How To Apply Crackle Nail Polish

I recently read a post on this blog about Opi Shatter nail polish.

I had never heard of it before, but it's basically a nail polish that dries into a design on your finger nails.

It looked really cool, and I knew I wanted to try some. So I called my local beauty supply store.

I learned that Shatter nail polish sold out so fast that Opi ran completely out, and they're now waiting to see if they will make more (which they most likely will). But there were a couple other brands with similar products, so I thought I'd give one a try.

I ended up getting China Glaze Crackle nail polish in white.

Here's how it looks on my fingernails:

I think it looks pretty cool! It reminds me of snake skin. Or crocodile scales. Derek thinks I should copyright the Crocodile Scales name for this look, so if you see it used somewhere else, just know I came up with it first.

Here's the step-by-step:

When using Crackle nail polish, you need to apply a base color first. I used Jade Jump Sally Hansen nail polish for my base.

Next you sweep on the Crackle nail polish. It just looks like regular nail polish when you first put it on, but as it dries it "cracks", and the base color shows through. Make sure that the Crackle layer is a thin layer, or it won't crackle properly.

I would recommend applying a top coat of polish as well. The polish I used was clear with some glitter in it - it gave it some extra sparkle. I don't usually apply a top coat when painting my nails, but I felt like using a clear top coat helped to seal it and make the design last longer. It lasted until day four before it started chipping, which is really good for me! I tend to be hard on my nail polish.

And that's all there is to it! Have any of you used Shatter or Crackle nail polish?

Moms And Babies - Michelle

This week I'm featuring Michelle from She Said! I found Michelle's blog a couple months ago, and I love reading her thoughts on life and her sweet baby girl!

I really enjoyed reading Michelle's interview when she sent me her answers, especially her advice for first-time mothers in the last question - I could have written that bit myself!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 26 year old first time mommy to a beautiful little girl. I live in sunny San Diego with my husband, James. We love the Lord and He comes first in our household. We are tattooed parents and we come from very large and open/accepting families. I work full time unfortunately, but I soak up as much time as I can with my family when I am home. I love blogging, especially because there are so many supportive mommy bloggers out there, but I only blog on my breaks at work so that way I don't take away time with my family.

What's your baby's name and how old is she?

My little girl is named Chloe Darling and she is 6 months old. She is growing up so fast!

Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

Ok, here is the breakdown. Although, we are usually all over the place, so I feel that there is really no "typical" day.
We are always go go go, luckily Chloe is ok with that.

Wake up & get ready for work
Find some 5 minute cuddle time with the babe before we leave
Work (James and I work together, luckily)
Come home, catch up about Chloe's day with our nanny (my sister)
Then each afternoon is different and consist of various things: cleaning, worship practice, bible study, taco Tuesdays with family, catching up with old friends, shopping, going out to dinner, apartment hunting, etc..

The day is spend just getting everything checked off our to do list and running errands or hanging out with friends and family and all the rest of the fun or tedious things we didn't have time to do on the weekday afternoons.

Wake up early to take James to worship practice (we only have one car)
Chloe and I spend the rest of the morning in Denny's until church starts (it's too far away to go back home after dropping James off early at church)
Lunch with church friends
Then relaxation and family time. Go to the park or the zoo or something outdoorsy. We try to squeeze in a movie on Netflix every now and then.

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

She has an independent, calm and happy spirit. A good mix between her dad and I.

What's your favorite part about being a mom?

Oh man, all of it is my favorite. The love that I have for this little girl is ridiculous (in a good way). I think my favorite favorite part is being needed by her. She will look around the room to find me. When she is sleepy she only wants James or myself and snuggles into my chest to rest. My second favorite part is watching her experience things for the first time. I feel so blessed to be able to witness what it is like to see things through her eyes. I can only imagine what it is she actually is thinking, oh but those expressions across her face when doing or seeing something for the first time are priceless!

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

BREASTFEED! I was not able to move after birth for about 2 weeks, but the pounds just shed right off because I was breastfeeding Chloe every 2.5 hours. I lost all my baby weight within the first 2 weeks and now I am working on getting rid of what I gained on top of my normal weight before I was pregnant. I have been really bad at it, but I know it consist of eating better and exercising.

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

I am not gonna lie, we haven't really gotten to do all that much as a couple alone. We have only gotten to go on 1 date night since we have had her (lack of a free babysitter). However, James and I work together and see each other 24/7 so we get to spend some time together alone at our lunch break at work and in the car rides going to and from work. We also stay up REALLY late just to get some alone time in after baby has gone to bed (she sleeps around 10:00pm). We usually are like walking zombies for the first couple of hours every morning, but it is worth it to us. Another thing is to PRAY TOGETHER. Relying on God and bringing him into your relationship will make it 100 times better!

Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

I would say any type of baby wearing carrier. I get to work on the things I need to get done around the house AND spend some close time with my little one all at the same time, that's called "killing two birds with one stone". We go for walks, take her to the zoo, and spend some time dancing and singing around the house with her in our Baby Bjorn. She loves it because she LOVES to look out when holding her and I love it because sometimes my arms just need a break.

What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

Park time, for sure! We all love the fresh air and cool breeze and just being outside in general. Chloe loves to wiggle her feet in the grass. We take a blanket and some lunch and spend some quality family time usually at Balboa park, but any park will do. It is so beautiful and relaxing, we even usually take a little nap, haha.

Any advice for first-time mothers?

Well, as a first time mommy myself, I still have a LOT to learn. But I will pass on two bits of advice that I have gotten from my pastor, a mother whom I admire greatly.

1. All babies cry. Just accept it and move on. Stop letting it stress you out. Babies will even cry for no apparent reason some times. Just because your baby cries does not make you a bad mother. And don't think for a minute that your baby won't cry in public. Because they will and you will be totally embarrassed and think everyone is staring at you and you will think your child is having the most horrendous melt down that anyone has ever seen. Chances are, it is not as bad as you think it is. And most people sympathize with a baby crying because they have been there before.

2. Have your child adapt to YOUR lifestyle. This was something I had a hard time dealing with. For a while, I felt that I was a bad parent because Chloe had no set schedule and that schedules seemed to be the talk of the mommies everywhere. Then I realized that neither my husband nor I have a set schedule. If you are a person like me, you are always go go go. I was so worried Chloe was going to be a baby that has a crazy sleep/eating schedule and that she would only be comfortable at home. I was worried our lifestyle would have to change and we would be constrained as to when or if we would be able to go or do something. I was worried because we are always doing things with other people and things for the church and with one car it was going to be nearly impossible to be home every three hours for Chloe's set schedule times (although, if she was a schedule baby, I would totally make those sacrifices). I prayed that she would be an easy going baby that would go around our time schedule and that she would adapt to our lifestyle. God definitely answered our prayers! She falls asleep late like we do and sleeps in late like we do. She doesn't have a set nap time and usually just takes her naps in her car seat while we are driving because our schedule is so unpredictable.

Don't feel bad if your baby isn't adjusted to a set schedule. I think her adapting to our lifestyle helps me be a better parent because I am not stressing out about time constraints nor feeling that I am losing out on the things that I like to do and the events that we are involved in, leaving no resentment, feeling of being left out or feelings of regret what so ever. Chloe is a very happy baby and this lifestyle of ours we made work for her.

I do want to say that I am not knocking anyone who's baby is on a set schedule, you know what your baby likes and what type of lifestyle they do best in, just do what best suits your family as a whole, not just baby.

Thanks Michelle! Check out Michelle's blog to read more about her and her family!

Breastfeeding SOS List

If you have been reading my blog since Wyatt was born, you know that breastfeeding wasn't all sunshine and roses for me at the beginning.

You know how pregnant ladies all research their birth plans, and come up with how they would like things to go, but they keep in mind that things might not go exactly as planned?

Usually when you're pregnant you prepare and expect the best, but you'll also emotionally prepare for the fact that complications may arise during delivery, and you may have to deal with some things that you wanted to avoid. Most women know that though everything might go according to the birth plan, not everyone has an ideal birth story, and you go into it ready for anything.

I firmly believe that breastfeeding should be approached the same way. You should prepare and expect the best, but also be aware that everything may not go as planned. Complications may arise.

This is a list of some of my breastfeeding product recommendations, from someone who had some issues. Hopefully some of you out there will find it helpful!

The Must-Haves:

1. Manual breast pump. Very, very important to have a breastpump on hand. You just never know if breastfeeding is going to go smoothly or not, but at least if you have a manual breast pump your baby can still get breast milk even if it's not directly from you for a while.

2. Hydrogel pads. These were life savers. I had alot of problems with cracking and bleeding, and these made me so much more comfortable until I healed.

3. Lanolin. Also very helpful - it helped me with the soreness for a while.

4. Neosporin. Like I said, I had cracking and bleeding problems, and my doctor recommended using Neosporin to help prevent infection. You just need to wash it off before you feed your baby. While I was using this, I actually liked it even better than lanolin. Of course, check with your own doctor before using anything medicated while breastfeeding, but it helped me.

5. Ice packs. Everything I read said to apply hot compresses if an infection starts to set in, but my doctor said you actually want to apply ice to reduce the inflamation. Hot compresses may feel better, but they can actually make it worse. The inflamation did seem to go down quicker when I used ice packs, so I'd have some handy.

6. A night-time nursing bra. Anna recommended this in a comment on my hospital packing list post, and me being the smart person that I am, I took her advice and went out and got one. So glad I did. I didn't think about it before, but it was good to have this, because it helps with support while sleeping, and it held my hydrogel and nursing pads in place nicely during the night.

The "Of Course" Items:

7. Nursing pads. I like this brand the best - they are contoured to fit nicely into your bra, and they are very absorbent, so they're comfortable to wear all day.

8. A nursing cover. This was one of those items I never actually remembered to get for myself (I think I'm in the minority there - it just didn't occur to me). Thank goodness my aunt made me one, or I would have been out of luck. It's nice to have an actual cover as opposed to a blanket, just because it's easier to keep in place. As your baby gets bigger, they'll start grabbing onto any available fabric while they eat, and you don't want any (*ahem*) incidents to happen.

The Not-Really-Necessary-But-Nice-To-Have Item:

9. A nursing pillow. This is most useful in the first month, when your baby is so tiny. They're not long enough to rest on your lap yet, and your arms can get pretty tired holding them up for 30+ minutes. Once again, I never thought to actually buy this item, but right after Wyatt was born my sister-in-law ran out to buy me one of these, and it was so much nicer than trying to prop multiple pillows under my arms all the time. Plus, I've learned that if you use this pillow while sitting at the table, your baby is pretty well supported, and you can use both hands to do other things . . . like blogging, maybe?

Alot of ladies I know had no problems with breastfeeding at all, but it doesn't always come easily to everyone. If you have problems, it doesn't mean you are a failure! I struggled with feeling guilty because it wasn't easy for me, but that's ridiculous. You shouldn't feel guilty if complications arise that prevent your original birth plan from being fulfilled, and you shouldn't feel guilty if complications arise that prevent your original breastfeeding plan from being fulfilled. But it really does help to be prepared for anything.

And just so I don't scare all you pregnant ladies out there . . . yes, I was pretty miserable in the beginning, but I was determined to stick it out, and after the first month it got so much better. Wyatt and I are old pros now. So if you do have complications with breastfeeding, rest assured that they most likely won't last forever.

Any other "must-haves" that you would add to the list?

Polls And Comment Catch-Up

Time for another edition of Comment Catch-Up!

I looked at my reader this morning and realized I had 240 unread posts. Two hundred and forty. And that's only the blogs of people who follow me. That's not even counting other general-reading blogs.

Needless to say, it's going to take a while for me to catch up.

It would take far too long to comment on each post individually, so here are some of the comments I would like to say on some of your posts!

Jessica: I'm loving the DIY flowers - they turned out great! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your new Etsy shop. And I thought your tips on how to not waste food/money were right on.

Ashley: I love that you're posting the recipes from the tea party, because the food you served was delicious. And your new kitten is adorable!

Ashley: I can't believe Brayden is six months old already (and so cute too)! How does this happen? Of course if your baby is six months, that means mine is almost four months . . . I don't want to think about it.

Ashley: Wylie is six months now too? Sheesh. And your little guy has such a cute little smile - love it!

Pause button: I have so many blog friends named Ashley, it's not even funny. Resume.

Amber: So exciting about the house! I hope you get it. It sounds like a really nice place.

Jessie: I never had false labor, but it sounds awful! I think that would stink. I would probably have a meltdown too. One of these times it'll be the real thing though, and then you'll get to meet your sweet boy! In the meantime, enjoy those kicks while he's still inside you - I kind of miss them now (but it's totally worth it having your baby on the oustide!).

Meghan: Oh gracious, that surgery sounds awful. And I just realized it's today! Praying for you, Friend . . . and I know how it stinks to have to stay overnight in the hospital away from your baby. Been there already. But it really special to see how happy they are to see you when you get back!

Melissa: I love your new blog design! It says "summer" to me too.

Mrs. Lukie: You're over halfway through your pregnancy! How exciting! I loved the ultrasound picture of your little one's foot - so cute! And I think you're having a boy - just for the record.

I think that's about all the reading and commenting I have time for right now - Baby Boy is waking up from his nap!

Speaking of which . . . doesn't he look cute in his little summer outfit?

I couldn't resist adding a picture.

And before I go, may I divert your attention to the little poll question on the sidebar?

I decided to do some "getting to know you" polls, just for fun. Of course, I already know alot of you, or know about you just from reading your blogs - but we don't always blog about everything in our lives, do we?

Take work for instance. I hardly ever blog about work. And neither do alot of you.

Hence the first question! I'll vote too. There should be one vote already under "Working Part-Time".

I'll leave it up for a week. I'm kind of curious to see how the percentages come out!

Happy Tuesday to you!

Going Back

I went back to work last week. I saw alot of my favorite patients, and I didn't fall behind like I thought I would. It generally went better than expected. But I hate being away from Wyatt. Hate it. If you don't have to go back to work at all, I hope you thank the Lord every day for it. I really can't complain too much though, because I only have to work two days a week. I have to thank the Lord for that fact. It's way better than going back full-time. I would love to be a stay at home mom someday. But for now, I know the Lord wants me here. Before we got pregnant with Wyatt, I used to get pretty anxious about what we would do when we had a baby. I knew I'd probably have to keep working for a while, but everything in me fought the idea of putting my baby in daycare. Not that there's anything wrong if you have to put your child in daycare. I know for alot of moms, there really isn't another choice. But for me personally, the thought just turned my stomach. Derek didn't want to have to do that either if we could help it, because when he was growing up he had to go to daycare and had some unhappy experiences. I think I started praying even before we got pregnant that they Lord would work it out so that when we had a baby, I wouldn't have to put him in daycare, or maybe even that I might be able to stay at home. At the time, I was working Mondays and Thursdays each week. After I got pregnant though, my anxiety about this problem reached a climax. Problems like that and pregnancy hormones don't mix. I had to give it to the Lord all over again, and trust that He would take care of it for me. I actually wrote this post, "To Trust Him (And a Good Cry)", within a few days of finding out I was pregnant, and it was because of my worry about working when I had a new baby. (Though I'm sure you all thought that post was still about waiting for a baby, huh? I learned those lessons while we were trying to conceive, and I had our fertility struggle in mind as well, but I actually wrote it after I found out I was pregnant. Just goes to show there is always something to worry about.) Shortly after I got pregnant, Derek got his new job. As we started thinking about what we would do when I had to go back to work, Derek got the idea that maybe he could switch to four ten-hour days at his job. He talked to his supervisor about it, and she agreed right away, and Derek said he'd like to take Thursdays off. So that took care of one day! At this point I was thinking it might be just one day in daycare instead of two, which was better. But then, several weeks later, my boss came to my operatory and asked me how I would feel about switching my days to Thursdays/Fridays, instead of Mondays/Thursdays. I agreed right away, because my mom and sister have Fridays off. I knew if I worked Fridays instead, they could watch my baby that day! Instead of my baby being taken care of by strangers, I know when I'm scraping away at my patient's teeth, Wyatt is either with his dad or my mom. Thinking back now, I'm just amazed at how the Lord granted that simple request of mine so perfectly. He worked everything out so I don't have to send my baby to daycare while I am at work, which is what I was concerned about most. So though I have to work right now, I know that the Lord must want me working at this point in my life, because He orchestrated events to make sure I could have peace of mind about Wyatt when I had to go back. It was a wonderful gift. I still hate leaving my baby. But as I said, I really can't complain at all.

Moms And Babies - Lauren

This week I'm featuring Lauren from Happily Mother After! I just found Lauren's blog recently, and I've really been enjoying reading it - her "baby" is two years old, and I'm excited to do an interview with a mom with a little more experience!

I especially liked reading her answers in the following interview, because she is a pediatric physical therapist and had some great advice about helping your baby strengthen his/her muscles . . . read the interview to see what I mean!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a wife and mother full-time and a pediatric physical therapist part-time. I met my husband in fourth grade, started crushing on him in seventh grade, began dating him in ninth grade, and married him after we graduated from college. I started a three year graduate program a few months after we got married and I gave birth to Brody 3 weeks after I graduated with my doctorate. We didn't plan to have him so soon, but God's timing was perfect and I couldn't have planned it better if I tried.

What's your baby's name and how old is he?

Our son's name is Brody. He is a big two year old as of May 23rd!

Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

Wake up. Eat breakfast. Play (cars are the latest obsession). Lunch. Brody naps while I catch up on whatever and exercise, hopefully. Play/read books. Snack. Tidy up the house. Dinner. Shower. Read a Bible story. Bedtime.

If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

Smart. Sweet. Silly.

What's your favorite part about being a mom?

Hmm. I've never been good at picking favorites.

I love having an endless supply of hugs and kisses available at every moment of the day. I love watching him grow and learn new things each and every day. I love hearing the funny things that come out of his mouth...He calls strawberries, "strawbabies" and I can't get enough! We usually try to correct him when he says a word wrong, but I can't help but encourage this one. :)

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

It doesn't happen fast.

For me, breastfeeding was a great start. I lost a lot of the weight that way in the beginning. Once Brody started sleeping through the night, I felt more like myself and less like a zombie so I was ready to get back into running. Signing up for 5Ks and 10Ks is a great way to keep yourself motivated. My husband and I also started the p90X workouts which have been amazing for both of us. We keep each other motivated. It usually works out that when one of us wants to skip a workout the other is pumped and can guilt the lazy one into getting off the couch. Plus, we found it is a great way for us to stay connected and deepen our relationship.

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

I can't say we are the experts on this one. I wish I could tell you that we have a weekly date night out, but since our family is in another state we don't have the luxury. Instead, we usually try to make a point of spending time together after Brody has gone to bed. Lately, we've been snuggling up in bed and watching old "Fringe" episodes online. It definitely has given us a lot of interesting topics to talk about over dinner.

Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

The Bumbo is definitely a must if you ask me...which you did. :) It's great for helping your baby to strengthen his back once he is able to hold his head up but not yet able to sit independently (plus it frees your hands to be able to get things done). As a pediatric physical therapist I could probably ramble on longer than you care to read about this topic. It's so important to make sure that your baby is not always in a car seat, bouncy chair, swing, etc. Your baby needs to be able to strengthen his head, neck, and back in order to reach milestones at appropriate times and avoid a list of complications. I can't stress tummy time enough either. Even if your baby strongly resists tummy time at first, just keep pushing him to stay on his tummy for a few minutes longer each time. A good goal is an hour and a half each day (which can be broken up into tiny sessions). Before you know it, he will enjoy it and will learn to roll all over the place. I can't tell you how many babies I treat who really just needed tummy time from the beginning. That being said, always put your baby on his back to sleep at night.

Okay, I'm stepping off my soap box now.

What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

I've been sitting here staring at the screen for about half an hour now trying to rack my brain over our favorite outing. My mind immediately went to vacations when I read this question. I started to write about our cruise to the Western Caribbean this past October when it hit me. Backspace. Backspace. Backspace. The answer is simple. My favorite outings are all the times we do the little things like going to the park, going for ice cream, or taking a walk on the greenway together. Those are the moments that fill my cup.

Any advice for first-time mothers?

Sing. Singing works like a charm. It worked with Brody and every baby I have ever worked with. Bonus: It calms you down too (which is probably why it calms the baby down).

Thanks Lauren! And think I defnitely need to go buy a Bumbo seat now . . .

Check out Lauren's blog to read more!

Weird Week

This week has been really weird for me.

Maybe it's because of the three-day weekend. It was great, but it kind of got me out of my normal routine.

Maybe it's because I was expecting to be able to move around normally now, but it's still a major struggle just to walk across my living room.

Maybe it's because Wyatt has been fussy all week, and I don't know why.

Maybe it's because I know tomorrow I have to leave my baby and go back to work for the first time in almost four months. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious about it.

I have a ton of fun stuff to blog about, but I'm lacking the motivation to actually type it up. That hardly ever happens to me.

And the air outside smells like smoke today. . .

This week is just off.

Instead of taking time to write a good blog post today, which feels like a major task, I'm just going to snuggle with my kiddo and take my last nap with him before my maternity leave is over.

I'll have the Mom and Baby feature up tomorrow, but I can't garuantee anything for Friday.

I'm taking a couple Mental Health Days. I'll get back in the swing of things next week.

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