Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Smudge Away

One of my makeup pet peeves is makeup that doesn't stay where it was placed.  I cannot stand it when I end up with mascara under my eyes (or "whore eyes" as one friend calls it) or lipstick that has faded into the dreaded "liner-only" look that is oh-so-NOT-ATTRACTIVE or shadow that somehow all collects in the crease of your lid and pouts.

So, when Stila's new Smudge Crayon crossed my path, I grabbed it.  Promising to be a waterproof primer, shadow, and liner liner, I just couldn't say no.



I tried out the crayon in Kitten, which is one of my absolute favorite Stila shades.  It's a light and shimmery pink champagne color that is universally flattering and appropriate.  I use the powder version as a base for a nighttime eye or alone during the day.

While I really liked the formulation of the crayon - it went on easily and stayed put all day, I definitely think it functions better as a liner than as a shadow.  Maybe it was the pointy tip that just needs to be worn down to a nub that makes it easier to shade the entire lid.  

I am working on that.  

Until then, I've been using the crayon to highlight the inner corners of my eyes and along the brow and I'm eyeing (pun intended!) one of the darker colors for a real liner.  Maybe the Midnight Blue or Umber...

Until then, I'm still on the lookout for a mascara that really doesn't run.  Anyone out there with any ideas?

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Few Good Books

When I was pregnant (pregnant enough to justify eating "second breakfast," not pregnant enough to be picking out names) a co-worker left a baby book in my office.  Her child had just turned two and she said she no longer needed a baby/parenting book.  So I thought, awesome, one less thing to buy!  Turns out it saved me more than just $12.95.

The baby and parenting section of the bookstore can be a fearsome and overwhelming place.  As a mother who didn't know a whole lot about...anything...having just the one book was great.  I didn't have to think about philosophies of parenting or anything.  I had the one book.

The one book was Baby 411.

Written by a pediatrician and a consumer advocate who are both mothers, Baby 411 gives extremely clear and practical advice on every aspect of raising a child to age 1.  It is easy to read, even when you are sleep deprived and covered in Lanolin (yeah, get ready for that) with answers to the questions you actually have.  Sometimes it was like the book read my mind.  Also, it has first aid and dosing information for common medications and practical solutions to real life baby problems.

Most of all, it spoke to my personality as a mother.  It talks about discipline and how to deal with crying, the importance of breastfeeding and vaccines, sleep issues and scheduling.  The authors speak from the standpoint of a mother, but also as a physician.  I have a friend who is a pediatrician who says she always recommends this book to new parents and is extremely proud that her copy is autographed.

Bonus? It breaks down a whole mess of sleep books and grades them.  We actually ended up buying one other book on sleep when Reese was six weeks old and I needed a schedule.  Almost as much as I needed a drink.

The same pediatrician friend recommended Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and I never looked back.  Very popular with parents who don't mind a little crying, but don't want to the Ferber method (although it's basically the same thing).  This book talked a lot about the biology of sleep and how babies process sleep and need sleep.  At the beginning, it was really hard to ensure that all naps happened in the crib and there was definitely some crying, but when I tell you that Reese goes to sleep happily and sleeps for twelve hours (plus naps!)...I mean, you can't argue with results.

I mean, how funny is that picture of the baby on the cover? Buy it just for that!

While Health Sleep Habits goes up to, I don't know, when that kid goes to college, Baby 411 only covers babies up to a year.  Which is why I ran out an bought Toddler 411 as soon as Reese turned one.  It has the same no nonsense formula with questions and answers, great ideas for feeding picky toddlers, schooling, etc., and keeps you informed through the grade school years.  I'm a nerd and I like to read ahead.  



 And that's basically it for me.  I did just read Bringing Up Bebe, but other than that and the plethora of information on the internet, those were the only baby books in our household.  Just a note, I do recommend getting these all in hard copy as opposed to an e-format.  There is something way more difficult to loading up an electronic device in the middle of the night when you aren't sure exactly what constitutes a fever in an infant. 

Were there any that I missed?  Any that anyone else loves?

Friday, February 17, 2012

French Women Don't Get...Whatever

So, if you watch the Today Show or read things...any things...you may have already heard about the book Bringing Up Bebe.


Written by a former Wall Street Journal reporter who makes her life in France and is raising three children there, it is billed as a "parenting guide"to Americans to tell us how French parents are raising better behaved and more independent children.  You can read an excerpt from the book in WSJ as well as a little summary of some of the points in the book on Cup of Jo.

Personally?  I downloaded the book the day it came out and read it over the next couple of days.  I mean, it's not exactly Kant or anything.  I'm a little bit of a Francophile, having studied the language most of my life and lived there twice (once in Paris, once in the South).  While I don't agree with the way they do everything, I found a lot in the book that is really fascinating.

Most of the criticism that I've read of the book is that the maxims in it are not revolutionary.  Far from it.  Tell kids "no."  Let them play by themselves.  Take time for yourself and for your parter.  These are all absolutely things parents should do.  But here's the thing...they don't.

It's easier to just assume that your child is just rambunctious and is incapable of sitting still.  It's easier to give in and give them a snack on the playground.  It's easier to stay in on a Friday night or skip the gym.  And our culture encourages that.  It gives the moms who sacrifice themselves, their careers, and their bodies a gold star and the veil of doing it for the baby.

What I think is so interesting about France and the culture there is that everyone is on the same page.  It's a far more homogeneous culture, when I lived there, I was always struck by how everyone in France has the exact same handwriting.  Everyone is on board with a common philosophy of how children should be raised and..here's the kicker...the government takes care of it (state funded seventeen star day care and preschool are available  basically for free.)  When everyone is working to the common goal and standards, it becomes a lot easier to have the child meet those expectations.

What I took away from reading this book was that it is possible have a baby who behaves and plays by herself.  It is possible to have a child who is polite and eats non-beige food.  But it takes work.  It takes time (a whole lot of precious time! sorry.) and reinforcing.  Not that that isn't anything I've read in my favorite baby book, but it was a colorful example.

So, what do you all think?  Does it sound nice to be a French parent and be able to send your baby to a day care where they get three course lunches and gentle discipline?  Are you just sick of hearing about the French?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinhole Press Goes From Awesome to Amazeballs

Having a baby is basically like a get-out-of-jail-free card for gift giving.

You just upload pictures of your baby onto basically anything at Pinhole Press and give away to your heart's content.

I literally purchased 80% of my holiday gifts through them and I couldn't be happier.  You can get adorable note pads, beautiful calendars, photo books and wine labels.  Ok, maybe don't put your baby's face on a wine label.

Maybe...

Well, Pinhole Press just got better with their new baby collection.  Chock full of beautiful accents for a baby shower, announcements, and thank you notes, this collection is modern and sophisticated.  Sweet without being saccharine.


Another feature I really love is that they have great customer service.  I had an issue with one of my holiday gifts and they rectified the situation immediately and courteously.

Check out their Facebook page, you can usually get a little discount for liking them, and then sit back on reap the compliments.

Also...new moms would love a gift card!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photo-A-Day!

I told you that I had accepted the February Photo A Day Challenge from fat mum slim.  If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you've hopefully caught my excellent progress (only one photo was late!) and if not...WHY ARE YOU NOT FOLLOWING ME?

Just kidding!

Here's a recap of my challenge photos thus far:

{1} My view today; {2} Words


{3} Hands; {4} Stranger

{5} 10 a.m. (purchasing Jason Wu for Target); {6} Dinner

{7} Button; {8} Sun

{9} Front door; {10} Self Portrait

{11} Makes me happy; {12} Inside my closet

Follow me on Instagram (@caphillbarbie) or on Twitter to see the photos in real time and search the hashtag #febphotoaday to see other Challenge participants!

On Valentine's Day

Like so many other women, I have somewhat complicated feelings about Valentine's Day.



When I was little, my father would always give my mother, my sister and me presents.  One year it was the most amazing crazy huge Hershey's Kiss.  I swear, I nibbled away at that thing until mid-March and my mother threw it away.  But my parents always told me that Valentine's Day is for everyone, for showing everyone how much you love them.

(They also told me that Santa was for everyone, even Jews, which is why we celebrate Christmas. What can I say?  They are children of the 60's.)

When I got older, I just pretty much hated the holiday.  Even when you had a boyfriend, it never lived up to the juvenile romantic fantasies I harbored.  In college, it was just an excuse to get drunk with girlfriends on a weeknight.  When I was dating my now-husband, it was a nice day to get a bouquet of flowers and avoid restaurants.  Now that I'm married and have a baby, I have come full circle and think of it as a sweet holiday and, as my parents did, to show how much you love all of your family, not just your significant other.

So, this year, I'm keeping it simple and low-key.  I'm making a slow cooker dinner with mashed potatoes (my husband firmly believes that mashed potatoes trump oysters, caviar and chocolate as the most romantic food) and these 5 Minute S'mores Mug Cakes, mostly for myself.


For the baby, maybe giving her a little of the chocolate cake...Although I'm sure she would love to get a crack at a huge Hershey's Kiss.

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day?

photos courtesy of thekitchn.com and howsweeteats.com

Monday, February 13, 2012

Piperlime Loves You!


Just in time for Valentine's Day...give yourself something.  Piperlime is offering 15% off of the entire site, which is huge, considering it works on wardrobe stapes that rarely go on sale, like J Brand jeans and everything just in for spring.

Personally, I'm wishing for this Hive & Honey yellow skirt to wear with a chambray shirt on the first nice day we get.

Paired with these Pour La Victoire sandals (practical! they go with black AND brown)...

And this gorgeous sunny bag also by Pour La Victoire.

As always, Piperlime has free shipping BOTH WAYS.  Which is a godsend for those of us who simply cannot try on clothes in stores any more.

Happy Valentine's Day!

A Heatwave in February

The only thing worse than being stuck in a far flung city and reading tweets about New York Fashion Week is being stuck in New York and reading tweets about New York Fashion Week.


But, thanks to the magic of the Internets, we can all revel in the beauty of what's going on...particularly the Thakoon show.





Check out those reds...

And while the clothes are beautiful, the makeup was really stunning.  The full breakdown from NARS is below, but my favorite part is the Heatwave lipstick.

Hot enough to warm up even a chilly day like today.


SHOW: Thakoon
 
LEAD ARTIST: Diane Kendal for NARS Cosmetics
 
TREND: Bold lips
 
DESIGNER INSPIRATION: “The collection is a romantic cliché of something old New York – Upper East Side in the 1980s..but with a quirky twist,” said designer Thakoon Panichgul. “It’s reminiscent of the past but still feels modern.”
 
LOOK: “Thakoon wanted to focus on the lip this season,” said NARS makeup artist Diane Kendal. “It’s a fuschia pink, which is not an obvious color for a bold lip. We wanted to play with color, and it ends up making the whole look so interesting.”
 
Below are the key products used to create the exclusive look:



FACE
Undress Me Multiple (New for Fall 2012!)
 
EYES
 
LIPS
















Friday, February 10, 2012

Traveling with a Baby...and Surviving


So, the main issue with going on vacation with a baby is that you have to GET THERE.

Like, travel.

And then once you're there, you still have to take care of a baby.

True story: the first time I flew with Reese was just a short Pittsburgh to NYC when she was six weeks old.  I was so nervous that she would freak out that I kept her under the nursing cover the whole time, ready to feed her the instant she got cranky so she wouldn't cry.  I had burned about two years off my life expectancy, my blood pressure was through the roof, and I was drenched in sweat.  She slept the entire flight.  Takeoff, landing, the whole 90 minutes without even making a peep.

Subsequent flights were not all that pleasant.

Joanna Goddard at Cup of Jo did a post about 10 Tips for Traveling with a Baby which is an excellent guide for those who are nervous about the first flight.  I would like to highlight a couple and add a few of my own.

First and absolute foremost is BE NICE.  Be more than nice.  Smile at everyone.  Ask how they are.  MAKE FRIENDS.  I'm not the world's most gregarious person to strangers, but a little goes a long way here.  I have found that most people are actually not super annoyed with you for bringing a baby on an airplane but they can get there fast.  I always try to make nice to TSA agents, gate personnel, the bag check people, everyone.  It's gotten me a free seat to bring the car seat on board (usually you have to pay for it), my husband to escort me through security when we were flying alone and tons of friendly passengers to amuse the baby while we were on board.

Choose your gear wisely.  It's heavy.  I used to carry the car seat bucket with Reese in it when she was small and then just gate check the seat.  I got a great arm workout, but it wasn't the easiest thing to do.  Nowadays, we use the carrier (TSA will almost always tell you to take the baby out to go through the metal detectors, but they've never made me go through the new scanner with her) for getting around the airport and still gate check the seat.  I would recommend a stroller frame for airport as Joanna does.  Think very carefully about all your activities on the other end and pack minimally.

Use a nursing cover.  Sorry.  I'm a huge advocate of breastfeeding and I know it's your right to breastfeed whereever, whenever without any cover, but really?  It's very close quarters in coach these days and a lot of people are not so into it.  I found that people were extremely kind and understanding about nursing on a plane, and I tried to be as discrete as possible to give them the same courtesy.

Diaper changes must be conducted with military precision.  If you have two people, go together to the back of the plane.  Change the baby. Hand baby off to second party. Use the bathroom yourself.  Take the baby back. Other person goes. Then return to seat.  Passengers around you will be thankful you did this all at once.

Pack a change of clothes.  Seriously.  I do not want to have to tell you about the blowout diaper that happened during takeoff coming back from Mexico last year.  Oh...wait, I just did.

Distractions!  When Reese was super tiny, I could count on her to fall asleep for at least part of a plane ride, nurse most of the time, and be amused by other people on the plane for the other part.  Oh, man, those were the days.  Now we are in full blown Elmo-on-the-iPad territory.  I read somewhere that you should present a baby with a new toy or food product every hour of a flight.  UGH. Honestly, if anyone has any suggestions for this part, I'm all ears.

Once you are there...

Joanna mentions this at Cup of Jo and I want to reiterate: Rent a house/apartment/suite.  It is soooo much easier and actually makes the vacation feel like a vacation.  You get some separation from the baby and some alone time.  Plus, you don't have to brush up on your sign language to talk to your partner.

Travel with family.  If possible.  I know this is far from ideal for a lot of people, but for me, it was amazing to be with people who WANTED to watch Reese while we were away.  Again, made it feel like a real break.  When we all go on vacation there is a nice way to all rotate who we hang out with so it never feels like we are all stuck together on a National Lampoon style vacay.

Make it familiar.  Babies like routine.  I know there are a lot of babies who wig out at a new crib smell or weird wallpaper.  They don't appreciate that new Molton Brown product in the hotel.  Bring your baby's lovey, some favorite board books in small form, a t-shirt that you've worn, whatever.

Bend the rules.  While babies do like routine, I think it's also a time to relax a little and go with the flow.  Your baby may not be on the same schedule as at home, but they tend to be pretty flexible when needed and can nap on the fly, eat new foods, etc.  We usually have to have baby bootcamp when we get home, but it's worth it to really enjoy the vacation.

So, those are some of my tips.  But to be honest, at least 50% of the time, things totally go to pot and we are the parents with the screaming baby who won't shut up.  So, when in doubt, I always go back to the first tip.  BE NICE.  And also, BE APOLOGETIC.  Tip if necessary.

So, anyone got any tips for me?  We are staring down a five hour flight in T minus 9 days...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vacation: Packing for Baby

I vigorously maintain that babies are far lower maintenance in warmer weather.

So, when packing for vacation, you get to pare down to just the essentials.  A couple of cute onesies, a romper, some swimsuits, a hat and a whole lot of sunscreen.
Packing for Baby

And bloomers.  There is nothing cuter than baby bloomers.

A note about the sunscreen wipes.  I love love love the MD Moms Babysilk Sunscreen Wipes in SPF 30.  They smell heavenly, can be wiped on a squirmy baby, and don't spill in the diaper bag.  However, they are officially not cheap.  Since you should be using sunscreen on your baby at all times, I supplement with Aveeno Baby Sunscreen.  Which reminds me I need to place a massive sunscreen order at Diapers.com...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Two weeks from today, I'll be in Mexico on vacation with my family.

I've been dreaming about this vacation since last year when we came back.  Nothing but sunshine, deck chairs, a backlog of magazines and grandparents to hang with the baby while I attend to all those things.

I don't need to overhaul my wardrobe for a just a week, but a few new additions couldn't hurt...
Vacation, All I ever Wanted

Vacation, All I ever Wanted by caphillbarbie

Going clockwise from the hat...

I know fedoras are on the brink of being totes played out, but I tried this on as a joke in Forever 21 to make the baby laugh and kind of loved it.  I am definitely not a hat person, so I had to buy the only one that didn't make me look like a total fool.

Also on the list of being on the precipice of passe-dom, colored jeans.  At least I'm going to try to find a pair in green or pink instead of red, right?

Yumi Kim is one of those stores I walk past these days and press my face against the glass like a street urchin...dreaming of a warm and tropical place.  This maxi-dress would be perfect for the date night my husband and I are plotting.  My master plan includes a margarita the size of a hot tub.

Beauty essentials: St. Tropez Gradual Tan Lotion is the only lotion I've found that doesn't turn my psycho-white skin orange and spotty... perfect with a hot pink NARS Schiap pedicure.  Also a must?  NARS Monoi Body Glow II, which is better than any perfume I've tried.

The next two items are both from Old Navy and I am in love with them both.  The first is a chambray shirt which is just the most versatile item I own these days.  I wear it with EVERYTHING.  In warm weather, I'm planning on putting it over a bathing suit, with shorts, as a little jacket, and even underneath this striped dress.  The dress can also be used as a cover-up, worn for a casual lunch by the pool, walking around town, and belted over skinny jeans for cooler nights.  LOVE.

Salt-water sandals are the hottest thing in New York for fashionable beach goers since Jack Rogers exploded when I was in high school.  I think I might have to cave and get me and Reese matching pairs.  Yeah, I'll be that mom.

I already bought a new swim suit when J Crew did their final sale at the end of the summer, but if I were picking one now, I like this simple one piece.  It looks like it would stay up even while taking the baby in the water and the ruching in the stomach area is artful enough to hide the post-baby pooch even six months of abs classes can't repair.

More to come this week on vacations...like what I'm packing for the baby, traveling with an infant (scariest thing EVER), and tips on vacationing when you're plus one and the date can't walk.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Change of Tint

I've been noticing that my trusty Kiehl's Tinted Moisturizer has been feeling a little light in the bottle lately.

Which means that my fickle eye has begun to wander to new choices...and there are some good ones out there.


First, NARS has finally debuted their own tinted moisturizer with SPF 30.  Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer comes in a really wide range of shades, all named after countries.  I would probably need to go with Finland or Alaska, just to give you an idea of how pale I am.  The formulation sounds amazing, with anti-agers (yup, I'm also that old) and UVA protection in addition to regular old-SPF.


Second, I've always heard fab things about Jouer's Luminizing Moisture Tint, but was never able to try it out.  I finally made it down to Bendel's (where they carry the whole line) and snagged some samples.  I think they took pity on me since I was carrying the baby at the time.  Due to an unfortunate napless morning situation going on here, I haven't had time to test it out yet, but review to come...


Third, Jenn Falik posted an ode to BB creams (oh, BB equals "beauty balm," apparently) on her blog recently and featured them in the new hottest products.  All three of them sound amazing, but if I'm just dipping my toe in the water, I think I might try the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector.  Mostly because I can pick it up at a drugstore instead of having to brave the beauty floor of a department store.

Any others I should consider?
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