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That Time I Realized that Some Thing are Better Left to the Pros

Let’s rewind today and go back to the late winter of 2010. Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was at the top of the charts and the romcom Valentine’s Day was getting ready to hit the theaters. Jeffrey Campbell Litas were all the rage, and so were bangs. I am nothing if not a sucker for some trends — the bangs, not the Litas.

(Me, feeling very empowered with my new bangs, obviously)

On a whim, I had my hair stylist cut me some thick Zooey Deschanel-esque bangs. And she assured me that I could come in and she could trim them any time, for free! What I didn’t realize is that you have to get your bangs trimmed like every two weeks, lest you look more like Cousin It and less like an indie hipster. I don’t know about you ladies, but popping into the hairdresser every two weeks for my free bang trim was not something I really had time for. So, I watched a few tutorials on YouTube and just began trimming my bangs myself.

All was going well until my birthday in March. On March 28, 2010, I trimmed what would be my last bang. Here I am at my birthday party picnic on March 29, 2010.

That fateful day in March, I turned another year older, and unbeknownst to me, I was about to be another hair tip wiser. You see, I’m wearing these sunglasses because my eyeball underneath is totally red. After some Google research and some “help” from WebMD, I was convinced that somehow I had scratched my cornea during my bang trim. Every time I would blink, my eye got redder and more irritated. But, the birthday party must go on and the pain/irritation wasn’t anything that a couple carafes of sangria couldn’t cure.

The following Monday, my eye hadn’t gotten any better, so I made an appointment with an eye doctor. After investigating my eyeball with a magnifying glass, he found that a teeny tiny hair had gotten lodged in my tear duct, so every time I opened and closed my eyelid, I was irritating my eyeball. The next step? Remove the teeny tiny hair, obviously. And how did he do that? I lay very, very, very, very, very still while he used a pair of tweezers to remove the hair while looking at it under the microscope. That’s right, folks, there was a PAIR OF TWEEZERS NEXT TO MY EYEBALL THAT COULD HAVE STABBED MY EYE IF I HAD MOVED EVEN ONE MILLIMETER.

The next day, I promptly began the arduous process of growing out my bangs and will never ever cut my own bangs again, no matter how many YouTube tutorials I watch. And neither should you. Some things should be left to the beauty professionals.

This post is part of BlogHer’s Transformative Beauty editorial series, made possible by Sonia Kashuk at Target.

Feeling Beautiful as a New Preg

I think it’s only natural for every woman to want to feel like her best self. When you look good, you feel good! True story.

Since we learned that we are expecting, my body has gone through lots of changes. My bod is at the stage right now that I lovingly refer to as pregfat (pregnant plus fat). Instead of pregnant, I mostly just look like a plumper version of myself. All of my regular clothes still fit, but I have an obvious stomach pooch that is no longer suck-in-able but doesn’t quite look like there’s a baby in there.

Now, I’m really excited that my belly is ever-expanding, but I’m sort of just ready for it to go ahead and poke all the way out instead of looking like I’ve just eaten too many cookies. I mean, one could probably argue that I have actually eaten too many cookies, but c’mon, there’s a baby in there and I want the world to know it when they look at me.

Shopping has lost its luster since most clothes in my old size are a little too snug, and what’s the point of buying new clothes that won’t fit at all later this season? I’ve also cut down the number of beauty products I use because I’m trying to limit most of them to things that are all-natural, and preservative and paraben-free. (Most. Not all. Some things just require chemicals.)

So, when a gal has limited options but wants to look good and feel good, what’s she to do?

Here’s what I’ve found:

Picture 6

Regular exercise. Even though I don’t quite have the energy or endurance I had pre-baby belly, squeezing in 30 minutes of toning and taking the dog on regular walks really makes me feel good about myself. It has something to do with the fresh air, endorphins, and general sense of accomplishment I guess.

Picture 3

Sleep! This one has been easy, mostly because I’ve been extra tired. Though I’m not nearly as exhausted as I was in the first trimester, I still try to get nine hours of sleep each night. I hit the hay around 9:30 or 10 p.m. and don’t wake up until 7 a.m., and that is a-okay by me.

Speaking of waking up, let me get mushy for a moment here because I do not get up with an alarm. Every morning, Jason comes and wakes me up with kisses and a hug and it’s the best way ever to rise and shine. I think if I could invent an alarm clock that did that, I would be a millionaire. A creepy millionaire, but who cares when you’re rich?

Picture 7

Taking my time. I’ve shifted my regular workouts to the evening, which means I always shower at night these days. I love not feeling rushed and getting to take my time for deep conditioning, extra moisturizing and picking out my outfits for the next day. I know that time won’t be a luxury when the baby arrives, so I’m enjoying all the me-time I can get these days.

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Cooking. I’ve always loved cooking. Something about combining different ingredients into one delicious meal brings out my inner chemist (fact: I majored in a chemistry discipline in college.) In August and September, I basically lived off of carbs and candy. The sight of raw meat could make even my beloved peanut butter cups seem unappetizing, so I’m really enjoying using some seasonal ingredients to bring dinner to the table now that I’ve got my energy back.

Picture 1

Just get out and do stuff. When my friends invite me to dinner, a movie, or to get a manicure, I just do it, man. My time is mine these days, but that will all change in April, so I’m enjoying doing things on my schedule until I’m a slave to crying and diapers.

And that’s about it! These are small things, and admittedly, most of them I incorporated into my daily routine before there was a baby in my belly. But I do them now with much more purpose and awareness and it really helps, especially when I can’t button my skinny jeans.

This post is part of BlogHer’s My Beautiful Moment editorial series, made possible by Olay.

Your Boobies at Work + a Giveaway

(How about a little giveaway to celebrate 2,000 tumblr followers. I think that’s fair!)

I don’t talk a lot about my day job on this here blog, but here’s a hint: I work as a marketing manager for a consulting firm that is mostly male. I’ve learned that as a woman in my industry, it’s really important to look the part – i.e., I want the focus to be on my ideas and contributions rather than what lurks beneath the surface of my blouse. So, it’s suuuper important that I be really conscientious about my work attire: no gaping buttons, no skirts that are too short, no pants that are too tight. The types of things I never gave a second thought to now require additional consideration because I want to be taken seriously in a driven, professional environment.

Typical Work Outfit

J Crew pencil skirt
net-a-porter.com

Stud earrings
$135 - johnlewis.com

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

  1. Visible bra straps are a no-no. I keep my arms covered up 99% of the time, but sometimes it is literally too hot (um…like right now) and I need to retire my cardigan or blazer until I’m actually in meetings. However, should the impromptu visitor show up at my cube, I don’t want a bra strap hanging out. And when I’ve got a sheer-blouse-plus-tank-top situation going on, bra straps can still be seen. To keep the bra straps hidden, I’ve been loving the Lily of France Extreme Options™ bra. It can literally be worn 62 different ways to make sure those straps stay hidden but you stay secure. (I think I just invented a new tag line. I’ll sell it to you if you’re interested.)
  2. Never ever ever ever wear a light-colored bra under dark-colored clothing. I learned this lesson the hard way after being caught in photographs wearing a black sweater with a nude-colored bra, and even though there were 7 different people in the photos, my ta-tas were the only thing you noticed. Thank gawd my friends had the compassion not to post that one on Facebook! Anywho, lucky for me, that fateful photo was taken at a purely social function, but to this day I know that black sweater = black bra! For a great option, try the Lily of France Extreme Options™ Push-Up bra in black. As a proud card-carrying member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, I can promise you that the push-up is believable, there’s no gaping between the cup and bosom, and the black color ensures the bra is incognito beneath my dark-colored tops.
  3. This last tip is for you ladies just starting out in the professional world as you transition from a uniform of leggings, Uggs and sorority t-shirts to pencil skirts and silk blouses. My tip is that more is more when it comes to undergarments. Say wha? Hear me out. I once read that the secret to wrapping a present well is not using little tape but rather lots of tape but keeping it hidden from the eye. I think the same is true of getting dressed. You’ll need more undergarments than you’re probably used to, but if done right, you’ll look super sleek and no one will be wise to any bumps, lumps or jiggles. And coming in at around $32, Lily of France bras are a great way to get started on the upper half. Pair with copius amounts of spandex on the bottom, and you’re all set.

And now for the really good part: Lily of France is offering one lucky blog reader the chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. To enter, visit the Lily of France website and then come back and leave me a comment telling me which bra appeals most to you.

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/18 to 8/15/2012.

Be sure to visit the Lily of France brand page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

My Artist’s Way Toolkit Review

Have you heard of the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? Me neither. But when I was asked to try out the My Artist’s Way toolkit, with the promise of unleashing my inner artist, I jumped at the chance. I have to admit, I am not really a very creative person. People think I am, but that’s just because I am really good at recreating the things I see on pinterest and show me a blogger “inspiration” board and I can totally copy it. So yeah, I’m a great copy cat, but coming up with creative ideas from scratch… yeesh… not my forte. So, the Artist’s Way toolkit said it would help me tap into my inner creativity, and I signed right up with dreams of becoming the next blogger turned abstract painter.

Overall, I thought the service was really well laid out with daily morning pages to write, exercises to do by yourself, and a place to document your creative thoughts and inspirations. But honestly, it just wasn’t for me. Maybe my creativity is just too blocked and I need to give the service longer than two weeks to works it’s magic, but I just found the idea of a “contract” with myself to be silly and spending the time to write three longhanded “streams of consciousness” every single morning was just way too time consuming.

Anywho, if you’ve got some time on your hands and are looking to tap into your inner creative genius, give it a whirl. As for me, I’ll just keep on pinning.

I am but one woman. See what other blogger’s had to say here.

(life) favorite fashion, style and beauty resources

I’ve been part of the BlogHer Life Well Lived panel for oh… over a year… and I’ve yet to answer a single question they ask me. Well that’s all changing today, my friends! Ironically, this week’s Life Well Lived question is actually the number one question I get from peeps like you that read this blog. So, times? They are a changin’ and I’m gonna answer the ever elusive question:

What are your favorite fashion, style and beauty resources?

In a nutshell, my favorite resources for all of the above are blogs! I subscribe to over 200 blogs (not exaggerating there) in my Google Reader and I have them categorized as fashion, beauty, interior design or lifestyle. I get 99.3 percent of my fashion inspiration from my fellow blogger and the other 0.7 comes from magazines. I like blogs the best because I know they are written by real people with real budgets sharing their real opinions. Unlike magazines where you’ve got advertisers to please and oodles of free products coming through the door, there’s usually no hidden agenda with a  blogger. Plus, I don’t know who these editors think they are sometimes, but a handbag that costs $500 does not belong near the word “steals,” “budget” or “save.” And I hate when I’m reading a magazine and I see this whole outfit that is so great but then it’s like $2,000 just for the pants. What the what? Anywho, back to the bloggers. Here are my favorites:

Fashion/style:

Kendi Everyday: duh. You probably read this one. I bought those gap ikat shorts after I saw her wearing them. I was going to buy the matching shirt she wore with them from her store but she was dumb and posted it on her blog and it sold out before I got a chance to buy it. Oh well. She still makes the list. Girl is good.

Merci Blah Blah: This lady is the mother of triplets and still manages to look cute and trendy. I don’t know how she does it, but she does and I hope I’m a cool mom like her one day.

Style Within Reach: This girl provides content based on exactly what her blog says. It’s style within reach. And she looks cute in her affordable clothes, even though she is skinny and sometimes I am secretly very jealous of her.

Atlantic/Pacific: BEE’s style ranges on the upper, upper end of affordability and sometimes crosses to the line of “OMG, how are you so young and able to afford a $3,000 handbag.” But she is pretty cute and her outfits are cute even though I think sometimes she probably puts together outfits just for her blog. I mean, I would too if Tory Burch and Tibi were hurling dresses at me left and right.

There are 16 more blogs in my reader under this category, but these are my favorites. In addition to the blogs, I have subscriptions to Lucky and InStyle. Both are worth the subscription price in my opinion. Definitely my favorite fashion and style magazines.

Beauty:

Hairdresser on Fire: If I lived in NYC, I would definitely, definitely, definitely have Reagan do my hair. She is so cute and hair smart.

The Beauty Department – This is Lauren Conrad’s hair and makeup peeps blog, and this post on curling your hair changed my life. Seriously. I had no idea I was doing it so wrong.

Believe it or not, these are actually the only beauty blogs I have in my reader. And they are good. I am actually not really that handy with makeup or hair stuff, but everything I know I learned from these blogs and birchbox. A friend of mine watches YouTube videos to learn how to do makeup and I’ve tried that but I don’t think I have the patience. But maybe I need to give it another shot. Do you know any good vloggers?

Alright, now that you’ve read about my sources, check out what other bloggers have to say and also go try and win an iPod touch.