Birth Story

For some reason I always assumed that I would end up giving birth before my due date. I think that happened because of all the stats I saw online of how most women end up giving birth before their due date and that gave me some sense of relief. When you're at a point that walking from the couch to the bathroom is exhausting you're pretty ready to be done with pregnancy.

At my last doctors appointment, right at the 40 week mark, I told my OB that I didn't want to go over 41 weeks. They scheduled an induction which was set to be the night before the 41 week mark. It was the day before my induction, my mom was already in town, eagerly awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. The first Monday I had off from work, having worked past my due date it was nice to finally catch a break, we decided to go out and hit up some stores and get a late lunch.

When we got home my water broke. This was at 5pm.  I called the doctor's office and they told me I had twelve hours before I needed to go in or until my contractions got really painful where they would "bring tears to my eyes". We knew it was go time either way and we started preparing ourselves for what was to come. We showered, double checked our bags, and tried to go to sleep. My contractions were not intensifying as they normally would after a water break so we slept almost all through the night. I say almost because this is the night the tornado ripped through Nashville, passing about a mile north of our house. We had to get up and hide in the closet at around 2am as tornado sirens were wailing. It was not a good start to the day.

We barely got any sleep after that, the power went out (and stayed out for the next few days), and at 5am when we hit the twelve hour mark I could not get a hold of my doctors office. They are in Nashville so their phone line was down. I started calling the hospital where I was set to give birth at, I could barely hear them on the phone so I had to run outside in my pajamas to get any kind of service. They told me to come in as I still had no contractions and we had to get things going.

We drove to the hospital, checked in and were first taken into a room where they verify that the water did in fact break, and also where they strap a bunch of monitors on you. I don't know the official names for stuff so please just go with it. Since I was leaking a substantial amount of fluid they were able to determine that yes, my water in fact did break so they plopped me onto a wheelchair and wheeled me to the room where I would deliver the baby. This was around 7am,  and things seemed like they were going okay. I was still not experiencing painful contractions that everyone talks about but we had all the time in the world.

Around three hours later I was still not progressing. Upon further inspection we learned that the water broke at the top of the amniotic sac and not at the bottom where it normally breaks. We decided to break the water and administer some pitocin, which is a drug that really helps to speed things along when the birthing process is not picking up. My doctor came in and popped the sack with a needle, which looked large but the whole process was painless. What came next was so unexpected to all of us, it changed our whole experience monumentally. My doctor checked again to see if I was dilated any more, and as she was reaching in and evaluating the situation she said that what she's feeling is not the head of the baby, but the butt. She immediately left and came back to do an ultrasound, it was then confirmed that the baby was breech. At this point she said we had to do an emergency c-section. Within a matter of minutes there were five people in the room, prepping me to be wheeled into surgery. What made matters worse is that when they did pop the bag of fluid, I started getting actual contractions - the painful ones. Take the most painful period cramps and multiply it by ten. Whenever a contraction would come on I would be clutching my fists, gritting my teeth, and just trying to wait until it would go away. Good thing about contractions is that you do get a small break in between so you can collect yourself a little bit. They weren't lying about the "brings tear to your eyes" kind of pain, if I was doing a vaginal birth I'd be requesting that epidural pronto.

The c-section process was very quick, it took maybe 30 minutes in my case. It was painless and I felt a weird sense of calm as it was happening. I was even talking to everyone there about The Bachelor, just to take my mind off of things. Before we knew it baby Isla made her appearance! Doctor lifted her over the curtain to show us before getting her cleaned up and weighed.

The recovery from the c-section was tougher than I expected, having never had any kind of surgery before but overall it was a positive experience.

Have you given birth before? 

Current Skincare Routine

I love skincare, it has always been something that I'm interested in. I can't help but want to know what products everyone uses and I'm a sucker for celebrity shelfies (I'm looking at you - Into The Gloss). I've gone through so many different products and changed my routine so much, but I've learned that my great love affair with skincare products comes at a cost - my skin may not always like it.

I was taking birth control for around ten years and during that time my skin was perfect and invincible. No matter what cream or potion I tried it would not break me out. It was a fun time, being able to change things up all the time with no consequences. However, two year ago I stopped taking birth control and that's when all hell broke loose and I realized that I no longer have the luxury of trying whatever product catches my eye because it may simply wreck havoc on my skin. It took me a little while to realize that though, so I ended up with never ending breakouts on my chin which made me feel really helpless as nothing was resolving this issue. Eventually I came across a website that helped me find products that worked for me it's - Simple Skincare Science and their list of fungal acne safe products. I don't know if what I had was in fact fungal acne but switching over to safe products really made a difference and I stopped suffering from the awful acne I was having. My current skincare routine has mostly fungal safe products, but I also mix in some things here and there which may not necessarily be safe but they seem to be working okay for me.

Lets get right to what I'm using right now!

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser - I am not 100% committed to this face wash but it is basic and gentle so I like using it from time to time. I don't think it's fungal acne safe but face washes are on your face for such a short period of time so I'm not too strict when it comes to them. It smells pleasantly of roses and it has a nice gel consistency, however you can get a cheaper cleanser of a similar consistency (such as Cetaphil) minus the rose scent. I only use this at night, in the morning I just rinse my face with water.

Avene Thermal Spring Water - This is a purely for my own enjoyment. I don't use a toner but I like the refreshing feeling of spraying water on my face. I use it after washing my face and in my mind it feels like my skin is more hydrated because of it. The upside is that this is just water, so it's safe for all skin types. This is also nice on the go, when you need a little refresher. I spray this stuff morning or night, whenever I remember to do it.

First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads - These are my tried and true facial pads with gentle acids. Perfect for when you want to dip your toe into the acid game, but don't want to start out too strong. These are on the pricier side but it's really convenient to have the pads ready to go and since I don't use them every single night they tend to last me a while. I don't know if they are fungal acne safe but they have not broke me out so I keep coming back to them! I use them at night so in the morning my skin feels very smooth and glowy.

Origins Ginzing Eye Cream - I keep switching eye creams every time and I have yet to come across one that genuinely makes a difference and gives me a reason to stay put. This one is okay,  but I don't feel like it really contributes much. It is slightly tinted in a way that brightens the under eye area a tiny bit but I don't think it makes a significant difference. I won't be repurchasing this eye cream, but I've decided to use it up before getting something new. I use this morning and night.

The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc - This stuff is cheap and good, can't get any better than that. I found that it kept any breakouts at bay and whenever I ran out of it and didn't repurchase the pesky little zits made an appearance. I like the consistency of it, it's very light and lasts a long time so there are no cons. I've been repurchasing this a few times now and will continue to do so. I only use this product in the morning and it is safe for fungal acne.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5 - Same as the previous item, it's super affordable and I tend to go for the bigger, 2oz container of it. I use it morning and night, it helps to keep my skin hydrated. It's also a simple product that packs a solid punch, a much cheaper alternative to a lot of other hyaluronic acids on the market. Also, don't let the word "acid" fool you, it's super gentle and also fungal acne safe. I will definitely keep repurchasing it and recommending it to others.

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum - This is an awesome vitamin C option. It's mid range price wise for a serum of this sort and I think it works just as well, if not better, than some of the other pricier options. I like that this company is pretty clean (if you care about things like EWG ratings) and also cruelty free. It keeps my skin looking bright and awake, I use it every night. The texture and scent of it are very pleasant, and I've repurchased it multiple times. It's also fungal acne safe so I have been very happy with the results and the lack of breakouts.

Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion - My ride or die moisturizer, this stuff will not break you out no matter how hard you try. It's very simple with only six ingredients, no fragrance and nothing irritating. I have been using it for about a year now and I am never switching to anything else. It's very pleasant as feels light when applied, I use it morning and night. The container is also sterile, so I highly recommending this moisturizer if you have sensitive, breakout prone skin. It's mid range price wise compared to a lot of other moisturizers but I have not been able to find anything similar to it. This is fungal acne safe as well.

Elta MD UV Clear Sunscreen - This is an excellent facial sunscreen for breakout prone skin. It applies evenly and leaves no white cast, which is to be expected since it's a chemical sunscreen. Whenever I have gone to the dermatologist they always recommend Elta MD as a good option to use. There is also a tinted version of this but I haven't tried it. I like it because it's not greasy and feels light when applied. It also works well under make up so I've been very happy with it.

So there you have it! All of the skincare that I am currently using. 
Have you tried any of these products? What are some of your must have skincare items? 









Istanbul Highlights

Alex and I went to Turkey in the fall of 2018, so this post is pretty much just a picture dump of the highlights that we saw there. We were only there for a couple of days but we had an awesome time and would recommend anyone who's considering visiting Istanbul. The city was beautiful, very historic with endless landmarks. It's not as tourist heavy as some other destinations in Europe so we really liked that as well. One of the best parts was the affordability, the food and the goods there were very affordable, which helps whenever you are planning a trip to Europe (or anywhere for that matter). I'll let the photos speak for themselves, the scenery is unique and captivating. To me Istanbul felt unlike any other city I've been to before. 
View of the city is spectacular, and you can see both the European and the Asian parts of it. That makes Istanbul unique, it spans across two continents. Istanbul is also a very old city, as you make your way through you can definitely tell there is history everywhere. 
We loved going to the Grand Bazaar, it's an experience unlike any other. Definitely not for the faint of heart because haggling here goes to a whole other level. Needless to say we did not haggle with anyone, but we ended up getting some wonderful teas in the process. We would highly recommend it if you like tea. We also got Turkish towels that I really enjoy using at home, they are so soft and beautiful. As we were strolling around the city we couldn't help but stop in to get desserts all the time, it's a baklava heaven. If you have a sweet tooth Istanbul is the place to be!
We had a great time visiting Turkey and we wish our trip could have been a little longer, but you never know and we may come back! 
Have you ever been to Turkey? 

TV Shows To Watch During Quarantine

Sitting at home sounds like a dream until you have to do it all day everyday and all other forms of entertainment are no longer an option. Goodbye for now spontaneous Target runs, I can't wait to go back! Staying home I have been watching a few different shows and I have some recommendations for you. They are a good mix of options that will hopefully sound appealing enough to check out.

Tiger King (Netflix) - If you haven't heard about this show, I just don't believe you! There are endless memes circling around on the internet and if you've held out this long and still haven't watched it I envy your self control. I dove into it after numerous people recommended it to me and I was not disappointed. This show is something else, it's completely wild. At times it's hard to believe that it's real life because it's so over the top. If you are in the mood for an outrageous show that will leave you in disbelief make sure to check this one out.

Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu) - I read the book by the same name and really liked it, though I recommend Celeste Ng's other book (Everything I Never Told You). This show is pretty close to the book from what I can remember of the book, and the cast is excellent. I always really enjoy seeing books being made into shows, especially if they are very well done. If you enjoyed Big Little Lies on HBO you will like this as well. After all, how can someone resist a solid family drama?

Modern Love (Amazon) - This show is amazing, Alex and I binged it in one day. Every episode is a different tale of love, involving friends, coworkers, and random strangers. It's such a heartfelt portrayal, I found myself with tears in my eyes a couple of times. Better yet, these stories are based on real life relationships as shared on New York Times podcast Modern Love. I highly recommend this show, it was beautiful and the cast is incredible. Seriously, go watch it now!

The Circle (Netflix) - If you're missing reality TV shows and need something to take your mind off of things this is a great option. A bunch of people trying to become an influencer, interacting with a bunch of people that they cannot see or talk to? Sign me up. I'm a sucker for things like that but Alex also got sucked into it, and he initially said he was not interested in the show. According to him it's "weirdly satisfying". So give this one a go if you've got a soft spot for social media and reality TV shows.

Catch 22 ( Hulu) - I don't see this show talked about too much, but this is another great show that is based on a book. This is, as you may have guessed, a mini series based on the book Catch 22. It's incredibly entertaining, funny, and very well done. I will miss the quirky characters and an interesting setting during WWII.

Shrill (Hulu) - There are two seasons of this show now, and I loved them both! It's a hybrid between HBO's Girls and Netflix's Love so if you enjoyed either one of those I think you will be happy. It's also a bit literary as it is based on a book called Shrill by Lindy West. I recommend this if you want a lighter show to watch that also sends a good message.

That's it! Have you seen any of these shows? What have been your must watch shows during the quarantine?

Newborn Essentials

It's been a minute since I last posted here, and if it wasn't for the lack of activities thanks to coronavirus I probably would have never logged back on. But since there isn't much going on these days, and I need something to keep me busy I figured I would post on here to share my thoughts.

Quick recap of what's been going on since my last post back in 2018. As my blurb states, I live in Nashville now, bye bye NYC. We moved back in the summer of 2018 and it's been lovely to be back in Nashville. If you follow me on instagram you know we then adopted a sweet pup named Archie whom we also lovingly call "young son". Things have been busy but also pretty normal, up until June of 2019 when we found out that we were expecting a little bundle of joy. Fast forward to March 2020, and our little lady Isla has arrived. So that is why I'm now creating a blog post called "newborn essentials". As someone who is a new parent with zero previous baby experience you can call me a total newb, though to my defense I've become pretty proficient in the art of diaper changing. Baby related stuff is not something I would expect my online friends to be interested in but if you choose to stay and read I would be very happy!

Without blabbering on any further, lets get to the good stuff! Essentials that have been very helpful for me in the first month of my baby's life, you don't absolutely have to have them but they made my life a whole lot easier.

Diaper Genie - Or possibly any similar contraption. It's true, you can dispose of diapers/wipes in the trash but the convenience of having something of this sort chilling in your bedroom while you gotta go through multiple diaper changes a night is very convenient. Not to mention the lack of any unpleasant scent thanks to this device is really helpful.

Halo Bassinet - You don't have to have this particular one, it is a splurge, but having a bassinet in your room is super helpful. That is if you want to have your newborn sleeping there, in our case it makes things more convenient for quick diaper changes and feeds in the middle of the night, and also for our peace of mind but you do you! Before we got the bassinet we were using Graco Pack 'n Play but we ended up having that in our living room so we had to get something for the bedroom as well. Carrying it back and forth from room to room became a hassle.

Bumbo Changing Pad - If you take anything from this whole post, please get a changing pad that does not require a cover. I can't tell you how many times Isla went to the bathroom on the changing pad while we were in the middle of a diaper change. If our changing pad had covers that weren't at least waterproof it would have been a nightmare. This is a cheaper version of the Keekaroo I guess, but it does the job. It's more expensive than other changing pads but the convenience of a quick wipe in case of a mess is priceless. Easy cleanup is essential in the baby business!

Fisher Price 4 in 1 Tub - I have to say I didn't do too much research as far as the tubs go but we have been happy with this pretty affordable option. It does what it needs to in order to make bath time with a newborn as seamless as possible so we have no complaints. We have been getting a lot of use out of it.

Moby Wrap - There are a million wraps out there and I honestly did not have my mind made up to go with Moby, I just wanted the most affordable wrap option. There are a few for sale on Amazon that I was keeping an eye on but there just happened to be a sale online at Target on a Moby so I got it. Putting it on isn't as complicated as it seems but making sure the baby is positioned properly while in it took a few tries to get just right. This is a real life saver when the baby is actively avoiding naps and you want to rock them to sleep without your arms falling off in the process. I haven't used it to complete household chores though, apart from doing some laundry.

I hope this has been helpful for you, in case you are lost in the huge world of baby products. Don't feel pressured to buy anything and everything out there, and remember that you can always buy things as you go and as the need arises.

Have you used any of these products for your baby? What are your newborn essentials? 

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Online Vitamins

I feel like whenever a new brand of online vitamins comes out they automatically target me on Facebook ads. I kept seeing the ads for these two vitamin brands until I finally cracked and decided to give them a go.

The first ones were Care Of which come in separate little pouches and include a variety of different capsules. There is a little questionnaire that you can go through to see what you need to be feeling your best. This felt like a bit of fluff for me because some of the supplements they were recommending did not seem like an item that is essential to my wellbeing. With that being said I decided to try them out anyways. They had five recommendations for me, which were: Astaxanthin, Calcium, Fish Oil, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola. I'm no expert but I felt like calcium and fish oil were the main things I needed, what can I say, I'm a rebel.

I did a month of those vitamins and I can't say I've experienced a big change. If you like flexibility and the ability to pick and choose which supplements you want to receive each month this is a good option for that.
The second vitamins I did for 3 months, these vitamins are called Ritual. With these ones you don't get to pick and choose, they provide a pack per month which is filled with enough capsules for a month. You have to take 2 capsules a day, the capsules are pretty neat in that they are see-through. I liked these ones slightly better because they included all of the things that you might need, without me having to take matters into my own hands and trying to decide whether I should be taking a certain supplement or not.

I think I felt a but more energy while taking these but it could also be a placebo effect. Overall I just liked knowing that I was taking daily vitamins and that felt like a small step in the right direction. Full disclosure, I paid for both of them and I'm just sharing my personal opinions. This is not a sponsored post.

This year I want to take more steps to self-care and I think that taking supplements is one of those steps. I don't know if I'll continue on with either one of these but it did feel nice having a supplement taking routine.

Do you take vitamins? Which brands do you like and why? 

Stockholm Highlights

When planning out last Euro trip Alex and I didn't have a specific place in mind, we wanted to go somewhere we've never been before. Tickets were pretty cheap (via Norwegian airlines, which I will have to review at a later time) and we decided that since we've never been to Scandinavia this time was as good as any.

Stockholm, Sweden was our first stop. We spent a couple of days there, staying at a hostel in old town (Galma Stan). It was a convenient location to be in because a lot of the main sights were nearby and it was centrally located. We were blown away by how beautiful and unique Stockholm was and we didn't expect to love it as much as we did. Sweden might be my favorite country that I've visited so far, which will hopefully prompt you to go there too!

Swedish is a really tough language to learn but luckily for us everyone here knew English in restaurants, stores, and even people on the street whom we asked for directions. Everyone was incredibly nice and I think that makes Sweden a great country to visit if you aren't too comfortable traveling to where most people won't know your language.
Meatballs (and food in general) is a huge thing whenever I go somewhere new. I'm happy to report that I got my fix of the glorious Swedish meatballs, they were incredible.  We went to Meatballs for the People located in S√∂dermalm. All of the things I got to try while in Stockholm were awesome and if I get a chance to come back I would definitely do it all over again and for sure go out and find the infamous meatballs!
Cinnamon rolls are another thing that is super popular in Sweden, so definitely seek those out if you have the chance! I was surprised that this was such a popular dessert but they turned out very tasty so we were happy to have cinnamon rolls readily available. We ventured out to Rosendals Garden which is a super cool organic restaurant with some seriously delicious eats. It's located in Djurg√•rden which is a little ways away from the old town area of Stockholm but is totally worth a visit. We walked there but the public transit is very good and there is a lot of subway access, buses and trains. Also there are a bunch of ferries going there so there is no shortage of commute options.
Stockholm is called Venice of the north because it's surrounded by water. We really enjoyed being able to take ferries and cross its many bridges. We took so many photos but I haven't really sifted through them all to find the best ones, yet, even though we went there at the end of September. We didn't visit many museums while there, the only one we went to was the Vasa museum, which has the Vasa ship that sank in the harbor in Stockholm in 17th century. Getting to see the ship was pretty incredible and learning about the way ships operated was neat.
Sweden is normally a destination where people aim to go in the summer but we went at the end of September (September 29th to be exact) and we really liked it there. It was getting chillier out but I think cooler weather adds extra charm to Stockholm. There were a lot of patios with heat lamps and blankets so there was an opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. We really loved how peaceful and quiet Stockholm was and we would definitely come back here again.

Have you been to Stockholm? Where are you going for your next trip?
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