Thursday, October 23, 2014

Managing LBL with Poise Microliners- my new mom "must-have"

 Many thanks to Poise for sponsoring today's story & for keeping me confident! All opinions are my own.

A few weeks back I took my kids to my brother's birthday party at one of those jumpy, bouncy, trampoline places. The plan was that Ayden and Lily would jump and I'd hang out with Harper and visit with other party-goers. Well, 5 minutes into the party my daughter Lily ran up to me and said "Mommy! This place is awesome. You have to come jump with me." I laughed and told her I couldn't because someone had to stay with her baby sister. Then she pointed out the fact that grandma, grandpa, my sister-in-law and my brother's girlfriend were all sitting down and could watch Harper while I jumped with her. She got me there. What was I supposed to tell her? "Sorry sweetie, mommy can't jump because she just had a baby and she might pee her pants a little bit, but you go have fun!" Explaining light bladder leakage to a 6 year old didn't seem like proper party etiquette though, so I told her I just didn't want to jump and she went back to happily bouncing and shrieking while I stood and watched on the sidelines, slightly bummed that I was missing out.

Light bladder leakage. 
Sounds fun, right?

LBL, or light bladder leakage, is not something women like to discuss. Heck, I'm not really enthused on telling the entire world that I'm 30 and that I occasionally pee my pants when I sneeze, cough, laugh really hard, or jump on a trampoline, but that's reality. In fact, it's more common than you think: nearly 1 in 3 women suffer from LBL. If you're like me and have ever had to deal with occasional light bladder leakage, read on. I'm going to let you in on my new favorite mommy "must-have" item: Poise Microliners.  

These shockingly thin and surprisingly absorbent liners feature SAM (Super Absorbent Material) to provide discreet Light Bladder Leakage (LBL) protection that helps keep you dry and comfortable all day long so you can manage life’s little leaks with confidence. Poise Microliners are the thinnest liners in the light incontinence category and are designed to absorb wetness, neutralize odor and stay three times drier than period liners.

What causes LBL?

Pressure during pregnancy and labor/delivery weaken your pelvic floor and can damage the nerves that control your bladder. Sneezing, coughing, laughing, or jumping might cue LBL. A lot of these problems with bladder control go away on their own after the muscles have time to heal, but many women still have LBL for months and even years after having a baby. (I'm 13 weeks postpartum and still having occasional LBL). Other causes can be a hysterectomy, menopause, complications from surgery, stroke, or chronic diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's, bladder or urinary tract infections, or bladder irritants (certain foods or beverages). Even if you aren't a mom and haven't had children, chances are you may have or will later experience some kind of light bladder leakage at some time or another.
Tips for dealing with LBL

First off, protect yourself! Don't end up with wet pants like I have. Wearing a discreet pantyliner like the Poise Microliner is your first line of defense. These liners are super thin and absorbent, so no one is going to see them or know that you're wearing one. The packaging is super small and discreet too and you can easily hide a couple liners in even the smallest purse or wallet. Next, you can strengthen the pelvic muscles by doing Kegel exercises (learn more about Kegels here). Exercising your pelvic floor muscles regularly can help reduce or cure stress leakage, and you can do them anywhere. You may also want to talk to your doctor and let him or her know you are suffering from LBL so you can determine the specific cause (if you're unsure). Don't be embarrassed- this is nothing new to your doctor! Remember, it's very common.

No more sitting on the sidelines for me. The next time one of my kids asks me to jump on a trampoline, guess what? Mama's getting on that trampoline and I'm going to jump! And yeah, I might pee a little bit, but I can jump confidently and know that no one else around me has to know about my LBL. Poise Microliners will have my back- and they can have yours too!

Make sure to grab a free sample kit of Poise liners, including the new Microliner (perfect for women with light bladder leaks). They also have some great coupons you can print off so you can stock up on Poise liners. And if you have a pregnant or new mom friend, make sure to include Poise Microliners in your new baby gift- I wish someone would have clued me in on them weeks ago!

Have you ever suffered from LBL?
Any tips on dealing with it?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Gelish fall 2014 "Get Color-Fall" review & giveaway

I feel like I may be just a tad late on the whole fall thing, but in my defense it's been sweltering here up until about a week ago. Now that it's finally cooled off I'm officially in "fall-mode, meaning jeans, boots, scarves, darker makeup, and now (thanks to Gelish) gorgeous fall nails. Want to see the beautiful new Gelish MINI colors? Lucky for you, I've got swatches and a giveaway of their new line, Get Color-Fall!

When this package arrived at my door I couldn't wait to open it. I desperately needed some rich, deep colors to add to my gel polish collection after all of the bright colors I had been wearing during the scorching hot summer. The Gelish fall 2014 line delivered just that, coming up with 6 new shades that were inspired by the the brilliant colors of nature this time of year. Let's get a close up look at these babies!

Do I Look Buff?

Do I Look Buff is a slightly shimmery nude color. If you look up close you can see the sheen, but it's by no means sparkly. It's fun, yet sophisticated. I applied 3 coats of this color and it was still slightly translucent, so I would probably add a fourth coat next time to get the coverage I like.

Clean Slate

Clean Slate is probably my favorite of the collection. It's a dreamy, slightly blue-ish medium grey color. It's not too light and not too dark and has no shimmer or sparkle to it. This is the color I have on right now and it goes with a majority of my wardrobe. The little bit of blue in this sets it apart from all of the other grey colors I have.

Hello, Merlot!

Hello, Merlot! is what I like to call a rich, "wine" red. It reminds me of the color of wine with it's slightly berry, pinkish tone. I'm not usually a fan of red polish on myself, but even I like this one. It's very classic but not too bright.

Whose Cider You On?

Whose Cider You On is another one of my favorites. It's a really fun, sparkly, cappuccino brown that is unlike any other colors I own. The tiny gold flecks in it are just gorgeous and add just the right amount of glitz and glam.

Berry Buttoned Up

Berry Buttoned Up surprised me because it was a lot brighter than I thought it would be. It's a uniquely lush, shimmery purple color that really pops. This would be a good color any time of the year.

Rake In The Green

Rake In The Green is a dark grey/green color that was probably my least favorite of the bunch, only because it was really, really dark. It looked almost black to me unless you saw it in bright or natural light. If you like really dark colors this would be a good choice for you. I still like this color, I just wish it was a bit more green and less grey/black.

Now that we've seen all 6 of these Gelish Get Color-Fall shades, who's ready to win a set of their own? I'm giving away a complete set of the fall 2014 line (6 bottles) to one lucky reader! You can also purchase Gelish MINI at Sally's Beauty Supply.

Never tried gel nails? I've got a ton of tutorials for you! My DIY Gel Nails post is a great place to start. I walk you through the entire process, step by step, and I include a lot of pictures and I'm a stickler for detail. It's a long one...but I promise: read the tutorial from start to finish and you'll end up with an amazing gel manicure. Just read some of the comments and you'll see- that tutorial has been viewed over 300,000 times! Once you've got that down you can move on to some of my other tutorials and you'll soon be a pro.

You can enter this giveaway by using the Rafflecopter widget below.
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Good luck!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Easy at-home gel french manicure

 Nothing beats a classic, right?

I soaked off my pink breast cancer awareness gel mani and noticed how long beautiful my natural nails looked underneath. I really liked the look of them, but wanted to make them pop just a bit more by rocking a natural looking french manicure. I've had a lot of people leave questions about doing a french manicure with gel polish on my DIY Gel Nails tutorial, so I figured I'd take a few pictures of the process and show a few tips to getting the perfect, easy, classic french mani.

I started by prepping my natural nails for the gel polish application. If you're unfamiliar with gels or if you need some instructions be sure to read my DIY Gel Nails tutorial- it's very detailed and includes step-by-step instructions on the entire process.

I filed and shaped my nails, pushed my cuticles back, buffed to remove the shine, and dehydrated the nails with Gelish Cleanser (if you don't have this, 99% alcohol will do just fine). Then I applied the pH bond (if you don't have this either don't worry- you can skip it. Just be very very sure to dehydrate the nail extremely well. Sometimes I do it 3 times just to be sure). Next, I applied my my base coat and cured under the LED lamp. Use a dry, lint-free nail wipe to remove the tacky layer of gel after curing. 

For the next step you will need either a nail brush or a Q-tip, plus an orangewood stick and a little bit of alcohol.

Next, I applied my first thin coat of white gel just to the tips of my nails. I held the brush horizontal to my nails and tried to follow my nail's natural white. Now, this part isn't going to be perfect at first, but we can go back and fix it. Don't use too much gel- if you don't have the coverage you like you can add a second coat, but do not apply it too thickly or the gel will ripple while curing (an indication that you are using too much product). If your white "smile line" isn't perfect or if you got some gel on the skin you can fix that before you cure the gel. And if you feel like you completely mess up the white and want to start over, don't panic! Get a dry nail wipe and wipe off all of the white gel and try again. As long as you haven't cured it you have some room to play around.

Dip just the tip of your nail brush (or Q-tip) into the alcohol and then gently dab it on a paper towel to remove excess alcohol. You don't want the brush to be saturated...just lightly wet. If it's too wet the alcohol will pool or drip into the whites and it will run everywhere. Use the brush to lightly wipe away any white areas you're unhappy with. I use the brush for the smile line and the pointed end of an orangewood stick to get the gel off the skin and cuticles. Make sure you have it exactly how you like it and then cure.

Add another coat of white on top of this, clean it up and perfect your line again, and then cure again. Remember to do thin, even coats. Then you can seal it with the top coat. I prefer 2 coats of top coat for an ultra shiny, smooth finish. Make sure to cure in between each coat! Then use the Gelish Cleanser (or 99% alcohol) on a nail wipe and remove the final tacky layer. Finish with a little bit of cuticle oil and you're done. If you still have a little bit of white gel on the skin around your nails you can use another Q-tip with some acetone and wipe it off. If you're like me you can leave it and it should peel off the next time you shower...or hand wash your dishes. 

You should end up with a crisp pink and white french manicure. Perfecting your smile line may take some practice. I suggest practicing a few times before actually sitting down to do your gels and without curing them- just apply the white directly on your natural nail with no base coat and practice applying it and cleaning it up with the brush so you can get the feel of it. When you feel confident enough, go for it!

So there you have it. A quick & easy french manicure.
Who's ready to try it?!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Pink ribbon manicure for breast cancer awareness

 Holy crap, it's October already!

I know everyone is thinking "fall" this month. The weather has finally cooled off, the leaves are changing and falling, and I've pulled out my favorite boots and scarves for the changing season. Fall also means it's time to put away those bright makeup and nail polish colors and switch over to the deeper, more rich shades, right? Or maybe some black and orange to get ready for Halloween? Not so fast. October is breast cancer awareness month, so don't put away those bright pinks just yet!

I've mentioned many times here on the blog how close breast cancer is to my heart. It's huge in my family. My grandmother and aunt both passed away from it, and my own mother was diagnosed just over 5 years ago. I'm happy to say she kicked cancer's ass and has been cancer free for four years now! The kids and I did Race for the Cure last year with my parents (though we were unable to make it this year with Harper- we are hoping to all join them next year). The race was a lot of fun and if you have the opportunity to walk or run it in your area I highly recommend doing it!

In honor of breast cancer awareness in October I whipped up this quick little gel manicure to show off my pink ribbon pride. The colors I used here were Gelish MINI's Make You Blink Pink (my favorite) and Clean Slate (from the new fall line). 

I love how the pink and gray colors look together, and the pink is really much brighter in person. It's hard to capture the true color on camera- it's actually as bright as a pink highlighter. The pink ribbon was drawn free-hand and was a little bit shaky thanks to the giant cup of coffee I had for breakfast. I used the pointed end of my orangewood stick to draw the ribbon and do the polka dots. I wanted to add some glitter too, but Harper decided she'd had a long enough nap so I had to wrap it up.

Don't have gel polish? You can also do this manicure with regular nail polish. If you don't have a lot of nail polish colors you can use craft paint for the nail art part- just make sure to let it dry completely before applying your top coat. I've found that regular acrylic craft paint works great for nail art and accent nails and is pretty inexpensive (try Hobby Lobby, Joann's, or Michael's).

I'm loving my pink ribbon manicure!
How are you wearing your pink this month?

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