Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Faves!

Favorite Moment:
This was a pretty quiet week for us which I am totally fine with!  I did have a nice little afternoon of pampering on Wednesday and had a glycolic peel, a brow wax, an aromatic facial, and a shellac manicure.  I had a gift card to the spa that I go to and a $10 off coupon so I put it to good use.  Joe and I watched Gone Girl this week too, what a twisted movie, it was definitely good, but I bet the book is better!
 House Updates:
Things with the house are coming along.  All of the drywall is hung and Joe has been taking every chance he can get to tape, mud, and finish it.  Once that’s done we will start paint, floors, and tile.  We still have some really big steps ahead of us, but we are definitely getting closer.  
This isn't even up to date because all of those exposed studs are now covered in drywall!  This is the view from the living room looking into the kitchen.

Favorite Recipe:
I’m officially obsessed with my spiralizer!  I made zoodles a few times this week and they are so yummy!  I made a beef broccoli dish and used zoodles instead of rice, it was really good.  Then later in the week I made them as a side with a little olive oil, salt, and some asiago cheese.  I can’t wait to make some of the awesome recipes I’m seeing online.

 Favorite Purchase:
I guess I have another obsession (may have a problem here) with MantraBands.  You guys saw my “Enjoy the Journey” one I ordered in rose gold a few weeks ago, well the lured me back in with a 15% off coupon so I got “Dream Bigger” in silver.  Thanks again to Biana for introducing these to my life!

 Favorite Pin:

 Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward To:
Another quiet weekend! Oh and Will Call for our wine club is Saturday followed by dinner at one of my besties houses!  We decided on yoga pants, carry-out, and mimosas.  The guys will probably hang out in the garage while Jen and I do some catching up and playing with baby Jase.  Really looking forward to a relaxing evening with friends, and of course my wine!  I will probably spend Sunday out at the house working on my grandmas hutch that I’m trying to refinish #whatdidigetmyselfinto

Happy Friday ladies (& gents?)!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Swim! Yes, I'm going there already!

I'm not sure if I'm just SO OVER winter or if it's the fact that I'm already seeing swim wear popping up in stores and catalogs, but I thought I'd pick out some of my faves that I've been seeing so far this year.

You can never go wrong with a Mara Hoffman suit.  I had a hard time picking just one to share because her prints are absolutely fabulous!  I've swooned over them for awhile now but have never taken the plunge and bought one.  Maybe this year!

The majority of my suits are VS.  I'm really loving this top and the fun and colorful print of this suit!  So cute and different!

I'm a sucker for fringe.  A couple years ago when Pinterest was getting really big and the fringe suits really started coming out I spent $130 on one from L*Space in turquoise and I love it.  I LOVE this top so much, 

This I love because it's simple in front, but fun in back, plus the color looks tres' fabulous with a tan!

I got this suit in peach from Target already.  They've already had their swim wear on sale! Can you believe it!  I didn't get the bottoms because I have some other bottoms I can match it with, but I'm loving the flounce tops lately!

What are your favorites or go-to brands for swim?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Beginnings..

Although we’re already a month into the New Year, it’s never too late to start a new chapter or even a completely new book of life.  With building our forever home we are about to start a new book and I’m determined (see there’s my word!) to make it the best one yet!  I've had to start new “books” a couple times in my life and although I don’t believe that my current edition is quite ready for an end, there is something invigorating about a fresh start, a blank page.  On January 1st I saw (and I think I even quoted) “today is page 1 of a 365 page book…” all over the place, but I don’t necessarily believe it has to start on January 1st.  It’s taken me a couple weeks to get out of the swing of the Holiday’s, the eating, the relaxing, and the general “holiday slump” we can tend to get into.  I definitely did a very poor job of self-care after my last failed IVF cycle in November and I've finally realized I’m ready to get back on the horse and start fresh.  I want to get a jump start on these changes before our big move and next cycle and there are a few areas that I need improvement and a few areas that I just want to do something different for myself than what I've been doing so here’s my plan…

Revamping my Diet…
This is a challenge for me.  I've always been naturally thin, but my soft stomach definitely shows my love for pizza, pasta, and alcohol.  Although I've been health-conscious for the last few years, I need to take it up a notch.  I've always worked out enough to basically be able to eat what I want and still have some muscle definition, but that’s been out the window for some time now and between the ages of birth and 21 years of age, I had a killer fast metabolism and didn't have to work out to have 6-pack abs, now that I’m older, my body doesn't work that way anymore.  So I decided I really want to take my diet to the next level.  I’m trying hard to avoid preservatives and artificial stuff as much as possible.  I finally got my spiralizer and have been using Skinny Taste and Detoxinista recipes often.  This will be somewhat of a challenge because I've got a husband with a big appetite, but he could definitely use a diet clean-up himself, although he can eat an entire pizza and LOSE weight… SMH…

Revamping my Work-Out Routine
Daily Burn has been awesome.  I've made it a point to do a 30-minute work out immediately when I get home and I've got my heart beating and the sweat dripping so this has already, just in a few days, been a great lifestyle change.  I’m really ready to start running again too, but with this winter weather and slippery conditions plus a knee injury, those two things don’t mix.  Come Spring I’ll be ready for some outdoor running and will hopefully be investing in a treadmill too.

Revamping my Finances…
With building a big new house comes big new house payments.  We will have some adjusting to do, but we've already been socking money away for the last several months to prepare for these changes.  Kicking my online shopping habits is still a work in progress, so are those random Target trips that end up costing $100.  I've also tried cutting back on some of our monthly bills by changing our car insurance deductibles, removing some of our cell phone features, and cutting back some of our grocery bill.  I want to get back into the mindset of “memories over materials” which is hard when you’re living in your parents basement for free! Yikes!

Revamping my Infertility Treatment…
The diet and exercise plan will certainly help improve my fertility.  I’m hoping that with a new doctor and a change in protocol we will be successful this year.  After our 3rd failed cycle Joe and I worked on reconnecting and taking a break to focus on our relationship which was huge for us and what we really needed.  Now we are ready to hit the ground running, and take the bull by the horns on our treatment.  We will stick to what we really want and stand our ground when it comes to our treatment.

Revamping Life in General…
Planting my garden (cannot wait!! I miss gardening so much), changing my hair, donating unwanted clothing, organizing EVERYTHING before we move, refinishing my grandma’s hutch, even though these are small things, they are things that will give me a sense of accomplishment which is the most rewarding feeling.  I wrote this all out and hit Publish so that I can hold myself accountable to these changes that I believe will change me for the better.  

There will be some BIG changes this  year and there will be some small ones too.  I have no doubt that it will be a very rewarding year no matter what happens.  I'm sure there will be some tears and I know there will be lots of laughs and lots of love.  I can't wait for this next book of our lives!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Faves

Wow, the days are flying!  I can’t believe how quick the end of January is approaching and having Tuesday off on vacation really made this week go by fast, I’m not complaining though, I welcome the weekend with open arms!

I wish...

Favorite Moment: 

You can read this post for a lengthy recap of my favorite moment for the week.  If you’re looking for the abridged version then here it is: we picked a new RE this week and have our first IVF consultation on Feb 9th, just a few short weeks away!  Although our actual cycle probably won’t happen until April, we are happy to be moving forward with a new plan.

House Updates:

Joe’s made so much progress on the drywall!  Although he was laid off last week, he ended up having to go back to work this week.  I’m hoping he can get laid off again for another few weeks, but we need that really cold, unbearable weather for that to happen.  The house is really starting to take shape on the inside now that all of the rooms are closed in.  So exciting!

Living room...

Favorite Recipe:

I’ve been trying really hard to clean up my eating.  I love carbs, pasta, bread, pizza, etc. which is one of the hardest things to give up.  Thanks to Aimee at AimlesslyElegant, she introduced me to Detoxinista and I’ve found some really fabulous alternatives to pastas and sauces.  She uses zucchini and sweet potatoes to make her noodles rather than using  pasta and she uses cauliflower for the base of many of her recipes.  One that I tried this week was her cauliflower alfredo which can be completely dairy free.  It’s so simple and it was really yummy!  I actually added some asiago cheese to mine.  Highly recommend checking her out!

Favorite Workout:

I’ll be honest, I love Curves, the 30 minute circuit is great, but I just don’t feel like I even work up a sweat there, even if I push myself.  I think it’s a great place if you want to maintain, but I don’t seem to be making the progress that I want.  I was binge-watching The Mindy Project On Demand when I kept seeing a commercial for Daily Burn.  It’s an online workout service that you can watch on your phone, your TV (if you’ve got a browser option), your iPad, etc.  The first 30 days are free and then it’s $10 a month after that.  It’s got all kinds of workouts from cardio, to strength, dance, to yoga, all at different levels of expertise.  I’m only a week in but I am loving it.  I break into a sweat within the first 5 minutes and my body has felt like jello now for days!  I’ll definitely do an extensive review when my one month is up! 

Favorite Pin:

how fabulous is the Mara Hoffman suit? So cute, but sold out!

Favorite Thing I’m looking Forward to:

We’ve got another quiet weekend this weekend and all I’m planning to do is watch The Killing on Netflix, and we have a baby shower on Sunday.  I love these weekends without commitments, it’s always nice to just have a couple days to do the bare minimum!  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Our New Plan

Today was our first appointment at SIU School of Medicine.  We met with Dr. Loret de Mola's PA Lisa Greenacre.  First we went over all of our medical history with a nurse, she took my vitals and discussed our past treatment.  Once Lisa was available we met with her to discuss our next plan of attack.  She had questions about why we moved from Clomid so quickly to injectables, why we have only transferred one embryo, if I was ovulating on my own, etc.  

After a lengthy discussion, her initial recommendation was that we continue treatment with our normal doctor, doing another FET and using the embryos we already had, but considering transferring 2 embryos.  I have to admit I was a little discouraged by what she was saying.  She had started out the consultation by explaining to us the SART charts and what their success rates are (56% success live birth/fresh cycle) vs. our current doctor (22% success live birth/fresh cycle).  She had me so convinced, based on their success rates, that we needed to consider switching doctors, that I was pretty much sold on using their clinic for any further treatment.  In my mind, why would we continue to do something that isn't working?  Joe could tell that I wanted to move on from them and told Lisa that we've already decided to switch doctor's and that they were the ones we've chosen.

In order to start treatment with our new doctor we would have to do a fresh cycle.  Lisa told us that many clinics will not accept embryos from other clinics because their laboratory protocols can differ so much. If we want to move forward with Dr. Loret de Mola we would have to do fresh transfer, which I am totally fine with.  Their next concern was that, although 34 eggs is a great number, it's not necessary at all to have that many follicles retrieved.  They would like to see 10-15 follicles so my protocol will definitely be adjusted.  Our next step in this new process is meeting with Dr. Loret de Mola on February 9th for our first IVF consultation.  We will go over the treatment protocol, schedule a mock transfer, and hopefully get our plan for an April retrieval.  Although that is still a few months away, such is the way of infertility treatment.  It's always a waiting game, and I'm used to it by this point.

Once our consultation was done we met with an SIU photographer and the public affairs officer of SIU.  They wanted to interview us for a piece on us for Fertility Awareness Week in April.  They are interested in sharing a patient story, doing interviews, taking photos and video, and following us along as we take this new path on our journey.  It was awesome and I had a blast doing it.  Of course I talked way too much, but like I told Lauren, the public affairs officer, I love to talk about and share my journey and I know our timeline like the back of my hand, I know the details, I know the protocols, I know the procedures, I know my story and every single date and every single detail, so I had to apologize for being so thorough when she asked how my journey started, I basically went through our entire TTC timeline without even flinching.  I am so honored to be asked to be a part of their initiative and their project.  As soon as I get some photos and footage, I will gladly share with you all.  This is huge for me, and more than I could've ever dreamed would happen for BRB.  

We are excited to start this new journey.  Although we were left with a "definite" diagnosis of unexplained fertility, I'm hoping that this clinic and their renowned lab will be able to give us the result we are looking for.  At this point we will move forward with a fresh cycle and a single embryo transfer.  We are not planning to do any other testing on our embryos (like PGS/CGH) at this point due to my age and the fact that we don't have any genetic concerns.  I am very hopeful that this new chapter in our journey will be the answer to our prayers!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Guest Posting at Cheera Y'all!!

I'm guest posting over at Cheers Y'all today!! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Faves

 Favorite Moment:

So much has been happening at the house this week!  Joe is finally laid off, we got the ceilings drywalled, the insulation done, the heat finally turned on, the well & plumbing tested, and we are  hanging the drywall on the walls this weekend!  We still have a lot to do, but we are finally making some big strides and some significant progress!  We enter into our permanent loan on February 1st and will start making our full house payments which is a little scary, but we have been stocking away for that for the last few months now.  Shit’s getting real!  We made lots of progress on the master bath this week (well, Joe did I should say) he got everything ready for tile and I LOVE how it turned out!

Favorite Recipe:
You probably saw this recipe all over the Friday Faves last week, I know I saw it twice and it’s right up my alley so I had to try it and it was AHHHmazing!  I ended up cutting up some spinach and adding it in with the chicken broth until it was wilted and then added the rest of the ingredients.  I also shredded my chicken and served it over pasta!

Favorite Purchase:
I got my MantraBand in the mail and I am in love with it! I can't wait to get another one.  I love how they stack a whole bunch of them together.  I actually came up with a little stack of my own too!

Favorite Pin:
It's been decided, I am finally, after like 8 years, going to change my hairstyle and this is what I want. I need to work on growing my layers out, but my longest layers are about this length & with the NYM Way to Grow Shampoo I talked about here, this should be achievable in the next year.

Favorite new-found product:
We all have our vices.  One of mine was sugar-free Hazelnut creamer that I was putting in my coffee every single day for like the last 6 years.  Loaded with artificial crap, and sweetener, I knew it was bad and I knew I needed a healthier replacement, but I was having a hard time giving it up.  I finally found something that may not be 100% better, but it’s a big step in the right direction.  SO Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer in Hazelnut found in the organic section at the grocery store.  It’s liquid creamer rather than a powder, and it’s really tasty.  I was worried about it being coconut milk because I don’t like coconut, I don’t like almond milk or any of that (I wish I did), but it’s surprised me and is really good!
Favorite thing I’m looking forward to:

My appointment with our new RE is Tuesday and I’m definitely ready to jump back into treatment.  When I first blogged about Dr. Loret de Mola, I was contacted by Southern Illinois University’s social media department and they asked if they could share the post to their Facebook which I of course agreed to.  They contacted me again asking about my appointment and we have something really awesome in the works that I’m so honored to be a part of.  More to come on that!  

Happy Friday Loves!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Currently Loving...

I’m so loving the NYM Way to Grow Shampoo & Conditioner, they are working wonders on my hair.  I have very fine, poker straight, slow-growing hair, like my hair has been the same length for the last like 5 years.  Now with this stuff, it’s been actually growing, still at snail’s pace, but much better than before.  It’s loaded with Keratin which promotes growth and is sulfate-free which is the only way I go now.  I recently noticed they also have a leave in conditioner so you bet I picked that up too!

This time of year when the actual temps are below 0° the air is so dry which causes hair, skin, and nail problems.  Holy static batman!  I’m normally a big fan of the OPI Avojuice lotions, but polar vortex conditions call for a heavy duty moisturizer and my favorite is Gold Bond Ultimate Healing with Aloe.  It smells good, it’s loaded with vitamins, it’s not greasy, and it lasts even after you wash your hands!  Get this stuff!

For Christmas I got 3 of these Sally Hansen Gel Manicure polishes and I’m loving them.  I’m a nail picker so nothing will ever last on my nails for more than a couple days, let alone two weeks, but this stuff has withstood even some of my most anxious picking. 

This AEO Crew Jegging Sweatshirt has been on hella repeat since I got it on Black Friday & guess what?  It’s on super sale right now!  It’s so comfy, it’s long enough to wear with leggings, and I usually pair it with my blanket scarf.  So cute and comfy!

When Biana mentioned these MantraBand bracelets I seriously went immediately to the site and ordered one.  You guys know I’m all about the quotes and the positive vibes so I knew I’d find one that would fit me.  I would love to be able to customize, but I’m thrilled with the “enjoy the journey” in rose gold bracelet that I picked.  It fits me for many reasons and I’m so in love!

I stumbled upon Smile Sciences around the holidays and they had their teeth whitening kits for 90% off.  Yes, 90%!  I got a $299.00 kit for $29 plus shipping.  Their kits are legit with trays and an LED light to speed up the whitening process.  If you follow them on Instagram they are always posting coupon codes for this ridiculous sale.  Seriously, I don’t know why you wouldn’t take advantage of this.  My husband even asked if he could get one too!

I'm totally UHBsessed with this corrugated tin drum ceiling light from Shades of Light and I cannot wait to have this in my house!  I really wanted it in the guest bath to go with that rustic vanity and my weathered wood/tile flooring, but since we have vent in there the laundry room will have to suffice.  Eventually I'd love to have these in our basement when we finish our bar area too!

Monday, January 12, 2015

I'm guest posting over at Raising Southern Grace today! 

I'm guest posting over at Raising Southern Grace today! 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Friday Faves... I'm baaacckkk!

I’m slowly delving back into my blog and I can’t lie, I’m pretty pumped about having the excitement to write again!  My last Friday Favorites post was way back on November 7th so it's been wayy too long since I've played this game!  The break that I took was definitely needed and may continue to some extent, but I feel refreshed and ready to be back!  So, without further ado…

Favorite Moment:
I’m going to count Sunday as the beginning of the week because we went to see the Newsies in Chicago and it’s definitely worth mentioning!  If you follow me on Instagram then you saw some of these pics already! Joe grew up watching musicals with his family and the Newsies is one of their favorites so when his mom found out it was coming to Chicago, we had to see it.  We got to see their last performance and it was absolutely amazing.  We had every single family member together, all 19 of us, siblings, spouses, and kids and it was wonderful.

Favorite Recipe:
It’s been below zero here the last week or so and we finally got some measurable snow this week so warm comfort food has been on the menu often.  One of our favorites is borderline pie, it’s spicy and will definitely break you into a sweat!  I omit the olives because I can't stand them.
Favorite Pin:
how fabulous and cozy does this look? LOVE the chunky afghan!
Favorite House Update:
We are finally going to see drywall going up today!  With Joe working 6 days a week 10+ hour days, we have made very little progress on the house.  We finally had it inspected and we were able to move forward with insulation.  Now that it’s below freezing and we have some snow, Joe’s work should calm down a bit and he should be able to spend a lot more time on the house.  We did hit a snag during the inspection and found out that our guest bedroom windows do not meet code to be considered “egress” (basically being able to fit through in an emergency), this is really unfortunate because we will have to replace two very expensive, and already painted (so non-exchangeable) windows.  It’s been a huge headache, but we’ve opted for casement windows (the entire pane opens) rather than the double-hung windows for those two rooms.  Super frustrating to say the least!  We did also finally get our driveway cored out and gravel put down so we have made some positive strides in the right direction despite the window issue.  We also bought all of our tile for the house, I'm so in love with all of it, but especially the kitchen back splash and the guest bathroom flooring!
tile to look like hardwood in the guest bath & the kitchen backsplash!!

Favorite Thing I’m looking forward to:
I haven’t had a thing on my calendar since Sunday and it looks to be clear until January 20th!  I’m going to embrace these next couple weeks being quiet and I’m not planning on committing to anything at all.  After the chaos and craziness of Christmas, I’m glad to have nowhere to go and nothing to do!  Although it was a blast, it was definitely exhausting.  I’m also going to enjoy these next dozen days or so before our consultation with our new RE on January 20th.  I feel like this 2 month break was exactly what we needed & I'm ready to get back in the game.  No pressure, no stress, we got to enjoy our mini-vacation, and the holiday’s without the added pressure of infertility treatment.  I am excited to see what suggestions and treatment plans our new office might have for us.  My two requests will be immune system testing and possibly a fresh transfer for PGS (chromosomal abnormality) testing.  
  I apologize for the lengthy updates, but it’s been awhile since I’ve said much about what’s going on in our lives so there you have it!  Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! 
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