We Are Having A Baby!

Photos by Emily Bockelkamp

I am so excited to finally be sharing this news with everyone! I don't even know where to start.. I guess let me start with no, Tyler and I were not intentionally trying to get pregnant. One day in December I woke up feeling very weird, I brushed it off thinking maybe I was just catching a cold or something and from that day on I just kept feeling not myself so I knew something was up. It didn't really hit that I could be pregnant until the obvious missing my period, but 24/7 I felt nauseous. A couple days after Christmas I decided to finally take some pregnancy tests and they both came back positive. For awhile I had the thought of me being pregnant in the back of my head so I wasn't surprised after taking the tests, I was both nervous and excited. Tyler was at work and I was DYING to tell him. I wish I had the whole thing recorded because he was so happy, our little Stella Bear knocked my phone over so I just ended the video 😂 We waited awhile to tell our families because we wanted to soak the moment in for ourselves, but now that our families know it's time to let the public know! 

Baby Howell is due in August and today is the last day of my first trimester! Lets take a minute to recap it all..

  • The only morning sickness I had was nausea (the nausea SUCKED though)
  • I use to start my mornings with a cup of coffee, but my appetite for coffee is gone
  • Ginger ale was my best friend for the first half of my first trimester
  • Orange juice is my new best friend
  • I want sweets 24/7, 365
  • I've been craving smoothies everyday and pizza, which I was never a big pizza eater before
  • I still can't tell if I'm bloated or actually starting to show
  • Can't button any of my jeans though 😂
  • I am tired and unmotivated a lot (the cold weather is not helping!)
  • I've always had back pain, but it's gotten worse and Tyler not being able to crack my back for me sucks
  • I have learned that baby brain is indeed a real thing #Clueless
Then I asked Tyler what changes he saw in me throughout the first trimester..
  • You're hungry all the time (after that I proceeded to tell him how I was craving sour patch kids, skittles and Swedish fish) 
  • You will actually eat a full meal
  • You're changing altogether. Your personality and attitude, you can tell you're starting to develop into a mom.
I'm not going to the lie, the first trimester was hard. I know things only get harder, but this is all new to me. My body is going through changes and I've been learning how to deal with them. Tyler, Stella and I are all so excited for this journey and for our little one to join us in August. Come spring I want to start blogging again and will be sharing this journey as well! 

Xo, Alyssa

Goals For January

Happy Monday, everyone! It's been awhile since I last hopped on here. Over Christmas I was enjoying time with family and after Christmas I wasn't feeling too well and I became very unmotivated. I figured it would be a great time for a social break and to figure out what's next. 

I know everyone has been sharing their 2019 resolutions, but last year I started doing something different. Instead of resolutions that I give myself all year to do and never actually do them, I give myself monthly goals. For me personally it's just a great way to 1. accomplish more in the long run and 2. it allows me to focus on certain aspects of my life each month. January for me is all about finding that burning feeling that makes me want to get sh*t done and also reorganizing my life, because I took being lazy over the holidays to a whole new level 😂 With that being said, here's what I'm focusing on this month.

  1. Get myself reorganized
    1. Start planning my weeks out in a planner
    2. Get a calendar for the kitchen so Tyler & I can write out our work schedules
    3. Get myself back into a solid routine
  2. Start doing yoga every morning and stretch every night before bed (I have really bad back pain and Tyler always tells me I need to stretch my legs everyday because it will feel better, I've never listened 😂)
  3. Purge my closet
    1. List items to sell on Poshmark
    2. What doesn't sell in a month, donate
  4. Clean out the guest bedroom (this has become a space to throw things we don't want to put away)
  5. Start blogging and posting on Instagram again
    1. KEEP IT UP
  6. Put aside time everyday to be active on Instagram
  7. Get myself to 1,800 followers

Like I said, January is a month for getting reorganized and just finding my motivation again and having a clean place and a schedule has always done the trick for me. Each month I plan on sharing my monthly goals as well as recapping the past month to see if I completed everything. 

What are your goals for 2019?

Xo, Alyssa

5 Ways To Pamper Yourself After Work This Winter

I feel like the winter season can be a stressful time. With the holidays, crazy work schedules and cold weather you can't help but feel overwhelmed sometimes. It's important to take care of yourself, so here are five ways I like to pamper myself after work this season. Also try turning off your phone when you do each of these. 

1. Make a cup of hot cocoa or tea. There's just something about a cup of hot cocoa during Christmas time that is so good, am I right? I love cozying up on the couch after work with a cup and watching Christmas movies.

2. Relax in a bubble bath. One of my goals for the New Year is to start doing this once a week. I was on a self care binge one week and after a long day I soaked in a bath with a face mask and it was the best thing! I never felt so relaxed.

3. Turn on your favorite Christmas movies. The best way to relax and pamper yourself this winter, with a cup of hot cocoa of course!

4. Read a book. Reading is always something I'm in and out of, but when I finally do pick up a book it's like I'm in another world. I'm sure anyone else who is a book lover can agree. I always try to set time aside each night to read a few pages of my current book. It's a great way to free your mind of all the chaos from the day.

5. Throw away your to-do list. Sometimes you just can't do it all and that is OK. Obviously if your to-do list isn't of importance it can wait for another day. Give yourself the evening to relax, after all you deserve it!

How else do you like to pamper yourself during the winter?

Xo, Alyssa

Easy DIY Stocking Mantle

Happy Monday, everyone! I can't believe we're already only two weeks away from Christmas! This reminder of this year is just flying by. 

Today on the blog I wanted to share my easy DIY Stocking Mantle hack. Our apartment doesn't have a fireplace so when it came to deciding where I wanted to hang our stockings I had no clue. The tv stand was out of the question because the moment Stella saw the fur balls on our stockings she tried to attack them. So low and behold I went to Pinterest and that was hardly any help, for me personally. I didn't feel like buying a shelf to put up just to hang stockings, a wooden ladder was a cute idea but eh, we didn't have a staircase to put them on, I mean it was basically all of the same ideas just from different people. So I started looking around the apartment and grabbed the faux pine off the dining room table I was attempting to make a project out of (was never going to work out 😂) and started messing around with it. 

I started off with just mine and Tyler's stockings and left a spot in the middle for when Stella's came. I had them hanging on command hooks so I placed the branch of each bundle on each side of the hook. There was a lot to each bundle so clear tape came in handy for getting the perfect placement and making sure they don't fall down. I had some extra branches lying around that fell off in the process so I added them to the empty spots to get a fuller look, mainly in the center. I found the small silver ornaments with my old Christmas decorations and decided to dress it up a bit. 

Not only was this super easy to put together but it was inexpensive and goes perfectly with the rest of our Christmas decorations! It was the perfect way to fill some empty space on our walls. If you try this out, I'd love to see it!

Xo, Alyssa

What you'll need:
- Faux greenery of your choice
if you want to put ornaments on it I recommend pine branches, you can find them at Michael's for around $3 a branch.
- Clear tape
- Ornaments (optional)
- Command hooks
you can hang your stockings however you'd like, but I personally thought command hooks made a big difference with holding up the branches

10 Ways to Style Your Flannels

Happy Friday, babes! Anyone else agree that this week has just been dragging on?! I'm so happy for the weekend and to be able to relax a little.

This blog post is WAY past due. Really, I took these photos in November and planned to have this post go live the last Friday of the month. But hey, better late than never right! When the cold weather started to hit and I was sharing how I layered my flannels with sweaters a few people reached out to me asking how else they could wear their flannels. My answer is always, "literally with anything" because it's true! You wouldn't think so, I surely didn't realize it until I finally decided to get outside of my comfort zone with fashion, but flannels are such a versatile piece. That's why I love having them in my wardrobe, especially the Christmasy ones. If you're looking to snag some more I 100% recommend Old Navy. I have a handful of flannels in my closet and all but one is from Old Navy. 

Below are ten ways you can style your favorite flannels this winter!

Stella's like "Hi mom, I wanna join!"

If any of these looks inspired you be sure to share it and tag me so I can see! 

Xo, Alyssa

How To Be Festive In The Workplace

I'm sure we all know this by now but I LOVE Christmas time and any chance I get to be festive, I'm going to take it. Maybe you're the same way, who knows! But I do know everyone wouldn't mind being a little festive in the workplace from time to time and sometimes it can be hard distinguishing what would be considered too much.

Every workplace is different. While I have the ability to wear what I want to the office someone else reading this may have a strict dress code to follow, which is why I love this dress. It's perfect for all occasions, especially the office and you can style it multiple ways to best suit your personal style or work dress code while still looking festive. If your office has a more strict dress code you can easily throw on a blazer and add some black tights to tone the dress down and make it look more professional. My personal favorite is adding a velvet blazer! If you work in a more casual environment you can opt the heels for flats and throw on a black cardigan to dress it down a little. If you're feeling bold, try layering it with a flannel or adding some green earrings.

This truly is the perfect holiday dress for the workplace and it comes at a low price point! You can also reach for this dress again over Valentine's. Thinking ahead ;)
* I'm wearing an XS Petite for sizing reference.

Xo, Alyssa

Dress: Old Navy | Shoes: DSW | Purse: Express | Sunglasses: DIFF Eyewear

Decorating For Christmas On A Budget

Happy Monday, everyone! It's officially December and I'm so excited to get into all of the Christmas posts I have scheduled. Decorating for Christmas is my all time favorite - I'm not ashamed to admit that I started decorating October 31st. Safe to say our apartment has been a work in progress ever since. This is Tyler and I's first place together and we had very little Christmas decor, which meant this year was going to be the year we splurged a little. I've been in and out of Michael's a million times 😂 However, I tried to save us as much money as possible throughout the way. Tyler swears we spent we a boatload on decorations, but when it boils down to it everything was purchased at a steal. If you're still in the process of decorating for Christmas, here are some tips on how to do it on a budget.

Pick a theme. Pinterest was my best friend a couple months ago. I had no idea where I wanted to go with Christmas decorations, did I want to do the traditional red and green theme? Blush tones? Blue? I mean, the options were endless. I recommend creating a Pinterest board with your ideas and creating a theme from there, it helps to know what colors you should be shopping for. 

Make a list. 100% make a list! After I finalized my theme I looked around our apartment and thought about what I would want/need. It also helps to take pictures of the space so you can look back while shopping. If it weren't for my list I probably would have purchased a bunch of unnecessary things.

Know when to splurge and when to save. I purchased a lot of Christmas decor this year but all of it, minus our tree, was purchased on sale. Obviously we won't keep our Christmas decorations forever, but I hope to get a few years, maybe more, out of this years selection. So of course splurging is ok, but I wouldn't so much spend $100 on that pink tree you're feeling so much this year. 

Neutrals. Tyler and I chose a neutral theme this year for our Christmas decor and while this may not necessarily save you money this year, it will in the upcoming years. Neutrals are your best friend. A neutral theme may not be everyones cup of tea but every theme uses those neutral elements. Next year if Tyler and I decide we want to go traditional red and green, we can use all of our current decorations and only buy a few pops of the red and green. 

DIY & Repurposing. Again, they will be your best friend if you're looking to save money. Looking around my apartment I repurposed half of the things in our place. A few money savers I did were:
- We created a hot cocoa bar and I reused jars I had other things in for the toppings, saving me a little money on jars.
- For a bar decoration I borrowed a vase from my mom and filled it with wine corks that I already had and purchased some $3 fake Christmas greenery from Michael's to put inside.
- Put leftover fake greenery I had in a vase for side table decor. 
- Purchased Christmas pillow covers (cheap) instead of actual Christmas pillows (expensive). 
- Used unused pillows and blankets as an alternative for a tree skirt. Not everyones cup of tea, but I love the cozy look.
I mean, I could go on and on..

Less is more. This is just a personal opinion. We may have a lot of decorations, but they are very minimal. I personally just hate a cluttered looking space, so I didn't want to keep buying things and placing them in random spots on the house. In my opinion, less is always better when decorating your first home. You get a feel for what worked, can make notes for what you want to do next year, things like that.

Xo, Alyssa