Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Behind every pregnant woman...

Behind every weird, uncooperative, awkward pregnant lady, is the man she loves rolling his eyes... 
Outtakes from last week (wk 18)
In my defense, I was using him to try and fix the photo lighting issues (which are still a work in progress)... I have no excuse for my picture other than it was taking a long time and even at my skinnest, I know how to push out my stomach like redneck at a BBQ... 

WE FIND OUT IF ITS A BOY OR A GIRL IN EXACTLY ONE WEEK!!! I still have my gut-guess, but it will be fun to know for sure.

I did pick up a VERY cool project at a garage sale this past weekend and should start working on it soon... I cant wait to share!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bump Update: Week 18

Whoo-hoo!! We've hit the 4.5 month mark!!

I just had another appointment last week and apparently everything is looking good! So far in the pregnancy, I've lost 5lbs (?!) but between not working out nearly as much as I used to and the fact that my appetite is slowly coming back, they said I should start putting on a little more as time goes on.  (My mom only put on 18lbs with me and 16lbs with my brother, so I'm not too worried.)

Here's this week's picture.  (sorry about the quality. The only blank wall we have in the house has awful natural light and if we shoot with a flash I have a pretty bad shadow... We're still working on it)

The SUPER exciting news is that we find out the sex on April 30th!... that's less than 2 WEEKS AWAY!!  I have a "feeling" to what it is, but I know the moment I say it out loud or buy something blue/pink its going to be the exact opposite.  I promise to let you guys know if I'm right or wrong though... no lies.

Other than that... hmmm... any other updates?  Well, not really... oh other than my cousin and his wife are pregnant too!! And guess when they are due? 5 DAYS AFTER ME!!! How crazy is that?!  Fertile little family over here.

I know this blog is mostly meant for home improvement, and TRUST ME, there will be plenty of the coming your way, but I also plan on writing a bit about my preggo-cy too.  I don't want to over share (who am I kidding, my life is an open book) but I thought I might reach out to you guys to see what YOU would be interested in hearing about since Chris and I are taking a "not so traditional" road to this whole thing... Here are some possible topics of interest.  All these are true:
- We are having the baby at a Birthing Center with a nurse midwife... not at a hospital
- I will not be getting an epidural
- We are going to be using cloth diapers
- We are going to be using as many "green" products and toys as possible (reminder: I work in the toy industry so this one is actually kind of interesting knowing what I know)
- Changes to my diet while pregnant and beyond (Chris and future baby too)
- Decisions regarding vaccinations

I still plan on doing MANY post about the nursery, stuff we find on Craigslist/at garage sales, and all the while prepping for our bathroom remodel.   The main reason I am choosing to share what we are doing with our pregnancy and birth is simply to show that there are other options out there.  By NO MEANS am I one of those people who is going to preach that everything we do it correct, right, or the only way, and that everyone who chooses else-wise is wrong, but this is simply the decisions that we have made as a family and what is going to work best for us.  Everyone is different and free to make their own decisions but I figure knowing options and doing your own research just might help others make up their mind for what works best for them (as they did for me).

Is there anything specific you guys would like to hear about?  Or have any of you actually GONE through the situations above?  I would love to hear from you!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

10 Tips for selling your stuff on Craigslist... FAST!!!

One of the things I love most about this blog (other than showing off pictures of my good looking husband and asking advice for why I'm crying over Rocky Road ice cream) is interacting with new people.

Recently, a very kind reader from Oregon wrote me asking for help on a piece of furniture she was selling on Craigslist.  She had fallen on some hard times and was looking to sell a piece bought at a garage sale in hopes of redoing, but ran out of time.  The ad had been up for several weeks but she hadn't received any inquiries back. She asked if I could take a look at the ad and offer any advise I thought would help sell it... Oh Sandy from Oregon, I would love to.

Here is the original ad.  I posted additional pictures and copy below.
"Beautiful little desk in need of some love. I've hung on to this for so many years and always wanted to restore it. Unfortunately I won't be able to do that. As you can see from the picture it needs repairs, but it is extremely sturdy, not a bit wobbly.
It measures 38" wide, 41" tall, when the front is up it is 17 1/2" deep and when the front is down it is 31" deep.
Two drawers can be locked and the front can be locked. I do not have a key, but the local locksmith says I can get one.
I'm moving and can't take all my things with me. I'm asking $100 for the desk.
Cash Only Please"

 Looking at it from a buyer's perspective, I'll admit it was a cute piece, but $100 cute? I'm not so sure.  And from the ad, we now know the following:
- It needs love, repairs, and has been sitting around for "many years" (read: lots of work)
- Its missing pieces (ie. the key) and I would have to pay even MORE to a locksmith to get it working... ($100 PLUS more money? its coming off as a money pit)
- The buyer is moving and is desperate to get rid of it (maybe I'll wait a couple weeks and see if she lowers the price)

Not saying that the piece is unsellable by ANY means, the copy and pitch of it just needed a little work.  Here are the tips I offered:

Tip #1: List it under "Antiques" AND "furniture by owner"... double the eyes for people to see... (if you ARE moving, maybe even listing it under "Garage/moving sales")

Tip #2: Post more than one picture of the piece from multiple angles.  (She already did a great job on this one).  Try to highlight the best details (I would have done an upclose picture of the scrolly legs... they're so pretty!)

Tip #3:  Take out the part about it needing TLC (people can see that from the pictures).  You dont want to admit more than you need to about a piece needing cosmetic help.  Let the pictures speak for themselves unless its something dire (ie. missing screws to keep it stable or a piece thats about to fall off).

Tip #4:  List only positive qualities about the piece and give someone the idea to envision it as something else (ie. I would explain that this desk would look just like an $800 Pottery Barn one if painted white! Someone may not want to spend that money on Pottery Barn, but for a $100 and a coat of paint, they could buy yours!)

Tip #5:  I would leave out the part about they key.  On old pieces, I think its assumed that you wouldnt have it and you don't want to call attention to the fact that it's missing something (People can use that as an excuse to talk you down on price or walk away from it all together).  If they REALLY want a key, they'll ask you in an e-mail.

Tip #6: Call to attention all its great features... solid wood, curved legs, dovetail bracketing (if it has it), does it have a stamp or indentation of who/where it was made?  The more ways you can prove that it's old and rare, the more people will be willing to spend on it.

Tip #7:  Leave out personal detail or any signs of attachment you may have to what you're selling.  People don't want to think of it as "your" piece, they want to think about what it would be like being "theirs".

Tip #8:  Give the buyer a possible idea of where it could go in their house (ie. Entryway, guest room, office, etc).  A buyer can better envision it in a specific room in their house if you give them some helpful suggestions.

Tip #9: (You don't HAVE to do this, but it always helps me) - Putting "First come, first serve" at the end of your ad gives the idea that its going to sell quick and people better not hesitate.  Best to give a buyer a sense of urgency even though you maybe nervous no one will ever contact you or that it might not sell.  Fake it 'til you make it!

Tip #10:  I always make sure and put keywords at the bottom of my ads.  You never know what someone might be searching for (my favorites are "unique" and "solid wood" if I'm looking for a possible fix up piece).  Feel free to add as many as you think apply to your piece.  You don't necessarily have to work it in to the description of the item; keywords work just as well.

After reviewing my tips, I went ahead an rewrote Sandy's ad to see if I could jazz it up a little:

"Solid Wood Antique Letter Desk

Stunning antique writers desk with tons of character.  It has great potential to be restored to its former glory or give a coat of white paint to look like an $800 piece out a Pottery Barn catalog.  Great lines with curved feet detail really show off its beauty.
It measures 38" wide, 41" tall, when the front is up it is 17 1/2" deep and when the front is down it is 31" deep.
The piece is solid wood, very sturdy, and would look great in any entryway or office space.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you would like to come by and see it. First come, first serve. $100

Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Shabby Chic, Unique, vintage, extreme, TLC, love"

What do you guys think?  Any better?  Do you guys have any tips you would add to get a piece sold fast?  I would love to hear from you!

P.S- I did this post with Sandy's permission.  Thanks again Sandy!

UPDATE:  Sandy wrote me back a few weeks later to tell me her piece sold for the FULL ASKING PRICE after she made the adjustments I suggested!!  Congrats!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Belly update: Week 16

I put these pictures up on my personal Facebook but thought you guys might want to see them as well.

I'm sure all of your are well familiar with all the adorable baby bump week by week pictures on Pinterest (if you're not, I suggest you take a look... they're freakishly cute and somehow all look like they were taken by professionals) so I thought I would start keeping track of my own progress (read: amateur).

If you missed earlier weeks, I've just decided to list them right below the newest picture.  That way we can really see me poppin'.  It starts at week 12 and I decided not to do any before then, because honestly, you can't tell.

So without further adieu,  here's week 16.

So let's see here... any 16 week updates? ummm

I think I strained my abs sneezing yesterday... that's exciting pathetic different.  I'm still doing yoga and taking the dogs on really long walks but I heard I may have to give up yoga (its just the basic one at my gym...not special prenatal yoga or anything).  I can't do upward facing dog, anything that has to do with my abs (isnt that everything?), and even avoid corpse pose... Honestly, I can't even do the position which just requires me to do nothing except lay on my back?!  (Something about my uterus interfering with blood flow...)

Speaking of laying on my back, sleep is getting more difficult.  I'm used to sleeping like a starfish with one hand covering Chris's face and one leg gently pushing him off the bed (what can I say, I'm a catch) but now I'm restricted to only sleeping on my side (everything I read says to sleep on your left side) which naturally makes me either want to ONLY sleep on my back, or get a little cheat sleep in on my right side.  Does anyone know if those full body pillows help?

Only a month away from finding out the sex!! Whoo-hoo!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Let the hoarding, er, I mean "nesting" begin

I love how prepping for a baby totally over shadows the fact that someone can be a hoarder, but it instantly turns into "nesting" as soon as a baby is involved.

How long have I been putting stuff away and hiding little things in the closets of our house?... umm well, I started my job as a toy sales rep in 2009... so... yea, about 2009.

But seriously, can you blame me?  If you were given a free sample of a $100 baby carrier would you not hoard it away too? It's only logical...  I'm saving money in the long end... or at least that's what I keep telling myself.... and Chris. Seriously, "bravo" to that guy for continuing to date a girl (back in '09) who would bring baby bouncers back to her apartment for "someday down the line".  Why Chris didn't go running and screaming for the hills I will never know.  I'm going to say he stuck around for my whit and the charm... yea... let's run with that.

Anyway, I am officially 4 months (16 weeks) along as of this past Monday (P.S- I plan to post a bump picture soon but Chris and I got into a little tiff over taking a picture, the best lighting, which wall to take it on, and the fact that the Texas Rangers season opener was on TV and not watching it in real time is Chris's version of actual torture.  Fingers crossed, we will get a pic today).

So out of the 9 months of pregnancy, I have 4 down and 5 to go.  Chris sees this as plenty of time.  Break out the lounge chairs and ice tea, we have a while to wait... Me on the other hand? I could be confused as one of those guys from Doomsday Preppers.  I seriously almost order a 24pk of cloth diapers online yesterday because I was worried about back-orders in the colors I wanted.  Heaven forbid Diapers.com be out of the grasshopper green BumGenius 4.0.. my world would end. (sarcasm). (Well, sarcastic seriousness. It's truly the perfect color green.)

Enter me, sitting on the couch after work, browsing craigslist like a good little thrifty hoarder nester.  First thing I find? This adorable Pottery Barn Kids white sleigh crib.
Adorable, no? I'm kinda leaning more towards white since it can go girl or boy (man it up with some khaki or grey) but for $450, I dont really think its in the budget right now... (thanks a lot KITCHEN remodel!)

But wait, what's this? On the very. next. ad.?
Ummm, yea, pretty darn close to the EXACT same sleigh crib as the Pottery Barn one... minus $250 bucks.  True, Mansfield is about 45 minutes away from where I live, but maybe they would be willing to work on the price?

Four e-mails and a 45 minute drive later, this crib is now ours to the tune of $125!!!!!  Seeing now it looks so close to the PB crib, I figured I saved us $325... or, if you want to get technical, I saved $574 verses a brand new $699 Pottery Barn crib.

Yes, I know we still have 5 months... but why not be prepared?!  Especially if its something as freakishly cute as that crib?!!

To all my mothers out there, is there anything you bought WAY in advance? Or would recommend that I look in to "just in case".  As always, I would love your feedback!!