I am a woman before I am a mother.

Today is Mother’s Day. You would expect that I would be thinking about what it means to be a mom and how motherhood changed me. But it’s not what I am thinking about.

I have been a mom for five minutes and I feel like I still have so much to learn! Every day brings new joys and new learning experiences, new opportunities to learn about myself and about my baby. One day I hope to be like the mom my children can adore and see Jesus through every word (thats hard for me), and every eye roll, and every hug and every tear.

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I am every woman. I am a mother. I live postpartum. You may see the depth of my eyes and the strong love for my baby, but what I see is the body that carried that baby, the wide shoulders that still carry that baby and won’t let me wear my old clothes. But he needs me.

This past week my thoughts have been consumed by more insecurity and negative thoughts of my body, my wifery (if that makes sense), and the way I am doing this motherhood thing. Today I am thinking of WHY. Why is it that some days I am not able to see past the imperfections of my body and feel proud of what the stretch marks mean, and feel proud of the wide shoulders and strong arms that carry a big baby boy around all day long?!

Why is it that some days I am not able to see past my questions and struggles as a business woman to confidently help others?

Why is it that the emotions and insecurities I used to struggle with as a teen are not going away? Maybe this one you also feel with me.

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I will choose to put my trust in God and take photos like these to remember that I am loved and I need no further reason to get dolled up, more often then I do.

Every time I share my thoughts with a woman or a teen girl, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a married and a single woman, I find we all have something in common. We, a woman, each have the girl inside who is scared and wants to be loved for who she is, especially on the days when she can’t love herself. I feel like a lot of my adulthood revolved around either hiding this girl or pleasing her need to sulk in loneliness.

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I am not going to let the negativity stay. Every one of my fat cells belongs to a beautiful baby boy right now. And I feel like this picture can summarize my joy and my pain all in one. Because with every imperfection I am reminded that God loves me first, He made me in His image, by honoring my body I honor Him. Also, rolls made beautiful by lace.

Today I would to speak to that girl whom you like to hide, from one soul sister to another.

I am with you.

Let me hold your hand, look deep into your eyes until the human connection makes you teary, squeeze your hand a little and feel that lump in your throat that you’re unable to swallow.

I am with you. I feel your pains. I feel your insecurities. I see the imperfections in the mirror.

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I am here to tell you that you are beautiful, you are not alone and NO, you don’t look bloated, and NO, you don’t look 4 months pregnant. People don’t see what you see, they see the smile, the genuine laughter, the strong hugs you give that take your breath away a little, they see that bright lipstick, they see your hair curl and fall into your face, and they think its cute.

You are beautiful! Especially because it is Mother’s Day take a moment to love you, the real you. If you are a mother and if you are not, take a moment to hug that young girl who’s hiding deep inside, bring her out to the sunshine (even if its raining all weekend like it is where I am). Spend a minute with God and let His presence and truth fill your heart with hope. Because when you are filled with love only God can provide and truth only He can make true, you will be equipped to love yourself truly, be a better daughter, a kinder friend, and a more patiently loving wife.

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I teach women how to apply makeup, I love my job. To me there is a great joy in what I do because I am on a mission to make the world more beautiful one face at a time. When a woman feels good about how she looks, when she is equipped to be able to do her makeup the way that makes her feel beautiful, my job is complete. So, here is an open invitation. If you need that feeling, talk to me, find me, and let me help you find your way to beautify.

Take time today to beautify. I love that word because to me it brings hope. You can take anything and make it more beautiful! I believe God does that with every one of us! Start with your hair, do something special, not like every day, add just a little more mascara then usual, wear the good shoes and that dress that makes your body curve in just the right ways. (if you don’t have a dress like that talk to me)

Go out of the house, love yourself and go love on your mom. Bring her flowers with some good quality time.

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I am a mother now and I love things, but no matter how many things I have on my wish list, the best gift for me is spent with my baby when I don’t have to worry about taking care of anything else but him.

I am a mother now, but I am first a woman. I believe that if I am a better woman then I will also be a better mom. If you’re not a momma yet, take the time now to better yourself and prepare because that strength you will need later.

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I hope you will be inspired to be the best version of yourself, the woman God wants you to be. Set aside and fight insecurities! Encourage the woman next to you! Hug your mama extra tight tonight.

Love,

your soul sister.

 

P.s. Photos are taken by Delaine, a New York City photographer. It was a dream to work with her! Something you may never see, she really is good at what she does, is how busy and hectic that morning was for me, my hair wasn’t the way I wanted it, the dress I wanted to wear didn’t come in on time, and other stuff that just kept getting in the way of how I wanted to feel that day. So I put my good shoes on and wore a little extra mascara.

p.s.s. Blue shoes are my favorite. It’s the best statement color because it looks good on everyone!

My favorite diaper bag

We planned a spontaneous trip to NYC and I started to worry about how I would get around with everything I would need for the day with the baby. In the last week or two I have been eyeing this diaper bag and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I ordered it with 2 day shipping.
Guess what?

Enter a caption


We got packed and ready to leave, then I had to come back to the house to get diapers that I forgot to bring with us, and then left the second time, and still no FedEx delivery. I was literally praying for the truck to show up on our street.

Guess what?

The truck shows up on our street a block away and we wave the driver to slow down and ask him if he has a delivery for us! So I got my big box and we kept driving to our weekend get away in NYC. After using this bag, I wanted to share some thoughts and give you all a sneak peak, I will update this post with a full review and more detailed pictures in a few days.


Let me start out with the fact that I am generally not a fan of diaper bags, at all. The idea is GREAT, I just hate how they all look – I’m a sucker for pretty things and this bag is SO adorable, functional, and large to fit everything! I like having a backpack for traveling and to make it easier if I have my baby in the carrier. My back is always hurting and it’s so much easier having hands free.

Pros:

  • Color: Pink or Charcoal – both so chic and sophisticated. I want them both honestly! (So if you want to send me one in charcoal, I’ll wear that one too!)
  • Large size: for traveling, for mamas with more then one kid – SO MUCH ROOM!
  • Large padded shoulder handles, they are soft and SUPER comfy!
  • Pockets within pockets: the way its organized is simple and allows you to fit everything and find everything easily.
  • Pockets and pockets: the outside pockets are so well positioned and easy to access while holding the baby and having the backpack on your shoulders. Because every mom is multitasking.
  • That hassle: so cute it deserves its own category.
  • Vegan leather: easy to wipe, clean and maintain. It got us through lots of rain.
  • Good price and quality.
  • Extra handles to hang on the stroller – visit the website to see an example.
  • Changing pad: I love that its padded, it matches the bag inside color and I don’t have to think to include one!

 

We’ve had lots of questions about this stroller and car seat cover. Scroll down below I included links for both. The stroller is currently on sale. 

Cons:

  • Size: its so roomy that for every day seems too big to carry around, this depends on personal preference and how much you carry with you as a mom.
  • Doesn’t have an insulated pocket for bottles/food. It’s the only thing that I really need in this bag to make it 100% perfect. (its so close!)
  • Changing pad doesn’t have a waterproof side to it. It’s still easy to clean and wash but I wish it was easier to clean with just a wipe if there is a mess, and we had one of those messes to clean up after already.

I hope that you find this review helpful and enjoy a diaper bag that can be function, fashion all in one! To shop for it click here: Greenwich Diaper Backpack  and if you get yours – tag me in it, I want to hear what you think of it and if your review would be similar to mine!

Stroller: Mutsy EVO – On sale right now

Car Seat: MaxiCosi

Carseat cover: MaxiCosi

Boots: Steve Madden 

Stay fabulous mamas!

L.

 

 

Inappropriate things people say to new moms 

It’s completely possible that you have said something inappropriate to new mom and didn’t even know it!

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I mean really, it’s like adults need education on what NOT to say and very often what questions NOT to ask! So here are my top favorite (means I dread them the most) inappropriate things people have said to me.

When are you going to have another one?

Ok. So you just had a baby, and the first time you’re in public, barely able to walk, feeling every stitch and every stretched muscle that just brought this babe into the world, and someone, there is always someone who will say “oh your baby is so cute! You should have another one!” Ok, people, slow down, let my behind heal first and maybe we can talk again in the future after a lot of chocolate, wine and “so sorry”s.

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Is he sleeping through the night yet?

Um. So the first time someone asked me this one, my baby was 2-3 weeks old, and I was sleep deprived, in pain, on Advil, sore, super hormonal, hungry, bloated, and all I wanted was to go to a grocery store. That someone came dangerously close to having been punched in the face by a crying hot mad new mom of a newborn. People, you just don’t ask that, ever. Because that’s salt on a wound of someone who isn’t sleeping.

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He’s perfect the way he is. Both of my babies are. 

Is he rolling over yet? Is he crawling? Is he saying words yet? Is he eating solids yet?

There have been so many in this category, and I am just going to put it all into one category of “milestones”. As soon as you find out how old my baby is and you want to know if my baby is doing what others are ‘supposed’ to do at that age? Well, my baby doesn’t like to roll over. He’s on his belly lots, doing tummy time and he loves it, but he’s perfectly content, there is nothing wrong with him if he isn’t doing one or another thing that other babies usually do at a certain age. That kind of question comes with lots of explaining and judgy looks, and I am sure I am not the only mom who was made feel guilty. No. Just no, my baby is a freaking genius, just wait and see.

Is there a baby in there?

This one is probably my favorite. So I am in the store, doing my business shopping for groceries, and my newborn is perfectly asleep in the car seat with a full cover. The cover is there specifically for these nosy people who want to see and often touch the baby. DO NOT TOUCH A SLEEPING BABY! You might wake a mama bear. Every single time I am out in public with this car seat cover I am asked if there is a baby in there, and then if they can see. Um, no, I’m walking around with a stroller and car seat as a fashion statement. Cracks me up.

Just wait until they grow up, boys are terrible when they are a toddler, I have a toddler who drives me crazy!

Let’s just sum up every comment I’ve ever received in this category about someone else terrible toddler or the most amazing infant. So what if my infant isn’t the most amazing, or what if that night I didn’t sleep, what if I’m already scared and you’re going to freak me out with your horror stories of terrible twos? Don’t jinx my baby. All I’m saying.

What I have learned so far is that there is no perfect baby, no perfect parent.  We are both just doing the best we can at this thing that’s new and difficult for both of us. Being a baby and learning how to do literally everything is not easy I am sure. Maybe I have been that mom to brag about my amazing baby who’s perfect and you walk away whispering under your breath and feeling that knot in your stomach because you haven’t slept in what feels like a decade.

Let me tell you, I’ve had and still have lots and lots of great moments, and lots and lots of pull your week old unwashed hair moments. I’ve had to deal with skin care issues and a baby who couldn’t breathe properly for 3 months because of congestion, rash of every kind hitting him up all at once, while I couldn’t do much to fix it and soothe him, I was doing what you moms do every day. I was trying to do my best and fail and get up and learn from it.

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Most of my mornings he’s either watching me do my makeup, or in my lap while I do my beauty routine of the day. I know I am not alone in this. 

So moms everywhere, keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job. And please continue doing a great job taking care of your babies.

If you don’t have a baby yet, and find this post some what comical, great! It was meant to be so! Also, just in case you need some suggestions, here is an appropriate thing to say instead to a new mom. In my opinion.

Your baby is adorable, I am sure all your babies will make the most beautiful family!

How is he/she sleeping? Are they letting you get some rest?

How is your baby doing?

The key: open ended questions.

Please don’t share horror stories and if you do share a lovely story about your babies, no matter what age they are, please consider leaving the young new mom in a hopeful and positive mood.

 

Stay fabulous!

L.

5 Baby things I wish I didn’t buy

Are you getting unwanted advice from everyone and their mother yet?

When I was pregnant and through the first months after R was born I was getting all kinds of advice from moms and even women who are not moms. THE BEST advice I’ve ever received hands down is from a couple who also have a newborn, they said to listen to what people have to say, but only take the advice that you need, that applies to you! So in this case, I am writing from my personal experience, this is what has worked and not worked for me and my baby. So take what you need from this post and I hope you find it helpful if this applies to you!

We got lots of help from friends and family with baby items, some we haven’t started using yet, some we really love, and some items we really didn’t find practical or useful at all. Here are a few that I wish I didn’t buy or ask for on my registry.

1. 4moms tub

It’s certainly fancy! It’s has a temp reading to tell you if it’s warm enough for the baby, but honestly, you can get a thermostat for that or even better – use your judgement. You know your baby best and I trust that you will get the appropriate temps for the tub!

The water in this tub stays shallow, my baby wasn’t comfortable, so my husband had to hold his head while I washed him so he wouldn’t fall to the side. I have a big baby, and on top of that he kept growing so fast that within 3 weeks the water was not even covering his tummy and I have to put a warm wet towel on top to keep him warm. Maybe it’s best for tiny babies if you have something for their head to keep them from rolling to the side.

Pros:

  • best for smaller babies
  • temp measurement
  • small in size

 

Here is a tub that I love: Infant & toddler Tub and I would use.  

The actual baby tub I love is hand me down from my mom, she saved it from my baby sister who is now 9 years old. It’s the only hand me down item I got so I’m cherishing it! My baby absolutely loves it and I adore it for how easy it is to use! I am always on the look out for the items that I can keep using and not buy a different one once the baby grows out of it. I know this one I will keep for a while, once my baby can sit, he can just splash it all he wants!

2. Wipe warmer

Again, this is my opinion. Waste of money on this thing. The wipes dry out if left open inside the warmer, and by the time I take it out and get to the baby’s bottom, the whole thing is cooled off.

I tried a few different brands of baby wipes and found the one my baby liked the most. I still use it. It’s a Wegmans brand (our local grocery store) sensitive thin wipes. The price is great, its super soft, just moist enough, and my baby doest react negatively to it. (I love all organic stuff, tried them all, our favorite one is Burts Bees baby wipes, but they are the most expensive on the market and when you go through SO many wipes, it’s not worth it for me.

3. Blooming bath – the Flower bath thing

I love the idea of this as a bath for my baby and I didn’t actually purchase one myself or tested it out (just being honest) but every mom I’ve talked to who used it, did not like it as much as a traditional simple bath tub. My friend who used this also has a big baby (our babies were actually born the same weight and length) and it was very uncomfortable to keep the baby stable and comfortable while washing him.

Cons:

  • it’s larger then it looks
  • you have to put it in the dryer to dry it because its big and heavy with water once your bath is done
  • you have to pour water over it to keep it warm, to keep the baby warm
  • creates unnecessary steps after the bath to take care of it, the ‘clean up’ seems too much work for a mom who has to bath the baby, dry the baby, lotion, and put a diaper on, especially if your baby does not love bath time

Pros:

  • it’s super duper cute – and we, the women, buy most of the things that are cute
  • best for babies who can sit on their own
  • portable, easy to transport around
  • saves space if you don’t have a lot of storage for a tub

 

4. Diaper bag

This is MY opinion. So don’t judge please, make your own decisions on this one. I love my purses, I love being a woman and after giving birth I felt like I needed something of my old stuff to make me feel more womanly to help me come back to the new normal and feel sexy again. Because there are so many things after the baby that make you feel SO NOT sexy, you have to work hard on this one, in my opinion.

Diaper bag, even though they have SO many cute ones now, just didn’t make me feel like a sexy mom. I have a beautiful diaper bag, exactly what I asked for and I love it! So far I used it twice maybe… I think I will get more use out of it once my baby is older and I will need more space in the bag or when traveling and I need something thats organized well.

Instead I’ve been using my own purse as a diaper bag and use a ToteSavy insert for organization. It’s worked perfect so far! It helps to keep me organized and not have to carry lots of stuff around. You may not find it as easy if you need to bring a lot of bottles/formula, I am breastfeeding and for now its a very convenient solution.

5. Baby wrap carrier

I think this item is LOVE it or HATE it kind of thing. I hate it, not because of what it is, but because my baby hates it. I tried 3 different ones, I tried to wrap it around and after trying it and fighting it, I returned all of them but one – baby K’tan wrap. I only used this carrier when we were on vacation and I needed something easy to carry him.

Every baby is different. R gets hot and over heated very quickly, so I can’t use a carrier that will heat him up being so tight next to me. He is very independent (which makes me happy and saddens me at the same time) and doesn’t want to be pressed into me all the time. I also found it so difficult trying to do the whole wrap around me. I want something that’s quick to put on and take off, simple and easy is my friend now.

 

I hope you found this helpful! In the end, what you feel is best for you and your baby, every one is so different, so what I didn’t like you may love!

Stay fabulous mom!

 

xoxo

L.

 

Build a freezer stash without pumping

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, hate pumping but would still like to have a freezer full of supply just incase, this is for you!

I’m no expert in breastfeeding, just another mom sharing my experiences.

Breastfeeding is an incredible opportunity I feel blessed to have. Knowing that your baby is growing so rapidly and is only using the food that’s produced by your body is still surreal to me. All the talks you hear about bonding with the baby and all those feelings a mom would experience breastfeeding, it’s all true.

I work from home, so when I needed to start working again I started pumping, he was 4 weeks old when I went back for the first time. I am not a fan of the whole pumping thing, so I give you mamas kudos and then some if you pump exclusively! It’s a serious and difficult commitment!

If you’re like me, “just enougher” with your supply, you would definitely benefit from this. Then keep reading.

I was still nursing during the day since my schedule is flexible, so I would have to make specific pumping times during the day in order to create a freezer stash. I wasn’t too excited about it, and didn’t really do it. In the end, I had maybe 10 oz stored for the future. My supply was good but not to the point where I could build up a stash in the freezer for the future. I know some women who have an abundance that they are able to share with other moms and have a freezer full also.

Then I found a silicone manual pump. I call it boob squeegee. Maybe because my baby brain is worse after I had the baby, now I forget the actual names of things and it’s all just “that thingy”, anyone with me on that?

Anyway, I love my boob squeegee!! In a 24 hour period I get about 7-10 ounces to put into storage in case I will need it in the future. To me that’s gold! Especially because my supply isn’t much more then what my baby has been asking for. The way it works? While breastfeeding, I use the pump on the other side, it’s easy to attach by suctioning it on (it sounds so weird, but you figure it out, and yes I googled for some videos on how to) while the baby is nursing any milk that would normally leak out is collected and then some.

This thing is less then $20, so I definitely recommend getting one! Here is a link for one.

Do you struggle with clogged milk ducts? I wish I had this pump with me early on as I would get so full and start getting clogged ducts if I wasn’t paying attention. If my baby sleeps 7 hours at night and only nurses on one side, I end up with 9-11 hours without nursing on the other side which also gets uncomfortable. This pump helped so much with my night feedings for the baby and my own comfort.

P.s. The pump works to pump, not just catch your let down.

P.s.s. I go to a lactation specialist once a mont or so. It was so important to get help in the beginning but now I go to be able to weigh my baby to calculate how much he’s taking in and get answers to my questions.

I hope this helps if you are in the same boat as me with basically just enough to feed your baby, but a desire to build up a freezer stash just in case! If you get the pump and use it – I’d love to hear from you, tell me if you love it or hate it!

 

Make sure to leave a comment if this was helpful to you and Share the link with a friend who could use it!

Pregnancy Identity Crisis

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I secretly hope every woman goes through this.

As I look back at these photos, taken by my talented friend, I am thinking back of the mess inside my own head as soon as the first trimester was over. My first trimester was just like a cloud over my life and I barely remember it now because I was so sick and so out of it. As soon as I started to feel like a human again, I felt like the rug was pulled under my feet and I had to figure out who I was all over again.

I was worried about everything. My ability to be a mother, time management, being able to cook and take care of the household things like I normally would, and then there is work, my business, involvement in the community and friendships I still want to continue to nurture. I felt overwhelmed because all these thoughts of “how will I be able to do all this and take care of a tiny human” were inside my own head.

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It felt like an identity crisis, and I believe it was. Naturally so, as your world is turned upside down, you are going to question your every move and thought.

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I hope I can encourage every woman out there who feels an identity crisis coming on because of whatever life circumstances, it’s normal, and it doesn’t last long. I also hope that sharing my process helps someone else to stay encouraged and keep going through the process.

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I talked to a couple of my friends, who are also moms and have gone through what I was going through at the moment (that is key!). Allowed their encouragement and advice to sink in and process. I prayed, took long walks and allowed the thoughts in my mind come through one by one dealing with the pain and the changes as they came emotionally and physically. I got through that little chapter of my pregnancy and came out confident in what I my future will hold.

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No more freaking out. At least not until I’m in labor. Then I can’t speak for what I will feel.

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Here is what I learned in the second trimester of my pregnancy: 

 

Identity crisis is ok. Just as long as you don’t get stuck there too long and seek help.

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Talking to people who love you is good. Even when talking about it is unbearably hard.

 

Becoming a mom is not going to change the woman I am. It just adds to the woman I am.

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Being a mom isn’t going to stop me from living the life I always wanted. It just asks for some adjustments in life and maybe a couple of detours.

 

I still can make a difference in the world. I will. Especially by raising a child who is an incredible human being and becomes the man God already designed him to be! Somehow the thought of helping a helpless little human become amazing makes up for everything!

 

On another note, can I just stop for a moment and say that I think what a woman’s body goes through is incredible! This has been the hardest my body has worked in my entire life, and it created a miracle I am about to meet very soon. The way God created this process, a process when the love of two people creates a life, is astonishing to me. I think its beautiful. I am so thankful to have been picked to carry a life inside me!

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I am no less of a woman then I was before I was pregnant. My identity didn’t change because my life circumstances are changing. I am more then I was before.

 

I believe that there is so much more to me now then just a wife, just a business owner, just a sister, just a girl. I didn’t know you can grow so much within such a short time and I fully believe change is a necessity to live life to the fullest!

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Thanks to my friend Elysia for letting me play dress up and take these beautiful pictures. I felt amazing and she captured the feeling exactly! These hills and fields of Pensilvania are gorgeous!

Dress is from asos.com

Makeup and hair done by me, all Mary Kay of course and my favorite ‘perfect nude’ lipstick for my skin tone in Mary Kay gel matte lipstick in Mauve moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My pregnancy skin care

My first sign of pregnancy was weeks before I took the test. One day my skin turned crazy, my face started to sweat more and my foundation would glide off my face within an hour of putting it on.

Now that I am entering my third trimester, feeling good and getting back to work, I’d like to share my personal experience so far and what I’m using for skin care at each stage.

Of course the first thing I did was look into my skin care routine. NO! I went through all of my foundation options Mary Kay had to offer, I used finishing sprays, powders and just about anything else! Nothing made a difference. It was after 2 weeks of a struggle that I even did the unthinkable and went to look at other company’s foundation options. NOTHING helped. My skin was sweaty, red, blotchy, and the foundation wouldn’t stay on.

3 weeks later I found out I was pregnant.

1st Trimester

My skin was awful the entire time. I was sick, almost bedridden until about week 15. I could barely wear makeup because it irritated my eyes. Eyeliner was difficult to wear since my eye lids just seemed to sweat everything off.

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One of my favorite photos of our family and the belly starting to grow! 

My philosophy was to keep it simple.

Wear makeup only when needed and take it off after.

Remove items that are not safe for pregnant women from the skin care routine.

Listen to your body, your skin and pay attention to how your skin reacts. Everyone’s experience is very different!

My skincare routine 1st trimester: 

2nd Trimester

LOVED my second trimester.

Not only because I had more energy, could wear makeup again, could get my hair done and just feel like a human, but also because I could feel the baby move and it made this whole experience so much more fun and real.

Am I the only one who started to feel pregnant, like really feel it, when I could feel the baby kick inside and see the image of that same kick on the ultrasound machine?

Making a baby is a lot of work on your body, so this trimester I started on more skincare for my body, toning lotion, essential oils and more moisturizing to prevent (as much as I can those dreaded stretch marks).

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Half of how you feel is in your outfit. I am committed to dress up, wear heels (whenever possible) and look my best because when I do, I am feeling better about the growing belly, and about all the other experiences along the way! 

Get a good pregnancy massage (if your doctor is ok with it) and take some time getting pampered at the spa with a facial or mani/pedi. Gentle facials with very basic exfoliation is good for your skin at this point!

I noticed my skin changing for the better, if I had a pimple, it would go away within a day and I could add more of my supplements and vitamins for my skin. Its also when I started to use my cleansing facial brush again. Everyone’s experiences are different, so pay attention to how your skin feels and what it can handle, consult a doctor or dermatologist when in doubt.

My skincare routine 2nd trimester:

3rd Trimester

I am still at the beginning of my 3rd trimester, but so far I am happy with how its been. I get tired more, can’t put my socks on standing on one foot (even though I still try, probably because I forget that I have a belly in the way) and have more restless dreams then before.

My skin has been back to normal for the last month or so that I am able film more makeup tutorials and feel like myself again. My face seems to be filling in more so I have to look for more tricks with contouring and using a lot more of bronzer to get rid of my double chin and wide cheeks…

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Baby keeps growing. What a miracle. 

One of my now favorite things is using Grape Seed oil to moisturize my body, and to help with preventing Stretch marks. So far I don’t have any stretch marks at all, I’m thankful and hoping this continues till the end!

I haven’t taken time to exfoliate my skin much, outside of my regular cleansing routine, so I am excited to get back to my microdermabrasion routine, it will be just once a week until I’m comfortable that my skin can handle it well.

My skincare routine 3rd trimester:

all of the above in the 2nd trimester, all of my usual pre-pregnancy makeup &:

Pregnancy skin care NO-NOs:

First of all, consult your doctor about a recommendation on what is safe for your pregnancy. I am not a doctor, but here are some things to stay away from that I found in my research and study as a beauty consultant.

Second, ALWAYS check expiration dates on your personal beauty products at home and new ones you buy, anything with sunscreen and many vitamin infused products will have an important expiration date!

Beta hydroxy acids – basically anything that has medicine for acne prone skin.

Chemical Sunscreen – Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate and oxtocrylene.

Dihydroxyacetone – you can find this one in spray tanning products and is harmful when you inhale it.

Formaldehyde – you can find it in hair straightening treatments, nail polishes and eyelash glue.

Retinol – Vitamin A, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde, adapalene, tretinoin, tazarotene and isotretinoin. It’s amazing for skin repair but is harmful to the fetus!

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I hope you find this helpful in your pregnancy journey and you don’t have to do as much research on your part! Thanks for sticking around and reading a bit about my skin journey so far!

Stay fabulous!

 

Pregnant & Insecure?

Let’s face it. We, women, put our bodies through A LOT!

Most of which is like an iceberg; we think, criticize, obsess over our body so much more in our thoughts then we put into words for the world to hear. I think this internal imprisonment of our true feelings of ourselves is more dangerous and damaging then lack of a healthy diet and exercise.

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Now that I’m pregnant I find myself asking a new question.

Why do I love my body more now then ever before? Why am I less critical? Why I am less stressed over my appearance and weight when my belly and weight are growing more rapidly then in any other time of my life before?

Then my thoughts go to other women who have been pregnant multiple times and why do they seem, at least to me, to be more confident in their womanhood and lifestyle? Of course I am only thinking of a few examples and I know pregnancy is not an amazing experience for every mother.

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Here is my take on it.

I battled with personal insecurities from my early teen years. It may have been about friends, popularity and looks at that point, then continued growing into my womanhood with deeper awareness of my own weaknesses, shortcomings and failures. Working in the beauty industry for 5 years now I learned that I am not the only one experiencing the desire to be beautiful, strong, and courageous. No matter what age we are, we long to be loved, pampered and appreciated for who we are. I worked hard to overcome my battles as a single woman and then as a wife with new challenges of being loved and cared for, AND still facing insecurities of my shortcomings.

Here is what amazes me the most. At 5 months pregnant, my body changing in ways I cannot control, and same goes for my emotions, the heaviest I’ve ever been weight wise, I feel more beautiful and appreciative of my body then ever before! There is something about the baby moving inside that challenges all the awful thoughts about body image issues and focuses in on the fact of a miracle moving inside my belly.

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I am learning a new respect for this body. I am learning to trust it more, and not be so abusive to it in my mind. Sure, even at this point, I gained more pounds then some of my friends during their pregnancy, there are women on the preggo journey with me who look WAY better then I do, AND I can’t help but compare my pregnant body to another one, YET, it doesn’t change my new found love for it.

I think this is divine! I want to capture this feeling, bottle it up, and share it with you all who like myself struggled with insecurities! Please stop beating yourself up daily, hourly, constantly; please take the time to appreciate that your body functions, that it is or isn’t filled with disease, that you cant walk, that you can make a difference in how you look if you focus on it and stick with the program. Whether you have ever or will ever experience the joy of little feet kicking around your belly, I would like to encourage you to love yourself first before expecting anyone else to love you and your body.

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The way you treat YOU, will show in how you expect others to treat you.

God created you a beautiful creature. It just happens that we are all difference shapes and sizes, and that’s not counting pregnant belly size. Let’s unite as women and celebrate our beauty of differences rather then compare ourselves and tear our image apart by insecurities. Because you are beautiful!

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P.s. Pregnancy is a great way to boost up some self esteem and confidence. Im just saying.

 

Love,

 

Lyubov

Pregnant & caffeinated

Sure, you can go ahead and judge. Pregnant and still in need of caffeine! My first trimester was so rough, I could barely keep food down except bread, lost sleep, and just over all was sick all the time. Forget morning sickness in the morning, I got the worst of it at night.

One day I just couldn’t stand the smell or taste of coffee and wine. You have to know that I am a self diagnosed coffee snob, and am not afraid to admit it. This is hard!

I am so thankful for second trimester making me feel more like a human and allowing me to have food again! I am more energetic, over all I feel good on most days and I can tolerate coffee again! Whether its decaf or my indulgence of a full on cup of caffeine in the morning, its the one thing that’s making me feel like a normal human being again! And I learned that when you are pregnant, you need the things that make you feel normal!

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So I thought I’d share my list of “making me feel like a human” while pregnant.

1. Makeup 

During the first 2 months I could not wear eye liner, or any eye makeup because it would burn my eyes. If I did, it was for the hour or two that I needed to go out of the house and then I would wash my face.

Taking the time to do my makeup, even if it was less elaborate then I usually would, made me feel so much better! The temporary reminder that I am woman was needed as my body was going thru all kinds changes.

BTW, I really think that the whole pregnancy glow thing is a bunch of baloney. I would sweat so much all of the sudden that it would look like I’m constantly glowing. A lie. Not so pretty after all.

My favorite makeup look during pregnancy: 

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Keep it simple. That’s been my rule. I picked a set of colors in grey for the eye shadow, a bronzer and a foundation that I liked for this look and would create versions of it when I needed to. Because I would use the same color scheme it was easy to create and fast! Nude lipstick that matches every outfit and can be easily changed for a bold color for date night.

So keep it simple, and stick to what you know best for the time when you may not feel your best every day.

2. Caffeine vs Chocolate

Find your pleasure. This time my baby boy isn’t a fan of chocolate. I find it repulsive most of the time. Instead I take great pleasure in a tall decaf (or full on energize caffeinated one if its an early morning) Starbucks late! It does wonders for my soul, my heart and just my state of mind!

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3. Heels 

I love them. All of them. I would buy them all if I could afford them. I just love my shoes. One of my biggest fears is that I won’t be able to fit into my shoes after pregnancy, so I am taking my time wearing them now while I can.

I think  you do have to be smart about it. If I know I will be on my feet for hours at an event, I will pick a more comfortable, not so tight in my toes and lower heel (3/4 in). If I know I will be sitting down most of the time, I can indulge into the 5/6 in hight and not worry about comfort as much. One of my tricks also is wearing stockings. They tend to compress the foot in a way that keeps it from sweating and expanding too much so your feet don’t get too tight after wearing them for some time.

I always, always feel more of a woman when I am in heels. There is nothing like good shoes to boost your self esteem!

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I hope you find your minimum of 3 things that you can indulge in and feel like the powerful woman you are during your pregnancy! I think if you read the main message you can use the same principle for any time when you need to build up your womanhood.

On a side note, I am obsessed with wearing blue and with my curtains. Aren’t they so fabulous?

Dress is from Banana Republic and necklace is from a vintage shop I found a few years back.

 

Thanks for stopping by to check out my pregnancy story,

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Stay fabulous mamas and mamas-to-be!

Lyubov