Faking It

Have you ever arrived at work, caught a glimpse of yourself in the bathroom mirror and wondered, “What the hell happened?” This happens to me on a daily basis. Each morning I leave my house confident that I look somewhat presentable (my expectations aren’t low, just realistic… There’s a difference, right?), yet arrive to school looking more like something that the cat dragged in.

I can say with some degree of certainty that lack of sleep (and perhaps bad lighting?) is the largest contributing factor to my less than ideal appearance these days, although the extra glass of wine each night isn’t helping my cause. I have come to terms with the fact that I will not be getting more rest any time soon, but I am holding out hope that I can perhaps find a way to at least fake a full night’s sleep.

Instead of grading the stack of papers that I have managed to avoid for the past week, I’ve decided to scour the internet for tricks and tips to help me look more rested. My theory is that if I look more rested, I will feel more rested, and if I feel more rested I will finally get around to grading all of those papers. So you see, this endeavor is completely warranted and not another way to procrastinate at all.

Here are some of my favorite ideas that I plan on trying out STAT. And by STAT I mean when I get paid.

1. Line Your Lower Lashes

tarte-emphaseyes-inner-lip-brightener

But don’t use black. To make your eyes look bigger and brighter, trace a nude eyeliner (like Tarte EmphasEYES™ Inner Rim Brightener, $18; Sephora.com) on the inner rims of your lower lashline. “Make sure the liner is a beige-y color and not too white,” says Tim Quinn, celebrity makeup artist for Giorgio Armani Beauty. “Beige looks more natural and does a better job of neutralizing redness in or around the eyes.”

www.oprah.com

2. Even Out Your Complexion

Koh-Gen-Do-002

A sheer, dewy foundation can do more than a concealer alone to make you look beautifully awake. Case in point: An actress we recently worked with arrived at our O shoot straight from a red-eye flight—yet looked as if she’d just woken from a long, delicious nap. She credited a layer of Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation ($62,KohGenDoCosmetics.com). “It’s luminous and totally imperceptible,” she raved. “Even though it’s light, it evens out redness and discoloration, and makes me look instantly refreshed.”

www.oprah.com

 

3. Deflate Lids

To counteract puffiness, choose an eye treatment containing a mix of peptides — some of the least irritating anti-aging ingredients — and caffeine, which has a diuretic effect. Try First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller ($24, Sephora). Stash it in the fridge before applying under eyes. “Coldness counters puffiness,” says Elise Brisco, O.D., an optometrist in Los Angeles. Or, rest refrigerated 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads ($8 for six, drugstore.com) on lids for five minutes. They’re filled with a soothing gel that’s 97 percent water.

 2nd_skin_moist_burn_pads

www.goodhousekeeping.com

4. Hang Around the Water Cooler

Sleep deprivation can mildly dehydrate you, even if you’re not suffering from a happy-hour hangover. And dehydration actually compounds fatigue, Breus says—so sipping water will help lessen sleepiness. Drink enough so you’re not thirsty and you have clear-ish urine, Breus recommends.

Another trick: Throw in a few ice cubes. “Unlike warm drinks, which tend to relax you, cold beverages can increase alertness because they are more refreshing,” Kennedy says.

www.health.com

*I am really good at this. I drink water all day long at school, and wine all night long at home. 

5. Don’t Skip Your Lids

If you’re focused on under eye circles and puffiness, it’s easy to look right past another dead giveaway of exhaustion: pink eyelids. Baumann tells patients to dab them with a cotton ball soaked in (of all things) Afrin.“Nasal sprays contain something called oxymetazoline, which addresses both redness and swelling,” she says—and notes that it’s particularly effective when you’ve been crying. If they still look pink, makeup artist Troy Surratt recommends applying an eye-shadow base. “One that’s peachy will neutralize blue, purple, and gray tones,” he says. In a pinch, yellow-based concealer will work on purple circles—just be sure to pick a formula that isn’t thick or drying. Try: Estée Lauder Pure Color Eyeshadow in Peach

afrin

www.allure.com

6. Conceal

An under eye concealer is a new mom’s BFF. Try: Benefit’s Erase Paste ($26; benefitcosmetics.com)

www.parenting.com

erase

7. Brighten.

A dab of eye brightener in the inside corner of each eye diverts attention from dark circles.

www.parenting.com

*I use a white, shimmery eyeshadow & dab it in the inside corner of each eye with a Q-tip. Sometimes I think it makes my eyes look awkwardly close together. Perhaps I am not applying the shadow correctly?

8. Exercise for dull complexion

If skin isn’t allowed time to renew overnight, it can look sallow, ashy, and pasty. “When you don’t sleep, your body doesn’t have a chance to increase microcirculation, which means it can’t deliver key nutrients to the skin, ” says Jeanette Graf, M.D., a dermatologist based in Great Neck, New York. Even a short morning workout session can help boost circulation, as will a dry body brushing before you shower.

www.naturalhealthmag.com

*Good in theory, at least.  

9. Eyelash curler–  Curling your lashes opens up the eyes and will make you look more awake and alert. This eyelash curler by e.l.f. retails around $1.50! Eyes Lips Face (e.l.f.) products are not only inexpensive, but cruelty-fee, as well. You can find e.l.f. products at Target & Walgreens.

CURLER

10. Blush- NARS Blush provides a healthy glow to flatter any skin-tone. Orgasm Blush makes cheeks blush a perfect pinky-peach flush and subtly highlights with accents of golden shimmer. The perennially pleasing, universally flattering shade is again and again a makeup artist and beauty editor favorite. According to Sephora.com, “the super sexy pink flush gives the effect of a radiant afterglow.”

*Sign. Me. Up.

nars

www.sephora.com

11. Birth Control Not going to help you look rested, but will pretty much guarantee a better night’s sleep. 

bc

I am definitely going to try some of these ideas over the next few weeks. I’ll keep y’all posted on how it works out. Do you have any tricks to help you appear rested when you actually feel like the walking dead?

XO,

Elleigh

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Week of January 12th Menu for Momma and J

My little boy is growing up.

Baby J is a little less than a week and a half away from six months old, and I kid you not, I am getting misty-eyed typing those words. Six months old. To tell the truth, I’m not exactly sure why it makes me so emotional. He is a ball full of love and silliness. He is healthy and happy (most of the time). I’d even go so far as to say that this whole baby thing is somewhat easy. We are blessed to say the least.

The first couple of months, however, were a different story. Everyone said it was hard. My sister told me that the first two weeks were hell. But regardless of the warnings, and there were plenty, there was no way to prepare for that kind of hard.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Baby J had silent reflux, and consequently screamed 23 hours a day. Not cried. Full on screamed. And if you’ve ever read my blog before, you know that I was not experienced in the baby department, like, at all. I thought it was normal for a baby to scream all of the time. It breaks my heart looking back knowing that he was actually screaming because he was in pain. Ugh.

Now our little baby boy is holding his own bottles and rolling like a wild man. He will be crawling in no time. I am trying not to be sad that he is growing so quickly, but to relish in the now, because we all know how quickly it will go. Perhaps I can convince him to live with me forever?

In my opinion, one of the most exciting parts of reaching the six month milestone is the introduction of solids. Up until this point, J has had no interest in eating anything other than his feet.

After a lot of reading, we have decided to go a less traditional route and bypass the standard “first foods” (aka mush of some sort). This approach to feeding is called Baby Led Weaning, and it is growing in popularity here in the states. In a nutshell, this approach allows babies to control their solid food consumption by “self-feeding” from the very beginning of their experiences with food.

So far, we have offered J pesto pasta with veggies, toast, and a couscous dish… He is essentially tasting everything that we eat, which will sure make life easy when he is eating solids on a regular basis. Perhaps early exposure to a wide variety of flavors and textures will prevent J from being picky like his mama.

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Baby J trying a piece of lightly buttered toast for the first time. 

This week, I have planned my meals around Jack in hopes that I can offer him a little bit of “real” food each night. I’ve also selected high-fiber meals because I have ten more pounds of baby weight to lose… Beans, veggies, and whole wheat grains have always done the trick for me.

Sunday- Couscous Gratin with Peas & Pimientos*

Monday- Southwest Pasta Salad

I am using light ranch dressing and whole wheat pasta.

SouthwestPastaSaladHarrisSisters

Tuesday- Mushroom Parmesan Rice

I am adding Tempeh.

Mushroom-Parmesan-Rice-8-398x530

Wednesday- Veggie Enchiladas with Tofu*

Thursday- Pesto Tortellini with Beans & Veggies*

Recipes

Couscous Gratin with Peas & Pimientos

From Quick-Fix Vegetarian by Robin Robertson

Ingredients

2 c veggie broth

1 cup quick-cooking whole-wheat couscous

2 scallions, minced

1.5 c frozen baby peas

1 2-oz jar of chopped pimientos, drained

1 TBS evoo

2 TBS dry bread crumbs

2 TBS grated parmesan

2 tsp margarine

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring the veggie broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the scallions, peas, pimientos, and olive oil (I added 1 clove minced garlic & handful of garbanzo beans).

Lightly oil 2 qt gratin dish. I used mid-sized casserole shown below, b/c quite frankly, I don’t know what the hell a gratin dish is.

3-piece-potluck-baker-set

Spread couscous mixture evenly in the dish. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and parmesan. Dot with margarine, cover, and bake for 15 min. Uncover and continue baking for 5 minutes more, or until top is lightly browned.

Veggie Enchiladas w/ Tofu

*This is my own “recipe.” I don’t measure anything.

Ingredients

whole wheat tortillas

whole black beans, drained

diced red bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and cubed extra-firm tofu (lightly sauteed with garlic & evoo)

canned corn, drained

1 can red enchilada sauce

2% sharp cheddar & pepper jack cheese, grated

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce into casserole pan and spread around to prevent tortillas from sticking. Mix beans, corn, & sauteed veggies in bowl. Spoon mixture down center of tortilla and top with grated cheese. Roll tortilla and place in casserole. When you have made your desired amount of enchiladas, pour enchilada sauce over tortillas and cover with grated cheese. Bake covered for 30 minutes, uncover and cook another 5 minutes.

Pesto Tortellini w/ Beans & Veggies

Also my own recipe.

Ingredients

Buitoni Whole Wheat 3-Cheese Tortellini

Pesto Sauce

Matchstick carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, frozen peas, diced onion and diced red bell pepper lightly sauteed in evoo with minced garlic

handful of garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained

Instructions

Cook pasta according to directions. Mix pasta, sauteed veggies, and beans in large bowl. Serve with parmesan cheese.

So that’s it! I’ll let y’all know how it goes. Oh, and just a side note, I am seasoning after I set aside J’s portion, and I will also make his portion more baby-friendly by cutting into small pieces/and or lightly mashing. I don’t expect him to eat much at all, but hopefully the experience will pave the way to adventurous eating in the future. I also plan on discussing Baby Led Weaning with my pediatrician at his six month check-up.

XO,

Elleigh

Nursery Art: Midnight In Paris

Decorating the nursery is one of the first bullet points to land on the seemingly endless list of things to do when expecting a new baby. Although decorating is an exciting endeavor, it can also prove rather overwhelming. There are color schemes, themes, and styles to consider. Vintage or modern? Nautical or zoo animals? The possibilities are virtually limitless.

Thankfully, babies take a while to cook, which grants parents the time they need to put together a thoughtful, functional, and budget-friendly room. In all honesty, your little one will probably spend more time in your room than their own in the first few months, but it just wouldn’t feel right to bring baby home to an incomplete nursery.

Artwork is an integral part of the nursery decor. Of course there are a million adorable pieces that you may find on Pinterest or Etsy, but the overexposure of many of these once unique pieces has made them somewhat passe. Take chevron, for instance. Search “nursery decor”on Pinterest, and you will understand exactly what I mean. There’s chevron bedding and chevron curtains. Pink chevron. Green chevron. Chevron in every color of the rainbow. I kid you not, there are even chevron fan blades and light switch covers.

chevron

I happen to think chevron is adorable… I am certainly not calling the cuteness factor into question. The point that I am trying to make is that chevron is simply overdone.

When I initially began writing this post, my intentions were to highlight a hodgepodge of unique artwork suitable for both boy and girl nurseries. Due to the overwhelming amount of options I found, I decided to scale my post down significantly. Below you will find artwork that captures the classic, sophisticated, and playful essence of Paris… I couldn’t think of anything more perfect for a baby girl’s nursery. In fact, it kinda makes me want to start trying for a little girl… Like, today.

Parisian Chic

Click pictures for ordering info.

tutu1slipperstutu2

ballet1

skirts

chalkprintfashion

doll

door

chanelchanel2diorcoco

ballonjetaime

Translation: “I love you more than yesterday, less than tomorrow.”

I had so much fun putting this post together. Stay tuned for future installments featuring more artwork for both baby boys and girls. If you have any unique nursery ideas or artwork that you love, please share your ideas with me!

XO,

Elleigh

Mexican Sunday

Before Baby J was born, my husband and I had the most amazing weekly ritual. You see, we both love Mexican food and drinking margaritas (What Texan doesn’t?), so we would spend the better half of a Sunday indulging in just that. We’d cook. We’d laugh. We’d nap if we wanted to nap. We knew we had it good… We just didn’t know how good we had it.

Prior to the inception of this weekend ritual, I spent every Sunday moping around the house, depressed that I had a full work week ahead of me. The Sunday Blues I called it. I wasted an entire day each week dreading the following day… That’s no way to go through life! So B (my husband’s pseudonym) and I decided that we were through mourning the premature death of a weekend, and that is how Mexican Sunday was born.

And then Baby J came along, and everything inevitably changed.

After a few weeks passed and the “newborn” dust settled, we attempted to recreate our sacred Sunday ritual. We just knew that if we could get this right, there was hope that the rest of our lives had a chance of normalizing, too.

It was early-ish on an otherwise ordinary Sunday morning, and we opted for our usual brunch selection… Migas. If you have never had migas, make them this weekend, and while you’re at it, smother them in the Queso Blanco recipe provided below, because a sprinkling of cheese simply will not do.

Here is the play-by-play of our first post-baby Mexican Sunday:

Baby screams.

Margarita round 1.

Baby refuses to nap.

Margarita Round 2.

Miraculously, Mama and Baby nap.

Dada eats migas and continues drinking.

Mama wakes up to dirty dishes, cold migas, and a sleeping husband.

Baby cries. Again.

Mama cleans the kitchen and opts out of migas altogether, because quite frankly, nothing sounds grosser than cold eggs. Needless to say, we tabled Mexican Sunday for awhile.

Now that Baby J is almost 6 months old, we thought it was time to try our luck with Mexican Sunday again. But instead of Sunday, we decided on last Saturday night, as “Date Night” just ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. On the menu: Queso, chips, corn tortillas, and of course, margaritas.

Surprisingly, Mexican Saturday was perfect, and not just because Baby J slept like a little angel through the night. It exceeded our expectations because we were able to share the food we love, in a home we love, with the understanding that life will never quite be the same again… And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Our new Sunday ritual.

This queso recipe is a collaboration of sorts between my husband, Ro*tel, and myself. And I use the word recipe loosely… It is more of an add ingredients, taste, and adjust kind of thing.

Queso Blanco

photo 1 (1)

I actually took this picture myself, y’all. 

Ingredients

1/4 white onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 roasted jalapenos, skinned and diced

1 raw jalapeno, diced

1 handful of cilantro, stemmed and roughly chopped

16 oz queso blanco

velveeta-queso-blanco

1 can of Ro*tel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilis

Instructions

Cut cheese into large cubes for easy melting, toss into crock pot on medium heat. Saute onion and red bell pepper 3-5 minutes. Add sauteed veggies and Ro*tel to crock pot, stir. Add roasted and raw jalapenos into cheese mixture. Allow cheese mixture to melt. Stir in cilantro. Serve hot with chips and/or tortillas.

Margarita on the Rocks 

serving size: 1 drink

Ingredients

3 TBS Tequila

1 tsp agave nectar

2 TBS fresh squeezed lime juice

Instructions

Mix in a cocktail shaker. Serve over ice. Garnish with fresh lime and salt, if desired.

photo 2 (1)

Love my margarita glasses from Crate & Barrel. 

And for all of you Northerners, let’s be very clear about one thing. Queso is neither “cheese dip” nor “cheese whiz,” and to claim otherwise is just flat out insulting. I hope y’all try it, because once you do, you’ll never settle for “cheese dip” again.

XO,

Elleigh

Mama’s Little Helpers

My head is spinning. My eyes are burning. There is not enough coffee in the world to pull me out of this post-Christmas, sleep-deprived funk. I need a vacation.

Yes, today is only my second day back to work after a two week long hiatus, but I am already counting down the days until Spring Break. The deadline for finalizing report card grades is looming. A stack of ungraded papers is scattered haphazardly across my desk. My computer monitor is swimming in to-do lists. Would anyone notice if I gave everyone a 100 and called it a day?

God, I miss maternity leave…

I miss my pjs. I miss Willie Geist. I miss my baby.

I must focus on the positive…

I am grateful for my healthy baby boy. I am grateful that I have a job. I am grateful for my family.

I found this quote on Pinterest today:

happy

Perhaps my interpretation of this quote is a tad too literal. Having a baby seemed to have robbed me of more brain cells than I’d care to admit. So bear that in mind- along with the fact that I am running on fumes today-  as you read my list of some “common things” that are keeping me afloat until Friday afternoon.

kscott

Danielle Earrings by Kendra Scott

Perhaps the green will offset the redness of my blood-shot eyes?

anthro

Blushing Floral Infinity Scarf/ Anthropologie

 The gorgeous colors in this infinity scarf brighten my mood & conceal some of my less than ideal outfit choices of late. I’ve washed the same load of laundry THREE times this week, and it has yet to see a dryer… I need all of the help I can get.

candle

One of my students gave me this candle for Christmas. She said she picked it out especially for me because, “You’re a teacher, and teachers like apples, ya know?”  Gotta love the logic of a ten-year-old. And for the record, I hate apples. I wouldn’t mind a hot toddy, however. I swear this is the very distinct scent that Anthropologie uses to fragrance all of their stores.

Spiced Apple Toddy Candle/ Bath & Body Works

VINO

And speaking of booze, this wine is legit. At $10 a pop, I can afford to self-medicate for the entire week. I tasted and purchased more than my fair share of bottles at Whole Foods over the holidays. Is it weird that the in-house wine expert knows me by name? Because I think it’s pretty damn awesome.

Herdade Do Esporao Alentejo Alandra 2004

vampirewkend

Love the band, love the music, love everything. 

Gave The Hubs Vampire Weekend tickets for Christmas. Wanted to see them at ACL this year, but the dang kid shot that plan to hell.

KEURIG

Love my new Keurig, though the sound it makes when brewing coffee is eerily reminiscent of my breast pump. *shudder*

primer

This primer will perk up even the dullest & driest of skins (i.e. mine). Her tinted moisturizer has a cult-like following, though I have never tried it myself. If there was ever a time to shell out $43 on moisturizer, this would be it.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer- Radiance/ Sephora

What keeps you going during the week?

XO,

Elleigh