Aug 18, 2014

How to Hide the Baby Bump

So. I'm pregnant. 26 weeks today. I felt great through my first trimester, but I still didn't feel  comfortable with anyone knowing about it right away. For health reasons and just because I felt like it was very personal. I just wasn't ready to share it yet. I think it's OK to share the news whenever you are ready, but this post is for anyone else who felt the way I did (I didn't share with the general public until about 20 weeks). Here is what I learned about hiding the bump in the first half of pregnancy:

Wear what is comfortable. The is the most important thing. Even though I didn't have bump at all around 6 weeks, I found that a few of my elastic waist skirts hurt after a day of wear. Not worth it, even if you try to convince yourself you have to wear it because you won't be able to later (am I the only person that thinks like that?).

                      19 weeks                                       16  weeks                                     18 weeks

Tuck in your shirt. This probably sounds a little counter-intuitive, but I swear this is the reason I was able to hide the bump for so long. I wore skirts that were a little loose to begin with (so they were comfortable around my waist) and tucked in a looser shirt. Even though my stomach was sticking out more than normal, it was tough to tell because of the two lines of fabric together and the loose shirt over the top.

                                 12 weeks                                                                 15 weeks

Layer over tight clothing. Early on, I really wanted to wear things that I knew I would not be able to wear later because of the slim fit (I'll miss you, clothes!). I was able to get away with wearing a few tighter items by layering jackets and vests over them. I could definitely tell that my stomach was sticking out a little, but with the layers it was tough to notice.

               17 weeks                                          8 weeks                                            10 weeks

Wear loose dresses. Not only are loose dresses comfortable (yay!) but they are great at hiding a bump without screaming "I'm hiding something." I felt like really loose shirts kind of made it seem obvious (unless I tucked them in), but a loose dress just implies that you like comfort. A shift shape is great, but if you wear anything with a cinched area (like the two outfits on the right) make sure they elastic hits below a traditional empire waist (right below your breasts). Empire waist dresses/tops make you look pregnant (even if you are not!).

A few other tips: 
  • Scarves/big accessories are a great way to distract the eye from your belly.
  • Pattern  wearing patterns is a great way to keep the eye moving. I have found that people notice my bump a lot more often when I am wearing solid colors.
  • Wear all black. Black really is slimming. I wore a black top and black pants to work multiple times in early pregnancy because it was easy and really disguises the baby bump.

Disclosure: I am tall (5'10") so I am fully aware that it might be easier for me to hide my bump than it would be for someone shorter or with a different body type. However, I actually googled "how to hide a baby bump" at one point and didn't find much so I wanted to add my two-cents to the world wide web :)

Anyone else have some tips they would be willing to share?

Aug 13, 2014

Style: Hat Lady

tank: h&m maternity (non-maternity) // shorts: pea in the pod (non-maternity) // 
scarf: gap (similar) // sandals: clarks // watch: fossil // hat: dollar tree (similar)

*bump status: 25 weeks 

I'm not a hat person. Like, ever. I've never worn one on the blog before and I've really only worn them in real life like three times (and one of those times was a flat cap with a tassel). I don't even do baseball caps. I think it's an eyebrow thing. Mine are really thick and they just look weird if you can't see any hair. 

But, today is a special day. I'm wearing a hat. Why? Well, because it cost a dollar. From the dollar store. I was there buying some plastic containers and saw this in the summer section and thought "why not, Ashley? Live a little."  So, today I'm really living. And it feels so good.

Aug 11, 2014

NYC - the city that stole my husband

I've been keeping something from you all. I'm pregnant! Just kidding, you already knew that. Another thing. I have been living alone all summer. I'm guessing you can understand why I wouldn't share that on the blog (or really any social media). But, let me back up.

From the Statue of Liberty looking back at Manhattan
My husband, Eric, started his MBA full-time last fall. It was definitely a big decision to make, but we both felt confident it was the right time and perfect opportunity (I work full-time, no kids, good scholarships, etc). So back to school he went. It was a crazy fall because he was still working for his previous company 20hrs a week (most people in the program didn't work) and we were both so busy. The spring semester was a little better, but we knew the summer would look a little different because each MBA student is expected to do an internship of some sort.

Eric's school has a summer scholarship program in a few different places, one of them being NYC. Students who get into the program are provided with housing, transportation and a stipend while working at an internship and taking 1-2 classes over the course of the summer.

We talked very seriously about what the summer would look like before Eric even applied... we knew it would be really tough (we both share a love language of "quality time") and we also knew it was possible that we would be expecting a baby by that point. Still, we both felt like the Lord was telling us that Eric should apply, and well, he got in.

So. He moved to NYC at the end of May. Actually, the NYC trip I shared about was when we both flew up to the city to get him settled in. Obviously, we did lots of fun NYC things, but what you didn't see was our little trip to IKEA to buy Eric bedding, plates, etc and me flying back to Oklahoma alone with tears in my eyes.

The first week was really hard, I think mostly because I did not make myself spend time with people and stay busy. After that initial week, it was a lot easier. I made lots of plans with friends, I did some craft projects, I took weekend trips, Winston and I went on a lot of walks... I just stayed busy. Actually, there were a few great things that came out of it:
  • I spent more time with my family than I usually would have during the summer. I live about 45min away from my family, so Eric and I usually visit them together. It was nice to revert back to childhood in a way and spend time hanging out with my siblings. 
  • I recognized friendship in a totally different way. I had friends reach out to me all summer - from everything to "let's hang out tonight," to a little birthday party, to just a text to ask how I was doing. I even had a friend drive down with her 2 month old baby to spend a whole weekend with me. I felt very loved and cared for by a lot of people.
  • I rediscovered "alone time." Some people hate being alone. I have never been one of them. But when you are married, alone time kind of becomes "spouse time." It was nice to have (forced) time to myself to pray, dream and think. That's just so important and it has been easy for me to skip it in the past. 
Eating a mac & cheese sampler at s'mac
So, some great things came of it, but it was really hard. I love Eric. So much. So being away from him for 12ish weeks wasn't overall an enjoyable thing. But if I had to do it over again, I would. Eric had a great experience in NYC (though he was SO READY to come home) and it was a lot of fun to visit him twice (the pictures in this post are when I visited him a second time in July). I never let myself get to a bad place where I felt mopey or sorry for myself. I mean, that would be ridiculous considering there are women out there who send their husbands to Afghanistan for a year and take care of their multiple children alone (those women are literally heroes). I just spent a measly summer away from husband. I prayed a lot against loneliness this summer, and the Lord was so faithful to me. I was also so thankful to have felt great throughout this pregnancy. I think if I had been at home puking while Eric had been gallivanting in NYC, that would have been rough.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
I alluded to my weird summer a couple of times on the blog (anyone notice a lot of tripod pictures? and when I mentioned not seeing fireworks - I was in NYC and we didn't want to hold a spot in the grass for 5hrs). But, I'm sure you can understand why I didn't want to advertise it on the blog.

The High Line Park.
I picked Eric up from the airport for good this past Saturday. To be honest, I haven't stopped smiling since (I'm smiling as I type this!). I almost didn't realize how much I missed him (almost), so him being home has been such a giddy feeling.

Absolutely amazing seeing the Phantom of the Opera in NYC.

I know that was long, so congratulations if you made it this far :) I wanted to share a little bit of my heart with you today. Thanks for reading!

Aug 8, 2014

Back to School with Campus Textbook Rentals


Well, school starts next week at the university I work at. I'm excited to see the sweet students again, but part of me always dreads this time of year. Things get really busy and crazy and our town gets really crowded and the restaurants fill up and... Okay, it's really not that bad and I do like living in a college town. It's just an adjustment after a quiet summer.

As you know, my husband Eric went back to school last August full-time to get his MBA. That means this is his last semester and he will graduate in December! We could not be more excited for him to finish and we are looking forward to a lot of change coming soon (including a baby!).

Obviously, going back to school is tough financially. You have to give-up specific time earning income and paying for school isn't fun. BUT, hopefully it will all be worth it (I guess we'll find out soon). One of the other things that is annoying about paying for college is the cost of textbooks.

Did you guys know you can rent textbooks now? That wasn't really an option when I was in college, but it's genius. Who wants to hold on to their Principles of Managerial Accounting II textbook for 10 years? With CampusBookRentals you can rent books for whatever time period you need them (a year, a semester, 8 weeks, etc.). Some other perks are:
  • save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
  • free shipping both ways
  • you can highlight in the textbooks
  • CampusBookRentals donates to Operation Smile with each textbook rented
Pretty great, right? There is also a new program called Rent Back that allows students to rent the textbooks they own - to other students. So instead of selling the book back to the bookstore at the end of the semester (and getting something like 8% of what you paid) you can make 2-4x more money through Rent Back. Seriously... where was this when I was in college?!

Saving money on books will be really significant for us as Eric finishes school and we are about to add another member to our family. We are also planning on cutting back on eating out, saving specifically for baby's birth and temporarily moving to one vehicle.

Have you ever "gone back to school?" Do you have any tips for cutting back? Have you ever used CampusBookRentals?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Aug 6, 2014

Style: chambray, yellow & split seams

chambray: old navy // skirt: h&m (similar) // wedges: toms 
// necklace: gift // watch: fossil // bracelets: h&m (similar)

*bump status: 24 weeks

I've actually worn something really similar on the blog before (I can't even link to it because the pictures are embarrassing - think posing in front of a weedy flower bed and really moody picture editing). But, I'm a normal person who wears stuff more than once. Actually, I'm trying to wear my "regular" clothes as much as possible before my belly splits the seams of all of my bottoms, which is pretty close to happening. I wish I could pretend that I haven't split the seams of some of my underwear already, but then I would be lying. 

Aug 4, 2014

Survey Results

Do you remember when I asked you all to complete that little survey way back when? Yeah, me neither. For real, I totally forgot about it. Obviously I am a very professional blogger.

When I finally remember to look at it, I thought the responses were really interesting! So, like my friend Amanda, and YHL (the first blog I ever read!) I'm sharing the results with you guys. I know, you're excited.

Okay here we go:

I am a... 
Yeah, not surprised. My husband (#lovehimsomuch) doesn't even read my blog.

How old are you?
Again, not surprising that the largest readership consists of people the same age as me. But, I'm inching sooooo close that orange bar, it's kind of freaking me out.

How did you stumble across the Cream to My Coffee?
I definitely think it's interesting that most of you guys found me via other blogs! I don't do advertising, and I don't think any other bloggers have "featured" me, so I'm so curious how it happened. And to the 22% that don't remember, I don't remember what I ate for breakfast this morning so I feel ya. 

How often do you read the Cream to My Coffee?
I would totally be flattered that you all read my blog whenever I post something new, but I don't post that much, so I'm not going to let myself get a big head about it. 

How do you keep up with new posts?
I was super surprised at how many people come directly to the website! I follow blogs through feedly so I don't have to keep track of when the blogs I read post something new - how do you guys remember to visit your favorite blogs? Is that a dumb question? I really am curious. 

Please rank the following blog post topics from your favorite to least favorite.
I was actually surprised at how many people put "personal updates" at the top. I'm thinking all of those people are people that I know in real life... right?

Would you watch a video posted on 
The Cream To My Coffee?
Haha, I literally don't know what I would post a video about, so this one made me laugh.

How much money do you spend on clothes per month?
I was really curious about this one. I feel like most people are close to me (I average about $60/month). I thought it was interesting that more of you guys spend over $300 than between $200-$299. I don't know what that means or anything (I'm not a sociologist!), but interesting. 

How often do you comment on blogs?
I think this might have been a vanity question that I posted to convince myself that there a few of you guys out there who read but never comment. And I was right! No pressure to comment, ever, but it was nice knowing you guys are out there. 

Is there anything that you would like to ask/comment on? Anything goes!
So I decided to share some of the comments and respond to them - thanks to everyone who left a remark. It was really fun reading them!

I love your blog, Ashley! I really like any style or life-related posts!! Why, thank you!

How old are you? I turned 28 on July 11th.

I enjoy your blog. Loved reliving my trip to Paris and had stayed at the same hotel! Never saw a smaller room in my life! Even though I am close to 69, I love keeping up with your fashion ideas. Thank you! Oh wow. Thank you so much! I love knowing I have readers of different ages out there! And I love that you stayed in that hotel! We laughed so hard when we saw how the bed was pushed against the wall. But I love the area and would totally stay there again!  

I like when you post about your life! Mom?

Really like the travel on a budget posts that you did. Will be helpful for my own future European travels! I’m so glad you liked it - it was one of my favorite posts to write! Feel free to let me know if you have specific questions.

I’m a 25 year old living in India, and came across your blog very randomly while looking for something. Had thought about writing to you earlier because despite belonging to completely different cultures, have found something very relatable about you and your life. Made me realize that people can share the same value system in life no matter where they belong or are raised. Love the glimpses into your life! Keep that going. Lots of love and wishes from this end of the world :) You are so thoughtful to leave me this sweet comment! If I come to India someday, can we hang out?

MORE ERIC! I’m pretty sure I know who wrote this… and it rhymes with Chon.

I love your blog because you wear clothes that are affordable. I also like seeing what you wear for real life and not just special occasions. I aspire to have a style that is “creative casual” (and by that I mean work appropriate, but not stuffy or bland) and I think you embody that pretty well. Thanks for sharing with us! Thank you!! You have no idea how much that means to me.  

Can you please use a different font? The one you use in your posts is too light and it’s difficult to read. You guys!  How come no one told me this before??  I had no idea. I will work on it.

When are you going to tell the world that you’re pregnant?!! I can see your bump in some pictures and it’s hard not to say anything! Haha. Mirela Haha, Mirela, you are the best. I made it public just for you :)

I think you’re cool and your blog is rad. Well, oh my. *blushing*

How do you feel about group giveaways? If another blogger asked you to team up for some sort of collaboration, how likely is it that you would say yes? Hmm… I’m honestly not sure. So far I have passed on most group giveaway requests because I find them a little “much” (if you follow all these blogs that you probably won't actually read, you’ll win $20), but I am not completely opposed to them. So, if it was a good opportunity and fit the style of my blog, I might say yes.     As far as general collaborations go, I’m definitely game! I have done a few blogger partnerships in the past, but I like to make sure that it seems natural to my blog and that it would be mutually beneficial. Feel free to email me!

I hate that I had to rank your content! I love your blog because it offers commentary and tips on a variety of subjects unlike other one note blogs. Keep the diversity coming! Most of the time I feel like my blog is a big subject-mess, so thanks for making me feel like I should keep up the randomness!

I find you funny and relatable when you post about your personal life, but I wish you would do it more often. I understand the need to protect your privacy, but to me, when bloggers air too much on the side of keeping their personal lives out of their blogs, they come off as sterile, and I like feeling like I relate to what I am reading! I know it is a fine line to walk. Oh, this is such a good comment. I am a really private person, which I totally realize is a little ironic considering that I have a public blog. I think I just figure most people don’t want to hear about my personal life, but I am learning that isn’t true. I will work a lot harder to share more, but I do try to be overly cautious about sharing things that could be a safety issue, like where I live, when I’m out of town, etc. It really is a fine line!

Your blog is a reflection of YOU and that is ultimately what brings me back. Also, I know you and love you but I love in California ;) far away from you so I read to keep up with you. Well, I know who wrote this. Love you, friend.

You’re surprisingly active in comments and I give you credit for that! As for personal finance posts, I think that right now that label only shows your clothing budget posts when I also seem to recall that you have shared numbers for your home projects as well. I love commenting! I feel like I’ve been slacking lately, but I’ll just blame the baby (is it bad that I am blaming him for stuff and he’s not even born?). I definitely need to work on my categories – thanks for filling me on that!

I love your blog! Post more ;) jk   Wait, should I post more? Or not?   ;)


So, that was long. But, there was so much good stuff that I had to share with you guys. Thank you, thank you to those of you who took the survey and shared your opinions.

Aug 1, 2014

Where My Dolla Bills Went - July 2014

So I have kind of struggled with how to share my purchases with you all since I have started buying maternity items. I have bought a lot in the last few months that I haven't shared here yet because it wasn't public knowledge (if I still haven't announced it on FB yet, is it even public knowledge?). Anyway, I have decided to share my non-maternity purchases this month and then I'll try to catch up with maternity stuff later. Just wanted to disclose everything... trying to stay honest on the internet, you know.

1. Banana Republic Blazer. So yeah, can't button this. And it's way out of season. But. BUT. It is really cute and it was a part of that crazy extra 50% off sale that BR was having. It was marked for $40 so I got it for a whopping $20. Apparently the store actually had the blazer marked at the wrong price, but they honored it.  Check out the original price... I mean, I had to get it.

2. Banana Republic Sheath Dress. I know I already told you all the story of this dress, but short story was that it was marked down to $21 from $130. Again, I HAD to get it. Man, I sound so weak. I swear I'm not normally like that! Maybe this baby really likes clothes or something (dress worn here).

3. And of course the target dress (worn here) that was a birthday gift from my dear friend Emily. I have already worn it multiple times and I'm kind of obsessed. Someone made the note that it looks kind of weird online... I have to agree. But it's awesome in person.

Total: $41 (don't be impressed - I'll share what I actually spent on belly clothes later)

Happy August! This summer has flown by. I'm trying not to get too sad about the students coming back  (I live in a university town) and I'm just trying to enjoy the rest of summer. BUT. It's ending so soon! I hope everyone has an awesome summer-y weekend!

*linking up with other budgeting bloggers
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