Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Favorite Mascara.....right now.

I was thinking about the fact that I haven't done a post in relation to the title of my blog - so it's about time, right?

Right. And what inspired me was that my Mom called me the other day and asked what kind of mascara I use. She, like me, is always on the hunt for the best one out there that does it all: thickens, lengthens, doesn't wear off, doesn't get stuck on your eyelids, etc.

And when she called me, I didn't have a great answer for her. I usually use drug store brands which suit me quite fine - I don't like to spend a lot of money on mascara since I use it every single day of my life (well Sundays are an exception). And that's how I accidentally found a new FAVORITE mascara. I had been to Sephora about a month ago and used my points to get a free sample of Tarte mascara.

The sample was of their 'Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara.' Naturally, I was a bit skeptical, but decided to try it since my Mom wondered what I use, and I felt kind of bad I didn't have a GREAT answer for her. After all, mascara is a necessity for someone like me who has short, barely-there eyelashes.

Lights, Camera, Lashes by Tarte for $19

The skepticism ended there though. As soon as I started applying it, I thought, this isn't half bad! And every day since, I have liked it more and more. So much so that I went to Sephora and bought a full size tube of it! Wahoo! A new mascara for Mollie! I love it because it does and doesn't do all of what I mentioned above, it's cruelty-free, and it's a very GREEN brand. Sephora touts that this mascara is like a push up bra for your lashes, and that it increases volume by 424%. Now that's what I call marketing, but I will agree with them that it's fabulous and I have definitely become a fan.

For those of you who need a waterproof version, they also have 'Lights, Camera, Splashes' which comes in this adorable packaging, for $19.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Belly Bandit? Cinch? Need help!

As I have now officially hit my 3rd trimester, I'm becoming increasingly obsessed with all things BABY - new crib bedding, newborn clothing, another monitor for the house (because I'm sure we'll have to continue using one in Griffin's room), the list could go on.

However, the other thing I have been thinking about A LOT is fitting into my old clothes - someday. I hope that this time around, that 'someday' is sooner than it was after Griffin. I must admit, I was kind of lazy about the whole losing weight thing after him, and didn't really fit into my favorites until after I did Nutrisystem for a couple of months. It worked wonders - that's a whole other blog post though.

What I wanted to talk about today is what my sister in law Angie and I have been mulling over all weekend. Which belly slimmer is the best? She is also pregnant, and due June 8, 5 weeks before my due date. Neither of us used one of these contraptions the first time, mostly because we weren't really aware they existed! However this time, both of us are more anxious than ever to lose excess baby weight sooner than later.

We started checking out brands we have seen advertised in the back of pregnancy and parenting magazines, and have narrowed our search down to a couple of favorites.

First up, the Belly Bandit. This one is getting a ton of press lately because Miss Kourtney Kardashian used it and is now promoting it for the company. However, we all know good and well that Miss Kourtney also probably had a nutritionist, personal trainer, and night nanny to help get her back to her pre-pregnancy body, stat! All things that I don't have, darnit. That aside, the Belly Bandit looks like it's quite easy to use, and very adjustable as you ease down the scale. Angie and I have decided that we like the Bamboo Belly Bandit because it's antibacterial, moisture-wicking (I'm a sweaty gal, not gonna lie), and because of those reasons it's recommended to mommies who have c-sections (both of us).

The second one we like is the Cinch Tummy Wrap. The Cinch is made by a woman who also makes other shapewear, so she must know what she's talking about. However we're kind of confused on this one - they make a Cinch for moms with newborns (the Signature Cinch), and a Cinch for moms with toddlers (the Cinch Couture). The difference is that the one for moms with newborns has a pouch in front where you can place a hot or cold pack. What for? I just don't get it. Anyone know more about this? The Cinch also looks a bit more involved when putting it on - but maybe that's why it's so great? We need help on this one!

The Cinch - not the best picture, you'll have to visit their website to get a better feel for it.

Finally, a third option that Angie most definitely likes more than myself - it's called the Wink - medical grade compression and shape wear. As you can see from the picture, it looks like Spanx, right? Wink has a one-up on Spanx though because of it's patented power-stretch fabric and anti-microbial fabric. Blah blah blah to me though, because this would make me hot (running theme here); it's like one gigantic pair of underwear that comes all the way up to your ribcage. I also have an obsession with my 'fat back' (if you know me, you know about my fat back issues) and the Wink would only squish out the 'back.' Oh I'm laughing at myself as I type.

The Wink - Also, who do they have modeling this? If you're this skinny already, you don't need to be using the Wink, sister!

So I need your help - have any of you out there purchased some kind of post-pregnancy belly slimmer? Or have your friends? Angie and I need recommendations of what you or your friends have liked best. After all, it's so much better to hear it from a real person who has been there, done that, than just plucking a product out of nowhere, right? Right!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Summer Bangles

A few weeks ago, my husband returned from a business trip to NY with a 'surprise' for me! As you might imagine I was very excited, as this almost never happens.

I was delighted upon opening the small jewelry box to find a set of bangle bracelets, all customized by him, for me. Cool, right?

The bracelets are from a designer that I have now familiarized myself with, called Alex and Ani.

Alex and Ani is by a designer based here in the United States, Carolyn Rafaelian. Carolyn's design philosophy for Alex and Ani (named after her first 2 daughters) is to create products of unparalleled quality and beauty that promote consciousness and unity. All of her designs are made in the United States and made of recycled materials - again cool, right?

Joe couldn't have known that he was giving me this bracelet at precisely the right time of year - spring and summer are the best time to wear bangles! There is no sleeve to cover up the bracelets or push them down; it's all about dressing up your plain tank or tee or whatever with accessories! He visited the 'bangle bar' which by far is the most fun part of their website. If you go to the site, click on this icon to 'build your own.' I just did, it allowed me to personalize the bangle with colored beads, different metals, initials (I used G for Griffin), and my astrological sign! There are so many options to indulge your creative side. Now I want another set.

I also took a picture of the bracelet Joe made for me so you can see how well he did!

Of course, if you are not the creative type, you can always shop their bangle sets that are already put together for you. Here are a few of my favorites for spring/summer 2010:

Nile Beaded Expandable Wire Bangle Set, $158

Bohemian Sea Bead Expandable Wire Bangle Set, $118

Driftwood Expandable Wire Bangle Set, $98

Finally, the best part about the Alex and Ani collection is that you can buy as much or as little as you want. If all you want is one bangle with an initial on it, go for it! Or if you want to get spendy and have bangles all the way up your forearm, you can do that too.

So design away on Alex and Ani, and if you do, post a picture and let me know what you came up with! Or, send my blog to your hubby or BF so he can make one for you. ;-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Griffin's Must Have

As a lot of you know (moms or not), most kids have some kind of blanket, stuffed animal, or soft item that they cannot live/sleep/nap/do without. For some, it's even a pacifier!

For Griffin, that MUST HAVE item is his Angel Dear blankie. This is not a big blanket that covers him in bed at night - instead it's about a 1X1 piece of soft blanket, with an animal head on top. My description of course has come out a little creepy, but I assure you the actual item is not. These blankies make great gifts too, at a mere $13.

Griffin even calls these his 'friends' and when it's time for nap or bedtime, he asks to get his friend (which by Mom's rule, only stay in the bedroom - avoiding any meltdowns caused by losing a 'friend' at Target or the park!!).
Here are a few of the Angel Dear blankies we have:

appropriately and creatively, we named this one 'doggie'

introducing 'duckie'

Shocker - 'elephant'

These 'friends' of ours have held up over the past 2 years extremely well - they come out looking like new after a little time in the laundry room (wash and dry!). They also have a little soft tag attached to them which at first one would think - great, a tag to cut off. But before you get scissor happy, DON'T do it! Griffin holds his friends by the tag, and the tag has somehow become the most important part of his friend. Before I became a Mom, I had no idea how much babies and toddlers loved to hold onto tags and play with them but now I SO appreciate the importance!

To my happy surprise, back when I decided we needed more than just 'duckie' and 'elephant,' I found that Angel Dear sells much more than just blankies!

They have these adorable Chenille Hoodies - great for a spring or fall day at the park:

For your little girl in Fuchsia/Apple Green, $38

For your little boy in Apple Green/Navy also $38

The clothing for babies and toddlers at Angel Dear is refreshingly simple. I find it hard these days to find a cute outfit for your little one without some kind of wording splashed across the front, or with a flower on a girls outfit, or with a truck on a boys outfit. Angel Dear has managed to go back to the basics with stripes and solids but in a very sweet and unique way.

A couple of examples from their Spring 2010 line:

If you've already become a fan, and want to know more about Angel Dear - they even have a great blog, and they're on facebook.

Happy Shopping for your little one, or for a GREAT gift. That's how we discovered them!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

As the belly grows.....

Alrighty - since most of my friends don't live here in Pittsburgh, I have decided against my better judgement to show you all a pic of myself from Hawaii a couple of weeks ago - at 6 months pregnant.

When you're pregnant, and far away from your friends and family, people are always saying 'Send me a picture, I want to see!' I know this because I say the same thing to my friends!!

So here's a pic - and let me note 2 things that might make you laugh. As my belly gets bigger, my rear seems to disappear. Darnit. I wish I had my sister's booty to balance things out! ;-) Secondly, if this looks big to you - wait till I get to 9 months. I'm sure this baby will be another biggie like my 9 lb Griffin.

And I will throw in a couple of cute Griffin and family pics for good measure from our much needed vacation.....

At our favorite restaurant on Maui - the Plantation House at Kapalua Golf Course

my little beach bum

Dad & Griffin

As soon as we got on that plane I wished we could have stayed another week!

I love a good Choo

Spring fashion is in full swing - and I can't really participate. Yep, being pregnant kind of eliminates the ability to get super trendy with your clothes. It's all about looking stylish AND comfortable.

I am doing my best however by dressing up my basic pregnancy wardrobe with accessories! My favorites? Of course handbags, jewelry, and who could forget SHOES.

I just read in a magazine that Jimmy Choo has re-launched some of their best sellers over the past few years, WAHOO! It's called Choo: 24/7. I have a bit of a love affair going on with two pairs of flats I bought at Saks literally 4+ years ago. At the time, buying a pair of Jimmy Choo flats was a HUGE splurge, and while doing it, I was thinking 'Who do I think I am?!'

However, the purchase turned out to be one of my best over the past few years, as I've worn these flats a ton, received countless compliments on them both, and they've stood the test of time. They still look good - in fact, I wore them today!

So - I took a peek today at the Jimmy Choo website to see if my oldies but goodies had been re-launched, and sure enough, they have!

I have the black suede version, and pink metallic version (sounds horrible, but they're amazing) from yesteryear......these are the 2010 version:

Jimmy Choo 'Wand' Flat, gold metallic, $350

Jimmy Choo 'Wand' Flat in black patent, $350

Today, as a SAHM, these would also be a huge splurge, but at least if I splurge I know that I'll definitely be getting my money's worth. I think I have my eye on the gold metallic - they'll go with everything!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Unique Birthday Gifts? Hard to find!

For me, this is the very beginning of birthday season. Starting with my son Griffin, who turned 2 on April 2, I have a ton of friends and family members turning another year old this spring and summer. I don't know about you, but I am always on the hunt for a unique gift! Something that isn't too expensive, but that definitely shows thought and love went into the present. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Wrong.

I must admit, there have been times I've turned to gift cards and bath and body works gift sets. But I try not to do that too often........unless someone wants a gift card. Like from Sephora. Ha. Ha. Ha. My birthday is in June, by the way. Ha again.

Back to the subject, I recently received a gift from my good friend Michelle, who writes the blog An East Coast Girl Stuck in the Midwest, that I absolutely love! The gift was actually for Griffin, and it's hard to describe. So here's a picture.

It's letter-photo art! This artwork makes great & unique gifts for anyone....and they don't have to be a name or for a child's gift. Their website showcases city names, inspirational words like 'laugh,' and lots more. You can choose from either Sepia coloring (brown & creamy white) or Black and White, both look amazing. They also ship within a week and add a little personalization to any room. More examples:

I can't wait to get Griffin's up on his wall in his new toddler room......whenever I can muster the courage to get him out of his crib.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kindermusik Magic

Today Griffin and I went to one of his and my favorite classes, Kindermusik.

If you're a Mom of a toddler or even a baby older than 8 months, I HIGHLY recommend this class! They have classes for all ages, and Kindermusik is available in most cities around the country. In class, kids play, listen and dance to music that is aimed at teaching them all sorts of skills. Coordination, rhythm, group work, I could go on and on!

Griffin gets SO excited when we arrive, because they usually let the kids bang on drums and play with different instruments while waiting for the rest of the class to arrive. And being the boy that he is, he dominates the drum like a madman. Today especially. In fact, I think he was almost daring the other kids to come over and hit the drum harder than he was! It was hilarious.

Right now we're enrolled in the 'Our Time' class, which is for kids 18 months to 3 yrs old and it's perfect for him. It's once a week, and a great outlet for him to socialize (and for me too!). They also give you a take home kit, which includes CD's and books that we listen to and read in class. Let me tell you, the CD's are GREAT for long car rides. And better than having your kid zone out to a DVD!

So - if you are looking for something to do with your toddler that is not only fun but also a huge learning opportunity for them - try out Kindermusik! The website has GREAT information and you can find a class near you.

Here are some funny pictures of Griffin showing off his 'dancing' skills at a wedding this past summer in Chicago:

Daddy & Uncle Mike teaching him some moves

Not sure that they taught him this move......let's call it breakdancing.

Gettin' down

And we're all good

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Welcome to my world!

So, I'm new to this blogging thing. However, I am so excited to have a space online where I can share my life! I have no specific plans for what I may blog about, but it will include fashion for sure, health, mommy-isms, funny stories, probably a lot about my son Griffin, and in the near future a lot about this new baby we are expecting in July!

Let me start by introducing myself and explaining my picture above - that's me and my husband Joe, along with our son Griffin who just turned 2 (in that pic he's 18 months), and our two beloved dogs, Bella & Nani.

Bella is the one who looks like an alarm just went off and she must go inspect, and Nani is the one trying to get down - most definitely she is on the hunt for food. She's a bit of a garbage disposal.

We just moved our whole lives from Madison, WI to Pittsburgh, PA for my husband's job. Talk about life upside down: pregnant, new house, renting old house because market is bad (therefore acting as landlord), new job for me as a SAHM, I could go on.

So welcome - and enjoy! I appreciate any and all feedback on future posts, and if you love this blog, recommend it to a friend!