Monday, November 28, 2011

Stylish Mom = Oxymoron?

I just googled "how to be a stylish mom". I wish I was kidding. 

It's easy when you're a mom to think you're condemned to a life of yoga pants and old t-shirts when you're around your family. Why bother getting dressed? It's just going to be puked on/spit up on/pooped on/spilled on! But I was always that person who dressed up for work even when I was working from home. If I'm going over to a friend's to hang out, I don't just put on my tracksuit (okay, sometimes I do). I think that how you put yourself together gives you a feeling of self-worth and confidence. Clearly, what's on the inside matters WAY more, but what's wrong with feeling good about how we look?

Figure out what works for you

Are you going to be that mom with a crisp button down shirt and ironed khakis? Heels and pearls? No one said because you're a mom you have to be relegated to sweats and tennis shoes. You still have style! You just have to figure out what works with your new life as a mom. Me? I was never a heels girl to begin with, so that was easy. My new "uniform" is whatever is comfortable and makes me feel good. Sometimes, it's a cozy sweater with jeggings and boots. Sometimes, I layer a cardigan over a blouse, roll up my jeans and put on my TOMS. And yes, sometimes it's sweats. But I refuse to believe that I shouldn't put effort into what I wear just because I'm not going to work or going out for dinner. I dress for myself, thankyouverymuch.

Make your hair stylish AND functional 

I know, sometimes we're lucky to get our hair washed - who has time to style? First off, if you're washing your hair every day, stop. It's not good for your hair (sez Ken Paves, hairstylist to the stars). If it's oily, use a dry shampoo. So that saves some time right there. If your favorite go-to style is a ponytail, try twisting or braiding back the front section. What about a bun instead? Headbands are also great to keep hair out of your face and add a touch of style to your outfit.

Cute mom Kourtney Kardashian making the bun look sexy!


Okay, so you're probably not breaking out your diamond bracelet when you're playing in the park, but having a few accessories can really spice up any wardrobe. Obviously, some pieces are going to be more enticing for little hands, so choose wisely. I'm a big fan of stacking a few simple silver bangles on my wrist. Bonus - they entertain Baby C for diaper changes and can be a good distraction from crying if needed. 
Lovely Reece Witherspoon with a simple necklace and bangles

One bright color

It never fails - whenever I feel totally blah in a t-shirt and jeans, I throw on a hot pink or bright yellow scarf and instantly cheer up. And I even get complimented by complete strangers while waiting in line at the grocery store. Having a brightly colored handbag, pair of shoes or scarf can add instant style and glamour to a plan outfit.

Beautiful mommy Jessica Alba doing a bright color perfectly

If all else fails, wear red lipstick

Nothing makes me feel more glamorous or sexy than putting on some red lipstick. Not mulberry or mauve. RED. The key is finding a red that works with you...the clown look is not sexy on anyone. Well, except clowns, I guess. 

Hot mama Gwen Stefani rocks her trademark red lips!

Remember, style is not something you buy. Style is something you already have. So don't feel like you have to go and buy a whole new wardrobe. Try searching fashion blogs for new ideas (my favorite is Kendi Everyday - be quickly becomes an obsession), or join Pinterest and comb through the hundreds of style pins. Or maybe see if anything that works for me works for you.

Oh, and if you're on Pinterest, we should be friends! Find me here!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Reasons I'm Thankful for Claire

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! We are observing Thanksgiving tomorrow so we can celebrate with Claire's grandparents coming in from out of town! Woo hoo for family!

If you haven't checked out Young House Love, you are missing out! They write about adventures in cheap home improvement, DIY successes, and family - and are super, super cute and hilarious. Anyway, my two fave bloggers (John and Sherry of YHL) also write regularly for BabyCenter (check out their blog here) and totally inspired me to write this blog entry. Now I don't want to blatantly rip them off, but since we're still in the realm of Thanksgiving, it's time I pay homage to my little girl's first Thanksgiving and why I'm so happy she's around.

1) She makes me laugh - ALL THE TIME.

I'll admit, it's pretty easy to make me laugh. I love to giggle and be silly. But Baby C turns it up to 11 ( This is Spinal Tap? Anyone?). The expressions she makes, her daily discoveries and her goofy nature is just funny. Plus, she laughs back. So it's just one big laughing cycle. That probably sounds annoying to most people, but it really is the funniest thing ever.

2) I am more active.

Even though Baby C has only been around for 8 1/2 short months, she has completely changed my life. Okay, I know every parent says that, but it's true. First off, she really makes me want to be a healthier person all the way around. I'm not going to lie - sometimes, I would like nothing more than to eat a Reese's Pieces Blizzard on my couch and keep up with those Kardashians. (Oh right, like that doesn't sound good to you). But I'm aware that everything I do influences Baby C. We go on daily walks, and we try to have an "excursion" every day, whether that's to a class, a friend's house, the park...That, plus that whole pregnancy weight gain thing. I needed to nip that in the bud.

3) I am healthier.

As I started making Claire's food, I noticed I took great care in selecting and preparing her meals. I made sure things were as balanced as they could be, made sure she ate lots of green vegetables, and I tried to go organic whenever I could. And then I would reach for chips and salsa for myself. Something wasn't right with that picture. Now, I do my best to have lots of fresh fruits and veggies on hand for snacks. I'm also trying to be better about my long-term health. I see my doctor more often and ask more questions. I need to be around for the long haul with Baby C. And I nag my husband to do the same. Sidebar: why don't men like to go to the doctor?

4) I'm more invested in my community.

Having a baby makes you lay down your roots, whether you want to or not. You get to know your neighbors. And you may even stalk neighbors you notice with strollers on their porch. Not that I do that or anything. The thing is your community is now your child's community, and you want to know EVERYONE and what their story is. You want to know the good parks, the restaurants that have clean bathrooms, the teacher that will challenge his students, places to avoid. Not only that, but you also want to take care of your community. You making your community a better place means that it's a better place for everyone, including your family.

5) I have never loved something so much. 

Baby C is seriously my world. And loving something so much is scary. But I throw caution to the wind and love her more each and every day. And that's all I can say about that before I turn into a puddle.

6) Watching her learn and discover is just as fun for me.

Seriously, I think I get just as excited when Claire discovers a new skill. I don't know who clapped more when she learned how to clap! I'm so excited to experience childhood all over again and help Baby C make memories that last a lifetime. How lucky am I?

7) She makes me a better human being.

I hate bike riding. Really, it's one of my least favorite things to do. But when Claire's ready to learn, I'm going to take her. I'm going to step out of my comfort zone because it's the best thing to do for my daughter. I'm also trying to live more honestly, more lovingly and with more integrity because kids need to learn that from their parents. A girl like Claire deserves the best of me.

And that's just a few reasons of why I'm thankful for my little girl. Sappy, but true.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hi, I'm Claire's Mom - Nice to Meet You

Oh hey, friends. It's November! Sorry for the prolonged absence. Nothing like having back-to-back illnesses, a family emergency, a mobile baby and studying for two tests for pre-grad school to take me out of the blogging game for 6 weeks. Ay. But I'm back!

Now that Claire's getting older and in need of constant redirection, er, entertainment, we are venturing out and trying new things. We go to story time at the local library, we took a music class at Gymboree, we're taking gym classes at The Little's been great fun. But one thing that always takes me by surprise at all of these places is the kids are totally running the show...all the way down to parents' identities.

I first noticed this at Gymboree. Here's how my first conversation went:

Me: "Hi there! I'm Melissa and this is my daughter Claire."
Parent 1: "Oh hi! This is Zoe."
Parent 2: "This is Bella. Hi Claire! Hi Claire's mom!"

I almost wanted to interject and remind them my name was Melissa, but I refrained. Next up was The Little Gym.

Instructor: "Okay everyone, please welcome our new student Claire and her mom."
Me: "Hi, I'm Melissa."
Group: "Hi Claire! Hi Mom!"


Now, clearly I do these extracurricular activities for my daughter. I'm not going to Gymboree or The Little Gym for my own enjoyment (although who doesn't like a good parachute game? Am I right?). But I'm amazed at how parents don't even introduce themselves unless it's as their child's parent. Is that it for my identity? Am I now Claire's Mom and nothing else?

I should probably cut parents a break. After all, some people have a hard enough time remembering one name. Two might be more than they can handle. And if there's someone who will be around my daughter for awhile, I'd prefer they'd remember her name. That's not going to keep me from introducing myself.

Sidebar: if you haven't yet watched the show "Up All Night", you are missing out! It has a fantastic cast (Will Arnett, Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph) and it's hilarious even if you don't have a child. If you do have a young one, it's like they peeked inside your life for inspiration. Imagine my surprise when I'm watching "Mr. Bob's Toddler Kaleidoscope" and everything that I just wrote about appears in the first 3 minutes.  I couldn't embed the episode (sorry y'all), but you can find it here on Hulu. I promise, it's worth 21 minutes of your time.

See, who doesn't love parachute games?

*Psst - any website I linked to, I do not get paid for. I love them and I'm just spreading the good word.