I’m still participating in the March Photo a Day Challenge,but because my Instagram photos feed into the blog widget about 1/3 of the way down the page for your viewing convenience, I’ve decided to post a weekly recap of photos instead of trying to post them here every day. So here are days 9-20 for this year’s challenge
Friends, I’m making some changes. Nothing major, just a few things that will help me the person I actually want to be.
I care about a lot of things in life, and it’s very important to me that I do my part to leave the world a better place for my son and the rest of humanity. I worry about climate change, the environment, animals, food waste, etc., as well as my other social justice causes.
I’ve been very bad about food waste for a long time, and I’m ashamed of it. I really dislike eating leftovers so they sit in the fridge unless Nick gets hungry on the weekends. Cooking is fun but the clean up is so time consuming that I’d rather just dine out. Then I buy lots of vegetables because I know the importance of eating healthy but they sit in the drawer in the fridge until they grow seven kinds of mold. Out of sight, out of mind. And who wouldn’t want to grab some chips or cookies instead of an apple or carrots? Being healthy is hard. Additionally — and this is what I’m most ashamed of — I was so excited to start our little garden and reap the harvest of our hard work AND THEN we barely even ate the produce. Cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes sat rotting on the counter. HOW AWFUL IS THAT?!
My birthday is New Year’s Eve and this year I turned 32. As a kid, it was awesome because I got to have a party or celebrate however I wanted and then stay up until the ball dropped, drinking sparkling grape juice. As an adult, it isn’t quite as glamorous simply because I now have to compete with the holiday. Kids always come to your birthday party because there are no bars or clubs or better things to do. Your party IS the thing to do. As an adult, you have to make your party pretty enticing to convince your adult friends to stop by before heading to the other festivities. I’ve been throwing a birthday/NYE party for myself for several years now and these are the reasons why I always try to have an amazing spread, fun decorations, a fun activity, and plenty of booze at my parties. With the baby expected to arrive in the spring, this was my last party for a while. But we made it pretty awesome!
Our menu consisted of black bean sliders with chipotle aioli, charcuterie tray, sausage balls, mini corn cakes with smoked salmon and dill, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, a dessert tray from our local Fresh Market, and some bomb-diggity short rib queso dip that I didn’t get a picture of because it was in a slow cooker on the counter.
We accompanied our charcuterie tray with cornichons, honey-roasted mixed nuts, and green olives.
In addition to all of this food, our friends also brought side dishes and drinks so we were definitely set on delicious noms all night!
I’ve been using the same decorations for years. I got them pretty cheap at Party City and box them up after the party and keep them safe until the next time. I think they work pretty well but Nick hates them because they do look so cheap. Oh, well. They’ll have to do until I can afford some fancy schmancy decorations, which will probably be never so plastic decorations it is!
The Fun Activity
This is another activity I do every year: setting up a resolution station. This year I simply taped some black craft paper on the wall and outlined it in strips of leftover glittery wrapping paper. I set out gold sharpies for my guests to write down their New Year’s Resolutions if they felt up to it. I have several resolutions this year that I’ll be sharing with you all tomorrow.
I’m really grateful to all of my friends that were able to make it this year. Like I mentioned above, it’s the last soirée we’ll be having since our little man is coming, so it was nice to feel like I went out with a bang!
While I don’t want this space to start centering around my pregnancy and the coming baby, it is an integral part of my life — of our NCsquared Life, if you will — so I can’t ignore it. One aspect that I’m really excited about is the Centering Pregnancy classes that Nick and I decided to join. Centering Pregnancy is prenatal care that happens in a small group of expectant mothers and their partners/companions and follows the recommended schedule of prenatal visits, but each visit is about 90 minutes hours long, giving women 10 times more time with their provider. Women are empowered in their prenatal care by taking their own weight and blood pressure and recording their own health data with private time with their provider for belly check. Then everyone in the group (there are 2-3 other couples in mine) circle up where a healthcare provider leads discussions and interactive activities that address important and timely health topics. I think one of the coolest aspects about this form of care is that it brings 8-10 women who are all due at the same time together for care. I’ve only been to one class so far but I really like it. My particular class (there are several classes that meet at different times) is very diverse with lots of different ages, ethnicities, races, etc. and I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone and creating a bond with these other expecting mothers.
In our class, we talked a lot about nutrition and what we should and shouldn’t eat. Here are the lifesavers that my provider approved:
- Lunch meat. Because food standards are so high in the U.S., there’s almost nothing to worry about when eating turkey, ham, bologna, etc. In fact, she said we’re more likely to get sick from spoiled mayo from leaving the sandwich out too long, if, for example, you make a sandwich in the morning for your lunch later that day and you don’t properly refrigerate it.
- Sushi and smoked salmon. Same as above! She also said that if you ate a lot of sushi pre-pregnancy then your body is already used to that bacteria so you’re going to be fine. She did advise to use your nose: because of pregnant ladies’ super-heightened sense of smell, we’d be able to smell if something wasn’t right. If it smells off, don’t eat it. And that goes for everything! But look, this girl loves her sushi.
- Soft cheeses, from the grocery store. Again, same as above regarding the high food standards in the U.S. Just make sure the cheese was made with pasteurized milk and you’re good to go.
- Soft or runny eggs. My favorite part of the egg has long been the runny, gooey yolk. Dipping toast in yolk to me is like breakfast heaven. So I was really excited to hear my doctor say it’s perfectly fine to eat runny eggs.
- Coffee/caffeine. Most recommendations say you can have up to 200 mg per day, which is about one cup. My doc said we could have more than that and we’d be fine, but these days my heart will let me know if I’ve had too much because it will start beating so fast or feel fluttery. One cup is enough for me right now, for sure.
- Alcohol.* Controversial, I know, but hear me out. My doctor said that having the occasional glass of wine (the key word here being occasional, obviously) will not give your baby Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Examples she gave as ‘occasional’ was having one glass of wine with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or having one glass of champagne on New Year’s. I think this is reasonable. After all, you hear of European women drinking wine all the time during their pregnancies and their kids turn out fine.
*Listen, I’m not a healthcare provider so I’m not claiming that I know best and I’m definitely NOT trying to give you medical advice so please don’t try to sue me. I’m simply sharing the information that my provider gave to me. Obviously, every person has to make their own decisions and if they choose to avoid every single one of these things, then more power to them. I applaud their decisions. My decision, however, was to drive straight to Bruegger’s Bagels after this appointment and scarf down a smoked salmon bagel. And so far, I’ve been just fine!
I can’t wait for class next month when we discuss body changes and the common discomforts of pregnancy, and how to take care of yourself. I’ll be sure to share any interesting information we receive!
Until next time,
It’s time for another round of Friday Four, a fun survey I’m doing so that my readers can get to know me a little better. This week I’m talking about four of my favorite foods. This one will be a little more difficult than my last four, simply because I LOVE food so paring it down to just four won’t be easy.
1. Sushi. Hands down, this is my favorite food on the face of the planet. I’ll eat any type of sushi, sashimi, nigiri, etc. It’s one of those foods that makes me feel better if I’ve had a bad day or if I’m feeling a little down. It’s also great for a celebration dinner. It’s even where I requested we eat for my bachelorette party! Nick gets annoyed that I love sushi so much because I always want to eat it when we go out, but it’s just one of those things he loves about me. We have some amazing sushi spots here in Durham.
2. Cheese. If I were superwoman, cheese would probably be my kryptonite. I don’t know what it is about cheese, but I love it so much. I put it on everything that requires cheese. Frozen pizza from the supermaket? Add a little extra cheese before popping it in the oven. Lasagna? Extra layer of cheese, please! Tacos? Cheese. Burgers? Cheese. Sandwiches? You better believe there will be cheese.
3. Pizza. Oh how I wish pizza were more healthy for us all. It’s delicious – especially when covered in cheese! – and I would eat it every other day (you know, the days I’m not eathing sushi) if there were more health benefits to it. I’m a simply gal and really love a simple pepperoni pizza, or pepperoni and mushroom, but I’ll eat just about any kind of pizza. Again, we have some amazing pizza places here in Durham so going out for pizza is easy and fun and delicious.
4. Berries. I feel I have to include something healthy and I love berries, which are healthy so there you go. I love all kinds but my top three are blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I also love cherries, but they’re not really a berry, are they?
Honorable mentions: coffee, most fruits and vegetables, ice cream, potatoes, vanilla, tacos (or any kind of Mexican food), tapas, and wine.
Hi, I’m Nikki. This is where I blog about my life and style. I’m a wife, a new mother, sushi lover, coffee drinker, and a social justice warrior. Welcome to my little corner of the world where I try to lead by example!