Hawaii honeymoon

Retiring the pre-mom bras

A few weeks ago I vacuumed under the dresser in my closet for the first time in… Well, it was probably the first time since we moved into this house. At least that’s a reasonable assumption, for two reasons: one: holy dust bunnies, Batman, and two: I found two bras under there that I had completely forgotten about and probably haven’t worn since I got pregnant with Ethan (which was approximately 6 weeks after we moved into this house). Once the bras were clean I pulled on the lacy one figuring I’d feel a little less mom-ish again.

Nope.

Now I remember why I didn’t miss that particular bra: it’s wickedly uncomfortable. I don’t know if it’s the lace or that it doesn’t fit right or a combination (or, quite possibly, the fact that generally, sigh, I’m the sort of girl who likes non-complicated bras). I wore it for one day and then promptly tossed it back under the dresser. (Kidding. It’s taking up space in my drawer and depriving dust bunnies of a home.)

I have a love/hate relationship with bras. I love that they can make me look bustier than I am; I hate that most of them that have any sort of anything on them are uncomfortable.

The two bras I saved from their fate under my dresser aren’t the only ones I’m still wearing from my before-Ethan era. In fact, I think all the ones I currently wear pre-date at least him. They might even pre-date his brother, but let’s not think about how terribly sad that is and just pretend it’s possible I have acquired some new bras in the last 7 years.

It was definitely time to do something about this sad situation (regardless of whether it’s been going on for 3 years or much longer) so I went in for a bra fitting. Have you ever done this? I’ve often thought I should, and quite recently decided it was high time I at least figured out if I was wearing the right size bra. So into The Bay I went to meet with Angeline.

Wacoal bra selection

Angeline was the sort of woman whose lacy bras, I suspect, are not gathering dust under her dresser, but she was very nice. She quickly measured me and announced her suggestion for size, which happens to be the size I usually buy, so I at least have that going for me. That was pretty much the last thing I was right about, though.

Giving the band of my bra a tug, Angeline noted that it was too loose, which I conceded was because I hate having tight bras that feel like they’re digging into me. And not that I don’t credit her with giving me an accurate size, but this is where Angeline scored her first big point with me.

She explained that having a band that fits properly and is done up snugly enough helps to prevent your bra from riding up. Well, I’ll be damned. I’m constantly pulling the band of my bra down while doing it up on the loosest clasp hoping that will make it more comfortable. Lesson number one learned: the band has to be snug for it not to ride up.

Leaving me with that tidbit to ponder, Angeline went to get some bras for me to try on. She’s a Wacoal consultant, and I had never actually looked at this brand before, but having browsed the selection after my fitting I’ll admit I’ve overlooked some great options.Wacoal-bras-logo

The first one I tried was the one below – the awareness seamless underwire bra. I tried a couple of sizes, and it didn’t feel right.

Wacoal Awareness Seamless Underwire Bra Hudsons Bay

It felt, or maybe looked, decidedly awkward, in fact, and that’s when Angeline came out with it: “I don’t feel like this bra really suits you.” Whew. I’m with you, sister. It looks great on the model, but did not look great on me.

If you’re going to find a bra that fits properly and suits you, it helps to know the qualities you’re working with. I am, as Angeline pointed out, tall and not very busty, but I do have a big ribcage. (I do, it’s true. I hate it.) The tall combined with big-ribcage factors are what result in me continually messing around with the straps on pretty much any bra I wear, but in trying on something else Angeline reiterated that finding a bra that fits right in the band – meaning it fits nicely on the middle clasp, giving you some room to go up and some room to go down – is the secret. Get it right in the band, adjust the straps to suit, and you’ve got a bra that fits.

The second major point Angeline scored was in bringing me a bra with no underwire to try. Aside from nursing bras and sports bras, I have always shied away from bras with no underwire because I always felt they played right into my lack of busty-ness and left me looking droopy. (Especially post-nursing. Oy.)

Wacoal How Perfect Non Wire Bra Hudsons Bay

This one – the Wacoal how perfect non-wire bra – is seriously comfortable. It’s not fancy (but I think we can all agree that’s probably a good thing for me) and it fits well. Plus, it looks good under a shirt, which is another of my major criteria. And I needed another nude bra because I recently tried my old one under a white shirt and it definitely didn’t have a nude effect. Time to retire that one, I think, and go with this one instead. (I tried it under that same white shirt – totally invisible.)

So that’s my bra story.

If you’re still wearing the same bras (or not wearing the same uncomfortable bras, as the case may be) I’d highly recommend getting a bra fitting. Angeline tells me women come into The Bay all the time to do this, which helped me feel less like it was a weird thing to do. And it wasn’t awkward. Really quite helpful, actually.

Wacoal bras (which are available in Canada and the US) are really good quality but reasonably priced, and as you can see from the photos come in a variety of styles both sexy and straightforward. The whole point of this brand is to help women look and feel their best, and that’s a big part of what a fitting with a Wacoal consultant can do for you. The bras are designed for women of all shapes and sizes (even tall, non-busty ones with large ribcages) and have options for underwear and lingerie, too.

Who wants to go shopping with me? I’m eyeing one of the pink bras from the top photo, and I know someone who can help get you kitted up right too.

My Very Own Name book

When Connor was a few months old, I found these personalized storybooks for kids that spell their names. I thought these were so cool and as he has grown older and realized it’s about his name he pretty much thinks it’s the coolest thing ever.

personalized-name-book

In typical second-child fashion, I neglected to do the same for Ethan and finally decided I had better do it so he doesn’t grow up and think he’s not loved and need therapy. He loves it as well. The idea that there’s a book about his very own name pretty much blew his mind.

reading book at bedtime

These books are from I See Me, and they have these and all kinds of other stories. In these, animals help to spell the child’s name.

my-very-own-name-cover

You can choose which names to include (first, middle, last)…

personalized-name-book-first-name

…and it unfolds as a story.

personalized-storybook

You can also choose a personalized inscription for the front of the book.

i-see-me-message-from-giver

Once you get to the end, there’s a list of all the animals and their letters, and you can have a look through the book to find them all. (You can imagine how much time we have spent doing this.)

animal-encyclopedia

I’ve seen other personalized storybooks but I really like these ones. They’re cute and good quality and less cheezy than others I’ve seen. You can also incorporate your child (including his or her picture) into stories about princesses or pirates or being a big brother or sister, among many others. Great for gift ideas too. (And if you want one right now, you can get free shipping to the US or a $7.95 credit on International and Canadian orders. Valid to July 8, 2015.)

Have you got personalized books for your children? What do they think about them?

I See Me gave me the book for Ethan because I asked them to and they’re awesome and wanted to help me share their books with you.

RapidLash experiment + giveaway!

Did I ever tell you about the time I got my eyelashes dyed and it burned my eyes so much I thought I was going to go blind? I lay there with my eyes closed and wondered where the “esthetician” (yes those are air quotes) had gone and how long it would take me to go blind. Not my finest hour, but I didn’t go blind and I did quite like the effect.

I’ve always liked my eyes – regardless of what body part I have a hate-on for at any particular moment I at least appreciate having nice eyes. (Thanks, Mom.) What I don’t like is that my eyelashes are really light and sort of disappear if I’m not wearing makeup (hence the vain attempt at dyeing them). Ethan took this picture of me and I like it mostly because of my eyes.

portrait of my eye

A woman I work with has eyelash extensions right now, and if you had told me that was an option before I saw them I would have been skeptical, but they are seriously awesome.

It’s possible that I spend too much time thinking about eyelashes.

But I’m still at it because right now I’m giving RapidLash a try. It’s a serum for lashes and brows that promotes the overall health of lash and brow hair (which sounds much better than any vain reason I could give you for trying it). The idea is to strengthen and lengthen brows and lashes (and my brows definitely need some help).

RapidLash eye serum
I got it at Shoppers Drug Mart and felt a bit like an idiot because I wasn’t sure where to look for it and asked the clerk right as I noticed where it was, which was totally obvious. She was very nice about it. It has vitamins, minerals and moisturizing agents (which all sounds pretty good) and peptides (I don’t know what those are). You put it on once a day (at night after you’ve washed your face) and should have results in four to six weeks.

I’ve been using it for a few days and don’t notice it at all – it doesn’t bug my eyes in the least, which is big for me. I’m interested to see the results!

Do you want to give RapidLash a try? I’ve got a RapidLash giveaway so you can do just that! (Open to Canadian residents only, including Quebec. You can enter on more than one blog but can only win on one.) Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am part of the RapidLash campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog (and my fabulous eyelashes) are my own.

A summertime emergency kit

You know what’s fun? Shopping for crayons. You know what’s especially fun? Shopping for crayons you don’t plan on letting your kids use.

Staples is doing a promotion with Visa Checkout and I was offered the chance to build a summertime emergency kit. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that when it comes to this whole parenting thing, I’m pretty much always game for an emergency kit that will make this gig easier.

I’m a little anxious about school ending for Connor. He does better when he’s busy and active and challenged, and I’m concerned about what our days might be like when he’s not at school all day. Or more specifically what my evenings might be like, because I already get him at his most excitable and there are times I can barely get through dinner without eyeing the garage and wondering if anyone would notice if I duct taped him to his chair. With some stuff to keep him occupied, and some activities we can do on weekends when our time together is more, shall we say, in need of help, I’m feeling a little better.

So I went shopping on the Staples website. For starters, when I searched “Crayola” I got a ton of results. I had no idea.

I bought art supplies and paper and craft kits and paint and finger-painting kits. (I know. Paint. The whole idea of an emergency kit making me a fantastic mom might have gone to my head.)

I bought sketchbooks and glue sticks and construction paper. I might also have bought the 64-pack of crayons with a built-in sharpener and I might not let the kids use it. (Oh, who am I kidding? Connor claimed that one right away.)

6 pack crayons

But I did get them a crayon meltdown art set, so maybe they won’t notice.

Connor loves it when boxes are delivered and loves opening them, especially when he can get his hands on the goods, so this is a hit already.

colouring

Ethan likes to make stuff. He also likes to write on things like walls and floors, so I’m hoping the plethora of paper options will keep him from causing an emergency of another sort (the kind involving a Magic Eraser and mama saying some bad words).

doing crafts

I like to colour, so I figure the contents of the emergency kit will set us up for some good summer days. And if the finger-painting goes sideways, well, at least there might be a Mother of the Year award in it for me. Even if it’s just the E for Effort category.

***

I shopped online at Staples.ca and bought the supplies using Visa Checkout and a Visa gift card that was given to me. I’ll admit to being a bit wary about how easy it would be to use, but I needn’t have been. It was super easy.

It’s not finicky like other pre-paid cards I’ve tried, and Visa Checkout makes it especially easy because you can create a single account sign-in that can be used across all devices (and no need to keep re-entering the card number or address either).

VISA CheckOut Button_4

Here’s a quick how-to for all you Canadians out there. There are just three steps on http://checkout.visa.com:

  • Step one: Create a username and password.
  • Step two: Enter your payment and shipping information. (You only have to do this once)
  • Step three: Look for the Visa Checkout button when you’re shopping online, enter your username and password, and go!

That’s it. Seriously. It’s secure and Visa’s Zero Liability policy applies in case of fraud.

You can use Visa Checkout at many of your favourite Canadian online stores, with many more joining each month. For a full list, visit https://checkout.visa.com/shopping.

And bonus! If you want to create your own summertime emergency kit, there’s a way to stock it extra full. From now through May 12, 2015, Canadians who use Visa Checkout on Staples.ca will receive $20 off when they spend $100! More info at http://www.staples.ca/VisaCheckout.

Giveaway

Want to start stocking up with a Visa gift card of your own? Enter to win one here. (Just promise to keep some unbroken crayons for me.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#RBCFirstHome Twitter chat

Just a quick post to tell you Canadians out there that RBC is hosting another Twitter chat for first home buyers on April 21 at 8:30 pm ET. I participated in one of these a few months ago to help promote it, because I remember buying our first house and how angst-inducing it was. RBC brings in a whole team, including a lawyer, realtor, builder, designer, mortgage expert and other experts to answer questions from nervous first-time home buyers and these chats are awesome. People asked such good questions and got great answers. Totally made me wish Twitter had been around when I was buying my first house.

In any case, if you want to join in you can ask your questions using #RBCFirstHome on April 21 at 8:30 pm ET. I’ll be there too!

RBC First Home Twitter chat April 21