February 17, 2017
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Make Your Own Organic Maternity Pillow!

So, if you’ve ever been pregnant (or currently are) then you are already aware of the extreme need for a pregnancy body pillow. Maybe that sounds a tad overdramatic, but I didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about until I got my own and just having a long pillow to drape your body over and put between your knees can really help with trying to get that pregnancy sleep while you still can.

I’ve been wanting to switch over to all organic or non-toxic options when it comes to where I sleep and being pregnant has made choosing what I’m breathing in all night all the more important. I really wanted an all organic pregnancy body pillow and while there are “organic body pillows” for sale out there, I realized that as I read the product description carefully almost all of them are actually regular poly-fil type filling with only an organic cover. Not good enough Bro. I did find one that was organic inside and out, but it was expensive and just a long straight pillow, not the C-shaped kind I was looking for. I was really trying to avoid an extra project at the moment so I caved in and just bought a regular pillow thinking, “How bad could it be for a few months?” As soon as I pulled the pillow out of it’s plastic bag, the chemical smell was overpowering to say the least. I had to let it air out for a while before even trying it out, and while it was comfy, I couldn’t get over the fact that I was breathing in all that gross smell all night long. Blech.

SOOOO, I decided that if I really wanted my C-shaped all-organic natural pillow, well, I was just going to have to make it myself. Here’s what I did in case you want to make one too!Since I already had the pillow and pillow cover from the chemical smelling pillow, I used it as a partial template before I took it back to the store (at least it would do me some good!). Before tracing it, I laid on it for a bit to decide which parts I wished were longer/shorter/fatter/smaller so I could adjust the actual shape and make the pillow that I really wanted. If you don’t already have a pillow that you’re replacing to trace, you can get a pattern here or here or search the net for one that’s more your style (preggo pillows come in different shapes and configurations).I bought an organic cotton sheet set to use as the fabric for the pillow cover and just flattened out the fitted sheet to use as one side with the flat sheet as the other (just pin them on top of each other so you only have to cut your shape once). A full size bed set was large enough to make the pillow but if you want to also make a washable cover to put on top of the cover that holds the filling, buy a king set so you have enough material. I pinned my cover together around the edges after cutting my shape out and I was ready to start sewing!To make it easier to stuff the giant pillow, I first installed two zippers into my pillow (one at the top and one at the bottom). I figured if I ever wanted to just adjust the stuffing amount at the top it would be a giant pain to only have a zipper on the bottom and vice versa, so that’s why I did two.Once the zippers were in, I finished sewing all the way around the pillow with a 1/2″ seam allowance to match what the zipper areas were, and then use my serger machine to serge the edges for extra durability. Make sure to unzip one of your zippers a bit so you can still get into the pillow once you close it up! It’s really hard to unzip a zipper from the wrong side. If you don’t have a serger, just do two rows of straight stitching around the pillow about 1/8″ apart if you want to give the seams some extra strength. Once the sewing was done, I turned the pillow right side out and pressed the seams flat with an iron. Now my pillow was ready to stuff!
Since choosing the stuffing was a big reason I wanted to make my own, I chose raw organic cotton fiber as the filling. The raw filling does have some hull pieces in it which I was concerned may be a bit pokey, but most are too small to feel and if there ever was a bigger piece, I just picked it out as I stuffed the pillow. The next stage up in filling is cotton batting (it doesn’t have any pieces or hulls in it), but it started to get more expensive, and I hoped it probably wasn’t worth it and I think I made the right decision. I had no idea how much I would need to fill the body pillow, so I ordered 12 pounds and figured I could use any leftovers for future pillows as needed. I would say it probably took about 8 pounds to stuff the pillow to where it is now, but I don’t like a super full shape, so you may want more if you do.

The cotton also tends to settle a bit as it gets fluffed up when you put it in and then tamped down again as you sleep on it a few nights, so don’t worry if it flattens out a bit at first. I’ve added more to the pillow twice, but since I have a top and bottom zipper, it’s really easy to do and I can just add more to one spot as needed. So glad I did the two zippers!As you can see, I look pretty comfy-cozy in this guy! No gross smells either. In fact, the cotton had kind of a nice natural outdoorsy smell that was kind of pleasant the first couple of weeks, so that was an added bonus. Cotton stuffing is a bit more dense feeling than if you are used to sleeping on a down pillow, so that may take some getting used to if you really need a super soft pillow. I’ve read that using wool is the closest you’ll get to a really soft pillow, but it can also have a, uh, “sheepy” smell to it, so that’s something that might put you off…

If you wanted to make a second cover that can be taken off to be washed (which I think I’ll do soon), use your original template and make a second cover that’s just a tiny bit bigger than your first cover, but make it an envelope-style pillow at the fattest end of your pillow rather than using zippers to make it easier to make and take on and off.

I love having the C-shaped pillow since I turn back and forth between my left and right side all night (although I try to stay on my left most of the night since I know that’s better) and most nights I turn to the opposite side only to find that Todd is using it as his body pillow and I have to kick him off of it—HA! Anyways, if you’ve been struggling to find an all organic (inside and out) body pillow for pregnancy (or want to pin this for future use!), I hope this DIY can help you too! Now go get some sleep!

February 13, 2017
13 Comments

Month By Month: The Second Trimester!

It sounds totally CRAZY to admit to myself, but I am officially in my third trimester! I know eventually you get to a point where it feels like you’ve been pregnant forever, and while I certainly have been ramping up my aches and pains, it still feels like time is flying by. This past trimester has been SO different than the first one so it’s been interesting to see what each new month brought my way…      Dress/ H&M (similar here), Boots/Aldo, Jacket/Forever 21 (similar here), Sunnies/Forever 21

Month Four: This was the month that my first trimester severe nausea finally got kicked to the curb. After trying all the natural remedies I could find for weeks on end (to no avail), I started taking an anti-nausea medicine (Diclegis) in my third month and it was the only thing that actually made a difference for me. I didn’t feel 100% on it, but I could function enough to get through the day which had been such a struggle for the months before that. I continued taking it into my fourth month and by about 14 weeks I started feeling the best I had in a long time. Not wanting to take the medicine longer than I had to, I started to taper off the dosage a few weeks later as I was more sure the decreased nausea wasn’t just a fluke. Since the Diclegis is essentially vitamin B6 mixed with an anti-histamine, I added some B6 into my suppliment routine as I weaned off the medicine to ease the transition and it really helped a lot. I still had a return to some pukier weeks as I stepped down the Diclegis, but I noticed that if I ever forgot to take the B6 that day it was WAY worse so it seemed to make a big difference overall.                         Dress/H&M (similar here), Boots/BCBG (similar here), Hat/Forever 21

Month Five: This month had some fun moments! I was wondering when I would start to feel some kicks so I kept looking for those “flutters” you are supposed to feel before the kicks start. The butterfly feelings never came. Instead, one night around 18 weeks I was lying in bed (still dealing with 2 hours of insomnia before falling asleep most nights at that point) and I detected what felt like little “heartbeats” really low in my pelvis area. It was kind of like when you can feel the throb of your heartbeat somewhere else in your body (like when you cut your finger) and since it wasn’t fluttery at all, I wasn’t really sure what it was. Once it continued happening three nights in a row, I was much more convinced that was the real thing and I was shocked when Todd could already feel it from the outside on the third night. I guess I thought most moms can feel the small movements for weeks before anyone else can, so I couldn’t believe Todd could feel them too!

This was also the month that we had our anatomy ultrasound and found out on Christmas with my family that Bebe Gummerman is a GIRL! Well, they are 90% sure anyways. I feel like I should reserve a small part of my brain for them to be wrong on that—it happens! By the end of this month I was definitely starting to get some energy back and feel the most “normal” that I have since the pregnancy began. Some days looking down and seeing the belly would even surprise me since I felt good most of the time. I did start having some of the round ligament pain that comes with your uterus stretching so much, and while it was pretty uncomfortable when it first started, it tapered off rather quickly to small random moments rather than hours at a time.                   Dress/Zara, Boots/Public Desire (similar here), Sunnies/Local Boutique Store

Month Six: Since I was feeling so much better and getting into the later stages of pregnancy, I started going to a prenatal yoga studio that I LOVE here in town. I’m really wanting to keep that up during the last trimester as well, and it’s become one of my favorite things that I do for myself. We also took our Babymoon to Palm Springs this month and it was so good to sit in the sun and hang out with friends. I know it was relaxing because my annoying eye twitch that I’ve had for the last 2 months went away while I was there and didn’t return for a few weeks after the trip as well. It’s definitely back now, so maybe I need another vacation? I do still keep up the B6 to keep the nausea at bay, and while the trouble falling asleep at night is so much better, my sleep during the night gets more and more restless with being hot, uncomfortable, having to pee, etc. I know that will probably only get worse and a lot of people think it prepares you for the baby, but I’m definitely treasuring those daytime naps when I can fit one in! Also, the low back pain just kicked in the last 2 weeks so I’ve been trying chiropractor, yoga, back braces, heating pads, foam rollers, birth balls…just about everything I can think of. Some days it’s not so bad but I’ve also had some moments of literally limping around the house because the pain is so sharp—OUCH! Baby has also started moving a lot more and I swear she’s doing tae bo in there some days. Oh, and baby hiccups now too!? How cute!

Side note, apparently I started growing sideburns of long peach fuzz on the sides of my face?? Had to get a lady face shaver for that. But my leg hair has almost stopped growing and has become really fine so I think it all transferred from there. GOOD GRIEF!

Anyways, like most pregnancies (I assume) there haven been lots of sweet moments mixed in with weird/painful things as well. I’ve been starting on some nursery projects so that’s been exciting and I’ll share my vision for that room soon! Onto the third trimester my friends!!

February 6, 2017
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Mommy + Me: Valentine’s Day!

I’ve already had quite a few people assume that I’m going to dress our little girl exactly like I dress myself, and let me tell you up front, they aren’t wrong! Of course she can pick out her own clothes once she gets interested in doing that, but until then, I guess I get free reign to choose. I saw a few things that would be cute for a Valentine’s Day outfit and I couldn’t help but check and see if there were any mini-me versions floating around and it turns out there are!

1. Pink Furry Coat: Mommy version + Baby version
2. Red Dress Shoes: Mommy version + Baby version
3. Red Romper: Mommy version + Baby version
4. Heart Print Outfit: Mommy version + Baby version
5. Pink Moto Jacket: Mommy version + Baby version

The Nashville February weather so far has had a day in the 30’s and a day in the 60’s so I figured I could technically wear any of these options at some point this week. Can’t wait to have matching outfits that Bebe will (probably) be embarrassed of someday, but what’s the fun in parenting if you can’t do some things to amuse yourself as you go, right?

January 27, 2017
6 Comments

How I Tame My “Winter Hair”

Ahhh, winter. It’s time to layer up the clothing and the bronzer since you are entering Pale City for the next half of the year. The other big downside for me has always been the dreaded “winter hair” phase of the year, and if you’ve ever had that issue, you know exactly what I mean. My hair feels limp and flat as well as staticky as it clings to my face. What’s a girl to do? Well, over the years I’ve developed a few tricks that when all added together have really helped out a lot with the downsides that come with the season.
The first thing I do is an Olaplex treatment before I wash my hair. It’s basically a leave-in-conditioner that I brush through wet hair (I’ll wet it and towel dry it first) and then I’ll leave it in a bun or a clip for a good 30-45 minutes before washing it out. The longer you leave it in, the better, but I noticed that if I go closer to an hour and it starts to dry in my hair, it doesn’t wash out quite as cleanly when I shampoo. You are supposed to use this at home in conjunction with getting an Olaplex treatment at your salon as well, but I’ve been skipping that salon treatment while pregnant and just doing the home conditioner and it still works wonders for me. I only do it every other week so a bottle of it lasts a long time but it gives my hair that soft “just left the salon” feeling.

In between doing the Olaplex treatment, I’ll spray in this Wella Conditioning Spray on clean wet hair and brush it through as I detangle my hair. It’s another great way to add some moisture to dry winter hair, and you use so little that it also lasts a really long time.I will usually dry my hair and then section it off and brush through 3″ sections before straightening them with a straightener, but I noticed that the more I handle my hair, the more likely it is that static will appear. This Vanity Planet ceramic straightening brush is really helpful because I can brush and straighten my hair in a few passes rather than having to do multiple strokes with both the brush and straightener (the ceramic bristles are also designed to be anti-static so that helps too). It also has a heat control so I can set it higher the first time I straighten when I need more heat and lower if I’m running the brush through for a touch-up (us faux blondes have to be careful about too much heat on our hair). P.S. I’m partnering with Vanity Planet for this post so if you use the code “gummergalhair” you can get 50% off your brush so you can score one for only $35, nice!

 

While I do want to avoid over-brushing my hair to avoid winter static, I LOVE using a boar bristle teasing comb once my hair is straightened to backcomb the roots at the crown of my head to bring some volume back to my hair. My strands get craaazy flat in winter (it looks like I have hat hair all the time) so I use this guy throughout the week to bring back some volume to my roots. I’ve even been known to carry it around in my purse in case of hair emergency!
Last but not least, to combat any possible lingering static cling I’ll spray a small amount of this Sexy Hair Play Dirty spray wax onto my fingertips and then roll my fingers along the ends of my hair and down any strands that sit near my face (where the static is the most annoying). You only need a teeny bit, so start out with a quick spray and get more if needed.Well, now you guys know all my winter hair secrets! These tricks definitely help me make it through the winter months and feel a bit more confident about these goldie locks of mine. Hope you found something that can help tame your winter mane!

January 25, 2017
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Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs House!

One of the BEST things we got to do during our trip to Palm Springs was go and tour one of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate. Since I grew up on his movies and music from an early age I am a giant Sinatra fan so getting to go and see his house was definitely a dream come true. Frank’s always my answer to the question, “If you could meet one person living or dead, who would it be?” and being in his personal home is probably as close as I’ll ever get to ol’ Blue Eyes since he passed away in 1998. The house was built in 1947 but unfortunately someone that bought the house after him let it deteriorate rather badly until the current owners renovated it back to it’s original look and feel. These two twin palm trees were the main reason that Frank chose this spot to build on and it was originally next to a dirt landing strip that was the Palm Springs airport in the 1940’s (his other requirement was to be close to the airport for traveling).Sinatra had his pool built in the shape of a grand piano and the holes in the ceiling of the walkway above me cast shadows like piano keys when the sun is setting over the mountains. So cool!Orange was Sinatra’s favorite color so they’ve re-decorated the house with lots of orange accents like in the master bedroom above. While a lot of the original flooring, tile, and wall treatments had to be replaced, there are still some things in the house that are original like the sink and tile in the master bathroom. Why does that matter? Well, you can still see a crack in the sink and wall behind it where a champagne bottle was thrown during one of Frank and Ava Gardner’s fights (they were kind of famous for their over-the-top fights in the day).
Another original piece to the house is Frank’s recording setup in the living room. Obviously all the musician boys in our group were fascinated by it and if you look closely at the photo below you can see where Frank marked his favorite settings with pencil. It didn’t really hit me until afterwards that I was standing in a room that Frank Sinatra was singing in all the time. Woah. That was a big deal for me.This room with the palm wallpaper is called the “green room” and it’s where he would hide his celeb friends who were going to perform that night at one of his parties until it was showtime. It’s hard to get the full scope of the room but even the ceiling is wallpapered with the palm leaves. It’s amazing. It’s not the original paper, but they used the closest they could get so it would have that same overwhelming feeling. I have such a star-struck look on my face in the above photo, but I promise it wasn’t posed! Just trying to take it all in…Apparently Sinatra originally had a flagpole set up between the two palm trees and he would raise a Jack Daniel’s flag (his favorite liquor) at cocktail hour to signal to the neighbors that the Sinatra bar was open for business. How cool is that?!While we had so many memorable experiences on our first trip to Palm Springs, I will certainly never forget the few moments that I had to spend some time in Frank Sinatra’s house. My current favorite Sinatra song is actually from a much lesser known movie called “Higher and Higher” where he made his first movie appearance ever and sings this reeeeally sweet little song (it starts about 2:12 in the clip) that literally makes me want to do one of those fainting sighs that you see at Beatles concerts. Thanks for letting me come over Frank, I only wish you could have been there too!