10.31.2014

five on friday.

Happy HALLOWEEN!! I'm linking up with ChristinaAprilNatasha, and Darci today for Five on Friday. Are you dressing up or going to a Halloween party? I'm hoping we get some trick-or-treaters and then we're going out with friends.
ONE: We're going on a ghost and graveyard tour tonight! It's something I've always wanted to do in Charleston -- so what better occasion than Halloween?! :) 
TWO: H and I have a new netflix addiction: House of Cards. No spoilers please -- we're still only half way through season one. 
THREE: Bauble Bar recently announced a special Guest Bartender: Megan Rusner. Megan was diagnosed last May with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma and is in the middle of her treatment. She loves jewelry, so Bauble Bar partnered with her to design a special collection based around her personal mantra, "as good as gold" (since she is working hard to get her health back to being "as good as gold"). All net proceeds from her collection will go to the Leukemia and Lymphona Society. My favorites include the Minerva Fringe Collar Necklace and Good As Gold Bracelet. See the full collection HERE.
FOUR: I hit the 20-week mark on Wednesday -- we're half way there!! We got to see our baby yesterday at our level 2 ultrasound appointment and she was having a little dance party. Check back next week for a long overdue Bumpdate post :)
FIVE: There's still time to enter the Agnes & Dora Giveaway! I'll pick a winner on Tuesday, November 4.

Have a great weekend!
-xo-
Jillian

10.30.2014

craving: spinach salads.

Throughout my pregnancy I've been eating a lot of spinach. I add it to spaghetti, omelets, and because of Crohn's it's the only way I can enjoy a leafy salad. Lately I have been making simple spinach salads with apples, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette. I'd love to mix things up with different ingredients and try some new recipes:
apple-feta salad with chicken, bacon and walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette* - pineapple spinach salad (two of my favorites together - why didn't I think of this before?!) - avocado strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed dressing (gotta love a recipe that uses avocados!) -sweet tooth salad with pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, walnuts, and apples - chicken apple walnut spinach salad - spinach berry salad with blackberry balsamic vinaigrette* (*I'd skip the feta and gorgonzola cheese since sadly that's not pregnancy-diet approved -- whomp whomp)

What do you like in your spinach salad?
-xo-
Jillian

p.s. there is still time to enter the Agnes and Dora giveaway!

10.29.2014

loving lately: Soria Z. Jewelry.

Soria Z. Jewelry is a handmade jewelry collection based in New York City. The line is refined and modern, with versatile everyday pieces that can be worn alone or layered together. The company was founded in 2010 by designer Natalie Nguyen, and the company is named after her mother. Natalie is originally from South Carolina, she moved to New York to start her career, and recently moved to Paris for a year (lucky!).
I received a few pieces from the collection and they are absolutely gorgeous! The Gold and Sterling Silver Bar Pendant Necklace is sleek and simple and it can be worn with anything. I love to layer it with the 18K Rose Gold and Sterling Silver Snakeskin Pendant (the snakeskin detail is so pretty and unique). My favorite piece of the collection is the Multi-twisted Wire Ring. I usually keep things simple with my rings but it's the statement ring I've been looking for -- the perfect mix of modern and chic.
SHOP Soria Z. Jewelry - Follow on Instagram - Facebook - Twitter

What is your favorite piece?
-xo-
Jillian

10.28.2014

Agnes & Dora Leggings Review + Giveaway.

Agnes & Dora has a huge collection of patterned adult and kids leggings, and maxi, midi and pencil skirts. I received two pairs of leggings to review, I went with the Laguna print (black, pink, and gray) and the Winnipeg print (black and white). I love the adorable fair isle patterns. The leggings are super soft and stretchy (one size fits XS-XL -- perfect for pregnancy). Also good to know -- the fabric is thick so the leggings are not see-through. They look great with ballet flats and I'm sure I'll be wearing them non-stop this winter with boots.

Agnes and Dora is giving away ONE item from their site to one lucky reader. The winner has their pick of a pair of leggings, pencil skirt, maxi skirt, midi skirt, harem pants, or kids leggings. Please enter using the Rafflecopter below. A winner will be notified on Tuesday, October 14. Good Luck! 
-xo-
Jillian
p.s. Want to shop now? Use the code JILLIAN15 for 15% off your entire purchase.

10.27.2014

chicago good things.

I'm back!! I had a really wonderful time in Chicago. The weather was perfect and it finally felt like fall with leaves on the ground. I missed blogging but my little break was exactly what I needed. I shared a few photos over on instagram but here are some more highlights from our trip:

After arriving in Chicago, our first stop was lunch at Portillos! I was craving an Italian beef + cheesy fries like crazyyy and I was not disappointed. We spent the rest of the day with family at birthday and retirement parties.

The next day was our baby shower! My mom and my sister-in-law planned an adorable shower and everything was perfect. I'll share a full recap next week -- (spoiler: we revealed the baby's gender at the shower and I shared the news on instagram!)

On Monday I spent the day shopping with my mom and grandma in the suburbs -- we hit up a few baby stores, and Crate and Barrel (I wish they would open one in Charleston!) After we finished shopping, I went downtown and met up with h and his co-workers for some deep dish pizza. We went to Pizzeria Due -- I've never been there before and I was surprised with how good it was! The crust was thick and buttery, and the sauce was super tangy. 

I spent the rest of the week visiting old co-workers and friends for lunch, shopping on Michigan Ave., getting together with h's family for dinners (we had Indian and homemade Persian food). H was pretty busy during the week with his conference, so I was happy we got to have a picnic at Millenium Park with sandwiches from Pastoral Bread (my favorite!) I also finally saw Gone Girl with my friends -- so creepy good! By the end of the week I was exhausted and ready to detox from all the restaurant food. Chicago will always feel like home, so I'm thankful we had a long visit. And we're coming back in a few weeks for Thanksgiving -- bring on the hoosier mama pumpkin pie!

How was your weekend?! 
What's new with you?
-xo-
Jillian

10.17.2014

five on friday.

Happy Friday!! I'm looking forward to the weekend! I'm also linking up with Christina, April, Natasha and Darci for Five on Friday:
ONE: Thanks for all of your helpful suggestions on yesterday's baby registry post! I made a few edits to our registry and I am confident baby M will be all set. Now I can focus on all the cute little extras ;)
TWO: After less than a week our pumpkins have already rotted in the 80-degree sun! Now I understand why a lot of our South Carolina neighbors don't have real pumpkins on their porches -- I guess we'll go with fake pumpkins next year (whomp whomp). 
THREE: Have you heard of Tees by Tina?! They specialize in stretchy one-size-fits-most leggings, tops, and dresses. I stopped in the King Street shop after seeing a huge sign in the window that said: "The Best Leggings We've Ever Worn" -- Lucky Magazine. okay, worth a shot! The leggings were amazing -- and they fit really well (even with my growing baby belly). I picked up three pairs: luster leggings (aka super smooth leggings) / sorbtek leggings in storm gray / chevron leggings in black. I have a feeling I will be living in these leggings throughout pregnancy.
FOUR: There are a few days left to enter the DPM Candle Giveaway -- I'll email the winner October 21. Good luck!
image via
FIVE: We're off to Chicago tomorrow for a week!!! I'm soooo excited to visit family, friends, and my favorite restaurants. And I can't wait to celebrate baby M at our baby shower. I'm taking a blogging break next week, but you can follow along on instagram :)

Have a great weekend! 
-xo-

Jillian

10.16.2014

baby registry tips.

Registering for a baby can be super overwhelming. You might be wondering why I'm already working on a registry (I just announced I am pregnant last week) -- we're visiting Chicago in a few days, and my mom and sister-in-law are throwing us a baby shower while we're in town!! I spent quite a few hours days researching products and I completed our registry a few weeks ago. Here are two big tips:

Do your research: I scoured Pinterest and looked up baby registry blog posts for ideas and then when I found something I liked, I looked it up again on Baby Gear Lab. The site compares tons of baby products, lists pros and cons, and rates them against other brands. Customer reviews on Amazon are also very helpful. 

Breast feeding? Check your insurance to see if they will cover your breast pump! Our plan covers the $100+ model we were going to register for.

Here are a few key items that I added to our registry:

Stroller - After researching tons of options we went with one of the most popular options: the BOB Revolution CE Stroller. We already received the stroller in the mail (thanks to my mother-in-law) and I love it! It's easy to maneuver and collapse for storage. We also registered for a lighter stroller (but I am having a hard time explaining to H when we'd use it-- any thoughts?)

Car Seat - We went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant Car Seat and Base. It had high ratings on Baby Gear Lab and Amazon. It's also small enough to fit into our Honda Civic. BOB makes an adapter that will allow us to put the car seat onto our stroller.

Crib, Bassinet, vs. Rock n Play Sleeper- We are currently renting a tiny place in Charleston (as in 650 sq. ft. 1 bed/ 1 bath). The baby won't have a dedicated nursery for the first few months. He or she will have to stay in the living room until we can move into a bigger place next July. So we had to figure out something that would provide a safe place for our baby to sleep, without taking up a ton of room. I already ordered our crib from The Honest Company and shipped it to my mom who has agreed to store it at her place until we move into a bigger place. I was set on getting a stylish (and expensive) bassinet until my best friend AND OBGYN recommended that our baby sleep in a Rock n Play Sleeper for the first few months. It's also about 1/5 the price of the bassinet. done!

Monitor - In our current rental we don't really need a baby monitor, but it'll be nice to have when the baby gets it's own nursery. I don't want to spend a ton on a monitor -- I found an option that's $80 and has great reviews on Baby Gear Lab, but it doesn't have video (mamas, what do you think-- Is a baby monitor with video necessary?)

Bouncer - There are a million bouncer/swing options out there. I'm stuck between two options: The BabyBjorn Bouncer Balance Soft -- I like this one because: 1. It will grow with the child. The bouncer can hold a child between 8-24 lbs, and it can be used as a chair up to age two. 2. It doesn't use batteries and instead relies on the baby's own movement. 3. It folds up flat for storage (a major plus for our small place) 4. Unlike a lot of baby bouncers it doesn't have a ton of obnoxious colors and patterns, it's available in colors that will fit with our style. AND my other top option: the popular Mamaroo Bouncer - 1. It can also be used up to 25 lbs 2.It offers five different motions and speeds 3. It plugs into the wall -- no batteries required. The major drawback to the Mamaroos Bouncer (for me) is it looks huge and does not fold up like the BabyBjorn Bouncer. H also complained that it looks like something from space. Do you have either of these bouncers? Which would you recommend?

Bottles + accessories - Who knew there are a lot of different types of bottles too!? We went with Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Newborn Bottles - they are BPA, PVC, lead and phthalate free. I've seen these bottles on a lot of registry lists -- I hope we love them! I also registered for the Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack which can be used after baby to dry sippy cups and water (or wine!) glasses.

What are your favorite items you registered for? 
Are there any big items that you received that you never used?
-xo-
Jillian