Archive | January, 2011

Fashion Confessions of a New Mom

24 Jan

While most of us rail against the idea of adopting “mom jeans” or “mom hair” the moment we have our first little one, it would be a lie not to admit that having a baby in the house changes things in subtle, often unexpected, ways. After six weeks of parenthood, here are my mom-fashion confessions.

On any given day, I have more costume changes than Cher.

Let’s face it; the tiniest of babies can make the biggest messes. Between diaper mishaps, feeding mishaps and upset tummies, it’s a rare day when I don’t find myself changing clothes several times. If variety is the spice of life, then having a baby in the house brings a bit of zest to daily dressing.

Low-cut tops are an inevitable wardrobe malfunction.

Who would have realized that a tasteful V-neck happens to be at the perfect height for a newborn’s feet to push down. One little fussy spell with tiny kicking feet, and my neckline looks more like a Versace model than an outfit suitable for a mom. Guess I’ll save those tops for when my son is just a little bit taller.

Cardigans and tunics hide a multitude of sins.

Everyone talks about losing the baby weight, but what they don’t warn you about is the muffin-top that’s left over after the baby weight is gone. Luckily, today’s trendy tunics and flowing cardigans are the perfect camouflage. As a bonus, layers hide stains and make a quick-change easier than ever, so the layered look gets a thumbs-up from me.

I still care how I look … just a little less than before.

Before having a baby, most moms-to-be are in one of two camps: those who are marching towards mommy-martyrdom gladly and those who insist that when baby arrives nothing will change. I think the truth for most of us is somewhere in between. If you cared about looking and feeling good before you were a mom, you’ll still care after you have a baby. But a newborn’s needs are so big and so urgent that everything else bumps down just one notch on your priorities list. I still enjoy dressing up and that’s not likely to change. But if life finds me blogging in my pajamas at four o’ clock in the afternoon now and then, well that will just be one little confession that’s between you and me, dear readers.

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Three Totally “Worth-It” Splurges

19 Jan

I tend to be a pretty frugal person, always looking for ways to do more with less. However, I firmly believe that saving money and living within one’s means doesn’t have to be a joyless endeavor. You simply have to choose carefully to splurge on the things that matter and save on the things that don’t. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are just a few treats that I think are worth the splurge.

Professional Photos

Capturing this tiny face? Priceless!

I haven’t actually invested in professional photos very often. Most of the time, we rely heavily on our little point and shoot camera. However, the two times I have hired a photographer–my wedding and, more recently, my son’s newborn portraits–the resulting images were so wonderful they’re truly priceless to me now. Almost three years after my wedding, I still look at the pictures all the time, and I’m sure that will be even more true of baby photos.

The good news is that professional photos can be affordable for any budget. The increasing popularity and affordability of digital photography means that customers have more choices than ever before when selecting a photographer. While packages of prints and albums is still the norm for many higher-end photographers and chain photo studios, many independent photographers are beginning to offer the option of purchasing the digital images on a CD, an affordable and convenient option for many families.

A Great Hair-Cut

For years, I refused to spend much, if anything, on hair styling, feeling it was an indulgence I couldn’t afford, but ever since I found a great, reliable hair stylist, I realize that the price of a good hair cut is well worth the money. For one, there’s no more tears over a botched hair-cut, like I used to get at the discount chain salons. Also, there’s so much more included in the experience: a shampoo and scalp massage, a relaxing spa-like environment, good quality hair products. A well-done cut also seems to grow out more nicely, helping me go longer between cuts without looking too shabby.

Finally and most importantly, the power of a haircut to change one’s image and increase one’s confidence is amazing. It’s no coincidence that on make-over shows, the haircut is one of the last steps in the makeover before the “big reveal.” The power of hair to change one’s image is so powerful that revealing the new hair for the first time really ups the “wow” factor. Putting that “wow” into your own life on a regular basis is a totally “worth-it” splurge.

A Good Beer

A bottle of Dom Perignon may set you back a Benjamin, but you can celebrate with a six-pack or 750 of high-quality craft beer for less than $20. The diverse and vibrant craft brewing community ensures that enjoying beer can be every bit as rich and rewarding as being an oenophile … all at an affordable price.

Readers, what is your favorite splurge item? What tips do you have for making your favorite indulgences more affordable?

Word Press Post-a-Week Challenge

15 Jan

When Word Press published a post asking, “Want to blog more often?” I said, “Heck, yes!” I just started this blog in late-2010, and while I’ve enjoyed writing all my posts so far, I have to admit that with a newborn in the house, I only have time to actually sit down and write a fraction of the posts I would like to write.

So, when I read Word Press’ challenge to post weekly throughout 2011, it was exactly the kick in the butt I think this blog needs. I am not certain whether I’ll be able to truly keep up with the challenge while dealing with a little one in the house, but if I set a goal of posting weekly, I’m certain to post more than I would without a goal.

So, here’s to weekly posts in 2011. Readers, do you have any special goals or resolutions for 2011?

Passing You the Black-Eyed Peas for a Happy New Year

1 Jan

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

When it comes to celebrating the arrival of a new year, New Year’s Eve tends to get all the glory. However, in recent years, I’ve found that New Year’s Day has actually become one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. In contrast to the expensive, crowded, over-indulgent celebrations of New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day is an opportunity for a quieter, more personal form of celebration, a time to gather with family and reflect on the close of the holiday season, as well as the new year ahead. And, then, of course, there’s all the good food…that just might have something to do with why I like New Year’s Day.

In the southern United States, there’s a tradition that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring prosperity in the coming year. The origins of the custom are somewhat unclear. Some trace the practice to ancient celebrations of Rosh Hashana, and others trace the custom to the Civil War, following Sherman’s invasion. Regardless of why we do it, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is the foundation of one of my favorite holiday meals.

Where there are black-eyed peas, you must also have collard greens. Corn bread is a natural accompaniment, as well. Some southern families enjoy ham or pork with their New Year’s dinner, but in our house, we’re all about seafood. Our usual meal is fried catfish or tilapia, but this year, we’re tinkering with tradition a little and having shrimp and cheese grits. Either way, the meal shapes up to be a sampler of traditional southern comfort food perfect for the family to gather around,

While the internet may be bigger than my dining room table, in my heart, I wish you all a heaping helping of black-eyed peas and, with it, joy and prosperity in the new year. 2010 was an exciting year for our little family, and it’s been a joy to share it with you. I look forward to even more fun and more blogging in the year to come, and I hope you’ll stick around for what’s to come.

Happy New Year, y’all!