If you had told me at the beginning of this year I would be writing a post like this about my pregnancy (!!) in 2021, I probably would've laughed! But we are really excited to meet our little girl Stella in November. Approximately on the 15th! Even before I ever thought I would be pregnant, I always enjoyed reading blogger's trimester updates, I have no idea why they peaked my interest as a non-pregnant person but I thought I would share what the past few months have been like for me in case anyone is curious or expecting to be pregnant in the future. :)
I found out I was pregnant on March 15th at exactly 5 weeks. But for 4 days before that I already suspected. I just felt 100% different. Around the time I was supposed to start my period I spotted super light. Big red flag. Every day after that I felt more strange, dizzy, and nauseous. I also felt tweaks and pulls in my lower abdomen I had never experienced before. The day before I took the test the smell of my freshly washed hair made me gag. To me it smelled like cigarette smoke. After Bjorn went to work on the 15th I went to Target and bought a pregnancy test and Cheez-Its (nausea lol). I couldn't wait and took the test in the Target bathroom. It didn't take more than a couple seconds for the plus sign to pop up. I hadn't cried in a Target since I worked there as a cashier in high school, but I definitely did that day.
I really wanted to tell Bjorn in person (this was going to be a bit of a shock) so I had to go through out the day texting him like I didn't know I was growing us a little human. And as it would turn out, a big random wind storm would come through Southern California that day making it impossible for Bjorn to leave the ship he was working on that day out at sea. He ended up having to sleep on the ship overnight until the winds/waves died down. This had never happened before! I had to keep this huge secret until the next afternoon. Of course being the emotional wreck I was I made the idea of telling him way worse in my head than it actually was. He was definitely shocked, but so happy!
Weeks 5 & 6 were the hardest so far. It felt like you mixed beer, wine, and tequila the night before. I was nauseous all day, dizzy, emotional, tired, so sensitive to smells, and had strong food aversions to everything except crackers. It really affected my ability to go about my normal routine. I am super lucky I never threw up though, and once I got to the end of week 6 I was feeling more like myself again. I felt my worst when I had an empty stomach or drank liquids on an empty stomach, so I always tried to eat a handful of crackers right when I woke up and every hour or so throughout the day which really helped. My thoughts go out to women who suffer a lot worse sickness through out the first trimester, and even their entire pregnancy! Women are amazing.
I went to my first doctors appointment a couple days into the 6th week. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but lets just say the baby is tiny so they can't do an ultrasound over your belly. I'll leave it at that. Already at 6 weeks we could see and hear the heartbeat! It was such a relief. I assumed Bjorn couldn't come to the appointment due to Covid so I went alone, but my doctor is great and allows one support person during appointments so he has been since.
First and second trimester appointments are a month apart, so the next appointment at 10 weeks we actually had the option to do a blood test that would let us know the gender as well as test for any genetic abnormalities. I had no idea this was a thing! I assumed we would have to wait to know the gender when it was visible on the ultrasound. We decided to do it and got results just a couple days later. We wanted to do a little gender reveal with my family so my brother actually helped us out by reviewing the results and ordering the supplies so it would be a surprise to Bjorn and myself. We tried to do something a little unique so my husband had the fun idea of doing a burnout with his car (when the back wheels spin and make smoke without the car actually moving). It worked perfect, and I was so shocked and happy to see pink powder shoot up. I was so certain baby was a boy! All the other genetic tests came back negative, which was also happy news.
One thing that has surprised me during the first trimester was how consuming the thought of miscarriage was to me, and how this made it difficult to bond and plan for baby. I kept putting off sharing with family and friends because I was worried I would jinx it in someway. One website that helped ease my worry was a miscarriage calculator. You put in your info and it shows you for every day of your pregnancy the odds of miscarriage, along with odds of not having a miscarriage, which is a reassuring number. I checked it almost every day.
There have also been some pleasant side effects of pregnancy too (aside of course from the whole getting a baby part lol). I used to suffer 2-3 migraines a month, but since getting pregnant I have not had one. I am also so much less anxious and more go with the flow, happy, and slower to be annoyed/angry. Honestly not sure if this is a side effect of pregnancy or not taking birth control anymore for the first time in 10 years but I'm happy with it either way.
And that pretty much brings us to today in the second trimester! Thanks for coming along. :)
In honor of my husband rocking my birthday gift this year with a pre-loved Louis Vuitton wallet, I thought I would share some knowledge I've come across over time for authenticating LV wallets. Keep scrolling for some authentication tips!
Designer goods are made of high quality materials, and many LV wallets are made of leather. If the wallet is made of leather, the material should feel sturdy and not slippery. It should not smell like plastic. When you bend the wallet (gently!) it shouldn't wrinkle up but keep its shape.
Stamped Date Code
Since the 80s Louis Vuitton has included a stamped date code on their products that indicates the factory location as well as the date it was created. Mine was inside a slot up near the stitching. LV products can be produced in a number of countries, including France, USA, Spain, and Italy. It is not a unique serial number and its possible it has rubbed off over time so just because your item doesn't have one doesn't mean its fake. However, its good to check if you can find it as well as see that the factory matches with the country of production. (IE your product says made in France but the code has an Italian factory) I found a really comprehensive list of factory codes you can check out - HERE
Like pretty much all designer items, stitching should be straight and consistent. There should be no raw edges. One way to check stitching is to look for stitching ends. If the stitching back tracks over itself that is usually a sign of low quality stitching.
When inspecting the "Louis Vuitton made in ..." stamp, check whether the stamping is consistent. A common give away of a counterfeit is that the stamp was not weighted evenly so some ink areas may be more thick than others. Authentic LV items will have an evenly weighted stamp.
Also, on the "made in" stamp, make sure the O's are round like a circle, not like a "0". As well, the trademark R in the circle should not be touching the circle it is in anywhere.
If you have the traditional monogram pattern, it will be made up of the LV symbol along with a few other shapes. Spend some time to compare the same shapes against each other to make sure they are perfectly the same. You will see in counterfeit items that the same shapes will come in different shapes or show inconsistencies.
MYTH - Cut Off Monogram
One thing I had always thought to be true about LV monogram items is that they will never cut over an LV or other shape of the pattern. Turns out that is not true! Many products purchased directly from LV have shown that products can in fact be cut through the pattern. So this doesn't necessarily mean an item is fake!
If you are also looking for a secondhand LV wallet, I have rounded up some pieces from Vestiaire Collective below. Rest assured, they are authenticating through the site so you can have a lot of confidence they are authentic!
I'd been on the hunt for the past month to find a pair of white Golden Goose sneakers, since I loved my silver Superstars so much. Golden Goose sneakers are in demand and have high resell value, so I was excited to find this pair of gently used GG Starter sneakers for $200 on Poshmark. I love them! They are on the heavier side and well made, but also comfy to walk in. Plus I like that the Starter sneaker isn't distressed and is a little more versatile. I did a little digging and found a number of similar secondhand Starter sneakers, some even cheaper than what I paid! Check them out below!
I also found a couple white perforated sneaker dupes from Nasty Gal that are on sale below!
I was recently looking through Golden Goose sneakers on Nordstrom's website when I noticed something...kid's GG shoes are almost 50% cheaper than adult's GG shoes!
Wouldn't it be nice to pay the cheaper kid's prices? Absolutely, and you can! Women's shoe sizes 5-8.5 actually overlap with kid's shoe sizes. See a little chart I created below to find your equivalent kid's shoe size.
Women's To Kid's Shoe Size Chart
Something to keep in mind and help save some money when splurging on shoes! The Golden Goose sneakers I currently own are an adult size, but since I am looking for another pair I have started searching for kids sizes also.
I recently saw Vestiaire Collection had some great prices on secondhand Golden Goose sneakers so I have rounded some up on sale under $100 below:
Plus here are some cute dupes that give off the same vibe:
I would definitely not consider myself a real estate expert (I do want to learn and invest more) but we have bought two homes so I have become more familiar with the process. Right now, especially in our area, homes are in huge demand because of low interest rates + pandemic fears. If you are looking to buy a home, I wanted to share a few money saving tips we have used in the past when purchasing. Maybe there are a couple that can help you out!
Real Estate Rewards Programs
We used a real estate rewards program through our bank, and it looks like other banks and some real estate companies have similar options as well. Essentially how it works is you are recommended one or two real estate agents when purchasing a home. When you go with one of these recommended real estate agents, after closing you get a nice check in the mail (we got $1500!) How it works is, there is a lot of competition for real estate agents. Real estate agents give up part of their commission through this program in order to be referred and get your business, and you + the bank get to cash in on that.
*Please listen to the advice of professionals, I am just sharing our experiences below*
On our first home purchase, we were sooo disappointed with our home inspection. He literally only flipped light switches and faucets. We literally could have done all this ourselves very easily! He did not go under the house or into the crawl spaces, which were our main concerns and something we couldn't do on our own. This costed a couple hundred bucks! On our second home we opted to not do a traditional home inspection (since we were remodeling everything anyway) and chose to do a roof and foundation inspection. If you do go with a traditional home inspection, I recommend talking with the inspector before hand to ensure they will be able to inspect all areas you are concerned about, as well as shopping around for cheaper prices.
For our second home, we had in our contract that the seller would purchase us a 1 year home warranty. This covers items that are not visible through an inspection and some appliances. Within a couple months the water heater died, and we called up the home warranty company. Turns out there is fine print about "codes" so we would have to pay out of pocket $800 for a new water heater WITH the warranty. We ended up buying a bigger, more efficient water heater for the same price and just installed it ourselves. For most services through the home warranty we had to pay out of pocket for something. Moral of this story, in the future I would ask for more credits at closing instead of a home warranty.
I think when most people consider a mortgage, they often look at 30 year loans. According to a lot of sources, most homebuyers do a 30 year mortgage. Especially for new home buyers, these can be more accessible. Your monthly payments are lower and you generally do not have to bring the traditional 20% down payment. For our first home, we did a 30 year loan but we told ourselves we would pay extra every month to save on interest. How many times did we actually pay extra money on our mortgage? ONCE. For our second home we did the math and discovered we would save $130,000 in interest by paying more monthly with a 15 year loan vs paying over an extra 15 years during a 30 year loan. Thats a G Wagon! We pay about $500 more every month, but in the long run save so much money in interest. Not only that, but 15 year loans have lower interest rates, and you also don't have to pay a PMI (an additional mortgage insurance cost you have to pay if you don't put down 20%) Considering how long you plan to live in the home and what you can pay every month, you may want to review different loan types.
Closing Costs + Credits
There is so much negotiating that goes into each escrow. If there is an issue that needs to be fixed with the house or the inspection turns up something unexpected, you can ask for the seller to either fix these issues or offer closing credits. Essentially they are giving up part of their cut of the house sale back to you to help with closing costs. When we sold our house, there were a few small fixes that showed up (like cracks in the pool) and the buyer requested a credit, which we were able to negotiate with them about. This way we are "crediting" some money from the sale back to them so they have to bring less closing costs. Closing costs cover a lot of things from the escrow company to title transfer and home insurance. Its generally a percentage of the home sale price. These credits help you pay less of this. Depending on the market and how long the house has sat, you can also request the seller pay all closing cost ( which are generally paid mostly by the buyer). Right now the market is a sellers market and homes are selling very quickly so closings costs and credits may be harder to come by.
If you are looking to purchase a home I hope a few of these tips were helpful for you! If you have your own tips for saving money buying a home, let me know down below.
Tips for saving money *selling a home* coming soon!
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
Join the fancy free journey as we seek the
finer things in life, sans millions.
- Marie Claire, September 2016