Chalkboard Art DIY

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today I wanted to do a little something different on the blog! Since becoming pregnant, I've loved seeing the pregnancy weeks photos with chalkboards. I searched all over to find an inexpensive chalkboard that still had a beautiful, vintage look. I found some great options on Etsy that fit my style, but they are just too expensive! Most are over $50!! No way. I knew I could do it for less. 

So I decided to take matters into my own hands, and create a chalkboard that was not only less expensive, but a little more unique than the boards I've seen on blogs and Pinterest. I stopped by Michael's and found this awesome tree stump slab that reminded me of the table settings I had at my wedding. I grabbed some chalk, some cheap foam brushes and Martha Stewart's Chalkboard Paint. The only other thing I used was a cardboard box to protect my carpet, just in case, but you could easily do this outside. The total cost: $20!!! Without Michael's coupons!! I love saving money! :)

Step 1: The Blank Canvas

I love LOVE the wood/tree bark look. So gorgeous and totally fits my natural/hippie personality. 

Step 2: The Coating
The most difficult part of the project is keeping the edges clean. Just be patient and it'll turn out fine! I followed the directions on the bottle and ended up doing four coats rather than the suggested two coats because of the wood texture.

Step 3: The Final Product!

I read reviews saying Martha Stewart's chalkboard paint was a little glossy, which I did find to be true. However, I don't love a completely clean chalkboard, I like when a chalkboard is dusted with chalk. So I wrote on the board with white chalk and smudged it around with a paper towel. So easy!!

I'm really excited about this project and it inspires me to do some more DIY for the blog. What do you think?! Do you have any other ideas for displaying the week by week pregnancy progress other than chalkboard art? Any DIY ideas that you think I should do? Let me know! I love hearing from you :)

xo kristen genevieve

Pregnancy Update: 16 weeks!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The bump is there, I swear!!
This has been a truly exciting week - I'm finally starting to get a little belly! My bump has been steadily growing, but I've also noticed that my entire belly is starting to get more firm. I'm sure some of it is due to bloating, especially at the top, but I feel like near the middle & bottom of my belly, my uterus has just been shifting upwards! (Which I am relieved about because I don't have to pee as much this week!)

I've also been feeling a little bit more emotional this week and had my first "pregnancy meltdown." My h
usband has been studying for his licensing exams at home with me since he graduated from his Masters program last May, and he starts his new job this week. Next week, he's gone for 6 days on a trip to Chicago for training. 

We're hardly ever apart - especially overnight, so I'm a little stressed about all the changes! I know its a part of life and I'm extremely lucky to have had so much time with him, but its still hasn't been easy to deal with. I also think the stress, aside from making me more emotional, has been creating neck & headache issues for me, which is no fun! I wish I didn't get so anxious about changes in life! I have so much to be thankful for and look forward to. So this next week will be about appreciation and focusing on the good things in my life. :)

Week: 16

Gender: No gender yet!

Total Weight Gain:
I'm g
uessing 1.5lbs. I need a more accurate scale to tell me for sure, but I'm so excited that the weight gain has begun!!

Exercise: I've done a little better this week compared to the last several weeks. Walking, doing some moderately intense yoga, and vigorously cleaning my apartment!

Nutrition: Hasn't changed much, still eating vegetarian chili as much as possible. My weakness during pregnancy has been cheddar cheese!

Food cravings/aversions:
I haven't been as averse to s
weets as before, and my husband has been wanting sugar cookies lately, so I've had a few! Still not loving lots of garlic.

Signs of Stretch Marks: Not yet!

Sleep: This week sleep has been a little difficult just because I've had a lot of neck pain and headaches. :/

Feeling: Still tired! I haven't experienced that second trimester return to energy. Also, those neck/headaches are not making life easy this week. :(

Baby Movement: None yet!

Belly Button In or Out? In

Wedding Rings On or Off? On

What I miss most this week: Life without neck/headaches!

Best moment this week: Noticing my little bump grow!

Looking forward to: I'm anxiously excited for my husband to start his new job this week! At the same time, I can tell I'm already stressed out about missing him!

Any suggestions on what to do about these headaches? I try to drink a lot of water throughout the day. I drink 2 cups of weakly brewed coffee in the morning, and occasionally take Tylenol if my headaches get really bad. I'm hoping yoga will make my shoulder & neck muscles stronger and better able to deal with my growing breasts! I've considered getting acupuncture or massage but it makes me nervous during pregnancy. My Dad suggested meditation, which I am not great at. Any suggestions welcome!!

xo kristen genevieve

Product Review: Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hey all! So I started using this stretch mark cream from Burt's Bees a couple weeks ago, and I really like it! I'm going to have to do another update on this product towards the end of my pregnancy or maybe after baby arrives to attest to the effectiveness of the cream, but here are my preliminary thoughts.

What I really like about this product is its low toxicity ratings on Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. There are other products that are even less toxic, but they were just too expensive for me! I found this on Amazon for $10 (although the price does seem to fluctuate depending on the vendor). 

I like that Mama Bee is fragrance free. Its natural smell reminds me of bee's wax, which I really love. Its very thick and almost feels like butter, so it makes me feel like its a real heavy duty moisturizer. I love laying on the couch and just connecting with my little one by rubbing my belly!

The only downside is that since it is such a thick moisturizer, it feels slightly sticky to the touch for a few hours after application. It doesn't bother me, but my husband doesn't love it if I put it on right before bed, so I started putting it on in the morning. If you're wearing a silk shirt, I would probably wear an undershirt just in case. 

Have you tried Mama Bee or any other stretch mark cream and had good results? I've read stretch marks are mostly genetic, but can this help at all? Any other suggestions on avoiding stretch marks? Or do you just think its the mark of a mama?!

Next week I'm going to update you on my organic prenatal vitamins. I've also got a few projects up my sleeve that aren't quite ready yet. Stay tuned! :)

xo kristen genevieve

15 Weeks Pregnant - Second Trimester!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Today I am 15 weeks! We had a special experience last week, so for my update today I wanted to share a little bit about our first ultrasound!

It was so thrilling to see our little baby at the 14 week ultrasound on Thursday! We thought we were only 13.5 weeks along, but we quickly found out that we are 14.5 weeks, so we've officially crossed into the second trimester! (If you haven't read many of these before, baby's head is on the left!)

The experience was so breathtaking, getting to see baby jump around and watch the heart beat so strongly (157bpm!). The little bug was stubbornly standing on its head the entire time, so this is the best photo we could get this time. Its sometimes hard to believe there is a living person within me when I have only the slightest hint of a belly (still too early to even tell from a photo), but this ultrasound made it so much more real for both of us. I can't believe how big baby is already!

Week: 15 weeks!! A week into my Second Trimester! The average 15 week baby is the size of an orange, nearly 4.5 inches from "crown to rump" and weighs just over 2 oz.

Gender: No gender yet, but we're hoping to find out mid-November at our next appointment. Even though we'll be happy with a healthy baby, we're still dying to know!!

Total Weight Gain:
Still nothing - somehow! (But it makes sense since I barely got the smallest bump just a few days ago!)

Exercise: I've been trying to do some squats everyday, and occasionally some v-up crunches. Obviously I know that doing ab work is not for show, but I feel that strengthening my abs and back might help in labor. Still wanting to get back into yoga next week though!

Nutrition: Chili! My husband has been making the most amazing vegetarian chili lately. Full of fiber, protein, and iron. He soaks the beans overnight, so its a long process, but so much healthier and fresher than beans from BPA-lined cans!

Food cravings:
Honeycrisp apples with crunchy peanut butter! Hello, fall!

Aversions: The chili is helping ease my aversion toward garlic. Hopefully that means I'll be eating more good food again soon!

Signs of Stretch Marks: Not yet!

Sleep: I'm sleeping well, but I constantly wake up with head and neck aches. This happened even before I got pregnant, but seems to be getting worse. Maybe yoga would help.

Feeling: Wonderful! Aside from a little headache pain, I've had such a good week since announcing my pregnancy to my family and to my blogging community! Sharing the news and getting so much great feedback and well wishes makes me feel so loved! :)

Baby Movement: We saw baby jumping around at our ultrasound, but there's still some time before I get to feel baby move inside me.

Belly Button In or Out? In

Wedding Rings On or Off? On

What I miss most this week: Vermont.

Best moment this week: Feeling all the love from my family and blogging community when we announced our pregnancy! So blessed.

Looking forward to: Feeling my little bump start to grow! Every night this week, especially since Saturday, I swear I can feel a difference! Still too early to tell from a photo though.

Thank you all again so much for coming to my page, commenting, following me on Bloglovin and just being so sweet! I've loved connecting with you this week and I am so excited to hear updates from all of you, too!

xo kristen genevieve

Pregnancy Product Review: Avalon Organics Lotion

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I have done so much research on organic, non-toxic products for pregnancy and for baby that I just can't help but share the ones I love with you! Let me also say, this post is not sponsored, I just feel good about using this product for me and baby. Most of the products I find are not always the absolute most pure organic/non-toxic products, but the best balance between safety and affordability that I can find. Cause I definitely can't afford $50 lotion! I found this 12oz bottle on Amazon for $11, which is a good balance for me.

I've been using the Avalon Organics Peppermint scented lotion for several months now. In general, unscented products have the lowest toxicity, but I needed to find a balance, because I like a little scent. This one worked for me since the fragrance is not synthetic, especially with my pregnancy nose being so sensitive to artificial smells! Peppermint is one of those scents that is so relaxing yet invigorating. It makes me feel clean, not slathered. Since I've been pregnant, my sweet husband gives me nightly foot rubs with this stuff - extra relaxation bonus sold separately. ;)

I like this product for pregnancy because it does not contain harmful chemicals like parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or synthetic colors or fragrances. The lotion is 70% organic and the bottles are made from 100% recycled materials, so its better for the environment, too! Try it, tell me what you think!


I am so grateful for the overwhelming responses and views this week when I announced my pregnancy! Thank you!! Its so great to connect with you, feel the love & support, and just be part of this community. Please continue to comment, follow me on Bloglovin or Google Friend Connect. I'm looking forward to getting to know more of you!
xo kristen genevieve

We're Pregnant!

Monday, October 14, 2013

So remember a few months back when I said I had some exciting news for you? Well, its been tough to hold it in but... we're pregnant!!! I'm so excited to be expecting our first child this April! I am a bit in disbelief some days, but I am so grateful for this wonderful new life!
Here is an update on how my first trimester has been going, so this first one is a little long. After this I'll be sure to update you on a weekly basis! Thanks for following and sharing your experiences with me!

Week: 13 weeks today! Last Week of my First Trimester! Baby is the size of a peach, about 3 inches long!

Gender: Not certain yet because its still early, but my husband and I are both convinced it's a boy!

Total Weight Gain: Nothing yet - somehow! My weight fluctuates 1-2lbs depending on what I eat and the time of day, but I generally hover around 121-122lbs.

Exercise: Before trying to conceive, I ran or erged on my rowing machine for 20-30minutes, 5-6 days a week. Since becoming pregnant...well, I haven't been good. I blame it on nausea, fatigue and headaches, but I know I can do better! Especially as I approach my second "golden" trimester!

Nutrition: Homemade smoothies are by far the healthiest thing I consume. I use about 2 cups water, 2 cups organic spinach, frozen organic blueberries, raspberries and mango, and 2 bananas. I also like to add the juice of 1/2 a lemon, but they aren't at Trader Joe's lately! Sometimes I add low-fat yogurt (never fat free!), but my husband doesn't love it. I used to make this smoothie everyday, and now I only make it 2-4 times a week because I've been lazy! I know I need to make it more often!

Food cravings: My cravings have changed week by week. Over the first trimester, I've craved grapefruit, Goldfish, Annie's Mac n Cheese, pizza, and spicy Thai food. My weakness is cheese.

Aversions: Sweets! I used to eat ice cream every night for a few months before becoming pregnant. Now I can't stand sweets! I can't even eat watermelon! Plus over the past three weeks, whenever I try things like cider donuts at the pumpkin patch, it triggers a massive heahache. :(
I also used to LOVE garlic. We used to cook with an entire bulb for dinner, five nights a week. Now I can't stand more than a clove or two! This aversion makes me sad because garlic is so healthy! 

Signs of Stretch Marks: Not yet. I just ordered Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter for prevention, but I've read stretch marks are largely genetic and unavoidable. Small price to pay for a little bundle of joy!

Sleep: Fine! I napped so much in the first two months especially. 

Feeling: I felt nauseous all day form 5.5weeks to 9.5weeks (Update: 6.5weeks to 10.5 weeks since we were a week off on the due date!). Then I began feeling random nausea for the next few weeks (especially while brushing my teeth!). Fatigue - all the time. But the worst part for me has been the headaches. Over the past 3 weeks, I've had horrible headaches everyday. I hate taking Tylenol, so I started drinking 2 cups of organic coffee (brewed slightly weak at home) most days of the week. The caffeine seems to help my headaches quite a bit, and even though I'm drinking at or even under the recommended amount (considering I don't drink pop or eat chocolate), I still feel a little guilty for my habit. I used to drink several cups a day, then started cutting back to 2-3 cups about 6 months ago, then quit completely once we started trying to conceive. It feels like a step backwards but I hate feeling debilitated by headaches!

Baby Movement: The baby can do somersaults by now, but I can't feel it yet! I can't wait too though!

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding Rings on or off? On

Other Notes: I've been taking New Chapter Perfect Prenatal organic vitamins for several (including a few months before we started trying). They are affordable on Amazon, smell great, and don't make me sick! I am still looking for a DHA supplement that doesn't smell like fish. Suggestions?

What I miss most this week: Having clear skin!

Best moment this week: Getting a lot of research done on non-toxic products for baby. I'm a Capricorn - I love to plan!

Looking forward to: Our first ultrasound at the end of this week! I can't wait to meet our baby and hear the heartbeat!

I am so excited to be sharing this journey with you! I am looking forward to having discussions with you about pregnancy, raising kids, baby products I love, anything! But I want to keep the discussions positive and informational, not judgemental of me or especially any of my commenters. This blog is not meant to be controversial, but a celebration of life and motherhood! Please respect that. And please comment! I love hearing from you!

Have you had kids and have any advice for me at this stage of pregnancy? Are you looking forward to starting a family? Suggestions on a DHA supplement? Please share your story with me! Life's better when we live it together. :)

Until next time...

xo kristen genevieve


Friday, October 11, 2013

Coming next week I have some big news to announce!! I mentioned that I had a surprise to share a few months ago and have been debating on when to let you all in on the secret since its very personal to our family. Can you guess what it might be?! Stay tuned! :)

xo kristen genevieve

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