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14 of My Favorite Beauty Products

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14 of My Favorite Beauty Products

By no stretch of the imagination to I consider myself a beauty queen, mostly I struggle.  But along the way, I found some fabulous, somewhat surprising beauty products that help me put my best face forward.

1. Venus Embrace

These razors are the bomb dot com. Three come in a pack for around $10. They make your legs (and anything else you shave) silky smooth and they don’t cut you up or leave a burn. I like that they are disposable unlike many of the Venus razors because after a while razor just get gross.

2. theBalm Blush

This blush comes in several colors, I like “Frat Boy.” I came across it in a Birch Box sample, from Birchbox.com. (PS If you don’t have a Birchbox account, get one because they have an awesome rewards program, whether or not you sign up for their monthly samples.) The color looks great and a little bit goes a long way.

3. Acure Day Cream

This animal friendly moisturizer smells great and works wonders. The day cream is light and refreshing, I use it under my make-up everyday. It restores skin cell and protects against free radical damage. It is also sulfate, paraben, and cruelty free!

 

4. Urban Decay Naked Palette
I currently have the original Naked Eye Palette and the Smoky Eye Palette. There are so many things you can do with these colors. They go on so nicely and stay all day. I’ve had my original palette for almost 3 years, and I use it almost everyday. I was a little overwhelmed when I first purchased the palettes, but there are a lot of helpful YouTube videos out there, like this one.

5. Sephora Color IQ

I was tempted to add the foundation I use to this list, but instead I added the Sephora Color IQ. If you visit your local Sephora they hold a device to your face and it pulls a variety of make-ups perfect for your skin tone. Plus, the service is absolutely free! When I did it I was wearing Bare-Minerals, which didn’t even register as a recommendation. I switched to Lancome and was absolutely amazed at the difference.

6. Head & Shoulder Classic Clean Shampoo

Original Head and Shoulders Shampoo (not the 2 in 1) will work wonders for not only your hair, but also your face. It makes your hair so shiny and it will clear up breakouts in a snap. Trust me!

7. Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening Tooth Paste

I’m pretty sure this toothpaste would take the rust off a car bumper. It will noticeably whiten your teeth quickly. It is not for the faint of heart, but it works wonders for your smile.

8. Sun Laboratories Self Tanning Lotion

I dread putting on self tanner. This self tanner last a good while, which means I have to put it on a lot less often. It has instant color so you can actually see where you are putting it. It smells great, and I can put it on my face. Make sure you wear gloves when you put on self tanner.

9. Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo

The cheapest and best dry shampoo I’ve ever used. That’s win win!

10. Dawn

Dawn is amazing! I use it in my hair about once a week. After shampoo and conditioner I put a dime size amount in my hair, and lather and rinse quickly. It really gets your hair clean.  I’ve used it a lot more often during both of my pregnancies because my hair gets so greasy, it is the only thing that works for me.

11. Revlon Hair Color

Lets see…pay someone to color my hair for $60-$100, plus tip, plus scheduling it, small talk, and at least a 1 hour appointment…or do it myself for $5 in 25 minutes. I have brown hair (and lots of gray), I always use the “Dark Mahogany Brown,” but there are many to chose from.  Also it is ammonia free so you won’t stink up your bathroom.

12. Burt’s Bees Cleansing Towelettes

I know that part of being a “grown-up” in that you are not supposed to go to bed with make-up on your face because it causes big pores, wrinkles, and acne…yuck. But Home Girl is way too tired at the end of the day and stand over the sink to wash my face.  Does anyone stand over the sink and wash their face, or does that only happen in commercials?  I always have a pack of make up removing wipes on my night stand to clean my face, literally right before I go to bed.  Its always good to go with a sensitive type formula because they are typically scent free and easy on the face.  Remember you are trying to fall asleep, not wake up.

13. Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette

If I can contour, anyone can contour. This is like paint by numbers! There is only one pallet which offers all the colors you’ll ever need. This is great for the transition from summer to winter.  The brush is sold separately, bummer, I purchased it, but I’m sure other brushes would get the job done, just fine.

14. Pure Instinct Sex Attractant Cologne

Chill.  The “hack” is not that I used this to attract my husband.  This stuff is a must have in the summer!  If you ever feel like your deodorant just isn’t enough in the sleeveless months you have to try this stuff!  Just put on your deodorant as normal, and then put a dab of this serum on your underarms (over your deodorant).  Spread it around, a little goes a long way.  Trust me on this one!  I don’t wear anything sleeveless without this.

Labor, Induction, and Delivery: When Your Birth Story Stings a Little

I am enternally grateful that I was given the gift of pregnancy and even more a healthy, happy, baby boy. Throughout my pregnancy I read of mothers that mourned their labor and/or delivery for one reason or another. Maybe they had an unplanned c-section, or they felt they were treated poorly by busy doctors; regardless of the reason each time I rolled my eyes and snubbed the ungrateful mothers. How could they complain when they still went home with a baby, when so many women aren’t able to conceive, or tragically do not get to go home with a baby, but now I understand. When the birth of your baby does not go the way you planned, it stings.

It is ok to mourn the birth experience that didn't happen.

If we crossed paths throughout my pregnancy you would have heard me say two things, as I said the two phrases over and over again for 9 months. “I don’t want to be induced.” And “This baby is going to be a c-section.” I can’t really remember why I didn’t want to be induced, maybe I was worried I would rush a baby that wasn’t ready, and carrying a boy, everyone warned me not to do so. I slightly remember feeling like most inductions became long labors that turned into c-sections, but I’m not sure what I was basing that off of. And I just knew he would be a c-section because I (my mother’s first baby) was a c-section at 10 pounds and 22 inches long, and my baby was measuring big at every ultrasound.

Even though I was so headstrong about not being induced when the word induction rolled of my doctor’s tongue around 36 weeks, I was slightly intrigued. The teacher in me wanted to put my baby’s birth on a calendar, and he was due 4 days into the New Year, she was offering an induction that would get me that awesome income tax break you get when you have a child, and goodness knows I was in major pain.



My entire body was swollen, one night I said to my husband “I think that even my fingers are swollen now.” His courageous, some say idiotic response was “Your whole body is swollen.” I was pretty puffy, getting up, sitting down, getting in and out of my car, and walking hurt! It felt like my pelvis was going to snap in half and I just knew when the doctor checked to see if I was dilated that she’d shake hands with my baby and that I’d be whisked away to labor and delivery right then and there, but every time I had a pelvic exam I wasn’t dilated at all, none, I was so disappointed.

I felt like my body didn’t realize that I was pregnant, more like my body thought I’d gone on a fast food binge with no end in sight.

That induction sounded sweeter and sweeter everyday, and I eventually scheduled it. I was embarrassed that I had scheduled the induction I swore I’d never have, and secretly hoped that I’d go into labor before that day came. I even considered cancelling it a time or two. I can remember one night crying my eyes out to my husband, worried that I was making a terrible mistake. I worried that things would go wrong, or that baby wouldn’t be ready, or even that I would stress the baby out, all because I decided to be induced. I tried to explain to him that if anything went wrong I wasn’t sure I’d ever forgive myself.

I also worried that not being induced might also be dangerous because my baby was sooo big. How big? At my 34 week sonogram, he had a 38 week head. YIPES!

Induction day came and I still wasn’t dilated. We checked into the “Hospital Hotel” as I began to refer to my spa stay trying to make myself forget that I was about to have to face a lot of fears, needles, blood, pain, and hospitals in general.

At 6pm on December 29th the process had begun. I had a fresh face of makeup and I was armed with dry shampoo, should I need it, I wanted to look good in my first pictures with my baby. I was told I couldn’t eat again until the baby was born, which was fine because I was way too nervous to eat anything.

The first step in the induction process was the insertion of Cervidil to soften my cervix.  It had been recommended to me by my doctor, when I continuously was not dilated during my pelvic exams.  The nurse inserted the tampon like contraption, and my husband and I attempted to get some sleep.

Throughout the night the nurse would wake me up to tell me that baby was “unhappy” based on his heart rate, and she readjusted my monitors and gave me some oxygen several times.  I wasn’t really worried, I was half asleep and convinced that I’d moved the monitors on my stomach causing them to get a bad reading.

I did notice on the monitors that despite actually being in labor prior to arriving, and not having been administered Piton, I was having contractions due to the Cervidil.

Around 4am, I was ready to unhook myself from all contraptions I was hooked up to and walk my ass home. I was tired, uncomfortable, and the contractions were starting to hurt. Some how the nurse calmed me down, and said that we could officially start the Pitocin to kick my induction into gear, so I stayed (like they really would have let me leave anyway).

That morning around 9 AM my husband went home to feed our dogs and take a shower. While he was gone the doctor came and broke my water. I’ll admit, That. Shit. Hurt., and I felt sad. I felt like there was officially no turning back, that I was forcing my baby to come whether he liked it or not and to make matters worse, the nurse made a comment about seeing meconium, to my doctor as some fluid rushed out of me. The doctor did not think there was any meconium, so the matter was dismissed before it was ever a concern.

Soon I requested an epidural, which was pretty easy. Looking back, I wish I would have walked around some prior to my epidural, to help baby move down, and to rid of some pain naturally. But I had no intentions of having an epidural free delivery, so I decided I should get it before the pain became too severe to stand it.

At my hospital no one is allowed to be with you when you get an epidural, besides the nurse and doctor. This 28 year old wanted her mama, but my mom wanted no part of seeing THE NEEDLE anyway. So the nurse and I were in the bear hug as I got my epidural and I had a great appreciation for her presence. As I maneuvered around to get my epidural I gushed what felt like gallons and gallons of fluid. That is such a weird feeling, it feels like you are wetting your pants, but you can’t “hold it.” As my poor nurse cleaned up the mess she commenting again that she thought she saw meconium.

I really started to worry, but she reassured me that I didn’t need to worry unless she said so. For the rest of the day, a possible delivery time was pushed back further and further and my dilation progress was slow as molasses. I really started to worry for my baby’s health because my water had been broken for so long, the thought of meconium was still in my head, and I didn’t ever think that I’d be dilated enough.

Sometime in the evening I fell asleep, and when I woke up still hooked up to an IV, an epidural, a blood pressure cuff, all while in the worlds most uncomfortable bed, and still very, very pregnant, I had a break down.

My nurse checked my cervix to see my progress and again pushed back a possible delivery time. I was so disappointed to still have no baby. I was hungry, tired, and completely over the whole process. I wiped all my makeup off my face, threw my hair in a ponytail (which is hard as hell to do with a IV in your hand) and begged my nurse for a c-section. I cried and told her that I was done and just wanted it all to be over with. My husband calmed me down, he reminded me how far I had come, and that I was so close, I’m so thankful for that moment with him.

Around 2am, on now December 31st, my nurse told me it was time to push, she turned on a few lights in the room, and went to call my doctor. My husband held my hand and said a prayer. We were ready.

Pushing felt easy, and sometimes I’d keep pushing even after they had stopped counting, I was ready for my baby. The room seemed peaceful with just my husband and the nurse, the room was dimly lit and after pushing for a little while she got me to rest and let the baby move down some more on his own. In my mind I was still convinced, that pushing would turn into me having to get a c-section.

By the time the doctor arrived they could see his head, the feel of the room seemed more rushed and frantic, as all the lights were turned on and more nurses had come to help with the delivery. I kept my eyes closed the entire time until I heard my husband gasp “oh my God,” I opened my eyes to see my baby boy being born. He was curled up in a ball asleep. “We don’t want him to cry,” my doctor explained to my husband and I. She went on to explain that there was meconium in the fluid and after my husband cut the cord, several nurses took him to the corner of the room and suctioned out his airways.

The room was silent. My husband and I looked at each other scared to death, we held hands, I silently prayed every prayer I could think of while he watched the clock. A minute later and we could hear small whimpers from our son. The nurses explained that he’d need to be taken to the NICU right away, and off they went.

What just happened? I’d carried a baby for nine months, labored for 34 hours, and I had nothing to show for it. My husband followed the baby to the NICU. I was being stitched up by my doctor for some minor tearing. Nurses seemed to be coming and going, none of them really acknowledging me. I was convinced the worst had happened, and that everyone was avoiding conversation and eye contact in fear that I’d ask questions.

My husband returned a little while later with a pediatrician who explained what was going on. I was moved to a wheelchair and taken to see my baby. My 9 pound 5 oz, 22. 5 inches long, 39-week gestation baby was in the NICU. He had an IV, oxygen, vital monitor, and a tube removing fluid from his stomach. He looked pitiful, but when I spoke to him, he looked around as he recognized the voice he’d heard for so long. I touched his legs and feet and told him I would see him later.

I was moved to a new room, my parents and my husband’s parents helped us get settled in and everyone went home. What was supposed to be such a joyous time, as we smiled over a beautiful new baby, passed him around, kissed him, and talked about who he look like, was me and my husband in an empty room.

We cried, we prayed, we argued, and we slept. I felt like the nurse took pity over me, and I was having a huge pity party of my own. I told the nurses to leave me alone and asked that a “No Visitor” sign be placed on my door. Later I had a fit that no one was around and that I felt abandoned. I lashed out at my husband and he went home to take care of our dogs and himself.

While alone I cried and cried, I was so scared for my baby, so sad that I couldn’t hold him or get to know him. So upset that he couldn’t feel the love that we were all beyond ready to give him. My dad came by and helped me settle down and I got ready to go visit our baby again.

I was overwhelmed at how friendly the nurses where, they made me feel so much better. One NICU nurse leaned down to my level, she could see my pain, the pain I’m sure she see’s in all mother’s eyes that come to see her. She told me that it was ok to mourn the way things had happened, that it was ok to be sad that plans had gone arry. I felt so understood and better about my situation. If she wouldn’t have told me that, I know it would have taken me a lot longer to “get over” the way things happened. I don’t know her name and can barely recall what the nurse looked like. She didn’t work anymore shifts the rest of our stay, but she help me tremendously.

Our baby continued to make positive gains, and had no negative effects from the meconium. He was discharged a few hours after I was. Being in the NICU, put a huge dent in our breastfeeding journey, but we still made it to 15 months.

It took a while for our birth experience to stop hurting.  I’m not sure that it hurt my husband like it hurt me.  I was so sad that the happy times I had played over and over in my head ended up being very scary, and very hard.

To this day I’m convinced that the Cervidil stressed my baby out, causing him to release meconium early. He’s 15 months old now and it no longer stings to think of when he was born.  Now that I’m pregnant with our second child I have no intentions of using Cervidil, and hope to avoid being induced the best I can.  A small part of me worries that we’ll find ourselves back in the NICU for another reason, or something else will go wrong.  I try to pray and remind myself how much worrying is going to accomplish.

Labor, Induction, and Delivery: 10 Things You Need to Know About Cervidil

The following information was retrieved from cervidil.com and is only intended for U.S. patients.

I’m not sure if my baby would have been born vaginally, had it not been for Cervidil, but I’m certain he would not have gone to the NICU. I have no intentions of ever using Cervidil again.

I am not a doctor or medical professional, but I am convinced that Cervidil is the reason my baby went straight to the NICU after birth. In my birth story I talked about how my doctor recommended Cervidil prior to the induction of my labor because I had not dilated at all.

I was induced at 39 weeks, not for medical reasons, but to insure that my doctor delivered the baby, to have the baby prior to the new year, and because I (not my doctor) was worried my baby was too big.

I spent my entire pregnancy researching inductions, but I never researched Cervidil, even after my doctor made it part of my birth plan.

I’m not sure if my baby would have been born vaginally, had it not been for Cervidil, but I’m certain he would not have gone to the NICU. I have no intentions of ever using Cervidil again.

10 Things You Need to Know About Cervidil

 

  1. Cervidil is a removable vaginal insert (much like a tampon) that helps your cervix ripen, soften and thin, similar to the way your hormones normally would have. (cervidil.com)
  1. It is approved to start and/or continue the ripening of the cervix in pregnant women who are at or near the time of delivery and who have a medical reason for inducing labor. (cervidil.com)
  1. Cervidil is inserted by your doctor or midwife at the hospital, and it is easy to remove when they decides it’s time. (cervidil.com)
  1. The part of the insert that is near the cervix gradually delivers a hormone similar to your body’s own hormone, dinoprostone.(cervidil.com)
  1. Cervidil has been around for over 20 years. (cervidil.com)




  1. Cervidil is the only FDA approved vaginal insert to help get the cervix ready for labor. (cervidil.com)
  1. More than 5 million Cervidil vaginal inserts have been dispensed in the United States. (cervidil.com)
  1. While Cervidil is inserted, your doctor will carefully monitor your progress and your baby’s well-being and will determine when the insert should be removed. (cervidil.com)
  1. In rare cases, the use of Cervidil has been associated with an increased risk of a life-threatening event to the mother called “amniotic fluid embolism.” (cervidil.com)
  1. The most common side effects of Cervidil are contractions occurring at a rate faster than normal and signs that the baby is exhausted or in distress. (cervidil.com)

For more information on how Cervidil effected me and my baby, read my birth story.

 

Top 6 Gender Neutral Toys for My 1 Year Old

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

It can be so frustrating when you buy toys for your child that they are not interested in.  I wanted to make a list of the toys that hold my toddlers attention, that he plays with most often day after day. I don’t always want to rely on screen time to hold my little ones attention when I’m getting things done. We have a little girl on the way too!

1. Fisher-Price Shooting Stars Glow Soother

My baby absolutely loves his crib toy. It plays lullabies, nature sounds, or white noise.  Beads tumble from the top, and it glows without being too bright.  It has a button that he can press himself.  On most nights, if he wakes up he’ll turn on his crib toy, I can hear it through the baby monitor.  It helps him go back to sleep! I received this as a baby shower gift, but knowing what I know now, I’d pay triple for this soother.

2. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Baby R absolutely love this walker.  He sits and plays with it more than he walks with it.  I has a removable front panel, and so many different sounds and songs.  He never gets tired of it.  The wheels work on all floor types, and can even be locked if needed.

 

3. Feels Real Books

These board books have photographs of animals and have “feels real” textures for baby to touch.  There are several different books, we have them all!  These books really hold his attention, which I love because, duh, they are books, and I want him to love books!

 

4. VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train

This toy is made to grow with baby.  It can be used as a floor toy, riding toy, baby walker, and pull toy.  It comes with alphabet blocks that when dropped down the chute land in the wagon, my baby loves that part! It even recognizes what letters are being used on the key pad. Even if we turn off the music and lights, he still loves to play with his train!

5. Bright Starts Baby Light and Giggle Drum

Baby R can see himself in the reflective drum, which he loves!  It has 3 different playing modes and responds to baby’s taps on the drum with sound and lights.

 

6. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy and Friends Learning Table

Baby R really enjoys playing with this activity table.  I like it because it has continuously helped him become a more confident walker. This activity table has over 60 songs, tunes, and phrases and the table top can be laid flat on the floor.

First Pregnancy Mistakes: Setting Yourself Up for Failure

Don't set yourself up for failure.Ok, I’m allowed to say this because I have crossed the threshold between my 1st pregnancy and motherhood.  If you are pregnant with your first child (and have not other children) do yourself a favor and SHUT UP!


Yes, you are pregnant with an actual child, yes you are entitled to your own opinions, and goodness know you have 5,000 of those already, but every time you open your mouth in regards to your birth plan (Ha!), parenting style, or how your baby is going to sleep through the night, you are digging yourself deeper and deeper into the hole of shame.

I call it the hole of shame because every single time I failed (and fail) to live up to those goals and aspirations I had for myself and my child, I feel ashamed, like a big, fat, failure.

As if parenting isn’t already hard enough, don’t add to it by setting yourself up for failure time and time again.

I get it, the load of advice, especially the out dated old school advice, can get really, really, old, and you’re more than entitled to your own opinions and plans.  But keep it to yourself, you have no earthly idea what you’re in for, and people are only trying to help.

I don’t recommend using the words “never,” ever, and don’t argue with someone that gives you advice with what you plan to do instead. Plan to prove yourself with your actions, not your words.



Simple Southern Potato Salad Recipe

Easy Potato Salad Everyone Will Love

This is my favorite potato salad recipe, and I don’t even like potato salad! It was inspired by one of Paula Deen’s recipes, the Queen of southern cooking.  Give it a try for a dinner side, or a potluck gathering, everyone will love it!





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Simple Southern Potato Salad Recipe
Search no more, for a quick and easy southern style potato salad that everyone will love.
Easy Potato Salad Everyone Will Love
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Easy Potato Salad Everyone Will Love
Recipe Notes
  1. Rinse and boil the red potatoes for approximately 20 minutes, until tender.
  2. Boil the egg in a separate pot for approximately 15 minutes, until hard boiled.
  3. Chopped the onion and set aside.
  4. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, dijon, salt, and pepper.
  5. Dice the tender potatoes, and stir in the chopped onion, and bacon.
  6. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture.
  7. Chopped the hard boiled egg, and stir into the potato salad.
  8. Serve warm or immediately cover and chill to serve cold.

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Must Have Baby Stuff: 6 Items I Wish I Had From the Start

6 Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Parents learn very quickly that things constantly change and the only way to make it out alive is to monitor and adjust accordingly.

6 Must Have Items for You and Your Baby

I spent countless nights searching on Amazon for things that might help taking care of a new baby just a tad easier. I joined mommy groups on Facebook, searched Pinterest, and had many many trail and error experiences, not to mention many many wasted dollars.

I created a list of 6 awesome products that got me through the baby stage without absolutely going bonkers.

Snuza Hero

The Snuza Hero is a movement monitor that alerts baby and parents when no movement have been detected over certain periods of time. First the baby is alerted with vibrations, then the parent and baby are alerted with an alarm.  I purchased the Snuza Hero prior to my son’s arrival, but once we brought him home, I was too scared to use it. I was worried that the rubber sensor would irritate his tummy, or just plain bother him. I was worried that the device would have “false alarms” and do more harm than good. One night, when baby was probably 5 weeks old, and I just couldn’t stand the sleepless nights and constant worrying anymore, I finally decided to try the Snuza Hero. I could tell right away that my baby didn’t even notice it. False alarms were not an issue and I finally was able to have some relaxing sleep. I used this little do-dad until baby was about 6 months old. I highly recommend this to new parents.

Rock n Play

I was initially against using the Rock and Play. It has a lot of bad online reviews regarding SIDS and causing flat heads. Eventually I gave it a try with the Snuza Hero and a 4Moms newborn insert and it worked wonders for my baby. I think the incline and the way it cradles baby really helped him stay asleep, and the insert gave me piece of mind for his head. The one I bought had an automatic rocking feature, and played music. I used this until baby started sitting up on his own.

Medela Pump

I started out with a Lansinoh Signature Pump, I did like it, but once I tried a Medela Pump in Style I never looked back.  The Medela is more powerful and is easier to get set up and put away. The Medela has an adjustable speed, which helps you find the right speed and comfort level for yourself. All of the parts that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA and DEHP Free, and it even has a car adapter for pumping in the car.  I highly recommend the Medela if you are planning on pumping at work.

 

 




Lansinoh Bottles

I heard so many great things about Dr. Brown bottles that I registered for them, pre-washed them and all, but baby never really seemed to like them and there’s so many pieces to one bottle. I tried a Lansinoh bottle that came with my pumping kit, and absolutely loved it. I strongly recommend these bottles, especially for breastfed babies. I do wish that they were available in glass bottles, and additional colors though.

Halo Sleep Sack

I was so cautious about putting baby down swaddled in a blanket, and I was always so worried about keeping baby the right temperature. Halo Sleep Sacks are so great at keeping baby covered without posing the dangers that blankets can cause. There are several different varieties. We loved this kind the best. They all zip from the bottom, which makes diaper changing a breeze. I do not recommend the fleece versions though, they are very hot.

Milk Snob

I didn’t even know Milk Snob nursing covers existed until my baby was 4 months old. I was a little concerned that the price was high for a hunk of fabric, but knowing what I know now, I would pay double. These covers, cover everything. Baby cannot kick it off of you, its not too hot or too sheer and its so soft. My Milk Snob was used as a nursing cover, and security blanket. You’ll love using it as a car seat cover too.

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

Pumping at work can be so daunting and can discourage a breastfeeding mother retuning to work, from continuing her and her baby’s breastfeeding journey.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that helped me successfully breastfeed for 15 months, even after returning to work 12 weeks postpartum.

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

1.  Don’t be afraid of formula.

My baby’s caregiver always had formula as a back up.  It really took the pressure off me because some days I just didn’t pump enough or baby was really hungry.  The caregiver knew to always use the pumped milk before using formula.  And my baby had had formula prior to my return to work, so he was accustomed to it.

2. I recommend having a Medela Pump.

I have this one.  The book bag makes everything easily accessible. Medea also has a car adapter.  When I first retuned to work I was using a Lansinoh pump, after I switched to Medela, I was pumping more, and had a much easier time lugging everything around.

3. Consider pumping in the car.

I had a 30 minute commute, so I would often pump in the car, after I made the switch to the Medela pump.  I purchased their car adapter, and used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt. The extra pumping helped me increase my supply too.

4. Use a small cooler.

I purchased this small cooler because it looked more like a lunch box than a cooler.  I kept it in the fridge at work, but it also kept everything cold on days that I kept it with me instead.

5. Use the Medela Ice Pack.

I used this Medela Ice Pack.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Use one set of pump parts a day.

You do not need new pump parts each time you pump during the day.  All you need to do is keep your pump parts cold.  My cooler had two pumping bottles, and two spare bottles in it each day.

7. Pump into the bottles your baby uses.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me, and may not for you either, but there is a way around it. I was using a Medela pump, but my baby used Lansinoh bottles.  My cooler had two capped Lansinoh bottles, and two Medela bottles topped with the pumps parts.  On a typical day I would pump 10 ounces, which filled both Lansinoh bottles. I kept an extra capped Lansinoh bottle in my Medela book bag. After each pumping session, I would pour the milk into the Lansinoh bottle.  Each day when I picked up baby, I would place the capped Lansinoh bottles in the fridge.  Tip #7 is crucial because chilled breastmilk separates, and much of the fat will stick to its container once chilled.

8. Get a breastmilk friendly bottle warmer.

The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk.  My baby’s caretaker would warm the Lansinoh bottle and top it with a Lansinoh nipple, easy peasy.

9. Work out the details before you go back to work.

Prior to returning to work I talked with my pricipal about when and where I thought I could pump.  I pumped 3 times a day, for 20 minutes at a time, in a small storage room.  It was not an ideal location, and I was walked in on a few times.  I always kept my back to the door just to be safe.  Also ideally you need 20 minutes of pure pumping, try to factor in additional time to get set up, etc. 30 minutes would be best.

10. Keep you eyes on the prize.

Countless times I was beyond ready to throw in the towel.  Keeping up with all the bottles, being unavailable during my planning time, the awkward moments of being walked in on or lugging my supplies around, I was ready to give it all up. I would just remind myself that my goal was to nurse my baby for a year, and I did not want my job to get in the way of that.

Don't let the fear of pumping at work put an end to your breastfeeding journey. These tips will help you be successful!

A Working Mom’s #sorrynotsorry to SAHM’s

A few weeks after returning to work because my glorious 12 week maternity leave had come to an end, I had just made my 30 minute commute from work to pick up my little one, when I received a lofty Facebook message from an acquaintance asking me to buy something she was selling.

At the time I was really struggling with the emotions of going back to work. I had to leave my still brand new baby every morning around 6:45 AM, and the earliest I could get back to him was 3:30 PM.
Getting to him at 3:30 PM meant that I felt guilty for leaving my classroom and coworkers behind. My grade level would often meet and plan together after school; while I crept down the hall and slipped out the door, hoping they’d remember the days of having littles ones, and forgive me for not contributing.

Once I arrived to pick up my son I would often be so exhausted from the day, that I felt like he was getting second best.

It seemed as if I was giving myself to someone else’s children all day, and was too exhausted for my own child that evening.  Hearing of milestones he met, or new things he was doing hurt too; as happy as I was to hear the great news, my heart broke that I missed it.  I struggled with the thoughts of my son loving his caretaker more than me, or him not understanding where “home” was.

With a goal to nurse for at least a year, I was still breastfeeding. Between the pumping at work and in the car, painful engorgement, leaking, and the constant chore of transporting milk and cleaning pump parts, I battled my decision to continue to breastfeed daily.

And there sat the Facebook message. Sent from a former teacher and mother of two little ones. She had become a SAHM and was selling books, or makeup, or something on the side.

Her polite inquiry for me to purchase something from her, absolutely enraged me, down to my very core.





Here I was forced to go back to work, to meet my financial obligations. Struggling daily to be a good teacher, coworker, mom, wife, and take care of myself, and she wanted my money. I wanted to tell her so bad that I would not contribute to her having the best of both worlds. No dollar of mine was going to let her enjoy an income while she raised her children at home. I wanted to hurt her feelings because her quick little message, that she probably sent to the masses, was the icing on the cake in my world.

Her message is one of many I’ve received since I went back to work last spring. I’ve never replied to any of them, I just delete them and try to extinguish the little fire that’s ignited inside me every time. I feel jealous of these women that get to stay home, and I know if takes guts for them to put themselves out there and reach out to people to sell things. I’m sure they miss adult conversations, and jamming out on the way to work, while they sip coffee, but I miss time with my son that I’ll never get back.

Maybe they are selling things to have some cash of their own, or maybe they too have financial obligations. Whatever their reason, I only have my point of view, and no lash extension miracle mascara, embroidered bag, or children’s book is going to be purchased with the money I regretfully earned while being away from my child.

Labor and Delivery: 7 Things No One Told Me About Epidurals

Labor and Delivery: 7 Things No One Told Me About Epidurals

Please read this post with so many “grains of salt” that your able to enjoy a margarita (or virgin margarita). This is in no way, shape, or form, any type of medical advice. I am a teacher, not a doctor.  I’m not even a good candidate to administer first aid. I am the most squeamish person I know, not to mention that all this is a recollection of my birth story, when I was not at my sharpest.

1. Breaking your water before you have an epidural is not the smartest of moves.

This, pending the fact that you actually have control over how your labor is progressing, and let’s face it, once the baby comes, you won’t ever have control over anything for the rest of your life. But getting your water broken actually kind of hurts, and sitting up to have an epidural is very messy if your water has already been broken.


2. No one can stay with you when you have an epidural.

I had a major “I want my mama” moment when it was time for my epidural. My also very squeamish mom wanted no part of being in there for that anyway, but I was really scared to have to do that on my own. I told my nurse that I needed her to hug me and talk me through it. I squeezed her tight, digging my forehead into her shoulder, while my “water” continued to gush rivers all over the both of us.

3. Am I the only person on the planet that didn’t realize that an epidural is like an IV for your back?

I thought that an epidural was more like a shot, but its a completely separate IV that’s taped to your back so that it doesn’t move when you do. Ugh to this day I get light headed just thinking about it.




4. It comes with a pain management button.

I had access to a button that would “amp” up the epidural by giving me more “juice.” I used it quite a bit. No one explained it to me, but I’m assuming it had medicinal and placebo effects.

5. You can be “too numb.”

Just before it was time to push I was clinging to the bed rails begging someone to help me. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t describe or even pinpoint. My nurse calmly told me that any more “juice” from the epidural might make me too numb to push. Turns out more epidural juice wasn’t what I needed anyway, a few minutes into to pushing I barfed everywhere and felt ten times better.

6. It’s hard to be “lady like.”

As modestly as I can put this. When you have an epidural you’re completely unaware of feelings such as being gassy. So when the nurse suggests helping you roll to one side or the other be sure you’re comfortable farting in front of any guests you may have at the time.

7. It goes away quickly, yet stays with you for a while.

Moments, dare I say seconds after my son was born, they unhooked my epidural. I got sensation back so quickly that I could feel the doctor stitching me up…OUCH. And for a couple months after my son was born, if I bent down a certain way, this bolt of tingling lightning would shoot down my leg. It didn’t hurt, it just felt weird. I also felt like my back was just sort of separated into two halves, top and bottom. It’s so hard to explain, but I’ve had other women tell me that they understand what I mean.