Current Cravings and Indulgences: iPad Mini and other Shopping Finds

ipad mini

I’m officially one of “those” moms that people on Facebook bemoan. I bought myself an iPad mini this week solely because I’m tired of sharing my first gen iPad with my 4-year-old. Yep, that’s right. My pre-schooler now has her very own iPad. I’ve made up other excuses, like that I needed an update with a camera and that I needed something smaller and that it’ll be easier to take to the hospital in June. Really, though, it’s all because I’m not good at sharing. Pfft.

So all that being said, I love it! I chose the white 16 GB wi-fi style. I just need to buy my case from Pencil Shavings Studio, my absolute go-to for tech cases, and I’ll be set.

As you can tell from the picture, I also did a little more shopping over the past few weeks. The necklace is the J. Crew Fan Fringe. A splurge, yes, but I’ve been wearing it non-stop with everything from t-shirts to dresses. If you can catch it on sale (like I did), I would totally recommend the necklace. You really don’t need anything else accessory-wise when you are wearing this eye-catching bauble.

As for the sandals and Revlon lippie…$20 at Target. I really love the whole tribal motif that has been popular for the past few seasons. For around $15, the sandals were a no-brainer, especially since they have a pancake heel. One word of warning: the fit of the sandals in this Target collection is craa-zy. I had to try on 3 pairs of the same size in this style to get one narrow enough. In other colorways of the same collection, I never found a good fit despite several tries. I recommend buying in the store since it may take a few tries. Oh, and the lip crayon is the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey. These are cheap, moisturizing, and practically foolproof.

Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Review Part I

During my first pregnancy, I got through the first two trimesters with my pre-pregnancy jeans, pants, and skirts paired with Bellabands from Ingrid & Isabel. I loved them, so why I never thought to look at the company’s other maternity styles is completely beyond me. This time around, I’ve been a major Ingrid & Isabel devotee…like three orders in three weeks devotee. I’ve largely been guessing the sizes I needed because I’ve found very few Ingrid & Isabel reviews out there. Honestly, I think it may be hard to go wrong with their sizing for the most part. It’s often forgiving. Nevertheless, I thought it might be helpful to review the products I’ve purchased. It may help one of you when the time comes. I’m also going to break this up into several posts.  Continue reading

Beauty Review: Mama Mio Pregnancy Essentials

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As I mentioned last week, my Tracy Anderson Pregnancy Project Nine Month Stretch kit from Mama Mio came with trial pack of pregnancy “essentials”: Boob Tube bust and neck firmer, Tummy Rub Butter, and Lucky Legs cooling peppermint lotion. All three are supposed to temper the ravages of pregnancy (my words, not theirs) on your body. I’ve written about Mama Mio products in the past for various blogs but had never actually tried them. This was the perfect time!

Boob Tube–Would Re-Buy
This lightweight cream is billed as a product to firm and promote elasticity in the breast, chest, and neck areas. Honestly, I don’t expect anything short of surgery to firm and lift breasts. Perhaps it has a longterm cumulative effect? Despite my skepticism, I really did love Boob Tube. The sample lasted well over two weeks, applying 8 pumps total to the entire decolletage and neck area. I applied it at night after my shower. On morning one, I noticed that my decolletage was much softer and smoother. I chocked it up to residual cream on the skin but even after showering, the effect was still there. I never saw a visible difference (I do have some sun damage) but the change in my skin’s texture was enough to sell me on it. I would like to buy a larger bottle to try for a longer period of time.

Tummy Rub Butter–Won’t Re-Buy
Although many reports have shown that there’s nothing you can do to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, I still religiously applied a stretch mark cream with my first pregnancy. I came away with nary a stretch mark, so I’m doing the same this time just to be safe. I usually just pick up either Burt’s Bees Belly Butter or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. Despite the much higher price tag, I was happy to use the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter. It smelled lovely–a little herbaceous in a good way. The trial-size tube was small and only lasted a week, applying it to my stomach and hips nightly. It did feel moisturizing and relieved the itch that seems to start the moment your bump begins to stretch the skin. For the $38-$48 price tag, however, it didn’t do anything better than the other belly butters I’ve tried. While I liked the scent of this one much more than that of the Burt’s Bees and Palmer’s, I’ll just stick with the products in a lower price point.

Lucky Legs–Would Re-Buy
Peppermint foot and leg creams are a dime a dozen, it seems. They all do the same thing for the most part–cool tired legs–and few have lasting effects. The Mama Mio Lucky Legs cream was like a mint lotion on steroids. According to the ingredients list, it contains both spearmint and menthol, along with things like lavadin, cypress, and yarrow that are supposed to be anti-inflammatory and generally great for swollen legs. At $19.50 per bottle, it’s not the cheapest leg and foot cream out there but it’s not the most expensive either. I don’t have a lot of swelling right now but my legs do feel tired and heavy at night in a way unlike how they feel when I’m not pregnant (un-pregnant? sans baby? without child?). Lucky Legs really seems fantastic. I look forward to applying it every night. I plan to buy more for sure.

Even taking into account my lukewarm opinion of the Tummy Rub Butter, the Mama Mio line holds promise. I will certainly be game to try more products in the future. It isn’t exactly cheap but I don’t mind spending a bit more when the products stand out like the Boob Tube and Lucky Legs. Have you tried any of the Mama Mio line? What did you think?

Tracy Anderson’s Pregnancy Project: A Review

I don’t feel like I’m one of those types who looks good during pregnancy. I tend to look chubby rather than pregnant, which just makes me self conscious. With my first pregnancy, I was hyper-aware of any weight gain to the point that I gain only the bare minimum, yet I still looked pudgy until about the eighth month. This time around, I’ve been gaining some right from the very start. The result is that I still don’t look pregnant, just doughy. Given how important fitness is during pregnancy and how badly I don’t want to have 30 or 40 pounds to shed post-pregnancy, I decided to find a good exercise regimen this time around. Gwyneth Paltrow practically has my dream body, so I immediately went looking for exercise videos by her personal trainer, Tracy Anderson.

To my happy surprise, Tracy Anderson did release her prenatal fitness system, The Pregnancy Project, just last October. The downside is that it’s really hard to find. After scouring the web, I finally found it via mamamio.com. As part of a Mama Mio special edition, The 9 Month Stretch Kit contains the entire Pregnancy Project 9-disc DVD set as well as a trio of trial-sized skin products (Tummy Rub Butter, Boob Tube chest and breast skin firming cream, and Lucky Legs cream). I will absolutely review the skincare samples later, but for now, let me just talk about how much I already love the Pregnancy Project system.

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The 9 Month Stretch Kit by Tracy Anderson, $75, mamamio.com

The Pregnancy Project contains nine discs, one for each month of pregnancy. Tracy focuses upon strength and flexibility especially in the arms, back, legs, and butt. She also incorporates range of motion exercises that indirectly (and safely) work you abs. Let me tell you, too, that it kicked my butt the first few days. Throughout the videos, Tracy explains how subtle positions will work certain muscle groups more intensely and boy do they. You have the option of hearing Tracy’s voice and music or just music. In my opinion, she isn’t annoying to listen to in the least. The music is soothing and enjoyable. Oh, and she’s pregnant in this video series, too, which means you hear her huffing and puffing as sequences get tough. For that, I give major props. Solidarity, sister!

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Pregnancy Project DVD set

Given that I was 15 weeks when the system came via UPS, I chose to begin with the Month 3 DVD. It utilized two three-pound hand weights, a dining chair, and a hand towel for resistance. After two days with that, I decided to go back to Month 2 DVD just for variation. This one utilized the dining chair more heavily and worked the arms a bit more. I absolutely saw (and felt) results after the first five days. I even saw my oblique lines just a tiny bit (hooray!).

The only downside that I see to this set is that the same DVD for four weeks may get a little old and repetitious. Depending upon how my body responds to this pregnancy, I can foresee going back and forth between months as long as it feels safe and comfortable.

As I’m beginning my second week using the system (and ending my 16th pregnancy week), I have to give the kit 5 out of 5 stars. I wish I could have waited until March when Amazon.com releases the DVD system for around $30 but the $75 I spent on The 9 Month Stretch Kit seems to be well worth the money to me at this point.