living notes

New mom beauty routine in less than 5 minutes

New mommy beauty helpers

If you are a new mom, have ever been yourself or around one, you know what “no time for myself” REALLY means. You had your baby shower where everyone gave you love, support and advice about the baby and a row of never ending ” oh, your life will change forever!”, but you don’t really get it until your baby arrives and you are standing in front of the mirror looking at the reflection of someone who is SURELY NOT you. I remember only too well staring at a not-so-hot of a mess in the mirror wondering WHAT has happened to my world that has gone crazy and how could that possibly be connected to that absolutely kissable and loveable bundle that melted my heart and had me wrapped around his finger within first 0.00001 of a second after the grand entrance into this world.

The reality is that you are spending 90% of your time feeding ( and it really is not much different whether you bottle feed or breastfeed, babies need to eat, and they eat often), changing, rocking, TRYING to get a second of some rest for yourself ( because you are on 24 hour duty now). No matter how much help you get, there is no one that can substitute for “mommy” ( and your hormones will support my words) – you will still be putting in over-hours regularly. You world has definitely changed, but YOUR life hasn’t ended. It took me a little bit to figure out, but – just as many others – I found that it is very important for ME to feel my old, usual self. To still be a lover and a woman first, and have motherhood ADD more beauty to my life instead of taking away from it. And here is what I came up with for myself through some trial, errors and experience.
1 & 2 : Lips and cheeks.

No matter how tired I am, a little color on my lips and cheekbones does miracles to my complexion, masking my battleship with sleepless nights in just a few strokes. I grew to love a Bobbi Brown line because of gentle ingredients yet great staying power – don’t want to have that lipstick smeared all over, or having to have to touch up every 2 minutes.

3. Nails

If you haven’t tried it yet, give a gel manicure a go! I have invested in a kit last year, and it has been one of the best beauty purchases for me so far. Chip free manicure that lasts 3+ weeks?! Yes, please! There are more reasons here as to why I personally love it and think that it is totally worth a try. With bright red lipstick and polished manicure I feel my confident old self even in my  faithful rugged jeans and white tank ( with spit up on it, most likely. new mommy “bonus”, you know).

4. Hair

Let’s be honest – it’s unlikely you’ll have 1/10 of your usual beauty routine time as a new mom. But a great looking hair is just as possible with some help of accessories and … Pinterest! Just look around at some beauty/hair boards  – the ideas are endless. Worse come to worse – invest in a few cute headwraps and ties, and you WILL feel better, I promise.

5. Skin

Now that the pregnancy is over, your hormones are on a roller coaster ride again. It can be tough on the skin. Protect and nourish as much as you can. I love, love, love L’Occitane lines for care and sun protection. It takes absolutely no time, it’s natural, and it is no secret that beautiful and nourished skin will do more for your appearance then 20 other beauty products.

Last but not least – DO take the time for yourself, even if it is 5 minutes only. A happy mom equals a happy family.

Hospital Bag Must Have items

hospital bag musts

You wait 9 months for THAT moment to hold your little miracle in your arms but when the time comes, what’s in your hospital bag?

First time we headed for the hospital , I packed a suitcase worth of a month’s stay of “just-in-case necessities” but somehow ended up without the most important and/or practical things.

So, from my experience , here are the things that I found to matter most :

1. What you are wearing while at the hospital.

There are 1001 things that you can get, but the most important part is that it needs to be comfortable, practical and… CUTE. Believe me, although you will be in 7th heaven holding your little gem close to your chest, that hospital gown may not be the most picture worthy/memory making thing, and gorgeous night gowns and/or cute tees are just not very practical. But a cute shirt-dress will serve the purpose and is as comfortable as it gets. (choose either a stay-in version or an all-around one )

2. Nursing access

Whether you are planning on breastfeeding or not, your milk will come in and it will cause some discomfort and leakage, so ensure an easy access to your girls. Whoever invented the nursing tanks was a genius , and yummy tummy took it 10 steps forward taking care of several things at once: gives you support, easy access and helps to slim the midsection, making you feel like a $1,000,000 babe.

5. Diastasis Recti

May sound like a foreign language to you right now, but many women that have given birth will tell you about mourning tears for her *** inch waist even though she is 10lbs lighter now than before pregnancy. The “evil” mommy-tummy rumors go right along with it, especially if the delivery was a Cesarian. Some cultures practice abdominal binding for after birth with great results. But you don’t have to go all “ancient” and hippie to reap the benefits. There are many options for a modern woman right now – from belly bandid to simply shapewear. My favorite is Bellefit. Make sure to pack one and put it on as soon as possible, and watch your friends amused faces as you strut confidently out of the hospital looking like a visitor, rather than a new mom.

3,4 Beauty part

It may not seem very important right now, but believe me, it is. Postpartum is a tricky time. Everyone prepares you for pregnancy, birth, but hardly anyone touches up on, what I personally think, is the most challenging part – after birth recovery. You have to deal with just as many hormones, body changes etc, as you had during your entire pregnancy, except in 1/9 ( literally ) of the time AND with a newborn on you ( read : no sleep whatsoever for about a month). No wonder that baby blues are a common visitor for new moms. Feeling good about yourself is very important at this very fragile time. Throw a postpartum recovery gel into your hospital bag and pack your favorite beauty products into a cute , bright travel bag, and take – even if just 15 minutes – your personal time-out. I promise, you feeling good about yourself will bring you more benefits than 100 nannies.

6. A notebook or diary.

May seem like an obvious, but … I forgot one the first time! There are many options for cute baby books nowadays ( and it is definitely worth making one for your baby!), but I loved having a simple notebook to write my own thoughts and feelings right after the birth. Just for me. Only for my eyes. Years later, I come back to those pages and re-live the moments over and over. These notebooks are cute and eco-friendly!

7, 8, 9

And of course, the most important part – the homecoming outfit for your little one!

People will tell you to stock up on larger sizes, because babies grow so fast, to not waste money on something that your little one will wear once or twice, etc, etc… I will say this: I think it is totally worth getting a newborn, cute, and – yes – completely impractical, but extremely necessary outfit. Whether 6lbs or almost 9lbs, your treasure will be TINY, extremely delicate and ridiculously cute. You bring your baby home for the first time only once – do make memories out of it, even IF this will be the one and only time your little one wears those clothes. Get something that is soft, and beautiful, and don’t forget a hat and a blanket ( newborns do really need them) and pack everything into your very stylish weekender – and you are set to go!

Last minute gifts for HIM

Last minute gifts for him

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and while I have many friends that have planned the celebration months in advance, I also know just as many that are just like myself , often scrambling for ideas at the last minute for my favorite man.

So, if we are in the same boat, let me share a few things from now and the past that made some good impressions in our corner of the Earth:

1. Go all rock-star.

I promise, regardless of whether you are into vintage or modern styles, your guy will appreciate his favorite ( or newest!) album on the record and a trendy record player. Throw in a themed wall clock, and he will have his happy corner for guys’ night and think of you every minute of it ( added bonus, right?!)

3. Nail it to his desk.

Make him ( and his co-workers and clients ) smile with this organizer. He’ll have no problem hitting it off with business associates  with Fred Conlon’s quirky, spring-loaded desk accessory that brings more than fun to the table: each piece is handmade out of recycled steel and salvaged tool parts. And the best part? It works! A guaranteed strike of a conversation every time he hands out business cards or lends a pen – he’ll thank you for his loaded with fun days!

4. Crash it in style.

Not a record player type of a guy? No problem! Let him listen to his favorite tunes with the Crasher Portable Bluetooth Speaker in style. Not only will he not miss a beat, but there is an added bonus in crasher doubling up as a speaker phone for his conference calls. Oh, and it can boost his IPhone power too!

5. Love notes.

While not the MOST original idea out there, but one of the most prized possessions my husband has is the personalized key chain that I have given him YEARS back. Simple and easy, yet it is something that he keeps in his hand every day and says that he loves it. Add a fun case to go with it, and he will enjoy it double.

2. The TRUE gift of love.

Our of order and last but not least, a simple fact of ENJOYING the day together may be more valuable then anything else you can do and plan. Head on over here and print some “happy father’s day” lunch bags, pack his favorites and put your precious cargo in the carrier that men love best (and strap it on him, naturally, too!) , and lose yourself in a jungle for a day, even if it is just a quiet corner of your local park with all of you together. After all, he is qualified to celebrate the Father’s Day because of that little someone that , most likely, is photo-bombing every picture you are trying to take of just the two of you and climbs on your lap just as you thought there could be second a stolen romantic kiss.

But most importantly – whatever you do :


Six surprising superfoods

surprising superfoods

Though pregnancy is not an exception to eating healthfully, it is no secret that some inner instinct kicks in making you give only the best to the little person growing inside. Everyone knows that veggies are “good-for-you”, fruit is a better substitute for candy and good ol’ OJ is your go-to for vitamin C, but did you know of the super-powers behind some of our every day foods?Here are 6 surprising superfoods that are life-savers in pregnancy:

1. Beet Greens
The greens of this root veggie are not only a top source of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, but they are also full of potassium ( leg crams anyone?!) – 655 mg in half a cup.  A true superfood, beet greens are also a great source of Beta Carotene, so don’t miss out  and head over to your local market or Whole Foods , pick up a bunch and cook the greens just as you would collards.

2.  Oranges
You know to drink your OJ for a boost of vitamin C, but did you know that apart from 1001 of other benefits, oranges are an excellent source of potassium as well? Never would have guessed , but oranges come in second on the list for potassium, while all-too-famous bananas don’t even make top 10!

3.  Yogurt
Excellent source of calcium, yogurt is your “happy food” quite literally. It is no secret that beautiful skin, hormones and much of bodily functions depend on the health of your gut, and that is where yogurt is your best friend. Just make sure to look for natural variety and avoid any additives and sugars. The Greek yogurt is my favorite choice and it can always be spruced up by some berries, agave or even honey.

4.  Kiwi
It may be small and not as attractive as some of its colorful brothers, but don’t pass on  kiwi. Kiwi is bursting with folic acid which is very important nutrient required in pregnancy, and ( most likely ) it will not have the same nauseating effect as some of the synthetic folic acid supplements do. Kiwi also facilitates absorption of iron ( thus helping you to prevent anemia) , is rich in dietary fiber and , of course, is a great source of vitamin C.
5.  Dates
Though look shrunken and dry, ripe dates are actually a wholesome and raw food. Dates contain potassium ( yes, again), numerous B vitamins ( which help produce red and white blood cells) , magnesium and iron. Different varieties of the fruit also contain variable amounts of calcium, folate and vitamins A and C, which are all necessary for health and healthy fetal development. So, next time you have a sweet tooth, grab a handful of dates. At about 24 calories each, high in fiber and low in fat, dates will do nothing but good for the body.

6. Clams
Clam serves as a great source of phosphorus ( the nutrient required for proper formation of bones and teeth of the newborns, in addition it also helps the body of a mom-to-be  to utilize vitamins) , are a great source of proteins ( much higher then that of a red meat) , rich source of iron, potassium, vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids among other benefits. Always stay on the safe side and make sure the clams are from a trust-able source and are cooked properly.

The bottom line to health and nutrition in pregnancy is such: don’t skip your vitamin, but do turn to nature over a bottle  for a boost of  “healthy”. Your baby and your body will thank you for it!
Wishing you all a fabulous day and a healthy and happy pregnancy!

Meet our new blog contributors

When we started The RM Report a year ago we had a vision of making it one of your go-to resources for mommy and baby tips, ideas and general mommy stuff. I’ve tried to keep the weekly posts coming but it has been really difficult to be consistent and I realized that my lack of knowledge in certain areas, specifically “mommy” topics needed to be filled by someone willing to share their personal experiences with our readers. Ashley and Victoria’s four kids combined, leave them stretching their time, so we decided that it was best to call on some of our favorite mommy bloggers and experts to bring you a consistent blog with multiple voices that you will enjoy and look forward to weekly! We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our new contributors and are so thankful to them for lending their voices to The RM Report! Meet our amazing team:

Sophie Mae - Sophie is a Fashion and Wedding Stylist, specializing in wardrobe and special event styling. She has dedicated her career to teaching women to embrace their own unique sense of style. Her passion for fashion grew while working with Teen Vogue magazine in early 2003. She has also styled for high fashion labels including Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli and Versace. You can see Sophie’s style notes in The RM Report once weekly. 

Olya Hill - Olya Hill is the editor of lifestyle blog, Living Notes from NYC where she shares her perspective on style, food and life in general. She is a  professional dancer, a lover of style and fashion, treasurer of all things old, new and beautiful, a health nut, an amateur photographer, mommy and wife. Check back once weekly for her parenting advice and baby product reviews.

Alison McPeck - Alison is a mom with a passion for fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is a former division 1 collegiate swimmer, a Certified Personal Trainer, a marathon runner and is completing her Pre/Post Natal Training Certification. Originally from Northern California, she graduated college from the University of Texas and moved to Los Angeles in the Spring of 2005 to start a career working with children. She is excited to share her personal experiences, ideas and tips about fitness and healthy living.