Avon Review: Anew Vitale Skin Care

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I recently began using the Anew Vitale Skin Care – a fairly new skin care line from Avon. The line includes a day cream, night cream, gel cleanser, day lotion and eye gel cream. I am currently using the day and night cream along with the gel cleanser to wash my face. I will have to say it has drastically changed the condition of my face. No more problems with breakouts and my skin is incredibly soft. Also, the day cream is a great base to use under my foundation.

Good news is that this skin care line is part of a great sale included in Campaign 13, which runs from now through June 6. All Anew skin care is dramatically reduced, almost 50% off. This particular line, which is usually $28 per item, is on sale for $14.99 each.

Avon does have a rather extensive offering of skin care items and it is somewhat overwhelming trying to figure out which is best for your unique skin. Thankfully, we are provided with a handy chart to help us with our decision.

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Campaign 13 is also offering a discount on Anew try-it-size mini moisturizers  from each age category, only $6.99 each. I bought these mini jars when I was trying to decide what skin care to use and they actually lasted longer than I thought they would – long enough, at least, for me to decide that it was worth it to spend the money on the whole line.

This is the perfect opportunity to snag the full size set for a great price. Catch it while it’s available, because these don’t get discounted this much very often. Head over to my website http://www.youravon.com/epowers and take a look or send me an email with your order or to request a catalog. If you would rather buy online, through the end of the month, you can get free direct delivery to your front door with a $40 order. Happy shopping!

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You’re going to breastfeed, right?

I recently read an article entitled “This Blog Is Going To Embarrass My Husband”, a great article about loving your body. (Check it out here.) And while the subject matter is somewhat different, I can say the same for this blog. By now, I have rewritten this blog about 10 times. Why? Because I know there are struggling breastfeeding mom’s out there who may need it and I am amazed at the lack of information and support for this subject. Yes, there is an over-abundance of material available for the breastfeeding mom and advice from activists about the important of breastfeeding. By the time you have your child, you have decided one way or another on this matter. However, just because you made up your mind doesn’t make it so.

It’s the same sad story. You hear it everyday, especially when you’re pregnant. A veteran mom explaining her breastfeeding woes and how she had to resort to infant formula. She assures you everything will be fine and it will not be a disaster if you aren’t able to breastfeed. Well, I don’t know about you but in the back of my mind, I could not understand why it would be so difficult? Oh, little naive first-time mommy! My son, for reasons unknown, would not nurse. He wouldn’t latch properly, he would scream when I tried to position him and he wasn’t getting enough milk for sufficient weight-gain. I was so afraid of putting him on formula because I wanted the best for him. I felt like a total failure for not being able to do what is so natural for many women. That’s when I found Kelly Mom: a breastfeeding/parenting site. Here is the link where I finally found some answers. I saved my life…and my sanity.

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Kelly Mom (whoever this wonderful person is) introduced me to the world of Exclusive Pumping – an alternative to traditional breastfeeding.  My advice is to start there if you are considering giving up breastfeeding. She explains how it is entirely possible and can be very successful to pump milk for your newborn, without having to nurse or switch to formula. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is hard. And it may not be for everyone. It takes a lot of dedication and determination, which normally, I do not have! And what works for me may not work for you. However, it is definitely worth it and looking back, I would do it all over again.

I hope to write more blogs going into depth on this subject at a later time but for know, we will skim the surface and hopefully, provide some helpful information. (Lots of my info is taken from Kelly Mom’s blog and websites like it. I will post my resources as we come to them.)

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The most important thing is to have a good breast pump. For me, I borrowed a Medela Pump in Style Advanced. It’s a double electric pump that came in a backpack, which made if very convenient and discreet to carry it with me.

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Another lifesaver if you are exclusively pumping is the Medela Hands-Free Pumping Bra. I know it looks silly and you will feel like a milking cow every time you put it on but believe me, it is a lifesaver. You can put this on and start your pump, and have your hands free to feed your baby at the same time (which is important to keeping your pumping schedule). I will also admit that when I was slammed for time, I wore this while I was driving (with a cover, of course!). And remember, you will be following your baby’s feeding schedule with your pumping schedule and after 48 straight hours of pumping every 3 hours, your arms will be tired from holding your pump. So invest!!

Those are the 2 main items that you will need to get started but there are some other thing that are just as important and some that just make things easier.

  • Storage bags. Chances are, you will eventually be pumping more than your little one eats at one feeding. These are great to freeze for later use, when you finish breastfeeding or for when you return to work. (Fact: Frozen breastmilk can be stored for up to 6 months.) Now, these can get somewhat expense when you are exclusively pumping and are constantly storing new milk in the fridge. Amazon has a great price on the large boxes here. I also found that you can purchase cheap bottles at the Dollar Store, take the nipples out and use those as your fridge storage. (These, of course, will not work for the freezer.)
  • Sanitizing bags. Medela has Quick-Clean Micro-Steam bags that can be put in the microwave to sterilize your pumping accessories as well as bottles. Here is the link to them on Babies ‘R Us.
  • Brushes. You are going to be washing your pump parts and bottles a lot at first, so stock up on bottle brushes!
  • Nursing cover. Udder Covers offers a free nursing cover to all new mommies. Chances are, you probably got emails about this when you were pregnant but you can always find this deal online. All you have to pay for is shipping. Great deal! Click here to check them out!

These are some simple rules I learned while I was pumping:

1) DO NOT SHAKE BREASTMILK. Be sure to swirl it in the bottle and NO microwaving.

2) Drink lots of water. I hate water and I absolutely cannot drink it without some kind of flavoring in it. When it comes to breastfeeding, you will find out quickly that if you don’t stay hydrated, you are in big trouble. I kept a bottle of water with me at all times – in my purse, in the diaper bag. I even carried my bottle of flavoring with me. It doesn’t matter how you get it down, make sure you are constantly drinking water or it will affect your milk supply.

3) Stress is the #1 milk supply killer. Make sure you are relaxed and stress-free when you’re pumping. Read a book, watch a movie or talk to your baby to keep your mind distracted.

4) Keep a strict schedule until you establish your milk supply. This is VERY important when exclusively pumping! This blog explains how milk production works and will better help you understand why you need a schedule.

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Head spinning yet? It’s a lot to take in and a big thing to take on, so do your research before committing to it. You don’t want to jump head first only to discover this is not for you. The most important thing is to be happy with your decision and to get the most time with your new little one while you can. Before long, they will be all grown up and you will long to have those days back. Happy pumping!

Also, check out these great blogs while your searching for answers!

Happy Home Fairy

Naptime Tales

Here Comes Baby!

When you find out you’re pregnant, you think “This is the best day of my life!” For the next 9 months, your world is filled with nursery decorating, baby shower planning, gear shopping and lots of anxiety. Your feet swell, your legs swell (um, no one told me about this!), you eat like a horse and feel like a beached whale. You finally give in to packing away your cute tops and skinny jeans and resort to maternity shirts and baggy sweatpants or jeans, complete with belly band. By month 10, you’re counting the days until you feel somewhat human again. You can no longer see your feet, so you rush to get a pedicure days before your due date (because your feet are, of course, the main focus of this upcoming event! :P) You pack your bag and place it at the door and wait.

My day came at exactly 12:00 am the day after my due date (my son clearly got his promptness from me!). I laid in bed for a while, trying to find a position that would alleviate some of the pressure and pain I was feeling. I was used to feeling terrible, so I thought nothing of it. After about 20 minutes, I decided to get up and get a snack, sit on the couch and try to get my mind off my misery. But as I sat on the couch, timing my contractions, I got the strangest feeling that this was not quite normal. Finally, I woke my husband up and told him I wasn’t sure but I thought we might not be sleeping that night. We got to the hospital around 3:30 and by 5, family had been called. We were going to have this baby today!

I will admit, when I had discussed my fears of labor with friends, family and co-workers, I took comfort in their assurances that this wasn’t as bad as most say.

“Not to worry.”
“You can handle it.”
“Wait to get the epidural as long as you can.”

And I will now admit, I was not prepared. I believed the lies of these other mothers, snickering behind me as they gave me false hope. I got to about 4 cm before I got my epidural. Those were the worst hours of my life. I have never in my life felt so much pain… To those of you who have bravely gone through childbearing “medicine free” or “naturally”…you are crazy! Good for you for proving to the rest of us how wonderful modern medicine can be. I would never belittle this quite magnificent feet that some undertake but I will say, personally, I have nothing to prove to anyone by not taking advantage of the great medicine discovered in the last few centuries.

My experience with the epidural was quite wonderful. I recommend it to all the pregnant women I know, who are unsure of what they want to do. I feel like by having some pain relief, I got to enjoy the day a little. I could visit with people and even rest a little. By NO means did this make it easier but definitely an appreciated addition to my day.

That day was nothing like I had planned or even thought it might be like. Don’t feel like a strong woman? Have a baby! By the time you’re finished, you feel like a superhero. It’s amazing the strength you find in yourself when another life is in your control. And ladies, you will be amazed by the strength of your husbands. Mine was rather worried about the whole experience and before that day, I pictured him, at some point, lying on the hospital floor, passed out cold. But he really surprised me. He became strong enough for the both of us. Pregnancy can really test your marriage. And I have found, in our case, it made us so much stronger. We discovered what true, unconditional love felt and looked like.

Yes, being pregnant is hard. Having to take someone else’s need into consideration in everything you do. Avoiding too much caffeine. Kissing exercising goodbye. Laying aside your wardrobe. Living completely for another person. But when you finally get to hold your living, breathing, healthy baby, you realize just how worth it the whole experience was. And you discover that you were meant to be so much more. I finally felt like I had found what I was meant to do with my life – why God had put me on this earth. It was to be Lucas’ mom. And I couldn’t ask for a better job. 🙂

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32 Weeks and Counting…

That’s right – eight weeks to go! Now is the time for my pregnant mind to go into overdrive (I fear it might overheat and explode!). The nursery just got painted, but has no floor. I have no idea what to do to in the way of decorations. (This would definitely be easier if I had the option to decorate the whole room in pink and tutus. However, I doubt my husband would allow his future NFL star to be subjected to such a thing!) And because my nursery is under construction – keep in mind, only 2 months from my due date – the rest of my house has been thrown into chaos. It’s amazing how much crap you can accumulate in 3 years! And this crap, which until recently found it’s home in our “junk room”, has now been displaced and lies scattered across the kitchen table, the piano, the island and the newly formed junk room (formerly known as “the office”). While chaos usually doesn’t bother me, I feel that “nesting” instinct kicking in and that does not mix well with my hurricane-destroyed home.

On a side note, why is it that in pregnancy, you feel like crap for at least the first half but when you finally get into the third trimester and feel the urge to take a toothbrush to your baseboards and organize the refrigerator, you are as big as a house and in need of a “oversize” banner and flashing lights attached to your person? But I digress…

Wednesday was my 32 week doctor appointment, which revolved around a growth ultrasound. I was thrilled to be able to see our little man again and spent the weeks leading up imagining what he would look like now (not having seen him since my 20 week ultrasound). It was a wonderful as I had imagined. We even got to see his face..chubby cheeks and all. Thankfully, everything was normal and, unlike my fears, he is set to be a fairly average baby in size. This is a huge relief as my husband comes from a family of rather large babies! See his face in the picture below? His nose was a little smushed by the ultrasound probe.

The one thing that all pregnant women dread when it comes to pre-natal visits, no matter how joyous the ultrasound appointments may be, is the time in the appointment for your vitals to be checked. It honestly makes you feel like a cow being weighed at a slaughter house. (I always feel like asking my nurse, “Do you mind if I take off my shoes? Maybe my jewelry? Oh, and my jeans – they must weigh 5 pounds!) I personally have never really had to worry about my weight but to see my numbers go up significantly every visit is very difficult, especially in my exceptionally sensitive emotional state. To top that off, from the dozen or so appointment I have been to since all this started, no one has ever mentioned my weight gain. Of course, I don’t want anyone telling me whether or not I’m fat but if you’re going to monitor it so closely, can I at least have some feedback. Is it too much? Too little? Am I starting to resemble a small, beached whale?

Help! I'm on my back and can't get up! Pretty much all the time now. Lol.

Another thing I find amazing about pregnancy is the effect it has on the people around you. For some reason, being pregnant gives anyone and everyone license to proclaim just how big you look since the last time they saw you. I can’t believe the number of people who have actually asked me how much weight I have gained? While it is deemed socially unacceptable to ask any women about their weight, if they are pregnant, all bets are off. This is where I wish I had the power to make someone’s head explode with my mind! I don’t care if I look like I have a basketball under my shirt or if it’s “all belly”, if you tell me again how much I’ve “blossomed”, I’m likely to hit you over the head with my jar of pickles!

My Pregnancy Journey, So Far…

“Pregnancy is the happiest reason ever for feeling like crap.”

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Ain’t that the truth? If you’re like me, your pre-pregnancy thoughts were filled with rainbows and sunshine; glowing skin, flowing locks of beautiful, healthy hair and a cute little baby bump. Instead, I was met with constant “morning sickness” (poorly named, might I add), less than beautiful hair (my hair actually fell out for a good part of my pregnancy) and more of a basketball than a bump.

I must admit I was not prepared for pregnancy in any way. It seems like just when you get over a particular problem, a new one shows up. I had about 9 weeks of nausea and, at times, I could have sworn I was dying. I lost 5 pounds in my 1st trimester because I never felt like eating. It seemed like this little angel inside me was more of a life-sucking alien. I came to the quick realization that I had gotten myself into something more than I thought I was ready for. A little too late for second thoughts though…

But life goes on and you learn to work though the misery and at times, even ignore it. Sadly, your “still-skinny days” are spend in the bed or on the couch with your head in a pillow and once you feel better, you are starting to get a bump that is more in the way every day. I can remember trying to paint my toenails somewhere in the middle of my 2nd trimester and when I finally finished like an hour later, I was huffing and puffing so hard, you would have thought I had just run a marathon.

Dressing yourself is a particular nightmare when you are pregnant and sometimes it feels better to just stay in the bed all day than get up and try to find something to fit your ever-changing figure. My first major pregnancy hormone-induced meltdown was over clothes. It was a Sunday morning and I was trying to find something to wear to church. I must have tried on every single dress in my closet and everything I put on made me look like a stuffed sausage. The bed was hidden under a mound of clothes and that’s where my husband found me, sobbing and rambling incoherently about how fat I was.

I am ashamed to say that was just one of many wardrobe meltdowns. It started with my jeans not fitting comfortable without being unbuttoned. In steps the magnificent “Belly Band” to save the day. It’s so cute and convenient, fitting over your regular jeans and covering up your unsightly bumps and rolls now accumulating under your clothes. At least for a while, you can feel someone normal because you still have your favorite pair of jeans. But let me just tell you, maternity jeans are wonderful! And so amazingly comfortable! Definitely something to invest in early on!

Another thing I was totally unprepared for was just how tired I became. I would come home from work and nap for 2 hours and then be ready for bed by 8:30. At times, I felt like I got nothing done but sleeping. And to be honest, my house could attest to that. If not for my husband, we may have never found our way out of the mess that accrued during my 1st trimester, while I was at all times either nauseated or exhausted.

I must say, I blissfully welcomed my 2nd trimester, where my nausea and tiredness were relieved and replaced with the appetite of a sumo-wrestler and at least some renewed energy. The next hurdle I faced was the dreaded 28 week glucose tolerance test. Ten hours of fasting, followed by that nasty drink and some needle pricking. I wasn’t so worried about passing the test but more about the test itself. I worried myself sick about keeping the sugary drink down and about potentially passing out. I was relieved to find that I actually didn’t mind the drink and the bloodwork wasn’t so bad. So, when I got a call from my doctor the next day to let me know I had failed my glucose test by 9 points, my heart dropped into my stomach. I knew I hadn’t been eating like I should and immediately began to worry about what would happen next. I spent the next week avoiding sugar, drinking milk and water (leaving out my much needed caffeine fix for breakfast – Coca-Cola) and practically starving myself to ensure I passed the second test. The next week, I showed up again, fasting, and totally prepared for the test. Little did I know, the sugary drink was twice as strong and almost unbearable to drink and I was stuck a total of four times in the SAME ARM for bloodwork. Plus, if you can’t handle the test and puke or pass out, you don’t get a do-over but get sent directly to the diabetic center for treatment of gestational diabetes, regardless of test results to confirm. Thankfully, though, I did find out that I passed with flying colors.

At 30 weeks, I am just now adjusting to my new set of problems. My weight has gone from “aw…cute bump” to “wow! Where did that come from?” I seriously feel like a beached whale trying to get out the of bed. I have found that exhaustion that I thought I lost a while ago and I’m afraid I have started to waddle. Only 10 weeks left and I’m consumed with so much worry, I don’t have enough room to store it, so I gave some to my husband. 🙂 The nursery hasn’t been started, our registries aren’t finished and we haven’t even looked at birthing classes. Plus, there’s that overshadowing fear of delivery day but let’s shove that thought back into the closet for now.

I will say I have both thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy (especially getting to feel my little guy move and see him on the ultrasound) and wondered why people do this more than once. But I will have to say, I know everything will be worth it in the end and all this will be a distant memory. So, for now, I must keep truckin’…