September 2, 2014

Fall Focus: What to Buy, What to Do, and What to Eat

The summer has ended, which is bittersweet, but the good news is that it's the perfect time to recharge your batteries in all areas of your life.  I'm ready to recharge myself as well and focus on finding:
  • Fashionable Fall 2014 Clothing Must Haves (while sticking to a budget)
  • Fall Washington, DC area family friendly activities, and
  • Healthy family-friendly meals that are easy and quick for my busy family of five

What to Buy

As a working mom, I love clothes that can take me from day-to-night or could be worn with different accessories on the weekends.  You can mix and match my picks as well whether you're heading to your K Street office during the week or going out for drinks at the newest hot spot at night.

Ann Taylor Faux Leather Trimmed Sheath Dress




Ann Taylor Creme Jacket



Vince Camuto Shoe Bootie


Banana Republic Sloane Pants in Cabernet


DVF Gilmore Printed Chiffon Blouse


What to Do

As the weather finally gets cooler, I highly recommend checking out some of these fun, family-friendly Fall activities in the DC area this month:


What to Eat

Now that summer is over and the kids are back in school, why not try some new recipes that are healthy and delicious? Here are a few of my recent favorites:




As the Fall season gets underway and your schedule gets hectic, try to focus on just a few things each day that will make you feel good whether it's fashion, exercise or cooking. Enjoy!

Ciao!


August 28, 2014

Experience the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Hotel while looking gorgeous #MyCosmoStyle

With my big 4-0 birthday looming in a short few months, the #MyCosmoStyle blog challenge came at a perfect time.  Where better to celebrate a big milestone birthday than Las Vegas!

 It's been more than a few years since I've visited Vegas, but the allure remains the same for most people, including myself:  Escape reality for a fun (dare I say 'wild' in the best way possible) and luxurious getaway that is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.

If you're anything like me, part of having a great time while on vacation is staying somewhere ultra chic that reflects my own style. My personal style is modern with an edge of pop (something unexpected and fun) so I love to stay in hotels that lend themselves to that same style.

And since I'm celebrating a huge milestone birthday (*sniff* *sniff*), I would choose a hotel, like The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, that feels chic, luxurious, and also fun (I mean, it IS Vegas, after all!) all the same time.  And from the looks of it, the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas delivers on all fronts.



The interior of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas was designed by the talented architect and designer, David Rockwell who sought to 'redefine the total experience of Las Vegas, from arriving to eating to dancing to sleeping' with a chic, urban, luxurious resident type of hotel that gives guests a shared experience.



I've said before in my blog that I believe that clothing tell a story. Who do you feel like dressing that day? How do you feel when you slip on that LBD?  How does your mood lift when you find that *perfect* pair of black pants that make you feel and look amazing? How giddy are you when you spot the 'most perfect' dress, blazer, necklace, shoes, etc. and not only is it on sale but it's also makes you feel like...well, you!



Okay, back to experiencing Vegas while looking gorgeous. Since Vegas is normally a quick getaway for most people (you can only escape reality for so long, right?), you want to maximize your wardrobe essentials (i.e., one piece of carry-on luggage on only!) and of course, leave room for shopping while in Vegas.

Brunch at Wicked Spoon:




Birthday Dinner at Estiatorio Milos:

#MyCosmoStyle via Fashion Gal in DC



Girls night out at Marquee:


#MyCosmoStyle





See you there! Ciao!

Fitness Tips and Advice on Losing the Baby Weight

Helllllooooo out there! Oh my goodness, it's been so so so long since I've written in my blog so if you're reading this right now...thank you. So where have I been? Well, I'm happy to report that I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy (baby #3!!) in mid-April and since then have been, as Fergie once said in her song, 'in the gym just working on my fitness'.


Ummm, can I please look like this? Pretty please???

And it's No.Joke.

You would think it would be a breeze since I did it twice before, but no, it's still really, really, really hard and let's be honest, the first time I lost the baby weight, I was 7 years younger and only had one child. So now it's that much harder 7 years later with 3 children.

But for all of you mamas out there working hard, like myself, to lose the baby weight, I will tell you: It's worth it! Don't give up! And you can do it! You can!

I may be borderline 'obsessed' with healthy diet and fitness tips these days, but I figure that's better than being obsessed about a lot of other things and to be honest, I'm learning a lot even though I've spent a majority of my life being active and interested in health and fitness.

Am I the only one who does this??? Ha!

So I thought I would give some of my favorite fitness tips (including some of my recent workout clothing purchases that help motivate me in the gym) and advice on losing the baby weight:

1. Do what you can.

Seriously, don't beat yourself up if you can't find more than 15 minutes a few days a week to workout. You just had a baby, you are sleep deprived and very short on time. But a little goes a long way and even a 15 minute walk with the baby can make a huge difference on regaining your strength and mood.



Lately I've been really into Fit Sugar's printable workouts and videos. Check them out here.  Some of them are only 10 or 15 minutes and can be done at home while the baby is napping or hanging in the bouncer. I also love taking some of the cardio printable workouts to the gym to switch things up on the treadmill or elliptical.



2. Buy a few new workout clothes to lift your spirit and motivate you in the gym.

I love wearing cute workout clothing to the gym for a lot of reasons: it's mostly spandex so it's comfortable when virtually nothing else is postpartum, when I look good (even while sweating buckets at the gym), I feel good which in turn helps motivate me to keep working out, and I can wear the clothing while also running errands or chasing after my kids at the park or playground (double bonus!).

Here are some of my recent workout clothing purchases that I highly recommend for top quality and purchase price:

Zella 'Live In' Capris



I LOVE LOVE LOVE these capris. Seriously, I would wear them to work if I could. They just bought the color featured in the picture above and also recently bought the 'Live In - Streamline' Mesh Inset Capri Leggings in Purple Fusion Eclipse (on sale at Nordstrom right now so hurry!!). In terms of sizing, I would either go with your regular size or one size down. I own both a Small and Medium and both fit fine.

I wear these leggings for yoga, pilates, and Barre classes but I think they could easily work for running or any other cardio. If you only buy one pair of working capris, buy these! You won't regret it. They look super cute while working out, running errands or going to the park or playground. I intend to buy a bunch more when Nordstrom has their Women's Half-Yearly sale later on this year. I love them that much.

Lucy  'Perfect Core' Halter Top


Again, I LOVE this workout top so much that I bought it in two colors. And it's currently on sale for about $20!!! The only Lucy item I've owned is a pair of Lucy leggings, which are the best leggings I've ever bought, So I went online to read the reviews on their workout tops (why don't ALL athletic brands provide reviews on their items??), saw that many women love them, and bought the perfect core halter top. Well, I am now a devoted Lucy brand shopper/fan. Especially when they have great sales since their full-price items are fairly expensive.

This top is fantastic since it has this great ruching feature in the front to hide the little imperfections of being a new mama but enough spandex to also keep everything in.  I think this top runs a little small so I recommend going a size up. I love how I feel in this top and it works great again for yoga, Pilates, Barre or low-impact Cardio.


3. Try a new fitness class like Pure Barre or Barre3 for an extra boost of motivation.

Before I got pregnant with baby #3, I was a pretty devoted Barre3 fan and my core thanked me for it. I love this workout for strengthening the upper and lower body and most importantly, my core. Let's be honest: our core gets a beating while going from being 9 months pregnant to just having a baby.  For me, that's been THE hardest thing to tone up (and I'm still working hard at toning it up 4 months later and have a WAY to go) and these workouts help TREMENDOUSLY.  There are a bunch of Pure Barre and Barre3 studios popping up all over the DC area and all over the country or you can buy a video to do at home. I highly recommend going to a few classes at the studio first to really push yourself hard and to ensure that you're doing the moves correct.

Image from here


4.  Eat more fruit and veggies.



I read once that losing weight is 80% food and 20% fitness/exercise. I don't know if that's entirely correct, but I do believe that eating healthy is a large part of losing the baby weight and also the toughest part.  Right now I try to eat really really clean (i.e., no wine (boo!), no processed foods, no dairy (boo!) and  limiting foods with added sugar like nutella (extra boo!!) and unhealthy fats) 6 days a week while allowing myself a 'cheat day' one day a week to keep sane (I'm sure my husband is thankful for that! ha!). And I won't lie: eating clean 6 days a week is tough. Super tough and its' not fun. BUT it's so so worth it for more reasons than just trying to lose the baby weight. I feel better when I'm eating healthy and I think it shows through my skin and energy levels.

Once you start eating non-processed foods, grocery shopping seems to be so much easier and straight forward. These days I buy a lot of: sweet potatoes, organic spinach, kale (I love making easy kale chips for  a snack or dinner), quinoa, salmon, apples (a great source of fiber), non-fat Greek yogurt (makes an easy pre or post-workout snack), and plain oatmeal (add cinnamon and honey for a healthy breakfast). As a working mom of 3 kids under the age of 8, I don't have a lot of time or energy to cook but I do think it's important to eat healthy, especially as I'm trying to lose the baby weight.

These are just some of my favorite fitness tips and advice on losing the baby weight that I hope helps to motivate you to keep going and give you some new ideas on this journey.  Being a mom is tough, no matter how many kids you have and whether you work or don't work.  But I think it's soooo important to take care of yourself and make time for yourself because your kids, your work, and the world around you will always be there asking for: more milk (a popular one in my house), more status reports, more volunteer time, more attention, and well, more of everything.

Beautiful Newport, Rhode Island with my little one

So why don't you take back some of your time and focus on feeling good from the inside out because honestly, you're worth it!!!

Ciao!!!

April 5, 2014

Third Trimester: Healthy Eating Tips

Ah, the third trimester. For many women, including myself, it's the 'hardest' stage of pregnancy both mentally and physically.  But like many people will tell you (whether you believe it or not), the end is almost near! It's worth it!

What's also worth it is continuing to eat healthy in your third trimester.  Not only will it benefit the baby, but it will also benefit you during this last stage of pregnancy.  There's nothing wrong with sneaking in some treats for yourself every now and again, but if you can maintain a 80/20 rule (eating healthy 80 percent of the time and indulging 20 percent of the time), you will feel better while waiting for that precious baby to arrive.

Third Trimester Healthy Eating Tips:

1. Start off each day with a healthy dose of fiber for breakfast.


One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast is oatmeal.  It's full of good-for-you fiber and has many health benefits such as lowering your blood cholesterol and preventing heart disease.  Add some fruit, nuts, honey or cinnamon on top for a healthy breakfast during your third trimester.

2. Eat small healthy snacks in between meals that include protein.

 One of my favorite go-to snacks is Chobani Greek Yogurt. I find them more creamy than regular yogurt and you can add so many things to them like cut up fruit, cinnamon, honey, or peanut butter for a very filling snack.

3. Buy the largest liter of water possible to drink throughout the day.


One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby during the third trimester is drinking a TON of water.  Not only will this keep your hydrated but it will also help keep things moving, if you know what I mean.  If you find water 'boring' to drink (who doesn't?), try adding some lemon slices or a splash of cranberry juice to it.

4. Stay away from processed foods and eat your greens and veggies every day.


One of my favorite salads is Potbelly's Uptown salad that has grilled chicken, grapes, apples, candied walnuts and more. Ask them to hold the blue cheese and hold the dressing on the side for a healthy lunch for your third trimester.

5.  Treat yourself to small indulgences. Think 'quality' not 'quantity'.

It's very easy to allow yourself to think that you are 'eating for two' when it comes to portion size.  But believe me, you don't want to go down this road during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester when women usually gain the most weight.  

With my 2nd child, I gained 60 pounds (yikes!) because I wasn't watching my portion size and boy was it HARD to lose the baby weight. For this pregnancy, I've tried very hard to make sure I'm eating the correct portion and not going overboard. 

One trick I like to use is to eat off of a salad/dessert plate so that I'm not filling up a huge plate of food 'just because'. Be mindful when you're eating and you will feel better.


Hang in there moms-to-be!! You're almost there and don't give up eating healthy in the last trimester!

Ciao!



March 29, 2014

Postpartum Style: Top 5 Essential Clothing Items

As I get *very* *very* close to welcoming baby #3, I've started to buy a few pieces of clothing for what I like to call the 'transition period'.  This is the period of time where the last thing you want to buy is more maternity clothing (and mistakenly get asked 'when are you due?' which unfortunately happened to me after having my last child) and yet there is no way you will fit into your 'normal' clothing right after delivery.

Like postpartum beauty, I highly believe that every new mom should embrace a great postpartum style with clothing that makes them feel great after delivery and look great.

Postpartum Style: Top 5 Essential Clothing Items for Every New Mom for Spring 2014:



This is a great postpartum maxi dress for so many reasons:  it's black (and thus slimming and hides any spit up and/or newborn stains), can be worn with a nursing bra and has an easy cross front for those breastfeeding marathon sessions.  In addition, this dress can be worn with so many different color flats, flip flops and cardigans (for extra coverage).  A great buy for any new mom!



I am a HUGE fan of Lucy leggings and have been able to wear mine throughout my pregnancy.  They don't lose their shape (which is hard to find among different brands), are thick enough so that you don't feel like you are 'revealing' anything, and last through many many washings.  I can't sing the praises enough of Lucy leggings.  Go up a size from your normal pre-pregnancy size and add a tunic on top for a complete look. Speaking of tunics....




How pretty is this tunic?  Worn with Lucy leggings, this makes for such a chic postpartum style that is comfortable and stylish.  Again, if you'd like, go up a size from your normal pre-pregnancy size for an extra loose look but I believe tunics lend themselves for looking loose and comfy.



Another great piece to add to your postpartum wardrobe that is so versatile and chic.  Pair this black maxi skirt with a long cotton v-neck t-shirt and denim jacket or a loose t-shirt with a long boyfriend type blazer on top. So chic.



If there is ever a time to wear 'boyfriend jeans' (versus skinny jeans),  the transition period of time is a great time to wear this trend. The style is loose and relaxed--exactly what every new mom wants when her body is readjusting from 9 months of pregnancy.  However, loose and relaxed doesn't need to mean 'frumpy'. Pair these jeans with a cute pair of ballet flats or jewel embellished flats and a drapey T-shirt on top for a chic, causal postpartum look.


After having two babies (and one more to come very soon!), I know how hard it is to feel 'ugh' about your postpartum body and wanting to look anything BUT pregnant after having been pregnant for the last 9 months (which can feel like 9 years!). The outfit ideas above are great pieces to make you feel great while taking care of your newborn and look stylish.

Happy Shopping! Ciao!





March 28, 2014

Postpartum Beauty: Top 5 Makeup Essentials for Every New Mom

As a new mom, your daily makeup routine requires items that do double duty and are quick to apply.  Luckily with so many new products on the market, these items are fairly easy to find and great to use.

Not only can a little makeup make you look great postpartum, but I think they can do wonders for your mood when you feel bleary eyed and anything but sexy and attractive. As the old saying goes, 'fake it 'til you make it' so even if you're going on 3 hours of sleep (this is in my very-near future), I highly recommend trying out some of these products below to feel your best:

Postpartum Beauty:  
Top 5 Makeup Essentials for Every New Mom


1. Bobbi Brown CC Cream SPF 35, Pale Nude



I love this tinted moisturizer by Bobbi Brown.  I recently received a small sample from Sephora and loved it so much that I ordered a full-size of it for my own postpartum makeup routine.  I tried a few more popular brands but they looked a little too orange for me.  This tinted mosturizer is perfect though.  If you're fairly pale like I am, I highly recommend the pale nude shade.

If not, you can always go to any Sephora store to get a color skin match.  The bonus of course is not only great coverage after you have that precious baby, but also sun protection.

2. Laura Mercier Translucent Pressed Setting Powder



This is one of my all-time favorite products. I've been using this pressed powder for probably over 10 years and it never lets me down.  It doesn't appear cakey on your face and takes away any shine for a nice matte finish on top of your foundation or tinted moisturizer.

I have very sensitive, oily skin and this powder really does the trick.  I highly recommend this powder, even by itself to even out your skin tone for those quick trips with your newborn.


3. stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Cream, Petunia




Another favorite product of mine is this stila convertbile lip and cheek cream. I've tried many cheek tints that many times feel greasy unlike this one. The stila cheek cream gives a 'I had the BEST sleep' look (which most moms are not getting!) glow to your face and add a great bit of tint color to your lips as well.


4. Too Faced Cosmetics, Natural Eye, Neutral Eye Shadow Collection



I love this eyeshadow palette.  The colors are very pigmented and look great on very skin tone. The shimmer in the eyeshadows gives your tired mom eyes a bit of pop and who doesn't love a little sparkle?

5. Clinique Almost Lipstick - Black Honey



Another fantastic postpartum makeup product when you little time or energy.  The black honey color can look sheer with one swipe to your lips or slightly with a few more layers of this awesome product.  It also add moisture to your lips which is always a great benefit.  I love this product.

Happy Shopping! Ciao!

March 24, 2014

Top 5 Essential Items To Pack in Your Hospital Bag

With baby #3 on the way soon, I've been recalling all of the things I wish I would've brought to the hospital to make it more comfortable during my stay. There are many things that you could bring, but I am only going to highlight the items that I think every mom-to-be would really benefit from having with them during their time in the hospital.

And I highly recommend purchasing everything online so you don't get funny looks (like I did) buying items like maxi pads when you are 8 months pregnant...

Top 5 Essential Items To Pack In Your Hospital Bag:

1. Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy Flow With Wings, Unscented Pads 20 Count (Pack of 2)




Not sexy, but very essential. The hospital will also have some pads on hand that you can use, but I find the Always brand much more comfortable.  I WOULD recommend though using the hospital mesh underwear during your stay in the hospital since they're free, disposable although, not super comfortable.  I recommend buying a pack of 2 because you will need to wear pads for a while even once you are home and who wants to run out to the store (or have their significant other do it for them and run the risk of getting the wrong kind) during that first week. 

 2. Dermoplast First Aid Spray 

 

Another essential hospital bag item that many pregnant women don't know about, but  can really help when recovering from delivery. This spray will numb your sensitive lady parts that might have torn during delivery. I used this spray like crazy after my first two pregnancies for a few weeks at home and it was a godsend. It relieves pain from an episiotomy, 2nd degree tear, and even hemorrhoids. All those lovely side effects from giving birth.

3. Bravado! Essential Nursing Bra Tank 






 Although not cheap, I love these nursing tanks for both the hospital stay and days at home with the baby. They come in multiple colors and a range of sizes. Each time my milk has come in, I have gone up one additional bra cup size so I highly recommend sizing up when ordering this tank.  If you chose and can breastfeed your baby, you will be thankful for a great nursing tank like this one that is not only functional but also looks great.  I slept in mine and rotated among several of them during those first few weeks when you are nursing...a lot.


4. Travel Size Toiletries Pack

 

I love this travel size pack of toiletries. Inside this clear reusable pouch is a travel size of the following items that will make you feel human again while and after taking that first glorious shower in the hospital:  shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, and comb.

5. Clif Bar Mini Energy Bars Variety Pack - Box of 18


 

Another essential item to have in the hospital is this box of clif bars that will give you energy and nutrients. And they taste great!  Delivering a baby is hard work so you deserve some nutritional snacks to help regain your energy.  Hospital food isn't the most tasty so I highly recommend ordering these snack bars.

Need some more ideas on what to pack for your baby in your hospital bag? Check out my "What to Pack for Your Baby in Your Hospital Bag" Pinterest Board for ideas!