Pregnancy Safe Products – Face Wash, Exfoliator and Sunblock- LOVED ‘EM!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in EVERYTHING ELSE, HEALTH, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

One of the first challenges I encountered while getting ready to get pregnant were the toxins and teratogens all around us. I mean, EVERYTHING is made out of chemicals nowadays. And since certain chemicals and toxins can adversly affect a fetus, it was important for me to switch to everything natural and toxin free.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.
I started with cleaning supplies, which we switched to 7th generation ones –  they smelled interesting and strong (herbs and lemon) and cleaned decently but not as well as full on chemical stuff.
I went to organic shampoos – I loved the feel and the smell and the idea that they’re all natural, but to be honest, the shampoo just didn’t clean as well, and the conditioner didn’t make my hair as soft as the typical brands.
I bought a zinc oxide sunblock, but it only came in a white cream that was really hard to put on.

Let me just say I wasn’t too happy about these changes, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

I was still looking for a good facial SPF, moisturizer,body wash, face wash,etc.

A few months ago I became a part of a new affiliate programs and as I was going through different online stores, I bumped into Belli Skin Care. I would have probably passed them by if not for  the word “teratology screened”.
“Oh!”- I thought.

I have never seen a skin care care line SPECIFICALLY tested against teratogens, phthalates, BPA, parabe, artificial dyes, etc. Before I knew about nsBelli, i had attempted to research this on my own, emailing my favorite brands for a list of ingredients and then cross checking them against known problem agents. eventually I gave up, because it was too much work. I knew just going natural and organic wasn’t going to do it, because there’re quite a few natural things that can cause birth defects, like aloe vera, rosemary, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, vitamin A. The problem with something as minor as personal care is it seems like it’s too much work for a relatively low risk. Some people think that there’s a placental barrier to protect the baby from toxins, however the barrier only keeps larger molecules away, like bacteria, but lets some others through with no problem.
So needless to say, I kept postponning ordering something for when I am pregnant, because it was just too hard.

After reading more about Belli products I was sold on the concept. They also carry maternity skin care lines, breastfeeding lines, and baby care, each specifically designed to protect us and our babies from toxins at different times of our lives. I will definitely be using other products when I breastfeed and for the baby. You can get a Stretch Mark Minimizing cream if you already have them, or Belly Oil, if you want to prevent them

So I placed an order for an Acne Wash, a SPF25 facial sunscreen and an Exfoliator. To be honest, I was expecting one of those organic products that might be safe for my baby, but does pretty much nothing for me. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. I got my package yesterday morning and last night I took a shower to try them out (oh come on! Don’t you get all excited when you buy new products? Except for I was expecting it to be something like that organic fragrance free soup I bought from Whole Foods- UGH!).


I soooooo didn’t expect this reaction, but I loved all three products!
1. Ache Wash smelled like lemons and cleaned my face so well, but without stripping it, that when I got out of the shower it looked like I applied one of those primers that you put under make up to make your skin smooth and soft. I couldn’t believe it!
2. The exfoliator was one of those super fine particle exfoliator and did an amazing job without irritating my skin
3. The Anti-Cloasma had a little bit of a tint to it ( which usually annoys me because it tends to be darker than my skin) and went on smooth and nice and didn’t look like I had anything on.

So I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I will be ordering shampoo and conditioner from Belli as well, in hopes of getting something that works better than other organic shampoos.

If any of you guys are interested, there’s a coupon for 15% OFF  right now. Just use the code: 15BELLI

Just wanted to mention that I wasn’t compensated in any way to write about these products, or anything like that. I just spent so many hours researching safe products and trying to decide what to buy that I hope this would make it easier for some of you who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, are breastfeeding or just want safe baby skin care.

Since Belli doesn’t carry any facial moisturizers, I will be ordering mine from, they have a massive section of natural skin care and make up, plus right now there’s 2 promotions going on that I want to take advantage of:
1.  New Customers – get $5 off $35 or $10 off $70 on your first order! and
2. Get a free Lela Rose Designer Bag + deluxe samples ($140 value!) with your $100 order! While supplies last.


On another personal note, I am feeling fabulous and happy and just having the best time of my life. So many things I want to be doing and never enough time to do it.
So right now I am off to make a salad, play some drums and maybe go for a walk. Hope your Sunday is just as relaxing.

Oh, two new things:
I got a Facebook Page for the blog, feel free to like it if you want
I might start taking pictures of the meals I make and posting them here. I way too impatient to actually write recipes, but I might be able to take  the time to post photos only. Too many people have requested that, so I think it’ll be helpful for those trying to eat healthy/vegetarian/vegan. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday Pregnancy Question – Pets and Infants

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in EVERYTHING ELSE, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION, Pregnancy Q of the week

As most of you know, I have three cats and the question has been floating in my head for a while:


Our cats are super curious when it comes to new things or rooms that tend to stay closed for a long time. Our future nursery is the only room in the house that hasn’t been used, since we’ve always known it’d be turned into a nursery eventually. So we keep some boxes and furniture there, along with some files- so it’s basically a storage room. It generally stays closed. But the second we go in there to find something, all three cats launch themselves into the opening of the door and proceed to sniff everything out.

I realize that after some time in that room, they’d get bored. But the day we bring a new baby into our house with its new baby smell, the cats will go crazy, I know it.

I assume it’s not really safe to let a cat sit/lie/sleep in the baby’s crib. I haven’t done much research about infants yet, mostly just pre-pregnancy and pregnancy itself.  But it makes sense that you wouldn’t want pet hair and their bodies anywhere near the baby in the first few months, right?

Any experience you’d like to share about your new baby and your pets? Their reaction, their incessant need to be in the baby’s crib/bassinet? What did you do to prevent that? And also once your baby was able to sit and play, how did they interact with the pets?

I’d love to hear your stories!

Kittah licked me

Oh and I am sorry I haven’t been to all of your blogs recently. I am going to catch up today.

Also I will be making a BOOK PAGE, where I’ll psot a list of all the pre-conception and pregnancy books I’ve read or am reading for those who might be interested. It should be quite an interesting list.

There are sacrifices to be made…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

NOTE: The original post has been deleted due to incessant speculation and erroneous rumors

I originally wrote this post about our approach to pregnancy. We had spent months preparing for our pregnancy, reading every book we could find, taking every test out there to make sure that Alexis had the very best start in life, unencumbered by anything that might be going on in our bodies or our lifestyles. We committed to making sure that the 9 months that I spent being pregnant were peaceful, without stress, exertion, full of nutritious foods and, most importantly, as germ and toxin free as we can be without living in a bubble. If we could have gone to a Tibetian retreat, we would have done that :) But since we were left living in a Floridian suburb, we did the most we could: stayed away from large crowds or small spaces with lots of people, smoke, germy places, flus, colds, etc (If you’re interesting to read the reason why something as drastic as that could possibly be important, I suggest you pick up a copy of Pre-Parenting: Nurturing Your Child from Conception or Origins or any other book dealing with epigenetics, the science of how gene expression works and how they interact and are influenced by the environment, including time in the womb).

That did not mean never leaving our house, but it meant doing what we could in terms of the things I mentioned above.

Feeling a little bit Alice today

In the deleted post I also wrote about the studies brought up in the above mentioned books about maternal anxiety and stress, inadequate nutrition and the effects of it on the development of an unborn fetus. It is not a secret that stress releases cortisol that can make many changes to a healthy body, but what has been glossed over until recently is the changes stress can make in a neural, cardio-vascular and hormonal systems of an unborn developing fetus. Growing a baby is such an intricate process, so many things can go wrong under the influence of seemingly harmless external factors. It is absolutely fascinating  ( and scary) to read all that can influence the development of a fetus. Most studies were done on the pregnant “victims” of natural disasters and those who lived through world wars and famines and their babies, so the conditions were, of course, very extreme, but it is not known whether a little external factor AT THE WRONG TIME could do harm. Just like there is no safe amount of alcohol… The conditions linked with prenatal environment are as harmless as allergies and go all the up to ADD, dyslexia, asperger’s, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, asthma, and more, more, more. {note: I did read somewhere that mild non-chronic stress is actually beneficial to the fetus}

One of the things mentioned was homosexuality. According to the studies brought up in the books, there is evidence that maternal stress at a certain period of time of fetal development can result in different brain wiring. One that makes you legitimately attracted to people of same sex, or have a brain wired for one gender and body of another. And that makes it a completely normal occurrence. Not unnatural – completely normal.

Unfortunately, this citing has earned me hundreds of outraged comments and a series of erroneous speculations. It’s like the best case of a broken ( and very stupid) telephone. A citing that was essentially “proof” that homosexuality ( among other things) is a completely natural thing, isn’t a choice and cannot be “cured” was turned into name calling by {predominantly straight} idiots, set out to “defend” the LGBT community. It is even more ridiculous to see someone commenting saying that I am a “homophobe”, when it is the furthest from the truth. I support and always will gay marriage, gender reassignment help, equal rights for everyone regardless of their orientation or preferences, I have a ton of gay and a few transsexual friends that I love, my opinion has ALWAYS been that you are born that way and  who you are attracted to or chose to live with should have no bearing on your rights or attitudes of people. But alas, those who probably know the least of the subject, the close minded straight females, have been spreading rumors about what I am or am not.

So  for whoever it is that is looking for the truth, for my side of the story, here it is:


And if someone continues speculation, spreading lies and name calling based on something they misunderstood and have absolutely no idea about, that is perfectly fine by me. It would not be the first time that “herd” has gone off on something completely irrelevant.


To Alexis: Sweetie, if you’re reading this when you’re older, and by some chance you feel that you’re different (in any way, shape or form), know that you can come to me without judgement and I will celebrate you for who you are and jump happily up and down because you have taken the awesome step of discovering and accepting that you are absolutely perfect no matter what. {even if that means you’re a tattooed piercing-crazy headbanger *cringe* no offense to those who have tattoes or piercing or like heavy metal}


New Beginnings

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in EVERYTHING ELSE, FUN TIMES, My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

So we are done with  TTCing for this month. I have no idea whether I am pregnant or not. I also have no idea whether I could be pregnant. My BBT sort of gave out on me this month. The temperatures are making no sense, but I did switch the time when I take it, so I don’t know.  I’m usually pretty regular with my ovulation, so we’ll see. Also since we’re trying the Shettle’s method that has us TTCing 2-3 days BEFORE ovulation, I don’t think there’s a big chance that I could be pregnant this month.

And I am totally OK with that.

It’s kind of funny because I always read that “sex on schedule” will be boring and a chore. It couldn’t be far from the truth for us. We had so much fun trying that, honestly, it would be just fine if we get to do it next month {wink wink}. We both found it fun and exciting and couldn’t wait to get out hands on each other. I realize it’s the first month only, but I don’t see this getting old :)

Right now, hubster is super protective of me, which I love (in case I am pregnant, his words too, not mine). He is the one telling me that we have to think of it like it already happened, and think good positive thoughts. I am in the process of reading a fascinating book about the life of unborn babies and how our moods and feelings influence them and I re-tell him everything I find interesting. He has taken it so seriously, and asks me every hour how I am feeling and whether I’m positive and happy :)

So honestly, this rocks!

However, I am being very pragmatic and realistic, and not keeping my hopes up,  because I know the average chances are 25%, plus the fact that we’re avoiding the ovulation day and one before, and that probably takes it down to 5% or so.

We will keep on trying if it doesn’t happen this month or next and I will notify all of you as soon as it happens.

Oh and here’s what I decided about “to tell or not to tell” dilemma:

I am not a secretive person, and I hate keeping things from people because that makes me feel conniving. Plus, this blog is specifically a baby blog, so it’d be silly to ignore the first 3 months of pregnancy and not journal  here.

So I decided to annouce it here within a week or two of getting a positive pregnancy test (or earlier). However, I will not post it on Facebook or other social networks, neither will I tell anyone outside of this blog except for my family.

My closest friends, who I love and want to know about it, already read this blog. I will, though, make sure to tell them personally as soon as I find out. The rest are people I do not know in person, so I am not afraid of judgement or anything like this-  and I’d love support and feedback.

Those people that I wouldn’t want to know, in case that a miscarriage occurs, do not know about this blog.

So I think I feel pretty comfortable with that.

{I was going through our wedding photos and re-editing them and I bumped into this one. I love it and it’s so fitting: showing the beginning or our relationship, the excitement and the beginning of our new chapter in life}


Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in EVERYTHING ELSE, Pre-CONCEPTION, Pregnancy Q of the week

How and when did you find out about your pregnancy?

What were your first emotions? How did you tell your husband/boyfriend?

Feel free to link up to a story on your blog – I love reading those!

My one and only experience with pregnancy tests happened just this month.

In the beginning of the month, right after my ovulation, we figured we’d finally ditch the condoms since my April ovulation has passed, so next time it comes around we’re good to go. No need for birth control anymore.
It was scary and exciting at the same time, because I’ve been on the pill for 8 years and then used barrier methods for the last three months as we were getting ready. For 8 years every time we had sex, I’d always have this fear of pregnancy. My mind would always rush to “Did i take the pill?”

Now we have decided that it is ok but my mind hasn’t been exactly clued in.  Both hubby and I had this nervous laugh as we were going at it :) lol

But you know, we both knew that I can’t get pregnant since it was past my ovulation. Everything was fine, until about 7 days later I got some spotting ( implantation spotting, anyone?), so I went back to look at my BBT chart and realized that possibly we might have done it closer to the big O than we thought. I shrugged that off and we spent the next few days having fun in Orlando. Until this one evening when i got a really strong wave of nausea that wouldn’t go away for a day ( I don’t normally get nauseous for no reason)

Hubby insisted that we go into Walgreens and buy a pregnancy test ( MY VERY FIRST ONE IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE), because if I were in fact pregnant, he’d drive me straight home rather than spend the night at his mom’s house and then go to Disney the next day. {The reason for that is that we feel very strongly about the fact that during the first 2 trimesters the baby is very vulnerable to all sorts of germs and infections and disruptions and that we’d rather shield it from anything and everything possible since we are able to do that, while the brain and the neural tube develops along with other organs, because any little mess up could result in things like dyslexia, ADD, personality disorders, learning disorders and etc. So my first two trimesters will be a super quiet, calm time without exposure to germs or toxins.}

I really loved that he took it so seriously that he wanted to drive me home if we got the BFP ( big fat positive). I was ready to say: “I’m not pregnant, let’s just wait until I get my period” and continue having fun. But he was really serious about it, which I love ( considering I am the one who is usually all about making everything perfect).

The funny part was that it mattered to me WHERE I’d take the test. I didn’t want it to be a hotel room, or someone else’s house. I wanted it to be in something that’s ours. I was ready to pee on a stick in our car :) But then figured I wasn’t really pregnant, so there was no need be picky about a place to get a big fat negative.

So that was my one and only experience with pregnancy tests, but I absolutely LOVED how protective of me and the baby my husband got.

Update: Sorry if I didn’t make it clear, but I was NOT pregnant. We definitely missed the ovulation date and all is good. Now starts the real deal- the TTCing.

Looking forward to reading your REAL stories about how you found out


and while you’re at it, can I get a quick vote, please? Press thumbs up to vote!

It’s happenning…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

So this month we start trying! We don’t really know if it’s going to happen or when. But we’re determined to go into it  having fun and with no expectations.

In the meantime of course my planner brain is working.
I am thinking about all the things I’d like to get done before the first possibility of being pregnant:

  • cut my hair
  • go to a dentist to make sure all my teeth survived the wisdom teeth extraction just fine :)
  • finish some home projects
  • CLEAN the house {I’d like to have a clean house in case I get a debilitating morning sickness}
  • buy and install a kick ass reverse osmosis water filter
  • clean up the garden and explain to the hubby how to take care of it {can’t do garden work due to risk of toxoplasmosis} DONE!
  • paint the hallways {yeah like that’s going to happen}

And that’s just the stuff I’d like to do before we get pregnant. Let’s just say that if we don’t get knocked up the first month, I won’t be TOO upset, because it’ll give me one more month to get that stuff done.

To be a SAHM or to NOT be SAHM…

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION

We’re both super busy with work. It’s a great feeling- I love working and being busy.

For a while there, I liked the idea of being a stay at home mom- no work or money worries, just cooking, cleaning, blogging, picture taking and taking care of the baby. And for some people it might work, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I really need to work to feel fulfilled.

So we had a few discussions about what it’s going to be like when we have an infant, how we’re going to deal with it. Hubby might like the old-timey idea of being a bread winner and having his wife “barefoot-and-pregnant”, but even he realizes that everything would fall apart at work without me. I’m the client relationship manager and the marketer and the processor and the paper pusher, among other things. And those are the things you just can’t teach. You either hate it or love it, have it or not. I do, he doesn’t.

He does other things fabulously though, but we both know that as soon as I am gone, those things will go by way side and while the processing and administrative stuff can be neglected for a while without huge consequences, the marketing and the client relationships are something that needs to be done daily for as long as you need your business running, or soon it’ll slow down to a turtle walk.

He can’t be a stay at home dad for those reasons as well, besides the fact that I’d never in a million years trade time with my baby for career. We’re lucky we have options!

We sort of decided that we will BOTH be stay-at-home parents ( since we mostly work from home). We will make sure that we are home 100% of the time, except for client meetings and showings and we share the duties equally. Since our fully equipped home office is right next to the room that will be a nursery, we will attend to our newborn, based on turns and/or whoever is available at the moment. Tentatively, we decided Andrew will have the diaper duty and I will be doing breastfeeding in the very beginning, since newborns tend to pee/poop and eat at the same rate. And evenings and weekends will be spent as a family.

Right now our cooking/cleaning has pretty much the same agreement. We do it all together, unless one person is less busy than another. But we really end up waiting for the other person to free up so that we could go make lunch/dinner together. Hubby is more active in the morning, making breakfasts, I’m usually the dinner person. So we’ll see how it works with the baby.
Plus I am really hoping my mom, who’s recently retired, will be here for the first 3+ months. She’s a HUGE help! I love having her around, she doesn’t mind helping with cooking and cleaning and is a super loving person. I’d trust her 100% with our baby not just from the safety standpoint but knowing that she would give him/her all the attention and love a new baby needs, because she was a terrific mom to us and grandma to my niece and nephew.

One thing I will mind losing when I get pregnant though – my friends and our weekend boat and beach outings. I had to bite my tongue when they were making plans for May, because there is possibility I won’t be able to go again until I have the baby if I get pregnant in May. It is definitely going to be hard to resist the temptation to go see people, especially with how they just don’t get why on earth I’d limit human contact during the pregnancy ( lowered immune system during pregnancy+germs+toxins=not a risk I care to take ).

J. (pictured below) even volunteered to be our baby’s Naples grandpa, so it’ll be extra hard to say no to him when he wants us to come by.
(both our families are far away, but we already lined up our 1 st set of stand-in grandparents and working on second starting with J.)

Tuesday Pregnancy Question #3

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION, Pregnancy Q of the week

This one I am asking for a friend of mine! I hope there’re girls out there who have had some kind of experience with this.


Does anyone have stories of breech babies before delivery that either got flipped over manually or on their own or didn’t change their position?

Basically, any experience in that matter than you had or know of?

My neighbor’s kid is breech and she’s doing everything she can imagine to get her to flip over. She’s stressing over it quite a bit, just like we all would, so I’d love to get some positive experiences as well real ones too.

Thanks, guys! Your answers are always the best!

Tuesday Pregnancy Question #2

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in EVERYTHING ELSE, Pre-CONCEPTION, Pregnancy Q of the week

I had an amazing amount of response on the last pregnancy question. I really appreciate all of your answers. I loved reading all the details. It’s amazing how much more helpful just hearing other experiences is than reading books ( though I will continue going through my 20 pregnancy books stacked on my bedside table ). Thank you all so much.
I hope you’ll get to share your opinion and experience on this week’s question.


Since the miscarriage risk is pretty high in the first trimester, I find a lot of women waiting it out until they tell people they are pregnant.
I’m not superstitious, I am not worried about jinxing or anything other silly stuff. I think the motivation for most women to wait is so that they didn’t have to deal with questions if anything goes wrong.I am not a secretive person at all. When it comes to my life, there’s pretty much nothing that I keep to myself. I like sharing, and I really hate the feeling of keeping something from people unless there’s a really good reason.

My instinct is that I should not wait to tell for a few reasons:
1. This is a pregnancy blog, therefore it’d seem silly to wait out three months before writing anything
2. All my friends and family know we’re going to be TTCing, because they’ve been asking about when we’ll have babies for 8 years now
3. I seem to be mentally prepared for a good posibility of a miscarriage, so if it does happen, I’d rather have the support (i think?)
4. I don’t think I can keep something like that to ourselves.
5. I want to be able to “acknowledge” the baby right away, and that’d be harder if I am keeping it a secret.

So I’d love to hear what you think, what your experience have been, what decision you made and why and how did you feel afterwards. Basically, any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
Who knows maybe you say something that I didn’t even think of and would totally make up my mind.

Tuesday Pregnancy Question

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Pre-CONCEPTION, Pregnancy Q of the week

So like I said previously, I’d like to start a weekly question regarding pregnancy and parenting.

As I go into this journey, I am reading a ton of books, but what books can only tell us is the medical facts, but what i want to hear is the experience of normal people all around me, mothers who went through this.
Each week I will post a question that I have been wondering about.

This weeks question is:

How long did it take you to conceive?

Write as much or as little about this as you’d like. I would really appreciate if EVERYONE could answer even if it’s a short answer or an approximation.

I know statistically it takes a healthy couple on average 6 months to conceive, with some couples taking a year, but what I’d really like to know is your experience. We’ll be starting in May and I am setting my hopes as low as I possibly can so that my perfectionist self wouldn’t get frustrated. I know my ovulation well ( iphone charting), my husband’s sperm count is perfect , but we will be doing Shettles method to try for a girl. We know it’s not a sure fire way, but the method seems logical and we just re9ally want to do anything that will increase our chances of making a baby girl. :)