Archive for July, 2011

  • Five Minute Face

    Date: 2011.07.28 | Category: Style | Response: 12

    Lisa and MBG recently did posts on their “Five Minute Faces,” in response to the Sun Savvy campaign. I love learning what other people use on a regular basis to make themselves look good and take care of their skin. Personally, I’m a bit finicky when it comes to what I put on my body. You see, I went down the rabbit hole of learning about all the chemicals that go into my care products over a year ago. It scared me, so I got rid of almost all the care and makeup products I had and have been slowly replacing them with healthy, natural products. I’ve had a lot of help with this process from Lori and Cassie.

    I am a minimalist when it comes to makeup, but I still try to take care of my skin and make myself look half decent when I leave the house in the mornings. So here is my all natural five-minute face care products.

    1.     Physicians Formula Concealer; Twins Correct & Cover Cream Concealer. Beige for the dark circles and green to offset super red areas.

    2.     Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer. Personally, I’m not one for lipstick, but this has just the right amount of color and it’s very pepperminty! I use the nutmeg color.

    3.     Alba Sea Mineral Cleansing Gel – They’ve actually reformulated this recently, completely eliminated parabens and sulfates. I love how it smells and I’ve even gotten my husband hooked on this face wash.

    4.     Alba Botanica Aloe & Green Tea Oil Free Moisturizer, Hawaiian, 3-Ounce Bottle. I love this moisturizer. It smells good and goes on smooth.

    5.     Style Essentials Natural Mascara – I had a really difficult time finding a chemical free mascara. And then my friend Lori told me about this one, and I ended up winning it from her blog! I love this mascara. Not only does it look good, but I don’t have raccoon eyes at the end of the day and it washes off very easily.

    So there’s my minimalist five minute face. And the best part is, all but the mascara can be purchased on the organic aisle at my local grocery store.

    p.s. I also  learned from the Sun Savvy site that Alba makes a sunscreen! That will be next on my list to try.

    I’d love to hear about natural products that you can’t do without!

    *Note: I wasn’t paid any money to talk about these things. They are products that I buy and love on a regular basis.

  • Good Things

    Date: 2011.07.26 | Category: Baby, Books, Home, Life, Me, Style | Response: 18

    I’m feeling better. Much better. Medication is finally out of my body and my heart rate seems to have fallen back into its old rhythm. I’ve decided to try to get through this slump without medication. The thought of having to go through that again is just too much. Things seem to be getting better as I adjust to life back at work and Sarah seems to be excelling at “school.”

    I’ve been employing a few techniques to keep things happy, namely, distraction.

    When I was pregnant, one of the main things I selfishly worried about was not having the time to read anymore. Reading is such a part of my life and helps me relax. I was worried that book time was over for a few years.

    Fortunately, just the opposite seems to be true. Books are back to the rescue. One of the times I feel the saddest is when I have to pump. So I’ve started keeping a book in my bag with the pump. It helps me relax and distracts me. Nighttime is also tough for me, because that’s when I first started having the panic. I get nervous at night, and so I pull out the book.

    Not only has this been working (yay!) but it allows me to tear through books at my pre-baby pace. I’ve been reading lots of fun, easy reads. Mysteries, short stories, young adult fiction. And I’ve been getting through them in record time. My library card is certainly getting a work out. Good thing the library is on the way to pick up Sarah in the afternoons!

    So what have I been reading? Since giving birth, I have read the following:

    Source: via Star on Pinterest

    Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris – The new Sookie Stackhouse book. Not nearly as good as the first five or so of the series, but still a fun and easy read. I spent a lot of time next to Sarah’s swing while she slept with this one in my lap. A great read when you need a sexy vampire fix and it’s another week before the newest episode of True Blood comes on.

    Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman – Lots of macabre short stories that were creepy and beautiful. I love reading these because they always inspire me to write. A great book to read to get you in the mood for Halloween.

    Day of Confession by Allan Folsom – Completely random pick from the library. Ended up being a murder mystery/ Vatican conspiracy novel that was easy to read and a page-turner. Not my normal genre, but fun nonetheless. A good book to pick up for a long car ride or an annoyingly long wait at the doctor’s office.

    Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

    City of Bones / City of Ashes / City of Glass by Cassandra Clare – Another supernatural young adult series. I was reading in Entertainment Weekly (which is how I learn about all kinds of books) that this was the next YA series to get the Hollywood treatment. I picked the first one up at the library. Honestly, the writing was kind of bad and the story was ok. But, it was easy to read and interesting, so I finished it and got the next one in the series. The second one was a definite improvement. The story was a lot better and I read it much faster. I’m now half way through the third one and I can’t put it down. Clare has definitely improved her writing skills and storytelling ability as the series goes on. So glad to see it. So many times I get disappointed as series kind of pitters out. As the cover of the first one is kind of cheesy (a glowing male torso anyone?) you might want to get it on your Kindle. A good before-bedtime read.

    Source: via Meredith on Pinterest

    Bossypants by Tina Fey – I’ve really needed a laugh lately, and this book literally had me laughing out loud. I drew some weird stares while I was giggling at this one in the doctor’s office waiting room. And so many times while I read this book I kept thinking, “I can’t believe she wrote that!” Fantastic writing and another one that is easy to read. I still keep thinking about Tina’s “shark eyes.” A great read for when you’re feeling down, or if you only get a short lunch break and want to be entertained.

    I’ve been pulling lots of book ideas from various places, including EW, Shelfari and Roxie’s book reviews. Is there anything (that’s not depressing) you would recommend reading?

    (Dana, I’ve got your book next on my list!)

  • Sarah’s Baptism

    Date: 2011.07.24 | Category: Baby, Family, Mark, Sarah | Response: 21

    On July 2, 2011 Sarah was baptized at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. She was surrounded by a small group of family and friends.

    Baptism 16

    After waiting patiently through the ceremony, she started to get fussy. Then it was time to pour the water over her head. When the water was poured, she let out one squawk, then promptly went to sleep in her daddy’s arms.

    Baptism 13 WM

    Baptism 20 WM

    Her Aunt Stephanie and Great Uncle Pat were there as her godparents.
    Baptism 18

    Her beautiful dress was purchased in Italy by our dear friend Sister Martinette Rivers, or as we refer to her these days, Granny M. Italian couture at three months old. Sweet, spoiled girl.

    Baptism 10 WM

    All photos by Powell Photography.

    We are so thankful for this special day.

    Baptism 5

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events

    Date: 2011.07.22 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Weirdness | Response: 31

    I’m sorry for my long absence, and I appreciate all my friends who have made me feel missed! You see, it’s been a crazy week. I mean seriously crazy. I’ve started to write this post a number of times, and have stopped, unsure of what I feel comfortable sharing on the Internet. But really, this story won’t make a whole lot of sense if I don’t tell you the whole truth. So let’s start at the beginning.

    Friday, July 15: I went to the doctor to talk about post partum depression. It’s been on and off again since I had Sarah and got worse when I went back to work. My doctor started me on Zoloft.

    Sunday, July 17: I dropped my Macbook Pro on the ground. It still works, but the bottom third of the screen has gone all wonky on me. And since this computer is a source of income for our family, it has stressed me out considerably.

    Monday, July 18, 8:00 a.m.: We’re pulling out of the driveway and our neighbor comes running up to us to tell us she saw a guy, who had been walking around the neighborhood passing out AC fliers, try to break into Mark’s truck.

    Monday, July 18, 8:30 a.m.: We took Sarah to daycare for the first time. I had a melt down. Sarah, however, thought all those other babies were pretty amazing.

    Monday, July 18, 9:00 a.m.: Mark spies and confronts the guy who tried to break into his truck. The guy tells Mark he wanted to get to his garage door opener to put a flier on our door in the garage. Um, wtf? Mark calls and files a police report.

    Monday, July 18, all day long: I call the day care to make sure Sarah is ok (she is!)

    Monday, July 18, 10:30 p.m.: I lay down in bed and start talking to Mark and have a heart palpitation and my vision gets all black. Knowing my mom has had similar problems, I call her. She tells me to lay down and put my feet up. I do. But then I have another palpitation, and then another, and I nearly lost consciousness. I call the OB’s office and talk to the doctor on call. She thinks it’s my serotonin levels surging from the medication, but tells me that if it’s that scary, I need to go on in to the ER.
    I shook Mark awake, panicked, and told him we needed to go to the ER.

    Monday, July 18, 10:45 p.m.: Mom comes over to watch Sarah and we go to the ER. We proceed to wait in the ER for nearly four hours before finally getting called back. In the mean time I have about three more small episodes.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2:00 a.m.: I get a chest x-ray, an EKG and bloodwork. The doctor mentions something called “serotonin syndrome” and I google it. Scary. I also have to listen to all the nurses cutting up and joking about what their favorite things to eat are, before one of them goes and gets them all food.

    Tuesday, July 19, 4:00 a.m.: The other patient in my room gets released. I get told my d dimer level is high and that combined with my recent birth-giving means I may have a blood clot. I go back for a CT scan, where the guy has to stick me three times before he can get the IV in.

    Tuesday, July 19, 5:30 a.m.: After listening to my new patient neighbor do a breathing treatment and arguing with her husband that she WILL go into work that day and trying to figure out how to assemble and use a manual breast pump, I finally learn that they can’t find anything wrong with me. I don’t have enough medication in my system to have serotonin syndrome. Diagnosis? Possible panic attack and advice to stop Zoloft and go to a cardiologist.

    Tuesday, July 19, 8:00 a.m.: Leave message at the OB’s office.

    Tuesday, July 19, 9:00 a.m.: Call Kelly in a panic. Call Cassie in a panic. Call my sister in a panic, who shows up to take care of Sarah while I proceed to have a full on panic attack.

    Tuesday, July 19 most of the day: Enter phenegren-induced sleep.

    Tuesday, July 19 afternoon: Nurse calls to change my medication to Lexapro.

    Tuesday, July 19, 5:00 p.m.: I take the Lexapro, then take a nap. I wake up with heart palpitations again and proceed to have another panic attack. My mom comes over and helps calm me down. I take a Dramamine and pass out.

    Wednesday, July 20: I do some research and learn that possible side effects of Zoloft and Lexapro include insomnia and ANXIETY. I get mad and refuse to take any more medication.I proceed to spend my lunch break nervously and compulsively doing laundry and packing up Sarah’s 0-3 month clothes.

    Wednesday, July 20, 11:30 p.m.: I wake up from a small heart palpitation and, plagued by insomnia, get up and finish my freelance work.

    Thursday, July 21 all day: Constant nervousness, but no panic attacks. I find out it takes Zoloft/Lexapro six to eight days to completely leave your system.

    Thursday, July 21 evening: I feel relaxed and play with Sarah. I lay down for bed and have one small heart racing. I took Dramamine and passed out.

    This morning: I woke up feeling good. I’m not sure if it’s over, but getting off the medication seems to have made things a lot better. I can actually relax and get things done this morning.

  • Roly Poly

    Date: 2011.07.13 | Category: Baby, Family, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 22

    Once you have a baby, you get excited about all sorts of small things, like your baby figuring out how to roll over. After a lot of attempts, wherein baby girl got stuck half way through and ended up kicking her legs in frustration, she has finally figured out how to get from tummy to back. And while she won’t do it every time we put her on her tummy, she will for an incentive such as rolling over to see the dogs or the t.v.

    It’s great fun to watch her roll over again and again. Once she figures out how to go from back to tummy though, I’ll be in trouble. That means she could literally roll over and over again to get where she wants to go and I’m not prepared for that just yet.

    In the mean time, enjoy this little video of happiness.

  • Three Months

    Date: 2011.07.11 | Category: Baby, Home, Photography, Sarah | Response: 26


    The developments Sarah has made from Month 2 to Month 3 have been so much fun.

    She has figured out how to roll over and surprised both herself and us when she went from tummy to back for the first time.

    She thinks her hands are the most delicious, amazing things ever. They are constantly in her mouth.


    Which also means she keeps trying to suck her thumb. She is able to successfully for about 20 second intervals when she’s hungry. (I really hope this habit doesn’t linger).

    The bottle is getting better. She will now take 5 or so ounces of breast milk in a feeding. What a growing girl!

    She giggles. A lot. Apparently Eskimo kisses, Lady Gaga songs and my impersonation of Cookie Monster are pretty much the funniest things ever.

    She has perfected the “daddy smile.” When she sees daddy she lights up and then quickly hides behind her hands in an attempt to fake bashfulness.

    She is social. She loves to look at other babies and children, especially cousin Jacob and buddy Mia. If she catches your eye while you’re feeding her, she’ll start smiling in an attempt to charm you out of continuing with that bottle nonsense.


    She is smart. One day mom held her while I went to get something out of the car. Sarah saw me walk out of the room and as soon as the door slammed, she burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably, even after I came back in.

    She thinks dogs are amazing. She can be in the middle of a fit and the dogs will come over and she immediately stops and stares of them. Watching them chase the ball is her second favorite activity…

    Next to watching television. She doesn’t watch it often, but when we have it on in the evenings she is glued to it. She babbles and kicks her legs as if to tell the t.v. how much she loves it. Her personal favorites seem to be Baby Einstein, tennis and Wipeout.

    She now turns to noises and voices. If she hears one of us come in, she will crane that head all the way around to look.

    She also loves to stand. Hold her in your lap and she will push up and stand there. I swear she would walk off if only she could balance.

    Watching her develop has been so amazing. I look forward to seeing what she figures out next month.


  • Back to Work

    Date: 2011.07.07 | Category: Baby, Family, Home, Mark, Me, Sarah, Uncategorized, Work | Response: 14

    I’ve been back at work for three days. I’m not sure what I expected. I guess I sort of thought Sarah and I both would be crying a lot. But then again, Mark and my mom are watching her this week. So work itself has actually been good. It’s been busy. Being gone for 12 weeks means a lot of catching up, even though I’ve been doing some work from home. It’s also good to see all of my co-workers again and catch up with them.

    What’s not good?

    I’ll tell you.

    1. I still have the anti-bottle beast baby. She hates the bottle still. Even with weeks of daily bottle feedings she still puts up a fight every. single. time. Most of the time she’ll give in after 10 minutes or so. After a 30 minute attempt this morning however, Mark called me in frustration and desperation. I spent my entire lunch break attempting and finally succeeding in giving her a bottle. And yes, I’ve tried different bottles and nipples. So far we’ve had the most success with Avent bottles, but I’m still open to suggestions.

    2. The breast pump. Pumping itself isn’t really all that bad. I just close my office door and settle in with a book or my phone until it’s over. The hard part is remembering to pack all the pieces to that dang thing and make it out the door with them every day. The first day back I had to turn around because I forgot a piece. This morning I forgot a piece and had to get it at lunch… only to forget the whole dang thing when I left to go back to work. Thank goodness my sister was able to bring it to me.

    3. Child care. This whole child care thing is an absolute nightmare. We got on lists months in advance like we were supposed to. Got into one, then found out their prices had skyrocketed since we registered in January. A few other things made us start questioning the place we selected. But what to do? Waiting lists are a year + long to get into good programs. Fortunately my sister’s daycare (that she absolutely loves) had an opening and we basically jumped on it. I think I will be a lot happier with this new place. However, instead of starting Sarah at daycare in September, she will begin next week. I’m having to mentally prepare myself for that, and frankly it’s making me nauseous.

    Life has definitely changed. And while work itself is basically the same, I am dealing with a whole new set of variables. At least I have my sweet girl to look forward to at the end of every day.

  • Motivation

    Date: 2011.07.03 | Category: Baby, Dogs, Health, Life List, Me, Pregnancy | Response: 21

    I have several reasons to start getting in shape again. For one, I’ve got to get these last 12 pregnancy pounds off (plus a whole lot more I hope). For another, Cassie is coming to visit me and Kelly in September, where I hope to be able to run the Race for the Cure with her all the way through. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to run any decent distance. I usually just walk 5ks, but Cassie is coming all the way from Pittsburgh, and dang it, I’m going to do it!

    On Thursday I started back with the Couch to  5k program (that I was over half way through when I got knocked up last July).

    I was dreading it honestly. After all, I haven’t run in a year and it’s in the 80’s at 8:00 in the morning here, plus I hate running on the treadmill. However, at 6:30 a.m. it’s still in the 70’s and the sun is still low on the horizon. The temperature is much more tolerable that time of day. So on Thursday I fed Sarah, put her back to sleep and got the dogs ready to go.

    Now I’ve been walking a lot since I had Sarah, but never over a mile and a half. But with the help of my dogs (who periodically dragged me across the sidewalk in pursuit of a squirrel) and the thought of Cassie screaming at me if I can’t pull through with this 5k in September, I managed not only to do the first day of the program, but do it and enjoy it. After all, I rarely get time to myself these days and  mornings with just me and the dogs are great thinking and quiet time.

    Plus, the dogs are loving it and Bonnie can stand to lose a few pounds too.

    I have been given so much encouragement from friends, family and fellow bloggers. So here we go again. September 17th. I can do it!