ATTENTION Mommy’s…It’s OK to be pretty…

Oh heyyyy everyone! I’m the newest Sister in Suburbia, Gina. Tara invited me to share my crazy life (trust me it IS crazy and probably why Tara and I get along so well), and I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity.  I’ve always been a fashionista in every way possible…obsessed with the latest trends in beauty and fashion, a passion for home décor and a love for the finest restaurants and bars in the area (especially those with a good wine list). A new outfit for every occasion (even if it was just to go watch a Sunday football game) was required and a pristine home and always put-together-appearance was a must. Well, NEWS FLASH sister!! I had two babies! Two! Twenty short months apart. THAT changes everything…well at least at first it did.

We always hear these stories about how being a mommy is so tough – you know…Being a “mommy” is the reason the house looks like crap, why the car looks like crap, why the yard looks like crap, and, well, why WE look like crap. For a period of time after having my boys, I would throw on my comfy clothes, some “shield-like” sunglasses to hide my sleep-deprived face, throw my hair in a pony and call it a day. Getting the babies ready for the day was my priority and I felt a sense of mommy guilt if I took time away from them to care for myself. Well… I woke up one day and decided that I didn’t want to be the yoga-pants mommy (you guys know what I’m talking about), but I still wanted to be me. I started dressing up again and taking care of myself like I did pre-babies.  I see on social media all the time fellow mommies getting bashed because they put on make-up or take care of themselves and it makes me really flippin’ mad! Why is it that it’s a bad thing if we still want to be pretty when we have kids? MOM’S you can STILL be pretty!!!!! At least once a week I hear, “how do you find the time to get dressed so nice in the morning?” or “I wish I had that kind of time, I’m lucky if I can take a shower!” Well, the truth is, you do have the time if you want it. I’m a hands-on mommy with a full-time job – you can have it all…you just need a few tricks and helpful hints to shorten your beauty routine.

I have discovered some awesome products and stores that have made it possible for me to still have the time to be the best mommy ever (at least that’s what my two boys tell me) while maintaining my fashionable, organized self… You don’t need a million dollars, an hour to get ready in the morning, or a live-in maid to keep your life in order… Just a few great products, tricks to shorten your daily routine, and to know the correct places to shop…oh, and an occasional bottle of wine.

Here are a few of my favorite products and stores that give me the ability to have an “1 hour to get ready” look in literally 15 minutes flat…

           1. AN AMAZING FOUNDATION: So after living in Florida (think tanning salon on the way to the beach) and having those nasty dark spots on my face from being pregnant (mom’s you know what I’m talking about), I constantly looked like I had shadows all over my face…think 5 o’ clock shadow.  Thank GOD, I found the best foundation ever! STILA Stay All Day Foundation is amazing. It comes in a huge variety of skin tones and covers EVERYTHING…Perfect airbrushed-looking skin all day long! I buy mine at Ulta Beauty.  It retails for $42.00, but lasts at least 2-3 months. You only need a tiny amount to get amazing coverage on your entire face. It’s perfect for those days that you don’t have time to put on a full face of make-up but still want to look great. It’s a must have and I absolutely cannot live without it!gina-3

        2. CLIP-IN EXTENSIONS: So when getting dressed for the day, finding two socks that match and packing lunch for our little ones takes prescience over running the curling iron through our hair. The result? A big messy mom knot (this is NOT a bun) on the top of our heads. The solution? A great set of HUMAN HAIR clip-in extensions. Let’s be honest, if our hair looks good, we feel good. When I’m in a rush and there’s simply no time to spend grooming my hair, I snap in a couple rows of clip-ins and call it a day. They are very affordable and last forever as long as you take care of them. They can be curled, cut, colored, whatever. Sometimes when I’m feeling extra snazzy, I curl them once the kids are asleep at night (with a glass of wine) so my do is all set for the morning. It literally takes tops 30 seconds to snap them in and nobody can tell you are wearing them…just as long as it takes to achieve a half-way decent looking “mom knot”. I get more compliments on my hair on the days I use the clip-in method than I do on the days I spend 30 minutes styling my natural hair. ADDED BONUS: they stay in better when your hair is a bit dirty 😉 My favorite brand is the Donna Bella Ready- To-Wear 100% Human Hair Extensions.  They range from $100-155 depending on the length you chose, and they are worth every single dollar! You can buy them here www.donnabellahair.com.  Below, you can see me on a typical day with and without the extensions.

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Before Hair Extensions
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After Hair Extensions

 3. FIND AN AWESOME LOCAL BOUTIQUE:  Coming from a family with our own business, I know the importance of shopping local. Not only is it convenient to find a one-stop-shop close to home, but it gives us the chance to give back to the towns/cities that we are raising our families in. Besides, who wants to waste hours driving to a mall (remember, we ARE in suburbia here), when there are so many small boutiques right around the corner? My hesitation with some of the smaller shops has always been their price-point. A dress or jeans at a boutique are sometimes double what you would pay at a mall…so I’m going to do you  favor and introduce you to the BEST local boutique in the area. Polished Boutique is a young, feminine clothing (and lots of other good stuff) boutique located on the Green in Branford, CT.  Whether you are looking for a fabulous outfit for a night out on the town, or a pair of skinnies and a slouchy sweater for game day, you will find it here! I love that it’s run by a mother-daughter team, Lisa and Anna… they are just the sweetest ever. Lisa is also a fellow very stylish new mommy! Now that they know me (that happens when you become a regular at a small shop), I barely have to look for an outfit when I go in…I just tell one of the fabulous ladies what I am looking for and voila…the dressing room is piled with awesome options. BEST THING ABOUT IT? Everything in the store is less than $100! It’s a steal really. Right now they have tons of graphic tops and leggings for the fall, so if comfort is what you seek, you can find what you are looking for while still maintaining a very polished appearance. Lisa was generous enough to make an offer that if you mention this blog post, she will give you %15 percent off your purchase (valid until December 1st).  If you can’t get to Branford, you can shop their lovely boutique online at www.shoppolished.com.  Go there. Seriously.

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So remember Mommies, sweatpants are not a mandatory uniform once you become a parent. You can still look good and even more importantly, feel good, if you can find a few good products. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with putting yourself together each morning and doing something that makes you feel attractive and put together. And again, I’m not saying I ignore my children for an hour each day to get ready…once you find your routine, you can pull yourself together in no time. All of us mommies are constantly thinking we have NO extra time, but the truth is, we do because none of this takes as long as we think it does. I understand that everyone has different situations and that somethings are just not as important to one mom as they are to another, but I know for me, when I feel good about myself, I’m a better mom to my boys. You girls can do it!! Be pretty again! So, until next time…clip in some extensions and go work that bus stop!

X,

G

On eating out….and Thanksgiving with no meat?

Hi everyone! It’s Melani, one of the East Haven Housewives……I am excited to share a few vegetarian/vegan restaurant options in CT.

The first restaurant that I have been to recently with my BFF Tara is G Zen in Branford. This option is a little pricey, meaning dessert will run you about $10, but all menu choices are completely homemade and organic. G Zen is vegan meaning entirely plant based, no eggs, no cheese. My husband, a chef, would argue that no meat=no flavor, however, the choices are amazing and there is something for everyone. We have been there twice, both times for dinner during the week. They have a great Saturday brunch if that is more your speed. Tara had Shephard’s Pie and I had Raw Tacos. Both were amazing!

In fact the raw tacos are written up in Connecticut Magazine! Totally worth the trip if you are in the mood for organic, vegan fare in a quaint environment. If you aren’t up for going totally meatless, at least go for dessert! I would recommend the raw lemon lavender cheesecake, nothing like it and one would never know it is vegan. Or you can never go wrong with the chocolate cake!

Amazing!
Amazing!

 

The second restaurant is Claire’s Cornercopia on the corner of College and Chapel Streets in New Haven. Claire’s has been around since 1975 and the owner, Claire, has written 4 recipe books.  They have so many options for main dishes and for dessert. I had a hot yellow tofu curry and took home a great vegan chili with white beans. The menu changes every day. For dessert I had the Sunshine Cookie, an amazing cookie with an oatmeal base, sunflower seeds, cranberries, and cinnamon….so good! and the cupcakes! amazing! I had a vegan lemon cupcake with lemon frosting that I ate the next day. Of course just as G Zen does Claire’s also bakes everything homemade.

Worth the Trip!
Worth the Trip!

The third and last restaurant has also been around for awhile and is a little farther away but worth the drive. Carole Peck’s Good News Café in Southbury CT  is one of the oldest “Farm to Table” restaurants. Carole Peck is a whole foods chef and her restaurant has been open for over 20 years. The menu changes daily. I had a quinoa dish with a chocolate cupcake for dessert.  Again, there is a bakery on premises just like the other restaurants.  Although this is not primarily a vegetarian restaurant,  there are great choices for vegetarians and vegans. I was there in early October with a group of friends who enjoy all kinds of food. We had an array of meals around the table but for those of you who aren’t vegetarian, the Lobster Mac and Cheese looked amazing!

There are clearly some great plant based options on mostly every menu that I have come across so I have been able to eat out at most area restaurants. The three that I have shared are definitely the easiest places to eat out and have also given me some great ideas for meals myself!

I am headed to Dallas to see my brother and sister in law for Thanksgiving….I am so excited to use a few new recipes that I have recently learned, namely Sweet Potato Lasagna with cashew cheese and a great vegan pumpkin pie recipe…. Although I will be in the minority as a vegan I know it’ll be great company no matter what I’m eating! I am hoping to at least get everyone to try a few things….Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Next up some great gift ideas! I will be Black Friday Xmas shopping in Dallas but I have definitely already started and can’t wait to share what I’ve purchased…until next time….Thanks for reading and please comment on your meatless meals!

XOXO Melani