March 22, 2011

Handmade French Bag*

How adorable is this bag??


I found this while browsing through Etsy today [that site is so dang addicting] and I've sort of decided that I love this bag. She has so many adorable designs. It's just too much! I want!

Unfortunately, the shop owner is in Europe. And it's $20 to ship. Yikes!

I'm going to sit on this one for a while but this is just so beautiful and fun. This might have to be my "must have" summer bag!

The A-Z's of Me*

I jacked this from Lauren over at Not Just An Army Wife! This is way better than actually doing work at the job.

A. Age: 30.

B. Bed size: King! And there are definitely days it does not feel large enough. We can think the puppies for that one.

C. Chore you dislike: Putting away laundry. I have no problems getting it in & out of the waster/dryer. But typically, once its in the basket that's where it stays.

D. Dogs: 3. Marley, Daisy & Cooper. The loves of our lives!

E. Essential start to your day: A really good cup of coffee.

F. Favorite color: Yellow & Pink. I can't pick just one!

G. Gold or silver: Silver

H. Height: 5' 6 1/2” - can't forget that half!

I. Instruments you play(ed): I can dabble on the piano. If I actually took the time to practice again [or you know, actually had a piano in my home] I am pretty good. I own a guitar. I've never played it. But it's purple & was a gift for my grad school graduation, so I won't get rid of it. One of these days I will learn!

J. Job title: In my every day life: wife, sister, friend, mom to the furkids, photographer, artist. In my professional life: communications specialist. Snooze.

K. Kids: Been working on/struggling with this for 3 years now. Hopefully soon!

L. Live: North Carolina

M. Mom’s name: Karol

N. Nicknames: Brit. Or Sunshine by my high school friends :)

O. Overnight hospital stays: I had my appendix taken out when I was in the fourth grade. On Christmas Eve none the less! And then one year ago [almost to the day] I had a breast reduction that required an overnight stay. That's it for me!

P. Pet peeves: Oh lordy, there are too many to list.

Q. Quote from a movie: "Shock me shock me shock me with that deviant behavior!"

S. Siblings: One younger brother and two younger sisters!

T. Time you wake up: 630/700-ish

U. Underwear: What about it? I wear it.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Carrots.

W. What makes you run late: Typically I'm pretty on time. In fact, I'm usually early for everything. But facebook is the devil. And if I get on my computer before I have to somewhere, I'll probably be a few minutes behind.

X. X-rays you’ve had: I played sports growing up, so I've had just about every part of my body x-rayed at some point or another!

Y. Yummy food you make: Everything I make is yummy :) Banana bread has been a hit lately, and I made this really GOOD pesto lasagna a couple of weeks ago. Delish!

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Giraffes!!!

March 21, 2011

Photo Project -- 4 & 5/52*

Slowly but surely, I am getting caught up on this! Here are two more photos from this past week!


I caught our adorable kitty taking a nap on our new patio chairs the other day. Luckily she let me get pretty close with the camera. She looks so cute and sweet when she sleeps! Unfortunately she's the devil cat. 



We had our first tulip of the year make an appearance today! I LOVE tulips, and we planted a ton last year. These ones are my favorite because of their beautiful color!

Clomid Confusion*

This month cannot go any slower.

As far as I know, we are in the 2ww, but I'm not totally 100% positive on that one. I've been doing OPK's for the past week and my frustration keeps rising. I THINK there was some change or maybe an indication of an LH surge on cd10 ... TEN! That's so early!

But I'm not totally positive if that was actually it.

So I have no idea what's going on.

I switched up the OPK's for the week [hello, smiley face!] so we will see if anything pops up in the coming days. I've heard so many mixed reactions to OPK's during a clomid cycle -- that they work, that they don't work, etc -- so who freaking knows. Either way, it's annoying.

In other news, my darling husband took our deck apart this weekend so that we could build a patio instead. And SURPRISE -- we found SO. MUCH. DAMAGE. Rotting wood, water damage, everything that you can think of on that side of the house. M has a phone appointment with our insurance company to see what they will or won't cover. It's only on the one side of the house, and the reason is because they don't put GUTTERS on the homes here. So for years, all the water from rain was coming off the roof and just sitting on the deck, seeping into the wood underneath the house. We put gutters on last year, but obviously it was too late. Luckily the damage is only on one side.

We're also going to get a siding quote, since so much of the siding is rotten underneath where the deck was. So even if fixing the water damaged wood wasn't going to be expensive, then the siding will be. We're kind of at the point where we are going to have to take out a loan regardless, so we might take out a little extra and do some other much needed upgrades [like the windows].

Who knows.

So that's that!

With that said, this was the closing song from last night's episode of Big Love. I LOVED that show the entire time it was on & am so sad to see it go. I also love Natalie Maines & love this song. Love all around! I will definitely be purchasing this on iTunes tonight! Enjoy!

March 20, 2011

Photography Business ReBranding

Hello! This is just a quick little plug!

A couple of years ago I started taking photos for friends. That passion turned into a small business & now I do pretty ok for myself with my side job!

But, I feel like I want to take it to the next level. So, to better brand myself & my business, I'm starting over. New name, new site, everything. This way I can market myself both personally & professionally all under the same umbrella.

So please, go here & click that wonderful 'like' button!

And share with all your friends!

Thanks!!!

March 16, 2011

Clomid Thus Far*

I officially finished taking my clomid doses the other night. So now we are in the "do what you gotta do!" phase, quickly followed by the dreaded two week wait. I started peeing on some OPK's today, in hopes that the surge comes at a normal time and that things go smoothly the rest of the month.

I swear, normal months FLY by. Not this one. I'm only CD 9?? REALLY??

Clomid & I haven't been getting along very well, either. The hot flashes are a bitch and even though I'm no longer taking the pills, they still pop up from time to time. Also, I am SO tired. I don't know if the fatigue is from the pills, or everything else in my life, but I can't seem to shake this exhuasted feeling.

The other totally random side effect has been with my anxiety. I have incredibly horrible anxiety problems, which are regulated with my prozac. However, this week all bets have been off & I feel like I either need to bang my head against a wall or burst into tears because the tightness in my chest is ridiculous. Again, I don't know if that particular symptom is being caused by other shit in my life, or if it's a side effect. Either way, it's annoying.

So that's that. I'm just trudging along, hoping that things work out the way that they are supposed to. It's been a little discouraging because I know so many women where Clomid didn't do ANYTHING for them. But of course, the women who have had success don't hang around the same groups I do :) I know there are success stories out there. It's just easier to focus on the negative.

Photo Project -- 2 & 3/52*

Ok, so I'm a slacker and started this awesome photo project back in February and then never followed through.

So, now I'm playing catch up. Luckily, I'm only a few weeks behind, and weeks are easier to catch up on than days! So I will make sure that by the end of the week, I am completely caught up!

Promise!

But for now, here are photos #2 & #3 in the 52 Week Photo Project!

The Bradford Pear trees in our front yard are blooming like crazy. Spring has definitely sprung at our house. Unfortunately, these trees stink to high heaven & when the pollen starts floating away, it always manages to coat my car [and everybody else's] a lovely shade of yellow. It's gross.

However, they do look pretty!


This little gem below was a birthday gift from my Dad in January. He bought me it's larger, meaner brother for Christmas & I use them both all the time. These things have pretty much gotten rid of any reason to use a regular pot or pan.

I seriously cook EVERYTHING in these.

They are my new best friends.


Only a few more photos to go! :)

March 15, 2011

Banana Bread Yumminess*

I got this recipe courtesy of one of my best friends, Tucker [you can read her take on it here] and as a banana bread fan, but not really someone who enjoys baking, I thought I would try it out since she recommended it so.

Totally worth it, people.

So much, in fact, I've made it twice in the past two weeks. And both times, it doesn't last around our house for longer than a couple of days. It's ridiculously yummy. It's moist & chunky & sweet. Basically, just all around DELISH!

So, make it. And enjoy!

Flour's Bakery Banana Bread




Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped [I hate walnuts, so ommited this part, & it was still so tasty]

Directions:
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

March 14, 2011

Hope*

I have so much to write about this past weekend & photos galore to share ... and I promise, I'm working on getting that up [hopefully later tonight!]

But, I found this at Target today, and I thought it was so perfect for my situation & for everyone else who is TTC. It was the last one [on sale! whoop!] so I snagged it, and will wear it proudly.


HOPE

March 11, 2011

Quick Updates Are Awesome*

Friday! I love Fridays.

Just wanted to get that out there.

Really though, I just wanted to throw out a quick update. Things are exciting around here these days, and I've been doing some behind the scenes stuff for my photography business. I am getting ready to launch a new site, change the name of my business, and really try to grow my own brand. I'm building my own site this time around [well, with a blogger template -- but trying not to purchase one and just do my own!] and am very much looking forward to getting that finished in the coming weeks.

I also am considering some other business ventures, that I hope will be worthy of any sort of success! I really can't wait to share the details with everyone.

With that said, I'm heading out of town for the weekend, to see my dear, dear friend Stacy again! Ree Drummond is doing a book signing, and since I pretty much love EVERYTHING that she does [i'm only slightly obsessed] I'm pretty sure meeting her will be the highlight of my year.

For reals.

I might cry. Or pass out. I'm that excited.

Either way, it's going to be spectacular. I bought some super cute new clothes [because Ree totally warrants a new outfit!] and was HAPPY to find out that I've gone down a pant size. All this running is starting to pay off!

Also, day 2 of Clomid is today. So we're officially underway with that!

Sweetness.

So that's that! I PROMISE that I will continue my photo 52 project next week. Holy moley! I fully plan on getting things posted on Sunday night and getting all caught up with that. Talk about an epic failure on my part! One week? Really Brittany? Sheesh.

I hope everybody has a glorious weekend!! Enjoy!

March 5, 2011

My Story As An Egg Donor*

Growing up, children were the FARTHEST thing from my mind. In fact, prior to meeting my husband, I was dead set on never wanting children. I felt like I wouldn't be a good mother & that I was too selfish of a person to raise somebody that would be so dependent on me.

I was never one of those people that had the motherly calling. I just didn't think that kids were for me. Plain & simple.

Obviously, that has all changed now, otherwise I wouldn't be going through whole infertility journey. Meeting my now husband changed my plan. As I got to know him, I thought to myself ok -- I am totally in love with this man. And I could totally see myself having children with him. Sure. Maybe someday we will give it a try!

Before I met my husband, though, I had a chance to do something great for a member of my family. My second year of Graduate School, I received an email from my Aunt. Her & I had always been close growing up and I had always cherished our fun relationship. She had recently gotten married, and was unfortunately struggling to conceive.

She asked me if I would consider being an egg donor for her and her new husband.

She went onto explain to me that this was inevitably their last chance, and that their doctor had recommended using a donor, preferably a family member. Using a family member would be easier, as you already knew their medical history and everything about them. They explained to me that if I said no, they would understand, but I was the only person that they were asking.

My heart, and my head, screamed a thousand times YES without even thinking about it.

This was a decision that I knew I didn't need to bother thinking about. I loved my Aunt, and I loved her husband. I had an opportunity to do something truly amazing for somebody else. To give a gift like this didn't require any thought or questioning on my part. I wanted to do it.

I was living in Colorado at the time, and they were in Seattle, so I did everything remotely. We found a clinic where I could go for all the tests I needed, all the drugs I would be on, and the injections that I would need to take. Looking back now, and knowing what I know now about infertility, I was essentially prepping my body for IVF. Except all I knew was that a couple of times a day I had to give myself some shots and take some medication.

I flew back to Seattle for a week, during which time they would do the retrieval. I went in daily for ultrasounds so that they could monitor my progress and figure out the best day in which to do the procedure. When it finally happened, they retrieved 24 eggs. TWENTY FOUR. At the time, I had no idea what this meant. 18 of those little suckers made it through the whole fertilization process and were good to go.

And some months later, my Aunt gave birth to two BEAUTIFUL twin girls!

The girls are now 5 years old, and growing every day. I'm definitely not one of those people who think "they are mine" ... because they aren't. But I helped, and that makes me feel good! And they are AMAZING little girls. My Aunt and her husband have done so well as raising them, and they are going to be great individuals.

Obviously, going through what we are going through now, it's hard not to think of that time six years ago -- before I knew my husband, before I knew what I wanted -- and not think, what if that was my only chance? Obviously, I have zero regret about the choice that I made. NONE. And if we find ourselves not being able to have children of our own down the road, then at least I know that I did one thing right.

I don't talk about this subject very much, either. It's something that I keep pretty guarded, and unless you are a great friend of mine, it doesn't come up. I'm not even sure if all of my extended family on that side know about this. I THINK they do, but I don't remember who they decided to tell & not to tell. Either way, it's never my news to bring up! And in my close circles, it's sort of a weird topic.

But with all the great contacts I've made through this blog & twitter, I wanted to share. Again, though I'm still so new to this whole process, I can't help but think how things have come full circle for me. It's kind of funny, actually, that I'm in [close to] the same position she was in all those years ago. I never in a million years thought I would be here. None of us do, I imagine. But it is what it is, and I am who I am. But the questions still come up from time to time, & I can't help but wonder. Again, no regrets, and if that's all I can contribute to this world, then I'm OK with that.

Thai Coconut and Shrimp Soup*

Ok, I sort of have a thing for Thai food lately. I don't know what it is, but the tastes are totally appealing to me lately. Plus, the recipes that I have found have been light and easy.

So, when I found this one on Pinterest a couple weeks back, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had to make it! M & I are doing this for dinner tonight, with some jasmine rice on the side & I can't. wait.


Thai Coconut and Shrimp Soup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 stalk lemon grass, minced
(**note, my specialty store was all out of lemon grass today, so I bought the jarred, pre-sliced lemon grass, in the International section of my grocery store. If you can't find either, the zest of one lemon -- not the lemon juice -- will be a good substitute)
2 teaspoons red curry paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 (13.5 ounce) can lite coconut milk
1 can regular coconut milk

1/2 pound fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Directions
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste in the heated oil for 1 minute. Slowly pour the chicken broth over the mixture, stirring continually. Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar; simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp; cook until no longer translucent about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice; season with salt; garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

March 4, 2011

Pregnant Women Are Smug*

Ok I don't REALLY feel that way [all the time, at least] but this has been one of my favorite song/videos since I was introduced to it a while back. I have since become quite the fan of this duo, as they are seriously hilarious. But this song in particular sums up exactly how I have felt this week.

Enjoy.

March 2, 2011

Celebrating & A New Toy*

It is currently 5:35. And I am home from work.

In my sweats, with a glass of wine.

This. Never. Happens.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I got home from work this early. My job is somewhat demanding, and I definitely put in more than the normal 40 hours a week. Some days I don't mind, some days its incredibly daunting. But this week they showed their appreciation and rewarded me with a nice, larger than expected raise.

I know money is one of those taboo topics that you aren't supposed to talk about. But damnit, I'm proud of the fact! I work my ass off for my company, and although it definitely has it's down moments [doesn't every job?], I generally LOVE what I do. I strongly dislike some individuals that have influence over me, but I love every other aspect of what I do, and what my company stands for.

So I'm celebrating. Because fat raises are worth celebrating!!!

Part of my reward to myself was a nice, brand new fancy camera! I love photography so much, and enjoy all of the sessions I do. But my little Canon Rebel just wasn't holding up anymore. I love that camera, and will more than likely keep it around. When I was pregnant, my parents gave it to me as a Christmas gift. It's tradition in our family to give your children a new camera when they are expecting. Unfortunately, mine has yet to see our children, so I feel like I need to keep it around so I can at least use it once for the purpose in which it was intended.

However, for all the rest of my photography goodness, I bought this baby and this lens. It will be here tomorrow and I can't. freaking. wait.

This camera will definitely get some use, and will be put to the the test. Because I have total instant gratification issues, I paid for overnight shipping [I mean, after all of that, what's an extra $25??]. Did I say I can't wait??

Which, speaking of photography, TOTAL FAIL on my part on the whole Project 52 thing. Seriously. I have all these photos that I've taken, but I have yet to actually sit down and edit them. I swear, this weekend, I will catch up.

I promise.