2 Quick ‘Mom Beauty Tips’

Let me just preface this post by saying that I do not consider myself an expert on ‘beauty’ tips. However, I happen to be related to someone who has been trying to help me along the path to looking and feeling better for… well, my whole life. My sister read my New Year’s Resolutions, and pointed me towards two great products that I wanted to share with you.

Image

DHC – Deep Cleansing Oil is what I now use before I go to bed. The main ingredient in this product is olive oil, which sounded strange to me. But it feels like a mini spa treatment! It removes your makeup, including eye makeup and prevents breakouts. I love that it is a natural, deep cleaning product.

Image

Benefit Erase Paste is the concealer that I had been searching for, to hide the bags under my eyes. My skin is very fair, so I feel that my exhaustion shows up easily. What makes this concealer stand out is that it is a creamy, blendable product. It’s not a stick, or a hard compact which are the types of products that I had previously been using. It’s easy to use, and comes with instructions on how to hide different things, including under eye circles. I highly recommend it!

The last thing my sister recommended was for me to find a great mascara that I love, and make sure I put it on EVERY Day. I know, it should go without saying. If you were going to leave the house in 5 minutes, make sure you throw on your mascara!

What beauty tips would you give your fellow mamas? (Note: Keep it civil, ladies!)

Ten White Elephant Gift Ideas – Under $25

white elephant gift ideas under 25 office holiday part gift exchange

‘Tis the season of the office Christmas party, or the family gift exchange. Either way, it’s likely that you’ll be involved in some kind of White Elephant Gift exchange this year. The gift should be gender neutral and inexpensive. I’ve compiled a list of ideas, to help you select a gift!

1. Wine-Related Gifts. There are many items at Target, but if you still have time some- the Corksicle is super cute! It keeps the wine chilled to the ‘correct’ temperature, and doubles as a bottle stopper. You could also do decorative bottle stoppers, a nice electric bottle opener, a pretty pair of wine glasses, or an aerator.

2. Gift Card. This is a super-easy, last minute gift that actually would make me very happy to walk away with! I’d recommend Starbucks or Trader Joe’s.

3. Edibles. No, not underwear. Chocolate, cookies or any other holiday goodies! I’d recommend ‘buying local’- for extra points. I know that a pound of See’s candy would make just about anyone in my office happy! Or try a local bakery, and support small businesses.

4. Popcorn and Movie Tickets. Last year, someone brought a gift card for two movie tickets and chocolate drizzled popcorn – and it was a hit. It is essentially a free date night!

5. Candy dish. Another item from uncommon goods, this clever candy dish caught my eye a while back- and this would be a perfect occasion for it!

6. Stationary. This is primarily a female gift, but Thank you cards or nice note cards are always handy to have. I love Papyrus for this type of gift.

7. Gag gifts. I’m terrible at these, and they give me anxiety. But if you are the type of person who could pull it off- this blog has a great list!

8. Board game. Who doesn’t love board games?! You can get these for under $20 at Target or Walmart.

9. Chia Pet. I’ve always wanted to bring one to a gift exchange. I think this would be an awesome gift to take home! There is quite a variety available on Amazon.com.

http://www.target.com/p/philips-usb-powered-lighted-green-glass-tree/-/A-14092995#prodSlot=medium_1_1&term=USB christmas tree

LED USB-Powered Christmas Tree

10. USB Plug In Desktop Items. This seems to be a new trend. Our Executive Assistant has this one, from Target. Just Google it, there are so many options!

And lastly, you can always go with a bottle of alcohol (or wine). It’s not very creative, but that always works. I hope I’ve given you some decent ideas. Are you going to a gift exchange this year?

 

What’s your favorite item that you’ve received at one of these events?

3 Office Appropriate Halloween Costume Ideas

work appropriate costume ideas for the office halloween party

It’s Halloween season and I’ve enlisted my fashionable sister at I Have A Degree In This! to share some office appropriate costume ideas. Every year, our office goes all out for this holiday. If you don’t wear a costume, you definitely stand out. It is a struggle nowadays to find ‘work appropriate’ costumes- especially for women!

Some general guidelines:

- Avoid controversial topics.
– Keep it classy.
– No alcohol references.
– Avoid weapons, masks, or armor. You don’t want to sit in your office with that on all day.

Work Appropriate Halloween Costume
Where to buy this costume idea:

Idea #1: 1950s retro. Get inspired by Sandy from Grease with poodle skirts and ice cream dates. This is a good decade to find demure style inspiration. Where an off the shoulder sweater for a more covered up version of Olivia Newton John’s look. Red converse give you comfort but also still fit the retro look. Lastly, tie a bandana in your hair for the finish touch!

Katniss Halloween Costume

Idea #2: TV/Movie Character. Go as your favorite TV/movie character because dressing up as a character is what Halloween is all about. You can seem up-to-date on pop culture references without getting too controversial.

Work Appropriate Halloween Costume Idea #3

Where to buy this costume:

Charlotte russe boots
charlotterusse.com

Straw cowboy hat
windsorstore.com

Idea #3: Classic costumes. Witch, super hero, Wizard of Oz character, construction worker, etc. Sure they may be boring but classics work. Most likely you’ll be able to find many of the pieces in your wardrobe so you’ll save money as well.

What costume do you plan on wearing to your office’s Halloween party?

Day 3: TheCrazy Adventures of Staying Home with My Kids

Thursday- I decide to go ‘low-key’ today. We spend the morning playing with dinosaurs. 

Image

Then we plan to meet a couple friends at the Ladera Water Park in the early afternoon. J loves the place, and I know that Mayhem will enjoy being in the water. So I pack up the van, and head over at 1 pm. J usually takes his nap around 2 pm, but I tell myself that we’ll stay a few hours- and just take a late nap. I slather all three of us in sunscreen. I pack a bag of snacks, and a bag of toys. I stake out some lounge chairs… and I’m thinking we’re doing well. It’s hot, but we’re OK. My friend brings her ‘older kids’- they are 5 and 7 (Hi, Jen!). Usually, J stays RIGHT with me- but this time he’s decided to venture off with them. During our periodic ‘safety breaks’- I’m prepared with snacks and more sunscreen.

Then, it’s time to go home. Besides the fact that I have lost some toys to the greater good… J does NOT want to leave. He loses his mind. This is not my child. He does not act like this. But, he is extremely tired… and it’s 4 pm. I hand Mayhem to Jen- and begin to chase J through the water park. In my sundress. I end up dragging him part of the way, and threatening his life under my breath. I load up the stroller the best I can- and stick J in it. He’s wet, wrapped in a towel, crammed in a stroller, and screaming. I hold my head up, put Mayhem on my hip- and march to the car.

Boy, was I ready to go back to work. I told my husband, “If I say that I want to stay home with them again, just let me. Then, ask me again after two days home with them. I bet I’ll say ‘nevermind, working’s not so bad!'” He just laughed, but I wasn’t joking. I love my children, but I’m not sure that I’m cut out to be home with them full-time. Could I do it? Yes. Would it be the best move for our family? Not likely. Brutal honesty.

Has anyone else had an eye-opening experience like this?!

The Crazy Adventures of Staying Home with My Kids: Day 1

Our childcare situation is a mix of methods. Mondays, my mother-in-law watches the boys at her house. Tuesday through Thursday, we have a babysitter come to our house and watch the boys. And on Fridays, I work every other Friday from home. I work a 9/80 schedule, which means that I work a 9 hour day and get every other Friday off! Anyway, our babysitter is on vacation. This means that I have spent the past three days at home with my children, and I have so much to say about it that I’m breaking up the post into three parts…

My normal routine on a Tuesday would be wake up at 6 a.m., and throw myself together to get on the road by 6:45 a.m. I wouldn’t see the boys, or talk to anyone- just get in the car and go! This Tuesday, at 7 a.m. (wow- slept in!) J came in and informed me that it was morning and he needed to eat. I went downstairs to get him some food, and realized that my dachshund… was having issues. She has recurring ‘issues’- so I knew right away that we’d need to head to the vet.

8 a.m.: I arrive at the vet’s office, and realize that I have no leash. Since I don’t want Mayhem to dash into the road, I attempt to carry him and the dog into the vet. I asked J to open the door for me, but I just got a blank stare. OK, fine, I put Mayhem down- and we head in. The boys run over to the table loaded with toys, and I get put in an exam room with Kallie (the dog). J doesn’t want to come, so I let him stay in the lobby and play- but Mayhem had to come with me. He didn’t want to. He starts wreaking havoc when the vet comes in to discuss things with me- climbing on the chair, dumping the brochures on the floor, tossing the books around, whining… I leave the dog, go back to the lobby. The vet comes out, we’ll need to head home with two antibiotics and two creams which I need to apply for 14 days. Great, there goes $250.

9 a.m.: We have Little J’s first dental appointment. I try to fill out paperwork BEFORE they kill each other over the toys in this waiting room. Thankfully, it’s a pediatric dentist- so they hopefully have seen this before? I try to remember when the last time J was at the doctor… as Mayhem drags a stool over to the fish tank, and puts his chubby little hand on my clipboard, then points up, “FISH!” Yes, baby, fish. Then we sit down in the chair, and there is a movie playing- Mayhem wants to see the movie.

20120727-095441.jpg

Then, we had lunch with Daddy. I realized that there isn’t a lot of ‘staying home’ when you’re ‘staying home’… Finally, it was naptime. Sweet, sweet naptime. I spent my time decorating J’s goody bags for his dinosaur party, and trying to organize myself for the party.

20120727-095916.jpg

I made a birthday banner, so I can check that off the list. Now I have a pinata, which needs candy. Cupcakes that I will need to bake Friday, goody bags that need filling, and paper goods.

Baby steps, there’s always tomorrow, right?!

A Day Off From Work

Yesterday was the 4th of July, which meant that it was a rare occasion that my husband and I both had the day off from work! We ‘slept in’ until 7 a.m. – how glorious that was! Then we all got dressed and decided what we wanted to do for the day. I wanted to sleep all day, but I got overruled. We ended up heading to the mall for a quick trip, and then headed to a neighborhood fair type event. They ran out of hot dogs, at 11:30. How does that happen? POOR PLANNING. We bought some tickets for the boys to play games, and ‘won’ about 1,000 glow necklaces because that’s all that was left of the choices. After chasing J out of the bounce house, “Just ONE more time?” we headed up to the playground.

Then, we headed home for nap time (yay!), and J said his tummy didn’t feel good. Long story short- by the end of the day, I had cleaned up more than my fair share of #2 and puke. Lesson learned: Do not let your kid eat bacon and ice cream for dinner. (But I think he has a stomach bug, in fairness) Rather than focusing on that, I choose to just remember the day this way:

20120705-164144.jpg

Matching t-shirts! How was your 4th of July holiday?

Flip Slips Save the Day!

So, a while back- my sister  who blogs at I Have A Degree In This! won a pair of Flip Slips from a giveaway from Midtown Girl  – but the shoes didn’t come in her size (she wears a 4). So she graciously ordered them in my size, and sent them to me. I put them in my drawer at work, basically forgetting about them… until…

I had a City Council presentation to make, which means it has been a very long day. I get to work at 7:30 am and the Council meeting begins at 7 pm. I had a new pair of shoes on, and my feet are KILLING me. My boss offers to go grab a Starbucks before the meeting starts. And I think to myself, “Sure that would be great, if I COULD WALK!” Then, I remember that I had my Flip Slips!

I threw them on, and walked across the street. My feet were so happy! I hadn’t through these foldable flats would be so comfortable! I love that they come with a tote bag, for storable. And they take up absolutely no room, so you can stash the anywhere. I highly recommend them, thanks Sis!

Working Mother Identity

This post on ABC News rang so true to my life… http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/04/working-moms-social-misfits-how-to-fight-isolation/ Recently, I switched departments in my office- so, wanting to fit in with ‘the girls’ upstairs… I invited THEM to happy hour. I have not received any invites since. It makes you question whether people just don’t like you (totally possible), or if they don’t invite you because you have children. Send an invite, I’ll accept every now and then!

99% of the time, given the choice between happy hour or time with my boys… I’ll choose time with my boys. But every once in a while, when I’ve had a particularly frustrating (or satisfying) day at the office- I want to let loose a bit and head to happy hour!

When the majority of your time is spent at the office, and you struggle with the pressures of motherhood, working and being a wife… you have to maintain some sense of self. This blog helps me with that, and provides me an outlet. I hope that the ABC News article shows other working mothers that they are not alone, and that we are all experiencing similar issues!

What do you do to maintain a sense of self?

Mommy Van – Here I Come!

Because look at all that SPACE!!

Well, I finally have to admit that a 5 seater vehicle is not for us. We can fit, but any additional items make it very cramped. By additional items, I mean things like a basset hound, a stroller, a tv, bicycles or kitchen chairs. All of which have been in my car over the past week.

Also, with the two car seats in the back- we cannot comfortably bring ANYONE with us ANYWHERE! So, when my mom and dad want to go somewhere with us- we have to take two cars. This has taken us to the point of revisiting the minivan discussion. To this point, I have said things like, “I would die before I own a minivan.” “Why would anyone drive that?”

Now, some background- my mother drove a minivan until I was a teenager. The most memorable was the Ford Windstar, or ‘the clunker’. Yes, I have fond memories of trips in these vehicles. But there is something else about it, and I think I’ve finally put my finger on it. Purchasing a minivan means I have given myself over to my children completely.

Not that I haven’t done that mentally already (for the most part!). But when I drive to work and then drive home- all that time in my car (which is about two hours) is MINE. It’s my last bastion of Keri-ness. I can listen to music other than ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ or the Lion King soundtrack. I can zone out, and know that no one will need me until I get home. Until my husband calls, and snaps me back into reality…

And they are so darn practical… easy in and out of the third row, lots of space, low to the ground so they kids and dogs can jump up and down by themselves (saving my poor back!). I just can’t fight it anymore.

So, those of you who have been here before me – Any minivan suggestions??

New Spring LOFT Clothes!

Went shopping this past weekend, and I was so excited by all the spring clothes!  My favorite store for ‘work clothes’ is definitely LOFT. My sister at I Have A Degree In This! says that I need to incorporate color and patterns into my dull wardrobe- so I’m trying! I’ll show you what I picked up, and you can tell me how I did!

1. Accessories: I added a ‘cool tone’ long necklace, to accompany the many blues, greys and purples that I have in my closet. I love how this necklace picks up the color of whichever top I put on!

LOFT Long Multi Stone Illusion Necklace

2. A new top: I fell in love with this top when I saw it on a model in the LOFT store. It is light and airy, but still form fitting enough so that it doesn’t completely take over!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pants: I love these seersucker pants. I had to have them! I can’t wait to wear them with a pink top and wedge shoes. I love the bow!

I am pretty sure that the Maternity section in LOFT got me through my pregnancy with Baby Mayhem. Now that I’m FINALLY back (or pretty close to) my pre-pregnancy body, I’m excited for their new clothes!

What are you excited about for Spring?  Have you picked up any new clothes? Share with me!