Favorites

“Where Did You Get That?”

One of the things I hear non-stop as Jo’s mama is “where did you get that _____ ?” You can fill in the blank with: hairbow, headband, dress, shorts, shirt, shoes, and even some of her baby gear.

I absolutely have a ball dressing Josey, and I’m happy to share where I find her things. To make it a little easier though, I thought I would do a blog post about it.

(Excuse the quality of the photos; most of these are screenshots from instagram.)

1. Zulily

Zulily is by far the place I get the majority of Josey’s cutest items.

It’s a savings site that emails new savings each day. They carry a multitude of brands at discount prices. And they carry things for adults and the home as well (I buy Tom’s Vibram 5-Fingers there at a HUGE discount, for example).

A few of my favorite brands to shop on Zulily include: Jelly the Pug, Liv and Monkey (owned by Jelly the Pug), Mud Pie, Hippo Hula, Snapping Turtle Kids, and TOMS.

All the other things I’ve bought there are just things that I’ve found browsing the emails and decided were just right for Jo.

Here are a few examples of things I have bought Josey (or she has been given from my mom) on Zulily.

(This feather dress gets asked about a lot. The brand is Bebe Oh La La, but I bought it on Zulily.)

(Dress and bloomers- can’t see the bloomers here- from Zulily, shoes- Target, headband- Naartjie)

(Hat from Zulily, shoes- Sketchers)

(Dress from Zulily, Bow from Swanky Bowtique)

They also allow members (it’s free) to invite friends to join by using an affiliate link, and if they sign up with it, you get a credit to your account. I used my affiliate link above, so if you are interested in joining, please click through with my link!

2. Swanky Bowtique

Bailey Oliver, the owner behind this shop, went to high school with me and makes the CUTEST hair accessories for her beautiful daughter. She began selling them, and no headbands and clips Jo has worn have gotten as many compliments as the ones I’ve received from this store.

Bailey custom makes hair clips, headbands, necklaces, and paci-clips. She has a quick turnaround, and she works hard to make sure she gets you EXACTLY what you’re looking for.

I had her make clips for Jo for Christmas and for her birthday. She even wore them when she first met Santa and on Christmas day!

(Outfit is Mud Pie, Hair Clip – Swanky Bowtique.)

To see some of the past Swanky Bowtique creations, click here.

3. Target

Oh yes. I love Target as much as the next girl. They have some of the CUTEST outfits for little girls. If I’m not careful, I can double my spending by shopping the baby/kids’ clothing section. And the shoes. OOOOh, the shoes.

(Dress, I bought on Zulily, shoes- Target.)

(Outfit- Target, Necklace- mine, Feather Clip- Hobby Lobby)

(outfit- Target, headband- Zulily)

(Shirt- Target, Leggings- Old Navy, Leg Warmers- Zulily)

4. Naartjie

I had never heard of Naartjie until my parents bought something for Josey there when she was a few months old. It was so different than anything I was seeing in other local stores. People often confuse Naartjie’s ruffled, cute items for Matilda Jane pieces, but the prices are much more reasonable.

Since then, I have become a huge fan. They change out their selections regularly, and you can save by shopping the sale items they move out. Very cute clothes that will let your little one stand out!

(Leggings- Naartjie)

(Leggings- Naartjie)

(Bow- Swanky Bowtique, Shirt- Naartjie, Pants- Target, Shoes- Tiny TOMS)

(Headband- Naartjie, Shirt- Target)

5. Matilda Jane

 I don’t shop this brand often, since it’s a more expensive line of clothing, but the few pieces I’ve bought there, I have LOVED. Josey was able to wear them for months, and people always notice them. So cute. The hardest part if keeping yourself from buying more than planned!

(Shirt- Matilda Jane)

(Reversible Headband- Matilda Jane)

(Dress and Shirt- Matilda Jane)

6. Hobby Lobby

Whaaat? I know. Sounds weird, but they actually are my second favorite place to get hairbows for Josey.

They have lots of clips with big bows or feathers and are inexpensive enough to get several. Not custom or as “special” as my favorite pieces, but I really like having some cute bows that I can afford for my toddler to ruin or lose on accident.

(Flower Clip- Hobby Lobby, Outfit- Target)

(Hairbow- Hobby Lobby)

(Feather Clip- Hobby Lobby, Shirt- Target)

7. The Rest

Other places I will find clothes for Jo: Old Navy, Babies R Us, and various department stores, websites (etsy, ebay), etc.

(Vest- Babies R Us, Shirt- Naartjie)

(Shirt and Pants- Old Navy)

(Tutu- Ebay, Leg Warmers- Zulily, Onesie- Disney World)

So there is Josey’s closet in a nutshell. I have a blast dressing my girl, but if you have a son, don’t pass these stores up!

You can find bowties, hats, cute clothes and shoes at almost all of these same places. I think girls have an overload of cute things from which to choose, but boys are a bit more challenging.

Hopefully shopping these places will make dressing your little one more fun- whether you have a boy or a girl!

~Meghan

Baby Favorites- Months 1 and 2

I promised I would share some of my favorite things I’ve used with Josey for the first couple of months to a friend of mine who is also expecting. And then I thought, why not share it on the blog? That way other moms can chime in with their favorite things too! And other mommys-to-be can check out the list as well!

I think I will start doing this once a month since new items we have for Jo will be used as she gets older. Here is my list of my favorite things we’ve used the first couple of months:

Diapering:

1. Pampers Swaddlers.

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I have tried Huggies. I’ve tried Pampers Baby Dry diapers too. Wasn’t a fan.

Pampers Swaddlers are awesome. Other diapers shift (which lets poop leak out), can be too tight, and generally just haven’t worked as well for me.

I also recommend you use Amazon Mom with “Subscribe and Save” to order your diapers. I got a big ol’ box of 206 diapers for about $.19/diaper with that system. I would have to hope for coupons and sales to all line up for me every month to continuously get those prices.

*UPDATE* Around 4 months old, Josey needed a bigger size than we could find in the swaddlers, so we started using Pampers Cruisers for her in size 4+. We have really liked them as well.

2. Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

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I first saw this pail when I was nannying Will. I had been convinced that someday I would have a Diaper Genie. It was the diaper pail I loved. And then I met this one.

With the Diaper Genie, you have to squish the diaper down into the pail and then twist it off to block the smell. When using it, I hated having to stick my hand down into the pail with the diaper. And the refill bags are about $20 for 3 refills. I’m not hating on the Diaper Genie; it’s great. It’s just not the choice for me.

This diaper pail is simple. You use a regular kitchen trash bag, so it’s VERY cheap to replace the trash bag. To toss a diaper, you just push the button on top, and the round center pops up. You toss the diaper in the hole, and then put the center back down.

The inside of the center has a place to put a deodorizer to fight any smells. As long as you take the trash out regularly, it doesn’t get stinky in the nursery.

The price tage of this pail is great too, at $20 a pail. Much cheaper than most!

3. Timi & Leslie Diaper Bag (The Hannah).

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I love this diaper bag. It comes with a little matching clutch to use for your stuff so that when you are headed somewhere without the baby, you just pull it out of the diaper bag and go. But the whole diaper bag looks like a purse, so even when you take the baby with you, you’re in style!

It also comes with straps to hang it from your stroller or grocery cart, a shoulder strap, a bottle keeper, a bag for soiled clothes, and a changing pad. It’s pretty awesome.

Nursing

I use the Ameda Purely Yours pump that I bought from a friend, and it’s great. I also have bottles and a great bottle warmer that I like. But I nurse more than anything, so I’m going to skip talking about bottles and such. If you are interested in what I have and like, let me know, and I’ll post about those as well!

I will say this- it’s worth owning a breast pump. When you first start nursing, that first month is painful, you’re trying to figure it out, and I personally dealt with engorgement and a blocked milk duct. It’s VERY nice to have a pump to help move things along. And if you do skip a feeding and give a bottle, you’ll want to pump later to be more comfortable. Worth it.

1. Nursing Bras.

I LOVE the Medela Ultra Stretch Nursing Bra from – believe it or not- Babies R Us. It is one you can sleep in or just wear around the house. This was the only one I bought before Josey arrived because I heard that you get so much bigger after your milk comes in. (You really do.) It stretches to accomodate varying sizes you will be when nursing.

I also got some more normal nursing bras at Motherhood Maternity. They have all different styles and sizes, so I recommend waiting until a week or two after you have the baby and going to try them on. Your milk should be in by then, so you can be more sure of getting the right size. Just make sure you have at least one nursing bra like the one I linked to above to get you through until then.

2. Nursing Pads- Cloth is the way to go.

I registered for disposable nursing pads, and I also bought some washable cloth ones. Turns out that disposable ones don’t stay put as well, and they can cause infection because they don’t allow the air to circulate.

My favorite nursing pads are actually some that were made for me by one of my friend’s moms out of old t-shirts, and they’re awesome. But the ones I bought (Avent Washable Breast Pads) are also great.

3. Nursing Pillows

 I have both a Boppy and a My Brest Friend pillow. I had never heard of the latter until a friend gave it to me. Here’s the My Brest Friend:

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And here’s the Boppy:

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Honestly, I think they are both great, and I’m lucky to have one of each.

The My Brest Friend is nice because it has a padded strap that goes around your back and buckles so the pillow stays in place around your waist. In the first few weeks, this was AWESOME for me, because I could put my little newborn on it while it was strapped around me and feed her while putting on my make-up when I had somewhere to be and limited time to get ready.

The Boppy is upstairs in our room, and I love it for night feedings. I can quickly pull it around me without needing to fumble with a buckle or wrapping it around my back. It’s great for times when you have your arms free to nurse but want some extra support for the baby’s body.

They both come in a variety of styles and have covers you can buy for them.

Bathtime

1. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Deluxe Tub

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There are a lot of tubs out there, and this is the one we got. I love it.

It’s easy to clean, the color works for both boys and girls, and it holds Josey really well. It also has an indicator on the bottom that lets you know if the water is the right temperature for a baby (of course, I still test it with my elbow first).

She gets a bath every other day right now, so having a good tub for her is important to me. And as she grows, you can adjust the tub to fit her growing body.

Also, it has a hook on the top so you can hang it from a shower rod and let it drip dry out of the way.

2. Munchkin Shampoo Rinser

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Who would have known that a $5 impulse buy at Target could be so awesome?

I was tired of using drinking cups to rinse Josey during her baths, and when I saw this, it seemed perfect. Turns out, it was perfect.

It’s soft, so it doesn’t hurt when I press it against her head to rinse shampoo, it holds plenty of water, and it has a handle. It’s not slippery either. Love it.

3. Hooded Towels

Not much to say about this. I just love having hooded towels for Josey because it keeps her little head covered when she’s wet from the tub, and I’m drying her off and getting her dressed. I don’t want her getting too cold.

And ok…it’s also super cute!

Naps and Bedtime

1. HALO Sleep Sacks

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These blankets are great. You don’t want to put a baby to sleep with a loose blanket because of the risk of suffocation. But with these blankets that they wear, you zip them into their blanket. And for the littler sizes, it has flaps that you can wrap around the arms to swaddle your baby as well. Awesome.

They come in both micro-fleece and cotton to fit your baby’s needs for warm and cold weather months.

2. Summer Infant Complete Coverage Video Monitoring System

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I LOVE this monitor set. It shows her in color if the lights are on, and we can also see her on the video monitor if her room is pitch black.

We have the big monitor in our kitchen, and I keep the portable one in our room. If I need to run an errand while she naps, I just hand that one to Tom in the office while he works. Easy peasy!

Travel

1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

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This is our exact carseat (the style is “Cubes”), and we got it in gray because it would work for a boy or girl.

This carseat is awesome. Not only does it have great safety reviews, but it’s so easy.

The base gets secured into your car, and then the carseat locks into the base. Then, when you need to take the carseat out, you just lift it out while holding a button in to unlock it. No more need to fumble with the seatbelt every time you need to take the baby out of or put the baby into the car.

You can also buy additional bases if you have more than one vehicle that you will regularly use to transport the baby.

2. B.O.B. Stroller

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Specifically, we have the B.O.B. Revolution SE (and yes, we got ours in orange).

I cannot praise this stroller enough. It is SO smooth, it turns on a dime because the front wheel swivels, it can handle all kinds of terrain, you can jog with it as easily as take it to the mall, and it has accessories for all your needs.

For now, we have a bar that we have attached that Josey’s carseat locks onto to keep it securely in place while she’s too little to sit up in the stroller on her own. We also have the handlebar console that has two cupholders and a zippered pouch to hold keys, pacis, phone, etc.

Other accessories include covers for weather, sun, and bug protection and a tray for snacks and drinks for your toddler.

This stroller also comes in a double (called the Duallie) for families with more than one kid in a stroller.

The price tag is higher than many strollers, but these are durable, awesome strollers and WORTH EVERY PENNY.

3. JJ Cole Car Seat Cover

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We bought this car seat cover because we were having a January baby. The last thing I wanted was to worry about whether Josey was going to be too cold every time we got outside the house.

This cover is great. You just pull it over the rim of the carseat, and it stays put with the elastic band holding it in place.

The cover part can flip up over the baby’s face if it’s really cold, snowing, or raining to protect them while you walk from the car to the building or vice versa. (Obviously don’t leave it up once you get inside.)

The cover also zips open (and completely off if you need it to) if it’s too warm for the baby.

We aren’t using this right now since it’s so warm, but it was a great item to have for the winter.

Miscellaneous

1. WubbaNub Pacifier

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Oh man, JoJo LOVES her Wub. These pacis are attached (as you can see) to tiny stuffed animals.

Many babies have a hard time keeping the pacis in their mouths as they suck, and moms and dads end up having to hold the paci in with their fingers. With the WubbaNub, the stuffed animal puts a little pressure against the paci, helping to hold it in place.

The animal rests on the baby’s chest. It’s not perfect; the paci still falls out at times, but it’s MUCH better than having to use your finger to provide pressure all the time. Sometimes Josey is holding onto the animal and accidentally pulls it out of her mouth. I’m still a fan.

2. Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker

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This is a great chair (and they have different styles in case pink isn’t what you’re looking for!). JoJo loves to look at the flower and butterflies that hang from it, and I can take that bar off if I want an unobstructed view of her. I also rock it with my foot when she is sitting in it and I’m busy working on the computer or doing something else.

You can also turn on vibration to soothe the baby while they sit in the seat. If you don’t want movement, you can pull the bar underneath forward and it will stabilize the chair. You can strap the baby in to keep from slipping down in the chair.

And when they get to be toddlers, just adjust the seat up more to a sitting position (versus reclining) and take the butterfly bar off. It becomes a toddler-sized rocking chair! Cute.

3. Infantino Vintage Twist and Fold Activity Gym

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I love that this activity gym could work for a boy or a girl. Josey has been playing on this since she was two or three weeks old. I have it set up in our bathroom now so that she can look at the animals (and punch and kick them) while I get ready in the mornings.

One cool feature is that you can twist the little tab on the top (on the orange plastic piece on top), and it straightens the arched “arms” of it. You can pull the mat up into it, and roll it up to take with you quickly and easily. It takes up very little space when folded up.

To get it back to normal, you just spread the mat part back out and then press down on the orange plastic part. It press out on the arms and locks them into place. Super easy.

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So those have been my very favorite things (besides clothing) for the last two months. She is about to get some new things in her Easter basket, so I’m sure I’ll have new things to add next month!

Anything else to add from your baby’s first couple of months, other moms?

~Meghan

A Year of Favorites (2011)

Last year, I did a little compilation of some of my Friday Favorites that would make good gift ideas for Christmas. Since it’s now December, I figure it’s time to do it again with Friday Favorites from this year!

Give them Food!

Here’s a great (i.e.: simple and delicious) recipe for a treat to give teachers, neighbors or friends.

Or you could give a gift card to any of these restaurants. They’re all delicious!

Prime (They’ll serve you a steak you will want to take pictures of, no joke.)

Farm Burger (Organic and local burgers AND burgers for vegetarians. Amazing food.)

Der Biergarten (Lots of beers in lots of sizes. Also a menu full of German food that I’ll actually eat! It’s yummy.)

Give them Fun!

Buy them a game of Whirlyball with their friends. They will love you for it.

Is the person you’re shopping for under 2? They’ll LOVE Baby Signing Time. Fun music and videos for little people.

Shopping for a geeky parent? They will crack up over these onesies and shirts for their kiddos.

Give them Gadgets!

For the coffee addict, a Keurig is the way to go.

For the photographer, an expo disc and a gray card are both great presents.

For anyone clumsy with a phone, they will LOVE having an Otterbox. My phone still looks brand new, and my case has taken a beating!

Give them Something Useful!

I LOVE my Copco cups, and I take them with me everywhere. They keep me from spilling my drinks too! (Basically, it’s like an adult sippy cup.)

Karma Cards are a great gift for the eco-friendly person on your list.

From home decor to tote bags to invitations to jewelry, In Sweet Violets offers plenty of gift solutions. I love my earrings and necklace from that store!

That’s a Wrap.

If you weren’t sure of something to get for someone on your list, there are plenty ideas above for you to think over. And they span every type of budget. Happy shopping!

~Meghan

Friday Favorite: White Trash Holiday Crack

Today I’m going to share with you a recipe for something my friends call “White Trash.” I call it “holiday crack” because people make this around the holidays, and it’s SUPER addictive.

It’s also super easy to make. I first sampled this recipe at my baby shower in Covington, and the next week I was getting in touch with Kate, who had made it, to ask her for the recipe because I couldn’t stop craving it. It’s that good.

Kate had gotten the recipe from her Aunt Angela, and she graciously gave me permission to share it with all of you!

So here’s what you need:

1 box of Golden Grahams

1 bag of pretzels (I use the stick kind), broken into pieces

2-3 cups of salted peanuts

White chocolate bark (the recipe says one package, but  mine was a small box so I used more.)

1. Take the first 3 ingredients, and mix them together in a large bowl (or two, because this is a lot of food, and you don’t want to spill it).

2. Put the white bark in a microwave safe bowl, and melt it at one minute intervals, stirring in between, until it is smooth.

3. Dump the bark into the bowl(s) with the other ingredients, and toss with two large spoons until all ingredients are coated.

4. Spread out on large surface covered in wax paper and allow to dry.

5. Break into pieces and enjoy!

I have a few photos I took on my phone of the batch I made.

Here it is cooling:

And here is a little bit of it when dry (very close up):

I’m not kidding when I say it makes a LOT. I filled several large tupperware containers with it, and I took it to share at Thanksgiving with both my family and Tom’s. We are still eating it. (Not that we’re complaining.)

This would be the perfect recipe to make for Christmas because it makes so much that with one batch, you can set it out at parties, and you can package some of it up as part of your gift to neighbors, teachers, friends, etc. They don’t have to know how easy it is! (Unless you have a blog.)

So try this out. Trust me- you’ll love it!
~Meghan

Friday Favorite: Prime

The other day, my sweet mama took me shopping for some maternity clothes since nothing fits me anymore. We finished shopping around rush hour, so we decided to kill the time waiting out the traffic by having dinner. We ended up at Prime, a steakhouse right in Lenox Mall.

I don’t know if they do this every day, but when we went, they had a sign up saying their steaks were half price from 4pm-6pm. Sounds about perfect to me.

Mom and I both ordered iceburg wedges and petit filets. They were AMAZING.

The salad was crisp and fresh, and the steak was so delicious. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the seasoning on it was perfect. We didn’t need any sauce with those babies. (Forgive the photos- like last week, they are all from my cell.)

Mom also ordered the jumbo asparagus with hollandaise sauce. She said it was delish.

And I had a side of the cottage fries with caramelized onions. One word: YUM.

You wouldn’t believe how good those were. Crispy, flavorful, and delicious. Again: YUM.

Everything we had there was so good. I wouldn’t have thought to head for the mall for a great steakhouse, but there it was. If you are in Atlanta, maybe shopping at the mall and wanting something better than Sbarros or mall Chinese food, try out Prime.

You won’t regret it!

 ~Meghan

Friday Favorite: Farm Burger

The other day, I met one of my best friends since childhood, Claire Park, in Decatur for lunch. Lunch being a relative term since I was running late and got there at 2pm.

Anyway, we met at a place she suggested, called Farm Burger.

Y’ALL. Oh my goodness. It was TO DIE FOR.

Really. I wish I had brought my camera. I also wish I had thought to pull out my phone to take pictures before we had devoured almost all of the food. But it was that good, and we were so hungry.

So Farm Burger makes all their food with all organic, grass fed meats and local, seasonal produce. And you can taste a difference. This food is melt in your mouth good, and the generous proportions definitely fill you up.

We each had the $8 lunch special- a $6 burger, fries, and a drink. I chose “The Farm Burger,” aka the No. 1. It is a burger with grafton smoked white cheddar, caramelized onions, and FB sauce. (FB sauce is Farm Burger sauce. I had it on the side because it wasn’t really my thing, and went sauceless. I still found the burger heavenly.) And I had regular fries and root beer.

Yeah. I told you I didn’t think to take pictures until most of it was gone. It was SO good.

Claire had the No. 2, which is “The Veggie Quinoa Burger.” Pay attention vegetarians! This burger has: a quinoa burger (instead of beef), arugula, feta, pickled vidalia onions, and dijon mayo. Claire is not a vegetarian, but she says that it’s her fave burger in the joint. I didn’t try it because my doc told me “no feta cheese,” but I wanted to. It looked tasty.

Ummm. Soo….yeah, there is no picture of that burger because she ate it all. But look! There are some crumbs!!

And it was worth showing anyway, because see those fries? They are the regular fries, and they rock. SO yummy. And that basket is overflowing with them when you order, but we maybe, kinda, sorta ate a few.

Claire had really ordered the sweet potato fries, and when the waitress realized the mistake, she brought us a big bunch of them.

If that doesn’t look like “a big bunch,” that’s because we had already eaten 2/3rds of them. They were the perfect combination of salty and sweet, crispy and delicious. YUM.

I’m telling you, I have NO complaints about this place. The food was so good, and the laid back atmosphere was great. Here’s a shot of the front. There’s an outdoor patio, if you would rather be outside than in.

And I love that it was supporting local famers and animal friendly farming. That is so nice to see; I don’t feel like a lot of restaurants do that. And while you might pay more for a burger here than say, McDonald’s (gross), you can taste the difference. And it’s fairly priced.

I’m a true fan. By the time we were leaving, I was plotting a double date so I could see both Claire AND Farm Burger again. It’s gonna happen.

~Meghan

ps. Farm Burger is located in two places, so far:

Decatur-

410B W. Ponce De Leon, Decatur, GA 3003o

 Buckhead-

3365 Piedmont Road, Atlanta, GA 30305

Friday Favorite: Copco Cups

WOW. I can’t even remember the last legit Friday Fave I did. You all must think I don’t like anything anymore! And the truth is that for the last few months, I haven’t been many places to blog about.

But I do have to talk about this one gift I’ve received that I LOVE. My Copco Sierra Tumblers have it goin’ on. They look like disposable cups, but they are hard plastic- even the straw- with lids that screw on and seal tight.

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My friend Jenn gave me the pink one in June. She had been using these cups for a while and let me borrow one when I was at her place. And I loved them. She remembered that and gave me a new one of my own for my birthday.

Let me tell you something- I use that cup EVERY day. Unless it’s in the dishwasher. I fill it with ice and water, and it goes everywhere with me. All over the house, in the car, even to church. I love it.

And then I made a big mistake. I left it at my friends’ house when I was babysitting their girls. I realized it on my drive home and called them to ask them not to toss it away (it really does look disposable) and just to get it back to me when they could.

Since they were going out of town, they had a new one- the orange one- sent to me from Amazon. And two weeks later, they returned my pink one too. SCORE! Now I can rotate them, so I always have one to use, even if the other is being washed.

Having these cups while I’ve been pregnant has been a huge plus because when you are nauseated and lying on the couch, having a straw and a spill-proof cup is pretty much the best thing ever. And I am thirsty all the time.

But if you’re not a cold beverage person, like me, you can still get in on the awesomeness. Coffee drinkers? Meet this jewel:

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It’s the Copco Acadia travel mug. I think I want to get one for fall and winter for hot chocolate, hot cider, and hot tea. Mmmmmm.

Anyway, I pretty much use these cups Every. Single. Day. So I thought it only right that I share. Have a wonderful weekend!

~Meghan

*I am trying something new- an affiliate link from Amazon. If you decide to swipe up one of these awesome cups, it sure wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you used the links I provided. =) And you can get them in other colors than the ones shown here.

Friday Favorite: Jellybean’s Heartbeat

My favorite sound right now is the sound of Jellybean’s heart pumping away. I wish I owned a stethoscope so I could listen to it whenever I wanted.

Today I had my 16 week appointment, although I’ll actually be 17 weeks tomorrow. It was the quickest, easiest appointment so far. I was weighed, gave a urine sample, had blood drawn, listened to Jellybean’s heart, talked to the doctor, and left. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy!

Not even a pelvic exam or anything. Just pressed on my tummy some, looked at my chart, and said everything “looks perfect.” Sweet!

Here is a video of Jellybean’s heartbeat from today. The quality of the machine was not as clear as normal, but you still get to hear it. =)

Love that sweet baby.
~Meghan

Friday Favorite: Long Weekends!

Well, Memorial Weekend kicks into high gear tonight, and I am pumped. I have a busy, wonderful schedule ahead:

Friday- Tom and I will be catching up on all our shows. That means finally getting to watch NCIS’s last episode (we cancelled cable, and use Roku, but Hulu Plus doesn’t get NCIS). And then it means Big Bang Theory Marathon!!

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We are so hooked. Everyone and their mom was telling us we would love it, and they were correct. (Sheldon is the funniest of them all, so far.) We have been getting the first season via Netflix, and I’ve never been able to get Tom to sit and watch tv so willingly before. LOVE BBT!

Saturday- In the morning, Tom and I are trekking to McDonough to check out Rachel and Chris‘s wedding venue. I’m excited to see where I’ll be shooting my first wedding!!

Then we return to Suwanee for lunch and probably some pool time. And playing with the dogs in the backyard. And time for reading for me and video games for Tom.

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He works so hard these days, and he never makes time for fun things like that for himself anymore. I’m gonna make him.  And another datenight…Maybe we should use some of our freebies for the movies and see something in a theater. Yay!

Sunday- Sunday, we have no Transit, so I will most likely skip driving all the way to Alpharetta for church and instead catch a service online.

I will also be hittin’ up Stone Mountain with Tom and some of our besties, Justin and Jenn.

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But before we leave, Jenn and I will be putting some pork in the Crockpot to make this when we get home:

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I am gonna crush that deliciousness. YUM. (I need to eat breakfast right now. So hungry.)

Then we will watch a movie, probably, and just hang out. And they’ll spend the night.

Monday- Actual Memorial Day. Pool time with J&J and Tom, and hopefully Jonathan, Lisa, and the fab. four (their many children) can join us! We’ll have sandwiches, chips, and watermelon there.

Later in the day, we and the Smiths will grill out (YUM, cheeseburgers) and might watch another movie. Or more BBT, Season 1. The Smiths are big fans of it too, and they’ve been telling us to watch it for…oh, about…forever.

So that’s my AWESOME Memorial Day weekend.

What do you have planned?

~Meghan

Friday Favorite: Expo Disc and Gray Cards

White balance can be a difficult thing to figure out sometimes. Usually, if you set it to the appropriate light source, it does pretty well at making your picture look true-to-life with colors.

Here’s a picture of some person’s camera’s white balance options. Mine offers these as well.

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And if you don’t set your white balance correctly, your colors can be off. For those of you who constantly notice a bluish tint to your photos, that might be why. See?

For those of you who use your white balance setting, have you ever had a hard time figuring out what to set it to when you are in an area that has more than one type of light?

For example, my kitchen is not a great place for preset white balance lighting. There are windows that give some light, and there’s incandescent light as well.

Or say you need to photograph something in a room that has fluorescent light overhead, incandescent light lamps, and huge windows giving natural light. Which setting do you choose?

Well, none of them is going to be ideal. When I was at Help Portrait, a photographer there, Marcus, showed me a great solution.

The Expo Disc is a disc that you place over your lens.

 

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It refracts all the light in an area, so when you set your camera to manual and take a picture, it gives you a gray photo.

What you do is set your camera to custom white balance before taking the picture, and aim it at the light source (or, if possible, go to where the subject will be and aim at the place you will be standing to take the photo).

That gives you a more accurate reading of the light the subject will have on them/it. Then when you take the shot, your camera will set your white balance to the gray photo the expo disc helps you take.

It’s really simple. I wish I could tell each of you how to set your camera’s custom white balance, but there are WAY too many cameras out there for me to know how each one works.

Not to worry though, because all you have to do is Google how to set the custom white balance for your camera’s make and model. So many people have tutorials out there to show you how your exact SLR can do that.

Your camera will be perfectly set to take photos that show the true color and lighting in that space.

Then you put your expo disc away and photograph!

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Here is an example of a before and after expo disc shot.

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Don’t you think that looks so much better?

Another option is to use a gray card. This takes into account reflected light, and some people like it better. It’s also much less expensive.

 

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Basically, you take a picture of the gray card in the setting you need to customize your white balance for, and that’s what you set your white balance to.

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Because cameras are not as adept as our eyes in reading colors accurately in each light setting, they have to compensate by adding or subtracting gray to/from subjects. Something white will have some gray added in; something black might have a bit of gray taken out. It’s not a true reading.

So when you use a gray card to set your white balance, it takes in the light sources, and you’re set to get a more accurate color representation in your photos than you would with a white balance pre-setting alone.

Both of these are good options, and it’s a nice tool to have in your camera bag just in case you need it.

If you already do this, what do you prefer? Expo disc? Gray cards? Why?

~Meghan