Tuesday, September 30, 2014:

How Often Are You Washing Your Hair?

So this is one that us moms can appreciate!  Finally, a beauty benefit derived from sleep deprivation, time constraints, and a complete lack of attention to our own personal needs!!  Woop Woop!!  Hooray for no hair washing!!...sort of.

Ok, it's gross...and maybe I pushed the envelope my junior year in college when I went two weeks without a shampoo...but over-washing your hair can throw off your body's ability to balance natural oils on the surface of your scalp.

Often times when we wash with shampoo, we strip our hair of oils that help our hair and scalp stay moisturized and healthy.  This can result in dry and frizzy hair as well as split ends and breakage.  Ironically, it can also result in an increase of oil production as our body tries to counteract the drying effects of shampoo.

Of course it all depends on your hair type, but most professionals recommend washing your hair no more than three-times a week.  If you have color treated hair, long hair, or very curly hair, you might even be able to get away with once or twice a week!

Your hair may appear greasy when you first attempt to cut back, but over time, it should balance out and align to your cleaning schedule.  Start by washing every other day and slowly cut back- giving your scalp time to adjust to the new washing routine.  As you wean off from your washing, think ahead and try to wash only on days when you have important events (like date night, for example :).

Need some ideas on how to manage in between washes:

  • On the days you wash your hair, wear it down to show off your newly groomed 'do.  On subsequent days, opt for low pony tails or buns (hairstyles that are higher on your head may draw attention to the lower tiers of your hair which are often darker and may appear "dirty" next to lighter hair)
  • Limit hair products like gels and sprays as this contributes to build-up and can weigh hair down
  • Using a flat, bristled brush, comb out from your roots to help redistribute some of the oil
  • If your hair is light, you can sprinkle baby powder in your hand and run it through your roots to absorb some of the excess oil
Some folks think you can drop shampooing and conditioning altogether.  For more on that, check out this post I found.  I'm not there yet.  I respect it.  I'm just not...well, "there" yet.

A version of this post appeared in August 2014.
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Monday, September 29, 2014:

Today I Choose Positivity

Today I am really going to embrace my accomplishments.  I spend so much of my day worrying about what to do next- planning the next activity, the next meal, the next playdate, the next diaper change.  It can all be SO overwhelming at times.

But today I am going to sit back and really absorb and embrace my recent accomplishments.  And while some of the items on the list below may seem silly, to me, they are a big deal.  It marks a shift in my attitude, progress in parenthood, and hope!

  • I "slept in" until 6:45a (Thank you Liam and Finn)
  • I showered before Pre-K3 drop off
  • I went grocery shopping
  • I put away the groceries
  • I got a manicure
  • I got my eyebrows waxed
  • I've made it through to the next round with my Quirky Design
  • I DID NOT get the Kate Sommerville/QVC hosting job...but I DID get invited to audition for her!

As a full time stay at home mom to two boys, it is easy to lose sight of the personal progress I have made when my priority is the well-being of my children.  Taking time to sit and write down this list, even the silly things like a shower, make me more aware of the progress that I make everyday.

It's easy for me to identify the things that I did not do and to sink into a negative mindset (I DID NOT clean the house today.  I DID NOT get more milk.  I DID NOT put away the clean clothes.) than to acknowledge the things that I did do.  So today, I choose to acknowledge the small accomplishments and to be positive!....

Which, for the record, is A LOT easier when I DID get the kids to nap at the same time :).

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014:

Changing Your Newborn Boys

birth of a baby
Why is it that baby boys prefer to pee outside of their diapers- as if they associate the changing process itself with free pee time?!

Here are a few quick and easy ideas to help you with baby boy diaper changes!

Happy diapering!

1. Use your barrier cream as an adhesive :)  Dab a bit on, er, the "coin purse" and "stick" his man part to it so that it is facing downward.  This will help prevent sideways and upward leaks by preventing things from getting a little crooked down below!

2.  Buy disposable/waterproof pads like these.  You can cut them in half so they last longer.  Lay them on top of your changing pad to cut back on the amount of laundry you'll need to do!

3.  Leave a box of tissues or washcloths near.  While you're changing your little man, place these on top of his privates so that they will absorb and help localize any accidents.

4.  Always keep a few extra onsies and PJ's on a downstairs changing table.  Accidents are inevitable and by keeping a change of outfits near by, you'll save yourself time and energy- two items you are already running low on as a mom with an infant!

Do you have a son?  Would you agree?  Leave your comments and advice in the section below!  And share for all of the soon-to-be moms of boys :)
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014:

So Much for Being Proactive

Dear Universe,
I would like to ask for your cooperation moving forward.  When the stars align and I actually have the means and the motivation to proactively plan a busy day of Kidville, pre-school and drive-thru errands, I need your support.  K? Great! Thanks!


Dear Kate,
Nah, I'm good. 

The Universe

Everything started out so well.  The boys ate their breakfasts while I organized their clothing for the day.  They took turns letting me get them dressed and toddled back to the playroom where they played together- giving me time to take a shower BEFORE school drop off (that's happened, like, ONCE before).

It was a quick, but effective shower.  And I ran downstairs dressed and ready to go, ten minutes ahead of schedule (that's happened, like, NEVER before)!  

This "spare" time offered me an opportunity to remember that my toddler's daily vitamins were running low.  I called in a refill, crated the dogs, changed a diaper and off we went to pre-school and Kidville!

Ideal morning, right?  NOOOOPE.

I pull up to the drive-thru pharmacy- still giddy from my efficient morning and elated to find that there are no cars ahead of me.  And then....

"Your doctor denied the refill."  She said through the scratchy speaker.

"What?  "Denied the refill"?  They're his multi-vitamins." I replied with a grin and a snicker as I started to wonder about vitamin off-label usage and consider what the black-market demand was for children's .25mg chewable multi-vitamins with fluoride...pfffft, "denied"?

"Yes, we called them and they denied the refill."

I pulled out of the drive thru lane wondering if I had been flagged for "intent to sell" and quickly dialed the pediatrician's office.  As the phone rang, I could feel the anxiety rising- my quick pick-up was now turning into something a bit more involved and creeping dangerously close to lunchtime.

Did I mention how much I hate automated answering services?

"To speak with a nurse, push (toddler asks a question).  To speak with a receptionist push (screaming baby in background). To speak with billing push (toddler asks "but why").  If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911"(Hmm....are daily vitamins an emergency?).

I finally get through to the nurse who doesn't even need to look up our info- she remembers the pharmacy's phone call and sighs sympathetically (thank you for that) as she tells me she put a hold on the prescription so that she could change the dosage but left a message over an hour ago on the pharmacy's voicemail.

Ugh- brain-scratching eye roll.

I go BACK through to the drive thru and explain this to the not-helpful-in-the-least pharmacy tech.  Who then tells me I can wait in the parking lot while she looks into it.

"How long will it be until this prescription is filled" I asked, matching her stoicism.

"Twenty Minutes" (toddler translation-- eternity).  Um, no thanks.

So, I pulled out of the parking lot leaving my well-planned morning behind, surrendering to the fact that it will likely be another week and a half before I get back to the pharmacy to pick up these vitamins.

Which makes me wonder...does the black-market vitamin dealer make deliveries?

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Expert Review on Quirky!!

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my status update yesterday regarding my home-grown invention!

I submitted my idea a few weeks ago and was so impressed and excited with the traction it gained in just a few short days!  It was trending in Home & Garden- residing on the landing page for maximum exposure.

The idea received nearly 100 votes and made it to the next level- Expert Review!

It's now in the hands of the Quirky staff, but we can still fight to get as much exposure as possible by commenting on the idea and watching the video!

Take a look at the "Magnetic Mesh Laundry Bag" and leave a comment in the "community feedback" section with any insights or advice you might have!  You can also go right to the Quirky video here.
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Friday, September 19, 2014:

Why Number Two is Easier

If you are planning on having a second but worry you might not survive another, read this...

With your first, everything  is new!  Phases come and throw us for a loop and we think, "OMG, will it EVER end?!"  And, eventually, it does....

Now with two, when we go through the spill-the-dog-food phase, I think, "oh, right...I remember this with my first.  Just a few weeks of putting the bowls up high so we don't spill the water...again!!"  

It's kind of like running a second marathon- it's still hard, but you're able to pace yourself much better this time around.

Another reason why number two is easier...

I always felt like I needed to be engaging with my first- stimulating him and entertaining him with learning activities.  Even when he wasn't necessarily "asking" for my attention I felt like I should be next to him and actively playing.  And when he would "ask" me to play with him, I had a hard time saying, "no".  

Now with two, if I am feeding Finn and Liam needs me, I feel like I have an "excuse" to say "no" and to sit and nurse Finn.

And finally, now, at 14 months and almost three years, there are actually times when they want nothing to do with me and simply enjoy "playing" with each other.  So I can actually finish my coffee (sometimes), without sharing or hiding/losing it around the house!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014:

How to Get Your Car Ready for Baby

You've spent months designing the nursery and arranging the furniture.  The house is baby proofed.  Activity mats and toys are assembled.  Everyone is just waiting for the baby's arrival.  Any day now!

But have you thought about how you might "set up" your baby-toting vehicle?

After the car seat has been safely installed, check out these tips below on how to stock the station wagon (or mini-van).

  1. Baby Wipes- keep a container in the glove compartment and another in the trunk.  You can never have too many and they are great for messy road trips and en-route* diaper changes! 
  2. Diapers- Even if you have a stocked diaper bag, it's always a good idea to keep a few spares in the trunk of your car.  
  3. Head Rest Mirror- I didn't think this was important until I took my first road trip alone with my infant.  I'm always one to welcome a car nap, but when you are at the wheel and you can't just turn around to check on him, it can make you a bit crazy.  Having the rearview/headrest reciprocating mirrors helped me stay calm while at the helm.  
  4. Change of Clothes- Always.  ALWAYS. Always.  And it might not be a bad idea to have a change of clothes for yourself, too.  Just this week I have heard of TWO mom's being in a messy situation that required a wardrobe change.  Both commented about how they had extra clothing for their kids, but nothing for themselves.  I keep our spare clothes in a plastic bag (that I can use to hold the messy clothes until they can be washed or, as is often the case, thrown out).
  5. Non-Parishable Snacks- I really don't like to bribe my kids with snacks, but sometimes there is just no way around it.  I try to keep some sweet squeezie packs that I know they like and even some fruit snacks.  If we are going on a road trip, I bring out the big guns and stock pile candy (go ahead, judge me, but remember this conversation when Karmama comes around your way ;).

By "en-route" diaper changes, I mean "the rest stop is too germ-infested for a newborn, I'll just change him on my lap in the parking lot...even if it is a blow out"- been there, done that
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014:

My Moisturizer Pick for Fall!

The cooler months are approaching which means dry, dehydrated skin for the most of us!!

I've spent the last few weeks testing out some new moisturization treatments and I've found my favorite!

Watch what I have to say about it: Obagi Medical Hydrate Moisturizer

This stuff goes on thick and creamy but absorbs to a light finish so you don't feel too greasy!  It's a great fall/winter moisturizer!  
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Prevention is the Key

Skin Hydration
Most skin damage is due to our exposure to daily stressers.  In other words, one or two bad sunburns won't translate into the deep wrinkles and age spots we start to notice as we age (but those sunburns certainly don't help!). It's the constant damage we endure everyday- sun, wind, cold, dehydration, poor diet, etc.

This daily exposure is the culprit and it is up to you to implement a routine to help decrease your skin's exposure to the sun and environmental damage.

When I talk about these intense paramedical topicals and innovative serums, often the first comment I am met with is, "but you don't have wrinkles!".  I always think of that old Head & Shoulders commercial...."but you don't have dandruff!" "Exactly...."

While science and technology have evolved enough to help us repair damage, we're always better off by preventing it to begin with.

So while you might think you're too young to start an intensive beauty regiment, think again!  At the very least, sunscreen should be a staple in your morning beauty routine.  As you approach your thirties and beyond, you can start thinking about integrating in some more intensive topicals....just recently I added a SkinMedica Retinol Cream into my line up (more on that later).  It's not an everyday thing, but twice a week to proactively maintain a youthful appearance.

Think about this as we approach the cold and dry wintery months.  Are there new ways you plan to take care of your skin?
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014:

It Really Does Get Easier, Moms.

So I am three years into this mommihood business and while I am no expert (side note: no one is), I'm here to tell all of my new mama's out there that it really does get easier.

Now some of us veteran moms might say things like, "Well, it does get easier, but it also gets harder" and, ok, so maybe there is a point- schedules, playdates, activities, tantrums, attitudes, opinions....

But the truth is, nothing compares to those first weeks of new parenthood.

While trying to find some post inspiration, I stumbled across an old post from when my first son was just three months old and it reminded me of just how blisteringly challenging the first few months of new mommihood were for me.

In keeping with my blog's namesake, I'll acknowledge that I really didn't think it was going to be that hard.  

Sure, I understood that I would be sleep deprived, but I figured I would catch up with it while the baby slept, right?  

And I knew that staying home full time would be a lifestyle change, but I would have laughed in the face of anyone who so much as suggested that I would be desperately seeking something, ANYTHING to strike a parent/professional balance.  

I assumed we'd get a sitter for date night.  Pack up the car and the kid for long weekends.  Meet (and socialize with) new parenting friends who had identical parenting philosophies.  Ha. Ha. Ha.  

Karmama really is a bitch.

Yes!  All of these things did eventually happen- sleep, date nights, like-minded parent friends.  But it took awhile.  And it was the hardest "while" of my life!

Here's what I had to say about it in 2011....


I need to stop pretending that this is easy or telling myself that it shouldn't be this hard. I need to be honest that on most days, I don’t even put on a bra, let alone shower. On the days I do shower, it is less about my personal hygiene and more about an opportunity for privacy, alone time, and a breather.
I need to be ok with “coming undone” and to learn to love the frazzled, frizzy-haired, totally strung out woman who looks back at me in the mirror. I need to be less needy of the peer compliments and more willing to be my own cheerleader; my own best friend.
I need to remind myself that every really great mom has/will come across her challenges. It might not be now but at some point whether it’s with teething, sleep regression, SATs or college visits, any mom who is trying her best will stumble over a parenting obstacle.I need to remember my parenting goals- raising a happy and healthy baby who is compassionate and confident. And the easiest way to teach these traits is to be/do/embrace these traits. And most of all, I need to strive for a standard of grace and not perfection.

A version of this post originally appeared on "Kate Says This About That" 2011

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Friday, September 12, 2014:

Death By Hot Wheels

If I didn't know any better, I'd think my kids had it out for me...

These look as though they've been strategically placed at the top of the stairs.... #imontoyou #boobytrap

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Thursday, September 11, 2014:

Are You on Quirky?

Have you heard of Quirky?  I swear this site was made for moms!  We spend so much of our day managing household chores and taking care of the kids that we have a painfully clear understanding of the daily challenges.  Something as simple as buckling a car seat or lifting heavy toddlers into a shopping cart can be seen as a "pain point".

Think of all the gadgets you had when your children were young- everything from baby monitors to the more "quirky" (pun intended), like mechanical swings (imagine what people thought of those "devices" when they were first introduced??).

Moms have brilliant ideas because we deal with this stuff....daily.  Day in.  Day out.

Here's my idea- take a look!  And vote!!

The Magnetic Mesh Laundry Bag

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014:

Let's Talk About Retinols

When I was in high school I stumbled across a bag of innocent looking cream samples that my father had brought home from his practice.

I used one sample a night for three days- disappointed that nothing was happening, I slathered it on for another night or two.  

By the end of the week, my face was peeling off in sheets!!!

Those "innocent samples" were Retin A.

Ok, so it sounds exteme and most people would swear off retinol creams and topicals, but it made me realize how powerful these creams can be!

Once you reach about 30 years of age, our skin isn't as "motivated" to naturally turn over and "shed".  What Retinols do is provide chemical exfoliation and stimulate our skin so that we can safely expose the soft, dewy skin just below the surface.  

Retinols will help you get that youthful glow we all seek and can also help diminish the appearance of wrinkles.  By preventing a "build up" of thick, dead skin, your creases won't have an opportunity to develop the deep grooves that make wrinkles more visible.  Retinol creams can also help with skin pigment imbalances and lighten dark spots caused by sun damage.

Speaking of sun...

Once you add a retinol into your skincare routine you must, MUST, must wear a daily sunscreen (but as my loyal blog readers, you KNOW THIS and you've been doing this already... right?).

The retinol exposes soft and supple skin that also happens to be SUPER photosensitive.  If you expose that skin to external environmental stressors, your efforts will be counter productive.

How to use:
Start off slow- use in the evening once or twice a week.  

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014:

Here's Why I Don't Think I'll Ever Be Able To Eliminate Dairy

Dairy is literally the bulk of my grocery bill. I love milk, the kids are still on whole milk, yogurt is the perfect snack and cheese sticks are the easiest proteins that I can "hand off" to my kids (and for me too!).  

I know that it's recommended to cut back on dairy if you want to keep your skin clear.  This is definitely a "work in progress" for me....with no end in sight :)

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Monday, September 8, 2014:

I Gained A Few Laugh Lines This Weekend

This past weekend I went to a dear friend's bridal shower in the town inwhich I grew up.  It was a quick overnight trip so all of my boys stayed behind while I stayed in my parents' home.

From the moment I arrived- kid free- at my parents' home, I was able to relax and unwind.  I was able to have an actual conversation, alone, with my parents.  

After a nice long dinner, I went to visit with old high school friends.  While I had recently seen all of these girls at the bachelorette weekend a few weeks prior, there was something different about sitting in a home that I had spent so much time in as a kid- connecting with friends who've known me longest.

So many funny stories and happy memories had me smiling the entire night...all the way until one in the morning!!!!  

It was an amazing weekend celebrating the upcoming wedding of a great friend and connecting with some of my favorite people!!  Laugh lines welcome :)
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014:

Are you doing enough for your skin?

We workout to keep our heart and lungs healthy.  We lift weights to strengthen our muscles.  But do we do enough for the largest organ in (on) our body??

Could you be doing more for your skin?

1.  Are you drinking sugary sodas and juices when you could be drinking more water?

2.  Are you eating processed foods and too many carbohydrates when you should be eating more fruits, vegetables and proteins?

3. What are your snacking habits?  Salty, sugary snacks like chips or wholesome powerful snacks like nuts?

4.  Are you using skincare products designed specifically for your skin or are you "testing" products that span the spectrum of too harsh to ineffective?

5.  Are you optimizing your skincare routine with age-appropriate topicals (hint: if you're over 30 you may want to consider chemical exfoliation like peels and retinol creams)?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014:

Sit Down With a Plastic Surgeon

I sat down with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon John D. Noonan* of The Plastic Surgery Group in Albany, NY.  Here are his top five quick and easy healthy skin "musts" for busy parents (he has five kids...he should know!).

1.  Sunscreen- according to "Dr. John", sunscreen is the #1 way to prevent premature aging and, more importantly, certain skin cancers.
2.  Moisturizer- for the majority of people, dehydrated skin is actually the main contributor for their problem areas.  Invest in a good moisturizer.
3.  Exfoliate- It's important to polish off the dead layers on top of the skins surface to reveal the healthy and more youthful appearing skin below.
4.  Visit your esthetician- in an ideal scenario, you'd be able to get a monthly facial from a licensed esthetician.  But seeing as how this blog is for busy moms, try aiming for once every three months or once a season.  A professional has access to powerful treatments and procedures that will help you look your best and can even recommend more involved procedures like laser and, if necessary, surgery.
5. Sleep- it's important for both our physical and mental health to get enough sleep- often tricky with young kids.  Make sleep a priority and you will notice a difference in your skin (and energy!).

*He's my dad :) 
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