third trimester pregnancy favorites


Well, guys, this pregnancy adventure is getting very close to completion! The third trimester has definitely been the most uncomfortable for me, but I also feel really happy and excited about what comes next, so I can’t complain… too much. These are a few of the things that have helped make the last three months more enjoyable.

Third Trimester Pregnancy Favorites:

  1. Exercise/birth ball – Our Prepared Childbirth class instructor told us that sitting on a birth ball was one of the best ways to prepare for labor. I have been sitting on mine at my desk while doing computer work. It definitely helps me sit up straight and loosens up my hips. I am not sure it is is doing anything beneficial for my perineum, but I guess we’ll find out when this baby decides to make his debut!
  2. fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish – I have itchy skin!! Especially on my legs these days. It is weird. I had a sugar scrub during a pedicure that felt so good that I begged Travis to get me this body polish and scrub my lower legs for me. I can’t really reach my lower legs any longer to do it myself. Good thing my husband is so sweet!
  3. Slip-on Vans – I can no longer really bend over to tie my shoes. Or put on socks, for that matter. Travis helps me when I must wear tied shoes, but otherwise, I am wearing these Vans or other slip-on shoes.
  4. Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream – I ran out of my fancy face lotion and had some of this oil/cream on hand that I have been using instead… and I love it! I like that the ingredients are all natural, so I feel ok using it while pregnant. Plus, it absorbs quickly and makes my skin really soft. And you can basically use it anywhere on your body, which is great since I am trying to simplify my entire hygiene and beauty routine.
  5. Comfy UGG Slippers – I’ve been spending a lot of time at home these days, and it is just fun to have a nice pair of slippers to wear around during the day. Travis got me these new UGGs for Christmas! …I sometimes think I should make an effort to change out of sweats and slippers, but why?
  6. Milk – I am still craving a lot of dairy and I am drinking a good amount of milk. I am still drinking whole milk, and trying to get the Omega 3 stuff when I can. BabyJ’s bones are ossifying during this trimester, so I definitely don’t want to skimp on any calcium. Plus, it helps with my heart burn.
  7. Dried Fruit – (Not pictured) I have been snacking on dried prunes and apricots daily, along with a few nuts, to make sure to get some extra fiber in my diet. I have stayed regular throughout this entire pregnancy, which I classify as a major accomplishment!

Are you in your third trimester of pregnancy? Or recently survived it?? What were your favorite things that helped you stay comfy and happy?


Check out my First Trimester Favorites and my Second Trimester Favorites!


Things I did NOT use during pregnancy:

Since I’ve talked about all the things that I’ve found really helpful during my pregnancy experience, I thought I should share my warnings about pregnancy-related things that many women recommend, but that I did not find useful.

  • Bellaband – This was one of the very first things I bought when I found out I was pregnant because it is recommended on nearly every blog and pregnancy website. It is basically a band of fabric that you can wear over your belly and pants to avoid showing skin or an unbuttoned waistband. In theory it sounds helpful, but I just never wanted to wear an extra item. I just relied on long tank tops and NEVER used the Bellaband once. But… maybe I’ll want to use is post-pregnancy to cover up my wobbly belly… we’ll see.
  • Giant Full-body Pregnancy Sleep Pillow – I will admit that sleeping during the third trimester is not fun, but I never broke down and bought one of the huge full-body pillows. I am sure they are comfy, but I just could not imagine fitting one in my Queen size bed with my 6’6” husband and space-demanding dog. I also didn’t want to worry about storing it or getting rid of it later. So, take it from me that you CAN live without one if necessary.
  • Tracy Anderson The Pregnancy Project – I am a sucker for workout programs and this set of 9 DVDs (one for each month of pregnancy) seemed like a great way to stay motivated and active. I bought it before I was even pregnant! To be clear, I DID do each of the DVDs… at least once. AND if you did these workouts every day (like Tracy suggests) I have NO DOUBT that you would have the best pregnant butt ever. BUT the workouts are boring. And they are basically all the same: 30-60 minutes of strangely contorted leg lifts. I was more likely to choose taking my dog for a walk or going to prenatal yoga over popping in a DVD, so I can’t really recommend The Pregnancy Project.

Any other items that you did not find helpful during pregnancy? Or, that are overhyped and not necessary?

currently // june 2014


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?

brows & lashes

Freaky photo, right? Last Friday, on a whim, I decided to go get my eyebrows and lashes tinted at the Benefit boutique in Soho. My friend, Casey, had told me they offered the procedure and I was in the neighborhood on Friday and in the mood for an experiment.

For a little more than I was expecting — $49 plus tip — I got my lashes and brows tinted and my brows shaped and waxed. (Above is what it looks like during the tinting.)

I am low maintenance (Travis laughs when I say that) and rarely wear makeup. I am blonde (obviously) and have light brows and lashes, which can sort of blend in with my skin. I wear mascara when I do wear makeup, but I am way too lazy to fill in my brows or even tweeze very much. So, a semi-permanent make-up solution sounded like a good idea.

I know that for many women brow waxing is a routine thing, but this was my first time. I was pleased that it didn’t really hurt much at all.

The full procedure — tinting and waxing — is not something that I plan to spend money on every month, but I am actually really pleased with the results! Darker facial features are just more photogenic.

The girls at Benefit also did my makeup, which is shown in the “After” photo above. (And of course, I got talked into a few purchases. I love the new eye shadow I got.) The second photo is after the brow and lash tinting, but before the makeup. I have mascara on in the final photo, but my lashes are dark enough now to go without.

The brow and lash tint is supposed to last for four to eight weeks, depending on the person. I think that I will save it for special occasions (mainly because I don’t want to spend the money) but I definitely recommend the Benefit boutique in general. They also do facial and body waxing, plus other procedures, like tanning, and they totally accept walk-ins.

Do you “groom” your brows?

early birthday goodies

While in California I was surprised by an early birthday party from my sweet in-laws. I loved the gifts I received so much, that I wanted to tell you about them… just in case you are in the market for any of these goodies…

  • Lululemon is something of a family obsession. Travis’ parents got me my very first Scuba hoodie, but it isn’t the one pictured. The one they got me is black, but it also has a detachable faux fur trim on the hood. It is limited edition. Fancy.

My sister-in-law, Chelsea, gave me a collection of gifts inspired by my love for Team in Training purple, and which also happen to line up with the February’s amethyst birthstone color:

  • My new favorite running accessory? Sparkly Soul glitter headbands. They are the best because they are a continuous band of stretchy, nonslip glitter. We wore pink during the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, and Chelsea surprised me with the two purple colors for my birthday.
  • Bobbi Brown is one of my favorite beauty brands and Chelsea got me the brand new, wildly bright, ultra violet lip gloss. Don’t worry, it goes on with just a hint of color.
  • Nail color has been a new and somewhat unlikely hobby of mine. Nail biting has been a bad habit for my whole life, but I am trying to break it. Chelsea knows that I’ve recently been interested in the non-toxic (healthier?) nail polish brand, Butter London, and she got me the metallic purple Hrh color.

I recommend all of these items — they are my new favorites!

I sure got lucky when I married into the Johnson family… and for many more reasons than just lovely birthday gifts. xoxo


A few months ago I started hearing about BirchBox. It is basically a sample box of beauty products that you can purchase each month for $10. Two friends specifically recommended it to me because they know about my interest in makeup and skincare products. I love trying new things, so I was immediately intrigued!

Ten dollars is a tempting price. It is low enough that you don’t have to fret about it too much, plus it covers the shipping and handling of the BirchBox. I was sold and decided to sign up in February as a birthday present to myself. Sadly, I missed the February shipment and had to wait until March. My box arrived just a few days ago and I eagerly ripped it open!

The March BirchBox was beautifully packaged and contained five samples: Befine Night Cream, Marvis Classic Mint Toothpaste, Pangea Organics Facial Scrub, Pangea Organics Lip Balm, and Pomega5 Daily Revitalizing Concentrate. (Also included was a “free gift,” the brow brush seen above… kind of silly, but I’ll take it.) The samples are indeed large in general and I think they are definitely worth the $10.

Of course, with any “surprise grab bag” type of purchase, you might end up with some things that you aren’t thrilled about. I think I was most excited about the Marvis toothpaste because it is something that I had wanted to try. So far, I’ve also tried the Pangea Organics Lip Balm and the Pomega5 Daily Revitalizing Concentrate. Both are very pungent – I guess because of the organic essential oils used in them – but they seem to work well enough. However, I think I will end up sticking to my current fave lip balm and face serum

I am still on the fence about ordering future BirchBoxes. The fun surprise aspect is so tempting and the professionalism of the packaging and website is reassuring, but in the end, you are basically paying for someone to send you advertising… although it is advertising that you can use. Hmmm. I do like many of the brands represented by BirchBox, but I don’t like how they are constantly pushing the sale of the full-size products (even though I realize that is how they’ll sustain the business model).

What do you think? Have you tried BirchBox? Do you think I should order a second one?

what’s in my bag? no, really.

One of my favorite websites (The Hairpin — it is so great, read it) reminded me today of one of the things I’ve always wanted to share on my blog, the “What’s in your handbag?” photo. You may have seen this type of thing before in magazines highlighting celebrity handbag contents, and J.Crew has recently started using the feature to show what their designers carry in their totally cool J. Crew handbags, naturally.

Usually the photos are beautifully styled and filled with only the most fashionable goodies… something like the photo I took above, except with professional lighting and ritzier, advertiser-approved doo-dads. I would love to pass that off as what I really carry around on a daily basis — ha! — but actually I just gathered up all of the fanciest things I own (really, that is all of it) and took that photo to contrast it with my honest-to-god, actual bag contents seen below. Be warned: the following photo may make you barf.

So, what in the world is really in my bag?

  1. Handbag (actually it is J.Crew, so I wasn’t joking when I said they are totally cool) and wallet. The wallet is so stuffed full of change and coupon cards, that I can’t keep it snapped.
  2. My new, beloved Mischa Lampert hat.
  3. Free water bottle that I got in a swag bag at a blogging conference.
  4. Wadded up kleenex and napkins.
  5. A pair of socks… I think because I was going running and might want to switch them?
  6. Gum, metrocard, mounds of keys… pretty self-explanatory.
  7. Packing tape. Left over from a post office trip.
  8. Post office receipt, waxed paper envelope, AmTrack ticket stub, corn maze map, directions to a comedy show in the city, business cards from Etsy sellers and the Soho Apple Store.
  9. So many pens!
  10. Pill container with Excedrin and Advil.
  11. So many Blistex Herbal Answers!
  12. Tampons.
  13. Classier lip gloss from Philosophy and Crude.
  14. PowerBar Gel – this is a food/fuel that I eat when running. I don’t know why I had one in my bag… snack?
  15. Handmade pouch bought at a craft fair in Portland – full of band-aids and wet wipes.
  16. More lip gloss.
  17. Hand lotion – the fancy kind!
  18. Swap-bot business cards, postcards, and pins – in case I meet someone who might be interested in the ‘bot.
  19. A quarter and a nail?
  20. A cloth pouch I use for sunglasses because the hard cases are just too bulky.
  21. My phone.

So, there you have it. Neither interesting nor beautiful. Darn.

What do you have in your bag?

4 splurges that were totally worth it

My father tried to install the value of minimalism in me, so I usually feel guilty when I get caught up in the commercial frenzy that is the holidays. Between my guilt over owning too much unnecessary junk and my fear of feeling of buyer’s remorse — not to mention the need to save money — I try to avoid going overboard in the shopping department. This holiday season was an exception. In addition to finding lots of gifts, I also managed to find a couple of items for myself. Thankfully, many of them exceeded my expectations.

Four holiday splurges that were totally worth it:

  • Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Mascara – Mascara is something you need to replace fairly regularly, but I always have such a hard time finding (and then remembering) a kind that I like. I decided to give this Givenchy mascara a try because of the strange brush and a recommendation from the sales woman. It was slightly more pricey than other brands, but it turns out that I love the brush! The actual mascara formula is great too, not too thick and it doesn’t smudge. (FYI: I do usually follow with a second coat of another mascara with a normal brush.)
  • Benefit Poisetint – My friend, Lauren, recommended this cheek tint. I’ve used the darker Benetint before, but it can be hard to blend. This lighter pink color is perfect. Subtle and easy to use. I kind of hate blush because it is so hard to make it look natural, but this tint never looks over-done.
  • No6 Store Lace Up Shearling Leather Boot – Have I told you about my boots? My goodness, I love these shoes. I’d seen these boots on some fashionable ladies and knew I loved them, but it took some searching to find them. They are made by Swedish clog maker called, Sven, but this specific boot style is only sold at one store in Soho. I tracked them down just before we went on our holiday trip and I have been wearing them every since. They are lined in shearling, so they are totally warm. Plus, they are treated to withstand the elements. The price of these boots is definitely higher than I normally spend, but I have been more than happy with them and would recommend them to anyone looking for comfortable and cute winter boots.
  • Mischa Lampert hat – This hat was something I had seen and couldn’t stop thinking about, but in the end, it was an impulse buy. I was out shopping and just went a little crazy and bought it at Kisan. It is a super-simple knit hat, but I just love how funky and chunky it is. The wool is hand-dyed, hand-spun, and knit by the artist here in NY. I get compliments on it every time I where it and it is wonderfully warm.

I love when I don’t waste my money!! I also love getting good recommendations from friends. Are there any splurges you recently made that have totally been worth it?

gift guide extravaganza

You know that I can’t help my self… I LOVE putting together gift guides. (Check out my holiday gift guides from 2009 and 2008.) I have a really random selection of gift ideas this year, but I think that they might work for many of the loved ones on your list… well, mostly the ladies, but I tried to make some unisex picks, too. Enjoy!

A few more excellent gift guides for you to peruse:

What items do you have on your gift lists and wish lists?


Crude lip balm

I have met so many talented and accomplished people since moving to New York. I don’t know if it is New York City specifically, or if I am finally in the age bracket when people start coming into their own career-wise, but I am constantly blown away by the professionalism and just downright coolness of the people I have met here.

Case in point: Jessica and Eric of Crude Products. I met Jessica in a sort of round about way (through another awesome female entrepreneur I met at Etsy Labs) and it turned out that she lives in my neighborhood… and is pretty great. But this blog post is not a love letter, it is a review of my new Crude lip balm.

I am a lip balm addict. I’ve tried just about every brand, but my usual weapon of choice is Blistex Herbal Answer. I like its texture and consistency, but what I don’t like is that it contains both petrochemicals and parabens, plus some other chemicals that I can’t identify. Crude products contain none of that ickiness — only all-natural beeswax and oils — and after trying the Tone It Down tinted balm, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Blistex! It is smooth and soft, and it moisturizes without being sticky. It leaves just a sheer hint of color, which is perfect for this no-lipstick girl. Basically, I love it. Much more passionately than I thought I would considering how many lip balms I have tried in the past…

Above you can see that I also tried out the Heart of Gold, which contains real 24-carat gold powder (for color and shine). It was written up in New York Magazine (that’s big time!) and it gives your lips a peppermint-y freshness and moisturized shine. Subtle sophistication + soft lips = perfect.

In addition to lip balms that exceeded my somewhat impossible expectations, Crude has a super-clean website with clever product descriptions. Plus, free shipping in the US! Truly, I can’t recommend Crude Products highly enough. …next, I want to try Sweater Weather and Happily Ever After


I bought new shampoo! Big whoop, you say? Well, it took me nearly a year to save my pennies – or maybe it is more like it took me a year to go a specific NYC-style of crazy that causes you to become comfortable with spending way too much for things – but I purchased the Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo that I first wrote about last July. I know, I know, even the name is ostentatious, and the price is way worse. (I do want it to be known that I only bought the smaller, less bank-busting size.) Before you judge me too harshly, you have to read the insanely good reviews. Reviewers have literally said, “Whatever your wish for your hair, the shampoo grants the wish.” Definitely sounds too good to be true, but what if they are right?!

So, I used the shampoo for the first time today. What did I think? First, I have to give you my hair backstory: I am terrible at doing hair. I usually use cheap Suave shampoo. I hate using styling product. I blow dry my hair, but I use no other styling tools. I do get my hair highlighted about once every ten weeks, but I am too chicken to take any risks on my cut. Also, I am lazy. Basically, if the Imperial Shampoo really is the miracle that can turn my daily hair routine into one quick shampooing step and give me pretty hair, it will *almost* be worth the price for me…

The verdict: It may be a miracle! The shampoo is thick, like honey, and it smells really amazing. A sweet almond, vanilla deliciousness. The shampoo does contain sulfates, which I know some people avoid, but I like that it does lather a bit. (I can’t quite get on board with non-lathering shampoos.) I left the shampoo in for five minutes, as directed, but I did not follow with conditioner or any other styling product. I let my hair nearly air dry completely, but then blew it dry just a bit to make it extra straight. I did not use a flatiron. My hair turned out shiny and smooth and straight with much more volume and way less fly-aways than usual. Usually the ends of my hair get a bit frizzy and poofy due to all of the highlighting they’ve endured, but so far they are staying perfectly in line after using the Imperial Shampoo. (See my “after” photo below. Ignore my make-up-less face and the cluttered background – just focus on the hair, people!) And maybe the best part, my hair smells awesome. If this shampoo were even close to a normal price, I would recommend it to everyone! I definitely cannot afford to use it every day, but I will look forward to using it for special occasions.