Baby’s Nursery

The baby’s nursery is starting to come together…and I mean that loosely. It’s not fully cleaned out, though it is for the most part. We moved our computer desk to the garage (we never used it anyway). And now I use my old makeup vanity as my computer/printer desk in the guest room. I rarely sit down and do a full face of makeup. Lack of time, yes, but also because of a lack of energy. And the fact that no matter what products I use, my face is a mess of breakouts so sitting down and doing my makeup is just so much less fun. Therefore, the vanity got transferred into plastic bins under my sink and I keep one little basket of essential makeup items on my bathroom counter.

Things that were stored in the now-nursery were transferred to the other guest room’s closet. Not all the boxes, but most. So basically, the nursery is now a mess of baby stuff instead of just a mess. I’ll take photos of the full nursery once we get the crib, recliner, etc. But for now here are some bits and pieces of Baby’s nursery and some other cute crap.

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Evidently, you can never have too many Boppy pillows. The one in the middle is a newborn lounger, while the other two are your basic Boppy pillows (the feeding/support ones). My mother-in-law was thoughtful enough to send two of the feeding pillows, considering that we have a two-story house and I will be feeding him upstairs at night and downstairs during the day. The cover on the pillow to the right is organic, score!

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Baby bath! Baby’s Grammy (my mom) loves bath time and when she came to visit a couple weeks ago, she went crazy with baby bath buys. This is one of them. It’s the Summer Bath Center & Shower. The little hammock-looking thing in the middle can fit into the sink for newborn bath time. It comes equipped with it’s own little removable shower spout, too. We’re gonna be fancy bath-timers.

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Pack ‘n Play. I just love owls! I don’t usually like cheesy animals on baby stuff. It’s just…tacky. This was also the pattern that our car seat was going to be in until I scored the same car seat for MUCH less, just in a different pattern.

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We already have a decent start on diapers…accidentally. I signed up for a free trial through The Honest Company (review coming soon!). They send you some diapers and some of their other products like shampoo and hand wash, for free, but then you are automatically enrolled in their monthly membership. You have 7 days to cancel. Obviously I don’t need the monthly membership for diapers yet, and didn’t cancel in time before they charged me and sent one box of diapers, wipes and other products. So…I’m stocked up on Size 1 diapers for now! Hopefully we like them. I also bought a pack of Earth’s Best diapers, in newborn. I plan on doing half cloth diapers, half disposables as I’m not yet sure of my post-baby working situation and I also just want to see how cloth diapering works out for us. If we like it, then we’ll move to full-time cloth diapering.

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This one is MY pride and joy. I put this 9 piece cube storage together (ClosetMaid brand, purchased from Target) all by myself. The hubs isn’t a Mr. Fix It and I usually end up fixing things around the house and putting things together. Initially, I had only bought 6 cubes (3 green, 3 brown). Then decided I didn’t like that look and wanted to fill it up, and bought 3 more cubes in “natural”. I like it much better now! This will be baby’s dresser. I don’t like that most dressers for nurseries are also nursery-sized (AKA awkward and smallish). So we’ll save the dresser-splurge for when the baby moves on up to a big kid room.

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Here’s a picture of his closet…boy, this boy has CLOTHES! That’s both sides of the closet packed full, in addition to the clothes that are in the cube storage. Here, there are sleepers hanging up. But I moved them to the cube storage, as well as basic onesies to free up some hangers and closet space.

Never did I ever think I’d be writing about babies and Boppy pillows. Evidently, when you’re pregnant, that is ALL you can think about.

My Cruelty Free Journey: Animal Testing 102

Back in March, I decided to start a blog post series about my cruelty-free journey. Specifically, I wanted to tackle common questions and assumptions about animal testing. In the initial post, I discussed mainly what animals endure during animal testing and briefly touched on the fact that animal testing is not necessary to create a safe product. That post is here if you’d like to catch up and read the intro. Today, I am going to talk about a few alternative testing methods (you know, the ones that I understand)…and question whether or not testing a product is necessary, period, if we trust the ingredients.

Alternative Testing Methods

Human skin: No brainer, right? But it’d be just as cruel to test a toxic product on a human as it is an animal (could you imagine tying a person down to rub chemicals in their eyes to see if they’ll be blinded or not?). Science is awesome, and we’ve come up with several ways of testing on “human skin” that isn’t dangerous. One way by using a human skin model (in other words…materials and substances that are similar to human skin are combined and tested on). Another way is by testing on cadavers. Donated cadavers, of course.

Micro-dosing: In this method, tiny amounts are administered to humans. This is actually gaining ground. I have actually heard of this method. You might have heard of studies in which people actually volunteer (and get paid) to test out a medication or some other type of product.

Like I stated above, there are a few other methods that I simply do not understand because I’m not a science-nut. I hate science. Anyway, one has to do with culture-grown cells being exposed to the chemicals/product and light at the same time and seeing if there is a bad reaction. I guess that doesn’t sound too complicated but I’m not going to pretend like I know what I’m talking about on this one.

Why do products even need to be tested?

You’re probably thinking – DUH, so we know we’re safe! But the underlying question is: Why do we create products with chemicals that we are KNOW are toxic and could potentially harm us? If a product is made with all-natural ingredients and is non-toxic, we are almost guaranteed to be safe, unless we are personally allergic to a certain ingredient. Wouldn’t you much rather know and understand an ingredient list? Seriously. Go grab your bottle of facial cleaner. Do you even know what the heck 99% of the ingredients really are? No? Then you should probably throw it away. Animal tested or not, those chemicals are not good for you. If a product needs to be tested to see whether or not it’s going to make you go blind…you shouldn’t be buying it anyway.

Those are my thoughts for the day. Next time I’m going to tackle deciphering animal testing labels/statements and why China sucks (sorry China- but I wouldn’t say that if you didn’t force animal testing).

I’m only as smart as the research I do in the internet. So, here are my resources:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/cosmetic_testing/facts/alternatives_animal_tests.html

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/alternatives-testing-without-torture.aspx

26 weeks pregnant

How far along? 26 weeks and 5 days…in the homestretch of the 2nd trimester.
Total weight gain/measurements: When I went in for my 24 week appointment, I weighed in at a whopping 143! Which makes a total of 9 pounds of weight gain.
Maternity clothes: I found a few shirts from Burke’s Outlet in town and ended up buying 2 pairs of shorts in a couple sizes up because I couldn’t find maternity shorts I liked.
Stretch marks: I have a little cluster of 2 or 3 stretch marks on my right hip, they aren’t red or purple though.. just a white-ish color. Not too bad!
Sleep: My Snoogle pregnancy pillow is back in action! I bought it a couple months ago, and about a week after having it my dog decided he would love to chew a hole in it. The hole is right by where my head goes. The pillow itself was expensive, but even the covers are expensive (about $30) so I just went without it for a while…well, I decided I NEEDED to use it again, sleeping is pretty uncomfortable for me at night and I always wake up sleeping on my back. I’ve been using it again for about a week (just bought a new cover) and while I still wake up on my back sometimes, it’s less frequent and I am so much more comfortable at night.
Best moment this week: Probably when I abruptly poked my belly and scared the crap out of him.. I could feel him jump and flail like “What the heck mom! I’m sleeping here!”
Miss anything? I miss sleeping more comfortably. But other than that, I am loving this stage of pregnancy except for a few yucky symptoms.
Movement: Sometimes I feel as if he has a lifelong dream of being in the Olympics and has decided to start training while still in the womb. This kid goes nuts. I’ve started doing kick counts (“just for fun” as my OB told me I wouldn’t need to start them until week 28-30ish). Apparently they are suppose to kick 10 times in max 2 hours. The first day I did it, he reached his 10 kicks in 4 minutes. The second time, 3 minutes. And they usually aren’t just little jabs or flutters.. they are full on uppercuts and big body movements. The ultrasound tech told me I had a squirmy one inside me, she was right!
Food cravings: Nothing terribly specific. I just like to eat a lot 🙂
Anything making you queasy or sick? Ugh…nausea has not been my friend. I’ve noticed that if I have too much sugar, I am so so queasy. Also, because baby is getting bigger and womb space is limited, sometimes the pressure makes me very ill. Daddy was pressing on my belly about a week ago, which never bothers me at all, but when he pressed a certain spot (and pressed right where baby was) I felt like I needed to puke right there. Cute, huh?
Gender: Still a boy.. I hope!
Labour signs: Nope. I had Braxton hicks about a month ago a couple times and haven’t had them since.
Symptoms: Nausea! Shortness of breath. Acne. A bit of ankle swelling, which is a given considering I stand at work all day.
Belly button in or out? In but it’s practically flat.
Wedding rings on or off? On. The only swelling I’ve had is my ankles.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy but don’t get on my nerves! I have a really short fuse when it comes to rude people and my big mouth might get me into trouble..
Looking forward to: Getting his nursery all set up. I’ve changed my mind about a dozen times on the theme, color, etc. And I think I’ve finally decided on exactly what I want. 🙂 I’m also looking forward to starting his book collection because if he’s going to inherit ANYTHING from me, I hope it’s a love for books!

22 weeks pregnant

How far along? 22 weeks & 3 days
Total weight gain/measurements: At my 20 week appointment, I weighed 137. Total weight gain of 3 pounds.
Maternity clothes: I really have not found any maternity clothes recently that I like. I am on the hunt for cute jean shorts but they are all the awkward just above the knee length, blech. For now, gym shorts and yoga shorts are fine 🙂
Stretch marks: The small one I have on my right hip is a teeny bit bigger but not bad at all. Other than that, none. I have been using the Earth Mama Angel Baby body butter & lotion and LOVE them both! Awesome cruelty-free, non-toxic brand!
Sleep: I am having a difficult time sleeping on my left side (which is recommended for the best circulation). I always wake up laying on my back which is not good during pregnancy. Last night was probably the first time I didn’t wake up on my back.
Best moment this week: Well, not this week, but since my last pregnancy post we found out its a BOY!
Miss anything? Wearing my jean shorts! I have about 10 pairs that will have to wait until next summer.
Movement: All the time! Moreso when I just get done eating or am laying down for bed. When he flips over, it’s such a weird feeling that I jump sometimes haha.
Food cravings: Ugh…I can’t get enough of sweets. Last night I made an 8 pm run to the grocery store for snickers ice cream. I try to curb those cravings and eat fruit instead but once I get a specific food into my head, I have to have it!
Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really.
Gender: Boy.
Labour signs: No.
Symptoms:

My shortness of breath has become a lot more frequent. It’s usually accompanied by increased heart rate. A few days ago it happened when I was just laying in bed. All normal, though. I have really been having a phenomenal pregnancy.

Belly button in or out? In but definitely stretched out!
Wedding rings on or off? On. Still no swelling.
Happy or moody most of the time: Oh gosh, half and half!
Looking forward to: Baby registry 🙂

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What sparked my natural lifestyle?

Or as some call it, “crunchy” lifestyle.

If you know me personally, you know I’m very passionate about using non-toxic products and living a more “natural life”. I’m going to explain why.

About a year ago I realized that both of my dogs were constantly sick. I would have one of them to the vet at least once every six weeks. Lexi, my black lab mix, constantly battled allergies and last year it got to the point where she had a terrible, disgusting & painful ear infection as well as very itchy skin. The vet blamed it on outdoor allergies (which I found odd, considering that this was during the winter time before the big spring allergen surge). For 6 months I battled cleaning out her ears every night and giving her medicine to get rid of the build up in her ear but it never went away until I paid the vet to put her under and scrape the crap out of her ear.

Bentley, on the other hand, had such itchy skin that he was chewing at himself, including his paws, all the time. He would freak out and jump around the room he was so itchy. This went on for at least 8 months and the vet just told me to give him Benadryl. He was also diagnosed with hip dysplasia and locating patella. Both of which caused him serious joint pain.

In the cases of both my babies, I did exactly what the vet told me to with no changes. I have a great vet – he wasn’t the problem. It wasn’t until I started noticing both of my dogs no longer enjoyed their bowls of Beneful dog food, became very sluggish and were throwing up a little stomach acid here and there nearly every day that it wasn’t anything but the allergens, fillers, and (in my opinion) poison that is in most dog foods that was making my babies sick.

I threw the entire bag of Beneful away. Had them on a turkey, broccoli and rice diet for 4 days. Then switched their food to Blue Buffalo.

A year later – Lexi does not suffer from allergies, Bentley does not chew his skin raw, and his joint problems have become a million times better. He will always live with his joint problems, but if I can get away with not giving him pain killers every day, that is true testimony to how much a good diet can help a dog. Especially since he is only 2 years old. Every now and then after playing rough, he’ll start to limp. But it’s not the constant limp he used to have.

After starting my dogs on a natural diet, I realized – why am I eating and using all this toxic stuff when I don’t let my dogs consume anything but natural products? Then I started transitioning into eating clean myself.

Around the same time, I began learning about animal testing and decided I would not put my money toward the torturing of animals. This includes cleaning products, makeup, body care – anything. Generally, cruelty-free products are also more natural and most natural companies are cruelty-free so I started learning about and buying from these companies.

And, that’s it. My furbabies have really influenced me in so many aspects of my life. They have made, and continue to make, me into a much better person.

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19 Weeks Pregnant

Then… and now!
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(I obviously gave up on the chalkboard thing! 😉 Haha)
How far along? 19 weeks & 1 day
Total weight gain/measurements: At my 16 week appointment I was 136 (total of 2 pounds weight gain, right on track!) I’ve definitely gained some bump-age since then so I’m sure I’ll have an update at my 20 week appointment. I don’t have an at-home scale.
Maternity clothes: I have 2 pairs of maternity jeans, a pair of maternity dress pants for work and just placed an order through pink blush maternity for a few summer tops!
Stretch marks: I have a teeny one in the love-handle region. I have stretch marks from when I was in high school after losing that puberty weight (about 20lbs) on my thighs, so I already know I’m prone to stretch marks! I’m using Vaseline Cocoa Butter lotion but I’ve been told time and time again that lotions really don’t work anyway – it just has to do with your skin type. Important note: Vaseline is NOT cruelty-free – it was just a quick purchase from the drugstore to heal my dry skin considering that my options in this town are so very limited (to Walmart and CVS). I’m currently on the hunt for a good cruelty-free cocoa butter lotion that I can make a trip to the city for, or order online, any recommendations?!
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Sleep: Some nights are better than others. Our puppy decided to chew a nice hole into my maternity pillow so I’m without that until I can get it sewed up 😦 It’s just a little uncomfortable because I get dizzy if I don’t have really good head support when I lay down. And the maternity pillow REALLY helped with that.
Best moment this week: Hmm…I’d have to say making an afternoon trip to the city (about 4o minutes away) to get Popeyes (craving!) and go to Trader Joes for the first time.
Miss anything? Not gonna lie, sometimes I could go for a drink of Crown and sprite on the rocks!
Movement: One to three times a day I feel some nudges. It’s still a little early to feel baby move a lot!
Food cravings: I was craving oranges (specifically Cuties) from about week 10-week 16. I am always craving fruit, I think it’s because I’m always thirsty and fruit has a high water content. I sometimes have random cravings, like a big sandwich or most recently, Popeyes haha.
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Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope! I never really felt nauseous or sick unless I was working the morning shift at the beginning of my 2nd trimester (7AM). About 30 minutes in I would get really light-headed and sick. Now, I feel kind of “off” if I’m working in the morning but the nausea is definitely gone.
Gender: To be determined 😉
Labour signs: Way too early for real labor, but I had some cramping earlier this week. I’m not sure if they were Braxton Hicks contractions but I’d cramp up really bad for 10ish seconds then it would go away for a minute or two before cramping again.
Symptoms:
Round ligament pain
Acid reflux
Shortness of breath
Some bouts of moodiness here and there, but not too bad. Just have a higher tendency to cry!
I ALWAYS have to pee
Belly button in or out? Still in!
Wedding rings on or off? On, I don’t have any swelling anywhere.
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Finding out the gender! And making those big purchases, like the crib and car seat!

My Cruelty Free Journey: Animal Testing 101

I’ve given up favorite brands like Revlon, Maybelline, Urban Decay, Laura Mercier, Johnson&Johnson, L’Oreal… (the list really doesn’t end)…because they choose to put money over morals. These companies are guilty of testing on animals. The average person doesn’t mind, which is something that I try to understand but fail. It’s hard to understand people who use products tested on animals when you’ve done hours upon hours of research on the subject and are aware of the truth that companies try hard to hide from us.

These are some of the questions or comments I’ve come across on my cruelty-free journey. In order to make this blog post not painstakingly long, I’m only going to post a few questions/comments/misconceptions about animal testing at a time and call the blog post series: My Cruelty-Free Journey. Please keep in mind I am not an expert, just a person who is passionate about ending animal testing.

“Why not test on rats if the products are going to be safer to use on humans in the end?”
Animal testing isn’t just done on rats (who still have feelings and a life worthy of living without cruelty), it is also done on other animals like rabbits, and sometimes dogs and cats. Animal advocates like myself don’t see human life as more worthy than animal life. Even if you do see it as more valuable, it is ignorant to think animal testing is beneficial to us because a) our bodies react differently than animals’ anyway and b) if you’d prefer animals to suffer and die in agony so you can use your superficial beauty products, that is just sick. Furthermore, there are methods of testing products that many cruelty-free companies perform instead of animal testing and these methods are NOT more expensive and just as effective. Animal testing should be a thing of the past but when you have powerhouses like China forcing animal testing, animal testing is still very present and very real.

“How does smearing a little eyeshadow on an animal hurt them?”
Animal testing involves not only testing the finished product on the animal, but also the individual ingredients, including seeing what combination of ingredients is harmful or not. These products aren’t just swiped on their face like you would use your finished product. They are dropped into their eyes, forced to breathe in toxic chemicals to see what combination/levels would kill them faster, injected with toxic solutions, skinned, etc. Bunnies are commonly used because they do not have tear ducts, and thus cannot naturally rinse the chemicals from their eyes. They suffer in pain and are blinded. And that’s without getting too graphic. I talk specifically about beauty products tested on animals but don’t forget that companies like Clorox (and just about every product you’ll find in the cleaning aisle) test on animals too. We are in a lot of pain when we accidentally get shampoo in our eyes…imagine cleaning products.

These animals wake up everyday to be strapped to a table and endure torture we don’t even see in war. If they manage to stay alive, they go to sleep only to be tortured the next day. What kind of life is that?

I, for one, prefer to cuddle and love my fur babies.

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Cruelty-Free Beauty Haul

I made a trip to Ulta & this happened…

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• Paul Mitchell Super Strong Conditioner
• Real Techniques stippling brush
• Physician’s Formula Fake Out Mascara
• NYX stay matte not flat liquid foundation
• Sonia Kashuk dual sharpener
• NYX lipgloss in Sweet Heart
• Milani brow tint pen
• Sonia Kashuk Confidential Concealer
• Sonia Kashuk brow gel
• Zoya polish in Frida
• Sonia Kashuk polish in Pink Slip

I used to use the word “eccentric” to describe myself (think middle school, early high school era). I was different, and a little weird (and still am) and had great friends who encouraged my weirdness. And my family encouraged it, too. I don’t use the word “eccentric” anymore. I don’t really know how to describe myself at all. When people ask me to describe myself in ‘this number’ of words, I’m like “Uhhh…” (It’s easy to answer that question in job interviews though. You just lie.)

I created this blog to write about the things I’m passionate about. My journey in life of just being passionate. There are a lot of things that I’m passionate about that a lot of people aren’t. So I’m writing to express my passion, I’m writing because I have always loved to write, and I’m writing to share my passions and hopefully enlighten some of my readers.

I’m passionate about living a clean life. You’re laughing right now if you’ve ever been into my house. I do not have a clean house. I mean, it’s not gross and smelly, I just have a husband who throws clean clothes on the couch instead of folding them and I really hate sorting my mail so it’s currently thrown all over my coffee table. By “clean” I mean natural and having a clean conscious about what I buy and what I use. I like the idea of clean eating but my pregnancy hormones and cravings really don’t line up with that vision (I try my best!). Moreso, I’m passionate about natural cleaning products. Natural beauty products. Companies that do not test on animals. Animal rights in general. If you’re my Facebook friend you probably have me blocked from your timeline to get rid of all the animal pictures/awareness posts I share. Shout out to my husband and my mother who listen to my endless rants about animal testing 🙂

Next time I will share why I am passionate about these things. For now.. I need to devour these cupcakes.Image

– Karissa