Gifts Under $30: {No, Really!}

There's nothing that makes me more frustrated than when a blog, magazine, website, etc. brags about their "affordable" holiday gift guide, then you click over, get to reading and discover that the cheapest thing on the list is a $190 coaster set.

This isn't that holiday gift guide. 

Better yet, nothing on here looks like it's less than $30, so they'll think you spent a lot more. (Little do they know...)

1. Pave Pearl 360 Studs in rose gold - $28      2. Faux Fur Infinity Scarf in grey (also available in cream!) - $24     3. Michael Kors-inspired Titanium Crystal Accent Chronograph Bracelet Watch in rose gold (includes FREE shipping!) - $20     4. Women's Cierra Slide Slippers in gray (also available in cream!) - $16.99    5. Pinch Provisions 'Checkmate' Mini Emergency Kit for Her in red plaid - $18 (includes FREE shipping!)

6. Threshold Plaid Throw in navy - $19.99 (buy-one-get-one 50% today!)     7. L'Artisan Parfumeur 'The Perfume Box'  - $20      8. Double Diamante-Trimmed Faux Pearl Cocktail Ring in gold - $6 (great for an under-$10 gift exchange party!)     9. Diagonal Rib Beanie in pink (also comes in gray!) - $26     10. Monogrammed Tassel Bracelet in black (comes in 14 other colors!) - $24.99

Happy under-$30 gifting, gals! And happy Monday.


You can stay up-to-date on all things baby (and otherwise) by following me at ablondeambition

P.S. - Thanks for all the support and encouragement on Instagram (username: ablondeambition) on Saturday's baby update pic! We survived the weekend without a trip to Labor & Delivery and, although I'm still having contractions, they slowed down enough to stay put at home on bed rest, thank goodness. We go back to the doctor for another non-stress test at 1:30 today and we'll get a better idea of when my O.B. thinks we should take her.

Our goal is to try to keep Ainsley in there as long as possible, but at least until 37 weeks, which we'll be on Thursday. She's weighing in average-to-above average, (quite a bit bigger than her sister was at this point!), so they think even if she does come soon, she'll be very healthy. But still, I'd prefer her to grow a little more and get those lungs nice and developed. I'm confident that with our doctor's help and advice, we'll get her here healthy.


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

Hey, hey! Since I didn't do a bumpdate this week, I've themed mine "pregnancy confessions.

By the way - we're 36 weeks along as of yesterday! Crazy, right? That went by freaking fast. Let's hope these next couple weeks do also because I'm ready to burn these maternity pants.

Taken yesterday at 36 weeks- hey, hey, Ainsley girl!

Here goes:

1) I confess that the entirety of my Christmas shopping this year will be done online. At this point, it hurts to stand, bend and move in any shape or fashion. And battling holiday shopping crowds with nine-months-worth of pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins? Nope. Not happening. {Hello, Amazon!}

2) I confess that I miss having ankles. Holy fluid retention, y'all. I never had this issue with Caroline until after the C-section, but it's so different this time. They look somewhat normal when I wake up in the morning, but by mid-afternoon, they're crazy huge. My mom came up for a couple days earlier this week while Stephen was traveling for work, (just in case I "popped"), and I had to have her help me pull  pry my riding boots off Tuesday night - ha! No more tall boot wearing for this girl until after the baby. Booties, heels and flats only.

3) I confess that while my mom was staying with Caroline and me this week, she made a huuuuuge dish of banana pudding and I singlehandedly ate the entire 9 x 9 pan in three nights. Oops.

4) I confess that I will have been "with child" an estimated 560 days of the past two years by the time this is all said and done. I'm pretty sure my uterus would like to punch me.

5) I confess that the only thing that makes me feel slightly more at ease about that fact is knowing that the Asiatic elephant has to endure a 609 day gestation period. I hope those momma elephants get some reeeeeally nice push presents.

6) I confess that all of the not-so-fun parts of late term pregnancy are immediately forgotten when I go to get Caroline out of her crib in the mornings. Her smile and excitement for seeing me and starting her day just make my heart happy. Parenthood/mommyhood is the single most incredible thing, and Caroline has been such a great reminder of the how amazing the little gift at the end truly is.

Y'all go out and have the best weekend in the history of ever. And if you can't do that, at least have a really good one.

P.S. - Blogging may be a little more scarce next week as I tie up some loose ends around the house/with work/with Thanksgiving prep. (Next week is my last week at work, plus I also very intelligently decided I'd host Thanksgiving this year. Because that seemed like a fabulous idea back when I was 10 weeks pregnant and believed in unicorns.)

I promise in advance that I will not have fallen off the face of the earth, (unless, of course, I do.) I will, however, be posting regularly on Instagram throughout the week, if you want to follow my very riveting life in pictures. My username is ablondeambition.


    An InLinkz Link-up


Buy This - Not That: {Make-Up Edition}

You asked and here it is, chicas!

I was able to locate every single "bargain" product at one or more of the stores below. If they don't have the products in stock in your city at one of the stores listed below, I linked them for you to places you can get them online for the exact same price : )

I'll preface this by saying, I think some brands/products are worth splurging on if you can (i.e. the Estee Lauder Double-Wear Foundation.) To me, some formulations just cannot be matched and that foundation is one of 'em. However, I tried to scope out as many awesome comparable products as I could find...and find I did!

Dior Diorific Illuminating Pressed Powder ($77.78) vs. Physicians Formula Nude Wear™Glowing Nude Powder ($14.95) 

Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Flat-top Multipurpose Brush ($15.79) vs. It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Flat Top Foundation Buffing Brush ($48)

Charlotte Tillbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Glastonberry ($36) vs. Loreal Paris Colour Riche Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick in Plum Adagio ($9.99)

Essie Luxeffect in Rock at the Top ($8.50) vs. Deborah Lippmann glitter nail polish in Boom Boom Pow ($20)

Mac Blot Powder in Light ($26) vs. Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent ($3.99)

indeed Laboratories Hydraluron Moisture Serum ($19.99) vs. Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate ($84)

Bobby Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Ivory/Pale Yellow ($35) vs. NYX Full Coverage Concealer in Yellow ($5)

Revlon ColorStay Shadowlinks in Copper ($2.99) vs. Makeup Forever Artist Shadow in Pinky Beige (21.00)

NARS Bronzer Duo in Orgasm/Laguna ($42) vs. e.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzer Duo in St. Lucia ($3) 


I think we all deserve need to treat ourselves now and then on a cashmere sweater, expensive perfume, luxe handbag or department store facial cream -- hey, we're women and we work darn hard -- but, it's always an amazing feeling to find a bargain. Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed researching/writing it!

See y'all tomorrow. Be good or be good at it, ladies.


Confessional Friday: {Link Up}

Let the chorus of angels sing; it's Friday, gals! Why waste time? We have a weekend to get to, so let's confess:

1) I confess that I think I should have been more specific when I asked Mama Nature for "cooler" weather. The highs this week and for the foreseeable future are in the low thirties and upper twenties. In November. In Arkansas. We're usually wearing short sleeves at Thanksgiving, so this has taken everyone by surprise. (Yeah, those outfit pics from the Shabby Apple post? It was 27 degrees when I snapped those on Tuesday afternoon. Talk about freezing one's booty off in the name of fashion.)

2) I confess that I'm thisclose to breaking out the Christmas decorations. I don't want to wait too much longer, just in case little lady Ainsley decides to make an early entrance. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do yet, but this pretty pic I found on Pinterest might serve as my inspiration. My MIL is going to help me decorate, so I'm sure she'll have some awesome suggestions on how to recreate this look.

Photo and burlap skirt tutorial via The Frugal Homemaker

3) I confess that I'm in loooooove with this sweater overlay that I bought on mega-sale from Ann Taylor. Outfit post coming next week, but I wanted to spread the word today because it's on super sale right now, (and won't be by Monday!)

Sizing reference: 
I'm 5'4" and I went with a small. Plus, Ann Taylor usually runs pretty big, so I'd size down if you choose to buy it, too. Order now and get an additional 40% off of the SALE price. (Code is FRIENDS40

I styled it with this turtleneck in the navy stripe from Old Navy (also on major sale...like, $13...yeah...) Anyway, both the sweater and the turtleneck are one heck of a bargain at a sliver of the original prices. Tip: the Ann Taylor sweater is only on sale until Monday and sizes are going fast. Trust me, you will want it!

Sizing reference:
I went with a medium in the navy stripe for the turtleneck to accommodate the bump now, but also purchased the burgundy in a small to wear after the baby. For $13, I figured why not get a couple of colors?

4) I confess that I've never smelled a more perfect candle than the Capri Blue Volcano candle. (If you've ever been in Anthropologie, it's the one they're usually burning.) I'm not quite ready to bust out the holiday-scented candles yet, so it's a perfect transition scent for fall-to-winter: deep, luxurious and warm, but really clean. 


P.S. - I LOVED the suggestion that a couple of you had for doing a Buy This - Not That drugstore make-up edition! I did some recon at Target and Walgreen's yesterday, so stay tuned for that next week. Let's just say I even found a couple new favorites for my own collection for a whooooole lot cheaper than I was paying at department stores. 

Your turn. Confess away, my loves!


    An InLinkz Link-up


35 Week Bumpdate: {Baby GIRL Sisti #2}

Just a handful of weeks left until we see our girl. (Insert wide-eyed Emoji face with the touchdown hands Emoji right beside it.)

An outtake from yesterday's outfit post. Hey there, Ainsley Cate!

As enjoyable as the pregnancy has been, (and I sincerely mean that), I'm ready to meet our Ainsley Catherine, (or Ainsley Cate, as we've been calling her), and see this precious girl face-to-face. It's funny, but we have absolutely no idea what she looks like. We saw so many facial shots of Caroline when she was in utero that we had a pretty good idea of who she favored before she ever made her entrance. Short of one profile shot at our 20-week appointment, Ainsley has been covering her face with her hands at every appointment.

Last week the u/s tech at our high-risk OB was able to get a shot of her from the front for a brief second, which was just long enough for us to see that she has her daddy's big, puffy lips : ) And, we are told she has hair like her big sister did. We shall see!

A few fun facts about life in week 35 with little AC:

-She's weighing in around 4 lbs. and 10 oz., and around 18 inches in length

-Ainsley enjoys break dancing on momma's bladder every night from about 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

-She gets the hiccups at least twice a day. I used to love that feeling, (and still do), but now it hurts, ha!

-I started getting all of her little clothes put into her closet on Tuesday night. Most belonged to Caroline, but there are definitely a few new things in there, too!

-I bought newborn dipes again this week...so surreal.

-My ankles have been swelling every night this week. Didn't have this problem at all with Caroline until the very last week, but I haven't been so lucky this time. What can I say? Sitting down is just rare these days.

-My normal bras stopped fitting this week. I mean, woah. (In the voice of Billy Crystal, "Helloooooooo, ladies!") On that note, I'll be making a little detour to Vicki's Secret after my appointment this morning. And what I'll be buying probably won't come from their Very Sexy line.

-I make very glamorous grunting noises when I get out of bed.

-I have been using Ruby, our dachshund, as a heating pad this week to relieve aches and pains. She gets to lay on the bump, I stay nice and toasty, everybody wins.


Stay tuned for week 36...