April Faves and Finds

Starbucks carmel ground coffee. 

Went back to mostly caffeinated coffee and wow! I feel human again! I also stopped drinking that Archer Farms and Dunkin’ coffee once I realized it was artificially flavored. Despite that I find most in-store Starbucks coffee to have a bit of a burned-bean taste, their ground bag coffee is delicious.

This quote from Amy Poehler.

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The balance between “professional” me and “at home” me has always been interesting to navigate, but being a mama makes for a really crazy ride. To be the kind of mama I want to be that means I have had to get out of my comfort zone, majorly. Singing? Funny faces? Goofy noises? You bet. I will do anything to hear that sweet baby giggle.

And on that note… Parks and Rec.

Working on season 2 on Nextflix and loving it. I am usually behind the fray on these kind of shows, but I’m enjoying something to watch before bed to turn my brain off.

Old Navy Classic Chambray.

I got one of these shifts(in “light”) and I wish I’d bought, like, 5. I seriously want to wear it everyday. Something about a button-down that goes with everything and looks polished, yet casual at the same time… Old Navy workout capris, tank tops, Sperry’s and this shirt = my “day off” mama uniform these days.

These vitamins and this salad.

Perhaps as karmic retribution for such an “easy” pregnancy, I’ve been feeling like I’m about 100 years old postpartum. This past month it morphed into what I imagine the beginning of arthritis feels like…soreness to the bones. Trying to exercise off this baby weight, and working an on-my-feet job has made me cranky. When you wake up in the morning and it hurts to move your fingers…and you’re 31? Ugh.

Dr. Google to the rescue, it seems this is WAY common among new mamas. Those little bundles of life we carry for 9 months are calcium and vitamin D mooches, and if we don’t replenish through diet/supplements, some of us end up feeling like I was.

I started taking my prenatal vitamins again and have polished off a bag of organic kale in salads this week, and the difference is crazy! I may add in some almond milk for extra calcium as I don’t see myself eating kale every day forever, but for now, so far so good.

Beach Mat with Pillow.

In addition to the above, I also made some time to lay in the sun this past weekend. I dug my beach mat out of the garage and plopped down in our ugly backyard. When I closed my eyes, it was just like I was on vacation. Except for the dogs licking me. Or the sound of the children’s birthday party going on a few houses down. But I digress…I know it will give me wrinkles, but the sun makes me happy. And being a color other than chalk white also makes me happy. Bring it on, summer!

What are you loving this month?

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Podcast Love

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My drive to work is about an hour each way (usually 2-3 days a week) and I honestly don’t know what I did before I discovered podcasts.

It all started with This American Life.

Then a friend turned me on to The Jillian Michaels Show.

Then I listened to almost all of the back-episodes of Spilled Milk. (Can’t wait for Molly Wizenberg’s new book, Delancey, available on May 6th!)

And remembered Freakonomics Radio which was something I started a while back but somehow got away from. Now I listen weekly.

The Girl Next Door is one of the podcasts I love the most because between Instagram and their blogs, I feel like I could totally enjoy cocktails with Kelsey and Erica. They both seem like such smart, and fun women, and this podcast makes me miss my girlfriends just a little bit less. They also make me laugh out loud in my car, which is a major bonus.

I discovered The Lively Show from a post Elise shared from Ann-Marie Loves and it has quickly become the other podcast I just can’t wait to hear each week. Jess Lively hosts an excellent array of bloggers and despite that I am not a professional blogger, or have any hopes to be,  I take something useful away from each and every episode that I can apply to my career as well as my hobbies. As hosts go, Jess is classy and fresh. For being a new show, this is such a polished and awesome podcast and I cannot recommend it enough for other creative professionals.

Elise Gets Crafty is my newest edition. Only four episodes old, it’s a creative project from one of my favorite bloggers. I’ve been reading and inspired by Elise’s work for going on three years. I’ve read through her buying a house, getting pregnant, having a baby and starting new business ventures. And while I don’t think I’m the intended audience for this podcast, I’m finding it interesting to know more about handmade small business work. Like the Lively Show, much of the bigger picture discussion about business is something I do actually find useful in thinking about my own projects.

Do you have any favorites I should check out?

My Favorite Baby Stuff (Months 3-4)

In no particular order…

1. Playtex Nurser Bottles

My mom swore by Playtex, but our pediatrician suggested Tommee Tippee. I enjoyed that the Tommee Tippee bottles had very “natural” nipples and were small enough for him to hold on to, even in the very early feedings. E has always been what I’d call “gassy” and while I know that’s common for babies, around 3 months it seemed he was really gassy. My mom suggested trying a different bottle and wouldn’t you know it… mothers are always right!

2. Renting a Sakura Bloom Ring Sling

In some weird way, baby wearing has helped me make peace with breastfeeding. I don’t consider myself a lifestyle baby wearer, but wearing E in any way, shape or form is just a wonderful experience. I rented a ring sling from QuirkyBaby.com and would highly recommend this to any new mom who wants to “try on” some different carriers.

3. Bright Starts Gym

Until a few weeks ago, E loathed traditional tummy time, and he didn’t want to be on his back in this thing for more than 5-10 minutes at most. He was happy using this gym on his back around two months, and then around 3 months, one day he played so enthusiastically that he fell asleep! Since then, this mat has been a go-to. Multiple times a day he practices turning around, rolling over, grabbing things, and now, finally, tummy time too!

4. Hyland’s Teething Gel

E started teething around 2 1/2 months and we tried Hyland’s and Orajel teething tabs. They worked wonders, but he started to get constipated so we scaled back on the tabs and started just using this teething gel. I am sure every baby is different, but this stuff works so well for E. On rough teething days this is such a lifesaver.

5. Carter’s Teething Bibs

I figured since E wouldn’t be eating anything substantial until 6 months+ that we’d just get bibs at that time. But then the drool started. And then it got worse. And now we’ve gotten through some days where I am literally just in awe of the amount of liquid this tiny little person can emit from his tiny little toothless mouth. During rough teething patches we’ve gone through 2-3 bibs a day, on average, and these are my absolute favorite. Also, now I finally understand why people asked me about bibs when I was pregnant!

6. Fisher-Price Jumperoo

My niece just turned one and still goes in her Jumperoo, and I’d heard from most moms this was the thing their babies loved around 4-5 months. That has absolutely held true for E, too. I found a gently used one from a mom on a local “swap and shop” Facebook group I’m part of, but it’s pretty close to the version linked above. My favorite features: it has three height settings, the seat is easy to remove and machine washable (great because E drools ALL over it), and so far it’s been a place he’s incredibly happy for anywhere from 15 minutes to almost 45 minutes. It’s also light enough to drag around the house, which has proven extremely useful for those days when he decides he doesn’t want me out of his sight. A mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do!

Budget-Friendly Makeup Bag Makeover

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I’ve downgraded my makeup a lot in the last two years, and am pretty happy with my current rotation in both quality and price.

Here’s a breakdown of what I use on a daily basis compared to what I used to use:

I’ve tried a lot of drugstore BB creams, many of which have left me too oily, too dry, or too orange. Ponds is the only one that has the same consistency, coloring and coverage as Too Faced. And the price? Love.

Elf goes on thinner, and feels a slight bit oily at first, but the coverage and lasting power is almost identical to UD’s. UD’s lasts maybe a month longer with daily use, but for a $19 price difference, this has been one of my happiest switches.

It is crazy and slightly embarrassing that I once thought nothing of spending so much on eyeshadow. Especially since I only used like, three colors out of the whole palette. The power of suggestive salespeople… This Maybeline quad takes me from day to night and I use every single color. Win!

Mascara is my thing. I have blonde eyelashes, so if I only do one thing that makes me feel put-together for the day, it’s put on a fresh coat (or 4) of black mascara. Needless to say I’ve tried countless brands and wand styles over the years. The absolute best I’ve ever had is Benefit’s “They’re Real.” It’s also the only mascara I’ve ever worn and had people actually ask me if I’m wearing falsies – no joke! At $23 I think it’s a total bargain, especially since even with daily wear it lasts a really long time, doesn’t clump at all, and isn’t a crazy mess to get off. However, I ran out and at the time just couldn’t justify the expense. The Falsies is good enough, but doesn’t really compare to “They’re Real.”

I was nervous about this replacement because Dusty Rose was the only blush I ever really liked enough to apply daily. When it was running low I took it to Target and seriously looked at just about every single blush in a similar color. Kashuk’s Rose was identical! Not sure about their other shades, but this has been a seamless replacement.

Here’s what I got rid of entirely: 

I was sold this by a overzealous salesperson at Ulta as “the” powder to have as a bride. For what it’s worth, I liked the way it felt on my skin, and the way it smelled. And it lasted for a while, but I don’t normal wear powder and I haven’t missed this one bit.

Here are a few old standards that have remained unchanged:

I’ve used this for years and have had zero reason to even try anything else. Self-sharpening, stays on well, lasts a long time, and super cheap.

I’ve never tried another pencil so I have nothing to which to compare this. I wish it were self-sharpening, but the color is good, and it comes two in a pack.

I don’t know enough about brushes to know if this is a good or bad brush, but it puts my blush on nicely, has lasted without so much losing a single bristle for over two years, and the price? Can’t complain.

Previous bag total: $192

Current bag total: $59

Savings = $133

Not too shabby considering I look NO DIFFERENT. 🙂

What are your favorite budget-friendly beauty swaps?!

Friday Faves and Finds

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“Spring Break” turned out to be one of the busiest weeks yet! Four solid days of working toward something that will help us accomplish one of our yearly family goals, two “play dates” and a teething/fussy Evan. I lived it up, didn’t I? 🙂

Currently I am…

Totally in love with these lessons about raising a gentleman.

Interested about the science of procrastination.

Deeply wishing I’d held on to my SLR after reading this post.

Inspired by this weekly podcast.

Drinking this naturally flavored coffee.

Reading The Goldfinch and in awe of Tartt’s writing.

Thinking a lot about this quote and what it means about deeply loving: “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world… but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Happy Friday!

Friday Faves and Finds

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The end of this week kicks of my spring break. Woohoo! Sometimes I feel silly getting so excited about a week off when I’m in my thirties, but then I remember that I actually need that week now way more than I did in my twenties. I heard something recently like, “Welcome to your thirties, where you’re always just a little bit tired.” Is that true or what?

Currently I am…

Tackling our never-ever-ever-clean-enough floors with this Bissell Lift-Off Stick Vac. Sweeping is impossible with a baby in a carrier and with four pets, our tile floors are easily the most frustrating part of our home. One week into owning this little workhorse and I couldn’t be happier.

Feeling great about celebrating two years of marriage this past week, especially since according to this article on relationships, John and I are doing pretty well! Made these canvas photo transfers to celebrate our “cotton” anniversary.

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Looking forward to using a Groupon I bought over the holidays for as an excuse to play Glowgolf.

Watching my little man work on finding his feet!

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Getting compliments on this easy to make maple-mustard chicken.

Renting a Sakura Bloom ring sling from QuirkyBaby.com. It should be here any day now and I get to try it out for two weeks. I’ve been wanting a sling or wrap since E was first born, and I’m super excited to see how it compares to our Ergo.

Fascinated by the science behind why I miss Evan when he’s sleeping.

We’re headed back to our wedding hotel this weekend…it’ll be our first overnight without Evan, which will be weird, but overall, I’m super excited about a little husband and wife road trip. Happy weekend!

Friday Faves and Finds

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Currently…

Working on doing less “baby talk” and more real talk with E.

Getting super excited about something I ordered from Made By Layla.

Finally jumping on the Girls bandwagon thanks to a recommendation from a friend and am totally obsessed. Also, can’t get this song from “All Adventurous Girls Do” in season one out of my head – it makes me want to dance everywhere!

Cannot stop reading The Fault in Our Stars. I’ve been on the list for it at my library forever, but a finally downloaded it on my phone as part of the A Beautiful Mess book club. Not only is it just a deliciously well-written and entertaining book, but apparently reading on my iPhone is a super great way for me to accomplish any book at this time in life.

Starting to weed out the chemicals in my beauty products by switching brands. So far very pleased with Burt’s Bees facial wipes and Organix Keratin Oil shampoo and conditioner. Next up, lotions! If you have any favorites, I’d love suggestions.

Looking forward to seeing family this weekend. Enjoy yours, too!