Pregnancy Update: 38 weeks. Only a Few Days Left

It’s been a while since my last pregnancy update.  Earlier this week, I turned 38 weeks pregnant and I can’t believe how quickly the third trimester got away from me.  Between baby showers, putting the finishing touches on our new home, twice weekly doctor’s visits, decorating the nursery, getting our lives ready for Baby Boy, working and blogging, I feel like I just revealed the pregnancy yesterday.

Pregnancy Update:

38 week pregnancy update!
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How far along are you?

I’m 38 weeks and 4 days.

How big is peanut? 

He’s a the size of a watermelon and it sure does feel like I’m carrying a watermelon.  If a watermelon could kick my ribs and punch the nerves in my pelvis.

Total weight gain/loss? 

Too much!  I’m excited to have my body back and get into a healthy routine.  Who’s excited to do this with me?

Sleep?

I’m still sleeping ok.  The first two trimesters, I didn’t have the hot flashes and night sweats that I had pre-pregnancy from the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  Unfortunately the night sweats have made a full fledged return for the third trimester.  It’s not any different than the sleep I had pre-pregnancy, so I can’t complain. Sheex sheets definitely help with temperature control.  Sheex sheets are stretchy, athletic wear-like sheets.  They’re warm enough, but if you sweat like me, they wick it away to cool you off.  They also don’t wrinkle and so, so freaking soft.

Best moment this week? 

I had my very last ultrasound on Monday.  It was a bittersweet moment.  I’ve watched my little boy grow and develop every week on ultrasound and now it’s come to an end.  He was awake and playing with his cord.  It’s so cute to see him pulling on the cord and chewing on it; having a blast in there.  To curb the pregnancy emotions, I ordered an Ultrasound Memory Book that will fit all of his ultrasound photos.  I’m going to put them in order and save them for the days I miss having him so close.

Symptoms? 

I have all the typical aches and pains of pregnancy at this point.  I’m not sure if the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome makes it worse or not.  Joint pain is kind of my baseline, so it’s nothing I can’t handle.  It’s been worse in the last week, but I’ll be delivering on Monday.  I can do anything for a few weeks.

Swelling continues to be an issue.  At this point, none of my rings fit and I’m just hoping that most of my weight gain beyond the standard 25 lbs is fluid.  It definitely looks to be that way, but we will see!

Food cravings?   

I haven’t had any.  I’ve been trying to eat foods that are good for baby, but I also don’t feel like cooking, so…

Food aversions? 

Everyone says that as the pregnancy comes to an end, eating becomes more difficult due to the baby’s size.  Our little guy is predicted to be almost 8 lbs, but I’m still eating like a champ.

Gender? 

Oh Boy!

Labor signs? 

My amniotic fluid has been high throughout the pregnancy, which causes an “irritable uterus.”  Lol, leave it to me to have an irritable uterus.  Irritability has caused more cramping and contractions than usual.  I’ve actually had a lot of contractions since 22 weeks.  I’m kind of over it.

Belly button in or out? 

Still in!

What I miss?

I miss being a regular sized person.

I miss walking into a room and not having people flock to me, stare at me, touch my belly, ask me how I am…  It’s part of the experience and most of the time I am overjoyed to share how things are going.  It’s the bad days when I’m exhausted, painful and having a ton of contractions that I just want to go unnoticed.  I’ve had a few people reach to touch my tummy expecting to feel kicks and instead they feel a rock-hard contraction.  It’s awkward for both of us.

Of course, I’m going to miss the swooning over my belly when it’s gone.

What I’m looking forward to? 

I’m very happy for the pregnancy pains to come to an end, but I’m also sad my little boy will be separating from me.  I know our bond will continue to grow in ways I can’t imagine, but isn’t that the natural order of things?  Kids grow up and grow into their own identities spending their lives evolving from the little peanut that was once a part of their mother.  Birth marks the first of many milestones.  I just want to lie on my side, cuddle my belly, talk to my boy and stop time.

Although, I could not be more excited to meet this little guy.  I can’t wait to see him and learn his personality.  Thus far, all I’ve had is my imagination and all the ultrasounds and 3D imaging.

I don’t have words for how excited I am to meet him.  My heart is full.

 

First Trimester Maternity Fashion: What to Buy, What Not to Buy

First trimester maternity shopping is a mixed bag.  First time mamas walk around the house pushing out their bellies and longing for an adorable bump.  The second time around, you spend the entire first trimester sucking in your gut, telling yourself you can still get into your skinny jeans.

It’s difficult for first-time mommies to decide what to buy.  Prepared or not, as soon as that little stick turns pink, the body starts going through major changes.  One day you can hide it and the next, you’re belly is so bloated, literally nothing in the closet fits.  Beyond the bump, there’s the boobs.  Suddenly none of your bras fit and how the heck are you supposed to know what size they’re going to stay?  New clothes and new bras… this could be a disaster for the preggo’s wallet.

Relax… All you need in the first trimester is a few staples that will grow with the pregnancy.  You’ll be more comfy and you can rest easy knowing you didn’t waste money on non-essentials.  Your body deserves comfort, but it’s better to wait for most items.  Your bump won’t be big enough for big maternity dresses for a while and you need to see how your body is going to grow.

I thought I would be one of those moms who only gains 25 lbs and is all belly.  That’s sort of true; I’m all belly, but I retained a ton of fluid.  A couple of my first trimester maternity fashion finds did not last me through the third trimester.  I’m here to make sure your first trimester maternity shopping spree is successfully carries you through the end.

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First trimester maternity fashion guide. Pin now, shop later.
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First Trimester Maternity Staples:

Faux Leather Maternity Pants:

Faux leather pants are a going out staple of mine.  I paired faux leather pants with all of my non-maternity blouses for the majority of my pregnancy.  It was like I wasn’t even wearing “special” clothes.

8 months pregnant: Best Maternity Buys
8 months pregnant.

Shop the photo: faux leather pants with a sequin maternity top, black stretch jacket, Chloé Hudson bag and wedge booties.

Shop Faux Leather Maternity Pants:

 

Maternity Jeans:

There are maternity hacks out there to help you stay in your pre-pregnancy jeans longer.  I did a post on my favorite technique.  Read the full post here.  This trick worked well to give me a little variety in my wardrobe, but I can’t express how glad I am that I went ahead and purchased a pair of maternity jeans.  Jeans are a must have for my casual days and I want to be comfortable.  There are so many uncomfortable aspects of pregnancy and denim should not be one of them.  I wasn’t aware that there were so many styles of maternity pants.  Maternity jeans are not one and the same, there are 3 different types.

Inset Panel Maternity Jeans:

Inset panel pants have a regular closure; they button and zip just like your non-maternity jeans.  Stretch is added in the front pocket area.  Denim material is replaced with stretch panels behind the pockets, so they will stretch quite a bit.  That said, this type of pant is best earlier in pregnancy. I have a pair of inset panel pants and around six and a half to seven months, I wasn’t as comfy in them anymore.  The pants sit really low below the bump, so they are harder to keep up later in pregnancy.

One solution for saggy bottoms would be a belly band.  The belly band worked for me, so I didn’t have to give up on this first trimester maternity find.  The major benefit of these pants is that they totally look like regular pants.  You can tuck in a longer shirt in the front and there’s no weird “maternity” panel showing.

Shop Inset Panel Pants:

Demi Maternity Pants:

The in-between pant is the demi pant.  Demi maternity pants have a thick (usually around two inches wide) elastic band that sits below the belly.  They aren’t the full panel that you think of when you hear “maternity pants,” but they are more supportive than the inset pant.  I wore my demi pants, comfortably, through the majority of my pregnancy.  They would have made it the duration if I had sized up instead of ordering true to size early.

Shop Demi Maternity Pants:

Full Panel Maternity Pants:

These are the pants that have the full panel all the way up to the ribcage.  The aren’t so comfy earlier in pregnancy because the bump doesn’t fill out the panel, but they are the most comfy of the three toward the end.  I opted not to splurge on these.  It’s hot in Arizona and I decided that I would rather tough it out in the demi pants.  It’s a personal decision though.

Shop Full Panel Maternity Pants:

Maternity Bras:

Bust size fluctuates a lot throughout pregnancy and makes bigger changes after the milk supply comes in.  During my first trimester, none of my bras fit comfortably, but I was hesitant to purchase new ones.  I came across the nursing sleep bra and purchased a few.  Wow.  What a solution!  Sleep bras are made to be super soft and comfortable, so you can sleep in them undisturbed.  Though I’m not yet a nursing mama, I imagine sleep bras are necessary to hold breast pads and prevent leakage straight onto pajamas.  They also happen to be perfect for the first trimester tenderness and size fluctuation.  They don’t offer a ton of support, but a tight, binding bra that hoists the girls up is not exactly appealing during sensitive moments.

I haven’t shopped nursing bras outside of sleep bras, but the helpful ladies at Nordstrom informed me that it’s best to come in for a fitting sometime after the first week or two postpartum (so the choices below will get you through that) and Nordstrom will also attach nursing clips to any bras new or old.  You can have them turn your favorite, most comfortable style into a nursing bra, even if it isn’t offered as an option.

Shop Sleep Bras:

Dresses:

Armed with well-fitting pants and comfy bras, the first two trimesters will be a breeze. Shift and t-shirt dresses also go a long way. I wore all of my looser non-maternity dresses into my third trimester. It wasn’t until the 3rd trimester that I relied heavily on maternity dresses. Thankfully there are inexpensive and stylish options out there. I purchased a couple of maternity dresses early on that weren’t heavily ruched on the sides (that will look baggy in the beginning). I am still wearing them at the end of my pregnancy, so they were a great find.

Shop Non-Maternity Dresses:

Shop Maternity Dresses:

What was your best first trimester buy?

Eyeshadow for Beginners: + Tips To Modify Based on Eye Shape

Eyeshadow for beginners is a step by step tutorial for applying eyeshadow for the beginner beauty enthusiast who feels just plain lost when someone says, “cut crease” like it’s a skill we all have.

It’s just eyeshadow basics without all the jargon and unattainable perfection.

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Eyeshadow for beginners. Pin now, practice later.
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Eyeshadow for Beginners Tutorial:

The Final Look:

Eyeshadow for beginners tutorial. Pin now, practice later.

Eyeshadow for beginners tutorial. Pin now, practice later.

Eyeshadow for Beginners Products:

Primer:

At minimum, you should be using concealer on your eyelid before applying your eyeshadow.  Concealer or a good primer will neutralize the color of your lid giving you a fresh canvas.  The benefit of a good primer, like the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer I used, is that it adheres to the eyeshadow, so the eyeshadow applies more easily (you use less) and it lasts longer.  If you don’t have much eyeshadow left on your lids by the end of the day, you probably need a different primer.

Eyeshadow Palettes:

Am I crazy because I’m a beauty blogger who doesn’t spend a ton on the latest eyeshadow palettes?  I just can’t get down with that.  I love my drugstore finds and they work so well that I can’t justify spending more.  That’s not to say that I haven’t tried to expensive stuff too; I have.

CoverGirl TruNaked Goldens Palette:  I picked this palette up about a month ago and I’ve been getting a ton of compliments on my eyeshadow with these colors.  Perfect for the natural Summer glow.  I used the second from left (see image in widget below) for the base and the color just to the right of it as the medium tone.

Coastal Scents Smokey Palette:  Coastal Scent Palettes first dropped into my life via my Birchbox account.  I love the variety of colors I get for the price.  The shadows are pretty pigmented too, so that means I don’t kick up a lot of dust trying to get enough color on my lids.

Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette:  I used the color one shade lighter than black as liner.  There’s a hint of purple in it, which is gorgeous next to blue and brown eyes, but especially flattering to all my red-headed sisters.

Brushes:

A set of good makeup brushes is worth the splurge.  I wasn’t totally convinced of that for a long time.  Mostly, I used free brushes that came with special promotions for products.  Usually those brushes aren’t great quality and are smaller travel-sized versions of the good ones.  After years of using whatever came my way, I finally started replacing them one at a time and I noticed a huge difference.  With good brushes, my makeup applies easier, I use less of it and they are more gentle on my face.  In the video, I used a makeup wipe to clean off eyeshadow shades when I switched colors because I don’t have a huge set of brushes.  I want to note that this is purely for changing colors and it does not count as disinfecting your brushes.  Clean brushes are so important for reducing exposure to bacteria.  For more info on cleaning your makeup brushes, check out this post I did; spoiler alert, my method leaves them disinfected and they dry fully over night.

Blending Crease Brush: Hands down one of my favorite brushes.  I love the way this brush picks up product and drops just the right amount without smudging it too much or kicking up eye shadow around my eye.  This is probably why I insist on wiping it off and reusing it.

Pro Angled Liner Brush:  I can’t live without this brush.  If I could use only two on my eyes, it would be the Blending Crease Brush and the Liner Brush.  Totally saves my day when I want winged liner, but I don’t have time for the perfect precision of wet liner.

Smudge Brush: Important for smokey eyes and for slightly smudging liner to give your eyes a softer look.  A good one, like this one, will be tightly packed and soft on your eyelids.

Fan Brush:  This brush does a great cleanup job without damaging your hard work.  I’m so glad I finally figured out what this was for.

Contour Brush Set:  If you’re looking for a whole set of eyeshadow brushes, it’s cheaper to buy them as a set than individually.  This is actually the set that I have.  After replacing a few of my face brushes, I realized that I really did need the whole set and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.

Shop All the Products:

 

What tips do you have for the beginner beauty enthusiast?  Comment below!

 

Blowout Spray Giveaway! Previously Featured on The Luxicon

Blowout spray is one of my favorite recent finds.  Seriously, how did I survive without this?  You don’t want to miss out on this giveaway!

Free Blowout Spray!

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, then you have seen the Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist literally work miracles on my hair.  Not just mine either, my husband loves this stuff too.

Giveaway: Blowout Spray! Pin it and don't forget to enter!
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ICYMI: The Full Post on How to Achieve a Professional Blowout at Home.  Get the full details complete with video demonstrating how to use the blowout spray I’m giving away.  Not feeling lucky?  You can shop the products below if you’d rather not take your chances.

Shop Home Blowout Products:

Enter the Giveaway below, but don’t forget to use all the entry options for additional entries:

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Good luck!

Formal Maternity Dress for Maternity Shoot or Shower

Shopping for a formal maternity dress was the last thing I wanted to do as my body approached new never-before-seen limits.  When I was eight months pregnant, my MIL hosted an evening garden party/baby shower, eeek let the panic begin, how would I find and fit into a formal maternity dress without spending a fortune on tailoring.   I’m a fashion blogger, so I needed to make sure this dress was OP.  Wait.  “Eight months pregnant”, “on point”, “formal” and “maternity dress” do not go together in the same statement?  I wasn’t sure how to accept the challenge that, admittedly, I’d created in my own head.  I wasn’t even sure I could stay awake for an evening party, let alone “impress.”  Most of the time I felt tired, sweaty and like I could pee myself at the drop of a sneeze; not exactly the perfect combo for entertaining and modeling a formal maternity dress.

There comes a point in every pregnancy when you just can’t hang.  Swollen legs make even maternity pants too tight and a growing waistline combined with fluctuating bust size make it impossible to plan ahead.  I had a few options.

How to Shop for a Formal Maternity Dress:

  1.  Do a massive maternity haul from ASOS and keep whatever works best.  See what I bought below.
  2.  Use Rent the Runway and potentially find a formal-enough non-maternity dress that doesn’t read Shamu.
  3.  Give in to “maternity” style and wear something skin-tight and ruched to the max or a moomoo so loose it resembles an actual tent.

I ended up following through with options one and two.  Option three just isn’t me and at 5’1″ I could easily look as wide as I am tall, so super tight and super loose weren’t spectacular choices.

My first attempt at finding a formal dress was through ASOS I absolutely love their maternity wear.  In ASOS maternity clothes, I feel like myself, which is hard to do when you’re wearing “special” clothes.  ASOS has some beautiful formal dresses, but the one I was banking on didn’t fit at all and I wasn’t willing to splurge on a dress that I would certainly only wear one time.  So here’s my haul.

 Formal Maternity Dress Haul:

Styled properly, several of the dresses were appropriate for fancy dinners or daytime showers, but what about something more formal, like an evening shower packed with fancily-clad guests or perhaps a formal wedding?

On to option number two!  Rent the Runway has been my fashion savior time and again.  This time it wasn’t just the seemingly endless dress selection that saved the day.  First of all, they offer “bump friendly” as a body type to narrow your options and also sort dresses by trimester.  This helped me through the first 6 months of pregnancy, but at 8 months I faced a different set of challenges.  My baby is healthy size and I have a tendency toward fluid retention even without being pregnant, so by 8 months I had surpassed the point that I could easily tell if a dress would fit by sizing guides provided.  Another challenge pregnancy presents is that you don’t know what size you will be if you plan ahead a month or even a few weeks, but if you wait until the last minute, you could end up dressless and naked really isn’t an option!  After spending hours clicking through reviews with photos of one formal maternity dress after another, I stumbled upon gold.

The Secret to Finding a Formal Maternity Dress Guaranteed to Fit:

Guaranteed to fit and flatter
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I’d heard of convertible bridesmaid dresses before, you know the ones with the straps that can be fastened a million different ways to suit your bridesmaid’s personality.  What I didn’t realize is that there are dresses made to fit sizes 0-12 in both regular and long hem options.  That meant that this dress claims to fit every body size between 0 and 12 and offers two different lengths.  Was this too good to be true?  The dress is also available in a size up that fits sizes 14-24 and comes in regular and long as well.  How could this be?  I immediately dove into customer reviews.  Surely the photos of real women, representing such a wide range of sizes, all wearing the same size dress would shed light on the truth.  The truth was, the Oyster Classic Convertible Gown looked spectacular on every single one of them and there were even a few preggos pictured.  Being the disbelieving skeptic I am, I ordered the dress a month early to check out the hem length and construction.  The dress passed my thorough examination and proved to be a beautiful formal maternity dress (without looking “maternity”).  I scheduled it for delivery for the shower.  Not only did I feel special in a wonderful way, my dress was on point and I managed to not sneeze and pee on myself.  The evening was a complete success and I felt that same “princess” feeling every time I get all gussied up.

Why the Oyster Classic Convertible Gown is the perfect formal maternity dress:

Formal Maternity Dress guaranteed to fit and flatter.

The straps can be fastened any way you want.  I chose to go with a traditional look instead of doing an asymmetric one shoulder or something else that would have been more trendy because I needed the bust support.  The adjustable straps create the fit around the ribcage and bust, which is how the dress can be made to fit such a range of sizes.

Formal Maternity Dress guaranteed to fit and flatter.

The fabric is heavy enough to curve around the body and add shape and dimension, but it also moves beautifully.

Formal Maternity Dress guaranteed to fit and flatter.

The wind picked up a little during the shoot and I couldn’t help wanting to twirl.

Formal Maternity Dress guaranteed to fit and flatter.

The hem was slightly long for me, so I had to wear heels.  Naturally, I had to go with the only heels that I can survive all night in.  Every woman needs a pair of nude heels and a pair of black heels that she can wear for a few hours.  More on finding that perfect pair in a future post, but what if that pair is not great for grass, cobblestone or uneven pavement?  I have the perfect solution.

Formal Maternity Dress guaranteed to fit and flatter.

Notice the caps on my heels?  They add surface area to skinny heels, so I don’t sink into the grass or get stuck in sidewalk cracks and sewer grates.  I prefer the starletto brand best because they fit different sized heels.  I wore them all night and never rolled an ankle or sunk into the grass.  Read all about them in this post I did on heel caps.

The Oyster Classic Convertible Gown is available for rental in champagne and blush.  Looking to purchase the gown instead of rent?  I can understand why, because the dress will always fit.  I found a similar gown from Anthropologie and there are more colors available.

Shop Convertible Gowns:

Happy shopping!

Nighttime Skincare Routine: What you Actually Need to Know

Your nighttime skincare routine may seem a bit overwhelming at first, or more than a little annoying if you’ve been at it a while, but it doesn’t have to be. You know what I mean, you look at your products and just think, “I can’t.” and then deep-seated regret sets in when you awaken to  eye lashes clumped together like a venus fly trap.  

Why is it so blasted hard to commit to a regimen?

I absolutely loathe standing over the sink to wash my face.  I always imagine washing my face like Rebecca Gayheart in those iconic 90’s Noxzema commercials, but it more closely resembles when I was a kid and my sister would unkink the hose right before I took a drink.  Seriously, water everywhere.  It may be because I’m short and no matter how hunched over I am, water runs down my elbows toward me, but it could just be that I’m a hot mess.  I refuse to get a step stool for my bathroom (they go in the kitchen, laundry room, master closet and the garage).  Needless to say, I didn’t last long-standing at the sink.

I tried applying face wash to my dry face and using a hot towel to rinse it off.  This option was definitely a good one.  I love the way the hot wet towel opens up my pores and it only takes a few rinses of the towel before my face feels squeaky clean, without drenching my pj’s.  Still, it’s a lot of effort on those days when I just can’t.

I tried washing with makeup removing towelettes, but they leave a bit of a residue.  I’ve read that they aren’t the most hygienic way to wash before bed and that may be why I seem to get more breakouts with these.  Not exactly the results I was looking for.

Thus began my search for the perfect routine.

What makes for a nighttime skincare routine you can stick to?

  • Doesn’t break the bank for you.
  • So refreshing that you actually want to stay consistent.
  • Yields results.  What better incentive could you have?
  • Convenience.
  • Fun. (ok that one might be reaching).

If this nighttime skincare routine seems like the magical unicorn of skincare, I hear you, but I’m not bullshitting you.  I have tried countless products and methods to get to unicorn status.  It’s so easy that even my husband does it with me, usually without groaning or complaining.  I find it so amusing when I hand him the bottles out of order and he corrects me.  Ladies, this has its advantages, I have made the deal with him that I would stay out later than I wanted to, if he washed my makeup off and did my routine for me before bed.  We really are that annoying “team couple.”

The Easy Nighttime Skincare Routine:

At the point in the evening that I’m ready to start washing my face and getting ready for the next day, I’m usually so beat that I want to just climb into bed.  Aren’t we all?  The middle ground I found was washing my face in bed with all the right products.  Yes, you heard me, I climb into my fluffy cloud of a bed, wash my face and layer all the products while watching tv.  Honestly, the few minutes I spend handing product back and forth to my husband as we unwind from our day has genuinely become something I look forward to.

I have not read anything to says that your nighttime skincare routine needs to take longer than a few minutes.  There’s no evidence that shows you need to allow each product time to dry.  Actually, to the contrary, most dermatologists will tell you that skin is pretty absorbent and there isn’t really any good reason to allow it to dry between products.  Your skin will absorb the same amount of product anyway.  So let’s get into what products you need to use.

Makeup Remover:

I used to think that as long as I took my eye makeup off, it didn’t really matter what product I used.  They’re all pretty much the same.  Rookie mistake.  Recently I found, Tatcha Pure One Step Cleansing Oil and this stuff really is magical.  I can’t say enough about the ease with which this stuff removes my eye makeup and waterproof brows makeup.  It’s so good, my husband was super impressed, remember he has tried to remove my makeup before and I’m sure you can guess he was subject to shouting, “Don’t rub my eyelashes off!”  I gently massage Tatcha Pure One Step Cleansing Oil onto my eyes and the makeup just melts off.  I remove the excess oil with the ultra soft and gentle Shiseido Cotton squares.  See my full review here.

I’m so excited about this one that I’m giving it away. Enter here. enter here. I have not found any better options that are budget friendly, so comment below if you have one. I’d love to give it a try, but for now, this splurge is worth it to me.

Micellar Water:

After the makeup is removed, I need to get the excess oil from the makeup remover off.  Micellar water is a great “in bed” option for this.  It’s thin, effective and doesn’t add residue.  I add a bit of micellar water to a soft wash cloth and go to town on my face.  My face feels like a fresh, clean canvas for the rest of the products.

Shop My Favorite Micellar Water Cleansers:

Toner:

Toner is probably one of the most over-looked and underrated products.  Toner is an important part of any morning and nighttime skincare routine because it rebalances the pH of skin after washing it.  Skin needs natural oil to help keep the pH regular.  After washing and removing natural oils, the pH is stripped.  Toner is necessary to balance the pH and restore your skin to a more natural state prior to the application of morning makeup or nighttime skincare products.  Fortunately, toner doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective.

Shop My Favorite Toners:

Besides the four amazing toners above, I also really like Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, $8.70, from Amazon. The convenience of ordering with one click is everything and it works well too!  Witch Hazel is good for oily skin prone to breakouts, but this one also seems a little more gentle, which my skin definitely needs.

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nighttime skincare routine decoded for the best results.

Acne Products:

Between toner and serum is where I place acne products whether I’m at a point with my skincare that I need a daily additive or just spot coverage. My favorite products contain benzoyl peroxide.  I tend to get cystic acne from stress and hormones, and these products knock it right out.  Kate Somerville makes my favorite lifesaving acne products.  The Anti Bac Clearing Lotion works well on breakouts and under makeup, while Eradikate is a paste I’ve used on bigger pimples before bed and it knocks them down to a size I can cover, if not completely resolving them.  In the past, I’ve used prescription strength retinol and tried countless other products, but these two products are all I have needed for a few years now.  With these babies, I don’t need prescriptions.  Read my full post on adult acne.

Serum:

Serums penetrate deeper into the skin for better hydration and many of them leave skin feeling supple and firmer than regular moisturizers.  They also dry quickly, given that they soak in deeper.  I’ve been using Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair off and on for years.  It’s a great product that has been around forever and it’s really good for a lot of skin types.  I made the switch a few bottles ago to belif Peat Miracle Revival Serum Concentrate because my skin lacks tensile strength and it makes it feel more supple.  My latest serum find came in my Play! by Sephora box, a monthly sample subscription service.  I’ve never used anything by Korres before the Golden Krocus Elixer, but glow my gawd this stuff is great.  At $98, I haven’t purchased the full bottle yet, but every day my sample size grows more empty and I’m filled with regret for not yet making the purchase.  Not only has my skin felt stronger and more supple, but it also looks radiant.  It may be responsible for what most have been mistaking as a pregnancy glow.  My skin has been dull and dry with the pregnancy, but not since the Golden Krocus Elixer entered my life.  Kiels offers a reliable lower cost serum option.  All four serums below are worth trying and definitely yield results.

Shop My Favorite Serums:


Moisturizer:

Following your serum with moisturizer is the double whammy your skin needs to soak it all in over night and look fresh in the morning.  Customizing your moisturizer to your skin type is very important.  If you have dry skin, you’re going to want to work in a heavier moisturizer, whereas oily skin would call for something lighter.

Shop My Favorite Moisturizers:

My fourth moisturizer pick is so new that the sites I use to make these fancy shopping widgets for you aren’t even carrying it. Secret Sauce Clinically Advanced Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer by It Cosmetics has lots of claims of grandeur, such as 207% of women experienced better hydration and other exciting clinical results. The impressive pearlescent, halographic packaging satisfies the unicorn lover in me while the diamond powder listed in the ingredients makes me chuckle a bit because my husband always says, “better be made of diamonds,” when something is ridiculously expensive. At $68, it is the splurge of the group, but the bottom line is, it works.  Thank you Play! box for introducing me to the best products to feed my worst addiction. My skin has had fewer fine lines, less redness and uneven color since I started using it and I’m only just about done with the sample size Sephora sent me.   It’s no wonder people keep telling me I have a pregnancy glow, a glow that just recently showed up 7 months into my pregnancy.

Eye Cream:

Lastly, eye cream tops of the nighttime skincare routine.  The specific needs tend to change over time, but eye cream remains a nighttime skincare staple.

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Do you love washing your face at night? Comment below.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair: For When You Just Can’t

Sometimes you just can’t wash your hair, so it’s important to have a few hair styles for dirty hair days in your repertoire.  Whether you just need to have a few styles that are good effortless go-to’s or you’re trying to avoid wearing post workout sweaty hair all day, these styles will save you time and energy.

Hair Styles For Dirty Hair

Faux Under Cut

This one is great for when you want to look like a little extra.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

With a sleek braid on one side, and curls on the other, you can totally hide the side of your hair that lacks volume.  It’s a good idea to part your hair on the opposite side than what you’re used to, that way your hair has a bit of lift.  For the side you leave down and curled, dry shampoo is life.  This dry shampoo is my favorite because it doesn’t leave any white residue behind in your hair.  But no matter what dry shampoo you love, you should make sure you’re getting the most out of your product by following these steps.  Let’s take a look at this hairstyle done in a few different looks.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

The photo above is a style done two days post washing.  The curls are soft and fluffy because there isn’t much product buildup yet.  See below for the same style done even further after a wash.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

The curls are less soft looking and more dense due to excess product.  I could have teased them and brushed them out a bit for a softer look, but I kind of liked it, so I went with it.  Brushing out my curls would have also risked losing them because I have fine hair that was weighed down with product buildup.  Take a closer look at my hair on this day.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

I parted my hair lower, toward the ear, and away from center, so more hair falls over the part hiding the side braid.  Where you part it is up to you and your preference.  I like to part it off my natural part because it lifts my hair and makes it easier to achieve volume.  If you struggle with not being able to push off washes due to excess product and oil buildup, this post I did on pushing off washing your hair is a must read.  Extending time between washes not only will help rescue damaged hair (which is why I have to do it), but it also allows more flexibility in your schedule.  I can’t be the only woman out there who has skipped a trip to the gym because I wouldn’t have time to wash my hair.  I don’t have to do that any more, now that I have my hair on my schedule.  Now I just skip the gym because I’m lazy.

Love the look, but wondering how it’s done?  It’s really much much easier than it looks.  Remember, I’m lazy.  The caveat to this style is that you need to know how to do a french braid to get the exact look.  Simply pulling your side part into a tight slicked back pony will do the trick too if you’re short on time or not up to par on your braiding skills.  Not only is this a fairly easy style that looks overly complicated, it also takes half the time to curl your hair when you only have half of it to do.  See it step by step below.

Faux Undercut Tutorial:

Shop Recommended Hair Products For Dirty Hair Days:

Faux Hawk Updo:

This style is very versatile with minor tweaks.  Pulling the curls back further on the crown makes this style more closely resemble something like a french roll, whereas leaving the curls closer to the forehead lends itself to more a more funky mohawk look.  See it below in a few different variations.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

The above look shows curls closer to my forehead for a fun sassy take on an updo.  This look is so easy, it’s basically fool-proof.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

I toned the look way down for a wedding in Venice by simply scooching the curls back on my crown.  The wedding was at the end of our trip.  Completely exhausted, I wasn’t up for a high maintenance do.  After running through Venice in heels in the rain for 30 minutes to make it to the wedding on time, I was glad I had opted for this hairstyle.  I could not have shown up to the wedding more sweaty and though the rain stopped for a bit, the humidity was dreadful.  My hair may look slightly sweaty, in the above look, but for being too tired to wash it and rained on, I think it’s probably the best option I could have had on that day.  Running in heels and the humidity would have certainly gotten the best of any other style.

I’m not kidding when I say that this is one of the easiest hairstyles I have ever done.  If you have mastered a basic ponytail, you can do this one!

Faux Hawk Updo Tutorial:

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5 easy alternatives to washing your hair.
Slicked Back Pony Tail

Never underestimate the impact of a slicked back ponytail.  This simple hairdo is an easy solution to a heavy product day.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

I didn’t provide a tutorial for this one because I think most women know how to do this one.  Pony tails are a necessary right of passage for women.  If you’re struggling with lumps in your ponytail, be sure that to start you are using a good boar brush.  Mason Pearson is pricey, but known to be the best of the best, so I included it and a few cheaper alternatives below.  After your pony is secure, use the right tool to get rid of bumps.  Getting rid of those pesky lumps is actually pretty easy.  Take the end of your rat-tail comb or anything smooth and similarly shaped and slide it through your hair dragging the bump flat; it will lay down with the rest of your hair.  For this trick, I’ve also used a chop stick, a spoon (in a pinch), the end of a skinny makeup brush… things around my hotel room, but the easiest tool is the end of your comb.

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Half Up Pony/ Top Knot

This style is definitely the style of the moment.  Get on instagram and I bet you can’t scroll past a few photos without seeing the half up top-knot on a celeb or blogger.  Any style that affixes the hair on your crown to keep you from touching it and to keep it from moving as one greasy unit (gross, I know) will get you through a heavy product build-up day.  I’ve experimented with this look out of necessity.  The hair around my crown gets the most exposure to the environment and has been bleached and dyed along with the rest of my hair, so it looks the worst.  Great.  The hair everyone can see looks the worst.  Hand to forehead, I have struggled with this for the better part of a year and I don’t think I will ever bleach my hair again!  I’ve twisted it back and secured it with hair spray and bobby pins for a more formal look and done the top-knot for casual days.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

The casual look is pretty easy if you have the right pony tail brushes.  I have to do a little teasing of the ponytail because the hair on my crown is shorter (not intentionally, but due to breakage).  Teasing it helps me to achieve the top-knot look with my thin, fine hair.  I draw the hair on my crown back in a pony, secure it with a rubber band and then tease the ponytail before I twist it down and secure the bun with hair spray and bobby pins.

Hair Styles for Dirty Hair Days

I didn’t provide the tutorial for this one because you need to play with your own hair to decide what looks best.  The shape of your head and jaw line will determine how much hair to pull back or leave down.

When all else fails, wear a hat!

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What’s your best go-to advice for dirty hair days? (Besides wash your hair!)

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Maternity Hacks for Pants that Actually Work

There are a lot of maternity hacks on Pinterest, but before we get into this, I would like to point out that there is more pressure now than ever to have a stylish pregnancy.  More expensive maternity boutiques, more gorgeous Insta-Moms and let’s face it, pregnancy is not glamorous.  At 6 weeks pregnant and I barely even aware of it, I had a hard time buttoning my pants.  This was quite a blow to my ego.

Aren’t you supposed to show later when you’re in shape and have never been pregnant?

I would think as I stretched my way into jeans sausage casings.  I really do stretch while I put pants on and my husband finds it hilarious.

I can’t help you with the fluid retention and constipation you will surely encounter during pregnancy.  I did say it wouldn’t be glamorous.  I can, however, help you get into your jeans.

Maternity Hacks For Pants:

Getting a pair of maternity pants was one of the best pieces of advice I took early in my pregnancy (I’ll be sharing all the gems in one post coming soon).  Why invest early?  It’s just more comfortable.  I read that you can use a rubber band or hair tie to keep your pants fastened with a little extra give.  You can definitely do this, but it’s not all that comfy.  There are loads of under belly maternity pants, pants that fasten or have elastic below the belly button to allow your belly to grow, as opposed to traditional maternity pants that you can pull up to your bra.  Odds are, you’ll need a good pair of jeans anyway and the under belly jeans will get you through most of your pregnancy.  I’m eight months currently, and I’m just now finding those the under belly pants to be a bit snug.

Wish I would have known this sooner!
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I’m eight months and I’m so close to eviction day that I do not want to buy more clothes.  Thankfully, it’s an easy fix.  With the Fertile Mind – Belly Belt Combo, The Ultimate Maternity Wear Solution set, I’m able to make my sausage casings feel like actual pants.

Maternity hacks for pants that actually work
photo sourced from Pinterest. To shop the product, click here.

With multiple buttons and sizes available, these babies will grow your pants with your growing body.

This next part will save you from an embarrassing moment.  I will probably never forget when I sneezed and peed my pants while shopping.  Preggos have enough unavoidable moments like this, so listen up.

If you’re able to get your zipper up while using a button extender, it won’t likely stay up.  You don’t want to accidentally drop trou in public.  Make sure you use a key ring or small hair tie to keep your zipper up.  It’s quick and easy and you most likely already have one of those two items on hand, see how it works here.

The pieces shown behind the button extenders above that look like loin cloths are to fasten over the button extender and fit between your belly and pants.

Maternity hacks for pants that actually work.

Your skin will thank you for not exposing it to a scratchy unzipped zipper.  So far, most of my pants are small enough that I haven’t tried to stuff all that fabric down the front of my pants.  I use my undies as a barrier, but no, I do not walk around with my panties hanging out.  I use a Bellyband to cover the front of my pants.  It looks like I have a tank top on under my shirt and no one would ever know my pants are unzipped.

Maternity Hacks in Action:

Can you even tell my waist has outgrown these maternity pants?  I look like I actually have style instead of like I’m trying to make maternity wear fit my style.

Stylish Maternity Outfit

These maternity pants still fit fairly well at eight months, but I need the belt extender to be more comfortable when I sit down.

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Giveway: Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil

This stuff melts makeup so easily, it may as well be made of unicorn tears.
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Removes makeup, including stubborn waterproof makeup the way you wish water would.  See the full review here.  I’m freaking out about this product and that means, I have to share it!  I’m giving it away!

Enter Giveaway Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hairstyle for When Your Hair Is Greasy: Faux Undercut

We have all looked in the mirror at a fresh-out-of-bed hairstyle and thought, “OMG, I look like a wombat and I don’t have time to wash my hair!”  Ok, maybe I’m the only one dramatic enough to compare myself to a marsupial, but still greasy hair is a tough coif to tame.  Luckily, there are a few quick and easy hairstyles that you can add to your personal repertoire to save your morning.

The faux undercut is one of my favorite hairstyles for when my hair is on its last leg.  It’s cool, fresh and people won’t even know that you neglected to wash your hair.

Faux Undercut Hairstyle: Perfect for Dirty Hair Days
Final Look

See How Easy it is to do this Hairstyle:

I have rocked this look so many times.  When my hair is fresh and clean, I brush through the curls and it makes pretty waves.  If my hair is dirty, I wear it exactly the same as in the video.  The one constant is always the feedback; people love it and think it looks like I had it done professionally.  You can see from the video that the look is far from perfect, it’s just not what people are used to, so they over look the dirty hair.

If your hair is beyond the point of wearing it down, even on the one side, and yes, I’ve been there too, you may want to try the Faux Hawk, which is even easier than this look.

So easy!
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Products I Use for this Look:

Davines This is A Strong Moulding Clay, 2.75 oz.  The actual product used in the video.  This moulding clay is going to add definition and keep hair from looking frizzy.  It will also add to the grease already in your hair, so use it sparingly.  I use it mainly because I have frizzy ends.

Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Spray– I love this stuff for second to last day or last day before a wash.  Spray on your roots and dry with a hair dryer, or use it just after a wash for the perfect blow out.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist–  Use after a wash for the perfect blowout and days of easier styling to follow.  After the perfect blowout?  Watch the tutorial I did on achieving a salon blow out at home.

Amika Bombshell Blowout–  A slightly cheaper alternative to the Alterna Caviar blowout spray.  I’ve had excellent results with this product as well as the Alterna blowout spray.  Be sure to use products that add moisture back to your hair if you’re in the habit of using blowout sprays on the regular; they can dry your hair out with long-term use.

Osis Dust It– This stuff will lift the toughest of roots.  I love to use it on the last day before a wash because I get the full root lift, but I don’t wake up so hot the day after I use it, so I have to wash it.  I did a whole post on it because I love this product so much.

Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam–  This is the ONLY dry shampoo that does not leave white spots in my hair.  I’ve tried a lot of dry shampoos and this one takes the cake.  It’s a foam, so use it sparingly and dry it out with a hair dryer for the best results.

Oribe Hairspray–  I’m not a hairspray girl, I miss being able to run my hands through my hair.  That said, I only use light weight hairspray and this one is my favorite.  It smells wonderful and doesn’t leave my hair too weighed down or sticky.

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I know I said in the video that I’m doing a giveaway. Total pregnancy brain moment. Giveaways start on the first Monday of the month (so next Monday), but *spoiler alert* this is what I’m giving away.