The Ultimate Board Game Gift Guide

When we moved to Baltimore we didn’t know a single person there. It took a few months but we slowly befriended a couple, Kris and Taren, at the dog park. We would chat weekly at our weekend dog park outings and discovered we had quite a bit in common. Eventually we exchanged numbers and agreed to get together outside of the park.

It was around that time I had also started up an adult gymnastics class where I met a couple of girls I wanted to befriend. We eventually started going out for drinks after class and lo and behold also had quite a bit in common. It was one particular night where I took a chance and decided to tell my new friend Lauren about a nerdy computer game she might like. Turns out she already played it! I decided that not only should we be great friends, but I also decided Lauren and her husband would get along with our dog park friends too.

One fateful night I invited both couples over for sangria & beer, a fire, and a rousing round of Cards Against Humanity. It was that night where we were all a little drunk, laughing hysterically at the dining room table where Game Night was born. From that point on, we met every Friday at 6pm. We took turns supplying dinner & drinks for everyone and we played countless games. Luckily, Lauren’s husband John was a gaming pro and they had a plethora of board games just waiting to be played.

This tradition lasted a little over 3 years before Lauren and John moved, and then we moved. We’re having a Game Night reunion this December and in honor of our game night shenanigans I’ve put together the ultimate board game gift guide. If you’re unsure of what to get your friends, or even your husband/wife then look no further, I’ve got the answer. I’ve broken my guide into two categories: Board Games and Card Games.

The card games I chose are great for beginners. They are generally straight-forward to learn but still a challenge, perfect for both gaming amateurs and pros alike. These are fantastic party games and most of them can be played with lots of players. They’re usually small, so storing them won’t take up a whole dedicated cabinet…although, if you have a gaming cabinet, we should be friends.

In contrast, I picked board games that go into a bit more depth. They usually take longer to learn and overall game time is longer. These are the games that can be played over and over without losing their excitement. These games are perfect for your nerdy friend, your gaming friend, or your friend who likes a good challenge.

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Out of these card games, again such a tough choice, my favorites would be Joking hazards, Bears vs Babies, and Munchkin. Fair warning, Munchkin can take a long time and you may or may not pee your pants laughing when playing Joking Hazard.

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Out of these amazing games I would say my top favorites (which is so hard to choose just two, since all of these are awesome) would have to be Libertalia and 7 Wonders. Every time we play these games I just can’t stop gushing about how much fun they are. They’re always my top choice for playing.

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Out of these card games, again such a tough choice, my favorites would be Joking hazards, Bears vs Babies, and Munchkin. Fair warning, Munchkin can take a long time and you may or may not pee your pants laughing when playing Joking Hazard.

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2017 Fall Favorites

Now that we’re almost done with October and it finally feels like fall here in Florida, I want to share all of my favorite things I’ve been eyeing. 

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I have a major crush on that ballet wrap sweater  (it’s perfect for nursing!) and that warm wooden essential oil diffuser would definitely be an upgrade to the plastic one I currently have sitting in the middle of the living room. And those agate coasters?! I’m not even sure I’d want to put a drink on them, they are so captivating with all those smokey blues.

Then of course, there’s the mid-century modern planter, also good for keeping babies from killing your succulents… because if they are within reach, babies will pluck your little succulent petals off one by one. RIP succulents, RIP.

Lastly, there’s the wooden bowl. When visiting Rhode Island I was able to bring back a wooden bowl my Grandfather had made back when he was still wood working. There’s something incredibly inviting about serving something in a wooden bowl. I’ve been craving all those fall earthy tones, and it doesn’t get more earthy than wood.

What are some of your favorite things this fall?


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First Trimester Must Haves For Your Second Pregnancy

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I wanted to share the things that really helped me get through the first trimester, the second time around! I consider these the 1st trimester must haves for your second, or third, pregnancy.


1. Water Bottle for you and for your little. Staying hydrated is so important when you’re pregnant. Not only do you need the extra fluid to start making extra blood, amniotic fluid, and help flush out toxins but staying hydrated can make sure you’re combating pregnancy fatigue to the best of your ability. Dehydration can make you feel sluggish & slow. A thermos, or water bottle, is the perfect way to always ensure you have something to sip on. If your little one is anything like mine, having a second – smaller- water bottle can help curb tantrums and help your first baby feel special. Plus, if your nausea is out of control you can easily hide ginger ale in your water bottle while serving water in your little’s bottle.
2. Doggie Bags. Towing a toddler around is trying in by itself, but have you ever tried to actually get somewhere fast with toddler in tow? It just doesn’t happen. Especially when it’s important. By keeping a roll of doggie bags you can feel assured that you always have a fail safe plan in case that “morning sickness” sneaks up on you and the nearest bathroom might as well be back at home. It’s not the most glamorous but works well in a pinch! I tote around these scented bags.

3. Lotion. The second time around your body knows what it’s doing. Muscle memory from the first pregnancy takes over and you start growing sooner. I found my skin to be much itchier this time around simply due to things expanding earlier! Regularly applying lotion helped keep the itchiness at bay.

4. A great-smelling candle. During the first trimester my gag reflex is so much more sensitive. Combine that with a heightened sense of smell and a toddler on hand… well, I often found myself lighting a candle to help mask the smells of daily tasks such as making my toddler lunch or changing a diaper.
5. Snacks. Keep them with you at all times. I loved things packed with protein to keep my blood sugar levels stable. I tried to find snacks that I didn’t mind sharing with my toddler. I saved the Oreos and Doritos for nap time.
6. A soft, stretchy cami-styled bra. Again, your body remembers pregnancy this time around. With my first pregnancy my chest grew slow and steady over the whole 9 months. This time around? Not so much. I’m already at the same size I was when my milk came in with Emerson. Needless to say having a larger sized, soft, stretchy cami-style bra has been essential. It doesn’t feel restrictive like a traditional underwire bra, and having the lightly lined soft cups has been helpful for my sensitive and itchy skin.

7. Meal replacement drinks. I always find these handy to keep around for those days when you just can’t eat a single thing. You still need to get high quality nutrition, but if you can’t keep solids down, this is the perfect solution. Some of my favorites are Svelte and Orgain.

What were your must haves for your second pregnancy?
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Spring Favorites

It snowed here again. We woke up to a winter white wonderland, complete with school cancellations and continuing flurries. While falling snow can be quite beautiful, anyone who knows me, knows I am SO over it.  I am a windows open, bare feet, sundress kind of girl– through and through. Winter is just not my jam.

With that said, I am patiently counting down the days until spring weather gets here. I’ve been eyeing a few things lately that are perfect for that upcoming spring weather!

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Little Things

A little love, a few flowers, a hug, a simple thank you or act of kindness can certainly go a long way. Here are the little things I’m enjoying lately. 
1. Fresh flowers. I’m a sucker for fresh flowers. I recently spoiled myself and grabbed a bouquet for 3.99 when we ran to Trader Joe’s for some frozen goods. I split the bouquet for 3 vases and snipped some greenery off of our front bushes to help fill out the thinned bouquet. I’m not sure what it is about them, but they put a smile on my face every time I see them.

2. Free flowers: And just when you thought there was nothing that could beat fresh flowers? Free fresh flowers. The lot behind our house is a crummy garage that gets frequently overgrown. However, the other day I noticed these awesome flowers springing up. I went out there armed with my scissors and went to town. The icing on the cake? When I put them on the dresser I was so aghast with the state of the dresser top that I felt the dresser was unworthy of receiving the flowers. You better believe I cleaned that shit up. Now, not only do I have fresh flowers in the bedroom, but the bedroom is now clean! The gift that keeps on giving.

3. My little engineer. This girl and her alarming new ways to scale the furniture. Emmie’s always been a fan of being on the couch, but luckily was too short to climb up herself. Well, she’s still too short, but her smarts make up for the height she lacks. She’ll push, carry, tug anything over to the couch and test it out to see if it can be used to scale on up. This usually happens in less than a minute. While part of me is terrified, it’s pushed aside as the proud Momma barges through. My Claire-bear thinking through problems and finding creative solutions, and not giving up when one doesn’t work? Yup, I’ve got Proud Momma Syndrome.

4. The “Mama” stage. Boo boos? Mommy’s hugs are best. Hungry? Mama’s snack is delicious. Woke up cranky? Momma snuggles fix that. Need a midnight snuggle? Only Mom will do. Mother dearest is cooking and can’t pick you up? Mom leaves you with Dad to go upstairs to get dressed? End of the world.  Yes, we are certainly in a Mama stage. I’ll take my extra snuggles while I can.

5. Konmari-ing my clothes. I just finished this book, and finished tidying up my clothes in the method she describes. Afterwards, I finalized my capsule wardrobe. Just looking at my closet brings me inner peace. I’m finally excited to get dressed in the mornings. 
6. Random kindness. Emerson and I were enjoying a Starbucks treat, people watching, when an expectant mother was experience some cart malfunctions. She had her toddler in the seat, with some cases of water underneath, and a couple of big plastic bins in the back. Well, one little bump and everything went wrong all at once. Water fell off, bins and other items fell overboard and toddler started crying. Two different gentlemen ran over and immediately started picking things up. One carried the bins and one pushed the cart, all the way to her car and helped her load it up while she consoled the crying boy. Moments like this restore my faith in humanity. They didn’t know each other, but those men didn’t even think twice about sacrificing their time to help someone in need out.  While it’s easy to get caught up in all that is wrong in the world, moments like this one remind me that there is still so much love, so much kindness, to give and receive. 
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5 Minute Makeup

As a stay at home mom I find that our best days start when I feel good about myself. Days where I enjoy wearing the clothes I picked out, fixing my hair and putting on makeup. I feel much more put together, my confidence rises, and I feel ready to face whatever challenges the day has in store. When you look good, you feel good. 
Looking good doesn’t have to break the bank. I do believe in spending a little extra money to get quality products like a great eye shadow palette & a good matte bronzer. Yet, the majority of my favorite makeup essentials are drugstore brands. Without further ado, here are my top choices for the busy mom:

1. Wet-n-wild Balm Stain: this stuff is amazing. It’s smooth, it’s moisturizing, and it lasts all day long. I loved it so much for my lips, that I started using it as a tinted blush as well. Works great, and takes literally a few seconds to apply. Forget about reapplying, one swipe and you’re good to go!
2. Sephora’s Pro Bent Liner Brush: I use this brush for lining my eyes, and also for filling in my brows. It’s easy for my brows to get lost in the frames of my glasses. A well defined brow helps fix that. Using the two darkest shadows in my Naked Basic palette and this brush, it’s a cinch to get a polished look in minutes. 
3. Elf’s Small Tapered Brush: At 3 dollars a brush, this is one of my favorite cheapy, but oh so good, items. I use this every single day when applying my bronzer. It’s small enough to really help contour my face. 
4. Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Bronzer: this bronzer is amazing. I am always pretty pale, but this is the perfect matte shade for contouring. 
5. Urban Decay’s Naked Basics Palette: the only eye shadows you ever need, all in a convenient palette. I use this palette for my everyday look. I not only use it to create my eye shadow looks, but I also use the black to line my eyes, and the dark brown to fill in my brows. 
6: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer:This is magic for your eyes. It’s so good, I went out and bought the foundation, which is equally amazing. It’s like smearing silk on your face, if silk could take you from looking tired/having been beat up since your bags are so extreme you look like you’re walking around with black eyes….. to looking fresh faced and dewy. It’s unique sponge applicator makes it super fast and easy to swipe on in the morning. You need this in your life. 
7. Mascara: This is my backup mascara. I typically use whatever high end samples my sister gifts to me, but when I’m out of those, I always choose this one. Fuller lashes without clumping.
These 7 things are just about the only things I use everyday. It takes just about 5 minutes to put on a “full face” of makeup. Being busy doesn’t mean I have to be frumpy or messy. With these simple makeup essentials I can put myself together before Emmie has time to pull out everything from the sock drawer. 
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