So I’m officially past the halfway mark in my pregnancy! The time is starting to fly by. I’ve definitely had to start buying more clothes to fit my bump. Although there’s lot of options when it comes to maternity fashion, a lot of them can be pretty expensive. The last thing I want to do is spent a lot of money on some clothes I’m not gonna wear that long. So I wanted to share some of my favorite places to shop. I like to look at clothes that are maternity as well as regular fit. A lot of my stretchy dresses I have aren’t technically maternity, but they fit my bump perfectly. My go to spots are H&M, Target, Old Navy, & Amazon.
Hey guys! It’s been a minute since I’ve checked in. I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 in January, and spent the a good chunk of this year really sick and extremely tired. Thankfully I’m feeling so much better now! I’ve been able to start planning for life with 2 kids, and it just feels so good to have the energy to do that.
With it being Black Maternal Week, I wanted to share some tips from first pregnancy that helped me as a black, pregnant female. The reality is that black women are dying a much higher rate with childbirth than any other race. So if you’re black and pregnant, it’s a must that you’re proactive during your pregnancy journey. You have to do your research, and you have to learn to advocate for yourself.
1. Get a Doula
I can’t tell you how important it is having women around you that look like you. Having a doula to advocate for you can be a game changer in my opinion. As a first time mom, I was clueless on a lot of things, and having that resource available helped me so much. When you’re in labor, some many things are happening. It can be hard to think clearly in that moment, especially when the contractions begin. You need that someone in the room that’s will have your back; someone that knows the ropes way more than you do. The most important thing is a doula can provide a level of comfort and support that we all need during labor, black or white.
2. Be Flexible
I had my birth plan all set. I knew exactly how I wanted my birthing experience to be. Unfortunately, things didn’t go the way I thought they would. It’s important to be somewhat flexible because you just don’t know what could happen. I went to the hospital thinking I would have a natural birth. Well after 20 hours of labor, I just didn’t have anything left in me so I got an epidural. Some hours after that, my baby’s heart rate started escalating (they were already worried about her heart), and I ended up having a c-section. I was pretty devastated. I had no idea my plan A would become plan C. Planning for the unknown, can be tough. With baby #2, I’m definitely going into this with a more flexible birth plan. I think that will really help my mental state during the whole process.
3. Ask for help
I remember a few days after my daughter got here and my husband telling me, you have to ask for help! He already knew this would hard for me. It’s not always easy for me to ask family and friends for help. However, during that postpartum phase I really had no choice. I could barely move after my c-section, and honestly wouldn’t have made it without my village. You have to ask for help. You will have so much going on physically and emotionally, and you cannot do it alone. Trust me. Things will go a lot smoother for you and baby if you take advantage of the resources that are right in front of you. This go around I plan on actually writing out what I need help with. It makes things a lot easier for my husband, as well as my family that offers to help.
Happy New Year! It’s that time where we’re all trying to be healthier. Sometimes we stick to it, and sometimes a few weeks into the year we’re already done with it. I’ve learned not to start the year off with anything extreme that I won’t be able to stick with. Think of it as making some new, healthier lifestyle choices versus a diet. I feel like that’s where we get ourselves in trouble. So I want to share 5 tips that have helped me in the past to be healthier.
Try Something New
Whether it’s a new food or a new exercise, trying something new helps keeps things exciting. If it’s something exciting, then that will help you stick to it. Try finding a new way to cook some of your favorite veggies, or a new workout that you’ve never tried before. I recently started a dance tabata workout plan that is so fun! You’re more likely to stick with it if it’s something you enjoy.
2. Self Care is a Must
Mental health is just as important as the physical part. With so much going on, taking some time for self care is a must. I’m not the best version of myself if I don’t take care of me. I notice my patience with my daughter is very thin when I haven’t had a chance to reset. Self care for me is anything I can do alone. It’s a priority for me, and helps me stay on track with my other health goals.
3. Stick to a Budget
I know sometimes when I’m trying to eat healthy, my grocery bill can get out hand and I’m forced to reel it back in. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. It helps to decide on your meals ahead of time so you have a plan when you go to the grocery store. Shopping without a plan isn’t good for your wallet. I also like to buy my produce and pantry items from Aldi. You just can’t beat their prices.
4. Find an Accountability Partner
Do you know someone else who is trying to be healthier? Get them on board with you! For me, I love when my husband is on board being my accountability partner. It helps keep us both in check, and in turn helps us both meet our goals. We’re both very competitive, and that definitely keeps things fun and exciting.
5. Set Realistic Goals
When setting your health goals, make sure they’re things you can actually stick with it. For example, it’s not realistic for me to set a goal to give up sweets completely. I know that’s just not something I would stick with. Instead, I limit my sweets and make healthy swaps like fruit. Remember when it comes to our health, we should think of this as a lifestyle change. So think long term when you’re setting your goals.
If you’ve had some success in this area, be sure to share your tips! I’d love to hear them.
The holidays are here! I don’t know about yall, but I’m so excited for this time of year. It’s been a beyond crazy year, and I think we could all use some holiday cheer. I actually got started really early with my Christmas decorating. I don’t normally do that, but hey, its 2020 and there are no rules right?! Since I began shopping in early October, I’ve been able to find a lot of good deals on holiday decor and I wanted to share some places I’ve had great luck at.
FIVE PLACES TO SHOP FOR HOLIDAY DECOR
If you’ve never shopped at Dollar Tree during the holiday season, you’re missing out! You will be surprised to see what kind of stuff you can find. If you’re into crafting, this is definitely the place for you. I love recreating more expensive pieces using supplies I find here. If you search “Dollar Tree Christmas Decorations” on Youtube, you’ll find tons of ideas to make for the season that won’t break the bank. So before you buy that $75 wreath or that $40 centerpiece, take a trip to Dollar Tree first. Not into crafting? Don’t worry there’s plenty of decorations for you as well. Some of my favorite finds have been mini christmas trees for the kids, tacky Christmas party supplies, and lots of beautiful ornaments!
What I love the most about Hobby Lobby is that at some point whatever it is you’re looking to buy, it will be on sale at some point. There sales ad changes week to week. So if the candles you’re looking at isn’t on sale this week, more than likely it will be on sale the next. You can also grab a 40% off coupon off their website to use on any regular priced item.
When it comes to Target, I think they’re the best when it comes to more trendy and fun decorations. I like to checkout out their Instagram page for inspiration. I think in general, a lot of the decor at Target is reasonable priced. The biggest issues is getting what you need before it sells out. I learned my lesson last year with the mini holiday waffle makers, and got mine early this time! Even if you don’t plan to decorate until after Thanksgiving, it’s never to early to go shopping. A few things I’ve purchased that I loved was a gingerbread waffle maker, disposable Christmas plates, and a gingerbread house kit.
So Walmart was actually my first stop when I started stopping for decorations. I really need an affordable Christmas tree, and I knew I would more than likely find something there in my price range. And I was right! I snagged a 6 foot tree for $22. You can’t beat that! It was the perfect size for my apartment. I also found a basic wreath to use a base for my decorations from Dollar Tree, and it was only around 10 bucks. I liked how there was such a wide range of decor that could fit any budget. So if you’re looking to save some money, definitely add Walmart to your list.
Honestly the best time to shop at Michaels for the holidays is when it’s all over. They put all their decor on sale for really cheap. Now granted by then a lot of stuff is gone, but you can still find some great stuff for next year. If you do decide to shop now, definitely keep an out on their sales. I know right now they have 40% off Christmas decorations and floral. Also checkout the app or their website for a 20% off coupon to use on regular priced items.
I know the holidays may look different this year, but don’t let that steal your joy. I’m trying to grasp on to all the positive things going on in my life, and really be grateful for them. Honestly, I don’t usually decorate, but this year has brought out a side of me I didn’t know I had. I’m looking forward to starting new traditions with my family.
Where do you guys like to shop for holiday decor? Let me know!
Fall is here! I know in Houston it might not feel like it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t partake in some Fall activities. This time of year that is no shortage of things to do, but there can seem like a shortage of activities that won’t break the bank. I recently looked up fall festival nearby that would cost my family $60 just to get in the door! I’m sure it would be fun, but paying that kind of money isn’t realistic for some families. However, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. I’m sharing my top 5 favorite Fall activities that are both budget friendly and allow for social distancing.
There’s lot of options for pumpkin patches in the Houston area, and a lot of them are free to visit. You just purchase whatever pumpkins you want to take home. We like the Blue Monkey in Friendswood, TX. Not only is there some good photo ops, but the proceeds from the pumpkin sales goes to various charities. You can also check out some local churches as most of them don’t charge any admission. Once you have your pumpkins, the options are limitless. You can paint them, carve them, or make your favorite pumpkin treat!
I love that more and more drive-ins are popping up! It’s a great way to switch it up for date night, and social distance at the same time. They have all the typical movie snacks available as well as some local food trucks. My suggestion would be to pack a picnic to bring, and that’ll save you even more money.
How can you not want to bake this time of year?! There’s so many good recipes out there, and it’s a great way to spend time with family. I know a lot of people lean towards pumpkin around this time, but we love all things apple in my family. There’s lots of apples in season right now, so you can find some great prices in the grocery stores (Aldis for sure). I recently tried out these apple cider cinnamon rolls (click above for recipe), and they were amazing! I won’t lie, it does take some work but they were so worth it! I like to search different hashtags like, #falldesserts on Instagram to see what comes up. It’s a great way to try something new.
Now I know these festivals can get pretty pricey. I mentioned earlier about the one that would’ve cost us $60 just get in the door. However, there are some farms that have cheaper admissions. They may not have all the bells and whistles of the $60 farm, but they’re still just as much fun. The kids are going to have a good time regardless of what you pay, trust me. We like to visit Frobergs Farm in Alvin, TX. Admission is only $10 and that includes the corn maze and pumpkin patch. You decide what other activities you want to pay for.
Visit the Zoo
Fall is the perfect time to visit the zoo in Houston. You can actually walk around and not be miserable in the heat. We didn’t visit the zoo at all this summer once they opened. I couldn’t bare the idea of walking around with a mask on in 100 degree weather. Another plus for this time of the year, is the free Tuesdays each month. On the first Tuesday of each month they have free admission. Tickets are available online the Wednesday before. They go fast so set those phone reminders!
Let’s face it, we could all use a little break these days. Whether you’re a parent, wife, husband, single, you name it, a getaway right about now is good for the soul! My husband and I decided to take a staycation in our city of Houston to reconnect and recharge. It’s so important to protect our relationship during these crazy times.
We aren’t comfortable just yet traveling on a plane, so we decided to keep it close with a staycation instead. And the mom in me could relax more knowing baby girl was only about 20 minutes away. We were able to keep it safe and budget-friendly all while having a complete blast together. Keep reading to find out all we did!
Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat
Right now is the perfect time for a getaway as lots of hotels are offering great deals on your stay. We went with Hotel Alessandra in downtown Houston after hearing good things about it. With a restaurant, bar, and pool you really don’t have to leave the hotel at all. We requested a corner room, and the views of downtown were amazing. There weren’t a lot of people staying there which made it easy to social distance. It was such a nice hotel! Everything was very clean, and the employees were all wearing masks throughout the hotel. Right now they have rates at 25% off so definitely check them out.
So to be honest, we didn’t do much outside of eating and hanging out at the pool. The whole goal this weekend was to reconnect and recharge, which is exactly what we did. We did do a little sightseeing and checked out a few of Houston’s beautiful murals. It’s amazing just how many there are around the city. If you check the Houston Mural Map website, you’ll find out just where to locate them and create your own mural scavenger hunt!
We went the takeout route the whole weekend. This was not only because of COVID, but really we just wanted chill out in our room. Mico’s Hot Chicken is a Nashville inspired and black owned restaurant that has been on my list of places to try for a while. Their chicken sandwiches come highly recommended, and they did not disappoint! The food was good and affordable (my favorite combo). You can have the option to take it to-go or sit outside under their covered patio. There is no indoor seating. This place is a must-try!
Houston has so many great breweries in the area, but the view at Buffalo Bayou Brewing is hard to beat. They have an amazing rooftop patio that has great views of downtown. As far as COVID goes, they do have to-go food and drinks. The patio tables are spread out as well, and they’re only using plastic cups for drinks. The only thing that was disappointing was that they aren’t doing flights right now, which I love to get at breweries. Our nice waitress did let us try out some samples though. This is a great spot if you’re like us and still have some reservations about being out, but you’re craving a change in scenery. Also, I highly recommend the Dreamsicle beer. It’s perfect for this Houston heat!
When it comes to groceries and eating out, I feel like that’s the one line on my monthly budget spreadsheet that I can control the most. I remember a time when my husband and I were spending around $900 a month on food just for the two of us! It was insane. Those days are over though. We have some financial goals we want to meet, and one way of doing that is controlling our spending when it comes to food. I know with COVID things are a little crazy, but I want to share my top 5 tips that I believe will help get your grocery bills under control.
Shop the Weekly Ad
So every Wednesday grocery stores post their weekly sales ad. One of the best ways to save money is to make your meals based around those sales. So if ground turkey is on sale, I’m grabbing that for some spaghetti or for taco night. The same goes for steaks as my husband is a huge ribeye fan. He knows if steaks are on sale, then he’s eating good that week! When it comes to produce, my go-to spot is definitely Aldi’s. I check their ad each week, and whatever fruit they have on sale is what we’re snacking on for the week.
Use Digital Coupons
Most grocery stores offer discount savings in the form of a loyalty card and digital coupons. It’s easy to do and a great way to save some money. I use my Kroger app to add coupons to my loyalty card. They also send me paper coupons in the mail for items based on my shopping history. Sometimes I luck up and I’ll have a paper coupon and a digital coupon to use on the same item. A win-win. It does require some effort, but I’m fine with it if it helps me get that much closer to my financial goals.
Cash Back Apps
If you haven’t downloaded a grocery cashback app like Checkout 51, Ibotta, etc, you’re definitely missing out on free money. I’m a big fan of Ibotta. It has all the stores I shop at, and I’ve been able to get back over $200. You can’t withdraw until you have at least $20, but you’ll get that in no time. You just add the coupons you want, upload your receipt, and you earn cash. I mean, it’s free money!
I know thanks to COVID things have changed a lot, but I would challenge you to write out how much you spent on takeout in one month. The number might surprise you. We did this pre-COVID, and I couldn’t believe how much money we were spending eating out and on drinks. Granted, it’s nice to have a break from cooking and order takeout from time to time, but you gotta keep it in check!
Carbs Carbs & Carbs
If you have a husband like mine (or kids) that eats up everything, it can be hard not to spend a lot of money on food. When I meal plan I’m thinking about how I can get everyone full without breaking the bank. That’s where my true love, carbs come into play. My go-to favorites are whole wheat pasta, wild rice, and sweet potatoes. Making sure each meal has a good balance of carbs helps keep my greedy little family full!
There you have it.These are 5 easy ways to cut your grocery bill each month.What other ideas would you add to this list? Let me know!
Summer is here! It looks a little different than usual, but it’s here. With it being 100 degrees every day here in Houston, there’s no ignoring it. I’ve been trying my best to stay sane, and find new things for my family to do during this pandemic. Not seeing friends and family, and being couped up in the house can really take its toll. So I’m sharing my top 10 favorite activities for you to try out this summer!
1. Visit new parks
Now I’ll admit that daily trips to the park can start to get a little mundane. If you live in a big enough city, my suggestion is to visit a new park each week. You’ll be surprised how having a new thing to look forward to makes such a difference. I truly believe being outdoors is a great mental health booster. One of my favorite parks in Houston is Buffalo Bayou Park. The views of downtown are beautiful. Pack a picnic and you’re good to go!
2. Try some new recipes
You know all those Pinterest recipes you have saved on your boards? Or all those Food Network recipes you always say you’re gonna try? This is the perfect time to do it! Being quarantined definitely has me cooking a lot more. I’ve been doing lots of experimenting with my family and exposing them to new foods. There have been some definite fails, but it’s been fun crossing some recipes off my list. One thing we’ve discovered is how to make deep dish pizza. I linked the recipe below. It’s a little time consuming, but man is it worth it!
4. Happy hour
Boy, do I miss happy hour! One of my favorite spots is Blanco Tacos & Tequila in Houston. Their margaritas are pretty hard to beat. I’ve been trying though! My home edition of happy hour includes my own version of their margaritas that I’ve been tweaking for the past couple of months. It’s finally perfect now though. I think it’s safe to say during this quarantine we’ve all needed a drink or two. So why not make it fun? Recreate your favorite drinks at home!
5. Beach trip
We’re lucky enough to live less than an hour from Galveston beach. It’s a great day trip option, and a great way to wear out the kiddos! In my opinion, the best time to go is early in the morning when the crowd and the temperature are low. And don’t worry, you can easily social distance yourself, and still have a great time. If you’re feeling a little stressed and needing a break, I think this is a great option!
6. Movie Night
So I’ve seen these elaborate backyard movie nights on Instagram lately, and they’re pretty impressive! I personally don’t have that kind of space, but I have been shopping around for a mini projector for my own version of an outdoor theater. I’ve seen some on Amazon that run between $80-$100. A great early birthday present if you ask me!
7. Fruit picking
I think this has to be one of my favorite things we’ve done lately. After hearing a lot of good things about Froberg’s Farm, we decided to check it out. We went early that morning on a weekday so there wasn’t a lot of people; which was perfect for social distancing. Because the farm is so big, it was easy to keep our distance for other people and enjoy our day out. We actually missed strawberry season, but we were able to pick blackberries, zinnia flowers, and sunflowers. It was the perfect day!
8. Dine alfresco
Now that I’ve spruced up my balcony, eating outside has become my new favorite thing. I honestly wish I had added seating along time ago. It’s like a mini escape. I can pretend I’m eating out at my favorite restaurant with great food and even greater company. Hubs and I love to have our date nights out there at night with my string lights overhead. It’s romantic without any effort whatsoever!
9. Game night at home
Who doesn’t love a good game night? And with the help of Zoom and apps like Houseparty, game night can even be virtual now. I’ve been obsessed with Monopoly lately even though I’m terrible at it! I just don’t know what the key is to winning. I’m literally always the first one to lose. If yall have some tips, help a girl out!
10. Take a virtual trip
Okay, I know a virtual trip is nothing like the real thing, but a girl can dream right? There’s nothing like traveling and exploring new places. It’s a high that I’m so addicted to. However, with all that on pause, I think taking some virtual trips can be a great substitute. If anything it will give you some new places to add to your travel list. I can’t wait to travel again, but in the meantime I’ll be exploring the world through my computer.
I hope I was able to give you guys some new ideas for this unique summer we’re going to have. I would love to hear some ideas that I missed. Let me know in the comments what yall are up to!
Hey guys! It’s been a minute since I checked in with you guys. Hope you all are staying safe! Like everyone else, I’m over here adjusting to all the change. I decided since we’re spending so much time at home, this was a great time to spruce up my balcony. It’s something I’ve talked about doing for a while, and I couldn’t think of a better time to do it! I’m literally starting from scratch seeing that my balcony was completely empty before this. I’m not finished just yet, but I wanted to share my progress and some deals I’ve been able to find.
Over the past year, I’ve been able to find some really great deals off Facebook. I mean, people are selling pretty much anything you can think of! I actually found this bistro set off there for $65. It was still in the box! You can’t beat that price. Don’t be afraid to make an offer. Marketplace is just an online garage sale. Most people are motivated to sell. I usually offer less than the price they have listed unless they post that the price is firm; which was the case with the bistro set. Like most sellers, they offered porch pick up so we didn’t have to worry about actually coming into contact with anyone. A win-win!
Before I painted it…
I’m always so surprised at how much rugs costs. I was hoping to find a black and white rug for under $75, but I wasn’t having much luck. That is until I checked out World Market. I’m actually new to this site. I knew about it, but never actually shopped there before until recently. I purchased a 6 x 9 floor mat that was on sale for a little for $20. It’s thinner than an actual rug, but it’s perfect for my balcony. Oh, and shipping is fast!
TJ Maxx and Marshalls have always been my go-to stores, and with them being closed I think World Market is a great substitute. They have similar, unique items that are reasonably priced. So for all my sad, fellow TJ Maxx shoppers out there, definitely check them out to get your fix. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
So if you didn’t know, you can now order curbside pick up from Michaels. I ordered a few things in the morning, and they were available for pick up later that day. You just call when you get there, and they bring your order to your car! My local store has tons of spring decor for half off right now. I snagged the heart-shaped hanging below for 70% off since it was part of their leftover Easter decor, and filled it with some of their 50% off floral garlands. The hanging hexagon shelves are thanks to Michaels as well. I saw a Youtube video recently of someone making these using popsicle sticks and tacky glue. It was so easy and cheap to make! I added some black and white cardstock to the back to go with my theme. All in all, this cost me less than $10 to make!
Do you guys ever check out the dollar section in Target? It’s right at the front when you come in the store. You can also shop this section on their website. It’s called the Bulleye’s Playground. I was able to snag two patio pillows for $5 apiece, as well as some little planters for $1. With most of their pillows costing around $20 apiece, I’m so happy I checked out this section first. There’s definitely some splurge items that I won’t be able to pass on though. I mean, their home stuff is just way too cute!
I absolutely love how my balcony is coming along. It’s been a little challenging finding exactly what I want online, but I’ve had pretty good luck so far. I’m looking forward to when things are back to “normal.” I’m ready to shop at my favorite bargain stores like TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree again. Oh speaking of Dollar Tree, I forgot to mention these hanging shelves are actually some old pencil holders I purchased there awhile ago. They made perfect shelves for my $1 Target planters!
Let me know where you guys shop for your patio decor. I’d love to hear some of your ideas!
Hey guys! I can’t believe it, but Journee is 1! I swear I just had her though. It’s crazy how fast the time goes. I honestly didn’t plan on doing much of anything at first. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do things how I really wanted to without spending a ton of money. You see tons of posts and Pinterest boards of these extravagant birthday parties, and it can be overwhelming. I know that Journee won’t remember her first birthday party, but it was important for me to celebrate the miracle baby that she is! So I figured out how to do it my way without it the huge costs. So let me share some of my tips!
Skip the theme So in the beginning I was all about a donut theme. The decorations were so cute! My favorite was the “Donut Turn One” birthday banner. Cute! Once I started to price all of this, I realized how expensive this was going to be. Once you have a theme, everything has to match that! It was just too much. I decided to pick a few colors and stick with that. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to go this route.
I know that the idea of making your own decorations can seem intimidating and very time consuming, but it is totally worth it! Youtube was my best friend. I made everything including the backdrop, the monthly birthday frame, and the birthday banner. Each of those cost no more than $10 for supplies. For me, adding these personal touches was my gift to her. I like that when she’s older I can show her all the work I did to show my love!
Check out Dollar Tree
This place is a must! I’m always amazed at all the stuff you can get here. A lot of the supplies I used for the decorations were from here as well as the plates, napkins, utensils, and cups. Every store is different too. I checked out two different locations near me, and found that one was definitely better than the other. All the other supplies were from Hobby Lobby and Michaels, where I was able to use coupons on all my purchases.
Ask for help
I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a lot of things I needed for the party from family members. Before I purchased anything, I asked around first. I was pleasantly surprised by how much stuff I was able to borrow. You never know until you ask!
Have the party midday
By having the party midday, you can get away with serving snacks only versus a meal. I kept the food simple. Along with the cupcakes and cookies that I made myself, we had chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, fruit, and some baby-friendly snacks. It was perfect for a 2 o’clock party.
Shop consignment for a birthday outfit
When I mentioned to my Husband that Journee was going to need two outfits for her birthday, he just rolled his eyes and walked away. Ha! I really wanted to have an outfit for her photoshoot (which was a week before the party), and another outfit for the actual party. So I checked out my go-to spot, Once Upon A Child and found two outfits for $13. Even Hubs couldn’t be mad at that price!
Listen, the first birthday comes with a lot of different emotions. Not only is your baby hitting a big milestone, but you survived your first year of parenting. So however you decide to celebrate that, enjoy it!