5 on Friday

Back to my first Five on Friday in awhile!! :)

| ONE | These shoes – I covet. How things have changed over the last few months…I used to covet (and still do – just unrealistically) heels and wedges, but as the temperatures climb and my feet have more trouble by the end of the day fitting into my pretty heels, comfy shoes are my jam.

Image via Amazon

| TWO | I’m off to Louisville tomorrow for my first baby shower – I cant wait!! :)

| THREE | One of my favorite movies is coming back – Wet Hot American Summer! Thank you, Netflix, for making this happen. I cant wait for this release – I still cant believe they got this cast back together, and added Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig no less! Amazing. Camp Firewood forever.

| FOUR | Tonkey Bear. My sister introduced me to the gloriousness that is Tonkey Bear. Dont know about him yet? Check it out, stat, and prepare to smile and make your day 100 times better :) :) :)

TONKEY BEAR

| FIVE | Helix Sleep. A friend and old co-worker of Barr’s is currently doing a summer internship with a great mattress start-up, Helix Sleep. Apparently the mattress business is booming for start-ups. Anyway, they’re getting ready to launch next week, but we ordered our new blended mattress from them (Barr likes a softer mattress – I prefer firmer), and their customer service and technology for the mattress have been amazing. I cant say enough good things – definitely check them out now or when they launch next week!!

Have great summer weekends, friends!! And SMILE :) If things seems, tough, just google images of Tonkey Bear.

Five-on-Friday

A Liz Adventures | Hello! Happiness | The Good Life

The one with Second Trimester Favorites

On Saturday, I hit 28 weeks and thus begins the third trimester of the pregnancy – toot toot! So I’ve enjoyed reading about other bloggers’ essentials for registries, new borns and pregnancies, so I though I would add mine to the mix with my 2nd trimester favorites. Abby's Roads 2nd Trimester Favorites

1. Mother’s Special Blend oil: My friend Allison recommended this to me when I first got pregnant, and I’ve tried to be religious about lathering it on after I shower to prevent stretch marks (though from what I’ve read, if you’re going to get stretch marks, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it, but I didnt want to risk it!!) The verdict on this oil? Love it (obviously)! No stretch marks to date – knock on wood – plus, it smells good and absorbs really quickly. Plus the bottle lasts forever!

2. Water, water, water. I find that when I feel queasy or tired or haven’t felt him kick in awhile, water fixes almost everything.

3. The Pregnancy + app. I’ve tried out a few different pregnancy apps, but this is by far the best one. There arent message boards that Im tempted to read (terrible things!) and the information is so easy to digest.

4. Lemongrass essential oil. I recently purchased a diffuser for our place and my favorite essential oil to pop into it is lemongrass. It’s so fresh and relaxing. I am a diffuser and essential oil convert! Side note: if you are pregnant, be sure to check with your doctor about which essential oils are safe for you to use during pregnancy.

5. Snoogle pillow. I wouldnt be sleeping half as much as I have been without this bad boy. Granted, I haven’t tested out other body/maternity pillows, so I dont have anything to compare it to for y’all, but I can tell you that the Snoogle is magic. Literal magic.

6. Birkenstocks (or just comfy shoes in general). I’ve made fun of these shoes in the past, but I am now a believer. Ever since my feet started to ache and slightly swell by the end of the day a few weeks ago, wearing my most comfortable and breathable shoes is essential. Mine just happen to be these sexy numbers, and I dont care who knows it (this from a high heels girl all day long pre-pregnancy – I just cant do it without getting clown feet these days!)

So there you have it: six of my favorites from the 2nd trimester! Do y’all have any additions? Would love to hear them as I gear up for these last 12 weeks!

The one with home news

Ive sat down and planned out posts, so again, hopefully I’m back on the blogging track!! Even without tons of summer travel plans (not that I’m complaining!), the days are whizzing by and I can hardly believe it’s almost August.

One big thing that I’ve alluded to, but haven’t posted about outright is that Barr and I recently purchased a house! We’re still in the midst of finalizing inspections, planning minor renovations and counting the days until we close, but we should hopefully be in the house by the start of September, if not sooner! Plenty of time to get settled before the baby comes. And we’re thrilled, too, because we’re just ready to feel settled somewhere after so many years of renting and bouncing around (not that I’m complaining about that either!) :)

The new casa de Blanton!

The new casa de Blanton!

I dont know how many readers have gone through the home buying process, but it’s quite a process!! I obviously knew that a ton went into it, but never anticipated so much! Between just looking for (and agreeing upon) the right house of your family, working with the finances of it, inspections, appraisals and the overall move (and this is before we even move in!), it’s a lot. That all being said, we’re thrilled and cant wait for the “fun” stuff, including working with an interior designer and a few sprucing up projects we have planned.

If y’all remember from the nursery inspiration board post a few weeks ago, there is the most darling monogrammed pillow (note: the example I pulled are not the baby’s initials, but trust me, he’ll definitely have plenty of monogrammed items – in true Southern fashion, my mantra is if it’s not moving, monogram it!) which I found from a local Charlotte company, New South Home Couture. New South Home also has a design arm of the business (in addition to their lovely fabrics), so Melissa and her team will be helping us spec out the furniture placement and choice as well as some fabric selections once we move in a month or so.

Obsessed

I cant wait to keep y’all posted on tons of upcoming homey posts in the coming weeks. With less expat-ness, there will be inevitably fewer travel posts, but Im sure the Blantons will be back at it with travel in the new year once Baby Blanton can tag along, dont you worry. In the meantime, I hope y’all will continue reading along for some home and lifestyle goodness coming your way. :)

The one with the suitcase pillow

Thanks for all of your feedback on baby Blanton’s nursery inspiration! I cant wait until we move into our new place (late August, fingers crossed) to start getting little one’s room in order – it’ll definitely take precedence over all others. :)

Want to know my new favorite addition? The “Let’s Fly Away” suitcase pillow! I found it on Etsy, at OliveHandmade’s shop. Her other pillows are equally adorable, but I’m trying to show some restraint at this juncture. Fewer cutesy things and more necessary furniture for the next member of our family…it’s hard though! Definitely check out her Etsy shop, though – I can 100% attest to the high quality and great customer service (Fallon, the shop owner, included the sweetest note in the shipment), and of course, the adorable-ness speaks for itself! I love that I could even personalize it with our last name.

Let’s Fly Away suitcase pillow

Blanton Baby traveler!

Baby traveler!

But seriously, how perfect is a little suitcase pillow for the newest Blanton traveler?? Oh! And thank you to my friend Emily (though Barr probably won’t thank you for that 😉 ) for introducing me to Twinkle Twinkle, Little One’s online shop – they have the most exquisite mobiles! Which do y’all like better: globes or airplanes?

The one with the nursery inspiration

Baby Blanton’s development is just trucking along (month 4 bump date and month 5 bump dates), and while we wait on our house to close, we have started the process of planning our little one’s nursery. Of all the minor updates and renovations we want to do on the house that, Inshallah, will be our first family home come August, our first priority is of course ensuring our son has a cozy little spot in the house :) Though truth be told, we were prepared to bring him home to our temporary housing, too!

Barr and I didnt want to do a theme for his nursery, per-say, but rather just a color that ran throughout and a room that could be transitional into a “big boy” room. That being said, there will be several travel touches throughout the nursery. We may be back in the states, but we can never escape the wanderlust! Hopefully we will instill that same wonderment for the big, wide world in our child.

Without further ado, some inspiration for Baby Blanton’s nursery – complete with grays and blues, and simple touches of travel – an ideal place for mom, dad and baby to relax and escape.

Jenny Lind Bookcase | Color Palette | RH Baby Pom-Pom Drapes | Framed Vintage Maps | Monogram Linens (duh) | Rocking Camel | Gray Swivel Glider | Gray Dresser/Changing Table | French Blue Baby Crib Sheeting

The one with the America’s Mart

Living near Atlanta and having a super fabulous sister (in law) who owns an equally fabulous stationary/home goods shop in Memphis (check out RSVP if you’re in the area!), I’ve heard about the America’s Mart (just “market” to some) for awhile now. Curry (my aforementioned fabulous sister in law) attends twice a year, and always  talked about the busy-ness and exhaustion that accompanied visiting the mart. Basically, stores, designers, etc visit the mart twice a year (January and July) to stock up on their goods for the next 6 months. Talk about daunting!!

And to make it even more so, how much “stuff” is at the America’s Mart do you ask? A whole heck of a lot. We lived in Atlanta for almost a year, and I had no idea it was smack dab in the middle of the city – it essentially consists of 3 office buildings, each approximately 15 stories high, with floor after floor of goods. I mean to categorize it as overwhelming would be an understatement.

I dont have a business license or any other reason to attend the mart other than a sweet friend who offered to bring me along as a guest so we could scope out the cash and carry options as well as see the trends and vendors for furniture and other home goods to get the ideas flowing for our new casa.

With lighter wallets (I blame the baby clothes cash and carry – you cant pass up those sweet smocked outfits!) and some ideas for our houses, Id say the trip to Atlanta and the mart was a success – exhausting, but a success. :) Any excuse for a girl’s shopping trip!

L to R: Simpson, me and Seantel, one of the mart’s buildings (just 1!), a trip to Scott’s, some baby clothes loot

The one with Blurb

I try to take lots of pictures (though I’m the first to admit that I’ve been a bit remiss since I returned to the states), but I’m not always the best at taking them off my camera or phone to put in an album or frame. With all the social media and sharing these days, sometimes it’s more hassle than it’s worth. That being said, once we moved from Sydney, I knew that I wanted to make some albums to remember our times and travels abroad.

The Dubai and Australia memory photo books by Blurb

The Dubai and Australia memory photo books by Blurb

With so many online album-making companies, it’s tricky to decide which to use, but I’ve always been really pleased with Blurb (we even used them to make our wedding album!) So many of the online album companies dont have the same quality and choice that Blurb does – and the price is still really reasonable, depending on your choices, which my wallet (and husband) appreciate.

Do y’all use a particular online album creation site? I hope to keep this up once the little one comes, so suggestions are always welcome :)

You can check out a little preview our photo books below if you’re so inclined – it’s fun to look through the memories over the last 19 months!

Month 5 Bumpdate

I’m baaaaaaack! (As my mom creepily yelled to their terrible neighbors in North Carolina earlier this week hehe). But actually, I am back. Hopefully consistently now – at least that is the plan! After a relaxing time in Asheville with my parents and our pooch (!), I’m trying to get back into the swing of things and really get into a Charlotte routine. (Ahem, unpack – or at least hide in a closet – our boxes from Sydney).

So I figured I’d kick the week off with a bump date – month 5 of the pregnancy has come and gone, and we’re rounding into the homestretch, about to reach the 3rd trimester. Sorry I dont have a picture of the bump for y’all – but trust me, it’s out in full force now – large and in charge…

How far along: I’m just past 25 weeks – the end of the second trimester is in sight!

Baby’s size: I love looking at the various apps on my phone that compare the baby’s size to a fruit or veggie – frankly, when you compare them, we’re all over the place, but hopefully baby boy should be tracking between 14 and 15 inches and weighs about 1.5-2.5 pounds, about the size of a head of cauliflower (or a rutabaga or Napa cabbage – take your pick.)

Gender: Baby Boy Blanton (say that 3 times fast!) 😉

Movement: So much more than even a week ago. If I lay down even for a few minutes, he kicks, rolls and moves up a storm. I definitely feel him the most first thing in the morning or if when I get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. It’s funny though because as soon as I tell someone (typically Barr) that he is moving around and if they want to feel, he stills. So I whisper it now – guess he doesn’t like an audience!

Maternity clothes: Absolutely. Some of my pre-pregnancy tops still fit, but I bet in the next week or so that will also be a thing of the past. Frankly, with the heat and my burgeoning belly, it’s just more comfortable to wear something more flow-y or really, something that fits the bump well.

Symptoms: Hmm, nothing really other than I am tired most of the time. I think this is mostly due to the fact that I am up at least once or twice each night to use the bathroom and sometimes have trouble falling back asleep. So I guess that brings me to the other symptom of frequent urination – Barr was thrilled during our road trip to Asheville with this one.

Looking forward to: Meeting our new doctor here in Charlotte! We have an appointment with him next week, so Im anxious to hear the little one’s heartbeat and (hopefully!) see him on an ultrasound. Basically, just to know he’s doing well in there and also to get to know the maternity team here in the states.

Here he was at 6 weeks ago - well, his legs anyway! Cant wait to see how he's grown.

Here he was at 6 weeks ago – well, his legs and belly anyway! Cant wait to see how he’s grown.

Five on Friday: Fave QC Spots

Charlotte has a lot to offer – I think people think it’s this little Southern town that’s lacking in culture, restaurants, etc, but they would be incorrect :) Here are 5 of my favorite spots around town that I’ve missed desperately of the last 18 months!

Hi Charlotte!

Hi Uptown Charlotte!

| ONE | Paper Skyscraper. I mean I love a good stationary shop, but Paper Skyscraper is so much more! They have the cutest paper goods, duh, but they also have so many unique goodies. The ones that are Charlotte or North Carolina specific are my favorite trinkets! (I also love the owners’ dog, Patsy, who greets customers).

| TWO | Reid’s. Y’all, I legit missed this place. It’s a cute little speciality grocery/wine/lunch spot. They have stuff I cant find at other food shops and I always leave spending just a teensy bit more than I anticipated. Always well worth it though! (Ahem, pimento cheese is always high on my list of priorities at Reid’s!)

| THREE | Shower Me with Love. This is a new favorite for me because I never spent much time in there before, but I went in to register the other day, and it’s just swoon-worthy. For whatever reason, there weren’t many (or any) baby shops in Sydney – it was all online – so it’s been fun to go into actual stores!

| FOUR | Whitewater Center. I haven’t been back yet, but it’s on our summertime list! They have so many activities and their summer concerts are really fun!

| FIVE | Friend’s homes. Cheesy to the max, but I’m owning it. I’ve loved catching up with some of my friends over the last week or so, and just going over to someone’s house with whom you’re comfortable is so refreshing, and frankly has been so foreign (excuse the pun) over the last year and a half. I am soaking it in and hope we can reciprocate soon!

Five-on-Friday

A Liz Adventures | North Carolina Charm | Hello! Happiness | The Good Life

The one with adjustments

I think I have finally (almost?) come out on the other side with regards to jet lag. It’s great to be back, but I just feel like it’s been non stop as well – not much time to just “take it all in” yet. And I know that my still jet-lagged husband is ready to just sleep and {play} golf through next week when he takes so much needed time off.

Speaking of adjustments, I knew that I would toss and turn for the first ten days or so – get up at 4AM, take a 2 hour nap, etc, but there are two adjustment that I dont think I had originally anticipated…

  1. Driving on the right side of the road again. I wrote about adjusting to driving on the left side when we first moved to Perth last April, but let me tell ya: getting back into driving on the other side again is almost as challenging. True story: if I’m at a stop light or sign, I sometimes have to tell myself OUT LOUD that I must turn onto the right side of the road. Traffic circles petrify me – I have to tell myself which way to turn like half a mile before said traffic circle appears. Fear not fellow Charlotte drivers: I am safe on the roads – just sometimes a bit slower than usual. Also an issue: just getting your bearings in staying in your lane. I am in constant fear of hitting the curb! Again, I just won’t be driving in the fast lane anytime soon 😉
  2. Sales taxes. Dubai and Australia were expensive. No question. So I do NOT miss those high prices at shops and grocery stores. That being said, when you saw the price tag, you knew what you were going to get. I just 100% forget about sales taxes!
  3. Credit/debit cards accepted everywhere. Before we got an Australian bank account, we only had our international credit or debit cards and many places would roll their eyes, have a surcharge (especially for AMEX) or make you sign even for debit – it just was a pain in the you know what and made paying at the register a longer process. Not anymore…bliss!!!

Sorry this post lacked some pictures! I need to get back on that to keep y’all entertained 😉 Hopefully this week! Happy Hump Day!