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.

11 Ways to Let the Light Back In

I recently ended up in a crappy situation and had to scrape myself off rock bottom – possibly the rockiest bottom of depression I have ever encountered. I couldn’t stay like that, literally couldn’t live like that, so I deliberately and thoughtfully found a way to pull myself back up. The beautiful thing was that I did it, and it was hard but also not really that hard. It showed me that even in the crappiest of situations it’s possible to find your strength – even more than you knew was there – and draw on it. It’s possible to let the light back in.

I’ve been thinking about how to do that and there are some strategies that usually work for me, so I thought I’d share them with you (and with myself for the next time I need them, because there’s sure to be a next time).

Here are 11 ways to let the light back in.

11 ways to let the light back in
1. Listen to podcasts that make you think. I like This American Life, Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, and (when it returns) Invisibilia. Two feel-good podcasts are Dear Sugar and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

2. Read the Brave Girls’ Club.
Brave Girls Club quote
3. Read stories from people who have experienced the same thing you’re struggling with. It will make you feel less alone.

4. Exercise. Just do it!

5. Find something that’s happening in your community that sounds interesting and go to it. Getting out is hard, but helpful.

train tracks
6. Put your phone down and pick something else up – a book, a craft, anything.

7. Related: turn off notifications for Facebook and whatever else sucks you in and allows you to be passive. Don’t wait for other people to post something interesting/inspiring/funny. Passive procrastination is a huge mood killer.

8. Go for a walk and deliberately look. Take pictures of things that make you pause.

art in a garden9. Eat ice cream. Or whatever you like to treat yourself with, but use it as a treat. Don’t make it a habit, or it will contribute to your crappy feelings.

10. Colour. Yes, with crayons (or, my preference, pencil crayons).

adult coloring pages

11. Make your bed. Truly, it helps.

What strategies have you found that help you let the light in?

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.

Where’s Pluto?

So, it turns out that if you put a diaper with Pluto on the bum on your two-year-old he will turn around like a dog chasing his tail trying to see it.

We’re trying some Huggies Little Movers Plus diapers and Ethan trying so desperately to see his bum made me laugh so I thought I’d share my terribly amateur video with you. (I’m going to miss the baby-bum-in-a-diaper phase…if he ever decides to potty train, that is.)

And look, there’s Mickey too!

Mickey

Love his little poochy tummy. :)

Here are the designs – sure to be loved by other Mickey-loving toddlers too. (These ones are available only at Costco.)

Huggies-Little-Movers-designs-Mickey-Pluto

Huggies-Little-Movers-designs-Mickey-Pluto2

Disclosure: I’m a Huggies ambassador and was compensated for this post, but all opinions (including those about baby bums) are my own.

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.