Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: August 2017

August 29, 2017

How I Save Time Grocery Shopping In 10 Easy Steps

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CurbsideConvenience #CollectiveBias

It's no secret that we live in a word of go faster, do more and jam-packed days full of work, errands, activities and events. We all have that one chore we dread, right?! My least favorite errand is grocery shopping...until lately.

Giant Eagle Curbside Express has helped change my attitude on grocery shopping, especially since I can do other household chores with all the time I save doing it.
The process is so easy.. I did my grocery shopping from my couch...IN MY PAJAMAS! It really doesn't get better than this. Before I got started on my shopping I threw a load of laundry in the washer, put a meal in the crockpot for our lunches the following day and then got to work on my grocery list. 

Here's how I save time grocery shopping in 10 easy steps:
1. Visit Giant Eagle Curbside Express and select "Shop for Pickup" then "Start Shopping."

2. Find your closest location by entering your zip code, then select your store and let the fun begin.

3. I start by using the search bar to find things on my list like Giant Eagle salmon, Bounty paper towels, bananas and more.

4. I then browse the "On Sale This Week" section to make sure I'm getting all the good deals when they are available. It is SO easy to shop for produce and meat instead of aimlessly wandering the fresh fruits and vegetables like I tend to do. Search for what you want, and add to your cart. As you shop, your total will change in the top right corner showing you how many items are in your cart and your current total you will owe at checkout. 

The fact that you can see what you already have by hovering over the cart image and viewing the summary to make sure you haven't forgotten anything is really convenient. You can spend as little or as much as you want on your grocery order, there is no limit or minimum purchase required, and you can even try the service for free- your first 3 orders are waived!! How's that for try before you buy?!
5. After you are done shopping you will go to the next part of the process, which is easier than ever to select your preferred date and time to pick up your groceries. With the Curbside Express you can determine when you shop, morning or night and pick up your order at a variety of different times that are convenient for you...it's great because you are in control!
6. You will get an e-mail after you finish your online order confirming your pickup time and showing your order summary. I opted to pay at the store during this particular order, in case I had any coupons to take with me.
From there, a personal shopper does the work for you, not a computer or automated system, which is why I thanked them for their help in the note section at the bottom, they are truly a lifesaver to my busy schedule!

7. During the little bit of time it took me to shop online for our groceries I was able to get other things done  around the house which is a big timesaver, but it doesn't stop there. Normally, grocery shopping is a few hour adventure between creating lists, fighting the crowds at the store and wandering the aisles and checking out. When you get to Giant Eagle to pick up your groceries, it gets even sweeter.
There are several signs that direct you where to go and ensure that you're heading the right way to curbside convenience.

8.When you get to the designated area for Giant Eagle Curbside Express, there are more signs instructing you what to do, which are also listed in the e-mail confirmation you already received.
You will speak to a live person when you call the listed number on the sign, and if you allowed any substitutions in your order they will review them with you, or tell you what they are out of at the store...if anything. They were out of Orange Gatorade that I wanted in my order, so they asked if the Fruit Punch flavor was ok to replace it with. 

9. An employee then brings out your order and get this...YOU stay in the car while they load your order for you, including bulk items and heavy products. It's all part of the convenience--saving you even more time. I was able to check some e-mails and get some things done while my order was taken care of for me.
Giant Eagle Curbside Express lets you have more time for things that matter the most...like spending time with family and friends, or preparing for your next gathering...it's SO easy!

10. Lastly, all you do is pay. If you opt to pay online, you still aren't charged until you pick up your order. You can give the employee any coupons and then pay right at your car. 

Grocery shopping with Giant Eagle Curbside Express couldn't be easier, and my family is loving the benefits too...it means more time at home making delicious meals and hanging out together opposed to the few hours that are usually spent at the grocery store each week. There's more time for quick clean-ups, experimenting with new salmon recipes and my son doesn't even mind helping unload the car since I didn't have to drag him up and down the aisles of the grocery store. It's a win- win and I can't imagine doing shopping any differently from now on. 

Tell me- have you ever shopped online for groceries? What are your favorite grocery hacks?

August 28, 2017

Baby Lawrence Update

I didn't plan on sharing another baby update this soon, but given everything that has happened since the last one I wanted to fill everyone in.

I want to start by saying, this isn't easy but I feel like it helps me cope and I in no way want to bring anyone down...I just want to be real and raw.

After the last update at 23 weeks we had some really good visits with my fetal maternal specialist helping us make some progress with my thyroid and how it is affecting baby girl. My fluid was still low, but she grew a pound in 2 weeks which was amazing and so great to hear.
The specialist really made us feel at ease, he ran some more bloodwork on me and called us after hours to go over the results and the plan he had in place moving forward. Chuck and I were really feeling good about it all.

This past Wednesday we had a regularly scheduled OB appointment and showed up, and all was going normal until they did more growth scans- which were being ordered more often than normally would due to her growing a little behind schedule. Our doctor came in to say that my fluid was still low and he wanted to send me to the hospital to get some IV's of fluids and hopefully help in that area. He explained that I wasn't dehydrated, but my amniotic fluid was just lower than it should be. So Chuck and I made the drive to the hospital and were sent to the Maternity floor for a long 6 hours getting a few bags of fluids in my system.
After that was finished they ordered another sonogram to check my fluid levels, and we got the news that I had lost a lot. Obviously this didn't make sense at all, but we were not prepared to hear what was next.
They sent in some nurses to do some tests, and the results showed that my water broke. TMI alert- I have never felt anything...no leaking, no sudden gush- so it's crazy to think when it could of happened. But, since it did, me and baby have to stay in the hospital on bedrest to be monitored. I am at risk for an infection so I'm given antibiotics and they check my vitals several time a day to make sure I haven't got a fever either.

I took the news pretty bad, kind of lost it. It killed me to not be there for Ethan's first day of school and think about everything else I have to miss out on and am totally not prepared for. Some of those thoughts still come around daily, but I need to focus on the positive and push the bad things out of my head. 
We are in the safest place we can be. The goal is to make it to 34 weeks pregnant. Today, I am 27 weeks...so 49 more days to go.  A daily countdown that Charlie helped me calculate and thinking about the day to day has helped. 

The NICU doctor came to fill us in the other day also to give us some facts. Some of it was hard to hear, so that's why my goal is to stay as calm and positive as I can. Right now if baby girl was to make her entrance we have a 60-80% chance of survival but as she stays put those numbers increase...we have an 80% chance once we are at 28 weeks and 90% once we are at 30 weeks. 
I'm keeping my eye on the prize, and as much as I hate to be sitting in a bed day and night, I've been told to rest now while I can...which is great advice. 

Hearing positive stories from friends and family of those who they know and babies born early and thriving seriously help. I light up each time I hear something good, something to hold on to. I can't sit and worry about what may be...even though I'm confused and upset that this crazy stuff keeps happening. I obviously was given this to dealt with for a reason, maybe for someone who couldn't fight this type of battle. I'm blessed to have a supportive family, lucky to have a blog to turn to and express myself, friends who take my mind off being here with silly group texts and much more. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has reached out and taken a minute to send prayers and positivity. I swear we are making it through because of all of you. 

Here's hoping there will be plenty more to update you on while our little cupcake stays baking for 49 more days. I'm holding on to every ounce of hope and thanking our angels above for our safety.

I hope you all have a great week! Thank you for your kindness and support through our journey!

August 26, 2017

Car Shopping Made Simple In 5 Steps

Sponsored post.

I'm so excited that my car is almost paid off--woo-hoo for one more debt being checked off the list. But, adding a new baby to our family means needing more room, especially when it comes to a vehicle.
Does anyone else cringe when they think about car shopping?! The process is daunting, can be boring, and also there's lots of details to think about which makes it overwhelming. It's hard to visit car dealerships and wonder if what you're hearing is true or just an elaboration of the facts behind the vehicles. Luckily, I've found help on a website which you may have heard about but not even realized the benefits within it, Cars.com.

1. In my opinion, the first step to buying a new vehicle is to determine what you want in your new ride. Is it a sunroof, certain safety features, or third row seating? Write it all down so you have a comprehensive list you can review as you begin your search online.

2. Next, after checking our your necessities in a vehicle, create a budget. What are you looking to spend? What is the standard price range for this vehicle? Make sure your wants from step #1 are within your means and what you are willing and able to spend.

3. Reviews are huge and I read them for pretty much everything I purchase, from a skincare product to a cute sweater including a new vehicle. Cars.com has videos you can watch about the truck, van, or car you're looking at including detailed reviews and straight forward information.

4. Take your time shopping. Yes, you may be anxious and excited or need a new car right away...but choosing wisely is very important. The more time you take to do research, watch videos, talk with experts and shop in more than one place....which leads me to my next and final step.

5. Visit multiple dealerships before making a final decision on which vehicle you will purchase. Yes, shop around and see what dealers have to offer. Don't let one place haggle you in to buying right away...get your facts, leave with enough information to make an educated decision and review the other visits you made. 

With so much of your shopping and research able to be done from home, Cars.com is the perfect tool to make car shopping a much simpler task than it normally is. 

Have you used Cars.com before? What are your tips for car shopping?

August 21, 2017

About Me in 3's

I read Pamela's answers on this post recently that she got from Emily and I always LOVE learning more about people and my favorite bloggers, so I'm passing it along and answering these questions today.
3 favorite foods
--what can I say, I love carbs!

3 things I'd never give up
my expression of creativity
my Starbucks
being ME

3 favorite cocktails
a nice glass of Malbec
vodka anything...usually with water and a lemon

3 favorite vegetables

3 favorite movies
The Departed
Devil Wears Prada
...I have like a top 7, but this only asks for 3 ;)

3 favorite simple pleasures in life
watching a sunset
enjoying our home at Christmas- the trees and lights make me so happy
having a lazy Sunday
3 things that are always in my car
car charger
pictures of my dudes

3 things I always have with me
credit card
3 things I regret doing/ not doing
letting someone wax my eyebrows too thin in high school
using tanning beds too much when I was younger
smoking cigarettes for too long/ at all- glad I quit though!

3 upcoming trips
we don't have a single thing planned...BabyWatch 2017 but that's okay with me...I'm ready for some down time!!

3 most recent places I traveled to
Corolla- Outer Banks, NC
Pittsburgh, PA
Ft. Lauderdale & Miami

3 most often used makeup products
redness cream
3 things that make me cry
sad movies
when a loved one has been hurt
when I think about times I'm missing out on with my Mom

3 things that make me laugh
Ethan's laugh, when he laughs really hard I can't stop laughing
Charlie...every damn day- he's so funny
A good funny movie- anything with Vince Vaughn usually does it.

3 places I want to visit inside the U.S.

3 places I want to visit outside the U.S.

3 blessings in my life
my health
my sweet family
my amazing friends

I hope this helps you get to know me a little better :) I would love to know one of the answers to the questions above about you...share something with me in the comments-- Have a great start to your week!

August 16, 2017

A Thank You...

With all the craziness we experience day to day, and all the unexpected things life can throw at us I try to remember to be thankful.

I will admit, it's not easy...especially when you're in the midst of a tough time or just a hectic day. Here's some things I've been thankful for lately and a thank you to those who have made my days better.

Thank you to the Target cashier who struck up conversation about the things she liked from my cart while all I was thinking about was how much I had to do when I got home. Talking about tacos and baby clothes really got my mind in a better place.

Thank you to the postman at work who always comes in with a cheerful hello in the middle of a crazy day.

Thank you to Bravo, E! and MTV for producing shows that are kind of a hot mess, but make me happy and let me binge on watching other people's lives.

Thank you to the drive thru workers at Chick-fil-A for always being so sweet and acting like I don't visit your restaurant too much.

Thank you to the people in line at the store who see you only have one or two things opposed to their 30 items and let you go before them to save you time.

Thank you to palm trees, a good sky and cupcakes for always making me smile.

Thank you to people who still love me even though my ankles are already preggo swollen and ugly.

Life is too short and crazy not to appreciate the little things, spread a little love today.

Who do you want to say thank you to?

August 10, 2017

My Latest Ulta Haul

I'm a Sephora girl through and through, but I do love that I can pick up a wide variety of products at Ulta. Ours recently got a facelift that makes browsing a lot brighter, easier and more fun for me too.
ulta haul
I love the deals and buy one get one offers that Ulta seems to have more than Sephora too. It's dangerous for a beauty lover like me, so today I thought I would share some of my (too many) recent purchases.

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel- a last minute waiting in line impulse buy that I'm really enjoying. I started with a small size to try it out and it is awesome. I'm not used to a non-foaming cleanser so at first I wondered if my face was truly getting clean, but the smell and results are wonderful.
mario badescu ulta
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: Mattifying- I've only used this a few times since purchasing since I am finishing up the other bottle I have. I'm interested to see how the mattifying version compares to the others I have tried. Has anyone used this? I'll keep you posted on what I think!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick-A few weeks ago these were on sale for $13 so I picked up Bella and Perla. I LOVE how easily these glide on and the color really does last (almost) all day. Bella is the perfect bright pink and Perla is an awesome neutral pink...I've been wearing that almost every day.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting Cream-I've purchased this before, and went only a few days without it when I stocked up again. I have some scarring from acne years ago and this is amazing under foundation. When my skin is really acting great I'm able to wear it alone without foundation. It's so lightweight, and you don't even feel like you have anything on. This is a MUST if you have any sort of redness or troubled skin.
it cosmetics redness
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge- I saw this mentioned on Cara's blog recently and had to pick one up....I'm sad I didn't sooner! I love the angled edge and the price tag too. I've had Beauty Blenders before, and am much more impressed with this sponge. The rounded side is for blending, the tip is good for blemishes, and the flat edges are to be used for contouring around the eyes and nose. Thanks Cara for the great recommendation!

Lash Princess Volume Mascara- After trying the False Lash Effect one, I scooped up another and the volume mascara during a BOGO deal. I love how inexpensive this mascara is, and I use it after my primer and before a layer of another brand...lately that's been Tarte Maneater. I still love the False Lash Effect mascara better, but they are both nice products.
best mascara buys
NYX Butter Gloss- I LOVE this stuff, but wanted to try a few new colors so another BOGO purchase happened, oops. I am currently loving Strawberry Parfait and Sugar Cookie- both fun Summer colors. My all time favorite is Angel Food Cake...I feel like it's a color that looks good with everything and on every skin tone.
best budget beauty buys
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion- I left this in the medicine cabinet at our old house and quickly remembered once a little pesky breakout popped up. I love this stuff and how small of an amount you need to really take care of business...it lasts forever!
2017 best beauty

ulta buys

If you're looking for more great deals you can check out my post with The Best Sephora Buys Under $20
What's one thing you've picked up and LOVED lately?! Let me know, I love trying new things!

August 7, 2017

Baby Lawrence- 23 Week Bumpdate

Happy Monday friends! Today marks 24 weeks with Baby Lawrence, and I always look forward to Monday's for one thing...and one thing only. That is-- seeing what baby girl is this week in terms of size and what new things are on my baby app.

I figured I would share another update since the only one so far was right at the end of the first trimester. Last week it hit me...4 months until baby is here with us. That makes me so happy, kind of nervous...but way more excited than anything else.

Size: Baby girl is the size of a Barbie Doll, or a bunch of grapes if we're talking food. I have my Ovia app settings for baby size in Fun & Games....and it really is fun!

Sickness: Not so much anymore, I was clear for a while...no sickness at all. Recently it's hit me once or twice a week out of nowhere, weird times of the day and usually only once. Thank goodness!

Cravings: Chick- Fil-A nuggets...I don't crave much, but when I do it's usually these.

Weight Gain: -37 pounds. I lost A LOT during my period of really bad sickness, and so far have gained 3 back. I eat, and eat...and not much is coming back. Kind of nice in a way, but we also need me to grow so baby can grow, especially once we hit the third trimester. 

Physical Changes: My skin is still on the drier side. My feet are swelling easier, and I've been told to stay off them as much as I can when I get home from work. It's hard to listen to that, especially when I'm usually an on the go type of person but I'm doing what I need to so this baby gets here safely.
19 weeks-size of a video game controller

 20 weeks- size of a paper airplane

21 weeks- size of a baseball hat

22 weeks- size of a water bottle

23 weeks- size of a Barbie doll

Sleep: I sleep great. Usually I'm the one who is passed out in bed first most nights, but lately I'm up past Chuck, which is rare. I am typically up 2-3 times a night hitting the bathroom, especially more lately because I'm tracking my water and really trying to up my intake.
Unless I am absolutely exhausted, I can't sleep in anymore. Ask my husband, this is not normal for me. I swear it's my body training me for baby. When people used to ask me if we were going to have children my first admitted fear was not waking up to hear the baby during the night. This change has happened since finding out I was pregnant, so it's kind of funny and helpful in a way.

Purchases: *insert big eyed emoji face here* I've bought a lot of clothes, but every single thing but about 2 items has been on sale, so it's okay, right?! I'm trying not to buy too many necessities until after the baby shower, and seeing what we receive. I've bought a few other things here and there, but mainly clothes...they're just so damn cute.

How I'm Feeling: To be honest, this hasn't been the easiest journey. First, it was all the sickness and more sickness, and trying out prescriptions to find something that worked. Next, it was being sent to a thyroid specialist and finding out things aren't what they should be in that area. About a month ago, we were in Harrisburg to see my Uncle get inducted to the State Sports Hall of Fame when we had an emergency with some cramping and bleeding and were rushed to the Emergency Room. That rocked my world, I don't know that I've ever been so scared in my life. The minute I heard her heartbeat I felt like I could breathe again. I have a bruise on my placenta which caused the bleeding and now have placenta previa, which means my placenta is covering the opening to my cervix. If it doesn't move I have to have a C-section, and if that's the worst of it...I'll take it. Last week I was sent to another specialist to monitor my thyroid along with the ways it is affecting the baby. Unfortunately, due to the problems I've been having our little babe is a little behind in the growth area and I have almost no amniotic fluid. After checking things out they sent me to the hospital to do some tests because they thought my water may have broke, thankfully it did not.
I debated talking about these things publicly, but I think that it helps me to write it out. I'm a very anxious person by nature, so throw in hormones, scares, specialists and a high-risk pregnancy and it's been difficult. Somehow, I've been as calm as I can through it all. Our support system helps immensely and I don't know what I would do without everyone's prayers, thoughts and kindness. Again, I have to thank my amazing husband for everything, his patience, his reassurance and his positivity...yes, it's what any partner would do- but it's exactly what I need and makes me extra thankful for a wonderful Daddy for this family.
I hope that if I can spread any awareness with anyone dealing with ANYTHING...not just baby related, it's to take it day by day. That's what I'm doing because it's basically the only thing I can do.
Every kick in my belly, every movement, every sonogram keeps me going and reminds me to stay calm. Worrying is not healthy, keeping the faith is what is best for all of us right now.
So, thank you to each and every one of you who has sent us prayers and positive vibes, we hear them and baby can feel them...day by day we will get there.

Most Excited For: Overall, just her to be here. She can take her sweet time growing, but I can't wait to hold her. I am looking forward to the baby shower, we set a date and booked a venue and are working on all the fun stuff that comes with celebrations, so that will be fun!

Every moment of sickness, swelling feet, tears, worries and more is so worth it. I know that not everyone gets to experience this journey and it's really a huge miracle that I can't properly explain...it's a blessing.

If you've made it to the end of this, high five! and thank you for reading about the latest with our little babe. We are so excited for what's to come.

Have a great start to your week!

August 2, 2017

5 Easy Ways to Have the Best Weekend

We've been having some of the BEST weekends lately....that I never want to forget. I'm learning ways to enjoy them more and celebrate with ways that aren't too hard on the bank account.

Here's how...
1. Laundry throughout the week-
I hate being a slave to the washer and dryer on the weekend so I try to start on Thursday after work with one or two loads, maybe another Friday night and finish it up on Sunday after the fun is done. Throwing in a load here and there sure helps to not be doing everything on the precious weekend. It helps that our teenager does his own, even if we do have to remind him a handful of times.

2. Grocery shop (or some other chore) on a random weeknight instead of the weekend-
I'm no fan of grocery shopping, in fact...I hate it. Chuck is much better at it and doesn't seem to mind it (at least he doesn't complain about it to me). So when I do grocery shop it's either on a Monday or Tuesday after work. Life has been much easier with the ability to do it online, a lifesaver that only costs $5 to do it all on the computer and schedule a pick-up. Thank you Giant Eagle!
If you enjoy grocery shopping, high five to you...instead pick a different chore to do on a random weeknight.

3. Enjoy one meal out-, whether it's breakfast lunch or dinner...or even dessert-
Sometimes the weekends are so busy that we can't help but have a meal outside the home. Sometimes it's a late Saturday brunch or a Sunday lunch and sometimes I'm just craving dessert. Try somewhere new, venture outside of chain restaurants, spend time outside while you eat...all so fun.

4. Take a drive-
I LOVE to go for rides...and sometimes we do just that. A ride to nowhere, or to watch the sunset. It's a great way to escape and it's free (except for gas of course). Blast some music, take some snacks and just drive and enjoy the company of your friend or the moments alone.

5. Write down 1 or 2 things you really want to do-
What are your plans for the weekend? If you don't have any, sometimes it can fly by way too quick and you're left thinking...what did I even do?! Take time mid-week to find something new to do, or something you really have been wanting to do again. Write it down and make that your priority for the weekend. YOU DESERVE IT!

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the weekend? Share with me, I'd love to add to my list!

August 1, 2017

July Favorites

Please tell me how it is August?! I can't believe we are more than halfway through the year. Even more of a reminder to enjoy every second. It's time to talk about my favorites from July!

Favorite Recipe: My link-up pal Macy shared some delicious sounding recipes for DIY Cold Brew Coffee...and I can't wait until post baby bump to try these. That coconut one has me drooooling!

Favorite "Let's Be Real" Advice: Veronika talks about online hate that you receive as a blogger or as a popular influencer. When I first found a hate forum by googling someone's blog name I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It's awful and while you definitely shouldn't believe it she explains why you shouldn't ignore it either.

Favorite Moment: July was a pretty fun month, from celebrating the Fourth to seeing our friends from Florida, and enjoying my birthday and time with family in between...so many great memories. But, our gender reveal takes the (cup)cake. Whether Baby Lawrence was destined to be a boy or a girl, we sure are blessed either way. It was so special to have our family and some close friends there to enjoy the big moment with us!
Favorite Blogger Post: I just love Dana from Pink Champagne Problems...she's adorable and let's us know the real story. Even though she's a fashion blogger, which I am not...I always relate to her posts and appreciate her advice. This month her post about dealing with social pressure on having the perfect life was dead on, especially when you share your life on the Internet.

Favorite Purchase: Hmmm...soooo many good things, especially with the #NSale (see what I bought) but, this sweet little bunny with our baby girl's heartbeat playing inside was the best purchase ever. I can't get over how amazing it is to hear that sound whenever we want. Definitely a great idea for a gift to anyone you know who is expecting!

Favorite Beauty Post: I may have to go out and purchase everything in Lindsay's Nightly Skincare Routine post because her skin is so gorgeous. I love how she uses a combination of products and switches it up, because I think our skin and bodies can get too used to one thing. I will be playing around with some of these products and can't wait to see the results!

Favorite Travel Post: Alyssa has been in Boston for 13 years, so she knows a thing or two about the best spots for different activities. Her post about the best rooftop bars in Boston has definitely been added to my Pinterest Travel board!

Favorite Awesome Product Post: I'm having so much fun following Sarah's wedding planning journey...half because I really enjoy her and the other half because I wish I was doing it all over again. If you know ANYONE planning a wedding, you need to tell them about her favorite wedding planning tool that comes in a box...it's seriously amazing. She also divulges some of her cool, creative ideas for her big day...so cute!

Friends, it's so good to be back in a regular blogging routine. I hope you'll link up with Macy and I to share your monthly goals, recaps, or favorite moments...we would love to have you join!

Have a great Tuesday, and come back tomorrow for another new post with some good advice for slowing down time ;)