Monday, March 26, 2012

Chronicle 19: Spring (Fashion) has Sprung!

Even though my little part of the world seems to have skipped straight from winter to summer, I need some sort of transition. Trading chunky sweaters, jeans, and boots for shorts, little sundresses, and light cardigans just seems a little hasty...premature, even! I am ready, however, to dive right into the pool of this year's spring trends. Think cool, fresh mint, feminine floral prints, precocious polka dots, and pastels galore. Excuse the alliteration. I can't seem to help myself. (Side note: becoming a mom means that my nerd levels have literally skyrocketed. Best part? I don't care! Win, win.) Behold... a lovely graphic to demonstrate some of the prettiest examples of what you'll see out and about this season:
Please note that, although I have seen a lot of the 90s on the runway lately, the floral seen below is not channeling Beverly Hills, 90210 or My So Called Life. The prints are small to midsize, and mostly paired with a lighter color. Olivia Palermo has a way of making anything look chic, but she looks gorgeous in this floral dress by Zara with peachy lips and cheeks. Love it! 

I found this adorable alternative at Target, a flowy navy blue floral designed by Jason Wu. It's a perfect Winter-to-Spring transition, and I love the pop of gold. Navy is considered a neutral, so you can go crazy with colorful accessories! 
Also, I am currently obsessed with mint. It's such a fun pop of color. And it's so unassuming that you could either go big with mint jeans or a skirt, or subtle with jewelry or a cardigan. It's like purple; it looks beautiful paired with any skin color/tone. Paired with my fair skin and red hair, there is just something about it. I found this pretty cardigan at J. Crew Factory last weekend, which I paired with a  floral cotton shift for an afternoon classical concert.

Pink is another super flattering color, although it can be a bit tricky to find "your pink". I tend to use this rule: the lighter your skin color, the lighter the pink. Tan and darker skinned ladies can rock the bright pinks, and lighter skinned mamas should try and stick to softer, peachier pinks. I'm in love with this sheer pink blouse matched with the tangerine shorts. It's just so light and airy, with a touch of romance.
I have also been on the hunt for the perfect pleated maxi skirt. Pleats are super tricky. They need to be the right width (on the small side), and the fabric has to be light, rather than heavy. Otherwise you'd end up emphasizing areas that most of us try to avoid drawing attention to. This perfectly pink maxi skirt is by Halston Heritage, but it is, of course, out of my price range (this happens ALOT).

Here is a more affordable option for you hot mamas out there... be sure to bring out the shaving cream and razor before you show off your fabulous legs in this cute mini version! This can be paired with a tank, t-shirt, or even a slim wrap top, which would give it a ballerina vibe. Love!

Another trend that I've always been reluctant to participate in is polka dots. They just conjure images of Minnie Mouse for me. BUT... it seems that they are smaller and (maybe I've changed) cuter this Spring. I love the dress (from Topshop) seen below, and the way it is accessorized makes a world of difference. The hat combined with the layered bangles and watch take the polka dots from childish and whimsical to sophisticated and fresh. Reminds me a bit of Princess Kate!

This minty, polka dotted sundress is perfect for Spring when paired with a cardigan. In the summer, we can go without! This is the perfect hot mama on the go look when paired with a jacket or cardi, and flats or sandals. All you need to sass it up for date night is a killer pair of heels or wedges. Mint can be paired with a number of colors, and looks stunning with simple gold jewelry. Don't get too serious with your hair, either! Beach waves are the perfect compliment to this seafoam hue. 

So, that's my trend report for today! Did you see anything you love, or would be willing to try? What colors, prints, shoes, etc. are you obsessed with at the moment?

See you soon, my cherry blossoms!
The Hot Mama

Check out the images above (and more) on my Pinterest board "Outer Beauty"!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chronicle 18: Party Planning!

So, as you may know, my darling bubba-loo turned 6 months old at the beginning of March. You would never know it because the chunky monkey has graduated to the 9-12 month size in clothing, has been sitting on his own since 4 months, and, in the next few weeks, will have a grand total of 8 (COUNT UM, EIGHT) teeth! I have to brag a little, mamas. Because here's the thing... I am completely in love with my son. Which means I'm totally crazy over EVERY thing he does. It is so nutty and insane, but SO TRUE. That means I have to brag a little. But, I am finished. For now.
I was so tempted to throw all tackiness to the wind, and plan a small celebration for Baby G's half birthday. You see, Pinterest has the ability to make me believe I can and should do all sorts of things. It makes me believe I can turn a man's flannel shirt into a club dress, or make a whole new patio set out of old pallets, or even use a crockpot every single day of the year. It's an affirmation of what our parents have been telling us all these years, "You can do ANYTHING!" 

Parental encouragement aside, I forced myself to wait another six months and instead started gathering ideas for what will hopefully be a very well thought-out 1st birthday party. I thought about planning it the old fashioned way...Oh, you forget what that entails? It involves running around to several different stores in the hopes of finding something that would catch my eye or fit the theme I am desperately obsessed with (circus, or "vintage circus" if you wanna get fancy). I did, however, run into some cute lil thangs at Target, which I promptly added to my cart pile and then stored in G's closet. 

Here are a few of the ideas I've been drooling over and weighing on the "Time Spent on DIY Project vs. What G and/or family members will remember years from now" scale. 
Absolutely loving the lit up Circus sign. I'm not quite sure I would have anywhere to put it, but it definitely looks doable. I don't think I would attempt it for a one year old's birthday party, especially since he won't remember it. And I'm pretty sure he will grow out of the circus theme by the time he's 3. So, I'm just going to leave this project for all you over-achieving mamas out there. I also love those individual popcorn buckets and straws adorned by tiny mustaches. How sweet! 
I love the use of primary colors, and the simplicity of the decorations here. It doesn't really scream "antique", because the colors are so bright, but I can work with this! Just love those sassy little lollipops...but where do I get them? Are candy stores extinct??
These are darling, but I would probably have the main cake decorated this way. Can you imagine spending all that time for one cupcake?! And how do you undress it? And where do you put all the little bits and pieces? Too complicated for a cupcake! 
I like the idea of serving something as simple as hotdogs, but incorporating a vintage themed machine such as this hot dog roller. Or a popcorn maker. It has to be something we will use over and over, because I'm not about to dish out $50 (for nostalgia's sake) for one event. I would also love to figure out a way to incorporate this:
A smash cake made entirely of fruit! How exciting/healthy is that?! Although, I could wait to do this another year or two. Not sure if I want to miss watching our little man get covered in icing!

And don't even get me started on invitations. Please observe how my obsession began:
By TwoPoochPaperie on Etsy
Found at

So, those are a few of the ideas that I'm currently toying with. It is entirely possible that I will be enamored with a completely different theme in the next 5 months. I have found some rather cute nautical/dinosaur/super hero ideas...

Now, tell me what YOU did or want to do for an upcoming/past birthday party! Where did you get your ideas and your supplies? Mama, what is your advice for a first birthday party?

The Hot Mama

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chronicle 17: It Could Happen to You(Tube)!

I saw a toddler toting around an iPad today. And an elementary student wielding an iPhone. He pulled it out of his little cargo pants with the adjustable waist. "Mom? I fink I'm done pwaying on the swide. Will you come pick me up from the park?" My six month old has his own Apps and already knows how to interact with them. A fact my child will laugh at when he's older: My first cell phone probably weighed a pound. I called people, rarely texted, and oh... I was SEVENTEEN when I got it. Not only that, but I'm from the age of dial-up and VHS. Which, even now, seems pretty dated.

My parents worried about unidentified white vans with no windows, and teaching us how to be considerate and compassionate. We dealt with bullies, sure, but face to face. We begged our parents for CDs and movies and books, all which seem to be heading toward total digitalization (which MUST be a word, because there are no little red squiggles under it. There are squiggles under iPad, iPhone, and texted. Ironic?). I distinctly remember recording a "radio show" using a tape and my boombox's record function.

We were taught that the world was big, and could be dangerous if we weren't careful. I'm sure that is no different than what parents teach their children now. Except for one (SCARY) fact: we now have ACCESS to the entire world, and the world has access to US. Yes, it is exciting and provides wonderful learning opportunities that were rare when I was a child. Yes, we can find absolutely anything we want, and we can put our words and thoughts and images out there for anyone to see. That's the scary part.

I know something now that I didn't understand as a child... not everyone is like ME. I am an honest, loving, caring, and decent person. There are people out there that are not, and they are real. And they can and will hurt you if given the opportunity. The words, pictures, and videos we post on the Internet will be there forever. When you're 30 and married, or 50 and becoming an empty nester, or even 80 and enjoying retirement, your Facebook posts and YouTube videos will be circulating (I'm scaring myself, here). This means that anyone, good OR bad can see them. They can track you down by just your username!

What's frustrating is the attitude that children get when discussions about this topic comes up. It seems that no matter what you say and how you say it, the "I'm invincible" shield comes up and their eyes glaze over. How do we educate our children about the consequences of their online actions? Especially when we aren't quite sure which situation they may encounter? How do we make it REAL?

These are the questions I am struggling with as I try to come up with a plan on how to protect my son when the time comes. Blanket parenting does not exactly apply in these situations (A bully can always create a new profile or e-mail account when blocked, even if you delete a picture or video, someone may have already saved it, etc.). We have already moved out of the factory and manufacturing age, and are deep into the technological era. It behooves us to learn and be involved so that the next generation can not only thrive, but advance. I'm anxious to see how this all pans out, and what it means for our children and their families.

How do YOU talk to your children about the Internet? What are your concerns with posting things on Facebook and YouTube? I would love to hear your thoughts, dear readers!

The Hot Mama

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chronicle 16: Daylight Savings Time

Le DST (Daylight Savings Time, for you anti-acronym..ers) est tres blase!

Is today... Monday? 

Where am I? What TIME is it?! Do I exist

Since our state decided to re-adopt Daylight Savings Time, the "spring forward" we took Sunday morning has me feeling as if I'm in an episode of The Twilight Zone. It's almost the same feeling you get after a nice long nap, fuzzy and disoriented, and not quite sure if you slept all night and woke up the next afternoon (Boy, I miss even having the option!). I've been running around looking exactly like this 50's housewife interpretation of Macualay Culkin. Except in color.

Side note: I used to look through my parent's and grandparent's old photographs and truly believed that their lives were lived in black and white. I suppose I thought that one day, just like in the Wizard of Oz, they were magically technicolor, possibly around the time color t.v. came to be. Did anyone else think this way? 

Back to liiife...back to realityyy.

Maybe it's the time change (or perhaps it is the glass of yummy white wine in my hand), but I am in an exceptionally good mood. This, I have to sheepishly admit, is a bit surprising. My son is currently teething and is getting, not one or two, but FOUR teeth at the same time. His front four teeth are slowly (and no matter what anyone else says, PAINFULLY) poking their way through his little swollen red gums. My six month old will have six teeth! 

I am positively certain that this DST has thrown him for a loop, too. After a week of sleep training and a few weeks of wonderful, blissful sleep, it has all been shot to hell. It takes 45 minutes of sobbing and consoling before he even thinks of surrendering and succumbing to a satisfying slumber. That sucks! So (super alliteration?), hopefully all will return to normal in a few weeks. I have really been taking advantage of all this free time.

I've been re-decorating, re-organizing, cleaning, writing, exercising, and starting to work on a HUGE and very exciting project! (I am keeping things under wraps at the moment, but once things are a bit more settled, I will share the news!) The wonderful thing about DST is that I have another whole hour to work on these things and enjoy this crazy weather we've been having. 

How do YOU feel about Daylight Savings Time? Do you see it as a blessing or a curse (I admit, changing ALL the clocks is a pain in the butt...)? How do you use your extra hour? AND - mamas, how do you handle putting your kiddos to sleep?!

The Hot Mama

P.S. Stay tuned for the next chronicle, a beauty product review from a fabulous guest poster! We will also have a corresponding giveaway! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chronicle 15: Judgement

After reading this article in the Washington Post, I was inspired to chime in with my two cents, for whatever they are worth. (Side note: I am super interested in reader feedback on this topic!)

We've all been to that judgmental place: on an airplane with a screaming baby, in a restaurant being pelted by a 2 year old with croissants, or just trying to make it through Target without spending $300 and getting sideswiped by a gaggle of not so fresh middle school boys. How many times did you shake your head, roll your eyes, or turn to the person next to you and say, "Oh myyy god!" or "I feel so bad for that mom" or "NEVER. Promise me you will NEVER let me..."

Guilty. I am totally guilty. It's human nature, right? Things annoy us, we get frustrated, we may even throw a tantrum of our own. But what right do I have to judge another parent? Even before I had my son, I loved kids and spent years of my life working towards my degree and teaching license. I considered children to be little adults, and treated them as such. Don't get me wrong, there were times I wanted to strangle a kid who was whining incessantly or acting entitled, etc. When a child acted out, however, I looked at the parents.

Kids are mini versions of their parents, and I know all teachers can attest to that. Behaviors are learned when they are tolerated and allowed to continue. HOWEVER (and this a HUGE however), kids have bad days, too! JUST. LIKE. US. They just do not have all the same tools as adults to vent or calm themselves down. Mix this with an adult who is having a bad day (may be due to lack of sleep, fight with spouse, work... you get the point), and you have a ticking time bomb. So, what are we supposed to do, as parents? Hunker down in our homes until everyone is 100% hunky dory? Or try to continue living our lives and risk a meltdown/other people's meltdowns.

This is what gets me so incensed: people trying to tell other people how to live their lives. Have you heard about a movement trying to ban small babies and children from restaurants and airplanes? Seriously?! Not to get all political on you, mamas, but C'MON! There are better solutions out there, ones that don't make families feel unwelcome and unwanted. How about making family friendly flights and movie showings? How about being more open minded and tolerant (Oops! way too much to ask...)

I do understand that people get annoyed when they are out at a nice place and do not want to be subjected to another person's bad day. I mean, I sort of understand that someone chooses to go out to a public place and expects everyone to behave, just to please them. I...can barely get why people go out to a public place that allows anyone under 21 and expects it to be only populated by adults. Wait. I actually DONT UNDERSTAND AT ALL.

Sorry, total soapbox moment. What I'm trying to say is, live and let live! Even if you don't have children, don't want children, adore children, or want to ban them... You were a screaming child once, too. You will live a full happy life after enduring someone else's child for an hour or so. There is HOPE!

Please chime in with your thoughts, ladies. Whether you agree or disagree, I want to hear from you! (Don't leave me hangin' all alone in cyber space!)

The Hot Mama

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chronicle 14: Redesigning Woman

This olllld house... what charm, what character! What a money pit! When I first moved in with my husband,  he was rocking the epitome of a bachelor pad. We're talking a floor with a circular stain from where someone had the genius idea to just plop a keg right down on the carpet. We're talking nail holes in the wall that had turned into gouges the size of my head. Kitten posters, Scotch tape on the doors, Smurf wall hangings crafted out of yarn (A joke, I think...and hope), and a mash up of old college furniture. Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me.

It's four years later and we are still slowly turning this house into our home. Don't get me wrong, we've come a long way. Miles, in fact. A new coat of paint is so refreshing. It's such a face lift that I wish we could re-paint every year. I suppose it's easy to say that since I didn't get to participate in that endeavor this time around. I was 9 months pregnant and laid up on the couch. 

I was pregnant and feeling wild. I've always loved yellow and grey together, so I chose a vibrant gold and my husband chose a beautiful complimentary grey for our accent wall. The one major problem: all our furniture is dark and heavy, and our decor consisted of natural hues and had a more traditional vibe. Solution: complete overhaul! Ick, no...don't...make me. Shopping?! Helll no. Well, ok if you insist! 

So, that was SIX months ago. The day my family came to help paint is the day my doctor decided that I needed to be induced. Now that we have baby paraphernalia strewn all over the living room, I feel as if my living room has multiple personalities. It's like Sybil, if Sybil were a living room (Poor thing, she probably thought she was at one point.)

Call it latent nesting, or pre Spring Cleaning syndrome, but I have gone nuts with decorating and organizing these past few days. My son has recently undergone sleep training, so now I can go to sleep at a decent time. Perhaps my energy has returned?! I refuse to get my hopes up!

So, after a trip to Target I acquired a few things to prod the transition along. Here is my Living Room Lookbook:

Remember, the gold is very prominent, so I chose a lot of grey accents. I love the orangey red pop of color that I have on the couch. I plan to find another pillow or two in either gray or gold, or even teal/aqua/turquoise/whatever the kids are calling it these days. I've been lusting over a chevron rug for ages. Not any one rug in particular. But I do love these:

Eventually, I want to swap out some of our furniture for something a bit more modern. Nothing too crazy, but I do love clean lines and lighter/brighter colors. I love the fact that I can find whatever I want online. There are some great deals out there. And if all else fails... IKEA!

So, what do you think mamas? Any suggestions on what accents to add and places to shop? I would absolutely love to hear your input!

The Hot Mama

Chronicle 13: Bumble & Bumble Product Review

Remember how I regaled you all with the charming tale of my post partum hair loss? 'Member that? Well, if you're just jumping on the bandwagon, let me update you: I had post partum hair loss. I thiiiink that about covers it. As you know, I am all about looking good so I can feel good. Losing my hair seriously put a dent in my self-esteem, BUT, I believe I have found a quick fix! Behold: Bumble & Bumble Thickening Hairspray! (Get it? BeHOLD?? Yeah? You got it? Oh... good.)

The hair loss is most prominent around my hairline and part, as well as my cowlick. This picture is not of me, but it's a fairly accurate portrait of what I've got to work with currently. I do have baby hairs that are about an inch long. The trouble comes when I wear my hair up, or try to sleep on it. That's when I have very noticeable "bald" spots. 

Taking matters into my own hands, I turned myself into a guinea pig, looking for a quick fix. The solution: thickening products! Not volumizing products, ladies. That actually emphasized the problem areas by lifting the hair off the scalp and exposing the folicly challenged spots. After trying a few cheapie products from the drugstore, I just about threw in the bath towel. I was beginning to feel defeated, AGAIN. That is, until a recent trip to Sephora. I love Bumble & Bumble's products because they actually do what they claim to do. I had no idea they made thickening products...but was thrilled when I saw this winking at me from the shelf.


HALLELUJAH! I swear it all happened in slow motion, and the sales lady was drowned out as I reached for what I hoped would be a cure all. I was so tempted to do a few tests spritzes on the down low, but I was surrounded. I quickly checked out and hurried home. One shower later and there I was, face to face with the spritz. Unable to control my excitement any longer, I grabbed the bottle and proceeded to what can only be called a dousing. My trigger finger completely spazzed out and I had to re-focus. Ok...this is what happens when I buy new beauty products. Call it an addiction, call it insanity. It works for me. It's my natural high.

Back to the review.

Three wonderful things happened:
1. I got my magical high. I mean, natural.
2. My hair was still wet, but definitely thickened.
3. My hair dried, but definitely thickened.
And, ok there are four. 4. The thinning spots were covered by my wavy and newly thickened hair!


Again, this is not a picture of me, but the top picture is exactly what my before and after looked like. Unfortunately, I was not able to come down from my beauty high to take decent pictures of my head. On a side note, I'm glad the older woman in the picture also had success. You go, girl.

So, to sum it up...if you have thin hair that needs a boost or post partum hair loss, this is the way to go! I believe it was around $27 at Sephora. The sales lady even commented that it not only helps thicken, but it's a great all around styling product. It protects from heat, as well. BONUS! This is my new favorite product, and will give me that little extra boost of confidence I'll need on "those" days. 

What are some products you can't live without? What helped you feel beautiful after having a baby? Drop me a line in the comment section below, and come visit again soon!

The Hot Mama

(Disclaimer: I was not paid to review this product. I'm just super obsessed with it!)


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