Weekend Update: Birthday Party, OTF, and New Teeth!

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you all had restful weekends! Well, those of you who were in the path of Hurricane Florence, I can’t imagine you’ve had much rest, and I hope you and your homes are all okay! We thought we were in for a major drenching this weekend, but storm ended up shifting south and it was actually very mild (if humid) up here.


On Saturday, Penny and I went to celebrate the first birthday of our little friend Jonathan! I met his mom Anna through the Peanut app (which is basically like Tinder for Moms), and we became fast-friends. I’ve had tons of luck making new friends on both Peanut through local Mom-groups on Facebook — I went in pretty hard trying to meet other mamas with similarly aged babies when I was on maternity leave — and feel super lucky that I now have such a strong little tribe of amazing new moms to celebrate, panic, and generally commiserate with. 🙂

Of course, along with having similarly-aged babies, comes the fact that we’ve pretty much got a first birthday party to attend every Saturday from August through October, gahahaha. Guess this is the new normal I should start getting used to though, huh? I’m sure it’ll only get more crazy once Penny’s in school.

Aside from all the birthday party fun, I also hosted a Fitness event for Yelp this weekend at Orangetheory Fitness. A few of you had recommended I look into OTF when I started working out, and I see why! It was a hard workout for sure, but a lot of fun and there was a lot of camaraderie in the workout. My favorite part was definitely being on the floor doing the weight training, since that’s what I’ve been into at the gym myself, but the parts on the treadmill and rowing machines definitely pushed me way harder in terms of cardio, which is probably something I should be making more of an effort in regularly.

The science-y aspect with the heart rate monitors and everything was very cool to see, also. I actually just upgraded my old Fitbit Flex 2 to a Fitbit Alta HR so that I can have heart rate monitoring too, so that I can not only see if I’m exerting appropriate effort for maximum results, but also so that I can just keep a pulse (pun intended) on my ticker! This is the kind of stuff I so did NOT care about before, when working out and eating clean were both just a means to get smaller, but now that my goal is less superficial (at least, it’s not wholly about lookin’ good anymore, haha) and more, like, to make sure I live long enough to see my grandkids and stuff, heart health suddenly matters a lot more to me! Go figure.

In other news, Penny has officially sprouted both of her top teeth! So that brings our total tooth count up to four! And also explains why the past week has been hell on wheels in terms of sleep disruption, her appetite’s been a little off, she’s been fussy, and, you know, just all that fun stuff that comes with teething.



We’ve been doing a lot of cuddling (which, okay, I feel bad for her but also she like, never wants to cuddle with me anymore so it’s been kind of amazing?!) and watching The Furchester Hotel on Netflix (Penny’s fave). She’s also been snacking a lot over the past few days (hasn’t been as patient sitting down for her meals), which means the dogs are actually paying attention to her.

And that catches us up on the weekend! I’m headed into the office today, and my poor sleepy, teething baby (who may also be going through a growth spurt and/or maybe is getting sick? lol) slept from 7 to 8 last night (!!) so I woke up before her (for once), and was able to do my hair AND makeup this morning! Like a real human!

I’d also made time this weekend to get an eyebrow wax for the first time in months, so I’m def feeling myself right now, hahahaha. And with that final little burst of vanity, I’ll bid you adieu. ‘Til next time!

Unicorns Are Real

Back in March, a friend let me know that a traveling photographer was coming relatively close (Fredericksburg, VA) and was doing unicorn photoshoots. Yep, you read that correctly. UNICORN. PHOTOSHOOTS. A PHOTOSHOOT. WITH. A UNICORN.

Okay, fine, so it’s a horse with a fabric horn on top of its bridle. Still, I’m not sure if I’d ever gone from hearing about something to purchasing something faster. I booked a session with my own little unicorn for May, planned out our outfits, and anxiously awaited the day of our shoot.

Fast-forward a couple of months, and the day was finally here! I piled Penny and our outfits into the car and drove the hour+ to the photoshoot site (with me being super thankful that Penny is such a good car-sleeper, lol.) Once we arrived at the farm where the shoot was taking place, Penny and I got dressed and ready for our closeup with Teapot the Unicorn (I did my hair & makeup before we left the house.) And it went pretty smoothly, considering I was dealing with an eight-month-old baby who had no idea what was happening or why I was making her wear a hundred thousand yards of tulle.

There’s a lot of people that actually end up in and around your photos, especially you’re dealing with a live animal, babies/kids, and the kind of rapid-fire mini-sessions that this whole photoshoot entailed. So, of course, I knew that most of the real magic was going to happen thanks to some editing software, but above and below are examples of unedited photos (horse lead, assistant’s hands, and giant horse penis included hahahahaha):

Penny was SUCH a good sport, really, only getting fussy and upset at the very end when she got tired (our actual shooting time was only like 15 minutes, but there was a good bit of waiting around.) Things were so go-go-go right when we arrived that I realized I hadn’t taken a photo of her solo in her dress, so I tried to take one of the crumpled mess of tulle it had become before taking it off to go home, lol, but she was D-O-N-E.

We went home and awaited the results of our photoshoot with even MORE anticipation. I knew that we had to have gotten SOME good shots, even with Penny looking all over the place. Alas, it would be another solid month before I’d get to see the proofs from the shoot, and another 6 weeks before I got the final photos in hand (and that’s after paying for rush delivery, lol). I tell ya, having a pair of professional photographers for a brother and sister-in-law has really spoiled me! 😉

Anyway, all that waiting was well-worth it, as I finally received the finished photos last night and I JUST– I DON’T– I CAN’T EVEN– I– I– I– I mean, just see for yourself:

The package I purchased from the photographer included 4 fully edited photos and 5 additional, unedited shots. I had to parse through every single shot taken at the shoot (over FOUR HUNDRED OF THEM for us alone!) to decide which ones I wanted, and ended up choosing the above four for the full editing treatment. Then below are two more of the unedited shots they handed over to me, that I edited on my own. I may not know how to photoshop things out of a picture, but it’s pretty amazing what some well-intentioned cropping can do!

I have to admit, the particular photography company that offers these shoots isn’t the best at handling their communication, and all the waiting with no updates did kinda blow, but I’m obviously very happy with the final result. And believe me, I know how extra it is to have a unicorn photoshoot with your baby… but I mean, c’mon guys. It’s me. ARE YOU EVEN SURPRISED?

I can’t wait to get a really nice canvas print of one of the shots of Penny for her room. But which one do I even choose? Magical Unicorn Teaparty or Cavalry Penny?!

My New Mom Skincare Routine

Today is my first official day back at work! I have a lot of mixed emotions about it, of course, but I’m taking things one step — and one email response — at a time. Fear not, though, as much as I’m able to, I’m going to try to keep my blogging up (it might even be a little easier to do so once I get back into the swing of things, who knows?), and if nothing else, you can bet your sweet bippy there will still be plenty of Penny photoshoots to fill your Instagram. I know you were probably v. concerned about this. 😉

Anyway, while I’m busy digging myself out of my overflowing inbox today, I figured I’d go ahead and post about what my skincare routine looks like these days — y’know, now that I’ve had a child and am thus suddenly aging both swiftly and severely. I mean, darn it all if she isn’t cute as a button, but the bags that I’m hauling around under my eyes these days are definitely less cute.

Hmm, I miss my rainbow hair.
I use a mix of high end and drugstore products, meaning some of the prices of these products may give you a bit of sticker shock. However, I believe that skincare is incredibly important, and with time for self-care at an all-time low, I want to make sure I’m doing as much for my skin with as little effort as I can manage.

I have a daily routine of cleansing, moisturizing, and using eye cream morning and night, and everything else outside of that is really just a bonus for when I have time/am feeling like giving my skin a little extra love.


It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser ($$) – I use this to wash my face in the mornings and before bed. It’s very lightweight and gentle, and leaves my skin feeling clean but not tight & dry the way many cleansers do.

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes ($) – These are handy dandy makeup removing wipes that take care of my eye makeup with ease.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream ($$) – This is my daytime moisturizer. It’s very hydrating while feeling very light and it has a fantsastic light rosy scent.

It Cosmetics Secret Sauce ($$$) – I use this moisturizer at night – it’s thicker & heavier that helps keep the moisture locked in but doesn’t leave me greasy. It is quite pricey though, so I recommend going to Sephora to try it out before ordering (they usually will provide free samples if you ask, and you can also buy this in a travel size if you can’t stomach the pricetag at first.) I also like their Confidence in a Cream for winter, which is slightly cheaper and even heavier.

Tarte Cosmetics Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment ($$) – This has become one of my holy grail products! I use it both morning and night — in the AM it helps brighten up my undereye area, and at night it provides an extra boost of moisture before bed.


Olay Daily Facial Cleanser Cloths ($) – I use these cleansing cloths to exfoliate and cleanse once a week or so. They foam up nicely and have a different texture on each side so you can get a nice gentle scrub going.

Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips ($) – I mean, these are really more for fun than anything else, but I love popping these suckers on every once in a while and then inspecting what comes out. Also, let it be noted that Sean is a very tolerant man.

Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask ($$$) – Another pricey option, but I’ve tried a LOT of masks and this is by far my favorite. I love the way my skin feels and looks after a treatment with this puppy. It smooths, moisturizes, and brightens my skin — and as a bonus, this mask is the most beautiful color!

LA Pure 24K Gold Eye Treatment Mask ($) – These eye masks are a steal on Amazon, considering you can easily pay $6 to $12 (or more!) for ONE mask like this at Sephora. Keep them in the fridge for extra relief if you’ve had an especially stressful or emotional day, heh,

TonyMoly I’m Real Sheet Masks ($) – I love me a good sheet mask, and really enjoy the TonyMoly ones in particular. They give my skin an extra boost of moisture (can you tell I’m all about the moisturizing products? Haha), and help with cooling and calming my skin (redness is a big issue of mine.)

And there you have it! I’ll end with this: if you’re going to do just one thing for your skin, pleasepleasePLEASE let it be moisturizing both morning and night! It doesn’t matter if you use a pricey lotion or a cheap one, just make sure you’re using one — your skin will thank you… and you’ll thank yourself down the road, too.

Light Everyday Makeup

As I elaborated on last time, this pregnancy has come with a whole bunch of symptoms that I honestly wasn’t super prepared for. Among them have included total and complete exhaustion, as well as the lovely effects of hormones on my skin. I’ve been breaking out a lot more, and with being so tired, definitely haven’t had the energy to do full makeup on the daily (or, er, ah, ever.)

So I’ve made a bit of a change to my everyday (or rather, for the days I actually leave the house) makeup look, and finally got around to filming it! Feel free to check it out if you like!

And if you don’t like, I’ll be back tomorrow with my 11 week update, so stay tuned! And if you don’t like that either, well, you’ve got fingers, feel free to click away to a different website! 😉

All Smiles

I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. After years of toil, trouble, and pretty much constant tooth soreness, I am officially done with my braces!

Some of you may remember that back in February 2014, I got lingual braces behind my top teeth. I got them removed a little over a year later, and then, because I just have to do everything as inefficiently as possible, a couple months later I started Invisalign.

My bottom teeth were still quite crooked, and I decided that I wasn’t actually as satisfied as I thought I’d be with just a straight top set (this happened right around the same time as Sean’s proposal, but I’m sure that’s just coincidence.) I posted an update on my whole braces journey back in June, so I won’t repeat everything again, but as you can probably guess, I have one final update for you:

I’m done!

I had my final Invisalign appointment at Smiles at Fairfax Corner last week, after a year of my initial Invisalign treatment, plus an additional 5 (?) months of adjustment trays. Phew! It sounds like a lot of time, of course, but the reality is that time is going to press on anyway, so why not perfect your smile while you’re at it?

It definitely took much longer than I thought it would, considering how I had already gotten lingual braces on top, but that just goes to show that you really should just take care of your top + bottom teeth at the same time. A lot of the reason that my Invisalign treatment took so long was to correct my bite — which may or may not have gotten more out of whack due to my linguals-on-top-only. It’s hard to say.

Regardless, I’m thrilled to be able to finally say I am D-O-N-E. No more switching out aligners. No more attachments on my teeth. And you better believe I will be wearing my retainer every night until the day I die. I’m not letting these puppies backslide the way I did in college! Putting your own money into your smile really makes you value that retainer, I tell you what.

I may end up getting a permanent retainer (a wire glued to the back of my teeth) if it’s deemed necessary in the future, but for right now, I’m just going to relish not having anything permanently attached to my chompers. If you have any questions about either Invisalign OR lingual braces, I’m happy to answer them! Because I can! Because I’M DONEEEEEEE!!