Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dealing With Hip Pain During Pregnancy...

A year ago, I couldn't walk.

Well, I could kind of walk, but not really. I was roughly 37 weeks pregnant and I could only hobble along in great pain. Up until this point, I had basically experienced the perfect pregnancy. I was never sick, I was hardly tired, I had no heartburn, and I was able to run up until one month before my due date. It was seriously magical, and I don't take it for granted at all. I know I was super blessed.

However, there were two weeks of my pregnancy {weeks 37 and 38} where I could not walk. I woke up one day with a soreness in my lower back and hips that got worse day by day. By day two and three, I could hardly sit up, roll over, or get out of bed. When it was time to get up in the morning, I would sit on the edge of my bed, taking deep breaths and gearing my body up for the extreme pain I was about to experience when I stood. I would wince as I raised myself and then hobble to the bathroom. And all day long the pain persisted. I could take nothing but Tylenol which didn't help at all, so I just limped around and rested as much as I could {which resulted in swelling, since my body wasn't as mobile}. 

I went to my OB twice in that time frame and got the same response "It's normal to have hip pain at this point. Your hips are spreading for labor." But in my mind I knew something was wrong. I thought, "If this is normal, WHY have I never seen any of my friends experience this during their pregnancies?" I have seen many women live through weeks 37 and 38 of pregnancy and none of them hobbled around like I did. One of my doctors actually watched me walk out of my appointment and asked if I needed a wheelchair. Not a joke. I declined the offer, but it finally made me go home and turn to the Internet for answers. I started reading about women who had such severe hip pain during late pregnancy that they ended up using crutches or a wheelchair during their final weeks. There were a splattering of possible treatments - ice, heat, Tylenol, swimming, etc. but none seemed to have consistently successful results except one... the chiropractor!

I'm not big into chiropractic treatment but I had seen a lady a few times a few years ago who I really liked and who came highly recommended, so I finally booked an appointment and went. It was the best decision ever. She said I had a sprained ligament in my back {which was probably not even caused by the baby but definitely aggravated by the extra weight} that likely happened when I was lifting or rotating something {which makes sense since I started hurting during a weekend of frenzied nesting projects}. She massaged all the fluids out of my back, adjusted my hips, and told me to ice daily. I got better day by day and after three adjustments my hips didn't hurt at all. I cannot imagine how I would have survived four more weeks of pregnancy {since Z was a lovely 9 days past due} without her treatment.

So if you are dealing with severe hip pain during my pregnancy, here are my tips:

-I highly recommend using ice instead of heat. I know both can be recommended but if there is swelling/inflammation involved {even if you can't see it} then ice is your best friend. Wherever it hurts, front, side, or back, I would suggest icing multiple times a day. I would literally sit on/lean against an ice pack for hours at a time and it would get better day by day. My chiropractor said that the inflammation is where a lot of the pain comes from, so if you can keep the inflammation under control you will limit your pain as well.

-If one side hurts you more than the other, consider sleeping with your head at the foot of the bed if it hurts too much to roll from side to side. I would switch sleeping on my left and right side and switch from the head to foot of the bed during the night so I was always facing the edge and never had to roll over to get out.

-I've also heard a belly band can help. I didn't feel like the weight of the baby was causing my pain so I didn't bother to get one, but apparently they have helped others.

-And finally if you feel like something is wrong beyond the normal discomforts of pregnancy, seek help. Ask your OB and if they don't give you satisfying answers, look elsewhere for massage therapy, chiropractic treatment {but choose carefully because some chiropractors are quacks!}, or a physical therapist. If you feel like something is unnaturally uncomfortable or painful during pregnancy it's worth it to get checked out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Run an Insta-Sale...

For about a year or so now, I've had great success selling my lightly worn {and sometimes brand new!} clothes on Instagram. You can check out my shop @thecuratedcloset to see some of my past items. I've found that selling over Instagram is a fun way to connect with friends online while giving my neglected clothes new owners and putting a little money in my PayPal account at the same time.

I've always been good at recycling my wardrobe by selling my old pieces before I buy new ones. {Here's a post on how to sell your clothes for cash.} In the past I've sold my clothes at Plato's, Buffalo Exchange, and an upscale consignment shop here called My Sister's Closet, but I've found I make more money selling directly online. I was usually getting $3 average per piece at Plato's Closet, so if I can make even $4-6 on IG after paying for shipping and handling I'm coming out ahead.

Please note: I only sell nice, quality clothing online. I've seen people sell try to sell rumpled clothes or pieces with broken zippers and missing buttons before, which I don't think is appropriate in most instances. If I post an item for sale, you can trust that it's in good condition, with no stains, holes, or other obvious wear and tear.

That being said, here are a few of my tips if you are thinking about running a sale of your own:

Post quality images. I've gotten better about posting images of my clothing over the past year. If you look back through old photos, you will see that I used to lay items on my bed or try to hang them in random places around the house {and once in my backyard!} where I had enough natural light. Since then I've realized I can move a decorative hook from the guest room into my bedroom where I have a well-lit white wall to use as backdrop for my pieces. Experiment a bit and find a place around your house that has great natural light and a neutral background for your clothing.

Consider shipping costs. I don't weigh anything. I just estimate shipping, always trying to come out with at least $5 profit per item. Shoes are expensive to ship ($10+) and I've actually lost money on them before. If something is small/light/compact enough, I always recommend putting it in an envelope if you can. In the past I've used yellow mailer envelopes, but I recently bought a bunch of plastic mailing envelopes off Amazon, which is saving me a ton of money. I can often ship lightweight items like tees and scarves for only $2 or $3 that way. Any time you have to use a box, shipping will go up to the $5-8 range, if not more. {Also, small bubble mailers work great for jewelry!}

Price thoughtfully. As far as pricing, you can either include shipping in your price or charge additional shipping after the selling price {ex: This shirt is $8 SHIPPED or this shirt is $6 + $5 shipping}. I think most people like it when shipping is included as a flat price, but I've seen sellers have success doing it both ways. Either way, I think it's nice to offer discounts to people who buy multiple items or who can pick up locally.

Work hard. Honestly, IG sales are a lot of work for a couple of days. Since I don't run a handmade biz or anything, I'm definitely not a pro with the whole shipping process. I'm sure there are easier and cheaper ways to do it, but I just sit down for a few hours one night, pack up and address everything, and haul it to the post office the next day.

Make it personal. Even though it's a bit of work, I really like running Insta-sales because it's a fun way to connect with blog readers. I include a personal note and a business card in every package. Clearly, this takes extra time but I think it's worth it. I've had buyers email me to say thank you after receiving their package or post a picture of their new item on IG. It just feels really personal to mail something with a handwritten note to someone's house, and it doesn't hurt to get your name out there either.

Expand your following. You need a decent online following to run one of these sales successfully. Right now 100+ people follow my @thecuratedcloset account and I feel like its enough to have a decent sale, but I'd like to see my audience grow in the future. Ideally, I would shoot for 100 followers before hosting a sale, but I would make sure you have a least 50 followers to make it worth your time. You might try selling a few items over your regular Instagram account at first, since you probably already have a decent audience. If you have success, you could then open a separate Instagram shop account and ask interested friends to follow your new account and help spread the word.

Here is full-disclosure on one of the sales I had last fall. It's the only sale I've kept accurate numbers for, and I'm happy to share them with you. I made about $250 gross in this sale. I spent about $75 total in shipping. So with my net of $175 divided by the number of items I sold (which I think was around 33), it looks like I made about $5.30 per item. This is far more than I was making per item hauling my clothes across town to Plato's Closet.

And on that note... if you are interested in buying lightly worn and new fashions and accessories, please check out @thecuratedcloset and spread the word to your friends. I'm going to be hosting another sale soon. I have a few lingering summer pieces I will sell for rock bottom prices and I'm going to be rolling out some fall styles as well! See you on Instagram!

+Affiliate links used.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday Snippets

wildly co GOES WILD
{via Wildly Co.}

My friend Hayley is staring this really cool ethically-made clothing line for kids. Some interesting posts: The State of the Apparel Industry // What is Kickstarter? // Wildly Co. Kickstarter Campaign

When you shouldn't say "I'm sorry..."

Is a wedding worth wanting? An awesome post on singleness and marriage...

A secret for having a marriage that never goes stale...

My friend Vanessa has some amazing tips and products for breastfeeding moms needing to pump at work. Mental note: get a cordless pump for baby #2.

And a funny and sweet post on breastfeeding your first baby versus your last baby...

The cutest jewelry shop.

Considering these black jeans...

Cheesy Italian Bread, get in my life...

A million good ideas for doing preschool activities at home...

You are not late to the Internet...

Thinking about your fall wardrobe? A cute vest // A sleek backpack // Some sneaks for the guy in your life

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear Zianne {ten months}

Dear Zianne,

You've been able to clap for quite awhile now, but it still enchants me every time you do it. I watch your chubby little fingers come together while your face lights up and my whole heart fills with joy. You are just so genuinely happy and kind to everyone around you. You are even kind to yourself.

When the people around you delight you or impress you, you give your applause so generously. When the big kids run around you at church or the childcare worker waves goodbye at the gym, you light up and... clap, clap, clap. When mom and dad do really fun stuff like dance around the kitchen or jump up and down to get you to smile for a picture... clap, clap, clap. Swim in the pool? Clap. Read a book? Clap. Sing "Happy Birthday" to a friend? Clap.


And you're not afraid to clap for yourself either. When we cheer you on for reaching or scooting or throwing your ball for the first time, you always have time to stop and give yourself a round of applause. We exclaim "Good job, Zianne!" as you show off your new skills each day, and you look at us with bright eyes and press your hands together... clap, clap, clap.

And sometimes your joy for the current moment results in your applause. No one has to do anything impressive; you just are thankful for your surroundings and you want everyone to know it. We tried to get a picture at your little friend's birthday the other night. We piled a bunch of babies and toddlers on the couch and tried to snap a quick photo before the whining and crawling off the sofa ensued. Most of the other kids started squirming and fussing instantly, and there you sat at the end of the row with a smile on your face... clap, clap, clap.

I hope you never lose your clap, baby girl. I hope you are always quick to give your applause. I hope you lavish encouragement and praise on those around you. And I hope you clap for yourself too. You might not be perfect, and I don't want you to be prideful, but when you do great things with your talents and gifts, I want you to smile and clap and give God the glory. And when you look around you, even as you grow older, I pray you see hope and love everywhere you go, that you find things to be thankful for even during trials, and that you find lasting joy that makes you clap your hands forever.

Clapping for you always,

Monday, August 11, 2014


Scenes around the house...

Z and her boys...

Story time at the library. Why did I not know about this glorious event sooner?

Date night...

Grandma came to visit from Seattle...

||To see more of our life lately follow @jenrussum on Instagram||
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