I love this time of year, when the mailbox is joyfully stuffed with the gorgeous faces of people I love. Every single card we've received this year has been beautiful, festive and creative. That said, there are plenty of pitfalls us overzealous holiday moms can fall into when it comes to sending out cards. Allow me to illustrate some of most prevalent holiday card misfires (courtesy of awkwardfamilyphotos.com):
Now that my baby is almost 11 months old, I'm getting medieval on these last 10 pounds. I just saw a photo of Heidi Klum six weeks after giving birth, and it made me simultaneously curse my genes and decide to fight them tooth and nail. So I started in the most obvious place: calorie counting. I went online and started looking up calorie counts for some of the things I'm eating on a regular basis. Which is how I came to the realization that us moms need a calorie counting chart all our own. I mean, when was the last time you consumed a lunch of "grilled chicken and salad"? Or "salmon on a bed of cous cous"? So here. I've done the research. And it's come to this: the (first-ever?) guide to calorie counting for moms.
Crusts of PB&J sandwich: 100 calories (+/- 20 cal. depending on just how much of the good stuff is oozing into them)
Two (very large) spoonfuls of mac and cheese lunch just "to taste": 50 calories
String cheese that I put in my bag for the kids but got hungry and ate: 80 calories
3-4 waffle bites left on the breakfast plate (with butter and syrup): 35 calories
1 slice of mozzarella quesadilla on whole wheat tortilla, because it's "too big" to serve: 125 calories
Hot dogs: 15 calories per "slice" if I cut the hot dog into 10 slices
Evil, evil Pirate's Booty: 50 calories a handful (I can get a lot in my hand)
Handful of almonds (probably my most regular lunch): 400 (!!!) calories
Wine, wine, and more wine once they go to bed: 125 calories a glass
So here's how it's going to go. More grilled chicken rather than in its nugget state, less cheese, less almonds as a meal replacement, more steering clear of peanut butter, and, as much as it kills me, less glasses of wine.
Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to go eat a slab of cheese with peanut butter and down it with a half bottle of chardonnay.
Oh, my fellow unfrumpers, how long it's been. I'm starting to think my to-do list is rivaling Santa's. There's so much frump in the world to discuss, and so little time to do it. So, while I work on christmas shopping/card buying/house decorating/child rearing/unfrumping/nailing a giant work assignment, allow me to turn you on to a few sites I've been loving lately. As you'll see, they dovetail quite nicely into my general theme.
This almost makes me want to shop at Walmart, just for the people watching. ALMOST, I said. www.peopleofwalmart.com
Especially appropriate this time of year—the horrifying family photo. Now I just need to find an entire blog dedicated to hair-raising Christmas letters. (Note: I especially recommend "LOL Cats" and "The Skivvies") www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com
At my daughter's soccer practice recently (or whatever you call it when they're three), I found myself intrigued by a couple of outfit choices made by parents.
Case #1: Mismatched mom frump
At first glance, this woman doesn't look so terribly frumpy. But oh, please do look again. On top she's wearing flannel, which I hear is making a comeback. My personal feelings about flannel aside, so far so good. Now let's take a look at her pants. You might need to click on the picture to see this, but those are brown pinstripe work pants. Anne Taylor pants. Talbot's pants. Dress Barn pants. Is this perplexing to anyone else? You're taking your kid to soccer at the park and you toss on your SLACKS? There's nothing easy or comfortable or park-like about pinstripe pants. I figure it's the result of one of two scenarios: She's going to work after soccer and has the matching brown pinstripe blazer in the car, or she pulled on whatever pants were on the floor from the day before. Either way, perplexing.
Case #2: Overzealous dad frump
Did I make myself clear that this soccer class is for three year olds? If not, allow me to describe some of the "drills". Child dribbles soccer ball and pretends to "send a package" through two cones (the ball), whereupon parent says, "Oh look! You sent me an elephant (or whatever silly thing you want to say)!" Child dribbles ball to flag and pretends to "blow out the candles on a birthday cake". Fun, yes. Requiring the services of an entire professional-level soccer uniform? Hardly.
My friend Katherine sent me a message on Facebook with this request:
Can you weigh in on when/where/how/under what circumstances suburba-mom should also dress up for Halloween?
Oh boy do I love me a request! So, without any further delay, let's explore this suburban minefield.
Rule #1 (because I couldn't agree more, Katherine): Catwoman suits should be reserved only for women who look like Michele Pfeiffer and Halle Berry. And you know who looks like Michele Pfeiffer and Halle Berry? Michele Pfeiffer and Halle Berry. Know who doesn't? Khloe Kardashian.
Rule #2 Please do not use this occasion as an excuse to explore your inner sex worker. If you really must, there are street fairs for that in San Francisco that are far more appropriate for cleavage and ass cheeks than suburban sidewalks.
Rule #3 Don't wear anything that could injure others at the school parade.
Rule #4 Think about your natural shape before you decide to dress up as, say, a pumpkin or a sumo wrestler.
Rule #5 Scary costumes can be good, but keep in mind that I'll still be thinking about you dressed as a zombie eating brains next time I see you at playgroup.
Rule #6 Too much costume and too little costume are equally undesirable. I learned this the hard way when, in a total rookie mom maneuver, I showed up to work in my daughter's classroom on Friday and wasn't dressed up. She was, but I kind of didn't realize I should. The other moms were in cute, festive costumes and I felt like a loser party pooper. Oh wait... maybe that was my costume. I was dressed up as a loser party pooper.
Rule #7 It can be cute to coordinate with your child (I've seen some cute ideas like chicken and egg, lion and lion tamer, etc.) but please please please don't match. By the way, this is true ALWAYS.
So, let's recap. By all means, dress up. But try not to make it too sexy, too crazy, too baggy or too freaky. Don't try too hard and don't try too little. Remember that you have to do functional things in your costume, like walk, talk and pee. And have fun! (Actually doesn't sound too different from any day of dressing to be a mom, does it?)
On this SPOOKY Halloween evening, I thought I'd share a horror story happening right here at home, nightly. My little 9 month old goblin wakes up every night at 4 am, pretty much without fail, with a diaper full of BOO. Seriously? I mean, I'm all for regularity, but what's with the timing? That Bob Seger song "Night Moves" has now taken on a whole new meaning to me. So, when I'm out with the little ones trick or treating, I just want to be on the record that NO, I am not dressed as a heavyweight boxer or Madeline Albright, those are real, actual bags under my eyes. Happy Halloween!
Why, if you happen to be a 6 foot 5 inch man with a beer belly, would you rock a mullet down to the middle of your back and wear fleece pajama pants with the "Family Guy" baby and the word "Evil" on them as daywear?
WHY WHY WHY OH GOD WHY do so many moms wear sandals with socks?
These are just a few things that are hurting my brain (and eyeballs) today.
The other day, my sweet husband came home with some Kiehl's self-tanner for me, since he knows I swear by it. Apparently, he was also given some samples—as I found a tiny little tub of something from Kiehl's called "Facial Fuel" in our medicine cabinet. I love the name of this stuff—it's so clearly aimed at men. Us women will buy things called "Superpeptide Vitamin Collagen Anti-Aging Enhancer" thinking that all those fancy words will somehow translate into "no wrinkles". But men? No. They just need it to say, "Good stuff for your face" and they're pretty much sold. Throw in a reference to something flammable and it's a slam dunk.
So I dab a little bit of this stuff on my cheeks and... HELLO! GOOD MORNING! GUTENTAG! HOT DOG! It was a like a little caffeine rush to my face. There's something in this stuff that makes it feel like you've just stepped out into a frigid morning breeze from the neck up. Suffice to say, it's a darn good way to start the day, especially when you've spent half the night lulling children into various states of rest. See, skin care professionals assume (rightly) that they have about 3.5 seconds to grab a man's attention or else they're never going to stick to a skin care regime. Women, on the other hand, will loyally and diligently slog through day after day and night after night of a routine because someone promised us that we "may see results after six weeks".
So here's my hypothesis—MEN'S FACIAL PRODUCTS KICK ASS. Their typical lack of attention span and general disinterest in self-beautification means that any product geared towards them is going to have to work hard, and work fast. As an exhausted, time-starved mom, this is exactly what I want out of my skin care. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!
Of course, now I want to try other men's skin stuff and see if it blows all my stuff out of the water. I'll either make more great new discoveries, or I'll grow a beard. Either way, of course I'll tell you about it.
You heard me. I did. Why? Because the lawn needed mowing and that's what I was wearing. See, here's the problem about being a mom. There is simply not one good outfit to cover all the things you need to do in one day. Today, my day consisted of a doctor appointment for my baby, school drop off and pick up for my preschooler, a couple of errands and, as it happens, a lawn mow. I mean, what is the perfect outfit for all of that? Technically, I suppose it would be overalls and a gardening hat. But I don't own either of those (thank god in heaven). So I picked jeans over yoga pants as a sign of respect for the doctor, a cute sweater to make up for the fact that I barely had on any makeup and hadn't done my hair, and topped it all off with my omnipresent big sunglasses. So if that's what I ended up mowing the lawn in, so be it. I'm sure my neighbors got a chuckle out of it.
The other day, I was standing in line behind a mom at Starbucks. She was pushing a stroller and had on a cute workout outfit. All good. But then I got a gander at her hair. It was brown, except for where it was gray. Gray, gray, gray, having a field day on top of her head. I cannot stress enough that nothing ages a woman more than gray hair. And yet, it's pretty much inevitable. BELIEVE ME I know it's hard to keep up with hair maintenance -- whether it's coloring it or styling it or removing it from unsightly places. But there are aisles and aisles of products at the drugstore that can help you in this matter—quickly, and cheaply.
For those of you who are DIY-haircolor virgins, I know what you're thinking. What if it looks bad? Well, I suppose you are taking that risk, but it's not like having the top of your head look like an aged chinchilla is any better. And if you pick a shade that's close to your haircolor, it's pretty much bulletproof. I mean, they don't get Sarah Jessica Parker and Eva Longoria to pimp this stuff for nothing.
Many heartfelt apologies for my prolonged absence... not quite sure where all that time went. I have much to report on, but let me begin with something I saw today that made the blogger in me sing with glee. It was an abundantly pregnant mom walking across the street with three children of various ages. She wore skin-tight, acid-wash, capri-length jeans (I think just one of those would have been bad enough, the combo of all, on such a very pregnant woman, was mind boggling, as you can imagine) as well as a tank top that left nothing to the imagination. (Trust me, I tried. Hard.) As she crossed the street, a car made a turn in front of her and her kids. It was a really, really stupid maneuver on the part of the driver. I would have been pretty livid myself had it happened to me. But I'm not quite sure I would have handled it as she did, which was to rear back all god-knows-how-many-pounds-of -her, scream until she was red in the face (with a child holding onto each hand and one in tow) and then unceremoniously drop the hand of one child and unfurl the middle finger right in the middle of the crosswalk. Have you ever seen a 12-month pregnant woman in acid wash jeans with three other children fly the bird in public? It's kind of a religious experience.
It's always more fun to start with the don'ts, isn't it?
I took my daughter to the park last week and boy, did we stumble upon a nice frump specimen. I fear that my photographic skills aren't quite up to snuff, so let me give you a description of the frump you are about to witness. (If you could see me now, I'm rubbing my hands together in anticipation.)
Why YES, that IS a t-shirt with wooden-beaded fringe hanging all along the sleeves and bottom, a la Bo Derek's hair in "10". And yes AGAIN, that IS a strangely erect visor worn underNEATH the hair, making it look all the more like a mushroom. No, I don't know quite what's going on with the pants, though the fabric reminds me of the bedspread my parents had on their waterbed in the 70's. I won't take too much time with the shoes, because I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume they're corrective. And the backpack? Well, at least it's not a fanny pack, but it's a strange accessory to everything else that's going on. In fact, maybe that's what bothers me the most about this outfit - every part of it seems like it belongs on someone else. It's like her head is playing tennis, her torso is watching Flashdance, her legs are heading to Miami Beach circa 1975, her feet are doing some nursing and her back is holding shrunken heads on a trek across Africa.
Ok, ok, now for a do.
My (very unfrumpy) friend sent me this pic of Manhattan Beach moms at the park. Let's all breathe a nice sigh of relief. Cute, unstudied, pulled-back hair. Big, dark sunglasses (thus allowing for the lack of eye makeup, if so desired). Comfy, beachy flip-flops. No unsightly lumps, peek-a-boo thongs, or, for that matter, asses. NO BEADED FRINGE. And, for the piece de resistance, shorts that match the stroller.
Honestly, it seems to me that the first look would be harder to pull off. Where exactly does one find go to find "Bo Derek chic" in modern-day America? Maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.
It's small. It's powerful. It's battery-operated. It looks like a vibrator, but I assure you that it's far more exciting and useful.
It's my face shaver.
Not sure when it started, but one day a few years back while I was pregnant with my daughter, I looked in the mirror and saw a fuzzy goat face looking back at me. Now, I'm lucky because my facial hair is fair, but that doesn't make it any less thick and goat-like. I don't have to bleach it, but I damn sure have to remove it.
That's where the Lumina "Finishing Touch" comes in. (Don't you just love that name? It's such a euphemism. I live in a world in which "finishing my touch" really translates into "shaving my face.") But oh, how I love it.
You literally brush it over your face, and watch as tufts (actual tufts!) of hair fall into your sink. God, it's satisfying. It even has a little light, so you can see the fuzzless tracks appearing on your face. Now, I know what you're thinking: Doesn't shaving your face make the hair come back even worse? But see, I don't understand this argument. First of all, I haven't noticed that effect. But secondly (and more importantly), doesn't this only matter if you're planning on only shaving once and never again? Because if the goal is to continue the hair removal (and I can't see why it wouldn't be), then really, who cares if the hair gets thicker and/or worse? Plus, if this theory were true, I'd run out tomorrow and shave my head so next time around I'd have better hair.
Normally my daughter goes to swim class on Saturday mornings with my husband, but yesterday he wasn't feeling great, so we sent in the second string. Me. I suited us both up and off we went.
It wasn't so much the Land's End swim suit. I get it that it's hard to find cute options when you're trying to hide a few extra lbs. (Though Old Navy and Target do it better, cuter and cheaper. Just saying.)
It wasn't so much the 4-day underarm growth. It's toddler swim class, after all, so maybe there wasn't a lot of effort made. Or maybe her razor was destroyed in a freak shower accident.
Because what did send me home from swim class with a severe case of PTSD was the TWO INCHES of pubic hair emerging from either side of her suit and making a slow descent down her legs.
Wax. Shave. Nair. Thread. Tweeze. Electrolysize. Rip 'em out one by one by hand if you must. But please, please, please deforest yourself before wearing a swimsuit in public. Do I really have to say this?
UPDATE 9/9/09: In case anyone didn't believe me, my husband verified the existence of Sascrotch at last week's swim lesson. Think there's a swim cap for that?
Apparently, I'm having some issues with my comments section, which sucks because I love comments! Don't give up on me, friends. I will set aside my technophobia long enough to lick this embarrassing problem. Keep trying!
UPDATE: Seems to be working now! Keep the comments coming... I love 'em!
So, I posted here a while ago about unfrumpy moms requiring a hairdo. (As in, one that has an actual name like "The Shag" or "The Bob" or "Posh Spice".) After doing some heavy duty research into the matter (namely, sitting at Starbucks, witnessing moms of both the frumpy and unfrumpy variety order lattes), I've decided to back off of my former position a bit.
The reason? I've seen a lot of just plain old shoulder length or long hair that looks great on moms—both on my friends and just out and about. But, as always, here's the caveat. 1. You must have great hair. (I know this, because I don't.) 2. You must wash and brush said hair.
Long hair is both a blessing and a curse. If you can carry it off, then by all means, do so. But realize that—just as driving a car requires a license—there's some responsibility at play here. Far too often in momdom I've seen long hair turn into a mass of unkempt frizz perched atop a frazzled-looking face. I'm talking about parts that wander aimlessly, grays that are screaming to be covered, and levels of dirtiness that approach homelessness. Or, at the very least, just a sad, limp mess.
I've also seen hair that looks lustrous and healthy, shiny and Farrah-Fawcett-gorgeous. (If I sound envious, it's because I am. Deeply.) It just requires a modicum of upkeep. Like washing, not necessarily every day, just as often as your particular grease levels indicate. And brushing/styling, so as not to look like bedhead parading around in public. You can pull that look off if you're Mary Kay Olsen, sort of, but not if you're pushing 40 and a double stroller to boot.
I recently had a haircut and I'm back to my Posh Spice ways, though I'm afraid I'm careening dangerously into Kate Gosselin territory. I fear I'm just a few badly placed snips away from being her stunt double. I've made up my mind that once I lose the rest of my baby weight—about 8 pounds—I'm rewarding myself with hair extensions. So I too, for once, can have long lustrous hair to make other moms jealous with. Mine will just be fake.
I admit, I may have just bought them because they had the word "skinny" in the name, and I harbor some delusions that my body will follow suit just because I'm wearing them, but there's also the fact that skinny jeans have been au courant for about three years now and I've yet to give in ('til now of course).
Trends are funny that way. I remember distinctly when capris first hit the fashion scene—must have been in the early 90's. I thought HELL NO I would never be caught dead in something that chopped off my already stumpy Norwegian legs, hoping fervently that the trend would pass. Well, fast forward about five years and damn if 75% of my pants weren't cut off at the ankle. I do believe we've moved beyond the heyday of the capri pant, but I know it will be back. Oh yes, like the flu, these things always cycle back around.
So back to the skinny jeans. Clearly the 80's are making a big comeback. I'm seeing lots of large plaid and hightops and (gasp) even neon. I remember my skin-tight, zipper-ankle Guess jeans lovingly. But that doesn't mean I'm jumping back in without some serious forethought.
First, these jeans are not skin tight (largely due to the fact that I just had a baby, not to mention the fact that I'm 36). Second, they are dark wash, hugely important in frumpoflage. Lastly, there are no zippers lower than the pubic region, which is as it should be.
I actually dig them. I really do. They make me feel like a sex kitten, or at least as much of a sex kitten as one can feel like while wearing a nursing bra. I highly recommend at least going out and trying some on. If just for the sheer pleasure of saying, "I'd like to try on some SKINNY jeans, please."
UPDATE: @Kristen: I got these ones at Banana Republic. Not the most stylish spot to pick up trends, I know, but I get the hubby's discount. Plus, I figure BR can help me be trendy without being TOO trendy, which could backfire disastrously....
There's a great article in this month's Real Simple written by a woman named Karthryn Harrison. In response to the question, "What makes you feel beautiful?" She answers spending time with her kids. Here's an excerpt:
"The first time it happens, we're out walking: my little boy holding my left hand, his older sister on my right, and the baby, six weeks old, asleep in her Snugli. We're still at the stage when my taking a shower seems like an accomplishment. I haven't lost all the weight I gained while pregnant; its been months since I had my hair highlighted to preserve the conceit that I remain as blond as I was at 16; I look like I'm getting as little sleep as I am; and I am wearing a nursing bra—a contraption that, inexplicably, department stores categorize as lingerie. In short: not a glamorous moment.
Still, I feel—for the first time in my life—really, truly, I-don't-need-anyone-to-tell-me-so, drop-dead beautiful. It has taken three children to deliver me to this state, this symmetry of boy on my left, girl on my right, and baby on my breast. Ridiculous, but as we navigate the sidewalk I feel radiant, as if I were wearing a dress encrusted with precious stones, reflecting the sun's light."
I love this. And I think this is the essence of unfrumpiness. While I do still take umbrage with Tevas worn with socks, what's on our bodies is so much less important than what's in our hearts. If you don't feel it, how can you be it?
If you get a chance, check out the whole article. It made my heart do a little jig.
I'm stumped. Truly. Is American Apparel a great place to find hip basics (fig. A) or a joke being played on humanity (fig B)?
Putting aside the crazy, possibly pedophiliac, certainly sex-starved CEO, American Apparel seems like a great idea. Basics, in lots of colors, made in the USA. They even have great stuff for kids (just don't take yours into the store unless you want to tape their eyeballs shut. This place makes Abercrombie's in-store displays look downright prudish). But then again, they sell Unisex Shiny Batwing Hoodies in about 8 colors.
I bought a long, baggy cardigan there the other day, and I really love it. But while I'm wearing it, I can't help but wonder if I would have thought it was as cool if I had found it on a rack at Goodwill, because honestly, I could have. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had the same exact item of clothing in 1986. Maybe that's why I like it so much. And why I want to tease my bangs while wearing it.
A friend of mine recently asked me about the frump factor of a skort. I must say, I was initially stumped. The name alone (eerily reminiscent of spork) and the sheer lack of them in fashion magazines makes me lean towards a high frump factor. And yet, and yet... I can totally see how they could be both useful and cute in momdom. So, I hit the interwebs to do a little research. My first search turned up the following brand names: Land's End, JC Penney, Casual Living USA. This was NOT looking good. I decided to dig a little deeper and I'm mighty glad I did. Here's what I unsporked.
Check out this cute little number from Title Nine. It manages to look surfer chic but could totally pass on the mainland.
Then there's this one from Adidas. I like it best in navy. Could be really cute with a more funky/bohemian top from somewhere like Anthropologie.
Speaking of which, while Anthropologie didn't have any skorts per se, they had these mighty adorable (at least if you have no thighs or hips, which instantly takes them off my immediate radar) skirty-looking shorts. They call them culottes, which is a word I haven't heard since I was sporting barrettes complete with rainbow-colored ribbon braids.
They also had a whole section of... brace yourselves... rompers. I know, I know. It sounds like something only Chloe Sevigny would wear, and that's not a compliment. Normally I have deep reservations about wearing something that I'd put on my 6 month old (would you wear a onesie? a bubble? overalls? wait... I think I wore those in the 90's... to work, no less.) However, these (wince) rompers are cute and have some definite functional value. One piece, so you can just throw it on without thinking too hard and still look put together. Shorts, so you can avoid flashing your ratty undies to the other moms at the park. And cool, which is nice now that we're knee-deep in summer. Here's my favorite example:
So it looks like my answer is—rock your skorts, mamas! As long as you don't buy them at Land's End. (Or anything else for that matter, unless it's for your Labrador.)
We took a family trip last week to So Cal, stopping along the way in Carpinteria (near Santa Barbara), where my in-laws have a beach condo. While we were there, we hit up the Santa Barbara zoo. Being that there are always lots and lots of moms at these types of places, of course I kept my iPhone ready and waiting. And waiting. And....
Seriously, what is in the water in Santa Barbara? Not only did I see almost no frump whatsoever, these moms were all impossibly skinny, annoyingly youthful looking, and impeccably dressed. I was both inspired and intimidated. Take a look at what I encountered just while waiting in line to get in.
These were three moms who had at least six kids between them. Look at the cute jeans! Look at the footwear! Look at the lack of asses! They were effortlessly casual and comfortable. And lest you think these were the young, cute nannies, nope. I heard the kids calling them mom. Damn.
Now I'm inside the zoo, at the otter exhibit. My train of thought goes like this: "Wow, these otters are cute. Ok, they're cute but they stink. Holy crap, is that a professional blow-out? With THREE KIDS?"
Later, we're the zoo's playground area when I spot this get-up.
It may be hard to see, but suffice to say this outfit was on the level of what I'd wear out to a nice dinner. That is, if I had nice clothes and went out to nice dinners.
Like Columbus accidentally discovering America, I stumbled upon a territory barren of frump. I looked for it, I really, really did. Hats off to you, Santa Barbara moms. I alternately hate you and want to be just like you.
My friend Kerry is on the verge of flying to Africa to welcome a little baby from Ethiopia into her family (you can see her blog in the FABlogs section). So amazing. And the girl wants to do it in style! She asked me in the comments of my last post for diaper bag recos, and, since I just went through this myself, I am more than happy to oblige. (Plus, really, what kind of critic am I to make unflattering comments and not provide any suggestions for alternatives? Shame on me.) On my recent and exhaustive search for a new diaper bag (because my dog chewed a hole in my last one), here's where I netted out. Click on the name to link.
This is what I ended up with. I got the Emily Pewter bag and I love it. Turns out I even have sandals that match it, but that's just an accidental bonus. It's very functional but it doesn't scream "I'm filled with butt balm and barf cloths". The pewter one may be a bit much for the dads of the family when forced to carry it, because of course they will be, but there are a lot of less flashy colors. My husband has given up all hope of manhood while toting a diaper bag long ago, so I'm golden.
This is what I used to have and it was great, too. I had the Dash bag, which was nice and compact -- though maybe too small for two kids. (It's shocking how much cubic feet I need these days for all the crap -- and I mean that literally and figuratively.) I love a messenger-style diaper bag because they are so easy to wear when you're dealing with your kids. I feel like shoulder bags would be forever sliding off my shoulders, and I have neither the patience nor the energy for strap maintenance these days. The backpack is kind of cool too, a little too Sporty Spice for me, but if you're a sporty mom, then there you go.
I almost bought the Oi Oi giraffe print bag but changed my mind at the last minute. There are tons of cute ones from this brand... I pretty much die for the yellow leather bag, but $330 is a bit much for me to drop on a bag that's bound to carry around poop at some point.
Storksak and Oi Oi are both sold at BabyGap, and Nordy's carries Storksak and Skip Hop if you want to see them in person.
Good luck Kerry, and here's to carrying our diapers/bottles/toys/balm/sunscreen/poop in style!
Lightning strike me, but one of the things I love about taking my kids on fun kid-related outings is that there is ALWAYS good frump for me to witness. Their boundless joy is of course the first and foremost benefit, but I'd be lying if I said that the potential for frump wasn't the nutritionally-vacant cherry on top.
Shall we? (God, I love my iPhone.)
Ok, I'm not suggesting designer labels for diaper bags (though I've seen it done and done WELL... yes Amy, I'm talking about you and your Gucci "diaper bag") but allow me this— If your diaper bag has a logo on it, please don't let it be Eddie Bauer. Fine for dog beds. Money for fishing and camping gear. Great for dads. FRUMPY FOR MOMS.
Apparently, this is a family of people with no waists. Not sure if you can see this in the picture, but this woman and her two sons (only one is visible) were all wearing jackets tied very tightly around their nipple regions. That was a new one for me. Add to that, on mom, a pale yellow turtleneck (I could just stop at "turtleneck"), crazily mismatched sweats and a fanny pack worn in front (crotch pack?), and you've got what I call Family Frump Ties.
I saw a good one in Starbucks the other day, frumpfighters. (Why is Starbucks such fertile frump territory?) The outfit was the usual -- unflattering sweats topped with an unflattering baggy t-shirt topped with an unflattering hairstyle -- nothing new there. But what especially drew my attention was this mom's shiny bubble-gum-pink purse. At first, I assumed it was a Barbie-related item of her daughter's. But wait... she had a son. Hmmmm. Upon closer inspection, I notice that there is a Charlie's Angel-type cartoon on it of a woman who looked like Lisa Rinna holding a strange shape. What is that thing? Maybe I should read the type on the purse to help me solve this great mystery. Ok, let's see... "Passion Parties. The Ultimate Girl's Night In." Huh. I wonder what.....
Then it dawned on me. Passion Parties. Sex toys. This frumpy mom is a sex toy consultant!!! And she's advertising it on her shiny bubble-gum-pink purse that's accessorizing her frumptastic outfit! (Oh NOW I know what that strange shape was...) My head was spinning. And honestly, though I was still horrified by her frump and her icky plasticky pink purse (not to mention her brazen wearing of such item while out in public with her small son, who hopefully can't read), I felt like saying, "Right on, sister!" Because really, who among us has the time or inclination for sex toys these days?
I wish I had photographic proof for this one. But here's the good news.... I will have it for ALL FUTURE FRUMPSIGHTINGS! For lo and behold, I have purchased myself an iPhone. I think I feel about my iPhone the way my husband feels about our minivan. It is magic. It is beautiful. It can do no wrong. And, it takes great pictures that I can post here. That's WAY better than a sex toy. (Though I'm sure there's an app for that.)
Well, we're off to Hawaii, where I plan to get a wicked tan from my neck up and my knees down (since nothing else will be showing). I also aim to keep my children as pale as the day they were born. We'll see how I do on both fronts. It should be wonderful -- once we get both kids, the diapers, the swimmy dipes, the pack and play, the stroller, the carseats, the sunscreen, the floaties and ourselves there, that is. Wish us luck! Aloha!
I've spoken before about my promiscuity when it comes to makeup. Well, I was watching TV the other day, minding my own business, when suddenly a commercial for mascara came on. It was for L'Oreal Double Extend Lash Extension Effect Mascara. (Honestly, is that about three nouns too long or is it just me?) But holy woah. Get this. Somehow, when you use it, your eyelashes get covered in tiny little tubes that are supposed to extend your lashes by 80%. WHAT? That's like almost as bizarre and alien sounding as growing a person inside your stomach. Little tubes? 80%? I was like a robot heading out the door to buy the stuff. MUST GET THAT MASCARA WITH TOO MANY NOUNS. SOMETHING ABOUT TUBES. MUST GET LASHTUBES.
Fast forward to my new mascara's maiden voyage, when we went to a friend's wedding this past weekend. (I mean, no need to extend my lashes 80% just to head to work or the park, right? Overkill.) I was practically shaking I was so excited. The mascara is double sided -- one side is the base coat and one side is the...tubejuice. Or whatever. So I covered my lashes in the white base coat (which looks really weird) and then tubed 'em. I think I was expecting to watch my eyelashes grow before my eyes, kind of like a pinocchio nose or something, so I was a little disappointed when I didn't notice a huge difference. But lo and behold, later that night when I took off my mascara, what was staring up at me from my washcloth but a bunch of wiggly little black things. My tubes! That is some crazy, crazy shit. Pardon my french.
I will follow up this post later with a picture of my eyes -- one with regular mascara and one with tubescara. See if you can tell which is which.
I hope that all you moms out there get to start the day on Sunday with breakfast in bed, followed by a full body massage given by a shirtless Abercrombie & Fitch model, followed by a mani/pedi that lasts for weeks, followed by lots of little robin's egg blue gift boxes. Or, at the very least, I hope you don't get what I got on my very first mother's day in 2007, which was a black North Face puffer vest. Luckily for my husband, now I really like my black North Face puffer vest. I just didn't like it as a mother's day present.
Actually, since I just went back to work, what I'd love more than anything this year is time with my babies, which I know I'm going to get. It will be wonderful. I may even wear my puffer vest.
...I do not personally know any frumpy moms. I say this because I can't tell you how many times I've been with a friend who has told me that they're worried I'm going to blog about them. Fear not, my friends... I can say without a doubt that all the moms I know are so spectacularly unfrumpy that the frumpiest mom in my life is, indeed, myself. Proven by my recent trip to Trader Joe's wearing my workout clothes and no makeup. Or perhaps the fact that, despite having an actual hairdo (that didn't come cheap, I might add), I still resort to putting my hair into a ponytail at every given opportunity. No, this is not a forum for me to out my frumpy friends... because I have none. That's why it's all the more fascinating to me when I come across so much mom frump in the world.
I was at the mall the other day and I saw a mom pushing a double stroller. She was wearing baggy heather gray sweatpants—the kind that has elastic in three places: waist, right ankle, left ankle. To set off her heather gray sweatpants, she had on an oversized heather gray t-shirt. (It looked a little like a prison uniform, except that those are usually in a nice, festive color like orange or red.) Heather gray is probably the worst possible color choice when you have any of the following: children who drool, a tendency to sweat while pushing 50+ pounds in a double stroller, leaking breasts.
I'd like to think that this was just a fluke for this poor woman. I just happened to catch her on a very off, very heather gray kind of day. I'd love to ask her how it so happened that she left the house in an outfit I wouldn't go to bed in, not even when I have my period? How did she come to think of monochromatic baggy sweats as daywear?
See, if I had some frumpy mom friends, I could ask these things. I would have answers to all my burning, frump-related questions. But I don't, so I can't.
So I got Tracy Anderson's Post Pregnancy Workout for my birthday from my husband (don't worry, I asked for it, or else yes, I might have chopped him into bits). This is the woman who whipped Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna back into shape after their babies. She is this itty bitty little thing who swears up and down that she gained 60 pounds during her pregnancy and that this workout got her back to her pre-pregnancy tininess. Well, I've got to think that she's got a genetic (well-toned) leg-up on me, but I'm gonna give it a whirl. It's a pretty brutal workout, focused mainly on abs. I'll keep you posted on how it's working as I go.
In the meantime, let me give you a quick recap of how my last session with her went:
10:10 Husband and daughter are running an errand. I plop Tracy into the DVD player.
10:12 Doing warm-ups. What is that on the rug? Oh my god, is that dog barf? Hit pause.
10:16 Back to the video.
10:25 Baby crying. Hit pause for a quick breather/nursing session.
10:33 Back to the video. I hate Tracy Anderson. But I will love her if my abs can look half as good as hers.
10:40 The dog decides that me being on the floor is an open invitation to play. She brings her ball over and starts chewing it AGAINST my leg while I'm working out.
10:42 I get the dog to stop chewing her ball on me but now she is chewing it right next to my face, with her least attractive side facing me. I actually utter these words, "Rosie, please move your butthole."
10:50 Husband and daughter return from their errand. Hit pause while household erupts into temporary chaos.
10:58 Back to video. Tracy is looking perfect and gorgeous in her wood-paneled studio filled with vases of peonies, fluffy pillows and burning candles. I am looking worn out and flabby in my dog barf/dust bunny ridden/toy strewn house. Hopefully, my abs do not know the difference.
I am a makeup product whore. I cannot stay true to one product to save my life. Just as I think I've fallen in love with a certain lipstick/eyeshadow/perfume/etc., someone comes out with some sort of shiny product that I just HAVE to try, and then I've just cheated on my new makeup significant other. That said, I have lately come across a few choice items that A) have made me look more awake, which is saying a lot and B) I've bought MORE THAN ONCE, which is saying even more. So I thought I'd share.
The first one is dear to my heart, because I have dry skin. I mean really, really dry. For most women I know, face shine is anathema. For me, if I ever see a photo of me where there is actual shine on my face, my first thought is, "Wow, what was I doing right that day?" That's how dry my skin is. And you, Miss Shinyface, that are sitting there thinking, "I wish I could say my face didn't ever shine in pictures"? I'll have you know that in 10 years, you will still look fresh and dewy while I will look like the cryptkeeper. So imagine my delight when I found a product that gave my desert-dry skin some glow. It's Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15. Let's break that down. Stila.... so you know it's good stuff. Illuminating... I think this is the particular part I have to bow down in thanks to. Tinted... good for us moms that need evening out without full-blown foundation. Moisturizer... did I mention I have dry skin? SPF 15... well, that's just smart these days with the whole ozone blown to bits and all. I LOVE THIS PRODUCT.
Lately, I have had a few instances where people tell me I look (and I quote) "well-rested". No, these were not stand-up comedians. I think they were serious. I can only attribute this to my fabulous new-found concealer. It's Arbonne Cream Concealer. I have tried many, many concealers, but what I love about this one is that it's thick enough to actually WORK but light enough to not look like I troweled spackle onto my eyebags. And, perhaps most importantly, it STAYS. If you want some, let me know and I'll hook you up with a fabulous Arbonne rep who also happens to be one of my very best friends.
Last, and this was a total shocker, I have fallen madly in love with a lip gloss I bought on a whim at Target. Actually, I stole it. But not on purpose. I had my baby in his infant seat in the front of the cart, and I wanted to buy this particular lip gloss. Well, it was too small to throw in the cart, because it would fall through the holes. So, ingeniously, I threw it into my son's infant seat. Well, fast forward an hour or so in the life of a breastfeeding woman, and I completely forgot about it when I went to pay. So I got home and took my son out of his seat, and there he was, smuggling Target lip gloss. I felt both guilty and wild at the same time. Stealing lip gloss as a 36 year old mother of two! Anyhow, it turns out this is the best lip gloss I have ever had on these lips. Most of them are either too sticky or too glossy or just gross for one reason or another, but this stuff is perfectly slick and it lasts and it smells good and tastes good and is practically perfect. Especially when it was free. But don't worry, I'll buy all further purchases of this stuff and trust me, there will be plenty. I couldn't find it on Target's website but it's Sonia Kashuk Hydrating Lip Balm and it looks like this:
It's for the best, really. It's truly a good thing that, the minute our babies pop out of us, the same instinct that used to propel us towards shoe sales now propels us to protect and nurture our children. I respect and honor the powerful mother urge. That said, I think this is going a bit far.....
(I'm making you scroll down... it's like the blogger's version of a drumroll.)
I mean, really? Can't we practice attachment parenting without looking like a giant blue Teletubby? This is a real product, folks. It's supposed to keep your baby warm while you're wearing him. And here I thought that's what fuzzy sweaters and blankets were for.
Last weekend we hit a nearby museum and, along with lots of local flora and fauna, we saw some spectacular local frump. Here's an example. I believe the most egregious part of this particular frumpfest is the bright pink scrunchie.
But wait! Here was her husband, sitting by himself, playing games on his cell phone. For better or for frump.
Look, I'm not one for dressing up for weekend kiddie outings. But how about a lack of acid wash and fanny packs? Is that too much to ask for?
Well, I've done it. If mom frump is a slippery slope, I've just greased myself up with Crisco and dived in head first. We bought a minivan this past weekend. And worse yet, I love it. My daughter calls it "the magic car" because of the doors that open at the press of a button. And honestly, it kind of feels like that to me too. My husband has been pushing for a minivan from the moment our first child crowned, and I've been holding onto our SUV lifestyle for dear life. But then, once I started dealing with TWO children/carseats/crap, my firm resolve started to slowly weaken. And then we went and drove them. The minute I sat in the cushy, cushy seats that smelled not like diaper wipes and cheerios but like spanking new leather, I realized I was in trouble. (Yes, I do realize that soon my brand new minivan will smell like all of the above and more, but for now, I can close my eyes and imagine that I'm sitting in a luxury sedan. Don't harsh my mellow.) Plus, I'm thinking that the fact that I now drive a minivan gives me yet more incentive to not frump out in other ways. It's bad enough that I'm stepping out of a minivan - I have to make sure that what DOES step out does so in style. I used to tell my husband that I would only agree to a minivan if our other car was a Porsche. Now I'm thinking that I have to BE the Porsche. Right now, I'm more like a Subaru. But hey, I'm working on it. In the meantime, if you see someone driving around San Mateo in a white Toyota Sienna with big Nicole Richie sunglasses on, give me a honk, sister. Woo-hoo!
This past weekend something happened to me that was so embarrassing I found myself thinking, "I should either blog about this, or never tell another living soul that it happened." As it turns out, I value humor over dignity so I'm going to share it.
It all started when it was time for me to spruce up the roots situation with a box o' blonde. I topped off the baby with a fresh shot of milk and saw to it that my toddler was busy playing games on the computer with daddy and got to work. Literally moments after slathering toxic goop all over my head, the baby started to cry. Allow me to describe what I was wearing at the time: nursing bra, yoga pants, plastic gloves covered in hair dye. What does one do in this situation? There is no chapter in the Dr. Sears book that covers this particular dilemma.
Next thing I knew, my husband was approaching me with the crying baby in his arms. I held my hands up, giving him the international gesture for "I have hair dye on my hands and can't breastfeed my baby". My husband, bless his heart, unlatched my nursing bra and held up our sweet innocent son up to the milk source while I stood there with my gloved hands above my head, marveling at the ridiculousness of the situation. Nothing makes you feel more like a mom than hands-free nursing with a head full of L'Oreal.
Let it just be said that I believe my marriage has been tested and has been found to be sound. And my roots look pretty damn good.
One week postpartum: Amidst the joy, the exhaustion, the whirlwind of guests and the bliss of showing off the newborn, there's not a lot of thought or concern about the bod. Plus, I'm kind of amazed by what it can do. It can make a baby! And push it out of a pinhole! Wow, I love my amazing, wondrous body. Isn't life fabulous? At least until the next hormone crash.
Two weeks postpartum: I actually stand naked in front of a mirror for the first time. And I find myself thinking, "Considering that two weeks ago, I looked like a moored houseboat, this is not so bad." Plus, I'm still kind of on that "amazing, wondrous" kick. Wahoo! Somebody pass me my stretchy pants.
Three weeks postpartum: I try on pants with an actual waistband. Not a chance. I try on my maternity jeans... the "sexy" ones. Wait, why did I think these were sexy again? Nothing in my closet... literally NOTHING... looks good on me right now. I'm seriously considering buying a "Slanket" -- you know, the blanket with a hole for your head and sleeves? You've seen the infomercials.
Four weeks postpartum: I stand naked in front of the mirror again. Holy hell. My body is a hot mess. I go to the gym. Granted, it's for a whopping 20 minutes because I have to come back and feed my child, but it's a start. I've come full circle and now recognize the frump that is my person and I am taking care of bidness, people.
Until last night, I hadn't had makeup on in 18 days. I had left the house on less than five occasions in almost three weeks, and three of those occasions were on foot. I have been living.... no, festering... in frump since my son was born. AND I HAVE BEEN LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Oh, the joy of wearing no bra (what's the point when it's off 20 out of every 24 hours?), no constricting clothing (if I owned a button down caftan, I'd be rocking it daily), no makeup (for whose benefit... my newborn? my toddler? the mailman?), and no hair product (unless you count grease). It has truly been a joy. And yet, I know these days are coming to and end and I'm okay with that. There's only so long one can live with oneself in the throes of frump. Despite the sheer joy of it all, I must admit that I'm starting to feel guilty about how long it's been since my husband was reminded of the woman he married. Don't get me wrong... I feel like I earned each and every minute of this frumpfest. I don't feel guilty about barely leaving the couch or bed (I mean, how could I, really? I still basically have my crotch in a sling.) And I'm someone who actually loves with a capital "L" these early days of doing nothing but snuggling my baby, being a walking milk delivery system and getting drunk off the smell of new baby head. But the frump buzz is wearing off. I'm starting to want to shower because it's what normal folks do rather than because I'm offending people I love. I'm beginning to look longingly and lovingly at my pants with actual waistbands (not that it means they'll fit). And I'm utterly appalled at my finger/toenail situation, though I'm not going to fix it anytime soon. But for now, it's just nice to be here, frumped out beyond belief, and it's also nice to know that there is a time in my not-so-distant future where this will be merely a hazy memory. Kind of like the completely intoxicating smell of my son's fuzzy little head. It's bittersweet, I tell you.
This post isn't really about frump, or maybe in a roundabout way it is because it saves you from having to go out in the world looking frumpy just to pick up diapers. I am flabbergasted by how few moms know about diapers.com. This website should be bookmarked, highlighted in yellow and placed in a highly visible place on your computer. If I had a batphone that connected me directly to this website, I would be one happy camper. You can get any kind of diapers, plus wipes, plus pretty much anything for your baby on this site. We use it mainly for diapers, which we buy by the case and get this: IT'S FREE SHIPPING AND YOU USUALLY GET IT THE VERY NEXT DAY. Which means, you can do what we do, which is never to plan in advance and suddenly notice that oh crap, we're down to the last four diapers, go online, and have a hugemongous box of them sitting on your front porch the following day. Use it. Love it. Now I'm just waiting for chardonnay.com.
Seeing as that I'm staring down the barrel of about three straight months of sweats, I thought this would be as good a time as any to talk about them. It's a big issue out there in momdom. Because, let's face it, sweats are the bomb. They are comfortable, they don't show four inches of thong when you bend over, you can move around like an actual human being with joints in them, and they CAN be cute. But that's a big CAN (and no, I'm not talking about your butt). Let's discuss.
First, let's talk about what sweats are *not* cute. This is a big category. Sweats with gathered elastic waistbands, sweats that have ever belonged to your spouse/college boyfriend/random male somewhere in your past, sweats that are made out of what seems to be recycled parachutes (you know, the ones that make that swish swish swish noise when you walk, the volume of which depends upon the size of your thighs), anything purchased at Costco. These are all complete no-nos.
Then there's the gray area. I'm personally not much of a fan of the velour sweatsuit, but that's largely because I usually see it done so poorly. There are far too many moms out there who purchase this little number in a size too small, so their rumps look like overstuffed velour pillows and their midsections peep out the gap between the pants and the top. That said, I have seen the velour thing done well, it's just very, very rare. So if you're one of those people who has the bod and the fashion wherewithal to pull it off, I say hey, get your velour on. I also (as you know if you read this blog regularly) don't dig the sweats that use the butt arena for instant messaging. I've said it before and I'll say it again, even if your butt IS juicy or pink, is that really information you want public?
So, that brings us to sweats that *are* cute. First off, I think it's always better to avoid the whole matching top and bottom ensemble. Once my husband and I were at the airport and he said, "Oh, I didn't know Barney was on our flight." I looked up to see a mom in an entirely purple sweatsuit and the resemblance WAS uncanny. I think no matter the color, the whole matchy-match thing should be left to people under 12 and over 60. What's better is to go with flattering sweatpants and a fitted sweatshirt that don't necessarily match, but look good together. For this, I suggest:
Lululemon -- cute, flattering options and they hem the pants for free. It's a yoga look that's cute walking around town too.
Lucky Brand -- their hoodies tends to be printed and a little bohemian, so they look more like fashion than athletic wear.
Adidas -- some great pieces but you have to be careful not to do the matchy thing or you'll look like an Olympic athlete during opening ceremonies.
Anthropologie -- you wouldn't think of them for sweats, but they have some great, non-sweaty looking lounge clothes.
H&M/Forever 21/Abercrombie -- all those teeny bopper stores have good, cheap sweats... as long as you don't mind having to buy them in, like, extra large.