Beauty Product RoundUp

I may not be an expert on all things beauty, but I love doing beauty posts and reading about blogger beauty routines. Anyone else with me? Since we’re in baby countdown mode, I’ve been thinking a lot about how my beauty routine fits into my new momma routine. I am fully aware of the fact that I’ll have less time to devote to getting ready once baby arrives, so my strategy has been to invest in really great beauty products that make my skin, hair and nails look great without a lot of primping.

Some of the products listed above are a bit of an investment cost-wise, but I promise that they work great. And if I face wash can make you feel beautiful when you’re using it, I’m not sure you can put a price on that! Let’s take a look at what’s in my beauty bag:

1. One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover
This cleansing oil is my favorite item listed. It makes my skin feel amazing and makes me feel beautiful every time I wash my face. Crazy, right? It moisturizes and cleanses and does a great job at removing makeup without drying out your skin.

2. One Love Organics Supercritical Chia Oil
A few tiny drops of this magic serum goes a long way, meaning this tiny bottle lasts forever. I’m not sure exactly what is behind the magic in this bottle of oil, but it makes my skin glow and leaves my skin feeling moisturized, especially during the cooler months.

3. Bare Minerals Renew and Hydrate Eye Cream
This has been a favorite eye cream my entire pregnancy, and I intend to keep using it post-baby as well. It’s light enough that it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin, but it’s still potent enough to moisturize that delicate skin under the eye.

4. One Love Organics Brand New Day Scrub and Masque
This product is pure fun and function all in one! It’s a powder scrub that can be added to your favorite face wash or you can make a paste with water to scrub onto your face and remove dead skin cells. I use it a few times a week and it leaves my skin feeling great.

5. Motherlove Nipple Cream
I bought this a while back for after baby arrives, but after looking at the ingredients, it made a lot of sense to me to start using it as a lip balm. Sounds a little crazy I suppose, but my lips have been so chapped this winter that I was willing to try anything. And this works! I’m sure after baby arrives I’ll be using it for the more traditional uses as well.

6. Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment
Moroccan Oil has been a staple in my beauty routine for years. I don’t use a lot of products on my hair, but I can’t go for long without this Moroccan Oil to keep my hair shiny and healthy.

7. Essie Mademoiselle Nail Polish
I can never keep a manicure for more than a day or two, so a light, neutral polish is perfect for someone like me. A single coat of this polish is hardly noticeable, but it does make your nails look much more polished and put together.

8. One Love Organics Skin Savior Beauty Balm
This stuff is pure magic. It works well as a facial moisturizer (which is what I most commonly use it for) as well as a facial cleanser, stray hair tamer, etc. A little goes a long way, meaning this jar lasts forever. I also like to take a little and mix it with my favorite foundation for a tinted moisturizer.

Madison

Having a Baby - What to pack in your bag | Espresso and Cream

Joe and I have been in full-time baby preparations lately, getting everything ready for our little peanut’s arrival. At 36 weeks pregnant, the car seat bases and car seat have now been installed, the baby clothes are washed and we have plenty of wipes, diapers and all the practical things that a baby needs.

My most recent project has been packing my hospital bag so I’m ready at a moment’s notice. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m getting closer, aside from a few items that I’m still using day-to-day. I’ll admit, I’m hardly an expert, but I think that I’ve put together a minimal yet comprehensive bag filled with the things I’m really going to need. I’m also pretty thankful that we live close to our hospital so Joe can run home and get things that we forget!

Here’s a look at what is in my bag:

1. Nursing Gown and Robe
I recently bought this combination nursing gown and robe for our stay in the hospital and in the hazy days once our newborn comes home. I wanted something that made me feel put together yet was super comfortable and practical. I also purchased this robe from Target that is super comfortable and looks pretty, so I think I’m taking it along as well.
2. Cell Phone and Charger
My phone and charger aren’t packed just yet, but this is on my mental list of things to add at the last minute so that Joe and I have plenty of juice in our phones to snag photos and Instagram, of course!
3. Toiletries and Make-Up 
This week I’m putting together a little travel kit of my favorite toiletries, many of which I already own from all our travels. (my favorite make-up, hair spray, shampoo/conditioner, face wipes to keep me feeling fresh, face lotion, eye cream, etc.)
4. Clothing Essentials
I’ve heard that comfort is key, so I’m planning on packing some of my favorite black Gap maternity leggings, a swing dress that isn’t maternity but has lasted me throughout my pregnancy, one of Joe’s sweatshirts, nursing bras and camis, granny panties that I recently purchased at Target, etc.
5. Belly Bandit
I posted a question on Facebook the other day about the Belly Bandit or other stomach support to wear post-pregnancy. Lots of you had rave reviews and I’m excited to give it a try myself! The idea behind wearing a Belly Bandit is that it helps accelerate healing, support your stomach post delivery and speed recovery. I’m certainly willing to give it a try! I’m planning on doing a full review post-baby on what I thought and how it worked.
6. Hair Dryer (??)
Can anyone tell me if this is necessary? I never thought to ask on our birth center tour, but I take it most hospitals don’t have hair dryers in every room like hotels do.
7. Slippers or Slipper Socks
I picked up a few new pairs of slipper socks with grippies on the bottom for walking the halls during labor and for keeping my feet warm afterwards. They were cheap enough that I’ll probably just toss them before I head home.
8. A Bag of Hard Candies
I’m not sure this is necessary, but I’ve heard some people recommend it. I figure it’s better safe than sorry. 
9. Paperwork and Insurance Card/ID
10. Camera
Since this is a big occasion, I think I should probably pack my nice (big) camera instead of relying on my cell phone camera. I don’t love the idea of lugging my camera with, but I think it will be worth it in the long run. Also, don’t forget extra batteries or to at least make sure your camera batteries are fully charged.

Items for Hubby and Baby 
1. Going Home Outfit (for baby)
2. Blankets and swaddle
Our hospital provides a swaddle but I’m taking one of our own as well.
3. Baby Mittens 
We washed and packed a few packs of those little baby mittens so our baby doesn’t scratch his/her face.
4. Snacks
We went to Costco last weekend and stocked up on a bunch of snacks for Joe, since we have no idea how long labor is going to be or how it will all go. Joe has Cliff bars, trail mix, fruit snacks and gum packed in his bag.
5. Cash/Change for the vending machine 
6. Car Seat
Make sure your car seat is fully installed and ready to go. We heard a story in our labor and delivery class last weekend about a dad who simply put the car seat, still in the box, in the car thinking that was sufficient. Ha!
7. Change of Clothes for Dad
Joe is taking a change of clothes as well as something comfortable to sleep in, like gym shorts and a long-sleeved casual shirt.
8. Toiletries for Dad
9. Air Mattress
We’ve been debating this one back and forth. Maybe it seems silly, but the hospital we’re going to doesn’t have the best sleeping accommodations for dads, so we’re taking a twin air mattress along and leaving it in the car just in case Joe is incredibly uncomfortable and wants to use it.

Mommas out there, are there things I’m missing from this list? What would you add from your personal experience?
Madison

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/madisonmaterniy
I knew from the start that we wanted to have newborn photos taken professionally in our home after Baby H arrives (in just about 5 weeks!) but I was a little unsure about taking maternity photos. I’ve seen so many maternity photos that make me uncomfortable (bare bellies really aren’t my thing!) and sometimes they feel so forced. But when I booked Gina to take our newborn photos and she offered to do a small mini maternity session of about 45 minutes in length at her studio, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

If you live in Minneapolis, you just have to take a look at Gina’s work and jump at the first opportunity to have her take your photos. She was so incredibly wonderful to work with and her relaxed way of shooting put both me and my husband at ease. I’ll admit that I’m usually pretty comfortable in front of the camera, but being pregnant in front of the camera had me a little nervous. Thank you, Gina, for making the process so much fun!

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/madisonmaterniy

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/madisonmaterniy

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/madisonmaterniy

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/madisonmaterniy

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/madisonmaterniy

 

photo (62)You, my firstborn, my sweet little baby. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about becoming your mom. For most of the last 33 weeks I thought about being pregnant and how my body was changing and the ways in which you were growing. But now I’ve been thinking less about my pregnancy and more about what it means to take on the title of mommy.

Mom seems like an awfully weighty job description with more responsibility than I know what to do with. I’ll admit that sometimes I’m not entirely sure that I’m up for the task! I think about my own mom, your “mimi” as we already call her, and I realize what a crucial, weighty role it is to be a mom: to be a comforter, cheerleader, challenger, encourager and disciplinarian all at once. I know that there is nothing in the world that feels quite as wonderful as a hug from your mom, especially on days when life doesn’t go quite as planned and leaves you feeling a little worse for wear. I feel so humbled that I get to be the one to give you those hugs and make you feel comforted and cared for in a way that no one else can.

Lately I’ve become keenly aware of the responsibility that comes with being your parent. I’ve grown to understand the impact that your early, formative years will have on the rest of your life and how your dad and I carry the weight of that responsibility on our shoulders. I know that no parent is perfect, that we’re all flawed in one way or another, but to the best of my ability my desire is to mold and shape you into the most complete person you can be. I want you to believe that you can do anything and have the courage to go forth and try, knowing your parents have your back even if you fail along the way. And trust me, you will fail, and that’s okay. Life is less about your failures and more about how you recover, anyway.

I pray that you’re fearless, bold, creative, expressive and kind. And, I’ll admit, your dad and I have spent plenty of time on our knees in prayer, hoping that you also happen to love sleep as much as your parents! More than anything, my prayer is that you internalize your deep, profound worth found in being God’s child, independent of all achievements and accolades you may gather up along the way. I know that along the way we will fail you, and when we do I’m thankful that we have a loving, grace-giving and merciful God to guide us and cover our own failures as parents with the grace we don’t deserve.

Little one, I’m so excited to be your mom. I can’t wait to see your face and squeeze those little feet that are constantly causing me to double over in pain when you kick me time and time again. I pray that the next 6-ish weeks go quickly, but for now I’m thankful for each day that I get to take you with me wherever I go.

Love,
Mom

Ultimate Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Many times I sit down to write and blog post without really thinking about what exactly I’m writing about. The words flow easily about the recipe I’m going to share with you, the flavor or texture or usefulness of the recipe at hand. It’s easy to fall into a lull of writing about food without really writing about anything at all. Does anyone really need me to wax poetic for four paragraphs about chocolate chip cookies?

Lately I’ve felt a pull towards different types of blogs than those that I’ve loved in the past. I’m drawn to the writing of women who are ultimately inspiring in the way they share vulnerability and failure without falling down the rabbit hole of negativity and hopelessness.

*I love the way Jess and Rachel write about faith, motherhood and anxiety, depression and the whole of life experiences. The way they bravely share their faith and passion for Jesus pushes me to share my faith more openly.
*My adoration for Shanna’s understated and beautiful way of looking at the world continues to grow with every post. I’m so thankful for her friendship over the years, even if it’s just been of the digital/e-mail variety.
*The way Laken writes about family life, motherhood and personal growth always leaves me feeling inspired and uplifted; her site always feels, to me, like the blog equivalent of Anthropologie for some reason.
*I wish every single day that Heather and I could sit and work together and drink coffee and talk like old friends. Another e-mail blog friend, I feel her warm spirit come across in every post, almost like a virtual hug.

Anyway, I suppose I’ve gotten terribly off course, but what I really mean to say is that I’m so thankful for those who are willing to share their lives online. Sometimes I wonder if having “blog friends” is strange or if I should just spend more time devoted to those friendships that I have in real life. But the beauty of the blog world is that chances are there is someone going through something similar to what you’re going through, whether it be a painful and trying time or a time of extreme joy.

I’m so thankful there are women who have written their stories for the world to read so that I can follow along, a few steps behind, and feel a little more prepared for what’s ahead. I’m thankful for those who are writing out their own crazy stories in the thick of it so that I can read what they’re going through and know that I’m not alone.

If you’ve made it this far down the page, thank you for reading my ramblings! I have nothing to really wrap this post together with except to say that I made cookies. Really, really good cookies, if I do say so myself. They’re perfect in the way that they’re crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. They’re packed with chocolate chunks and candied pecans and have just the right amount of salt so as not to overwhelm you with sweet. Make them. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies (1) | Espresso and Cream

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • ½ cup chopped candied pecans (I buy mine at Trader Joe's)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt. Stir until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, followed by the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and candied pecans by hand until incorporated.
  5. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheet, placing dough balls about 2 inches apart. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and slightly soft looking in the center of the cookies. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

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