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Moms Into Fitness- A REAL Fitness Program For New Moms

>> Saturday, January 29, 2011

Working out and dieting (and the time you have each day to do it) dramatically changes after you have your first baby. And it gets worse with each one that comes along! Now that I have two kids, I need a nutritional program that is easy to follow, and is realistic. I don't have time to grill salmon for lunch or prepare a lovely salad for every meal. I also don't have time to dedicate 1-2 hours to daily exercise. I need something that packs the most fat burning, muscle toning exercise into the shortest amount of time and a diet plan made of real food that is easy to prepare.

If you're a new mom on the hunt for a fitness and nutritional program to help you get your pre-pregnancy body back, Moms Into Fitness is the way to go! Lindsay Brin is the driving force behind Moms Into Fitness, and she knows EXACTLY what busy moms need to stay motivated. Maximum results in mimimal time. I've been doing the 60 Day SlimDown. It includes 4 DVDs as well as a program download that includes a nutritional diet plan, a progress tracker and how to take your measurements, how to diet if you are breastfeeding, and other essential tools to be successful. It also includes a calender of what workout to do each day during your 60 Day SlimDown.

I own a bunch of other fitness DVDs that I love, but they are all at least 45-60 minutes per workout, and now that I have two kids and don't have that kind of time every day, (and let's face it, after pregnancy, I'm not in good enough shape to work out that long). In the 60 Day SlimDown, the workouts are divided into 3 phases (each phase is 30 days, with the last phase for maintenence or to continue weight loss after 60 the days). Phase one workouts are done within a half hour, many times less. Perfect for if you're short on time, or just getting back into shape after pregnancy. With each Phase, Lindsay adds a higher level of difficulty to keep your body gaining strength and burning fat.

Boredom? Not with this program! So, most of my workout DVDs have one or two workouts on them. This set of 4 DVDs has 22 different workouts! And you can "create a workout" where you can choose your favorites and customize your workout however you want. I love this because I can start out light after pregnancy, then make things more intense as I get back into shape. Lindsay does a lot of interval training which experts say, and I know from experience, burns more fat in less time and gets you results! I've lost 3 pounds in two weeks! I know the meal plan ideas are really helping also...exercise helps tone and increase metabolism to burn fat, but diet is equally, if not more important when trying to lose the pregnancy weight.

The 60 Day SlimDown is also a GREAT value, (something I love), where some of my other DVD workout programs were more than $100. The 60 Day SlimDown is only $49.99 and includes free shipping. They also have a promo code for The 60 Day SlimDown valid through the rest of January for 30% off, "60daydvd30", bringing it down to $35. What a deal for 4 DVDs with over 22 workouts and a program to follow! And if you don't get a chance to check out Moms Into Fitness in the next couple days, you can still get 20% off any DVD or program with promo code "DVD20".
Moms Into Fitness has a great fitness program for during pregnancy also! The Lindsay Brin Complete Pregnancy Fitness Program includes 4 DVDs: one with appropriate exercises for each trimester, as well as a post-pregnancy boot camp DVD.

Moms Into Fitness is also a great site to go to for information on not only food and exercise, but pregnancy, breastfeeding while trying to lose weight, c-sections, and other FAQs.
Lindsay has a blog where she tracks her progress, (she's pregnant with number 3), and offers advice. I love to go there for motivation! The Moms Into Fitness facebook page is also great for motivation...lots of other ladies there in the same boat!


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Pregnancy Funny

>> Friday, January 28, 2011

As a precursor to one of next week's topics:


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Surface Inspired Review/Giveaway- Chic and Creative Nursery Decor

>> Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can I say that I am SO excited about this giveaway? If you're looking for a chic, creative way to decorate baby's room, (or anyone's room really), and you don't want to spend a fortune, Surface Inspired is the place to go. I discovered this shop on Etsy and instantly fell in love. Simple, chic, something a little "different", and a great way to decorate without buying a bunch of "stuff" to fill the room. Just a clean and classy look with a contemporary edge. Surface Inspired designs artistic wall decals. The decals are cut from high quality vinyl, and honestly look like you had a professional come and meticulously paint your wall. They're easy to apply, stay on FOREVER, and easy to remove, should you ever want to. They're also GREAT for renters. If you're not allowed to paint your walls and don't want to put a bunch of nail holes in it that you'll just have to patch later either, these are the way to go. I am seriously in LOVE with all of their designs. They not only have super cute designs for baby and children's rooms, but have some really great ideas for bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms.

And you don't have to try to find furniture to match your favorite decal; you can choose your colors to match your current furniture. And if in the event that the colors you chose don't quite match, Surface Inspired has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they'll ship you an exchange for free! They have amazing customer service and are really great to work with in getting your decal the way you'd like.
I was sent the Contemporary Cherry Blossom Branch, and I got the colors to match my daughter's room. Her room is lavender and white with pink accents, so I got the exact colors showed on their listing, and I can't tell you how much I {LOVE} how it turned out. The application process can be a little bit difficult if you're trying to put it up by yourself, and Surface Inspired recommends having someone help you, (which makes the application process very simple). At first I was so excited to get it up that I didn't heed their advice, (having worked with vinyl lettering before). Take my advice and take THEIR advice and have a buddy help you. After I had my husband come and help out, putting it up was a breeze. I will say though that the more detailed the decal, the longer it will take...it's definitely not just a 10 minute process. BUT, Surface Inspired sends you all the information and tools you'll need, so that you're good to go once your decal arrives. After I got it all up, I was AMAZED at how great it looked...seriously like someone had painted it. It totally transformed my daughter's dull room without my having to fill it with "stuff", which I loved.
I guarantee I will be getting more decals from Surface Insprired. I think these two might be next on my list:

Surface Inspired is giving away ANY decal in their shop to one lucky reader! How great is that? You can choose any decal, and in any color. Also, Milan Maternity readers get an exclusive 20% off discount! Just use promo code "milanmaternity" when purchasing.

Win it: (submit a comment with your e-mail address for EVERY entry completed)

Mandatory Entry:
(You'll definitely want to check it out! They have some awesome contests going on over there, like the Win Your Money Back Contest, and a contest for fans to submit their own design idea.)
Additional Entries:
2. Visit the Surface Inspired shop and leave a comment telling us which decal is your favorite
3. Follow this blog (in the right column under followers)
5. Subscribe to the Milan Maternity Newsletter (on the bottom of our home page)
6. Blog this giveaway and leave the link (2 entries)
7. Update your facebook status about this giveaway and share the link (2 entries)
8. Follow Milan Maternity on Twitter and tweet this giveaway [copy & paste: "Want a chic way to decorate or give a room an update? http://milanmaternity.blogspot.com/2011/01/surface-inspired-reviewgiveaway-chic.html"]
9. Enter any of our other giveaways (1 entry per giveaway entered)
Giveaway open until February 10, 11:59 PST to U.S. and Canada residents only. Winner will be chosen by random.org.


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LUNA Bar Review/Giveaway- A More Nutritious and Delicious Alternative

>> Monday, January 24, 2011

When you're a busy mom on the go, you'd best have a stock of healthy snacks readily available! Sometimes though, carrot sticks just don't do it for me. I have a pretty serious sweet tooth, but I know a Snickers bar isn't a great option. Alright, it's the worst option. So when my sweet tooth kicks in and I'm on the run, I usually grab a protein bar, (I also love them for a post-workout snack after the gym when I'm still out running errands). I've tried just a couple kind of bars, and I admit, I don't love them, but they satisfy my sweet tooth to a point, and the protein helps me feel full longer. I was recently sent a sample pack of LUNA bars to try. LUNA bars come from the CLIF bars company, and are bars made specifically with women in mind. There are a few things that drew me to LUNA bars.
  • LUNA bars are 100% natural; no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Each bar contains essential vitamins for women like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, and iron: Nutrients that many women often lack in their regular diets.
  • LUNA bars are low-glycemic

  • No artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup or trans fats, and no ingredients sourced from genetically modified organisms.

  • LUNA bars have gluten free and dairy free options

LUNA bars have about 180 calories with 9-10 grams of protein and 3-4 grams of fiber. I was able to try an assortment of the new LUNA bars coming to stores this month, like the Chocolate Dipped Coconut and Chocolate Chunk, (perfect for my sweet tooth and chocolate addiction) and Vanilla Almond and Blueberry Bliss (great paired with fruit or yogurt for a breakfast on-the-go).

The other protein bars I've been eating are basically a nougat texture with a chocolate coating, (not my favorite texture in the world, but I didn't know any differently) so that is what I was expecting from LUNA. I definitely wasn't expecting a crunchy/chewy granola bar texture, which is what I was thrilled to find in LUNA bars. And OH MY WORD...the taste is incredible. There wasn't one that I didn't LOVE. They were better than my favorite granola bar, and every one was tons better than the protein bars I was eating before. The Chocolate Dipped Coconut was by far my favorite. It was amazing! In fact, I had to write LUNA right afterwards to ask them if they were in stores yet. It looks like a granola bar dipped in chocolate on one side, sprinkled with coconut, and I can't tell you how much it beat my old protein bars in taste. I will NEVER go back.

I also tried LUNA's new bar: LUNA protein. LUNA protein has all the great nutritional benefits as the regular LUNA bar, but has 12 grams of protein. AND...still under 200 calories. So I thought for sure that these higher protein bars would for sure have that nougat/gritty texture protein-bar taste that I was used to. They didn't. I was shocked to find a little bit of crunch to them and no unpleasant grittiness or protein aftertaste. And...you know when you buy a chocolate chip cookie dough protein bar, (or worse-chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream) and there's no cookie dough in it? Or mint chocolate chip ice cream with like 4 chocolate chips in your bowl? That's the worst! Thank you LUNA. I loved the Mint Chocolate Chip and Cookie Dough because they actually HAD chocolate chips in them! And a good amount too, (not like my old Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bars; if I found 2 chocolate chips in the whole bar it was a good day).

So if you're pregnant and having those sweet cravings or breasfeeding and need a healthy snack, (or me and need to lose the pregnancy pounds), LUNA bars are a great tasting alternative to high sugar candy bars with no nutritional value. You can pick one (or in my case, a box) up at your local grocery store, Target, or Walmart. Or, you can them online directly from LUNA here.

LUNA is giving away a sample pack of their bars (both their regular LUNA and LUNA protein) to one lucky reader! You'll be able to try all of the flavors I did, as well as some additional flavors.

Win It: (Submit a comment with EACH entry completed)

Mandatory Entry:

1. Follow this blog (in the right column under followers)

Additional Entries:

2. "Like" Milan Maternity on Facebook

3. Tell us your favorite "go-to" snack for those busy on-the-go moments

4. Enter any of our current giveaways

5. Share this giveaway in your facebook status with the link (2 entries)

6. Sign up for the LUNA newsletter to get coupons, free samples, and hear about promotions

Giveaway open until Friday, February 4th 11:59 PST to US residents only. Winner will be chosen by random.org.


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MyBirthClass.com Review and Giveaway

>> Thursday, January 20, 2011

If you're a first-time pregnant mommy, (heck, even if you're an eighth-time pregnant mommy), labor and delivery can be a scary and intimidating thing! If you're like me, you have tons of questions, and usually don't know what to expect or what options you have. This week I was given the opportunity to view and submit a review on a DVD called Labor and Delivery by MyBirthClass. This DVD helps expectant mothers learn techniques to give birth as naturally or medically supported as they desire. Even if you're not a first-time mom, this DVD outlines different options that you may not have known were available to you with your first pregnancy.

The DVD is professionally authored by Becky Rasmussen, a Certified Child Birth Educator (CBE) and mother of seven. She has coached more than a thousand expectant parents on effective birthing and fitness. Having personally birthed babies both medicated and unmedicated, she offers a fresh and objective class that is recommended by both doctors and midwives alike.

My review was as followed:

"I am a first time parent and look forward to delivering our twins in a few months. I was excited to view this DVD as I don't know what to totally expect when laboring and delivering a child. This video is a combination of modest child birth videos, pictures, couples experiences, and a continual narration by a doula/childbirth educator. Whether or not you have made your decision to have a natural or medicated birth, this video may or may not persuade you to change your method but it was very educational on both birthing options. I did feel that if you were more apt to have a natural child birth, this video would give you more confidence to do so as it covered almost an hour on this subject alone. Overall the purposes of labor, the birthing options and techniques,and the expectations before and after labor are discussed. I did expect to feel a little more engaged in the DVD as it is 97 minutes, but I did come out more educated, confident and comfortable bringing two children into the world. This DVD would be great for first time parents!"

MyBirthClass is giving away their "Birth Class In A Box, Labor 101" 3 disc set to one lucky reader!

It includes:

1. Labor & Delivery : Experts on Birth DVD (the DVD we were lucky to review)

2. All About Labor CD

3. Relaxation and Pain Management CD
FYI: This is something I thought would be espcially helpful and interesting... There is also information included that helps couples evaluate where they fall on their pain preferences. Most couples think that their options are pain medication, or no pain medication. They outline that there are many options, such as waiting for medication until 5cm, etc.
Win It: (submit a comment with your e-mail address for EACH entry completed)
Mandatory Entry:
1. Become a follower of this blog (in the right column under "followers"
Additional Entries:
2. Follow us on Facebook
3. Share your special relaxation methods for labor and delivery
4. Epidural, All Natural, or half and half? Tell us what your pain plans are, or what you've done in past pregnancies. (Maybe this DVD set will help you decide, or change your mind!)
5. Follow Milan Maternity on Twitter and tweet this giveaway
6. Enter any of our other current giveaways
Giveaway open until Wednesday, February 2nd 11:59 PST to everyone! Winner will be chosen by random.org.


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Warm Up Your Winter Milan Maternity Style [GIVEAWAY]

>> Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Five days ago, CNN reported snow on 49 of the 50 states. That's a pretty cold!United States! Only Florida was missing out on the white frozen mess that ensued. Delayed flights if you were traveling, icy slush on your workday travel and temps below zero with mind-numbing wind-chill factors probably left you feeling more frosty than the Grinch [pre heart enlarging].
Milan Maternity to your rescue!!! Enter the Lucia top in Bright Lemon! According to studies, wearing the color yellow can give you extra energy, help you feel less tired, and encourage more joy and laughter! Maybe it's true. Maybe not. Either way, you're going to look super chic while being super comfy. This top is incredibly versatile, taking you from maternity to nursing and transitioning through it all. Made of Rayon & Spandex for smooth comfort. The faux wrap conceals the nursing panel for those that are breast feeding, and the ruching detail on the side helps to hide post mommy-body imperfections! Ruching is your friend.
Milan Maternity is giving away a Lucia top in Bright Lemon to 1 lucky Milan Maternity Blog Reader!

Buy It:

Can't wait to win?!? Need it for an upcoming gathering?

[purchase not required to enter or win!]

Head on over to Milan Maternity where you can get the Lucia in Raspberry or Bright Lemon!

Win It: (Submit a comment with your e-mail address for each entry)
Required Entry:

*Follow this Milan Maternity Blog [in the right column under "followers"]

Additional Optional Entries:
*Suggest the Milan Maternity Facebook page to your friends [good for 3 entries!] Just go to our facebook page and under our tab click the link "Suggest to Friends". Simple as that!

*Follow Milan Maternity on Twitter and tweet this giveaway: "Warm Up Your Winter at @MilanMaternity With A Giveaway: http://nblo.gs/dcWiU"

*Add one of our buttons to your blog [one entry per button]
*Blog about this giveaway and leave the link
Be sure to get credit for each entry! Leave a comment for EACH ENTRY you complete.
PS. Once we reach 1500 facebook fans we'll have another giveaway....so help us out by suggesting our FB page to your friends!
Giveaway open until Friday, January 28th, 11:59 PST to everyone! Winner will be chosen by random.org


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Separating Pregnancy Myths and Facts

>> Monday, January 17, 2011

If you're hoping to do everything right for your baby's health but confused by what seems like a growing list of pregnancy myths, you're not alone. Most mothers-to-be share similar concerns - and equal amounts of confusion.
I’m all about finding out what I can and can’t do while I am pregnant whether it’s about food, health or even beauty. I’ve come across many opinions when discussing what’s good and not good for your baby and what seems border line okay and definitely not okay. Here are a few myths I’ve heard about while going through this wonderful journey:
Cats The major threat is a parasite known as toxoplasma, which you can contract from exposure to feline fecal matter. The way to avoid it is simply to avoid changing your cat's litter box during pregnancy. Most people who have cats have already been exposed, so they likely have the antibodies against it. To be sure, however, you can ask your doctor for a blood test.

Hair Dye I have never dyed my hair and I have come across many opinions on whether its harmful or not. It's an old myth that's hard to kill, mostly because doctors themselves frequently err on the side of caution by recommending women don't dye or color their hair during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester, when critical development changes are occurring in the baby. Same goes for hair straightening chemicals or permanent waves.
Computers The radiation is so small, particularly now with the use of LCD screens and no exposure to the cathode ray tube monitors of the past. The only risk of being on your computer would be if you were on there for a long amount of hours that could result in carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful wrist-related injury.

Caffeine I bounce back and forth on this one. I love to have my favorite soda every once in a while. I try and limit my intake to 1-2 a week. The rest of the time I spend consuming the good ole’ H2O! Although the relative safety of caffeine consumption during pregnancy has remained a point of debate in many medical circles, reducing caffeine intake during pregnancy below even conservative recommended intakes may have merit.
In research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in February 2008, epidemiologists from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California found that women who consumed 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day -- equal to about 12 ounces of coffee or about 30 ounces of tea -- may double their risk of miscarriage.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "moderate caffeine consumption doesn't appear to cause miscarriage or preterm birth." Moderate caffeine consists of less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day (about 12 ounces of coffee).
There will always be two sides, so do what makes you feel comfortable.
Fish Fish is among the foods that cause concern because of mercury, a metal that can be toxic to babies, children, and even adults.The FDA suggests pregnant women not eat more than 12 ounces (two average-size servings) of fish per week. Allowable fish include canned light tuna, shrimp, salmon, pollack, or catfish. Fish to avoid include swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish, which contain high levels of mercury.

Soft Cheese It depends on the cheese. If the cheese is made from pasteurized milk, it's fine. But some cheese is made with raw (unpasteurized) milk, and it's not safe to eat or drink anything made with raw milk during pregnancy. Soft cheeses most likely to be made from raw milk include feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheese like Roquefort and gorgonzola, and Mexican-style cheese like queso blanco, queso fresco, and panela.
I was so bummed when I found out feta cheese was not the safest to eat while being pregnant. I love a nice Greek salad topped with loads of feta! To me it is not worth consuming and I can live without it for 9 months.
Raw milk and the food made from it can carry disease-causing organisms, including a bacterium called Listeriosis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that it affects 2,500 people in the United States each year. But pregnant women are particularly susceptible, and the infection can be devastating and even deadly for unborn babies.
The CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) all recommend that pregnant women not eat foods made with unpasteurized milk.
Weight Gain One huge pregnancy myth involves how much additional food is really necessary to encourage the development of a healthy baby. Have you ever heard of the saying “you’re eating for two?” Just remember we're not feeding two adults! The latest information tells us that the average woman needs only about 300 extra calories a day if they are of normal weight when they conceive. If you're at a healthy weight, you need no additional calories in the first trimester, about 300 extra calories a day in the second trimester, and about 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester. If you're overweight or underweight, you'll need more or less than this depending on your weight gain goal. If you're very overweight when you get pregnant, then it's possible you should not add any additional calories to your diet, and it might even be OK if you lose a little bit of weight during pregnancy. At the same time, if you are underweight at conception, then you may have to add more than 300 calories a day and increase weight gain, just to get you up to speed to what your baby needs to grow strong and healthy. Try to minimize "extra" foods that have calories but few nutrients – sugary beverages, fried foods, foods with extra fat and sugar. Instead, choose meals and snacks that pack the most nutrition per calorie. Adding a few nutrition-packed snacks – like yogurt, nuts, a hard-boiled egg, some fresh fruits or vegetables – to your daily intake is a great way to get the healthy calories your baby needs.

What myths have you heard about? Any additional comments would be greatly appreciated!


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Morning Sickness

>> Thursday, January 13, 2011

We all dread the morning sickness that may or may not accompany your pregnancy. More than half of all pregnant women experience morning sickness and it is something you just can’t predict. Morning sickness can be, but is not always, accompanied with vomiting. The nausea is often a result of the increased hormones (HCG and Estrogen) in your body. You may also be the type of person where nausea is triggered by certain smells: perfume, food, and smelly odors.
Did you know that morning sickness doesn’t have to be just in the in morning! Really?! It can come at anytime even when you least expect it. During my first trimester I WAS sick in the morning but thankfully it subsided after week 9! About half of the women who get nausea during pregnancy feel complete relief by around 14 weeks. There is hope ladies!

Enough about what causes it, what can we do as pregnant women to help ease the discomfort?
Helpful Do's and Don'ts:
· Eat small meals often
· Eat foods that will keep you full longer (foods with high fiber and water content)
· Drink fluids 1/2 hour before or after a meal, but not with meals
· Drink small amounts of fluids during the day to avoid dehydration
· Eat soda crackers 15 minutes before getting up in the morning
· Avoid foods and smells that increase nausea
· Get plenty of rest and nap during the day
· Avoid warm places (feeling hot adds to nausea)
· Sniff lemons or ginger, drink lemonade, or eat watermelon to relieve nausea
· Do not lie down after eating
· Do not skip meals
· Do not cook or eat spicy food
A few helpful Do’s that did work for me were the saltine crackers, ginger ale, eating small meals often, and avoiding warm places. My husband also commented on the convenient store amount of food I kept on my night stand. When I woke up in the morning I would fill my stomach with something small before I sat up. Getting up slowly in the morning – sitting on the bed for a few minutes rather than jumping right up – may be helpful.

Many of my friends were the unfortunate ones that were SO sick they needed to take medication. It is okay if you need to! Studies have shown that it will not harm your baby. There is no need to continue to suffer, and waiting too long to take appropriate medication may make your condition more difficult to treat. Your provider will likely suggest that you try taking vitamin B6. If vitamin B6 isn't enough to do the job, there are other anti-nausea-medications that are considered safe and effective during pregnancy.

One thing you must not forget is to take your prenatal vitamin! Your prenatal is packed of nutrients that your baby needs. Taking your prenatal on an empty stomach can cause you to feel nauseous so I recommend you take it after your meals or right before you go to bed.

Because I love food, I want to share one last helpful hint! Try some of these food combinations that will help you feel full longer and will also be healthy for you and the baby:

Half cup of oatmeal topped with fresh blueberries or any berry of your choice and sprinkled with a tablespoon of crushed walnuts. Or, scramble one egg and serve it atop a piece of whole-grain toast.

Soup is a healthy option that, because of its high-water content, keeps you full longer. Forego creamy soups with high amounts of fat and calories, and choose broth-based soups with plenty of vegetables. I love minestrone and chicken noodle! Add a piece of whole grain bread on the side.

Stir-fry is a quick and healthy option at dinner to keep you feeling full. Try boneless, skinless chicken breast or lean steak sliced thinly, stir-fried in canola oil with fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or red peppers. Add some garlic, a little soy sauce, and serve over brown rice.


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Mama Mio's Boob Tube- Aim North, Not South

>> Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There are plenty of skin care lines that are great for pregnancy. Cocoa butter, Shea butter, Omega 3...all good stuff to keep that belly moisturized and prevent stretch marks. But what about for afterwards when all the damage is done? Your belly grows to an incredible size in just 9 short months (or long months, depending on if you're pregnant while reading this), and then shrinks back down pretty quickly after giving birth. If you know anything about "gaining" and losing weight quickly, or in the case of pregnancy, "stretching and shrinking"quickly can leave you with some saggy, extra skin on your belly.

That's not the worst of it. We all know what a number pregnancy and breastfeeding can do on the girls. Same story, crazy growth during pregnancy and even more for breastfeeding. Then, your baby (quite literally) sucks the life out of them. So you stop nursing, and you're left with what we lovingly call them: "tube socks", "deflated balloons", or my favorite: "zip-lock baggies filled half-way with water and stapled to your chest".

Childbirth is a wonderful and glorious thing, but our new post-pregnancy bodies can sometimes be a little discouraging. (Okay, I ain't gonna lie, it's A LOT discouraging sometimes!) So where's the skin care lines to help us out with our new lovely post-partum bodies? Enter Mama Mio. Mama Mio is a skin care line that has thought everything through. They not only carry skin care for during pregnancy, but for getting your body back afterwards as well. From Mama Mio's Goodbye Stretch Marks, which has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks by over 70%, to their See-No-Scar Soloution, which helps with C-section scars, to their Boob Tube-Bust and Neck Firmer, which helps out with the girls as well as neck and under-the-chin droop. I got to try Boob Tube-Bust and Neck Firmer, and there is a good reason why celebrities give it rave reviews. Within only a week I noticed a difference. My skin tone was more even and looked more youthful. I especially loved what it did for my neck and chest. My skin had seen its fair share of sun damage, and Boob Tube really helped to firm and smooth out my skin. The crazy thing about Boob Tube is that you can feel it working as soon as you put it on. It immediately makes your skin feel firmer and tighter. LOVED that! Since Mama Mio's skincare line is made of natural, quality ingredients, you can also use their products on your face. Since my face could use all of these great benefits too, I gave it a try. The difference was AMAZING. So much firmer, smoother and it also gave it a little glow. I LOVE this product and can't wait to try Mama Mio's other skincare products! I think the Get Waisted Body Shaper is next on my list! Head here to take a look at Mama Mio's skin care line. They have some really amazing products with the reviews to prove it!


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Innobaby Packin' SMART Winner

Here's our winner for the Innobaby Packin' SMART giveaway:
Please e-mail service@milanmaternity.com by Wednesday, January 12th 11:59pm PST to claim your prize, or another winner will be chosen.


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7 Easy Photography Tips

>> Friday, January 7, 2011

Catching life's precious moments can be one of the most fun parts of being a parent! As a mom of two, [and a half!] I always have a subject at hand....though not always willing participants, to hone my photography skills. You don't have to get a degree in photography, and you don't need to run out and purchase the biggest DSLR. A point-and-shoot works just fine, and also has manual settings to utilize for the more advanced. Though if you'd like, you can also check around your local camera shops, community colleges or churches. Many offer free or low cost courses on using those manual settings. But it's not a requisite!

Here are some quick, helpful tips that you can put to use today:
[you can click to enlarge the photos to get a better idea/look]

1. Change your vantage point:
Most of the time we don't even realize that we tend to shoot from our standing position. Don't be afraid to lie down on the ground or squat to get on a child's-view level.

2. It doesn't always have to be centered:
The "rule of thirds" applies here. Centered photos are great too, but change it up every once in awhile to get a new feel for your photos.

3. Change up the Angle:
Whether verticle or diagonal, capturing something with a different angle from horizontal can make something more interesting to look at.

4. Catch the Candid:
Toddlers can be the hardest to wrangle for a posed photo....so beat them at their own game and catch the candid shot!

5. Catch the Guilty:
Even if it's NOT funny at the time...It will be later. Case & Point? My three year old & paint...I knew she was too quiet. My lesson? NO PLACE IS HIGH ENOUGH TO STORE PAINT! She was covered head to toe, and the walls, carpet and bedding:

6. Catch the precious details you're going to miss:
They grow fast. Even when it doesn't feel like it when you're up at 3am with a colicky baby...it goes by SO FAST.
Feet, toes, hands, fingers, noses, smiles, eyes and ears. Copyright to Blessed Life Portraiture.

7. Get in the action!
There is no photo example for this one because I am GUILTY of forgetting this important tip: Join in the Photo!!! Hand that camera to someone else and put yourself in it. I am the photo taker, like many moms, and forget to put myself in the shot. Forget the excuse about not feeling good about how you look. I was told that when you look at the photo 10 years from now you won't think, "Ew" as much as you'll think, "Wow. I wish I still looked like that!" Remember to have fun and include yourself in the pictorial memory.

I hope this helped you some!
*All photos are copyrighted to Blessed Life Portraiture.


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>> Sunday, January 2, 2011

Alright, LONG overdue, I know! With the holidays, travel, sick kids, sick me, and blown up computers, we're running a little behind in the blog scene. Hope everyone had a great holiday and you all are gearing up for the new year! Here are the giveaway winners for the Charmed Life Onesie giveaway, the Taylor Joelle Designs giveaway, and the Milan Maternity Annalisa top giveaway:

Charmed Life Dress Shirt Onesie Winner:

Taylor Joelle Designs Giveaway Winner:

Milan Maternity Annalisa Top Winner:

Congrats to the winners! Please e-mail service@milanmaternity.com by Tuesday, January 4th 11:59pm PST to claim your prize, or another winner will be chosen. Stay tuned this week for another AWESOME giveaway, and be sure to enter our current Innobaby Packin' Smart Giveaway, ending on Tuesday the 4th!


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