Doc McStuffins Babysat E While I Was Sick. And I’m Totally Cool With That

I haven’t been sick sick in a long time. I think the last time I had a fever I was teaching preschool, a job where hazmat suits should be issued but sadly aren’t. Then this weekend we got the head cold from Hell. Not a lot of snot, a minor sore throat, but a high fever that wouldn’t leave for three days. E came down with it on Thursday, meaning little sleep for me, and I got it Friday. This deployment has been wrought with sickness. Given our close timing, I can only assume we picked it up at dance class from the little love who was lethargic and coughing. Thanks awesome mom for bringing your sick kid. Hey dance mom, in the future let’s keep in mind that it’s a toddler dance class, not the New York City Ballet. Thanks.

Anyhoo. Given the whole three days of misery thing, she was 100% by Saturday evening. I was not. Sunday morning arrived along with a necessary trip to the store for dog food (my plan had been to go to the pet food store on Friday, and clearly that didn’t happen) as at this point Meatball had had whole wheat bread and yogurt (at least they were organic…) for two meals. One outing with a potty training toddler and a large bag of dog food and I wasn’t up to entertaining E. Enter the DVR and Doc McStuffins. Thank you Lord for DVRs. E had the time of her life watching every Doc we have, and I was able to lie like a dead thing on the couch running death prevention. We are both still alive so clearly I did a bang up job.

E watched pretty much a whole day of TV, and survived. As did I. I felt like a new person after a day of rest and a good night’s sleep. If you had told me when E was born that she would watch an entire day of TV, I would have said maybe when she’s in college. Or, 2 1/2.

This brings me to the larger point of sharing this weekend’s misery and my adoration of Doc. I’ve had one too many conversations with mom friends who feel stressed that they aren’t living up to the ideals of a parenting style. My philosophy: Parenting is pragmatic.

It’s comforting to hold a parenting philosophy close. Attachment Parenting, Free Range Parenting, The Child Centered Approach, etc etc. They can offer guidelines and answers to problems at all hours of the day, but only within the confines of their tenets. Life, however, does not always fit nicely into a particular parenting philosophy’s teachings. So many parents, especially moms, who already have one of the hardest jobs known to humankind, are left feeling like failures as they weren’t able to live up to the {Insert Parenting Philosophy Here}’s ideal of what a parent should be doing.

The tenets of Attachment Parenting were born in a laboratory setting.

Free Range Parenting was created by ONE MOM, based on her and family’s experiences.

And on, and on, and on.

This isn’t to say that many parenting philosophies don’t have value. Most do. But to hold so strongly to a parenting philosophy that you alter your life in ways that compromise your sanity, well that’s just insane. As for myself, I am indebted to dear Doc McStuffins and I don’t regret it one bit.

 

 

The Art of Doing it All Over, Day After Day, Again and Again.

Whether you are a working mom, a work at home mom, or a stay at home mom, I imagine that you, like myself, have the same schedule a majority of the time. Day, after day, after ever loving day. I also imagine that you, like myself, wake up on a Saturday and contemplate what it would be like to not know what the day might bring. Can you even remember those days? Or are they for you, as they are for me, this distant foggy memory of a time when I wasn’t ruled by a really demanding, albeit also really cute, toddler with an attitude. For stay at home moms, this reality can be even more daunting, as there is no break sans a hopefully quiet night. 

In reality the childcare component, in and of itself, is mostly enjoyable. I love watching E have an “ah ha” moment, or just play her little heart out. Seeing her run down the beach with the biggest smile, laughing uncontrollably, that warms my soul. Time outs and tantrums, not so lovely, but when she goes to do the same thing later on and makes a better decision, it makes it all worthwhile. So yes, the caring part, I’m good with that.

It’s the doldrums of the everyday need-to-do list that really make being a mom, and specifically a stay at home mom, challenging. 

Sure, don’t clean. And then proceed to rush around like a mad thing trying to get out of the house because you don’t know where anything is. Laundry? Let it go. And then come up with a creative way to clothe your child for the day when everything that fits them is dirty. Meal planning? Far too time consuming. That is until dinner time arrives, and you have nothing to make dinner out of. My point is you just can’t choose to not do the everyday tasks, and focus solely on parenting. Well, you can, but you’ll live in filth and disarray, making every outing and life in general more of a struggle, and you’ll be eating whatever you can scrape together from the random food in the fridge.

So we can’t avoid them, but what can we do then to make life with the monotony of the every day need-tos more tolerable?

1. Give Yourself a Weekly Cheat Day: Both on healthy eating (if that’s your thing, I won’t get preachy but it should be) AND on the chores. Pick one day of the week where you are OK with eating whatever your tastebuds desire, as well as nothing getting done on the ever so present, never ending list of crap that needs to be done. Yes, that may mean one extra load of laundry the next day, and maybe even sandwiches for dinner, but it gives you a much needed break to replenish you for the next 6 days of healthy choices and an abundance of chores. And hey, maybe while you take a break someone else will pick up the slack. *wink, wink*

If_Its_Your_Cheat_Day_Make_It_Good

2. Make a 6 Most Important Things to Do List the Night Before: This successful tool isn’t just for people in the business world. Come up with the Top 6 things you NEED to get done tomorrow (not want to, need to) and do those first, starting with the one you want to do least or that is the most challenging. Once those are done, whatever else you happen to accomplish is just icing on the cake of an already successful day. 

3. Do One Really Fun Thing Each Week for You: Often we moms do a little something for ourselves each day. An at-home pedicure (read use a pumice stone and clip our toenails). A mid-day glass of wine on a Friday. Sleeping for an extra three minutes through the early morning “mooommmmmyyyyyy”. Finishing off our kid’s last bit of mac n cheese. And yes, these luxurious moments are slightly satisfying, but they sure as hell aren’t about to propel us into a state of renewed vigor for what the next day holds.

But you know what will? And possibly get us through the next WEEK? A great night out, a ridiculously delicious and kid free meal (an at home dinner with your love works too!), an actual pedicure, or that one item you’ve been jonesing after for months now. Like a new camel coat for the Fall and Spring. This is a classic piece that you won’t regret investing in. 

inspiring-fall-outfits-camel-coat-look

This isn’t to say we should throw ourselves into financial turmoil to psychologically survive motherhood, but instead, rather than get by with a few half hearted attempts at pleasure, each week we should give ourselves a “paycheck” of sorts. Kisses and hugs are great, but a delicious meal and a great bottle of wine sans small children? Not to mention a camel coat…

4. Take Pleasure in the Mundane: At the end of the day, all the laundry, the dishes, the dirty floors, the food prep and KP duty, are all reminders that you are so very blessed to be a mom. Many, many women only dream of such a life. And yes, that will mean very little as you spend yet another afternoon cleaning up messes you had no hand in creating, but when the little ones are in bed, and all is quiet for five minutes, remember how blessed you really are. Let that be the thought that you go to sleep with, how beautiful motherhood really is. It just may help to pull you through when those sweet little faces wake you up at 4:45am, on a Saturday. 

 

 

Family, Young Cousins, and Life During Deployment for E

This past weekend was a fantastic one with my sister and her family on the Cape. 4 kids under 4, 4 adults and 2 dogs in one house, and all survived unscathed. The gorgeous weather may have helped!

Grammie loved having both her girls and all her grandkids home at the same time. E and her 3 year old cousin played so well together, screaming, laughing, jumping and engaging in general kid antics for the whole weekend. My sister’s infant twins weren’t left out of the fun, what with their playful big brother and E mothering them as much as possible.

My favorite picture from the weekend is this one, with all the kids and adults gathering and playing on the backyard lawn.

Everyone on the lawn

Although we had a lot of fun, the stress on E of having her Dada away on deployment was very apparent. E clung on to her Uncle this weekend, and asked for pictures of her Dada often. Having a Daddy around (even if it was her cousins’ and not hers!) meant a lot to her.

Sometimes only a Dad figure will do to brave the water!

Sometimes only a Dad figure will do to brave the water!

 

The pictures on the iPhone weren’t doing it, so I ended up cutting up a picture from our wedding that my mom had and giving it to her to sleep with. Clearly a Daddy Doll is needed, so one is on order. I honestly thought she’d get frustrated with a Daddy Doll, and not understand why min-Dada was there but not there, but obviously that isn’t the case as she loves her Dada picture.

I most definitely lost it crying a time or two when she called her Uncle “Dada” (her cousin was calling him that, so she was probably just following suit, but still). We slept together last night as she had a hard time going to bed on her own. I give lots of credit to those who co-sleep, as I got kicked in the legs and whopped in the face all night by a soundly sleeping tot. The goal was for her to sleep well, so it was a win all in all.

She was heartbroken when my sister and her family left, but luckily so worn out from all the playing and outdoor fun that she fell asleep well on her own.

Hangin in the BOB on the way back from the neighborhood bay beach

Hangin in the BOB on the way back from the neighborhood bay beach

Here’s to hoping that that was just a blip (one of many I’m sure) and we’ll have smooth nights from here on out for a bit (Daddy Doll, please come quickly!)

I also ordered a set of oils from Young Living, many that are purported to have a calming effect. For this and future deployments, I hope they help! If nothing else the lemon oil is supposed to help to increase metabolism, and what with all the extra Summer treats, I could use that for myself.

-Me

 

 

 

 

How to Shorten a Maxi Dress to a Perfect Length for You With a….Wait for it…Binder Clip

I love a maxi dress. It is my go-to daily wear in the Spring and Summer. Comfortable as pajamas but far more presentable and easily dressed up with some wedges and accessories.

However at 5’9″ even I’ve found myself swimming in a maxi, wedges and all, leaving me to wonder, who hasn’t pulled a gorgeous maxi off the rack and left the sadly too long frock to hang beautifully in the closet? My textile savvy ladies would, I’m sure, say hem it and be done, but for those like myself, who hack up and destroy all cloth we take on with a needle and thread, what is to be done?

I brainstormed a few ideas:

Safety Pins: Too much possibility of damage.

Body and Dressing Tape: Maxis are heavy. That’s a lot of tape and a strong possibility of a wardrobe malfunction.

A Brooch: See safety pins.

Then it hit me. A clip. What about a clip? Enter the small binder clip.

Before…

Before...

Before…

And after.

After!

After!

I took about an inch off of the dress, making it just skirt the ground instead of laying on it. It took me all of maybe 3 minutes, isn’t permanent, and is entirely adjustable.

The trick is a very simple one. With the dress on, reach down the front of your dress an inch of two below your bust. Keep that as your “pinning” point. From there, depending on how much you want to shorten your dress, reach down that length, (so an inch, two inches, etc) pinch and pull straight up to your pinning point. Clip and done.

The Binder Trick .jpg

With a Chevron pattern like this one you’ll make a flat panel in the front if you stay at the center seam of the dress.

The front panel

The front panel

For a patterned maxi, apply the same binder clip trick but add a twist at the pinning point, creating a gathered look to accent the pattern.

Instead of a panel you have a small twist for patterned maxis.

Instead of a panel you have a small twist for patterned maxis.

The rounded top of the binder clip makes it comfortable for all day wear (I tried it, toddler play time and all). For lighter colored dresses opt for a silver or gold clip.

And for a glamorous look, add a toddler wearing a bucket.

My modeling partner .jpg

 

Happy maxi dress tailoring!

 

 

Perfect Face Dual Foundation and a Yellow Concealer: Two Products Every Woman Needs in Their Makeup Arsenal. And Our Less than Fabulous Fourth of July Weekend.

Our Fourth of July weekend wasn’t looking good by the Wednesday before. E started running a fever Wednesday afternoon, resulting in a sleepless Wednesday and a napless Thursday. The fever spiked Thursday night and stayed high, making for another sleepless night. Friday morning (the 4th) it was still high, so off to the ER we went for a family outing.

Nothing like snack time in the ER

Nothing like snack time in the ER

The oh so fun Strep test, that was negative, so onto a catheter for a urinalysis and a chest X-Ray for any brewing infections. All clear. Diagnoses? Sore Throat. Seriously.

For obvious reasons we didn’t go to any parties. Showing up to a party with a toddler you had in the ER for a fever and possible serious illness that morning is just poor form. So a quiet 4th we had, but also a good night’s sleep as her fever finally broke, followed by a quiet weekend. We thought E was back to her normal self until this evening when we went to dessert with friends. E proceeded to scream like a mad thing when she didn’t get her way. We forewarned E after the first screaming fit that if she didn’t play nicely we were leaving, sans yummy cookies. The final straw was when E hit their little girl because E didn’t want to take turns riding in the cozy coupe car. We made a quick exit, no cookies included, followed by bath and bed for E. Wine and TV for us. And hopefully another sleep filled night, with a brighter tomorrow.

On a lighter note, I was inspired by my less than fabulous and sleep deprived weekend to share with you my Fresh as a Daisy makeup tips and tricks for your face that will leave you looking well rested and glowing no matter how little sleep you’ve gotten lately.

Yellow concealer and perfect face results.jpg

But no I’ve actually been contemplating what type of tutorial would be best to share my new favorite product, Ashunta Sheriff’s Perfect Face Dual Foundation and Brush for a while now. It’s a build-able foundation, highlighter, and perfectly matched darker foundation shade for contouring and blending all in one. It comes with a dual ended foundation and precision concealer brush, and it is a game changer. No more guessing which foundation colors to use for a perfectly sculpted look. Ashunta’s six shades will match any and all skin tones for base, highlighting and contouring perfection, leaving you with a flawless look. It’s lightweight feel is perfect for Summer (and all seasons really!) and it works with any primer. This with a yellow concealer, and you’ve got the look of 8 hours in the bag. Hence why I love it.

So, my sleepless counterparts, I hope your lack of sleep is due to long Summer nights full of fun, but regardless the reason for your under eye circles, puffiness and uneven skin tone, here’s how to make it look like the events of last night ever even happened.

 

The Brow Tutorial 

Here’s What I Used to Achieve This Look:

For all Mary Kay, head over to Marykay.com or comment below for more information on ordering.

Mary Kay CC Cream in Medium

Mary Kay Yellow Concealer

Ashunta Sheriff’s Perfect Face Dual Foundation and Brush

Mary Kay Cream Blush in Sheer Bliss

Mary Kay Translucent Powder

Mary Kay Mineral Eye Colors:

Highlighter: Sweet Cream

All Over Color: Ballerina Pink

Contouring Color: Hazelnut

Lid Center: Crystalline

Inner Corner: Spun Silk

L’Oreal Double Extend Waterproof Mascara 

Mary Kay Eye Pencil in Brunette

Mary Kay Brow Gel

 

 

 

 

 

The Bluum Box! A (very honest) Review

The Bluum Box. Or A whole lot of new products for E that I would have never tried on my own as I am a creature of habit. And a Target addict.

Bluum Box 1 Entire

 

Filled with toys and products designed around your child’s (or baby’s) age, each Bluum box gives you the latest in on-trend items for your little ones. For myself my Bluum box was an eye opener to some awesome and useful products I had no idea existed:

BabyBanz sunnies for tots, with an adjustable yet form fitting and comfortable head band. E kept them on for more than a second. Win!

Baby Bannz Glasses Bluum

A Re-Play snack storage kit that took E and I from tot snacking to big time kid. No spill proof top needed for my little rockstar, and it’s Earth friendly as well (E is obsessed with the recycling bin, and what goes into it as opposed to the trash. She seems to be intrigued by her snack cup being made from her old Stonyfield Smoothie containers).

A reusable stay-in-place placemat for dining out. It, like its green self, saves a lot of green all around.

Bluum Placemat

The Raspberry scented de-tangler, not such a fan. Far too much scent for my liking.

The Ugly Duckling…need I say more. A classic every child’s library should have at least one of.

So, my honest opinion?

All the items in the box, based on their retail price, would add up to the cost of a one-time Bluum box. Through Bluum.com you can order one box, a year of boxes, or a few months worth. A one time Bluum box is not a money saver, though the other plans would most likely be (depending on the products for the month of course).

A Bluum box does, however, introduce you to new products you may not have known about or may have heard about but not yet tried. I found most of the products (sans the de-tangler) to be useful and intriguing items that I could see purchasing more of in the future.

If you’re looking to be on the forefront of kid, toddler and babyhood (or the other way around), then Bluum.com is for you. If not, stick with Target and all that the Cartwheel App has to offer. See you in The One Spot.

 

 

How to Rock a Pair of White Shorts. Or the Time I Took Shorts from Sporty to Sexy

Shorts in general aren’t my favorite style to sport. They tend to either be cut too long, breaking up the legs and making them appear shorter and wider, or cut far too short, letting the legs hang out and exposing the lower tush. Neither are flattering.

As a non-outdoorsy lady (though I do like to drink on patios) I feel that shorts don’t often express my personal style of stay at home mom glam (read stain laden maxi dress) well.

Unless of course those shorts are white. And cut with curve loving perfection (like the ones below from Tahari (old)). And able to be worn apart from small mac and cheese laden hands.

Then I’m all in. 

Front View .jpg

 

That serious look? Me trying to hold it together without laughing at Jer’s antics.

Complete the look with a bold top, like this fitted animal print cami from CAbi. Add height (and leg length) with heels or wedges like these black/brown pair from Emerson Fry (old).

Regardless of how sassy and sexy your shorts may be, they are still shorts. Keep the accessories colorful yet casual. Turquoise and coral are a beautiful combination, especially for this season. This Turquoise and bronze necklace is from Premier Designs, and the Coral and gold bracelets and earrings are from LC by Lauren Conrad.

Side View .jpg.jpg

With white shorts, the rear view is just as (or dare I say, more?) important than the front. Full coverage is a must, as are no VPLs (visible panty lines). Nude or white boy shorts or tangas are perfect for the job, ensuring good coverage with no ride up.

Rear View Real .jpg

Form fitting while still leaving a bit to the imagination.

Like accessories, makeup for short inspired ensembles should read casual. 

Fresh Summer Look for Shorts .jpg

A dark brown lid with light tan contouring on the crease come together with a micro winged black liner. Try L’Oreal Silkissime in Black.

Fresh Summer Look Wing and Contouring .jpgApply bronzer to your inner cheeks (make a fish face and apply in the hole), chin, the tip of your nose, and in a diamond under your chin for a sun kissed glow. Use a highlighter in the center of your forehead and under your eyes for a glowing complexion, along with a bit of creamy blush in a light pink like Mary Kay’s Cream Blush in Sheer Bliss on the apples of your cheeks. Apply blush two finger widths away from your nose. Try L’Oreal DoubleExtend waterproof mascara for weather and water proof lashes.

A few other pointers:

If you’re sporting a cami choose a strapless bra.

Go longer with white shorts than you might with another color. White will never, ever, make you look smaller or more toned. Just sayin.

If you’re attending an outside event opt for wedges.

Not up for white? Try a light pastel like these from Old Navy.

So there you have it. An easy way to take shorts from sporty to sexy, white and all, and a whole look to go along.

Happy BBQs, Weekending, Fourth of July, and Summer!!