10 Things to Do To Prepare for Baby

Finding out I was pregnant was an instant whirlwind. I have plenty of nieces and nephews but still felt completely overwhelmed. Here are 10 things I started with right away to prepare for my mini me.

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1. Budget.

If you haven’t already started budgeting or your pregnancy is a surprise, start now. My husband and I set a savings goal to achieve by the time the baby arrives. We accounted for all of our bills and saved the rest. We wanted to make sure we had enough to cover bills for three months while I would be off plus the additional expenses.

2. Make a doctor’s appointment.

This may sound pretty obvious but in the midst of all the excitement selecting your doctor is key. Most women already have a specialist that does deliveries but you may not know what hospital they use or anything about the prenatal unit. Get started today.

3. Do your research.

Everyone around you will have advice. Most of it will definitely apply to you but some of it may not. Do your research and decide as parents what works best for you. After all, this will be a team effort for the rest of your life. Why not start coming together on the little stuff?

4. Start a registry.

I chose to use Amazon and Target because they were the simplest options. Target offers a free $20 gift card when you start a registry as well as discounts on not purchased items. Amazon does even better. You can receive free diapers, a baby bundle and discounts on everything on your registry. They both offer a step by step guide on what items you will actually need.

5. Exercise.

Through the nausea and fatigue, working out can feel like the last thing on my list. Luckily, I was already in the habit of doing 30 minutes to an hour of exercise daily. Consult your doctor on the best workout for your pregnancy but most will agree that yoga is a great choice. My doc suggested 20 – 30 minutes of low impact activity and light weights if I chose to use some. Take a look at prenatal classes in your area as well.

6. Water, Water, Water.

Water will be your new best friend. My doc suggested drinking about a gallon of water a day! At first, it seemed impossible. But I learned a little trick. Use a cup with a straw and you won’t even notice how much you’re effortlessly sipping.

7. Vitamins.

If you haven’t already started taking prenatal vitamins, grab a bottle. You little baby will be soaking everything you have to offer, including your vitamins. Choose one with high folic acid as it’s imperative for brain development. Check with your doc aboutspecific brands they recommend for any other supplements you may need.

8. Have a Baby Moon.

Through the hustle and bustle of preparing for your little miracle, parents get stressed out. My husband and I are planning to get away maybe a few times before the baby arrives. Once the baby is here, it may be a while until vacation is even in our vocabulary.

9. Make a Pinterest Board. 

With all these idea swirling around in my head, I had to get them in a central location. I’ve actually created multiple board to organize my thoughts. Head to Pinterest and get pinning!

10. Plan your announcement. 

Deciding how we would tell our dozens of family members was difficult. We decided on showing an ultrasound, having my siblings read a Baby Recipe on a chalkboard, wrapped a photo in a baby items for Nana and Facetimed and called members that we couldn’t visit. Our official announcement was a cute photo that we posted on Facebook.

Moms, what items would you add to this list?

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Prayers for my Home

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Waking up today wasn’t pleasant. It was six am and my husband asked if I knew anyone at the Route 91 festival. He read the news article detailing 50 had been killed and 200+ were injured in the worst shooting our city has ever seen.

Shocked, I had not words to say. Dozens of names flashed through my head as I scrolled through Facebook looking for updates. A multitude of people I went to school with were recalling the worst night of their life. Many left before the shooting began, but some were forced into hiding for serval hours.

My heart hurts for this painful night. What was supposed to a celebration turned into a nightmare. It’s moments like these where there only comfort I can find is in God. I will never understand why this happened, but I know that He is with each and every victim and their family.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” PSALM 34:18-20

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Get Xtreme with Friday Night Bingo at Santa Fe Station

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Santa Fe’s renovated Bingo lounge kicks the normal play up a notch with themed nights every weekend including Xtreme Bingo and Girls Night Out Bingo. As a first time bingo player, I started small with the extreme session.

Xtreme Bingo takes the stage on the last Friday of every month. The session may start at 11AM, but the party begins when the doors open at 10PM.

 

 

 

 

As I entered the new space (previously my country line-dancing stomping ground as Revolver), floods of players lined up to cash in. Ranging from 21 – 99, the bingo patrons came ready to party and take their chance at $1,900.

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For only $25, patrons receive an open bar, access to 10 electronic games, glow sticks and glasses, a DJ and dozens of other free items. Even local radio stations are getting in on the action providing t-shirts and vodka giveaways.

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I took my seat close to the main screen and readied myself for my very first adult bingo experience. Originally, I was picturing large printed cards with wildly colored daubers. But with an open bar option, Santa Fe must have clued in that drinking and daubing don’t go together.

Each round we had the chance to win a $100 and some rounds included liters of vodka. The digital screen gave you 30 cards and basically did all the work. As each number was chosen, the cards automatically updated and shuffled the closed cards to the front of the screen. If you have bingo, the screen projects a giant “WINNER” image and your entire table takes a shot.

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Although I did make it up to three spots left, I came home empty-handed. My husband on the other hand, consistently had one spot left and always got beat out by a loud mom with a beer in her hand. Still, I may give it another chance.

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Although I loved getting my two-step in at Revolver, the new Bingo space is classy and offers great late night options.

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Bingo sessions are hosted daily on the odd hours from a 9A – 11P. Girls Night Out is every Saturday with a buy-in of $25 that includes 10 electronic games, specialty martinis and free drinks for ladies.

Find more bingo info here.

 

Meeting My Fitness Inspiration: Cassey Ho

This weekend was a once in a life-time experience. Fitness leader, Cassey Ho, offered a complimentary live Pop Pilates class at Idea Fit here in Las Vegas! As soon as I found out, I planned my Popflex outfit.

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As mentioned in previous blog posts, I’ve been following Cassey’s page, Blogilates, on Youtube for over two years now. I first got hooked when I was looking for a hardcore fitness routine to get me wedding ready. Now, I’ve tried a ton of different workout from Insanity to P90X and more, but Pop Pilates was different.

For years, I’ve been attending Pilates and Yoga studios to get my workouts in. And yes, I love hands-on training from certified teachers, but I didn’t love the competition between other women working out. In Yoga, I haven’t come across too many vain individuals. Pilates is a completely different story. I loved the workout but never felt the community…until I tried Pop Pilates.

Pop Pilates is more than just a workout. Each video Cassey posts is a little fitness inspiration to love yourself where you are at. Working out shouldn’t just be about looking good; it should be about feeling good not matter your size. And there is a whole community of people working toward thats goal. Her program even offers tips on eating right for your body and rocking some body flattering gear.

So when Saturday rolled around, I was too excited sleep. I arrived at the Las Vegas Convention Center at 9:45AM to get checked-in for my class and get a seat close to the stage. Many other Popsters were already lined up outside of the ballroom waiting for the show to begin.

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The Blogilates team revered everyone up by filming and photographing participants as we hurried inside. The room quickly filled to its 400 person capacity and the floor became a sea of yoga mats. All across the room, ladies we decked out in Popflex gear.

About ten minutes later, Cassey came on stage and the crowd erupted. She wasted no time and jumped right into the choreography for the event. One hour later and I was sparking in sweat after a killer workout.

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The Blogilates fam hosted a complimentary Q & A with Cassey right after the class. It was so inspired listening to her talk about her fitness journey from vanity to strength. After her few questions, the team announced a surprise meet and greet with Cassey! I all but flew off my mat to get in line.

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As I stood at the edge of the stage, I ran through what I could possibly say to such a successful fitness leader. Her genuineness to her brand was astonishing. She really lived her values and never gave up when times got tough. As I walked on stage to say hello, I shared that my passion for Pop Pilates started when I began wedding planning. She gave me a hug, posed for a picture and completely made my day.

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Feeling so inspired by these few hours, I made my way over to the Director of her team and inquired about certification. By Spring 2018, I will be a certified Pop Pilates instructor! This opportunity is a God send and a dream come true.

Keep an eye out here and on social for more updates on my progress!

What’s Up Wednesday

Wednesday Wisdom

It’s raining. Monsoon season has begun in Las Vegas. Today, the freeways and streets were covered with droplets. iPhones buzzed with flash flood warnings and drivers prepared for alternate routes.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything meaningful. I’ve only been able to muster up a few fluff pieces researched just enough to provide special event information. I just couldn’t find the motivation to focus my thoughts.

This past few months (can’t believe July is almost over) have been a whirlwind. I started a new job with a non-profit and expended all of my creativity on marketing. I’ve found myself just coasting and flowing from one event to the next. I’ve avoided reflecting on just about everything.

But, there’s something about a raining afternoon that puts life into perspective. This last week has been exhausting, emotionally and physically. So many confusing things I haven’t made sense of yet. There is only one thing I know for sure, God is working.

From building and refining relationships to new opportunities, God’s plan is unfolding right before my eyes. Friendships I thought impossible to create are slowly forming like clay under His hands. Plans that fell on my deadlines are clearly unfolding far earlier and in a way I never expected.

It’s difficult to see the big picture when you’re staring too close to the pieces. From my perspective, I can only see colors and make out shapes. But God already sees the full masterpiece.

What has God been showing you?

What’s Up Wednesday

Thanks for the inspiration by The Daily KC, here’s my “What’s Up Wednesday” update.

What I’ve been up to…

After a long vacation celebrating my one year anniversary, I’m trying to get back into the swing of things with work. My few weeks back have been filled with nothing but photo shoots, food and beverage events and media opportunities. Checkout a photo from my commercial wedding shoot. (Yes that is my actual wedding dress! No that’s not my husband)

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What I’m reminiscing about….

I’m wishing I was still in California hiking the mountains in Azusa and enjoying guilt free naps.

What I’m loving…

Spring gardening season has really inspired me and I’m working to transform my humble abode in to a floral paradise.

What I’m dreading…

As the weather heats up, my office is turning into a winter. I am not excited for the extra sweaters I’ll need to lug in just for my shift.

What I’m excited about….

One Republic will be here this Friday and I will hopefully be at their meet and greet!

What I’m watching/reading…

No new books have caught my eye yet, but I’m open to any suggestions! I’m getting back into The Office to catch up on everyone’s story lines.

What I’m listening to…

Loving Frank Ocean’s “Chanel,” Petit Biscuit’s “Sunset Lover,” Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” and Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” New music Friday is my Spotify favorite.

What I’m wearing…

Maxi dresses and Tom’s wedges perfect for my hippie style.

What I’m doing this week/weekend:

Heading to see One Republic and Andy Grammar at Red Rock Station in here Las Vegas and running a pool media event. Hopefully I can fit some Go Karting in there as well.

How’s your week going?

Wonderful World of Bree

Three Square Food Bank

I had the pleasure of volunteering at Three Square Food Bank this week. I assisted with packing almost 11k boxed lunches for the Kid Cafe Program here in Southern Nevada.

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Three Square works to end hunger in Southern Nevada by providing meals to hungry people throughout the community. This organizations reaches, Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda and Clark Counties.

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Three Square does more than collect food. Their programs support a food banking warehouse, food rescue initiative and ready-to-eat meals. They work with approximately 1,300 community partners including charities and non-profits, schools and feeding sites.

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During my visit, all of the volunteers helped box lunches for the after school meal program. Over 60% of people in Southern Nevada go hungry everyday. This after school meal box makes sure that students have a full stomach before bed.

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We worked from 9AM – 12PM boxing as many lunches as we could. Eat box received a salad, fruit and a sandwich.

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Three Square offers so many opportunities for individuals to give back. Their Volunteer Activities include:

  • sorting and repacking food
  • filling backpacks with food for the weekend
  • boxing meals for schools and senior programs

If you are interested in volunteering, contact volunteers@threesquare.org or call 702-644-3663.

Pet Adoption is the Best Choice

I love animals. God blessed me with such a heart to love all animals, domestic or exotic. For Valentine’s Day, my heart was just a little fuller. My husband and I decided to add another fur baby to our family. Meet Smokey.

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Welcome Home!

This playful guy was a homeless dog picked up by a kill shelter. He was lucky enough to be scooped up into the loving arms of Adopt a Rescue Pet and make it to his furever home.

Since 2000, this amazing group has rescued more than 1,000 homeless dogs a year and helped them transition into furever homes. Our new love bug was waiting for us at our local Petco.

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Adoption Day

Every year, dozens of pets are either lost, abandoned or mistreated. This helpless creatures were given to us to love and cherish. They, like everything else, are God’s perfect creation and we are called to love above all else.

“Do Everything in Love,” 1 Corinthians 16:14

So before you think about breeding your fur baby or even consider adding another member to your family, think about those animals that have never experienced the love you have to offer.

I know my little guy is going to have a better life than he could ever imagine. I don’t know all of the trauma he went through before God led us to him, but I know he will never have to go through it again.

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Our two fur babies, Smokey and Fiona

For more information on local shelters waiting for you to give an animal in a need a furever home, checkout these other shelters.

The Animal Foundation

NSPCA

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society

A Home 4 Spot

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Las Vegas Valley Humane Society

Jesus Saved Me

So here’s my story. I’ve debated over and over if I was ready to be vulnerable enough to share it. It’s a little nerve-wracking because I’m allowing so many into this personal story. But after sharing with my congregation and within women’s events, I’ve learned to embrace my trials. Warning: this is a long story and has a happy ending

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John 3:16

I officially dedicated my life to God and decided to follow Jesus November 10, 2015. This was my baptism day. This was such an amazing experience and start to a whole life. So here’s everything that happened before.

My husband and I began dating in high school and like any other 16-year-olds, we were madly in love. We did everything together including trying to control each others lives even down to what family members we approved of. In short, this didn’t turn our well.

With hormones and attitudes high, we both were kicked out of each others houses for periods and shunned on by our family members. I can even remember fighting with his 13-year-old niece and her mom. When looking back, all of our arguments were so comical. (The best part is that his sister is now one of my closest friends. God really is good!)

I was so insecure for so many years that I couldn’t imagine losing him to another person. This need for control and jealousy only led to heart-break and pushed us further away from each other. We cheated and lied and didn’t treat our relationship with  respect. So in 2014, we broke up for real.

We both went our separate ways. I absorbed myself in UNLV and my sorority and he acted like a single dude. One day, he met a fellow student who invited him to bible talk and a few hours later, he was studying the bible for the first time.

Since we weren’t talking, I had no idea. I head it through the grapevine that he was baptized and I couldn’t believe it! The guy who hated when I dragged him to my church plays and despised everything about the sermon was now a follower of Jesus.

For the next few months, he began bugging me to come out to bible talk. Since my hatred for all the terrible things that happened in the past was still raging, I ignored him. After I couldn’t take one more annoying text message, I finally agreed.

I stayed for exactly 15 minutes and bolted. I wasn’t ready to see him but he was so different. So nice and loving and genuinely wanted to be my friend – no gimmicks. I still continued to ignore his requests for coming back to bible talk even though something was eating me inside knowing that I did need Jesus but was too prideful to admit it.

So one night on my friends 21st birthday, I hit rock bottom. I was in a terrible long distance relationship with the world’s worst boyfriend and was at a club surrounded by people who only came for the free booze. At that moment, I was a mess. I left the club and practically ran to my car in tears and called the only person I knew would answer, my husband.

At 1 a.m., he showed up at the top of a parking lot to let me cry out my mistakes and share the Gospel of Jesus. For many of you, all of this may seem crazy. But when you’ve literally lost your identity, hearing that Jesus loves your and wants to give you a new life means everything.

From that night, I started attending bible talk regularly and made friends with several of the girls attending. We started studying the bible and my life radically began to change. I started repairing broken relationships within my own family, with my parents and sister, and even starting fixing things with my husband’s family.

In August 2015 we started dating for the final time with a whole new ideal. Our relationship would glorify God at every outlet and we would not allow ourselves to be the same people we were in the past. In November, I was officially baptized and I haven’t looked back.

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From that huge decision to follow Jesus, my life has been turned upside down. Miracles upon miracles have been poured out because I chose to not be of this world. Here are just a few:

  • My parents began repairing their marriage that was on the verge of divorce.
    • They’re now leading the married ministry at their church!
  • My father stopped drinking after years of alcoholism and we actually have a relationship!
    • Most days I can’t even recognize the old scary man he used to be. Through endless prayer from our family, God performed this miracle and gave him a new life.
  • My husband and I are happily married and always striving to put God first.
  • My sister-in-law and her husband gave their lives to Christ.
    • This was the sister I almost fist fought and God gave me the opportunity to share my life and his word to bring her home to his Kingdom.

I could go on and on about the miracles God has performed in my life since I chose to follow him. If you’re wondering if there is more to this life than devastation and heart ache, Jesus is the answer. He died a perfect man in hopes that YOU would find your way home.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I encourage you to open your bible and see what God has in store for you.

Wonderful World of Bree

Shark Tank Tours at the Golden Nugget

Today I experienced one of the coolest tours I’ve been on in Vegas. The Golden Nugget Las Vegas is home to at 200,000 gallon shark tank aquarium that holds six species of sharks.

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We started our tour outside to see the full capacity of the tank. Inside the aquarium, a 30 ft. slide runs from the third story to the swimming pool below.

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We then moved upstairs to the second story of their tank complex. The large room was located directly above the aquarium and allowed us to see the all of the sharks and fish inside.

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Feeding Time

According to our tour guide, the sharks feed three times a week – Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 2 p.m. The sharks are given a variety of fish that allow them to receive all of the same nutrients they find in the wild.

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Biologist’s Mesh Metal Coat

We were even able to try on their underwater gear! The marine biologists wear several layers including a metal mesh that protects them in case the sharks bite (which is extremely rare). The sharks are fed so well, they aren’t hungry enough to seek more food.

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Megalodon Tooth

Towards the end of the tour, we were able to see a Megalodon tooth, a Great White tooth and a brown shark jaw. Apparently, sharks constantly regrow teeth so they are always losing their font most fangs.

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Great White Tooth

The property offers a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium with a licensed marine biologist every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. for $40 per person. You can book one here!

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Brown Shark Jaw