Do you make them? I used to make them. Back before I had children. Back when the size of my thighs could be on my mind all day. Back when I might spend an entire Saturday shopping for makeup and clothes to feel good. Back when I had the luxury of time to be my own biggest problem to solve.
Wow, I could really fill my time up.
And then, New Years would come around and I’d see it as a chance to start over. A blank new landscape where I’d be a better, healthier, loftier version of myself. I’d achieve more. Consume less. I’d start January off with a bang that, inevitably, turned into a shallow whisper by spring. Here’s what my New Year’s resolutions probably looked like when I was 25:
-Go to bed earlier/wake up earlier.
-Volunteer at a non-profit.
-Read more (do more cultural things.)
-Stop eating abnormal amounts of pastries in private.
At 40, this list just makes me laugh. These days, I would kill to be able to stay awake past 10p.m. and stay in bed late. Of all the joys of motherhood, I’m most thankful that becoming a mom has gotten me out of my own way. While motherhood has blissfully taken the spotlight off my dessert plate, among other things, it has also righted my inner compass. I have no doubt I’m moving in the right direction. Perhaps imperfectly, but I now know that that’s kind of the point anyway.
So, I no longer make resolutions. For me, what I resolve to do with my life—as a woman, as a mother, a wife, a writer—well, most of it remains the steady work of daily life. I try to step back and renew my goals periodically, not just at the new year. So, instead of making more personal resolutions, I thought I’d institute some yearly resolve for what I’d like to teach my girls in 2015.
Here’s my inaugural list:
For Julia, age 7, I hope to help sink these ideas in:
1: Look people in the eye and introduce yourself with a smile. The return is big.
2: Give compliments to people, no matter how old they are. Tell your friend her artwork is beautiful. Tell Pop you like his shirt. Don’t just tell me.
3: Take compliments with a smile and thank-you.
4: Someday you will enjoy getting your hair brushed.
5: There’s no such thing as perfect.
6: Waiting is a part of life—for my time, for a snack, for the car ride to be over.
7: Mistakes and failures are sure things. They are also opportunities.
8: We are all good at different things. Embrace what you’re good at and don’t worry so much about about the rest.
9: Practice, practice, practice and things will happen, it will come together and you’ll get there—but it wont be perfect, you’ll definitely have to wait and you’ll make some mistakes.
10: Your sister loves you even though she sometimes pulls your hair and throws your toys.
For Emerson, 23 months, I’d really like to help her to learn the following in 2015:
1: To push only one button in elevators.
2: Primary colors (plus pink or else)
3: Furniture is for sitting.
4: The ABC’s
5: How to use the potty.
6: Basic shapes
7: We only color on paper.
8: We don’t hang on the bar on the oven door.
9: Proper utensil usage.
10: Your sister loves you, even though she sometimes shuts the door in your face and steals your toys.
What are your thoughts on resolutions?
I feel like I’ve aged 100 years in internet time. I’ve missed this space so much.
But I’ve been absent for a totally legit reason. I don’t want to over-share, but I kind of had major surgery. I’m totally fine now, I just had to have a uterine fibroid the size of a grapefruit removed and it was like getting a C-section all over again—only 10x worse. I had my umbilical hernia repaired, too, since they were all up in there, and that, my fellow mamas who might suffer the same, was no picnic.
So, I have been healing. And for me, resting and healing meant I totally detached from work. It wasn’t a conscious decision. I was ambitious going in. I thought, “Oooh, I’ll be in bed for a while and will have the luxury to just think and write all day.” Sounded like a dream. But it was all theoretic. I alternately binge-watched Amazon Prime and slept. Not only did I barely move, I barely thought.
But I healed! And now, my innie belly button and I are back–with so much beauty news to discuss. So stand by.
From a new hair smoothing treatment to the perfect summer skin tint and face oil and makeup, I’m back with some exciting finds.
I’d love to hear from you, too. Discovered anything great lately?
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.
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.
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.
Wow. There are so many amazing gift sets this season, I decided to make two lists because I had such a tough time narrowing it down.
Here my luxury beauty picks. (Watch out for my under $50 list next.)
Violet Gray Bedside Table Set, $185
La Mer, Dior, By Terry—this lovely curated set of lip, hand and nail creams are the ultimate evening luxury.
Tom Ford 2 Piece Lip, 2 Piece Nail Box, $174
Timeless shades from one of my favorite luxury lines. The packaging, the products—it just doesn’t get any better than Tom Ford.
Kevyn Aucoin Travel Brush Set, $285
Five double-ended brushes from the makeup master. Easy to store and travel-friendly. I still have Aucoin brushes in my kit from ten years ago. A worthy investment.
illuminage Seeing Beauty Deluxe Set, $99
I love products that work overnight. This super-soft mask and pillowcase set is infused with copper ion technology that delivers the powerful mineral to help the skin renew itself and diminish wrinkle. It’s like beauty sleep insurance— and I hope my husband is reading this because I want this!
LightStim for Wrinkles $249
If I could invest in one high-tech tool, this LED powered, FDA-studied skin tightener would be it.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones, $110
The easiest, most beautiful way to subtly contour and highlight. I love love LOVE this compact and swear by the fool-proof brush.
simplehuman 5″ Sensor Makeup Mirror with Travel Case, $130
You’ll never have to worry about bad lighting again with this genius little-but-big-enough mirror that simulates natural light. It’s also cordless and adjustable. Perfect to take on the road or to keep in an office drawer.
DryBar Dirty Martini Kit, $149
This is a perfect wave-making iron, conveniently packaged with DryBar’s signature products that smell amazing. Perfect for any woman who wants but thinks she can’t give herself tousled tresses.
Giorgio Armani Luxe is More Oversized Palette, $140
Ten gorgeous eyeshadows, two blendable cream foundations to perfect and contour. This is one of the most gorgeous nude palettes I’ve seen. It really works on a range of skin tones. Snag it while you can.
Rodin Luxury Body Oil, $130
The most luxurious blend of essential oils, it’s no wonder this oil is a perennial celeb and beauty editor favorite.