Hospital Bag Series {mama}

Well it's time to start packing up the hospital bag. You may be looking at the picture and thinking, that's it?!

I know as a first time mama with Raegan, I packed WAY too much! So I knew for this time around I was really going to think it through as I packed so that I took what I needed. And hey, if I forget something, we live 10 minutes away and Kyle can hop over and get what I forget.

I hope if you are a first time mama that this list helps you get your bags packed.
The list:
nursing tanks (Motherhood Maternity)
nursing pads (Medela)
socks (Brookstone)
house shoes (Target)
toiletries
nursing bra (Bravado)
PJ shorts (Target)
going home outfit (Pinkblush Maternity-similar)
pajamas (Pinkblush Maternity)
robe (Pinkblush Maternity-similar)
pillow/blanket (not pictured)

Yep. That's it. That's all I'm taking. The hospital will have mesh panties (amazing!) and pads for me and they will send tons home with you too. At least my hospital did. I do not plan on laboring in the hospital gown. It wasn't comfortable for me. So I will labor in my Bravado nursing bra (this way I can clip down the bra as soon as he's put on my chest for him to nurse, easy access) and black pajama shorts. 

I'm packing nursing tops from Motherhood Maternity and my pajamas and delivery robe from Pinkblush maternity. I also am taking my beautiful and comfortable maxi from Pinkblush that is nursing friendly and flowy to wear home from the hospital. That way nothing is clinging to my body.

As far as toiletries go, here's what going in my bag.

Toiletries
shampoo/conditioner
toothpaste/toothbrush
floss
chapstick (a MUST!)
deoderant
lotion
nail file (I promise, you'll thank me)
make up
bobby pins
hair rubberbands
hair dryer
straightener/curling iron (my sister straightened my hair one day, I just needed to feel put together)

And for the technology list.

Technology
fan
extension cord
charger
camera
computer/DVDs

The fan was great to have for during labor. Since most charger cords don't reach very far having extension cords were a huge help so that they could reach to my bed. Of course a camera, duh. As far as the computer goes, I loved having it for Raegan's birth. Once I got the epidural, we watched a few movies. It was a great way to relax and pass the time.

Of course I'll have more for Hudson, but that's another post.

So be on the look out for a "Baby Hospital Bag"

Any items I forgot that were your must haves?
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Maternity Pictures {giveaway}

I am so excited to share Raegan and I's mommy and me maternity pictures!

I've been planning these out probably since I found out I was pregnant and they turned out exactly like I wanted. I searched high and low for the parts of our outfits and it came together so well!

Laura did a fantastic job with the pictures as well! She listened to my vision and if I had any picture ideas, she was sure to take them. If you are from the Dallas area, make sure you stick around till the end because I am hosting a giveaway with her.

I've been very emotional lately thinking about how it won't just be Raegan and I anymore. She made me a mama when I didn't know if it was going to be possible. Even though we are so excited to welcome baby brother into the family, she will always be my #1 girl.



















mommy and me headbands- Garden of Arden
maxi skirt- Pinkblush Maternity
romper- Posh Peanut
moccasins- Freshly Picked
photographer- Laura Tye Photography

Now for the fun part! If you live in the Dallas area and are pregnant, Laura is giving away a maternity session! So get entered below! Good luck!
She also has the maroon dress available to her maternity clients to wear in their maternity session. How neat is that? And let me tell you, it's comfortable and makes you feel like a beautiful goddess!

The giveaway will run through next Saturday, January 30. Once winner is announced and contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond or the prize will be awarded to the next winner.

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Comfort Never Looked So Good {giveaway}

So did you guess the comfiest item that I'm wearing?
Let me give you a hint. You can't actually see it in the picture.

But I promise it's there.
Think you got it?

Ok ok. I'll tell you. It's actually what's underneath.

It's my new Hanes Ultimate Smooth Inside and Out Foam ComfortFlex Fit® Wirefree Bra. And can I say hallelujah for it? Being pregnant is tough and finding a comfortable bra for the last few months is even tougher! Staying comfortable is key towards the end and a good bra is a necessity! That and stretchy leggings. So when Hanes contacted me about trying out their new wireless bra, I was so excited! As the belly gets bigger the wires in the bras seem to poke me more and I just can't handle it.

Are there any mamas out there that can relate? You're lying if you say you can't ;)
Not only is the bra comfortable, but it's supportive. Which again, necessity while you are pregnant.
They also sent me the Hanes Ultimate ComfortBlend® T-Shirt Underwire Bra, which again, so comfortable and so soft! I'm excited to be able to wear it non-stop once this massive belly is out of the way!

And because Hanes wants to share the amazing comfort of their new bras, they have agreed to give away TWO bra to my readers! You get one of each of the bras listed above.

Enter the giveaway below! Good luck!

25

Irresistible Me Review

You may have seen some pictures floating around Instagram of me with instant long hair.


I wish I could say I had a magic pill that made my hair grow so long, but alas I don't. But I do have the next best thing!
I was contacted by Irresistible Me to review a set of their hair extensions and I jumped at the opportunity!

I love long hair, but I just can't seem to be patient enough for it to grow. Then I get bored and chop it all off because I want something new and the whole cycle of wanting long hair starts again.

So when they contacted me I knew this was going to be the fix to my problems.

I did my research to make sure that their brand was reputable, sturdy, and real hair. And it checked out across the board.

Irresistible Me makes their extensions from royal remy hair (REAL hair) so you can cut, wash, blow dry, and curl your extensions, which for me is a must because I love wearing my hair curly and need to be able to curl the extensions.

They are so easy to clip into your hair as well! No tape or glue. Just clip in and clip out.

They come in tons of different colors and they even have a highlighted option where they combine 2 colors. I went with the highlighted version and chose ash blonde and golden blonde to match my ends. Since the extensions go under my hair, it was a necessity to have them match my roots.

They come in different lengths (14-24 inches), I went with 18 inches, but if I could go back, I'd choose 16 inches. I feel like it would look more natural.

It also comes in different weights (140-200 grams). The weight is how much hair is sent to you. I chose 200g so that I could have the option of putting a lot in or not a lot.

Also, if you get the extensions and decide the color doesn't match or they are too long or too short, you can return them and choose something different. At first I decided to get the color to match my roots because I was going to go back to all over brown, but once I got them, I decided I wanted to keep the blonde on the ends. So I sent back my first set and waited for them to contact me to choose my next set. 

My only complaint was the length of time it took to get my new set. It was almost 2 months. My first package somehow got lost in transit. It would have been nice if the return system was a little more efficient. Possibly adding tracking numbers to the orders would be a great addition.

So if you are looking for a simple and easy way to get long, beautiful hair, Irresistible Me extensions is it!

They are also extending a sale code to my readers! Use code IrresistibleAshley for 10% off your purchase.

And here's a little secret, they are running a sweet promo and you can actually use the code GET20OFF and get 20% off right now!

In the video below, I show you how I put in my extensions. So if you have no clue how to do it, just follow my tutorial and you'll be good to go!

I do apologize that I get blurry throughout some parts of the video and the fact that the last 15 seconds or so got cut off. I'm still new at video blogging!

I'm having my maternity pictures done this week and will be sporting the long hair for them. Can't wait to share them with you!

A set of extensions was given to me in return for my review. This in no way swayed my review.
1

What We Eat {tomato basil soup}

The cold, rainy season is here and I was craving some warm soup this week.

One of my favorite soup and sandwich places in college was called Blue Bakers. It's only on College Station (where Texas A&M University is located) and I miss it so much! Especially because they have the yummiest tomato basil soup.

So I decided to try and recreate it and I don't think I did that bad!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil 
4 garlic cloves
minced 1 large onion, chopped 
4 (14.5oz) cans diced tomatoes (any flavor)
12 fresh basil leaves (2 tsp of dried basil)
1 stick butter, unsalted
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock) 
2 tablespoons of sugar (less if you don't want any sweetness)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
kosher salt and crushed black pepper, to taste

Instructions:
Put all 4 cans of tomatoes in a pot and simmer, covered on low for 30 minutes.
2. While the tomatoes are the simmering, put 2 tablespoons on olive oil in a pan and saute onion and garlic until transluscent. 
3. Then add to the tomatoes. Let finish simmering for 30 minutes.
4. Add basil leaves, butter, heavy whipping cream, chicken broth, sugar, spices, and cheese to the tomato and onion mixture.
4. Move to a blender and blend to desired consistency.
5. Return to the pot to let it warm it up. 
6. Add croutons and parmesean cheese on top and serve.

My favorite to add is a grilled cheese. Sourdough bread with butter on each piece. Put 1 piece of mozzarella on one piece and 1 piece of cheddar on the other piece. 2 minutes in a convection oven and done!

Dip and eat!

This makes a good amount of soup too. We had it for dinner on Monday, Kyle took it for lunch one day and I've eaten it for lunch 2 days.

Enjoy!
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2015 in Review

Another year has come and gone and I'm sitting here in disbelief that we are starting another year.

2015 was a great year of watching Raegan grow and finding out Hudson would join our family. And now we are here; in the year we will welcome Hudson into our family.

I couldn't welcome in the the new year without first looking over last year and being reminded of how blessed we are!

January
Mommy and Daddy had their first weekend away from baby in Missouri for a wedding.



February
Raegan experienced her first snow!

We celebrated Valentine's Day with bowling and sushi.


March
Mama turned 29. Last year of my twenties!



We also dedicated Raegan to the church.

April
We celebrated the resurrection of our Lord (Easter 2015).

Raegan also had her cleft palate repaired.




And mama decided to go back dark!


May
The beautiful bluebonnets came out to play and we of course had to get pictures in them.



June
We went to Burnet, TX for our annual Neff reunion and Raegan joined us for the first time outside the belly.



We also found out that a sweet baby was joining our family!


July
We had our first sonogram for sweet baby #2 and the weekly bump updates began!

Raegan made her first trip to the river!

We celebrated Raegan's first birthday. (which I somehow ended up forgetting to do a blog post on. I blame it on being early pregnant and so sick!)









We of course spent lots of time at the pool too!



August
We found out we were adding a BOY to the family!

September
We celebrated 6 years of marriage with a weekend away in Ft. Worth. We stayed in a hotel over night and enjoyed sleeping in!

We also took Raegan to the local pumpkin patch.











October
Raegan dressed up as a cabbage patch doll for Halloween.



November
We had our Christmas pictures taken.




We celebrated Kyle's friend's birthdays with a murder mystery party for their 30th birthday.


December
I got behind the camera and enjoyed taking some Christmas pictures of Raegan.





And of course we enjoyed seeing Raegan enjoy Christmas for the first time!















Wow. What an amazing year! I could scroll through this years pictures all day long and relive all of it all over again.

Can't wait to see what 2016 brings as we welcome baby #2 into the family. It's going to be hard to top 2015, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to be the best yet!
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