Pregnancy is a special yet complicated time.
You’re celebrating the fact that you’re growing a human life for nine months, but in that time, you’re also going through major physical and emotional changes.
As your body begins to expand and grow, it feels less and less like your own with each passing day. On top of that, the hormones raging inside of you are likely to take a toll, and there are days that you don’t feel your absolute best. To be honest, I had more than my fair share of those days.
I sifted through numerous blogs to prepare for my first pregnancy, but throughout, I found that I didn’t need all that much aside from a handful of life-savers that helped ease the pain along the way.
One thing I avoided (and this might not be sound advice for everyone) is investing in too many maternity clothes. Maybe it’s because I was fortunate enough that my belly was pretty tiny, but I found that everything I needed – aside from maternity leggings and jeans (definitely grew out of my pre-pregnancy ones real quick) – was already in my closet. It was also helpful that I was pregnant during the winter months, so I just threw on an oversized sweater and called it a day!
I’ve compiled a list of my top recommendations for items that I found super useful during my pregnancy. I hope it helps you on your exciting journey! And please take a moment to reach out and comment below to share the things you splurged on!
And be sure to always consult with your doctor to be on the safe side!
Honest Company Belly Butter
As your belly grows to accommodate the little renter inside of you, you’ll want to invest in a belly butter that keeps your expanding tummy nourished, hydrated, and stretch-mark-free.
I found that the Honest Company Butter was my favorite, though I did switch off with the Burts Bees Mama Belly Butter. The Honest Butter consists of shea butter, avocado oil, and vitamin E, but my favorite part is that it isn’t greasy. For those with a sensitive nose during pregnancy, it also has no smell, which makes it the perfect addition to your daily beauty routine!
You can get just the Body Butter or the set with the Body Oil!
There were times when I simply needed something with a little more edge, and the Bio-Oil featured the perfect blend of oils, especially when rubbing it on my belly overnight. The oil helps improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks, so it can also be used postpartum. And the investment is worth it as I’ve had friends who swear by this stuff even when they aren’t pregnant! It can be applied to the abdomen, breasts, lower back, hips, buttocks, and thighs!
Burt’s Bees Peppermint Foot Cream
So, the Burt’s Bees Peppermint and Coconut oil cream was sent to me as part of a gift set from a friend after I announced I was pregnant. At the time, I didn’t know that I was going to swear by this foot cream the further along my pregnancy got. After a long day on my feet, which began showing signs of swelling in my second trimester, I would rub this minty bad boy on and immediately felt like I was at the spa. (Due to COVID, I couldn’t actually go to the spa, so this was heaven-sent). It’s such a stress-reliever and helps with aching feet and legs!
Pregnancy means two things: you have to drink a lot of water (especially if you’re at risk of preeclampsia) and you have to pee a lot. The two go hand-in-hand. And while the latter isn’t ideal, I found having a nice water bottle really helps you get the liquids in.
I invested in this one because once I filled it up in the morning, I didn’t have to fill it up until the next day! According to the Institute of Medicine, pregnant women need to drink ten 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Belly bands support your lower back and abdomen during pregnancy. According to Healthline, they’re particularly helpful for active mamas in their second or third trimester.
As someone who was diagnosed with SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) around 24 weeks, the belly band helped ease the unbearable pain in my pelvic area. Aside from physical therapy, there’s not much to help SPD, but the belly band decreased the pain substantially and allowed me to walk again. (For anyone who has suffered from SPD, you’ll know some days are better than others depending on the severity of your flare-up).
TULA Probiotic Brightening Eye Balm
Swelling… trouble sleeping… there are several reasons why you might wake up looking way too puffy for comfort. The Tula Rose Glow & Get It eye balm helped hydrate, de-puff, and cool! Ingredients include probiotic extracts & superfoods like caffeine, aloe & watermelon—plus the addition of rosewater & rosehip oil (a plant-based retinol alternative!)
I loved how reenergizing the balm felt, so I used it at night and under my makeup in the morning!
Wedge for Side Sleeping
Remember that SPD thing I told you about? Yeah, sleeping with a wedge between definitely helped. I never found a need to invest in a body pillow (though plenty of people swear by them), but I did love the wedge-shaped pillow as it took the pressure off my pelvis!
Lip Sleeping Mask
By now, you know swelling comes with pregnancy territory, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll also experience dry lips, particularly if you’re pregnant in the frigid winter months. Laneige offers a lip sleeping mask that you dab on overnight to lock in moisture. Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world!
There’s nothing comfier (and stylish!) than leggings during your pregnancy! There are so many to choose from, but I really loved Old Navy’s, which are soft, breathable, and elastic. And with sales happening all the time, you cannot beat the price!
Spanx Maternity Leggings
Old Navy leggings = daily wear. Spanx Maternity Faux leather leggings = fancy wear. The COVID-19 pandemic put a bit of a damper on dressing up and going out while pregnant, but I still got plenty of use from these during the holidays and while dining out in igloos! You can dress them up or dress them down and still feel like a million bucks. Find them here!
Jeans are an everyday part of life, but when you can no longer squeeze into your favorite denim bottoms, you have to snag a pair that has a little wiggle room. I personally spent my whole pregnancy wearing the jeans with an inset panel from Target, but they also have the crossover panel available. Snag them here!
Rubber Ducky Bath Thermometer
I love baths, and when I got pregnant, I didn’t know that it was possible to take a bath that was considered “too hot.” Baby Center notes that while it’s unlikely a bath would be set to temps high enough to hurt your baby, you should avoid soaking in baths that raise your body temperature above 102.2 degrees. That’s where Mr. Ducky came into play. The adorable little thermometer helped keep me in check as he beeps when the water temp gets too hot. Ducky makes a great bathtime buddy, plus, he’ll be useful for baby’s first bathtime in a few short months!
If you had the willpower to give up coffee during your pregnancy, props to you. It wasn’t for me. But I also wanted to limit my caffeine intake for the sake of the bubba. Mommee Coffee was the perfect solution as it includes a quarter of the caffeine. The package says it’s “designed for moms of all stages” and features low-acid. Can’t go wrong with that!
Swelling, swelling, swelling. It’s no fun, but compression socks do their best to keep it all in check!
Blood Pressure Monitor
High blood pressure in pregnancy can pose plenty of risks. I was someone who constantly had high blood pressure whenever I walked into the doctor’s office, though my blood pressure remained quite low when I was at home. The Omron machine is the same one my OB-GYN used, so I knew I was getting an accurate reading. This was especially important as they asked me to monitor my BP for signs of preeclampsia!
Flawless Hair Remover
One of the weirdest symptoms of pregnancy turned out to be an increase in facial hair. No, I didn’t grow a full beard, but I did get a lot more peach fuzz on my face that seemed to grow at rapid speeds. I felt self-conscious about it, so I ordered the flawless and painless hair remover that zapped all of those unwanted hairs away! The best part is that it’s so small, you can literally carry it in your purse!
Don’t forget to share your must-have pregnancy items with us!
And congrats on this exciting new chapter in your life!
The Only Cosmopolitan Recipes You’ll Need
As the days begin to get a little longer, you know that spring — and then summer — are on the horizon.
Of course, this means you can start putting away all your winter drinks (we’re looking at you, Gluhwein) and start busting out the refreshing cocktails.
If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect Cosmo recipe that would knock the Louboutin’s off of the Sex & the City women, look no further than these 3 delicious recipes from Ocean Spray, the farmer-owned cranberry co-operative.
You can sip these when you need a little wind down, when your hosting some friends, or for all the romantic holidays coming up!
Created by Ocean Spray
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
- 1 1/2 ounce vodka
- 1 1/2 ounce Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Drink, any flavor, chilled
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- Lime twist, garnish
- In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, combine all ingredients and shake well. Strain mixture into a chilled stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with lime twist.
Created by Ocean Spray
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 50-Calorie Serving
- 3 ounces Diet Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Drink
- 3/4 ounce raspberry Flavored Vodka
- 1 Squeeze of lime
- Lime twist for garnish
- Shake ingredients, except lime twist, until cold, in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with lime twist.
Created by Ocean Spray
Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Grand Marnier®
- 1/8 lime (juice)
- 2 ounces Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail
- Orange slice, garnish
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add vodka, Grand Marnier®, juice of 1/8 of a lime, and Cranberry Juice Cocktail. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with orange slice.
Super Bowl LVI Menu: Try These Winning Recipes on Game Day
The Super Bowl commercials and halftime show are great, but really, we’re there for the food!
If you’d rather veer away from the traditional pizza and wings dishes, we have some dishes that are an absolute touchdown.
These tasty snacks are a must for your gameday lineup!
Macaroni & Cheese Skillet recipe from Grand Lux Cafe
*Serves about 2 people
For the Cheddar Cheese Sauce
|2 Tbl.||All-Purpose Flour|
|1 cup||Whole Milk|
|¼ cup||Heavy Cream|
|2 cups||Medium Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated|
|¼ tsp.||Kosher Salt|
For the Butter-Breadcrumb Mix
|2 Tbl.||Panko Breadcrumbs|
|2 Tbl.||Butter, melted|
For the Macaroni and Cheese
|8 oz.||Macaroni Pasta, Dry/Uncooked (Or try Gemelli Pasta, which is what we use in our restaurants!)|
|1/2 cup||Medium Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated|
|1/2 cup||Monterey Jack Cheese, grated|
For the Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- Heat the butter in a small saucepot set over medium-high heat until the butter is completely melted.
- Add the flour and whisk to incorporate. Cook until the raw flour taste has been cooked away (about 1-1/2 minutes). Do not allow to turn brown. It should remain very light blond in color.
- Slowly add the whole milk a ¼ cup at a time, whisking to prevent lumps. Then, add the heavy cream while continuing to whisk. Allow the sauce to come to a gentle boil.
- Lower the heat. Simmer and stir occasionally to avoid burning (about 1 to 2 minutes).
- Add the grated cheddar cheese and stir to incorporate with a wire whisk until completely melted.
- Season with salt. Remove from the heat*
For the Butter-Breadcrumb Mix
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and melted butter. Set Aside.
For the Macaroni and Cheese
- Preheat the oven to the “broil” setting (if you do not have a broiler, set your oven to 500°F and leave your oven door slightly cracked open).
- Cook the macaroni pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Place the cooked and drained pasta into the saucepot with the cheddar cheese sauce. Using a rubber spatula, fold to incorporate.
- Place the macaroni and cheese into a small cast iron skillet or other oven-safe ramekin or small casserole dish. Then, sprinkle the butter-breadcrumb mixture evenly over the macaroni and cheese.
- Place your macaroni and cheese skillet into the oven until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn the breadcrumbs.
- Remove the macaroni and cheese from the oven. Serve and enjoy!
*Notes: Cheddar cheese sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated.
Superbowl Breakfast Bagel from Bagel+ Slice
Buffalo Chicken Sausage
1 lb ground chicken
3 Tbs Bagel+Slice Buffalo Toss at room temperature (recipe below)
1 Tbs chopped fresh Italian parsley
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp rubbed dry sage
1/8 tsp ground bay leaf
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp ground black pepper
Add ingredients to the mixing bowl. Mix to combine. Do not over mix.
Bagel+Slice Buffalo Toss
2 garlic cloves 1/8” diced
3 Tbs butter
1 ½ Tbs Franks Red Hot
1 ½ Tbs Vodka
Add garlic and butter to a nonreactive saucepan. Cook on medium heat until butter and garlic begins to brown. Add the Franks Red Hot sauce and vodka and cook to reduce by one third. Cool and reserve for later use.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp cider vinegar
¼ tsp Dijon mustard
6 drops Tabasco
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 oz melted butter
1 tsp chopped fresh chives
½ tsp chopped fresh dill
¼ tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Juice from ¼ of a lemon
Water as needed
Place egg yolks, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce in stainless mixing bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water. Whisk this mixture until it thickens then remove from heat. Whisk in the melted butter little-by-little to for a creamy emulsion. Whisk in the fresh herbs and pepper. Adjust the consistency with fresh lemon juice and water. Adjust seasoning as needed with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Reserve over a pan of warm water.
1 bagel, toasted
1 patty of the Buffalo chicken sausage, well browned in butter
1 fried egg
Franks Red Hot (to taste)
Hollandaise Ranch (to desired amount)
1/8 cup sauteed spinach
Toast bagel. Add the sauteed spinach to the bottom half of the bagel. Top the spinach with the browned Buffalo chicken sausage, fried egg, Franks Red Hot and Hollandaise Ranch sauce. Eat the shit out of this!
Pink Grapefruit Shandy
1-12 oz wheat beer
6 oz pink grapefruit juice
1 oz simple syrup (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a tall glass and enjoy with your Superbowl Breakfast Bagel!
Champagne Pizza from Bagel+ Slice
Rose Champagne Syrup
1 750ml bottle rose champagne
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ tsp dry rose petals (food grade)
Add ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan. Cook on medium high heat to reduce to 1 1/8 cup. Careful cooking over gas flame as alcohol can catch fire…which can add more excitement to your evening but can be dangerous. You will know when the syrup has reduced sufficiently as the bubbles on the top will become a bit larger. Do not over reduce or it will caramelize. Strain out the rose petals and store refrigerated until ready to use. Syrup can be thinned with water or reduced further to thicken.
8 oz mascarpone
1 ½ Tbs granulated white sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Do not over mix. Store refrigerated until ready to use.
1 bag frozen raspberries
Defrost raspberries overnight in the refrigerator. Place raspberries in a fine mesh strainer. Push the raspberry puree through the strainer, capturing the seeds in the strainer. Reserve the puree in the refrigerator until ready to use.
1 Tbs crushed raw pistachios
1 tsp dry rose petals (food grade)
¼ cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 tsp chopped dark chocolate
1 Tbs cut fresh mint
2 ea pizza dough balls 150-200g
2 Tbs Turbinado sugar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup semolina flour for dusting
Preheat the oven to its highest setting at least 45 minutes before your big night with pizza with a pizza stone or oven still on the lowest rack if you don’t have convection or the highest rack if you do have convection heat. Remove one dough ball for yourself (one more if you have someone to share with). Set some dusting flour on a pizza peel and coat the pizza dough so it is no longer sticky. Stretch the dough into a 10” circle.
- Oil ½” of the outside perimeter with olive oil and sprinkle half of the turbinado sugar on that perimeter section.
- Spoon about ¼ cup of the raspberry puree into the center of the pizza crust, spreading all the way to the inside edge of the sugared edge.
- Carefully slide the pizza into the oven on the stone or steel and bake until the crust is well browned. If the sauce begins to brown, spoon on a bit more sauce to keep it lovely and red.
- Remove the pizza from the oven when the crust is well browned, and sugar caramelizes. Set on a rack while you finish building.
- Spoon 8-10 small spoonful dollops of the mascarpone and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of the chopped chocolate.
- Add about 8-12 strawberry pieces.
- Drizzle with rose champagne syrup. Garnish with crushed pistachios, dry rose petals and chopped fresh mint.
- Cut or not. Nobody is watching.
Where to Watch and Celebrate Super Bowl LVI in Chicago
The game, the Halftime Show, the food, and the drinks.
Those are the only things that matter during Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl LVI falls on February 13, 2022. If you don’t feel like hosting a game day party at your place, there are plenty of restaurants and hotels in Chicago that would be happy to host you for a watch party!
And did I mention they have delicious food and drink offerings?
Game Time! Best TV Episodes to Watch Ahead of The Super Bowl
Want to be the real winner of the Super Bowl? Check out these unbeatable deals below!
Chef Doug Psaltis and Andros Taverna are changing up takeout on Chicago’s best authentic Greek menu to celebrate this year’s Super Bowl by offering Charcoal Grilled Greek Wings on Sunday, February 13. Chef Doug’s Charcoal Grilled Greek Wings ($18p dozen) are slowly grilled over roasting embers and will come served with spicy yogurt and greek fries. Wings will only be available to pre-order by the dozen a la carte through Tock, GrubHub and ChowNow on Gameday. Chef Doug will also release his Spanakopita and Artichoke Dip ($16), which comes served with pita crisp, his Spreads Party Pack ($39) featuring three Andros spreads along with pita crisps and cruidités of vegetable and Andros’ Olympia Fries ($10), which come topped with hand-cut gyro, tzatziki and cheese.
Bring home the best charcuterie and cheeses in Chicago on Super Bowl Sunday with Lardon’s Charcuterie and Cheese Boards! With three size options available to enjoy from your couch, pre-order yours for weekend pickups. Lardon offers 1-2, 3-4 and 6-8 person Charcuterie and Cheese Boards for your party and the cutoff for ordering will always be 5pm the day before pickup. Orders can be made through Lardon’s Tock.
Is there a better trio than pizza, beer, and football? What better place to celebrate all three than at PB&J’s where large parties are welcome and cheering is encouraged. Reserve your section today with no minimums and no deposit required and come and enjoy the best game of the year with delicious food and drinks flowing all game long. Even though it won’t be the Chicago Bears, PB&J’s in Chicago’s West Loop will be partying all Super Bowl night long.
Recess is the ultimate destination for NFL game days and the streak continues for NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl Sunday. Recess offers the Beer Down NFL Promotion throughout the playoffs and Super Bowl Sunday, which features food and drink specials all Game Day long. Football fans can chow down on Slider Towers and a la carte Sliders, wash it down with Daaa Beers import and domestic buckets, as well as slurp specialty Large Format boozy cocktails made for Super Bowl Sunday. Fans can also get a High Life and a shot of Tullamore Dew for $10. Learn more about Recess Game Day specials by visiting www.chicagoinrecess.com.
FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar:
Known for its wood-fired cooking and menu featuring the Midwest’s best meat, freshwater fish and produce, FireLake is a great place to watch the game while enjoying delicious food and fun cocktails. Order shareable items, such as the 2lb pretzel with beer cheese dipping sauce or the smoked whole bone-in wings with fried pickles for the first half and endugle in the Taste of FireLake which includes Coffee Rubbed Smoked Brisket, Rotisserie Chicken with Potato Salad, Smoked Ribs, Charred Sweet Corn Skillet Cornbread post halftime. If ribs are the way to your heart, don’t leave without ordering a half or full slab of Calabrian Smoked Pork Ribs with fennel potato salad, skillet corn bread. In addition, a special Superbowl brunch will take place in Upper FireLake for $52 per person and includes mimosas. Make a reservation online or by calling (312) 477-0234.
Make Super Bowl Sunday the ultimate fiesta at home with Old Pueblo Cantina’s catering menu and takeout offerings. Guests can choose from a variety of offerings including Chips and homemade Guacamole, OPC’s famous Cheese Crisps, Taco Platter Kits, and more.
Heading to the suburbs for the big game? Sophia Steak has got you and guests covered with their to-go family style meals. Diners can choose from their choice of an entree which serves up to four guests, two large format salads, appetizers, and sides. Each order comes with 2 oz cocktail kits from the bar.
Famous for their award-winning Southern fried chicken sandwiches, Boxcar Betty’s has Super Bowl grub taken care of with their loaded sandwich boxes. Each box comes with 10 individually wrapped mouthwatering sandwiches for you and your friends to chow down on and root on your team. With sandwich options like the signature Boxcar, Chicken Not So Waffle, Buffalo, The Betty or a build your own option, every base is covered. Plus, add on delicious sides like handcut fries, fried pickles, peach coleslaw and more for the ultimate Super Bowl feast. Orders for carryout are available by placing an order online or calling the Bucktown location.
Known for elevated French fare, The Loyalist is also home to one of Chicago’s best burgers, The Loyalist Original Cheeseburger. The burger, lovingly known as the Dirty Burg, is made with pickled and charred onions and a sesame seed bun. Consistently ranked as one of the top burgers in Chicago, the Dirty Burg is perfect for any Super Bowl get together for those looking to indulge in a hearty and heavenly bite while rooting on their team. Orders for pickup and delivery can be made via Caviar.
Are you the type to prepare a game changing spread for the Super Bowl as opposed to ordering out? El Che Steakhouse & Bar has you covered with its retail market, El Che Meat & Provisions. The indy shop sells USDA premium Black Angus Beef from Creekstone Farms, South American wines, artisanal ingredients and more to help you prepare a game day feast. Grill Kits like the Parrillada Meal for 4 or the Ultimate Steak Box feature signature cuts of meat like short ribs, chorizo links and ribeyes alongside craft ingredients like chimichurri and salsa criolla, making them the perfect pre-assembled option to make for your Super Bowl party. Items are available for purchase online here or directly at the shop located inside the restaurant at 845 W Washington Blvd.
Looking for a delicious and simple local option for game day? Look no further than Hannah’s Bretzel. The local sandwich chain features healthy, natural and organic ingredients in their made-from-scratch sandwiches and has catering options for parties of six or more. Try the Sandwich Tray with your selection of whole baguette sandwiches cut in half served with locally made salt+pepper house chips. Upgrade the tray to include salad and dessert and the package will include a freshly baked dessert box with organic quinoa blondies, triple chocolate brownies and organic chocolate chip cookies and your choice of a freshly prepared side salad. Visit the website or call your nearest location of Hannah’s Bretzel to place your order.
This year the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day fall only one day apart, which means only one thing, it’s time to celebrate both the love for your team and the love in your relationship! Enjoy this rare, unforgettable weekend at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel and book the “Romance & Rivalry” package that includes overnight accommodations in the Presidential Suite with free parking and a welcome amenity of champagne and roses. But that’s not all, the one-of-a-kind package also features Valentine’s day dinner for two at FireLake Grill House & Bar with a romantic multiple course dinner in Upper FireLake, a bottle of premium wine and two cocktails and chocolate-covered strawberries to go. The next morning begins with a game-day brunch in Upper FireLake where you will load up on your game-day food favorites including two cocktails and unlimited beer and wine.
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