we made it!

Hello there! Remember me!? I apologize for dropping off the face of the planet... we were just moving into our house! While there are a few odds and ends which still need to be completed, {cv} and I are officially in our home. The build itself only took six months, but the project was three years in the making. With so much to be grateful for this year, it was only appropriate {cv} and I were handed the keys the week of Thanksgiving. 

Time is of the essence to get settled in the house before baby {v} arrives. I'm officially 39 weeks and on baby watch. As evidenced in the photo above, my bump is in full force! While I thought maternity leave would give me a bit more time to blog, the final push to finish the house and pack up our apartment stole that down time. I decided to forgo the conventional gift guide posts for a few pages devoted to special sets of people in your life.

From your best girl friend to your sweet Aunt Sally, take a peek for a few ideas to make her holiday extra special. Take care of the men in your life with a quick look here. For ideas across the spending spectrum (under $25, $50 + $100), these cost-conscious ideas are for you. Finally, if you have a new mom or tiny tot on your gift list, get the ball rolling here. You can also click through below to find these gift ideas lickety split!

If baby {v} arrives a few days before his or her due date, it may be a few weeks before you hear from me again. It goes without saying that my new little family must come first. I want to soak up this special time to the nth degree (and I hope you'll understand). Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the best ways to stay in touch for all the latest updates from yours truly. I promise little peeks of the house (and baby!) in the coming weeks. Many thanks for your patience and understanding -- I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. This holiday season is sure to be one for the memory books :) xoxo {av}

P.S. I'll continue to add gift ideas to the above pages between now and Christmas, so keep checking back if you're stumped with your shopping list!

is this your first?

is this your first? // a reflection on having your first child after a loss

If I am being honest, I have been writing this post for six months. At 38 weeks pregnant, time is of the essence, so I decided it was finally time to write it down. When I started this blog four years ago (this week), my naïve, wide-eyed 25 year-old self would have never anticipated sharing a post like this one. My 29 year-old self sees things a bit differently.

As I waddle around doing last-minute errands, I cannot count the number of times I hear the question: "is this your first?" I kindly look at them, say yes, and get on with my life.  Someone in the line at Chick-Fil-A doesn't need to know the full story. When we announced our pregnancy at the end of May, I dedicated a single paragraph to something which has laid heavy on my heart since last October. This isn't our "first" baby. The baby we lost the day the Red Sox won the World Series? That was our first baby. Responding to the question "is this your first?" with a yes feels like I'm denying that child ever existed. In reality, we simply had less time with that little one than we have had with this one. 

I scoured the internet in efforts to make myself feel better after my miscarriage. I wanted to read the stories of other women who had gone through a similar loss. As a result, it took me even longer to drag myself back out into the real world. I even poured my heart into a blog post that I never published. For a long time, I faulted myself for being too scared to share myself with all of you. I realized recently that I wasn't too timid to share it; there are simply lines which I'm not willing to cross with my personal life. My goal with this post is to give you a window into that time -- without unleashing the fear and worry I felt on someone else.

From my own grief, I recognized a few particular triggers. When I saw a pregnant woman, it stung. Follow-up visits to my OB were particularly difficult because baby bumps were everywhere. Pregnancy announcements suddenly took on a new meaning. The few baby things I had around our apartment quickly found hidden homes. It didn't get any easier once we had the clearance to "try again". Getting pregnant after a loss is a tricky thing. There is an enormous part of you that wants to move on and another part which begs you to hold onto the time you had. I knew acutely how it felt to be in the throes of loss. I worried that sharing our happy news would induce tears for someone else. It wasn't until 20 weeks (around the time of this photo) that I made a conscious decision to enjoy the journey. I decided this baby deserved to be celebrated and cherished, just as much as I held onto our "first."

When I found out I was pregnant this spring, we moved forward with trepidation but also hope. As with any pregnancy, there was a risk of loss. {cv} and I made the conscious effort to live in the peace that we could handle anything together. No matter how many books you read, there is nothing that truly prepares you for parenthood. When you become a parent prematurely (either with loss or an early delivery), you face that reality sooner than anticipated. For {cv} and me, our loss simply makes us that much more grateful for our second chance at parenthood. As delivery edges closer and closer, an overwhelming sense of joy has replaced my fear. I cannot wait to see {cv} become a father and see the way our genes wove together to make this special little one.

Thank you for giving me a place where I can share this post and thank you for your support on this pregnancy journey. Most importantly, thank you for reading. xoxo {av}

P.S. I cannot begin to fathom the pain of a loss later in pregnancy, but I know that the pain behind this question would still ring true. I am sharing this post today because I believe every woman deserves the right to privacy. Asking a random woman in Target if it is her first child doesn't change your day, but it could change hers. If you know this pain, share this post and help others avoid it too.

pantone color report: spring 2015.

pantone color report: spring 2015 // graphic by @luvfromafar

A few weeks ago, Pantone released their annual color report. This invaluable resource holds their annual predictions for the hottest colors in fashion for 2015. (You can download it here!) Compared to the last few reports, the hues of 2015 look to be a bit muted -- and I'm not complaining. I personally love that they included Classic Blue. You can call me boring, but it is one of my all-time favorites. It may be the impending holiday coziness, but Marsala is another hue which is catching my eye. 

After the holidays are behind us, I plan to put my gift cards to good use with these 16 hues in mind. If you pin this graphic, you'll have an easy point of reference too ;) Do you agree with this subdued color palette? Which colors stand out to you this year? xoxo {av}

P.S. You can see my translation of the 2013 report here and the 2014 report here!

the best pregnancy workout gear.

the best pregnancy workout gear via long distance loving

Since my bump days are nearing their end, I wanted to do a round-up of my favorite pregnancy workout gear. At 37 weeks pregnant, I am still running every few days and take long walks on the days I don't run. Though I will avoid the deep, deep cold of the winter, my pregnancy has spanned the entire range of seasons. I tried to capture something for all temperature ranges since everyone falls out differently on the timing spectrum. I should clarify all this with the note that I am cleared by my OB to continue working out, so make sure you have that same clearance before you invest in any of the pieces below. Here we go!

This tank from Old Navy has been a lifesaver for much of my pregnancy. By chance, I found one in store around 15 weeks and promptly came home to order two more. (They're typically online only pieces.) The reason I've enjoyed it is because it worked well in warmer temps, but it also wears beautifully under some of my colder weather gear. I purchased it in my "normal" size and it has grown well with the bump. 

Truth be told, I was never a fan of the lululemon run: swiftly line before I was pregnant. I am one of those folks who hates wearing tight tops when I'm running or working out. However, I learned quickly in pregnancy to embrace the bump. If there was one time I wouldn't necessary mind showing my "curves", it would be these months. I decided to invest in a few of these tech shirts (in various sleeve lengths). The fabric stretches beautifully to cover the whole belly, without getting cold on the bottom of your bump ;) I purchased them two sizes larger than I would otherwise size myself at lululemon. They have been worth every penny. I realized I would like them just fine after pregnancy since they were a few sizes larger -- and not so tight.

(One note: they had a "scoop" neck version with ruched sides at the end of the spring. I wish I had purchased it in every color. I wore it here -- and you've likely seen it in a few of my other running bump shots on Instagram. I scored one in the store and another on eBay. (I still get the eBay email alerts for them, so you can find one if you really want one!) Though I don't own one of these tops, they look super similar to the ruched top I mentioned from lululemon -- at a much lower price.

When this 1/4 zip top arrived, I was skeptical at first because it had that long and loose maternity front. Once I put it on, I changed my mind. It fit my bump from the end of the second trimester onward -- and still fits. This definitely looks like a pregnancy top, but let's face it: sometimes, it is unavoidable to wear one of those beauties ;) I ordered my pre-pregnancy size and was fine for the duration of my pregnancy.

This training jacket from Gap is a great piece for those in-between weather days. It grew well with my bump and still fits late in my pregnancy. I wore it a ton this fall on long walks. I'm still wearing it as an added layer. It washes well and doesn't lose its shape. It follows pre-pregnancy sizing.

One other note: your significant other's t-shirts (typically a size or two larger than yours) also work splendidly ;)

Though I'm a loyal fan of these lululemon shorts when not pregnant, I found that they produced a bit more muffin top in pregnancy than I wanted to sport. I discovered these shorts around 24 weeks and never looked back. I bought them one size up, but I'm confident they'll still work post-baby because of the stretch factor.

I wish I purchased these capris two sizes larger than I did. They worked well for the two weeks after I bought them, but after a few washes, they shrunk up a bit. I love how they hit below the bump and still come up high enough in the back. If you were to buy them, you wouldn't be disappointed -- just make sure you size them appropriately. (I was trying to make a rush decision in store and didn't think it through!) These leggings also help to extend the life of your pregnancy workout wardrobe.

Sadly, these maternity tights were not available in store at my local Athleta, so I purchased the non-maternity version in a size up. They are incredibly soft and comfortable -- and come in countless lengths and colors.

These pants have been a lifesaver since roughly 32 weeks. They're a bit of a splurge, but they do not constrict the bump and they do a decent job of containing muffin top. I bought them one size up, though I could have probably gotten away with my "normal" size. I just wanted to be able to make them last my whole pregnancy. You have to pull them on just right so they stay in place, but they truly are the most comfortable.

(One quick note: I've mentioned muffin top a few times and I want to clarify -- it isn't an aesthetic thing in pregnancy; it is a comfort thing. Too much tightness at the hips is not comfortable with a growing bump and I did everything I could to try and avoid it.) 

Forever and ever amen, I will be a Moving Comfort running bra fanatic. The Maia has been my favorite for over seven years. In pregnancy, I purchased a few bra extenders which helped me avoid buying an entirely new sports bra wardrobe. Though I needed a couple sports bras in a larger size for running, the extenders did the trick for longer walks.

Since it gets dark in New England at a ridiculously early hour in the winter, I have a few reflective pieces which draw some extra attention to me. This should be a common sense thing, but if you're working out at night, do make sure you're visible to drivers and bicyclists alike.

I found that my shoes wore out more quickly in pregnancy (weird?). I attributed it to the fact I was carrying around more weight. Regardless, it is worth noting that I purchased new running shoes a few times during pregnancy. I wanted to maintain the proper level of support in my arches and feet.

I have plenty more to say about belly support bands in a future post on second trimester running, but the best thing I can say is this: do what your OB recommends! 


Phew. There you have it. I hope this post can help you avoid some of the trial and error process that I encountered. I found it difficult to nail down one brand that knocked it out of the park with pregnancy workout gear, so I had to do some serious research. My only other piece of advice is to stick in a consistent color spectrum when buying your workout gear. I purchased mostly black and gray with a few pops of color. You'll save yourself the "what to wear" conundrum when trying to get your tail out the door for an early morning walk ;) What other workout gear would you recommend for pregnant ladies? xoxo {av}

P.S. Not into working out but need maternity wardrobe suggestions? I wrote this post mid-pregnancy about building an everyday maternity wardrobe you'll love

a blogger baby shower.

At the end of October, two of my dearest friends -- Kate {of DomestiKatedLife} and Lindsay {of Lindsay Jean Design + Duchess} -- threw baby {v} and me the shower to end all showers. From the moment I walked in the door, I was overwhelmed with their thoughtfulness and creativity. I knew these two would throw an amazing shower, but I had no clue just how incredible it would be. They truly outdid themselves on this one. 

You can see a few of my favorite details from the shower below, but you can see even more from the hostesses themselves. Take a peek at this post from Lindsay and this post from Kate for more photos and the sources of the goodies they used!

my favorite funfetti cupcakes with EDIBLE gold star sprinkles! 

a cheese plate found in every pregnant woman's dreams: completely pasteurized + delightful! 

mint chocolate anything is my weakness // a donut tasting bar?! I can't make this stuff up...

pretty drinks for the pregnant + non-pregnant crowd on the most colorful bar cart around.

When I started this blog four years ago, I never envisioned that two friends I made from blogging would throw me a baby shower of such beautiful proportions. Fast forward to today: I truly see the internet as the vessel to meet the people who were supposed to be in my life from the get-go. Many of the ladies who attended {and sent gifts from near and far} also happen to be sweet friends made courtesy of the world wide web. To everyone who came or sent their love, you sure know how to make a girl -- and baby {v} -- feel loved! You all nailed it with your gorgeous gifts. Baby {v} will be one well-outfitted and cuddly little one ;) I may sound like a broken record, but I mean it: thank you from the bottom of my heart, Kate and Lindsay! xoxo {av}