Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dry as the Desert

A pregnancy is a little bit like a car accident for your body.

You know, you get in a wreck, your car spends some time in the shop and comes out in pretty good shape.  Maybe they even fixed a couple of things that weren't damaged in the accident.  But some things are still off.  That rattle sound you heard once in a while?  Louder.  The paint job might start to flake in certain areas...you know.  It's just not the same car it used to be.

Welcome to your post-baby body!

For me, the rattle that got louder was my skin tone.  I've always had dry skin, especially in the winter, but it got much worse after I had a baby.  In fact, it got so bad it necessitated a trip to a dermatologist who gave me some great tips that I thought I could share.

Change your body wash.  My derm gave me the long pause when I said I used Dove body wash.  I started filling in with, it's just soap! but he cut me off.  For really dry skin, you need something super gentle and he recommended CeraVe or Cetaphil.  It's not pretty or scented, but it definitely keeps the dryness at bay.

Turn down the water temp.  This is really hard for me, since a hot shower is one of my few favorite things in the winter.  I'm trying.

Aquaphor.  This stuff is nothing short of amazing.  I wash my hands about a billion times a day since I'm chasing around a little germbug.  My derm recommended using it every time after I wash my hands, but then the baby gets really slippery, so I at least try to do it at night.  It definitely helps.

Fortify before you sanitize.  This was one we had already taken care of.  The derm recommended that if we used any hand sanitizers (the accessory of choice for mothers everywhere!) that they include aloe or another moisturizing ingredient.  As a doctor himself, my husband is a connoisseur of sanitizing agents and was put in charge of purchasing ours when the baby was born.  He went with Purell with Aloe and we also have enough to last through the next 7 SARS outbreaks.

So, with a few tips, I've been trying to get my skin back under control and get used to my body's new quirks after our little "wreck."  Anyone else notice weird little things popping up after you had a baby? Anything get much better after baby?

Challenge: Accepted

Everyone needs a little inspiration and motivation to get them moving once in a while.

February is kind of a weird month - short, cold, and with a rando holiday stuck in there.

So, I've decided to play along with the February Photo A Day Challenge from fat mum slim.

Here's the deal.

I'll be taking a picture that meets the description above every day in February and posting it to Instagram.  I'll also try to do a weekly wrap-up on the blog for those who don't follow Instagram.

(For those who are all, what's Instagram? It's a photosharing app that has all these cool features that make sucky photographers like me look like they can actually take a decent pic. And you can follow people. I post mostly pictures of the coffee I drink and my kid, but most people post photos of their shoes.)

You can also see what other people are posting through the hashtag #febphotoaday.

So...it's ON.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sneak Peek: Kid Made Modern for Target

Certain pop culture icons will just inherently date you.

So when I was invited to check out Kid Made Modern, a new line of art supplies for Target by Todd Oldham, my first thought was, "Todd Oldham FROM HOUSE OF STYLE?!?"

Which puts me squarely in coming of age in the early 90's.

(raise your hand if you're with me)

If you do not have your hand raised, let me fill you in.  House of Style was the most awesome of awesome shows on MTV hosted by Cindy Crawford covering fashion and lifestyle and also featured "Todd Time" where Todd Oldham would DIY some super cool trend and teach you how to sandpaper your jeans or add safety pins, etc.  He was the original PS I Made This.

Apparently in the 20 years since then, he also wrote a book called "Kid Made Modern," which showcases kid's art projects inspired by modern art movements and artists.  And now, Target and Todd Oldham have produced a line of kits and art supplies based on the projects in the book.

The line includes everything from beads and jewelry making kits to rad printed duct tape to these huge multi-colored crayons seen above.

As I was checking all of this out, there were exactly three thoughts in my head:

1. Why isn't my child old enough to use these things yet!

2. Why do I have to wait until May to buy these as gifts for everyone?

3.  Crap, is Reese choking on those 17 sandwich crackers she shoved in her mouth?

(She wasn't.)

So, the Kid Made Modern line will be out in Target stores in May 2012 and everything will be under $20.  Yeah.  So.  Stock up.  These would make fabulous birthday gifts, amazing things to keep in the closet for a rainy afternoon, and hell, the duct tape is beyond adorable.  Hopefully our children will remember Todd Oldham as the super cool crafty art guy from their childhood and they can all bond over that.

Now who wants to reminisce about Lavar Burton and Reading Rainbow with me?

Disclosure: I received a copy of Kid Made Modern and a super cool giant crayon for attending the sneak preview.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Working Hard For the Money

I was inspired by my discussion post over at Capitol Hill Style last week to try to post more opinion/debate/personal stuff topics here.  Let me know what you think...

It is often said that being a mother is the hardest you'll ever work for the least amount of pay.  I don't know if that's totally accurate, but some days it definitely feels that way.  Very few jobs require that you start working the minute you get up, get screamed at, vomited on, roll around on the floor, read the same book 30 times in a row (until you figure out how to hide it in the couch cushions), feed, clothe and clean another person without any sick days, vacation, or breaks.  There are a couple, but not many.  But I think the hardest part of being a stay-at-home mother is trying to figure out what (or how) you should "paid."

I've had a job my entire life.  Except for a few semesters of high school, law school, and studying for the bar exam, I've had a paycheck since I was 16.  For better or worse, there is a huge part of my identity that is tied up in what I do and how much I get paid for it.  It just kills me to fill out any form these days that asks what my profession is or who my employer is.  I still write attorney and self.

Beyond just the pride issue, I have trouble spending money on myself.  As someone who always earned a great living (until this year, I outearned my husband every year we've been together) and never felt guilty about splurging on the things I wanted when I knew I could afford them.  Now, I find myself avoiding buying even basic stuff for myself because I don't contribute financially to our household.

I mean, I know I contribute to our household.  But in reality, it feels weird not to have a little tangible reminder every time I get a direct deposit. So, I'm still struggling to determine how to value what I do all day.

Other stay-at-home moms, how do you deal with the finances at your house?  Do you pay yourself? Discuss purchases with your partner?  And moms who are working, do you feel feel different about how you spend the money you earn now that you have a baby?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sippy Envy

I had an unusual experience this weekend.

An experienced mom of two complimented me on a piece of baby equipment.  

This is like a senior editor at Vogue telling you that your shoes are cute.

She even asked me where I got it and wrote down the name of the product!  So, what was this miraculous device that inspired such envy?

We found out early on that Reese was much more adept at using a straw than the classic bite and suck sippy cups when she either ended up with milk soaking the front of her shirt and none in her belly.  But give the child a straw and watch her chug down a beverage with the gusto of a freshman frat boy doing a keg stand.

What is so awesome about the Zo-Li cups is that they have a gravity straw, meaning the bottom of the flexible straw is weighted and will follow the liquid, enabling the baby to drink upside-down without spilling. The cup also has nice small handles (for nice small hands) and comes in some cute simple colors.  Which is obviously the most important part.

We got ours at Sprout San Francisco's New York location (confusing much?), but they are easily found online as well.  For anyone who wants to copy me.

PS My only mom advice on these is to stick to water (or juice).  For some reason they do seem to overflow with a more viscous liquid like milk.  It would probably take a PhD level physicist to figure out why, but trust me.  After all, now I'm the more experienced mom in some circles.  Scary stuff.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oscars Remixed!

So...did you watch the Oscar nominations yesterday?

I did.

But I've seen exactly ZERO of the nominated films.  Life with a baby.


If you have seen the movies and were inspired by the style, check out the Washington Post's Oscar Remix contest.  WaPo has partnered with Polyvore.com to host a design challenge over the next few weeks inspired by the nominated films.  The first challenge is "Who Should Win Best Picture?"

The Washington Post will highlight several of the top sets on their Style blog.

So, if you are Polyvore whiz and feel very strongly about Oscar contenders, jump right in!

Me?  I'll just be watching for the red carpet and adding the winners to my Netflix queue.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Four: Awesome; Four: Not so Awesome

...things that happened this weekend while we were visiting friends in North Carolina.


{1} Lots of cozy fires.
{2} Three monitorless morning showers.
{3} Reese learned how to say "turtle," which is one of the cutest baby words ever.
{4} The amount of use I got out of our new Boba 3G and my chambray shirt.

Not so Awesome

{1} Snacks.  So many snacks.
{2} Two virtually napless plane rides.
{3} Dear god, the snacks.
{4} The sore throat that I think both of us have coming on...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Guest Post!

In case you missed it on Friday (I almost did because I had to catch a plane to North Carolina, more on that later!) I did a guest post on the ever fabulous Capitol Hill Style on the controversy surrounding the Paula Deen diabetes announcement.

If you came here from Capitol Hill Style, welcome!  Stay a while.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So Your Best Friend Is Pregnant...A Gift Guide

That's right, your best friend just called you with the joyous news that she is going to have a baby.  And while you are thrilled for her, you have no idea what babies or pregnant people need-slash-want.

I know how you feel.  I felt that way when I got pregnant.

So, I've put together a little gift guide for thoughtful things you can get for your friend and the baby over the next 10 months, plus something for the baby when he/she turns one.

So Your Best Friend is Pregnant Gift Guide

So Your Best Friend is Pregnant Gift Guide 

{1} When she first tells you: Hanky Panky Multi-Set  It's too early for baby stuff, but you want to get her something to celebrate since you can't buy her drinks.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...Hanky Pankys are the greatest underwear made.  This is particularly true for pregnancy.  They will last you until the day you head to the delivery room (after that is a WHOLE other post.)  Another option is a Bella Band.

{2} Baby Shower: Angel Dear Loveys  Get her something practical from the registry and also get her two of these Angel Dear loveys.  For those who are really not into the baby circuit (seriously, ME) a lovey is a little blankie that eventually the baby sleeps with to ease separation from a parent at night.  (See also transitional object)  The Angel Dear loveys are so soft and snuggly. Always get more than one, because one needs to be washed (ours are in a constant rotation owing to the drool factor) and one will always get lost/destroyed at some point. 

{3} When the baby is on the outside: Belabumbum Nursing PJs  I didn't really get the whole nursing clothes concept, but a savvier family friend sent me a nursing pajama set and it was the BEST.  You basically do not want to take off your pajamas all day for the first...oh, I don't know...4 weeks?  But people keep coming over and you need to look decent and these are just the best.  HOTmilk is another great brand and these are frequently on Zulily so you can plan ahead and get a nice discount.

{4} For the baby, once you know the name: L.L. Bean Monogrammed Boat and Tote  Good friends sent us a HUGE tote with Reese's name on it and I think it was the first time it really hit home that that was her name.  And that she was here.  Weird.  But it was also an enormously practical and stylish gift. We take it on car trips, use it to store toys, etc. I recommend the zip-top with the longer handles.

{5} First Birthday: Serena and Lily Crib Sheet  By the time the baby turns one, he/she will have spent a TON of time on the first set of sheets.  Not to mention a couple of "accidents."  A new set of sheets is the perfect fresh start to the second year.  I love the Dwell Studio sheets as well and they run fabulous sales.

After that, you're pretty much off the hook.  I hope this helps when your friend gives you the good news, any other great gifts you received when you told people you were expecting or after the baby was born?

Monday, January 16, 2012

These Booties Were Made for Walking

Once upon a time, when I had a job and no baby, shoe shopping was like Xanax and a glass of wine for me...a pleasant way to relax at the end of a hard day. Nowadays, Xanax and wine is the new shoe shopping.

Kidding! Sort of.

While I don't get to shoe shop in person as much as I used to, I do notice that my purchases are far more calculated. So, when I fell hard for the Water Row booties by Clark's, I had to make sure they would really work with my life. And they do! They are super comfortable for walking around in, even though they have a heel, so I'm happy to take out the stroller during the day wearing them. But! They are stylish enough to wear out in the evening on a date night.

Here are two ways I've worn them in the past few weeks:
Booties, Not for Baby

Booties, Not for Baby 

For Play:  I like to sport a relaxed and simple look for playgroup...I need to be on my knees chasing the baby around, but also want to not look like a slob.  One of the things I love about these booties is that they easily slip on and off (playrooms are usually a "shoes off" environment).  I love my Gap stretchy skinny cords lately, and long sweaters are like oxygen for me these cold days.  I also like wearing a stack of softer bracelets as my accessory...I always feel like actual bangles will fall off or clunk the babies in the head.  I have a bunch of beaded ones, but I really dig this leather cuff.  Hair usually goes up in a ponytail, mostly so my kid can't pull it out.

For Date:  As soon as the baby goes down and the sitter arrives, I've got about 20 minutes to get ready for date night out.  My favorite outfit of late is a lace skirt plus a chambray shirt tucked in with an extra button undone.  True story: when you are a mother, so many people have seen your bra and breasts that you honestly no longer care...as long as your bra is pretty.  While my skirt was black and basically from when time began, I really like the nude color here better.  I paired it with my absolute favorite Topshop 120 Denier black opaque tights and put on a major swipe of red lipstick.  Which is the only accessory needed...because it's all I have time for.

Any purchases you've made lately that you're patting yourself on the back for?

Also, I shamelessly cribbed Capitol Hill Style's "Two Ways" style of Polyvore set.  Cause it's genius.

Green Your Air!


Do you like helping a small business?

Do you like making the environment you live in better for you and your baby?

Can you be trusted to keep a houseplant alive?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should check out Green Your Air!*

Green Your Air is a company started by two moms who wanted to make a difference in the air quality of their homes, but had trouble finding the plants that NASA said did the awesome job for them.  Maryam (below left) also writes the fantastic nursing style blog, Milk Friendly.

(on another note, how rad are Maryam's wedges?)

I think the idea of having a houseplant literally doing the work of filtering the air in your home is a fabulous idea.  I mean, it's much more stylish than some humming air filter that you ordered from a big box store.  Check out the photo below: 

That could be your room.  All I would need is that plant...and that cool headboard and the nightstand and the mirror accent...ok, I might as well start with the plant.

Right now, Green Your Air is offering 25% off when you use the code MILKFRIENDLY until January 22nd.

So go on!  Green up that air!

*My problem is I sadly cannot be trusted with plants...I can even kill a cactus.  Seriously, it's amazing they let me bring home a child.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Naptime Reading Material: Rockstar Diaries

This will not come as a surprise to people who know me well, but I'm often late to the party.

Not literally, I mean, I'm almost always obnoxiously early to actually events.  I meant figuratively.

I mean, a couple of years ago, I could not for the life of me figure out what all these vampire references were.  I'm that bad.

So, recently I saw a feature on winter styling on DC's section of Refinery29 (are you reading this?  I am!  It's fabulous!)  by Naomi Davis of the Rockstar Diaries.

I was just smitten by her simple, yet adorable style and great hair.  Then, of course, I went down an archive spiral.  Naomi lives on Capitol Hill with her husband, baby girl and super cute bulldog...although they did the reverse of our trip and moved from New York to DC a couple of years ago.  Plus, she's expecting another baby soon!  All of this, plus she can pull off red tights!

Come to find out that everyone and her brother reads this blog!  Why didn't anyone tell me?

So, if you want to make me feel cutting edge and cool, tell me Rockstar Diaries isn't already bookmarked or favorited in your google reader.  If it's really true...yay me!  Now all I have to do is wikipedia The Hunger Games to figure out what everyone is talking about.

photo courtesy of refinery29.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From the desk of a new mom...

Dear Reader,

Parenting tip!

(from probably the least qualified person to give one)

If your baby is getting sick, stick to bland foods.  Steer clear of a dinner chock full of raspberries and fish sticks.  Not just because they won't upset your baby's tummy...mostly because if or when they vomit all over you and the bedroom, you won't have massively stained EVERYTHING.

So...back story...fade out....

The baby had a nasty little cold, but nothing I was too worried about.  I fed her said dinner of raspberries and fish sticks and put her to bed.  Cut to 1 A.M. to waking up to a crib full of bright red upchuck.  I swear, I thought the child had Ebola.

In the light of day, I decided I needed to try to salvage her beautiful Dwell Studio sheets which were now stained beyond belief.  Thankfully, I had a bottle of Vaska Spotoff stashed in the closet and hosed down everything the entire family had been wearing or touched the night before.  It was a lot like the scene in Ghostbusters II when they spray everything with the good slime.  I even hummed this while I was doing it.

Vaska is an all natural line of laundry products and is hypoallergenic, making it ideal for babies and people with sensitive skin.  I really liked the spray action as opposed to some stain sticks I've used in the past, it allowed me to take care of this job from a distance.  And, it did a mighty decent job of getting my little Exorcist baby's mess out of her sheets.  Not like brand new, but come on, that was some serious mess.

I've used it since then and have found it definitely works better when you allow it to sit on the fabric for a little while before washing (vomit laundry was thrown in immediately..can you blame me?).  Hopefully I won't need it on another big job like that!

So, in summary, always keep stain spray on hand and stick to Cheerios, toast and noodles when babies are sick.

Love ya!  Bye!

product sample was provided for editorial consideration, all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Morning Glory

I don't know many people who have a ton of time to get ready in the morning, but when you have a baby, that amount of time gets cut down to about a tenth of what you had pre-baby.

On par with "I stayed for one last drink at the happy hour and for some reason made it a liquor drink and got home at 2:30 then hit my snooze button 7 times and now I'm running an hour late" amount of time.

But it's every day.

So, I've had to pare back my morning makeup routine to the essentials.  Pretty much every day, I use four products and two tools, as shown above.  Well, three tools.  I can't show you my makeup sponge, 'cause it's kind of gross.  I can apply this in five minutes, basically with one eye on the mirror, one eye on the baby.  

{1} Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15 in Light.  A fabulous basic tinted moisturizer from the people who know skincare.

{2} MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer in NC20.  Another solid basic that I've used for a few years.  It has a great texture and easily conceals the dark circles born right around, oh, I don't know...October of 2010?

{3} Bright blush.  I'm currently using one from the MAC Fafi Collection from long ago, but my other favorites are NARS Sin and Bobbi Brown Peony.  It looks bright in the packaging but goes on lightly to just make me look less pallid.

{4} L'Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara in Black.  This is a non-negotiable for me.  I have the palest eyelashes and look super-bizarre without mascara.  I'm still looking for "The One" in mascaras (inky black, no clumps, smudgeproof, removes easily with makeup remover...call me!) but this is fine for now.

{5} Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.  Simply the best.

{6} MAC travel sized blush brush.

And that's it!  The key is also to keep my skin and hair looking good at a baseline (another post soon!)  I'm not going to win any beauty pageants, but it works for daytime and can easily be amped up directly after we put the baby to bed for a night on the town (also another post!).

What is your routine?  How have you cut back from your pre-baby days?  Favorite products?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Four: Things I Wish I Could Tell My Child

{1}  The story won't change the seventh time I read it to you.  I PROMISE.

{2}  Just because you can fit so many puffs in your mouth, doesn't mean you should.

{3}  I see the dogs too, you don't have to tell me every time one appears.

{4}  Yes, coffee is delicious and you probably would love it.  But you still can't have it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our New Favorite

We have a lot of classic books that get read over and over, but we just got a new one that I had never heard of but Reese LOVES it.

Like falling on the floor, snorting milk out of her nose, can't catch her breath laughing so hard funny.

The book is very interactive and directs you to do things and you watch these dots shrink and grow and move along the page as you read.

Reese just at the age where she is starting to respond to commands and will do the things the book tells you (press here, blow at the page, clap, etc.) and thinks that shaking the book is just hilarious.

If you have a baby or know a baby around a year of age, I highly recommend this book.

(lots of thanks to Grandma for the present!!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Be It Resolved

I'm one of those rare people who actually likes new year's resolutions.

Yup.  I'm the one.

And, no, I don't always follow through on all of them, but I try and I think that's usually good enough.

So...here goes!

In 2012, I would like to be healthier.  I mean this in the physical sense, the emotional sense and the intellectual sense.  I don't want to end up like one of those mom's on The Biggest Loser getting screamed at by the not-Jillian Michaels about how she doesn't make time for herself and had to go on reality tv to blubber in front of the whole world.


Exercise.  I feel so much better after I exercise and that makes me a whole lot nicer to the people around me.  The fact that it will make me fitter and hopefully look better is a major bonus.

Eat Better.  Having a baby makes you just want to make sure you eat something, but not necessarily the best things for you.  Now that Reese actually watches everything I put in my mouth and wants it too, I think the gummy bears have got to go.

Get Out.  I'm really lucky to have a kid who doesn't mind being left with grandparents and babysitters, and sleeps really well.  I need to get the hell out of my apartment and take advantage of New York.  Both with and without my husband.

Dress Better.  After what amounts to a massive career change, I've finally gotten into a little groove of a mom wardrobe.  I'm trying to experiment with the clothes I have and carefully add items to my closet.  I'm considering outfit posts on the blog...what do we think?

Work.  I know all the words to at least 10 children's books.  Yup.  That's what my law degree is getting used for.  I need a little more intellectual stimulation.  Like WHOA.  I'm not sure how or what I'm going to do, but I've got to do something.

So?  What are your resolutions?  Anything you want to see on the blog?  Updates on resolutions perhaps?
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