I’m officially into the third trimester.

Even just writing that sentence fills me with, well, all the feelings.

I’m excited. I’m so, so, so excited that it’s almost time to finally have our little girl in our arms. Joey and I talk every day about how much we can’t wait to meet her and how much we’re looking forward to even the most mundane moments. (Baby’s first yawn? It’s gonna kill me dead.)

I’m nervous. You guys, I’m going to be a mom. That’s…big. One of the biggest things I’ve ever done. I want so much to be good at it without driving anyone (myself included) crazy. That’s a lot of pressure.

I’m (a little) stressed. There is so much I want to do before Vivian makes her grand entrance. Blame it on the nesting, but whatever it is, here’s everything that has been crowding my to-do list:

1. Finish the nursery.
Obviously this is a big one. We’re planning to paint her room this weekend (and I’ll hopefully get a start on the mural wall on Sunday). I also have some frames that I need to paint and fill for her walls. As soon as that’s done, we’ll order the crib. I’ve been looking around on Craigslist for the perfect dresser/changing table, but I haven’t found the right one yet. I also need to start finding alternate places for everything we’ve been storing in the room until now.

2. Organize the hall and front closet.
I’ve mentioned before the weird abundance of closet space our apartment has. The front coat closet and hall closet are two that I feel are a bit underutilized at the moment. Now that we’re much more settled, I want to basically take everything out of each of them and put it back in a way that makes the most sense. Being me, I’m of course weirdly excited to do this. In a similar vein, I also want to reorganize our cellar space. This is largely a room for Joey’s sports equipment and bigger items we don’t have room for, but I think it could be a little neater.

3. Do my bi-annual clothing cull.
I’m very serious about my twice-yearly clothing sorts where I get rid of anything that is cluttering up our closets. Since the little miss will be arriving around the time I usually do my fall closet purge, I’d like to get that taken care of over the summer. (Since, you know, I’ve heard people with newborns are fairly busy people.)

4. Just…generally clean everything?
I think I can definitely blame this one on the nesting, but I want to get at least one deep cleaning in sometime late summer. My mom is planning to spend a week or two with us after Vivi is born, so I know she will be extremely helpful with the general upkeep of the apartment, but I’ll feel better if I know everything has had a fairly recent scrub-down. I also want to finish up any last-minute decor plans I’ve had rolling around my head so I’m not, I don’t know, staring at those spots on the walls that need paint touch-ups in Vivian’s third month. Hypothetically.

5. Get my own maintenance in.
As I said, people with babies seem pretty busy. So I want to get myself in order (as much as possible) before the baby gets here. That means dentist appointments, hair appointments, and any other last-minute things-that-make-me-feel-healthy-and-like-myself appointments needs to be scheduled sometime in August. Think of it as a pre-baby tune-up.

Okay, all written down, this list feels much more manageable. I really need about four solid weekends to get everything done. (Not the easy request since July is already pretty much taken up, but I still think I can get it done.)

Am I forgetting anything?

Remember two years ago when Joey and I moved to Astoria? Remember what a wreck I was and how I could barely even discuss anything without somehow bringing it back around to how much I hated moving?

Yeah, I don’t really like thinking about that time either.

But alas, the time has come again for Joey and I to find a new apartment. (Pray for me.)

I’m hoping this round goes smoother for a couple of reasons:

1. Joey and I have moved together before. I’m hoping this shared experience will be something we can learn from and help us to avoid the bulk of the stress this time around.

2. We’re moving within an area we are much more familiar with. When we first moved to Queens, we knew next to nothing about the area except that it was more affordable than Brooklyn but just as convenient to Manhattan. This time around, we have actual opinions about neighborhoods and a better idea of what we should be paying.

I’m also hoping to allay some of the stress by giving myself a month and a half to pack, so when we do finally find our digs, we’ll only need to worry about transporting our already carefully packed boxes and belongings.

Here’s a list of everything I hope to accomplish by the end of March:

1. Sell our bed. There’s nothing wrong with the bed, it’s just not my style anymore. But if anyone out there is looking for a storage bed from PB Teen (in perfect condition), let me know.
2. Get rid of as much extraneous clothing and clutter as possible. Anyone who knows me knows this is something I do frequently, so it shouldn’t take long to go through what has remained.
3. Pack. Everything. Woof.
4. Find an apartment. (Just like that, right?)
5. Book movers. In the past, we’ve relied on the kindness of friends to make a move. But last time, we agreed that the next time we moved would be with professional help. Subjecting our friends to our fourth-floor walk-up is a quick way to not HAVE any friends anymore.

That’s not too bad, right? Five things. It’s easier to think of it as five big things than a million small tasks.

Anyway, just wanted to update you on why the radio silence for so long. I’m BUSY. But I promise to have fun things to talk about when the dust settles.

No matter how old I get, these three things will probably always be a mystery to me:

1. Why it is so difficult to roll over a 401k
2. People who are mean to dogs.
3. Stores that won’t sell you something off the mannequin.

I tell you what, you guys. I have literally started four blog posts this morning, to then just delete the whole thing because I felt it was too boring/self-centered/blahhhh.

How on EARTH have I kept this blog going so long with such an uninteresting life?? WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING HERE READING THIS?

Just kidding. I love you. Please don’t leave me.

But seriously, I think I’ve lost some of my blogging mojo.

I debate all the time just giving this thing up. Seriously. Like, has it served it’s purpose? Am I old and boring now? Are you all just reading this to be polite, prim smiles plastered on your faces as you quickly scroll through my words in an attempt to just make me feel better?

I hope not. That would be embarrassing for all of us. (AND YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT EMBARRASSMENT.)

The thing is, I’ve grown attached to my little blog in the last (almost) seven(!) years. I don’t really want to throw the ol’ gal by the wayside. Which means there’s only one thing left to do.

StellaJustine has to get her groove back.

I started by reading through some of my old posts (from the way, way back, like 2010). The biggest difference between 2010 Justine? (Besides a new address, job, marital status, and NAME.) That girl just did NOT take this that seriously. Which isn’t to say I take it seriously now (this is and will probably always be just a fun side project), but I didn’t put so much pressure on my posts. Sometimes they were just a sentence or two. Barely more than a tweet. But they were fun.

I want things to be fun again. I want to think more about the silly things I’ve started to ignore and take for granted. I think I lost sight of what I set out to do with this blog (aka, a weird diary of sorts), and I want to get back to that. But, you know, hopefully with better photography.

For all of our sakes.

Next week, you guys. Next week is gonna be good.


It’s raining in New York City today.

Correction: It has been raining in NYC for the last 36 hours, and it’s supposed to continue at least through to tomorrow. Nothing like a soggy group of city-dwellers to get your morning started right.

But you know what? I’m actually not that bummed out about it. And I actually have this lil’ blog to thank for it.

The other day, someone commented on this old post of mine. Y’all remember that one?

I mean, of course I didn’t 100 percent stick to all the goals I outlined in that post. In fact, I even told you I wouldn’t at the end of it. But about a month ago I really let my mood slip.

I lost perspective. I got complacent. I stopped focusing on what’s important.

The person who commented on the post isn’t someone I’ve ever met before, and she had no way of knowing that I wrote that post a long time ago and hadn’t thought about it for a while. But I want to thank her, and I want to thank this rainy day, because they both brought me back into focus.

I also skipped writing out my goals for October — which, for a goal-oriented gal like myself, is like sailing into the ocean without a rudder. Let’s kick things off by correcting that for November, shall we?

November 2014 Goals:
1. Bake three things from scratch.
I mentioned before that I want to bake more this fall, but I’m getting more specific. I actually have baked a couple of things recently (pumpkin scones and salted caramel coconut blondes), but both of them were from either a mix or a premade-homemade mix. Next time, it’s all on me.

2. Rearrange the art in my home.
I’ve made a few small changes to the apartment in the last couple of months, which means that some of the art I had previously hung needs to be adjusted. I also feel like this will be a good way to refresh everything without spending any money.

3. Bring my lunch at least four out of every five workdays.
I’m not going to lie, I slipped on this big time the last couple of weeks. We’ve been busy, groceries haven’t been bought, and as a result, I’ve spent more money on food than I should have. But we’re getting back in a groove (I cooked on Monday this week and Joey cooked last night, meaning lots of tasty leftovers to choose from), and that’s also helping me refocus on our financial goals.

Three goals seems reasonable, right? We’re also going to be in California next month for about nine days, which I could NOT be more excited about. Stay tuned for a tip-packed vacation post!

What are your goals for next month?

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When I first went to type the title of this post, I almost wrote “November 2014.” So that should give you an idea of what to expect from this post.

Aannnnnyyyyyway. Here are a few things going on that I just couldn’t make warrant full posts.

1. I went camping. 

This looks more dangerous than it actually was.

This looks more dangerous than it actually was.

Like, over a week ago. Obviously, nothing earth-shattering happened. But it was nice being in the woods. It was also Bogey’s first time camping. He loved it, but was EXHAUSTED by the time we went home. Guess it’s hard to get by without your usual 8-hour nap every day.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I like the above shot. I’ve always been a little bit afraid of heights, but every year we hike this gorgeous area called Mohonk. It’s a literal rock scramble, and occasionally you’re clinging to a fairly slippery boulder trying to launch yourself over a narrow (but deep) hole in the mountain. I’m never exactly terrified for my life, but there are times I feel uncomfortable about the fact that I could get hurt.

At the end of the day, though, I like to chalk it up as one more thing I do that scares me or pushes me out of my comfort zone. No point in getting complacent at the ripe old age of 27, right?

2. I ran my fifth half marathon.

So fast. So tough.

So fast. So tough.

This was the first distance race I’ve ever done without really training for it. Granted, I work out 5-6 days a week, and I have a full marathon under my belt, but I was a little nervous considering I hadn’t run more than eight miles in one stretch since April.

Things went surprisingly well, though! I finished in under two hours, which was a relief after the bust of the Philly Half and my unpleasant Paris experience. It’s always nice to run a full race without ever wanting to die at any point.

Plus, this race gave you a crown and a glass of champagne at the end. So I didn’t hate THAT.

3. Bogey had his first tick.

This picture has nothing to do with the tick. But how cute is that face??

This picture has nothing to do with the tick. But how cute is that face??

I woke up this morning to our usual cuddle session, but got distracted by a pill-shaped mass clinging to the tip of his right ear. Surprise, surprise, our little fuzz face had an interloper.

We did the classic hold-a-blown-out-match-by-the-tick’s-head and then removed it with tweezers. We’re not quite sure when he picked up his little parasite (maybe camping? but that was a while ago…), so now I’m keeping an eye on him for any signs of infection. So far, though, he has been acting the same as always.

It’s weird having this little life form that we feel so responsible for. Like, we love the crap out of that dog. The thought of something happening to him kills me. Yet another reason why I firmly believe a dog is a great preview into parenthood. (I know, I KNOW that having a kid is a million times more complicated. I’m just saying it’s similar.)

So that’s pretty much everything of note. October is going to be busy, and then we take our California Adventure in November. December (I’m hoping) will be nice and quiet.

What have y’all been up to?