What NOT to Say to a New or Expectant Mother (as Told by a New Mother)

There’s something about pregnancy and motherhood that seemingly invites unsolicited advice from strangers about your personal life and your body. As if pregnancy and childbirth weren’t hard enough, a lot of people feel the need to remind you of what horrors lie ahead, how HUGE you look, and what you’re doing wrong. Thankfully I’ve emerged from the hormone cloud of the past few months and am learning to laugh at these things, but I definitely had my moments. Here’s a list of the biggest offenses I’ve heard over the past year.

  • “Oh just wait until they’re teething/sick/in the terrible twos…etc”

This one in particular rubs me the wrong way. Here I am, a new mom who’s (let’s be honest) already scared shitless about motherhood. I’m incredibly relieved that my baby seems happy, and she consistently sleeps for long stretches. But the second I say “Things are great!” to another parent I’m met with a look of amusement and pity. Their face is saying “oh you poor thing, you have no idea what you’re in for.” Relax, other parents. I’m not going to discount every good day I have with my smiley baby girl while waiting for her to transform into some demon spawn.

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  • “Get all the sleep you can now, you’ll never sleep again once the baby arrives!”

As if expectant moms aren’t tired enough already…Sure, the first few weeks home from the hospital were tough; I was recovering from labor and my partner had to return to work immediately after our daughter was born (not to mention I was too HUGE to sleep for the last month of pregnancy.) But after a few weeks and some luxuriously long naps with my baby on my chest (best feeling in the world, by the way) things leveled out. I know every baby is different, and some have a harder time sleeping than others, but in my personal experience, you start to get really skilled at waking up, changing/feeding/comforting baby, and falling back asleep super fast. Plus coffee. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE.

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  • “She’s not REALLY smiling; it’s just gas.”

My daughter started smiling the day she was born, and hasn’t stopped since. There’s nothing quite like raining on a new mother’s parade by saying her baby isn’t happy, just farting.

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  • “It’s just a little morning sickness, it will pass after your first trimester.”

Man oh man. “Morning” sickness for some can be ALL DAY sickness for a poor few, and there was nothing “little” about it. For Hypermesis sufferers like myself, it can be completely debilitating and last well past your first trimester. I was losing so much weight I was ordered to modified bed rest around week 18. I finally stopped vomiting daily around 30 weeks, but was nauseous my entire pregnancy. You should ask my poor fiancée if it was “a little morning sickness”; he had to watch me vomit several times a day at all hours for months. Needless to say, I was about to slap the next person who told me to drink some ginger ale and wait for it to pass.

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  • “You’re eating _____? Aren’t you worried about ____?”

One of the worst parts of pregnancy is the list of things you cannot eat. Sushi, rare meat, cold cuts, soft cheese, unpasteurized juices…the list goes on and on. BUT there are some women who take this to another level. When I was sick with HG and losing weight rapidly, the only two things I could stomach (besides Ensure shakes) were pretzel rods and McDonald’s chicken nuggets (I know, gross.) I was at the office choking down pretzels in between pukes when a coworker walked by. She stopped when she saw me and literally WAGGED HER FINGER and said “tsk tsk, those pretzels have way too much sodium for baby! Not good!” and walked away. I would have thrown up on her right then and there if I could.

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I was all…

  • “You better live it up now, your social life will never be the same”

Well of course your social life is going to be different, but that doesn’t mean it will be nonexistent or terrible. When I got pregnant and had my baby, I experienced the biggest outpouring of love and support from friends, whom I love, but hadn’t seen in ages. Having this baby has especially helped me rekindle the strong bonds with the women in my life, and instantly made clear the people who were NOT real friends (as they disappeared without a trace as soon as I announced my pregnancy.) Sure, Saturday nights are no longer spent in crowded clubs and bars (not that I was ever much of a “club” person to begin with) and I’m awake and starting my day by 6 on Sunday mornings. But look on the bright side; you save money, you’re healthier, and you realize who your real friends are… because they’re sitting next to you on the couch watching garbage TV and getting to know your new tiny human.

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  • “Your maternity leave is going to go by so fast, you’ll be back in the office before you know it!”

It absolutely did, and I was constantly anxious and hyperaware of just how fast it was flying by. I obsessed over the number of days I had left with my baby instead of relaxing and enjoying each day to the fullest. The last week of my leave was spent crying whenever the thought of the office popped into my head and I wasted precious time feeling sorry for myself (and the rest of the working moms in America.) I know I was lucky to even get any paid leave at all, but after reading about other countries’ Maternal Rights, it’s hard not to feel frustrated and sad about leaving my baby when she needed me most. So please, spare us the reminder of how quickly we need to be back to work.

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  • “Woah, are you sure you’re not having twins?!”

No, you asshole. Do NOT comment on a pregnant woman’s size (even if she IS having twins) unless you want to a) see her break down in tears, b) get slapped, or c) have a death wish. I know you think you’re joking, but when I was pregnant I was an emotional WACK JOB. All it took was a weird look to send me spiraling into hysteria. We are constantly aware of our hippo size, so save yourself the chaos and just tell us we’re “glowing.” Even if we look like this:

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  • “You’re just being sensitive because you’re hormonal”

OH IS THAT RIGHT? YOU WANT TO SAY THAT A LITTLE CLOSER, FRIEND? “Hormonal” may as well be a curse word when arguing with a pregnant woman. Like yeah, we KNOW we’re hormonal, but we’re also busy CREATING A HUMAN LIFE IN OUR BODIES. Forgive us if we’re quick to cry or get frustrated, and try to understand that it’s nothing personal if we get upset. Chances are we’ll be laughing again 5 minutes after a breakdown. P.S. Pregnant women can use being hormonal as an excuse for being irrational; non-pregnant people should not hold it against them or call them out on it. Just one of those pesky double standards, ya mean?

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  • “You ARE breastfeeding, right?”

First of all, regardless of if a woman is breastfeeding or not, this is a very PERSONAL question. In my case, I breastfed my daughter for the three months I was on maternity leave, but my supply completely VANISHED after returning to work for a mere few days (Thanks, America.) Stress can dry up your supply REAL quick. I tried everything to get it back; pumping for hours, eating oatmeal for every meal, taking Fenugreek supplements, meditating…you name it, I tried it. So when people make this assumption, I feel pressured and judged when I tell them my daughter drinks formula. The assumption that every woman can breastfeed exclusively for a year or more makes those of us who can no longer produce feel guilty about “depriving” our babies of the best thing for them. Instead, I like to focus on my thriving and happy baby girl, who doesn’t like me ANY less for nourishing her in the best way I can.

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  • “So, when is baby number 2 happening?”

I can’t help but laugh when people ask me this. Not because it’s funny, but because I am so completely consumed with my first (4 month old) baby, and I’m still emotionally and physically recovering from my pregnancy that ANOTHER baby is the furthest thing from my mind. Sure, there may be other babies down the line, but I’m going to enjoy this one for now. It helps being in my mid-20s, as my clock won’t start “ticking” for a while yet. Which leads me to…

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  • “You have a baby? But you’re just a baby yourself!”

I understand the women of my generation, and the generation preceding mine, are waiting to get married and have their children later in life. As a 25-year-old (engaged, but still unwed) mother, I do face challenges that older, more financially secure and established mothers may not. But young mothers should not be underestimated – the love we have for our babies is just as fierce and consuming as any other mother’s. We may have to hustle a little harder, and we may have to get a little more creative, but we are just as capable of raising happy and healthy kids as our fellow 30-something mothers are.
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Phew! Man, it felt REAL good to get that out. Pregnancy and new-motherhood is a whole new world for many of us. It doesn’t help that people universally feel the need to give you their advice and opinion on what’s happening in your own body, especially if you didn’t ask for it.

 I feel so lucky and am so grateful to the women in my life who gave me the support and comfort I needed through out a really tough pregnancy, and I’ve experienced a really beautiful beginning of motherhood because of them. They withheld judgment and spoke from their own experiences. They took my hands, dried my tears, and told me to give myself a break; “You’re doing your very best, which is the very best thing for that baby.” THOSE are the voices you need to listen to and cherish. Pregnancy and motherhood are strengthening experiences that have helped me understand what is truly important in my life as a mother and a partner. My skin is thicker and my head is held higher, because as annoying or hurtful as some people may be, the only thing that truly matters is your love for your child and your respect for yourself.

END RANT!

Keep these things in mind when you next encounter a new or expectant Mom; we wouldn’t want you to get hurt 😉

 

Stay Gold,

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Grace

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Maternity Leave! (Photo Post)

Things at our house have been very different these past two weeks since bringing our newest family member home. There have been a lot of naps and loads of laundry, but I’m lucky enough to have 12 weeks of Maternity Leave to get settled with our new tiny human. Entries may be a bit shorter these next few weeks while my brain gets used to sleep deprivation, but I have plenty of photos to make up for it (which is much more fun anyway 😉
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Naps on Naps on Naps

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Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 39 – 40: Meet Harper Amelia!

On Friday, August 21st at 12:10 pm, we welcomed our family’s newest (and cutest) member; Harper Amelia McCabe. After 13 hours of labor and only 10 pushes, she came into the world at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 inches long. We’re very tired but extremely happy and very much in awe of this beautiful and healthy little girl. We’ve had an amazing few days of introducing this little lady to family and friends. My brain is a little too fried for words at the moment, but I’ll let these photos do the talking 🙂

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We love Kayma

We love Kayma

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Stay Gold,

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Grace (and Harper)

Week 26: Spring Mornings

I thought it might be nice to have a non-pregnancy related post this week, so I’m dedicating this post to the stupid amount of money I just spent at Sephora and Nordstrom and what my mornings typically look like. Although it may not feel like it in Chicago yet, spring and summer are upon us. When the seasons change I like to change up my make up; winter calls for heavy moisturizer and darker eye makeup. So for spring, I opt for more lightweight options. Here’s my morning mess.

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Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

This one is new to me, but I love it. It can be used as both a primer and a setting spray, or you can spritz it to refresh your makeup through out the day.

Concealer: Cover Girl True Blend W1

Highlighter: Benefit High Beam

This is another favorite. If you’re ever feeling ‘bleh’ about your skin, a couple drops of this guy on the apples of your cheeks will brighten you right up.

Bronzer: Benefit Hoola

Powder: Benefit Get Even

Blush: Milani in Rose Petal

Brow Gel: Benefit Gimme Brow

Eyeshadow: Smashbox Headshot Trio

Mascara: Urban Decay Big Fatty

Lips: Benefit Benetint (sometimes I use this on my cheeks as well)

So that’s the lineup. Mind you, this only makes it on my face when I have time in the morning, which has been less frequently lately as I’d much rather sleep until the last possible moment before leaving for work. If I only have a few minutes, I opt for Benetint on my cheeks and lips, mascara, and brow gel. Luckily on this particular day, Chris was able to give me a ride to the office, so I didn’t have to hustle to the train.

Now out the door with another pretty thing I gifted myself back on my birthday….

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I had a rare hour to spare this past weekend for a summery no-chip…

IMG_6162and I always have a watch on…this one is a Daniel Wellington that my wonderful boyfriend gave me for Christmas. Bracelet is actually a perfumed piece by Lisa Hoffman that I received as a work perk 😉 
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(Not late for work…yet)

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Birthday Week Shopping Spree

So I’ve always been a sucker for birthdays, especially when the birthday is my own! So, as my birthday is on Friday, I hit the shops to find an outfit to wear to the lovely dinner I’m being treated to 🙂

Of course, knowing me, I bought just about everything BUT a party dress. First stop: Topshop. 

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You all know how I feel about gold…and a necklace with a G on it seemed fitting enough 🙂 Today I am wearing it as a bracelet, which I couldn’t be more pleased with. 

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And my favorite purchase of the day, this blush colored leather backpack. In the summer I’m all about backpacks as I’m usually on my bike and need my hands free. 

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Find this awesome backpack in blush or white HERE

My shopping big had yet to be cured, so I walked across the street to Water Tower Place to take on the shops. I made out with a pretty solid birthday haul…but no party dress. Here is what I did manage to snatch up!

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Adorable mint flats, perfect for spring.

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Adorable Fossil wristlet, perfect forever!

Get your own Sydney Zip Clutch in Mint HERE

 

Well I may not have found my party dress, but hey, there’s always tomorrow 🙂

 

Stay Gold

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A Mile High Visit: Denver in a Week

My sister and best friend M, and my brother in law, C, had my family’s first grandson this past December. They live in Denver, so I was getting daily photo updates and frequent FaceTime sessions, but I couldn’t wait to meet little Louie in person. So when my mom told me our lovely neighbors had flyer miles that were about to expire, I jumped at the opportunity to head to the mountains. After nearly missing my flight and running through the terminal to score the last standby spot on the plane, M was waiting at DIA to scoop me up with our newest family member snoozing adorably in back.

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First Hellos

After a quick nap we were ready to get some grub. M, having been taking care of a newborn for the past six weeks, was excited to head out of the house with an extra set of hands to help her with Louie. We met up with one of M’s good friends, A, and her one year old baby girl at True Food Kitchen, a healthy lunch spot in Cherry Creek North.

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The place was packed! But the food was awesome and fresh and the babies were very well behaved. After ordering a fresh pressed juice to-go after our meal, we headed back home to rest before dinner.

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Cuddle Puddle with Louie and Ruby

For my first dinner in town M and I decided on Trillium, located in an up-and-coming-but-still-kind-of-sketchy part of Downtown Denver.

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M, looking beautiful as usual, ordered scallops over beet risotto.

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Gorgeous sister!

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I, of course, ordered the steak.

MEAT

MEAT

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Also, not seen, was our steaming plate of mussels and delicious cheese plate. The service was great, if not a little overly talkative…Overall we enjoyed the atmosphere, sipping ginger beers and giving M a well deserved break from being a new mom.

The next day, Saturday, my brother-in-law, C, headed up to Crested Butte for a ski weekend, so M and I hung out with Louie and Ruby, got them dressed, and went out on the town.

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He just falls asleep, regardless of where he’s at.

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Ruby, Rooster, Ruben, Rooby Dooby

We headed to City Park to meet M’s friend and take a long walk around the gorgeous area. M staged this shot to send to my mom, with the caption “Grace the new mom.” …yikes.

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a glimpse into the future, perhaps?

As it is hard for anyone to handle both an energetic dog and a newborn baby (albeit a VERY well-behaved one), we decided to drop Ruby at home at stop by the Lowry Beer Garden for Fish N’ Chips and Soft Serve. The beer garden is awesome; its in an old airplane hangar. It was super nice, sunny and 60, so we sat on the picnic tables outside and soaked up the sun; something I haven’t done in quite some time, with Chicago having one of the worst winters in history. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun; a great place to bring a group of friends for trivia or a round of bags.

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The next day I met up with one of my best friends, C, who was my lifesaver when I briefly lived in Denver. C lives in Boulder, so she was nice enough to scoop me up to head to the Highlands for brunch at Linger; a new hot spot located in the old Olinger Mortuary.

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After getting pretty lost (thanks for nothing, Siri) and finding parking, we headed into the packed space. We were starving so we chose to sit at the bar upstairs, rather than wait for a table on the sprawling ground level. Linger is lofty and cozy at the same time with leather  booths and stools in warm shades and huge windows overlooking the city.

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The decor definitely plays with the space’s grim former purpose; water is served in old iodine bottles and mimosas are brought to tables in huge bubbling test tubes. Starving, C and I were eager to order from the solid spread of brunch selections.

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My beautiful mountain friend!

C went with a classic BLT, where I couldn’t help but drool at the sound of Adobo Pork Benedict. I was not disappointed…

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Perfectly poached…

After catching up and making plans for our next visit, C dropped me back home so I could hang out with M and Louie before meeting up with ANOTHER friend from school, Hoagie. Colorado is one of those places people flock to, and I really understand why. While it was -25 and grey in Chicago, it was 60 and sunny in Denver. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sunshine until I got a big mountain dose to shake me out of the winter blues.

Hoagie, one of my best friends from the dorms, had just recently moved to Denver so we went exploring for a cool spot to sit and hang out. We ended up at The P.S. Lounge, a dive on Colfax, where the bartender gave me a rose and I fed the jukebox all of my singles. It was great to catch up and reconnect in a new city and talk about the crazy past and the scary future.

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Modern gentleman.

As it was a last minute trip, I still had some work to do from M’s on Monday, so Hoagie and I called it an early night with promises to visit again soon.

I cannot imagine being a full-time working woman and a new mom. As a test of my new baby-whispering skills, M left Louie and I posted up in her bed (which is where I worked from, most of the time) while she headed to a dentist appointment. I have a newfound respect for moms, as I was pretty useless while trying to work and watch Lou at the same time…and he was pretty much asleep the whole time (because he’s an angel.)

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Solid set up.

I managed to be productive for a while, until Louie’s nap proved too tempting and M returned to this…

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zzzzz…

After checking in for my Tuesday morning flight, I got the notification that all flights into O’hare were cancelled due to the endless Polar Vortex swirling around most of the country. So, after telling my team at work I was stranded, I booked the first available flight out of DIA to O’hare…on Thursday. So, I spent a few bonus days working while hanging out with M and Louie, helping M and C cook healthy dinners, and crying from the cuteness of my darling newborn nephew. When it was finally time to pack up and head home, I was not the happiest camper.

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Sad Death Metal

This was a really hard trip to return from. The sun and the family and the friends make Denver such a wonderful place in my life. Luckily I know the mountains, as well as some of the people I love most, will still be there next time I need to be thawed out from Chicago’s frozen winter blues. Denver, I’ll be back soon.

Stay Gold,

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Aunt Graceisgold 🙂

A New Year’s Reflection: Part 1

So, since the New Year (my first as a college graduate), I’ve been thinking about how much crazy stuff has happened between the end of high school and the end of college. It’s that crazy feeling that time is passing by so fast, but so slow at the same time. Jumping from freshman dorms and new freedom, to choosing HMO plan options and scheduling paid time off days…you start thinking about how you spent all that time in between.

You can blame this post on my misty-eyed adoration for nostalgia (no matter how weird/lame the memory) or the fact that I just finished fixing my external hard drive and spent the last couple hours digging through 8 years of photos…but this post is happening.

Whether you want it or not, this is a brief timeline of your narrator’s life; from high school graduation, until now.

Pre-College: I spent a lot of time dreaming about leaving the suburb I was raised in. I never felt quite right there, but I don’t think anyone did. We made our own fun after graduating from high school in 2008 , thinking only of summer and parties and trouble until everyone packed up for school, or the army, or the circus and fled the hometown.

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Lurking outside the Wheaton Grand

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Underage hotel “parties”

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Creative takeover when parents would leave town.

College: Season 1

My best friends from the dorms at my Urban Liberal Arts College always call our first semester of Freshman year, “Season 1”. Such a solid cast of weirdos who hit it off so well in a strange city at a new phase in life. Sure, a lot of people puked on the subway or ended up on the South Side with no wallet or phone, but you could always guarantee a solid story out of the whole ordeal while playing beer pong or sneaking smokes through bathroom vents with your best friends with weird names on the third floor.

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Oh, and some of us (ahem, me) do that thing where they try and change completely. Yeah, I was one of those.

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My First Blog Banner…

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Yeah…Times have changed. After freshman year, a lot of my best friends had migrated elsewhere in the country. It was hard to imagine school as the same place without the dorms and the friends…so I left too. I retreated back to the suburbs to hang with my twin brother for the summer and fell into the most dangerous safe-haven known as: Section 8 Housing.

TBC

Happy Holidaze!

The past month has been super hectic as the holiday season is the busiest time of the year for the company I work for! Yesterday, thanks to the traffic court of DuPage county (booo) I worked from home! During breaks I took time to get all my presents wrapped and ready for gifting!

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With SVU on in the background, obvi.

I also treated myself to my first gel no chip manicure! The color is “Lincoln Park After Dark” by OPI

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Nails did

Finally getting into the holiday swing of things! I can’t believe Christmas is in a week!

Stay Gold!

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Grace

Holiday Gift Buying Guide

This year marks a shorter break between Thanksgiving and Christmas and therefore, if you’re a last minute shopper like me, an impossibly short shopping season. Working at an online shopping and saving website, I’ve actually been able to squeeze most of my shopping in during the work day; the only downside being the breath holding and constant shipping notification check ups while praying my gifts arrive before the 25th! If you’re struggling for gift ideas, here are few items I’ve come across while doing my frantic online shopping!

For your office bests: Can never go wrong with a sweet mug!

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Or you can go straight to the life source with some snobby coffee, for your caffeine freak friends (…or yourself)

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For the classy men in your life…Classy man-cessories

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If your Dad is a master in the kitchen or on the grill, check out these ideas.

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For the classy drinker…

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For that special man or lady…

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For your best friend…

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For your planning/ocd friend…

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and, if you’re my friend…for the girl who would rather be sleeping.

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Happy gifting!

Grace is Gold

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