The Love Of A Dog

Girl Talk, Motherhood

Or two…

Have you noticed that a common suggestion for newlywed couples is “Get a dog, it’s great practice for when you have a baby”?  Since I have two dogs and a baby I can say that this advice is only partially helpful. Having a dog helps prepare you for welcoming your first child because it teaches you to think of another living being other than yourself. Other than that, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for those first few months of parenthood. Perhaps meditation, and Xanax, but those don’t mix well with baby-raising.

So you’re basically in survival mode from the moment you leave the hospital with your baby. There are dozens of new worries and responsibilities, even as a dog lover it is easy to see how having a pet can add to those worries.

When I was pregnant with our first child I was too busy working and being super pregnant to “worry” about bringing a newborn home to my dogs. Lucky me, everyone else worried for me. My husband and I were bombarded with the typical questions from panic-stricken family members and friends. “WHAT are you going to do with your dogs?” That was the most common question/concern I heard for 9 months. I don’t judge or blame anyone who asked me this question. Not everyone is a dog lover. And even so, some dog owners asked that same question. And when asked what we are going to “DO with them”, the short-tempered bitch in me always replied with “Umm nothing”.

To be honest I was scared. I obsess over my dogs. I love them. Sometimes I hold them and cry true story. The horror stories I had heard of genuine animal loving, dog owners who had to put their dog down, or give their dog away after terrifying incidents with their newborns played in my mind during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I did some good old internet reading and came  across plenty of positive stories as well. I convinced myself not to spend the end of my pregnancy worrying and instead continued to just hug my dogs.

When our daughter was born my husband made a point of taking a trip home to spend the night with our dogs, exercise them, feed them and bring them home her first blanket, you know, the one the hospital gives you that’s covered in blood and other questionable fluids. He let them sniff it, and sleep with it that first night while Elyse and I were still in the hospital. I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t pounding when we pulled up in our driveway with our baby the next morning; I knew it was go-time. The two crazies had to meet their baby sister. A friend of mine who also has a large dog and several children gave me some solid advice that I decided to follow. Just put down her car seat and let them lick the crap out of her. Ohh, ok.

Obviously, we know our dogs, they had never eaten a baby before, not that we know of at least. They licked the CRAP out of our daughter for a minute before I decided that’s enough! Since that first day, I would say there has been mutual love between the three of them. The biggest rifts in the harmony of their relationship are caused by none other than our innocent little girl. Nevermind the dogs, they wouldn’t hurt a fly, but our daughter had a lot of learning to do over these past three years.

Don’t sit on the dogs face, don’t bite the dogs tail, don’t eat the dog food, don’t put your finger up the dogs bum, YES that’s where he does pee-pee from, don’t pull it!!! (ughhh).

But her biggest lessons were of tolerance, love, adoration for animals, patience, and selflessness. To love and care for someone or something other than yourself. To wake up early and feed the dogs before you feed yourself, and to be home early so they are not alone for too long. Walk the dogs every afternoon, that has become part of her routine. She now knows how to put their leashes on, she picks which dog goes first, she cleans their teeth with her finger and a cleaning gel (yep she puts her whole hand in their mouth) and even makes them homemade Birthday cards.

A while ago I noticed the first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning is search for both of HER dogs so she can give them each a giant hug. She loves them. It didn’t take very long. I’m glad we didnt change anything back when I was pregnant and asked what we would “Do” with them.

This post is dedicated to Mila Barberi the biggest, best dog lover I have ever known. And our dogs #1 supporter when I was pregnant with Elyse…

 

 

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What Exactly Is A Stay At Home Mom Wardrobe?

Motherhood, Style

I’ll let you in on a little secret, we don’t sit around in pajamas all day eating bonbons. But that doesn’t mean we get to wear what working moms wear. To illustrate the perils of the stay at home mom wardrobe,  I’m going to share my wildest fantasy…

Sometimes I imagine going back to work for one day. Wild, right?

I wake up, wash & style my hair, put on clean pants, a pair of heels, and drive to work. Once at work I drink my morning coffee. Ahh yeah, I drink it while it’s really hot, so hot I almost burn my tongue. No, no, I actually burn my tongue. That’s hot. During lunch hour I do that thing I see a lot of employed folks do on their breaks, where they bring a book and sit on a rock in the sunshine. As I do this I am not only reading but drinking another coffee, and it DOES NOT spill on my pants! P.S my pants are probably silk. I know, I know, I’m getting excited too. But just when you thought this fantasy couldn’t get any better, I go home at the end of the day, 9 hours later and my entire outfit is still CLEAN!

If you don’t know any better, aka you don’t own a child, you may be thinking, “But Jen, you don’t have to be employed to be able to wear silk pants and drink a hot coffee without suffering 3rd-degree burns on 85% of your torso.”  Listen, it’s not like I can’t wear nice clothing anymore, it’s just that I don’t want to! I wouldn’t want to risk losing a new pair of pants to paint, mud and human feces (cause these WILL end up on you if you hang around a toddler long enough).

So what does one wear while cleaning, cooking and chasing a shoeless child through the grocery store? I’ve compiled the following list of practical yet chic mom essentials that can withstand the daily mess of mommyhood but also keep you feeling good about your appearance!

Mom Wardrobe Essentials

1. Jeggings or super-stretchy jeans – If you don’t want to be a full-time tight wearing mom go buy yourself a decent pair of jeggings. High waist is best, to avoid plumbers butt when you bend over 67645 times a day to pick up your child. The best pair for hiding a bit of belly is Madewell High-Rise Women’s Jeans 

jeans

$135, Madewell

2. Great fitting tees in black, gray, and white (depending on the age of your child) – PROTIP: white hides newborn spit up, black hides post baby belly, gray hides nothing, and can show pit stains, basically wear gray when you’re not around your child. My favorite simple round neck tees are from Gap.

 

tshirt

$24.95, Gap Fitted Tee

 

3. Knit sweaters and oversized cardigans – Make you look put together. Also most popular during the fall aka back to school, aka when you may have a few sacred hours to yourself. Wear that sweat, drink a latte, smile. Farfetch has a great selection of high-quality knits for those days when you want to throw on something special.

 

sweater

MSGM Oversized Knit via Farfetch

 

4. Ballet flats – No stilettos ever. Nope. Don’t be that mom. Thanks. Pretty Ballerinas makes a wide range of SUPER COMFY ballerinas every season in many different pretty fabrics and patterns.

 

shoe

Pretty Ballerinas 

 

5. Stylish sneakers – This is the perfect time to try out jeans + sneakers because they are very much in style. This look works best with skinny or cropped jeans, see #1.

 

vans

Vans Old Skool Lite Sneakers

 

6. Comfy ankle boots – This is where a wedge is acceptable. But be wary of rolling your ankle. You can also get a fun pair of boots to dress up any outfit. I love Ninewest for booties, they always have a wide selection and are very affordable.

 

booties

$180, Ninewest

 

7.Cross-body bag – LOOK MA, NO HANDS!

 

bag

Mansur Gavriel

 

 

 

 

8. Chic shades – Cover under eye bags. Enough said. P.S this is a good item to invest in, a good pair of sunglasses usually lasts me three years.

 

sunglasses

Fendi Eyewear

 

9. Jersey dresses (maxi and knee length) – Don’t be afraid to wear jersey, it can be very flattering and some styles hide post baby belly very well. Especially if there is any ruching along the sides or in front. Choose white, black and gray, your staple colors.

 

dress

Iro, Bias Cut Cold Shoulder Dress

 

10. Cool hat – Great for bad hair days or for making any plain outfit a bit more stylish. I love anything wide brimmed, or cute beanies like this one with every moms favorite day of the week (leave the kids with daddy day).

 

hat

ALBERTA FERRETTI
Saturday beanie hat

 

 

How To Air Dry Your Hair And Not Look Homeless

Beauty, Motherhood

* All you need are 3 products, and fingers. Yep, fingers.

If I’m to be completely honest about my hair, I would say that my hair “style” is usually a result of laziness. Since I couldn’t care less if my hair is in a bun or perfectly blow dried I NEVER put time aside to dry it. Never! That is why I started air drying it this summer, and now I can’t stop.

From here on out, I will be trying to convince you to air dry your own hair, so if you already do so just skip this next part and go directly to my step by step recommendations; down below.

So if you don’t already air dry your hair from time to time, whats wrong with you? Air drying isn’t only for the lazy and incompetent, there are others who benefit. Say you’re running late, or it’s very humid and you don’t want to sweat right after your shower. What if you’re on vacation and you want to look “effortless”? Perhaps you are stranded on an island and all you brought was leave in conditioner?

There are many reasons why somebody would want to air dry their hair and believe me when I tell you that you can do so and not look homeless. With a few simple steps, and attention to which products you’re using you too can embrace the air drying trend!

Step 1: Deep Conditioning

If you condition your hair after your shampoo it will weigh it down, and the whole point here is to let it get a bit fluffy and take on a natural wave. I like to deep condition my hair before I shower. I rely on hair masks because they really get the job done. My favorite hair mask of all time is PHYTO Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Mask. I’ve been using this mask for about 9 years. It is a deep conditioner that doesn’t leave your hair greasy. That’s all you need to know when air drying.

Step 2: Squeaky Clean Hair, remember NO conditioner

Use your favorite shampoo and make sure you rinse it out. Bonus points if you use a volumizing shampoo. Double bonus points if you use a shampoo that’s designed to give you beach waves. Such as LUSH Seanik. Seanik contains sea salt, which gives you hair tons of volume and shine. LUSH says it gives you “big beachy hair”, I have used this shampoo several times and I can attest to that.

Step 3: Leave-In-Spray 

Two words; Sea Salt! Its great on salads but also great for your hair. This is the air drying secret weapon. I discovered this while living in Wales, in a constantly rainy and humid climate. Sea Salt spray will change your life! I previously used a sea salt spray that was more of a hair spray, but I found it made my hair too stiff. This summer I discovered the magical powers of KMS Hairplay Sea Salt Spray and wow! It contains salt from the Dead Sea and has a matte finish. It won’t make your hair stiff, but it still provides great hold for those naturally occurring air dried waves. I spray it while my hair is wet, but you can also use it on dry hair.

Step 4: Chill & Enjoy

As in literally chill, don’t go outside into heat or humidity for about twenty min. Put on your make up and finish getting ready, keep the front part of your hair pinned back during this time (it helps reduce cowlicks). This is where the fingers come in. You want to fluff and tousle your hair a bit during the drying process. Unleash your inner Valley Girl, just for about an hour or so.

 

 

 

Do you air dry your hair? What products do you use to reduce frizz, or to enhance waves? Please feel free to share your own tips.

The Truth About Maternity Fashion

Motherhood, Style

Since the cats out of the bag that I’m expecting my second child in December, I can finally share what I’ve been giddy to share with the world for the past 5 months. I’m relieved and excited to share with you today, something very near and dear to my heart. No, I don’t have a fancy pregnancy shoot to share, and no I won’t be sharing “a conception story” (why though?)…

Truth be told, I’ve been dying to openly bitch and complain about something! I need to vent and get this off my chest.

Ladies, we haven’t come far from the days of our own mother’s pregnancies. I’ve seen the pictures, my beautiful mother, with her perm (LOL), wearing a tent with a table cloth pattern during all three of her pregnancies in the 80’s. No offense to my mom, or your mom, in the 1980’s there wasn’t much else to choose from. In the 80’s the goal of maternity fashion was to hide the bump, and the rest of your body I guess. Although today the styles have thankfully changed, I would say that respect for pregnant woman is still lacking in the fashion industry.

Variety, availability, and range of sizes. Personally, these are my three grievances with maternity fashion. I was pregnant in 2014 and now in 2017 and to be honest, things have gotten worse!

“Maternity” stores here in Toronto are lame. There I said it. The styles are more like something a 14-year-old would wear, there is nothing chic. I couldn’t hide my anger when I last visited one with my mother. My main complaint was that the cuts of the clothing and the patterns they used were juvenile, nothing I would wear even though keep in mind I’m not dressing for a work environment (I’m a stay at home mother). WHAT the F do woman wear to the office when they are pregnant? I shed a tear for them.

I admit there are several online options, such as Asos, but I personally have an issue ordering online when you can’t see the material, check out the quality and try on the item. Especially when you’re, not your usual size, and certain ahem, areas are much larger than they used to be. I’ve been reluctant to purchase online maternity clothing for these reasons.

Most woman I know, including myself, fight the need to purchase maternity clothing until they are in their third trimester. Why do you think they invented those stupid belly bands that are meant to keep your “regular size” jeans up even when you’re smuggling a basketball under your shirt? The inventor of that contraption just knew there was a  pregnant lady, somewhere out there, weeping in the Maternity section of a major department store because the selection was so shitty. A woman definitely designed the belly band. I know this because most men I’ve encountered in a retail environment are so clueless about how to dress a pregnant chick.

Last week, after visiting 3 H&M locations only to be told they don’t all carry the maternity line. So I drove out of my way to visit a location that supposedly does. My mother and I both searched the entire store twice over then concluded there was not any maternity clothing at said location. That’s when a helpful 20-something dude informed me that H&M has “Hidden the maternity stuff way in the back over there, right beside the newborn boy section, in the corner over there, do you see it?” Are you bloody serious?

The “maternity section” consisted of 20 pairs of black jeans (keep in mind it’s late July) and some t-shirt half hanging off hangers. I bought a pair of black jeans. I was desperate. H&M won.

Out of frustration, I took to the fashion blogs I follow. A lot of the girls I follow are pregnant or have just popped out a baby. I did some creeping on their sites and on Instagram only to discover that they too are avoiding actual maternity clothing. Zara, Aritzia, Club Monaco, these are not maternity lines. Yet every fashionable mother I’ve encountered online is exclusively wearing these lines until around 20 weeks. That’s exactly how many weeks I am today. So I guess I’ve reached the point of WTF!?

If you’ve been pregnant or know someone who was pregnant and still able to dress fashionably, and affordable please feel free to share your experience and shopping tips below. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here wishing I could get my hands on one of those table cloth tents from 1983.