Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Maternity Clothes--an education

I'm pregnant--a little over 5 1/2 months pregnant. It's funny. In the beginning of this adventure, I was gung- ho about maternity wear. I needed to have my basics covered: jeans, tshirts, black pants, gray pants, office/work shirts, and big underwear. And I did buy a few additional non-basic items to spruce up the wardrobe. Since then, though, my interest in maternity clothing has waned. I attribute that to the fact that I'm bigger, rounder, and little less comfortable. Overall I feel good, though, I'm not complaining! In this post, I thought I'd list my maternity clothing lessons learned.

Where I bought clothes:
1) Old Navy (online)
2) Gap (online)
3) Motherhood Maternity (in-store)
4) Target (online)

What I bought:
1) Jeans (3-4 pairs)
2) Black slacks (1-2 pairs)
3) Gray slacks (1 pair)
4) Sweaters (pullover and cardigan) (5)
5) Blouses (3)
6) Dresses (3)
7) Shirts (3-4)
8) Tshirts (3-4)
9) Workout/yoga pants (2)
10) Maternity bathing suit (1)
11) Winter coat (1)
12) Leggings

What I learned:
1) Old Navy has great deals ALL THE TIME--there's always some percentage off. Everything is reasonably priced and their return policy is pretty standard. Some things are return-by-mail only, others you can take to a store. Tshirts and sweaters fit true to size. Jeans and pants run a tad big, in my opinion. I bought the Maternity Gray-Wash Demi Panel Skinny Jean and Maternity Low-Panel Slim Boot-Cut Jean. I have trouble keeping both pairs up. That's my only complaint, I'm always yanking these pants back up to where they should be.

2) Gap is pricier than Old Navy, as per their regularly sized clothing, but the denim quality is much higher. Gap maternity shirts run big, I went down a size. Pants also run big, so definitely order a size down. Same return policy as Old Navy: some items are return-by-mail only and others you can take back to a store.

3) Motherhood Maternity is good for basics. I found my gray slacks there and a few shirts for work. The prices are high and the material feels cheap to me. When I go in there now, I go straight back to the sale racks. My sister bought me this for Christmas: It's the Seamless Maternity Cami. I wear it all the time: under sweaters, tshirts, blouses. It smooths things out and provides and extra layer for cold weather.

4) Target clothes also seem to run big. Though, I only have experience with tops. Next time, I'd order a size down for blouses, sweaters and tshirts. Target has a good selection and the quality is decent. The clothes wash nice and seem durable.

Oh and I did purchase 2 pairs of leggings from It's a maternity brand called Ingrid & Isabel. The leggings are great--they go right up to my bra line. I'd recommend this brand--the clothes are well-made and wash well.

Veering from clothing into health and beauty. I received a very nice gift set of lotions by Mama Mio. Check these out:

They are pricey, but worth the splurge I think. And a little goes a long way, so they last. Amazon and A Pea in the Pod sell these products. Treat yourself!

Bottom line: don't go haywire on maternity clothing. There are plenty of good deals out there on items you'll need. You can go higher on a few key pieces, but tshirts, yoga pants, and other basics--stick to Old Navy, Gap, places like that!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Meatballs--flash of genius

Last week we had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Here's the recipe, FYI:

1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 large egg, beaten
1 C Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 medium onion, chopped fine
5 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
¼ C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine beef with other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Roll mixture into 1 ½-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center.

Right before I was about to roll the balls, I had a brilliant through. "Instead of cooking the meatballs on a baking sheet, as suggested, maybe I could use a MINI MUFFIN PAN?!" I sprayed each muffin hole with some nonstick spray, threw the balls in the pan, slid the pan in the oven, and baked them for about 25 minutes.

Cooking meatballs in a muffin pan= MIND. BLOWN.

Friday, October 18, 2013

How to: Survive a Government Shutdown

Yesterday was my first day of work after a 16 day government shutdown. I thought I'd share how I coped in case anyone experiences the same situation. In the 12 weekdays I was workless, here's a list of a few things that helped me get through:

1. Walk the dog. Multiple times a day for different periods of time. Taking a variety of routes is key here. Also, you haven't walked enough unless you say "walk" to your pooch and he or she gives you a look like, "Really, another walk?!?"

2. Walk yourself. One time a day, for at least 4 miles, with an iPod turned up loud.

3. Bake. Now you'll want to make sure to give these baked goods away because baking and then leaving the fresh bread in the house does not help someone prone to eating her emotions (me).

4.  Watch Sex and the City reruns on the E! channel. I was able to relive Carrie's relationships from Aiden through Burger.

5. Do laundry. Even things that really don't need to be washed; throw them in!

6. Set the table for dinner at 11am each morning. You'll feel like you are really on top of things.

7. Go out for lunch. Even if you don't buy lunch, just go out. For instance, try reading for two hours in the sitting area at a Whole Foods.

8. Go to the mall. Again, don't buy anything (because you'll feel bad spending money since you're workless), but rather sit in those nice leather chairs in the middle of the mall that always seem to be occupied by bored men any other time of the day.

9. Reorganize closests and drawers. If you're up to it, throw things out too.

10. Run weekend errands. Complete tasks that are normally a pain because everyone else is doing them Saturday morning. For instance, the grocery store or the dogstore. Get them over with at 10am on Tuesday.

11. Watch old movies. Miracle for example. And cry when USA beats the USSR in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games.

12. Fill out your 2014 calendar. Wow, you are really on top of things!

13. Build a pumpkin topiary. This task is seasonal, of course. If it's springtime, you might try planting flowers, for example.

14. Get up early, shower, and get dressed. You'll also want to blow dry your hair and put make up on. It'll help you feel "normal."

15. Have lunch with friends who are also workless because of the government shutdown. It's nice to commiserate with others.

And check out my pumpkin proud.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday FUNdamentals

Good morning and TGIF. I realize it's been over a month since I've posted something. Have I been busy? Sort of. Am I unsure where the month of August went? YES. Am I sick of my job and is that sickness bleeding through the rest of my life and draining all of my optimism? YESSSSSSSSSSS.

I found a few tidbits around the web that are worth a look-see. Check them out:

2) 50 rules of vacation. Always good to have!

And a parting shot of my dog because he makes everything better:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Birthday

To me. Yes, it's my 32nd birthday today. I do actually feel older, not wiser, but more crotchety and achy than I did yesterday at this time. I tend to be in a bad mood every July 15th. Don't ask me why, ok? It's like I don't want a fuss, so then I don't get a fuss, but I really did want a fuss. You know? To commemorate my day, check out this website in celebration of cakes gone wrong.

And here's what I've been thinking about all morning:

Friday, July 12, 2013

A recipe and a reflection

First a recipe, then a reflection. I cooked this last week, so I'm a bit behind in sharing. I served this dish with a grilled flank steak. The meat broke up the semi-heaviness of the pasta. Oh and let me toot my own horn because snap peas are now in I gave myself a little pat on the back for "cooking seasonally." Woot. Anyway, here we go

Pasta with Pancetta, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream (adapted from
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta
4 shallots, minced
1 pint cream
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 lb fresh snap peas, whole, chopped
1/2 C fresh mint, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 box orechiette pasta (I used bow tie pasta, and it was fine)


  • In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until just beginning to color.
  • Add the pancetta and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften, and season with a pinch or two of salt and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.
  • Meanwhile, bring your pasta water to a boil, salt it, and add your pasta. You will want to time the pasta to be finished just as the sauce is finishing so that the cream doesn't sit long.
  • With about 3 minutes left on your pasta, add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. We want them to retain their crunch. With one minute remaining, add the cream and quickly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cheese, stir, and reduce the heat to low.
  • Drain the pasta, and toss with the sauce to coat. Sprinkle liberally with fresh mint, and serve with black pepper and extra Parmesan cheese.

My pictorial progression:

The original recipe from food52 called for thick prosciutto, but I knew my Giant didn't carry that, and I wasn't really in the mood to go search for it. Pancetta worked just fine. I'll tell you, this dish only got better the next day too. My husband and I can attest to that because we enjoyed it for lunch the following two days.

And now to a reflection. Last weekend I met up with two old friends. Old meaning I've known them since basically birth (but I guess we are getting oldER.....I turn 32 on Monday. I had nearly forgotten until my Mom reminded me today. Thank you Mom.). These old friends and I share a hometown, an elementary, middle, and high school, mutual friends, life experiences, and memories. We're all married now, and both of these old, but good, friends have children. It's really amazing that we've known each other and cared for each other through it all. Old friends really are the best. It had been a few months since we'd all seen each other, but it felt like it'd had been only a day. We so simply fell right back into our candor and conversation. It was wonderful and felt safe. I just love these women, and you know who you are!

Happy weekend.