December 4, 2017

Favorite Holiday Season Must-Do's

'Tis the season for tacky holiday sweaters, twinkling lights and chilly weather. Now that our sweet baby James is here, the holidays are about to get more exciting, especially in the coming years, which got me thinking about all of my favorite things to do around this time of year.
 
Below, I've shared a few of my ideas to get in the holiday spirit. Please feel free to leave a comment to with traditions or fun things you do to celebrate!
Image via
- Take family photos and send out Christmas cards to loved ones
- Pick out and decorate a Christmas tree
- Create a playlist of your favorite holiday tunes
- Invest in some new quirky or festive holiday decorations
- Watch Elf, The Polar Express, and Home Alone (just a few of my favorites)
- Hang stockings (I adore needlepoint stockings and the ones I get for our family are by Sferra which I purchased from here)
- Go ice-skating
- Have a girls night out and go see a ballet (a favorite of mine is The Nutcracker)
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights and decorations...particularly in Christmas Town USA (it doesn't hurt if you bring along and sip on some homemade hot chocolate)
- Bake and decorate cookies
- Go to a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Visit a local Christmas Village (this one in Uptown Charlotte is my favorite)
- Go to Christmas at The Library and see the live nativity scene (another fun local event in Charlotte!)
- Do a random act of kindness (here are 35 different ideas)
- Spend a day in your favorite PJ's
- Find a fun way to display holiday cards
- Serve a meal at a local homeless shelter
- Write a letter to Santa
- Read the nativity story
- Donate a toy to a local toy drive
- Go to a Christmas Eve service
- Celebrate each day of December with an Advent calendar
-  Open one small gift on Christmas Eve
 

July 21, 2017

Three Things

Happy Friday!! A sweet blogging friend of mine, Victoria, posted a fun little survey that she did earlier this week and I thought it would be fun to do the same! I haven't done a post like this in quite some time and felt it would help new readers get to know me a little better. Plus I don't know about you but I find these kind of survey's enjoyable and fun to read.
Three things I'd never give up
- Sweets
-Taking baths
- Reading a daily devotional. I don't have time to read the bible as much as I'd like so I try to make up for that by reading at least one devotional per day (most days I try to read two or three). Currently my rotation includes First 5, Jesus Calling, Solid Joys, and She Reads Truth.

Three favorite vegetables
- Green Beans
- Asparagus
- Sweet Potatoes

Three shows I watched faithfully from beginning to end
- Gilmore Girls
- Hart of Dixie
- Grace and Frankie! There is supposed to be a 4th season coming out in 2018 :-)

Three places I want to visit inside the US
- Seattle, WA
- Austin, TX
- Martha's Vineyard, MA

Three places I want to visit outside the US
- Italy
- Croatia
- London, England

Three things I always have with me
- I used to always have a tube of Carmex Mint Lip Balm with me, but for the past few years I've been using the Classic Medicated ChapStick
- Peppermints

Three things that are always in my car
- A pair of sunglasses
- Hand sanitizer
- A yoga mat

Three of my most recent phone calls were from/to
- My husband Will
- One of my best friends, Caitlin
- My dad

Three most often used makeup products
- Mascara. The one's I currently use are this one and this one. If you have recommendations for others please feel free to share. I'm in the market for something new to try!
- Bobbi Brown's foundation stick to help cover up blemishes and the bags under my eyes.
- Powder foundation. I recently started using bareMinerals performance wear powder foundation and like it a lot.

Three things that make me cry
- Elderly couples (happy tears!)
- Abused animals
- Having to say goodbye

Three things that make me laugh
- Episodes of The Office
-This video...make sure to have your sound on! The ladies laugh gets me everytime.
- My dog Miller
 

June 12, 2017

Predicting The Gender

Old wives tales...do you believe in them? Over the weekend we found out the gender of baby Mackvick and couldn't be more excited to finally know the gender! The weeks leading up to finding out, I thought it would be fun to do some old wives tales and "guess" at what we could possibly be having. I don't believe in all of them but it was a fun process for sure.
 
Morning Sickness
I guess the sicker you are, it means you're having a girl. BOY

Ring Test
  Your supposed to off your wedding ring, tie it to a piece of string and hang it over your belly. If it swings in a circle, you are having a boy; back and forth indicates a girl. GIRL

Mayan Test
 The Mayan tale adds the mothers age at conception and the year of conception. If the result is an even number then mom is having a girl. If the result is an odd number then a boy is on the way. According to this, we are having a BOY.

Baby's Heart Rate
Supposedly if it's above 140 it's a girl and if it's 140 or below it's a boy. All of the times we've heard the heartbeat, it's been over 150. GIRL

Acne
They say girls steal your beauty. Thankfully I haven't been breaking out more than normal! BOY

Sleep
If you sleep on your left side, it's a boy. If you sleep on your right side, it's a girl. I've been sleeping on my left side for the longest time because it's been more comfortable. BOY

Shape of Baby
 If you are carrying high with a big, round belly, they say you are having a girl. If you are carrying low with a smaller belly that sticks straight out, it’s a boy. I'm not 100% sure what the shape of my belly is so I'm guessing on this one. BOY

Food Cravings
Salty cravings mean boy and sweet cravings mean girl. I've always had a sweet tooth but haven't had more cravings of either salty or sweet foods. But if I had to pick one...GIRL

My Gut Feeling
It was boy in the early stages, then girl for a brief period, then BOY again. 

Friends and Family
 We took a poll of our friends and family and what their guesses were and the majority said BOY.

BOY - 7
GIRL - 3

To find out what the gender is, be sure to tune-in on Instagram (@mmackvick) when I reveal the news later this week! Hope everyone has a great Monday!
 

June 6, 2017

A New Orleans Adventure

New Orleans is a city that after going once, you've seen it all, or most of it at least. That's how it was on my recent trip there and I don't mean that in a bad way at all! We planned on going to New Orleans a few months ago (before we found out I was pregnant) because it's a place we had never been to together and one I had never been to at all for that matter. I did some light research and gathered a handful of recommendations of things to do and places to eat at, but besides that, I was excited to just get out and explore.

One of the first things I noticed about the city is that everyone was super friendly. It reminded me a lot of the South. I also noticed that a lot of the things that were recommended to-do were within walking distance from the hotel we stayed at, or a short UBER ride away. This was super helpful in terms of us accomplishing all we wanted to do! With that, I thought it would be fun to share the places we went that I thoroughly enjoyed.
 
Activities and To-Do's
 
Magazine Street and Royal Street - You can stroll these two streets for as little or as long as you want as there is plenty of shopping you can do. Be sure to check out the many antique shops and art galleries. 

Esplanade Avenue - A fun street to venture down via bike if possible to see the beautiful Victorian and Queen Ann homes. 

St. Charles Avenue - Described as "The Jewel of America's Grand Avenue" and was one of my favorite things was walking around this are.

WW2 Museum - If your a fan of history, GO! It helps if you can go on a weekday when it's less crowded.

Rent bikes - We rented bikes at American Bicycle and had a fun experience. I can't go without noting that it was a great workout and exploring on a bike brings forth a totally different experience then when your walking or driving so defiantly do it if you can.

Audubon Zoo - We decided to go on a whim and I'm so glad we did! This zoo is now one of my all-time favorites. The way they had every section laid out was really well done.
The day we went to Jackson Square and saw the Saint Louis Cathedral there were not as many people as I was expecting and it made the whole experience much more enjoyable. If you can, try to go earlier in the morning because it truly does make all the difference.
Do you recognize the house above? You may remember it as the house Benjamin Button grew up in! Will and I were exploring an area nearby when Will remembered that the move was filmed in New Orleans and we just so happened to be a street or two away from this house so we decided it would be fun to see if we could find it. The house is on Coliseum Street if you were wondering!
  
Restaurants
 
Willa Jean - If you go for breakfast, make sure to get the griddled banana bread (it comes with two large slices). The sausage gravy biscuit is just as good! The great thing about Willa Jean, besides the food and awesome location, is they take reservations and are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The Ruby Slipper -They have multiple spots around the city and the one we went to was the Central Business Distract location.

Atchafalaya - We didn't have the opportunity to try this place but I've heard only great things about the brunch.

Cochon Butcher -We went here for lunch on our first day in the city. If you go, it's located right next door to Cochon so don't get the two confused! This was Will's favorite lunch spot.

Acme Oyster House - If you don't arrive early, expect there to be a line out of the door. We didn't plan on going here (we went for lunch) but we were starving and it was close by and we lucked up with only a 20 minute wait.

Mona Lisa - Given that it was Memorial weekend, a bunch of the places we wanted to try were already booked for dinner so we did a quick Yelp search one night and came across this Italian restaurant. The atmosphere was quaint and cozy and the food very good.

Kenton's - The environment was right up our alley and the service great! I'm kind of craving their Salted Caramel Croissant now that I think about it...

District Donuts - This place was recommended by several people and I'm SO glad we made the time to stop by for a mid-morning coffee and snack.

Cafe Du Monde - Most likely you've heard of this place as they are famous for their beignets and cafe au lait. I'm not a huge fan of crowds so it wasn't my favorite experience but I'm glad I can say that I went.

Drip Affogato Bar - On our last full day in Nola, it was extremely hot and humid. That evening Will and I were both craving something sweet and right around the corner was this one-of-a-kind spot. Highly recommend the Tiramisu and Cookie Monster affogato!

Other places we had on our list but didn't have time to try this go-around include Central Grocery for their Muffuletta's, Le Petite Grocery, Appoline, Parkway Bakery (I heard you should take your order across the street to eat on the banks of the Bayou St. John), Josephine Estelle in the Ace Hotel, and Jacques-Imos.
 

Random and Miscellaneous
 
Magnolia Sugar & Spice Praline Kitchen (Hot Sauce Bar) - My sister-in-law told me about this store and it was defiantly one of Will's favorites because of their hot sauce bar. In the very back of the store they also have an area filled with little nick-nacks and New Orleans souvenirs that were fun to look at while Will was trying all the different sauces!


Crescent Park - After a long day of exploring the city, we would go here since it was right behind the hotel we stayed at. It was a great way to unwind and watch boats and people pass by.


The Roosevelt Hotel Sazerac Bar - Since I'm pregnant, I wasn't able to drink which made going to New Orleans a little bit more of a challenge but we checked out this spot where the Sazerac cocktail was born and know Will had a really great experience and said the cocktail he got was delicious.

May 17, 2017

SURPRISE!

Hi everyone!! If you follow me on Instagram (mmackvick) you most likely saw that my husband Will and I shared some exciting news recently. We are expecting a precious bundle of joy to arrive in early November! As of today, I'm 14 weeks and just entered into second trimester. SAY WHAT?! How is it that time flies by so fast? First trimester was full of mixed emotions. I had a handful of amazing days and feelings, and others I was a mess. I've been told hormones play a huge part in this though! Over the past few months I've been asked a handful of questions and thought I'd share some of the one's I've been asked the most. I felt it would also be nice to have this to reflect back on years from now.

Was your pregnancy planned or a surprise?
It was planned to a degree. We knew when we officially started trying in February that we were ready to give things a try, but little did we know that after a few weeks of trying we would become pregnant. We honestly can't believe it happened so fast but feel extremely blessed and are trusting in God's plans for us. It defiantly goes to show that things are certainly out of our hands. Fun fact...it took my mom about seven years to conceive me and I'm the only child so we literally thought there might be a possibility that it would take some time for us to conceive as well. You just never know!
 
How did you react when your pregnancy was confirmed?
I was in complete shock. I said a prayer right before I took the test and was ready to wait the three minutes the test said it would take but it didn't even take a full minute for the results to show and I immediately ran out of the bathroom and into our bedroom and cried. I wasn't sure how to really react or what to do haha. My hands were shaky and my heart was racing really fast. I think I just stared at the pregnancy test for a few minutes before putting it back down. I couldn't wait for Will to get home so I could tell him but wanted to take a second test to be extra sure of the results so right before he got home I did just that and got a second positive test result.

What is the best thing about being pregnant so far?
So far, the best thing has been hearing baby Mackvick's heartbeat. We've only heard it twice but it is the most surreal sound either of us have ever heard. It makes things feel and seem more "real". Will has been able to go with me to all of my doctor appointments so far and seeing how excited he gets has been sweet and fun to witness. All of the love and support we have received from our family and friends has also been just as meaningful! 

What challenges do you foresee with this pregnancy?
There are a few challenges that I worry about but the main one is dealing with neck pain. Last June (on our first wedding anniversary) I had neck surgery. Since then, I've been going through the recovery process and am coming up on one year since the surgery took place. The doctor's told me it takes about a full year to recover but I've already noticed pain occurring again more frequently. I knew that my pain was never going to go away 100%, but chronic pain is just down right discouraging! I've tried to do a better job at completing the exercises I've been given but working out has been a bit more difficult recently given that some of the moves I try to do aggravate my neck, shoulder and upper body area.

Another area that I see being a bit of a challenge for me is dealing with my anxiety which I'll talk about in more depth in the next question.

How are you emotionally?
Y'all this is a tough one for me answer if I'm being honest. I want to say pregnancy has been all positive things for me but it hasn't. And I hope I'm not the only one who has ever felt that way. Ever since middle/high school I've been battling anxiety and depression. For years I've taken medication to help (which I hate taking), have seen counselors, practiced breathing techniques and have even tried meditation. It's gotten better over the years but a few months before Will and I started trying I gradually went off of everything I was taking and have since been battling anxiety issues, more often than before. Some days are worse then others. And other days I feel like thing's couldn't be better! I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm not in this alone and pray over and over and over as soon as negative emotions start to creep in. Maybe one day I'll go into more detail about my anxiety, but if you can relate, I'd love to chat!

Have you had any food aversions?
Yes! The last few times I've tried to eat a salad, I've had to push it away almost immediately. I don't know if it's the texture, the smell, the taste or the dressing but I have yet to be able to eat them without feeling sick and it sucks because they are so good for you and I'm trying my hardest to be healthier. I also used to snack on bananas with almond butter but the smell of almond butter has caused me to not eat it in over a month. Other then those two things, I haven't noticed many aversions thank goodness.

Have you noticed or had any food cravings?
Just a few. I can down a glass of milk on a regular basis now (prior I only liked milk if it was in cereal or if it was chocolate milk) and I'm obsessed with Smartfood white cheddar popcorn. Other then that I still have a large sweet tooth and carbs are my jam. Sad but true!

Have you noticed a change in your level of energy?
Heavens yes and it hasn't come back all the way yet either. Does it come back fully while your pregnant? At first I didn't notice a change in my energy, but weeks six through ten were certainly the worst. I'm talking about struggling to stay awake through the whole work day, falling asleep as soon as dinner was over and taking more naps on the weekend kind of lack of energy. Slowly, things have gotten much better but I believe I'm a ways after from feeling more myself but I'm okay with that knowing baby is busy growing healthy and strong!

When did you start to show?
More so recently but around the seventh or eighth week I noticed that a bunch of my clothes, particularly my jeans, were becoming tighter. I've since had to utilize the rubber band trick and will likely need to purchase a pair of maternity jeans and pants for work in the near future. I had planned to also take weekly bump photos but haven't really started taking them yet but am going to jump on that train sooner rather then later because I love the idea of being able to look back on how things progressed over time.

Total weight gain/loss?
By week nine I had gained around three or four pounds. By week twelve I had lost two pounds and have since gained that weight back. From a quick search on the internet though, it looks like I'm right on track with what is recommended.

Has sleeping become more difficult?
Sleep has always been a sore subject for me given my neck issues, but I've noticed that it's more comfortable for me when I sleep on my left side then in any other position. It's also true that you have to pee more frequently (day and night) and I currently get out of bed to use the bathroom one or two times but go back to sleep pretty quick. We did just get a Sleep Number bed which we are obsessed with and has helped a good bit!

So there you have it. If you've read up to this point I'm impressed. I do hope you've enjoyed finding out how the journey has been for me thus far and hope to do a few more of these updates throughout the rest of my pregnancy. We honestly can't wait to find out if baby Mackvick is a boy or girl come June 9th and are thrilled that God has chosen us to be this little one's parents. If you have ventured down this road before, or are currently pregnant as well, I'd love to hear how things were/are for you!

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