Valentine's Day or just a great dress!

Honestly obsessed with this whole outfit right now!

This dress is super comfortable and stretchy. Runs true to size. The square neck line does mean that if you wear it solo you might need a strapless bra, but its so versatile – easy to dress up or down!

https://rstyle.me/cz-n/dzcb3wcterp

These boots were a bit of a splurge but they are SO worth it! They run true to size, comfortable around my calf, and they are the perfect camel suede color! I was nervous about pulling the trigger on them, but I do NOT regret it one bit. They’re as good as I could have ever hoped!

https://rstyle.me/cz-n/dzcb6rcterp

Freezing and Pregnant…

My favorite mom uniform for days like today – freezing and 19 weeks pregnant!

My leggings are some of my favorite maternity leggings- super soft and very supportive! The tank I have layered here is so long! it fully covers my bum and so does the sweat shirt I have over it.

Sweatshirt:

https://rstyle.me/+5MnsNI2rcbS8LMgsCSTmeA

Leggings:

https://rstyle.me/+oPncPXN0SXAlo1cFTRMb7g

Cami:

https://rstyle.me/+gjG7AoaYmUiwOt4ch1__6w

My all time favorite slippers- Uggs are on major sale in 2 colors right now, and would be a great time to snag them!!

Sale color Slippers:

https://rstyle.me/+E0cZg2Q5kpW5YFcsG1AyqA

Traditional Colors: (Not on sale)

https://rstyle.me/+gWc-f833AejbLaHZ6FGS_Q

I don’t know how I waited so long to pull the trigger on my first pair of Nickel and Suede earrings, BUT I am so glad I did with these ones! The light blue color and the enamel are so light to be able to wear all day but a super fun pop of color to brighten up my black on black!

https://rstyle.me/+kvq1TLUe2tU-vRBZU97H0w

The mom life uniform

I am seriously in love with this oversize sweatshirt! I am typically a Small but I really wanted an oversized feel, and still accommodate the bump, so I bought an XL! For a more fitted look buy your regular size!

Also- I haven’t talked about these leggings yet, but I AM IN LOVE! I you haven’t pulled the trigger yet- stop waiting! These spanx faux leather leggings make every look appear pulled together! I bought the maternity ones during their Black Friday sale and they’re perfect!

I am officially on the LiketoKNow.it app and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE if you would go and find me! My username there is the same as everywhere else – mamahouli_

I will be linking everything for you to be able shop instantly right there- From my outfits, Patrick’s adorable looks, a must have baby list – which I am working on right now! and home decor! LiketoKnow.it makes linking and shopping instant and easy to use!!

https://rstyle.me/+KumQ5_epDp3khkPO9I4NWw https://rstyle.me/+nFY82Irou0I8_rU1sUjTFg https://rstyle.me/+dD_DbzMj1AzBu8585bqaxg https://rstyle.me/+cvwUso_oVRdv8YTslSFfbg

Amazon Favorites

Can you even call yourself a mom if you don’t order half of your life off of amazon? I’m sure there are plenty of great moms who don’t, but I’m not brave enough to try it myself!

The past few months I have ordered a few new things that have quickly become my new favorites!

I ordered this journal because my word of the year is CALM! With a wild man under 2 and a new baby coming soon I am hoping to learn how to stay in the CALM during our chaos! Also- I have been known to curse and the touch of humor and real mom life cursing in this journal made me laugh and think it’s something I’ll look forward to jumping into and stick with! I ordered another one for my sister and she has been LOVING it too!! They make a few journals with a similar, but different themes- you will not regret this one, either for yourself or as a gift!

Okay- next are my new favorite beauty blenders. I have always preferred a beauty blender to a foundation brush. I find it streaks less, and it easier for me to use. But I struggle with the cost of the real one. After all, $20 for one little sponge seems crazy. Of course, I wash it and maintain it so that it will keep it as long as possible, but eventually the little sponge breaks down and I’m tossing it for a new $20 sponge. It gets to me. As a result I think I have tried every drug store beauty sponge on the market and they always disappoint. But I heard great things about the ones on Amazon, and the mountain of reviews pushed me over the edge to try one more time. This pack of 5 is just $8.99 and I actually am going to go so far as to say, it’s not just as good as the original – it’s better! It’s bigger and holds up for longer without breaking down! Impressed would be an understatement. If you have not tried these beauty blenders… stop waiting and order them!

Next up is a purchase I made out of frustration. Living in NY we’re currently undergoing a big shift away from straws- if you go anyplace where you might get a drink with a straw, that straw will no longer be plastic, but paper. I am 100% in agreement for the reasons behind this change. I get it. I really do. But I love drinking from a straw and I HATE paper straws. I have tried a few different options over the past few months for a good replacement to a paper straw and finally found these silicon straws that are so great! I love them- easy to clean, without breaking down, no taste or texture aversion. The metal taste like metal, paper breaks down and tastes like paper! These silicon ones are amazing! 10 straws for $5.99, a range of fun colors and a tool to help you clean them thoroughly! I now always have one with me so I can say no thanks to paper, and slip in my own reusable straw!

I have had this next item on my wish list for almost a year. When my parents gave us gift cards for Christmas I knew this would be what I purchase! A weighted blanket! There are plenty on the market, so I took my time reading reviews and looking into the different options. And ultimately this one came out on top over and over again. I bought it in navy and have been loving it so much! It is so soft, comes in different weight options (you want to be sure to buy for your body weight!) The insert with the weight doesn’t shift or move around inside yet at all which is huge! So far- one of my favorite splurges of the year!!

Last, but not least on my list is my handbag organizer. For Christmas Shaun surprised me with a LV Neverful GM bag. I had been wanting one as a diaper bag but I always knew if I had one, I would need this bag organizer. I have talked about this organizer with friends since before well before I ever had the bag myself and more than a few have ordered it and called me to thank me because it is genius and affordable and makes this giant tote bag manageable! It comes in a few colors and sizes depending on the size bag you have. No fret- you do not need to have an LV bag, check out the dimensions and consider it for any large tote bag you might carry around! It comes in a few colors so you can try and match the inside lining color!

LAST ONE! I spoke about these tops in my stories today, but they are so cozy and soft- super bump friendly or just legging friendly! Mostly all around MOM- life friendly. At $16.99 I am super happy I bought these – one in white and one in black- goes with everything and super versatile.

Favorite Dresses that work for the bump…

This dress is so soft, could be worn casual or very dressy without sacrificing any comfort- you can not beat this price at $28! I went up one size to accommodate the bump!

This dress is too good. I wore it last week and got tons of messages about where it’s from! For $14 you honestly cannot beat it. If your tall and accommodating a bump I would consider going up 2 sizes, but if you’re short like me – 1 size up was good! If you’re not rocking a bump get your usual size!

Absolutely cannot say enough about this last dress! – If you saw on my instagram it’s so flattering, super soft, versatile AND affordable at $23.99. Check out all the different styles, and colors they have available. I honestly am buying more colors as we speak!

https://amzn.to/370qAR7

Last Minute Christmas Checklist

If you are anything like me, you make your list, check it twice, and realize 2 weeks before Christmas you forgot teachers, and other small gifts you usually give out during the Holidays. Here are a few simple ideas we came up with this year for last minute gifts!

For Patrick’s teachers I picked up these great, and simple initial coffee mugs from Target. All of their coffee mugs are on sale for $5 and they have so many adorable Holiday designs! I really thought about grabbing some of those, but decided that the initial design they could use all year, and felt more personalized for them! Also! Target is doing free 2 day shipping, so don’t stress yourself about another run to the store, if you buy today, it should ship to you by Wednesday!

If you love giving more Holiday themed gifts check out some of these adorable designs!

I added some of my personal favorites – Assorted Lidnt Chocolates https://amzn.to/2LUTlpI and a Dunkin Donuts gift card. But you could add any candies or gift card you think the person would prefer- maybe you know where they get their nails done, or that they just love Swedish Fish?

My other favorite gift this year are the ornaments Patrick made for our family. They came out so adorable, and a gift made from him means more than anything I could buy from a store. They would also make a great activity for Christmas day to keep the kids busy while you’re working on meal prep!

The pre-drilled wooden discs are on amazon and are on promotion right now with an extra 5% coupon at checkout and deliver by Monday! https://amzn.to/36yq1gp

Patrick made his own creative designs! We also used his thumb to make a snowman, which I later decorated to look the part.

When we did our ornaments we used paint we had in the house, but any washable paint would be perfect! I found this set on amazon that comes with brushes and plenty of paint to keep them busy! https://amzn.to/34kIWKc The ornaments come with string you can use, but we decided to use a red ribbon I had handy to make them a little more festive! https://amzn.to/34kIWKc

We gave one ornament out a tad early and presented it on the neck of a wine bottle! It was great to see them open the the wine, assuming it would be just another bottle of wine brought to a party and see a toddler made gift! It brings a smile to everyone’s face- especially when they can drink wine while loving it!

I have a couple of favorite gifts I am giving out this year that could be perfect for almost anyone on your list! You can’t beat a good favorite from amazon, order this week and have plenty of time to wrap before Christmas Eve!

This neck massage pillow I actually purchased as a gift, and one for us! We’ve been using it daily and it is amazing! A perfect size, you can use on your upper back/neck or lower back- even put it on the floor and use on your feet! It is absolutely amazing and for the price, it cannot be beat!

This wine cooler set is so smart and comes in multiple color options. Great for anyone who drinks wine and likes to stay on the go- I can see multiple people on my list using this at the beach in the summer, on vacation at the pool, or on a camping trip! Such a great gift!

These slippers I bought for myself a few weeks ago and I have to say- they are amazing! So soft and cozy inside, comes in multiple beautiful color options, and would make a great white elephant gift! At $25 for the pair, they make a great gift for any of the girls on your list!

I have talked about this product on my blog before, but I will say again – it is amazing! I had a ton of people reach out me to since chatting about my experience with it a few months ago. I had incredible results with it, and it would make a great gift for any of the women in your life! (Just a quick reminder that it is not recommended to use during pregnancy or during breast feeding.)

Something to Consider this Holiday Season

As we prepare for this festive and exciting Holiday season I can’t help but reflect and consider our kids this time of year. 

The Holidays are full of fun and exciting parties, presents, lights, décor, music, a house full of people, and lots and lots of noise!  These gatherings are full of festive feelings and bring us so much joy, but they can also be very overwhelming and challenging for our little ones. 

So here are a few friendly reminders when hosting, visiting, and caring for our kids this holiday season.

  • Extended family and friends who we see during the Holidays can feel like strangers to our young kids. We are excited for them to see our kids, and of course they are too. But our kids… they don’t know who that person is. They don’t want to sit on their laps, or pose for pictures because they don’t know to trust them yet. If you are visiting a young child you don’t see often, give them some space, and please don’t be offended if they don’t wish to come to you. If you are a parent of a young one who does get shy- speak for them! Share with family and friends that your little one gets nervous or shy, that they do better from a bit of a distance. 

  • We can all become a bit overstimulated this time of year, and our kids are no different. If your young one is acting out of the norm, consider that the environment may be too much for them. Offer them some space from the buzz and noise around- maybe a quick walk outside or a break in a separate room. Some gatherings go late, and maybe it’s time to call it a bit early. Just like we get frustrated in line at the overcrowded store this time of year, our kids get frustrated in busy rooms with lots of people and noise.

  • Santa comes with so many wonderful gifts and then of course so do aunts and uncles, grandparents, and family! This alone can feel overwhelming and we get frustrated when our kids don’t show proper gratitude. Consider this time of year asking that family limit their gifting, or spreading the gifts out in a way that it isn’t one box after another. Encouraging gifts that are experiences rather than toys can limit the amount of “uncared for things” left behind in the wake of the Holidays. Even consider a post-Holiday toy clean out – get your older kids involved in making piles for things they wish to donate to other kids. 

  • Parties can often be distracting and our kids find ways of getting into mischief when left unattended. Young ones love to play with fragile decorations on low sitting tables, grab for wine glasses and coffee cups, and of course- the Christmas tree is just too tempting! Plan ahead and create fun age appropriate activities and crafts that your kids can work on while the adults are busy preparing meals and cleaning up. Themed scavenger hunts can be exciting for everyone, ginger bread house kits are always a hit and easy to find at your local stores. Pinterest is overflowing with toddler and baby sensory activities I plan I trying for Patrick this year!

Above all let us remember that our kids are just small people. If we can get overwhelmed, frustrated and tired this season… so can they! Keeping this in mind can help to avoid any unpleasant holiday fuss! And if Aunt Sally won’t stop pinching your baby’s cheeks, don’t be afraid to tell her to stop. There are plenty of nice ways to phrase it, but our job as parents and care givers is to protect our children’s boundaries when they cannot. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Answering questions about Eyelashes!

A TON of questions and comments lately about my eyelashes! I was a bit hesitant to share because I believe anything we put close to our eyes should be considered carefully and STILL everyone’s experience will be different.

But, I am also here to share so, here is what I have been doing.

** important note before reading further… this is NOT sponsored or a gifted product I am reviewing. Just a product I found and loved and giving you my honest review!**

My eyelashes are blonde, almost white, so I started wanting to wear mascara at a very early age. When I am not wearing mascara people will often ask “are you feeling okay, you look tired..” Nope, just no eye make up on today… 

No eye makeup

After Patrick was born I had some hair loss but I had a huge change in my eyelashes. They were weak and brittle and short and fell out constantly. When he was around 6 months old I decided to try eyelash extensions. I loved them! They were so beautiful and made me feel instantly better! But the trouble was… I was losing my natural lashes like crazy, which resulted in losing the extensions too. The extensions would often flip and spin around on my natural lash that was too weak to hold them up. After a few fills myself and the technician decided – these are not for me- at least not right now.

Pretty bummed about that failed experiment and about my lashes still being weak and brittle and short, I stumbled upon a serum that promised to grow, lengthen, and strengthen natural lashes. I had tried one serum before and had not been impressed so I didn’t have huge hope, but I decided I would give it a try. After all, one bottle of this serum cost less than 1 fill of the extensions!

February 2019- right before I started using the serum. I spent more time than I care to admit coating layers of mascara on…

Now, it probably goes without saying that I had amazing results. I LOVE this stuff. Even went so far as to purchase one of their other products made to improve eyebrows! But I have a few things I think are important to note:

  1. The eye area is extremely sensitive so I started slow and only applied a tiny amount, being sure to keep my eyes tightly closed when applying.
  2. I was religious about applying it every night!
  3. I had decent results within a month, but my full results took 3 months!
  4. I stopped using the product after about 5 months of consistent use and my lashes have stayed looking incredible. (It’s been about 3 months since my last use.)
  5. I used the eyebrow serum with less consistency and did have good results, but only used it for about 2 months. My eyebrows were of less of a concern for me and I was less motivated to keep with it… 
  6. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is not recommended due to insufficient research. Better safe than sorry and wait mama!

I use pretty basic drug store mascara- L’Oreal Butterfly effect. I have used it for at least 8 years now. I love the wand and find that the formula doesn’t dry out or flake. I love the price point and easy access since it is sold at every drug store, Target, and super market I have ever been to. Keep scrolling for results at one month and full results. Click on the amazon affiliate link to shop!

https://amzn.to/2othoDG – Eyelash Serum

https://amzn.to/2MSFH7b – Eyebrow Serum

https://amzn.to/36aFFzi -Bundle Set!

March 6, 2019- less than 1 month of use. Far less time on my mascara!
May 12th, 2019 full results! https://amzn.to/2othoDG

There is a WRONG way to support parents!

I read this quote the other day that was more like a statement, but I loved it so much…

“There is more than one way to raise a child”. 

That statement really got me thinking… We chat about this a lot now. And I can see people reading this and shaking their heads up and down- YES! Of course! Because, just think about the millions of decisions we make in one day for our kids. Of course, every parent will do things differently. We’re different people, with different lifestyles and different upbringings. Our children are different, with different personalities! Of course, there is no one way, no RIGHT way to raise our kids. The thing I wish I could follow that up with is…

“There is a WRONG way to support parents.”

I hear it all the time. Everyday. Among moms I meet online, and women I chat with socially. We feel an overwhelming amount of pressure from our families, our friends, our peers and co-workers, and even the cashier at Target. We feel these pressures and it feels a lot like judgement. It is not an invisible thing or invented by our minds. It’s real, and it comes from the mouths of the people we love.

Our family and our friends feel compelled to give advice and offer suggestions, but it can come out in the form of criticism:

“What you need to do is get the baby out of your bed.”

“Why aren’t you breastfeeding anymore?”

“What you need to do is make a bottle and let your husband help!”

“Why wouldn’t you stop him from doing that?”

“You know he that does that because you ____(fill in the blank).”

“Didn’t you see that article about __blank__, you really shouldn’t do that.”

“You know, when little Johnny was that age, I did it all by _____ (fill in the blank)”

I hear these things said EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! It’s wild to me, just how quick we are to diagnose and prescribe solutions when it comes to some else’s children. 

The real truth is… those comments are not helpful. When I am faced with those comments, I feel guilt. I feel judged. In turn, I never go to those people when I need something. When I am overwhelmed or confused, or need help, they are NOT my resource.

The most supportive and helpful people in my life remind me that I’m doing great. That there isn’t always an easy answer. They remind me that that sometimes we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The most supportive people in my life listen and love on me.

I ask those people for advice all the time. I ask them what to do when I’m overwhelmed and struggling to make a decision. I ask them what they would do in my position and I ask them for help in the moment. I don’t always make the same decision they would, although sometimes I do. The supportive people in my life love on me either way!! 

I am so grateful that I have those people in my life, and I hope to be that person in other parents’ lives too! Because this motherhood game is not easy, and the decisions and pressures can feel daunting at times. 

So, if you are an experienced mom, or a new mom, or just a well meaning friend… remember that sometimes what we need isn’t an answer but just a little love. We don’t need the side glances or off-hand comments. We don’t need your theory on the latest childhood research. But, we could possibly use a hand and a friendly smile.