emmelead

Dear Emerson,

You turned three a few days ago. You’re a big girl for your age—tall and solid and strong. You also have a big head of bouncy curls that I’m learning to cultivate. You are absolutely and totally adorable, body and soul. I love how the backs of your hands are still padded in baby fat and how your round cheeks squeeze your eyes shut when you smile that great big wide open smile of yours. Your laugh, the giggly one that seems to have a little motor behind it, the one that comes out when your dad helps you jump “super high” on the bed or when your big sister acts so silly you fold into hysterics, shoots through my ears and injects such joy through me, I almost have no words for the pleasure of you.

You say “I love you,” unprompted when you wiggle in to sit next to me a lot. That started a few months ago and it really took me aback because it took your sister a little while longer to speak. For such a little person to have latched onto those words and given them back to me so sweetly and so true, in only the way a very small person can, with the slight impediment on the “L” sound and the sweet, shy smile, discovering the power of your voice, slays me. I love you, too. Oh, how I love you.

I love how you tell me “Mommy, look how strong I am!” when you sit on the couch and use the coffee table to hold yourself in a plank position. Or push your bed half way across the room. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you continue to grow to love your able body and discover all the things it can do. It’s going to be exciting to watch.

We’re having such a good time with you these days. But I know being three is also hard. I see you struggling between wanting to be “big” like your sister but also a little afraid. You are, as they say in the parenting books, quite “attached” to me and you’ve had a challenging time “separating” from me this year as you started nursery school. And you know what? That’s okay sweetie, you take your time. I know how brave you are when I leave that classroom and I see how steely you are on the inside—even if there are loveys and pacis still on the outside. We’ll get there. I promise I wont hold you back but I also won’t rush you. You have the benefit of me having done this before so I know better than to worry about these small details.

I want you to know that this struggle between wanting to move forward but having to practice and gear up the strength, is a struggle that will take many forms as you grow up. This is truly your first real life challenge and I think you’re doing a great job finding your way. I watch you find joy in the nooks and crannies of life everyday. That’s going to serve you well.

I know these days are precious because we can afford for them to be slow. Collect your leaves as we walk, go on and stare at the colorful movie posters on the wall, stop to pet all the dogs. And yes, we can get that cookie in the window. This is our time and I know it and I cherish it.

I’m so proud to me your Mom. When I look at you and see that twinkle in your eye, I know your lights are on and I bask in the bright wonder of you.

Happy birthday my sweet, lovely girl.

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srandon

This gorgeous woman, who I love and respect as both an actor and mother, caused quite a stir at the Sag Awards this weekend with this revealing outfit. I think she looks amazing—she’s 69! I can’t say I relate to her fashion choice because I, personally, wouldn’t wear this, but, at the same time, all the more power to her. I mean, if Bjork can dress like a bird and JLo can go sheer and bare down to there on the red carpet, what’s the problem? Do you think she’s getting so much slack because of her age?

While the traditional “rules” of beauty have been challenged and bent—like, matching fingertips and toes, lip color and clothes, longer hair on older women, it seems fashion rules for women of a certain age have remained in place: simply, cover up.

What say you?

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globes2

There were so many gorgeous looks at the Golden Globes last night, but these mamas are my favorites for hair and makeup. I think they look stunning, sultry and mostly, like they’re not trying too hard. I like how one aspect of their makeup matches the tone of their dress—how gorgeous does that burgundy eyeshadow look on Olivia Wilde’s blue eyes? I couldn’t stop staring at her. And Amy Adams lip is the perfect not-too-orangey-orange to go with her gown, while Kate Hudson’s slightly frosty lip plays nicely with her gown. I must admit, I didn’t quite love her ensem, but who really cares when you look that good?

I have to say, though, the biggest winner for the evening, for me, was Sylvester Stallone. My love for Rocky knows no bounds.

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KateS

This is one of those celebrity-touted products I’ve had on my radar for a while but never tried because I thought my exfoliation game was already pretty strong—between these pads, this cleanser and this mask.

But last month I was waiting in line at Sephora and fell prey to the maze of samples they literally blockade you with at checkout and picked up a mini tube of ExfoliKate. That little sample went a really long way, lasting almost two months, which is just one reason why I love this deliciously smelling scrub. The fine grain is powered by fruit enzymes to remove dead skin cells and clarify skin. It’s a pretty intense exfoliator, as far as exfoliators go—skin feels polished afterward and there is an immediate smoothing, glowy effect that happens. I think that’s what I love most—this isn’t a product that requires you to wait patiently for results. And you need only use it twice a week.

All skin-types seem to love ExfoliKate, from acne-prone to drier complexions. It certainly is working wonders on my combination skin.

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eyelashes

So here I am, sitting at my kitchen counter. I do a lot of my thinking here.  And writing. It’s, quite literally, this solid little island in the midst of my home life. I remember sitting here last year, launching this website and thinking Big Thoughts about who I wanted to reach and what I wanted to achieve. I wrote personal pieces here while waiting for a pot to boil, I tested some excellent nail polish here in between meals. I interviewed some inspiring women from my cell phone here. And I stared out the window a lot. Wondering who was reading and who cared. I questioned what I cared about and struggled to define myself as a writer and a mother in a cyberspace that, as a creative person first and business person a distant second, has proven challenging for me to navigate.

Then I had a pivotal conversation with one of my good friends a few weeks ago, best-selling author, nutritionist and holistic life coach, Esther Blum. I was feeling unsure about what I wanted to write about and at a loss for time to devote to BeautyMama. (If anything, for me, 2015 turned out to be the most demanding  year of “motherhood” yet.) Esther so artfully asked me the right questions and brought my mission back into focus: to help mothers tap into their beauty, inside and out.

With that in mind, here are my five beauty resolutions for 2016.  Let me know if you might add them to your list, too.

DO: The one thing that makes you feel great everyday. And I’m being totally superficial here. Wear your best lipstick. Don’t save that expensive face cream. You don’t have to spend meaningful time in front of the mirror to feel like you’ve invested in yourself. I know one mom who wears a bright red lip to early morning school drop-off —with her sweatpants. And she gives off this great energy. It doesn’t have to makeup if that’s not your thing: upgrade your ponytail holder, wear a vibrant scarf. I’ll freely admit that I hide behind sunglasses in the morning. Expensive, designer sunglasses I invested in because I feel great wearing them no matter what’s going on underneath.

INVEST: Time in yourself. Devise a quality beauty routine and stick to it. Every morning and every night. I promise, you’ll see the returns. It takes less than ten minutes. If you need some direction, just reach out. I’m happy to help. If you want to go a step further, book your hair color and cuts, waxes, etc, in advance. I have run into too many women with two-inch roots, walking around in a slump because of it. Prioritize yourself.

EAT: Foods that make you feel and look your best. Here is a great starter guide just for your skin. The most expensive creams and lasers can’t undo a diet that isn’t serving you. Drink more water than you think you should. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Wild salmon, coconut oil, foods rich in vitamin C. And cut the sugar. This is going to be numero uno for me. The other day, after a night of eating too much chocolate, I woke up with what I think is commonly referred to as “carb face” and I saw the light.

THINK: About what you like about yourself. Everyday. One thing. Show some gratitude. I whole heartedly believe in the idea that your thoughts define you. Especially the incessant ones. I’m pretty guilty of this. I start putting on makeup and my mission is is to cover up flaws and create illusions. I wish my hair was easier, my pores smaller. That dialogue needs to change and I know it. It doesn’t even have to be said out loud or written down. Here, I’ll start first: I really like my “beauty” marks. (It took me years to get to this point, by the way.)

GIVE: Compliments. The gift of a good word can change a person’s whole day or outlook. I feel like women eye each other with envy more than admiration. And I’m not just talking about beauty and style. Compliment children when they show kindness and creativity. There are compliments that literally changed my life when I was younger. Being told I was a good writer made me think of myself as a writer. When a beautiful woman told me I was unique looking, it made me look at myself differently, in the best way possible. But I don’t mean to totally digress here, absolutely tell your friends when they look great. Don’t hold back.

Wishing you a 2016 full of all the kinds of beauty.

Michele xo

 

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hair2

I love some unexpected sparkle added to an otherwise quiet hairstyle.

A little glitz in the form of a barrette, headband or hair pin is an easy way to elevate your ‘do. Whether you wear your hair up or down, straight or wavy, braided or in a bun, just nestle one of these easy pieces in wherever it feels right.

Some of my favorites are this small, sparkly hair clip, this understated but gilded bobby pin pack from Henri Bendel, this on-trend leaf and floral back headband from Asos, this crystal pony tail holder and this gold one. I also got this faux-fur pompom pony tail holder for my daughter (that I’ll likely borrow). This gorgeous, delicate hair slide could *almost* convince me to wear my hair back, but this tiny, equally spectacular clip better suits my long and loose go-to style. I also love this delicate pearl leaf headband.

Find more fabulous hair accessories at Charming Charlie,  Net-A-Porter and Henri Bendel. Asos, F21 and H&M are also great resources for budget-friendly, trendy pieces.

 

 

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