Your budget wont be busted by these recent favs! Enjoy friends and happy shopping :)
Revlon Lip Stain: Tentative to try a bold lip? These are basically free and continue to be some of my favorite bright color lipsticks. My gal pal KCS (who finds all things fabulous, then tells me, and then I tell the blog world) turned me onto this in the color Smitten and I have since then aquired quite the stash. They are often BOGO at your local Duane Reade/CVS/RiteAid so keep an eye out and they should definitely be under $8.
Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans: This is no newsflash to anyone who follows any sort of budget fashion blog but I'll go ahead and repeat myself here. These are amazing and so budget friendly you might as well grab 3 pairs (my favorite denim tint is the Batman wash). They fit so well on a variety of women I know with different shapes and sizes. Get'em!
Mama Bear Mug: Ah, PaperSource. You steal all my monies. For all the new mamas (and papas…there's a matching one!) in your life. Coffee & new moms go together like peas & carrots. Snag one for someone special!
Too Cute Personalized on ETSY: Morgan received a set of snack cups and a tray for Christmas and honestly they are the cutest and a total steal. Great for kids parties and little visitor gifts for visiting friends! Tons of styles, fonts, colors, and animals to choose from!
Sephora Angled Shadow Brush: A little mini highlight for a future post on MakeupbyErin but this tool that she had us use during our mamas & makeup night tutorial was the winner of all makeup gadgetry by far. I've always thought a variety of brushes was kindof silly…until she told me about this one. Allows for perfect deposit and application for layering eyeshadow into faded gorgeousness.
I did Bikram Yoga while pregnant.
I get a mixed bag of reactions when asked about my pregnancy workout routine. Some ask for conversations sake, but often times I feel like people are just very inquisitive.
First and foremost, I did all my research and the overarching conclusion that you’ll find in almost any pregnancy journal, website, manual, or conversation with your doctor is …if you were in an exercise routine pre-pregnancy, continuing with it with modifications (aka huge belly appendage) is fine. Take this beautiful example of a dancer who documented the pregnancy of her first baby while arabesking in a rehearsal room. Just stunning. And what I find most amazing about this is the face of the mother to be: this is her thing. This is what makes her tick, feel alive, and doubly bond with her baby. For me, after 12wks of miserable morning sickness with Morgan, I was biting at the chomp to get back into my Bikram classes. I knew what my doctor said (no excess heat, no twists), knew the pregnancy series like the back of my hand, and was so excited to find that yoga high again and sweat, sweat, sweat. Bringing my thermometer in with me for the first few classes back confirmed that while I felt the heat of that studio, my internal temp only went up 1* to a whopping 99.6*. And I felt alive again after surviving on a diet of plain bagels and cream cheese, pizza and mac 'n cheese (my toddler’s food heaven these days, naturally.) My mind felt clear, my anxieties over every week’s gestation and questions on motherhood found resolve and calm in the yoga room. Bikram, you did it again.
I continued practicing 2-3x/week up until the last few weeks of my pregnancy and accredit it to not only my ability to bounce back quickly, but also my firm belief in the power of this yoga. It doesn’t ever get easier…you just get better at it! And I love knowing that my body was cleansed and exercised by such a honed set of poses meant for my body and my babies. In fact, the NYTimes released an article which went into amazing detail about the brain benefits for an unborn baby when the mother exercises…and having incredibly strong and robust cardiovascular systems. While this may all sound silly to some, for me…knowing that Morgan was developing like this made that much more determined to stay active.
Back to the mat I went 6wks post partum and while the hiccup of my PPA had me fumble with getting back into a consistant routine, I’m now more dedicated then ever.
Morale of the story? Stick with what makes you feel good and what you know. You and your baby will both reap the benefits!
The evolution of friendship is a topic about which I could talk for days. It’s the PSU CAS* major in me and something that I find so fascinating. “A reason, a season, a lifetime” always resonates in me as I think back upon chapters of my life and how friendships have been built up by change, some crumbled by differences, some ended due to lack of maturity (my own included), and those that come out of the blue only to become real driving forces in your day to day.
For me, this wave of friendship has been one of the most binding and heartfelt I have ever experienced. Perhaps it is all the hormones, perhaps it is because you see these people when you haven’t slept for the night and nurse in front of each other covered in a shirt soaked in breast milk…(and maybe even sometimes it’s the common thread of wanting to rip out your husbands eyeballs for even asking you one more time what time the baby naps????)…or maybe it’s that they know when you need a glass of wine at 430pm and there’s not even a single side eye accompanied with it. Whatever the reason, these friendships have grown to be a stronghold to my weeks, their kids integral parts of Morgan’s days, and their understanding something I never knew I needed.
You all know who you are. Beyond grateful for all the segmented adult chats while corralling the rascals. Your empathy, knowledge and faith in me as a mom makes my world.
*Communication, Arts & Sciences: Aka: A degree in learning and writing about relationships but not becoming a therapist.
Each morning, Morgan and I negotiate as to whether it is a Sesame Street or Today Show kind of AM in 2A. I tend to go easy on the babe, she loves herself some Elmo (although Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of Arendelle are giving him a real run for his money these days.) On Tuesdays, I make a hard move for Matt Lauer and crew as I love the Steals & Deals portion with Jill. As a lover of all things Gilt City and Groupon, I am a sucker for anything with more than 50% off. So here's my new version and replication flattery for my favorite segment of the Today Show that I hope to make a constant on this revival of Saturday's Story. A blend of my favorites, some splurges, and some can't miss savings that I hope you'll love.
Ekobrew for Kurig: Love your Kurig but got a bit nervy when this article reminded you about the capital T Terrible of all things plastic, especially…heated plastic? Yeah. Me too. Single cup brewing AND you dont have to buy those darn k-cups AND you're not wrecking your body with pollutants? Winning.
Sashajuan Volume Powder: This is not a steal nor is it a deal. But…what it will do for all you blondes is retain your blowout or unwashed hair for 3 days. I'm not kidding when I say I wash my hair *maybe* 2-3x/wk. And it's becuase of this amazing powder that really should be labeled best dry shampoo in the universe.
Bath & Body Works Candles: Okay this is a STEAL. Lee thinks that the candle companies are in cahoots to try and make us think that 3-wick candles are all the rage because they burn more evenly and thus burn quicker…but I say for $22 for TWO of these puppies, it's worth it. And they have better scents than Yankee Candle. SAID IT.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lip Color in BESO: I'm a huge fan of the red lip. In fact, I have a small canvas bag that I use for errands that says "My lipstick is redder than your lipstick." But now I'm sharing this and my secret will be out. This stuff is the bees kneessss. Use solo for some wah-pow RED factor…use a dab, blend and cover w lip balm or chapstick for a less bold but stay put all day red.
Mophie for iPhone: I discovered this from a gal pal when out east for a Long Island wine tour and I had my charger seperately with my phone plugged in at our FIRST winery. iPhone 5 you drain my battery so quickly (said every person ever w the iP5.) This case meets backup battery pack is amazing. Downside: you have to juice it up overnight so in addition to charging your phone you gotta do this too…but I love it and it's saved me from being phone-dead so many times in the past few weeks!
Do you ever read those online articles or stories on Huffington Post or Babble about a mother who has a sick child, or has cancer herself and think "god I really need to be more thankful for my family's health?" And then the next second your toddler is throwing yogurt off her tray onto your brand new accent pillows and you find this rising phoenix inside of you that wants to scream ENOUGH OF THIS SH*T! But you dont because you know better and you take a deep breath but at the same time know that you're not really being all that you can be in that moment because internally you're screaming that and thinking "when is it fu*king nap time?" So yeah, I'm clearly guilty of the above scenario. Lee and I were talking about these kinds of parenthood lessons last night and he (naturally) had a story that his yoga teacher told this past weekend…
(as told to me by my hubby)…A young Indian boy came to his grandfather, the Indian chief, and told him that he was feeling alot of emotions and how could he best reign in his anger. He doesnt like to feel angry or mad but at times he can't help himself! The chief responded to him that he too struggles with intense feelings like that but inside his heart he has two lions: one that's anger & resentment and the other that is love & kindness. Each of us inside ourselves has two lions just like the Indian chief. "But how are able to always have the love & kindess lion win out?" the young boy asked. "It's easy," said the chief. "I choose which lion to feed."
As cliche as this sounds, I felt it so helpful to me to hear. I find myself wanting to blow up and throw food along with Morgan and slam doors and say ENOUGH. But when I choose to step back, choose to engergize the right set of reactions to the situation…I'm invigorating a set of positive skills that will in time become more natural as a Mom. Until then…throw a little smirk on your face when your child smears peanut butter on your curtains. At least they are able to do so.
The best way I know to share my story, without feeling like I’m creating a new novel of its tale every time I have to rehash the details…is to share this letter I wrote in October of 2013 to a family that grew up in the same community as me in Wexford. In time, I’ll share more but for now, this is my most open and honest means to tell my experience with my post partum anxiety.
Dear Steven & D’Achille Family,
I know we didn’t know each other that well growing up in Wexford and attending NA, but there’s a sense of community that binds those of us with a shared background… and for that reason I felt so compelled to write to you after hearing about the passing of your wife & sister in law, Alexis. My thoughts, my words, my racing emotions cannot begin to articulate the depths of my sadness for you over losing her. My fingers cannot type this letter fast enough or with enough delicate care as it made me weep to know that your Alexis lost her life to a battle with post partum depression. Through that video that was circulating on Facebook that Abby Griffith made, Alexis seemed to be someone who just glowed inside and out and radiated beauty. I hope that darling baby girl of hers always knows what a light she was to others, that her story will not be forgotton, and that her tragic death is fueling mothers like myself to really speak out about my experience with post partum…
You see, just 6mo ago, I was in the same place as your Alexis and barely hanging on with the most delicate thread. I had it all together. The life I had always wanted in New York City. After the birth of my daughter Morgan, my history of anxiety crept up in a way that hit me like a mac truck. When Morgan was 5 weeks old, I was experiencing multiple panic attacks daily, struggling to get even 20min of sleep a night, and walking through life in a grey cloud that I can only describe to others as pure hell. I kept telling myself that this was the “baby blues” and it would get better. I was crying uncontrollably every night when my husband Lee walked in from work and the layers of worry compounded every day. I would look at Morgan and think she didn’t deserve a mother like this. I wasn’t taking calls from anyone. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t hold any kind of conversation, I couldn’t feel my own skin. It took everything in me on multiple mornings not to break the glass in the bathroom mirror just to make me feel like I had a reaction to something. For 4 more months I struggled daily like this and the only ones that knew of my internal pain were my family, my best friends and Lee. But help is not easy to find. The task of even doing so seemed to be too much (even the idea of making an appointment with my doctor and going to that appointment seemed like a marathon race.) I honestly thought I was doomed to suffer like this for a long while, if not forever, and never feel the joy that others seemed to be experiencing with motherhood. I masked it well on the outside and kept up a fascade that was anything but helpful. And while my loved ones were checking in on me to try and protect me from myself and vicious thoughts, I needed more than that. I needed professional help. I happened to run into a woman in the park that I had met in a new breastfeeding class when our babies were just a few weeks old. When she asked me how I was doing, I completely broke down in tears. To basically a complete stranger. But it was a god-send. Her name is Amy and she was the catalyst to me finally getting the help I needed right then and now. No more wasting time. Amy had just emerged from the pits of a post partum period herself and I know for me I NEEDED to hear it from someone that really understood what I was going through exactly, not just know normal depression and anxiety. I ran into Amy just days after thinking to myself that I should really ask Lee to take me to a psych ward and be evaluated. I contemplated running away from my life and wanting more than ever to disappear and own none of my reality. I have been on the edge like your sweet wife sister and law was in. It is a place that no one can even describe.
I hope and pray that Alexis’ legacy becomes one of prevention for mothers struggling with the same illness and that we all become beacons of light and support for those in the same boat. Had I not seen that woman Amy, who is now a dear friend, in the park telling me her story and giving me a name of a psychiatrist and counselor to call, I’m honestly not sure what would have happened to me. I can say now that since June life has been the way I had always dreamed but that was a scary mountain to pass over.
Thinking of you and your family and especially Steven and Adriana during this difficult time. May the beautiful memories of her life dry all those tears…
With heartfelt sympathy,
For information about post partum anxiety and depression, please visit www.postpartum.net as well as more of the beautiful story of Alexis and ways to donate at The Alexis Joy Foundation.
I’m back. What? Yep. Diving back into this space. What is it for me now? How can I come to define this time away(do I need to? Do I want to?), this time now(good lord it’s good), all that will be (what’s next? holy exciting) back in the blogosphere? It’s been a ride these past 10 months. One that I’m glad I experienced without the anvil of pressure to write and document and journal for my small network world to see…because it was ugly at points. The words that I would have used in the heart of it all would have been scary and truthfully a bit too vulnerable for my liking to have out in the internets. As much of a sharer that I am…there are tidbits of myself and family that beg to be kept private. And I obliged that feeling’s request. And am very glad I did.
What was “it”? Post partum anxiety in the spring of last year, a MESS of hormones and a little (BIG) thing called MTHFR. I’ll touch more on that separately when I have the time, inclination, and energy to do so but for now I just want to say that it was the darkest, most scary point of my life those first 6 months of Morgan's life. I was in a black hole of all black holes. But thanks to a number of incredible people (and the wonders of Zoloft for a few months and more active Folate than you can imagine), I am here. Present. And more alive than ever.
I’m hitting a stride. My gratitude for life and my capability as a mother is as high as I’ve known it. And simply put, I just know myself better than I ever had before. (I could be a poster child for another Tina Fey series called The 30s Rock.) I love this decade of life already just 10mo in. My new year's resolution this year was to "release expectation" and I can honestly say it's been one of the hardest yet best lessons to learn in this season of life. Whatever may be may be. Highs? Even greater, no expectation! Woohoo! Lows? Ah well, tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is another night out. Tomorrow is only 24hrs away. If I could only have had this mindset in the throws of sleep deprivation and maniacal scheduling of Morgan's naps back in early 2013. Speaking of…
Morgan’s flipping fantastic. That little girl….(gush)…my heart, my little lovie, my everything. Lee is absolutely wonderful. My love, my rock, my all. You’ll get more of all the sappies if you read along.
So here I am. Back with (some scenery and format changes, soon) and better than ever.
And because the only way to really show life these days is in a series of iphone pics. Here we were…and here we are. (mostly from the upswing. You can tell I'm feeling better based on the number of times I wear my hair down. HA. Poneytail and hat? Eeesh I'm struggling.)
Two years ago I started this blog on my 28th birthday. I was looking for an outlet to document my days and keep writing a part of my routine. It felt good. It felt authentic. It felt just as it should be. It gave me a place to hold memories and reflect upon life changes, simultaneously allowing family & friends to get a glimpse of our life here in NYC. With photos of our urban adventures and travels, I filled posts with things of the everyday and the excitement of the special occasions. I did it all for myself but I also was doing it for everyone else. And slowly it became more of a chore and not a release.
Since having Morgan though, a major life shift has occured for me...and the paring down aspect of life has become apparent, perhaps even a theme for my 30th year. Mindful living has always been a topic I've addressed countless times over again in this space and right now, that equates to some big lessons in self-awareness. To be completely honest, I'm still trying to find my footing in this new life and role as a mother. So I'm stepping back....refocusing and being gentle on myself as I live the first few moments of this new decade of mine. Having the perspective of my 20s in the rearview mirror, this is an easy choice to make.
Adios, Saturday's Story. And thank you friends for following along...you've been so good to me :)
Keep her awake!! -my text to Lee as I sat in the classic Sunday traffic on the Van Wick slugging away inch by asphalted inch back home today from JFK
I couldn't get the keys out of my purse fast enough to open door. I heard them playing in the bedroom and I sprinted inside!! Oh how I wish I could bottle up that moment of our reunion. The giggles and smiles when Morgan realized I was home was without a doubt the best Mother's Day present I could have ever received. It was like this wave of "Mom! You came back!" happiness on her face that just melted me 10x over.
I read a great idea recently to take a pic of you and your children on every Mother's Day so as to have a collection before they head off to college...so we started today. No makeup. Fresh off the plane. Unwashed hair. And a baby dressed by Dad, i.e. a onsie and no pants or a bow. Classic!
To friendship and love...
To miles traveled and laughter shared...
To family visits and first times away...
To the newest sets of Mr & Mrs' in my life...
(Top::Kate & Ed::St Louis)
(Bottom::Wexford Ladies and glam bride EJ::Phoenix, Arizona)