The Blend Holiday Shopping Price Guide

Hey everyone! Check out the below price guide to get a feel for what types of items I have available and what budgets they fit. Check out my shop page for specific items, join my Facebook group for items/updates, or email me at theblend21.blog@gmail.com with questions!

My third one in a row.

Well, here’s a blog I hoped I wouldn’t write… again.

❤️

I very recently went through our third miscarriage and, most people had no idea we were even pregnant this time. ➡️ Don’t take it personally if we didn’t tell you. It’s just easier to wait. This pretty much rounds out why 2019 hasn’t been a great year for me. I know there were good things that happened but really, these pains just feel so much bigger and seem to cloud lots of those memories. So many fun memories are tainted by being pregnant with a baby I’d soon lose, dreaming of a baby I’d never meet, or reeling from the pain of loss.


We would have had our first “lost baby” in October. I made a cute shirt for Hannah to surprise Rob for that pregnancy. I ended up having to hide the shirt since it was too depressing to look at. I found out I was pregnant with lost baby #2 only days before Hannah’s 2nd birthday. That baby would have been due in February. We were also pregnant for lost baby #2 on our kid-free Orlando trip too. I floated in the pool drinking alcohol-free mocktails for that baby. Then our third lost baby now would have been due in June right around Hannah’s birthday. By this pregnancy I wasn’t even excited to be pregnant anymore. I was just constantly nervous and hated having to go to the doctor for constant checks. Each day seemed like I was either going to the doctor or waiting for a results call from them. It was nerve-wracking.

It feels like I’ve pretty much been pregnant, trying to get pregnant, recovering from a miscarriage, or miscarrying all year long it seems. First was in March, then July, and now November. Being yanked around on this pregnancy rollercoaster has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I always wanted a big family and it feels so far out of reach. I feel like I have pregnancy PTSD (made that up, yes but still, it kinda explains what I mean). Every pain or twinge or stomach ache makes me think of miscarrying or that, if I’m pregnant, it’s going to start to happen again. During the last pregnancy, I just cried from laying in our bed. I laid in the same spot a few months prior and that’s where my cramping/miscarriage started for lost baby #2. The memories are vivid.


This 3rd pregnancy was different than the other two before it. My doctors were monitoring me so much more. I had more appointments, hormone checks, and ultrasounds this time. I thought for sure we’d know if something was wrong, wouldn’t we?

This pregnancy started with me going to the doctor every other day for blood draws ever since I got my first positive test. I was sad I didn’t even get an appointment with my doctor until my HCG levels were high enough. That in itself felt like a bad sign. But at this point – maybe we just caught the pregnancy early? Maybe I ovulated late? My HCG was super low first week (doubling every 2.6 days vs every 2 days) and my progesterone wasn’t high enough so I had to start progesterone pills. After that first week my HCG started to double every 2 days and, once it was over 1,000 my doc told me “congratulations – you’re definitely pregnant!” It felt like things were turning around. I must have ovulated late and caught it early – phew! It was a sigh of relief. Then, the next roughly ten days was spent waiting for my first ultrasound appointment. Longest wait ever but at least I wasn’t having to go in for constant bloodwork. Things were better it seemed.

At the ultrasound appointment we saw two gestational sacs (I was even a little excited to think we were getting blessed with twins!) only to learn that one sac was empty (most likely a vanishing twin) and one had a yolk sac. I thought, based off my period, at this time I’d have been nearly 8 weeks (but maybe more like 7 if I ovulated late/since my HCG was so low the first week). The ultrasound tech measured each sac to be roughly 5w3d. Again, this felt like bad news. To me that was too early to be right. At this point it was either that we caught the pregnancy early (skeptical) OR the baby had stopped developing. From here, all we could do was wait for another scan ten days later to compare to. When we met with the doctor he was surprised I was sad about the scan. At this point, the doctor seemed optimistic and positive. Things could be totally fine, he said.


At the second scan, the tech commented on the way to the exam room that the past 10 days waiting for my next scan must have been the longest. I commented that I hadn’t just been waiting a few days but instead months for positive news. With all the miscarriages and loss, all I had been waiting for was to hear a heartbeat.

When the tech got me all set up and started the scan it was pretty obvious it wasn’t good news. According to the tech things looked exactly like they did 10 days ago. The baby hadn’t grown. It was scenario #2.

We waited in a private room (vs the waiting room) for the doctor to call us back and see us. One of the nurses I frequently see at the office came in to hug me and offer her condolences. She’s been there for each of my miscarriages.

When the doctor called us back he confirmed that there was no change in growth and that this pregnancy wasn’t viable. He said I hadn’t started to miscarry yet because of the progesterone pills preventing it but, that it should start naturally once I stopped the pills. He also recommended we go see a reproductive endocrinologist. The whole appointment was so quick.


From here, there was nothing to do or say. We just went home and I cried. A lot. I was empty and sad and just heartbroken. Again. How many times can you suffer the same exact heartache and get back up ready to do it all over again? Is there a number or threshold? I felt like such a failure. I’m jealous of all the new baby announcements I’ve seen lately. I wanted to be the one making the announcement. I wanted to tell everyone at Christmas this year. I wanted to have the happy news to share.

I stopped my progesterone that day and started to get cramps just the next afternoon. Then the miscarriage started overnight with the worst cramps (lots of heating pad time). Then the miscarriage went on for about a week and just recently stopped. We’re going to see a reproductive endocrinologist on the 25th. Hopefully they have answers or can do something.


When I go to my appointment I plan to bring in the SDS sheets for the epoxy resins I’ve been using in my fluid art. If you follow me on here and on my other social properties (mainly insta/Facebook) you know that I started resin art about a year ago. I use a respirator but want to know if the chemicals in it could be related to my reproductive struggles. I didn’t struggle to get pregnant with Hannah (but wasn’t using resin then either) and then, each pregnancy this time I didn’t use it while pregnant but used it before and after each pregnancy. Nonylphenol is a big chemical in many resin brands and has been known to cause reproductive damage, miscarriages and birth defects. It can interfere with your reproductive hormone production too. These facts are only listed on the SDS sheets and not on the information that comes with the product when you order it. I had no idea this was a possible side effect of resin. My concern comes from the fact that, when using the resin in my art, it has a chemical reaction and is actively off-gassing, and I’m exposing myself (and my home) to that. I just want answers. I want to know it’s safe. It’s shady that the resins have these chemicals but don’t include the SDS in the product box and some don’t even have them readily available on their website (you have to email them and request it). The product has a warning on it about getting it on your skin or drinking it but none about reproductive dangers. There is nothing on the instructions sheets they come with about needing a respirator or the possible damage it can cause if you don’t use one. I had no idea about nonylphenol until a prominent artist I follow (@mrs.colorberry) educated her followers and brought the information to light! It’s just mind blowing to me. My ob-gyn wasn’t informed on what the chemical was/could do so that didn’t give me any real answers yet.

Either way. Related or not – I’m not going to use resin with nonylphenol in it until I can say it is safe to be around. I can’t risk my health or my family’s health for a side hustle/hobby. Mrs.Colorberry is selling a resin without BPA or nonylphenol and I ordered some on her USA pre-sale. Until that arrives – I am working to find other substitutes and avoiding nonylphenol like the plague. I can’t keep going through this and willingly will cut out anything that could be causing it.


Once I go see the specialist, I’ll have more to share on how that goes and what they tell me. Until then I’m just going to focus on my art (non-resin art!) and prepare for my upcoming craft fair (Nov 30th), hosting Thanksgiving, and my favorite holiday ever ➡️ Christmas! 🎄I have lots to look forward to (and a healthy beautiful baby girl to snuggle) so I just need to try and focus on all of that instead of this hot garbage ball of stress. Everything is so fresh and I still cry a lot but this is just a chapter in our story and I need to remember it isn’t our whole story.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening. For me it’s therapeutic to talk through our reproductive struggles so, more to come ❤️

It happened again…

I wish I had better news and I wish I didn’t feel the need to write this. I wish I didn’t have this story to share and I wish this blog was about something totally different.

But, alas. That’s not the case.

Take this as a TMI/trigger warning for the following post…


I found out I was pregnant again right around Hannah’s 2nd birthday. We were excited but still very reserved given the last miscarriage in March. I took like 5 tests this time, each about two days apart, to confirm the pregnancy.

I was pregnant when I went to Orlando to visit family and friends. The trip down was the mile marker for making it further this pregnancy than the last one. I thought that was a good sign. It felt like a good sign. I was good on the trip and drank alcohol free drinks at the pool. I didn’t over do it and I enjoyed relaxing. I was doing all the right things.


The miscarriage started on Monday, July 15th. I thought I was 8w1d that day. I had a dating ultrasound scheduled for Thursday that week to confirm how far along I was because the doctor said based off feel he thought I could have been further along.

That day I was working from home and started to have light cramping and discharge. It wasn’t consistently bright red (some darker red too) so, when I called the doctor, they said to monitor and call back if it became consistently bright red. So… monitoring was all I could do at this point. Great. Throughout the afternoon my cramping got worse but the bleeding never picked up. That night we were laying in bed watching Stranger Things and the cramping was so bad I had to use a heating pad to help. In between episodes I got up to go the bathroom and that’s when it happened.

All at once I passed a mass the size of about a half dollar, lots of clots, and the bleeding super picked up. I just started crying because I knew what was happening. I could feel it. I could see it. I was losing this baby too.

When I was in the bathroom, Rob was in the kitchen and didn’t hear me yet. When I got up, I met Rob in the hallway sobbing and said “it’s happening again”. We both were devastated and I just laid on his lap on the couch to cry. Why was this happening again? What did I do? What’s wrong with me? Two miscarriages in a row isn’t as common and it’s more concerning. Will I ever get a second baby? I was just broken.

The rest of the night was just sad. Lots of tears and hugs.


The next morning both of our bosses were understanding and let us off work. I went to the doctor first thing for an appointment and they did an ultrasound. I had the same technician as the first time (if anyone recalls – she wasn’t the most sensitive). I planned out my responses to her questions all the previous night when I couldn’t sleep. I planned to cut her off at the jump (so she couldn’t further traumatize me) and tell her I was 8w2d but currently miscarrying since, right after the ultrasound started, I could already see there was nothing in my uterus. She then confirmed, indeed there was nothing there. She really needs sensitivity training. The ultrasound just didn’t feel super real, honestly.

I met with the doctor afterwards to review the results and she said it could be a miscarriage or I could be too early along (which I SUPER doubted based off the cramping and bleeding I saw). When I asked her about why this happened and what we could do she said “We can wait and see if this happens again and, if so, do some additional testing then, OR we could do the additional testing now”. I’m not even honestly sure why she posed this as an option since, waiting for another miscarriage sounds like the SHITTIEST idea ever… I definitely set an appointment to talk with my main OBGYN to review what we could do now instead of waiting.

Anyways, the same day as the ultrasound, and for the next three weeks, I had to have HCG blood draws to track my hormone as it declined to 0. Every week back at the lady doctor was painful. There were so many happy pregnant people there in the waiting room each time. Even one couple gushing over ultrasound pictures. I hated going back each week. I’d just sit in the waiting room and cry to myself starring at the floor waiting for them to call my name.

At my last blood draw appointment I had my appointment with my main OBGYN too. My doc said he’s hopeful it won’t happen again because I’ve already carried one healthy baby but we don’t know for sure. As a precaution he said there was a “recurrent miscarriage” blood panel they could do to look for issues that could be causing the miscarriages. He also suggested that, next time I get pregnant, I come in right away from hormone blood draws to track my hormone increase to make sure that’s not an issue.


That blood panel was a MESS! The phlebotomist handed me an estimate to sign for how much it would cost, after insurance, and it was 864$. I tried to call my insurance for 40 minutes to get answers on if that was correct and just kept getting the run around. I was getting transferred between departments and I was hung up on/disconnected several times. It was a nightmare. I was an emotional mess and just started crying to the phlebotomist because all I wanted was to not have another miscarriage and my insurance company was making it so hard. It was a rough morning. Luckily the phlebotomist was amazing and didn’t have any other patients so I just sat there.

After nearly an hour of messing with the insurance company and finding NO ONE that could use the CPT codes I was provided to get me answers, I gave up. I said screw it and wanted the blood draw regardless of cost because, money or not, I needed answers and my health was more important. Unfortuneately, by now, when the lady tried to take it, I was too dehydrated and had to come in the next day for the draw anyways. Super SMH. 🤦‍♀️

Such a damn hassle and my results were normal. Net net – I have no answers and just have to hope I don’t write another one of these blogs sharing my story in a few more months. It’s so hard to be optimistic.


At the end of the day, I wanted to write this to share and help someone else who’s going through something similar. It feels so lonely and empty and broken. It’s so hard to lose a baby that you never got to know or hold. A baby that your most of your family and friends didn’t know about. So hard to lose two babies. Two babies in a row. It’s a sadness that just hangs over you.

I’ve been coping better by being more open about all of this. Sharing my story makes it feel less like a scarlet letter and more like something I’m working to over come. It won’t be the end of our family story but just a piece of it. I don’t need to hide my loss and feel ashamed. By telling people what’s going on I’m surrounded with more love and support. If you don’t tell anyone, no one knows what you’re going through and can’t offer help. While that seems like an easy concept to understand some people forget it and isolate themselves. My family, friends, and coworkers have been so great and supportive.


What’s important is that we’re not giving up! Things will get back on track and we will try again. This too shall pass. In the meantime, I’ll stay busy and focus on my health.

Like I said before… this isn’t the end of our story ♥️

Vacation was just what I needed

For the 4th of July Rob and I went down to Orlando for the Guardian Con convention and time with friends + family.

My bestie, K.Bakes, let us use her friends and family discount and stay at an amazing Marriott resort (Marriott Grande Vista) 👍 – I totally recommend it.

Check out the view from our room! The pool was
amazing and the umbrella cluster you see on the left
was the poolside bar/restaurant! ✌

The property is gorgeous and we spent a large chunk of time floating in the pool and enjoying drinks at the poolside bar/restaurant. The weather wasn’t the best everyday (but apparently it was normal for July in FL). Luckily, we did still get some sunshine each day before the rain set in.

Getting to see old friends and family is the best and sometimes, it’s just what you need. My mom’s side of the family has blessed me with several cousins that I’m close with in age and we really always have such a great time when we’re together.

There’s always so much laughter when we get together and we love to play a bunch of table games while we talk and visit. This trip was primarily dominated by Dutch Blitz. Thanks Nicole & Jon for starting that game with the fam on a trip to PA! 😘 Can’t wait to get everyone together again in July 2020 with the rest of our family for our trip to North Carolina.


One of the things I needed the most from this vacation was the real conversations that we had. Everyone is so level headed and down to Earth and just has the best advice. I love hearing about the career moves some of them are making, the tips and tricks we all have for stacking money, the awesome vacations everyone has planned and the healthier eating advice (kudos to Erin on losing nearly 90lbs so far ❤👌). It was just what I needed to get me back on track and, for that, I’m so blessed. I wasn’t lying on IG when I said this vacation was rejuvenating. I truly think I was able to level-set and find my priorities again.


The first thing I need to buckle down on: eating healthier. I want to give the low carb lifestyle a real chance and, since being on the way home now for a few hours, I’ve taken steps to starting that tomorrow. So, for the first step, I’ve ordered our click-list grocery order of all Keto/Low-Carb foods and completely planned our upcoming week’s worth of meal prepping.

I know it’s a baby step but, it’s a step and that’s what matters. I found lots of great recipes online and Erin sent me a few too. I’ll share more recipes and blogs on how our low carb life goes. I made a workbook where I can create a tab for each week’s menu and save links to recipes that we use. (I’m a spreadsheet nerd).

Rob agreed to try it for a month with me and see what we think. I have tried to eat less carbs in the past (less than 100 net carbs) and it worked well for me. I know that is no where near a Keto level of carbs but that’s still okay for me. On a good day, when counting calories, I’d still eat so many carbs while staying under my calorie goal. Toast, cereal, fruit, bananas, chips/crackers, pretzels, pasta, jelly, fiber one bars, nutri-grain bars, frozen lean cuisines – so many of the foods I eat have lots of carbs and just working to cut back I noticed a big change. I think, for now, we’re going to first try and cook more “keto” or “low carb” recipes and see what we think.


This is really the first and biggest priority I came away from the trip wanting to focus on. Once I get this mastered I can add more to the list but this is where the list ends for now. Shorter list = more manageable. It’s all about baby steps. Focusing on my health seems like a logical top priority to start with 😊

So, for anyone who has done the low carb life, what are your favorite recipes? What are some snacks that you love (besides the nuts, jerky, cheese guys)? I’ll share any recipes we try this week that turn out well! So excited to recommit to eating healthier and feeling stronger 💪

Microsoft Surface Go – for the win!

If you read my other blog about getting a tablet you know that the Chromebook wasn’t my fancy. So, when I returned that I needed to find an alternative. Rob, being super into tech and online shopping for all things technology, helped me find the Microsoft Surface Go.

I’ve been playing with this tablet for a little over ten days and I’m totally in love. It does everything the Chromebook couldn’t for my Cricut needs (I can use the Design Space website and download any and all the fonts I want) and so many of the Chromebook cons are all turned into Surface Go pros.

1) I’m a Microsoft user already so the interface is familiar and easy to use

2) the tablet is so light and easy to carry around – super portable

3) I really like the kick stand feature

4) the speakers seem more substantial (but I couldn’t compare them side by side so I’m not 100%)

5) I love how many keyboard formats it has built in. Depending on how I’m holding the tablet I prefer different keyboard styles and the surface makes it easy to switch between them.

For some, the usb-c port might be a downfall but my phone is already a usb-c so I’m used to that and already had an adapter to use for the Cricut (kinda like this one).


As for accessories I purchased, I got a Bluetooth keyboard and pen. I haven’t felt much need for the keyboard yet but it’s nice. The tablet was a tight squeeze though for the keyboard case. I definitely have to try to get it in there when I use it. The pen I linked to above was crap though. It wasn’t sensitive enough to truly draw with and, sometimes when I used it to click, I’d have to attempt multiple times to get it to register . Point is, no bueno. I am set to return it and have already received the second pen I’ve ordered.

This second pen was more expensive but totally worth it. It’s more responsive, feels more substantial, and even has a functioning eraser. It came in a legit Microsoft box and is the recommended pen (for a reason). It’s totally worth it.

Net net > the surface go was a solid buy. I’m even using it to write this blog now! If you’re in the market for a tablet/little agile computer for internetting/basic app usage/office stuff I’d totally recommend.

The Elephant in the Room

First of all, consider yourself warned. This post maybe “over sharing”, emotional, triggering, and/or hard to read for some people.

But, now that that’s out of the way….


I haven’t been quite able to write a blog in a few months now and I kinda thought I’d ignore that and just pick back up where I left off but, honestly, that feels crappy. I wrote a new post the other day while all along I had a draft version of this post lingering. Was I just planning to ignore it? I think that would be crappy of me. I feel like it’s my responsibility to open up about what happened to me as I know it could help someone else. Plus I think that feeds into the whole “people don’t talk about it”/”I went through it alone” stuff that upset me. >> read till the end for that to make more sense<<

But, the reason I’ve just been in a funk is because I had my first miscarriage in early March and I just haven’t really been in the best headspace since. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I was sad and sad can be normal sometimes too, just a shit version of it. I just never really felt like doing a whole lot, I drank more alcohol than I had been (but duh I was pregnant prior to so I wasn’t drinking anything so that’s easy to top), eating like crap/not working out, and I just was lazier (lots of netflix + chill). The one good thing is that I kept painting and working on other craft projects through it all (and I think that helped honestly). So in a nutshell, I’ve just been feeling kinda shitty and that’s #reallife, I guess.


The last blog I wrote was in the end of February and at that time I thought I was pregnant. It was a little secret that only a few family members/close friends knew. I told Rob on Valentine’s day with a cute “Big Sister” shirt for Hannah and all was well with the world. I even had a cute little video of when he realized what her shirt said. Sad to watch now but still, it was special. Next came out first doctor’s appointment. It was on a Tuesday and I was so excited! Then on Thursday, that’s when the miscarriage started.

I still remember waking up and going pee, per usual when your first get up, and when I stood up there were 3 tiny clots in the toilet. I just lost it and sank. I wasn’t even thinking about miscarrying. I was more concerned about having another preemie (Hannah was 6 weeks early and I had just gotten literature about it a few days prior). Then, when I saw the blood, my heart just dropped. I knew this wasn’t normal “spotting”. I just felt it.

I went back in the bedroom and woke up Rob, who was still asleep at the time, and just said – with lots of tears – “I’m bleeding”.

Next up was a haze of calling the doctor, calling my boss (who had no idea I was pregnant at this point since I was only 7 weeks). taking off work, and going in for an ultrasound. At the appointment they confirmed that they saw the gestational sac but, said it was too early, they couldn’t get a heartbeat. They weren’t sure if maybe my irregular periods messed up when they thought my date of conception was or if maybe the baby had already stopped growing. Being 7 weeks, usually you can detect a heartbeat at that point so who knows what happened. Either way I was told to monitor my bleeding/cramping and if I spiked a fever, passed any larger clots, or got nauseous to call the doctor again. If nothing happened, the next appointment was set for 2 weeks out.


Over the next few days the bleeding didn’t get worse and no additional symptoms cropped up. I just had a terrible stomach bug (this started a day before the miscarriage did so I’m not sure if it was related or not) and light bleeding from Thursday until Sunday. Monday rolled around and the bleeding had stopped. I thought that was it and I was in the clear. No other clots were passed and I started to feel relieved that the “spotting” was over.

Having those weeks go by, thinking I was still pregnant – I think that made it worse. At the time of my next appointment I was 9 weeks. It was on a Thursday and it was an ultrasound and Rob went with me. I was so nervous and I just wanted good news. I didn’t think I miscarried since my symptoms never worsened as the doctor described and no other clots were passed. I figured it was spotting (I didn’t spot with Hannah at all nor do I in my regular cycle so I didn’t have anything to compare to). I was instead more concerned at this point to just know the baby was growing at the right rate.


Shortly after checking in, they called me back to see the ultrasound technician. As far as the tech goes, she really made matters worse, to be honest. I know she might have not meant for her actions to be hurtful but they were. She was the same technician I had seen just two weeks prior but she didn’t remember me and, I guess she didn’t bother reading my file. When she started my scan (I could see it all on the TV) I didn’t see anything and just felt that sinking feeling all over again. Some more poking and prodding and she asks “When’s the last time you took a pregnancy test?” and – at this point, I hadn’t taken one in weeks. Why would I? I thought I was already pregnant. I told her and she said “well your uterus is empty. There’s nothing in there. If there was a gestational sac it would be here (showing me on the screen).”

At that moment tears just filled my eyes and I laid there and started to cry to myself. She left the room to go talk to the doctor and asked me to get dressed. Next we went to another office room and got the “it looks like you had a miscarriage” conversation.

“Its normal.”

“It happens to at least 1/5 pregnancies.”

“It isn’t your fault.”

Nothing felt comforting. I just cried and cried. Even still today I cry about it. Of course you go through the self blame – should I have not walked on the elliptical the night before? Was I not drinking enough water? Am I too overweight? I was supposed to be due in October and seeing all my friends on Facebook posting about due dates or new pregnancies just makes me jealous. I do feel lucky that the miscarriage happened naturally as I can’t imagine the shape I’d be in if I had to have a D&C. I think that’s the only positive. I also know that if the baby didn’t have all of his or her puzzle pieces it was for the best but that doesn’t really make it easier either.


Sharing this feels right. I’m sad people don’t talk about the hardships of trying to conceive and it makes women feel so isolated I think. At least that’s how it made me feel. Going through the miscarriage and countless negative pregnancies tests since then feels so lonely. People don’t talk about it and they get uncomfortable when you bring it up which makes you feel even worse. It’s like you have a scarlet letter how people just shut the conversation down. I can only imagine if I feel this way how others feel that had more traumatic experiences. I at least figured that, if I was open about what happened to me, someone would feel support from it and that’s a win in my book.

Until next time.

P.S. – send baby gugu vibes our way! I want to have a baby Ruwe #2