Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BUMP UPDATES, My Pregnancy


Her size: We’re a large cantaloupe this week! Getting closer and closer to a watermelon.

How far along: 35 WEEKS. Yesterday was the famous 35/35 – 35 weeks along with 35 days to go.

Total weight gain: 168 lb.  (+2 lbs this week, total at 32 lbs).  I guess I gotta get used to this 2 lbs a week thing. I can tell Alexis is gaining a lot, she’s getting bigger and stronger with each day. Starting from about 28 weeks, I’ve been trying to make sure my protein intake is adequate, which isn’t exactly easy for a person who doesn’t eat meat, so all I have to rely on is diary products, cheese and occasional well cooked shrimp or sardines (low in mercury and dioxins). I’ve had sort of an aversion to beans this whole pregnancy, so I can’t even eat them without grimacing. I’m pretty sure that’s where the extra weight gain is coming from, which makes me feel good because I know protein is something that is crucial for her development and her brain.

Sleep: The bathroom trips are out of control. Seriously, it feels like I get up 10 times a night (it’s really about 4-5 times). I can’t cut down on my evening water intake though, because I get so thirsty at night. Getting up 5 times a night doesn’t really bother me as much as I’d imagine it would, so I’m still pretty content with my sleep (minus the occasional nightmares)

Maternity Clothes: Just the same old stuff I’ve blogged about before

Food cravings: Anything sweet and fruit.

Food aversions: none

Symptoms I HAVE: Lots of little Lexi punches, occasional heartburn, occasional pelvic pressure. But otherwise I feel great! No stretchmarks so far either, so I have my fingers crossed (and tummy lubed up). BTW, I don’t think I ever mentioned but my skin cleared up. I had broken out pretty badly in the first trimester and it lasted throughout the 2nd trimester, but now it seems everything is settled in. I still don’t have the skin I had before pregnancy, but I attribute it to the fact that I am not using the same products, since they aren’t 100% “pregnancy approved”.

Doctor’s Appointment:  Yesterday for strep B test. Now I am switched over visiting the doctor’s office once a week.

Movement: The strong punches have started. I feel she’s trying to poke out of me with her butt! She is REALLY strong. It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it’s not exactly pleasant. I do love her movements no matter how uncomfortable it gets. She seems to love my hipbone, because it gets kicked all the time.  I keep meaning to videotape her moving in my belly but miss her every time.

Belly Button: Outie.

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week: I love feeling good. It’s surprising to me that I’m that far along and don’t have much to complain about in terms of aches. I do have occasional pains, but they don’t seem to bother me much. So I’m enjoying this part of the pregnancy.

What I’m looking forward to:

I should be looking forward to the holidays, but this year it’s going to be low key. We are having a nice Christmas dinner at our friends’ house, which is making me feel a little better about skipping most of the festivities ( we didn’t even decorate, because then we’d have to take all the decor down right as Lexi is supposed to arrive.

Another friend of ours is hosting an amazing New Year’s party this year at his mansion that we decided not to go to :(  But I swear that’s the last party we’ll have to miss (bummer :( ). We went back and forth considering going, but it’s just too close to our due date, too many people (flu season), and too much smoke.  Just to give you an idea of the scale of parties he throws: there’s gonna be valet parking at his house as well as a bus he rented that will take anyone home who doesn’t want to worry about not drinking and driving. There’s also going to be a separate area of the house set up for kids/teenagers with their own food and DJ, which I thought was a neat idea.

What I miss:


What else?

  •  I recently read something I’d like to share with you guys. If you aren’t subscribed to my Facebook page, you might have missed this. It was an article about pain fighting foods and one of those foods are cherries (or pretty much any berries), which was nice to know. But specifically, they found out that 2 tablespoons of cherry extract (cherry juice concentrate) is 10 times more effective at fighting inflammation than aspirin. If you read anything about inflammation in our bodies, you know that it has a lot of negative effects on our health and we all have it (from foods we eat and medications we take and just from living life), so it’s nice to know that something so natural and easy can be done to counteract that.  Any junk foods we eat add to that silent inflammation inside of us, and a lot of healthy foods are inflammatory as well. So I ordered a bottle of cherry concentrate  and read some reviews on it too. It seems to really work, as amazing as it sounds (lots of people treat pain due to arthritis  with cherry concentrate). This is the one I got: Tart Is Smart Tart Cherry Concentrate, 32-Ounce Bottle, in case you’re interested. NOTE: I am not taking it during pregnancy, just in case, so I bought it for my husband. I would research about the effect of cherry extract/juice/concentrate in pregnancy before taking it.
  • Another thing I’d like to mention is Isabella Oliver is having a 50% off sale. I wish I had more than a month left in my pregnancy because I’d love to get a few more of those dresses and skirts. But for those of you out there pregnant and looking for a super classy and elegant maternity brand, check it out: 50% off Isabella Oliver
  • A fellow “recently preggo, now with a baby” blogger Megan is holding her first child related giveaway. And she’d love for those interested to enter check it out!
I think that’s it for today! If I am not back before Christmas,  I wish you all the best time ever, whether it’s quite or crazy!


NURSERY UPDATE: Part II {bits and pieces}

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

{Note: I lost this post in yesterday’s server crash, so here we go again. Unfortunately, all your comments got deleted along with the post :( But I did appreciate every single one of them!}


As we are finishing up our work on the nursery, it’s starting to slowly dawn on us that this room will be soon occupied by a crying, cooing, pouting baby girl, our daughter!

You get caught up in building this perfect room and it takes so long, because there are so many choices and never that unlimited amount of money that we’d all like to have, that you forget why exactly you’re doing it. Crazy – we’re going to have a new human being that we created. I know it’s old news to most people, since everyone had to come to this world that way, but to me it feels like noone has ever gone through it and we are the first people on the planet to have a baby.

So at this point, every major piece of furniture has been ordered and/or delivered. Most decor items have arrived and been spray painted white. The only important piece that we don’t have is the recliner, which should arrive early January. So since the room isn’t exactly put together, I figured I’d do a detail update for you. Keep in mind, most of the shelves items are only there as placeholders right now, blinds aren’t fully installed, cords will be wrapped into a baby proof cord winder and a night table will be placed next to a chair when the chair bothers to show up.


This is one of my favorite things in the room. I spent quite a bit of time looking for a perfect mobile as it can really set the mood in the room. I wanted something handmade and subtle, girly and romantic. When I found Magical Whimsy store, I knew that was it. At first, I couldn’t decide between this one in lavender and the one in the pictures below. I thought the first one would just blend into the room too much and I have a huge tendency to go too matchy-matchy, so getting a color that wasn’t lavender or yellow (two primary ones of the room) was a bit of a risk (for me). When I got the mobile, though, I instantly knew it was perfect. It’s like it was made for this room. I have to tell you, I was incredibly impressed with the quality ( I spent the next few days gushing over it). It is REALLY well made – Denise  knows what she’s doing. Check out her Magical Whimsy Etsy shop here for all kind of paper creations.

I will probably have a black and white mobile that attaches to the crib (for Alexis’s development) but to be honest I doubt she’ll be spending much time in the crib when she’s awake, so I might not even need it. But this is definitely a decorative piece that the room wouldn’t be the same without. I know where I’ll be ordering all my future mobiles ( if we have another baby).


The original plan was to buy some colorful art for the walls since the rest of the room is so subtle, with walls being almost white. It would have ended up being around $350 and after some thinking (and nudging from a friend) I decided to instead see if I can find some similar pastel colors in my own photography and frame that. Eventually those will be replaced with family photos and headshots of Alexis, but for now I think it worked out pretty well.
The top shots (pictured below) were taken in spring at Universal Studios and the bottom ones on Florida and Antigua beaches.


The source of our nightmares! I had a very specific image of a dresser that I wanted. I saw a picture on one of the nursery room websites and couldn’t get it out of my mind. After searching out all the online stores, I realized that a dresser like this cannot be found and similar ones are way over a thousand dollars so the only option was to buy a used one and refinish. Then I got lucky- I got REALLY lucky. A few days after I made that decision, an oak dresser popped up on craigslist. We snatched it up for $100 along with a matching nightstand (you can see the before picture here). I figured we’d refinish it ( and by we, of course, I mean hubby) and save a ton of money in the process. Well, enter the 4 weekends that I now call “I hate my wife for making me refinish this dresser”. It turns out refinishing a piece of furniture is harder than we thought. Based on all the blogs I’ve read, it seemed like these ladies would just whip a dresser into shape with no problems. That was not our case!

So let’s just say there was a lot of complaining and bitching and freaking out ( from hubby’s side- he REALLY didn’t want to refinish the damn thing) and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t go and do it myself, because the fumes are super toxic, so finally I declared the project a failure and we hired a lady to do it for us. Long story short, while I am happy with the exterior job, we ended up having to pay $500 to get it refinished (along with a nightstand), she put too light of a paint coat on the drawers and neglected to apply a polyurethane coating, which hubby still had to do himself.

In addition to that, Andrew spilled polyurethane on the carpet in the process ( yes the carpet was covered, but in the best fashion of Murphy’s law it got spilled on the only part that was NOT covered- at least that’s the story hubby tells me). He spent the next few weekends trying to clean it up and soften it with paint thinner which stunk up the room. We then had to clean the carpet with hot water extraction to get the chemicals and the smell out. So yeah I am telling you – A DISASTER! That was one of the reasons you didn’t see any updates- there was nothing to show!

However, finally, it’s all behind us and we have two {almost} perfect pieces EXACTLY the way I had them in my head. You won’t see the nightstand this time, since it was out of the room temporarily, so I didn’t take any pictures. So that’ll be for the next update along with the chair, mirror, nightlight, lamp and a few other items.

The pad on the dresser is an Organic Changing Pad from Naturepedic. Unfortunately, I won’t get to have one of those cute changing pad covers for it, unless I find a cute organic one, as well.

Because the drawers were so badly painted, I had to make a liner for each one of them, using foam boards cut to size and fabric wrapped around them and glued to the back. I’ll show more photos of that in the next update.

Above the changing pad I wanted to hang something light and pretty, and very subtle. Butterfly Mobile was cheap and perfectly inconspicuous, but a really pretty sight from Alexis’s viewpoint.


Here we lucked out. I had three gorgeous shelves ( in light oak again) that were gathering dust in one of the closets. They were bought on a clearance sale on homedecorators.com about 4 years ago and we never put them up because they didn’t really match our decor. Oh how glad I was we had them laying around! A coat of primer and a coat of paint and the shelves turned into the perfect princess room decor.

{Some of the items on the shelves are there as placeholders only. I will have to find and buy a few baby things to go there}

But here’s what’s going to stay for the time being.


This was my first canvas purchase! I’ve always wanted to buy a canvas, but whenever I’d check the prices out, it’d be something ridiculous like $200. That’s until i found Easy Canvas Prints ( well, technically they found me)

I was offered to try out their website and canvas – Umm… YEAH!

I ordered a 16×20 photo canvas with the standard wrap (.75). I picked this photo because it almost perfectly matched the color scheme of the nursery ( the accents of yellow), plus babies love faces (especially their parents’ faces). After Lexi arrives, I’ll order a few canvas using her newborn pictures (which I cannot wait to take, btw!)

The ordering process was super easy: upload, position, pick size, order. Plus Easy Canvas Prints have promotions all the freaking time, so you can get a canvas for a really good price. I liked it so much that a week after I received this canvas, I ordered another one for our living room (using this photo). Right now they’re having a Get 20% Off + an 8?x10? Canvas Free + Free Shipping When You Spend $60 promotion that you can get by clicking on the link (the discount is automatically applied at check out).

This statue is one of the few things currently on the shelves that will actually stay there. I got it from Zulily– I think it adds some well needed color to the room. There’s also a big crown that’ll go next to it, that is currently in the process of being painted.

This frame might or might not stay, with a picture of Alexis in it. Yellow flower will probably go or get snipped a bit since our cats chewed the heck out of the fake grass :) The starfish will stay and might or might not get repainted depending on what else I get for the shelves. The pink rose bouquet was something I made to be put in front of whatever picture frame we’ll hang there. I am NOT a crafty person so this and a few other things would be the extent of my craftiness. Not much to it: a few small flowers from Micheal’s, a see through rubber thin hair tie, some glitter spray and a glass jar.


Finally the most colorful corner of the room – the closet.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Martha Steward Storage from HomeDecorators.com
2. Martha Steward canvas totes from Homedecorators.com
3. Bunting from Starlit Nest etsy shop
4. Cubes backing- handmade. I simply wrapped the backing in fabric and glued it together.
5. Closet door knobs: PBK

Msc items on shelves are there as placeholders.


So there you have it!

I am very happy with the direction we’re going in. I wanted something bright and light, but at the same time with lots of color. I think we’re on the right track. We still have to figure something out for bookshelves. I want a part of the bookshelf to be low enough for Alexis to grab the books on her own when she’s mobile and for book covers to be facing outwards rather than to the side, since that helps babies pick their own books and be more interested in reading.

Let me know what you think and hopefully early January you’ll get to see the room as a whole. That is if Alexis doesn’t decide to show up early.

Jules et Jim Maternity – Party Dress – {Pregnancy With Style} review and giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS


Welcome to Week 10 of Pregnant with Style feature, a weekly low down on the cutest and little known maternity brands.

{Discover other weeks and maternity brands here}

JULES et JIM Maternity

“Jules likes seeing his pregnant wife sexy. Jim prefers the classic, refined look.
Together Jules & Jim make up a line of maternity clothing in tune with new trends, at once comfortable and urbane”

With the Holidays approaching, I can see thousands of pregnant women in America scrambling trying to find an appropriate and hot Christmas or New Year’s outfit.
My party outfit came from Jim et Jules maternity
I am a sucker for anything sparkly when it comes to party dresses, so I was very excited to receive this dress.

When I first tried it on, before I even had a chance to look in the mirror, I showed it to my husband and he LOVED IT! He adores  when I wear sexy sparkly dresses more than me, and I am sure the last nine months of yoga pants and t-shirts left him longing for his old “glamorous” Elena. 
I was a bit conscious about showing this much leg, considering my legs aren’t the same size they used to be, but I think the loose top (plus heels) balanced it out and made my legs appear much skinnier than  they are ( seriously, I feel my legs look MUCH bigger in real life- I don’t know what happened in some of these pictures, so I’m assuming it’s the dress)
I also loved the back of the dress – so elegant- made me feel less like a big pregnant woman, and more like a a pre-pregnancy me who’d would wear draped backs and sparkly dresses and jeweled heels- aaahhhhhh!!!!!
The other part of the outfit was the cardigan, which is totally appropriate for a winter party ( even though we live in Florida) and I have found fits pretty much any other dress I own. I ended up wearing a blue dress to dinner, with the cardigan  that dressed it up so well! 
That would be a good idea for a party, if you want to wear a dress you already own.
You can check out Jules&Jim collection here and buy it at different retailers and online shops, including Amazon.
You can also check them out on Facebook.

And one lucky reader who enters this giveaway will win a party dress or another item of their choice (subject to stock availability) from Jules&Jim.
So go ahead and enter below. The rules are pretty much the same, and this time it’s open to Canada as well, since J&J are a Canadian company! So yay to that!

and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 1 daily entry for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Please make sure to visit Jules & Jim facebook page and post on their wall what you’d like to win (entry #2). 
The giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)


{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: I received this item from Jules&Jim in exchange for my honest opinion.

Conception Misconceptions

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy

I find it funny sometimes how TV shows and movies misrepresent certain things to help fit them into the storyline or their timeline. Sometimes, though, I feel like those things have the potential of harming/hurting the less educated/knowledgable viewers or younger audience.

You all heard about the fuss over Glee and the adoption storyline they were going to run. From what I remember, they were going to have Quinn give her baby up for adoption and then later change her mind and take the baby back or something along those lines.  The adoption activists got a wind of it and rightfully made it a big deal asking the studio to change their storyline. Whatever the real story was there, it is not right to give people an impression that couldn’t be further from the truth ( like that you can give your baby up for adoption and then months/years later change your mind and take it back). Because while most people tend to research their options, others ( especially young and inexperienced) can be too overwhelmed by the prospect of what they are about to do and simply rely on misconceptions they’ve picked up on TV.

So the other day I was watching last season’s episode of Parenthood where Julia and her hubby were trying to conceive and there was a conversation between her and Sarah about “how long it has taken them to conceive and that surely there was a problem with one of them, since it has been a WHOLE 4 months and nothing”.

I mean, seriously? A WHOLE 4 MONTHS????

Any book or doctor will tell you that it takes an average healthy couple 4-6 months to conceive, with some taking 1 year BEFORE there’s a need to worry about infertility. Anyone who doesn’t know that going into TTC is either not ready to have a baby, because obviously they didn’t  prepare properly, OR is most likely going to be in a world of hurt if it takes them a few months longer than expected.

Now, I know you might say that it took us 1 month to conceive, so I have no right to say anything(which would be rude, btw),  BUT we did spend a whole year preparing for that first month of TTC (reading books, changing eating habits, exercising, not smoking, not drinking, doing tests, taking care of health problems, doing dental work, taking prenatals etc), doing more than most people do while TTCing, so who knows how long it would have taken us to conceive, had we started the second the decision was made? And aside from that, I was going into it fully expecting it to take 4-6 months or more.

So while the show’s screw up was a minor one, I think it’s slightly unfair to those who have been trying for a few months or longer and creates misconceptions for those who aren’t having kids yet.

The other thing that made me chuckle on the show is how Julia was holding off her horny husband for 48 hours so that he’s “save up his sperm” until the day of ovulation. There are multiple studies which show that waiting to have sex to increase sperm count actually lowers your chances of conception in a man with normal sperm counts, because that means you have less sex ( for men with low sperm counts it has shown to work if you time it right). And then finally, waiting until she ovulates? Really? If you have sex ON the day of ovulation, your chances of conception are actually much lower (5% i think- don’t quote me on that one), than having sex a day or two PRIOR to ovulation (12-15% chance of conception, again I’m just remembering from the top of my head). So it’s all about depositing “the goods” in a timely and continuous manner until you hear “The eagle has landed!”

I just find it funny, because I remember before we decided to have a baby, I was one of those people who thought that it’s better to wait a few days before having sex because he’ll have more swimmers. I bet I got it from some TV show :) haha

Guest Post: Top pregnancy Precautions to Take

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy

{This is a guest post from The Pregnancy Zone}

Top Pregnancy Precautions to Take

It used to be that women were urged to take care, and refrain from a great many activities when pregnant; however we now know that it is possible for women to live full and active lives all throughout pregnancy. In fact we now know that the more active a woman is during pregnancy, the better it is for her and her unborn child.

However what we also do know is that pregnancy is recognized as a period of compromised immunity and that women need to take certain precautions to avoid getting sick during this time for the sake of their own health as well as their baby’s proper growth.


It is prudent to take the following common Pregnancy Precautions –

  • Fish is good to eat during pregnancy and otherwise, however certain kinds of fish are bad for pregnant women due to their possible mercury content. Avoid tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel or shark and eat no more than 12 ounces of fish in a week. Here is a complete list of safe and unsafe fish to refer to.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have illnesses or communicable infections because pregnant women have reduced immunity and may catch something more readily during this time.
  • Avoid Listeria by making sure that no unpasteurized dairy products or uncooked or partly cooked meats are consumed. Soft cheeses such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses are best not eaten. Listeriosis is able to cross the placenta over to the fetus and as such is a serious illness if contracted during pregnancy and even otherwise.
  • Other food-borne infections such as toxoplasmosis and salmonella are also very dangerous during pregnancy and should be guarded against by avoiding handling or eating raw or partly cooked meat, pate, meat spread, deli meat, raw eggs or sauces/foods containing raw eggs. Be careful if you have to handle cat litter (have someone else do it for a while), and also be careful when working in the garden or handling soil (use gloves).
  • Food borne illnesses could also transmit through raw veggies or cut and peeled fruit so be sure to eat only fresh produce that is cooked or at least has been washed thoroughly and properly cleaned and cut with clean cutlery. Remember bacteria can also flourish on your cutting or chopping boards so make sure these are properly cleaned as well.
  • Be careful about any and all medication that you take – even a pain killer for a headache, an allergy pill and so called natural or herbal medications, should all be cleared with a doctor before being consumed during pregnancy.
  • Avoid saunas and hot tubs during pregnancy since they can raise the body temperature to dangerously high levels. Such overheating can cause problems for the baby and may negatively impact development.
  • If possible avoid contact with chemicals such as harsh cleaning agents and so on. Also if possible avoid salon procedures such as hair coloring, tinting, straightening or perming, since the possible impact of such chemicals and the possibility of their leaching into the mother’s system is not yet fully understood.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by ThePregnancyZone.com. The blog offers complete week by week Pregnancy information and topics relating to Preparing for the Pregnancy, Pregnancy Stages, Labor & Delivery, Pregnancy Issues, Health Issues, Parental care etc.


Photo Share Tuesday

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

Finally getting around to posting the photos taken at the beach the other day.

Life is still busy. You think “Oh as soon as I am done with this big project, I’ll have more time for other things”. And then magically another project gets thrown in your lap and you’re still scrambling.

Aside from that, I am loving life right now. Alexis, head down and in the proper position, constantly jabbing me with her feet in my side is one the best parts of my day :) I just think it’s so cute.  I am feeling better than ever, aside from minor fatigue and heartburn, looking forward to January and my mom coming. Our Xmas cards have arrived and I’ll probably spend the whole day addressing and signing them. And going on a hospital tour this evening, which is something I’ve been looking forward to. I hope I don’t get freaked out in the process.

So these photos are from a beach trip a week or two ago. I felt like I needed me some wind in my hair and ocean smell in my clothes. So we took off. Hubby came with us and sat on his laptop working while we spent a few hours taking pictures and chasing a pre-toddler :)

Christine pretty much spent the entire time running after Emma, who is a curious fun little girl. And I spent my entire time devouring delicious fries ( that place has amazing fries and the only place I ever get to have them), snapping pictures and thinking about how in just a year, it’ll be me running non-stop as Alexis tries to explore the world.

Hope you enjoyed a little coastal moodiness and I will see you for my 34th week update on Thursday.

This week is full of appointments with pediatricians, hospital classes, errands and other craziness.

Oh and now that the Pregnancy Goodies giveaway is over ( and yes I do have the winners, I just have to check their entries), you should see another Pregnancy With Style post for a Christmas/New Year dress and a giveaway.

Link Up

{Don’t forget to post the Photo Share Tuesday button, if you’re linking up}

Gift Guide

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Friday Finds, My Pregnancy

I keep seeing all these gift guides online and I thought I’d make my own DREAM gift guide! Some of these gifts are quite unrealistic, unless you are really well off, but don’t we all wish we could spend unlimited amount of money on our loved ones? So dream here with me and maybe you’ll get some useful ideas, too.

For your loved one (female):

A diamond necklace ( or bracelet or earrings) like this one from 77diamonds.com

It’s small, subtle and sophisticated.

For a mom on-the-go who loves taking snapshots of her little one (unless she has a DSLR)

I love this camera. It’s what a pro photographer would use as a point-and-shoot. It records full  1080p HD video, has an ultra wide angle lens (24mm) and a great low light performance. And it’s currently 35% off on Amazon

Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS

For a man in your life, who likes finer things in life:

Montblanc Meisterstuck Classic Ballpoint Pen

and/or a matching Montblanc Wallet

I bought this pen and this wallet for  my husband’s birthday. He’s obsessed with Montblanc.The pen is awesome, but the wallet is my true love. I own one as well ( a female version) and this wallet lasts YEARS and still looks great ( unless you’re me, who doesn’t care how much an item costs and throws it into her purse along with everything else there and get it all scratched up, just like her expensive sunglasses- I really gotta do something about that horrible habit of mine)

For a friend with a DSLR who’s new to photography

Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8

My next lens, for sure. I’d pick this particular lens over a similar Canon, because it’s cheaper and most importantly MUCH MUCH lighter. The Canon version is like shooting with a brick. This is great for landscape, as well as portraiture, has a constant aperture of 2.8 which means you’ll have plenty of light to shoot in gloomy or indoor conditions.

For a special kid  who loves music or  for a new baby:

Cranberry Red Baloon CD, a children’s album with soft songs that are perfect for rainy days or going to sleep.

Singing on the album – Art Garfunkel, Bruce Johnston from the Beach Boys, John
Cowsill from The Cowsills and Vicki Peterson from The Bangles!!
Buy it here

For an aspiring photographer:

Photoshop Lightroom 3 – License

It’s my go-to editing program. If you or your friend has an .edu account, you can get this at 1/3 of the retail price.

Photoshop Lightroom 3 - License

For a sexy fashionable girlfriend

What is better than aLittle Black Dress

Bette D.

For your pregnant friend:

Graco Prenatal Listener – 2J00

A super cool device that lets you spy on your unborn baby, listen to its kicks, hicupps, sounds, movements, etc

For a guy who’s really into music

A Portable speaker with awesome sound: Altec Speaker. Run on batteries rather than a USB charge like most, which means you don’t have to drain your poor iPhone battery to listen to it.

For your friend who keeps trying to lose weight but doesn’t own a scale :)

Eat Smart Scale

Your mom or sister


My mom LOVES receiving Blurb books with photos of our time together. These are my favorite photo books, quality-wise and feature-wise.

For a friend’s adorable daughter

Tea Collection Flowery Fun 5-Piece Set

Yeah I can’t get enough of their fun styles.

For a couple that is TTCing

Get Ready to Get Pregnant

By far, the best pre-conception book out there! It was and is my pre-conception BIBLE! Get it for ANYONE who’s thinking about TTC or are in the process of TTC!

For that crazy cat(or dog) lady

Laser pointers are SO LAST SEASON!

Interactive Pet Laser

A girly girl who loves looking pretty

One word: Yummy Make up Set, Celebutante

Your cool guyfriend/boyfriend/husband

Pinstripe Blazer

Rugged mixed with stylish- a total YES!

Baby Showers? No! Baby Parties? Hell yeah!

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


I’ve had a few people ask me about my baby shower, so I thought I’d tell you my stance on them.

I am not crazy about baby showers. I think they can be boring and lame. And yes, you get gifts and stuff, but honestly, all the people who care about us and Alexis, know we’re registered on Amazon and would get/have gotten us a gift anyways. And I’m not concerned about missing out on a few cheap onesies. What I am concerned about, however, is having a good time with my friends and family while celebrating this new life. It seems silly to gather up all the girls BEFORE you have the baby to celebrate said baby. And what about the boys, too? I have guyfriends who I would love to share this celebration with. So pretty much from the very beginning, I was determined NOT to have a baby shower, but to have a baby party, instead. One that would be co-ed, that would be fun, and not about opening gifts and playing silly games. And more importantly one that would happen AFTER Alexis arrives, because the celebration is in HER honor. That way all my friends and extended family can meet her, rather than fly down just to sit there and look at my big belly with a big smile.

That being said, if you still live in the same place you grew up in, with your whole family and all  your friends right by your side, sure – have a girls- only baby shower, if that’s what you want. But when half of your friends and family have to fly down to attend that baby shower, I feel it’s more appropriate to have them make that trip to see something other than my cute belly.

{photo from our last All White New Year’s party}

Oh and let’s not forget the selfish aspect of it all, I WANT TO ENJOY IT TOO. And I will only be able to fully enjoy the food and the company, if I am feeling well and fit and beautiful, rather than heartburny, tired and big.  So there you have it. No baby shower while pregnant, but YES to a big baby party once Alexis is here.

Question for you : When would be the safest time for Alexis ( from the germ exposure and immune system standpoint) to have that baby party? I don’t want to wait till she’s 6 months old, but I am not sure if it’s safe for her to have that many visitors before? Thoughts?

Pregnancy Must Haves and Photo Recap (2nd Trimester Issue)

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in HEALTH, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, Other Recommendations, PREGNANCY, PRODUCTS

As I continue musing on my 2nd trimester, I find it amazing how many more discoveries I’ve had since I got pregnant. Having been very prepared for pregnancy, there were still things I was finding out and figuring out in the first trimester, and just when I thought there was nothing new to find or learn, I’d stumble upon something else that is better or something I haven’t thought about, things that I wish I had known about in the 1st trimester.

So I thought it’d be fun to write a little bit about the 4 new items that I found very useful or helpful or better than anything else on the market during the 2nd trimester. And, our generous sponsors will actually give you an opportunity to win 3 out of 4 items I’ll be talking about, so don’t forget to enter when you’re done reading, if it’s something you like.

Mama Mio Skin Care

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember that I thoroughly researched pregnancy safe skin products and was going into pregnancy using only what I considered safe and having eliminated anything harmful. At that moment I was using Belli Skin Care line, which is a good and effective line of pregnancy products that is 100% teratogenically tested (teratogen= substance that causes birth defects) . Some time in my 1st trimester as I continued reading and researching chemicals in food and beauty products, I started realizing that what I was using previously, while teratogen free, is not exactly 100% safe and natural. The fact that something doesn’t cause birth defects doesn’t mean it won’t make other less obvious changes in your baby. Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) for example, isn’t considered a teratogen, however it mimics a hormone, called oestrogen, and may be responsible for health problems, such as menopause, PMS, breast cancers, low male fertility, aside from the fact that it can be contaminated with dioxane, a known carcinogen. And nothing that mimics hormones is a good idea to use during pregnancy since the whole pregnancy is lead and governed by the correct expression of hormones. Well, SLS is literally everywhere. If it’s some sort of cleaning or foaming product, like a face wash, you’ll see Sodium Laurel Sulfate as one of the top ingredients.

I don’t know how about you, but while pregnant, I really didn’t want to risk it. So I’d spend hours trying to find products that didn’t have these lesser known or not so obviously harmful chemicals.I did find a good product in each necessary category and you can see the line up here. However, the issue was while they were 100% safe and good for you, I wasn’t crazy about how well they worked or smelled. But I figured I’d survive with limp hair and stinky oily stomach until my baby is born! ( I couldn’t help but post this picture on the left. We took it for ourselves because we thought it was funny, but I think it really shows how big my belly has gotten, much more than you can see in a static picture. It amazes me sometimes: I have a big firm belly with our daughter inside!)

So that was until I bumped into Mama Mio products. By now  you can tell, I am very serious about safety when it comes to pregnancy- any new product I buy, I dissect all the ingredients to make sure they’re acceptable to me. Their products clearly state that they are ALL paraben free, petroleum free, phthalates free, sodium laureth and sodium lauryl sulphate free, colourant free, synthetic fragrance free and xenoestrogen free. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? However, I was still concerned about the fragrance. See, the word “fragrance” is where most skin care companies can hide all the nasty stuff, since fragrances are protected by copyright law ( or whatever it’s called when it comes to beauty products). You’re not required to disclose the content of the fragrance(perfum). So whenever you see that on your bottle of cream, you could be slathering yourself with parabens, petroleum, carcinogens, etc, unless the package says otherwise. So after looking more into what Mama Mio’s fragrance was all about, I found the best answer I could expect. Gravida is Mama Mio’s “amazing essential oil fragrance; a blend of 10 pregnancy-safe, pregnancy-specific natural oils which smells gorgeous to even the most sensitive of noses”. Sounds great! I also didn’t stop there. Once I got the products, I went over the ingredient list to makes sure there was nothing else I didn’t like the sound of and everything was perfect.

So I’ve been using them for almost 2 months now and I gotta tell you, there’s No Natural Skin Care Line I’ve used that compares to their products! I am a customer for life!

I’ve been using the BBB Kit (Boobs, Bellies, Bottoms), that includes Tummy Rub Oil, Boob Tube and O-Mega Wonder-Full Balm.

Tummy Oil is by far my favorite! First of all the smell is HEAVENLY! Throw away your Mother’s Blend Oil, because it doesn’t stand a chance. I remember hating the smell of Mother’s Blend in the first trimester and putting up with it in the 2nd. With Tummy Rub Oil, I look forward to my nightly routine. Even my husband keeps commenting on how good I smell after I apply it and he’s not really a smell guy. I still don’t have a single stretchmark and my belly has been growing much faster this past month, going from almost nothing to a big baby belly. I’m almost out of the oil, but I know I’ll be ordering another bottle very soon. Sometimes, when I lie down to relax after a tiring day, I put a little bit of the oil on my wrists and pillow just to have the smell around me, it’s so calming!

Boob Tube smells just as good ( a slightly different fragrance) and I am not sure if I’m hallucinating but I could swear my boobs are firmer and have more tone. Even if it’s all my imagination, I know the skin around them has never looked better. I should probably start applying it around my upper chest and neck too, since it’s a Bust and Neck firmer (something I just realized lol)

Omega Wonder-Full Balm is a one stop rescue balm. I use it on my lips, my elbows, my knees, dry spots on my tummy, my belly button when it feels stretchy. It smells amazing (again), hydrates and heals the skin instantly. And the bottle lasts FOREVER.

Some other items worth trying are cooling Lucky Legs for tired legs relief ( don’t have problems with legs since I’m home most of the time, so I haven’t tried that yet), existing stretchmarks and scars remedies (will definitely buy those if it ever becomes an issue), cellulite cream ( A must for me after pregnancy, along with Toning Serum). You know how when you find the right company and the right products that work for you, you no longer care about the price, it just makes sense to continue using them- Mama Mio is that line for me. Luckily, their prices are reasonable.

I’ve been kind of neglecting the rest of my body, leaving it dry and unexfoliated, because I couldn’t find anything safe enough, but with my next order, I’ll be buying the Body Oil or Cream and the Exfoliator to take care my horribly dry skin in all places other than boobs and tummy. Will report later on how these worked out for me.

If you’d like to try some of these products, Mama Mio is giving away a full sized set of Mighty Moisture Day & Night Moisturizer, Goodbye Stretch Marks and a Boob Tube to 1 lucky reader ( enter at the end of this post)

MyBrestFriend Body Pillow

A few months ago as I was starting to have to sleep on my side and was feeling very uncomfortable, I started looking for a body pillow. I asked people on the blog, I read a few review on Amazon, I balked at the $100 price tag of some of the body pillows. So I slept with 5 different pillows for as long as I could until I got an actual pregnancy body pillow. One thing I was looking forward to in a body pillow is the little ledge for your belly. I felt like it was sagging down and pulling on my back, like it needed support. It made a HUGE difference to have the little wedge between the bed and my belly. It felt more supported and comfortable and the light dull backache disappeared almost overnight. Aside from that, I didn’t really know what to expect in a body pillow. It took me a few days to get used to it and find the perfect position for my body.

See, I like things between my legs (hahaha- that’s what got me into this pickle). No, seriously, when I sleep on my side I almost always need something between my knees and ankles. It started when I was modeling and was so thin, it was simply uncomfortable to have no padding (read: fat) between my bones when they lay atop of each other. At this point, I am not sure if I’m just used to hugging things with my legs or bones are still an issue, but I know I’ve always needed a pillow between my legs. I find that this pillow doesn’t give me enough surface area for my long legs when sleeping in a bent position, so I still have to have an additional standard pillow between my knees. However, if you’re the kind of sleeper who doesn’t like bulky things around you, this pillow will be utter perfection. What I do like is how it’s long enough to reach my ankles and support them and thin and light enough not to make me sweaty at night. It took me a few days to find a good position for my head and now I LOVE it. The little rounded pillow at the end is supposed to support your head and I find it so cuddly and comfortable.

So my current set up is as follows: big shapeless body pillow behind me to prevent me from turning over to sleep on my back at night. MyBrestFriend pillow up front with the rounded corner under my head, belly wedge under my tummy and the bottom end of the pillow supporting my ankles, plus an additional pillow between my knees. This is THE best set up I have found and the best sleep I’ve had. I rarely wake up with back pain and if I do, it’s mostly because I turned to the other side in my sleep and somehow didn’t bring the body pillow with me.

You can win a body pillow from MyBrestFriend by entering the giveaway below.

Belly Armor

I really really wish I knew about this particular item BEFORE I got pregnant, so that I had it with me from day 1.

You know how most of our lives are spent at our computers? You’re obviously sitting at one reading this. Or you might be reading the post on your cell phone. I’m sure more than half of you work at a computer. Either way, we’re constantly exposed to low levels of radiation from all the daily items we use. The information is now coming out that cell phones used without a headset cause tumors. I haven’t heard much about laptops and desktops but I know it’s not good to have one on your lap. This has bothered me for quite a while since all of my work and most of my hobbies involve a computer. Like I said before, I am ok with taking a small risk when it comes to my own health out of laziness or whatnot, but the second we knew we were pregnant, it changed completely, because everything that I am exposed to, even in low doses could harm that little human being inside me during sensitive periods of development.

Oh how I wish I knew about the company called Belly Armor in my first trimester. They make products that protect your belly from all the radiation that we’re exposed to daily. According to their website “the past 25 years of research has evidenced several potential health hazards during pregnancy from radiation, including birth defects and genetic disruptions, miscarriages, autism, childhood leukemia, and cancer. Because scientists have shown that cell growth and DNA replication are disrupted by radiation, pregnancy and early childhood represent the highest risk for exposure.” The funding for studies like this is limited, because the effects take years to show up, so it’s almost impossible to measure, just like most research in prenatal programming and exposure, but to me as a pregnant woman, bent on protecting my child while it’s in the womb, it is a definitely step to take. Belly Armor has three products: the Belly Blanket, the Belly Tee and the Belly Band. They are made out of cotton and a RadiaShield lining that protects you against 99.9% of radiation. I even tested that. I wrapped my cell phone in the blanket and it instantly lost signal. I have both the blanket and the band.

I find the blanket perfect to have around the house. Whenever I sit down with my laptop (which I always have on a special lap pillow), I put the blanket over my belly. EVERY TIME! It just feels so good to know that Alexis is protected from radiation, something that has always been in the back of my mind up until now. The blanket comes in cute colors and has a convenient pocket for a cell phone. Before I had the blanket, I also found myself “accidentally” putting my iphone on the top of my belly (using it as a shelf) when I needed my hands free for something and then instantly realizing that and putting it aside. Now with the blanket, I can actually rest it there for a couple of seconds while I’m reaching for a glass of water or clicking a link without freaking myself out. So almost every evening, after a long day, you can see me in this position, with my laptop and my Belly Blanket

The band on the other hand is ideal if you work at a computer and can’t or don’t want to bring your blanket with you. It’s much more comfortable to have a band on when you’re sitting at the desk. It also does the double duty of supporting your belly. Sometimes, when I know I’ll be on the go all day, I just put the band on and I don’t have to worry about bringing my blanket with me. The band fits perfectly under any maternity clothes and is very inconspicuous. So I figured, if you’re gonna buy a belly band, you might as well get one with protection. I got it in a slightly bigger size knowing that in the last two months my belly will have to catch up and grow quite a bit.

I am really happy I get to use these, even though I only have a few weeks left, but I know that with the next pregnancy, I will be using both from day one. My friend whose sister is pregnant instantly ordered one as soon as she saw mine. It’d make a great gift for a pregnant woman.

To win a BellyBand or Belly Blanket, enter the giveaway below.

Organized Pregnancy

The final item that I found very useful is this book: One Year to an Organized Life with a Baby. Again, in this case I wish I had found it sooner, but better late than never. It’s a book that takes you through a whole year week by week, starting from 9 weeks pregnant to postpartum, helping you prepare everything for the arrival of the baby and the changes that will take place.

The author goes over things that need to be bought, things that could wait, places, rooms and closets that need to be organized, space that needs to be made, preparations for maternity leave and returning back to work, financial preparations- basically everything that would ideally need to be taken care of before a baby comes, without cramming it all into the last few weeks of pregnancy like we all tend to do. Each week she gives a “project”, along with valuable tips and tricks of organization. I read through to 32 weeks and have been following her advice on many levels. The book is also an AMAZING motivational tool that will get your nesting butt off the couch and itching to properly prepare for a baby! Definitely a must read, especially if you lack organization or love organizing ( both apply to me :))

and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 1 daily entry for which you can come back to enter daily.
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Please make sure to visit Mama Mio and/or MyBrestFriend and/or Belly Armor (or all three)and comment on what items you’d like to win is to be eligible to win (entry #2). The comment is to be posted to this blog post.
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Disclosure: Some of the items above were sent to me for free in exchange for my honest opinion.