7 Things to Do Before Your Baby is Born

I’m the type of person who gets through life with lists – daily to-do lists, grocery lists, lists of podcasts to listen to, books to read, future vacation spots, and even restaurants I want to try. The *list* goes on!

So it’s not surprising that I had a long list of items to buy, things to do, and appointments to make before my baby was born. I want to share a few things that I did that kept sane, and a few I wish I had done before the big day.

PACK YOUR BAGS
You never know when your baby is going to arrive so it’s best to do this weeks ahead of time, just in case. I packed a bag for me, a bag for baby, and even a small bag for my husband, and had them all sitting in the closet by our front door for a month ahead of time.

Must haves: toiletries, slippers, socks (for both you and baby), a notebook and pen, a folder (so much paperwork!), hair ties, nursing pads and bras, Lanolin, a nursing pillow, burp rags, an outfit to go home in (for both you and baby), and your birth plan.

INSTALL CAR SEAT
This seems like a no brainer, but believe it or not, some people forget to do this crucial step. You don’t want to be rushing to get the car seat installed when your water breaks. This, like packing your bags, should be done a few weeks ahead of time just to be safe.

If you have any questions or need assistance, most fire and police departments have trained specialists to assist you in free car seat installation and inspection. Check your local government website for more details.

SIGN UP FOR HUGGIES REWARDS & STOCK UP ON DIAPERS
You may be surprised by how many diapers your baby will go through (about 10-12/day), so stocking up now is essential! I decided to buy strictly Huggies when I found out about their rewards program and it has saved me so much money!

You earn points for every Huggies purchase which you then can redeem for more diapers, gift cards (my favorite!), toys, or even donate diapers to people in need. They even send you exclusive coupons and offers. You’re already buying diapers, might as well get something in return for it! Sign up here!

Sponsored: Get Rewards Points & Save on Essentials with Huggie’s Rewards!


GET 2 WATERPROOF CRIB MATTRESS PADS
Yes, I said two. Why you ask? To keep me sane in the middle of the night. I layer the first waterproof mattress pad, then a fitted sheet, then another mattress pad, and finally another fitted sheet. So when my little one has an accident or throws up in the middle of the night, I simply take off the first layer, and the second protective layer is already in place. No stressing about washing sheets and remaking the bed in the middle of the night! It’s worth the little bit of extra money!

CLEAN THE HOUSE
You won’t have much free time to clean house when your baby arrives. So get the house cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, and if you can, even get your carpets cleaned. I rented a rug doctor 2 weeks before my due date, and not only did it look great and make my house smell so fresh, It also made me feel better about letting my little one roll around on the floor.carpet and weird stains from the previous tenants made me really want to get our carpets cleaned.

PAINT YOUR NAILS
This may seem silly, but a little extra “glam” goes a long way after having a baby. Take some time, relax, and pamper yourself. Not only will it make you feel a bit more put together in the days and weeks following your baby’s arrival, but it will look nice in pictures. And believe me, there are going to be more than a few photo ops.

COOK & FREEZE
If you haven’t gotten the message yet, let me tell you, your hands will be full most of the day once your baby arrives. Cooking healthy and delicious meals will unfortunately not be at the top of your priority list so it’s best to cook and freeze as many meals as you can now. My husband and I planned out our favorite meals and spent a whole day cooking together, portioning out, labeling and freezing them. It was a fun day-date!

But most importantly, get excited, try to relax and go with the flow!

6 Signs Your Significant Other May Be Unfaithful

Questioning your current relationship status? Here are six background signs of a potential issue.

They refuse to delete their dating site profile

If you met your significant other on a dating website like Match.com or eHarmony, you’re not alone — 20% of current relationships began online! But, if you’re in a committed relationship and they refuse to delete their dating profile, or, you find an account that they didn’t tell you about, it may be time to tell your partner to hit the bricks.

You notice calls and texts from random numbers on their phone.

Cell phones are never too far from most people’s hands these days — 37% of people even feel compelled to check their cell phones every 30 minutes or less. But, if your partner is receiving texts or phone calls day and night from numbers that you don’t know, a Reverse Phone Lookup may be the perfect tool to help you out. A Phone Lookup uses Public Records to tell you exactly who owns the number in question, and, whether or not it’s time to contact a divorce lawyer.

You catch them lying about their background.

You may feel like you know everything there is to know about your partner, but, you might also be wrong. If your partner’s recent behavior is making you suspicious, a Background Check is a simple way to learn about what they may be hiding. While a Background Check won’t tell you if your partner is seeing someone on the side, it can let you know about other secrets they may be keeping from you- like a hidden Criminal Record or property that they never told you about.

They have an app designed to hide information on their phone.

These days, it seems like there’s an app for everything, and cheating is no exception. Three of the major offenders currently available are CATE, TigerText, and Vaulty Stocks.

CATE (which stands for Call And Text Eraser) is an app created in 2011 by former police officer Philip Immler after seeing a friend go through a divorce because his wife found incriminating messages on his phone. It’s designed to intercept texts and phone calls and store them within the app instead of appearing directly on your phone. The app owner then uses a passcode that is typed directly into the phone to unlock whatever Phone Records they’ve decided to hide, which also gives them the option of not using an icon to access the app.

TigerText is an app that helps cheaters by storing their iPhone messages on external servers instead of on the phone itself. The user can then set a time limit, and once the timer is done the messages are deleted. TigerText’s founder, Jeffrey Evans, claims that he created the app as a way to ensure privacy and not to assist cheating partners. But, like many forms of new technology, TigerText is frequently used, unfortunately, as a tool for cheating in a relationship.

Vaulty Stocks is designed to keep naughty pictures and videos hidden on your phone. If someone attempts to use the app but has an incorrect passcode, they’ll find what looks like a perfectly normal app for checking stocks instead of proof of cheating.

They have an account on a website like AshleyMadison.com.

Okay, so this one isn’t so much a sign that your other half may be unfaithful as it is a sign that they are being unfaithful. AshleyMadison.com, which launched in 2001, is a type of online dating website that differs in one way from major dating sites – instead of their target demographic being single people seeking a relationship, they choose to encourage people who are already in a relationship to use their service to find a lover. In fact, their motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.”- far from the type of online service, a faithful partner would use!

They make sudden changes in their schedule or appearance.

If your partner is suddenly working overtime every night of the week, working out (especially when they hate exercise more than anything) and/or trading their regular clothing style for something fancier, there may be a reason to be concerned. If your partner seems to be changing their look without reason, it’s probably time to keep a closer eye on their activities.

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Why You Should Ditch Spotify & Apple Music for TIDAL

I’ve been a long time supporter of Spotify for years. They’ve given me practically everything I’ve needed with the paid version – a good user interface, no commercials, over 35 million songs, great recommendations based on their special algorithm, and quality of 320Kbps AAC. I was happy, I didn’t think I needed anything else.

But being the music snob that I am, I like to test out new products and platforms that make their way into the space. When Apple Music was announced, I was optimistic. I’m an Apple gal through and through – laptop, desktop, iPhone, iWatch – you name it, I love it. I’m sure to love this too, right? Well, let’s just say I was happy I hadn’t canceled my Spotify Premium subscription. The interface was terrible – practically unusable. And to top it off, the sound quality, 256Kbps AAC, just wasn’t up to par when listening on my home sound system. Sure, Apple Music may have a 45 million song library (roughly 10 million more than Spotify), but that doesn’t make up for the shortcomings. I immediately canceled my Apple Music free trial.

I remember first hearing about TIDAL in 2015, but the talk around it wasn’t positive and I was content with Spotify so I just let it be. But over the past year, more and more talk about the sound quality had me interested. I found a link for 30 free days of TIDAL and signed up to test it out.

Sponsored: Experience Tidal now by clicking on the banner below.

 

The first thing I noticed was the interface. It’s quick, clean, easy to use, with Spotify-like algorithmic recommendations. Check, check and check. Now onto the good stuff: sound quality.

Let’s just say – it definitely checks out. When listening on my Bose SoundTouch 30 sound system, the songs were clearer, crisper, and more defined. While TIDAL also streams at 320Kbps AAC like Spotify, the TIDAL HiFi subscription uses FLAC files which offer supreme CD-quality audio. Spotify and Apple Music both stream using MP3/AAC files, which are compressed to decrease file size and result in a much lower sound quality.

TIDAL also recently released a new music format: Master Quality Authenticated. This format sends music directly to your speakers or headphones as it was recorded in the studio – basically the way it was intended. Not every album has this format available, but they are releasing more and more each week, and the sound is absolutely superior to anything i’ve listened to before.

On top of all of that, TIDAL has more than 60 million music tracks (70% more than Spotify), 75,000 music videos, beauty tutorials, exclusive tracks, and exclusive early access to concerts and special events. It was a no brainer for me – I cancelled Spotify and haven’t looked back.

I urge you to experience 30 free days of TIDAL for yourself. You can cancel anytime before your trial period ends and you won’t be charged a dime. Or you keep listening for $9.99/month. It’s that easy. Trust me, you won’t look back!

5 Ways to Know Your Marriage Is Over

When you’re struggling in your marriage, one question you may have is how do you know when it’s really over. Many couples will argue for years before they decide to call it quits. However, there are some couples who will get upset with one another for a couple of months and decide to go their separate ways. In either case, the decision to end a marriage isn’t an easy one. The following are some of the ways you can know if your marriage is over or not.

Abuse

If there is domestic violence in your marriage (physical, mental, emotional or sexual) and the perpetrator doesn’t want to get help, it’s best to leave the marriage. While domestic violence can go on for years or even a lifetime without leading to death, not everyone is that lucky. Unfortunately, people don’t know how far it will go.

Affairs

Affairs are another reason people get divorced. Some people stay together after infidelity, but that’s after each person has agreed to work on the marriage. If one person is unwilling to work through what has happened, it usually won’t work and the marriage will end.

Unwillingness to Improve the Marriage

When one person is unhappy in the marriage and the other person doesn’t want to do anything to improve it, the person who is unhappy will have to make the hard decision to end  it. Some people stay in marriages forever being unhappy, while others decide they don’t want to live that way. This is the question you will have to ask yourself if you’re in this situation.

Abandonment

When one person has abandoned the marriage, it’s time to make a decision of how to proceed. Abandonment is a legal issue that will need to be handled by a competent family lawyer. According to Tamia Y. Tymus, a family law attorney at Frasier & Griffin PLLC in Raleigh and Durham, NC, you can use marital abandonment in court to prove fault in the divorce. This can help with getting spousal support, custody and even child support.

You can learn more about this in this video:

 

Counseling Is Just Not Working

Before getting a divorce, it’s a good idea to seek marital counseling. If the counseling doesn’t help resolve the problems in the marriage, then it might be better to separate and divorce.

Take your time as you decide whether you should get a divorce or not.  It’s not an easy decision, and it shouldn’t be decided on in haste. Stick it out until you know for sure that is your only choice.

 

I Tried Nurx, the Subscription Birth Control – Here’s what Happened

Okay ladies – listen up. We all know how frustrating and time consuming getting our birth control is. You have to make an appointment, which alone can sometimes take weeks to get in, then you have to take time off of work or school to actually go see the doctor, then take the prescription to the pharmacy, wait for the prescription to be ready, and then go pick it up. And on top of all that, if you work for a company whose insurance doesn’t cover birth control, AHEM – Hobby Lobby, it can be even more frustrating. 

It’s 2019 – there’s gotta be other options, right?

Yep! There’s a new player in the market – Nurx. Currently being labeled the Uber of birth control, Nurx is the new subscription service you actually need. Okay we also need our groceries delivered, but that’s a given.

I’m a single woman in my late 20s and figured I needed to do my due diligence, try the service myself, and pass along the info because it’s time we innovated this process. 

Sponsored: Try Nurx now by clicking on the banner below.

 

Nurx (pronounced Nu-ar-ex) is a start up, dedicated to alleviating the lengthy (and expensive) process of getting birth control, allowing easier access for all – whether you have insurance or not. All you have to do is create an account and fill out your basic health information (like your height and weight). You also need to know your blood pressure. My local grocery store has a free blood pressure machine so I stopped in there on my way home from work. If your grocery store doesn’t have one, check CVS or Walgreens!

Once your basic information is filled out, you’ll be matched to a doctor who will choose the best birth control pill for you based on your health information and preferences. If you have insurance it’s completely FREE! If you don’t have insurance, it’s only $15/month – way cheaper than the $75 I was previously paying.

It took a few days to process, but once I received the shipping notification, it the next day. That’s right ladies, the NEXT DAY! I don’t think it can get any easier than that. I am so happy that I never have to go to the doctor or pharmacy for birth control again! It gets delivered to my house, as I need it. I can’t say enough good things about this company.

If you want to try it out – sign up here!

Learn a Second Language with Rosetta Stone

With so many benefits of learning a second language, there is no reason not to do it.

  • Boost Brain Power
  • Improve Memory
  • Enhance Ability to Multi-Task
  • Sharpen the Mind
  • Reduce and Delay Dementia
  • Enhance Decision Making

Sponsored: Accent Your Life by clicking on the Rosetta Stone banner below.

 

In the busy world we live in though, it can be difficult to find the time to learn a second language. Most people don’t have the time to take a class at a local college. They don’t want to sign up for an online class because they can get overwhelming as well.

What people need to learn a second language is the ability to bring the lessons with them where they go. They need the audio to listen to as they are in the car, taking a walk or even cooking dinner. Being able to bring their lessons wherever they go makes it possible for them to learn while continuing to live.

Of course, just being able to listen to words isn’t enough. It’s important to read and write the language. This can be a bit more difficult, unless you have someone to help you. That’s when a tutor can be highly useful. With regularly scheduled times to meet with a tutor, you can easier fit them into your busy life. Those times can be when you do something for you and your future. You will be so happy you did it too.

Learning a Second Language Easily

How do you get all of this though? No, you don’t have to purchase audio files, books, and more to get started. You don’t have to search for a tutor. Instead, you can simply sign up for the world’s best language program – Rosetta.

Rosetta provides you everything you need to learn a second language. 

They have a proven method from 20+ years of extensive research. Their program has been crafted by expert linguists. This improves performance and delivers quick results.

With TruAccent technology, you can learn a second language by mimicking the speed and tone of the words as you speak aloud. It’s amazingly easy to do.

Tutors are included and they are native to the country where the second language is spoken. This helps you build conversation skills and guide you through important lessons. There’s even video for face-to-face interaction. which can greatly help build confidence.

A new, but amazing addition to the Rosetta program is Stories. This intuitive and fun technology allows you to read and record stories to receive feedback on pronunciation.

Rosetta Stone has been recommended by the best media outlets, such as Macworld, TechCrunch, and CNN.

If you’re not convinced it’s for you – watch and learn about Peter’s Story here.

Get Started TODAY

You can get started today with the language of your choice, just click here. If you have any questions, feel free to click on the chat icon on the lower right hand side of the screen.

A FREE DEMO is available for you. Choose from Spanish, English, French, Italian, or German.

We hope you’ll open your mind and world by learning a second language. The benefits are incredible and your life will be greatly improved.

Crocheting for Stress Relief

Crocheting does the body AND mind good!

Crocheting helps people relax. It keeps their mind active, so they can process some of the mental stress they deal with each day. Just a few minutes of crocheting can lower anxiety levels significantly, which has many health benefits, such as:

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Better sleep
  • Lowers irritability and restlessness
  • Staves off dementia

 

When starting to crochet, most people find that they simply want to make blankets. It’s the easiest project since all you have to do is crochet back and forth.

There are only so many blankets you can make, though.

For those who are ready to take it to the next level, can find many crochet patterns online. Many of these crochet patterns are free, like the ones at AllFreeCrochet.

This website has a wide variety of crocheting patterns for you to use to create different items. Shalls, sweaters, scarves, and more can be found on this website. You don’t have to pay for the patterns, and they can be accessed at any time that you need them.

What else does AllFreeaCrochet provide?

FREE eBooks

Yes, you can download eBooks on crocheting. This means you don’t have to be online when you are crocheting. You can use these eBooks to improve your crocheting skills by learning different types of designs. You can also follow patterns in this eBook on your phone or computer while you are away from home and Wi-Fi.

Giveaways

Not only do you get free crochet patterns, but you can also enter in giveaways. Many of the users of AllFreeCrochet win these crochet-related prizes, so you should give it a try.

Collections

You will find many different types of patterns. When you find a collection of patterns you like, you can continue to go to them simply by clicking on Collections. This will show you the different categories of patterns, and you quickly and easily, you can get the patterns you need.

Tutorials

Can’t figure something out? No problem! Try out the Tutorials section of the website. This will take you step-by-step through the process of your first project.

Videos

Do you learn best by watching someone doing it? Check out the videos that are available. You can watch the videos, rewind them, fast forward them, and pause them. This can make learning new ways to crochet much easier and make your projects a success.

Show Off

AllFreeCrochet is a community of people who love to crochet. You can submit your project so others can see the beauty you have created for yourself or someone else.

If you end up at the level of creating your own patterns, you can show off those as well. It’s a great way to help those who need it, just like you did.

Check Out AllFreeCrochet

AllFreeCrochet is available right now. Go ahead and browse the patterns to choose one that you would love to do. Look around to see what else you would like to participate in as well. It’s a community of people who love to do what you do – crochet.

5 Decorating Tips for Anyone on a Budget

Well designed homes shouldn’t only be sanctuaries for the wealthy. If you’re pinching pennies and on a budget, you too can have a home you love.

Sponsored: Save up to 70% on furniture and decor at Wayfair.com. Sign up and receive a promo code for 10% off. Click the banner below!

As an interior designer, I’ve had years of experience creating beautiful homes for people of all income levels. Read on for the best budget-friendly decorating tips so you too can create a home you’ll love and want to share with others!

Clean and get organized


First and foremost organize and clean your space. Many people skip over this step, not realizing the extent that clean shelves and shiny floors can do for the quality of home. Begin in one room, making piles of things you want to give away and things you want to throw out, and then move onto the next room. The more you get rid of, the more mental clarity you will feel. Then, it’s time to pull out your cleaning supplies, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Get rid of the dust bunnies and shine your floors because the fun part (decorating) is coming up next!

Paint an accent wall


Paint is a cheap, quick and easy DIY project that can drastically change the entire look of your home. And you don’t need to paint the entire room, a simple accent wall can have the same impact. Depending on the size of your accent wall, one quart or liter should be enough. One quart of paint covers up to 100 sq ft and a 2.5 liter can covers up to 260 sq ft. I suggest choosing a paint that already has a built in primer, so all you need is one coat. Best part: this can be done in a few hours!

Do it yourself


Don’t be afraid to use your own hands and creativity to create your own decor rather than buying them. Is there a that you really want but don’t want to pay $400? Pull out some paper, acrylic paint and use that painting as inspiration for your own rendition. Don’t want to spend $350 on that entryway bench? Get a cheap wood shelf, buy legs on Wayfair or Etsy, screw them in with a drill, and voila! Jump in and see what you can create. You’ll be surprised at your own talents!

Re-purpose what you already have


Make the most of what you already have and “shop” your own home! You don’t necessarily need to buy anything new to decorate a space. Try moving that accent chair or piece of art to a different room. Do you really need new kitchen cabinets, or can you paint them and add on new hardware? Are there beautiful hardwood floors under that old carpet? You’ll be amazed at the gems you already have!

Shop discount stores

I’ll find inspiration for most of my designs on blogs, Instagram, and magazines to get an idea of the type of pieces that i’m looking for and then browse discount stores or flea markets to find those pieces for much cheaper. My favorite is Wayfair because they have so many different items, ranging from furniture and decor, to kitchen utensils and outdoor, all in different design styles at up to 70% retail price. I found an entryway bench on Wayfair that looks almost identical to one that I found at West Elm, for $400 less. Anyone walking through my home would never know! Check it out and see what you can find!

Decorating on a budget isn’t impossible! Use these tips to get started and don’t be afraid to try something new. Put on your interior design cap and see what you come up with!

The Best Ways To Make Friends After 60

Connections and close relationships are vital to our health – physically, mentally and emotionally, as well as to our self esteem, energy and longevity of life. After 60, you may find that you have resistance to new connections and relationships and you may be asking yourself – where do I even meet new people? This was my thought at age 61, and I can assure you it is a common thought pattern among your peers. But rest assured, there is a myriad of options for you to explore. See below for the list that I began to explore just a short 3 years ago that I think will help you.

Volunteer
Get the positive energy flowing by working with others for a good cause. Whether you decide to help out at your local animal shelter, feed the homeless every week, or something else entirely, there’s a volunteer option to fit everyone.

Join AARP & connect with your neighbors
AARP has a multitude of resources for seniors, ranging from careers to caregiving, as well as creating a community for like minded seniors. Right now they are celebrating Good Neighbor Day which is happening on Sept. 28. Sign up for their Connect2Affect and the AARP Daily Newsletter for even more ways to connect with your neighbors and community.

Click the banner below to sign up!

 

Learn something new
Do you miss challenging yourself and learning something new? Your local community college or university offers informal, continuing education classes for adults. So whether you want to take a hand at becoming a sommelier, learn a new language, or take a creative writing course, it’s never too late. Some classes are even free!

Check  out your local senior center
Senior centers have expanded past your typical bingo night, into a variety of activities, day trips and retreats. Stop in, talk to someone, and begin creating a local community.

Become a mentor
Talk to your friends and family about any opportunities to get engaged with the younger generations. Connect with them and find out how they are shaping the world today and how your wisdom, knowledge and experience can assist in moving this world forward.

Get a part-time job
If you’re retired, get a part-time job for a few hours per week. It will get you out of the house, doing something other than sitting in front of the tv, and making a little extra cash on the side

Above all else, it’s important to know that there are other people your age who are also looking for new friends and connections. It’s not something that everyone wants to admit they want or need, so get out there, try something new and start the conversation!  

*Disclaimer: This article was written to promote AARP.

5 Simple Ways to Create a Luxurious Spa Day At Home

There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than pampering yourself with hours at your favorite spa. I’m talking a full day of sipping tea, relaxing in the sauna and hot tub, getting a facial, and maybe even a massage. But realistically, this won’t always fit into our schedule or budget. Thankfully, we can recreate a spa like experience at home in just a few simple steps. Read on to find out how!

  1. Create your sanctuary. The ambiance of a spa feels so special because all five of your senses are engaged. You want to make sure to incorporate elements that are pleasing to you – to your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Set the lighting, perhaps a low-light lamp, light a few scented candles, choose your favorite instrumental music, make yourself a cup of cucumber water or herbal tea, and drop in to the space.
  2. Gather the best products. You want to ensure you have products that you love, that are good for your skin, and that feel luxurious. I’m currently obsessing over Copper+Crane’s entire product line! The Shimmering Bath Oil Soak is my favorite, and a perfect way to create a nourishing milk bath at home. Your skin will feel rejuvenated, moisturized, and the softest it’s ever been after just one bath. I’ve also been using the Radiance Mask once every couple of days and my skin has gotten clearer, brighter and overall, healthier. Check them out for yourself. 

    Click the banner below and sign up for their newsletter to get 20% off your first purchase!

  3. Make a bundle of hot towels. When giving yourself a facial, you don’t want to be running back and forth to the sink to wash your face every step. Load up on the softest cotton towels, soak them in hot water with a few drops of lavender and eucalyptus essential oil, and wring them out until just slightly damp. Use these towels to gently wipe the products off your face, breathing in the aroma of the essential oils for an additional calming effect.
  4. Dry Brush. Dry brushing is a simple way to exfoliate, improve circulation and make skin smoother. Before stepping into the bath or shower, grab a body brush and begin brushing your body in short, circular strokes, starting at your feet and moving upward. Follow up with a hydrating lotion post-bath or shower and repeat a few times per week for best results.
  5. Relax. While steps for a facial, mani or pedi are important, make sure you Include time in your spa day for complete relaxation. Slice cucumbers or refrigerate soaked chamomile tea bags and place over your eyes for 10-15 minutes, and zone out.

And remember, a spa day doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars and hours at a time. You can create your own sanctuary at home, for a fraction of the price! Take time for yourself, you deserve it!

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