August 29, 2012

pregnancy tip: no stretch marks

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

so here i am, at 39 weeks and still without any stretch marks. i hope i'm not calling it too early but things are looking pretty good in this department and so i wanted to offer up my belly routine to all you current and future preggies out there. 

[of course, i am no expert and i'm sure there are some genetics involved but no harm in helping our skin along, yes? yes.]

just as an fyi, i applied these to my belly and hips right after every shower. every one. might sound like a chore but it wasn't. it was more like some nice time with me, myself and i. 
plus, it feels good! 

i found that in the beginning months, when we're all still a little soft and not showing (though we think we are!), that it was easier to use a lotion type of belly butter. i picked up mama mio's tummy rub butter at a pea in the pod and loved it! and i only needed one tub to last me. i did buy it at 12 weeks so i was a little ways in already - but really, you don't start growing until around then so stretch marks shouldn't be a concern yet. 

when that ran out and the tummy got bigger, i felt like i needed something thicker and even more moisturizing. mother love's belly salve has been amazing. the scent is light and by month 5-6, hopefully your senses aren't on super overload anymore. it is an oil base so your belly gets shiny and maybe slightly sticky but i never had a problem getting dressed right after applying it all over. it really kept me feeling moisturized all day. yay!

almond oil is also great. it absorbs into the skin WAY fast so you can really put a lot on. i would apply this at night while watching tv - just an extra does of moisture for the belly. we also use this for perineal massage - something i think more ladies should be discussing. google it! though i will be back with a post on the nitty gritty there too. 

vitamin e body butter from the body shop is just marvelous. i don't love the smell, it's slightly clinical and powdery but i think i've found my forever body butter. i do use a different lotion for my arms and legs and such. but for my belly, butt, hips, and upper thighs, this is the stuff i seek. and maybe i'm crazy but i'm pretty sure my puberty stretch marks (butt, hips and thighs) are disappearing... just sayin. 

hope this is helpful for all my ladies out there. 

happy belly rubbing! 


August 27, 2012

pbm // week 39

it's late on this pregnant belly monday but i have been one busy bee today. out and about since 9am and now, in the 10pm hour, i'm finally getting a chance to sit down and reflect on how this week has been so far. 

first, no, that's not a river in my arms up there. it's a gorgeous and perfect little ryan. river's future best friend, thank you very much. both ryan and his big brother, charlie, were telling river to come out soon because we're all so eager to meet him. ryan was born early saturday morning and can't you just see how a baby his size could fit in this snowman of a belly i've got going on?? crazy baby madness, i tell you. 

quickly, an update on thangs. 

1. sleep - sucks. hurts. i get up to pee a lot and it takes a long time to roll over, push myself up, stand up, waddle around. and to repeat it two or three times, oh, ugh, ugh, ugh. 

2. weight - the same. went to the doctor today and i'm still weighing in at 170 - that's up 34 lb. to date. doesn't bother me too much these days. i mean, clearly, it's all in my boooooobs. 

3. food - i've been eating at home a lot this last week since i've been working from home. it's somethin' super awesome - cereal and sandwiches on the daily. i've craved cereal throughout this entire pregnancy and it's something i look forward to when i go to bed at night. 'can't wait to have cereal in the morning!' yes, i'm possibly the simplest eater ever. 

4. symptoms - itchy belly. this has come and gone a lot throughout the pregnancy. it's not unbearable but it's never fun. today my lower back started hurting a little. aaaand things still feel heavy. i'm tired. i'm hot. [not sexy hot] same ol', same ol'. 

and now, fun midwife thangs. 

i asked her to check me today. with all my ladies having their babies all around me, i needed some info to hold onto. was i dilated at all? did she want to just pull him out right then? 

so check she did and the result? 

75% effaced, not dilated, baby's head is "right there." i liked this news - thin, soft cervix means shit is happening and i'm taking that to the bank. the birthing bank. 


p.s. i'm guest blogging over with erin today, it's all about the maxi (and i'm not talkin' pads) - check it. 

August 24, 2012

birthday round-up

a midday mani/pedi
an afternoon floral delivery
a delicious dinner with family
a mini ice cream sunday
a birthday wish
a favorite husband
a favorite sister
a fun fashion effort


a very lovely surprise gift. 

...not to mention all the fabulous birthday love from you!

birthdays are kinda swell, no?


August 22, 2012

a merry birthday to me

yep, it's august 22nd
and i have officially completed 31 years of life. 

my first birthday pregnant, my last birthday without children. 
and i'm totally ok with that. 


p.s. still not sure how i feel about a birthday without red from last year's 30th celebration. 
p.p.s. that is NOT a cigarette in my hand, yuck! no idea what it is...perhaps the sparkle of my ring! orrr some funny camera trick? 

August 21, 2012

two more designs for two more lovely bloggers



Designing blogs has proven to be such a delight for me. I was so nervous at first to even mention that I could maybe help other bloggers than myself and my friends. And oh goodness, setting design services and pricing caused so much anxiety for me. A little known fact about me, I am extremely modest, possibly to a fault. Hank is always telling me to value the things I do well more often, to give them more weight and to celebrate them more often. But I prefer to keep quiet about them and be happy if/when someone recognizes my efforts. This has solidified me the worst possible self-marketer in the universe. 

the. worst. 

All that aside though, I really do enjoy getting to throw some of my design love to fellow bloggers. Each one has a unique point of view and style. Some love feminine details, fancier fonts and others prefer muted colors and cleaner fonts, making each blog a new adventure. I love trying out new elements, color combinations, proportions, and just pushing myself to work outside my own aesthetic. 

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have let me into your bloghomes. I've loved every minute of it. And it's made me smile a whole lot hearing all of your lovely feedback. Let's be friends forever, k? 


craigslist finds for mathilda

we're still unpacking around here. still moving in, organizing, decorating.
i've moved a lot over the years - to be exact, hank and i have lived in 7 houses including this one, together. we've been dating for a little over 6 years. ha!

and every time, we change out a few things. sell some, buy some. this inevitably includes searches on craigslist.

and oh, guys, don't you just love and hate craigslist at the same time? and does anyone else wonder what we used before it came out?? i don't look anywhere else...unless i happen to drive by a garage sale on a saturday morning. a lot of times, we resort to just buying new items and in some cases, that's the best move.

but this time we scored on two awesome items. and we're sorta super excited about them.

our kitchen, living, and dining space is all in one room. we were going to use our dining table as a combo table/counter space but that just got messy. i was feeling yucky and decided we HAD to change it up asap.

enter the kitchen island solution.

it's ideal really. more storage, better on space, and it comes with a butcher block. and who doesn't love a butcher block!? the problem is that they're not cheap and they're hard to find used. but the other day, we came across a post that had just come up on CL and it was perfect! and the gal selling it was nice and responsive and normal! coming across scary people on craigslist might be one of my ridiculous fears.

anyhow, this baby was originally $499 from crate and barrel and we got it for $90! and it's in close-to perfect condition.

we've already made some pretty stellar sandwiches on that block. currently on the hunt for bar stools, in case you know of any you want to send me.


onto our second craigslist gem. again, it was a post that had just come up and i was the first to email! i love when that happens.

not sure if you're aware but i'm 9 months pregnant and i've been told that babies need things. i'm still not completely sold on this idea but every now and then, i'll acquiesce. this particular item, a changing table, was one of the items i was sure i didn't need. i mean, i can change the kid anywhere people. on the couch, the floor, the bed, a kitchen island...

but i happened to see this one with drawers and a cupboard and then, it all of a sudden seemed so useful! storage and a designated spot for some serious dirty work. maaaybe you moms are onto something! and at $100, i'm liable to buy anything.

again, almost perfect condition and a nice couple handing it over to us.

so things are pretty exciting over here.
per the usual.

to prove it, this also happened last there anything sexier?

nope, don't think there is.

and i know you're all eyeing that adorable quilt. it was handmade for river by a very special person - soon to open her own etsy shop! we LOVE it and soon you can love your very own as well. i'll get ya posted.

so there ya go, shopping and building parties. hip hip hooray.
happy tuesday.


August 20, 2012

pbm: week 38

week 38 is here.

that sounds awfully ripe, doesn't it? this outfit epitomizes my daily home wear. belly exposed at all times, tank tops because it's so damn hot and really any shorts, yoga pants or undies will work to finish it off. comfort is king.

today is my first day of working at home while i wait to see when this little river will flow his way into our lives. i'm a little conflicted. what do i do? where do i go? what time do i shower? ...unpack...check

my current brain dump.

i'm off to a doctor's appointment now but a quick update on how things are going:

new things: period cramps. what do these mean? these mean that this party is getting started! slowly but surely, we will meet baby bunny soon. sooo excited! seriously, about it all.

sleep: actual sleep is great. i sleep a lot and long and comfortably. BUT the second i wake up, i can feel the pain in my pelvic bone and ribs. the baby has moved to whatever side i was laying on and he's heavy. rolling over from one side to the other or pushing myself up to get out of bed is some times, even excruciating. i'm getting very creative about using different muscles to get myself moving these days.

eating: i never recognize when im hungry so i probably go far too long without eating. then i feel nauseous and think...oh shit, when did i eat last?? at least since he's moved down some, i can fit more food in there. a full meal, hooray! weight? i haven't unpacked my scale yet so i have no idea how much more i've gained but my doctor's office scale said 170 last week which would bring me to a total gain of  34 pounds. i don't know about you other pregnant ladies but i never count the doc scale - i mean, my clothes weigh at least 5 lbs, clearly.


moving on...

things i miss: still missing me. missing moving around easily. alcohol. yoga. dancing. working out. [note that i never worked out before - ha! - but man, i really miss being able to choooose not to]

things i scored on: craigslist finds. stay tuned.

happy week!!

August 16, 2012

these are a few

good thursday to you all. i thought today i'd share a few of my favorite things. i'm surprised to see how purple my favorite things are. i had no idea! nonetheless, these are the staples in my home/bathroom/makeup bag and since i love them so much, i thought you might love them as well.  


let me know if you want any first hand accounts of why these are so fantastic! i hope you enjoy. 


August 14, 2012

dresses and a wrap

dress: target / top: forever21
i bought 4 dresses maxi dresses last night. and today, i am publicly announcing that when i am not in my underwear and a tank top, i will be in a maxi dress. because what are pants really? except a constricting, evil pair of tunnels to squeeze my thighs, ass and newly acquired cankles into. not to mention the zipper stabbing me in the lower belly when i sit, which i do often. i already have a person stabbing me in my lower areas, thank you very much mr. zipper.

and ok, i'm going to admit something rather shocking to most nesting mamas but um, i have not even glanced at my baby shower swag since the day we had the bestshowereverknowntowomanthankssister. i know, i'm a horrible nester. i don't even know what i have so maybe i got this and forgot but i have been coveting this wrap by solly baby for a while now. so while i may not be nesting, i am still shopping virtually. i know, it's impressive. 

and now for the commercial because for serious, i want to sit in a rocking chair, walk around what looks like san marino, ca, stop to smell the flowers and do all of it with a starbucks in my hand because this wrap is so damn awesome. 

p.s. you can get 20% on your next order! click here for details. 
so happy i saw this on marianne's blog


August 12, 2012

preg belly monday // week 37

so this is what they meant when they said that being pregnant in the summer is the worst absolute time to be pregnant. especially 9 months pregnant. because it is. it is horrible. 

this weekend was so damn hot. so sweet of summer to show up, really. we spent saturday in the pool but even being out in the direct sun was a little brutal for this belly. and then, yesterday, we were supposed to go to the beach. i showered, put on a bathing suit, a cover-up, sandals and just as we were about to walk out, i laid down for a second on the couch. and then...that was that. 

i felt a breeze, i closed my eyes and decided i wasn't moving from that spot. 

eventually, we got around to unpacking almost all the boxes in the garage. this, though my day was horrifically hot and draining, was ultimately more satisfying than any beach day. i am going insane in this half-life of not yet feeling settled, of still living out of boxes. so any progress is good progress. 

so, this week is official full term week. a FULL TERM bunny! 
we've come a long way, baby. 

this photo is not flattering in any way but hey man, this is real life shit.  

not much to report this week except for increased discomfort. it's hard to get up, sit down, roll over, get dressed, get undressed, bend over, walk, sit, lie down. yeah, it's just not much fun. and of course, the swelling started recently. some days the feet kinda, sorta resemble my real feet. some days my ring will go on and off easily. but most days, i'm sporting clown feet and fingers. it's an adjustment. i kinda just miss me. and i'm looking forward to meeting river and to reintroducing myself to myself. 

it's hard to go through so many changes over such a long time; you forget what it was like just to be yourself. 

one thing i've been trying to do is give away old clothes as i unpack everything but now is not the time. now, when i can only wear 10% of my wardrobe, i don't have the best judgement on what i should and should not keep. so im keeping it all and filling up every closet in this house. how we ever fit all our belongings in a 2 bedroom/1 bath is beyond me. and it was just over a week ago. oh, life. 

one constant in these last months has been lots and lots of movement from little bunny bear. and every time i try to capture it, he takes a break. i've taken that to mean that he will be just as stubborn as his daddy. but i was able to grab a few rolling rivers this weekend, for your viewing pleasure. 


August 10, 2012

meet mathilda ...and a winner

please, please, come in.

my name is mathilda.
it's a french name after the style in which i was built. you see, i'm a french tudor home.

i'm not all done up yet and i'm really not camera ready but i don't mind a few glimpses here and there. it's good to document the process.

after all, this is real life.

i'm sure we'll be seeing more of each other. until then, here's an announcement about the winner of that recent giveaway.

the winner is

that's you! 
Kimberly Olsen


Email me your contact info and Julianne will be in touch. 
vcvalenz [at] gmail [dot] com

Happy Friday! 

August 9, 2012

in which i talk to myself about swollen members and fancy solutions

hey vicki, remember yesterday when your feet swelled up. 
and you kept thinking that maybe there was a stray hair between your toes, or maybe a piece of trash had fallen from your desk. 
but then you'd reach down (awkwardly because your stomach is huge) to grab that piece of hair or trash and realize it was just the new folds of foot swell touching your toes. and then you almost threw up. 

yeah, i remember. i didn't like that. 
but here's a visual for all your sickos. 

i wonder if there's anything that could make you feel better about that experience...

wait, i know! 


i could enter for the giveaway for a FREE freaking necklace. 
and then people would stare at my gorgeous baby cleavage necklace instead of my fat feet. 

what's that you say? 

you don't know about this giveaway i speak of??
so you haven't entered?! 

well, well, well. 
you listen here. 

you click right here my friend and enter! 
go on, now. 

you don't want my feet to attack you, now do ya?
or maybe you do, in which case, we are no longer friends. unless, of course, i can make funny monster noises and grab your cheeks with my toes...then, maybe we can talk. 

last day for the giveaway
i'm choosing the big winner randomly tonight and ooo, can't you just feel it?? it's gonna be you! 


August 8, 2012

TAL and FP

Two things.

The first...

TAL or This American Life has been one of my favorite radio shows for years. It makes me want to live on nothing and go around the world interviewing people, learning their stories, connecting with them. It makes me love the human race more than ever.

I'll admit though, that I haven't been listening all that much recently. This is due to many things but most of all, it's a result of not being in my car that often. I used to commute a lot. I commuted to college, to work, to visit friends. But then I moved 2 miles from my office and married my very best friend; I've put 17K miles on my car in 2 years. All this to say that I listen to podcasts and radio shows solely when I'm in my car, driving alone.
I have been planning on listening to podcasts and radio shows when I start working out. after bunny is born...if I get around to actually doing that. 
So now that we've moved to a house about 40 miles away from my office, I'm rekindling my relationship with radio and for the past two days have been listening to TAL reruns during my drive. I've also been crying.

The two episodes I've enjoyed this week were dedicated to 1. Amusement Parks and 2. Special Ed - perhaps it's not immediately clear why these made me cry but I suggest you listen and see how you feel. The life and passion of the people in these stories is awesomely awesome. Sure, it could be my baby hormones but even if you don't cry, I'd be surprised if you didn't become a TAL convert.


The second...

FP or Free People can become an obsession for me at times. And right now, in my current belly gargantuan, flowing, hippie dresses are like mecca for my body. And though I have none to float around town in, I do enjoy perusing the gorgeousness of FP look books. What can I say, they know their shit, their gorgeous, flowing shit.

 now all i need is a bigger wallet. 


August 7, 2012

hodge podge delivery

oh hey there!

i went to bed at 9:30pm last night, woke up at 6:30am today and am still exhausted. so instead of a post full of edited photos of my new house, i'm offering what i can from things happening because piecemeal happenings are the new black.

it's true, they probably had a conference about it at blogher12.


it's my mom's birthday today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA! you're super sexy, young, fun, and all things fabulous. wooohoo! see ya at dinner tonight! LOVE YOU!


hank is on instagram. @bhanklin 
he posted a rather cute photo on moving day and i wanted to re-post it so that more people could enjoy his handiwork. i ultimately forgot but here it is with an official photo credit to boost his self-esteem this morning. feel free to follow him. he's super rad.

photo by hank mchankerson aka my sexy husband


right before the big move, i was able to wrap up two more blog designs for two more lovely ladies.

the first was the winner of the blog makeover giveaway hosted by the fabulously fabulous sarah - jamie! her blog was a fun challenge for me because she lives in a blog world i'm entirely unfamiliar with. moms with giveaways. since i'm not a mom...yet, i had no idea what i had stumbled upon but it all seems very fun and close-knit and colorful! so i made a little bit of a departure from my usual white space. freaked me out and pleased me all at the same time, folks! it's a crazy blog world, yo.

luckily, i was able to immediately fall back into my white space haven with miss kristen from a day in the life of me.

if you have a chance, go visit each of these lovely gals.
- just click on their blog images above!


i went to anthropologie yesterday to buy candles to make the new house smell like my house. i'm hoping to walk into the house after work today and smell me in there. i'm also hoping this will motivate me to unpack and organize. hope, hope, hope. 


and to close out this hodge podge of a post, i give you another room in the new house {i should name this place} and me, in stripes! nothing new there. 

this here will be our office. as you can plainly see, my books are not yet put away. this is the most clear indication that i am not myself. in real life aka not pregnant life, i would have had my books up first - as in before i even thought to set my bed up - because books are king. but look! they're still in home depot boxes along the wall. who AM i!? 

according to this photo, i am a pregnant woman, in a striped dress, who does not wash or brush her hair for days on end, AND takes photos of herself to document it for later. 

so yes, a genius. 

happy tuesday, world!

August 6, 2012

pregnant belly monday: WEEK 36


it's week 36 people and do you KNOW what that means? that means we (river and i) have officially been getting to know each other for 9 months!

9. freaking. months.

and of course, as most of you know, we celebrated with some big time fun and MOVED our entire house to yes, another house. and here, in today's belly shot is my new bedroom.

there's a new window and a familiar bed. though i can't say right now if things will be arranged this way forever because um, i can barely find clothes in the morning. this outfit, required no less than 6 bags to be ripped open before i would discover something usable but poof! i'm dressed and i'll take it.

other than the most obvious new thing of the week, there have been some pregnant developments that i will attribute only to being 36 weeks along and here they are:

1. LOSING my mind. i forgot hank's name. i mean, i said it outloud and then wondered secretly, wait, was that right? is his name hank? what did i say? ...and then, i forgot easton's name. and i wanted to call him to me but seriously could NOT remember his name. i thought that maybe it was easton but that sounded wrong so i didn't call him.

2. braxton hicks - or as we hypnobirthing students call them - practice surges. they're for practicing and honing my meditationy skillz. and i'm getting good because when these happen to me, my stomach literally comes to a point in the center and i cannot move comfortably. so i just close my eyes, breathe and wait. not gonna lie, it's kinda super exciting. i'm like..oh yeah uterus!? let's make this work for both of us! and then we do and it's happy and i waddle away.

3. speaking of waddling... waddling. now, there are many people who would probably tell you that i've been waddling for a while now. and while it's probably true, my reasons for it have evolved. for the last ohidontknowhowmany months, i've had INTENSE pelvic bone pain sensations. it's basically like a stabbing pressure on your what feels like your vagina. it's um, not fun. and it makes walking reaally hard. it also makes turning over in bed difficult, putting on pants, standing, sitting..ya know, everything. and while i still get that sometimes, my waddle is now a direct result of the weight of a baby in my belly. balance is off, way off and i can't correct it! i keep trying to straighten my back and pull my pelvis in and walk like a good little yogi but nope - belly ain't havin' none of that. so i give in to the waddle my friends. i give in.

we went and had an ultrasound last week. river bunny is squished to shit in there, poor kid. they're guessing he weighs a little over 6 lbs currently but since i have no idea how they came to that guess, i'm not putting any money on it. though i should really start a pool. i'll commission hank to get on that - he loves a good game. hank - you reading this? make it happen, lover.

i have a lot more to come on my new house this week but can i just say in the interim, um....big houses are scary.


oh and you did enter this giveaway, right?

August 1, 2012

Giveaway: Julianne Designs

Good Wednesday, lovelies!

I'm actually feeling a little more alive today. Who knew 2 full nights of sleep could make such a difference?? I'm also extremely lucky to have amazing coworkers who haven't let me lift a finger since I died a slow death on Monday night.

So, to celebrate my coming back to life, it's giveaway time!

yeah, you heard me. 
free things for you time!

This one brought to you by the amazingness of Julianne Designs,  an etsy shop filled with the most delicate, feminine, classic pieces.


Enter to WIN your choice of 1 of three necklaces! 

personalize either of the first two or keep it ethereal with the third necklace option. 

Enter below to win your choice of 1 of these items! 

winner will be announced next friday. 
{chosen via on thursday evening}

HOW TO ENTER: Mandatory entry: Favorite Julianne Designs on Etsy and leave a comment telling me you did so along with your username. Favorite the shop by clicking on the heart icon on their shop page. You need an ETSY account to do so, but it's super easy to join and it's free! {1 entry}

Optional Entries: Please leave a separate comment for each one.
  1. Tell me which item is your favorite from Julianne Designs {1 entry}
  2. Follow this blog via GFC {1 entry}
  3. Like Julianne Designs on Facebook {1 entry} 
  4. Tweet about this giveaway - leave the link {1 entry} ex: GIVEAWAY: your choice of one of these necklaces by julianne designs over @vickiichristine !!!

Note: This giveaway open to everyone, anywhere!

Good Luck!

Update: Winner was announced here