Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Your Mom Style?

Slipped and fell right back into my Mom uniform.

Lavinia and I have been back from the USA for exactly one week. I’m both happy and bummed to report that we are already back in our routine.

Today was her first day back at childcare so I took a yoga class and now sit here writing (at my glorious new Macbook Pro.)

Returning home from America gave me a little extra pep, confidence and a few new items for my wardrobe (what better reason to get out and about than a new outfit?) I wanted to make it a point to explore the city of Melbourne more. Two days in- and we did just that! Straight into town to meet a friend for coffee.

Alas, the weather turned drab so my motivation plummeted. We did have two appointments this week which forced us out of hibernation and into jeans... I tried staying dressed until my husband got home from work buuuuuut fail. 

Somehow I'm in my Mommy uniform again (uuuuggggghhh) and I need to fix the situation.

I love the idea of getting dressed everyday (in something other than sweats) because it makes me feel better about myself. Also it means I’m more likely to go and do something last minute. Are we out of garlic? I can confidently run to the supermarket. Does my sister-in-law want to meet for coffee? I will be prepared to enter society.

When I was suffering from post natal depression both my daughter and I lived in our jammies. It’s funny looking back at her ‘monthly progress’ photos she was often in PJ's. It’s the sad type of evidence which shows that I was struggling. 
Mommy- let's put some clothes on and get amongst it.

I'm no longer struggling but I've sure gotten lazy with my fashion- which sounds superficial but it's not. I believe the way we dress not only expresses how we feel about ourselves but also how we want the world to perceive us. And those two things are important.

In the early post natal months I was limited with clothing because of nursing, then in the months following I was working to shed baby-weight. Recently I realised that my old wardrobe does not necessarily represent me anymore. I don’t have to worry about looking 'corporate' or 'adult' I don't have much of a nightlife...I just want to look like me- so I am trying to figure that out how to do that.

When I was in Buffalo I finished my half-sleeve. It’s something I’ve wanted to do but haven’t had the guts to for many years. I finally feel confident enough in myself as an artistic person to present myself as such. When I was in Nashville, a cab driver asked my friend and I if we were musicians- I took that as a HUGE compliment.
Rock'n'Roll Mama (oooouuuuuch!)

So what the hell am I still doing in my sweatpants? I don’t know, but I’m going to change that before it’s time to pick up Lavinia.

Even though my family is on a tight budget due to a home renovation (which just started this week!) I decided to really think about purchasing one or two things that make me feel good, comfortable and are durable enough for my Mommy lifestyle. So far my boyfriend jeans have been a great investment. My beloved 1990’s are back in fashion so I snatched a couple flannies and a cute pair of converse. Maybe I'm dressing a little young for a 34-year-old Mother but you know what? I feel a helluva lot better than I did in my sweats and hoodie.



So there you are. Fun/ cool Mom reporting for duty. It took all of ten minutes. (Don't mind my messy spare-room bed in the background, priorities people.)


A little effort goes a long way.

The tools:
A bit of makeup (concealer, bronzer, eyeshadow, mascara and lipgloss)
Boyfriend jeans
Converse
Black and white flannel
Blue wool v-neck sweater
Gold hoop earrings

What’s your Mom Style? What’s the one thing you could wear everyday to feel good about yourself?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Jet Lag Buddies



Laying down is what bliss feels like after being upright for two days.

Yesterday when Lavinia and I finally arrived home in Australia I ate, showered, and climbed into my own bed. My. Own. Bed. After nine weeks away it's still the comfiest place in the world.

I didn't want to sleep too long so I had Matt wake me after a few hours. My body completely protested and it took me a full 30 minutes just to open my eyelids and sit up. I needed to wake up so I could at least attempt to sleep through the night.

Adjusting back is strange, I forgot what the door handles felt like or which way to turn the tap for hot water. Lavinia is now taller than the kitchen table. 

The haziness of jet lag is hard to explain. Your mind and body won't cooperate. You should eat but you're not hungry, you need to poo at 2AM, your nerves are raw and you feel completely alone when everyone else around you seems normal.

Usually I expect a little post vacation depression but this time I feel differently. Spending the Summer in my hometown was good for my soul. I aimed to bring that energy, focus and inspiration into everyday life.

But more than that I feel a sense of confidence. Lavinia and I went halfway across the world and back. We survived it together, my excellent patience-testing, traveling companion.

As I write this at 4:00AM while my daughter and I snack on toast and Chamomile tea I can't help but notice how comforting it is to have company when you're wide awake in the middle of the night. Maybe that's the difference this time.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Get Your Nail Jam On: Jamberry Product Review

Take your nails from drab to fab!

My childhood friend Danielle and I recently reconnected on Facebook (I love finding ways FB can be used for the greater good!) and I noticed she started selling this rad-looking nail product called Jamberry.

When I asked her about it she offered to send me samples to try during my visit to the USA. Naturally I was stoked because I love nail stuff (but have little time for it these days.)

A little purple package arrived with the nail wraps and polish colors I selected (there are like a bazillion patterns and colors- good luck chosing!) I couldn't wait to try them but I kept waiting for the perfect opportunity- I think I expected the whole process to take a lot longer than it did. I was able to do my nails and toes during my daughter's afternoon nap. Lesson learned ladies and gents- don't wait to treat yourself!

Even got the chance to do my tootsies!

I painted my toenails with the lovely paint, nice and thick so you can actually get away with doing one coat. Score- timesaver! While they were drying I managed to read the simple nail wrap instructions and slap those onto my fingernails as well- bam.

The application process was straightforward but my execution needs work. I know this is one of those things where practice makes perfect- at least in this case the practicing results in some really fun looking fingertips!

A little bit of quick Mommy pampering
I thought it would be helpful to ask Danielle what her top application tips were for next time. And this is what she told me:

  1. Make sure the wraps are sized correctly. I noticed this myself during the application. You don't want to stick the wrap anywhere onto your skin or it will lift off and annoy you (so make sure it's not too big.) Trim a little off around your cuticles.
  2. Use purple cuticle pusher to smooth wrinkles while the nail wraps are still warm. Or try this step after the wrap application is complete- simply warm up each individual nail beforehand.
  3. Nail prep is key! Push those cuticles back, including this little hidden cuticle we all have. It's a chalky film that you can scrape off the nail near the cuticle bed. Make sure you get rid of that and wipe nails with alcohol to remove any oils.
  4. General Nail Health. Drink plenty of water and use cuticle oil often after you apply your wraps. Jamberry supplies cuticle oil in your application kit.
  5. Remove with Care. Don't rip or pull wraps off your nails or you could damage them. Allow nailpolish remover to soak underneath the wrap so it can dissolve the glue which hold the wrap to your nail.

For my Aussie readers there is exciting news- Jamberry is coming to the Australian market this October! If you are interested in buying or selling you can check out Danielle's website, facebook page or email her: daniellejams@wintertons.us

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Went On A Trip Without My Daughter And Didn't Miss Her

Well…that’s not entirely true. I missed her a teeny, tiny, bit but only at the beginning.

I went on a girls trip to Nashville with one of my best friends, for three nights, the longest I have ever been away from my almost-two-year-old tot.

My trip to Hobart early this year was the previous record holder- two nights away. 

This time I flew the full five hour itinerary alone which was something I looked forward to. In transit...just like the old days when I traveled so much airports calmed me, like home.

Dressed, hair did, makeup on, I felt good about myself that day. When I walked downstairs my Mother said to me, “Wow, you don’t look like a Mom today,” which I took as a huge compliment.

I didn’t 'feel' like a Mom even though I chatted about my daughter with the coffee lady at the airport.

The first leg to Baltimore was too short, I barely had time to finish my iced latte and a few chapters of the new David Sedaris novel. Hot tip: If you want strangers to talk to you, dye your hair purple.

On that next flight from Baltimore to Nashville I turned on some relaxing music and closed my eyes. I pictured taking a bath while Lavinia roamed the bathroom. She got bored and wanted to climb in with me so I let her. She was affectionate, hugging me with her perfect little body and little pink arms. It was almost as if she knew I would be leaving in a few hours.
She stayed in the water patiently while I finished getting ready- which is unheard of. I sang to her to ensure she remained distracted.

Speeding though the clouds those images played in my mind I felt a physical pang in my heart. I missed her voice, smile and determined (bossy) attitude. Usually it takes about 24 hours before I'm craving time with her and I wondered if I would miss her during the whole trip.
I missed her again when my Mom called us on Facetime the next morning, other than that, I wish I could have easily added a fourth night to my stay. Me time!!!

Nashville was “excessive fun and madness” to quote our Jamacian-born Uber driver. My girlfriend and I spent an entire day cowboy-boot shopping, experienced the legendary Grand Ole Opry, saw tons of live music, and ‘Honkey Tonked’ our way down Broadway.
Me and my purple hair and new tattoos fit right in. Nashville is full of musicians, producers and artists trying to make it. Even though I could not carry a tune if it had a handle on it, I felt at ease surrounded by the buzz of creativity, inspiration and ambition.
I guess it's all about finding a tribe as I circle back to my first passions in life, painting and story-telling. I'm incredibly lucky to have found a supportive community of bloggers who share advice, experience and ideas with one another.

Not only does it feel good to share knowledge with these talented people but I think it comes back around, adding to the collective creative community. 

Conclusion: If you are away from your kids and you don't miss them, it does not make you a bad Mom, in fact it makes you a good one (if you do miss them you're also a good one.) It's important to make time for your non-mama self and carve out a little place in your identity that belongs to only you...At the very least it's something your children can look up to.

Here is a tiny sample of some of the wonderful blogs I follow by women I am honored to call friends. Rock on.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Skinny Cauliflower Carbonara


I'm always looking for creative ways to get more veggies in my life. Generally I'm not a fan of white sauces or even soups because I don't like the feeling heaviness of cream in my guts (that and I'm lactose intolerant.) This dish is not only healthy and naughty-tasting, it won't leave you with that uncomfortably-stuffed feeling.

Cauliflower is so versatile---Have you tried cauliflower crust pizza yet?  Deeeeeelicioso.

I haven't done much cooking while stateside and made this dish before I left Australia. It's worth sharing now because it's one of those trans-seasonal meals that can work in just about any weather (it's winter there and summer here.) Light but comforting, healthy yet satisfying. Easy too! I'm making myself hungry....

Ingredients

  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 4 Ham Slices
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • Handful Fresh Basil (For Garnish)
  • Few Shakes White Pepper (or Red if you're braver)
  • Giant Pinch Parmasean Cheese
  • Drizzle Olive oil

Cooking Directions

  1. Boil cauliflower head and garlic in a pot until tender. Drain and save the stock in case you need to thin the sauce.
  2. Add coconut milk and blend using an immersion blender or regular blender.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add diced ham until desired crispness.
  4. Add cauliflower/ garlic mixture to the pan to keep warm and turn down heat.
  5. Before serving add raw egg and mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour over pasta and top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Devour, guilt-free!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Taking Stock


I’m more than halfway through my visit here in Buffalo and I’m starting to worry that it won’t be enough time.  Not sure it ever will be.

My trip to Nashville last week was incredible and draining and now I’m hibernating and resting up- which seems odd to do in the Summer weather. I'm in a strange, flat, post-party headspace even though it sort of feels like I'm still on vacation. Because this is technically a visit. I think.

I thought I would do a little Stock Take below to get my brain waves flowing. If you want to 'Take Stock' too- just copy the list at the bottom of this post and share your link in the comments here.

Making : Paintings.
Cooking : Not much while I’m a guest at my Mom’s house. A nice change.
Drinking : Emergen-C today and water. Need to rehydrate.
Reading: Just finished 'The Opposite of Loneliness' and I highly recommend it.
Wanting: To feel more rested.
Looking: Like a new person with purple hair and new tattoos!
Playing: Horsey with Lavinia. She thinks it’s hilarious.
Deciding: If I should extend my USA trip a tad bit longer….
Wishing: I could squeeze my hubby.
Enjoying: Having help so I can go out and do things that make me fee like, well, me.
Waiting: For inspiration (or just energy.)
Liking: My new playlist of the country songs I discovered in Nashville.
Wondering: Should I stay, should I go?
Loving: The sun and summer weather
Pondering: If the best is yet to come.
Considering: Making business cards- I’ve handed out a few scrawly scraps of paper recently.
Buying: All the things before I leave The States.
Watching: ABC’s Nashville, Season 1.
Hoping: To get an art business going.
Marveling: At how much Lavinia has changed in the last few weeks.
Cringing: At how much money I’ve spent so far on my trip.
Needing: More veggies in my life.
Questioning: If I will ever have 'enough' time.
Smelling: Piles of laundry.
Wearing: A new soft V-neck Tee and comfy shorts.
Following: Austin Kleon on Twitter.
Noticing: That my life will always be about balancing extremes.    
Knowing: Little buggy will be awake soon so I better wrap this up!
Thinking: About shipping my (material) life over to Australia now that I will finally have space.
Admiring: The talent of my diverse group of friends.
Sorting: Rather, dreading sorting, through my stuff in the basement.
Getting: New Glasses from Warby Parker- 95 dollars for frames, lenses and delivery!
Bookmarking: Quotes about creativity.
Coveting: My new cowboy boots (2 pairs!)
Disliking: How little exercise I’ve had lately.
Opening: Files with blog post ideas.
Giggling: I’ve become a Country music fan, my younger self would be horrified.
Feeling: Worn out.
Snacking: On naughty American snacks. Pretzels, Mac N Cheese, bagels, toooo many carbs.
Helping: Clean up the messes my tot makes in my Moms house.
Hearing: “Kiss You in the Morning” by cutie Michael Ray. Check him out!


Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Buying:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Cringing:
Needing:
Questioning:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Coveting:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Helping:
Hearing:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

So Little Time

I want to do all the things while I'm home. Buffalo, New York has had a makeover, well at least the waterfront has, and I needed to check it out.
Monday I got to see some of the changes first hand and I felt like I had been transported to a different city entirely. It's common knowledge Buffalo always turns on the charm for Summer. (I always say, you will never find a population of folks who appreciate the sun as much as they do.) But this new Buffalo actually feels like a real destination, not just something locals can appreciate.
There were bars, restaurants, public artworks, green grass, lawn chairs, cobbled streets, historic monuments, a stage for live music, kayak rentals, boat tours, mini sailboats, a giant sandbox and more. Um hi, am I in Charleston or something? Nope. Buffalo. I want to come here a million more times before I fly back to Australia.
It’s been a whirlwind three weeks (I cannot believe I’ve been here that long already.) We have had out of town guests, parties, concerts, dinners- all fun, fun, fun, but it's taken a toll. I felt physically drained before heading to the waterfront and to be completely honest I was in a rotten, run-down mood. Somehow though, being there in the sunshine, experiencing the progress of my beloved home city, it just perked-up my soul.
It’s so hard for me to find that balance between self care and letting loose on a normal day but it's near impossible when I know there is a time limit like there is on our visit. Usually I run around like a lunatic but since becoming a parent, I don't have the energy to keep up the way I used to and I need to remember to take a step back and rest, for the sake of my daughter and myself.
I'm glad we went to the water and had a little fun because the next day was an intensely emotional one. We buried my dog's ashes in the backyard then drove my brother to the airport. I didn't know when I would see him again. On the way home I wished out loud that he could stay longer, just a little more time, now that things are quieting down.

I went to dinner with my Dad afterward and while we were eating and he got a phone call from my brother. Turns out his flight was cancelled and he got to spend one more night at home. Maybe the universe heard my pleas. A few more hours with my brosef- I'll take it. I'm one grateful sister.