizona

Ok, maybe not oceanfront, but close. One of my favorite views in the entire world comes from my Dad's back deck:

We had such a great trip out to Arizona. We spent a lot of time relaxing and just hanging out, which was so nice. We ate at a lot of great restaurants, shopped, watched football, danced at an outdoor cowboy bar (sorry, I don't have pictures), registered for was so much fun. Here are a few pictures from the trip.

Lindsey, Dad, and me in front of Dad's gorgeous fireplace

Out at a yummy dinner at Flemings

One night we went up to the Four Seasons to have a drink and watch the sunset- this was the amazing view. It was actually cold outside so I had a delicious hot chocolate which I was pretty excited about :)

Christine, Me, and Lindsey

Me and Matty

We are already itching to go back. I guess we might as well travel now while we can travel "light"- i.e. minus baby :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Leavin on a jet plane

Matt and I head out tomorrow for a 5 day vacation to Scottsdale, AZ to see my Dad! I LOVE Scottsdale and I am so looking forward to the visit. Sister Lindsey is also flying in from NYC so it is quite an occasion :) Will post lots of stories and pictures when we return!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I get carried away

As I have mentioned before, my tendency to compulsively plan Everything often gets the best of me. I've learned not to be alarmed by it and to accept it as one of my "better" qualities. The first few weeks we found out we were expecting I was hesitant to go crazy looking at baby things because I knew we had a ways to go before we really knew everything was ok. Now that we have been reassured that everything is fine (at least for now), I have officially jumped into the deep end of baby shopping. Notice I didn't just say looking, I said shopping. I officially made my first maternity purchase today- this cute Gap top (new with tags) off of eBay for 1/3 of the original price:

And then, I got into the heavy stuff. Baby clothes- boy girls, girl clothes, you name it. This I could not resist posting, it is from Shrimp and Grits mean honestly, have you ever seen anything so cute?

*Note: this first outfit demonstrate how I will brainwash our child to be a Gator fan like their mom ;)

These next three are from Lollipops and Gumdrops Boutique:

This little gift basket comes from Bulldogs and Butterflies Baby Boutique:

If you couldn't already tell, I am a sucker for anything monogramed. I love this little onesie, hat, and burp cloth combo from the Pink Giraffe:

Please say a little prayer for me (and my checkbook) that I can show some self restraint in the coming months...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Party of 3....

Me....Matt....and BABY!

Surprise! Matt and I are expecting a little addition to our family!!

We found out on August 11th that I was pregnant and have been cautiously waiting ever since to share our good news with everyone until we were more confident that everything was ok, and now we are very excited to share the great news.

Baby Marden is due on April 25, 2009 and we couldn't be more excited. Aside from the nausea, fatigue (and minor hormonal outbursts) which are starting to subside, it has been a really fun 7 weeks since we found out. Today we had our 11 week doctor appt. and got to hear the heartbeat which was awesome. I recorded it on my phone and have listened to it no less than 15 times since I left the doctor.

We'll find out the sex in 5 weeks, although we really couldn't care less. Matt spends a lot of time talking to the "boy" in my belly but I know he doesn't care one bit. My first gut feeling was boy too, but who knows...

Thanks to everyone for their many prayers and well wishes so far--I know they are helping little baby grow and they certainly put my mind at ease.

In light of this great news, here are a few pictures of nurseries I've been collecting and dying to share!

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