Friday, February 25, 2011

Beauty Sleep? What's That? Mama Methods for Faking the Funk

I readily admit that becoming a mama has aged me beyond belief. In many ways. But primarily my face. I look back at photos of me pre-Q and it's as if 10 years have passed. Okay, slight exaggeration, but it sure looks like more than a couple of years ago. I mean, I still got carded occasionally before I was pregnant! Now a male checker will ask for my ID once in a great while as a sort of gift to me that day -- as in, yeah, I see you have a kid sitting in your cart and you're obviously over 30, but this should make you feel good, so here ya go. And it does. Before I used to worry about not appearing mature enough. HA! Oh, the ha. Cherish the ID checks, young'ins.

Anyway, back to mama aging. Crow's feet, dark circles under my eyes, dull skin, lackluster hair. What does this all boil down to? Lack of sleep. And I'm sure the stress of trying to do it all contributes. So, here are a few tips and tricks I've been employing to battle the beauty blahs.

1) Eye cream

I can't emphasize this necessity enough. And not just any eye cream. If you can afford the good stuff, it is so worth the investment. I know. So many of the reportedly effective eye creams are not in the typical mama's budget -- we're talking $50-$100 for a little jar or tube. But recently I've come across an amazing eye cream that isn't too pricey. It's Boscia Enlivening Amino-AG Eye Treatment and at $38 it's not cheap, but it's not bank-breaking either. Plus, I had been using some cheapo eye cream before that I swear gave me an unsightly dry patch under one eye. Or maybe it was eczema -- who knows? But this Boscia stuff has essentially gotten rid of it in one week. Plus, it de-puffs and lightens dark circles and pretty much erases mama aging from your eyes. Okay, not completely, but I've only been using this cream for one week. We shall see what happens in a few months.

2) A good concealer

Another essential. If you don't have the time or energy to do full-on makeup, then some eye cream and a good concealer can work wonders (and an eyelash curler, but let's focus here). My favorite is Benefit Erase Paste. It's thick and creamy and truly hides everything from blemishes to under-eye darkness to random scratch marks from your toddler, but it melts into your skin after a few minutes, so there are no tell-tale signs of concealing. Love.

3) An awesome facial scrub

If only we could all get monthly facials. Well, since that's not in the (credit) cards, a nice weekly at-home scrub can do wonders. When I last indulged in a facial (over 6 months ago), the lovely esthetician recommended this product and it really has helped my skin look brighter and feel smoother. Not all dull and tired. Find one that works for your skin type -- maybe even one of those microdermobrasion brushes -- and look at least a little more rested.

4) Prenatal vitamins

I never stopped taking these, even when I was done breastfeeding Q. I swear they make my hair and nails healthier and have helped battle some colds that hit T really hard but hardly touched me.

5) A flat iron

Let's face it. We don't always have time to do our hair, let alone shower. But if you've got one of those speedy flat irons that heats up in seconds (I love my Croc -- a fabulous gift from my bff's a few years ago), you can tame those crazy fly-aways and smooth bent bangs into submission in mere minutes. Oh, and a bit of dry shampoo never hurt, either.

Mamas and other lovely ladies who are lacking in beauty sleep, how do you maintain your youthful glow? I could always add a few more tricks to my arsenal.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nice vs. Nasty

"Some people think I'm nice, some people think I'm nasty. But if you really want to know just ask me and I'll say I'm nicety." ~ Michel'le

So, I try to be a nice person. I really do. But as I get older -- and my patience is constantly being tested by a 2-year-old and I have little patience for much else -- my nasty side has started to emerge from beneath the standard people-pleasing layers. I mean, let's be honest here. Sometimes it's just more fun to be a bitch. It feels good. Not that you have to transform into some extreme mean girl, but dropping the sweetness every once in a while and going sour can be refreshing. Or just something you can't help at certain times.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the nice versus nasty battle. The age-old angel on one shoulder and devil on the other conflict.

Nice:  I'm sorry I left the Netflix instant streaming movie on. I should have turned it off when I took Q downstairs to change his diaper or at least put it on pause so you knew what was going on when you got home.
Nasty: What's the deal? Are you trying to watch something? Here, I'll freakin' turn it off. I was just trying to find something to entertain Q for a few moments so I could breathe. Perhaps put my feet up. Here! (remotes go flying)

Guess which one of the above scenarios won out! Poor T stood dumbfounded and quickly recovered to ask if I needed a break.

Another . . .

Nice: I'd love your help with baking these cookies. I'm at a loss right now.
Nasty: Ugh! These directions are stupid. Who ever heard of creaming the butter with the eggs first? No, you can't heat it up. Trying to act like you've ever baked cookies before. You're driving me crazy!

Poor T. He was again the victim of the nastiness.

Nice: Sure, Q. Let's play in the tent.
Nasty: No, Mommy can't play in the tent. Her legs keep falling asleep in there. And then you beat me up. It's really the Terrordome!

Q got his way this time. And I'm sure I have a few more bruises to show for it.

Some of my choices will make more sense in a post coming 'atcha soon. In the meantime, it's probably best to stay away. Nasty clearly wins more often as of late.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Very Valentine-y

"I love to love you, baby." ~ Donna Summer


"When Cupid knocks at your door, you can't ignore me. There's no need to run. So, Happy Valentine's Day (hey!). Every day the 14th!" ~ Andre 3000

I couldn't resist. Source

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vegas, Baby. Vegas.

"Viva Las Vegas turnin' day into nighttime, turnin' night into daytime, if you see it once you'll never be the same again." ~ Elvis Presley

As if that title isn't an overused phrase regarding Sin City. But I love Swingers and I couldn't help it. Plus, Vegas! T and I are heading off to the LV today to visit Sis-O and celebrate her Dirty Thirty.

And with this trip kicks off my 2nd momcation (as well as T's 2nd dadcation). Like our last getaway to San Diego, this one will be a mere 2 nights on our own. Two blissful nights, three-ish glorious days. But I know, like last time, that my heart will feel incomplete by the end of Day 2. That space that Q fills will be vacant for a couple of days. It's a tangible, physical feeling to not be around my little guy. Ouch. But I think I will be able to find enough distractions to get through it.

Namely, Sis-O's birthday! We plan to head out to a club or two on Friday night, hopefully do some outlet and strip shopping on Saturday, go to a birthday dinner at her favorite Mexican spot, and then head out to the Jabbawockeez show. I am reverting to Fly Girl-like excitement for the latter. If you didn't already know, I'm a huge fan of hip-hop dancing in any form. And these guys are the best of the best. And I get to see them with my sister! I'm feeling pretty lucky right now. Maybe I'll even tackle some slots. Ooh, so risky. Clearly, the gambling isn't what gets me hyped about Vegas.

Oh, and then there's the part where T and I will get some one-on-one time. Our last date night was in December, so two whole nights without wind-down, bathtime, brushing-a-toddler's-teeth-as-he-chomps-away-at-your-hand, 7-books-read before bedtime to get us all worn out will be such a treat. A nice, little Valentine's celebration.

And! We have one more piece of news worth celebrating this weekend -- Q got into our first choice of preschools! I'm sure it was my his essay that sealed the deal. More on that later because it's making me not want to leave my baby this weekend who will be off to school before I know it.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Mamasay Memories: Finger Comb

"Even though my mind is hazy and my thoughts they might be narrow, where you been don't bother me nor bring me down in sorrow. It don't even matter to me where you're wakin' up tomorrow, but mama, you'll be on on my mind." ~ Jack Johnson

My mom has been visiting me in my dreams almost every night for the last week. I figure she's there for a reason. But typically we're doing nothing very special -- shopping, trying on new lipstick colors, lounging around. Stuff we used to do together that didn't seem very meaningful but that I always enjoyed. Sometimes we're even arguing a bit. That's not something we did very often at all. But I still love every bit of my dreams with her in them. She's there. Before she was sick. Healthy and happy. That's all that matters. When I wake up, reality shoves me deep in the chest and I'm sputtering from my inability to catch my breath. From having to face another day without her in it.

The emotional ups and downs I'm experiencing lately remind me of the ways she used to soothe me and make me feel safe. Even if I wasn't particularly upset, I would sometimes crave a little affection from my mom and I would ask her to run her fingers through my hair. I don't know if it's something she used to do when I was little, but as a grown woman it somehow always made me feel warm and content. I would lay on the couch with my head in her lap and she would gently use her fingers like a comb through my hair. I'm sure I never asked her to do that when she was sick, so it's been many years now since we've had one of those moments.

But I find myself doing the same with Q. If he's feeling cuddly, then I take full advantage of our time together. I run my fingers through his fuzzy head like rainwater through newly grown grass. I plant little kisses all over his face and head, hoping they will bloom into his feelings of safety and warmth. He murmurs "Mee-ma" and I feel content again. Fingers really do make the best combs.