First Impression: BH Cosmetics and Wet n Wild Mascaras

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I know what you’re probably thinking by the title, “That’s two very different and random brands to try at the same time.” I know, I know. I scored some amazing deals on bhcosmetics.com and at walgreens right before Labor Day. I snagged a thing of foundation from bh cosmetics for $2.95 and some blushes at the same price! I also found Wet n Wild mascaras and foundation (will review on a later post) for $1 a piece since I ordered about 10 coupons to try some things out.

I had said in a previous post that I do not own very many Wet n Wild products other than their lipsticks. Well, now I have nail polishes, foundation, blush, mascara, and a highlighter to try out. Okay, now I’m going to start this review.

BH cosmetics foundation in light olive- I was super excited when I read “light” and “olive” in the same sentence. I have an Italian background, and even though I am extremely pale I also have an olive tone. Many lighter foundations tend to either have a pink or yellow undertone. Pink is obviously the one I gravitate towards because yellow undertones make me look kind of sickly (okay, more sickly than usual) but I rarely see anything with a distinct olive tone to it. This foundation claims to be medium-full coverage and is supposed to last all day. Did it succeed in that? Eh, mostly. It is medium-full coverage. It blended fairly easily with my real techniques beauty sponge.
It does have pretty good staying power, but it started to settle into the fine lines under my eyes pretty quickly. This is a common problem with me with most foundations though. My eye shape is a bit odd (giant eyes) and concealers and foundations just love to get in their and make themselves comfy.
The only thing that I really dislike about this product…the smell. Oh my gosh, it reminded me of old lady perfume. I almost didn’t even put it on my face because of the smell. When I smell perfume-y scents in face products it automatically makes me assume my face will break out. I am extremely sensitive to heavily scented products. Luckily, I have tried this foundation 4 times and have not had a breakout. The smell does fade, but I still hate it. That’s really my only problem with the foundation itself though.

Pros:
Medium-full coverage (as promised)
Long lasting (when set with powder or setting spray)
Matches my skin fairly well
Affordable
Cruelty free
Blends easily

Cons:
Smell
Settles into fine lines fairly quickly

Blush duos in “Rose” and “Lilac”

I also snagged a few of BH Cosmetics blush duos during their Labor Day sale since they were also $3 a piece and come with a blush and highlighter. I figured that for the price and the fact that they highlighter came with the blush…why not?

Rose- A very deep peachy almost red color with a gold-bronze highlight. I was so surprised by how much product comes with these blush duos! Also, look at the packaging. It’s so cute! I love the blush in this duo. It’s pretty pigmented, so if you are fair use a light hand. I think this rosy color would look so well on many different skin tones though. I have no used the highlighter much since typically gold highlighters are not very flattering on my skin tone. I typically use champagne or light pink, and the gold highlighter in this was a bit too shimmery for me to try it as a contour. Overall, this was well worth the money solely for the blush.

Lilac- Oh, I love this shade of pretty pink. I wish I had discovered it in the spring or earlier in the summer because it would have been the perfect shade of pale pink for spring. The highlighter in this duo is a very pale almost champagne color with a little pink in it. It’s actually the perfect highlighting shade for me, but I find it to be a bit chalky. It’s not too bad though. For the price, I absolutely love these duos and will probably purchase a few more during another sale. There are several other duos on the site that look gorgeous! I would recommend these to anyone that just likes to play around with different blush colors like myself.

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Mascaras:
Wet n Wild Mega Volume mascara- I am not entirely impressed with the formula of this mascara. It’s a bit of a dry formula in my opinion. I like more wet formulas since I tend to put on several coats of mascara, and dryer formulas tend to clump up faster. This could be a good mascara to use on days that I am wearing false lashes and need to blend them in with my natural lashes though.

Wet n Wild Mega Length mascara- I have been loving this mascara for my lower lash line. The brush is small and slender so I can really get my lower lashes evenly and easily. I don’t think I would use this mascara for anything but my lower lash line because it is that same dryer formula, but I have found a purpose for it so my Wet n Wild mascara adventure was not all lost.

Subscription Box Fever September 2014

I have a confession to make, I have subscription box fever. I’m not entirely sure if it’s a problem (my boyfriend will probably disagree) but they’re just so cool to me. Personally, I am so disappointed when I go out on a limb and try a new and expensive product and it is just not for me. Subscription boxes give me a way to try new and cool things and sometimes I end up buying the products again. Many of them also send out deals and coupons codes to use that are sometimes amazing. Example, I bought a Revealed 2 palette through Coastal Scents using a 25% off code through Ipsy and I have legitimately been using that palette almost everyday since.
I am going to try and include my thoughts on each box/bag every month, and I may make some changes soon that I will discuss at the end.

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First up, Beauty Box 5.
Beauty Box 5 is a newer subscription for me. This is only the third box I have received from them, and so far I am fairly impressed. They typically send 1-2 full sized products along with other deluxe samples. I haven’t gotten a chance to try much out of this box yet, but I am dying to try the nail polish! The nail polish alone retails at $24.99, so with just the polish I got my money’s worth this month. I am all about this dark mauve trend this fall. The eyeshadow stick is nice, but it is really not a color that I think I will use often. I know I will for sure the deep conditioning treatments and eye cream though. I have terrible dark circles thanks to motherhood and asthma, so eye creams are always something I am in need of. The toe separators were definitely a cute addition, and I actually needed some more since my dog ate my last pair.

Ipsy
I have been an Ipsy subscriber for a little over 2 years now. I remember the pure excitement I had opening up that first bright pink envelope like it was yesterday. These past few months have been less than exciting with this subscription. I have tried retaking my quiz and such, but I still get the same kinds of products it seems and I am just not using as much as I formerly did with them.
Let me start off saying the hand cream this month was awful, in my opinion. It felt nasty on my hands and it smells like perfume. I let my boyfriend try it just to make sure it wasn’t just me being picky, and he actually asked me to wash it off of him. It felt that bad. I have tried the lip gloss, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I thought it would be sticky (I am not a fan of sticky lipglosses) but it was not. It felt pretty smooth on my lips and it had just a subtle red color to it. I also tried the eyeshadow brush out which I also enjoy. I love when they send out brushes anyway. The liner I am not a fan of, but I am not a fan of Pacifica. I have been sent several products by them in the past and I have not been a fan of anything thus far. I am excited to try the face wash. It’s cruelty free and completely organic, which is all I will use on my face now. Liking 3 out 5 products is not bad when it comes to subscription boxes, I have just not been liking getting the same products over and over. This is the third month in a row I have gotten eyeliner. I love eyeliner, but there’s no way I can use/try all of that.

I have recently stumbled across on eyeslipsface.com their beauty bundle. I know it’s not new, but I just recently discovered it and I feel like I have been missing out on a glorious secret. Due to my lackluster for Ipsy, I may be cancelling it and switching to the elf beauty bundle which is $20 (plus shipping) every 8 weeks. Every 8 weeks they claim to send out about $40 worth of full sized products, and if you’re at all familiar with elf $40 of full sized products is a TON of product. They’re also completely cruelty free, which is amazing as well.
If you have any experience with this bundle, please leave me a comment with your thoughts on it.

My Favorite Vegan and Cruelty Free Products (Part One)

Fall is approaching, and I can’t be the only one that likes to revamp their makeup collection a little…or a lot. Fall is my favorite season. It’s the season that I can wear my usual vampy and weird colors and not look so outlandish.
I decided to create this post to show some of my favorite fall lipsticks and products (some new and others are older) and to also raise a bit of awareness against animal cruelty. I will not sit here and act like I have always used cruelty free, that would be a lie. I was very oblivious to what kinds of testing go on with many companies to create makeup. Very unneeded and disgusting testing. It was after learning about animal testing that I started looking into cruelty free options such as Nyx and Tarte. Then, sadly, both Nyx and Tarte sold out to Loreal recently. Their brand itself is still cruelty free, but Loreal is one of the cruelest companies against animals. I can’t bring myself to support even a parent company as cruel as them. I will not throw away my Nyx products, but I will be using up what I have and once again switching out my makeup.
So, I’m going to post about some of my favorite vegan makeup products, a few of which I didn’t even know were vegan. While working on this post I didn’t realize how many things I have to talk about, so this is only the first part. I am still waiting on a few things to arrive in the mail, and I am entirely too excited to receive them and review them for you all. With that being said, if there are any brands that you are curious about or want me to review and give further insight into (cruelty free, of course) please let me know in the comments. Not all of these products are fully vegan, but these brands are all cruelty free and sell many vegan products.

First Brand: Wet n Wild

Wet n Wild is a brand that I had no idea was vegan or cruelty free for awhile. Their products are so widely talked about and affordable that it almost seemed too good to be true. It is not too good to be true. My all time favorite product by them is their lipstick, and I am going to talk about my absolute favorites (there’s quite a few, it was hard to choose).

Think pink- a lighter pink with a bit of a mauve undertone. I love this shade. I feel that it is a very great nude shade for people with fair complexions.

Smokin Hot Pink- this isn’t a true hot pink color, it’s pretty dark. I used this as a go to “summer” color because it was kind of cheery for my dark taste, but still pretty dark.
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Red Velvet- a true pin up red with a slight orange undertone. I love pin up reds. LOVE THEM. I have to be careful with them though because I have to make sure my teeth are in decent shape or the orange undertone makes them look yellow.

Purty Persimmon- a true bright orange color with a red hint. This has been said to be a dupe for MAC’s Lady Danger. I do not own any MAC products so I can not say, but there are quite a few beauty bloggers that have the swatches on youtube for comparison. This is very bright. I love the color, but not too sure if I like it on me. I bought it to get out of my comfort zone, but my box is still pretty cozy.
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Pagan Angel- This is from the Fergie line which is a bit more expensive, but not by much. This is a very creamy black shade. It also feathers quite a bit if you don’t line your lips, so a black eyeliner or lip liner (if you own a black one) would be my suggestion to pair with this shade. It’s not my favorite black lipstick, but I think it is still great for those wanting to try black lips without dropping the money on another brand.

Sugar Plum Fairy- I have been all about the plum and purpelish shades lately. I think they are so pretty and unique. I love plum shades on people with darker complexions. It pairs so well with their skin.

Stoplight Red- Another red? Yes, I’m obsessed with red. This is another blue under toned red that will make your teeth look whiter, and it is gorgeous! I adore this color.
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All of the above lipsticks other than Pagan Angel cost about $1.99 in most stores. Many times you can get them on sale. I typically stock up on colors I need or want to try when CVS has a BOGO 50% sale on wet n wild, which is often. I’ve mainly only tried their lipsticks so I don’t have much insight on their face and eye products.

Manic Panic

Oh man, I could go on forever about my love for Manic Panic products. They are vegan and truly amazing. They are a bit more expensive, but still affordable. I feel like their makeup lines are overlooked because people know them for their vegan hair dyes, and not for their makeup. Well, I am here to say that their makeup is amazing, and if you are a pale eccentric creature like myself you will love them as well.

Manic Panic sells WHITE foundation. Yes, pure white. I have always had such a problem finding foundations that are light enough for me. Many tend to have beige and yellow undertones that do not match me at all. I have a very pink and fair undertone, and not many brands cater to that. I ordered a thing of manic panic dream tone foundation in virgin and my life changed. I typically put 1-2 pumps of it mixed with whatever foundation I am using that day. It does not change the consistency. It actually makes it the foundation a bit of a fuller coverage. It lightens any and all foundations. Gosh, I am in love with this foundation. Do we want to hear more or should I move on? Moving on…

Glamnation Lipsticks- This line of lipsticks is relatively new to Manic Panic. I have no idea why they’re not more popular considering how amazing the quality is and the packagins is adorable. I currently own 2 myself, but I plan on getting more in the future.
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Daughter of Darkness- a BEAUTIFUL deep red (perfect for fall) that has a satin matte finish. I’ve worn this color alone and with a dark gloss on top. The gloss I choose to pair with it is also by Manic Panic from their Cross Gloss line. I only own Bloody Rose from this line, but chances are I will eventually get more. These glosses are not very sticky and have a great pigmentation to them. (pictured below Daughter of Darkness)
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After Midnight- a very unique color for me. It’s a deep blue that is supposed to have a metallic finish. This color is gorgeous and reminds me much of Kat Von D’s studded lipstick in Poe (which I also own.) It’s not as dark since Poe is technically navy, but the finishes are very much alike.
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LA Colors Glazed Lip Paints
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La Colors is a brand I was only recently turned on to. I just discovered them a few weeks ago and I already own 7 of their 18 lip paints. It’s hard not to when I got them for $3.25 a tube (ladymoss.com). These are very affordable and beautiful. The packaging reminds me of the Too Faced Melted lipsticks. I typically have to use a lip brush with these because very little product goes a long way.
I only did my 3 favorite swatches for this brand, but for the price I feel like trying them out can be fun for almost anyone.
Tempt- a beautiful deep wine color. It’s not a deep red, and it’s also not a deep purple. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s currently my favorite color.

Blushing- a deep mauve color. This shade is perfect for fair skinned girls that can’t wear fleshy colored nude shades (they wash us out…or at least they wash me out and make me look completely dead). My other favorite color in the line. I reach for this often as I am going out the door to run errands. It’s my ideal everyday shade.

Daring- this color is more of a deep purple, and it is also very gorgeous. I feel like this color will be one I reach for often once fall arrives.
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This is my first ever attempt at making a makeup post this large and detailed, and I hope I did well and gave enough detail. Thank you for reading!

The Birth of Moon Piper

I *somehow* have a few minutes to myself in between nursing sessions, so I figured I would start the post I promised would happen after the birth of our second daughter, Piper.

A little background: I had our first daughter, Harmony, in a hospital after I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. It was a situation that made me feel powerless to begin with, and the hospital I was at did not make things better. They only made me feel more powerless. After that, I vowed to seek something different my next child and have a delivery that would make me feel empowered and in control of my body and surroundings. I wanted to be in control of my labor and delivery from the beginning. So, I made the decision after we found out I was pregnant to start going to see the midwives at Lisa Ross. Of course, I was made aware that I could have issues again and not be able to deliver there, but I wanted to give it a try.

For my entire pregnancy I made sure to keep myself as healthy as possible. I listened to my body and ate a high protein diet and took fish oil to keep my blood pressure in check. I was determined to have the birth of my dreams, which was a natural and no medicated birth, preferably a water birth.

 

On the morning of June 20th 2014 I woke up to a toddler in my bed like I always did. When I got up to use the restroom I noticed that I had lost the last bit of my mucous plug. I didn’t think too much of it because I had been losing it for days, and it’s not a sure indication of labor. I was 38 weeks, so I figured it could still be days or even weeks before anything happened considering I had an appointment earlier that week and I was still at 2 cms dilated and 75% effaced.

I was also having what I assumed was annoying Braxton Hicks contractions. I had become so accustomed to it that I simply ignored them. I am very terrible about timing things, and sitting around and timing things is pretty much impossible with a toddler. So, I went on about my day. I did my normal chores and all seemed normal (normal enough for an insanely pregnant woman). At about 1 pm I felt very tired and decided to take a nap with my toddler. When we woke up at 4 I started to feel a bit of a different pain in my lower back. I figured it was either fake contractions still or that I just laid funny. I finally started to time the contractions at about 4:30 and noticed they were consistently 8 minutes apart. I still wasn’t very concerned.

At about 5:30 pm I decided to head over to my parents house. It was a very uncomfortable drive there as the pain was starting to intensify. Not breath taking yet, but painful enough to make my breathing change a bit. When I arrived I told my mom about the contractions and we agreed to keep an eye on it. The contractions stayed the same for a few minutes and went to 7 mins apart. I was really starting to feel them now. I was trying to eat pizza at one point and had to stop right in the middle of a bite to concentrate on a contraction. Anyone that knows me well knows that for me to put pizza down that I must be hurting. This was about the point that I figured I was probably in labor or going into it, but the contractions were still not far enough apart for me to really feel like I needed to call anyone and tell them. Then I had a contraction at 6 mins apart and figured it would stay there for a bit. Nope. I went straight from 6 mins apart to 3 mins apart.

This was when my body went into game mode. I made my mom make me a bath to try and soothe myself and calm down a bit, but the pain was intense. I’m not going to lie. I can’t sugar coat the pain of feeling your pelvis move apart and your stomach tightening up so tight that you feel like you may pop. I had to have my mom call Lisa Ross for me to let them know. I knew at that point that I was in labor. My mom was a total saint and helped me get dressed and get into the car. She even put a towel under me in case my water broke, because it hadn’t yet. We arrived at Lisa Ross safely, and I’m pretty sure I scared the shit out the people that live behind there because at that point I was howling. My contractions had went from every 3 mins to every 2 mins on the drive there. I had no time to catch my breath at that point and it felt like my insides were going to fall out.

Dana, one of the midwives (my favorite one), let us in and checked me. I was at 5 cm and my waters were bulging. I had convinced myself at that point that I was going to be an unfortunate soul that labored intensely for way too long, and I started to ponder on whether or not I could do it. My blood pressure was still fine at that point, so I told the Dana that I wanted a shower while she got the water tub ready for me. Oh god, the shower was glorious. I was still in pain, but the feeling of hot water hitting my back actually calmed me down enough to slow my breathing down. Then, I felt something drop and the worst pain ever hit me like a truck. I told my mom at that point that I just couldn’t do it.

Jeremy finally arrived at Lisa Ross right after I got out of the shower. I laid down on the bed so Dana could check my vitals and cervix again. My mom told me that for a few minutes at that point, I was weirdly calm. Calm enough to worry her. Before she could check me, my water broke. Feeling your water break has to be the weirdest feeling ever. Some people told me it was like peeing on yourself…I’m calling bullshit. I guess some people have violent pees because that was not like peeing. Anyway, at that point I had convinced myself I was dying. I do not know every detail of the next few minutes, but I remember hearing Dana say that the baby was coming. Seriously, directly after my water broke…Piper was coming. There was no water in the tub. I was going to have to do this like in the olden days. Quick and dirty. I have no idea why, but I started to panic. My legs were spasming and I felt like I had lost control of myself. My body ws pushing for me like, “Okay girl, you’re not handling this well I got this.” Finally, I grasped what was going on and pushed extremely hard the next contraction. I asked my mom if they could see her, and Dana actually told me put my hand directly inside of my vagina to feel Piper’s head. It was such a cool feeling. Something that most hospitals would never allow to happen. I calmed down a bit more and decided to just surrender myself over to my body and push Piper out the rest of the way. She came a few pushes later and it seriously felt like so much pressure was just gone and the contractions immediately stopped. I had done it. I had pushed out another daughter on my own and with no medical interventions.

Now, take everything that happened starting from when we arrived at Lisa Ross to when I met Piper and put that into 45 mins. Yep, that was how quick my labor was. Jeremy almost didn’t make it to the birth because he was at work. I guess Piper decided to be nice and wait until right after he arrived to make an appearance. Piper Luna Marie Morgan arrived at 9:25 pm. Our little Moon Piper was finally in my arms and it felt like nothing else mattered. The pain didn’t matter. The world didn’t matter. She was all there was at that moment.

Second weirdest feeling in the world: delivering the after birth. However, I will say that if you ever get a chance to see your placenta…do it. It’s seriously so cool. It actually looks like a tree of life. I can’t believe that’s what nourishes the babies before they are earth side.

I didn’t have to have stitches with Harmony. I ended up needing stitches with Piper because her shoulders were turned a bit funny and the midwife had to help her out. The stitches scared me worse than the actual birth. There’s just something about having shots of medicine placed in various places around your vagina that doesn’t sound like it’s pleasant at all. I got through it though. Piper looked wonderful after the delivery. Great temperature, great color, great vitals. She latched on immediately and I heard that sweet sound of her swallowing colostrum. That kid is a fighter. She has attitude. Soon after her arrival it started to storm. I’m still thinking it’s a sign of things to come with her.

I wish I could say more about the after part. The nurse that never made it to the birth checked our vitals, but for the most part left us alone. I was up and walking about 1 hour after delivery. We were all bonding and admiring Piper. It was the setting I had imagined in my head. Dimmed lights and spending vital time with my baby after delivery instead of having her whisked away from me for fuck knows how long. Laying in a bed naked and nursing a fresh newborn while she stays naked and up against my skin. It was the most natural feeling in the world. It was overwhelmingly natural. It was natural and peaceful and the exact opposite of what I had experienced before.

I would experience that pain a million times over for that experience. I know now that I truly made the right decision to be at Lisa Ross. Their staff was so caring and fantastic my entire pregnancy and delivery.It was amazing to have a nurse check our vitals every hour in the room and not come in to ask me if I wanted to have my newborn taken to the nursery or have her taken away for tests or whatever else.

Nyx Macaron Lipsticks

Colorful lipsticks are a growing trend, but they are not new to the market. I can’t be the only person that has drooled over the pretty Lime Crime lipsticks or OCC Lip Tars and thought, “I want you, but I can’t afford you.”

Well, I learned that Nyx (one of my all time favorite makeup brands) was releasing a bright and pastel lipstick line and my heart almost stopped. Nyx is known for their high quality makeup at great prices, and on top of that they are committed to staying cruelty free. After the heart breaking news that Tarte was bought by a parent company that tests on animals, this was the news I needed. I’m a red and pink lipstick kind of gal. Always have been. Lately, I’ve been wanting to try something new and colorful. I didn’t want to go too far out there while experimenting, so I decided I would try a purple color.

Then I started to look over reviews and swatches and I immediately wanted to try every Nyx Macaron color. However, I only bought two (for now). This is my own personal review of the ones I have tried so far. I was not given these products. They were purchased with my own money.

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These are the two that I bought. I decided to try out Violet and Earl Grey.

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These are my naked lips (eek!)

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These are my lips with the Violet color on them.I’m in LOVE with this color.

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These are my lips with Earl Grey. Not exactly a grey color, more of a powder blue. Still a beautiful color!

 

Overall opinion:

Ah-maz-ing. These lipsticks have a very smooth and creamy texture and go on so easily. Both only took one coat of lipstick to get that opaque of a color, and I don’t exactly have a very pale natural lip color. You’re probably wondering how much these cost per tube…well…I didn’t want to give anyone a heart attack, but these are about $6 a tube!

I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I looked up the price. Even better, from now until the 31 ulta has these on sale bogo 50% online. I looked for these in the actual Ulta store in my local area, but they weren’t there yet, sadly. For $6 a color I think I may end up trying all of them! There are 12 in all. I really want to try out Lavender, Rose, and the black shade.

Which shade should I try next? Which shade are you dying to try? Below is a picture of all the colors (not my own picture)

 

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A Letter to Disheveled Parents

Dear disheveled parents,

 

I see you trying to console your child. I see you looking around the room taking in every judging stare from those around you as your child has a meltdown. I also see the bags under your eyes. I can even see the confusion in your heart as your torn between riding out a tantrum and letting the world judge, or stepping over your own boundaries and using disciplinary action that you may not be comfortable with just to make it stop.

I’ve seen many parents like you come through my lines at Target. You’re always the first to apologize multiple times. I didn’t know back then that I was actually looking straight into a mirror. An exhausted parent trying to get some shopping done with a bored and unhappy child. A child that might be teething, or tired. The dark circles under your eyes now look exactly like my own, and I can say that I have walked at least a half mile in your shoes.

I understand now what people mean when they say American society is intolerant towards children. Many want them to be seen and not heard. That’s not simple though. It’s not comfortable for many children to be quiet and to be still. They want to explore and vocalize. They want to push boundaries, even the boundaries that can throw us over the edge as parents. Were we not so different at one point? Was that not a simpler time for us?

Maybe there is a huge flaw in this “be seen and not heard” logic. Isn’t that what’s wrong with our country to begin with? Many of us float through our days and do what we’re told, instead of taking a stand. We try to invalidate and shut up those that do have voices right now and do take a stand. When a child takes a stand and pushes boundaries, we want them to shut up. We want to shut out the voices that obviously have the most to say. Influential people do not become known and do not have their voice heard by sitting down and shutting up. They vocalize, and sometimes loudly and it hurts the ears of some around them and yet they keep speaking. I wonder if Oprah ever had a temper tantrum…

I don’t want my kids to shut up and float through their days. I want them to push their boundaries, and I even want them to push my boundaries. I want them to challenge and be challenged. I want them to take a stand against what they view is wrong, even if it might be them arguing for another cookie before nap time. Of course, I will not give in, but I will take comfort in knowing that they can vocalize their wants. When we allow kids to be kids, they learn how to interact. They learn the limits of themselves and those around them. Why put a stop to that? Why shut it up? Because you’re uncomfortable? Welcome to life, it’s a bed of nails. You’re never going to get comfortable.

So, disheveled parents, I say let the world judge. I say you’re doing a great job. I don’t blame your kid for vocalizing because he/she’s bored. I’m pretty bored myself sometimes, and I wish I had the courage to scream some days. Maybe your kid will grow up and speak out against the wrong doings of this country, or at least I hope so.

I hope they speak up for tolerance in every single way. I hope they push every boundary known to society. I hope they change minds and hearts.

I’m sitting here looking, disheveled parents, and I am not judging. I am not wishing your kid would shut up while I eat my preservative enriched food. I am wishing that the rest America could get back on your level instead of trying to force you on our level. We weren’t so different at one point, and it’s something that I miss on some level.

 

My Lessons as a First Time Mom

As many currently know, I am pregnant with my second child. I wanted to take a few minutes to express some of my own personal experiences from my first daughter to possibly pass on to someone that may need it.

1. Even if your baby is born in the middle of summer, buy long sleeves

Oh man, I wish I had listened to my mom on that one. I know how tempting it is to buy little sleeveless dresses and such, and that’s fine, but make sure to have some long sleeved onesies and blankets as well. Even though adults get hot in the summer, tiny newborn babies still get cold unless they are right up against your skin. I learned this the hard way the first time I tried to put Harmony in a cute sleeveless dress and she turned purple 5 minutes later. When my best friend had her daughter almost a year after mine I made sure to bring her a blanket and some long sleeved shirts to the hospital. She thanked me a few days later because she had also fell for all those cute sleeveless dresses and outfits.

2. Breastfeeding is worth it, but it’s not always easy

We’ve all read it in some book while pregnant. They make us think that breastfeeding is a magical event where a baby is born and immediately latches on perfectly. Then the heavens open up and light shines down on this beautiful act and milk flows from the mother’s breast like a waterfall. Wrong. Totally wrong. Breastfeeding is easy to some people, but it’s not easy for everyone. I was unlucky enough to be in a not so baby friendly hospital and Harmony was taken away from me for 4 hours after I delivered her. After that we battled latch problems, jaundice, weight loss, and a tongue tie. If I hadn’t been a part of a local breastfeeding support group or had Jeremy there to coach me (he was truly a wonderful and supportive partner) I probably would’ve given up. It’s hard enough to deal with the weird hormone fluctuations after birth, and if you add nursing problems on top of it it can all make you feel pretty worthless and emotionally exhausted. However, if you’re able to team up with other iron breasted mommas and a good lactation consultant and make it work out, please do so. I promise you won’t regret it at all. Breastfeeding is such a wonderful and loving experience, and not to mention there are so many benefits to both momma and baby.

3. The weight will come off eventually

I hate that our media has let us think that all women are capable of looking normal again 6 weeks or less after giving birth. Some women drop weight so quickly, and that’s fine, but it’s not a standard we should all hold ourselves up to. I dropped weight quickly with Harmony, but I still didn’t look “normal.” I looked squishy, and well, like a new mom. I ate healthy and made sure to breastfeed on demand, and that’s what helped me out to look and feel normal again. Please don’t try to work out for 4 hours a couple of weeks after you give birth. I promise it’s not healthy. It took your body almost a year to create a life, give it some time to readjust on its own. That’s not to say that you should still eat ice cream every other night and load up on carbs at 1 am…

Give yourself some time. Being healthy emotionally is just as important as physically after having a baby.

4. Don’t be afraid to say something if you’re feeling down

I made that mistake. I’m someone that has always bottled up every feeling ever until I emotionally implode. It’s not something I’m proud of. Baby Blues are common after birth. I remember the day after Harmony was born my mom said something and I just cried and cried. She didn’t even say anything bad. Crying randomly is normal, and most will claim that feeling blue for 6 weeks or so after birth is normal, but if it goes on after that…talk to someone. Please. Talk to a doctor or a family member. The crying stopped for me, but then I started to feel very down most of the time. I blamed it on life, but looking back I know that I should have sought help. I was alone often at work and I caught myself putting myself down and calling myself a worthless mother. I thought I was a burden on everyone, including my daughter. It got to a point where I started to convince myself that everyone would be better off without me.  It’s still hard for me to talk about, but I hope that if anyone reads this and is feeling the same way they will talk to someone.

5. It’s okay to follow your own instincts

This is probably one of the hardest and most important lessons I have ever learned in motherhood. I’m the type of mother that listens to their instincts 98% of the time with newborns. This still confuses many people in the older generations because they were raised to believe babies cry to manipulate and should learn who’s boss as soon as their out of the womb. I’m not one of those parents. If Harmony cried, I picked her up. I breastfed on demand, even if that meant every hour, and we coslept with her. Those were my instincts. Harmony is almost 2 now, and despite what others tried to tell me, she is ridiculously independent and a great kid in general. She learned to walk despite all the baby wearing I did, and she’s not a tyrant that throws tantrums since I never allowed her to cry it out over anything. Does she act like a normal, emotional toddler at times? Yes. Listen to what your gut and heart tells you when it comes to your kid. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you don’t want to give your kid mashed potatoes at 3 months old, don’t. You don’t have to give into Aunt Betty that swears all of her kids were fine because they were gumming hard candy by 6 months old. Some of the information that still floats around is wrong (look up WHO facts about breastfeeding and baby led solids), and you have every right to not listen to it. You have every right to pick up your baby and cuddle them a million times a day. Don’t let people scare you into doing anything less than what you want. Chances are if something feels wrong, it is wrong. Our instincts as mothers are almost flawless, and that’s something I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for.

 

I end this post on the note that these are my personal experiences and lessons. I have friends of all types that have many different parenting styles. I don’t want anyone to read this and think that I am saying I am a parenting guru. I’m still learning and growing as a mother everyday. My instincts as a mother are probably different than other mothers, and that’s fine. I will say that every mother should always research things as much as possible, and give yourself room to say, “I’ll know better next time.”

I’m Clear!

Today was my anatomy ultrasound and high risk consultation with UT hospital (Lisa Ross sent me there).

Needless to say, I was nervous. So nervous that I shot my own heart rate up. I guess they are used to that because they didn’t seem too concerned.

I almost forgot how long anatomy ultrasounds are, but I love them. I got to see all 10 of Baby Morgan’s fingers. I didn’t get to see toes since we don’t want to know the gender yet (my parents are surprising us) but I was told they are all there :). They checked to see how much oxygen is getting to baby, and she said it was great. It starts to feel so real once you finally hear the heartbeat and start feeling the baby move, but there’s just something so different about  ultrasounds. I can put a face to the little human that’s been squirming and kicking like CRAZY. Seriously. Harmony did not dance around as much as this baby does. Even the ultrasound tech looked at me and said, “Wow, this baby does nothing but move.”

I had a couple of “awwww” moments as well as teary eyed moments (thanks, hormones). Little one kept opening his/her mouth and yawning. Once when Harmony cried (she loathed the entire experience) the baby balled his/her hand up in a fist. I guess that should be my sign as to how their sibling relationship will be in the future. Totally kidding…kinda.

After that, the obstetrician came in to tell us how everything looked. When I scheduled this appointment through Lisa Ross, they made it seem like the consultation alone would last hours. The doctor walked into the room and said, “Everything looks great.” He then went on to ask about how I was feeling and such…and that was it. That’s not the best part. I don’t have to see a high risk obstetrician again unless Lisa Ross recommends that I should. When he said that I wanted to scream with happiness. As far as I am concerned, I will be having the birth of my dreams at Lisa Ross this time. I will not have a doctor decide the birthday of this baby. I am in my positive zone until further notice.

I’m so ready to meet this baby already. June 30 (or close to it) can’t get here any faster. I compared ultrasounds from this baby and Harmony when I was 20 weeks with her and I already notice a few differences. I think their nose is the same (my nose) but this baby has a huge head compared to Harmony’s as well as eyes. My mom sent me a text to tell me exactly what I was thinking…this baby has my giant head and huge eyes. There is a part of me that hopes we are right. Harmony looks just like Jeremy, it would be nice to have at least one kid look like me 😉

I have also scheduled a birth photographer this time. I didn’t with Harmony because I didn’t think I would want pictures…and now I realize that I do want photos. I am going completely natural this time and I would love to have that story told in pictures. With Harmony, everything felt so rushed, and it kinda was. My mom was able to get a few pictures once Harmony was born, but other than that she was there as support, and that’s exactly what I needed her for. All in all, I am a huge ball of mushy love at the moment, and I apologize to anyone that I make queasy in the span of the next few months. Okay, I’m not very sorry at all.

Below are the ultrasounds. The top one is Baby #2 and the bottom one is Harmony’s at 20 weeks. This baby looks way bigger in general? I feel like my due date may be wrong, personally. I guess we will see. It could just be that Harmony was just a small baby and this one will be a big squish. I wouldn’t mind a big squishy baby, honestly. I’ve seen multiple people post about having 9 and 10 lb boys and I find them adorable. The weight of babies tends to scare women thanks to the misinformation doctors give to us, but I have faith in my own body. I know my body is capable of way more than obstetricians give me credit for.

 

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Opinions: based on that top profile alone…can you guess the gender? Jeremy and I won’t know until Saturday, but the suspense is killing me. I’m hoping this baby high I have from finally see his/her face will last until then.

 

My First Trimester (the second time around)

I am approaching the end of my first trimester with our second baby.

I have to say that things have been sooo much different this time around than with Harmony.

So, I wanted to make an official post about the differences I’ve noticed so far.

When I was pregnant with Harmony, I was sick CONSTANTLY. Seriously, I could think about food and it send me into a nausea frenzy. This time around I have not experienced morning sickness once. It’s been so grand and I am hoping it stays that way.

I’ve started to show sooner despite how I have gained no weight. I actually started this pregnancy 10 lbs below what I started out with Harmony, and I had already gained 5 lbs by the end of my first trimester with Harmony. I just looked bloated and like I had eaten a ton of tacos. This time around I’ve started showing a bit sooner (it’s normal) but I have yet to gain any weight. It’s weird to me because I am constantly hungry. I’m talking super hungry. I can eat all day long and not even feel full.

The only thing that has remained constant with both pregnancies is the heartburn. It could be because I have a love for spicy food. I know that’s probably it, but who can give up hot wings? I can’t.

Other than that, everything seems to be going well. I’m changing a few things this pregnancy like my diet and who I see for prenatal care.

I’ve been seeing a midwife instead of a ob/gyn for several reasons. I hated my experience in the hospital with Harmony. It was necessary because I had pre-ecampsia, but it was still awful. I vowed after Harmony that if I was healthy enough to bring a baby into the world naturally and not in a hospital, I would. I meant it. So far, I love the midwife experience so much more than the ob experience. I feel more at home at the birth center. I feel like they know me so well already and that they actually care and want to get to know me.

I’ve also changed my diet. I have taken myself off the sodas completely (it was rough) and I am eating a VERY high protein diet. One of the midwives suggested it due to the pre-eclampsia last pregnancy. There isn’t a high chance I will experience it again, but I don’t want to take my chances. Luckily, one of my major cravings is anything with tons of protein. Eggs, avocados, meat, almonds, black beans…all of it. I could eat all of those foods all day long everyday and not get tired of them right now. My daughter is probably getting tired of eating scrambled eggs for breakfast.

I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for a few seconds a few weeks back. The midwife found it and then the little stinker moved and we couldn’t find it again. Only a child of mine can play hide and seek at the tender age of 9 weeks gestation (this was a few weeks back).

 

I’m so ready to find out the sex of the baby though. My nana has these weird Cherokee super powers (seriously) and she can guess the sex of any baby before any of us know we’re pregnant. It’s so weird and awesome. She’s saying it’s a boy though, and are my parents and they guessed right with Harmony as well.

No Love for Boys that Wear Glitter

Today, I had the absolute joy of stumbling upon a mom and a story about her 4 year old son, Chester. Chester lives a completely gender neutral lifestyle. Meaning, his parents allow him to wear jeans and tee shirts as well as dresses. He plays with what he wants, dolls or dinosaurs. As soon as I started reading this story, my heart felt so warm in this cold weather. His mom went on to talk about how his friends never say mean things to him (boys and girls) about his dresses, but you can probably guess the ones that always have negative things to say. That’s right, the parents. It’s sad to me that kids are born with the potential to love and accept, but some of them are eventually taught to hate and become intolerant because of their parents.

Gender roles are something that bother me now as a parent, especially since there is a 50% chance that our little womb monster is a boy (fingers crossed!). They bother me because no one says anything about the fact that our daughter, Harmony, loves trucks and heavy metal. No one has ever said a bad thing about her dirty converse and rockabilly shirts. However, I know if we have a boy and he takes on a love for dolls and glitter people will have negative things to say. He would face hateful parents and their words like “gay” and my absolute most hated word in the world…”faggot.” Typing that word actually makes my gag reflex react. It’s terrible that boys can’t love Cinderella and sports at the same time.

I’ve heard a million times that boys are easier to raise than girls, and now that I think about it boys have it pretty freakin’ tough.

I want to raise my children in a gender neutral environment. I want them to practice self expression. Whether it’s football, music, ballet, tap…I just want them to be happy. That should be the goal of any parent, right? When I found out I was pregnant with Harmony I told myself I would love my children, all of them, unconditionally no matter what. If this little bug is a boy and he wants to play with dolls and have a damn tea party, I will be his most enthusiastic guest. If he chooses dirt and football, I will always be there to clean him up.

In all honesty, what would I be teaching a son if I denied him dolls and dresses because they’re “for girls?” I would be teaching him that there is something wrong with girls. I would be teaching him that boys and girls are not equal in every single way. Worst of all, I would be denying him of something that could spark inspiration. I don’t deny Harmony the right to jeans and converse, and society would frown upon me if I did. So why does society still frown upon the boys that love glitter?

I do feel that society is becoming more accepting. There were definitely more encouraging words on this mom’s blog post than negative ones. However, I did see that so many people still have a long road ahead of them to get all of that negativity and judgement out of their hearts and systems.

It gave me a little hope that I am truly doing the right thing in regards to my parenting style. It may not be a popular style, but it’s one that I am going to fight for more people to look into. I have accepted that it may be too late for this country to see true acceptance in  my generation…but it’s not too late for our kids. It’s not too late to teach our kids to love and accept each other. They mimic us. They idolize us, and many of us are still teaching hate. We are still teaching each our kids that boys and girls are not equal, and that bugs me so much. It actually hurts me. It hurts me that in many ways we still view boys and girls as unequal, and we give them separate activities.

I will not accept it though. I will never accept it. I will only accept what makes my children happy.

My possible son will be equal with my daughter. I’m not going to deny him one damn thing simply because of some stupid gender role.

I don’t care if he’s covered in dirt and glitter as long as he’s cleaned up for dinner.