The Secret Life of Exclusively Pumpers

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Since pumping is an enormous part of my life, I figured I would do a post on it. In the baby feeding community, there are 2 kinds of mothers. Those who breastfeed their babies and those that formula feed their babies. Prior to having my own child, I was vehemently against the idea of giving my baby formula. Breast milk isn’t only the best milk but it’s free. There’s no bottle prep. It’s just…there. It’s the easiest option, right?

Wrong.

Breastfeeding is the the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. 9 months of pregnancy and having a natural childbirth was waaaaay easier. I could point my finger at many factors as to why breastfeeding was so difficult for me.

-Lack of knowledge.
-Very little assistance at getting Elle to the breast the hours and days after birth.
-Elle being born 3 weeks early.
-My huge boob + Elle’s small mouth = difficulty.
-Ineffective guidance from a lactation consultant.

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And it wasn’t like I didn’t try. My child had a poor latch. She made plenty of efforts to breastfeed but they didn’t result in her getting enough milk to be satiated. When she did latch, she would not only chew my breast into bits but she would erupt in tears every time. Which only devastated me. Talk about feeling inadequate. Here I am, a new mother, and I can’t even effectively give my child food. And lack of milk wasn’t an option because I was flowin’…

So I decided to enter the Secret World of EP’ing. I call it a secret because you don’t hear many women talking about it. It is perhaps the most difficult track to take when it comes to feeding newborns and infants. With breastfeeding, you just whip out a boob and feed baby. With formula feeding, you (or someone else – BONUS!) prepare a bottle and give it to baby. With exclusively pumping, I have to juggle between not only pumping to get milk but then I also have to find time to feed the baby. It’s a juggling act, really and it was the #1 reason that made the first weeks of motherhood difficult.

In order to keep my supply up, I have to pump to Elle’s schedule. That means I need to pump around the time that she would be eating or more. BUT – since I am back to work, I’d like for her to continue to receive breast milk while at daycare. And so I not only pump enough for her to eat, but I pump enough to freeze. Breast milk stored in a deep freezer has a shelf life of 6-12 months so that means even after I return to work and Elle goes to daycare, she will continue to get breast milk.

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I produce quite a bit of milk so what can’t fit in my freezers is donated to other mommies. That’s right! Thanks to the great community of Human Milk 4 Human Babies, I was able to find 3 mommies who were looking for a donor. These moms have adopted newborns or foster babies that had issues with formula but are thriving off of my breast milk. Some find it to be gross and unsanitary. I think not. In fact, Elle’s first few days of milk came from another mommy who had donated her breast milk to my birthing center.

So let’s rewind…

PRO’S of pumping
-I get to feed my baby breastmilk. I’m very grateful for the electric pump technology.
-I can SEE how much she’s getting and deliver that info to my pediatrician.
-Someone else can feed her which is awesome. Mama needs a break too, yo.
-Unlike formula, a bottle of breast milk can be left out for hours. HUGE pro.
-I can donate to other babies.
-I burn an insane amount of calories and pumping has lead to me being smaller than my pre-preggo weight.

CON’S of pumping
-The judgement I get from exclusive breastfeeders (Why don’t you try harder to make her latch?) and formula feeders (Why don’t you give her a formula bottle?).
-Very little sleep. I have to pump every 3-4 hours and haven’t slept a straight 3-4 hours since Elle has been born.
-It makes social outings difficult. If I will be out for more than 4 hours, my breasts become engorged and painful. I also risk a chance to getting clogged milk ducts which can turn into mastitis which I hear sucksssss. So yeah. My boobs are always on a ticking clock.
-Never-ending bottle washing.
-Pumping can be very lonely. You’re up by yourself in the middle of the night or have to excuse yourself to pump.

Why don’t I just give her formula? It’s simple. I don’t want to. I want her to have breast milk so while pumping is extremely difficult, I plan to only do it for a year. And I’m hoping I can make it to a year because I think about quitting every single day. But hey, everything happens for a reason and while I go through moments of being sad that I couldn’t breastfeed Elle, I am grateful for my abundant supply of milk. I’ve pumped over 31 gallons of breast milk that has nourished 4 children. It feels kinda awesome.

Feel free to drop questions in the comments. And lots of love to my fellow EP’in’ gals for motivating me to write this post!

SensatioNail Color Gel Polish Review + giveaway!

Welp. It’s official. I am definitely on the gel nail train. It took a minute, uh? But honestly – as someone who adores nail polishes, it’s reallllly hard to get me to try a product that means I DON’T have to change my nail polish for a few weeks. It’s practically torture. I thought I’d always have time to polish my nails daily. Or at least every other day.

And then I had a bebe. And as darling as she is, my girl could care less about my desire to polish my nails daily. No new mom (or insanely busy mom) has time for such shenanigans. And that’s when I knew it was the ideal time to try gel nails.

Say hello to the SensatioNail Starter Kit.

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Priced at $50, this kit contains everything you’ll need to do several gel nail manicures at your own crib. I’ve reviewed a gel nail kit before, but after using it on my sister. This time around, I am the guinea pig and having applied, rocked and removed this manicure – I’ve got somethin’ to say…

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Color me impressed! Yes, seriously. After 2 weeks, I had little to no chipping.  But first, let’s talk about the details and application of this stuff.

Starting Kit includes:

Gel Cleanser
Gel Primer
Gel Base & Top Coat
Color Gel Polish (additional nail polishes only $9)
Pro 3060 LED Lamp
Wood Manicure Stick
Lint-free Wipes
Double-sided Nail Buffer

How to apply (information from press release)

  • Prepare: Apply our exclusive Gel Primer to clean, dry nails. Then apply Gel Base & Top Coat – Cure for 30 seconds
  • Laquer Up: Sweep on your  favorite shade of SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish – Cure for 60 seconds
  • Protect: Seal in color with Gel Base & Top Coat – Cure for 30 seconds — Wipe nails with Gel Cleanser – you’re done!

* SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish can be removed by soaking in 100% pure acetone

Application is really very easy. Formula-wise the polishes were nice and thin and I didn’t have any issues with bubbling. The key is to use thin coats. I struggled with this because I’ve always been one to apply relatively large coats of polish. The thinner the coat, the better. The good news is, even if you apply thicker coats, it won’t affect the longevity of the polish. Will the tips look a bit heavier? Well, yeah…but no one can really notice that from a distance. Also, be prepared to spend a good hour on the initial application.

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Le wear is very impressive. I didn’t get ANY chips the entire 2 weeks I had the polish on. As with all nail polishes, I’m sure this will vary from person to person. Some of us are harsher  on our nails than others and so the nail polishes wear differently. But overall, I thought the wear was exceptionally better than most gel nail systems.

My nails immediately after application…

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See how thick the gel looks? The gel on my pinky is especially coated on. It ended up chipping soon after and I’m pretty sure it was due to my packing it on. So yah – definitely user error.

Removal  took forever but that was to be expected. Luckily, SensatioNail has a nice removal kit that helps aid in that. I found that regular acetone and a ton of patience did well enough for me. It took a good hour for me to completely remove all traces of the gel nails. I didn’t notice any damage on my natural nails either.

Variety & availabilty: I’ve spotted at the set at both Target and Walmart and many of the polishes are sold there individually too. Score! I was thisclose to picking up Blue Yonder, a fabulous navy blue polish. The price for the kit is around $50 with the polishes between $9-$10. This is a HUGE deal for those who regularly do gel nails at a salon.

Nails 2 weeks after application…

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So yah! I am veryyyy happy that I gave these a whirl. SensatioNail’s gel nail system seems to be one of the more popular ones and I see why.

I’m giving away a set!! The Rafflecopter will take a few seconds to load but when it does, enter for a chance to win a starter kit and 2 additional polishes.

Any gel nail lovers in the house?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cargo Cosmetics is some kind of awesome…

So like a realllllllyyyyy long long loooong time ago, I was all obsessed with the brand CARGO. Some people are obsessed with shoes, some folx like hats (you know, like the ones people rock at the Kentucky Derby when they bet on horses), I obsess over cosmetics. Obviously. I’m not sure what happened but my love affair with them just…ended. Don’t you hate when that happens? It’s like one minute you’ll be obsessed with a song and then the next, you’re just like…over it. Okay, so fast forward a few years and CARGO and I are friendly again thanks to these press samples being sent to me. Yaaaayyyy!!!!

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CARGO is  currently sold in Ulta and at cargocosmetics.com, but I’m almost positive that they used to be sold in Sephora. I wish they’d go back to good ole’ Seph. But whatever – I’m just happy that I can buy them whenever now because it seemed to be that they weren’t so widely available years ago.

One of my faaaavorie things about the brand is their AMAZING bronzers. Mark my words – CARGO rules in the bronzer department. This Beach Blush in Echo Beach is absolutely lovely.

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Don’t be silly and try to use each individual  color. No no, loves. Simply swirl a brush in there and apply it all over the cheeks.

 

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Yep, that’s Elle’s little head at my chin. I’m a multi-tasking mama! Packing-wise, I love these bronzers but it’s really the longevity that make them stellar. I can use this bronzer on top of a powder and it will last a good 8 hours. Fo reals!

And then there’s the Essential Palette…

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Who knew CARGO did eyeshadows so well? Priced well at $32, this palette in Warm Neutral is the perfeeeect everyday palette. I love how all of the shadows are matte but they weren’t chalky. In fact, the only issue I had was with the Browbone color. It was a bit frostier than I would have liked. I managed to tone it down a bit using a primer but by itself…wowsers.

Lippy-wise, I was sent the darling coral and shimmery darling.

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A simple gloss, yes but it’s dainty and would probably be fantastic over a highly pigmented lipstick. It’s the kind of gloss that is appropriate for outdoor fancy affairs but it also works well if you need something subtle but nice.

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Prices:

Bronzer – $30
Essentials Palette – $32
Lipgloss – $14

Availability:

CargoCosemtics.com

I am beyond impressed with what CARGO has been doing lately. I’ve got some mascaras of theirs that I can’t wait to review so stay tuned for those reviews. Any CARGO lovers in the house? Have you ever tried the brand?

 

*This post contains a paid link

 

Makeup Wars: Unique Spring Trends – Black lipliner!

The Makeup Wars gals are back with another post and I am super excited to feature this one. I’ve been catchin’ up on beauty trends and I am excited to announce that rocking black lipliner is finally a legit trend.

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Yes!! ‘Bout time, right? For years, many of us would rock black EYEliner on our lips. I’m not even going to front and act like I didn’t. Black eyeliner and silver gloss blended together was totally my look in high school. It wasn’t until I hit college where I realized that rockin’ black liner on the lips didn’t compliment me. Or anyone for that matter. And so I let it go.

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But after flipping through magazines and hittin’ the beauty blogs, I’ve come across so many articles that are announcing that black liner on the lips is finally in. I’ve seen it worn several ways.

There’s the thick liner with very little blending…

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And my favorite, thick liner WITH red lipstick. Yes!!!

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Fierce, right? I’m loving it and I am so glad that this trend is officially a trend. I know brown girls everywhere are rejoicing. I’ve even heard that some brands will be launching black lipliner. No need to use your black eyeliner for your lips anymore. I love how versatile this look is. It’s perfect for those of us who have to be all professional on our jobs but then it’s also great for after-work Happy Hour with the girls. I’m thinking black liner on the lips will be my signature look. I am just that much in love with it.

Whatcha think, gals? Are you feeling this look?

Check out some of the other trends my Makeup Wars sisters are rockin’…

Target Spring Means Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid lipsticks

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I know. I can’t stop talking about ‘em. Yah. I am that obsessed with Maybelline’s Color Sensational lipsticks. These things are magnificent, y’all. And so unexpected! I mean, who knew that a drugstore brand would be launching such beautiful and BRIGHT lipsticks? This never happens. We usually have to head to department stores to see brilliance. Maybelline is givin’ us face this season.

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…and I am soooo here for it. I’ve been braggin’ about the awesomeness of these thangs for quite some time so please allow me to show them off via pics. You cool with that?

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Formula-wise, they are like traditional lipsticks in that they may be a bit drying so wearing a lip balm underneath them is a must. Wear time is dependent on what you got goin’ on. A ton of eating and drinking may result in your lipstick fading a bit but I think that’s to be expected. I find that I get the best wear time out of these when I blot with a tissue after applying. Some have a bit of a stain-effect so even if I’m drinking on somethin’, the color will stick around a bit longer.

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And now the beauties –

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Brazenberry is a cool medium berry. It’s such an interesting shade of purple. I found it worked best when I wore it with a plum lipliner.

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Electric Orange is a straight up ORANGE lipstick. It definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. I was surprised at how I can wear this without a liner or anything. ‘Scuse my flaky lippies on this one.

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Hot Plum is a vivid magenta and I found it to be extremely wearable.

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Neon Red is an orange-y red and it is briiiiight. It has quite a bit of orange for me but I can still rock it confidently. This is THE lippy color of the season.

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On Fire Red is a great blue toned red lipstick. If Neon Red isn’t exactly up your alley, On Fire Red is it.

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Pink Pop is a frosty bubblegum pink.

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Vivid Rose is my absolute favorite of the bunch. It’s a punchy hot pink that is officially my color of the season.

Of course you can grab all of these at Target. That is, if you can find them. It was hard tracking these babies down because they are super popular. Simply put – these rocks. Especially if you’re the type to be a bit adventurous in the lipstick department.

Which one are you lovin’ the most?

It’s Time for Springtime.

Compensation was provided by Target via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.

 

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 82

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Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

Vampy Varnish – Is SURE you will find a few favorites with the new and previously exclusive Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil release!

we heart this – Have you tried MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish Foundation yet? Umm, you might wanna…

Beauty Junkies Unite – You’ll probably fall in love with the pretty pastels in the new L’Oreal Paris Versailles Romance Collection! See the review & swatches.

Clumps of Mascara – is just a wee bit amazed at this spray lotion thingy. It sounds just like what it is…lotion that you spray on. Whoa!

EauMG – here’s the roundup of the dozen perfumes that Victoria wore the most during Winter 2012/13!

Gouldylox Reviews – Want products that won’t damage your hair or break the bank? Look no further!

My Beauty Bunny – takes a peek at the new NARS Satin Lip Pencils. These super pigmented, non-sticky and highly toteable lippies are perfect to stash in your bag for on the go touch ups!

Nouveau Cheap – I didn’t get a makeover last week, but my blog sure did! Take a peek at the new digs!

Prime Beauty – has been yearning for Don Draper, luckily the Mad Men starts again on April 7th and Estee Lauder has helped ease the pain with the Limited Edition Mad Men Collection. Bonus: pic of PB’s sister- a Betty Draper look- alike.

Phyrra – shows you the best way to apply the Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Mascara. She also has a giveaway so you can try it too!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Vampy Varnish – Kellie from Kellie Gonzo takes some amazing photos and these ones of Nfu Oh #63 are really amazing. Just look at that holographic effect!

Guest Post of the Week, as chosen by Phyrra – I adore Mandy from PrettyMaking and her post about tarte maracuja’s creaseless fair concealer made me want not only that concealer, but the Paula’s Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Tint, too!

Question of the Week:

What’s the most expensive beauty product that you have
purchased in the last three months? Was it with its price?

B says, “I got my hair done for $55. Not really a product but hey, it’s something!”

What about you? Spend any crazy money on beauty stuffs in the past few months?

 

 

Urban Decay’s Lip Junkie Lipgloss has new shades!

Urban Decay has recently added some slammin’ new lippies to their Lip Junkie lipgloss line and I was sent a couple of ‘em to review. Say ‘allo to Obsessed and Trashed.

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This is my first time trying these Lip Junkies and I’m really just trying to figure out what took me so long to jump on the bandwagon. These are awesome!

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If you’re a fan of non-sticky glosses that have a ton of moisture packed in them, I think you’ll like these glosses. They are fantastic for wearing over a lipstick and if you don’t mind the sheerness, they are okay worn alone too. If you are looking for more pigment, you likely won’t find them in any of the UD Lip Junkie lipglosses. But that’s okay , UD has other products for you to haul if it’s extreme lip color you’re looking for.

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Obsessed is a pale milky cream of a gloss. I actually really dig how it looks alone.

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Trashed is a bright pink with silver shimmer and the shimmer is definitely more apparent when worn over a lipstick.

I’m kinda in love with the packaging of these lipglosses. They are a little on the large size but the top is all fancy and they still manage to fit nicely in my cosmetic bag. Application is easy although if you are a fan of more of an even coverage, your best bet is to apply this gloss with a lip brush.

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I got a good 2-3 hours of wear time out of these. You’ll definitely have to reapply after eating or drinking but no biggie…I do that most of the time with most lipglosses anyway.

The Beauty Basics

Price: $19/each.
Availability: Sephora.com, Sephora stores and UrbanDecay.com.
Limited Edition?: No
Worth The Price?: They are pretty expensive for lip glosses but UD lovers won’t mind the splurge if they don’t mind how sheer these are. 
 

Whatcha think, Urban Decay fans? Have you tried these lippies yet?