Friday, August 31, 2012

Planning for Fall: Short Flat Boots

I posted recently about my yen for a short bootie for fall.  But until a commenter asked for any recommendations for a short flat boot that isn't very motorcycle-esque for fall, I hadn't noticed that most of my choices included a heel.

And here's the thing.  I almost never wear heels these days.

I mean, I love heels.  LOVE.  And I have comfortable ones.  But I typically walk anywhere from 3-5 miles a day.  With a stroller.  And even when I'm not walking, I'm standing at the playground or walking on the grass in Central Park.  Not heel friendly.

So, dear reader, thank you for the reality check.  Flat boots are where it's at.

I've rounded up three styles of boot that do not seem at home on Dylan McKay, but are suited perfectly for fall weekend excursions or long strolls.

Planning for Fall: Short Flat Boots

Beatle Boots:  These are probably the dressiest of the three versions here.  The Beatle boot is sleek with a pointier toe and a low rise.  I think they look great with rolled up jeans or a maxi-skirt, but I think you might be able to get away with them and cropped skinny pants at a more casual office.  I actually just bought the Topshop pair in a grey (that doesn't seem to be online) that I am test driving for fall.

Work Boots:  I sort of lumped a bunch in this category of more "functional boots."  The Loeffler Randall rain bootie is a classic these days, especially since everyone and their sister has a pair of Hunters.  I love the army green and the lace up, but they make a sleeker version too.  Also, I like that you don't have to tuck in your pants in the rain with these, because OMG, that can get so hot.

The LL Bean boots bring back all kinds of high school nostalgia for me.  I think they have that urban-woodsman-cool vibe, even though the closest I get to the woods is the wood chips on the median on Park Avenue.  They are useful, well made, cool looking, and under $100.  It's like playing with house money.

The Clark's boot here is an American classic, like apple pie and manifest destiny.  It's definitely a look, what my sister would call "nerdbomber chic," that not everyone can pull off.  But if you can, rock out with your pocket protector out.

Loeffler Randall Rain Bootie / LL Bean Boots / Clark's Desert Boot

Chelsea Boots:  So, these are very similar to the Beatle boots.  Probably the same.  I'm sure someone will point out that the Chelsea boot name was derived from the London neighborhood and the Beatles wore them and then stole the name, blah blah.  Whatever.  I wanted to make three categories.  I think of the Chelsea boot as a little more "weekend" and horse-y, as opposed to "mod" and Austin Powers-ish.  The Anthro boots have a thin sliver heel, which is a nice compromise, and the zippers add a  The other two are a more classic look, perfect with jodhpurs.  Or you know, regular pants.

Anthropologie Zip Wedge Boots / ASOS Abacus Chelsea Boots / J Crew Emmett Ankle Boots

There you go, some alternatives to the motorcycle boot.  Does anyone actually know the etiology of the Beatle boot/Chelsea boot distinction?  I'm mostly just too lazy to google it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Body Post Baby: Finding Time to Work Out

For the first 3 or 4 months after Reese was born, I did little to no exercise.  I was just too overwhelmed with her needs, the fatigue, the difficulties I was having with nursing, the fact that my husband had tough work schedule.  After that, I would sporadically start to work out and then stop again.  It really took almost 15 months for me to get back on a serious workout schedule, plus some serious motivation.

In a few months, I'm running the ING New York City Marathon.

(Oh, god, just typing that made my stomach do flip flops)

While, obviously, you don't have to be training for a marathon to get in a regular workout schedule, it is really important to have a plan and make an effort to work out once you have a baby.  I'm not saying it's not difficult for people who have jobs, multiple babies, jobs and multiple babies, etc.  These are just ways I've found to make the time to exercise.

1.  Start off slowly.  I started going to a Mommy and Me yoga class in Pittsburgh as soon as I could, when Reese was about 8 weeks old.  It wasn't even really exercise at that point, just a reason to get us both out of the house, but eventually I got some stretching and strength in.  Also, don't expect too much when you start doing the regular cardio again.  My first time back on the treadmill - the first five minutes were awesome, the next six were torture and that was about it.

2.  Let some things go.  If you are going to work out at night, don't expect to also make a home cooked dinner.  Let the laundry sit for the evening.  There are going to be tradeoffs here and exercising is important, make it a priority and let some of the other stuff slide.

3.  Just GO.  I used to want conditions to be perfect for a run.  Not too much to eat beforehand, mental preparation etc. That simply does not happen these days.  For example, recently, my husband had a big case scheduled for early in the morning.  I was going to skip my planned run and spend the morning sipping coffee and playing crayons with Reese.  Well, the patient didn't show up to have her cancer removed and my husband could stay home.  Even though I was not in the mood, I got up and ran.

4.  Find a buddy.  An unsympathetic one.  Preferably one without a baby.  You need someone who will stare at you blankly when you moan about teething pain and colic and the fact that the store was out of the favored Bunny Grahams flavor and tell you to get your ass to the gym and meet her.  You want someone who will push you, not indulge you.

5.  Or fly solo.  I prefer to run alone.  I don't own a jogging stroller and I don't want one.  Exercising is my time to be alone, to listen to music, read a magazine and watch the Kardashians and rot my brain if I want to.  It's selfish, but true.

6.  Early bird...  I'm going to try not to be one of those cliches where I whine about how hard it is to be a doctor's wife, but bottom line is that my husband has an unpredictable and demanding job.  Sometimes he leaves at 5 and gets home at 9.  Thankfully, that's rare these days and the most variability is in when he gets home.  If someone comes in at 4 pm with an airway emergency, no one is going to care that he promised to give Reese a bath so I can run.   So, most of my runs are happening in the morning.  EARLY in the morning. This was totally unthinkable when I was still nursing, but now that I can have my workout out of the way and just focus on Reese during the day, we are both a lot less stressed out.

7. Invest where it counts.  I belong to a gym, even though I prefer to run outside.  Why?  They have a great babysitting service that is dirt cheap by Manhattan standards.  To be able to leave Reese for two hours in a place where she has fun and I can get my workout in is absolutely worth it.  If you can run with your baby, I would buy the best jogging stroller you can afford.  Or hire a regular babysitter so you can get to the gym.  It's important.

8.  Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.  (Is that totally stuck in your head now?  It's in mine.)  I used to think that it was not worth going to the gym if I wasn't going to work out for less than an hour.  Nowadays, I just tell myself that all I have to do is work out for 30 minutes.  That's it.  Once I'm there, I'll usually guilt myself into doing more, but if that's all I have time for, that's ok too.

9.  Focus on the after, not the during.  Every time I would engage in one of my sporadic workouts I would marvel at how much better I felt afterwards.  Calmer, in control, more alert, happy.  Whenever I feel lazy, I try to focus on that feeling.  Or my husband will gently remind me that I'm much more pleasant to be around after I've worked out.

10.  Plan.  It's important to be flexible when you have a baby, but planning is essential.  At the beginning of every week since I started training, my husband and I talk about which mornings he can go in on the late side, when my mom might be here to watch Reese, or which evening might be a good take out night, so I can run.  Obviously, things cannot be set in stone, but if there is no plan, it's not going to happen.

So, there it is.  Not revolutionary stuff, but things it took me almost two years and a HUGE goal to figure out.  Any other tips?  Especially for early on after having a baby, since I was so terrible at it?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go yak because I just admitted to the internet that I am going to run a marathon and that means I actually have to do it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How I Lost the Genetic Lottery: A Mascara Review

I somehow missed the eyelash gene in my family.

In a cruel freak of nature mutation, I wound up with the short end of the lash stick.  Both my sister and my daughter have beautiful long lashes and I end up looking like the albino in The DaVinci Code if I don't slather on mascara every day.

But recently, my genetically superior sister shared a product recommendation with me.

Benefit's They're Real! mascara.

I rushed right out to get it, but couldn't pull the trigger on another disappointing $20-plus mascara...until I saw the $10 mini version.  Since I never use up an entire tube of mascara before the expiration (three months, people!) this was a perfect compromise.  Plus, it takes up less room in my overstuffed makeup case.  I may not have won the lash lottery, but I got the shrewd genes.


And the comedy ones.

Anyhoo, it's a great mascara.  It really lengthens and defines the lashes (those that I actually have...) and stays put through most of the day.  Then washes off with water and is easily removed with a swipe of remover.  I would maybe complain that it doesn't make the lashes look that much thicker, but it's kind of splitting hairs.

Get it?!?

See...I'm funny so it makes up for my puny eyelashes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Preparing for Fall: Draped Sweaters

Wednesdays have become my de facto "day off."  My mom takes Reese to her music class and I do my longest weekday run (more about that to come...), shower and spend a little time running errands, browsing around New York or catching up with a friend for lunch.

This past Wednesday, I was down in SoHo and decided to check out Dalaga NYC, this super cute boutique that started in Brooklyn but made the leap to Manhattan recently.  Which is nice for me, because getting to Brooklyn it's just...hard.

I mean, it's not.  But it is.  I'm lazy when it comes to the outer boroughs.

While in Dalaga I spied the cutest sweater.  CUTEST.  It was a soft thin knit, long enough to wear with leggings but not tunic length and draped perfectly.  Also, it's was under $100.  Obviously everyone else in New York liked it too because they only had ONE left and it was HUGE.  Crap on a cracker.

So, I did what anyone would do.  I googled.  And googled.  And emailed the brand (still waiting....)  And I cannot even find a picture to show you.  So, I pulled together a few other draped sweater options since I loved the look so much.  

Preparing for Fall: Draped Sweaters

I think they are perfect for fall since they can be easily worn with skinny pants and boots, over dresses and skirts, or with jeans and leggings.  (I might even consider wearing that last ASOS one backwards in a little Kriss Kross homage to get the look I want.)  The lightweight quality is key for the transitional weather, and you can layer under or over the sweater as it gets colder.

The owners of Dalaga graciously added me to the waitlist for a similar sweater coming in in a few weeks, but my heart still belongs to the one that got away.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Preparing for Fall: Metallic Nails

When you think about it, nail polish is the most baby friendly beauty product.  You apply when the baby is asleep, it dries, and then poof!  No need to reapply or worry about smudges.  It won't wipe off on the baby and make everyone think your child has some weirdo birth mark.  And it lasts for a week (or, if you are a total laze-bum like me, three, because I work the "chipped nails look.")  Perfect!

For fall, neons and brights are making way for the traditional vampy wine colors, but I think a more fun route is metallics.

It actually reminds me that my first nail polish love was a little Hard Candy polish in Trailer Trash, a perfect silver that I wore in high school like it was my job.  Sigh.  Now I have to go self sharpen some No. 2 pencils and watch William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet again to exorcise that memory.

This season, I'm really loving Topshop's Gilted, a beautiful bronze that would look killer with sweaters or a blazer come September (fall starts a lot earlier in New York as compared to, a LOT)

A little more sophisticated than my high school favorite, even though I might not be.  If you'll excuse me, I have some early Leonardo DiCaprio queued up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stand Out in a Crowd of Birthdays

Baby birthday parties are quite a scene in New York.

I've been lucky enough to avoid the circuit thanks to some low-key friends and the fact that most of Reese's buddies are late fall-early winter babies.  But I've been to enough that I'm kind of sick of cupcakes.

So, when I heard about The Soft Serve Fruit Co., I was pretty jazzed about it.  So much so that I'm posting this in hopes that someone will serve it at a party I attend before the end of the warm weather.

Here's the scoop (pun intended! and horrible!): The Soft Serve Fruit Co. makes soft serve frozen fruit.  It's basically like a FrozFruit (children of the 80's, you know what I'm talking about), but blended.  They have banana, blueberry, raspberry, tangerine, mango and more...all of which can be served with toppings, just like frozen yogurt, but healthier.  It's gluten and dairy free, perfect for parties when you never know what people are avoiding eating!

I think it would be a really cute party idea to have a make-you-own sundae bar with lots of fun toppings. I like the idea of serving at a kids party because it's healthier than cake, but sweet enough that you're not that Grinch mom handing out raisins and apples on Halloween.'s a secret.  I don't like cake.  I know, go ahead, crucify me in the comments.

I heard about Soft Serve Fruit Co. because they opened a store near my apartment, but I recently found out that they ship nationwide!

Any other good party ideas?  Reese's second is fast approaching...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Body Post Baby: A Whole New World

A while back, I stood in my closet and stared at my wardrobe, feeling utterly helpless and dismayed because everything just looked and felt wrong.

While I was doing this, Reese was very busy unraveling an entire roll of toilet paper and draping it around our bed.

I posted on Twitter about my frustration, and got some instant responses empathizing with my plight.  One, in particular, struck a chord with me.  She said that she was feeling the same way, mostly because she was unhappy with her post-baby body and wondered if it would ever go back to normal.

My short answer?

No.  But also yes.

I was reminded about this day when I read an article by Janice Min in the New York Times this weekend about the pressure that celebrity mothers face to lose weight after having a baby and the trickle down effect it's having on non-celebrity moms.  The article is particularly interesting given that Janice Min, a former editor of US Weekly, admits that she contributed to this atmosphere by putting countless "bounced back after baby!" headlines in her publication.

I read the article with a lot of mixed feelings.  I'll say without a doubt, I certainly see where that pressure comes from living on the Upper East Side, surrounded by mothers who look amazing pushing babies with umbilical stumps still attached.  I can't even imagine what it must be like in Los Angeles, but at least they are all in their cars instead of walking around on the streets.  But at the same time, I don't think it's a pipe dream or unrealistic to want to feel good about your body and look good after having a baby.

I'm not going to pretend that I had some crazy amazing body before getting pregnant, but it was what I was used to.  I had been training for a half-marathon and was in solid shape.  In what might be a total overshare, I hit my pre-baby weight 5 months after having Reese. The number on the scale does not tell the whole story though, because I was packing at least an extra 2-3 lbs in my bra at any given point during the day and I hadn't done basically any exercising.  So, while I weighed the same as I did pre-baby, things did not look the same.

Actually, I'm pretty much astonished that I look even close to normal after that first week post-partum.

Things arms are generally pretty toned from holding Reese AT ALL TIMES, but my core is...well...softer.  And I don't know that there is enough pilates in the world to make that better.  But, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on working out, eating well and trying to have the best body that I can have.  I don't think that society should condone that as much as they shouldn't pressure any one to look like a celebrity.  And, several months after this exchange (and a few new and better fitting pants later) I can say that I don't hate getting dressed any more.

So, while I didn't look like Gisele before having a baby and I'm certainly not going to look like her afterwards, my revised answer to the woman wondering if things go back to normal...Yes.  They do.  But it's a slightly different normal.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Planning for Fall: Short Booties for Shorter Days

I think my least favorite part of fall is the shortening of the days.  There is something about dusk creeping in earlier and earlier each night that totally depresses me.

So this autumn, I'm making the most of every day.  First order of business?  Short boots.

They are everywhere this fall and they are very playground friendly (sturdy heel, plays well with others, etc).

I'm particularly fond of the short boots with a flippy skirt and tights look.

Or with a lightweight dress until the fall chill rolls in.

But I'm cool with cropped pants and an oversized knit sweater too.

Actually, just thinking about walking home in that outfit makes me feel a little better about the fact that it will be pitch black before Reese's dinner when I'm wearing it.

As for styles, I'm liking this pair from DV by Dolce Vita or this pair from Topshop.

Any fall looks you're loving while the weather is still warm?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Maternity Style: Starting Out

I recently received a question from a reader!  This is very exciting, since I usually have to make up questions and pretend they are from readers in order to facilitate a blog post.

Jessica wrote:

I'm a newly pregnant (10 weeks-ish) gal who works in a very professional setting (suits most days) and I'm panicking about what to wear in these early months of pregnancy.  I don't know if you have any good ideas for outfits or somewhat inexpensive pieces that could help me in these first few months... or even later.  I figure I can wear a lot of my jackets open, but my current style is to wear fitted/belted tops, so I'm worried nothing will work.  Any ideas would be so much appreciated... goes nothing.


First, of all, congratulations!  Second of all, I feel your pain, early pregnancy is an awkward and confusing time for fashion, much like the early 90's (not really 80's neon, but not yet grunge).  When you are newly pregnant, you feel more pregnant than you look.  You don't want to spend a ton of money on new clothes for a baby bump that's not really there, but your regular clothes are starting to get tight in all the wrong places.  For work, this was doubly tricky since button downs were the first item of clothing that I outgrew, owing in part to the extra pound or two parked in my bra from the moment of conception.  Here's a trick though: it's worth investing in a few items to extend your pre-pregnancy wardrobe and carry you through the rest of the baby making process in style.  So, here are my recommendations:

The first order of business is to get a Bellaband.  This stretchy tube was an absolute godsend to me for the first half of my pregnancy.  It allows you to continue to wear your pre-pregnancy pants while your belly grows.  I wore mine nonstop until week 24 or so, when it finally became necessary to switch to full time maternity pants.  It will also increase your top wardrobe because it adds an extra couple of inches underneath your shirts.  It will look like you layered a long tank top under your regular shirt.

Here are two outfit ideas for pants you may already own with the Bellaband.  

Maternity Style: Starting Out

I would comb through your closet and pull out any thin and stretchy knits that you think you can comfortably wear at work.  I love the look of a knit under a suit jacket as opposed to a button down and the stretch will carry you through the next few weeks.  Also, I would recommend investing in a thin belt.  I like metallic, but get down with your gestating self and go for a color too.  The key here is to create a waist as your natural waist disappears as you get more and more pregnant, so belt it a little higher than normal, just under your ribs.

The second outfit involves a looser fitting blouse that swings away at the bottom.  If you have something like this already, awesome.  If not, it's worth the investment because you wear it after you have the baby (the dreaded fourth trimester) or tucked into a skirt.  I think it looks really cute with a cigarette pant and a fun printed shoe, plus a colored statement necklace.  Necklaces become your best friends during pregnancy since they draw the eye up to your kick ass cleavage.

Maternity Style: Starting Out 2

After the Bellaband, I recommend that you to invest in a black pencil skirt.  I had two, one higher waisted and one that stayed low under the bump, and I loved both.  They were perfect for early pregnancy in particular because they were just kind of stretchy, which allowed me to wear them high waisted and tuck in shirts, then pretend I had just eaten a lot at lunch (the Chipotle burrito-baby effect).  Or, I would wear an untucked blouse layered over the skirt and belt over the blouse.  I was able to continue to wear them throughout the pregnancy with longer maternity tops and after Reese was born.  Since you are going to be whittling down your wardrobe to basic colors, fun shoes are a must.  

The other item of clothing you should make your bestie is a sheath dress.  I was surprised to find that many of my dresses had a little stretch in them already and made the transition to full on maternity pretty easily, as would this LOFT dress.  After the sixth or seventh month, I found that regular dresses would pull up in the front, which is kind of weird looking...which is also why I don't like the asymmetric look that is dying a slow death this summer.  

If you are willing to invest, I cannot recommend More of Me enough.  This sheath looks fabulous and would last you your whole pregnancy. I think that a cute bump under a dress is a nice look when carefully balanced with a fun scarf or, again, the statement necklace.  What's also nice about this look is that you have a lot going on on top, so you can balance it by wearing flats...which you will want to do sooner than you think.

The last note I'll give you is on jackets.  In the beginning, you will probably be able to wear your regular suit jackets and blazers unbuttoned.  However, as you progress, your back and rib cage will likely expand to accommodate the baby (joy!) and the jackets will get tight.  I firmly believe that pregnant women are allowed to be a little more casual than the average professional and I think that a cardigan can stand in nicely for a jacket.  If you feel that a jacket is absolutely necessary, I recommend buying a real maternity jacket like the one above from Olian.  Again, you might not need it for a while, but the number of times you'll wear it will make it worth the cost.

For shopping, I recommend ASOS and Topshop for fun and interesting maternity clothes you might not find elsewhere.  ASOS is inexpensive and offers free shipping/returns and Topshop has lots of maternity versions of their regular clothes.  After that, I would stake out some of the better maternity boutiques online, like Rosie Pope, Figure 8 Maternity and Belly Dance for sales and investment pieces.

Again, investing in a few key items  and some new accessories early on can extend your current wardrobe as you ease into pregnancy.  I think it makes you less likely to go crazy later when absolutely nothing fits and end buying a whole new wardrobe.  Hope that helps!

Anyone else with any tips?  Favorite maternity pieces? Questions for me?  I'm on a roll!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Parent Life: Home Away From Home

Saturday night, I went out with three girlfriends.  My "mom" friends.  Our kids all play at the playground together, but none of us were friends before we had kids.  Since we are all often too busy chasing our toddlers around the blacktop during the day, these nights out are a way to discuss all the "mom" stuff we never get to when we are all playing.  A few glasses of wine doesn't hurt either.

After a tough week with Reese (everything is "no," "noooooo!!!," or "MINE"), it was nice to compare notes.  One topic of conversation at the table was leaving the baby overnight.  I was surprised to hear that half of our group had never spent the night away from their child and the other friend who has hates doing it.

Reese engaging in some light yardwork during her last stay at with her grandparents.

Reese has had a few "sleepovers" as we like to call them.  Since Reese refused a bottle for-EVER, we didn't start until she was about 11 months old.  Once or twice, she has spent the night with her grandparents (mostly when we couldn't line up a babysitter) and a few times when we've had to go to a wedding out of town.  It's always incredibly weird to wake up and not hear her singing the alphabet in the morning (any hopes of actually sleeping in disappeared a long time ago).  On the other hand, it's nice to feel a little free.  It helps that every report I get about Reese is that she's just having a blast without us, doubtlessly plied with new toys and copious amounts of her favorite foods.

I was kind of shocked to hear that my friend who hates leaving her baby with her in-laws.  She said that when she's away from him, she cries every day and misses him so much.  She said he's just a mess with sleeping and eating when they get back, so she feels like it's not worth it.  I definitely notice that Reese is a little cool towards us when we come back from a trip away, but I think we all appreciate a little break now and again.  Being with people who are familiar with her routine forces her to be a little more independent, and forces the same on us.  I miss her, but I know she's having fun and that we can all enjoy some time alone.

I also found this discussion interesting because we were just considering spending a week in December in Mexico with friends.  No babies allowed.  A week seems like a long time, but the thought of being able to take a vacation like that is kind of thrilling.  So, what do you all think?  How long have you spent without your children?  At what age did you first leave them?  Do you miss them like crazy?  Does anyone else actually like it when the baby has a sleepover?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just Dip It

Three things toddlers love:

{1} Taking each others' toys.

{2} Making you read the same story every single night for three weeks. Then acting offended when you bring it out after said fortnight.

{3} Dipping.  Preferably french fries in ketchup, but really, anything will work.

Of course, when we are out to eat and Reese is enjoying her totally wholesome, not at all terrible parenting, organic and local french fries, she gets a little cup of ketchup to dip into.  But at home, when we give her veggies and hummus, the hummus just kind of slides around on the plate.  

Then Reese gives us the look.  The one that lets us know that she is our child.  

The one that says, you knuckleheads really expect me to deal with this crap?

Well, baby, don't worry!  Your brilliant MD/JD parents figured it out...

TA-DA!  Dip Clips!

No, wait, seriously, and with all gravity.  Dip-freakin-clips.

That Sandra Lee is one special lady.  I mean, this is like solving cold fusion level kitchen gadget.  

The dip clips hook onto the side of a plate or a bowl and hold the dip upright while your about to be dipped snacks lie in wait.  It's perfect for eliminating the "double dip" conundrum for adults and perfect for toddlers!

I have the pictures to prove it.

That look is more: Wow, it only took the two of you how many years to be finished with school?  It also says: why aren't these Shake Shack french fries?

Yup.  Now we can continue our love affair with dipping.  Until Reese decides that dipping is abhorrent and forks are all the rage.  But that's fine because I love these things so much I don't care. 

Product was provided for editorial consideration, but all opinions expressed are my own.  Seriously, these things are awesome.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Breastfeeding

Hey!  Did you know that it's World Breastfeeding Week?  Clearly, you don't follow the World Health Organization on Twitter.  Loser.

No, no.  In all seriousness, I only know about it because there was a big to-do in New York about Mayor Bloomberg's Latch On NYC Initiative, which was actually launched in May, but bloggers decided to get hysterical about it now and scream that hospitals were locking up formula and throwing away the key.

Ugh, look at the thigh chub on that baby.  So yummy.

While I'm not going to get into the particulars of the public policy debate here, I thought I would celebrate (?) this week by posting about some of the things I wish I had known about breastfeeding.  

If you're just here for the makeup and shoes, feel free to click away. I won't be offended.

1.  It's HARD.  I had a really, I mean really, rough start to nursing.  Reese was pretty tiny when she was born, despite being 5 days past due, and while she latched on, it hurt.  Like, a lot.  Like, more than a lot. Add that to being woken up every two to three hours, plus the pain of having given birth, plus hormones like WHOA, and that's pretty much a cocktail for awful.

2. Everyone is different. Lots of people have pain on nursing for a few days, or maybe a week or two. For me, it hurt to nurse for two months.  My lactation consultant kept telling me that it would go away in a day or two, but I had basically resigned myself to never feeling normal again when all of a sudden, it did.  Plenty of people had challenges that I didn't have, like low supply.  There are probably about 2% of people who are fine from the start and a lot of people who are lying.

3.  Support is everything.  I was very lucky that both my mother and my mother-in-law had nursed and knew how important it was to me.  I called my mother constantly in tears during those few couple of months, and having her tell me that it was worth it was invaluable.  Also, I can't say enough good things about my husband who kept encouraging me and telling me that it was the right thing to do.  He also offered to go get me formula at 3 in the morning if it was what I really wanted.  If you don't have family who are supportive, I would recommend finding friends who have been through it and can offer words of encouragement when you need it.  Hell, email me and I'll help.

4.  Know when to quit.  I am extremely pro-breastfeeding.  I think everyone should give it a real shot.  But I also don't think it's worth making you, your baby, or anyone else sick and miserable in the process.  Sometimes I look back and think that it wouldn't have been so bad if I had stopped and used formula.  Maybe we all would have been happier in those early days if I had.

5.  Pick your pediatrician.  I had an amazing pediatrician in Pittsburgh who was also very pro-nursing and knew that it was very important to me as well.  It was one of the main reasons we chose her after our pre-natal appointment.  Every time we went in for a visit and I told her that I was having trouble, she would encourage me to keep at it and offer any advice she could.  However, I think that, had Reese not been gaining weight, she would not have hesitated to tell me to supplement and not flog myself.

6. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty.  Seriously.  Formula is not poison, despite what some mommy bloggers would have you believe.  I have a friend who is a physician and had a baby.  She nursed for six weeks and quit.  She said she just wasn't cut out for it, she was going back to work, etc.  She knows the literature and the benefits better than anyone, but it just wasn't for her.  She tried her best and it didn't work out and she shouldn't feel bad about that.

7.  Bottle service.  OMG. So, when our fabulous pediatrician told us that we should introduce a bottle at six weeks and keep giving bottles so that Reese wouldn't reject them after that, we promptly went home, gave her a bottle, celebrated, and then ignored the rest of her advice.  Yeah, Reese refused a bottle for the next TEN FRICKING MONTHS.  Don't do this.  Keep giving them bottles.  Even though pumping is a pain and it takes less time to just nurse, UGH.  Listening to her scream while my husband tried to get the stupid piece of rubber in her mouth? Torture. Don't even get me started on the number of different bottles we bought that take up a bin in our house.

8.  Treat yo'self.  Yay!  You've made it!  You're nursing!  Now, go and buy yourself something pretty.  There are actually pretty nursing bras out there, like those from Cake Lingerie, HOTmilk, and Elle MacPherson.  ASOS actually has an awesome selection and free shipping/returns.  Also, there are cute nursing clothes!  Check out Pregnant Fashionista, Milk-Friendly, and Ain't No Mom Jeans for some pretty comprehensive nursing friendly fashion advice and don't forget that Target actually has a great nursing selection.

9.  Gear only gets you so far.  Before I gave birth, I was convinced that I would need a Boppy pillow and tons of nursing shirts.  First of all, I hated the Boppy.  HATED IT.  Something about the height and my short waisted-ness, I don't know.  I ended up just using a bed pillow most of the time.  Also, with the breast pump.  I only had a handheld (yeah, you read that right) but I'm glad that I didn't spring for the big one since Reese thought the bottle was evil.  Next time (when the baby will take a bottle, oh yes) I think I would look for a reusable one like the Hygeia EnJoye which can be safely passed to a friend when you're done.

10.  TRY.  You can't fail.  Doesn't that sound super Yoda-esque?  The only way you can fail is by beating yourself up for anything.  This is about you and your baby and no one else.  I mean, I would encourage everyone to try really hard, but if it doesn't work out, least you nursed for that time.

Bonus!  Here's my plug for trying.  I will tell you this, there are a lot of myths out there about breastfeeding.  First of all, it's not weird or gross or indecent.  Second, damn, does it help you drop the lbs.  Third, it won't necessarily mean that you'll be up all night, Reese started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks.  Fourth, you don't have to breastfeed until the kid is in college, despite what that stupid Time Magazine cover said.  Five, it's a great way to get your husband/partner to do everything else because you're nursing.

Anyone else been there, done that and want to share?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not So Private Sales

Recently, my aunt emailed and asked who made baby linens that were not over the top cutesy or silly looking.  At the time, I was walking Reese over to swim class, which takes about 95% of my attention. Even still, I stopped and immediately wrote back - Dwell Studio and Serena and Lily.

Both make beautiful bed linens that are sweet and pretty, but not saccharine.  And thankfully, they are both having sales this week!

Both sales have a pretty solid array of bedding, home accessories and baby gear on sale.  There are some great gift ideas if you know people about to have babies like this bib set from Dwell and these baby blankets from Serena and Lily. 

Serena and Lily even has the Aden+Anais Swaddle Blankets on sale.  These make pretty much every "Must Have" baby list ever made in history (seriously, I feel most baby experts think it tops a car seat for most important baby item), so it could be worth it to scoop up a set to save for future babies.  Plus, they are so pretty and light, you could get away with wearing them as lightweight scarves in the meantime.

So, check it out and let me know if you pick anything up!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Playground Style: Everyday Style Inspiration

Look, I love style blogs as much as the next girl.  Browsing through endless pages of The Sartorialist or 9 to 5 Chic or Keiko Lynn is basically my sub-free version of a cocktail at the end of the day.

But I would rarely, if ever, emulate their style.  Why?  Well, because I take care of a baby all day and wearing silk shirts or 4 different layers would just be silly.  A lot of what I see and like simply isn't practical and just doesn't feel right for me at this point and place in my life.  My personal style changed a lot when I had Reese, and most of what I used to wear and what I see just feels fussy to me right now.

I think that's why a lot of women slide into frump-dom after having a baby (Insert resounding DUH here) and is definitely what I struggled with most post-baby-stay-at-homedness.  However, there are a lot of very stylish (frequently photographed) mothers out there for some real life inspiration.  (And, no, I'm not talking about wearing a baby and platform heels on the beach.)

To that end, I've started a Pinterest board devoted to everyday style inspiration, the kinds of outfits that might not blow anyone away, but are practical and good looking.  Here are a few of the images I'm looking to before I get dressed in the morning.

Michelle Williams, my hipster aspirational self.

That baby knows what's up.

I'd probably swap the heels for flats, but Miranda Kerr constantly kills it.

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