Happy Birthday to my daughter Everly Joy who was born October 29th. I just wanted to share a photo of her (all 8.12lbs!!) and let you know that all went well. I’ve barely set her down since she’s been home- it’s all so much easier the second time. Harper is getting used to having a sister and now gives her kisses and reaches out to touch her. We’re so happy and grateful to have a house buzzing with our happy girls.
Well here we are, today is the day I’m giving birth to my daughter (Note: of course I’m not writing this in the delivery room, it’s actually the night before) and I’m once again planning my new skincare routine to banish the melasma that reared its ugly head from pretty much day 1 of this pregnancy. I actually think it never went away from the first pregnancy and just kept on building throughout this one. Either way, I’m ready to attack. I’ve done a ton of research and have come up with what I think is the best of the best as far as attacking pigment and restoring my skin without using hydroquinone or Botox.
I was thinking about getting this Pigment Bar from PCA Skin, a medical line that I really like but I nixed the idea and will stick with my cleanser that I love. I’m just not sure how much help a cleanser is in fading dark spotting since it’s only on the skin for a few seconds and the ingredients are washed away. If you’re curious though, check it out- it’s a cool concept and people seem to really like it.
Hands down, one of the most effective things I’ve ever used on my skin has been Mandelic acid from Vivant, a line sold through skin pros and doctors that is really picking up steam in the industry for its skin-changing ways. Mandelic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid extracted from bitter almonds, so it’s a safe alternative to hydroquinone (a skin lightener that really works well, but has safety concerns.) This 9% solution will help to lighten while also making my skin soft enough to allow the serums and creams to penetrate and work that much better.
I was a little on the fence about this one so I ordered two and then canceled one. I wanted to get Skinceuticals Phyto + which I ordered from Amazon (before canceling) because of its botanical formula and kojic acid, a known skin lightener. In the end the shaky reviews mixed with the fact that I know Mandelic will definitely work were what swayed my decision to stick with a more potent formula. So I ordered Vivant’s Mandelic 3-in-1 Serum 15% which combines Mandelic with Lactic Acid, a combination that will lighten and brighten my skin without question.
Can I use a retinol while nursing? My derm thought so and she recommended Afirm, a Retin-A alternitive (sidebar: Terntinoin and Retin-A both break me out because they put the vitamin a into a cheap cream that’s all greasy terrible so I can’t use it anyway) that’s easily absorbed into the skin and gives the same results as a prescription retinoid at a fraction of the cost. A good retinol will diminish wrinkles, fade discoloration, and give better clarity and tone to the skin. Another interesting fact: Retinoids are the only FDA approved treatments for wrinkles. I bought the 3X, formula which amounts to a 0.6% retinol which is their strongest treatment. Again, I’m getting the higher percentage treatments for all of the formulations just because my skin is used to really active stuff.. Start with the 1% just a few times a week if you’re just venturing into the world of retinol, but really if you have wrinkles or discoloration to get rid of this is a really good place to start.
I always use an antioxidant serum during the day to combat further damage (and you should too), so I’ll use Vivant’s Spin Trap serum with vitamins C&E. I’ve used this one in the past and for some reason it seems to keep longer than others, it doesn’t turn that dull color vitamin serums turn after just a few months which means its potency is also in tact.
I went out on a limb for this one. I’ve never used Nia 24 but I see it everywhere and am fascinated by it since it’s the only niacin-based product I know of. There’s a bunch of research they have on their site (independent from them) showing how niacin heals sun damaged skin and can even play a role in skin cancer prevention. Their signature treatment cream is this Intensive Recovery Complex, pricey at $118 but something I’ve literally looked at buying for years. Because it’s meant specifically for hyperpigment issues, I thought it would fit in perfectly with my whole skin-lightening regimen.
Good SPF is key when you’re using an active bunch of products like this. Even in the winter when you don’t think you’re getting sun exposure, you are. I’ve been using Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint as a daily primer and skin perfector. The look and feel is just like a slightly tinted primer that helps to even out skintone pre-foundation. I love Coola’s sunscreens, it’s an organic line that only does suncare so they do it really well. It’s basically a really good SPF disguised as a great makeup primer that will help even out my skin on days when I won’t be wearing foundation (which will be quite often in the coming weeks.)
Oh- and I’ll be using my Dermaroller to get super maximum penetration and faster results. Read HERE and HERE to catch up on the magical wonders of Dermarolling (aka microneedling) if you missed my past posts on the subject, and keep an eye on Hautelook (get the app) because they often feature them for just $20 or $30.
Those sleepless/uncomfortable nights during this pregnancy meant lots of time on Pinterest. Instead of just pinning away and collecting photos of projects I’ll never do, I actually did a few things that I never imagined possible.
I debated for a long time whether or not to paint these dressers from Ikea once we decided to use them in the nursery. Both nurseries have white cribs and dressers because I didn’t like any of the wood options and black seemed too harsh for a girl’s room. This meant two similar looking rooms and the oppertunity to go a little more creative to try and make each unique. I love the ombré painted furniture that’s so popular right now, and that look just seemed perfect in this room since I went big on color whereas my first daughter’s room has splashes here and there. Why not I figured?! The very worst thing that could happen is I’d just paint it white again.
It’s so easy and fast. Here’s what I did.
These are the dressers we used from Ikea which were originally intended to be nightstands for our room but turned out to be way too big. Because one was already put together when we discovered how massive they looked, I decided to re-purpose them in the new nursery instead of taking them back to Ikea to fight for a store credit. Harper’s dresser is never enough storage it seems and we already have these mostly filled so I’m glad this is what we went with instead of one smaller dresser.
Here they are before the paint, just plain ol dressers. I went to Guiry’s and paid a few bucks for 3 of each color in sample sizes (pictured on the dresser) which was just enough to cover the drawers with 2 coats. Not shown is the priming step where I used this primer that we also used to stain our nightstands.
I thought at first it was going to look too dark, but I love it. The darkest color is what’s used in the room for the curtains and accessories, so that’s what I matched to. More photos of the nursery to come (I’m thisclose to being done!!)
Seeing all of the pretty fall decorations on Pinterest inspired me to make glitter pumpkins for my fall mantle I put together every year at this time. It turned out to be so easy and I love the touch of sparkle they add to an otherwise dull palette. Here’s how I did it.
All you need is craft glue, a brush, ultra fine glitter, and ‘funkins’ which is what the plastic kind is actually called. I found it all at Hobby Lobby.
Use the brush to spread the glue on the pumpkin then sprinkle on a good amount of glitter to really coat it. Do it over a paper towel so when you’re done with each one you can fold the paper towel and dump the excess glitter back into the jar. The final step I didn’t show was painting the tip of the pumpkin stem black. Not a must but I had the paint sitting around and thought it would add some pop.
It took no time at all and wasn’t the mess I thought it would be.
There are so many ways to display them, but I wanted them on or in something to contain any glitter fall-out. I put two of them on pine cones in large vases and the others on top of a baking dish I turned upside down. I like the varying heights in the display so it’s perfect.
Be brave and try a little DIY for holiday decor. It’s not as hard as you’d think.
I knew when we started designing our bedroom that I didn’t want any matching furniture. I wanted a contemporary look with personal touches even if that meant we’d have to do some work ourselves. After combing through my fave app Houzz I saw a nightstand that I loved. A few days later on Pinterest I discovered the world of ‘Rast hacks’ (Google it!) and here we are. Check out our journey in making unfinished furniture into something really special and cool for our bedroom.
And here’s the $35 Rast dresser (I don’t know why they call it that, it’s barely large enough to be called a nightstand) from IKEA.
What we used. I read that BIN was the best primer for the job so it’s what I got. The middle can is a white Benjamin Moore Paint, and Danish Oil stain. The small can on top is the polyurethane that you use over the stain to seal it- not a step you want to skip.
All primed! The drawer fronts were the easy part, just one coat of primer and 2 of the white paint. I used a roller instead of a brush so I wouldn’t get brush streaks, but I ended up with small bubbles that made the surface look textured so I used a light grit sandpaper to smooth it out before the second coat and then I rolled slowly. Ask someone when you buy the paint what brush or roller would work best so you don’t get streaks or bubbles.
Here’s Mike applying the first coat of the Danish Oil. He ended up using several more coats and then a different stain in a process that ended up taking a few weeks because we couldn’t get them as dark as we wanted.
After a little Googling and a lot of help from the paint department at Home Depot, Mike bought a third stain. We ran the risk of the stain not penetrating because of over saturating so he sanded them down first before adding a Minwax stain that would end up being just perfect. We were thankful it worked and they dried in just a few days. The nightstand on the left is what we had after trying the two stains and on the right is the final color. It looks black but it’s not, it’s a rich chestnut that matches our dresser perfectly.
The ring pulls were from Horton Brasses, they’re the 1 7/8 size with a satin nickel finish. Yes, pricey but you won’t find something that looks this nice at Lowe’s or Home Depot (believe me I tried!)
A few takeaways:
These Rast nightstands are much shorter and more narrow than what we’ve had in the past. Measure what you already have in your room, then measure these to see how they size up. I didn’t mind the smaller size because they force me to de-clutter.
Because they’re so small, they aren’t terribly sturdy. Consider what you’ll be putting in them and if you have small children who climb all over things. Again, we haven’t had any problems but it’s something to think about.
If you aren’t getting the right color right away, go buy another stain because layering doesn’t increase the richness of the color by much.
Try the stain on just a small area instead of the whole thing. Doing that would’ve saved us a lot of time.
I’m so glad we took a chance with this project since we aren’t DIY people. They turned out perfect and gave us the confidence to do another project for the nursery that I’m so excited to share with you soon.
As a member of JOHNSON’S Baby Cares Council, I got to do something so fun and rewarding last night for their Cares program. I gathered up a small group of my sweet neighbors for a Care Card party where they helped me decorate and assemble packages filled with JOHNSON’S baby products as well as our notes of encouragement to send to families right here in our own community. Boulder was especially devastated by the recent flooding here in Colorado and the families who are left without homes and stories of entire neighborhoods destroyed have weighed heavy on all of our hearts. We talked about families who were still living in shelters and had lost everything, and the babies born amidst the chaos and we hoped that the boxes we decorated would cheer them up knowing we were thinking about them.
This week I will hand deliver the packages to the Red Cross in Boulder to make sure they’ll be delivered personally to the families with little ones who need the essentials they didn’t have time to grab on their way out when they had to evacuate their homes.I’m so happy we were able to come together and do something for these families.
Here are a few pics from the evening.
If you’d like to send a Care Card with a message of encouragement to a mom you know, click HERE to use JOHNSON’S virtual app on their Facebook page.
Disclaimer: As a Johnson’s Baby Cares Council member, all of the care packages were sent to me to assemble. The photos, wording of the post, and charity choice were all my own. #ad