May 5, 2015
by hyedi
1 Comment

Finding the Perfect Gift

This post is sponsored by UncommonGoods. I received free product in exchange for writing a review. All opinions are my own.

One of my favorite things in the entire world is buying and giving people gifts. I love the challenge of finding the “perfect” gift and I love when the recipient is just as stoked to receive it as I am to give it.

One of my favorite things to gift are “experiences,” but sometimes, it’s fun to actually be able to wrap something that someone can enjoy right away. I tend to over think gift giving (let’s be honest — I over think everything) so it’s really hard for me to just go to the store and pick something up off of the shelf. This is especially true when it comes to buying gifts for my mom — I usually start my Christmas shopping for her in October because it takes me forEVER to come up with the perfect gifts for her.

My mom is an “on-the-go” kind of lady, so I was looking for something that could complement that part of her life, as well as something that would encourage her to slow down and relax, too. She’s also pretty healthy and walks 2-5 miles almost everyday. (She walks fast, too.) I bought her a FitBit a couple of Christmases ago, so I was at a loss for what I was going to get her for Mother’s Day. Then, as luck would have it, the awesome people at Uncommon Goods reached out and asked if I’d like to review some products they were featuring for Mother’s Day! I jumped at the chance, as I’ve been super curious about UncommonGoods, but hadn’t yet pulled the trigger and ordered anything from there yet. I’ve mostly been drawn to the company because they feature really unique and hand made items and their motto is that they are “created in harmony with the environment and without harm to animals or people.” (LOVE THAT.) About half of the items they carry are hand made and their lowest-paid seasonal worker starts at 50 percent above the minimum wage. They also support the following non-profits:

RAINN – the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

American Forests – protects and restores forests worldwide, helping to preserve the health of our planet for the benefit of its inhabitants.

Women for Women International – provides women survivors of war with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-suciency.

City Harvest – strives to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue, distribution, and education.

You can read more about their story and mission here.

So here’s what I picked out for my mom:

Flavor Infuser Water Bottle

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My mom has commented on trying to find ways to make drinking water more exciting, so this really seemed like the perfect gift. I also liked that this bottle is made from glass rather than plastic. It even came with a little booklet with fun recipes!

Luxury Herbal Slippers

My mom goes through slippers like nobody’s business so I thought a new pair would be a nice, practical gift. Then I saw these organic cotton fleece slippers — stuffed with therapeutic flax seed, grains, and fragrant herbs. And you can microwave or freeze them for even more deluxe pampering! They’re super soft and my mom literally said “ahhh” when she put them on.

The cat is very interested, too.

The cat is very interested, too.

I also gifted myself this lovely pregnancy journal:

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The UncommonGoods folks asked me to review the Mother’s Day gift items specifically (click here or here to see their entire collection of gifts for mom), but I came across a TON of great guy gifts as I browsed the site. And guys can be really hard to shop for. I already bookmarked some items to come back to for future gift needs.

My parents live about six hours away, but unfortunately, I was able to give these gifts to my mom in person. Last week, I made an emergency trip to my parents’ house. My dad had a heart attack and needed quadruple bypass surgery. He’s doing really well, but it was incredibly scary — especially since this was his second heart attack. Since I was going to see her in person, I decided to bring her gifts along so I could give them to her early, rather than mail them. She loved them!

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April 22, 2015
by hyedi
3 Comments

Stillwater Babymoon

Even though we didn’t even travel an hour away and only stayed one night, it was great to get away and do a mini babymoon this past weekend.

We left after work on Friday, getting to Stillwater just before 6 and went to check into our hotel. Per a suggestion from a friend, we stayed at the Lowell Inn, a classic hotel that was built in 1927 — what a cool building!

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We got settled in and then walked the half mile to The Green Room for dinner. It was a gorgeous night out and lots of people were out and about.

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We’ve been meaning to try this place for a few years now — J’s friend’s brother is one of the co-owners. It was the perfect opportunity to give it a try! The menu is super interesting — a blend of American and globally-influenced cuisine. We started with the (unpictured) lamb tacos. They were incredible. For my entree, I decided on the mushroom gnocchi. Because, well…gnocchi.

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I certainly didn’t hate it, but it was a bit too salty for me. Next time, I definitely want to give one of their curry dishes a try. The table’s food next to us smelled amazing.

After dinner, we took a walk along the river. I had to take an obligatory picture of the lift bridge.

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The next morning, we got up and walked to The Oasis Cafe for some breakfast. It recently reopened after having some renovations done, and it sure was busy! We got the last two seats at the counter.

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I branched out from my usual scrambled eggs and wheat toast and got french toast and bacon. YUM. French toast is so good. I ordered water so we could stop at Tin Bins, a cute coffee shop that was on our walk back to the hotel.

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Since it was another gorgeous day, so I got my first iced (decaf) of the year. We also stumbled upon the Stillwater Feed Store on our walk back and they had some cute farm animals outside of the store. They also had fresh eggs, so we picked up a dozen! It was almost 11 a.m., so we headed back to our room, packed up the car and checked out.

 

While this was a lovely getaway, I’d be lying if I said it was totally carefree and relaxing. It was too easy to draw parallels between this babymoon and our getaway that was supposed to be a babymoon while I was pregnant with Charlie. But, overall, it was a great time and we’re lucky to have been able to getaway for a night.

Favorite things to do in Stillwater?

April 20, 2015
by hyedi
1 Comment

Pregnancy eats, featuring Almond Breeze

*This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. I received a free 32 oz. carton of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk. All opinions are my own.

Overall, I’d say I’m eating a lot healthier during this pregnancy than during my last. The first trimester was rough since the only things I felt like I could eat consisted mostly of carbs, but since then, I’ve gotten back on track. And just like when I’m not pregnant, I find that eating a good breakfast is critical to me staying on track the rest of the day. My new favorite breakfast these days is overnight oats.

I’m super late to the game on the whole overnight oats thing. Before this pregnancy, I wasn’t a huge oat fan, but then recently, I started eating instant oatmeal and mixing in my own toppings, etc. Eventually, I decided that I wanted more control over the ingredients in my oats, but didn’t want to give up the convenience of the instant oatmeal. AND then Lee featured an Overnight Oat Week on her blog. I’ve been hooked ever since.

My two go-to recipes right now have been alternating between:

PB&J Overnight Oats

Maple French Toast Overnight Oats

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the Blue Diamond folks reached out to see if I’d be interested in reviewing their Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk.

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Since I don’t drink dairy milk, try to limit my soy consumption and already drink Almond Breeze Almondmilk primarily, I was super excited to give it a try! First, I used the Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk in my overnight oats and they turned out superb!

Not pretty, but SOOO yummy.

Not pretty, but SOOO yummy.

I didn’t notice a big difference between this batch and the ones I make with regular Almond Breeze almondmilk. They were just a delicious as usual.

I also used a splash of it in my coffee! I loved the taste, even more than when I add a bit of the full fat coconut milk that comes in a can. I usually drink my coffee black, but could get used to changing it up from time to time.

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Smoothies have also made a reappearance in my diet, especially now that J is also hooked on them :) This is important mostly because it means he’ll make them for me most of the time! We used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk in our latest batch of smoothies and not surprisingly, they were delicious! The Almond Breeze Unsweetened Original Almondmilk Coconutmilk will definitely be added to our milk rotation from now on.

Do you drink non-dairy milk? What’s your favorite kind?

April 16, 2015
by hyedi
6 Comments

Race Recap: 2015 Goldy’s Run 5K

Last weekend, I walked the Goldy’s Run 5K. What a gorgeous day for a race! I met up with Andrea and Ashley beforehand. Ashley walked with me and Andrea ran the 10 mile distance.

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The 5K route was new to me because I had only done the 10 mile previously, but I ended up loving the 5K! The course cuts right through the University of Minnesota (my alma mater!) campus and there are only a couple of small inclines — I wouldn’t even call them hills. Ashley and I kept up a pretty brisk walking pace and finished in 51 minutes. After Ashley finished, we got a post-race photo!

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J also ran the 10 mile and had an incredible race! He placed second in his age group and 18th overall. He finished in 1:04:40.

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After the race, we hung out on the field for awhile. That’s definitely one of the coolest perks of this race.

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I also just realized that this was my fifth “race” I’ve done during this pregnancy:

  • Turkey Trot 5K – I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time. I was also four months postpartum – finished in 50:04 (15:48 pace)
  • St. Paul Turkey Trot 5K – 5 weeks pregnant – finished in 34:40 (11:11 pace)
  • Reindeer Run 5K – 6 weeks pregnant – finished in 29:15 (9:24 pace)
  • Point Bock 5 Mile – 18 weeks pregnant (I walked and ran this, mostly walked) finished in 1:14:53 (14:59 pace)
  • Goldy’s Run 5K – 23 weeks pregnant (walked only) finished in 51 minutes (16:08 pace)

I’ve been walking somewhere around eight miles per week on average. I wish it was closer to 10 miles, but I’m happy with my level of activity. My doctor gave me a medical-grade brace for my round ligament pain and it’s made all the difference in my ability to stay active! The discomfort is still there, just minimized. I’m signed up for two more 5Ks and then that might be it for me for awhile!

I haven’t felt up to going to group yoga classes, but have been doing some stretching on my own. But what I really need to do is up my stretching and strength training game — I’m feeling so weak these days. 24 weeks down and 16 to go!

April 8, 2015
by hyedi
4 Comments

Maternity Wardrobe + My First Stitch Fix

To be honest, I’ve been struggling a lot with what to wear lately. I’ve been trying really hard not to spend a fortune on new maternity clothes, but I found myself showing a lot earlier this time around and while the timing of this pregnancy roughly lines up with my last one, it’s not exact, so I’m going to need more spring/summer clothes this time around.

Work wear and special occasions

My work dress code is pretty casual, unless we have clients in the office or meetings. So winter wasn’t too terrible — I could wear jeans and sweaters. But now I’m working on how to make some of my summery outfits slightly more professional so I can wear ’em to the office.

I also have a few events coming up, including a business professional event for work and a few weddings. Oh, and my baby shower! I’m hoping to buy two dresses (one to wear to all of the weddings and another for my shower) and scrape something together that I already have for my work event.

Everyday wear

The items I wear the most are a basic black dress that I feel like I can make less boring by adding a fun scarf or a statement necklace, maternity jeans, and now that it’s starting to get warmer out — maxi skirts.

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Also, I’m WAY behind on this, but I had been holding out on trying Stitch Fix. But when they announced they are now doing maternity fixes, I caved. To be honest, I was less than pleased with my overall Stitch Fix experience and I kind of doubt I’ll do another one, but we’ll see. I ended up keeping one piece of the five sent.

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The jeans were way too long and the white top wasn’t maternity so the tank that went underneath just was a bit too tight and uncomfortable.

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I didn’t like the way the dress fit. That wasn’t a Stitch Fix issue — overall, I liked the dress. I loved the necklace. It was definitely my style, I just didn’t really need it. I kept the black top. It’s nothing fancy, but I can wear it to work or out with nice jeans and heels and it’s super comfortable. It was $58, so $38 after subtracting my styling fee.

Workout wear

During my last pregnancy, I purchased a couple of Oiselle items that I sized up in, but many of my regular size items are working OK, as long as they aren’t too form fitting. Some of my favorites include: any of the Oiselle flyte line (still wearing regular size), distance shorts (sized up in these), the verrazano bra (sized up) and the gwen tank (sized up). The flyer jacket in my normal size still fits well also. Oh, and I’ve been wearing my Katron jacket a ton lately, but it’s getting tighter by the day :)

I also invested in a few new pairs of shoes. I lived in my birkenstocks last summer, which was great, but I wanted more variety this time around and also wanted to replace a pair of dressy flats that were falling apart. So I purchased a new pair of flats, another pair of birks and I currently have my eye on these. Then I’m cutting myself off!

*Not sponsored in any way by StitchFix. Just sharing my opinions!

March 17, 2015
by hyedi
3 Comments

Race Recap: 2015 Point Bock Run

I debated doing a race recap, but even though I mostly walked this one, it was still a very challenging race for me, in its own way! This race took place a couple of weeks ago. J and I look forward to this weekend every year because it takes place at a brewery near where he went to college. We also have some friends who live there that we don’t see very often, so it’s a lot of fun to spend time with them. We’ve done this race eight times total now!

I started out right near the back of the pack and while most of the people right around me started out running, I wanted a good warm up before I even thought about running. Five miles is a long ways to walk! I picked up the pace in the second mile and decided it would be fun to try to negative split. My splits ended up, roughly, being:

16:01

15:29

15:01

15:02

12:43

And bonus: I wanted to finish under 1:15 and I did — 1:14:53!

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J had a great race. Even though there was a decent headwind, he PR’d with a time of 31:35 and placed 31st overall. This race has a super competitive field, so he was really happy with his finish.

My physical activity lately prior to the race had kind of been lacking. An early ultrasound showed I had a minor issue that the doctors wanted to keep an eye on, so I was on restricted activity for the first trimester. Had that not been the case, I’m honestly not sure how much I would’ve been doing anyways. I was a lot sicker this time around than when I  was pregnant with Charlie. Then, once I was cleared for physical activity, I got a bad head cold that lasted longer than a week. As soon as that passed, round ligament pain started showing up around week 16! Luckily, I’ve been able to manage the RLP with a brace the lovely Beth loaned to me and just back off of the intensity if it gets really bad. Last week, I did a combination of walking and walk/jogging for a total of 8 miles! The nice weather lately sure has helped :)

March 15, 2015
by hyedi
12 Comments

Pregnancy After Loss (PAL) Awareness Day

PALRibbonMeme

In the United States, one out of every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage and one in every 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. These numbers do not include infant death from preterm labor, diagnosis of life-limiting conditions, or SIDS. Here in Minnesota, Governor Dayton declared today, March 15, as Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Day, and March, Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month. The amazing site Pregnancy After Loss Support has been leading the effort in raising awareness and acknowledging the difficult journey of balancing joy and grief during a subsequent pregnancy after loss.

I’m honored to contribute to the Pregnancy After Loss Support site as a Bump Day Blogger where I’ve been documenting my own PAL journey.

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We feel so lucky to have been able to get pregnant again, but it hasn’t been a joy-filled journey. We had our big appointment — the anatomy scan — last week. This is the appointment that, just under 11 months ago, we found out our unborn son was likely going to die. The one that changed our lives forever. But this time around, we got happier news, and with that, a small weight has been lifted. And in two days, I’ll be halfway done with this journey that, at times, has felt like it might kill me.

I’ve switched doctors twice, had three ultrasounds, more than a couple frantic calls to the doctor and quite a few panic attacks. And unfortunately, these are all very common and normal things to happen in subsequent PAL. But sometimes you feel like something is wrong with you, especially when those around you are telling you how excited you should be that you’re pregnant again and that you shouldn’t worry because it’s bad for the baby, or chances of what happened before are low, so it likely won’t happen again and that you need to think positively. Those things aren’t helpful because I know all of those things. But trauma is a very real thing. And those who suffer from it have very little control of the after-effects.

So that’s why this day and month are so important — please help spread the word to help support women and their partners who are navigating this, sadly all-too-common journey. Find out how, here.

February 26, 2015
by hyedi
5 Comments

A break + Walking for Charlie

Well, it’s been awhile. I hit a bit of a rough patch and decided to take a bit of a break. I also took an extended break from running after my fall and due to some other medical reasons. Then, as soon as I was about to start easing back into things, I got the WORLD’S WORST HEAD COLD EVER! (OK, I’m obviously exaggerating, here, but it was pretty bad). It also doesn’t help that the weather in Minnesota is still annoyingly cold, but I did get out for a 2.2 mile walk yesterday. The temperature was around 30 degrees, but there was a terribly cold headwind. I can’t wait for spring.

Since there hasn’t been any running going on, I’ve been focusing on making my 10,000 steps/day goal. It doesn’t happen every day, but I’ve been doing okay.

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I’m also signed up for a few races. The race we do every year in Wisconsin is coming up quick. It’s five miles, so I don’t anticipate I’ll be running it at this point, but depending on the weather, that’s a long ways to walk, so we’ll see. Hopefully it won’t be a DNS for me, but it could happen. I also have Goldy’s 5K coming up and the Faith’s Lodge Hope Walks and Rolls 5K! I’m putting together a team and doing some fundraising in memory of Charlie. If you’d like to join our team, you can register here. Or to donate, click here!

Since my training has been lacking, fill me in on how yours has been going!

December 11, 2014
by hyedi
2 Comments

Race Recap: 2014 Reindeer Run

The Reindeer Run was the last of three races I ran, three weekends in a row! I’m glad I had these races on the calendar, because my motivation has been really lacking when it comes to running lately — mainly because my ankle is taking FORever to heal. But anyways.

Race start was a bit later than I’m used to — 9:30 a.m. I met my co-workers at the Lake Harriet Bandshell around 9 a.m., after driving around for forever, looking for a place to park. Not quite 20 degrees and sunny, the lake was looking mighty lovely:

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We pinned on our bibs, took a group photo and were off!10806209_10152980448848854_3210557945152597690_n The first mile was basically just weaving through people and trying to settle into a pace, which was pretty much impossible. Luckily, my toes and fingers started to warm up once we started running.

Somewhere around mile 2, I found two guys who seemed to be running somewhere around my pace. TBH, if I were standing next to them, I would probably only come up to their hips. So deciding to keep up with these long-legged fellows made me feeling extra badass. The big mass of people had thinned out a bit, so I was finally able to find and maintain a comfortable pace. I had my Runkeeper going in my pocket, but didn’t wear a watch, so I had no idea what that pace was. Since my training was lacking, I had decided to run the race off of feel.

As we approached the mile 3 marker, I knew there would be a slight uphill and a big corner to turn before the finish line would be in sight. I also knew that I had enough left in me to pass some people on that uphill. I stayed with my tall man-friends and made my way up the hill and around the bend. At this point, I was able to pick up the pace a bit more and finish strong, but the guys I was trying to stick with had more left in the tank and finished a few seconds ahead of me. Oh well, I finished feeling good and was happy with a sub-30:00 finish. (The race wasn’t chip timed, but according to my Runkeeper, I crossed in 29:15.)

I grabbed some hot chocolate and a few snacks and then met up with my co-workers. We made sure to take a quick post-race selfie and then set out on the long trek back to our cars.

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A part of me remembers why I quit running this race a few years ago, the weaving at the beginning is super annoying and parking is definitely lacking. Not to mention, the blizzard-like conditions I ran it in a couple of years. But, the nice weather this year was awesome and I do love all of the costumes and festiveness of the race. Plus, running with my co-workers made it totally worth it! I think with a few small tweaks (start closer to the front, arrive earlier or just plan to park further away) this will be back on my list of annual races!

Have you ever run a similar race? Did you dress up?

November 27, 2014
by hyedi
3 Comments

Race Recap: 2014 St. Paul Turkey Trot 5K

This is a little out of order, since I am one race recap behind. Today’s turkey trot was the second turkey trot I ran this year! I walk/ran one in my hometown with my mom last weekend.

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To be completely honest, I was dreading race morning because all week I had been hearing about how cold it was going to be. And sure enough, it was two degrees below zero when I got to the start. My ankle is still giving me trouble, so I decided I’d take it pretty easy and bring my dog, Cole, along. We tested out the new Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection stuff  and jacket I bought him.

It was extremely congested for the first mile and so Cole and I had to walk. After the first mile, we were able to jog on and off. Finally, we were able to push the pace for the last mile or so. So really, I’m pretty happy with our time of 35:30!

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Now we’re off to my in-laws’ for yummy eats and family time and my parents come into town tomorrow. We’ve got some good meals lined up and my mom and I are taking a wreath making class on Saturday. I can’t wait!

This, by far, has been the most challenging and difficult year of my life, but I still have so much to be thankful for. I am healthy. I am married to the most wonderful man who I love so much. I have access to clean drinking water, food and health care. I have a supportive family. I have a roof over my head. I have a job that I love. I have the best friends I could ever ask for. And above all, this year, I am thankful that although brief, we got to meet our sweet Charlie and that before that, I was able to spend seven months with him, while he grew and fought, safe inside me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.