35 posts categorized "Beauty & Style"

I said this to my daughter: "I feel fat"

May 05, 2014

I was having a water-retention day, just an unconfident and unenergetic day.  My 13-year old daughter was watching me get ready, waiting for me.  I put on a pants and a shirt, and the words just slipped out of my mouth: "I feel fat".

The moment I felt the words slip away, I regreted it.  I wished I never said it.

I am physically able and fit.  I have the privilege to be strong and the privilege to have time to dedicate to running, biking, and yoga.  I am not fat.

I never want my girls to feel like we are judged by our shapes.  It was the wrong statement for me to make; it is a class of statement I often try to refrain from making.  It gives my girls the wrong message.

This is my mama regret of the moment.

My nam-nams need support: seeking best nursing bras

September 01, 2011

I think it has been over a month since I wore a bra.  The tank tops with the shelf lining/bra is just too easy and comfortable.  Recently, however, a glance at my profile in the mirror made me feel like everything was slumping, sliding.  I felt like I could use a little pick-me-up.  

With this round of nursing, almost two years in, I think I have rotated through maybe only three nursing bras, but I have maxed out the use of the shelf tank tops.  One nursing bra was perfect for earlier months, when I had more volume.  It was a Motherhood, full-coverage, lightly padded, seamless number: supportive and effective.  My second nursing bra was more of the weekender, a total soft cup, unpadded, Bella Materna bra with a little rouching.  This one I loved because the whole cup folded down when unlatched, unlike the Motherhood one that had this fabric with a big hole where my breast would jut out of.  That was just weird.  My third nursing bra was a little treat,  a little something I picked up at Posh Baby in the Pearl.  It's a microfiber smooth cup with a little lacey trim, very functional but the slightest bit feminine (the Bella BumBum nursing bra).

All of these bras have run their course (tattered from all the laundering, clipping, and unclipping), and I think I deserve another one.  I don't want to break the bank, but I do know that we have several more months of nursing ahead, though on a tapered schedule (as the boy turns 2 in a few weeks).  Today's NYT article on nursing bras become more fashionable as well as functional makes me think that I'm not the only one on the search for the best nursing bra.  Your recommendations on styles & where to buy?

Smells Like Teen Spirit: the body odor begins

May 05, 2011

My 10-1/2 year old plays basketball three times a week and works up quite a sweat.  She hops right into the shower when she gets home.  Some of us don't even use deodorant, but I actually do, a little.  She has recently asked about whether she "needs" to use deodorant, and I let her know it was up to her.  I don't think her body odor is strong; it is barely detectable.

If she's interested in using, do we just have her use what I use?  Or, is there something more gentle for the younger set?

Seeking Consignment Stores: for Older Kid Clothing

March 29, 2011

We have some pretty decent suggestions on consignment shops throughout town, but - in my experience - most consignment stores have more robust selections for the under 5 set.  What about for older kids?  Even pre-tweens?

My daughter, now 10.5, is looking for a consignment or resale shop where she can bring in her unused items and exchange them for things she likes.  She explicitly asked me to ask the urbanMamas community for suggestions on where she might find success for the older-kid sizes.  Any tips?

What is your *must have* mama item?

March 07, 2011

The mama is the queen of multitasking.  On most days, I work at home.  My most favorite multi-tasking mama *must-have* item is....  my bluetooth.  On a day with lots of calls, I can easily bang through my four loads of laundry.  Or, when the kids are tucked in, sometimes I like to catch up with friends far and near on the phone while sweeping, washing the floor, making lunches.

There may be lots of things in your bag, but what is the one item that simplifies your busy mama life?

urbanMamas talk fashion: does it matter? do you do it? how? why?

August 18, 2010

I (Olivia) have been a mama for almost ten years. Before I became a mama, I used to love to splurge on myself.  I had - and still do - a weakness for boots, shoes, and bags.  Who doesn't?  I guess I am stereotypical.

When this VitaminWater Zero opportunity arose, along with the chance for a home visit from a fashion consultant (a la "What Not to Wear", the stuff that my family & I love to watch on an occasional lazy Friday evening), I was excited.  The day before his visit, though, I started to feel solemn.

I generally feel like a confident mama.  I feel lucky to be able and fit, with enough gumption to juggle the kids, a full-time job, a partner who has an equally demanding career, a car-lite lifestyle, a running hobby, a growing love for a growing garden, canning, and even managing a bit of this website in the off-hours.  But, in the past year especially, in my post-partum state (not only am I ten years post-partum, I am also ten months post-partum) I have felt drab, blah, even irritated with my wardrobe.  Last winter, I went to a festive salon, where other of my mama friends were also in attendance.  They were all - ALL - gussied up in slinky finery and pointy-toed shoes.  I was covered with a heap of a big, big sweater, clunky big fat shoes that I regretted wearing, and some ugly [so four-seasons-ago] gauchos that I once found for $5 at Nordstrom Rack [four seasons ago].  I felt disgusting and annoyed with myself.

Continue reading "urbanMamas talk fashion: does it matter? do you do it? how? why?" »

urbanMamas partnership with studio vitaminwaterZERO, KINK launches

July 12, 2010

Studio_zerologo_200 We here at urbanMamas are more about create-it-and-they-will-come than active outreach to the mama community in Portland, and when one of our readers came to us with an opportunity to reach a new audience -- and participate in a fun campaign to help us train for the Hood-to-Coast, which many of us run each year -- we were excited about the possibilities. So today, a joint effort with vitaminwater ZERO and KINK FM launches, and we'll steal the blurb from the web site: "studioZERO is a series of lifestyle workshops for all members of the KINK and urbanMamas Hood to Coast teams and "home invasions" for the founders of urbanMamas.com and KINK fm morning show host Sheila Hamilton. Conducted by Portland experts in fashion, fitness and nutrition, they're going to show you how it can be done!"

While the ladies that founded urbanMamas are not product loyalists, we were thrilled with the chance to -- we hope -- invite more Portland mamas outside of our circle of influence to join our supportive community of parents and children. And we're hoping that you'll enjoy watching as we take advantage of the experts who will give us tips on how to better make use of our cross training and can assess our bike-to-work-and-farmer's market fashion choices. We'll have the opportunity to post videos to report on our training process, and recount some fun things with other aspects of our life-as-mamas, too.

Homemade deodorant and triclosan tales: an urbanMamas green thing

April 19, 2010

Who knew such a little post on going sans shampoo would send me down so many do-it-yourself roads? It was easy (and, as they say in Pokemon, super-effective!) to give up washing my face for the oil cleansing method and I just had one personal care product holdout: the deodorant. I've been applying my trusty stick of Dove (sensitive skin fragrance free) daily for over a decade, and after reading something about how chemicals to which a pregnant woman is exposed in her first trimester affecting behavioral problems (boy do I have those around here): well, it was time to cut the cord.

I went to the package today and read the list of chemicals I'd been avoiding. What do I know about the active ingredient, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY? Nothing. And it could be fine, or crushingly destructive. Who knows? The "inactive" ingredients were equally curious, and though sunflower oil sounds fine, I've been trying to avoid conventional almond products because of the crop's excessive use of pesticides and its contribution to colony collapse disorder (many scientists believe stress from trucking bees to pollinate the almond crops, added to the detrimental effects of those herbicides and the lack of a diversity of diet when all the weeds are whacked, is a big factor in CCD), so even one of the other things I recognized, sweet almond oil, didn't have me exactly relaxed.

There was more, too, and while it doesn't appear on my Dove package (phew), it's evidently in lots of other products: triclosan. After the first few giddy years with antibacterial soaps (I was living with a bit of an obsessive when they were introduced, he was thrilled), I became suspicious and, after a few of those usual exposes in which it is shown that antibacterial soap doesn't kill any more bacteria than Ivory, or that people don't stay any weller using antibacterial soap, I went back to the ordinary variety. According to the LA Times, this doesn't necessarily prevent me from having lots of triclosan exposure in my everyday life; a bacterial inhibitor, it's also used as a preservative in soaps that aren't marketed as antibacterial, and in deodorant, face washes, mouthwashes, and toothpaste (Colgate Total is one offending brand). Why this is scary: after having approved the ingredient since 1970, the FDA is once again reconsidering its safety after research in animals shows similar effects to the super-scary chemicals like bisphenol A, dioxins, and pesticides like DDT. That's not all: one of the reasons I tossed it in the first place, the potential for it to hurry along the development of superbugs, is also a concern.

Instead of spreading chemicals of unknown quantity, quality and harm onto our skin (the best way, incidentally, of getting the chemicals into our bloodstream), why not rub on a mixture of things you know and wouldn't actually mind eating, if it came to that?

My deodorant is simple: coconut oil (which is a semi-solid consistency at room temperature), baking soda and arrowroot. I didn't measure exactly, but it's about two parts oil, one part each baking soda and arrowroot (I suggest looking for arrowroot in bulk at People's or New Seasons, it's probably cheaper than buying it in the spice aisle, as I did), stirred around to a good consistency with a little spoon and then spread on with my fingers each morning. Amy Karol has a lovely 'mail order' recipe book (it's #11) with a more involved deodorant, and some other great homemade personal care products, if you want something fancier.

It doesn't work quite so decidedly as the Dove, but it smells delicious and, as long as I apply it every morning, inhibits odor quite nicely. And there's something so liberating about the knowledge that (should I happen to without thinking) I can lick my fingers after applying deodorant. For some reason, that makes me quietly happy every day.

Cleaning your face with oil: An urbanMamas green thing

February 05, 2010

When I wrote about going shampoo-free a few weeks ago, I had no idea it would inspire such great discussion, action, and several more ways to release myself from the bonds of "product" I've been struggling against since adolescence. Joanna left a comment that once more set me free. "i also haven't "washed" my face in 10 months and no longer have the cystic acne which i was told once by a dermatologist would be with me for the rest of my life unless i took accutane, but i guess that's another blog post."

Indeed, said I, and emailed her for more information. She said she has been using the oil cleansing method (OCM). I Googled around a bit, and found this amazing and detailed post on Simple Mom. I chose to make my mix of about 1/3 olive oil and 2/3 castor oil (purchased at Walgreens, found among other methods of constipation relief) -- good for oily skin -- and tried it a few days later. I've been having trouble with painful blemishes on my shoulders and upper back, so I tried it there, too.

Within a few hours, my skin felt better than it has for a long time. It was already looking smoother and more even, too, and the next day I realized some of the acne on my back was healed entirely. It was such a simple, elegant use of natural ingredients; and the process is restful and relaxing too. I doubt I'll ever buy product for my face again and you can bet I won't be spending my luxury money (at that time in the future when I have some, that is) on spa facials again. After all, I have them right here at home.

Continue reading "Cleaning your face with oil: An urbanMamas green thing" »

The face of no shampoo: an urbanMamas green thing

January 15, 2010

Shetha_noshampoo  Me_no_shampoo

Two of us now have immersed ourselves head-first into a practice that's more liberation than environmental imperative (though it's that, too): we've left the shampoo behind. A practice that's known by the stinky moniker "no 'poo" -- or "what everybody did until the 1970s" -- living without shampoo can be as simple as just rinsing your hair with hot water when you shower. Even at its most complex, the shampoo-free routine consists of a few rinses each week with a solution of apple cider vinegar (about a tablespoon) and water (about a cup) and the occasional baking soda solution (a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water).

The important thing about giving up shampoo is recognizing that our miraculous bodies were not manufactured for the profitability of beauty-products companies. In fact: human hair restores its natural balance and loses that greasy, unwashed feeling after as little as a week or two. Shetha's hair, here, is without shampoo for only a few weeks; I haven't used anything but the occasional cursory rub of Dr. Bronner's bar soap for months, and removed the shampoo from my grocery list a year ago (at first, I used a vinegar solution once a week or so). A piece on NPR last spring noted that washing hair every day removes the sebum oil our sebaceous glands produce to keep our hair healthy (and, straight out of that Pantene commercial, shiny!). Our sebaceous glands react and produce more oil, more often. Take away the detergents? And you get sebaceous glands that behave the way God intended, prettier hair and a more healthy scalp.

No one used shampoo, or washed their hair at all, until the late 1800s. For the next century, women used shampoos once or twice a month. In the 1970s, shampoo companies went on a campaign to "educate" us on the need to shampoo daily. Thanks guys! This hasn't been good for anybody; not only have we become dependent on harsh chemicals that strip our hair of the natural healthy sebum, but we've greatly harmed our watersheds and wildlife by washing that stuff right out of our hair... and down the drain. Here's the effect of phosphorus; surfactants are terrifically harmful for fish. Even the "green" ones can be problematic.

These two heads of hair are proof: going without shampoo isn't a hardship. Have any of you gone shampoo-free? How is it going? Do you have questions? Tips? Let us know!

Eau de Mama

May 27, 2009

After sitting in rather close proximity to me at a parent-teacher conference yesterday, my husband delicately told me that I should really consider using deodorant. Only 3 hours after my morning shower, and coming from a man who used to swear my "fragrance" was an aphrodisiac for him, I was a little surprised.  Deodorant hasn't been part of my daily routine since I was in high school (when it also included the coordinating bath gel, lotion, and perfume!) and I've never given it a second thought.  I always figured a quick rinse off in the morning would take care of the most offensive elements on the days when I actually do care how I smell. But I'm willing to reconsider the issue. After all, don't changing hormones influence body odor?  What about you, mamas? Do you go au naturale or do you prefer to prevent or mask underarm perfume? If you've found a product you like, can you share? 

Handmade toys, children's clothes, even barrettes, could disappear

December 10, 2008

Oh, don't let it happen. Yesterday Chris Musser forwarded me an email about the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) (an act which generally does lovely things, such as ban the manufacture of toys with lead and phthalates and ban their importation into the U.S.). In it she detailed the requirements of this act, effective February 10, 2009; all toymakers must pay a testing fee of $4,000 per type of toy they make, as well as permanently labeling them with a batch number and date (requiring them to create new molds in many cases). What's more, this act covers children's clothing and accessories, meaning that every single small company that makes children's toys, t-shirts, skirts, barrettes, everything, could be forced to cease operation. This effects so many of you: those of you who make children's items, including cloth diapers; those of you who run Waldorf and Montessori preschools; those of you who own children's toy stores; those of you who like to buy handcrafted goods for your children.

The Handmade Toy Alliance has all the details and a petition to sign. Liz at Cool Mom Picks has lots of info about other ways you can get involved. Tell Earl Blumenauer your story: why do you value handcrafted toys?


October 21, 2008

Just kidding.  Well, kind of.  We've talked about our gray hairs and our aging bodies, both of which I've accepted as a fact of life for me. But now, repeated comments by my mother about my quickly multiplying wrinkles have me thinking.

Seems like ever since the third baby was born last year I get a new one every day.  To call them "laugh lines" doesn't quite do them justice. As I ran past a "medi-spa" the other day, I wondered if a laser lift, collagen injection, or a little alpha-hydroxyl could make up for all the years life guarding without sunscreen and scowling at my children. At the very least, the days of my apricot scrub and yellow Clinique face lotion are numbered as I search out a wrinkle-plumping product to invest in.

I know I should just accept my new found wrinkles, and I probably will...eventually. But until then, how do you approach yours?  With love?  Night creams?  Eye creams?  Do you think they work or is it just a marketing conspiracy that preys on the aging phobic?

Budget-Friendly Interior Decorating Help

October 19, 2008

We know many urbanMamas out there with great style that can help Kimberly who is in need of advice on getting help for her interior design needs.  She emails:

We have horrible style, but a cute house. I can't take it anymore. Actually I have good style in my head, but don't know how to translate it in my home. Major living and dining room help needed. Can you all recommend someone? Maybe some one who know a bit about feng shui too.

Going Gray: Pluck, Color, or Leave It Be?

August 05, 2008

Age ain't nothing but a number right? But nothing makes me feel like I'm maturing like wrinkles (ugh!) on your face (that's another discussion) and of course, gray hair.  Over the past year, the couple of gray hairs hidden (or so I think) in the back of head have multiplied.  O.k., so now there are only about seven gray hairs but it's enough to make me pause, and wonder what I should do with them.  I have let them be ever since their discovery.  I am curious, what is your strategy for graying hair? Are you a "plucker"? Do you color? Or do you just let it be? Or? Of course I'm blaming the kids for causing undue stress that would turn my hair gray.

Mamas: how often do you shower?

July 23, 2008

We really got the conversation going earlier in the year when we affirmed our varied bathing schedules for the kids.  As I sit here unshowered, I realize that there are many days when I will skip the shower.  There can always be more dishes to be done, laundry to fold, food to make, that can trump the bathing ritual, which is a daily one for many.

How often do you mamas get around to showering?  Is it a must-do every day?  Do you skip it every once in a while?

How a mama chooses the perfect swimsuit

July 10, 2008

We waited a loooooong time for these sunny days to come, and now they're here!  There is no shortage of family swim at the local pool, splashing at fountains, or even an occassional excursion to the coast (if we have the gas money!). 

So, what do you wear?  For certain, most of the splashing activities only require our most comfy summer outfit of shorts/capris/skort with a tank/tee.  But, when we are going for full submersion, what is your attire?

Is your swimsuit years and years old?  Is it a newer number?  What styles are you finding more conducive, post-pregnancy?  Tankinis?  Wide-band two piece tops?  Boy shorts?  Skorts?  One piece with a wrap?  The options, the options!  Where can a mama go to find a suitable, affordable array items, to guarantee we'll find something to meet our needs?

How long do you go?

May 16, 2008

Once I bumped into a friend and she said, "Your hair is getting so long!"  And I said in reply, "So is yours!"

I tend to go a looooooooonng time between hair cuts.  I probably get a hair cut every 9 months or so.  I just can't justify the time, the 30-60 minutes away from the family, just to get my "hair done".  Sure, I take plenty of 30-60 minute chunks of time away from the the family, but there are other things that are high up on my priority list, among the higher up things-to-do include running or going to the supermarket alone (so I can control those bills & comparison shop!).  When I finally make it to a hair cut, I am ready for a change, a real new do.  I got one of those go-all-out chop-it-all-off cuts just before the new year, and it was great for the first couple of months.  Six months later, I'm no longer enamoured with the cut, but I'm probably going to wait a few more months until I really can't take it anymore.  Or, maybe I'll get it cut sooner rather than later, and break this cycle of denying myself the hair cut because I can't justify the time/money commitment more frequently than once in a 9 month period!

How long do you go between cuts?  Do you wait and push the envelope until you just. can't. take. it. anymore?  Do you go at more regularly in shorter intervals?  Does getting your hair cut fall in the higher or the lower end of the priority spectrum for you?

And in case this whole conversation gets you jazzed to get out for a new cut, be sure to check out previous recommendations on where to go.

Shave, NAIR, wax, or nothing?

February 11, 2008

Spring is in the air, I tell you.  Once the temps went over the 50-degree mark over the weekend, I was ready to don a pair of shorts or capris or guachos.  Then, I looked down on my shins at my hairy, hairy legs.  I couldn't bare those things in public.  It's not in me.

It's another manic Monday, and I need a little brain candy.  How do you mamas handle your body hair -- on legs, in underarm areas, in other areas?  Do you shave?  Wax?  At home or somewhere else?  Just let it be?  Pluck?  I'm curious.

Mamas: How do you really feel about your bodies?

October 04, 2007

It happens to the best of us.  It happens to me at yoga class.  Sometimes.  I look over to the fit yogi next to me, and I sigh.  "I want to be as taut as she is.  So young, so toned."  It happens to me on the rare occassion that I get to go out on the town.  At a bar or lounge, I will spy with my little eyes ...  I skinny little thing with the hip and happenin' clothes, the fashionista with the slim hips and the perky boobs to go with the snug outfit.

I feel good, I feel strong.  I hold my chaturanga for like 20 counts.  More maybe.  That's super core strength.  And yet, I feel sheepish about my body.  Sometimes.  My body has birthed two lovely babies. BUT, my hips are wider than before, my tummy flesh is nice and flappy and stretchy, and my boobs are smaller and saggier than ever after all those years of nursing.

In a NYTimes article today, they ask: "Is the 'Mom Job' Really Necessary?"  How do you feel about your body, post-babes?  Confident?  Wishing it could be a bit tighter and harder?  Have you considered a nip, tuck, suck, lift, trim?

And, in case this whole conversation has inspired you to get out and get active, check out the urbanMamas fitness index.

Biker Chic

August 07, 2007

What with three other urbanMamas going low-car, I've been giving thought to switching to a bike commute, maybe once a week or so.  But it's one thing to commute from close-in to downtown and quite another to go from close-in to Gresham, so it's taking me a while to work out the kinks (especially with carrying a baby in a trailer!).  One thing that I don't have to consider too much is how to dress once I get there.  Luckily at work we have individual bathrooms with sink and mirror, so freshening up isn't too hard to do.  Along with spare clothes, I would pack a washrag, some soap, and a small hand towel.  To be honest at my workplace they probably wouldn't notice if I dressed in pajamas, so I don't have that much appearance to keep up.  In a pinch, after a run, I might use one of those instant facial soapy rags to wash up.  Suzame is about to jump back into the working mama pool and asks this question of other bike-commuting mamas:

After nearly a year off I'm returning to work full time (Yay! and Boo-hoo! all at the same time). My patience during the search resulted in me landing a job downtown, just slightly two miles from my house in NE. I'm excited (and nervous) about joining the ranks of Portland's bike commuters, and plan on finding a workshop to get tips on how to make the ride safe. (I'm a bit nervous about riding in traffic down Broadway and back, but it's the quickest route for me.)
But what I REALLY want to know is -- how you show up for work looking good? I already got my hair chopped off so that it'll always look stylishly mussed (at least, I hope so). It's a short ride (maybe 10 minutes) and most of it is flat, so I don't anticipate working up too much of a sweat. But I'm definitely showering at home and doing make-up before I leave, and hopefully either arriving at work with a quick change of clothes or wearing my work clothes during the ride. But that depends on me finding decent business casual clothes that I don't mind biking in. I'd love to hear from other mamas who ride their bikes to work -- how do you do it and manage to look pulled together all day?

Do you have any fashion tips for the biking working mama?

Modeling Agencies for Kids

May 23, 2007

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if your child is blessed with good looks?  One mama asks about any recommendations for beautiful babies:

I was wondering if anyone has any experience or recommendations with modeling agencies for kids. I'd rather go word-of-mouth than the yellow pages, if possible.

Local Jeweler Recommendation

May 22, 2007

Erin is looking for something special to celebrate the arrival of her second child.  She writes:

I'm expecting baby #2 any day now.  I've decided I want a very simple mother's ring, or maybe two stackable ones.  The "traditional" ones are a bit too much for my taste.  I've found a few possibilities on-line, but I would like to see them in person, and I would prefer to buy local. Does anyone know of a good local jeweler who might meet my needs?

Mommy Mobile Hairstylist

December 18, 2006

I've posted about hairstylist woes on here before, and have been so pleased with Frenchi's work over the past year. But, I have to admit, since she's moved salons, and since work and life keep getting busier, it's even harder for me to get out to see her - I have to arrange for a babysitter or for my husband to watch my son, often have to fight traffic to make the appt., etc. Sometimes, just like everything else these days, making and keeping an appointment with a hairstylist is more hassle than its worth for me, no matter how great of a haircut awaits.

My new solution: Susy, the Mommy Mobile Hairstylist! Susy Gallegos moved here from CA three months ago, and is already building quite a following with her fabulous concept: she brings all of her supplies, does cuts, colors and styles, all in the convenience of your own home. I LOVE this concept, and I tried it out for the first time last week. Susy has been a stylist for about 12 years, many for one of the top 10 salons in LA, and she not only came over to my house and cut my hair, but she talked about styles that would flatter my face shape more, talked about how she was styling it and showed me how (not that I am capable of doing any styling on my own whatsoever, but it was helpful!), and she was great with my son running around. He took to her right away, which can be rare. She's just a fun, friendly, happy presence who just happens to be a whiz with hair.

Her services are great for all busy moms, but especially if you're a new/nursing mom, since you don't have to leave your house, and she'll happily take breaks for you to nurse your baby, soothe a fussy baby, etc. Oh! And she's a mom herself! To one adorable 15-month-old son.

Give Susy a call at 310-902-0060, or email her at bonbongallegos@hotmail.com and be sure to ask about the mommy discount :) I just love when moms come up with ways to use their talents to help other moms, don't you?

Try Thai Massage

December 08, 2006

Have you tried Thai? urbanMama Deniz passes on her experiences with Thai Massage as well as an urbanMamas special from her new therapist:

I wanted to share with all UrbanMamas my great massage experience. A new tranquil Traditional Thai Massage studio just opened in hip Clinton area of SE Portland. Michael Gill is a specialist in Thai Massage (7 years of experience including training in Thailand), and he is offering a standing $15 discount for new moms (with children under 2 years) and is extending the $15 discount as a holiday special towards gift certificates and any massages booked in December. His normal rate is only $75 for a 90-minute massage.

I recently had my first Thai Massage experience – actually it was my first-ever massage experience and it was truly harmonious. You're fully clothed – it's quite similar to yoga only someone does the stretching and moves for you. Michael consults with you first and customizes the massage – focusing on your specific needs, pain, fatigue and weak areas. It really helped alleviate my aches and pains on my back, hips and shoulders I started to develop from holding, lifting and carrying my 2 year old daughter. The results are felt for weeks after – I have a much better posture when I sit at the desk and can lift my daughter with no forced movements or pain. I'm definitely going to get my husband a Thai Massage.

Michael Gill, LMT
Traditional Thai Massage Studio
(503) 238-0352
2854 SE Clinton Street

Mama & Me 'Pedi's

December 01, 2006

Tons and tons of 'thank you's' to Stephanie for forwarding this one! It's definitely going on my holiday wish-list.

There's a brand new day spa at 7817 SE Stark Street called Sante' (actually "les fleurs de la Sante'" but Sante' for short.) They are right across the street from Flying Pie Pizzeria and the Academy Theater. They offer a "mommy and me" pedicure package called "Pinkie Toes" which allows you to take your daughter with you to the spa and share tea and snacks while you enjoy an herbal foot soak together. Once you're done, you can each pick out a fun nail polish color for your tootsies, and best of all, their nail polish is formaldehyde-free.

lucy warehouse sale

November 08, 2006

Every six months or so, lucy hosts the famed Lucy Warehouse Sale
featuring items direct from the stores! The sale is held at the warehouse location: 3135 nw industrial street, portland, or 97210.

11am 6pm, thursday, november 9. 11am 5pm*, friday, november 10. *or while supplies last

tops: $5- $10
pants: $20
jackets: $20
accessories: $5- $20

all sales final, cash or check only

In the past, I have found the lucy warehouse sale really overwhelming, but... if you DO get in with decent selection in your size, the deals are great!

Highlights, Hair Color, and Pregnancy

November 06, 2006

Snow has a beauty question for all you mamas out there:

What about hair color during pregnancy/breast feeding? Is it safe? Does anyone know of good natural alternatives? I have a lot of grey and I usually get it colored with some brown and blonde streaks but I've tried Henna in the past (when I was a lot younger and had less grey) and it made my hair really dry and made my grey hair pretty much turn orange! So for now, I'm keeping it pulled into a ponytail and feeling really frumpy...maybe I need to explore the wide world of stylish hats?

DryCleaning Low Down

October 09, 2006

Since I quit my job and had a baby nearly two years ago, my need for a good dry cleaner has been non-existant. But now that I'm a part-time working mom, some of my old work clothes are making their way back to the front of my closet. The good news is that they still fit...Yahoo! The bad news is that lots of them still call for dry cleaning...ugh. I've taken a few things to the cleaner up the street, and while they came back fine, the place was kind of scary looking and I never could stand that yucky "dry cleaner smell." Since moving to Portland, we've definitely become a bit more sensitive to health and environmental issues, so it got me thinking...

Can any mamas tell me what the "green cleaners" are doing that's either better for the environment or our health? Are they much more expensive than the stinky place up the street? Any recommendations for a good one? Does anyone know of a good one that does pick up/delivery to home/office? Any experience or good recommendations would be great!

Can we talk about personal mama style?

September 11, 2006

Sent to us by Kat, a fellow urbanMama:

When I worked at my office I usually spent 99% of my clothing budget on work clothes: jackets, trousers, "fancy" jeans. And because I work in a creative industry I could get away with a lot, though I was decidedly the conservative one at my agency. But now that I work out of my home office, and less than half time, I don't need those things, or not much of them. I see clients and colleagues in person maybe three times a month now. And when I do, I'm usually nursing Iris. But that's a whole other discussion...

My non-work clothes are usually very casual, like gardening casual. I guess I usually wore my work clothes even in off hours, and that just became my style.

But now, that doesn't work. It's silly to wear jackets while caring for a two-year-old and a newborn. And I'm likely to lose an earlobe to a curious baby if I wear my usual earrings.

So I'm having to find a whole new personal style, one that relates to what I do all day, is low-maintenance, but speaks to my vision of myself: creative, colorful, modern. And it has to fit over my nursing boobs! And conceal my flabby tummy! Ugh. It's hard!

I am envisioning a whole line of clothes designed for SAH/WAH moms who want to be stylish but comfortable and likely have "mama bodies" that need some special tailoring...

What do you wear all day when you're home with the kids? If you work, do you have a different home wardrobe than your work wardrobe? Do you feel stylish and like your clothes reflect who you are and how you want the world to see you? If you do, how'd you get there? If you don't, what would your dream wardrobe comprise?

urbanMamas Bazaar, next Saturday

August 12, 2006

We started calling it an 'art fair', but we've recently been referring to it as a bazaar. We've had a tremendous response from mamas wanting to share goods and services with the rest of the urbanMamas community:

Amy McMullen of Amy McMullen Photography
Larissa Brown and her handmade items
Leigh Rubio of New For Baby
Michaela Santen of BumpStyle
Robyn Taylor Barbon of Portland at Play
Angela of Rowanberry School
Cynthia Thompson of Zoom Baby Gear
Kate Haas of Miranda Zine
Anna Hoffert and her Handmade items
Lisa Golightly of Kiki & Polly

Hope you can join us for some coffee, delphina pastries, and some good company! How many of you think you can join us? Please RSVP in the comments...

urbanMamas Bazaar
Saturday, August 19th
10 AM to 2 PM
Milagros Family Room
5429 - 5433 NE 30th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211

*** thank you to Milagros for co-hosting this event ***

Mama Needs a New 'Do

April 05, 2006

We've shared advice about where we like to take our kids to get their haircuts, but it's about time that this mama gets some style back into her sad overgrown locks, so where do other urban Mamas go for a haircut and color? I have been going to the same hairstylist at Dosha Salon Spa - Hawthorne for the past six years. She is a lovely soon-to-be-urban-mama (due next month!) and although she's like the sister I never had, it's a good time for us to part ways. Parting with her is like breaking up: I've been thinking about it for over a year now, but our relationship is so nice and cozy that I've just stayed along for the ride. She not only knows my hair - she knows my life. But it's time for a change, and I know that it is for the best (sniff, sniff).

So, mamas, where do you go to get your own fab hairstyle? My own selfish search is for someone who is great with short hair and highlights, which is what my hair normally is like...but then I started getting lazy and not seeing my stylist for eight months at a time (this hair touching my neck thing is driving me crazy!). Do you have a stylist you love that you don't mind sharing, whatever her hair specialty may be?

Picks - Portland and Otherwise

March 18, 2006

I'm certain that many local mamas subscribe to the wildly popular Portland Picks for the latest reviews and word on what's cool and neat in the greater Metro area.  Thought I'd pass the word regarding another pick-esque site that perhaps may pique your interest.  Cool Mom Picks, check it out! And while you're perusing the site, you may even come across a post about our very own, Marlynn's Mama Calling Card. Isn't it time you get some for yourself?  Have you seen ours?


Mama needs a makeover

November 15, 2005

Maybe it's just me but inevitably, once a month, I find myself having the doldrums about the way I look.  Like the commercials say "your daughter's acne and your mother's wrinkles,"  I've got it all!  Unfortunately, the advertised product would just make my situation worse, due to a fragrance allergy.

As my child and I get older I feel like I get further and further out of touch with how to dress, how to care for my skin, and how to make myself feel better about what I see when I look in the mirror.  I think a large part of my frustration stems from the fact that I don't really identify with who I was prior to becoming mama, but I'm not real sure about who I am now.  What sort of clothes, shoes, makeup, and hairstyle represent me best?  Is it really the flannel pajamas and the ponytail?  Because really, I do feel comfortable but I do not feel "appealing."  Couple this with a severe guilt trip every time I step into a retail shop (I should be shopping at salvation army!), and the doldrums just get deeper and deeper.  OK sure it *IS* that time of the month and my skin looks and feels HORRIBLE, and my body is bloated and out of whack.  Does that mean I should just forget about it and move on?

What I really dream about is some lovely person showing up on my doorstep telling me they've been secretly video taping me in my flannel PJs and ponytail and that my friends and family want me to have a makeover.  OK sure it's always hard to hear from someone else but I'll take it!  When I do shop I don't know what to choose because my body is so different!  My self image is so bad that anything I put on is immediately repulsive, only because my body is in it.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to dig myself out of this hole?  I've tried an eyebrow wax and a quick facial but after a failed session of retail therapy this afternoon, I'm still feeling low.  Maybe a cut and color?  Mani/pedi?  What do you do for a pick me up when you're feeling down?

The Pregnancy Transition

November 11, 2005

Two friends are in the early maternity stage.  At three months pregnant, I remember busting out of my normal clothes but I'd be swimming in any type of maternity clothes.  For me, the greatest comfy thing for a growing belly were yoga pants and the assortment of low-rise stretchy pants you find nowadays.  I even found several pairs of work-appropriate black stretchy yoga pants. 

Also, a recently pregnant friend turned me on to the Bella Band.  From the website:

"Newly pregnant?  Pre-pregnancy pants won't fasten around your waist? Cute maternity fashions a bit big right now? Or maybe you're further along, but some of those maternity styles are falling down around your hips.

The Bella Band is a seamless knit band you wear at your waistline, over your unbuttoned pre-pregnancy pants, over slightly big maternity pants, or around the waistband of any maternity style that falls down around your hips."

Here in Portland, the Bella Band can be found at Generations at 4029 SE Hawthorne / 503.233.8130.  Looks like it runs $26, which could be worth it if you can get a few more weeks of wear out of your non-maternity pants!