Benefits of Bed Rest The Doctor Didn't Mention

Bed rest has not been easy. To go from normal life to laying down all the time literally overnight (I was sending emails and making calls from the hospital!) has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. I've learned that I like to be in control, so letting go has been quite tough. As my weeks of strict bed rest start to wind down, there are some perks to laying down all day that I will miss.

This counts as strict bed rest. I was laying down!
  1. You have a great excuse about why you can't do anything. This one's pretty obvious. Is there a household chore you hate doing? A social event you really want to avoid? "Sorry, I can't. I'm on strict bed rest." It has been a get out of jail free card of sorts. But then again, I've missed (and will be missing) some great events...
  2. Great excuse to grow your hair out. My hair has gotten long. It's well past the middle of my back when it's wavy and even longer when it is straight. It's Kardashian long, but real. This is what happens when you've got pregnancy hormones flowing and cannot leave the house to get a trim. I know most of my luscious locks will be history post partum when the shedding begins, but I will certainly enjoy them now!
  3. Bye bye hot tools. This kind of goes with the above. I have blow dried & straightened my hair once in the 10+ weeks I've been on bed rest. Once in over 10 weeks is some kind of a new record for me, especially considering that I would straighten at least once a week previously. I bet it is contributing to my hair length as well. I've also learned how to embrace the wave: how much of what product to put in, how to keep it looking great on the second day after washing it, etc.
  4. You learn who is there for you when you're in a bind. I have to say that this bed rest has really shown me who I can lean on when times get rough, and the answers have been eye opening. I have barely heard from some friends in 10 weeks, while others have really stepped up to be there for my family and I. Whether it's bringing us a meal, coming over with food to spend their lunch break with me just because, or even a text every few days to see how I am doing, I'm very thankful for those this experience has brought forward. Sure, I get that everyone's busy with their own lives and family, but how long does it take to send a text message when you're updating your FB? It was quite a rude awakening for me at first and I'm certain I'm still bitter about it, but I'm glad it has happened.
  5. You can get lots of reading done. From old issues of Mothering magazine to books on breastfeeding, I've done quite a bit of reading lately. In fact, it is the most reading that I've done in years. I think it is the third most amount of reading I've done (1 is college, 2 is reading while pumping at work). I know I won't the opportunity to do this much uninterrupted reading again for a long, long time, and I've certainly enjoyed it.
  6. Naps. I took three naps yesterday because I could. Three naps. Just because I was tired and wanted to close my eyes. Pregnancy has made me exhausted. Pregnancy insomnia makes it even worse. I'm glad I can sleep as needed. I am definitely enjoying it now. I know I won't be doing this after the baby is born!

Things I Like - 2013 Edition

This is my third year doing this list (check out 2011's list or 2012's list) and it's really a few of my favorite purchases from this year. This year's list doesn't have any breastfeeding items on it, but next year's list will!

Things I Bought & Liked in 2013

    Things I Bought & Liked in 2013
  1. Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer My previous concealer was very drying and would feather by 10am. This concealer is exactly what I need for my heavy dark circles: it's full coverage and very moisturizing. A little dot goes a long way when used with a foundation brush. Cost of concealer: $24. The cost of looking awake every day when I am exhausted: priceless.
  2. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner My sister introduced me to this product when she accidentally left hers at my house after a visit. Her loss was definitely my gain. I am afraid of liquid eyeliner that involves a very thin brush and a pot of makeup, but this is practically idiot proof. This liquid eyeliner is in a very thin pen making it a lot more user friendly for those of us who aren't adept with thin brushes. It's available in a wide variety of colors. I picked up black for everyday wear and one in Cobalt (a bright electric blue) for when I wanted to change it up a little. NYX Cosmetics makes a similar product, but it is not water or sweat proof like Stila's product is.
  3. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream I love it because it evens my skin tone and helps hide marks. It costs less than $10 and is available just about everywhere. I put it on as a base (no moisturizer) and then use concealer on top for my dark circles and/or dark spots. It lasts all day, but does rub off if I wipe my mouth or blow my nose.
  4. Rose Gold Name Plate Necklace I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw when I asked for and received a nameplate necklace for my birthday. I asked for it in a rose gold finish since I'm still obsessing about that finish. The website it was purchased from is ridiculously overpriced, but I found a group discount deal online that lowered the price significantly.

Those are my 5 favorite things I bought. What'd you buy this year that you absolutely love?

My Summer Beauty Top 10

It's been a little while since I've done a post on beauty products I'm using and really like. To me, the start of summer means vibrant colors, using my heat styling tools less frequently, and a natural look for every day.

  1. Batiste powder shampoo: great dry shampoo, it's even available in tinted versions to match your hair color!
  2. RiRi Woo: this hot shade is from the RiRi Hearts MAC lipstick collection and was gifted to me by my sister. I've only worn it a few times, but received a TON of compliments on it.
  3. Josie Maran Argan Oil: I've been using this for some time now, but it works wonders for my hair, especially for my color damaged ends. I've tried lower priced argan oils, but they tend to have a strange smell to them that even my lavender essential oil can't mask.
  4. BaByliss PRO Nano Titanium flat iron: my Chi died earlier this year, leaving me with wavy hair for months. I broke down and bought this iron after my good friend and hairstylist used hers on me. My thick hair stays amazingly straight for days and when used in conjunction with #1, I can make my at-home blowouts last for 4 days even in the TX heat without even having to touch up my hair.
  5. Essie's Turqoise & Caicos: one of my favorite colors for summertime hands and feet. Looks amazing against bronzed skin and is a nice cool change from the corals and oranges I typically wear.
  6. Tarte Maracuja Creasless Concealer: this stuff changed my life. Not kidding. The high end concealer I was using before would leave my under eye area dry and cakey by 10am. This stuff is very rich and moisturizing (a little dab covers a lot!), and stays put all day and night.
  7. Sephora Collection Cream Rouge lipstick in Mr. Lover: a bright fuschia that is perfect for a day or night pop of color.
  8. Stila Stay All Day waterproof liquid eyeliner: it does everything its name says. While I used to use NYX's Skinny Eyeliner for a perfect cat eye, it wasn't waterproof and would start to drip down my face within a few hours. This stays put and is available in fun colors like mint, navy blue, and hunter green, in addition to black.
  9. Garnier Oil Free BB Cream: has a great matte finish and more coverage than the BB cream I was previously using. A little bit goes a long way for this big tube!
  10. Essie's Mint Candy Apple: this is an all-time favorite color. I wear it year-round and always get tons of compliments.
What are your summer beauty favorites?

Step into Spring

Spring has sprung here in Texas: it has hailed, the temperature has fluctuated drastically, and my allergies are going haywire. Now that it is light outside for longer, it's time for me to put away the dark and rich makeup of winter and update my looks for spring. Here are a few of my favorite spring beauty trends. All are wearable for moms, whether they are going to work, running errands with a toddler, or heading out for a special night.

  • Cat eye. I've talked about my love of cat eye sunglasses and it extends to having a little fun with eyeliner. Think more Brigitte Bardot and less Amy Winehouse.
    For every day wear: consider doing a "kitten eye" instead of a traditional cat eye. Angelina Jolie often wears a more understated cat eye, as seen here.

    For a night out: try a cat eye with colored liner like this one. Make sure to use plenty of mascara to amp up those lashes!
    Tools of the trade: I'm not very adept with liquid eyeliner. I cheat by using Nyx Super Skinny Eye Marker. For better (easy to clean up mistakes) or for worse (don't cry!) it is not waterproof, but has great staying power if used with an eye shadow primer.

    Sephora Collection Nano Eyeliner is great because it comes in a variety of colors and is only $5. It's very pigmented and great quality.

  • Matte lips. Personally, I don't think that lip gloss will be going out of style in the near future. It is fun to play with matte lipstick. Because it doesn't have a shiny finish to it, you don't need to worry about catching your hair in your lips thanks to a warm spring breeze. Matte lipsticks and stains tend to pack quite a wallop in the pigment department (even some drug store brands), so a little goes a long way.
    For every day wear: Go with a nude or soft pink. Something natural with a slight flush of color.
    Not for the faint of heart: Try a coral or orange, both of which will be huge for spring and summer. If you've got cool undertones, look at a blue hued pink.

    Alexis Bleidel wears a kitten eye with a hot pink lip, great look for date night!

    Tools of the trade: I wrote a post earlier this year about Revlon's ColorBurst Lip Butter. They come in a wide range of colors and are very good quality for their price. They're very pigmented and keep lips pretty moist. Raspberry Pie is a gorgeous fuschia that gets me compliments every time I wear it. Sugar Plum Fairy is a great every day color on my warm complexion.

  • Nice buns. Buns are huge this year. They're all over Pintrest's hair and beauty section. I've seen different kinds of buns: the ballerina bun, the sock bun, and the top knot. All seem relatively easy to do and lend an air of sophistication to any outfit.
    For every day wear: The neater the better, especially for work. If you're looking for a more casual look for day, check out this messy top knot. It looks pretty easy to do, and the messier the knot the better.

    For a night out: The sock bun! How cute is it?

    Tools of the trade: The basics necessities: hair tie, some bobby pins, hairspray, and a comb. Oh and to know how to style your hair so it doesn't look like a dog took a dump on it.
    There are a million bun tutorials out there, but I like the ones from Hello Giggles and Hitha on the Go. The Beauty Department has a lot of great bun tutorials and some build off of each other. One of my favorites is the fun bun.

What beauty trend are you looking forward to playing with this spring?

OOTD: Date Night

D and I try to go on date nights once or twice a month. It's usually a quick dinner out once E has fallen asleep. This week was a little different. Rather than going to our local Chili's/On the Border/casual dining restaurant, we decided I persuaded him to go to a new upscale sushi restaurant.

Earlier in the day, I had gotten my hair done from my hair stylist BFF earlier in the day and was feeling pretty darn good. Serendipitously, a dress I had ordered and forgotten about came in the same day (a few days earlier than scheduled!) and it fit perfectly. The stars aligned and I looked and felt like a million bucks. I apologize for the crappy quality of these pics - my cell phone camera was the only handy camera at the time.

Dress: Asos Curve
Shoes: Christian Louboutin "Nappa", June 2009 (similar)

Clutch: Express, Fall 2008 (similar 1, similar 2)
Cuff: I can't remember, I've had it forever (similar)
Nail polish: Essie "Mint Candy Apple"

The Itch

I'm feeling that itch again. No, I don't mean that not so fresh feeling. I want to change something drastic about my appearance. You know the one. The last time I felt it was 2007 and I cut off almost all my hair. I went from this:

to this:

Don't get me wrong, I loved that haircut. It's probably my favorite haircut I've had. I often think about getting it again, but then remember it's been 4 years since Posh Spice wore it. I've been growing my hair out ever since, and constantly cutting it. I even wanted to cut it mid-pregnancy, but my stylist convinced me otherwise. She said that I would want long hair during labor and that I should wait. She was right.

My hair now is almost as long as it was in that before picture. I had a friend put ombre-esque highlights in it. I say ombre-esque because while they're not true ombre, they definitely have that grown out highlights look. I like them and would want to keep them through summer. So hair color is out. I don't really want to cut all my hair off again because I know I'll regret it. So a cut is out.

Help me, friends. What's a quick way to change up my look?? What do YOU do when you get the itch?