The Nomad's Bitter Baby Shower Guest List Blues

Family and friends. Family and friends. Hmmm...

Let's see... friends...

... well, there used to be Marnie and Amy and Celeste and Terra and Randi, but then we all went away to school and lost touch. I do occasionally still see Terra and Celeste, so I guess they can go on the list. That's two...

... and then there was Bess and Erin and Brandi and Mattea, but I transferred the following year and we fell out of touch...

... but then there was Crystal and Julie and Andrea and Jillian, except then I graduated, moved away, and lost track of them...

... so then there was Tara and Wendy and Marianne and Shannon and Heather and Jamie, but then I got laid off and we kind of fell out of touch after that...

... and then there was Sarah and Connie and Veronica, except then I moved away to find a new job and that was that.

... but then there was Joan and Cindy and Alison and Miranda and Stacie, but I moved away for another new job and lost track of them...

... so then there was Cheryl and Sarah and Sara and Nikki and Cheri and Kelly and Dori and Jenn and Lori and Tammy and Laurie and Alyssa and Kay, except then I moved away again...

... and then there was Tori and Niki and Sara and Eileen and Laura and Adrianne and Casey and Abbey and even David, but then we all returned to our real lives...

... but now there's Michelle and Gretchen and Sharon and Alison and Beth and Elise and CJ and Emily, except they all live in Virginia, and the baby shower is in New York, so...

I guess Terra and Celeste it is.



One of my favorite DIY, culinary whizzes, creatively inspiring, and fabulous bloggers is The Fab Miss B. Her posts always make me envious and wishing 1) that I had more free time (ahem, ambition) to pursue creative, handmade endeavors and 2) that I lived in Hawaii. I was checking out Miss B's archives when I came across a post that linked to this great bakers' supply site, Fancy Flours. Here are a few of my favorite items. Be sure to check out both The Fab Miss B and Fancy Flours.

Such pretty colors!

Normal me doesn't like white chocolate. 
Pregnant me seems to enjoy it more than milk or dark chocolate.

Love, love, love daisies!



I Should Have Known Better

I am no stranger to the wonderful world of baking, which is why I should have known better when I attempted to satisfy a recent craving of mine by whipping up some from-scratch strawberry cupcakes with Nutella frosting. I've been salivating over the idea of these for awhile now. Keep in mind, I've never actually seen nor experienced such a heavenly mix, not outside of my dreams, that is. For help and inspiration, I turned to my good friend, Google, where I discovered two promising looking recipes (in other words, the first ones I happened to stumble upon).

The strawberry cupcake recipe I chose to use seemed promising. For one, it was from the Martha Stewart website, and from what I've heard, that woman knows her way around a kitchen. And secondly, it used strawberry puree, instead of flavored gelatin, which was a plus because I happened to have some strawberries on hand that were still good, but were looking a little less than appetizing. Here is the recipe. Please take a moment to scope it out so we're all on the same page.

Now, right away I was a tad perplexed by the inclusion of baking powder, being more familiar with recipes calling for baking soda, but hey, who was I to disagree with the Homemaker Queen? So I made my from-scratch cupcakes, merrily popped them in the oven and took them out five minutes less than the recommend time. They weren't pretty. I didn't expect them to be, knowing that fruit tends to brown when it's baked and that there wouldn't be even the slightest hint of the Easter egg pink color we've all come to associate with strawberry flavored foods. But still, they seemed a little off...                 

Whatever. Letting the cupcakes cool, I proceeded to wash the dishes and whip up some Nutella Cream Cheese frosting that I found at the blog, Tartelette. This frosting looked easy enough to make, and after a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some confectioner's sugar, I had everything on hand. I had no hesitations with this recipe. Unfortunately, it seems that despite the fact that I used my lovely new Kitchenaid to "whisk" the frosting together, and despite the fact that my ingredients had been sitting out since I started the cupcakes and the entire time I was at the grocery store, leading me to believe they were definitely "at room temperature", I still ended up with lumps in my frosting. And since I didn't want to mess around with piping bags and tips, I generously snipped off the corner of a Ziplock and went to town.

And this is what I ended up with:

Uh... yup! That's right folks! Dog shit cupcakes! 

Tartelette insisted that the frosting recipe was enough to frost 12 cupcakes, but apparently she doesn't frost with the same heavy hand I do (or the same pregnancy cravings), so I ended up with some pretty skimpily frosted cupcakes towards the end.

But the real question is, how did they taste?

I'm going to be honest here, they weren't good. The frosting was to die for, but the cupcakes tasted like... wait for it... baking powder. They were gross. There was nothing cupcakey about them. They lacked sweetness, and most importantly, they lacked the real strawberry flavor I was looking for.

Needless to say, I think I'll be sticking with eating strawberries slathered in Nutella instead.


Nursery Inspiration: The Color Board

I think I've finally narrowed down my choices for paint color for the nursery furniture, as well as accent colors for decor (we rent, so we can't paint the walls).

Valspar LA1214 Glass Green
Olympic A12-6 Summer Squash
with accents of green, pink and off-white

(please note: The online color swatches don't do the physical paint swatches justice. 
Glass Green is less baby blue and more aqua, and Summer Squash is brighter. 
Both can be found at Lowes.)

And I've already picked up a few inspirational decor items from my two favorite places to window shop, Etsy and Anthropologie. 

 Strawberry Lemonade Scalloped Garland by Etsy seller Stacey Winters

 Buttercup Hook from Anthropologie, in green, which is no longer available (I bought it on sale)

Summer Butterfly Russian Doll Print by Etsy seller Amy Perrotti

I think I'm finally getting excited about this whole nursery decorating thing.


10 Things I Love: Maternity Must-Haves

One of my favorite design bloggers, Elsie at A Beautiful Mess, does a recurring Sunday post, 10 Things I Love Sunday. Since becoming an avid reader of her blog, I have become so inspired by her sense of design. I'm also inspired to create my own "10 Things I Love" post. Enjoy!
1. Belly/Tummy Band/Sleeve
If I could, I would live in my Tummy Sleeve. I love this thing. It holds up my unbuttoned non-maternity pants, allows me to wear my shorter non-maternity tanks and tees, and overall smooths out any, um, bulges.
(left) Lace BellaBand by Ingrid & Isabel® $26-$32
(right) Tummy Sleeve by Motherhood Maternity $17

2. A Gym Membership
We've been trying to hit the gym once or twice a week where I can usually be found for a half hour on the elliptical machines. Obviously I'm not looking to get results from my gym trips. I go because it makes me feel good. I love going to the gym while pregnant because I don't feel any pressure to really work it; I can move at my own leisurely pace. Plus, it's funny to see the looks people give pregnant ladies at the gym.

3. A Body Pillow
I recently purchased a full body support pillow made specifically for pregnant ladies. I know regular pillows probably would have worked, but they take up too much precious bed space. Although I'm still trying to find the best set-up, I'm totally loving mine.
 (left) The Boppy Total Body Pillow; available at Target $45
(right) the Snoogle Original; available at Target $55

4.  A Stash of Sweets
I realize not every prego woman craves sweet things, but I do. Sweet, fruity things to be more specific. Which is why I try to always have fruit on hand (seriously, I can't walk through the produce section of a grocery store without salivating). I also have a small stash of fruit flavored candy, organic fruit flavored Greek yogurt and low-fat mint chocolate ice cream (for those times when my newly awakened sweet tooth takes me in a different direction).

5. A Cool Pair of Shades
Hey, if I'm going to be big and pregnant during the gorgeous, sunshiny seasons of Spring and Summer, I might as well have fun with my accessories, right?  I picked up these cheerful sun glasses the other day and can't wait for the rain to clear so I can wear them.

 In the Moment Shades by Anthropologie $24

6. A Blog for the Family
I'm horrible about emailing and calling people, so when I want to update my family and friends about pregnancy happenings, I write a post on a blog specifically for this purpose. Granted, I'm not any better at blogging than I am emailing, but at least this way my news is in one central location that can be perused at their leisure and won't get lost in an overcrowded inbox.
7. An Etsy Wishlist
As if I need to explain this. Here are a few items currently on mine. (p.s. I am madly in love with Buttercup the bunny!)

(top row, left to right) Blue Bird Lucy's, pi'lo, Decoy Lab
(bottom row, left to right) Sabor Design Studio, Sleepy King

8. A Supportive, Loving Man by Your Side
Or woman. Or other supportive person. Whatever applies to your situation. I don't know that I could remain sane during all of this if it weren't for the support I have. And the pampering is pretty nice too.

9. Lounge Pants
I have an awesome pair of maternity "active" pants that I wear for working out at the gym in, sleeping in, and lounging around the house after a long day at work. If I could wear them to work, I probably would.

Under Belly Active Pants by Motherhood Maternity $15

10. Sunshine!
My moods are greatly affected by the seasons and weather. Bright, sunshiny days cheer me up and pull me out of whatever funk I might be in, which is why I'm so glad my 2nd and 3rd trimesters are occurring during the sunniest times of year. I couldn't imagine having to be moody and uncomfortable during late fall and the long, depressing months of winter. Bring on the sun, Mother Nature, bring on the sun!

p.s. All of these opinions are mine. I was in no way compensated for writing good stuff about any of the above good products.


Finding My Maternity Style (or lackthere of)

Let's be honest, while maternity clothing has come a looong way from our mother's prego-wear, and certainly from our grandmother's, there is still a lot left to be desired when it comes to maternity shopping. I, for one, am pretty fed-up with all the tent-like tops and less-than appealing elastic banded pants. My sense of style has always tended towards the relaxed, laid-back side. Thanks to Hollywood and the baby-bump craze, there are definitely fashionable baby-bump clothing out there for almost every style, however, unless you've got the pocketbook of a celebrity, it might be hard to find affordable clothing that best reflects you. I know I've been having a heck of a time trying to find maternity wear that fits my personal style. So I've been improvising.

Here's what I wore today...

*Please forgive the poor quality of this photo.
Tank: Lace Trim Camisole from Calvin Klein; on sale approx. $12
Sweater: Long-Sleeved Crochet Sweater from Motherhood Maternity; approx. $35
Skirt: Samba Skirt from DownEast Basics; $22
Necklace: A graduation gift purchased from Etsy seller Risky Beads; Free (for me)
Shoes: a pair I've had for so long I couldn't even begin to tell you where I got them from


Going Ga Ga for Girly

I don't know if it's the additional female hormones in my body or if it's just my heart softening a bit, but I'm falling head over heels in love with some very girly outfits (something that I thought I would always be against). Check out some of the items that have recently caught my eye.

via Old Navy

via Zulily
One, Two & Three

via Gymboree
One, Two & Three

And what collection would be complete without a stop at Etsy?

via Etsy
One, Two & Three
(Note to Some Etsy Sellers: How about working on the quality of some of your photos? Especially the ones for you vintage dresses? Ever hear of natural lighting?)

I have yet to purchase anything for the baby-to-be, which is probably (most likely) a good thing. I'm afraid once I start, I'll be unable to stop!