Friday, September 30, 2011

Four: Beauty Treatments to Have Before Having a Baby

If I had really been thinking and money was no object, there are a bunch of beauty treatments I would have done before giving birth.  Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and I'm the Monday night quarterback over here (and other such cliches), but I'm hoping others can benefit from my experience.

{1. Lasik}

I've been wearing glasses or contacts since the third grade.  Despite getting a brand new pair of glasses before the baby was born, I ended up wearing my contacts day and night for about...oh...three months.  Shocker when I got the eye infection, right?  Yeah...Lasik.

{2. Laser hair removal}

My alloted shower time these days is about 10 minutes.  On the weekends, I get about 15.  Let me tell you what I would rather not have to do when I'm really tired and in a rush.  Actually, this is all pretty self explanatory.

Funny how most of these revolve around lasers.

{3. Gel Pedicure}

I didn't even know these existed until the baby was at least 4 months old.  Still haven't gotten one yet because I'm looking for the downside (is there a downside? tell me!) but a semi-permanent pedicure?  Would have been perfect while I was waiting to go into labor and hoping the baby wouldn't outlast my nail polish.

{4. Eyelash Extensions}

I have super pale eyelashes and, as mentioned above, I wear contacts.  All of this necessitates lots of waterproof mascara and eye makeup.  Which was not really an option for the first couple of blurry post-partum months.  Eyelash extensions would have really helped bridge that gap.

There it is.  What did you do to get ready for having a baby?  Or what do you wish you had done?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Bluum

Things I Am a Sucker For:

1. Teeny tiny things.

2. Cute packaging.

3. Things that arrive in the mail.

So, you could see why I am totally in love with Bluum, a sample package service for moms and babies!

Here's how it works.  You sign up for the service and a week or so later, a box arrives at you door with the cutest little packaging.

{Adoreballs!}

The box contains a bunch of deluxe sized samples and new products.  You enjoy said products and, if you like, you can purchase the products through Bluum's site.  You get a new box every month as long as you are a subscriber.

{It's like a camp care package!}

The first box contained a stretch mark cream, a reusable snack container, a bib, a sample bamboo wipe, and a soothing cream.

I've been digging into the creams (although I don't have much faith in stretch mark creams, more on that in another post) and cannot wait to make use of the snack bag since my stroller is littered with ziplocs that scream, "You are killing the Earth, you selfish brat!" at me every time I look at them.

The service can cost as little as $9 a month, and I got a trial offer deal through 8moms which was half of the retail price.  I think it's a great way to try out a bunch of products at a low cost.  Plus!  You don't have to leave you house with a baby and worry about whether you remembered to put on a bra or wash your hair!  Which are totally NOT things I have done!

I just can't wait for next month and my new box!  I'm actually considering signing up for a bunch of these sample services because clearly, they meet all my sucker criteria (see above.)

If you are interested in trying out Bluum, let me know and I can send you a referral.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Four: Baby Gifts to Stock Up On

Right now, I'm in that phase of life where all my friends are having babies. We passed that wave where most of them got married and now we are in the sweet spot where kids are popping up left and right.

So, I've gotten to the point where I should really have gifts on hand to bring to the kiss and coo meetings I've been attending lately. Because EVERYONE already has a Sophie, I've rounded up four inexpensive gifts that you can stockpile and hand out like Pez to any new baby who happens to show up.

We have all of these toys and they have saved us many times from crying fests, boredom, and are just all around awesome.  I've also included my favorite baby cream, which has a lovely scent and kept our baby soft all winter long.  If you are visiting as many new parents as I am, I highly recommend buying these things in bulk.








P.S. Diapers.com just launched a toy arm called Yoyo.com and it's amazeballs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Declaring Your Allegiance

There are a lot of decisions to make when you become a parent and each decision seems to land you in a kind of tribe with other like-minded parents.

Are you an attachment parent?  Do you follow a parent led schedule?  Do you sleep train with a cry-it-out mentality? What kind of stroller do you have? Et cetera...

It's pretty overwhelming.

But one choice must also be made...what kind of footwear are you choosing?

In New York, moms (well, dads too) seem to fall into two camps: Sperry Topsiders or TOMS.
Sperry vs. TOMS

The Sperry parents seem to enjoy a little more buttoned up preppy look, while the TOMS parents aim for more laid back dressed down ensembles.

For a while, I hung back and observed the various tribes in their natural habitats before deciding which one I wanted to join.  Finally, on Saturday, I declared my allegiance and bought the Montauk by Sperry Topsiders shown above.

I have to say...I love them.  They are comfortable, cute and easy to slip on and off (totally key when you have a kid).  The TOMS came up way too high on my foot (is it really called the vamp if it's made out of sweatshirt material?) and weren't that flattering.

Plus, the preppy Bret Easton Ellis meets Gossip girl thing suits me.

I guess that's my tribe.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Raising the Bar

On Tuesday night, I put the baby to bed, kissed my husband good bye and dove head first into Manhattan rush hour traffic to attend the opening preview of Drybar.

You may ask, why would you do such a crazy thing?  Don't you know the city is gridlock at that hour?  Why not just hang out at home and watch trashy television?

My answer?

I wanted to see the latest addition to the salon craze that took LA by storm - the blowout only salon.

Oh, also, I thought I could totally be home in time for The Rachel Zoe Project.



{Drybar}

Drybar is a cross between a sleek hair salon and a very well lit bar.  All the blowouts on the "menu" are named after drinks, they have purse hooks under the counter, actual drinks available, snacks, magazines galore and Mean Girls playing in the background.



{The menu and a "coaster" gift card}

I went with a Mai Tai, the messy beachy wave blowout, since that is a look I can NEVER achieve on my own.  I was really impressed with the results when it was done, but even more so when it held up until the next morning.

The creator of Drybar, Alli Webb, started the blowout-only service after having children and frustrated with talking to babies all day (what? no way! that never happens to me! I totally can't relate.)  It skyrocketed from there, and I can see why.  

Drybar is the perfect answer to the "I could do my hair myself, but it just looks better when the salon does it, but there is no way in hell I'm paying $80 to have someone dry my hair" conundrum.  Each blowout is only $40 and, honestly, I think it's better than most salons.  It would be perfect for a wedding or a shower held in your honor, maybe even for a big job interview or date.  In fact, I'm cursing the fact that there isn't one in DC already for the wedding I'm attending next weekend.

So, at the end of a long Tuesday, I took my fabulous messy beachy hair home to my husband...but next time, it's date night baby.  No, wait.  It's date night, baby!

Disclosure: Blowout was provided as a part of the press preview of Drybar, however, all opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Inviting Outfits

On Friday, I carefully got dressed up and went to go get picked up.

As most of you know, I'm a married woman , so I didn't go to some Smith Point/Third Edition style place, hell, I didn't even go to a swanky hotel bar.

I went to the playground.

I wasn't looking for a man though, I was looking for a mom friend.  So I dressed the part.

Playground Perfect

Playground Perfect by caphillbarbie

This outfit struck me as perfect for pushing the stroller, comfortable for walking, casual for a Friday, but nice enough to show that I cared.

Hell, I would want to be my friend.

Unfortunately, pickings were slim in the friend department that day and the only interest I got was from someone else's nanny.

Oh well, more outfits to choose!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Four: Diaper Bags that Don't Make Me Want to Hurl







Four: Diaper Bags

A diaper bag is one of the few things you get for YOU when you are getting ready to have a baby.  Everyone will constantly remind you that this will be your lifeline when the baby is on the outside, filled with everything you could possibly need the take care of your child while on the go.

All pregnancy magazines will tell you you need a bag to seamlessly go with every outfit, to be manly enough that your husband won't refuse to carry it, and easy to clean when things inevitably spill.  Which is all true, but it's easier said than found.

Plus, most diapers bags are designed with silly patterns that go with exactly zero outfits (I'll never understand the phenomenon whereby your baby accessories must look like they are designed for a child) or cost a ton of money (no joke, I saw a woman yesterday with a Gucci diaper bag.  GUCCI.  If I'm dropping that kind of cash on a bag, there is no way there is any chance I'll have to stuff my child's poop-stained onesie in it.  It looked nice, but get real.)  Seriously, most diaper bags made me want to hurl.  And it wasn't morning sickness.

But!  There are a few good options out there.  Coming up this afternoon, four diaper bags that look great, are functional, and exist at several price points.

No saltines needed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baby Bites: Mango and Banana Puree

Our first foray into solids was predictably cute (sloppy drippings of rice cereal all over the baby's face, grimaces from her as she tried to figure out what the hell we were doing, grabbing at the spoon, etc.)  We got lots of fun pictures and celebrated.

Then we tried again and again.  

And she seemed to HATE food.  Crying, spitting it out, general disinterest.

I was having nightmarish visions that she was going to still be on an all-liquid-ME diet in kindergarten, but she's finally relented.  

I credit this mango and banana puree from Smitten Kitchen's (sadly) short lived baby food blog for turning it around.  




This is still a staple in our house, even though the baby is more into finger foods these days.  It's dead easy and flexible to boot...I once threw in some blackberries that were kicking around in the fridge and the baby went APE.

Mango Banana Sauce
adapted from the great and wonderful Smitten Kitchen


2 mangoes, ripe and sweet, about 1 pound each
2 bananas, very ripe
2/3 cup water

Peel and chop the mangoes into chunks and slice the bananas into 1/2-inch coins. Mix in medium/large saucepan with water and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the banana is broken down the bits of mango can easily be flattened with a fork.

Cool in cooking juices and purée in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. {I go with the stick blender, more on this in future post.} If this is an early purée, then run the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the mango fibers and the banana seeds. {I am lazy and did not do this.}

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zara to Launch Online Shopping Tomorrow

Ok, commence freak out now.

Zara, the Spanish retailer of awesomeness is finally launching an online shop in the US.  To say that I am excited about this is a mild understatement.  The best part?  You can order from them and pick up in the store!  It's like a girl version of Best Buy!

Squee!

Here are all the deets, via The Capitol Fashionista:

Fashion concept Zara is launching online shopping in the United States tomorrow, September 7, at Zara.com, offering free delivery to all 50 states. Zara’s online platform will sell the full range of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing that are also available in-store. All products retail online at same prices as in Zara’s stores


DELIVERY OPTIONS

Garment prices are identical online and in-store and there are two classes of delivery: standard and express. Shoppers opting for standard delivery will receive their orders at home for no charge within two to four days. Similarly, purchasers can opt to pick up their orders at the store of their choice, also free of charge, within a period of three to five days. The other option is express delivery: home delivery within 24-48 hours for a flat rate of $9.95. Regardless of the selected delivery option, product orders will be wrapped in purpose-designed eco-friendly packaging which keeps purchased garments in an optimal state until delivery.

Payments can be made using all the standard e-commerce payment methods such as PayPal plus all major credit cards, including Visa, Master Card and American Express.



FREE EXCHANGES AND RETURNS

The exchange and return policy is identical to that offered in-store: during a 30-day period and free of charge, unwanted items can be picked up at home or returned to Zara stores. Zara has hired a logistics operator with a proven track record in the field to handle nationwide distribution.

www.zara.com users can also call toll-free customer service (855-635-9272) or write to a dedicated e-mail address for help with order-related queries or problems.


INTERNET AND SOCIAL NETWORKS

The US online platform is Zara’s first outside Europe, where shoppers can already buy online in 16 countries. Zara recently celebrated the first anniversary of its online shopping launch on September 2. Zara is also very active in social networks. Of its over 10 million Facebook fans, more than 400,000 are located in the US. In conjunction with this launch, Zara has recently opened up a Twitter account, @ZARA_US, and the #DearAmerica and #ZARAShopOnline hashtags in order to keep its followers up to speed on all the breaking news in this market.

ZARA IN THE U.S.

Zara’s business presence in the United States dates back to 1989 when it opened a store in New York at 750 Lexington Avenue. Along with Paris (France) and Oporto (Portugal), New York was one of the Spanish group’s first international location choices when it began to expand abroad at the end of the 1980s. Today Zara operates stores in over 30 US cities, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Houston, where it has flagship stores. In Manhattan, there are seven Zara stores, located along some of the Manhattan’s best shopping streets, such as Fifth Avenue, SoHo and Broadway. In Chicago, the Zara store is located on the city’s Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue, and is the retailer’s biggest store in the US, while the Boston store is located on Newbury Street.

Labels We Love: Hanna Andersson

Labels We Love is a series on labels I've found actually look good and are practical for our baby. Because when I started buying things for the baby, I was clueless about where to look. I could have a PhD in labels for women, but was unfamiliar with how to clothe my child. Go figure.

So, I thought I would start this series with the brand my husband refers to as the "exclusive outfitter" of our baby. Honestly, these are the things she wears CONSTANTLY and are washed all the time and still look good, and they are therefore worth every penny.




There are so many great items in this line, but our go-tos are the organic cotton basics like the Night Night Sleepers, the Jeepers Creepers onesies in short and long sleeves, and the Playdresses.

Also a fan fave: the My Best Ever First Socks




Dude. They have TREADS. Like she's going to slip. When she's running somewhere.

Ha.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Difference

The parenting differences between being a mother and being a father are pretty astonishing.

And I don't mean anything about love or bonding or whatever.

For example:

When the baby is sleeping, I am walking on eggshells around the apartment...basically terrified that she will wake up.

During naps, I'm reading or watching the TV on the lowest volume possible.  If something drops to the floor and makes a loud noise, my whole body tenses up as I wait for the squawk from the monitor.  For a while, every lunch I ate was ice cold because I was convinced the beep of the microwave would alert her to the fact that I was doing stuff without her which is, of course, entirely unacceptable.

On the other hand, my husband bombs around the apartment.  He takes a shower and watches the Stanley Cup playoffs at stereo levels that make me cringe.  Every floorboard creak sounds like a gunshot to me.  He goes into her room at bedtime and gives her butt a little squeeze.

But she never wakes up.

Seriously!  What is that about?
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