Five Things I Never Did Until I Had a Baby

Five Things I Never Did Until I Had a Baby | Freckled Italian

Before I had a kid, I never…

  1. Googled if a baby counts as a passenger in the carpool lane. 

  2. Peeled and cut a grape.

  3. Wished my husband had boobs.

  4. Wondered if a a baby would choke on a chocolate chip or would it just melt? (Not that I’ve ever stuffed chocolate chips into my mouth while holding my sleeping infant and dropped a handful onto their face…that would be ridiculous.)

  5. Used my teeth to trim someone’s nails.

And now, a few from you guys:

  • “Went to the bathroom at EVERY store.”

  • “Peed while wearing a person.”—I relate to this one too much.

  • “Went so long without washing my hair.”—Amen.

  • “Paid so much attention to the color and consistency of poop.”

  • “Realized that men’s bathrooms don’t usually have changing stations…dads change babies too!”—This drives me nuts!

  • “Washed my hands 30 times a day!”

  • “Thought I’d be willing to suck snot from someone else’s nostrils through a short tube.”

  • “Peed with an audience.”

  • “Felt a weird camaraderie and affection for complete and total strangers…i.e. when I see a woman with similar age babies out and about…I know her day is most likely extremely similar to mine.”—I thought about this the other day when I was pushing a shopping cart with Sophie in it through the parking lot; a woman with a newborn looked at me and said “I’m ready for that stage!” and I knew exactly what she meant.

  • “Tic tac toed out of a bedroom trying to avoid the squeaky floorboards!”—Every night.

  • “Scooped poop out of the bathtub with my bare hand.”

Any others? Thanks to everyone who responded to my Instagram Story yesterday! I absolutely loved reading all of your answers.

(More) Current Beauty Favorites

More Current Beauty Favorites | Freckled Italian

Over the past few months I’ve been using a few new beauty and skincare products, so I wanted to put together a short post to share the ones I’m loving the most right now.

  • I’m using these Bioré strips for the first time ever right now and totally loving them. I don’t know if they’re actually doing anything beneficial for my skin but it is pretty satisfying seeing all the junk they grab every time I take them off.

  • I had been trying out a few new liquid eyeliners for a while but always end up going back to this one. It’s cheap and you can get it at Target and it’s just the best. (I use a lot of eyeliner so I don’t usually like to splurge for the pricey stuff.)

  • This is my current favorite hairspray. I love how light the mist is but the hold is great.

  • The product that inspired today’s post: THIS DRY SHAMPOO! My friend Kate bought it when she landed in California for a wedding a few weekends ago and left it for me. I had never used it before but it is hands down the best budget-friendly dry shampoo I’ve ever used. I posted a photo on Instagram Stories last week and so many of you asked for details on the product, so here we are! Seriously it’s amazing. I spray it very liberally all over my entire head and just leave it there while I do my makeup or whatever, then kind of rub it in right before I walk out the door.

  • I’m loving Pacifica products lately—I just started using this cream in the mornings and sometimes at night, but what got me hooked was this night mask. Everything is vegan and cruelty-free and the prices are reasonable for how high-quality the products are. I love the scents and how great they feel on my skin! Looking forward to replacing my empties with more Pacifica stuff as time goes on.

That’s all from me today! Do you have any beauty products you’re loving lately? I’d love to hear about them!

This post contains affiliate links.

Thoughts on Starting a No-Spend Challenge

Thoughts on Doing a No-Spend Challenge | Freckled Italian

I know it can be kind of weird to talk about money, but I’ve always been so interested in budgeting and saving and how people handle finances in their families/relationships; and every time I hear about someone doing a “No Spend” month I’m always really intrigued.

As you may know, I make money from this blog and my cookbooks, and I also work part-time as a Pure Barre instructor. When we moved to California we decided to budget out what it would be like living just on Rob’s income, and then any bonuses he makes and all of my writing and teaching income go straight into savings. We moved in 2016 and managed to pay off the remainder of our student loans in 2017 (just in time to add a baby to the mix), then our car a few months ago, which I’m really proud of since living in the Bay Area is not cheap. I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when our kids are young, so it’s been really nice to have the flexibility of blogging and teaching to allow me to still contribute to our savings while staying at home with Sophie since November.

We don’t buy a lot of “little stuff” most of the time but we do spend quite a bit of money on food, coffee, tech, and travel.

Anyway, that’s a lot of information but I feel like it’s applicable to this post! Moving on:

We’ve been traveling a lot the past few weeks and also just made a few purchases that were on the larger side, so Rob and I thought it might be a good time to experiment with our own saving challenge. Instead of going all-out for one month, though, we’re going to pace ourselves with a few exceptions and otherwise not buy anything but groceries and essentials for the rest of the year (!!!). I’m calling it No Spend Q4 2018!

We made a list of things we had planned to spend money on before deciding to do the challenge, so those are our exceptions. This is what that looks like:

  • Anything Sophie autumn/holiday experience related

  • Piece of furniture for living room/TV area ($200 or less)

  • Christmas gifts and new baby gifts for family and friends ($250ish)

  • Megan tattoo ($200-300)

  • Rob AirPods ($160)

  • In N Out dinner on Sunday nights ($100ish)

Beyond that, we’re writing down anything we see that we might have otherwise bought. I don’t usually impulse purchase things, but even for me this has been kind of a fun exercise. Anytime I want to buy something I usually try to wait at least a week, and if I’m still thinking about it then I’ll maybe get it. It’s only been a couple days but I’ve already added a couple things to the list and also decided not to tag along with Rob on a work trip later this month, which would have ended up costing us hundreds of dollars between flights, food, dog sitter, Ubers to and from the airport, etc.

Have you ever done a spending freeze challenge? I’m going to keep up with my list and also check in with another post if you guys are interested in how it’s going. I’d love to hear about your experiences and also if you have any tips!

What I’ve Been Up to Lately


We just got back from a long weekend in Northern Virginia to celebrate one of my brother-in-law’s wedding and it was so nice. Flying with Sophie is a bit of a challenge but I’m so glad we do it because I feel like we’ve gotten a lot better at it every time.

Today I’m home waiting for a dishwasher repair technician to show up (third time’s the charm, right?) and catching up on a few things so I thought I’d pop in with a quick post and a list to let you know what else I’ve been up to since I’ve been pretty absent on the blog lately: 

  • Keeping our house really clean, staying on top of laundry, and realizing just how much constant tidying and wiping and folding it actually requires. 
  • Learning new Pure Barre choreo for the classes I’m teaching this week. 
  • Going to bed so early every night, especially when we were out of town. 
  • Getting excited about my blog redesign and new logo/branding. 
  • Gearing up for a no-spend challenge, which we’ve never done before but I’ve always wanted to do. 
  • Signing up for a food photography course! 

What have you been up to lately? After a busy few weeks I’m so happy to be back! 

A Weekend Recap and Some Thoughts on Having an Almost-One-Year-Old

A Weekend Recap and Some Thoughts on Having an Almost-One-Year-Old

My brother and his girlfriend Jane landed in California last Wednesday night and we spent a few days at home before zipping up to Muir Beach for a wedding. It was our first time leaving Sophie for an extended amount of time with anyone other than my mom, and Rob and I had such an amazing time with some of our friends at one of the dreamiest weddings I’ve ever attended.

We rented a sweet little cottage on Airbnb that felt like a treehouse, surrounded by greenery with a big kitchen and little bedrooms. On Saturday we woke up to chilly morning, headed out for a hike through the woods, stopped for really bad coffee at a roadside stand, and returned for a brunch of bacon and eggs and cinnamon rolls. Sophie is a lot more work these days, but also so much more fun than she was the last time Sean and Jane visited us in California—they came for Christmas last year and she was just a snoozy little newborn who slept on us and cried without ceasing almost every evening from 5-9 PM. We didn’t sleep much, but daily down time was abundant.

Sean would stay up late with Rob for the “night shift,” go to bed at 2 or 3 AM, and then wake up early with me at 6:00 for the day. I’d nurse Sophie on the couch as he puttered around in the kitchen, making coffee and toasting sourdough in the oven. It was a challenging season but I knew even as it was happening that I’d look back on it and remember it with a full heart.

The early morning egg sandwiches, late-night beers and episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. How I went to bed at 10:00 on New Year’s Eve and set an alarm for 11:45, stumbled out into the living room where the four of them were parked on the couch, drank half a glass of champagne, kissed my husband and baby, and was back in bed by 12:01. Sophie’s first smile—I think it was January 1st or 2nd. She changed so much every day and by the time we were dropping them off at the airport to catch their flight back to Richmond, she already seemed like a different baby.

And now we’re just a couple page turns of a calendar away from her first birthday, and she says “mama” and “dada” and “nana” and “bubba” and she sings and laughs and eats and claps and waves and stands up and sleeps. Autumn always turns me into a nostalgic puddle of emotions, but this one is especially touching. Last year I was physically slowing down more every day, feeling her roll around inside me every day, moving our things into the house we’d bring her home to, putting the crib together, washing her tiny socks and hats and onesies, feeling all the pre-baby anticipation as we lit fall candles and vacuumed the floor. I cooked and baked and froze everything, packing the freezer full of casseroles and hash browns and Christmas cookies that I knew I’d want but may not be able to make.

Some days it feels like she’s been here forever, but today, on the first of October—the last first month for Sophie—I remember waiting to meet her, my heart and eyes overflowing with those first few notes of Dear Theodosia, sitting quietly in the rocking chair with my morning coffee, imagining what it would be like to hold her in my arms.

I felt her surging within me,
felt her head nudging
the taut bowstrings of my rotunda,
and felt so grateful that she’d chosen

— Sonya Sones, "The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus"