Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can You Still Be A Hot Mama After Children?

Let's face it - pregnancy puts your body through its paces. And then there's post-partum recovery. And on top of that, if you're nursing, there's the need to partially disrobe every 2-4 hours. Which severely limits your wardrobe (goodbye to most dresses, and I do love wearing a dress!). At first, after I gave birth, nothing fit me. Then, nothing fit me right. I am blessed that genetics (and nursing) made it possible for me to be back at my pre-pregnancy weight (eh, still some things fit a little differently!). But... after a year of wearing pregnancy clothing, I find my closet looking a little lackluster these days.

How can mama regain her sense of style and keep up with the hottest trends? Here's the tips I came up with for myself, and I'm sharing them with you!
  1. Out with the Old - Let's take a hint from fashion - designers come out with new styles each season and each year. Sure, sometimes trends get revisited, but, the important take-away is that the LOOK is always different. So, go through your closet, and simply remove items that you don't love or that show too much wear. If it pains you to get rid of them, don't - just set them aside, maybe in a box or a different closet for now. You need to have a clean palette to work from!
  2. Size Up the Competition - Remember the part about things not fitting? Well, I tried on EVERY item in my wardrobe. If it didn't fit to my satisfaction, I set it aside (not thrown out! just aside so it's not part of the wardrobe I'm trying to build). This is an important step, because nothing makes a mama feel LESS "hot" than grabbing your once-favorite shirt or pants, and finding they don't fit. Five minutes before you have to leave for somewhere. Then you end up wearing anything that fits, and you just don't feel like you're the hottest mama on the block. Instead, make sure everything in your wardrobe actually fits.  
  3. Color Coordinate - In order to build an effective wardrobe, it's important to see what you have in each color. So I groups like colors together - I noticed I had a lot of black and brown, but almost nothing navy blue. So I decided I needed to get a few basics in that color so I could have options.
  4. Top Down - Start to build your looks from the top. Don't like your hair? Color it, cut it, pin it up, blow it out... get yourself a great hairdo and half the job is done! Because even the best outfit can't change the way you feel about your face... speaking of...
  5. Face First - Like with the hairdo, it's important to take care of your face - people will look at your face the most. I have found that makeup counters in department stores are happy to give you a new look for free - just go when they are slow. Also, Origins will give you a free mini facial and discuss their face products while they work. I'm not saying to go just to take advantage of them - you might want to wait until you can plan to buy at least a lip gloss or something, but still, it's a nice perk, and will go miles towards refreshing your look!
  6. Tip-Top! Now it's time to build your wardrobe. I have found that by simply refreshing the tops I got a whole new look. Black pants are black pants. But paired with a lovely dove gray blouse with a pop of metallic trim - I have a whole new and stunning look. Tops are a good place to spend a chunk of your wardrobe money too because they are most likely to go in and out of style, and most likely to get damaged / stained from food and what-not. So they need to be replaced more often.
  7. Under Where? I worked at a name brand lingerie retailer for awhile. So I know the importance of good underwear. Honestly, it's the little things that will make you feel fashionable. Make sure you have bras that fit your outfits. If you have  shirt that's more sheet, get a nude colored bra. Skinny straps or lower cut shirts need a strapless bra. Again, you won't feel runway sharp if you have falling bra straps or odd-colored bras showing through!
  8. Put Your Feet Up - I had been ignoring my humble little appendages - my feet - until I realized that even my favorite outfits felt frumpy if I didn't have the right shoes. I, personally have trouble matching shoes to outfits, so this is where a website like Polyvore can come in handy. You can create a basic outfit similar to one you have at home, and then drag and drop shoes to see what kind might fit. I decided to replace a lot of my shoes after I gave birth because I thought it was important to have good footwear while running around after a little one, and because the right shoe really makes the outfit!
  9. Accessory to A Crime - Having the wrong accessory is a fashion crime. Well, okay, we can be easy on ourselves and downgrade it to just a fashion faux pas. Study magazines to see what accessories are hot this season - is it the belt? Scarf? Animal print purses? Find a trend that suits you and run with that - if it's a color trend, get a few accessories in that color, and you'll have an easy time coordinating your outfits.
  10. Double Duty - Accessories can sometimes do double duty - wear that brooch clipped to a hairband, on a label, or even pinned to a belted waist. A great way to make that accessory "work it!"
Mamas don't have to be "frumpolicious" anymore - we can have the kids, drive the minivan, push the stroller... and still look hot doing it all!

Got a style tip? Leave a comment!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kenmore blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Of The Opinion: TV for Babies

Here's the first of my posts that will simply voice my opinion on various topics. Quickly, briefly, without much back up. Because I can. I'll also tell you whether I actually practice what I preach - full transparency! :) Feel free to voice yours too, but BE NICE! We don't have to agree, but we CAN be agreeable! :)

I'm of the opinion that TV for babies is not a good thing. The APA recommends NO screen time for babies under 2. I agree with this. Why do they need to be absorbed by the pixels anyway? They need to explore, interact with humans (and animals!) and take in the world around them on their own terms. TV can be startling, mind-numbing, and burn images in their mind that aren't necessary (if you don't monitor, that is). While there's certainly great DVDs and shows for children, like the Baby Einstein and other series, I just prefer that we delay those shows for now. It can wait.

Do I follow my own opinion? I would say 99% yes. My 9 month old has "watched" (more like seen by accident) probably 20 minutes TOTAL of TV in his whole short life. And that is a generous estimate. He's also probably accumulated about 20-30 minutes of "screen time" if I go check my email or look up a recipe on the computer while I'm holding him. That's it. I have never sat him down to watch anything on purpose. Now, would I LIKE to? Yes, I definitely see how putting in a 20 minute Baby Einstein would tremendously help me be able to get household tasks done. But I am just not going to do it. I think this opinion is going to be harder to keep once I have TWO babies, b/c I am not planning on keeping TV from my kids FOREVER.... just while they are young!

But we don't have to agree on this - what do you think about screen time? TV or Computer?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Two Cents

Let's face it. I like to write. I like to talk. I like to write and talk about products. I like to promote products and companies that offer something good, new, innovative, fun, frugal, classy... I also would like to use my writing talents to bring in a little income for my family. But sometimes, on my other blog, I have a lot of opinions, but I can't fit all the product reviews in and still keep it personable for my readers - I don't want that blog sounding like an advertisement!

I have been toying with the idea of creating a "product review" blog to handle this situation. And I figured, I might as well start... or at least create a home for myself, right? So here I am.

This blog is going to be all about products that I use and review. There may be sponsored posts. What my goal is though is to share my (humble) opinion one mom to another. I hope you're as excited as I am to see how this works out!