Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guest Posting! Maternity Style!


Things have been a little quiet around these parts as summer has been heating up.  Every day I just try my best to keep Reese's lily white skin from burning as she strips her clothes off and heads directly into the sprinklers at every playground in Manhattan.  We also just returned from a quick trip out to Colorado Springs to see family.  You know, during wildfire season.


I have a quest post over on Capitol Hill Style all about maternity style and shopping for a work wardrobe while gestating.  It was a lot of fun to write and it definitely made me a little nostalgic for stretchy waisted pants. I've finally hit the point where I can look at a baby and not whisper, "Never forget..." to myself.

photo via

I also thought I'd mentioned a few great style blogs for pregnant women in case you are looking for a little wardrobe inspiration:

Ahn from 9 to 5 Chic is nearing the end of her first pregnancy and has been, well, chic the entire time.

Terra from Stylish White Female's baby is over a year old and totes adorable, but dig through her archives to find her pregnancy and post-partum looks that were creative and cute.

Charlotte at Fashion Guitar has an extremely edgy look that is not necessarily Hill appropriate, but she is on her second pregnancy and you could get some great ideas for weekend wear.

If you are more Jack Rodgers sandal than Isabel Marant sneaker, check out Natalie at Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers.  She is also cooking up baby #2 and tends towards the flowy maxis and breezy tops.

That should keep you busy for a while, but also check out Tres Chic Mama, which rounds up blogger and celeb pics in addition to featuring a couple of stylish moms throughout their pregnancies.

Hope this helps all you stylish pregnant ladies! Maybe I'll rejoin the ranks at some point.  Like when coming across a tube of Lansinoh doesn't make my stomach turn.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Tale of Mistaken Identity and an Honest Co. Review

Indulge me for a second while I tell you a story about my baby's hair.

From the time she was born until about....a month ago, Reese had very little hair.  It was a cause of constant irritation to all those she met because this lack of hair immediately lead them to assume that she was a boy.  And when I would point out that she was, in fact, a girl, they would get very upset and say, "Well, she doesn't have any hair!" and storm off in a huff.

It wasn't usually that dramatic, but it did happen a lot.  I'm not sure why lack of hair meant "BOY BABY OVER HERE" but it does.

So, thank goodness for everyone, Reese's hair has started to grow.

And with that hair growth comes hair products.  I've written about The Honest Company before.  But they keep adding products!  And gosh darn it, their packaging is so incredibly cute!  So when Reese's hair was starting to get long enough to tangle, I instantly hopped over to the Honest Co. and picked up the Conditioning Mist.

The Conditioning Mist is a light spray that contains a variety of oils and butters (sounds delicious, no?) that keeps her (minimal) hair soft, makes her curls pop, and then she smells like a Creamsicle.  We apply it after the bath at night along with the Honest Co. Body Oil (also a fabulous product that I have been stealing like there is no tomorrow) for a little pre-bedtime beauty routine.  Reese loves it.

She also tries to swipe my Bobbi Brown lipglosses.

Why anyone thinks she's a boy is beyond me.

Now everyone can simply ask me where on EARTH she got her hair color.  But that's a story for a different post.

Also...if you are thinking about trying the Honest Co., I also highly recommend their reusable swim diapers and stain remover.  The jury is still out for me on the sunscreen though.

This post contains referral links.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Five Reasons I'm a Terrible Blogger

1. I don't own a bubble necklace.

My teeth hurt just looking at this.

2. I hate cupcakes.  Ok, not really.  I mean, if you put a cupcake in front of me, I'm probably going to eat it and enjoy it.  But I'm just not all "oooh, OMG, cupcakes!" like everyone else on the interwebs.  It's a small cake.  Let's all collectively move on.  P.S. Ice cream is vastly superior.  P.P.S. I guess I'm not the only one who feels this way.

3. I can never and will never discuss my child's toilet training process on the internet. Typing the word "potty" makes me break out in a cold sweat.

A hundred dollars says this chick didn't even vote.

4. Nail art. I just can't do it.

5. I let my blog domain registration lapse and didn't even realize it. Sorry the site was down for a bit.

I'll try to post more frequently, I know I've been a little AWOL.

Whew. It feels good to have come clean about the cupcake thing.  I've kept that bottled up for years.

images via jcrew.com, lovescool.com, and luckymag.com

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Labels We Love: DVF hearts GAP

It's so sad when your kids out grow their clothes.  

Not like ice-cream-falling-out-of-the-cone-in-the-gutter sad.  But still sad.

The other day, I was packing up some of Reese's clothes from last spring and found the wealth of DVF for Gap Kids collection that she wore to death.  I lamented silently that I didn't just buy everything in multiple sizes and store them away because they were so frick-fracking cute.

Ugh. (heart asplodes)

While I obviously can't rewind time, I can apparently replenish the adorable in her wardrobe, because DVF and Gap Kids are launching a second collection on April 25th!

Last time, a lot of the clothes sold out quickly in our local Upper East Side store, but remained plentiful online and then went on sale.  My advice would be to pick out must haves (like bathing suits and dresses) first and then wait to see what is available on sale later.  And as always, if in doubt, buy big.

For some reason they just keep growing!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Five of the Best Baby/Toddler Things We've Bought (or were given)

When you find out you are pregnant, there is no end to the number of people who want to give you lists (or, if you're really lucky, color coded spreadsheets) of the MOST IMPORTANT BABY STUFF YOU WILL EVER NEED.

Those lists are what led me to have a full on panic attack in Buy Buy Baby trying to fill out my registry.

There is plenty of baby stuff that is useful and really important, there is also a lot of stuff that is totally superfluous and loads of things that fall in between.  For me, there are a few things that were the essentials...like a car seat.  And a crib. And stuff I hated so so so much (you suck, Boppy pillow). And things I never really cared about (Jumperoo, exersaucer, those mini mitts for the baby's hands, swings).

Here are five things I really like, love, use on a daily basis.

1. aden + anais Swaddle Blankets

These blankets really are worth every penny spent on them.  They are big, soft and adorable. You can use it for swaddling, as a nursing cover, a stroller blanket, a changing pad, even an actual sleeping blanket.  It's basically a Thneed without the environmental repercussions.  Greatest baby shower gift EVER.

2. Ikea Antilop High Chair and Tray Table

We held off on buying a high chair for a looong time.  Basically until the day I was ready to feed Reese solids for the first time and not a day sooner. It was partially because I didn't  want an enormous piece of baby stuff in our already crowded apartment, and partially because I'm incredibly indecisive.  I considered a bunch of expensive ones (Stokke, Bloom) and one that folded (Fisher Price), but we ended up buying the $20 one from Ikea and I'll be damned if it wasn't awesome. We sprung the extra five bucks for the tray.

3. Maclaren Volo Stroller

Strollers are one of those brand-loyal things that parents in New York get really really way too into. People who love their UppaBaby act like Bugaboo people are America-hating-Commies and Bugaboo owners think City Mini people can take their one hand foldable stroller straight to hell. Don't get anyone started on the running strollers.  It's a war out there. At a certain point though, everyone needs an umbrella stroller and I think the Maclaren Volo has been amazing. It's light, easy to fold, durable, and comfortable.  It's enabled us to get in and out of buses, subways, cabs, etc in the city, basically allowing us to leave a 20 block radius.

4. Beaba Fork and Spoon Set

There is a spot in time after you start solids with a baby when you need special spoons that are soft and small.  That time does not last very long.  But the amount of time between needing soft spoons are using real cutlery is very long.  Since baby food time ended with Reese way back when and we have yet to enter silverware land, we have been using the Beaba forks and spoons.  They are easy for her to spear pieces of food, scoop up yogurt, and generally learn to eat like a person very quickly. The only downside is that there is only one pink fork and one pink spoon and when they are dirty, Reese has to pick another color.  Life for a toddler is hard.

5. Ladybug Backpack. (similar)

I don't exactly know why, but there was a minute there when all of Reese's friends needed backpacks. The idea of being able to carry one's own stuff was just the absolute coolest.  My aunt gave Reese a ladybug backpack from Hanna Andersson and she is so adorably proud of it. The best part for us is that it has totally usurped the diaper bag. Now that Reese is old enough, I can throw a couple of diapers and wipes in the bag, plus a small baby doll friend and a sippy cup of water and we are on our way.  Sometimes she'll carry it herself, but if not, it's so light that it makes it easy to tote it along and hold her hand as we walk. Not to mention it's like half her height and makes her look a little like a turtle, which is hilarious. Our specific one is not available anymore, but this Skip Hop one is very close, or, you could have a cute little hipster with this Fjallraven Kanken mini, or relive your 90's youth with an L.L. Bean pack.

Bonus mention. It isn't a baby item, but I must give a shoutout to my Rebecca Minkoff cross body bag. I wear this bag every...single...day.  It allows me to be hands free when pushing a stroller (shoulder bags are so very awkward for stroller pushing) and on the playground, it's big enough for the essentials (wallet, keys, phone, seven lipglosses), and nice enough to wear when I'm not on mommy-duty.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Naptime Reading List: Holiday Weekend Edition

It's been a good week.  The chill in the air has finally lifted here in New York and I don't think there are words for how happy that makes me.

(Seasonal affective disorder much?)

This weekend, we are heading up to my parents' country house for a spring holiday double header....belated Passover seder on Saturday and an Easter brunch-slash-egg-hunt on Sunday.  Bipartisanship at its best, amiright?  I've also gotten the go-ahead from my physical therapist to start running again (Internal squee!). I've done two short runs this week and I'm aiming for hitting up the Central Park Reservoir tomorrow morning.

So, here's what I've been enjoying around the web:

Raluca from What Would Gwyneth Do posted about taking kids out to eat, and I was nodding along to all of them.  I wish I had read this 18 months ago when we started taking Reese out to eat and I wouldn't have to had learned through trial and error.  I particularly endorse "the brunch option" and big groups.

Speaking of Ms. Paltrow, she just started plugging her new book, It's All Good. Look, I have a serious case of the eye rolls when it comes to her too, but every recipe I've made from her first book has been a keeper. I'll hate myself a little, but I'm totally going to buy it. She does have some freebie recipes in Goop and Self Magazine.

I also heard that one of my other favorite recipe scribes, Lucinda Scala Quinn, has a new book out called Mad Hungry Cravings. I might do a totally separate post on this, but Quinn is like an urban Ina Garten...minus the Hamptons Estate and instead of coterie of gay friends who always need help in the kitchen, she has four sons who she taught how to cook for themselves. Everything is delicious and pretty easy...and not twee.  I feel like food has gotten too twee and Pinteresty lately, I just want to eat!

I got a chance to do a little shopping with my sister last weekend and now I'm totally on the fence about adding this short sleeved chambray shirt to my wardrobe. It's already on backorder, which means it could be played out. On the other hand...so cute!

We probably all go to Capitol Hill Style site for great fashion advice, but she also posts on serious topics.  Today she addressed the issues around organ donation.  One of the most romantic moments with my husband was when he told me that if I needed it, he would donate a kidney to me. (We are a little weird...and the same blood type.) Seriously though, it's the greatest gift anyone can give, especially to a stranger.

OH MY GOD YOU GUYS.  Thug Kitchen.  I couldn't fall asleep last night because I was giggling like a moron after reading this.

See you on the flip side!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mixing it Up

There have been things going on that I haven't told you about.

Beauty things.

After a long term relationship with a tinted moisturizer, I've decided it was time to move on.  I heard rumors about it getting reformulated, and to be honest, I was just a little bored.  I got samples of several potential replacements and finally fell hard for the Bobbi Brown BB Cream with SPF 35.  It goes on smoothly and evenly, leaving a sheer coverage.  It's not heavy like a full foundation, but covers up a lot.  I can't really attest to any of the "BB" benefits, I just like the way it looks.

(I did try one heavier full-on foundation that I liked, but it's a little much for every day.)

New Beauty Stuff

While the foundation confession might be a little more shocking, I've also found a new favorite mascara in my neverending quest for perfection.  While I really liked Benefit's They're Real! mascara, I cannot resist picking up a new one (or three) when I'm reordering diapers and shampoo from Soap.com and Diapers.com.  They just make it too freaking easy.  TOO.  FREAKING. EASY.

So I bought the brand new Cover Girl Clump Crusher.  And, believe it or not, it does crush clumps.  The best part is the curved brush, which makes it really easy to apply the mascara, even in the corners of your eye.  I love that the brush really feels like it grips to the lashes and separates them with each stroke.  (If I sound like an ad here, it's only because I've been watching a lot of cosmetic commercials during Reese's naps.  They are just ON during those Law and Order: SVU marathons.  And I like the mascara.)

At first, I was worried it wouldn't make "enough" lashes, since a few strokes just leaves a nice daytime natural look, but more strokes build to a pretty nice darkness and thickness.  I haven't tried layering with another brand, mostly because I'm a wuss, but I bet it would really help.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to order diapers and more mascara.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Television Obsession: The Americans

Do you ever find yourself sitting around thinking, "You know what would be awesome? A television series that combined the terrible fashions of the 80's, Cold War politics, and Felicity kicking someone's face in."

Well....someone obviously did.  And they came up with the newest television obsession in our household.

The Americans.

To be totally honest, my husband and I haven't been this mutually interested in television show in years.  (I gravitate towards junky reality shows and anything involving Mindy Kaling, while my husband will put on, literally, any sporting event.)  But every week, we look forward to watching The Americans every single week.

It's the story of KGB agents living undercover in Washington, D.C., as a married couple who also have to carry out spy missions for Russia.  Keri Russell is doing her damnedest to shed her Felicity image in some acid washed jeans and wigs.  It also has a major nostalgia factor with the DC setting and the leg warmer references, plus, my husband is a big Eastern Bloc buff and loves the incorporation of actual news footage and events into the plot.  It's awesome.

Plus, it's been picked up for another season already, so you don't have to get worried about getting emotionally attached to a show about to be cancelled. (Damn you, Pushing Daisies!)

The Americans airs on Wednesday nights at 10 PM.  Watch it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Things and Stuff: An Update

These past few weeks are been certifiably nutso.

This past weekend, we saw both a snowstorm and balmy spring-like temperatures.  Unfortunately, I was horizontal on the couch for most of it finding out that I am, in fact, just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.  I'm still not really into food (this from someone who never loses her appetite, like, EVER), subsisting on a mini-bagel and a string cheese.  So, Reese is delighted by our new diet!

Last week was also kind of hectic in our neck of the woods because it was decision week for preschools.  Just to make the experience even more of a mindfuck (check out my guides to The Tour and The Playdate here!), preschools mail out decisions on the last day of February and give you a week to decide.  But! There is an extensive wait list process, so you can "scramble" and call every day to get off the wait list at your preferred school before you accept.  We were mercifully spared the whole nonsense because Reese was accepted to our first choice off the bat!  We celebrated with her (cookies) and without her (Scotch).

I've been going a little stir crazy since I was diagnosed with a strained hip flexor about six weeks ago and have been ordered to stay put and do physical therapy.  You know how you only want to do something that much more when someone tells you that you can't?  Because ohmygod I want to go running.  I finally got the go ahead to go for a long walk or light jog this week. Heavens open, angels sing, and then it rains and rains and rains.

I've been hoarding some J. Crew credit* and holding out for some good sale purchases when I finally saw it.  The Jaspe Scoopneck Popover.  In the FREAKING SALE SECTION.  I wish I could tell you how long I've been tracking this top, believing that it was simply sold out.  To make my week, it arrived in light speed.

I also succumbed to the Peter Pan collar trend and picked up this striped sweater.

*My sister will tell you that I am the worst at hoarding gift cards.  I really string them out over the year. I may even have some leftover from my wedding...which was five years ago.

Looking ahead, we're headed down to Washington this Friday.  Originally, it was so I could run the National Marathon.  And then it was so I could run the National Half Marathon.  Now, it's so I can collect my t-shirt and cheer for friends who are running and see my in-laws. The good news is that we get babysitting services! Where should we be spending an evening out in DC these days?

Meanwhile, I'll be resting on the couch and dreaming about being hungry for our new favorite brunch spot in New York...Jacob's Pickles.

Mmmm, chicken and pancakes....

Stepping Into Spring

Even though there is a massive storm front moving up the East Coast as I type, I'm dreaming about spring temps, floaty skirts, and sandals.

So, today, when I saw that Sarah from Note to Self had posted these super adorable pink Sorrento sandals from Boden, I clicked over instantly.  I'm used to browsing the Boden catalog for kids clothes, but I've never really looked at the adult offerings.  I was fairly shocked to find a slew of cute flat sandals and low wedges available in reasonable prices.

Stepping Into Spring

Stepping Into Spring by caphillbarbie featuring boden

clockwise from top left: T-bar Sandals, $88; Amalfi Heels, $94.40T-bar Demi Wedges, $98; Sorrento Sandals, $88.

Well...one pair of heels wouldn't kill me...

I'm really into the pinky-peachy-reds as an addition for spring.  It feels fresh and pretty and just bright enough not to match anything, meaning it will go with anything.  

My only concern is the quality of the shoes.  I've never tried any Boden shoes in person, has anyone else?  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Parent Life: May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor - The Preschool Interview

So, I already told you about Part One of the preschool admissions process in New York - The Tour.  Welcome to Part Two - The Interview.

Oh, ho!  You think to yourself, "How can they possibly interview a two year old?  That's absurd!"

Well, it is, but they do it.  It's generally called a playdate or a playgroup, where the child goes to the school and plays with several other children and teachers at the school while parents look on anxiously and try to make small talk and forget that these are people judging your progeny.

Honestly, the whole thing kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games, minus all the obvious actual death and child-on-child violence.  (Although one of our friends was bitten at one playgroup.)  The children are all released into the classroom at the same time (no unfair advantage!) and, instead of grabbing deadly weapons, they choose toys (Reese predictably went for baby dolls or any kind of food/kitchen items) and play for twenty minutes.  Then they clean up, get a snack, and go home.

How do the teachers judge?  I have literally no idea.  But it's kind of a right of passage in the city, so we've done our due diligence, dragged Reese to hers, and just prayed that she didn't mentioned her bizarre Joe Biden obsession.

The big question is always, what to wear?  Unlike the tour, you are with your child and this is playtime.  Reese gets kind of wigged out if I dress up in a suit and I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable taking her to play in one.  You do occasionally join in the play if your child wants you to, so you want something that you can move around in, but still look put together and nice.

What to Wear to a Playgroup Interview

I love the J. Crew Minnie pants in the stretch twill for this.  They are comfortable, clean looking, and not too expensive.  I also really like the idea of putting a silk blouse under a soft cashmere sweater. The little peek of the silk blouse looks extremely polished and should something get on you (snot, peanut butter, Floam) the sweater is easily handwashable.  It's like a force field for your silk.

I like the pop of color of the pink here with the neutral camel sweater, so I went with a nude Madewell flat.  However, you could also go neutral with the blouse and then pair it with a fun red sliver wedge or knee-high boots.

There is also the question of what your child is wearing.  Do not buy new button downs and little frilly dresses.  He or she should be wearing comfortable clothes, preferably something they've already seen so they don't get squirmy and weirded out by the whole scenario.  I love leggings for Reese, even though most days she prefers dresses and tights.  The Crewcuts everyday leggings are perfect and soft, come in lots of colors and patterns and you can usually scoop them up at 40% off final sale.  (I also really like the Hanna Andersson leggings.)  Add a striped cotton tee and my favorite Naturino shoes and your toddler looks like a comfortable, cute kid.  Just try to avoid PB&J stains at lunch before the interview.

For boys, I think chinos are a nice upgrade from cargo pants, but still comfy and age appropriate.  Instead of getting an actual button down, a long sleeved polo adds a touch of formality to a tee shirt and the red color is classic.  Add some velcro Converse sneakers (no laces to come undone and trip over) and he's ready to rock that animal puzzle like a boss.

Once the playgroup was over, I would rush Reese home and ply her with raisins in case the process scarred her in any way.  She seems no worse for the wear, she keeps asking to go try out other peoples' toys and get graham crackers.  Maybe it's really just harder on the parents...as most things are.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Baby Boomlet

Yesterday, I got a frantic text message from my sister asking me why I was pinning so many images of pregnant women on Pinterest.  I was able to hand Reese a snack trap full of animal crackers and text her right back that I was 100% NOT PREGNANT.

But I do have maternity fashion on the brain.

You see, a full million and six of my friends are pregnant.  And lo and behold, all of them are due this summer.  One of my friends who is pregnant for the first time, couldn't even get an OB because they were already handling too many June and July births.

So, I've been dispensing shopping and fashion advice as fast as I can and looking at some super stylish pregnant ladies for inspiration.

One look in particular that I love love love is Charlotte from the Fashion Guitar.

The combo of the chunky sweater and the flowy maxi would work at so many stages of pregnancy, including the not at all pregnant.  I'd probably go with this Enza Costa blush colored number and an oversized knit like this one from Zara.

If the Enza Costa is out of budget (it's probably out of mine) you could try this Asos number with an elastic waist and tuck it under your bump,  or for this Splendid maxi dress and layer over it, the stretchy material would work well during pregnancy.

 I'd pair it with ankle boots in the winter and then switch over to a tee, cardigan, flat shoe and a cool army green jacket in the spring, then go for broke and just wear sandals and a tank until due date.  Plus, the skirt will work post-partum, since you can still wear it with a nursing tee or tank.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some other family members to NOT expect an announcement any time soon, and some more chic mama pinning.  Follow me over here if you also expecting a summer baby and are looking for a little fashion inspiration.

P.S. The Hatch Collection is offering 20% off through Valentine's Day on everything (not sure if it includes sale though) if someone owes you a Valentine's Day present or if you are planning on getting knocked up tomorrow.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Brrrr...Cold Weather Beauty Essentials

Winter is, bar none, my least favorite season.  I am not one of those bloggers who is going to sit here and wax nostalgic about snowfalls and cold noses and cozy scarves.  You tell me that and all I see in my mind is slushy dirty puddles, chapped runny noses, and itchy wool choking me.

I'm basically counting down the days until spring hits again.

But, until we get to light jacket weather, I have to tough it out like the rest of the world.  And I've discovered a few beauty tools to make the short days go a little faster.

Winter Beauty Essentials

Aquaphor.  This stuff is like life to me.  It's greasy and thick and pretty gross, but damn, does it work.  I try to put it on my hands before bed to minimize the slick door handles and toddlers slipping through my grasp.  I also use it as a lip balm, spot treatment for dry spots, and before long runs to prevent blisters.

Creme de Corps.  Aquaphor is kind of like the napalm of moisturizers.  It's the big gun.  And, as such, it should be used strategically.  It's also NOT what I would use before a date or at any point where I would need to hold onto anything.  For those scenarios, I turn to Kiehl's and their Creme de Corps line.  The regular is great, but I prefer the texture of the lighter version.

Lip Stain.  Picture this, you are strolling down the sidewalk and the wind is whipping around, like tiny icicle knives in your face. You pull up your beautiful cream colored scarf and then realized you put on lip gloss and now have stains on your scarf and fuzz on your lips.  Sweet.  You can always skip lip color, but I think the alternative (playing up your eyes) is harder, so I'll opt for lip stain like Revlon's Just Bitten Lipstain and Balm.  The stain stays on and pretty under a protective slick of clear lip balm like Rosebud Salve or the aforementioned Aquaphor and you don't have to worry about getting a bezoar from eating the lint off your scarf.

Leave-In Conditioner.  As hilarious as Reese finds it when we shock her with static electricity, I'm not a huge fan of what it does to my hair.  I'll come in from the cold and find myself with enough flyaways to audition as the next Muppet character, especially since I've still got my post-baby baby hairs growing in.  At my last haircut, my stylist recommended a leave-in conditioner, like Aveda's Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother which can be used every time I wash my hair.  She also mentioned that a deep conditioner every week or so can also help keep hair from standing straight up.  I'm a fan of Aussie's 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner and have been since I read about it on Capitol Hill Style.  I apply it before I shave my legs and then rinse it out after. Unfortunately, both of those things had become quite rare.  But I'm back on the wagon after Reese dissolved into a fit of giggles the last time I took of my hat.

Waterproof Mascara.  While I'm not the sentimental type (I don't cry at weddings or at Titanic), I have majorly watery eyes.  I set out into the cold and it's total waterworks.  Honestly, I haven't found a perfectly waterproof mascara that I lovelovelove, Cover Girl Lash Blast Waterpoof Mascara is a solid choice.

So, those are the products stocking my shelves for the next 67 days.  What about you?  Anyone from an actual cold weather area with some tips?  Any waterproof mascara recommendations to knock my socks off?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Heading North!

Hello!  In a couple of weeks, my sister and I are heading north to Toronto for a long weekend with a couple of girlfriends.  While I'm definitely looking forward to a little solo girls time, I'm trying to not care that Reese and my husband will eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches all weekend.

To that end, I was wondering if any of you had any recommendations for things to do, places to eat, places to shop.  Let me know in the comments or email me at caphillbarbie {at} gmail {dot} com.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Naptime Reading Material: Elizabeth Cline's Overdressed

Two weeks ago, two things happened to me.  I read Elizabeth Cline's Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and my pants ripped while I was taking Reese to the Children's Museum.

I was surprised how much one helped explain the other.  Let me back up.

I heard about this book, a Fast Food Nation slash Omnivore's Dilemma for the H&M set, from New York Magazine and Jaclyn Day's blog.  As someone who loves clothes and a heaping helping of guilt, this book was made for me.  But even knowing the premise going in - that cheap trendy clothes are reducing the value of human labor, working conditions and the quality of our clothes - I was surprised at how much I was affected by this book.

Cline lays out the clothing landscape in the U.S. as a vast, trend-driven economy where consumers cannot tell the difference between well made garments and rags and frankly aren't willing to pay for any kind of quality.  She examines the fashion industry that has pushed for ever faster cycles to ensure that customers will buy new things and cut costs to the point where it will always be less expensive to buy new than to replace what we already have in our closets.  Further, the industry producing these clothes has moved to cheaper and cheaper labor in countries where standards are low and there is no incentive to look at anything besides the bottom line.

If that sounds depressing, it's because it is.

Which brings me back to my pants.  They were a pair of navy Gap corduroys that I picked up last year.  I really liked them.  They fit me well, they looked good, and I wore them a lot.  Apparently too much, because the fabric wore out and they ripped.  I would guess that I got 7 months of solid wear out of them, that's it.  I've noticed this more and more with clothes I've bought recently.  A tee shirt from Madewell that has holes in it after two washes.  Threads on a J. Crew shirt that were never cut and end up getting pulled.  Buttons that fly off and are never found again.

One of the things that resonated with me in Overdressed is the fact that while cheap fashion chains like Forever 21 and H&M offer extremely low prices and admittedly less than excellent quality, mid-to-high level companies like J. Crew and Gap are not offering much better quality for much higher prices.

So, the big question is always: what to do with this information?  Here is what I am planning.

Buy less.  Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm not going to shop any more or will never buy something cute and trendy at H&M.  But, I am certainly going to think long and hard about it before I do.  This book did open my eyes to the costs associated with an impulse splurge and they are just too high.

Buy better.  At several points in the book, people compare fashion with the food industry where the "slow food" movement has taken over. Consumers are willing to seek out organic and ethically raised foods and are willing to pay a premium for these products.  Cline herself advocates for this approach to reduce the fast-fashion lifecycle.  I'm a huge fan of farmers markets and slow food, mostly because it just plain tastes better.  I am hoping to reap the same rewards from the clothing industry.  Taking the time to find clothes that are well made and from good fabrics, will hopefully last longer and look better.

Pay attention.  I've noticed the "Made in..." labels in clothing and, you know, patted myself on the back when it says USA or France, but never really cared beyond that.  I think that time has passed.  I plan to spend more time and effort seeking out clothes that were made in countries with solid labor standards and minimum wage requirements.  Maybe that's naive and simplistic of me, but it's something.  Plenty of my favorite labels are made in the USA, like Milly and Rag and Bone, and you can easily search sites like Neimans and Modcloth for the Made in the USA label.  Also, I've noticed that very few companies (even those that are vocal about reducing outsourcing) make everything in any one country, so caveat emptor.

Wear what I have.  I have plenty of shoes and clothes that look great...I just need to wear them instead of seeking out the newest thing.  Instead of looking for a new scarf that looks just like the one another blogger is wearing, I should really head to my drawer and pull out my vintage Hermes.

Take better care of my clothes.  I've never really been a "hand wash" kind of girl, and that was before I had a baby.  I've become a strictly wash-and-wear or dry clean only person.  I am going to try to do more washing of sweaters and invest in a garment steamer to reduce my dry cleaning bill.  I also am planning to tailor and repair more clothes and shoes to get them to wearable shape.

Buy used. I live within striking distance of some of the greatest consignment stores in the country.  The internet is a gold mine of vintage treasures.  I resolve to try to find a vintage version of what I want before dashing to the Gap.

I know it's easy to write off a book like this, to say that it's too hard to do better, that the problem is too massive, etc.  But, as I read Overdressed, I kept thinking about my closet.  I thought about the things I really liked.  My vintage pink dress.  The Petit Bateau tee shirts that I bought in Paris while studying abroad.  My grandmother's Chanel necklace.  I want more clothes that I will love and that will last me a long time, not something that will leave me wrapping a sweater around my waist in the Dora the Explorer exhibit.

Has anyone else read this?  What do you think?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Be It Resolved, Again


That was one hell of a holiday.  I really mean it.  Between traveling, family illnesses, a thousand Kay Jewelers ads, retirings, present giving and one pulled muscle, I am officially ready to move into the new year.

As I've mentioned before, I actually like making resolutions.  And looking back on my post from last year, I think I made some good ones.  Ones I would like to continue to work on.  So, I thought I'd go over how I did on my resolutions and what I'd like to do this year to improve on them.

Last year, I focused on being healthier.  This year, I want improve the quality of my life.

Exercise.  I started 2012 hoping to just get to the gym three times a week.  I ended up training for a marathon. I'd say kept that one.  I definitely felt as though having a goal kept me honest (more like scared straight) and feel that I need that kind of motivation going forward.  Exercising made me happy, gave me time alone to think, gave my husband a chance to spend some quality time with Reese.  For 2013, I would like to actually run a marathon.  I'm signed up for the National Marathon in DC in March, but I think a tweaked muscle might keep me to the half.  I do have guaranteed entry to NYC this year after the cancellation and I'm planning on doing it.

Eat Better.  Last year, I just resolved to eat better, especially in front of Reese.  We joined a CSA farm share program over the summer which was pretty much amazing.  Even though my not-so-secret yuppie locavore dreams of Reese snarfing down kale and celery root and any other vegetable didn't come true and I ended the season with about 4 pounds of rotting beets in my fridge (so many beets), it was a lot of fun.  Reese tried a ton of things, we ate more salad than ever before, we fed family and friends and we are planning on signing up again this summer.  For this coming year, I would like to try to do something similar and get higher quality meats for our meals and have at least one dinner a week together as a family.  Reese is finally old enough to use real cutlery and seems to really enjoy sitting down at the table with the adults.  Maybe revive the Sunday dinner tradition?

Get Out.  Hey!  Did you know that spending all your time with a toddler attached to you is a recipe for total madness?  I guess I didn't until I started taking some time off this year and found that it makes life a lot easier.  I worked out a schedule where my mother spends one day a week with Reese and I get some free time and it's been a huge help.  I get to go shopping, take the stairs, go through revolving doors, etc.  It's fun.  I think going forward, I should try to plan those days a little better and meet friends without babies, get my hair cut, etc.  Packing a little more in might make those days feel better spent.  Also, this past year, my husband and I took a vacation without Reese.  It was pretty bizarre to not see her for a week, but also refreshing.  I think shorter breaks are in order for the future...coming up...girl's trip to Toronto with my sister!

Dress Better.  Now that we've passed the spit up on everything/grubby hands phase, I feel like I can finally start to wear nicer clothes.  I did try the outfit post thing, but it felt kind of strange.  Did people like them?  I feel that I am just not that photogenic, mostly because I'm too old for those crazy OOTD kids on Facebook (insert old-man voice and shaking fist at sky).  For the next year I want to focus on buying fewer clothes of higher quality.  I just read Elizabeth Cline's Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion and feel that impulse buying and trendy clothes are not the way to go.  (More on this book in another post.)

Work.  Yeah, this one is hard for me.  I'm still looking for the right job, or really, any job that I feel would make it worth going back to work.  I had some really close calls this year, including being passed over for one job that I was almost certain would have been perfect.  My heart is still in policy and government work, which is scarce to non-existent in New York.  On the upside, armed with my library card and New York's amazing ebooks program, I have been taking more time to read actual full length books!  Yes, there was the Hunger Games Trilogy and Gone Girl, but also some more literary type things.  Any recommendations are welcome.  For 2013, I haven't given up on finding a job, especially since Reese will start preschool in the fall and I really would like to get back into working.  Maybe my one holdover...

So...what about you all?  Any resolutions?  Things you think I should cover?  I promise one of my mini-resolutions will be to blog more...
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