Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Parent Life: I Do Believe in Date Nights

Earlier this week, Raluca from What Would Gwyneth Do contributed a post to The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet entitled "I Don't Believe in Date Nights."  The post is great, positing that a marriage is really more about what happens every day than nights out, which is completely true.

But I still believe in date nights.

Not in the cheeseball "flowers and a fancy dinner and enough wine to give you a headache the next morning" kind of way.  More in the "we have a plan tonight" kind of way.  Just setting aside time together is a date.  If we can get out of the house, awesome.  But usually, our date nights are a text-made plan to order in and watch our DVRed NY Med or Selling New York.  I try not to change into pajamas before dinner.  Maybe one of us will run down to the Mr. Softee truck before he leaves for the night.  You know, hot stuff.

The really special date nights are the times when we can escape for a dinner without making a big production out of it.  No reservations, no cabs, no worrying about getting home before the babysitter falls asleep on the couch.  Just a regular night out, just like we used to do all the time when we were dating or before we had a baby.  Seriously, walking to our favorite sushi place and stopping to get ice cream on the way home is the most romantic date I can think of right now.

So, I do believe in date nights.  Plus everything that happens in between.  Plus ice cream.

photo by Sequins and Candy via What Would Gwyneth Do

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gifts for a Stylish New Mom

One of the hardest things about having a baby is struggling with feeling stylish after a the baby is born.

Actually, that's not even true a little bit.  But it is hard.

Part of the problem is adjusting to a different personal style when the baby is on the outside.  And the other part of the problem is that when you are waist deep in Dermaplast, lanolin, diaper changes, and onesies, buying cute accessories is not high on your priority list.  It is, however, very needed.

So, if you had a friend (wife/cousin/sister) who just had a baby, give her the gift of something cute and useful to help her feel a little less like a sad sack mommy.  No guessing at sizes needed.

Chewbeads - Okay, this isn't exactly for a newborn, but I think these are so adorable and perfect for a new mother.  It actually looks like one of my favorite necklaces, the one Reese thinks are actually grapes.  The beads are made from a 100% silicone which is perfect for a baby to gnaw on, and come in a variety of bright fun colors.  

The Wrap by Solly Baby - Here's a fun fact.  Babies like to be held.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  I was taken aback by this for some reason.  Here's another fun fact.  Some babies are too small for a Bjorn or other structured carriers.  Like mine.  (Nope, not early either.)  I ended up getting a Moby wrap in black, and it was really handy, but a little bland/earthy crunchy for my taste.  I love the stripes and pretty colors that the Solly Wrap comes in, definitely an upgrade.  One more fact?  It gets WAY easier to wrap after the first 10 times.

Dria Nursing Cover - Nursing covers are tricky.  I liked mine, a Bebe Au Lait, which had a hoop opening, but I always felt like I could do better.  The black seemed to attract every bit of lint from the burp cloth which was my constant companion and it never folded nicely into my diaper bag.  The Dria comes highly recommended from Ain't No Mom Jeans, and I trust them since they have a collective 8 years or so of nursing between the two of them.  It would work really nicely for travel so you don't have to wiggle down and pick it up in that teeny tiny airplane seat.  You can just wear it on the plane over a nursing tank.  I'm also a huge fan of the poncho trend and have been desperately trying to bring it back every three to four seasons.  This is my moment.

J Crew iPhone Case - I seriously don't know how people parented without smartphones.  And yes, I just said something that obnoxious and Gen X-y.  When Reese was tiny, I had mine out at all times.  I would check my email while nursing, take photos a thousand times a day, text my husband to get me water when I was rocking her to sleep, FaceTime with assorted grandparents, etc.  So, my phone was truly a part of my outfit.  J Crew is making some adorable versions (albeit totes overpriced) and Cup of Jo featured a bunch from Society 6 which are awesome.  I especially like this one for a new mom.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nailed It - The Perfect Summer Combo

I know nail art is the hottest thing to hit the internet since someone took a picture of a salad in a Mason jar and posted it on Pinterest.

Really?  In a Mason jar?  That must be a very small salad.  Also, difficult to eat? I don't get the appeal. But I digress.

Much like most things on Pinterest, I don't get it.  I mean, I think it looks cool, but it's not for me.  For a manicure, I need something simple and classic.  But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a new color every now and then.

Before the beach wedding I attended a couple of weeks ago, I had the luxury* of going to the new midtown location of Tenoverten, the hottest nail salon in New York for a mani/pedi.  Not only is it sleek, calm and sanitary, they have iPads for you to use and the best color selection EVER.

The full range of Essie colors plus all the Chanel, NARS, RGB and their own line to boot.  It was at this time I stumbled on what I consider an excellent summer combination.

RGB Too Red on toes.

Unfortunately, the picture doesn't do the Essie color justice.  Described as a "juicy persimmon delight," it's more of a toned down hot pink.  It was just enough neon for me this season.  As in, not really neon.

Not that my polish is fading, I'm counting the days until I can get back to Tenoverten for another mani/pedi, but I'm worried I might skip the wide selection and get the same thing.  Any other color recommendations I should try before the summer ends?

* Luxury = time during the day to actually MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.  And sit for 45 minutes alone in the middle of the day.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

Labels We Love: The Honest Co.

So, this isn't a clothing label, but it's a brand so I felt it fit this category pretty well.

I can be a sucker for a lot of things.

Movies featuring Leonardo DiCaprio with a Boston accent.

Baby bathing suits.

Products with adorable packaging.

So obviously, I fell hard for The Honest Co.

Totes adorbs!

The Honest Co. is an eco-friendly brand of baby and household products started, in part, by Jessica Alba.  To be perfectly honest (ha!), I'm not a huge fan of the whole "oh, when I got pregnant/had my baby/held my precious bundle I became incredibly eco-conscious" meme.  Especially when it's coming from a celebrity or anyone else peddling something.  But, I do also believe that choosing eco-friendly and sustainable products when they work and are not just marketing is worthwhile.

I sent away for their free trial (not a PR thing, everyone is eligible, you just have to be sure to cancel right away if you don't want to continue the subscription) and was pretty impressed by the products.  I liked their diapers, although I have not tried any other environmentally friendly brand (We are a Pampers household.  Apparently I am also a sucker for Sesame Street branded products.)  They were a little thicker and stiffer than our usuals, and Reese seemed like she was having trouble getting around in them.  The wipes were really nice, definitely running a close second to the Kirkland ones we usually use.  

I tried a few of the bath products they sent, although they were disappointingly not the ones I wanted to try.  I liked that most things are fragrance free.  I loathe most scents added to bath products and really hate when babies smell like perfume.  That said, I actually liked the orange-vanilla scent of the Body Wash for an adult - it was sweet, but not cloying. 

The bottom line?  While I am not interested in a subscription just yet, I do want to try a few of the other products...particularly the sunscreen, the household cleaners, and the swim diapers.  So!  I was thrilled when I saw that Plum District was doing a $40 for $20 promotion this week for The Honest Co.  (Plus, for today (7/27) only, you can use the code LONDON20 for an additional 20% off.) (referral link alert!)  

I think the products are worth checking out...if nothing else, they'll look cute in your home!  No, seriously, that's how I think.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Sun Arsenal: Kiss My Face Kids Sun Stick

A friend of mine used to joke that my husband and I are so pale that when we had a baby, she would be basically translucent.  And she basically is.  With red hair to boot.  Keeping her safe from the sun is more than a full time job and I keep adding to my stash of supplies.  Here are a few of the products I've liked, and a couple that fell flat.

Getting sunscreen on a baby's face is like wrestling in Jello.  At least it's how I imagine it.  She's squirming all over the place, trying to wriggle free, scrunching up her eyes and nose while I'm desperately trying to get the goo on her face without getting it in her eyes and having everyone on the playground think I maced my own child.

Sunscreen sticks are a nice alternative to the lotion because you can just swipe in the pertinent areas (cheeks, nose, forehead, and ears) with minimal fuss.  The main problem with the sunscreens that are recommended by the Environmental Working Group is that they leave a white chalky residue which is impossible to rub in.  Reese ends up looking like like Casper the Redheaded Ghost.

However, Kiss My Face has come up with an adorable solution...colored sunscreen sticks.  The Sun Stick comes in pink and blue (in addition to a regular white one) with an SPF of 30.  It's water resistant (perfect for the days when the babies are running in and out of sprinklers) and very moisturizing.  You would be surprised how drying all these various creams can be.  They have the lowest hazard rating from EWG and are free from parabens, phalates, nanoparticles and gluten.  You know, just in case your celiac child eats it or something.  

Well, my kid tried to eat it.  I'm assuming she can't be the only one.

When I can get Reese to stay still for 10 seconds, it glides on pretty easily and gives her a little a nice 80's surfer look that's very hip among the under 2 set even if they haven't seen Summer School.  As the day wears on, the pink color fades and then it's time to reapply.  That's if I can catch her.

Product sample was provided for editorial consideration. All opinions and references to Mark Harmon movies are my own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The High/Low: Cherry Red Lip Stain

Over the winter, I developed an unhealthy obsession with red lipstick.  Mostly because I deluded myself into thinking that red lipstick would make up for the lack of a haircut in six months and minimal makeup.

I mean, it does, right?

But once the warm weather hit, I felt like the lipstick was a little too heavy.  Like wearing a parka on my mouth.  It is also pretty high maintenance.  You can't just swipe and go.  You need a mirror and precision.  Both of which I generally do not have, especially after a glass (or five, don't judge me!) of wine.

Thus began the search for the perfect cherry red lip gloss slash stain.  I loved the idea of the crayon-esque delivery of the Clinique Chubby Stick, but the red in their line was not exactly what I wanted.  While in Sephora, I fell hard for the Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Stain in Spirited and bought it on the spot.

I like the glossy red color, the minty fresh smell and the absurd claims they make about how it increases my lip moisture by 600%.

The High/Low: Cherry Red Lipgloss

The High/Low: Cherry Red Lipgloss by caphillbarbie featuring tarte lip stain

Then I was flipping through a magazine and saw Emma Stone (so hot right now!) hawking Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic which looked like THE SAME THING.  Then I dragged my poor child to about 17 different drug stores in Manhattan to find it.  To no avail.

RETAILERS: People in New York are not too cool for the latest Revlon products.  Please send them ASAP.

Finally, I got to Target and grabbed the LAST ONE IN ALL OF THE GREATER NEW YORK AREA.  True story.

And...I like it.  It's not quite as smooth an application or as glossy as the Tarte version (maybe those claims aren't absurd) but it's pretty decent.  It's a nice true cherry color, but doesn't deliver the gloss factor that the Tarte stain does.  Actually, I found that I really loved them layered together.

Overall, I'm sold on the glossy red lip until the chill comes back in the air.  It gives you the look without the maintenance.  I literally reapplied after 2 gin and tonics in a bathroom with no mirror this weekend and got tons of compliments.  Considering it's about a third of the price, I'd say it's worth it to go low with the Revlon product first, maybe add a little clear lip balm on top.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bedtime Watching: NY Med

Hey!  Welcome to a weird version of my "Naptime Reading" column where I'm going to tell you what my husband and I have saved on the DVR for after Reese hits the Land of Nod.

We've been in a lawless television territory ever since our regular TV shows (Mad Men, Parks and Rec, and The Office) ended and all the HGTV shows started to just blend together (Seriously! People with your granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and open floor plans? Really?).  It's even that dead period between the seemingly neverending hockey season, the terminally depressing football season (for a Redskins fan like my husband), the terminally boring NBA season, and the baseball playoffs.

But now!  We have a destination on our DVR.

NY Med.

It's like ER without Clooney.

Wait.  That didn't come out right.

Mostly we watch it because...our friends are on it!  My husband spent his first year of residency at Weill Cornell Medical Center, so watching the show is like a "Where's Waldo in the OR," trying to decide who we know among the masked residents and attendings.

One of them is in the trailer below...look for him saying that his patient is open on the table waiting for a liver!

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Anyways, it's no Mad Men, and I'd prefer a lot less Dr. Oz and a lot more of the guy who's actually operating on that mitral valve, but for summertime...pretty good!  There's even a priapism in the first episode!

P.S. If you have any questions about what's real and what's BS (because there is a lot of it) let me know!  I can post comments from our expert panel, re: my husband after two beers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Playground Style: Madewell Moment

You guys.  I'm having a for serious Madewell problem.

Mostly as in I want everything.  Including the cooler-than-cool chambray-with-everything lifestyle they are hawking.

My sister got the best laugh in months when I took her there and was gushing over the nerdy-hipster sliver wedge sandals I was lusting over.  I told her I felt like I was in Williamsburg listening to Vampire Weekend drinking Blue Bottle Coffee just walking into the store.

(That's how unhip I am.  My making-fun-of-hipsters references are like 3 years old.)

Her eye rolls were probably visible from space.

I was recently in the store and fell hard for the soft v-neck tees and colorful tanks.  I also wheedled my way into my mom getting me the Passenger skirt (similar to the one below, but striped instead of polka dots) on sale.

Madewell Moment

Madewell Moment by caphillbarbie featuring denim tops

Because no matter how old you get or how hipster your clothes get, sometimes you just want your mommy to take you shopping.  And she got a denim jacket.

P.S.  I'm still totally into those frumpy hipster sandals.  Sorry, sis.

Monday, July 9, 2012

DIY Wedding Hair...but not for the bride

Let's face it.  Unless you are Kim Kardashian or a protagonist in a Katherine Heigl movie, most of us will attend more weddings than we participate in.  Which means that you will not be able to sit in a chair, get super tipsy on champagne, and gossip about who forgot to scuff her shoes before the big day.

What?  Champagne makes me bitchy.

Personally, I'm kicking off the season this year with a beach wedding in Delaware this weekend.  The entire wedding will be on the beach, which means flats, waterproof mascara (I don't cry at weddings because I have a heart of coal, but sun makes my eyes water), and some kind of updo.

The word "updo" makes me cringe though.  I have horrible memories of prom hair gone awry with crunchy hairspray and death by a thousand bobby pins.  Thankfully, the internet is full of laid back hair tutorials.

I'm considering:

Clearly, I suffer from a wealth of options. So help me decide what to attempt!  I'm wearing this dress and these shoes.

Any others I should consider?  Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Four: People that I Am Not

Just so you know...

{1}  The Person Who Buys Out of Season Clothes on Sale.

I should consider getting this sweater dress on super sale for the fall, but I just feel so hot and itchy just looking at it.

{2}  The Person Who Makes a List of Things to Do During the Baby's Nap.

{3}  The Person Who Wears Earrings on a Regular Basis.

{4}  The Person Who Changes a Brita Filter.
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