Returning to Work and Postpartum Anxiety

So, ok. This blog post title could not be more Debbie Downer if it tried but dangnamit, I’m writing it!

First things first –

GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER HAVING A KID IS HARD

Sh*t man. Like, how do people do this? Have a baby! They said. You can be a working mom! They said. Before I had Clara, I envisioned myself as one of those women who could easily make the transition. As one of those moms who could go away on fun-filled girls weekends after 4 months, baby-free. As one of those moms who could carry on exactly as before baby came along.

That kind of mom, I am not.

I am the mom who wakes up early, plucks up her still-asleep, warm and delicious (yes, delicious) little baby from her bed, wishing she could spend consecutive hours snoozing and snuggling with this little being that makes her heart LITERALLY sing. I am the mom who feels immense guilt when she gets home and realizes she has not seen her baby for 8 whole hours. I am the mom that cannot fathom leaving the baby overnight, that struggles with leaving for more than 4 hours, that misses the baby constantly, that feels like she is missing an limb when she is not with her.

I am THAT mom.

And mind you, I have no doubt that my baby is being cared for in the best way possible when we are apart. Everyone that watches Clara loves her so much, there are zero qualms about her safety or her needs not being met. It is allllll about me. My feelings. My guilt.

Currently I am working 5 consecutive, 7 hour days. There have been ups and downs. Easy days and hard days. Days where I love my situation, I feel contented in the time I get with my baby, my QT with David and E.  But then there are days where I question IT ALL.

Why am I working? I am a terrible person. She is going to forget about me. Did I read to her at all yesterday? What is she doing right now? Am I talking to her enough? Does she love me?

This is the tape that plays in my head.

So that is where we’re at. Luckily, my job is continually amazing and allows flexibility when and where I need it. I will keep you all posted on the working-mom front but this stuff is no joke. WHO FEELS ME?

And speaking of tapes playing in my head…POSTPARTUM ANXIETY! Let’s talk about it.

This is a fairly new diagnosis in the medical community I recently learned, but to anyone who struggles with generalized anxiety it should be no surprise. Give someone with crippling anxiety a baby, and yeah, there’s a good chance that person will face a whole new set of issues. Namely, me. At my last appointment with my midwife, we chatted about it. She gave me a little survey to take and each question was just SO spot on for how I am feeling rn.

“Do you find yourself in a constant state of worry?” YAS. “Do you find situations you used to enjoy to no longer be fun?” YASSSS.

What am I doing to help myself? LOTS. One thing I learned long ago (esp when it comes to mental health) is that getting off my butt and taking steps to get help is SO worth it. When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed – whatever – the absolute best thing to do is just call the damn doc. So, in the coming weeks I have lined up appointments with my doctor and therapist because I refuse to let PPA, PPD or anything else get the better of me. I’m open to adding a medication to the lineup and also working on things in therapy.

Anyone else experience PPD or PPA? How did you survive?

Postpartum/Current Skin Care Routine

Oh the joys of life after havin’ a kid!

I will also have to fill you all in on the horrific hair loss that has come my way! We’ talkin’ fistfuls of hair  falling out, 24 hours a day. AND NOW I get why so many women resort to the Mom bob. When the thickness of your ponytail is the circumference of a sharpie, suddenly it doesn’t sound like the worst idea.

*all this to be said – It is ALL worth it. I am so happy and grateful to have this child!

I digress. ON TO SKINCARE!

You see, some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. But everything remains equally important. Here is what I have been loving!

For the bod…

Here are my list of troubles:

  1. Keratosis Pilaris STILL on the insides of my knees. Read more about my fabulous journey with KP here. I thougt mayyybe having a baby might change my hormone levels and rid me of this stupid skin condition, BUT NO. Still got it.
  2. Slightly stretched-out skin on my tummy area. Shocking I know.
  3. Extremely dry skin.

And the lineup!

Starting with my shower: I love using the Body Conditioners from Lush and y’all know Rose Jam is, well…my jam. The scent is positively intoxicating, the ingredients are super high-quality and it leaves skin super moisturized!

In terms of shaving, I have been really enjoying my subscription with Billie razors. They are inexpensive, super cute and provide a very close shave with added hydration. Check out my blog post about them here.

For moisturizers/lotions, the routine is somewhat extensive but for good reason! You see, I use three different products on my bod after the shower.

First I cover my lower legs, feet, arms and chest with Kopari Coconut Melt which is essentially just a bougie coconut oil. I scoop out a fair amount, let it melt in my palms and go to town!

Next, I use the ONLY lotion I have found to be effective on my KP, CeraVe Renewing SA Lotion. I use this above the knee, up to my hips.

Next, I use the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream on…you guessed it – mah bum. I also use this on my tummy and muffin-top area. This stuff is known to tighten and smooth the skin so I slather it everywhere I want that to happen!

Now onto the face.

My list of troubles are:

  1. Dry skin!
  2. Very dark under eye circles…again – shocking.
  3. Lots of hyperpigmentation and sun spots for which I do not want to use retinol at this time.

Here’s the lineup!

For face wash, I am alternating the GinZing Scrub Cleanser and the Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser. Exfoliation every few days is really important people!

I loved the Cetaphil was when I was pregnant because of my annoying breakouts and I have continued to use it. It is such a great product. Cheap, effective, not drying and I am weirdly addicted to the scent of it! Read more about my pregnancy skin issues here!

Next, I have been using a combination of Alpha Arbutin 2%, Hylaraunic Acid and 100% Plant Derived Squalene by The Ordinary. Before I got pregnant, I was also used a 5% Retinoid by The Ordinary, but I am not going to start using that again until I am done breastfeeding and rubbing my face against my little girl’s 89723 times a day.

During the day, I either moisturize my face with The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA  or the Origins GinZing Gel Moisturizer. For night time, I use the Serendipity Serenade Repairing Night Cream. I did a whole review of products from The Ordinary…read that here!

Under the eyes I use the Origins Ginzing Eye Cream for daytime. The pearly finish is perfect for fighting the darkness under there. At night, I use the L’Oreal Revitalift.

Lastly, I liberally spritz my entire face and neck with St.Tropez Purity Self Tan Mist. I just recently incorporated this into my skincare routine and so far I am loving the subtle glow this stuff is giving me. It smells amazing (NO gross self-tanner smell), feels like nothing on the skin and the results look totally natural! This stuff might have earned holy grail status for me!

The last thing I usually remember to do is take care of the ol’ gobbler (aka my neck). I love using the Nivea Skin Firming & Smoothing Serum for this. And the results are quite nice (pictured below, on the right).

After that, it’s the Brazilian Kiss jumbo lip balm which smells and tastes delectable. Sometimes, I smear this stuff on my knuckles or under my eyes for a little added moisture boost!

And I think that about does it for me.

I realize that is about a million products. And this doesn’t include my makeup routine which also includes primers and facial mists of course. But I feel like each item is completely justified and serves it’s purpose wonderfully. If I had to choose one product, I would honestly go with the Coconut Melt because you can pretty much put it everywhere. I also use it on Clara!

What are some of YOUR favorite skincare products?

Grande Lash Review

G’day little rasburries!

A major change has taken place in my life as of late. And a significant one at that. But before I tell you about it, allow me to provide a bit of backstory.

When I got pregnant, I worried about lots of things. If you’ve been around for a bit, you know this.

One thing I was particularly horrified of were the pictures taken of me AFTER giving birth. I knew they were inevitable. And even something as strong as my vanity could not stop them from happening. These photos are like mammograms. Hugely important, necessary even. But like, nobody LOOKS FORWARD to it. That’s how I felt about photos taken of me after the baby was born. I knew I would want them but was sort of cringing at how they’d turn out.

And really, I feel that society is to blame for this. I mean look at the examples set…

Aunt Becky’s slicked back hair and Catherine Heigl lookin’ buckled.

But I’m not stupid. The best defense is a good offense, as they say. Some women have babies in full glam,  with perfectly tousled beach waves, full-coverage makeup and custom-made hospital gowns to compliment their complexion. NOT REALISTIC. At least for me.

One thing I also noticed so many women are doing nowadays (especially before child birth) is  getting eyelash extensions. I have seen these look absolutely stunning on some people and atrocious on others. I feel the more natural they look, the better. The thicker and curlier the extension, the more cartoony they look, providing a perfect example for the word “full-on Monet”.  Hence, they photograph beautifully but in real life they can be kindof a big mess. They are also quite costly to install and maintain.  But man, did I want some big ol’ doe eyes in my post-baby hospital pics.

So then I decided on an eyelash serum.

That’s right, I decided to grow my own goddamn extensions. But where to start?

I’ve used Rapid Lash in the past and actually gotten decent results. It provided crazy length, but not much in the way of volume. I have also used castor oil on my lashes for years but that was really the extent of my efforts. I decided to throw a little more money in this time (Rapid Lash runs about $35). I have seen and heard about great results from Lash Boost, by Rodan and Fields but it also retails for $155. No way man. Grande Lash MD lands somewhere in the middle at $65 so I decided to give it a shot when it hit Haute Look for $50.

Here are the results!

*Disclaimer – To be fair, my eyelashes weren’t terrible to begin with. And I also did not take proper “before” shots.

Before

During 

After

sorry about the nostrils

 

I think the results are pretty amazing. And even though I did not look super cute in my after-baby pics (click here to see those) I am pretty satisfied with the results.

Have YOU ever used a lash serum? What are your thoughts?

Spring Makeup Haul

Hello dumplin’ flowers!

Spring is in the air isn’t it? I can always tell because without warning my nose starts itching like a sonofagun and drip-drip-drips like a leaky faucet. It is bittersweet, that feeling of a looming allergy attack mixed with the burst of pure glee from 2 hour pockets of 65 degree sunshiney weather! Bring it on.

And with the change of seasons always comes the downpour of new products. Here are some recent purchases I thought I would share.

ColourPop Super Shock Eyeshadow in Ladybird

 

 

This shade and formula is just mesmerizing. SO much pigment and super fine glitter packed into a velvety, almost creamy consistency. I cannot quit these shadows. They are too good.

L’Oreal Shake and Glow Dew Mist

I bought a little bottle of this based off a recommendation from my seester Megan. I can confirm that it is in fact a new favorite and a full sized version will be purchased. It does exactly what it claims to do, providing a gorgeous dewy finish to the skin. Plus it smells amazing!

Essence Extreme Lasting Eye Pencil in Blacklove

This I purchased based off a recommendation from Kristin Gehm. She uses all kinds of super high-end makeup, yet this $3 pencil remains her holy grail water line eyeliner. I had to give it a shot and I can confirm that it STAYS PUT in the water line and is also great as typical eyeliner too. It is richly black and glides on with ease.

Essence Make me Brow in Blonde

This was a re-purchase. I really like this little eyebrow gel. It is nicely tinted and the color is perfect for me. It is great for those days where I do not have time to do a full brow but is also wonderful as a last step when I am doing a full brow.

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist

This little stinker was a b*tch to track down! I have wanted a tanning water ever since Sephora discontinued their gradual self tanning water that I loved. I strongly dislike applying self-tan lotions, mousses or gels to my face because I always feel like they are too intense. I loved the “gradual” aspect of the Sephora brand one, and I could apply it with a cotton pad like you would a toner. When I saw that St. Tropez had a “water-based” face mist, I knew I wanted to try it. So far, I really like it. Of course it is a cinch to apply and the color is not too intense at all.

Elf Camo Concealer

I am considering doing a full review of this stuff, for all the hype it has received. At this point, I can confirm it is a bulletproof, super high-coverage formula. It is like paint. It dries super quickly and is quite troublesome to blend. It is very drying (read: I DO NOT set it with a powder) but is also wearable with a good eye cream underneath. The jury’s still out on whether or not I love it or hate it, but one thing is for sure – it’s a $5 concealer that will cover ANYTHING.

And that’s all for now! xoxo

Baby and Me – 3 Month Update

Hello chickens.

So, I am crying as I type this. If you think the hormones have left for good now that she is 3 months old WELL THINK AGAIN. David is currently packing up his makeshift workstation that has been the eyesore of our kitchen the past 3 months. A mess I begged him to tidy about 37642 times. And now that he is, I am a weepy, sullen mess. Why? Because David is going back to work full time tomorrow. He has been part time these past few months and has been able to work from home. And even though I have been the primary caregiver, shuffling around the house in my bathrobe and slippers, his presence has been a welcome one. Calming. He is my buddy. And he helps me with our precious girl.

And now he is packing it up. Our little cocoon of comfort and familiarity is being ripped apart. Tomorrow I will be alone. No longer able to shout out, “She just puked down my shirt!” and have David’s booming laughter fill the house in response. I suppose some women might rejoice in having the house to themselves when their partner goes back to work BUT NOT ME. I love my partner and rely on him so much.

So the next two weeks will be just C and me. I am pretty excited to have a little more time with her before my epic return to work mid-April. Which bring me to my first official topic. Ok, wiping away the tears now and pouring myself some wine. brb.

CHILDCARE.

This is a place I sincerely wish it did not have to go to. A place that, upon touring, breaks my heart. A place I will feel guilty about EVERY SINGLE DAY.  A little place called Day Currr.

David and I have toured everything from the creme de la creme with an infant “curriculum” at $1,700/monthly, to the fluorescent lights and poop-stained carpet place  at $1,250/monthly. And TBH, not a whole lot separates the two besides the following factors:

  1. Cleanliness, obviously.
  2. Quality of care takers.
  3. Niceness of facility.

These things of course, are all vastly important. But they ALL are forced by law to adhere to a bunch of rules making the differences things that just make you, the parent, will only worry about. Clara won’t know if she is in the Taj Mahal or in a tent under the freeway. It’s all about appeasing US, the parents. Making us feel less guilty about leaving our sweet baby for 8 hours a every day.

Anyway, the whole issue just has me reeling. Before I had a baby, I always thought I would be one of those people who could easily go back to work after 3 months. I predicted I would CRAVE going back. And in some ways, I do. I love my job, my company, and especially the friendships I have. I miss the adult interaction, exercising my brain in a different way and putting on actual pants. But in the same breath, I am absolutely gutted at the idea of not being with Clara. Like, it actually makes me feel sick. The thought of leaving my tiny baby everyday has me feeling eviscerated, anxious and guilty. So here I am. Stuck in a glass case of emotion ala Ron Burgundy. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone. That so many parents struggle with this and get through it. I’ve been told to wear waterproof mascara for the first few days back. But the way I can cry, I might need a Tyvek suit.

I digress. Here is more randomness about my physical state:

I am officially out of the woods in the pain department.  And I feel back to my normal self again. I feel able to do mostly everything I was able to do before getting pregnant, with the following exceptions:

  • Running (only attempted this once)
  • The ability to easily touch my toes (flexibility = GONE. sayonara all the progress I made in yoga)
  • Easily walking uphill (SO. WINDED)

On the flip side though and looking at things GLASS HALF FULL…

  • I drink way more water now #milkmaid
  • My arms are getting stronger #babyholding
  • It only takes me one glass of wine to get a little buzzed #cheapdate

Moving onto all things baby!

And  I am not going to act like any of this is earth-shattering news. I mean, she is a human baby. They all pretty much do they same crap. I’m not about that “my 3 month-old’s favorite activities include” life. We’re just living our lives over here.

Let’s let the pictures tell a story, as they do.

Tummy Time! haaaates it

Optimal Burping Position

E set them up to watch TV together like this.

Unicorn hat and Zutano Fleece Booties from Nana

Fun with Snapchat

 

Wonder Woman bb

BB Denim

This photobombing little boy deserves a slow clap

First Blazers Game

 

Let us now move onto sleep. A topic I am leery to write about because I feel I must knock on wood each and every time I utter these words out loud, let alone on THE NET but here it is…our girl is a great sleeper. Since the day she was born. I mean, of course we had our nights of up being up every 2 hours. Of taking hours to get her to fall asleep. But those nights have been few. And nights where we all get 5,6 and sometimes even 7-9 hour chunks are the norm. Hip hop hooray. Sleep is awesome.

Other than that, everything is fairly normal. She eats. She naps. She smiles and “talks” to us. She farts like an absolute champ. She has a little bald spot on the back of her head. I am obsessed with her in every sense of the word. I am head over heels in love with my husband and stepdaughter. E absolutely adores her sister and is so gentle and sweet with her. David balances her in one hand while I scream at him.

Life is good you guys. Life is good.

Clara’s Nursery Tour

Good day crumpets!

I would like to start this out by saying that I am emphatically against “room tours” in the typical sense of the word. You know the ones. Those we see on YouTube or Instagram, flexing $2,000 Restoration Hardware cribs and linens worth more than a car payment that are NOT real life. They are meant to make us normal people feel bad. So bad, in fact, that I can no longer go inside Pottery Barn Kids without breaking a sweat and feeling guilty that I cannot provide this picture perfectness for my kid.

Is this just me?

When our 3rd bedroom was finished (it was a loft space prior), I started having minor palpitations about how I would decorate it. What “theme” should I pick? Should I stick with my go-to Shabby Chic taste?  Or should I aim for one of those cool, Instagram, minimalist, gender neutral style spaces?

How much money did I really want to spend on this room?

The answer: NOT MUCH.

I decided to let things happen naturally. Paint the walls a color that will stand the test of time. Fill this room with things we love,  that evoke nostalgia and that make us think, “Clara will love this”. So here we are…here’s her room.

Crib from a friend! Woohoo!

All the bedding as well as the mobile is from Target’s Shabby Chic line. The patterns are TO DIE. Apologies for the super wrinkly crib skirt. The blanket draped over the crib was a gift that my friend’s mom made. The big flowers are from Hobby Lobby. They were inspired by the $50 versions I saw and died over at Pottery Barn Kids:

This ballerina fitted crib sheet is also Shabby Chic from Target!

Can you handle theeee cuteness of these little stuffies?

This changing table is Ikea, but we got it from Offer Up for $70.

All her little shoes make me so happy. Especially the Toki Doki Donutella moccasins!

How sweet is this little music box? It was a gift from David’s aunt Sandi who got it in Vietnam.

This is a bouncy chair from Ikea and it is super comfy. The little Clara chair is actually from Pottery Barn Kids and was a gift from my amazing work.

The swan bust is amazing! It is from Target and I love it.

This is a Madame Alexander doll. I also have a set of Little Women dolls from Madame Alexander which I want to get up on a shelf.

Mostly all the stuffies in her room were gifts. The Jellycat ones are SO soft and wonderful.

The other little cove of the room has a couch and TV. So far it has been awesome to have in there and E loves hanging in here to watch her shows. Also LOVE the Pusheen pillow :).

UPDATE: My mom sewed blackout curtains on the back of these Parisian panels  David’s mom got us that we have had for awhile. The work perfectly in this room!

And that’s it! She is not sleeping in here quite yet but we are all ready to go. I have loved decorating this little space for her!

Hard Candy Spring Collection Haul

Hi there gerber daisies!

And who is ready for Spring?! Of course you know I am. Unfortunately I live in Portland, where we experience a seemingly endless gray drizzle most of the year. Of course right now it is the worst and so begins my annual let’s-move-to-Scottsdale Arizona rant. Do I know anyone in Scottsdale? NO. Have I ever been to Scottsdale? NO. Would I move there in the blink of an eye after 4 months of nonstop rain and the relentless use of a Happy Light? Why, YES. Yes I would.

One of the only things that keeps me sane during these endless rain-fests is the promise of beautiful Portland summers. And recently, I was sent a lovely box of brand spanking new Hard Candy goodies from the spring collection. What a way to lighten up a dark Portland day!

Here are the goods!

Baked Powder Highlighting Trio in Make the First Mauve

This highlighting trio comes with three shades that create a beautiful, sculpted, glowy cheek! This set also comes with a brush which is really reat quality.

Overall I really like this product. I used the farthest right shade as a blush, the middle shade as a cheek-topper on the apples of my cheeks and the far left shade as a traditional highlight. The effect is gorgeous.

Stroke of Gorgeous 12-Hour Smudge Proof Felt Tip Eyeliner

I have not tried this eyeliner yet but I promise to report back!

Sheer Envy Redness Relief Face Serum

I do not have much trouble with redness but I am sure this will come in handy during the summer months! Green Tea and Cucumber would be so soothing! I plan to actually put this stuff in the fridge and use it cold.

Just Glow All Over Body Luminizer

First of all, this product smells AMAZING. Beachy, coconutty and fresh. It comes with a pump and it absorbed into the skin nicely, comparable to a light body oil/gel hybrid. It does leave behind a subtle sparkle

Swatched:

Glitteratzi Glitter and Chrome Eyeshadow Duo in Mercury Rising

This product is really stunning! The “chrome” end is super opaque and a really gorgeous rose gold shade. The glitter is SUPER beautiful and comparable to the Stila Glitter and Glow maybe just a little bit less saturated. But at $7 a pop, I might have to pick up a couple more of these colors!

I am so excited to continue to use these products into the spring. Maybe if I start now, it will happen sooner!

Thanks again Hard Candy! Check out or purchase these products by clicking here. #hardcandylyfe