first trimester pregnancy favorites

Aug 26th 2014 02:23:43 pm

firsttrimester

I really can’t believe I have already made it through nearly half of this pregnancy. I think it feels most unreal because we waited so long to tell everyone the good news. But now that we’ve made the announcement, I have a lot to say!!

Overall, I think I am taking to pregnancy really well, but I did feel frustrated and sick during the first trimester. Weeks 5 through 11 were the worst for me. I was fatigued and nauseous most of the time. I didn’t actually throw up ever, so I guess it could have been a lot worse. Exercise was nearly impossible during those first weeks and I’d get a fast heart beat doing nearly any type of physical activity. I spent a lot of time resting.

Now that I am in the second trimester, I am feeling much better — and more hungry!! I am glad that I kept this list of my favorite first trimester items because I may have forgotten what the first few weeks were like. Perhaps these ideas will help your early pregnancy go smoothly…

My First Trimester Favorites:

  1. Prenatal Vitamins – I’ve been taking New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin for years now (always hoping to get pregnant!) and I added Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA once I found out that I finally was pregnant. Both were ok’d by my doctor and neither make me sick (some women have a hard time with vitamins making them nauseous). I spread out taking them over the course of the day with food.
  2. Ovia Pregnancy App – I downloaded a bunch of pregnancy apps to track the little babe’s progress, but the Ovia Pregnancy app has been my favorite. It tells you about your baby each week (with cute little illustrations) and allows you to input and track a lot of info, like your activity level and weight. It also gives you daily tips and articles. Some of the articles are a little vague (they are not doctors!) but I like that this app seems to have WAY less ads than the other apps I’ve tried.
  3. Claussen Dill Pickle Spears – My doctor said I should avoid salty foods and that the cravings were basically in my head… but I just can’t believe that. Some days, a pickle was the only thing I wanted and the only thing that made me feel better. Claussen Dill Pickle Spears were the very best.
  4. Lime Seltzer Water – I’ve always loved seltzer water, but I went through nearly a 2-liter of Schweppes Lemon Lime Seltzer Water every day during the first trimester! I tried doing real lemon and lime wedges for a while, but they really exacerbated my heartburn.
  5. Chimes Ginger Chews – I wasn’t craving any sweets or candy during the first trimester, but these Ginger Chimes Chews (in the Orange flavor) were occasionally a big help with my nausea. They have a very fresh and strong ginger flavor and they are all natural.
  6. Star Trek Voyager – Ok, so you may not share my love for sci-fi, but I definitely recommend having a go-to tv series to watch at those times when you are too tired to move or you decide to stay on the couch on Friday night instead of going out. Bonus points if it contains strong female characters! (I guess a book could work, too. ha!)
  7. Flowy Maxi Dress – I wasn’t showing at all in the first trimester and could mostly wear my normal pants, but I did have some abdominal discomfort and definitely didn’t feel comfortable sucking in my stomach. Sometimes you don’t want to wear restrictive pants, or a clingy, form-fitting maxi dress (like so many pregnancy sites recommend), but this silk dress from J. Crew is perfect. The waist band is elastic and can be worn above the belly. It is loose, comfy, and flattering.
  8. New bras – My boobs grew a cup size pretty fast. I splurged on two new bras from Cosabella. They aren’t cheap, but they are very high quality and comfortable. I also bought this soft bra for lounging and sleeping. This is a lot of info, but my nipples have been so sensitive that it is uncomfortable to go braless basically ever.

So, that is my list… what do you think? What were your favorite things that helped you through your first trimester?

1 Comment » Categories: Fashion, Food, Pregnancy

currently // june 2014

Jun 24th 2014 09:27:08 am

curently_june14

using… Dior Nail Glow. This is the best nail polish in the world. It is basically clear, but it has some magical property that makes the pinks of your nails become pinker and the whites become whiter. It also has a super-hard finish and lasts forever. Plus, you can just layer on another coat if it does start to chip. I seriously think this polish makes my nails look way better than any manicure and it is a lot easier and cheaper!

eating…. Tons of organic, local fruits & veggies. Travis and I joined the Local Roots CSA through his office, which means we get a random assortment of fruits and veggies each week, and meat and bread every other week. We’ve tried a lot of new things, like sorrel, quelites, tat soi, bok choy, and garlic scapes, plus the usual stuff like strawberries, apples, carrots, and beets. We’ve really enjoyed cooking a lot of healthy, tasty meals at home.

wishing for… this metal shelving unit from Room & Board. I need to drastically purge and organize my office, and this set of shelves will fit into a small space.

watching… Star Trek: Voyager. I’ve been working my way through the series whenever I have down time. (Usually, when Travis isn’t around. He doesn’t seem to love it as much as I do.) I watched it when it originally aired, but not religiously and not the final few seasons. At first it was too cheesy and I thought I wouldn’t finish it, but the series gets better and better. I am in Season 6 right now and will be sad when it is over! I love Tuvok. He reminds me of Travis.

working on… Swap-bot! Travis and I have been doing a LOT of work on the ‘bot to catch up from when we were away in Europe. Travis has been upgrading the backend infrastructure of the site and I just announced our new Ambassador program. I am excited about it and thrilled that we have so many excellent and enthusiastic members!

///

What are you up to this summer?

3 Comments » Categories: Currently, Food, Home, Make-up & Beauty, Swap-bot, Television

new orleans 2014

Feb 26th 2014 01:19:06 pm

Jackson Square, New Orleans

I was really looking forward to our trip to New Orleans earlier this month. I had so much fun visiting the “Big Easy” with my brother Seth in 2012, I was eager to go back. The history, culture, and food in New Orleans is so unique and exciting… but the trip didn’t quite live up to my high expectations.

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans

The bummer stuff:

We really had a perfectly fine trip, but there were some things that brought the experience down a bit…

  • We had a few good sunny days, but mostly we had a lot of foggy, overcast weather.
  • I’ll give more details below, but my Half Marathon was really tough! I had wanted to run hard for this race since it was my official winter Team in Training event, but I couldn’t get my pace up and I felt sluggish the whole time. I was also inexplicably REALLY sore after the race.
  • I rolled my ankle pretty badly while walking around the day after the race. It is still a little swollen.
  • Our trip was longer than planned, March 30th to February 5th — a full week!! Our flight home was cancelled on Tuesday and so we ended up staying an extra day. But then the flight was delayed multiple times on Wednesday, which basically wasted the whole day. I tried to enjoy the extra time, but I was very ready to be home!
  • We didn’t take any tours or go to any museums. I love the history of New Orleans and didn’t feel as immersed in it this trip.

nolatravis

So, nothing too terrible happened… I got to spend a lot of quality time with Travis and hang out with many of our good friends. Plus, we WERE there to run a race with Team in Training, so that was the main focus. Here is my overview of the race…

neworleanshalf

New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon:

Rock N Roll races are large, well-organized events and New Orleans was no different. (I’ve run the Rock N Roll marathon in San Diego twice.) The race started near Lafayette Square near our hotel in the Central Business district.

The temperature in the 50s was perfect, but it was extremely foggy!! It might have been the foggiest race I’ve run, even more so than the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco when we couldn’t see the Golden Gate Bridge! The air felt a little thick and humid, and it was hard to see the lovely scenery as we ran through the mansions of the Garden District and the streets of the French Quarter. You couldn’t even see the cathedral across Jackson Square! It was intense.

neworleanshalf3

I woke up cranky, but I tried to feel confident for the first three miles. I thought maybe my sluggish legs would shake themselves out, but it didn’t happen. The course was completely flat, but I still struggled through the whole race. I ran alone the entire time and sprinted the end only because I wanted to be done. It was overcast and cold by the time the race ended, but we received two medals — a beaded one for the race and an extra one for doing it with a charity organization — and my 20th official Half Marathon was completed!

neworleanshalf2

The finish area was in City Park. It was a little muddy and crowded, but they gave out lots of great food (including chocolate milk) and the Team in Training tent was stocked with goodies. I met Travis (he PRd!) and lots of my friends (Hi, Brian! Hi, Jess!) on the sidelines and we waited to cheer in our full marathoners. Travis and I waited until our friend Nate finished (with a PR!) and then headed back to our hotel.

I was exhausted after the race and must not have been good about replacing my electrolytes. I was too wiped out to enjoy our team victory party or to watch the Super Bowl with the team, but Travis and I did manage to go out to dinner at Sylvain’s which revived me a bit.

Second only to our fun friends and awesome Brooklyn team, the food was the best part of the trip!!

Acme Oyster House, New Orleans

Restaurants:

New Orleans food is heavy and rich — lots of fried food, seafood, and meat — but it is delicious. I would recommend all of these restaurants we tried…

nolamuffeleta

Cafe Du Monde – The classic breakfast place for beignets and coffee. Open 24 hours!! I really like their coffee. A lot. Get the frozen cafe au lait.

Cochon – My favorite! Lots of meat. We ate a fabulous dinner with friends at the “sit down” restaurant and ordered just about everything. (I loved the fried alligator!) Then, Travis and I also got amazing sandwiches for lunch one day at the Cochon Butcher next door. I ordered the muffuletta, which was nearly as good as the original from Central Grocery…

Central Grocery – Grab a giant muffuletta sandwich and Zapp’s chips to go at this French Quarter store front and eat them in Jackson Square or on the water front. It is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Seriously. I dream about it.

Sylvain’s – Sort of fancy “new southern.” I had a tiny quail. It was delicious.

Elizabeth’s – A New Orleans MUST with a relaxed, slightly hipster atmosphere. Go for brunch. Get the best bloody mary ever and the praline bacon.

nolaelizabeths

Court of the Two Sisters – We went for the all you-can-eat Jazz Brunch. It was plenty good with tons of options, but a little pricey and very touristy.

Acme Oyster House – Fresh oysters, charbroiled oysters, fried oysters – I tried them all! And Travis said this was his favorite po’boy of the trip. You almost always have to wait in line for a table at the French Quarter location, but it is fun and worth it.

Mother’s – Classic southern comfort food. You might have to wait in line, but the tables turn over really fast in this large, totally casual, 80-year-old restaurant. Get a po’boy with “debris” or the jambalaya or the baked ham.

Magasin Cafe – There is a very large Vietnamese population in New Orleans, so there are many restaurant options for delicious pho, and banh mi, and spring rolls. Travis and I chose Magasin on the suggestion of a friend and we loved it. It’s a great spot to eat after walking around the mansions of the Garden District and the shops on Magazine Street.

Sucre – My favorite New Orleans bakery with my favorite King Cake. (FYI: You can get the cakes delivered anywhere in the US!) Travis loved it and we visited Sucre three times during the trip! Wow.

nolakindcake

Other fun New Orleans stuff:

Food really was the highlight of the trip, but we managed to fit in some other fun stuff. Riding the street car from the French Quarter over to the Garden District was fun and easy. Once there, we walked around checking out the pretty mansions and the fascinating cemeteries. Of course, strolling through the French Quarter is a MUST. We walked down Bourbon Street and I stopped in Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo. (Travis thought it was a little too spooky.) I think a photo op in Jackson Square is a requirement of every Nola trip, and a stroll through the french market near the river front is great for souvenir hunting. The Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone is a fun evening stop. I had a milk punch — pretty tasty! We had the opportunity to visit with our friend Amanda’s cousin at his beautiful home near Lake Pontchartrain one evening, which was delightful. I would definitely recommend getting out of the city center if possible and talking with some locals. It is amazing to hear how the city has come back after Hurricane Katrina.

nolamasks

Overall, it was a good trip and I’d totally recommend visiting New Orleans to anyone. But just like anywhere else, things could not go as planned, so it is helpful to stay flexible… and maybe not have TOO high of expectations. I think that was my major downfall this trip. Maybe some day I’ll go back and JUST visit every museum in the city!

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Check out all 100+ photos from New Orleans on Flickr.

2 Comments » Categories: Food, Friends, running, Travel, Travis

holiday baking

Dec 22nd 2013 04:50:42 pm

holidaycookies

It is Christmas week! woohoo! Travis and I are staying in Brooklyn this year. It is a little sad to not be spending Christmas with our families, but it is also exciting to get to do some of the holiday stuff ourselves… like baking!

I have an ambitious cookie plan! I really don’t have much of a reason. I just want to bake a bunch of holiday treats. If they turn out, maybe I’ll give them out to friends…

My holiday baking to do list:

Are you baking for the holidays? What are your favorite recipes?

No Comments » Categories: Christmas, Food, holidays

friends-giving

Dec 4th 2013 08:02:33 pm

friendsgiving

Am I a control freak? I am starting to admit it to myself… but I hope that is not how my friends thought of me on Thanksgiving.

I just REALLY like making a turkey. And I LOVE hosting events at my place. So, I am very THANKFUL that my friends put up with me and were willing to come over for a Friends-giving feast!

I am grateful every day for the people we have met in Brooklyn. I wouldn’t have survived in this city without them.

friendsgiving2

Everything I made for our dinner was super-simple and traditional. I roasted the turkey with just some butter rubbed on the skin and some veggies, herbs, and lemon stuffed inside. The gravy made from the pan drippings was amazing. I also made simple bread stuffing, sautéed brussels sprouts, traditional cranberry sauce from scratch, an apple pie with a sugar crumb topping, and a chocolate pecan pie. Travis made the mashed potatoes. Daniel brought a Puerto Rican stuffing with plantains and homemade coquito. Karelle made spicy sweet potatoes. Amanda brought bread and cheese. Suzy brought wine and chocolate. Everything was delicious. We all ate a lot and laughed a lot!

I think this was my best Thanksgiving meal attempt yet. Practice makes perfect! Plus, I think I did a good job of prepping a lot in advance. The only thing that didn’t really turn out was the chocolate pecan pie. It was my first time making it and I think I over-cooked it. The baked brie and mulled apple cider were hits for appetizers, but my apricot cheese bites weren’t very popular.

turkey

Overall, I declare Friends-giving a success! I just wish it could have lasted longer and I could have eaten more…

Travis and I had two good meals from the left overs. Plus, I made stock from scratch and soup out of the leftover turkey. There is still plenty of soup in the fridge!

Now, I am working on my plan for my next holiday get together…

crusherturkey

Crusher wants more turkey!

How was your Thanksgiving??

(Almost all of the photos in this post were taken by my friend Amanda. You can see more of her and my Friends-giving photos in my Flickr set.)

1 Comment » Categories: Brooklyn, Food, Friends, holidays

thanksgiving countdown

Nov 26th 2013 03:08:14 pm

tdayprep

I really love Thanksgiving. I love roasting a turkey and sitting down to a big meal! I’ve made full Thanksgiving meals many times, like in 2005, 2008, 2009, and last year. It is a good amount of work and takes some planning and coordination, but I really enjoy it!

This year, I’ve invited some friends over. I think there will be eight of us and I am making the meal basics: turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, apple pie, mulled cider, and a few appetizers. (Check out my Pinterest Thanksgiving board for most of the recipes.) It sounds like a lot, but it is my usual, practiced menu. My friends are bringing extra side dishes, drinks, etc. There will be too much food, but I love it!

So, right now I am in prep mode. If you spread the shopping and preparation out over several days, it makes things easier. I had some of our groceries delivered by Fresh Direct and I ordered our pre-brined turkey from Williams Sonoma. Getting stuff delivered really helps, especially since otherwise I shop for all my groceries on foot and carry them up many flights of stairs. I saw my neighbor in the hall yesterday and chatted about our Thanksgiving plans and she was astounded that we were making the full meal in our apartment. Our place is quite small. But anything is possible!!

thanksgiving2

I thought I’d publish my Thanksgiving Day Countdown check list here for fun and for future reference…

Tuesday:

  • clean bathroom & kitchen
  • Get all serving platters and extra dishes out of storage.
  • wash platters and dishes
  • cut bread for stuffing
  • make pie crust

Wednesday:

  • get last minute groceries
  • Make apple pie
  • Make pecan pie
  • Make cranberry sauce
  • Assemble baked brie
  • Assemble apricot appetizers
  • Chop and cook veggies for turkey & stuffing
  • Get out folding table
  • Get nails done (if time allows…)

Thursday – Thanksgiving!!

  • Run Turkey Trot
  • Take turkey out of fridge
  • Watch the National Dog Show!
  • Prep turkey, put in oven
  • Start mulling cider in crock pot
  • Prep stuffing, put in fridge
  • Set up drink & appetizer table
  • Set dinner table
  • Greet guests!
  • Put brie in oven
  • Make mashed potatoes
  • Make brussels sprouts
  • Take out turkey, let rest
  • Put stuffing in oven
  • Make gravy
  • Put food on table and EAT!

What am I forgetting?? What else should be on the list?

(For more Thanksgiving prep inspiration, check out Martha Stewart’s timeline checklist.)

thanksgiving1

6 Comments » Categories: Food, Friends, holidays

currently // november 2013

Nov 13th 2013 04:46:52 pm

currently_nov13

watching… Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This new comedy is my current favorite. It is really funny. And sweet. And it actually addresses some important and relevant topics, like the changing dynamics of NYC and LGTBQ and women’s equality in the workplace. Plus, it is based in my neighborhood!

eating… Blueberry Scones – yum! I added a brown butter glaze to Martha’s classic recipe for a little more sweetness.

playing… Tiny Thief, a super-adorable puzzle game for the iPhone. It costs $2.99, but I think it is worth it. Cute and clever!

feeling… proud and happy that Bill deBlasio is our new Mayor of NYC!

listening… to songs that will motivate me through my marathon on Sunday. My current favorites are Cruise by Florida Georgia Line (the remix version feat. my favorite STL rapper, Nelly, of course) and Timber by Pitbull and Ke$ha. What other fun songs should I add to my playlist?

loving… my new Patagonia puffy vest. I wear it running and as perfect fall layer any time. Totally classic and comfy. (Wouldn’t it look cute with this colorful hat?!)

organizing… another great Holiday Gift Donation Drive with the Swap-bot community. We are collecting gifts for The Partnership for the Homeless to distribute at their Children’s Holiday Party here in Brooklyn. Join us?

//

What are you currently into?

//

Check out a blast from the past:

currently november 2012 // currently november 2011

No Comments » Categories: Brooklyn, Clothes, Currently, Food, New York, politics, Television

Dominique Ansel Bakery & Cronuts

Aug 12th 2013 10:12:15 am

CRONUTS! So hot right now.

I am actually not a very big fan of croissants — weird, I know — so I didn’t initially jump on the Cronut (croissant-donut) craze. But ever since their debut in May, the obsession over Cronuts in the city just kept getting more and more intense. I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

Last Saturday, after completing a run in Manhattan during Summer Streets, I jogged over to the Domonique Ansel Bakery in Soho to check out the scene. I don’t know what I thought would happen. People line up outside the bakery for Cronuts as early as 5 am, seven days a week! I didn’t really expect to be able to buy a Cronut. I thought they’d be sold out by the late hour of 9:30 am, but I was surprised to see the long line to the bakery still going strong. I joined in the line (between two groups of tourists) and texted Travis to tell him that it might take a while.

We could have waited and I think we would have actually been able to buy our allotted two Cronuts before they sold out for the day, but after an hour in the line, Travis and I gave up and decided to just join the normal, non-Cronut (short) bakery line and order other delicious pastry creations. We bought a chocolate croissant, a DKA (my favorite), a cannelè, and Dominique Ansel’s other signature summer creation, the Frozen S’more.

The Frozen S’more was pretty awesome. It consisted of a chocolate covered cookie and vanilla ice cream wrapped in a marshmallow. Each S’more is toasted by hand while you watch. You can see my S’more getting fired (above) by one of Ansel’s hard working assistants. (Ansel is standing next to him prepping madeleines.) It was delicious, but very sweet. Perhaps a little too much sugar for breakfast, but I was thrilled to try it!

I left the bakery happy and satisfied, but a little bummed that I did not get to sample the famous Cronut… but do not despair! My fate is inextricably entwined with that of the Cronut!

Later in the day, I attended a lovely bridal shower for my beautiful bride-to-be friend, Sarah Yuen, and what did we have for dessert?? CRONUTS! Her amazing bridesmaids had ordered fifty of them a month ago for the event. What a surprise! The ladies at the shower (including me, of course) all went wild when they were presented. We all had to take photos and post about our good fortune on Facebook.

The Cronut flavor of the month is coconut and it was divine. The coconut flavor was not too strong, and you could taste lime in the light cream filling. The Cronuts are also rolled in cinnamon sugar and then topped with more icing. Definitely very sweet and rich! I could have been happy eating half, but when presented with a serendipitous Cronut, you must take advantage. I ate the whole thing. Yum!

So, are Cronuts worth the hype? Maybe. They are definitely delicious and impressive, but there are many places to get excellent donuts and croissants in the city… BUT I will say this: Dominique Ansel is LEGIT! The French pastry chef is at his bakery every day working and greeting the Cronut-crazed masses. It takes three days to make each trademarked Cronut and he does not skimp on quality or technique. He does not allow celebrities to cut the Cronut line and he even started a charity to spread the Cronut wealth. I will definitely revisit his bakery and watch for his future culinary inventions!

FYI: You can follow Domonique on Twitter to get the latest Cronut news.

Have you tried a Cronut? What did you think?

1 Comment » Categories: Food, New York, NYC Cupcake Review

currently // July 2013

Jul 23rd 2013 10:48:13 am

making… the best ever chocolate chip cookies. No Crisco and they still turn out fluffy and soft. Don’t over-cook them. They get eaten really fast!

practicing… Swimming! My swim lesson came to an end, but I’ve started going to lap swim at the local public pool. I have a goal to swim 25 miles by the end of summer… that is a lot.

watching… Orange Is the New Black on Netflix. We actually already finished the full series. It is funny and poignant and complicated and weird. All of the actresses are amazing, but I especially love Kate Mulgrew (previously known as Captain Janeway).

listening to… Emeli Sandé.

looking forward to… camping this weekend! And volunteering at the Lake Placid IronMan. My friends and I are manning a water table during the run portion of the event. I’m excited! (I had such a great experience volunteering at the NYC IronMan last year.)

//

Summer is half over and I am already mourning its passing. I’ve been packing this hot season too full of fun and fitness! What have you been enjoying?

3 Comments » Categories: Currently, Exercise, Food, music, Television, Travel

NYC anniversary date

Jul 9th 2013 11:28:39 am

Ten years of marriage is a big deal, and even though we are usually pretty lame when it comes to celebrations, Travis and I thought we should do something special this year. Originally, we thought about taking a big trip somewhere fancy –like Europe! — but with so much local travel already planned for this summer, planning another trip felt like more of a hassle than a celebration… So, we settled for a fancy New York City anniversary date instead.

We had an extravagant dinner at Craft and then went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway.

Craft was a somewhat random restaurant choice, but it felt more relaxed than other fancy Manhattan places. The waiters were really nice and we didn’t have to wear formal attire. We ordered too much food: both a crispy bacon and a lamb ravioli starter, short ribs and scallops, spinach and morrel mushrooms, and for dessert, donuts and chocolate panna cotta. It was all delicious, but a little rich for me. I’m not used to so much butter! I didn’t leave stuffed, but definitely satisfied.

Kinky Boots was lots of fun! The music was catchy, the drag queens were spectacular, and the finale alone was totally worth the ticket price. I had a great time. (And so did Travis.)

Apparently, I only go to see Tony Award-winning musicals on Broadway because the only other show I’ve seen is The Book of Mormon. Kinky Boots was entirely enjoyable, but I think I liked Mormon more. It just seemed a bit more original and bizarre and brilliant… but obviously, I am not the most savvy theater critic.

We had a wonderful anniversary night on the town… but wild celebrations are still not quite our thing. I am just as happy to celebrate our marriage relaxing at home on the couch.

1 Comment » Categories: Food, love, New York, Travis

Next »

Hello.

I'm Rachel. I run websites and run marathons. I live in Brooklyn and write about art, crafts, design, food, fitness, fashion, my daily life, and New York City.

Enjoy!





categories

archive

search


subscribe via email


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


subscribe via RSS

Overland Park v0.01 | Wordpress