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Fall Wreath Round Up

Michigan has had a distinct chill in the air over the last week.  The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter, and it smells like Fall.  Also, pumpkin spice is back, if you’re into that sort of thing.  (I’m not.  #sorrynotsorry.)

We have a pretty neutral color scheme in the house, which lets us swap out colorful decor for the seasons.  One of my favorite places to start decorating is the front door.  So today, I’m sharing my favorite fall wreaths – and BONUS, they’re all less than $50!

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  1. Faux Magnolia Fall Wreath
    This is basically a fall-colored version of the classic Fixer Upper Magnolia Wreath from Magnolia Market.  Full, and so pretty!  It looks like it could also be hung over a fireplace, or bed.

    Source: Pier 1

  2.  Oak Leaf Wreath
    This lifelike beauty from Crate and Barrel looks like real oak leaves, tucked into a grapevine wreath frame.  This would also make a great Thanksgiving decor piece.

    Source: Crate & Barrel

  3. Orange Berry Halloween Wreath
    I know that this has “Halloween” in the name, but it really is a subtle fall wreath.  With the black, yellows, reds, and oranges, this really could be kept up through the entire fall season.
  4. Bleached Wheat Wreath
    This Wayfair find is simple, but the texture of the wheat just screams fall!  It’s actually very similar to a Smith + Hawken wheat wreath that I picked up at Target last year, and currently have on my front door.  This one is even fuller, which I like.
  5. Dried Mushroom Wreath
    I know the name of this one doesn’t sound super-appealing, but just take one look at this stunner in person, and you’ll understand why it is perfect for fall.  The mustard yellow is one of my favorite colors to wear when the weather turns cooler.  The mushrooms are also a really unique texture, which is visually interesting.

    Source: Target

  6. Pumpkin Wood Curl Wreath
    Guys, this really doesn’t need much explanation.  I know it isn’t the traditional wreath shape…but c’mon.  It’s a pumpkin, and totally adorable.  I loooooove this one.
  7. Dried Shola Kadam Wreath
    Another Smith + Hawken beauty.  The simple off-white color of the dried flowers/jute combination, makes for a beautiful piece.

Source: Target

That’s a wrap!  I wish I could buy them all, but unfortunately, I only have two exterior doors to hang wreaths on :).

Would love to hear which ones are your favorites!  Have you started decorating for Fall?

Favorites Holidays

Easter + Spring Decor Favorites

Oh hey, April.  It’s almost Easter, and it’s my birthday month!  7 years ago last week, this happened:

Our Proposal: March 2010 | Sunset Celebration, Key West

I can’t believe it’s been that long since we got engaged in Mallory Square, it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago.  I’m ready to go back to Key West, get some sunshine, and celebrate again – this time with our little lady!  People watching on Duval Street is THE BEST.

Speaking of warmer weather, I’m so excited to say that it has been consistently around 50 degrees for over a week now.

We’ll just skip over the fact that we’re supposed to get snow tonight.  It’s fine.

That means we throw the windows open, put on some jams, do some Spring cleaning, and my favorite part: DECORATE!  At least while the baby naps.  We’re right in the trenches of the 4 month sleep regression, and we are so tired – but still trying to be festive!  Does anyone remember that Toys R Us commercial from years ago, with all of the singing bunnies?  I always pull that up this time of year and watch it just to laugh.  Seriously, it’s adorable – here’s a link.  You’re welcome.

For decor, think bunnies, eggs, tulips, and pastels all over the place. So cheerful and warm after a long, gray winter season.  I’ve been scouring my favorite stores for some deals on great Spring decor, and came up with a list of my favorites to share with you.

1.  Antique Sign from Sugarboo & Co.
Super cute, not over-the-top cheesy Easter sign.  I love the simple colors and cute message.  But then again, I’m pretty obsessed with anything Sugarboo.  Her items are a splurge, but also timeless and so unique.

2.  Forsythia Wreath
I found this artificial wreath at Target – their Smith & Hawken line has the best seasonal wreaths.  I love the little pops of yellow, and the fact that it doesn’t *look* artificial.

3.  Rae Dunn Easter Serving Tray
So, I knew that Rae Dunn had the sweetest little line of coffee mugs, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out she also makes serving trays, dinnerware, cookie jars, you name it!  Her work is simple, and charming, but also really hard to find.  You can usually get lucky with Rae Dunn finds at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, and Amazon/Ebay – but not always.  So if you find something of hers you like, snatch it up!

4.  Wire Farmhouse Basket
Don’t you love everything at World Market?  This basket reminds me of those antique egg collecting baskets that you’d see on old farms – it would be perfect to store your own eggs in your kitchen.  Or if you’re just using it for decorative use for Easter, you could fill it with these wooden Easter eggs, also from World Market.

Source: Cost Plus World Market

5.  Woolie Ball Garland

Let’s face it: I am addicted to garland + bunting.  Whether they be pennants, flag bunting, or ball garlands, I love them and want them all over my house, all of the time.  Hooray Everyday makes THE cutest felt woolie ball garlands, for every season/holiday/occasion imaginable.  This Hello Spring // Woolie Ball Garland is so appropriate for the season, and would look adorable hung just about anywhere.  If you’re looking for something a little more neutral, this pottery barn ivory garland looks like little bunny tails.

6.  Green Plaid Easter Bunny Doormat
Another World Market find.  The green plaid looks like a green gingham, which I love.  Plus, BUNNIES.  It’s also made from coconut husk, which means it’s super durable and will last for many seasons.

Source: A Bowl Full of Lemons Blog

Finally, if you’re in the mood for some serious organizing on top of your Spring cleaning, you need this book. Toni is one of my all-time favorite organizational bloggers out there – and her book is a must have.

Happy Spring!

Favorites Pregnancy/Baby

Third Trimester Favorites + Baby Update

So next Tuesday marks the start of November, and also the start of our birth month.  We’re both really excited, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also a little scared of what’s to come.  We’re both hoping for a natural/intervention-free labor and delivery, and that isn’t something you can really plan for.  You just do the best you can to prepare your mind and body for the upcoming challenge, and hope for the best outcome for everyone.  We are due in a month, which means little baby Smied could make his/her entrance anytime in the next 2-6 weeks!  Our hospital bag is (almost) packed, the nursery is (almost) ready, and the house has been cleaned from top to bottom.  As we approach the due date, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from family & friends:

How am I feeling?
Emotionally, see above.  Physically, like the size of a small house.  My belly has really popped over the last 2 weeks!  Also, there is almost nothing on the planet that I can consume anymore without getting heartburn.  Even water.  I’ve heard that this means baby will be born with lots of hair, but both Jeremy and I were baldies when we were born, so I’ll believe it when I see it.  I’ve been getting lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, mostly when I workout – and I’ve transitioned to longer walks most days of the week instead of runs.  The maternity support belt I bought for running makes things comfortable, and I miss the runner’s high, but the contractions make it too uncomfortable to attempt more than walking with short bursts (5-10 minutes) of running in between.  I think this is just my body’s way of telling me to slow down while it gears up for labor, and I’m listening to it.  Thankfully I can still do my Barre workouts, no problem.

How is the baby?
Baby is head down, and active!  Although on the smaller side, we think.  Over the last few midwife appointments my fundal height has consistently measured 4-5 weeks behind where I *should* be.  I’m not surprised since I’ve looked very small this entire pregnancy, and my mom has told me my brothers and I were all only 6-7lbs at birth.  My midwife isn’t overly concerned since the baby is still showing growth signs at every appointment, but I have to go in tomorrow morning for a growth scan to make sure everything is okay.  Please keep us in your thoughts!

Any labor symptoms?
Nope!  Baby is cozy and snug in there – lots of hiccups and baby dance parties (with toes in my ribs – OUCH!), especially at 11pm every night, like clockwork.  This is our first baby, so I have a feeling we’ll go over the due date.  I say take your time, sweet pea!  Just go easy on my ribs, okay?

With just a few weeks left of pregnancy (eek!), I wanted to share my final list of pregnancy favorites, for the Third Trimester.

You can find my other pregnancy favorites here:
First Trimester Favorites

Second Trimester Favorites

thirdtri1. Mind the Bump App
We’ve assembled a pretty amazing team of UMich staff, midwives, and our Doula to help support us through this experience.  If I know myself though, I’m just like my mom and when I get sick, or I’m in a LOT of pain, I tend to really go inside myself to focus through it.  I have a feeling this will probably happen when things get really intense at the end of the first stage of labor.  For that reason, I’ve been using this mindfulness meditation app to get into a good headspace.  In my second trimester favorites, I mentioned that I’d been really loving the Mindful Birthing book – which I’m still so glad I read.  But when I tried using the companion meditation CD, I found they were too long (25+ minutes each) to stay focused, and the coach’s voice was hoarse and not very soothing.  This app uses the same techniques, but in shorter 7-15 minute sessions.  It offers meditations for day 1 of pregnancy all the way through the 2nd year of your child’s life – which I bet are some of the most challenging years.  I love it!  On iOS & Android.

2.  Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
I picked up this book on the recommendation of a friend who said it changed her whole outlook on birth.  I really enjoyed it, as it is really thorough and takes a lot of the fear out of the process by explaining WHY your body is built for birth, and HOW it accomplishes this.  I will say though, the first chapter of birth stories was a little too crunchy for me, and were difficult to stay focused on.  Skip over these stories, and I’d highly recommend it.

3.  Old Navy Maternity Tops
In the beginning of pregnancy, pants are the biggest issue.  Your belly and hips expand in an awkward way that make normal bottoms feel really uncomfortable.  My Gap pure body leggings saved me with this.  Later in pregnancy though, as your belly starts to grow faster, and rise higher on your core, your tops are going to start feeling (and looking) ridiculous.  My belly is now big enough that I’ve developed what I call the “short shirt belly shelf”, where the shirt rides up on your belly, and then the very bottom hem curves outward like it’s trying to get away from you because of how ridiculous you look wearing it.

dsc_2288Thankfully, it is now leggings/long sweater season, so I picked up this maternity swing tank (in pink, navy, and black) for layering – it is so soft, and comfortable, and runs true to size.

4.  Burt’s Bees Mama Belly Butter & Oil
I started using this belly butter twice a day in the second trimester, and I love it.  I know they say that stretch marks are genetic and there is nothing you can do from the outside to prevent them, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try!  I use the belly butter in the morning, and the oil at night so I don’t ruin my clothes – the oil smells like Lemonheads candy, yum!

5.  Reduce Insulated Steel Tumbler (YETI knockoff!)
Lately I have been SUPER thirsty – I’ll chug water like my life depends on it…at least until I have to come up for air.  Jeremy picked up two of these tumblers at Costco last month, and they’re awesome!  They’re total YETI cup knockoffs, and work really well at holding the temperature.  I’ll often fill one of these up to bring to bed, and there will still be plenty of ice in it in the morning.

6.  Snoogle Pillow
I know this was part of my second trimester favorites, but I love it so much that I had to mention it again.  This thing has been an absolute life saver as far as staying comfortable with an ever growing belly – and I would recommend it even for my non-pregnant friends.  It’s the best!

7.  Lucy Darling Baby’s First Year Book
This memory book makes me freaking cry every time I flip through it and think of all the happy memories we’ll be making with this little one.  We’ve already written a note to the baby, included some stories about how we found out that he/she was joining our family, their family tree, and all of their ultrasound photos. So cute.

I’ll give a short update later this week on how the growth scan went, and also a sneak peek of the nursery!
Smied Watermark

Favorites Pregnancy/Baby

Second Trimester Favorites

Oh hey, third trimester.

DSC_1998Yep, I just entered the home stretch of pregnancy – and I can’t believe it!  I just had my glucose test last week – I bombed the 1-hour test, which was pretty stressful.  I thought that I was healthy enough that it wouldn’t be a problem, but I’ve learned it’s really common for healthy women to fail it.  I had to go in last Friday for the dreaded 3-hour Glucose Tolerance Test, and while it was rough (I hate having my blood drawn!), I got the news yesterday that I passed with flying colors.  So, yay!  I definitely have a lot more appreciation for my own mom after experiencing pregnancy for myself.  Between the morning sickness in the beginning, the crazy emotions, body changes, and all of the medical tests, I’ve realized just how much my mom went through to get me here.  Thanks, mom!

Today I want to share with you some of my favorite things from my second trimester.  The trimester that my midwife lovingly refers to as “the honeymoon”, and I can see why.  It was pretty amazing, especially after experiencing the ridiculousness (so.much.nausea.) of first tri.  I felt oddly normal aside from my growing bump, but with 200% of my energy back.  I also got 200% of my appetite back…fighting off dairy-free ice cream is a real struggle.  I also hit a few milestones – the baby now responds to my voice which is so cute, and I was finally asked by a stranger recently when I’m due.  That makes it real! 🙂

secondtri1.) Gabrialla Maternity Support Belt
If you follow my Instagram, you know I post a lot about running during pregnancy.  Staying fit while you’re growing a human is hard work, and with that comes a lot of aches and pains as your body stretches to accommodate the little one.  I started getting pretty severe round ligament pain on my left side around 16 weeks, which made running really uncomfortable and not to mention the weight that the baby puts on your bladder makes it feel like you’re going to pee yourself with every stride.  Sexy, no?  A friend and fellow runner recommended this support belt, and it has been LIFE CHANGING (thanks, Michele!).  It can be worn right under my running tops without chafing, and really holds the belly in place.  Right now I only wear this for high impact workouts, but I can see myself in it more often once I get to the middle/end of the third trimester.  Highly recommend, but go with one size up for comfort.

2.) Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow
After the first trimester is over and your belly starts growing, you’re not supposed to sleep on your back anymore to avoid putting too much pressure on the blood vessels going to your legs, and the baby.  Jeremy surprised me with this amazing pillow at the beginning of the second trimester as a way to help with this.  It is super comfortable, and has a washable slipcover.  True story: he steals it in the morning if I get out of bed before him…he (not so secretly) wants one for himself!

3.) Gap Maternity Leggings
So, the Gap is pretty much the holy grail for affordable, quality maternity clothing.  Once I had a visible belly, I hated the way that my normal clothing fit and felt on my body.  I picked up two pairs of their Pure Body Leggings – in black, and charcoal – and love them.  I bought the demi panel leggings, and was worried that the band under the belly wouldn’t be comfortable, but I was wrong.  The band is wide and very elastic, so these have become a staple in my closet.  The best part is that these don’t *look* like maternity clothing, which means I’ll keep wearing them after the baby comes.  The Gap almost always has a 35-50% off + free shipping sale running, which keeps their clothing even less expensive than Target or Old Navy.  You can sign up for their emails here to be notified of upcoming sales, and get 25% off your first order.

4.) Cindy’s Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette
I get asked pretty often what weird things I’m craving, and the truth is I don’t really have many cravings, I just want more of what I liked to eat before pregnancy.  If I had to pick one thing that I really want most of the time, it would be this vinaigrette.  I want to put it on just about everything – chicken, salads, peaches, drink it straight from the bottle – which is a little unusual I guess.  This stuff is SO good, though.

5.) Suzanne Bowen Barre Workouts
In my first trimester favorites, I mentioned that I’d been doing some Jillian Michaels workouts – which were great!  I love HIIT workouts, but pulled an oblique muscle around 14 weeks after one of these workouts, which was a clear sign that my abs could no longer handle that kind of strain.  A minor tear in an oblique is one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced, because you use your core for EVERYTHING.  I had to take a full two weeks off of any exercise, and if we’re being honest, most movement.  During that time, I researched more challenging prenatal workouts and came across the BarreAmped method.  I’ve always equated prenatal workouts with being too easy, but these (especially the Sleek & Toned DVD) are TOUGH.  I vividly remember having to stop every 45 seconds during the first workout because my muscles were being burned out so quickly…there may also have been some swear words.  If you are skeptical at all, just take a quick glance at any Barre instructor’s butt.  That should be enough evidence that these routines work.  This + running 5-6 days a week has kept me feeling really fit!

6.) La Croix Curate’ – Watermelon
I don’t have a problem with La Croix, you have a problem.  I can stop drinking it whenever I want.  Okay, not really…this stuff saved me in the first trimester, and I’m still addicted now.

7.) Mindful Birthing book
As someone with a type A personality who struggles with anxiety at times, I’ve used a lot of mindfulness techniques over the years to get myself into a healthy, comfortable headspace.  So when I found this book on Amazon (which also came highly recommended by my doula), I snatched it up quickly!  The author applies the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction technique to the process and pain of labor and childbirth.  I just finished the book, and while I can’t yet attest to it’s effectiveness during labor, I’m already finding the meditation and mindfulness exercises to be extremely helpful in everyday life.  I’ll offer a full review once this little one arrives!

8.) Pregnant Chicken Blog
Let’s get real for a second, shall we?  Pregnancy is beautiful, and amazing, and a miraculous journey.  But it’s also pretty weird and gross, sometimes.  Now that I’m in the beginning of the third trimester, I’m starting to transition from “oh yay, baby kicks!” to “NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WOULD BE CANKLES”.  Amy, the author over at Pregnant Chicken, has a hilarious way of delivering otherwise serious information.  I love how she keeps it real, honest, and throws in a few swears here and there – it feels like you’re listening to a friend talk.  I especially love her weekly emails, and baby registry suggestions.  If you’re newly pregnant, please do yourself a favor and hop over there for a read.  So refreshing!

What were your favorites during the easiest trimester?
Smied Watermark