Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Playing Favorites

Playing Favorites is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. Here's what I am loving this month.

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8 Interesting and Unique Gift Ideas Your Daughter Will Cherish Forever


When you give your daughter a gift, you want it to be something special, something that will bring a smile to her face. You want it to be an interesting and unique gift that she will cherish forever. There are all kinds of wonderful presents that you can choose from. Hopefully, this guide can help you sift through all of the many choices so that you can get something that your little girl (who may not be such a little girl anymore) will love.

When choosing a gift, it's important to consider your daughter’s interests and hobbies. The last thing you want to get for the woman who loves to fly is a bus ticket. She would much rather get a flight lesson or maybe even a skydiving adventure. If your fear is that you won’t pick something that is perfect for her, do a little research. You don’t have to be super stealthy about it either. Just have a conversation with her. Ask a few questions and really listen to the answers. Go to her house or to her room and look around. Ask questions about what you see and think about ways you can complement what she already has or further her dreams and goals.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. One hundred things you can get for free this summer via The Girlfriend.

2. What you should know before joining in on the FaceApp craze via Bustle.

3. The best tips for air-drying your hair this summer via Marie Claire.
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10 Things To Buy at J.Crew Factory Right Now

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While everyone seems to be focused on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I'm over here gobbling up all the deals elsewhere on the web. The Nordstrom sale isn't the only game in town, although you'd think it is with all the influencers promoting it like crazy. I'm not going to lie. It's a good sale, but personally, I can't even think about buying knee high boots or a turtleneck sweater when it's 90+ degrees outside. I might regret it when October rolls around, but for now, I'm scooping up all the warm weather clothes at bargain basement prices.

Take J.Crew Factory, for example. The Clear the Clearance sale is happening right now, and you save an additional 60% off your clearance purchase with code CLEAROUT.

Here are a few of my faves...these are items that I've purchased recently or are in my cart currently.
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The Books I Read In June


I have a lot of ground to make up this summer if I plan to meet my goal of 35 books in 2019. I'm currently at 14 books and almost finished with the 15th book. But it's more than half way through the year, and I am just short of my half way goal. So, I've got to kick it up a notch. June was not a productive month as far as reading went. The end of the school year will do that to you. Anyway, here's to hoping I can get through at least three books this month!

Here are the books I read in June:
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3 Repairs To Make For A Safer and More Valuable Home

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It’s no surprise that everyone wants to have a safe home. After all, being able to feel safe in your home is one of the most essential and basic aspects of daily life. But getting your home to be as safe as possible can take some time, even if many of the things that you need to do along the way are actually very simple and straightforward. Keep it simple by focusing on just a few of the most important repairs that you should make to keep your home safe.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 32 bands that performed at Woodstock via How Stuff Works.

2. Ten words you need to stop misspelling via The Oatmeal.

3. What high heels looked like the year you were born via Harper's Bazaar.
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Weekend Dispatch


Last weekend I was sidelined with an upper respiratory infection and a sinus infection. I felt absolutely awful but managed to rally for some 4th of July festivities. By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I was pretty much exhausted and in need of some downtime. I caught up on Big Little Lies (this season is sooooo good!), finally finished a book that seemed to take forever to read, and fell way behind on laundry.

This weekend my sister and my great nephew are coming from Pennsylvania to visit, so we'll spend time at the beach and hitting up our favorite shops and restaurants.

But for now, I'll be catching up and trying to get ahead. In between, here are a few of the things I'll be up to.

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How To Shop The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It's here! It's that time of year! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is coming (and we're doing our happy dance)!! 💃 It's the biggest and best sale of the year with the hottest trends and favorite brands on sale for a limited time.


WHAT: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

WHEN: Sale begins on July 12th at 12:30 ET for Nordstrom cardholders. Sale opens to public on July 19th.

Sooner beats later, so get the Nordstrom card now so you get first dibs on the best selection! Apply here!
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Rest. Recharge. Repeat.


In the weeks leading up to the fourth of July holiday, I went back and forth with myself over taking the week off. I rarely take a break from the blog. Even when I'm on vacation, I work hard to get content written and scheduled before I leave so that the blog isn't stagnant for a week. But since we were sticking around here last week, I decided that I'd go about the blog business as usual. I had planned to write the posts a day ahead of time and publish them the next morning. Except that didn't exactly happen.

Last Monday's post was written and posted, and then I randomly and unexpectedly decided to just unplug. It also helped that I woke to a bout of sinusitis on Wednesday morning that had me down for the count until Saturday afternoon when I sort of starting coming to life again. I didn't force blog posts. I did fulfill obligations for a client, but other than that, I didn't devote a whole lot of time to the blog or to social media.
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Happy July ~ Letter From The Editor


Here at the Jersey shore, everyone loves to say that the summer flies by after the fourth of July holiday. I certainly hope not being that summer has really just started now that school has ended. But I have to say, there is some truth in that statement. My favorite season really does seem to go faster and faster each year. And it never fails that the more plans we have and the more we try to pack in to our summer, the faster it goes. So, here's to slowing it down and enjoying every moment of it.

This month on the blog, I'll be sharing my nightly skincare routine since many have asked me for it. It's fairly simple and doesn't include a ton of expensive products. So, be on the lookout for that. I'll also be sharing what's in my beach/pool bag including my favorite towel and sun protection products (for body, face, and lips) as well as what I'm reading. There will be a post tomorrow on festive cocktails to serve on July 4th as well as all summer long.
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How To Make Your Dream Home A Reality


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In today’s financial climate, many are struggling to buy any house, nevermind their dream home, the one they really want and the one they want to stay in for the rest of their lives. But if you have the time and you have the money, then perhaps building your own house is a possibility. If you’ve not thought about it before, then there are a number of benefits to building your own home. These include getting the exact amount of bedrooms and dimensions of the rooms that you want, choosing everything from the shape of the property to the floor plan and including all the green and eco-friendly features you want. As well as getting exactly what you want, most self-builds are worth considerably more than they cost to build meaning that you get your dream home for a fraction of the market price.

But just how to go about building your dream home?

1. Work Out Your Budget
Do your research. You need to know how much the land will cost, the architect fees, builders fees, cost of materials, fixtures, fittings, and everything else you will need when you build a property from scratch. Do you know what materials you want to build with and how much they will cost? Check out https://www.nichiha.com/product/nichiproducts/nichitrim to get an idea. Then you need to the huge financial commitment and if you are able to handle it. And will you be able to afford to pay alternative rent or mortgage for somewhere to live while the house is being built?

2. Get A Self-Build Mortgage
Next, you need to secure a self-build mortgage. These are usually priced slightly higher than standard mortgages so you will need a decent deposit up front before any lender will be willing to offer one. However, they are specifically designed for anyone looking to build their own home, and they usually release the money in stages, allowing you to pay for the land, and materials as your build progresses.

3. Choose Your Location
Location is one of the most important things when it comes to building your dream home. Your starting point should be to speak to estate agents, look at property websites, and check land auctions. You should also check whether any land developers, local farmers, or utility companies have any undeveloped land in the area and find out if they are open to offers. Like with any house, you need to consider how you will commute to work, to local schools, and other amenities.

4. Get planning permission
You'll need to get planning permission and the proper permits before you start anything; otherwise, you will be breaking the law and then might have to knock your house down after all your hard work. Don’t buy or sign anything until you have the proper paperwork in place and make sure you have covered all the legal aspects.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 50 best concert venues in America via Complex.

2. The best-selling car in America the year you were born via Car and Driver.

3. A brief history of the past 100 years via The Pudding.
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Weekend Dispatch


This weekend, the Hubs, Harper, and I are heading to New York City overnight Friday for a Mets game. Harper is beyond excited to see the game (she's a huge fan, especially of Michael Conforto!), and I'm looking forward to a visit to NYC since it's been a while. We have a 2-hour train ride ahead of us, so here are a few of the ways I plan to stay occupied during the commute.
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Taking Care of Your Teenager: Tried and True Tips

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It may seem like five minutes ago that you brought your beautiful baby into the world, and the sleepless nights felt like they would last forever, and here you are in a blink of an eye as a parent of a teenager, scratching your head in confusion about where the years have gone.

As parents we can testify, parenting is not an easy job. Being a parent is, however, many things; a privilege, an adventure, a time full of intense emotions, but never an easy task. However you parent your kids, you probably feel like you are doing it wrong, you will feel guilty about things you didn’t do, and guilt about things you did do, but that’s all part of the crazy journey of parenthood. When all is said and done, everyone is trying their best, and everyone’s circumstances are different.
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My Summer Reading List


It's the first day of summer, and I can't think of a better way of kicking it off than sharing my summer reading list. I spend a lot of time reading in the summer...like close to a book per week. Up until about a year ago, I had a roller coaster relationship with reading since my college days where I read constantly since I was an English major. Over the years, I've gone in and out of phases where I devour books and then avoid them. But for a year now, I've been consistently reading and looking forward to the next great read.

So, here are the books I plan to read this summer:
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Hollywood "it" girls through the years via Harper's Bazaar.

2. Three workout mistakes you're probably making via Coveteur.

3. The top reasons people quit their jobs via Fast Company.
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Weekend Dispatch


This is the first official weekend of summer, and the weather looks really promising! It's about time as it has hardly felt summer-like around here. I'm hoping to get outdoors as much as I can to soak up as much of summer and the daylight as I can.

Here's what else I'm up to this week and weekend:
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What We're Reading


This is the last week of school before summer break. We've been creating summer reading lists and bucket lists like crazy. Although the weather lately hasn't felt at all summer-like, I know we are on the cusp of warm days that beg for reading by the pool or beach. When it finally happens, we'll be ready for it!

Here are the books we are currently enjoying:
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The top TV dads in each state via How To Watch.

2. What guests hate most about weddings via Martha Stewart Weddings.

3. What's the meaning behind your body breakouts via The Chalkboard.
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Weekend Dispatch


This past weekend was spent plotting out our summer. I didn't necessarily fill up every day of every weekend, but we did make a list of places we want to go and see at some point this summer. We also have our annual trip to Rehoboth Beach at the end of the summer, so I am always counting down to that trip. But in between summer planning, here are a few of the other things I've been doing.

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Celebrate Pride Month With All Things Rainbow 🌈

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June is Pride Month, and here at Pieces of a Mom, we are an inclusive blog that celebrates the LGBTQ community. I love seeing all the celebrations that are popping up all over the Jersey shore. From parades to baseball games to concerts, communities are showing their love and support. To find a pride event near you, click HERE.

Give me all the rainbow! Here are a few of my favorite rainbow items to wear in support of Pride Month.
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Sucker For Seersucker

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I'm a sucker for seersucker. At the first sign of warm weather, I break out my seersucker. And I am especially a sucker for it on men. I think it looks it looks so fresh and polished on men.

Seersucker is a thin, puckered, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or checkered, used to make clothing for spring and summer. Seersucker is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places. It is most commonly associated with "preppy style", a style that become famous at prep schools and colleges on the East Coast.

Shop more seersucker favorites just in time for summer!
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Practical ways to increase your confidence via The New York Times.

2. What constitutes a beach read via Vulture.

3. Eleven leftovers that can make you sick via Reader's Digest.
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Weekend Dispatch


Last weekend was spent mostly running errands and tying up loose ends. Emma passed her driving test last Thursday, so we have another driver in the house (which means I now have someone who can run some of my errands for me!). Just kidding...sort of. I am already seeing how much time I've gotten back now that I don't have to drive her everywhere. We are both enjoying our newfound freedom!

Here's what I'm up to this week and weekend and how I'm spending some of my new free time (😄):

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The Books I Read In May


This month was a bit of a struggle to get through even two books. For starters, I watched Dead To Me, so that took up a chunk of my time. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it. It's sooo good. Some of my friends have even binge watched it in 2 days. I took a little more time than that, but it really is that good. Anyway, back to the books. I made it through two books last month, and really need to pick up my pace if I want to reach my goal of 35 books this year (I'm currently at 13 🤦🏼‍♀️). I'm hoping that with summer here, I'll have more opportunities to kick back and read at the beach, pool, or just here at home.

Here are the two books I read in May:
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5 Fab Finds Under $50

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On a budget but still want to look great? Here are 5 fab finds under $50 that won't break the bank but will keep you looking stylish and chic. Some items are even under $25!
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Ten things hotel maids wish they could tell you but can't via Business Insider.

2. The 100 most photogenic places in Los Angeles via LA Magazine.

3. The pleasure of sitting out a trend via The Cut.
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Weekend Dispatch


We couldn't have asked for a better Memorial Day weekend. The weather was gorgeous, and the beaches were packed. That's the way we like to kick off summer around here. I did venture to the Manasquan Beach on Sunday to buy beach badges, but I didn't stick around to hit the beach. Emma and Harper stayed and said it was "popping". I take it that's a good thing.

Here's what I'm up to this weekend:
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Slither Into Summer In A Snakeskin Print Dress


Every summer I seem to lean in to a particular trend or item of clothing. One summer I wore shorts non-stop. The next summer I couldn't get enough of wearing cute, flirty skirts. The summer after that I bought all the shorts, literally every embroidered, denim, distressed, scalloped, and tie-waisted pair I could find.

This summer, I am declaring it the summer of dresses. I've already bought at least 10 dresses that will be on repeat all summer long. I'll be sharing more pictures of those as the summer goes by, but today, I am teaming up with my my blogging friend extraordinaire, Deborah from Fabulous After 40, to share one of our favorite summer dresses. This snakeskin print, keyhole dress is, by far, my favorite.
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10 Fab Finds Under $50 From The Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale

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The Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale started yesterday and continues through June 2nd. This sale is your chance to save up to 50% on spring and summer merchandise as well as some leftovers from fall and winter. I've rounded up ten items under $50 that are definitely worth checking out in this sale.
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Little Things That Are Often Overlooked When Moving

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So you've found a new home and moving day is fast approaching. You are starting to feel as though you're well on your way to being ready for the big move but something is still nagging at you. There are a few things that often get forgotten when people move. This list will help you with the often overlooked tasks.
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Best Online Reads


1. The best way to recharge according to your zodiac sign via PureWow.

2. Eight reasons first-class airfare is so expensive via Business Insider.

3. Why you should always fly with a tennis ball via Travel & Leisure.
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The Best Farmers' Market Totes


I love farmers' markets. Not only do they have the best and freshest selection of produce, but they are also a chance to support local farmers and small businesses. Here at the Jersey shore, there's practically a farmers' market everyday in a different town. So, if you miss your favorite market on Saturday, chances are you can find an equally good one on Sunday or any other day of the week.
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Weekend Dispatch


We FINALLY had a weekend with gorgeous weather. It really was glorious. I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon cleaning our deck and getting it ready for the unofficial start of summer this weekend. I bought a new outdoor carpet and a new umbrella, but we still need new furniture. I've seen a sectional that I like, but if you have outdoor furniture that you love, let me know what you have and why you love it. I can't believe this weekend is Memorial Day weekend. We have a low key weekend planned with a few barbecues and parties. Otherwise, here's what I'm up to this week:

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Trend To Try: Snakeskin Print


The snakeskin trend is slithering into closets this spring and summer, and it's nothing to be afraid of. It's showing up on bags, sneakers, heels, flats, dresses, tops, and even jeans. Whether you choose to wear it head to toe or just sprinkle it into your overall look, you'll be chic and stylish.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to gracefully decline an invitation via My Domaine.

2. The most persuasive phrase in the human language via Business Insider.

3. The smartest people are born during this month via Marie Claire.
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Spurge vs. Save: Raffia Clutches

Girls' night out or casual lunch al fresco, a raffia clutch is a fabulous way to accessorize your outfit. The big question is how much do you want to spend on this trendy item? Here are two very similar clutches with very different price points.
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Weekend Dispatch


Last weekend didn't leave much time for relaxing between Emma's birthday and Mother's Day, but since Mother's Day was wet and rainy, leaving us no option but to stay in where it was warm and dry, I made the best of it. I watched a movie everyone was raving about, downloaded and started listening to an audio book, and mixed up a really fun and tasty cocktail that you're going to want to make over and over again this summer.
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Playing Favorites

Playing Favorites is a monthly series where I share my latest obsessions, favorite finds, and any kind of entertainment (books, movies, TV, podcasts, and magazines) that I am loving. Here's what I am loving this month.
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5 Fab Finds Under $50

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On a budget but still want to look great? Here are 5 fab finds under $50 that won't break the bank but will keep you (or your home) looking cute. Bonus: most have a nautical spin for summer chic!
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Ten things you should never put in the microwave via Real Simple.

2. The coolest ways to use Cool Whip via Taste of Home.

3. How to cure the Sunday scaries via Fast Company.
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Trend To Try: Tie-Dye


Tie-dye has endured the fashion scene for decades. But how do you wear the trend in an updated way so that you don't look like you're stuck in the hippie movement of the 1960s? Worn by free-spirits, musicians, and teens alike, tie-dye has now become mainstream. Everyone is suddenly wearing this versatile print. If you want to get in on the action, here are a few ways to wear the trend.
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Weekend Dispatch


Friday night's prom activities (and the final preparations last week) left me exhausted for the weekend. After staying up late on Friday night for Emma to return from the after party, I was completely wiped out on Saturday. Needless to say, I didn't do too much in the way of being productive, but I did catch up on reading, listening, and binge-watching some faves.

Here's how I spent my weekend:
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The Books I Read In April


This month didn't leave much time for reading. Between prepping and packing for our spring break trip and then being away for 5 days with little to no time to read, I only made it through two books this month. The first one was a quick read. The second one was a book that I anticipated to be a quick read since it was the final installment in a series that I love, but it was slightly slow and disappointing.

Here are the two books I read in April:
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Everyday Confidence with Poise® Active Collection™


This post has been sponsored by Poise®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 At 51, I've registered for my first 5K run. The thought of running my first 5k during midlife is incredibly exciting. However, I do have some reservations and concerns with running. And unfortunately, none of them involve my stamina or ability to run the distance. My concerns stem from my issues with light bladder leakage (LBL). We can't always know when light bladder leakage will strike, but I'm almost certain it will while I am running. Luckily, I'll be prepared with the Poise® Active Collection™ of ultra thin yet absorbent pads.
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How to Manage Your Pregnancy Like a Pro

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This week Emma turns 17. I've been doing a lot of reflecting on how quickly the years have passed since her birth and thinking about what was going on with me during my pregnancy. There's a lot that I forget, but there's so much that you remember about being pregnant, especially the conflicting feelings of excitement and trepidation.

It's got me thinking of all the ways I managed my pregnancy and prepared for a life that would never be the same (in a good way, of course!) To make the most out of your time being pregnant and preparing for your baby, you will have to start looking after number one. That would be YOU! Getting regular health checks, making sure that you get all the extra vitamins and minerals your body needs to support the growing life, and managing your hormonal balance and mental health are essentials to your well being during pregnancy. Here are a few other ways I handled the physical and mental changes of preparing for a new baby.
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Best Online Reads


The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Wedding guest etiquette rules that should never be broken via Real Simple.

2. This is the germiest place in your bathroom via Time.

3. Five critical life skills everyone should have via Big Think.
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How To Buy Clothes That Actually Fit


I know the pain, you know the pain, we all know the pain that comes when you can’t find clothes that fit. You think you know your size, but the clothes end up being too tight in one place or too loose in another. In the end, you’re left wearing things that don’t fit properly, which make you feel very self-conscious not to mention that they do nothing to flatter your body.

It’s an issue that’s relevant to every item of clothing you buy although some may find that specific items are more difficult to buy than others. So, how do you find clothes that actually fit you? Here are a few tips for getting a more accurate fit:
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Happy May ~ Letter From The Editor


Where did the month of April go? Can someone tell me? I blinked, and it was over. And now, here we are, sliding into the home stretch of the school year and gearing up for summer. This month, particularly this week, is a busy one. Emma's junior prom is Friday, and in typical Emma fashion, she's procrastinated and now we are scurrying to tie up loose ends. She's super excited for the prom and her 17th birthday on May 11th and her driving test a few days later.

We returned from San Diego a few days ago, and it was a whirlwind but wonderful trip. We covered a lot of ground, including a day trip to Santa Monica. We are already planning a girls' trip to return!
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