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MCLV Pregnancy | Practical Third Trimester Checklist

I was a little disappointed when I started searching for a practical third trimester checklist. While there were millions of lists out there, cleaning the nursery and scheduling maternity photos weren’t what I was looking for exactly. So I finally just cobbled together my own pre-baby checklist!

Get nursery ready – This includes cleaning, decorating, putting together furniture and gadgets, and all the shopping. We started midway through the second trimester and worked through it all slowly. The goal was to be totally ready by 2 weeks before my due date just in case I was early. Plus we were both working from home and stuck inside during quarantine so it gave us some activities to do. 馃檪

Wash clothes – They recommend washing all the clothing, accessories, swaddles, burping cloths, washcloths, and towels ahead of time with a baby-safe detergent. I didn’t buy a baby-specific product, rather I used the non-toxic, hypoallergenic, fragrance free detergent that we already had on hand – Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder. It checked all the boxes that the baby-specific soaps did and the whole family could use it.

Stock up on household goods – I treated this similarly to the start of shelter-in-place and made sure that we were fully stocked on toilet paper, paper towels, soap, dish & laundry detergent, cleaning supplies etc. The goal was to not need to go shopping for home supplies a few weeks to a month.

Prep the Pantry – As the household chef, I wanted to make things as easy for my husband as possible. That meant stocking up on pantry basics for easy meals like pasta and marinara sauce, getting some boxed mixes so he could make baked goods, and I prepped and froze some meals ahead of time.

Birth Classes – It was like pulling teeth, but I got my husband to join me for three classes. One on pregnancy and birth through Bundle Birth {I’m a huge fan of her YouTube videos!} and a newborn class from Taking Cara Babies {found her through Instagram}. Plus an online infant first aid & CPR class through the Red Cross.

Hospital Prep – Get hospital bag together, prep diaper bag, watch the virtual hospital tour, and register for delivery. Also, on a related note, find a pediatrician. The pediatrician, or another doctor from their practice, will visit at the hospital after the birth and you’ll need to list them when you register.

Decide on Help – We decided to do a night nurse for a few nights a week to help us learn about and develop a nighttime schedule, so we had to interview and pick one. We also started the discussion about childcare when I returned to work and came up with a general plan with set dates for taking the next steps.

Life Insurance – We’d been talking about life insurance since we got married but getting pregnant finally got us moving on this. We asked our parents about their policies, did our research, and talked to providers before deciding what would work best for us {right now}.

Medical Power of Attorney – We wanted to have the appropriate documentation in place to ensure that my husband could make medical decisions on my behalf if I became incapacitated. And vice versa. Check on what’s necessary in your state.

Figure out the Car Seat – We won’t get into how long this took us, but I can confirm that we’re both able to put it in and take it out. With minimal cursing.

Enjoy Together Time – I definitely get the appeal of a babymoon, even though we opted out of this {we’d been quarantined working & living together for 6 straight months, going away to spend time alone didn’t seem necessary}. Enjoying the end of your time just the two of you is important as you’re heading into parenthood!

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Skin Care Junkie | My Favorite Sunscreens 2020

After sharing my favorite cleansers of 2020, I thought I’d share my suncreen picks as well. The number one thing that you can do to protect your skin and reduce the signs of aging is wear sunscreen every single day. This was one of the lessons that my mom taught me and which I learned the value of over the course of my 20’s and 30’s.

There are two types of sunscreen – Mineral and chemical. And there is A LOT of news and information out there on which is better, what they do differently for your skin, and what product you should choose.

The truth of the matter is, however, that you should pick whatever sunscreen you will wear. If you don’t like the formulation or the white caste or the smell, you won’t wear it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s “better” than another sunscreen.

That being said, I do have fairly strong preferences and I like lightweight formulations that don’t feel oily or greasy. Below are my current favorites:

Tinted Sunscreens:

A few notes on sunscreen:

(1) Be sure to spread it on your neck and bring the product down to your decollete. Also, be sure that you cleanse those areas at the end of the day!

(2) I know the eye area is sensitive, but it’s also the thinnest skin on the face, so you want to be sure to get your sunscreen under there.

What’s YOUR favorite sunscreen?

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MCLV Pregnancy | What’s In My Hospital Bag

I love watching What’s In My Hospital Bag videos on YouTube and reading the lists on blog posts and Pinterest. I’m a big planner and I love to feel prepared, so maybe that’s part of it. The other part is probably that so much of the birth chapter is unknown and can’t be prepared for, that I enjoy focusing on what I can do. Which is pack a hospital bag!

So let’s get into this! 馃檪

Since we’re living the age of COVID-19 there are a few things that we needed to take into account. Not only could my mother not join us in the delivery room {a devastating hit, I genuinely considered having her there and letting my husband sit out the birth of our first child} but once we’re in the maternity ward we can’t leave. Not for food or for changes of clothes. So we both needed basic clothes and toiletries for our stay.

Bag – I was going to use my Longchamp le Pliage duffle but the bigger I’ve gotten the less I’ve wanted to carry a bag on my shoulder, so I swapped it for a rolling suitcase. My inlaws got us the Away Expandable Carry-On for Christmas so I decided that was the bag to bring. Lots of pockets and separate areas which is great when packing for an undetermined amount of time.

Clothes – I generally pride myself on packing fairly minimally so I was curious how I was going to end up approaching this. I’d say that I didn’t go too overboard, but I definitely tweaked my general packing equation.

PJs, robe and nighty to keep me comfortable before and after birth, though odds are that I’ll end up wearing the hospital gown most of the time. And two going home options, leggings and a top or a dress, depending on how my body feels.

Toiletries – We both packed the basics with some skin care and make-up thrown in for me. If you want to learn more about my skin care and make-up routines during pregnancy check them out.

Postpartum Essentials – The hospital will provide most of this, but I wanted to bring a few things to make me more comfortable post-baby.

For baby – I found that what to pack for the baby and for the mom post-partum was where I saw the most variation in people’s lists. Some people brought everything – Muliple outfits, breast pump, diapers… I figured the baby would be mostly taken care of by the hospital, hanging out in a diaper and that if breast feeding didn’t happen, we’d be bottle feeding. So I left all of that at home. But here’s what I did bring:

Miscellaneous – This was a place that it was easy to get carried away and I tried to reign it in. Some women basically bring their entire bedrooms and I knew that I wanted to avoid that. No pillows or bedding or hospital gowns for this mama to be.

  • Phone
  • Extra long charger + battery pack
  • Headphones + charger
  • Wireless bluetooth speaker
  • Gift cards for the nurses {I had planned to bake cookies but with COVID-19 I didn’t know whether they’d accept them}
  • Snacks {We brought a little cooler with coconut water and water bottles, plus trail mix, chocolate covered raisins, and protein bars}
  • Essential oils – Lavendar & sandalwood
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Skin Care Junkie | My Favorite Cleansers 2020

One of the fun things about skin care is that it’s an ever evolving industry. There’s always new data, new trends, new brands, new products. Always something new.

And while I definitely have some all time favorite skin care products that I go back to time and time again, I do love trying new brands and products. Finding a new holy grail product that your skin responds well to, is such a great experience.

Everyone has different skin and different needs, and different products that work for them. That being said, I thought that I’d share a few of my favorite cleansers of 2020. I’m a huge fan of super clean skin and have gotten in the habit of double cleansing in the evenings on days that I wear sunscreen {which is most days} or makeup {which is super rare these days!}.

If you’re curious about the value of cleansing and how best to approach the process for your skin, I highly recommend these YouTube videos:

On days that I do a double cleanse in the evenings, I use a cleansing balm to start, followed by a water based cleanser. In the mornings or on days where I don’t double cleanse in the evenings, I’ll just use the water based cleanser on my face and neck.

Here are a few of my favorites!

Cleansing Balms:

Water Based Cleansers:

Do YOU have a favorite cleanser? Share below please, always interested in trying new ones!

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MCLV Pregancy | Pregnancy Morning Routine

I’ve always loved reading morning routine blog posts or watching them on YouTube. It’s fun to see how people approach a new day, see the good habits and positive ways that people like to start their days with.

But I have to confess that I’ve always been secretly resentful that, as an early morning worker bee, I didn’t generally have time for much self care, reflection, or any relaxing habits in the mornings. From the ages of 22 to 37, I’ve gotten up for work before 5am, and headed straight to the office. Sometimes without makeup, let alone after meditating, journaling, and leisurely sipping coffee on my porch while the sun rises.

With California’s 2020 shelter in place order, however, I’ve finally gotten a taste of the work-from-home life. I’m still starting work early, but without a commute to take into account, I’ve definitely had more of a morning routine since quarantine went into effect in March.

And, to top it all off, I started the second trimester of my pregnancy almost as soon as we were sent home from the office, so I was able to kick of T2 with a new sort of morning routine.

{So grateful to have moved out of San Francisco in the past year and to have been able to enjoy SIP with a bit more space and closer to nature!}

5:15am: Make the bed and change into “work clothes” which meant leggings and tunics until it warmed up, and then flowy dresses. I found that it was important to not wear PJs or loungewear for work, because changing after work was a good way to “end” the work day. If that makes sense. 馃檪

Wash face + apply skin care.

5:30am: Turn on computer and start work, sipping on water bottle w/ ginger + mint leaves. I had trouble with water during my morning sickness period, but once T2 started, I had no trouble drinking water on an empty stomach again.

After I finish my water bottle and take my probiotic and psyllium husk, I would have a glass of warm lemon ginger tonic.

Next up – COFFEE. Yes, the dedicated tea drinker was suddenly craving coffee. And after no caffeine during the first trimester, I was happy to add a Nespresso pod into my morning routine plus oat, cashew, or hazelnut milk. Delish!

8am: Breakfast! I LOVED having access to my kitchen all day and took full advantage, making whatever I was craving. Oatmeal, protein waffles, scrambles, yogurt with granola – All favorites during my pregnancy.

Up next – Supplements. I started the pregnancy very preoccupied with nutrients and supplements, only to have my doctor talk me back off the ledge. She said that my prenatal was great and that took care of most of it, so everything else was overkill. Here’s what I ended up with for the majority of my pregnancy:

11am: Workout time! I’ll be sharing a full post on my 2nd Trimester workout routine, but I was thrilled to be feeling great and able to continue my workouts the whole time. During my first trimester I talked about how fatigued I was and how important it was to listen to my body. During the second trimester I had more energy and motivation, and was able to manage a midday sweat session {in the office/nursery turned home gym} and a walk after work most days. I also LOVED doing dance cardio – Such a mood boost.

12pm: Lunchtime and reading the news.

What’s YOUR morning routine like during the year of Corona?

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