mobile Cocooners: 2016

Celebrate with a PinkBlush Giveaway {Closed}

Friday, December 30, 2016
I have so many things to celebrate: a new, healthy baby boy, Dax transitioning so well at being a big brother, my husband being at my beck-and-call while I couldn't drive (ok, so exaggerating a bit but he's been awesome), a New Year on the horizon, and wonderful readers and friends like you who support this blog.  Life is good.

To celebrate, I partnered with PinkBlush to host a great Giveaway where one lucky Cocooner reader can win a $75 gift card to shop their online boutique! 


I found PinkBlush about midway during this last pregnancy.  Their selection of trendy and affordable maternity options was just what I needed to up my maternity style.  I purchased a couple of tops and received many compliments when I wore them.  Now that I'm transitioning away from maternity clothes and dressing my postpartum body, I wanted to showcase how versatile their pieces are with this great sweater I'm wearing.  Not only do I love the colors and cut (I have a weird thing for drop shoulders), but the fabrication is so soft.  I didn't feel self-conscious in this at all when I went to my 2 week post-op check up.  Everyone at my doctor's office said I looked great.  That made my dayA lot of PinkBlush's maternity pieces are postpartum friendly but they also have a great selection of non-maternity pieces as well as baby gear.  You can spend hours on their site.  And they always have great sales.  I love it!  I also ended up falling in love with this dress and can't wait to wear it.  Maybe it will be my NYE (at home) dress...


 


To enter, complete the rafflecopter giveaway below.  One winner will be chosen at random and announced on this post.  Giveaway closes on January 4th, at midnight, CST.  Good luck!

Thank you to PinkBlush for collaborating with us on this post!



 **No purchase necessary to enter.  Not eligible to winners of any other PinkBlush giveaways within the last 6 months.  Winner of the giveaway will be contacted via email once comments close and announced on this post soon after.  This giveaway is open only to residents of the United States.  Must be at least 18 years of age or older to participate.**


WINNER!!
Congratulations to Latisha Hargrove!!!  You are the winner of the giveaway!!  Be on the lookout for your email from PinkBlush and happy shopping.  Thank you for all who entered. 

Have a Heart This Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2016
I was gifted a product from the Macy's Heart of Haiti line however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Christmas.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year for me (and probably for family as well, in that I love it so much and they reap the benefits of my Holiday joy).  I've been given so much this year that I am happy to give back in anyway I can.  That's why I want to tell you about Macy's and the Heart of Haiti product line.  

After the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010, Macy's decided to sell handcrafted products from Haiti in order to help support families of skilled artisans.  This trade-not-aid initiative employs 550 artisans while benefiting an extended 4,500 family members.  Haiti has an estimated 400,000 artisans who rely solely on their handcrafted goods as a source of income.  Click here for a video that tells more about the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line. 
 



I love this gorgeous handcrafted metalwork snowflake ornament.  It fits perfectly with my haphazard and eclectic ornament collection.  It's nice to have a reminder on the tree that tells us how fortunate we are and that there are ways of giving at Christmas that meaningfully affect others in a positive way.  While this ornament is sold out, you can visit Macys.com/Haiti, as part of the Gifts that Give Hope CollectionI think I will use the lovely little soapstone heart (from the first picture above) as a paperweight in my office.  These are the perfect sustainable gifts for any Home Decor lover.

So, Yeah, I Had a Baby

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This sweet little guy, Briggs Alexander decided to come into the world a full two weeks early.  My original due date was Christmas but I was scheduled for a repeat c-section today, December 21st.  Last Monday, I went into work as usual but kept feeling kind of funny.  I went to the bathroom around 11:00 am and after standing up, noticed a decent gush of fluid.  My water broke.  I quietly went to my desk, wrapped up some things and got out of there like a Ninja.  I did not want anyone to make a big scene and all that went through my mind was the movie "9 Months".  Um, no thanks!  I called my husband from the car, drove myself to the hospital (about 25 miles away) and we met there and waited to have a baby.  

Dax was in school and luckily it was early enough in the day for us to figure out childcare.  We were told we'd be up to bat around 4 ish so my husband left to get Dax and meet my mom at the house so she could watch him.  I wasn't really contracting so waiting wasn't so bad, except it seemed like forever. I was on social media the entire time!  I went back to the OR around 4:30 and my husband still had not made it back.  Oh well, the baby was coming so I was going with the flow.  By the grace of God, when they were ready to get started, the Mr. made it and was allowed in.  At 5:02 pm, we had a strapping little pink son who weighed in at 7 pounds even.

My recovery has been good.  I mean, surgery sucks but I was discharged from the hospital early for good behavior - i.e. I was moving well and healing amazingly.  Once my doc got the ok from the pediatrician that the baby could go home, we were outta there!  Having a repeat c-section when you don't go into active labor was a lot easier than being in labor for 13 hours and then having an emergency section.  Still, surgery - ick!

I must admit, although having him early was a complete surprise, it was welcome.  We were just so thrilled to meet Briggs in person and I was thrilled to not be pregnant anymore!  Also, having a bit of a buffer between his birthday and Christmas, is welcome.  I still can't believe he's here and already over a week old.  He changes everyday.  Big brother Dax has been a champ and is really sweet with "Little Brother".  My husband and I could not be happier.  Falling in love with another little boy was the perfect early Christmas gift.

2016 Holiday Gift Guide for the Girly Girl

Saturday, December 10, 2016
Girly girls.  I'm not necessarily one of them but I love them.  And, I have my femme moments.  I'm not super into pink but we all know that if you are a girly girl, pink is a must.  I wanted to share some ideas for gifts for those lovely Lolitas who appreciate the shinier, rufflier things in life.  I don't think rufflier is a word but I'm trying to make it work!

1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ 8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11

This guide is filled with pinks, metallics, make-up and fun, feminine gift ideas.  All are affordable and would work for sisters, mothers, teens and adults alike.  The "Love Potion Tumbler" (#1), fluffy socks (#4) and the Stitch Fix Gift Card (#5) would make great stocking stuffers.  And to prove I do actually like pink sometimes, I am seriously thinking about putting the Minted Art Print (#7) and the Kendra Scott Color Bar Earrings in Gunmetal and Rose Quartz (#9) on my Christmas Wish List this year.  Make sure to click though the pics below for more gift ideas perfect for the girly girl in your life.




*This post contains affiliate links and my Stitch Fix referral link (when you sign up from my link and get your fix, I get a credit at no cost to you).

2016 Black & White Holiday Gift Guide

Monday, December 5, 2016
1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ 8 ~ 9

I love black and white.  It makes a statement without being too loud.  The contrast pops but is still neutral and "safe".  It's just so chic.  I wanted to start the first of my 2016 gift guides off with these easy gifts in a striking black and white color palette.  So if you know someone whose motto is "black is the new black", any of the items would be a perfect gift.  Make sure to click through the additional finds below!


Let the Countdown Begin

Thursday, December 1, 2016
Happy December!  Today is December 1st and I have a really important countdown to share with you.



Yes, only 19 more days until Baby Briggs is "scheduled" to enter this world.  I love saying that.  It still makes people unconformable when I tell them I'm having a scheduled c-section.  People are weird and need to get over themselves.  Technically my Due Date is Christmas Day but the 21st is the earliest my Doc will get in there and get this little one out.

I'm hoping recovery this time will be much easier.  Click here to go back and read Dax's Birth story and reminisce with me about how horrible my recovery was last time.  Having an emergency c-section was no bueno and I was convinced I didn't ever want to go through that again.  Oh, how time changes things.  I'm so excited for this little one to get here right before Christmas.  I'm praying every day that he's growing well and that Dax bonds with him.

I still can't wrap my head around having two boys!  Our household is going to be full of burps and stinky feet and cars!  Hey, at least I'll be the center of attention.  That's the way a true Narcissist would look at it, ha!



It's also exciting that Christmas is right around the corner.  We made sure to tell Dax that he has to give away some of his toys in order to get new ones for Christmas.  We don't do much in the way of Santa which I get some flack for, but whatevs.  Santa's not my fave.  Dax knows Santa and we read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas so it's not like he's banned from our home but we just don't perpetuate the Santa talk.  Christmas is about Jesus for us and we want to make sure to instill that in Dax as early as possible, which is now!  Christmas is my favorite holiday but I want Dax to know it's about more than just getting.  It's about giving and not to just your family but to others, even strangers.  
How do you instill the meaning of Christmas with your kiddos?  In what ways do you give to others?  Do you participate in Toys for Tots, Angel Trees or serving at shelters?  I'm always looking for ideas.

Black Friday Cyber Sales Roundup

Friday, November 25, 2016
Here's a refresher of all the great Black Friday Cyber Sales I'm posting on social media today.  Come back all week to click on the links and shop.


This is the only way I shop - online.  Too many people acting like asses in a store and forgetting their manners just to save a buck is not my cup of tea.  Today, my four year old and I are spending the morning at home, in our PJs, shopping and watching movies!

I'm trying to get 95% of my Christmas shopping done this week because I am going to have baby brain here in a couple of weeks.  I have to get ready for baby Briggs and I won't be thinking about Christmas shopping.  Luckily, I started shopping a few weeks ago and have several people crossed off my list.  Feeling proud.  So, see below and click on the link to your favorite retailers and get 'er done!

They Have Everything Stores:
LastCall: Extra 40% to 80% off - no code needed.

Macy's: 20% off Sitewide (free shipping over $50) with code THANKS

Nordstrom: Take an extra 20% off selected sale items.

Women's and Men's Clothing and Accessories: 
Banana Republic: 50% off 5 regular priced items with code BRFIVE. 40% off sale - automatically applied at checkout.
 
BUFFALO David Bitton: 50% OFF apparel and 20% OFF Denim.

For Her:
LOFT: 50% off Everything with Code FRIYAY.  

Beauty:
Sephora: Black Friday Gift Sets starting at $10.

Ulta: Tons of Black Friday Beauty Busters!

Jewelry:
BaubleBar: Take 30% Off With Code THANKS30.

Kendra Scott: 20% off and free shipping with code: SALE20

Wanderlust + Co: 40% off Sitewide with code CYBER40

Babies and Kiddos:
Target: Buy one, get one 50% off on toys.

Sales can change from day to day (these ADD retailers!) so check back for updates as well.

Thankful

Thursday, November 24, 2016



This time last year was tough.  Not many know because I've been fairly ambiguous about it but I suffered yet another miscarriage in September 2015.  I don't mind talking about it or sharing my experiences but I remained mum mostly due to others.  I'm going to be really honest here.  I can't stand the way people react to news of an early miscarriage.  I know they mean well but I'd just rather not deal with other people and their "uncomfortableness" when I was the one who went through the trauma.  And you never get flowers... ok, I'm being sarcastic but that's what I do.  It's my coping mechanism!


I was still grieving silently when Thanksgiving came around last year.  Felton was too but my man was also full of hope.  He's like his mom.  My sweet mother-in-law reminded me that Dax was born after suffering a loss and she was sure we'd have another little one.  My doctor reminded me too.  He was not my doctor when I lost the baby but after the horrible experience I had with my "new doctor", I immediately decided to travel the distance to go back to the doctor who helped me have my Dax.  He's an amazing doctor and I wish I never would have stopped seeing him.  But he was hopeful.  I needed to hear that and it made me feel better and I was full of hope too.



Fast forward to 2016 and whoa, what a fantastic start to the year.  I'm again being sarcastic people.  My best friend's father had a massive stroke and it was scary and life changing for her family.  Shortly after, my mom had a stroke, which was luckily not severe but was certainly life changing as well.  A short while later, her brother, my Uncle Tommy Wayne, passed away suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage, aka a stroke.  I mean.  Wow.  



2016 seemed destined for darkness.  But through the prayers and support of family and friends and tapping into our faith, we made it through.  My bff's dad is ok!  They are adjusting to their new normal and their family has so much to be thankful for.  My mom is ok.  We are not adjusting to her new normal as well as we should but we're getting there.  My mom is still able to be independent physically but her cognition, clarity and memory were affected and my brother and I struggle with figuring out the balance of how to help her do what she wants while doing what's best for her.  But first and foremost, we are so thankful that she is here.  



My brother and his wife found out they were expecting twins early in 2016 and by the time I heard the news (which I knew very early on and they didn't even know I knew because your girl here can keep a secret!) I had my own secret.  Felton and I found out we were expecting!  Talk about the circle of life.  I waited a while before sharing the news because, you know, read above.  But we made it public when I was 13 weeks and we found out it was another boy!  We were ecstatic.  



Fast forward to today, Thanksgiving 2016 and our family has grown.  I have two new month-old nieces that I can't wait to see again today.  We have another sweet baby boy that will here in a few (hopefully) short weeks.  Dax is seemingly ready for his new role as big brother.  And we're thankful.  This is what life looks like.  It's sad, it's happy.  It can be so boring and it can give you anxiety and adventure.  Life.  And we are so very thankful for it today.

An Intimate Baby Sprinkle

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
This past Saturday, a couple of besties got together and hosted an intimate, sweet "Sprinkle" to celebrate Briggs' impending arrival.  For those of you not familiar with what a Sprinkle is, I'll clear it up.  Instead of "showering" the mother with gifts, as in a baby shower, you "sprinkle" her with just a few necessities.  As the name suggests, a sprinkle is a light shower.  If the child is a second or third child, mothers typically already have most of the supplies needed to care for baby Here is more info from Parenting.com

I personally believe every baby should be celebrated and that's usually the "etiquette" here in the South!  And I had Dax over four years ago so I've given away some things as well.  And people love to give baby gifts.  We still have pretty much all the big items and anything we don't, we are purchasing ourselves.  It sure is nice to be able to register and get the completion discount for the bigger items!  Just for funsies, here's a link to my post for my baby shower for Dax.  It was just as a first baby shower should be - fairly grand with lots of friends and family and so fun. 


Now, onto the eye candy.  Thank you to Joy (of Basically Joy) and Kelly (known her since 7th grade!) - you guys are so sweet to do this for us!  I love parties, big or small, so capturing these moments is always special.  The food was amazing and also probably my favorite part of the afternoon (besides the awesome hospitality)!  






There were also a few games and prizes, which everyone seemed to enjoy - aside from the baby name game "Around the World".  Unless you have a party filled with super smart world travelers, you will get booed with this one, ha!








It is so difficult to get good pictures of someone opening gifts.  This is no exception.  I look funny but the outfit is so cute I had to post it!





This cake though!  Although I think they are gorgeous to look at, I never thought I liked naked cakes because I love frosting and why would anyone skimp on frosting?  However, I am a changed woman.  I requested a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and girlfriend anteed up with the frosting so this was a win and so delicious.  I also may be a bit high maintenance but that's why it's great to have friends who love you anyway and get you.  You girls just get me!




Aren't these favors the cutest!!  Below are some shots of friends and family including the fist picture with my hostesses.  We're silly!   


BTDubs - my dress is from Old Navy and the cardi is old (from Piperlime).  I've had the cardigan for years and this is my first time wearing it.  I love it and here is a similar option.  Old Navy has a good maxi option available now.





Love to you all and thanks again for such a special afternoon. 

*Thank you to Joy Hammond and Shayla Jenkins for helping take some of the candid photos!

Baby Boy #2 - 33 Week Bumpdate

Tuesday, November 8, 2016
How far along? 33 weeks 

Total weight gain:  27 lbs. (Yikes!)

Maternity clothes?  Yes but I am still able to wear some non-maternity sweaters.

Stretch marks?  Nope - Dax took care of stretching out my belly so no new ones, lol!

Sleep: Not so great.  It's all the bathroom trips.

Best moment this week:  Seeing Dax get more comfortable with the idea of Little Brother.

Miss Anything?  Yes - same stuff: wine, sushi, energy, not waddling.

Movement:  Lots of fairly uncomfortable kicks.

Food cravings:  Not really.  

Anything making you queasy or sick:  Not really.

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs:  No

Symptoms:  All 3rd trimester symptoms.  All of them.

Belly Button in or out?  In, but my husband and I may bet on this soon.  He doesn't think it will pop but I think it might this time.

Wedding rings on or off?  On.

Happy or Moody most of the time:  Mostly happy but I get irritated with a quickness.

Looking forward to:  My Baby Sprinkle this Saturday.  :-)

InstaWhat: Oct 31

Monday, October 31, 2016

I've got a fun night of trick-or-treating ahead of me... NOT.  I'll probably make it down my street and need to go back home, I'll be so tired!  I'll share pics of my little guy on IG tonight.  For now, here are some bits and pieces of life these days from Instagram
Halloween with the work bestie!
Cowboy Mac and Cheese.  One of the best super fattening meals I've had in a long time.
Accidentally coordinated with the work bestie one day...
Which clutch did I choose for my reunion?  The animal print clutch, of course!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more personal pics and just good "people watching".

Spooky Halloween Treats Your Kids Will Love

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
I love making sweet treats for holidays.  For Halloween, I make my annual Chocolate Covered Oreos.  We're talking ghosts and mummies people!  



The "blood" is a nice touch, don't you think?  The stand is just foam from the floral section of the craft store and the sticks are lollipop sticks.  I love the Victorian tissue paper too.  It somehow fit in with the spooky theme.  These are actually quite easy to make.  You just have to get over your fear of melting chocolate (if you have such a fear).  



First, I twist apart the Double Stuffed Oreos and dip the end of a lollipop stick in the white chocolate.  Then insert about halfway up the cream in the cookie.  Push it in and let it sink in so it sticks as the chocolate hardens (sorry no pic).  Press the cookies back together and let the lollipop sticks set.  Then I use a spoon to "dip" the cookies, meaning I pour chocolate from the spoon on to each side of the cookie, making sure to coat them completely.  I have lost many a cookie by trying to actually dip them into the chocolate.  Let them set on wax paper and refrigerate.



Decorate to your fancy.  For the ghosts, use black cookie icing.  I used cookie icing instead of cake icing because it hardens quite a bit better.  For the mummies, drizzle more white chocolate with a fork by going back and forward, leaving the eyes showing.  Add "blood" with red cookie icing if desired.  Time consuming, but fairly easy.  I also love to make a big Bag of Bones for Halloween.




You need pretzel sticks, small marshmallows and melted white chocolate.  Press a marshmallow on each side of the pretzel stick then dip one side into a small bowl of melted white chocolate.  Let that side harden on wax paper and then dip the other side.  Let them set in the fridge.  Pack them all in a wrinkled brown bag and there you have it.  They are seriously easy.  The hardest part about making these sweet treats, is not eating them all!



We are having a Halloween potluck at work and I've reached an impasse on what to bring.  I want to bring something savory but really don't have any good ideas.  What easy savory dishes or dips are your favorites?  Anything festive for Halloween you can share?

Easy Fall Maternity Outfit

Thursday, October 20, 2016
 *This post contains affiliate links (when you click and/or purchase from an affiliate link, I get a small commission for the sale at no cost to you).  Thanks for supporting the blog!

Easy Fall Maternity Outfit

Yesterday, I had two doctor's appointments and one was clear across town.  Seriously, my OB is almost 40 miles away - but worth it!  I would recommend him to every women I encountered if I could.  He's helped me have 2 rainbow babies.  Well, almost - Briggs needs to hurry up and get here!  As you can see, this belly is large and in charge.  I wanted to actually look put together while I traipsed across town so I pulled out an actual blouse to wear and did my makeup.  Yup.  #Truth.  I also wanted to show that in Texas, we can wear white in the Fall, because 90 degrees people.  And I wasn't scared to dawn a white tunic in my third trimester.  Yeah, I may look a tad bigger in pictures but I'm pregnant and measuring big and the top is just so feminine and cute.  It made me feel pretty and God knows I need that at this stage.  This is the quintessential Fall transitional (maternity) outfit.

Trends, Sales and Puppy Dog Tails

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Loving the bell sleeve trend happening right now.  It's reminiscent of the 70s and even the 90s but updated  Think Stevie Nicks meets Jessica Alba.  Bell sleeve blouses look great with either skinnies or flares.  And flares are certainly trending now, as well.  I need a bell sleeve dress!  Think I'll wait until after this bambino is born so I can achieve the silhouette I want.


Also wanted to mention a few good sales happening right now if you have some extra cash to burn.  First up, ShopBop's "Event of The Season".  Spend up to $500, get 25% off  or spend more than $500, get 30% off order with code MAINEVENT16.  Ends 10/15!

Nine West has boots, booties and flats on sale.  Take 30% off until 10/18.  No coded needed.

Lastly, Loft has 40% off selected tops, sweaters and jackets.  Limited time with no code needed.

As for the "Puppy Dog Tails" mentioned in the title, just wanted to give a quick "bumpdate" on Baby Boy Briggs.  I'm currently 29 1/2 weeks!  The half is super important.  Baby Briggs is doing great and getting big.  I'm measuring a couple of weeks early still and just feel huge.  Feeling a tad less tired than the few previous weeks, thank God!  

Isn't he sweet!!
I'm ready to start going through some of Dax's hand-me-downs to figure out what we need for Little Brother.  I've given away some things but we have the big stuff, pretty much.  I do need a swing and regret not getting one when Dax was a baby.  He had a rocker but still, the swings are just everything.  Speaking of rocker, I need one too.  I'm at a stand-still on if I should get a recliner/rocker, plain rocker or just a glider.  Please help!!  What kind of nursery chair did you have and what did you like about it?

Lots of Love for Little Lungs

Thursday, October 6, 2016

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

October, or “The Official Month of Fall”, as I like to call it, is my favorite month of the year.  For us Texans, it finally signifies cooler temps and cute layers of clothes!  But did you know that October is also National RSV Awareness Month?  I didn’t.  It even has hashtags:  #LittleLungs #RSVAwarenessMonth.  Search those and make sure to visit http://bit.ly/2bvRxSm to learn more about RSV disease and ways to keep your little one(s) healthy.   I wish I had known a lot more about RSV when my son Dax was born four years ago.  I hope the information I share with you in this post can help you be more proactive in protecting your kiddos against this potentially serious and very common disease.

RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and usually occurs between November and March in the U.S.  This is right around the corner.  I’m sure we’re all careful during cold and flu season but when dealing with new babies with fragile lungs, we need to be extra diligent about RSV as well.  It is the leading cause of hospitalization for babies under a year old. 

Here's my little "Superman" at almost four months old and fully recovered from RSV
My son Dax was diagnosed with RSV at only three months old.  It was a very worrisome time.  He was in daycare, and RSV is highly contagious and again quite common but I was basically clueless about it.  Luckily, his pediatrician was amazing and really helped us get a hold of this illness and understand it.  My little Daxie's symptoms included fever, severe wheezing and chest retractions (super scary) and a pretty yucky cough.  The Mr. and I took turns staying home with him for about a week.  Thankfully, my little guy did not require hospitalization but it was still scary that he was so little and so sick.  

As most of my readers know, I am expecting another son, Briggs in December, smack dab in the middle of "RSV season".  I am taking more time off to be home with him so that gives me some comfort knowing he'll have less exposure than Dax did.  However, we will still have visitors and it is cold and flu season for us all.  Hopefully my friends and family will read the information below.  I encourage you to as well.  Click to expand so you can get knowledgeable about RSV and how to watch out for and possibly prevent this highly contagious disease.


I am certainly bookmarking this post so I can refer to the RSV Website for a refresher when Briggs is born.  I already know that fragile baby lungs are more susceptible to RSV especially in premature babies.  And there is no treatment - it's more about managing symptoms which can be heartbreaking to witness in little ones.  So, prevention is paramount.  Use "hanitizer" as we call it and wash hands diligently.  Make sure toys and shared belongings are kept clean and perhaps be a cocooner like me and stay in if you have a newborn during this season.   

Here is my "little" guy today.  All four strapping years of him.  He's like his mama and loves the camera!



He's ready to help welcome little Brother to the world and help keep him healthy to boot!