Monday, August 31, 2015

5 Beauty Products I Just Can't Shut Up About

This weekend I was featured on Refinery 29 (along with some of other my beauty editor friends) sharing some of the beauty products I just can't shut up about. There are a million of them, of course, but I picked five. They are (spoiler alert): Sephora Express Cleansing & Exfoliating Wipes, Olay Regenerist Regenerating Lotion SPF 50, The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Shine, La Mer The Concealer, and (not pictured above because I just ran out of it!) Maybelline Expert Eyes Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover

Click on over to read why exactly I love each one and to check out the other editors' picks.

Then, come back and tell me below which beauty products you love so much that you just can't stop talking about them!

Friday, August 28, 2015

13 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

Chillin' on a farm. On vacay, With some goats

Hiiii. Soooo...long time no blog, I know. I've been crazy at work (a big shoot, a big collaboration, a big issue of the magazine), I went on a vacation (always somewhat stressful), our nanny went on a vacation (always even more stressful), and to be quite honest, I've just had a major case of writer's block meets blogger fatigue over the past month or so. 

I've come to discover that blogging is kind of like eating well. When you're doing it regularly, it's actually not that difficult. But the minute you fall off the wagon and skip a few posts or eat a donut, it is so. damn. hard to start up again. 

But here I am! What are you guys up to this weekend? We're not usually big Hamptons people, but we'll be heading out there for a day to hang out with some friends who have a house there. Pray to the traffic gods for me, please.

Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you make it a great one! Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime.

• You guys seemed to love this 10 Great Books post that I did earlier in the summer, so I've been working on another one for you, which I'll be posting soon. But I could not wait to tell you about the book I just finished. I absolutely tore through Kitchens of The Great Midwest, and ended up finishing it at 3am this past Wednesday because I could not put it down. As I said on my Facebook page, it is an incredible novel with fantastic characters, great writing, and a thoroughly engaging story that whips back and forth between hilarious and heartbreaking. It is so totally different than anything I have ever read--and just so much fun. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Get it now!

• Ooh! I wrote about this dress earlier in the summer and just saw that it's now on sale for under $100! So cute and so, so cool. Love.

• I adore the brand Carol's Daughter. Their founder, Lisa, is such an incredible, inspiring woman and their products smell completely amazing. (The Monoi haircare line is my favorite!) They just launched their empowering #BornandMade campaign (you've probably started to see the images popping up on social media) and you can join it here. (And check out my pic right here!)

• I found out this week that there is a COOKIE DOUGH STORE here in NYC and I damn near fell off my chair. 

• Moto boots meet rain boots. WANT.

• One of the funniest things I have seen in ages: a compilation of cheesy video clips from the '80s (complete with celeb cameos!) about how to model.

• This 300-pound NFL player eats 10,000 calories a day. And oh yeah--all of them are vegan.

• Now, that's a braid.

Here's your "whoa" of the week: The crazy (and true!) story of a volcanic eruption back in 1815 that darkened the world and caused summertime blizzards.

• Fun back-to-school traditions that you can start doing with your kids. I'll be doing the first-day photos, but I'd love to add the interview, too. (What are your back-to-school traditions? Tell me below!)

• These one-star Yelp reviews of national parks are hilarious. My two favorites: the idiot who panned Death Valley because it was too hot, and the scary guy who blamed the bad time he had at Pinnacles on Obama. (h/t Felicia)

• Okay, so maybe GMOs aren't so bad: These pre-modified bananas are going to give me nightmares.

•  And, in case you missed it: I wrote about why those "selfish" women wanting to get their hair or makeup done soon after giving birth...are just fine by me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why Do We Care If Women Are Getting Their Hair Done After Giving Birth?

In the hospital, one day after the birth of my second child. Hair is on fleek.
In the hospital, one day after the birth of my first child. Baby is adorable; hair is cringeworthy.
With my first baby, hours after she was born. I look horrible--but I don't care. I love this shot. (That nail polish though? Oof.)

I'm guessing you guys read the recent New York Times article about the supposed trend of women hiring hair and makeup pros to glam them up in the hospital for those first post-baby photos. (I use the word "trend" loosely, because in the magazine/newspaper business, "trend" often just means you found three people who did it.) 

I know we're supposed to be outraged at this (the pressure on women! the scourge of social media! the vanity!). But if I'm being honest...I don't think it's a big deal.

Okay, yes, I will say that I do think it's kind of weird to have a hairstylist literally waiting in the hospital hallway while you push out your baby, ready to swoop in, blowdryer in hand, minutes after it has been born. (To each her own, but the logistics alone? Wow. That takes some serious planning. And one seriously patient hairstylist.)

But that said, once the baby's out, once you've held her and kissed her, and had time to bond and lay skin to skin and attempt to breastfeed, once it's hours later, or even the next day, if time has passed and you'd like a nice photo of you and the baby--and if for you, nice means having hair that's not a messy, sweaty mess--why should anyone care?

In those very first hospital photos of me taken with my first child--both immediately and just hours after her birth--I look horrible. No makeup, red, blotchy face, frizzy hair, ugly hospital gown. And you know what? I don't care. That was not where my head was at that moment. And it's not where my head is when I look at them now. 

When I look at those photos, I certainly don't see something I want to rush to post on Instagram (and believe me, it took a lot of thought over whether I'd even post one here). Instead, I see a very tired woman, but one who has just fallen very much in love. I see them and I remember that day. They are real and I'm glad that I have them.

But the photos that I took the next day? Those kind of make me cringe. (That's one of them, above, where I'm wearing a white sweater.) My hospital had an awesome free service where a professional photographer would come to your room to take photos of your newborn and new family. I was so excited about this! But clearly not excited enough to do anything but wet my hair and pull it into a bun. Apparently, I didn't even bother with lipstick.

Now, of course, I was running on about seven minutes of sleep in these pictures. And I was still in a lot of pain. There is no way I could have taken 45 minutes to give myself a blowout. It's impressive that I even took a shower. (Because let me tell you, those first post-baby showers are hard.)

Don't get me wrong--I am very glad that I have these photos. But I can't stand the way I look in them, so they are not pictures I'm going to choose to display in the house. That's why they're currently doing time in the purgatory of iPhoto.

Glamsquad, and the other similar services that send hairstylists to you for a reasonable fee, didn't exist back then. But if they had? If I had had the opportunity to have someone come to my hospital room and quickly run a round brush through my hair right before the photographer arrived? Well, I can't say I would've turned them down.

Three years later, with my second child, these services still didn't exist, but I had learned my lesson. Since I was going to be induced with my son, I had my hair blown out in a salon the day before. And because of a short, very easy labor (hallelujah), it pretty much held up! Am I the hottest I've ever been in these photos? No. But my hair doesn't make me cringe.

But forget about me and my experience. Here is the bigger issue about this "trend:" Why is it anyone's business? 

Why do we care if a woman wants to feel a little pretty after having given birth? Because we looked bad at that moment so everyone should? Or because we think she should be thinking about different things? Can we accept that women actually have different thoughts? Are we actually saying that a woman who dares to think about herself for half an hour is not properly loving her baby? Think about that: Is that really what we want to be saying?

I personally know women who have cracked open a bottle of champagne or wine shortly after giving birth. I know another whose first thought was to order sushi and enjoy a smorgasbord of it in her recovery room. Why is spending 30 minutes eating sushi any better than spending 30 minutes getting a blowout? After giving birth, I personally wasn't thinking about having a drink or eating a spicy tuna roll. But I'm not going to shame the mom who was. 

The New York Times printed a "Ha! Ha! Look how dumb women are!" article--and we all fell for it.

Why can't we just let women be?

So what do you guys think? Would you have gotten your hair or makeup done right after birth? (Or did you??) And what do you think about the current backlash against those women who do?

** P.S.: After going through the photos for this post, I really wish I could go back in time and tell myself to remove that horrendous nail polish. Forget my hair--hands down, the worst part of these photos is that my nails are painted in what can only be described as a "metallic mustard." (See below.) Learn from me. Go for a classic blush pink--or nothing at all--when you're approaching that due date.

Friday, July 31, 2015

20 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

So it's (basically, almost) August. How? To be honest, I'm almost kind of dreading the month. It's going to be packed for us--road trips, work trips, camp shuttling, back to school scrambling, our nanny going on vacation  It's going to be hectic. 

Plus there's always the inherent sadness of the (best!) season slowing showing itself out. School is starting, kids are growing, fall is coming (with winter close behind), friends are moving, time is marching on. Even before it's started, August always feels like it's slipping away like a countdown.

(Sorry, for being such an end-of-summer bummer right there. I just really don't want it to end!)

This weekend, we're going to a party for my daughter's new class and having lots of family time. Hopefully the grownups will get to go out to dinner one night, too! 

Whatever you're up to this summer weekend, I hope it's relaxing and lots of fun. Because THE END IS NEAR, PEOPLE. ;)

Here's a few fun links.

• These pink-and-gold wine glasses are beautiful.

• Has there ever been a music video as epic as the "Freedom '90" video? (Answer: NO.) Here's the behind-the-scenes story. #supermodels4ever

• Pretty gold shirt dress that can be easily dressed either up or down? Yes, please.

• When I attended the BlogHer conference a few weeks back, I heard James Oliver Jr read his powerful piece about not knowing what to tell his young son after the Eric Garner killing. He broke down in the middle of it--it was a very powerful, moving moment to be in that room. Here's a video of the reading. Grab a tissue.

• I made this tomato, mozzarella, and basil strata last weekend and it was SO good. (And completely easy!)

• Have you had a "medicure?" I want one! #pedicuregoals

• Ten annoying things about The Devil Wears Prada.

• This parody of Humans of New York called Felines of New York is just awesome.

• This ponytail/braid situation is so cool.

• Did you love Mrs. Grossman's stickers? I did. I was a sticker fiend. Well, they're back! And on sale at Zulily right now. Let the elementary school flashbacks commence.

• So sad: The emotional toll of not being able to afford diapers.

• This is kind of hilarious: A mom throws a personal-injury-lawyer themed birthday party for her son.

• What a great idea: This Dutch nursing home offers free housing to students.

• What if everything we know about addiction is wrong?

• These runaway beach umbrellas made me laugh.

• These castles cost less than New York City apartments.

And in case you missed it, this week I...

• Found the cutest personalized name labels. (Plus, they're on sale right now!)

• Gave my son a major haircut.

• Shared a sneak peek at our home redesign.

• Wondered why my five year old suddenly looks fifteen.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Best Personalized Name Labels For Kids

FYI: I retouched my phone number on these photos for obvious reasons. Sorry they look so wonky! I clearly need a PhotoShop tutorial bad.
This is scary, but it's time to start thinking about back-to-school prep. (And this year it's not just for my daughter. My son starts school in the fall, which is just CRAZY.)

I'm usually pretty last minute with this sort of thing, but I have gotten a head start on at least part of it: personalized name labels!

For those of you don't have kids in school yet, labels are a must because you have to put your kids' names on basically everything they take there. Cups, clothes, lunchboxes  backpacks--everything needs a name. Sure, you could just scribble them on there with a Sharpie, but labels are way quicker, easier, and of course, cuter.

This year, I went for Minted's customizable name labels and they are adorable. (I've used Minted before--most recently for our holiday cards and my daughter's Valentines--and the quality is always excellent.) There are tons of different sizes, lots of great designs for both boys and girls, they're waterproof and dishwasher-safe, and you can even get many of them personalized with a photo. 

I chose two different designs--and two different sizes--for each kid. For my daughter, I got these mermaid labels and this pencil design. For my son, we did large construction-vehicle labels and this cute lion. (BTW, all of these come in different color options, too.) I even had my phone number printed on some of the designs, which is a smart option I hadn't ever really seen anywhere else.

So, labels are done! Now it's time to actually do some back-to-school shopping so that I have some things to stick them on. ;)

Do you guys go the label route with your kids' stuff? Also, when do your kids go back to school? Mine don't go back until mid September, but I still can't believe it's so soon. SUMMER, DON'T LEAVE ME!

**Update! Just realized that Minted is having a sale right now! You can get 15% off back to school stuff including the personalized labels. Use code SCHOOL15.

Disclosure: Minted provided me with complimentary labels for review consideration, but I was not compensated for this post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Baby's First Buzz Cut

My son had his first haircut a few months back, but he's been majorly due for another one for awhile now. Partly because he's been looking really shaggy lately, but even more because he has developed this weird and annoying habit of pulling out his hair. He only does it every once in awhile, but he has learned that it gets a big reaction, so he loves to do it to get attention.

I decided to try and break him from the habit with a buzz cut. I was a bit nervous though. Would he be afraid of the clippers? Would he start to scream and we'd have to pull the plug halfway through the cut and he'd look like a weirdo? Or would we succeed and he'd walk out looking like a mini military recruit? Would he hate the haircut? Would I?

But this past weekend, we did it. And he was a champ. (Thanks Diego videos and promises of "yoll-e-pops" and "ba-yoons.") He was barely even aware of the clipping and still doesn't seem to notice that anything is different. 

But I've noticed. Whether you're a grownup going from lob to bob or a two year old getting newly shorn, haircuts are by nature transformative. And he looks so different to me now! Older. And like a little tough guy. But still so cute. I do love it.

There will be many haircuts over the years. Many transformations, I know. Some I'll love, some I'll hate. But no matter how many inches come off--whether he gets a Bieber, a Mohawk, or this ridiculously soft, peach-fuzzy buzz cut (that I just can't. stop. petting.)--he'll always be my baby. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sneak Peek: My Master Bedroom Redesign Plan

master bedroom inspiration

As I've mentioned before, I'm in the middle of a redesign of my home. It's going well, but I'm learning that it's a verrrry slooooow processsss. There's back and forth with ideas and feedback, there's interviewing painters and wallpaper guys and curtain makers, there's ordering--and waiting for--furniture. And then, of course, there's the somewhat unique fact that my (awesome!) interior designer lives, oh, 1,600 miles away!

But it's coming along. Slowly, but surely. And I'm loving where we're heading.

I get so many questions about the redesign, so now that we're really making some progress, I wanted to share a peek at the plan for one of the rooms: our master bedroom. I had asked a few weeks back about whether I should go with a medium gray or a charcoal gray on the walls. Almost everyone told me to go dark, which truth be told, was the way I was really leaning anyway.

So, I'm going to be taking the plunge and going with the darker color! The walls will be Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe (that's the shade in the paint can, above) and I'm really excited about it! I think it's the perfect shade to de-grandma and de-girl-ify both the pink rug and the floral fabric that we're using for our curtains and for another surprise touch in the room!. ;) (Side note: Believe me, I do know that fabric seems a little Laura Ashley, but I promise: We're using it in a way that's going to make it cool!)

The white Z Gallerie chests pictured above are going to be our bedside tables. We're still deciding on the actual lighting for the room, but the pictures I included above will give you an idea. We'll have some sort of vintage chandelier over the bed and then black lamps on either side of it. The pink and silver rug is by Madeline Weinrib, one of my longtime favorites.

And the art! Get this: A few months back, I wrote about my love of a Tali Lennox painting (shown above) and how heartbroken I had been to find out that it had sold. Well! Turns out the universe was looking out for me, because maybe a month after I had written that post, the gallery owner contacted me. The person who was supposed to buy the painting had never come through...and it was available!

I don't know if it was some crazy The Secret-type voodoo that brought it to me--or if it was just really, really meant to be mine. But I do know that it is now hanging on the wall of our bedroom. It's the first real, capital A "Art piece" we've ever bought--and I absolutely adore it.

So what do you guys think of the room? Do you like the direction we're heading? I'd love to hear your thoughts!