1st Trimester Must Haves

img_6215img_6222img_6228img_6237img_6238ACVACV 2B&CSince this is my first pregnancy and it has been over 20 years since my mom was pregnant, there was a lot that I needed to learn about having a baby. I really didn’t know what to expect, but soon realized there was a ton to learn. Can I eat cacao powder? (Yes, it’s ok!) Can I use essential oils? (You can!) What can I expect?

I found out I was pregnant and literally the next day I came down with an awful cold. I usually don’t get colds and when I do, I usually get over them within a couple days. This cold however, lasted about 10 days! I was miserable. I did not want to risk taking anything and I have always wanted my pregnancies to be as natural as possible, taking no medication if I could help it. While sick, I usually bulk up on vitamin C, take oregano pills and drink lots of lemon water with Manuka honey. However, I knew that there are certain vitamins you can take too much of and right on the bottle of my oregano pills it says “DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT.” I wanted to kick this cold but do it without hurting the baby. So I did what I knew was safe, I drank fresh squeezed lemon with hot (not boiling) water every morning (sometimes with a little Manuka honey), I made chicken noodle soup with bone broth and ate lots of other fruits that are full of vitamin C.

Although my pregnancy started out a little rough, I knew I didn’t want to be this unprepared through out the whole nine months. As I approached 8 weeks I noticed that things were really starting to change and I needed help. I have “The Bump” app and I LOVE it but it didn’t give me all the info that I was craving. After my first doctors appointment and ultrasound, I drove straight to Barnes & Noble in search of some pregnancy books. The book I had in mind was “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” but what I found was even better! This brings me to my number one must have for your first trimester (and the rest of your pregnancy).

1.“The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth”

This book has so much amazing info packed into it and is so easy to read. Mama Natural takes the more holistic approach to pregnancy and she also has exerts from midwives and doulas to get you more familiar with them and their point of view. She has home remedies for colds, stretch marks and many other things that change in your body when you get pregnant as well as recipes and a week by week of what is happening to you and the baby. Without this book, it would have been a lot of endless searching on the web for answers to questions I had/have. Mama Natural also has her own website and YouTube channel which are also marvelous.

2. Belly Armor

One of the first things I read when I found out I was pregnant was read Food Babe’s blog post on the top pregnancy questions she got. One thing that she was adamant about was Belly Armor. Your cell phone, laptops and wireless routers emit radiation which has been shown to cause birth defects and even miscarriages. Belly Armor blocks 99% of radiation so when you are constantly on your cell phone, tablet or laptop, you can have peace of mind that you aren’t hurting your baby. They have blankets, shirts, tank tops, etc. I choose a blanket (wearing it now) because I can use it while pregnant but also the baby can use it when born.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

I could not live without this stuff. Towards the end of my first trimester, I started having acid reflex (which I have never had in my life) and I would take a tablespoon and just shoot it. Even though it tasted gross going down, it was totally worth it. It made my acid reflex go away and you take take it up to 3 times a day while pregnant. I have tried other kinds and Bragg is just the best. I will only buy their apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is amazing for many, many other things too. Lately, I have been taking a warm bath with 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar in it to help with achy joints, softer skin and hair, plus other reasons why (you can read about it in “The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth”.

4. Peppermint, Ylang Ylang and Lavender Essential Oils

I was extremely nauseous pretty much all the time while in my first trimester. There wasn’t much I could do about and the only thing that kept it at bay was peppermint essential oil and vitamin B6. I did drop one drop of peppermint oil in my mouth at times. I know people say not to do this but I use the highest quality essential oils and would make sure I didn’t over do it. I also would drop it in my palms and cover my nose and breath it in, which also helped. Vitamin B6 also helped when I took it before bed and with meals. I don’t know why this works, but it does!

If you have trouble sleeping like I did, vitamin B6 will help you too. Before getting pregnant I would always have to take melatonin and/or GABA to be able to sleep but I wasn’t sure if they were safe or not so after some research, I found out that Ylang Ylang essential oils helps you sleep when you add a drop or two to the bottom of your feet before bed. I could not sleep right after I found out we were pregnant and when I came across this I tried it and BOOM, I was out like a light and had the best nights sleep I had had in awhile! Needless to say that I use this on my husband too. I also almost always diffuse lavender at night too. It is so calming and promotes relaxation and combats restlessness.

5. Bread and Cheese (in almost any form)

That’s right, bread and cheese. I try and eat so healthy and even before I was pregnant I was practicing the ketogenic diet, really limiting my carb intake. But with this pregnancy my body wants bread, crackers, pasta or something of the like at least once a day. During my first trimester, I was so nauseous that saltine crackers and cheese were all about I could get down. There were days that I could not even get any veggies down because they were just too much and they would just come back up. I wanted to give my baby the best and eat as healthy as I could, and because all I wanted was bread and cheese, I was getting a bit discouraged.

Then, I had a friend tell me that during her first two pregnancies she listened to her body, ate what she wanted in moderation and she gained about 50lbs with each. Then for her third pregnancy, she decided she wanted to do it differently. She hired a personal trainer and ate no sugar and limited carbs and she ended up gaining 70lbs and she said she was miserable! Her advice to me was to just listen to you body and the baby will tell you what it needs. This was the single best piece of advice I have received while pregnant!

I am at the end of my second trimester now and I have been living by this advice and I have gained a healthy amount of weight and other than being tired all the time, I am doing and feeling well!

Birthdays.

Last Friday I turned 31 on the 31st. My golden birthday. For my 30th birthday I had to work all day and I had the flu. I didn’t feel like having a party or doing anything really. Before I got sick, my mom did take me to lunch with one of my best friends and her mom. We made it into a day with shopping and custom facials. It was perfect and very relaxing with lots of laughter. However, I didn’t have a party and I thought to myself that next year, I would do something really special for myself on my golden birthday.

We planned right after Christmas to travel to Kona, HI over my birthday. I was so excited! Unfortunately, life happened and because of work issues, we had to cancel our week and a half trip. Even though we had to cancel, I was hoping that maybe my husband and I would still be able to sneak away for a couple days over my birthday weekend.

Let’s take it back to the beginning of my birthday week…

I walk into work Monday morning and the very first thing I see is my mother-in-law’s 12 year old dog having a terrible seizure! It was traumatizing! Thankfully she was alright and I was able to go home early. It was a beautiful day (finally no rain) and I was about to take my dog for a walk when I received a call from my dermatologist. I found out I had Melanoma.

What?

I went for a walk and while I was walking, I listed to a sermon. Cancer hadn’t yet really sunk in. I felt it wasn’t that big of a deal. Then, when I got home, it started to hit me. I noticed right away that I started feeling different stages of grief. I was angry that this was happening (especially right before my birthday). I was sad I let it happened. I felt depressed I was going to loose a chunk of meat off my leg. All these emotions started to overwhelm me, and I broke. The thought of having the flu on my 30th birthday, and now finding out I had skin cancer so close to my 31st birthday made me SO sad. I started bawling and couldn’t stop. Other things have been happening to test my self worth and some family issue arrised during this time, so to say the least, that Monday was a bit too much.

I finished the night, crying it all out, but I was determined that everything going on was not going to take away from my special day. I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.'” God also showed me Psalms 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

I know God has a plan and it is not for me to sit and worry and get depressed. No matter what life goes on, and I must take the time to enjoy it and live it.

Last week had its ups and downs. It has hit me though, I have skin cancer. I am so blessed and thankful they caught it early. I know that without a doubt it was the Lord who ordained catching it before it was too late. I went to my regular doctor for a referral for massage and she had asked me if I ever went to the dermatologist she referred me to. I said, “I don’t remember you referring me?” I told her that I did need a check up so she referred me and I went in a couple weeks later. They found a mole and did a biopsy and low and behold it was cancer. If my doctor hadn’t of brought it up I probably would have never gone in or I would have gone to the dermatologist too late. Therefore, I know God was orchestrating catching it at the early stages.

Thinking about this is terrifying and it can easily overwhelm you. Your mind is a powerful thing and when you let your thoughts run, it can start to consume you. I can see how people can easily become depressed, loose hope and are filled with worry. “What if they don’t get it all?” “What if they are wrong?” It can go on and on and on! I am determined not to let my mind and heart be filled with fear. God has brought me this far and He will continue to be there to the end. I have so much to be thankful for and I will not let the enemy take over my life with fear.

Even though my 31st birthday is not how I had thought it would go, it was still special as it was filled with family and friends. Life doesn’t always go as you plan but God always has a better plan and with that I am holding true to His promise 😉

5 Things To Do In Key West, FL

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My best friend, Lindsay, moved to Key West, FL about 9 years ago for an internship program. Not long after she was there she met a man, fell in love and married him a few years later. She now calls Key West her home. Because she has lived there for so long she knows all the must see/to do things in Key West and is my tour guide every time I travel to see her! Even though Key West is a 2 by 4 mile island, there is definitely plenty to do and see. Here are my top 5 things to see and/or do while in Key West.

1.Duvall Street

Duvall street is a mile long strut full of bars, shops and of course restaurants. It isn’t just on Duvall Street where all the excitement is, but there are so many hole in the wall spots just off Duvall Street that are sometimes even more fun.

On my most recent trip a couple weeks ago, Lindsay took me to 2 Cents, a restaurant and bar right off of Duvall. During happy hour, when you order your drinks and/or food they give you a dice to roll. If you roll a 1, 2 or 3 then you pay the amount you rolled! If you roll a 4, 5 or 6 then you have to pay full price. I ordered a drink and rolled a 1! I was so excited! BTW they also have amazing Moscow Mules and keep bacon on your table!

 

2.Southernmost Point 

This is the buoy that signifies the southernmost point of the continental United States. It is cool to see and take your picture by! There is ALWAYS a line to get your picture taken and it gets so hot standing in the sun so that is why mine is at night. No one else was there!

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3.Better Than Sex

Ok, sorry for the PG-13 name but I had to put this on my list! Better Than Sex is a dessert only restaurant that is only open from 6pm to midnight and it is ab-so-lute-ly AMAZING!!! It has a very alluring atmosphere, where there is very, little lighting and the walls are painted red. It is a pretty small restaurant and always busy so make sure you make a reservation. I have only been here twice but when I go home, I crave this place. I love “The Fever” it is a hot, chocolate brownie with warm chocolate pudding and two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top. It literally melts in your mouth and it is to die for.

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4.Mallory Square

Every night, Mallory Square hosts the Sunset Celebration where there are food booths, street performers, exhibitors, etc. It is definitely something to experience. The sunsets are absolutely gorgeous and there is a different sunset every night! One of the street performers I watched had a cat show. Yes cats. It was eccentric, that is for sure! There is always something to see down there.

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5.Earnest Hemingway’s House

This was a tour I did when I was there in April of 2015 with my mom. They have guided tours that last about 30 minutes (my mom and I just kind of went through or own and it took us about 30 to 40 minutes). It was interesting to see his estate because there are some unique characteristics about it. For example, it is home to about 40-50 six toes cats, and it has pool that has a 80,784 gallon capacity. This is astonishing especially since Key West has en elevation of only 18 feet. It is definitively worth the tour as you can also see his writing area. You can learn more about him and this estate here.

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 Hope you enjoyed and can find this info useful!

-Ericha

Happy 2017!

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I started reading “31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer”this past year and it has been an amazing way to start my day and really get my dreams in line with God’s. The writers of this book also write a blog that I stumbled upon this week.

Instead of making goals for the year she created these “Reflection” and “Refocus” sheets to complete. I have been slowly working on them the past two days and I have to say, they are more helpful and insightful than I could have ever imagined.

The “Reflection” worksheet really mapped out my year in a way that I didn’t see before. While the “Refocus” worksheet gave me a place where I could write down what I truly want for the next year.

I encourage you to take the time to fill these out and really, well, reflect and refocus. You can find these worksheets here.

Happy 2017 to all of you!