Best of Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s isn’t my number one grocery store, in fact I don’t even visit every week on my normal grocery shopping routine. There’s a few reasons for that, proximity being the biggest one and Trader Joe’s being a little as I call “snackie” being the other. But when I do visit ole’ Joe’s I get to pick up some of my favorite “must have” items. I usually make a trip when I run out of these things at home and it’s always a satisfying trip because while Trader Joe’s isn’t perfect, there’s quite a list of things they do REALLY well.

And here it is.

Flowers

Admittedly, this is my favorite purchase and it’s not even food! Here’s the deal: the flower’s at Trader Joe’s are seasonal and they’re cheap. They always have peonies in the spring and eucalyptus in the fall - two of my favorites. I usually make a stop at Whole Foods on my way home from Trader Joe’s and I will see the SAME exact flowers often for double or even triple the price of Trader Joe’s.

I typically won’t buy a premade bouquet, but instead I buy individual bundles of flowers and greenery so I can go home pretend I know what I’m doing with floral arranging. It makes the process more creative and exciting in my opinion. You guys, I even made my wedding bouquet from Trader Joe’s flowers! That’s how beautiful and reasonable they are.

 
annie-spratt-210740-unsplash.jpg
 
trader-joes-mandarin-orange-chicken.jpg

Mandarin Orange Chicken

This isn’t an item you’ll want to whip up daily or even weekly, because it isn’t exactly the healthiest, but man it’s good! And I’d definitely say it’s a healthier choice than Chinese takeout. My favorite thing to do with these little morsels is toss them with some cilantro and serve them over cauliflower rice (which Trader Joe’s sells as well!)

Salsa

If you’re only a fan of thick and chunky salsa, skip this one because it simply is not for you. However, if you, like me, enjoy a smoother restaurant style salsa then Trader Joe’s carries your new favorite. For me, it’s the only one. Anytime I have salsa other than Trader Joe’s Salsa Autentica and Salsa Verde, I find myself comparing the two and Trader Joe’s always wins! My husband and I always stock up on this stuff and you can usually find at least two jars back stocked in our pantry.

 
salsa.jpg
 
29090-organic-creamy-tomato-soup.jpg

Organic Creamy Tomato Soup

Donate all of those cans of Campbell’s tomato soup you’ve got in your pantry and grab this stuff instead. Firstly, there’s no mixing in milk (and who’s mixing water in with the tomato soup? I don’t understand how that’s even an option on the back of the Campbell’s can.) Second, you can heat this stuff up on the microwave so it’s super quick to prepare! Lastly and most importantly, it’s the most delicious tomato soup I’ve EVER had. Also, and obviously it pairs SO well with a grilled cheese.

Pizza

Frozen pizza is not a “gourmet” food by any means and when I was a kid I used to love a good tombstone from the frozen section, but these frozen pizzas are actually REALLY good. When my husband and I host we often stick three or four in the oven and cut them up to serve. They’re perfect finger foods and people are always asking if we made them ourselves or where we got them. Pictured below are two of my favorites, the French style with ham, caramelized onions, and gruyere along with the classic pepperoni. A close runner up is the plain cheese with cauliflower crust.

54fbdd5800c0f906f03c8df842cb7b49.jpg
trader-joes-wood-fired-naples-pepperoni-pizza.jpg
61673-chocolate-whole-milk.jpg

Chocolate Milk

Hands down, the best dang chocolate milk I’ve ever had in my life. Don’t look at the sugar content (in fact, I never have,) just pour yourself a cold glass and sip it slowly or gulp it down, and then ponder on why you’ve been wasting your time on yoo-hoo’s in the past. I actually had to stop buying this stuff for a little bit because I was getting slightly addicted. But when I have this in my fridge I usually supplement a dessert with a tall glass of this stuff and I’m perfectly content.

danishalmondkringle.jpg

Almond Danish Kringle

Admittedly, this would not be on the list if it weren't for my husband’s insistence that it should be. These things fly like hot cakes at my local Trader Joe’s and you have to snatch these up when you see them. It’s a huge buttery, flaky pastry stuffed with a sweet almond filling. It’s so nice to have in the house when you’re hosting family and friends around the holidays, which I believe is the only time they’re sold anyway. I love cutting these up and putting them on my cake stand for anyone to grab in the morning with coffee or after dinner.

dijonmustard.jpg

Dijon Mustard

I know what you’re thinking.. really? dijon mustard? YES! If you’re not a mustard fan, as I know some can’t even stand the smell, skip this one, but if you even like mustard a little, grab this stuff next time you visit Trader Joe’s. It’s really the best. I don’t even understand it. It’s spicy, but not in the traditional way and its simply the perfect balance of vinegar and mustard. Every sandwich at home gets this slathered with it and I have an amazing baked salmon recipe with mustard and pistachios that I can’t make without this particular mustard because it’s just not the same.

bagelseasoning.jpg


Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

This seasoning doesn't even belong in the spice cabinet. It stays on my counter as a permanent staple next to the salt and pepper. My husband and I put it on everything from fried eggs to asian dishes to actual everything bagels. Some spice blends have too much salt but this doesn’t. It’s a wonderful blend of garlic, sesame seeds, sea salt, poppy seeds, and onion that pairs well with more than you think. It’s another Trader Joe’s item that is often out of stock due to its popularity, so I suggest stocking up on a few when you find it.



Vanilla-Almond-Clusters-4.jpg





Vanilla Almond Cluster Cereal

This cereal is a tad on the sweet side, but I personally don’t eat cereal for its “health benefits,” so I’ll have this as an afternoon snack or as dessert if I’m still hungry late at night. I just love the clusters! They even sell the clusters by themselves if you want it, but I like them mixed in with the cereal more.


Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds

These only need but so much explaining. They’re whole almonds covered, or as the label says “drenched,” in dark chocolate and then sprinkled with big chunks of sea salt. I like to savor them and suck on them when I eat them. It keeps me from devouring the entire container in one sitting.

 
trader-joes-sea-salt-and-turbinado-sugar-dark-choc-B007T43CNM-500x500.jpg
 

Know of something at Trader Joe’s that didn’t make this list?

Leave me a comment below and tell me what it is and why it’s so great!

Maternity Lifestyle Photoshoot

IMG_2289.jpg
IMG_2301.jpg

Having a maternity photoshoot is pretty much a pregnancy rite of passage, right? Especially when it’s your first child. I knew when I became pregnant that I wanted to capture this chapter in my life, but I’ve gained almost thirty pounds and have simply not felt like myself. Which is to be expected! After all, I AM pregnant and I'm not myself.

_DSC3160.jpg
_DSC3100.jpg

Luckily, I have amazing photographers whom I trust infinitely to capture me in my best “light.”. Charlyn and Samantha of CS Photography photographed my elopement last year and my husband and I just love their work. When we asked them to photograph us again, I knew they would respect our vision of having more of a lifestyle shoot than a maternity shoot.

IMG_2197.jpg

The morning of this photoshoot was kind of perfect, despite the lack of sunlight coming through the windows and having chosen my outfit about 4 minutes before Char and Samantha arrived. My husband and I made some coffee in the French press and we just sat around and enjoyed each other’s company while the girls snapped away. That’s what is so wonderful about a lifestyle shoot - it’s not overly posed so you can be a little more relaxed. Every now and again Char or Samantha would make little suggestions on positioning or where to direct our eyes, but for the most part we were just hanging out. And it was lovely.

These photos are proof that you don’t have to have a cheesy, uncomfortable, posed maternity shoot with the way overdone heart hands over the belly button. And if that’s your thing, I hope you aren’t insulted, but it’s not mine!

IMG_2212.jpg

Maternity Clothing: What to Buy + Stitch Fix Review

I’m currently in my 8th month of pregnancy, and my maternity clothing journey has not been what I expected it to be. A lot of friends of mine shared with me that they were able to wear their pre-pregnancy clothing their entire pregnancy, so I assumed I would be able to as well. I prefer looser fitting clothing for the most part, and I was hopeful. But by around week 12 or 13, which is very early on for some, I started feeling uncomfortable. And rather than huff in the mirror each morning about how I looked or simply feel uncomfortable all day, I set out to buy some maternity clothing.

 
john-looy-755994-unsplash.jpg
 

What I first experienced was not what I would describe as easy or inexpensive, but I learned a lot along the way and I want to share that with you all.

Stitch Fix recently began offering a maternity box and it is something I wish I would have known about much sooner. If you don’t already know, Stitch Fix is a service in which a personal stylist will hand pick a selection of clothing, accessories, or shoes based on your tastes, needs, and budget. The items come shipped to your doorstep for you to try on, decide what you’d like to keep and simply send back. There is a styling fee of $20, which contributes toward the cost of any items you decide to keep. It’s genius. I used this service previously, but had no idea they offered a maternity box! Some of my favorite maternity items in my closet are items I purchased through Stitch Fix.

 
maternity 2.jpg
 
 
maternity 1.jpg
 

Unfortunately for all you pregnant mamas out there, there aren’t many retailers who sell maternity clothing in their stores. Plenty sell them online, but it has been difficult for me to find places I could walk into and try items on. Places near me that sell maternity clothing in store are Target, H&M, and Motherhood/Pea in the Pod. Target has a limited selection at my local store, but I found a lot of my winter sweaters there. H&M has the lowest prices and they also carry trendier maternity items, so it was my favorite place to shop. Motherhood / A Pea in the Pod were the priciest stores I shopped at in person, but I found staple items there such as jeans that I was able to wear from early on in my pregnancy and can still wear, so they were well worth the investment.

Below are some of my favorite maternity items that I have been wearing throughout my pregnancy that are still available.

Check out my youtube video where I show my entire collection of maternity clothing, talk about what styles and brands worked out best for me and also unbox my most recent Stitch Fix.

If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix and want $25 off your first box, click here.

Living Room Refresh

Recently I posted about my new macrame hanging lights I made and installed in my living room here. I mentioned how I refreshed my entire living room from top to bottom, so I’m updating again to show you the final captures of this project. Included is some Christmas decor because well.. it’s that time of year.

3.jpg

My gallery wall took some forethought and now that it’s done I actually want to expand it closer to the edges of back wall in my living room. I have a thing with hanging pictures, maybe it could be categorized as a commitment issue, but either way it takes me a lot of time, thought, and foresight for me to hang pictures on the wall. When I finally decided to hang this gallery wall I simply laid everything out on the floor and arranged it to my liking, took a picture on my phone in case I got lost at any point and started hanging. I didn’t do any fancy tricks with painters tape or brown paper like I’ve seen on Pinterest and it worked great for me.

I carefully chose the wall color, Naval by Sherwin Williams. Not to be confused with Navel by Sherwin Williams, an ultra bright shade of orange which was accidentally mixed for me at one point in this project when I returned to Lowe’s to grab another gallon. I had a nice little chuckle about that later, but the Lowe’s employee who mixed my paint did not seem as enthused.

2.jpg

In the corner of my living room where I have lots of eastern light I decided to hang some plants. As you may know if you follow me on Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, or here on my blog, I love to macrame, so I knotted up a few plant hangers and hung these plants I already had around the house.

1.jpg

My coffee table in the center of the room has been cleared and decorated simply for Christmas. These decorations are actually leftover from my winter themed baby shower my sweet friend, Ashley threw for me recently. She found the little trees and the plaid charging pads at Target.

4.jpg

This cozy little corner still needs some wall decor, but the hanging lights are a wonderful addition to the space. Check out my video tutorial for those here, where I list all of the materials used and give step by step directions on how to make these.

5.jpg

I have been pining after these agate coasters from Anthropologie for almost a year now. The gold rim on them and perfect hue are unlike any others I’ve been able to find. There are tons of imitations out there but I kept going back to these. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the price. And even on Black Friday when the entire store was 30% off I still couldn’t get on board. My husband knew how badly I wanted these for our living room and surprised me on my birthday with them. They’re the perfect addition to the space and they will flow perfectly into each season all year round.

6.jpg

I decorated the mantel with some gorgeous faux eucalyptus garland from the Hearth & Hand collection art Target. I added some bulb lights through for dimension, and they look amazing at night with the fire going and the candles lit. The lanterns were something I visioned for next to the fireplace, but had a hard time finding the perfect ones without spending an arm and a leg. I ended up finding the larger one at Marshall’s and the smaller one at Target.

To watch my full video on the process of this room and to see what it looked like before, check out my video below.

Dutch Industrial Coffee Table - Restoration Hardware
Churchill Leather Chair with Nailheads - Restoration Hardware
Macrame Hanging Lights - Video Tutorial
Agate Coasters - Anthropologie
Harmony Down Filled 2-Piece Chaise Sectional - West Elm
Garland Eucalyptus Pinecone - Target

I'm Having a Baby!

Actually, I should say my husband and I are having a baby. Thankfully, I’m not completely alone in this. Although, I am alone in the morning sickness when I’m bent over the commode every morning (and sometimes night.) And I am alone in the breathless treks up and down the stairs of our home every day. And I’m alone in the mirror each morning wondering if I can get away with the pre-pregnancy shirt I’m busting out of. But I’m not alone in wanting to dip my pizza in ranch dressing. Or wanting pizza everyday for that matter! My husband’s food cravings have been in line with mine and he is constantly cheering me on, always reminding me that I’m beautiful or cute and that we are actually in this together, even though I am the one feeling all of the side effects of pregnancy. And I am very fortunate for that.

42669601_10108721595225732_5352854840932302848_n.jpg

For those of you who are curious, I created this pregnancy announcement for social media quite quickly. I used a blanket I recently bought at Target for my backdrop, last February’s calendar from Rifle Paper Company, some dried baby’s breath and lavender I had in a vase, and my most recent ultrasound photo. I circled our due date, February 13, with a white pen and snapped a photo of it all. It was wonderful being able to share my pregnancy with everyone who follows me on social media without having to share a photo of myself just yet.

Maybe all of this pregnancy talk will explain my absence on social media and especially my blog for the last few months or so. We took a vacation in June to the West Coast where we found out we were pregnant and I don’t think I’ve felt the same since. I especially haven’t been able to put out the amount of work I was before all of this. I’ve been lethargic, nauseas, and overall overwhelmed with the coming changes. But slowly I am getting back into the groove of things and hope to have plenty of projects completed before baby Miles arrives this February. That’s right, we are naming him Miles! And he’s a boy! It feels really good to have decided on a name so early in the game.

Watch my video below for an update at 33 weeks. I talk about the entire pregnancy up to this point including my unmedicated birth plan, issues with gestational diabetes, and a cystic fibrosis scare.



Restoration Hardware Knock Off Extra Long Outdoor Couch

Last fall as the weather turned crisp and my husband and I were bringing our plants indoors, we took a look around our second floor balcony and decided something needed to change out there. We love spending time outside when the weather is nice, but because we don't have a yard, we find ourselves on our balcony quite often. We decorate it with potted plants and hanging lights, and we love to drink morning coffee out there or have charcuterie and wine when the mood strikes. But the furniture we had just wasn't comfortable. I tried rearranging it a few times to make what we had work, but the four top bistro style table, loveseat and coffee table just felt bulky and crowded. It also wasn't very comfortable. The Iron and cheap plastic-like mesh material it was constructed out of didn't speak much of comfort. We realized we loved the space but hated the furniture. So we agreed that when spring came around we would invest in new outdoor furniture.

1.jpg

We took a trip to Denver, Colorado some time after and visited the largest Restoration Hardware store either of us had ever been to. This place was 4 levels of showrooms and a rooftop garden area that displayed all of their outdoor furniture. We are big fans of Restoration Hardware and both see the value in their furniture. Most things come with a hefty price tag, but everything is well built and lasts a long time. We've purchased several items from them and have been absolutely pleased with every piece. And while their outdoor furniture is extremely tasteful, I just couldn't get on board with the cost for something that would sit outside in the elements like an outdoor couch would. So to the internet I went!

2.jpg

First I decided to look at some sites I knew retailed furniture for much less. I found some similar items on Amazon, Overstock, Ikea, and Wayfair, but I was still looking at spending at least $1,000.00. Not only that, but I realized these couches were sort of short in length compared to what we wanted. I envisioned an extra long couch that would sit up against the house and face the beautiful lake and fountain in front of our home. I wanted it to be something my husband and I could both lay on together and would also seat more than two or three people at a time. Most of the couches I was finding were only 72 to 76 inches long. When I measured the space I was looking to fill on my balcony I knew I wanted something at least 96 inches long, if not longer!

hallo-back-cushion-outdoor-beige__0326390_PE518095_S4.JPG

After I exhausted all of the more inexpensive sites I knew of, I got an idea that maybe we could build something ourselves. On Pinterest I found some examples where pallets were stacked beneath cushions to create comfy little outdoor spaces, but I wanted something a little less boho and a little more sturdy. What I finally came across was a video by Ana White on the Ryobi Nation website where she built a very simple outdoor couch with only 2x4s. The only catch was the length was shorter than what I wanted. The site offered some project plans with measurements that I printed, did the math, and modified to work for our space.

hallo-seat-pad-outdoor-beige__0213577_PE369036_S4.JPG

I found some great cushions on the Ikea website that I wanted to order, so I modified the plans to fit these cushions which worked out great. They're 24"x24", which is a pretty standard size, so if I ever needed to replace them I shouldn't have trouble. And the back cushions worked great as well for the couch. I spent a mere $160.00 on all four sets of cushions, with the back cushions included.

In my youtube video below, I explain the difference between the original plans by Ana White and my modified ones. I also show you exactly how I made my outdoor couch,  so check that out if you're interested.

Please leave a comment if this inspires you to redo your outdoor space!

What to Do When Your Best Friend Moves Away

It may feel like losing a limb, but as we grow older and venture into new chapters in our lives, we move around and sometimes it's away from someone we love.

IMG_7823.jpg

This Fall, my best friend Ashley is packing up her house, her career, husband and two dogs, and moving all the way from Virginia Beach, Virginia to paradise, also known as Destin, Florida. Ashley is my person and I'm going to have a hard time adjusting to her absence. But here's what I plan to do to cope.

1. Throw a kick ass going away party

I called this one when I first heard about the move. I told my bestie, "I don't care who offers, I'm the one throwing you a going away party!" It's going to be a fantastic distraction for me, as I will not have time to think about how much I'm going to miss her when I'm busy planning a party! And it will be an amazing send off from all of her friends in Virginia - a chance for everyone to give them a going away gift or simply say goodbye. 

 

2. Invest in really beautiful stationary and stamps

One thing about Ashley is that she loves cards and handwritten notes - pretty paper in general. Every time her and I shop together, she stops in the stationary or office section and picks out cards I'm convinced she won't use anytime soon, notepads, and anything aesthetic that she can write on. I know it will mean so much to her when she receives a gorgeous handwritten letter all the way from lonely ole' Virginia. Plus, writing her letters is going to help me keep up my gorgeous handwriting. That was sarcasm, but on a serious note, my handwriting could use some help so maybe it will improve!

3. Plan trips to see each other


No matter the distance, you have to commit to still seeing each other, even if it's once every other year. You can meet halfway or swap traveling. Maybe next year you'll be the one to travel to your bestie, and then the year after that your bestie will be the one traveling to you. In our case, and since we are each other's hair stylists, we've agreed that we will meet half way quarterly. It's a 7 hour drive for the each of us and we can pick a new city each time, spend a weekend gossiping, sipping iced coffee and doing each other's hair.

IMG_7228.jpg

4. Have weekly FaceTime meetings

The truth is that once you get married and start your adult life with your partner, maybe even start having children, you don't get to have a lot of face to face time with your friends. The nights of going out and partying til 3 am, sleeping over each other's houses and dragging yourselves to brunch the next morning (just to start the cycle over again) are gone. Ashley and I realize that with our current lifestyles and the way technology has so completely inserted itself in our lives that the majority of our relationship is actually spent communicating on our phones. Why should that change?
Well, inevitably it will. Ashley will start her new life in a new city, grow relationships with new people, and spend her time differently. But having weekly or even biweekly FaceTime or phone conversations will help keep us bonded and included in each other's lives. Make sure you keep texting your bestie and face timing. Especially when something important happens in your lives. 

IMG_6592.jpg

5. Open yourself up more to current friends and acquaintances


Your person may be gone, but that doesn't mean you should close yourself off to everyone and wallow in self pity. If you're anything like me, you have a lot of people in your daily life who you only consider to be acquaintances. One of these people may enjoy a little more attention now that your bestie isn't filling up your weekends. Because someone was already filling that role of "best friend," they may not have asked you to engage on a more personal level. Now's the time open yourself up to deeper relationships with people who are already in your life.

6. Get to know yourself again


This is definitely the most important thing on this list. When you have a "person," "bestie," "partner in crime," what ever way you want to call it, you often identify tremendously with that person on many levels. Ashley and I own a business together, we work out at the same gym, and we spend as much time together as we can, even if that's just running to Starbucks on a break at work and chatting for 5 minutes. My life largely revolves around her, whether I intend for it to or not. When she's physically missing from my life I'm going to have to get to know me without her. In order for you to get through this time, this has to be a positive thing. Focus on what you like about yourself, what you truly love to do, and try to enjoy sitting inside a Starbucks again. (Who am I kidding!? Starbucks will never be the same without her.)

IMG_7731.jpg

Many friendships have stood the test of time and distance. Ours should be no different. I know our friendship has been unique and I have faith we will always pick up where we left off.

Good luck to anyone who's losing their person! Look forward to this next chapter in both of your lives. May you have an infinite amount of data for facetiming and endless battery power on your phones!

Quitting My Career to Become a Stay at Home Wife

IMG_7799.jpg

I never thought I would say these words..

I am quitting my career and becoming a stay at home wife.

Let me start out by giving you a little background story..
I have been working since I was 15. My first job was at a thrift store, sorting through the bins of clothes and donated items, spraying them with disinfectant and managing $3.00 transactions on the oldest cash register known to mankind. Over the years I have worked at an amusement park, a fast food restaurant (If you can even call them "restaurants,") and several other food establishments waitressing and bartending. Since I was old enough, I have never ever, a single day not had a job!

IMG_6490.jpg

 In 2010, I fell into my career as a hair stylist. That year I was twenty one years old, 4 months pregnant and in an emotionally (and often physically) abusive relationship. Facing an unexpected pregnancy with a man I knew I could not spend my life with, I also decided bartending in a hotel bar could not be my end game. Luckily, I stumbled upon an ad for a local Paul Mitchell cosmetology school and I thought to myself "I can do that."  With zero experience or background in the beauty industry, something inside me told me to go for it anyway.
After a miscarriage, 11 months of cosmetology school, and a very scary breakup, I felt that being a hair stylist was still something I wanted to pursue. And since starting my career, it has thankfully been non stop growth.

I got my first job as a stylist, fresh out of hair school at one of the busiest and most popular salons in Hampton Roads. Four years in, I outgrew the place and decided to pack up my blow dryer and move on to a smaller, more intimate boutique salon. Two years after that, with the support of my wonderful clients and with the help of my best friend/business partner, the next most natural step was to go into business for myself.

So here I am alongside my best friend, Ashley, a proud business owner of our own salon space, living what most hair stylists would call the dream, and now I'm walking away from it to become a stay at home wife.

It has taken me many sleepless nights, daydreams over cups of coffee, conversations with my husband, best friend, clients, and really anyone who will listen for me to be able to come to this decision. I started with nothing at the beginning of this, but as hard as it is to walk away from a career I worked so hard to build, I know I am making the right decision for myself, my husband, and our future children. Let me tell you why.. and maybe I can help another person on the fence about ending their career.

IMG_7479.jpg
  1. My Business Partner (& Best Friend) is Moving
    This is perhaps the saddest and scariest part of everything. I met Ashley at the first salon I worked at and we have been on our career journey together, side by side, ever since. We have taken the same classes, worked at the same salons and now we have our own salon space together. She however, has other plans and they are taking her down to Destin, Florida to be closer to her family. The universe somehow always has a way of aligning the stars for us, and although I am going to miss my best friend, I know that her leaving is pushing me in this direction: to close the business, to focus on my passions, and to start a family with my husband - all things that I ultimately want!

  2. I Plan to Be a Stay at Home Mom
    This is something I knew I wanted when I met my husband. My mother stayed home with my brother and I until we went to kindergarten, and I distinctly remember the times when she was not with us and I had to be watched at a babysitter's. These were some of the hardest, darkest times of my childhood. I, personally, want to be the one raising my children. Not to mention, daycare is outrageously expensive!

  3. Financial Stability
    Here's how I look at this one.. If I continue to work (despite the loss of my business partner) up until the very last day that I can possibly stand before I birth my first child, my husband and I will go from two incomes down to one in the blink of an eye while simultaneously adjusting to parenthood with a newborn at home. That sounds stressful. It makes more sense to us to adjust to a single income before we start a family. We will navigate that, work out the kinks and then we will add the cost of a child into the equation. Avoiding any issues during what is already seemingly a huge transition seems to be the best road to take for us.

  4. I'm Moonlighting
    I have a lot of hobbies I would like to develop and hopefully turn into some sort of profitable venture while I one day raise my children. Working full time, meal prepping, keeping my house clean, working out, running and folding the laundry - all on top of these hobbies often leaves me with one choice. Hobbies or rest. If I want to explore these passions of mine I choose to get zero rest and at the end of the week I feel mentally and physically drained. Taking a hiatus from or simply ending my career is giving me the opportunity to explore these other things I have passion for. If I ever plan to turn any sort of profit from them, I won't be able to do that while working a full time job as well.

  5. I Want to Be Prepared
    If we are planning to have children, I want to go into that chapter of my life with a sound body and mind. Many mothers will tell you things like "Oh, you'll never be ready enough," and "nothing can prepare you!" That may be all well and true, but that doesn't mean I should just come crashing through the doors of motherhood, comb and shears in hand trying to figure out where I'm going to find the time to do this or that. I need to get myself in order before I go into this next chapter of my life. I have the chance to do so, and I'm taking it. I know from first hand experience what it's like to be pregnant by surprise, so why not take the time to prepare myself this time around.

  6. My Dog is Fat
    This is actually not entirely true. She's at a decent weight right now, but it could be better. You see, with my husband and I working full time while keeping up with the house and everything else that comes with daily life, our precious Darla doesn't get as much exercise as she really needs. Her weight has yo-yo'd up and down over the last year or so with diet adjustments and veterinary advice, but at the end of the day she really just needs to go for at least a daily walk. Once I'm not working full time, I'll be able to properly exercise her and give her the attention she really deserves.

IMG_7901.jpg

I know some may guffaw when they hear what I've decided. Some may ask what I plan to do with my time, assuming I'm going to be sleeping in everyday and binging on Netflix. Some may even consider me privileged. I don't come from a world of stay at home wives and stay at home mothers. My parents struggled to pay bills those few years my mother was home with us and she went back to work as soon as I went to school. I feel extremely grateful to be on the cusp of such an opportunity. It is a reminder that I have found the best partner in my husband because he truly values not only me and my time, but also our future children and the beautiful family we hope to one day have.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts and feelings on this subject. Is anyone planning to do the same or is already living this life? Leave your struggles and triumphs below.

Photo Credit: Charlyn Daiger at CS Photography