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Rebecca Collected

Second trimester recap

Sunday, December 6, 2020

I'm sure this is the most cliche thing to say and that not a single pregnancy related blog post has ever gone up without the phrase, but where in the world has time gone?? Five seconds ago I was taking a pregnancy test and bricking it, and now we're a week and a half away from the third trimester and I have a room full of baby stuff as a result of religiously scouring Facebook marketplace at all hours of the day. This whole year has been a blur anyway (thanks pandemic) but it goes by so much quicker when you spend practically every free moment working on some spreadsheet or another, watching hypno-birthing videos or sorting the items in the registry we're building for the millionth time. Let's just say that the last three months have been extraordinarily focused and productive.

I consider myself really lucky because aside from only a few symptoms in the first trimester this pregnancy has been really easy so far, and especially in this trimester. I feel like I have maybe even more energy than I normally do? Not sure how that works, but I'll take it. My bump has only recently gotten big enough to be a little annoying while trying to sleep, but for the most part I have found myself forgetting about it entirely. We're reached a milestone however -- I can no longer zip up my winter coat. Walks are going to be a lot chillier from here on out!

In general, things are starting to feel a lot more real though. When you're in the early stages of pregnancy it's so hard to tell what is happening inside you. You can't feel anything, and if you don't have a lot of symptoms it's easy to wonder if everything is going alright or not. Even after the initial scan, when the baby is just a little blob on the screen, it was hard to translate what I could see into the reality of a new human. The 20 week ultrasound definitely make it sink in a lot more though. We saw her opening and closing her mouth,  moving her little tummy up and down for practice breathing and flailing her arms around. It's really amazing how much movement is happening when you can't feel any of it! To top it off, I have an anterior placenta (meaning it's implanted itself on the front side of my uterus, rather than the back side) which adds an extra cushion that prevented me from feeling any kicks until a couple weeks after when most people start feeling kicks. Now I can definitely feel her kicking around in there and my husband has even been able to feel her too. My whole stomach has even visibly moved a few times already! I can only imagine how much stronger it's going to be by the time we're well into the third trimester.

We've sent out (virtual) baby shower invitations, sent out the registry link and we've started putting together the nursery. It's a little surreal that it's only 3 months away, but reality is going to hit really fast. We're excited, nervous, terrified, and happy, all at once. What a ride. Here's to a smooth third trimester!

First trimester recap

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Surprise, internet void, I'm making a baby!

Right the beginning of lockdown my birth control prescription ran out of refills. It was early March when Things were just starting to get crazy, so I really didn't fancy going into my doctor's office if I didn't have to. While I'm sure they would have been able to see me safely, it gave us the perfect little nudge to consider if this was the right time to decide on having kids. I was 31 at the time (happy belated birthday to me) so I knew I needed to start thinking seriously at some point. In the end we decided just to see what happened if we "pulled the goalie." Turns out, about 3 months later, a baby happens!

Without thinking anything of it at the time, I started noticing how much more I was sweating after runs, and how long it was taking me to cool down. I thought it was just something to do with my hydration levels or something like that, but when I think back on it, nothing had really changed there. Then, and maybe this is completely crazy, but ones of my cats started to become obsessed with being near me. Normally he's not that interested in sitting on my lap, but for a few weeks he just wouldn't leave my side. Finally, a good week before I was due to get my really quick regular period, I had some spotting. I never have had spotting that early in my cycle so at that point I started to think something was up. I googled around and learned about implantation bleeding and just knew that was what was happening. Sure enough, four days later, one day after my period was due to start I got a positive pregnancy test result. I still can picture the look on my husband's face when he glanced at the test before he thought it would be showing a result, only to see it say 'Pregnant.' Definitely an amusing memory! 😂

At first I didn't feel too differently than I would have during a normal period. Everything just felt a little more intense. I had cramping for several days, maybe even a week or two, when normally I would have only had cramps for about a day. My boobs were sometimes slightly tender during a normal period, but now they were much more sore, especially on the sides, and for about a week or two. They also tend to get a little bit bigger around my period, but they definitely have grown quite a bit more than normal now. The only things that I didn't normally experience during a period that I definitely experienced during the first few weeks of pregnancy were bloating and constipation. For an avid once-daily pooper, that was quite a shock! 

Luckily I haven't really had any of the stereotypical nausea or morning sickness. Apparently my mom and my husband's mom never had any either, so maybe I just got extraordinarily lucky! I would definitely feel a little weird if I didn't eat with regularity, so I started eating breakfast and having two snacks a day which I never did before, but that kept any strange feelings at bay. I did struggle to stay hydrated at first however because with all the extra eating and the bloating, I kept having this feeling like I was water logged even though I definitely was not. That was very strange and I still don't really know why I felt like that. The closest I've come to nausea or throwing up has been food aversions. I didn't have any problems at all until one day, when going to get the meal prepped lunch from the fridge that I had eaten for two days in a row prior to this day, I suddenly couldn't stand the idea of eating any more of the cabbage soup I had made and normally really like. For awhile thereafter I struggled to eat really spiced things like curries (aka half of my diet usually lol) or anything close to a vegetable. Even my beloved Chipotle order was gross to me -- a real tragedy. 

The only other thing I can think of to note is that from week 6 and onwards for about 3 or 4 weeks I felt a little more tired than normal. Nothing that I noticed when I was working or staying busy, but if I sat down on the couch for long enough I was definitely taking a nap, something I never normally do. I also used it as an excuse to stop exercising, pretty much completely. I was mid couch to 5k program when I found out I was pregnant, so I definitely could have kept that same level of exercise up, but sometimes you just need to give in an rest for 6 weeks instead (apparently).

Now that I'm just on the other side of the first trimester pretty much every symptom I had is gone. I ate broccoli and curry today and didn't hate it. I feel back to my productive self, I'm exercising again, I can drink all the water I should and I don't end up every evening with a super bloated tummy! I definitely got off lucky compared to the average woman's first trimester, but regardless, I'm glad that the small symptoms I had seem to be gone. Now to get used to a growing belly!

What is "old" clothing anymore?

Sunday, July 12, 2020
I watch a lot of videos from various content creators on YouTube. Some fashion specific, some more lifestyle based and many who are focused a lot on sustainability. I've noticed that a lot of them have been referring to clothes as "really old" when in fact they mean no more than 3 or 4, sometimes even one 1 year(s) old. That surprises me.  

Is this concept of "old" clothing being under 5 years old unique to them because they all work in world where by nature anything older than a year is outdated or is that something that most people think these days? I understand that you constantly have to be evolving on social media and looking at what is on topic now in order to stay afloat, but even some of the more sustainably minded content creators refer to their not-so-old-to-me clothes as old, so maybe it's more of a widespread thing? Maybe it's only "old" relative to other content creators' clothing? 

I'm currently wearing my sister's old tank top that is at the very least 14 years old. My underwear is probably at least 10 years old. My shorts are around 5-6 years old. Am I just disgusting? It all still cleans up just fine! Perhaps my family just raised my sister and I in a bit of a stranger way than I realized...  

I worry a lot about shopping at less than sustainable companies because unfortunately we don't have any storefronts here that stock sustainable brands and sometimes you just need to see things in person (or...did before a pandemic I guess). Is shopping at fast fashion houses still "fast" if you end up wearing the pieces for decades at a time? Aside from the obvious ethical problems of these institutions, when does the sustainability of the product in the consumer's wardrobe outweigh the overall sustainability of the corporation? And if we don't believe we can participate in a system without taking on the whole of the ethical responsibility, are we ever really able to consider ourselves as individuals more sustainable while still living in the capitalist society that we do?  

A lot of thoughts for a Sunday morning. Time for some coffee.

.... *queue existential dread stemming from coffee consumption*.

The great boxed vegan mac cook-off

Sunday, July 5, 2020
We've had some extra time on our hands lately (*ahem*) and we're getting reaaaaaaally tired of cooking everyday, so what better time than now to try out the FOUR WHOLE OPTIONS of boxed vegan mac that our grocery store offers? Four. How is this real?

Let's introduce our contenders!

First on the podium is Annie's Organic Vegan Mac with "Creamy Sauce." While she's been around for awhile longer than our other competitors, she doesn't win any points for her marketing. That name could use some work.

Next up, the first from the Modern Table team, good old "Classic Cheddar Style" mac. 

Warming up behind her, we've got her teammate "White Cheddar Style."

And finally, pulling up the rear but still itching to win, the last Modern Table contestant -- "Southwest." Southwest of what, nobody knows.

All four contenders weigh in around 6 ounces so this should be an equal fight. We'll have to take up the issue of this teeny, tiny weight class with the producers. We're not quite sure why they think 6 ounces is enough food for anyone, especially when we're talking mac and cheese, but that's a discussion for another time.

As the contest gets started we notice that all three members of the Modern Table team seem to get really foamy when cooking. In fact, their boxes even warn you of this phenomenon. Strange, but not unmanageable. The lone contender from team Annie's doesn't appear to cook much differently than a "normal" pasta. We're also noticing that all four entrants are reaching the finish line a lot faster than their published race times on the box. There is no way we're cooking these as prescribed or we'll end up with mushy, over-tired pasta. Faster time to finished mac is not a problem for me.

After a quick drain in the colander, we're onto the final stages now. It's time to see how the powder packets stack up with the support of Oatly oat milk and Earth Balance butter.

As the packets of powder are opened, the judges seem to be signaling an initial preference for the smell of the Modern Table competitors. Team Annie seems to have elicited a rather strange reaction from some of the judges -- hopefully her smell isn't too overpowering.

As the mac and cheese comes together, all competitors appear to have a similar consistency. Everyone is creamy, with an even texture. No graininess to be seen. Things are looking promising for all entrants. 

Now for the final taste tests. Let's turn the mic over to our judges.

Annie's - Organic Vegan Mac with "Creamy Sauce" 
While Annie's pulled ahead early because of her more refined cooking style, she fell later in the smell test and ultimately disappointed in the taste test. We were surprised that something with such a strange smell uncooked could lack much of any flavor when fully prepared. We give Annie's a 5/10.

Modern Table - Classic Cheddar Style
Classic Cheddar Style lost some points for it's rather strange cooking technique, but ultimately made a strong showing in terms of flavor and styling. There's no denying the importance of the classic orange mac and cheese for ultimate comfort and satisfaction. 9/10.

Modern Table - White Cheddar Style
While White Cheddar Style had a very similar showing to it's teammate, the white color and slightly less traditional flavor profile lost it a few more points. A solid effort and still satisfies. 8/10.

Modern Table - Southwest
Finally, the last Modern Table entrant made a bigger statement with it's flavor profile, and while we judges appreciated the variety, ultimately we do not believe the consumer would be looking for these flavors when craving the typical boxed mac and cheese. Good for a little fun, but not when you need mac and cheese the most. 7/10.

And there you have it! Modern Table stacks the podium! Better luck next time Annie's -- you might want a new training approach the compete with this new breed of competitor.  

Black Lives Matter.

Thursday, June 18, 2020
In 2014 my entire family and a friend from college drove packed together in a car from Lincoln to Chicago. The Ferguson protests were happening at the time. For the entirety of the 8 hour drive we talked about race.

Our group, comprised of six college-educated, liberal, well-off people, still managed to all have very different perspectives and experiences. Some of us were extremely outspoken and outraged despite having never been directly affected by racism, some were a little more quiet and apolitical but open. Some empathized with both the Black Lives Matter movement and the legal/government workers, excluding the officer that murdered Michael Brown, having had good relationships with the legal system themselves, while others listed off the rules their mothers had for them when they went out in public to avoid being unjustly targeted.

That was six years ago.

Over the last few weeks, we've been having the same conversations again. Our perspectives have all evolved. Everyone is louder now. The emotions more adamant, the ideas more radical. Even those that had previously been hesitant to make blanket statements about the police are starting to see that perhaps the political correctness of a more moderate reprimand directed only the officers and the jurisdictions in question is not enough.

While it's extraordinary frustrating that the same conversations we had years ago are still being held today and little having changed, I am reminded of how important it is to have these conversations frequently, and over time. With people you disagree with. With people that don't necessarily interact with people with different perspectives all that often. With people that live in heavily white, suburban, middle class areas. 

The system will not be fixed as it is today. The system must be overturned, thrown out, remade. 

People, however, aren't like that. They have to be challenged, made to see different perspectives, and made to feel and know the effects of systematic, institutionalized racism that they themselves don't experience. They need to finally see that the system of oppression does in fact exist. They need to develop empathy. Doing so happens over time and with great, persistent effort.

We all have internalized racism, no matter our backgrounds. Let's all begin and continue to do the work to unlearn and become true anti-racists. We have such a very long way to go together.

Don't forget to check out the Libby, Overdrive and Hoopla apps through your local library to see if you can checkout a copy of the many great books about race that all seem to be sold out right now!

My favorites from the coronavirus internet landscape

Friday, May 22, 2020

Free barre (and HIIT, yoga, meditation, etc) classes daily on Instagram Live. Bonus: they post a selection of the weekly classes on IGTV as well so you can go back and do them again! I love Rod's barre classes.

@carolinehirons's skincare IG lives (or on YouTube if you prefer)
If you don't know Caroline Hirons yet and you like skincare, prepare yourself. So much knowledge. She's been doing daily lives for several of the weeks we've been in lockdown, and they're loosely themed but let's be real, it rarely stays on track. 

This photographer in Provence, France created one photo for each of the 60 days they were in lockdown. My favorites are day 21, 25, 40 and 55.

I love dance music and they've been organizing a lot of weekend livestreams that last all weekend long.

Not a coronavirus phenomenon per se but they've featured heavily in our quarantine. 

I love these two content creators, and their weekly chats are so fun to listen to each week. Funny, relaxing, like hanging out with two friends. They switch accounts each week, and have recently started saving them to their IGTV afterwards.

Slightly crazier, really chill. Somehow it's even better now that everyone's stuck at home?

The other site going around the internet wasn't working for me, but this one did! Made for a really fun Friday evening Zoom session with friends.

Notes from isolation: Week 10

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The amount of dishes remains unreal.

All this grey weather is making it a lot harder. When the sun was shining and it was warm enough to sit outside this all seemed a lot easier.  Also, exercising at home is hard, but when it's rainy and cold it's definitely not happening.

I still don't feel the need to see people though. Am I just broken in that sense?

As a person that doesn't normally worry about the 'point' of life, I've been doing that a lot more. Now that I don't have things to distract me, I have a lot more time to sit around and wonder what is actually meaningful in this world (hint: it's not capitalism), what my strengths actually are, what I like doing, etc.

Am I a soft summer or a soft autumn??

I can't bring myself to read books that don't feature a female protagonist. 🤷‍♀️

I've never baked more in my life.

What do you think businesses will do with all their pandemic supplies when this is all over? Like the plastic screens, masks, gloves, even the signs they've made explaining how their business operates now. Do they keep that for future pandemics? Ugh.

I'm fed up with only consuming. I want to do something, but at the same time I don't have the motivation or attention span for anything. This middle ground is hard.

Watching other countries and states start to open back up when we haven't even peaked yet is scary. That world seems so far away from our current reality.

I've discovered a new love of having dance puzzle parties. Find your favorite dj's livestream, brew some tea and dance around while trying to finish that puzzle you've had going since January...


Wednesday, April 8, 2020
@shotfromthestreet #shotfromthetheme
theme - orange

Notes from isolation: Week 2

Saturday, March 28, 2020
It's amazing how many dishes you make when eating all your meals at home.

Dining room chairs from the 80's do not make good office chairs. Old French textbooks help raise your monitor to still-terrible-but-not-as-bad height.

Social media is a godsend. Most of my friendships were already long-distance and so I've always relied on social media and texting/chat to keep up with people, but now more than ever it's been nice to see what other people are up to.

Vlogs are my solace. I could watch people putter around at home for days.

I'm so lucky to work somewhere that's relatively stable, even when our industry (travel) is in shambles.

I feel rebellious going outside for walks.

Cooking is a lot less arduous when you have super simple meals.

My cats are annoying. And adorable and lovely.

No commute is amazing. Even if my commute is usually only about 7 minutes.

My house has never been tidier.

I should call my grandma more.

I certainly think I should do a lot more things than I actually want to do.

Reading is hard to do right now. My brain just can't concentrate, even though I'm normally quite a reader.

Counting my stuff

So, true to my pattern as of late, I'm back with another report on an experiment I did thanks to Hannah Louise Poston.

Hannah recently started her new project for the year which she is calling her year of less stuff. The whole goal of which is to end 2020 with less things than she started with.

Plain and simple.

Part of doing her project entails counting and then sharing those total counts of everything she currently owns in each of her self-assigned categories. After watching all her videos and hearing her talk about how surprising and motivating the process was, I wanted to give it a try myself.

I chose to count my makeup, skincare, nail and hair products, perfumes, jewelry and clothing.

Now, to be completely honest, I'm motivated to try this, but also thoroughly lazy. And for that reason, I didn't include all of my clothes because I couldn't be bothered to go up into the attic and unpack all the spring/summer clothes I have stashed away in my suitcases. Fortunately for this experiment, I am actually very short on warm-weather clothes so I know that whatever that total may be, it won't be anything I'd feel is inappropriate. Win for the lazy column! I also excluded my loungewear because, again, I have very little and didn't care to dismantle the cupboard it's all stored in.

Let's dive into my totals!

Makeup (79 items)
3 foundations
3 primers
4 concealers
1 powder
9 blushes (4 in a palette)
2 brozers (1 in a palette)
3 highlighters (1 in a palette)
6 mascaras
1 contour
2 brow products
1 eye primer
3 eyeshadow palettes
2 single eyeshadows
6 eyeliners
3 lip masks
4 lip balms
3 lip pencils
2 lip liners
1 lip gloss
10 lip sticks
10 brushes

Skincare (60 items)
3 oils
8 masks
13 sheet masks
5 moisturizers (4 backups)
2 cleansers (2 backups)
2 sunscreens
7 actives (5 backups)
6 body care products
3 self-tanners

Nail products (20 items)
2 removers
18 polishes

Hair products (23 items)
23 products

Perfumes (16 items)
16 perfumes

Jewelry (46 items)
9 necklaces
17 pairs of earrings
2 ear cuffs
10 bracelets
4 rings
1 hair pin
1 barette
2 watches

Clothing (210 items)
55 pairs of socks
56 pairs of undies
7 pairs of jeans
2 fabric pants
14 sweaters
3 cardigans
1 blazer
6 shirts
8 long sleeve t-shirts
7 t-shirts
8 dresses
1 jumpsuit
4 tank tops
4 shorts
7 bras
7 workout leggings
4 sports bras
2 workout crop tops
1 workout jacket
2 workout long sleeve pullovers
6 workout tank tops
5 workout shorts

Shoes (26 items)
1 tall boot
2 ankle boots
1 snow boots
4 sneakers
1 loafers
1 gym shoes
2 hiking boots
1 oxfords
5 sandals
1 flats
4 heels
3 gardening/outdoor shoes

Phew. Got all that?

So, in total, that's 480 items.

If you had asked me to guess, I definitely would not have guessed anything close to 500 items. I probably would have estimated I had somewhere around 250 to 300 items. That's kind of the point of this exercise though, right?

My initial thoughts go immediately to the socks and undies. Clearly one person and her two feet and one bum does not need that many pairs, especially because I know so many of those items are de-elasticated, pushing 10 years old or not something I'd pay money for now (tons of my undies are free from old Victoria's Secret coupons). I can very easily downsize those categories, make my socks and undies drawer a lot more easily manageable and feel next to no loss.

Similarly, I have a ton of beauty products that are far too old to be holding onto, but haven't been tossed yet just because they're out of sight and out of mind. I know for a fact that I've only purchased 2 mascaras in the last year, so those other 4 are probably old enough to have been with me since my bachelorette life. Yikes. Nail polish is the same. 18 polishes and I can only recall purchasing 1 of those within a reasonable timeframe. Time to get out of my life.

Another category of items is the "I used to use this a lot but now I no longer do" category. Lip products like lipstick, liners, pencils, glosses or balms top this list. My lips have been far too dry to wear any of this for years now. I also used to wear earrings a lot more often, but these days I've been living in my Mejuri mini hoops and only wearing a few other pairs a couple times a year. I need to pare down my collection to the stuff I absolutely love and face the fact that I just don't get glammed up that much anymore. I also seem to have a lot of things that I thought I would use when I bought them, but it as it turns out, I never actually did. Foundations, most of my hair products, bracelets, heels -- all of these things have been mostly wunworn or unused so I should re-home them.

Lastly I have several categories of things that I love but that I simply have far too many of. Perfumes. Who needs 16 perfumes? Granted several of those are sample sizes, but still. I need to use them up, or pass them on. They're doing no good just getting older and laying around my drawers. Self tanners are another thing. I have 3, and while I like them all, I only need one. I'm very pale and I'm fine with that so having one around seems reasonable for those odd times I want a bit more of a glow, but that's plenty.

Now that I've done all this counting and really examined what I have, I definitely want to follow up with a good declutter. For the things I still like and want to keep I think I'm going to work on using them up in a focused manner. This way nothing will go to waste and I'll get my money's worth out of things, but I'll still be able to reduce the amount of crap I'm keeping around me. Luckily (?) we've got all kinds of time on our hands right now so this will give me something to focus on. 

I hope this was at least mildly entertaining or enlightening to you and that you're staying safe and home. If you count any of your things, let me know how it goes for you in the comments!

2020 Bullet Journal setup

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Ok so somehow it's March.

And the whole world has shutdown.

It's fine, everything's totally cool.

Regardless, hello! It's been awhile. Here I am. Back to talk about my Bullet Journal, once again.  Even though we're practically done with the first quarter, I thought I'd take a second to share my Bullet Journal setup for the year. As you all know from previous posts in years prior, I start a new Bullet Journal every year. I always have a few annual-level pages that I include prior to the January pages, and this is the post that I ramble on about them to you. So, without further ado, enjoy!

Firstly, my future log. I don't think I've changed this layout since 2017. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, etc. Luckily the Leuchtturm medium notebook has exactly enough dots across to make the whole year fit in 4 pages, with 3 months per page. It's simple, not toooooo terrible to write out every year, and lets me highlight important dates each month above any run-of-the-mill stuff like meetings, dentist appointments, etc.

Next up, a reflection of the prior year. I started doing this back in 2018 and talked a bit more about it here. In short, I list my highs, lows, accomplishments, failures, good habits, bad habits, my best time investment and my worst. Like I talked about in my last post on my 2020 goals, I start here as a reference point for how things are going now, then turn my focus to the future and how I'd like things to be ideally, leading into the next page -- my vision spread.

My vision page is literally just random idealizations of different facets of life. No planning, just dreaming. To be quite honest, I struggle with this. I'm more a live in the moment kind of person and definitely don't envision my future easily, or have very clear visions of things I desperately want. Ambition is definitely not one of my Gallup strengths. But I do it anyway, and even if some of those "dreams" are small, it's good practice.

In theory, from all this dreaming would come a 5 year plan. I wrote out a spread for a 5 year plan. And then I promptly ignored it. Maybe this won't make the cut next year. 😂

After the bleak and empty future I've laid out for myself, we have my 2020 goals. Again, theoretically these goals would be things that would get you closer to your five year goals, but as I apparently have none, my 2020 goals will just keep me alive. I think that's pretty par for the course of this year. I've already outlined my goals here if you want to go check them out.

Okay, enough with all the goal setting. Now we're onto trackers and whatnot. First up, my finances tracker. I've been tracking my 401k and IRA contributions in a page like this for a couple years (nerrrrddddddd), but this year we have a new addition -- a simply tracker to make sure we do our little budgeting activity each pay period. Since I got married last year my own budgeting process has changed and subsequently this is the first year I haven't had a budgeting page each month in my Bullet Journal. Instead, this little guy appears.

One to track my career goal of reading 4 tech books and doing one learning tutorial a month over various topics, one to track my period (which I apparently can't spell), one to track when I do workouts and yoga, and a chore tracker. I think you can figure those ones out pretty easily.

Lastly I have two spreads to keep track of some thoughts over the course of the year. I have a spread to write down any gift ideas I have throughout the year in the hopes that holiday time won't be so stressful (lol, right) and that someday I'll turn into that person that just gives gifts spontaneously throughout the year. And finally I have a page to note what kinds of things worked well in my wardrobe each season, what I might be missing and what is just not working out at all.

And that's that! My 2020 Bullet Journal annual spreads. Hope you enjoyed and that you're all staying safe during these crazy, scary times! See you next time.