My First Mother’s Day

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It’s hard to believe I’ve just celebrated my first Mother’s Day as a Mother because it’s hard to believe I’m a Mom. I’ve only been a Mom for a little over 3 months now and everything is still surreal. I am loving it and having so much fun with Luna! And, you know that I love holidays and love being the center of attention so Mother’s Day should now run a close second with my Birthday. I did make sure to call it “Mother’s Day Weekend“, but I know I do not deserve to be celebrated as much as so many other wonderful Moms out there.

It’s not easy to be any type of Mother, I know, but I’m still new at this gig and I think I’ve got a pretty good gig going here. I have a supportive Husband. I have the choice to work or stay home with my baby. We have a beautiful home, great family and friends and Luna is so loved! I’m truly fortunate. Today my heart has been with single Moms, Moms of many kids, moms with sick kids, moms who can’t have kids, moms who have lost kids, kids who have lost Moms, sick Moms and the list goes on and on. You Moms are AMAZING and you deserve a whole month dedicated to celebrating you. So, thank you for being awesome.

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend. I was treated to Starbucks and Sephora and received an adorable card complete with Luna’s hand and footprint.

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Happy baby shopping with Mommy!
Happy baby shopping with Mommy!

We had brunch at my Mom-in-laws with the whole family and spent the afternoon at the park with the dogs.

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Tonight, I got to Skype with the world’s best Mom. (Love you Mom!) Then, I rocked my baby girl to sleep. I couldn’t ask for a better time.

Happy Mother’s Day and thank you all for the many sweet comments and messages today!

Cheers!

Birthday Eve

I have had such a busy and fun last couple of days that I have fallen waayyyy behind on my posts, so I’ll just back track a bit…back to my Birthday Eve, November 21st…

Today was the beginning of Birthday Weekend. It all began with a long doctor appointment that involved a disgusting sugar drink to test for gestational diabetes (fun!), but it was all up hill after that. I told Husband I wanted a “Hilarie Day of Fun” which means, shopping, Starbucks and cheap food, and so that’s exactly what we did.

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We hit up my favorite places; Sephora, Starbucks, Anthropologie, TJMaxx, Target and a few other places. We didn’t buy too much, but I just love shopping, especially this time of year. Every store is playing Christmas music, the decorations are all up, Sephora is stocked with gifts sets and Starbucks is brewing my favorite, the peppermint mocha.

New favorite gloss by Stila from Sephora
New favorite gloss by Stila from Sephora

Our night ended at Babies R Us because I decided to sign up for one of their free Baby Basics class. I don’t know if every Babies R Us offers free classes, but the one in Nashville has Baby Basics, Baby CPR, Breast Feeding, and Daddy Bootcamp for free every month. Neither one of us (especially Husband) were looking forward to attending, but I thought it’s free, we are new at this after all and might as well give it a shot.

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The class was held in the back of the store where the rocking chairs and gliders are on display. I wanted to sit in the back row of comfy chairs, but NO ONE was  anywhere near the back so I sat in the back-est of the people there, which ended up being the dead center…not my cup of tea. However, when we set down we were immediately given free gifts. Our swag included a bib, baby wipes, $5 off coupons, photo frames for the fridge, snacks, water bottles and other little presents…not bad.

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I thought we were going to get scolded for taking selfies during the beginning of class
I thought we were going to get scolded for taking selfies during the beginning of class

The teacher was a nurse from a local pediatrician’s office, and she was very nice and informative. She wanted us to ask lots of questions, Husband and I never asked one, but it was nice to hear other people’s questions. Some were really interesting and things I never knew or thought about; others were just ridiculous. One poor Daddy asked about “this new vaccine that causes autism”…poor guy, he’s about ten years late on this topic.

The class was much better than anticipated so I think we’ll try another in a couple of weeks. Birthday weekend has started off great… can’t wait till’ the big day!

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Cheers!

My Favorite Things

The last couple days have been a little rough. I’ve been busier than usual this week, working more and feeling more and more pregnant. I had to take the last 2 days off from working out because I just could not do it. Husband is also kind of injured so he has taken a big step back from exercising this week too. I have also been working on a big project so my writing and posting has suffered lately. Now, it’s finally Saturday, I’ve already gone on a nice long walk, cleaned the house and I am finally ready to get back to that ever-growing to-do list.

Speaking of lists…someone’s birthday is coming up in just 6 short days and I have spent a little bit of time browsing around and window shopping for some of my favorite things. I like for Husband to have a very clear idea of what I want for the big B-day, and I figure I’m just doing him a favor picking out several present ideas in advance. I decided to put together a little list of my “favorite things” at the moment.

With the holidays coming up we could all use some gift ideas right? So, here’s what I am either loving or dying to have this season!

1. I am obsessed with anything that looks even slightly Parisian. Paris is one of my all time favorite cities and I just cannot have enough of it in my life. Anything with an Eiffel tower or a French phrase just feels so romantic and whimsical.

This simple stamp tee is from Modcloth $30.
This simple stamp tee is from Modcloth $30.
Another Modcloth.com find for $60.
Another Modcloth.com find for $60.
Found these on Etsy! They're pricey (about $100!), but God they're adorable!
Found these on Etsy! They’re pricey (about $100!), but God they’re adorable!
AND, of course our little Luna needs a bit French fashion in her her life...found on Zulily.com for only $16!
AND, of course our little Luna needs a bit French fashion in her her life…found on Zulily.com for only $16!

2. We all know Sephora is like my Mother Ship, so clearly, I want the entire store wrapped up and put under my tree this year, but my favorite brand right now is Josie Maran. Her fancy organic Moroccan Argon Oil infused products seem to do wonders for my skin. Considering my skin is typically a minefield for zits and blackheads, I’m willing to pay her prices for her products.

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3. Sephora also carries Wen hair care products. Chaz Dean’s infomercials may be super obnoxious, but his stuff works.

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5. I probably don’t need any books since my Nook’s library is overflowing with books I have yet to read, but I still want to read the biography everyone is talking about: I am Malala and the new Bridget Jone’s book (did you know there’s a new one???).

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6. I always have clothes on my wish list, but now that I am 27 weeks pregnant it’s becoming very difficult to find something that looks good on my enormous belly. Mostly, I pick up cute tight-fitting dress and too-high stilettos and then pout because I can’t wear anything cool and new this season. However, I am finding leggings, big sweaters, boots, scarves and oversized jackets perfect for the bigger version of me, and for this chilly weather.

This preggo has the right idea.
This preggo has the right idea.
Found at Anthropologie!
Found at Anthropologie!
Purrfect flats from Ruche.com (
Purrfect flats from Ruche.com (
Veryjane.com has the most ridiculous leggings and all for around $10!
Veryjane.com has the most ridiculous leggings and all for around $10!

7. Now, let’s talk accessories….

AND a giant Modcloth purse ($55), which I think will make a perfect diaper bag. (I hate the way actually diaper bags look.)
AND a giant Modcloth purse ($55), which I think will make a perfect diaper bag. (I hate the way actually diaper bags look.)
Another Ruche.com find for $15
Another Ruche.com find for $15
from Zulily.com, $20
from Zulily.com, $20
And a blue Ruche purse... $95
And a blue Ruche purse… $95

8. My favorite chocolate shop in the whole wide world (Vosges Haut-Chocolate), just came out with a line of Hunger Games themed chocolates and truffles! Just in time for my Birthday, which also happens to be the premier of Catching Fire. They made themed chocolate bars for the main characters, a chocolate bar collection that consists of a bar from every district AND a Capitol truffle collection that comes with 16 hidden treasures and trinkets!

I want it ALL!
I want it ALL!

9. And last, but certainly not least, is the present I want the most. I have been begging Husband for a new SLR camera for a while now. I am not even sure which one I want exactly, but our nice camera broke and I need a new camera… especially with a new baby on the way. Any of you photogs out there have a suggestion for a great camera?

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Have a great time shopping this Holiday season! We have not even begun our gift buying yet…Oh well, Black Friday is just around the corner!

Cheers!

 

 

 

A Lovely Day

Today has been lovely. Husband is out of town, we have no visitors and I did not have to be at work until 11 today. My boss bought me Starbucks, my students were sweet and full of hugs and I was very productive. To top the that, tomorrow is my last day of work until I get a week off for spring break! Yay, I love working in education! The last week has been crazy busy with work, the flu and lots of visitors so I am spending the couple of days I have alone to relax and catch up on all my to-do’s (laundry, nails, gym, planning for my next visitor, etc) and of course shopping. My favorite time to shop is when Husband is out of town…it calms my nerves.  I LOVE these rare days with no plans.

I’m a terrible Mommy and completely forgot to take Belle on a walk this morning. I’m used to Husband taking her and it slipped my mind that it’s my responsibility when he’s gone. To make it up to her I took her out on my shopping excursion. First stop: Sephora Land! There is truly no happier store.

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Everyone in Sephora treats me like royalty, like they know me and truly care if I find the right product for my sensitive skin. I suspect they were trained in customer service at Disney World and get free makeup whenever I make a purchase. If that’s the case then you are all very welcome at Sephora!

After beautifying myself, I wanted to peek into H&M before going home. I love H&M because I can find trendy pieces that are affordable; therefore I don’t care when they go out of style in 6 months, but lately H&M has been less than impressive. I assumed Belle and I would make a quick walk through the baby clothes and head home. Boy was I wrong, I never even made it to the baby section!

H&M’s Conscious Collection just put out a new line that is all green, yellow, springy and very jungle-like. I LOVED every sing piece! Before I knew it I was standing in line for the dressing room with an arm full of clothes and a tiny dog at my heels. I swear I don’t know how it happened! If Sephora is secretly working for the mouse than H&M is controlled by retail wizards who control your every thought and wallet from the moment you enter their revolving doors.

I went home with a bag full of goodies that are sure to keep me from being lonely this weekend.

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Two more days until a nice vacation to Nashville! I think I’ll spend tomorrow packing and walking Belle as far from Sephora as possible.

Cheers!

Special Delivery

Growing up in a small town is an experience I’m glad to have had; without it I would not have the appreciation and excitement for all the glitz and glamour of big cities and foreign countries.

As a little girl, I knew all of my neighbors (we literally borrowed sugar from our neighbors multiple times). I walked to the corner store, to elementary school, and to the snow cone stand without fears of being mugged or kidnapped. I played capture the flag with the neighborhood kids, made secret clubs in the backyard, and played outside all day until the streetlights flickered on, and I was forced to come in for supper.

When I was a teenager I learned to drive a car at 15, worked as cashier at the local grocery store where I learned everybody’s business, and took dance classes at the studio four blocks down the road from my house.

In school, I constantly heard things like “oh I taught your sister”, “I went to school with your daddy”, or “you must be related to so-and-so.” I graduated with the same group of kids who started half-day kindergarten with me. Our football team was a local celebrity. Dairy Queen was a lunchtime staple, and beauty pageants were as common as school dances.

By the time I finished college I started to appreciate and realized what the small town life taught me: the literal meaning of loving my neighbors as myself, how to work hard in order to earn what I want in life, and how to appreciate stormy summer days under a tin roof. I truly valued these lessons, but at the time, I also learned about life outside my small town, and what I was missing.

While traveling a bit, I was introduced to Starbucks, new cultures and customs, Thai food, beautiful beaches, designer handbags, snow skiing, and Sephora. Oh, how Sephora has changed my life.

I was 21 years old the first time I ever went to a Sephora (the closest one was two hours from my home). I couldn’t believe what the rest of the world was holding back from small towns! I could have spent a week shopping through the colorful products. Immediately after getting home from my Houston shopping trip I googled Sephora, signed up to be a V.I.B. (Very Important Beauty), and began my online shopping extravaganza.

After this discovery, Target and Wal-mart’s make-up selections became obsolete. Anytime, I got close to running out of a product, I made an order from Sephora.com, and made sure to add a couple never-before-tried products to my “shopping cart”.

While making my first purchase I scrolled down to the option that asks, “Is this a gift?” and I thought, “Well sure it is! I can buy myself a gift!”. I selected “yes”, and then Sephora.com asked me if I wanted to send the gift in a FREE silk drawstring bag, and I thought “Why not?!”. When, it finally got to the “Write a special message here” directions, I was ready to wish myself a “Happy new make-up day to the prettiest girl in town!”

A week later, my gift arrived and it was the most fun package to open. I even enjoyed reading the card because I’d completely forgotten what I ‘d written to myself. From that point on, any time I ever make an online purchase for myself, I select the “send as a gift” option. Sometimes I even forget that I did it, and for a split second I’ll think “Wow! Who sent me this awesome box of teacher supplies from Oriental Trading???”

Before going to Texas last week, I was low on a few beauty products, and Sephora happened to be offering a special “Free clutch with 8 samples” deal for any online purchase for their V.I.B. members, so I made an order and decided to ship it Texas. (Sadly, Sephora now makes you pay for the pretty silk drawstring bags, but it’s still fun to get a nice card with your package.)

Now, that I’ve moved out of the small town, I hope that I keep all of my childhood lessons with me, and continue to be excited by the many extravagant opportunities around me.  My small town actually has a Sephora and a Starbucks now, which is a little disappointing to me. I’m sure everyone who lives there is thrilled to not have to drive two hours for these treats (and many others), but it does take a bit of the thrill away.

I selfishly wish all small towns would only allow mom-and-pop shops, and act as a small getaway from the bigger cities. Oh well…I guess the plus side to small towns expanding their options is that now my favorite mom-and-pop shops have websites and will ship me whatever I desire. I wonder if I can get them to gift-wrap my purchases and attach a special note? Doesn’t hurt to ask!

Cheers!

Tranquility at Tiffany’s

Great news everybody! Husband and I get to stay in our apartment until next summer!!! After lots of looking, debating, and talking with our landlord, he finally told us to just stay until July. I think he is having a lot of trouble selling the apartment, and he’d prefer to have a tenant paying rent then have nothing at all. Yay us!

I cannot even begin to tell you what a relief it was to hear this news. Even though all of the hundreds of hours I spent trying to find a new home turned out to be in vain, I don’t care. I am just so thrilled to not have to pack and physically move…again.

All the talk of moving, got me and Husband seriously discussing our future: Where do we want to settle down? When should we buy a home? How long do we want to live in Manhattan? When do we want to have kids?

We never answered any of these questions, just thought and talked A LOT about them. We love NYC, but probably won’t raise kids here. We want kids, but I want them sooner than Husband. We don’t ever want to settle down, but it would be nice to have an actual home to care about, decorate, and fill with large comfy furniture. Thankfully, we’ve been given extra time to make these decisions.

On a related note, I just read Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I came across a great passage where Holly and Fred discuss her anxiety and her strategy for finding a home. Holly begins by trying to explain to Fred why she refuses to name her cat. She claims they are both independents; she doesn’t want to own anything until she finds the place where she belongs…I’ll let you read the rest…

“You know those days when you’ve got the mean reds?”

 “Same as the blues?”

 “No, No the blues are because you’re getting fat or maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re sad, that’s all. But the mean reds are horrible. You’re afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is. You’ve had that feeling?”

“Quite often. Some people call it angst.”

“All right. Angst. But what do you do about it?

“Well a drink helps.”

“I’ve tried that. I’ve tried aspirin too. Rusty thinks I should smoke marijuana, and I did for a while, but it only makes me giggle. What I’ve found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.”

I never knew I had so much in common with Miss Holly Golightly. She makes a very good point of deciding that she wants her home to feel like the one place that makes her feel safe and serene. Don’t we all want that? Is this even possible for someone who suffers panic attacks?

After reading this passage I thought hard about what my “Tiffany’s” is; what specific place brings me calmness and peacefulness…if any place does.

I suppose Sephora brings me lots of happiness. I love that I can walk into Sephora looking like I just rolled out of bed, and walk out looking like the paparazzi should be following me. The ladies working are so friendly, always giving away samples and applying new products to my skin. I can spend hours playing with all the make-up, bronzers, hair style-ers, nail polishes, and perfumes; I don’t think I’ve ever had a panic attack in Sephora. Although, my pulse does race when I hear the total at the register.

Starbucks is another place that immediately relaxes me. In fact, anytime I’m having a rough day I tend to find myself ordering a tall iced soy latte and making friendly conversation with a barista. I’m sure much of this has to do with my caffeine addiction, but there is also something very comforting about being in a Starbucks, like being home…(Although, it does feel less comfy and homey since they’ve all taken out my favorite big comfy chairs.) Sometimes, I sit in Starbucks with my laptop just to get some work done. I tend to focus and work harder there than when I’m home. Even while traveling the world, we ALWAYS stop at a Starbucks, if we come across one, for a little taste of home.

Another place is the beach. How original, right? I guess the beach just makes all of us feel peaceful and relaxed. I could sit in the sand and read, do cartwheels down the beach, or play in the waves forever and ever. If I lived on the beach I’d be warm and carefree, but probably never get anything of value done.

Gilmore Girls is something else that immediately takes the “mean reds” away. I know this TV show isn’t a location, but it saves me from numerous panic attacks. If I wake up in the middle of the night sweating and in a panic I just have to pop in an episode with Lorelei and Rory to make me forget what was driving me nuts in the first place. Their dramatic lives and quick wit keeps me distracted and happy.

Then there’s dancing. I’ve never been the best dancer, but I have danced for years. I’ve taken dance since I was a little girl, and I’ve taught for about 5 years now. When the right song comes on, and I’m able to move to it, it’s like I’m free. I’m free of worry, free of to-do lists, free of deadlines, I’m just there to dance, and it feels right. I guess dancing is my anti-panic.

Like Holly, I am not really sure what I am looking for or where I’ll eventually call home. Right now, the plan is to have a house that comes with a dancing barista who can do my make-up on my private beach while watching Gilmore Girls. Husband would have to be there too. It would not be home without Husband.

Until then, I’ll be constantly reminding myself how lucky and thankful we are to stay in our teeny Upper East Side apartment (which is walking distance from 5 Starbucks and a Sephora BTW) for another year. Thankful, thankful, thankful, I love you apartment!

Cheers!

First Facial. Fail.

The old me… before the spa took me down a hundred notches.

I had my first facial today. I booked the facial at a super fancy Upper East Side spa, Aqua Vitae, (through Groupon, of course), and was pretty stoked about getting a relaxing facial. After a full day of 87 phone calls, 504 emails, and 6,755 text messages (all wedding related), 2 meetings at work, a performance for the preschool parents, and saying farewell to fiancé who is headed to LA. I was wiped out.

I’ve never had a facial before, so I did not really know what to expect. I’ve always wanted a facial, but anytime I thought about it, I decided that a new outfit at H&M was a wiser way to spend my cash. Also, I am REALLY uncomfortable laying still in a quiet place with my own thoughts, AND having strangers touch me. My first massage was only a year ago. 

Considering how obsessed I am with my skin, it’s surprising I’ve never forked over the money for a facial. I mean I’ve spent money on every prescription available (acutane, differin, brevoxl, ortho-tri-cyclen, yaz, tazorac, retina-a, a myriad of anitbiotis…seriously. I’ve done them all!). I’ve used proactive (and every similar product), I’ve done light therapy, cortisone shots, EVERYTHING Sephora has to offer, I’ve changed my diet, made every homemade concoction in existence, changed my pillow case every night, drank 10 bottles of water a day, I used only Bare Minerals, and I even gave up wearing makeup for 10 months straight!

Nothing. A few of these remedies helped (acutane helped for a year), but the acne has always returned).

My complexion is definitely the thing I am most insecure about. But, I’ve come to terms with it, and I now understand that my proneness to zits is heredity, and heavily effected by my hormones and stress.

Anyways, so this facial started off pretty much how I expected…lots of oils, creams, exfoliants, and face massaging. The giant steamer in my face was a little uncomfortable, but I survived.

About 30 minutes in, the facial lady starting peeling back layers of some sort of thick papery stuff, and squeezing my nose.

Me: What are you doing?

Her: Squeezing.

K. Miss Smarty Pants.

Me:  Squeezing my nose? (I was starting to have trouble breathing.)

Her: Squeezing out ALL of your blackheads.

Didn’t know this was part of a facial. This woman actually spent over half an hour squeezing out literally EVERY blackhead or zit on my entire face and neck. She used little metal tools, her hands, and needles! It was not exactly relaxing.

At the end of the all the “squeezing”, the owner came in for a consultation. (I still had my eyes covered and goo on my face.)

What followed was so hard for me to swallow. I almost lost my shit. I’ll just share her words, and you can imagine my responses….

“You have very bad skin. You have lots of acne. Your skin is so bad that I suggest you get a laser-light therapy treatment. You really need this treatment. This special facial will cure your really bad acne and skin problems. It costs $250, but I’ll give it to you for $100. You seriously need this. I suggest you come see me very often to take care of your skin, it looks really bad. Why don’t you take care of your skin? You obviously do not take care of your skin or it wouldn’t look this unhealthy. I have many suggestions for you on how to help you acne. We sell lots of products that I’d be happy to show you to help your bad skin…”

I GET IT LADY! MY SKIN SUCKS!!!

I cannot put into words how humiliated and infuriated I felt. This would be the equivalent of a really overweight person getting up the nerve to hire a professional trainer and getting berated over being “fat”. I cannot believe I managed to make it home before I started crying.

I KNOW I do not have a good complexion, but seriously, it’s not THAT bad. I cannot imagine what this lady says to people with actual serious problems. She must just put a bag over their heads and tell them it’s for the best.

I am willing to bet that this was just a bad spa with a mean owner, but I still think I’ll have to build up some self-esteem again before trying another facial. Until then, I’ll stick to the Sephora Staff. They always tell me how pretty I am. THAT’S the way to sell products!

Cheers!