Glossier

It’s not surprise that I’ve always been a fan of Glossier. They make things super simple and easy when it comes to skin care and makeup which is such a necessity when you’re a mom. To me, less has always been more.  Skin first, makeup second!

I usually start my mornings by using Milky Jelly Cleanser.  It makes my skin feel so smooth and hydrated and clean even if I went to bed with a face full of makeup. Then I use Priming Moisturizer which leaves my skin feeling babysoft. I like to think of this winter as the winter I discovered moisturizer and how essential it is to keeping your skin healthy.  My make up is super simple with some Nars Blush in Orgasm, Burts Bees BB Cream (whatever has spf in it) and making sure my brows are brushed up and out.

Glossier recently reached out to me to become a rep for their products and I’m so excited to be joining their community.  Feel free to check out my page and shop around! You get 20% off your first order and free shipping on anything over $30.  If you have any questions, let me know. As a rep, I’m more than happy to answer anything and give recommendations. This is such an awesome next step and I’m so excited to be a part of the growing beauty community at Glossier! Happy shopping!

Xo,

Karen

Birthday Planning

Petras birthday is a little over a month away and I’m really trying to finalize some plans that I want to get together for her first birthday! It’s sort of tricky because on the one hand, Petra won’t remember this so it seems like it’ll be mostly a party for the adults. On the other hand, you only turn ONE year old once so we’re pretty excited (and, like, a little sad) at how fast our baby girl is growing up. 

I’m really teetering between just having pizza and drinks at the park next to some swings or maybe like doing a really nice dinner someplace fun and kid friendly.  I’ve even considered brunch because it’s my favorite meal and when it comes to kid foods, there’s nothing more kid friendly than breakfast foods. Plus it’s in the afternoon so we’ll be done by the evening. But I don’t know! It’s all up in the air right now. 

One thing I do have my heart set on, though, is getting her a cake from Milk Bar. Their birthday cake is amazing. Lukasz got me one for my birthday a few years back and I’ve been dreaming of having an excuse to get another one for a while. Because I guess I can’t eat a whole one by myself…  oh well! Any other birthday ideas?

Xo,

Karen

Running


So… I’ve decided to run a half marathon. This decision actually happened at the beginning of February when my coworkers were up for a good fitness challenge. On a whim, I signed up hoping this decision would force me into actually working out and eating healthy.  It didn’t and now I’m about a month away from this race and it’s crunch time.

I’m not actually worried because I’ve always been something of a runner.  I ran before I moved to New York. I ran after I moved because I had nothing to do and no one to hang out with. And before Petra was born, I had been signed up to do a charity run for cancer until I found out I was pregnant. But it’s been longer than a year since I put a good effort into this hobby of mine and my schedule has been so crazy that I didn’t even feel like I had time for to run. 

Well, I just joined a gym and this gym has childcare so my excuses (weather and having a baby) have been whittled down to zero and I’m on my first week of actually running consistently and it feels really great.  It’s something I’ve definitely missed.  Running made me feel really good about myself and I had forgotten that feeling until now.

With about a month to go, I’m really focused on running and breathing for a long period of time.  Since I haven’t had much working out for over a year, I’m not too concerned with time or trying to set some kind of PR… I just want to do a half marathon because I know I can do this. I’m gonna be posting more about this on my instagram account if you want to see. Im pretty nervous… but so excited!

On growing up

I feel like I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a while but it has taken me time to really form my thoughts on this subject.  I recently watched an episode of Girls where Hannah has to deal with the decision about having a baby or not and she happens to meet a version of herself on a stoop.  This version of Hannah is an actress and has two babies and she gives Hannah some unexpected advice “Kids are super easy.  It’s being an adult that’s hard”.  While I hate to be that person that comes to some sort of realization while watching a dumb show, this dumb quote really resonated with me.  Being an adult is hard.

I’m not going to get super specific about how I came to be pregnant and whether it was planned or not but, I will say that Lukasz and I were two semi-adults when everything happened.  And even the most prepared person will be caught off guard when that pregnancy test comes up positive.  Up until that point, my free time was spent lounging around, wasting money on crap and alcohol and probably watching TV during my free time.  Free time… remember that?  It’s really funny how having to raise a baby really, sort of, throws you into just being an adult and making adult decisions… or “Adulting” as the kids are calling it these days.  Now I have to think about how I spend money a little bit more and having a baby girl really affects every decision I make, right down to my eating habits.  How can I expect my daughter to eat healthy when I’m eating burgers all the time?  Lukasz and I have been thinking lately about how to advance in our careers and making a five year plan about what property to buy in the future, something with an extra bedroom in case we have another baby and a yard for our dog.

While it all seems pretty understandable, it’s just all so new to me. Also!  Kids are not easy.  But I’m going to really blame Petra on this one.  I’ve met other 10 month old babies and Petra has a crazy amount of energy that it’s hard to keep up with her sometimes.  But ok, all of that aside, I remember when Lukasz and I were thinking about getting a dog and we really wanted to wait for the right time because a dog was a “big responsibility” and we had to walk it twice a day and feed it.  In hindsight, I laugh at us back then and how silly we were.  Now if someone tells me “I can’t get a dog, I just don’t have the time for it.”  I roll my eyes and shake my head and juts walk away before this rage boils up inside of me and manifests itself in word vomit.  A dog is a piece of cake and babies are hard.  BUT they’re worth it.  My daughter is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life and even if I’m exhausted every single day, I go to sleep grateful and happy to be her mother.  And I’d do it all again a million times over.

xo,

Karen

Seven Months

Yesterday, our baby girl turned seven months! 

Petra has been army crawling up a storm around the apartment.  Not only is she crawling but she’s comfortably sitting up on her own and on some occasions, we’ll find that she’s pulled herself up to standing position on the crib, near her toys, by our shoes, etc.  It’s hard to leave this little adventurous lady alone!  

Petra hasn’t cut any teeth yet but that hasn’t stopped her from exploring all kinds of food.  After her last doctor’s visit at 6 months, we got the ok to feed her a little bit of everything with the exception of honey, of course.  I’ve been pureeing some simple goodies for her such as sweet potato and peas and we also do a little bit of baby led weaning by plopping down some apples and bananas and letting her explore texture and taste on her own with close supervision. 

While Petra doesn’t have any teeth just yet, she’s definitely been teething, sticking anything and everything in her mouth.  She’ll even bite down hard on my fingers to get some relief.  We’ve found that making tiny posicles using the Nuby popsicle molds has really helped.  These are perfect for little hands to grip and I think Petra finds the cooling taste soothing for sore gums. I’ve only used them a few times but my go-to recipe has been blending strawberries with some frozen breastmilk.  We’ve also been trying to have teething toys around at all times, such as her Sophie Le Giraffe.  I can see why the toy is so popular now! Sometimes all it takes is to be sitting in her stroller, chewing her giraffe and she’s happy as a clam.

Petra loves being outdoors.  I knew it would be hard to get out during the winter so we got her a Bugaboo High Performance Footmuff which seems to really do the trick in keeping her warm.  During these cold months, it has been a struggle to get her clothed and bundled up and ready to go outside but once we’re in the stroller, she’s happy to be in the fresh air walking her trusty sidekick, Pierrot.  They’ve definitely become closer friends these last few months.  She’s constantly crawling to him and he’s constantly licking her hands, which I’m not ok with (hello germs) so I’m also pulling them apart. But there are times when all she wants to do is pet him and, he’s not really into the hair pulling thing (because what dog is?) but he lets her and I love him for his patience.

She’s definitely into routine and around 8:30 every night, after a bath and sometimes a book, she drinks her bottle and goes to bed.  And even on the nights where she might not be ready just yet, she spends five minutes in her crib and slowly puts herself to sleep. She’s such a good baby girl.  I don’t know how we got so lucky with our little Petra.

It’s been pretty amazing to watch these milestones go by! Petra is definitely at such a fun age right now.  I think back often to the month after she was born and how hard things used to be and constantly remembering that it will get easier and it definitely has gotten so much easier.  What a journey so far! It really truly is only the beginning.  I love this sweet girl so much.  I feel really so so lucky to be her mama. 

Xo,

Karen

Starting solids



Even when I was pregnant, the day that my daughter would start solid foods was something I was super excited about.  I was excited because we live in such a huge city with so many different cuisines and flavors and tastes and I couldn’t wait to introduce it all to my little one.

I remember when my little brother was a tiny baby, I woke up one morning to my mother starting my brother on cereal.  I walked up to him, his tiny mouth a total mess and he gave me the biggest smile.  I still think about it and it melts my heart.  It’s still so strange to me that the tables have turned and now I’m the one with my precious little baby and she’s embarking on a new journey of her development. But I wanted to do a few things different…

First off, I didn’t want my daughter to start cereals or rice right away.  I know that it’s a great baby food that keeps babies feeling full but I don’t really feel that they offer much in terms of nutrition.  I also think that foods like fruits and cereal are easy.  When I was thinking of foods to start Petra on, I headed straight for the veggies. I’ve always been such a big vegetable lover.  My mother can attest that I refused to eat meat but I could down a salad with lemon juice squeezed on it like it was nobody’s business.  Even during my pregnancy, I craved cucumbers drowned in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cumin.  Lukasz, on the other hand, was raised on heartier meals including plenty of meats (hey Kielbasa) and root veggies like potatoes.    So who’s to say what Petra will like more!  This is what’s so fun about introducing kids to new foods!

For Petra’s first food, I pureed sweet potato using a Baby Bullet my parents sent us, which I absolutely loved.  I boiled one sweet potato and blended it with a little bit of water and it made like a million servings! (Ok, more like 6)  The Baby Bullet came with a storage system as well which is absolutely adorable and convenient.  I can freeze foods for later and I can also refrigerate them in cute little containers that have a date dial so I can always make sure the food I made is fresh.

So Petra’s first taste of the sweet potato was not so great.  To be honest, I feel like the reason was mostly due to her learning how to swallow something thicker than breast milk.  A majority of the potato ended up on her bib and halfway through our feeding session, she thought it would be adorable if she could just blow raspberries while her mouth was full (she was right, it was really cute, dammit.)  And I have to admit, having never tried to teach a baby to eat before, it was a little discouraging… I don’t know if I expected her to love it right away.

But I continued to feed her one serving day after day and by the third day, she was loving the sweet potato and a majority of it ended up in her tummy this time around.  I made pureed apples and pureed avocados this morning. It’s also important to remember to try one veggie at a time, in case they’re allergic to any of them!

A couple of books I’m currently checking out on this subject are Around The World in 80 Purees which is a book about worldly baby food to start at 6 months and 201 Organic Baby Purees, the title says it all. I highly recommend both.

Xo,

Karen

3 Months Post-Partum


Where does the time go, you guys? I feel like it was just yesterday I sat down, full of emotion, to write the birth story of my little girl. How can it be that she is already 3 months old? Let’s update on both, my recovery an my daughters growth. 

Me: Three months has passed and I’m still constantly in wonder of everything my body has recovered from.  I’m not back to my pre-pregnancy size but I don’t really care either.  My main concern is that Petra is healthy and fed through my breastmilk for as long as I can produce. I have gone on a couple of runs that have made me feel good but for the most part, after returning to work, I use my free time to soak in all the love from my little family.  I sometimes get hip pain sporadically but I know that will go away.  It’s hard when I feel some kind of pain to know if it’s because my body is returning to normal or if it’s just regular old post-partum pain but I’m feeling good.  I’ve definitely been trying to eat at healthy as possible since I’m still currently breastfeeding but they weren’t kidding about the cravings.  I definitely want all the carbs right now.  I don’t worry too much about it. I know my jeans will fit eventually.  Or not, I don’t know.  My hips definitely seem wider than before I got pregnant so I might have to go up a size now. 

Petra: Petra’s development has literally blown me away.  It’s amazing how much babies learn in 3 months.  Petra’s eyes have developed and she looks right at mom and dad when we talk to her.  She smiles when we make silly faces and she talks all kinds of babble and sometimes that babble turns into tiny screams, which, call me crazy, but I find adorable.  Even her screams are high pitched, she sounds like a little lady, which is weird to say but so true! She also is currently dominating tummy time as made evident by the photo above.  Hopefully that means her little back muscles are super strong and she’ll be rolling over in no time. She’s drinking breastmilk only.  We’ve definitely tried to supplement some formula to kind of make it easy in case I’m not able to pump a lot but she hasn’t really found a formula she likes so I guess I’m just working harder to pump more for her. Lukasz is staying home with her until September and the cute pictures he sends me while I’m at work absolutely make my heart melt.  No one can make her smile like her daddy!

Xo.

Karen

On Motherhood.

“When my baby came out of me, I went into mourning. I mourned my selfishness, my old life, my cute body—but I also mourned her. How perfectly safe and endless she was before I brought her into the world, maybe before she was even conceived. The hopes I had for her. The perfect life I had imagined. All of that was protected before. And now she was human. Exposed, vulnerable, and suffering.” -Jemima Kirke writes in Time, October 2015

If there is one thing that no one told me about giving birth or becoming a mother, it was the complexity of emotions I would definitely feel.  This overwhelming feeling of love and need to protect this little baby that came into this world.  And more than that, the fear that I wouldn’t always be there to protect her and at some point in her lifetime, I would have to let go and watch her make her own decisions and become her own person without me standing in the way, despite my wishes for her.  It’s overwhelming to even think about.  For the most part, I try to take things one day at a time.

It’s bittersweet, stepping into this new role.  You say goodbye to your old life and your old freedom.  Some days I feel selfish for missing it. And some days I look at my daughter and realize that there are bigger things here than the ability to step out whenever I want to get a manicure.  Some days I remind myself that I’m raising my own little best friend.  Manicures and drinks can wait. 

Im not going to lie and say there haven’t been moments of loneliness. So, I’m thankful for the quote above and for women that can explain the process and emotion of becoming a mother better than I can. It helps to know that my I’m not alone in this journey.  It helps to know that maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up for feeling that way. And it helps to know that I’m so lucky to have this experience.  I couldn’t have put my feelings into words any better.

Xo,

Karen 

Breastfeeding Essentials


My journey with breastfeeding has definitely been interesting.  Ever since Petra was born, I knew she would be breastfed.  There are so many advantages, medically and financially.  That isn’t to judge anyone that has done formula.  I know that I got lucky in having Petra immediately latch and my supply grow steady. And while I haven’t had any lactation problems so far (except one mild case of mastitis), there isn’t a day that goes by where I question whether I’m producing enough breastmilk or wonder whether Petra is getting the adequate amount of nutrition to help her grow.  She’s only at 8 weeks old but it has been a tough two months full of self doubt and a lot of work, from sore nipples to crazy pumping.  I don’t know about you guys but I very stupidly assumed breastfeeding would be easy.  Gosh, was I wrong but I did want to share the things that made it a little bit better.

1. Nipple Shields: I didn’t even know what this was until I was home from the hospital for 5 days and my nipples began to hurt from, well, Petra breastfeeding so much.  Łukasz is actually the one that brought it to my attention and I was rather impressed at his knowledge of such a thing.  Anyways, a shield is a thin piece of plastic that you put on your boob to create a barrier.  Some hate it because it eliminates the skin-to-skin contact.  Others hate it because they say it might cause nipple confusion.  For me and Petra it was a lifesaver.  My boob-skin (what?) got a break and after a few weeks of wear, I actually didn’t need it anymore.

2. Breast Pump: Oh the breast pump. I began using mine about a month after Petra was home from the hospital.  I love mine.  It was actually gifted to me by a friend who is expecting herself.  Sort of a test run to see how I like it, haha. Mine is electric although I have heard that manual pumps are amazing.  I have personally never tried a manual pump but I have no complaints from mine.  It gets the job done and it’s quick and it has two pumps attached so you can pump simultaneously.  I’ve only done that once though, it makes me nervous when at least one hand isn’t free.  Sort of negates the purpose right? Oh well.

3. Bamboobies: Boob pads! For those moments when you spring a leak the moment you hear a baby cry! No, but let’s get serious for a moment.  How weird is that? I will literally be about to hop in the shower when I could swear I hear Petra cry and bam, my body responds almost immediately.  It has settled down a bit now that my supply is established but these breast pads have been amazing.  I first got them as a sample from a baby expo and I loved them so I bought a whole box. I considered buying the reusable ones but I just can’t deal with the thought of having to wash them all the time. But I’m sure they’re great too! I’m just the laziest.

4. Water: I’ve googled a million lists on nutrition for how to maintain your breast supply and to be honest, keeping hydrated is the only thing I found consistent in those lists.  I now know there isn’t a magical food that’s going to make you produce more milk although women swear by oats, and fenugreek, and lactation cookies.  Maybe they work but I’m tired of eating oats.  Breastfeeding has made me incredibly thirsty though, but it makes sense: you make milk, you expel milk and while water won’t magically become milk, it helps to keep hydrated. Thus, my water bottle is literally always next to me.

5. Ziploc Bags: Lastly, these babies for storing milk.  I haven’t been great at increasing my milk storage in the freezer but I am trying, slowly but surely.  I remember wondering what I’m going to put the milk in and bottles are expensive and bags made for breastmilk are too. So one day while perusing the usual mom forums, I saw a mom say that she uses freezer ziplock bags.  Just make sure you get the ones with a zipper.  They’re inexpensive and they hold milk well. Bam, bought a box the next day and now I have a freezer fullllll of breastmilk.  Well not full but, like I said, slowly getting there.

This all being said, once again, I’m not an expert.  I’m just a first time mom trying to figure it out as I go along and what works for me might not work for others.  Maybe a shield just isn’t for you or maybe you prefer a manual pump, that’s all cool too.

Xo,

Karen

#MomLife

Let’s start this post by talking about sleeping habits, both mine and my daughters. Petra has gone to bed everyday for the past week at 9pm.  She has slept until about 3am, when she wakes to eat for about 20 minutes. She then goes back to sleep until she wakes up on her own, happy as a clam, in her own crib at around 7am.  I don’t know how we managed this but it has been amazing for me, to be able to get some decent sleep for the first time in 2 months.  I say “decent”, it could be better but I have no one to blame but myself.  I should sleep when the baby falls asleep and still, I am up until about midnight reading.  I never learn. Can you even believe I just spent a whole paragraph talking about sleep and sleep schedules?  This is it, guys.  This is the #momlife.

I’m fascinated by all things “baby”.  How she distracts herself, what is it that triggers her adorable smile, how many wet diapers she has in one day.  It’s all part of it, part of the glamorous life of being a new mom and having this little eleven pound nugget consume your thoughts and actions. Even after she’s fallen asleep, I can’t help but wonder what I could have done differently with our day and I really miss her when she sleeps.  It’s kind of a bummer because I know this time is so short and sweet and soon she’ll be at daycare and I’ll be working again and I’ll wish I was at home instead.

She’s such a good baby though.  How did we get so lucky?  She doesn’t cry BUT she has these little outburst to get your attention. Her voice is adorably squeaky and sometimes the only way to get her to take a nap when she’s fussy is to hold her tiny face against mine as we pace our apartment.

Petra is seven weeks old today.  Seven whole weeks! Where does the time go?  Can it really be true that she’s going to be 8 weeks old in just a matter of days?    The more time passes, the more cognizant she becomes and during playtime, my mind wanders and I think about what she’s going to be like in another whole month.  It’s so bittersweet to be so excited and yet so sad to think that time is fleeting.  Can I just hold her and she can stay this size forever?

xo,

Karen