STAY NAKED Weightless Liquid Foundation Review

In this post I’ll be reviewing the Stay NAKED weightless liquid foundation from URBAN DECAY Cosmetics.

This summer I got really tan so I was on the hunt for a good foundation that matched my skin tone. I have combination to oily skin so I wanted something matte, medium coverage, weightless and comfortable for everyday wear.

Shade 50CP (C‘ for the cool mastertone & ‘P‘ for the pink undertone)

I was told that this is exactly what I was looking for.

Here is a quick overview of the Stay Naked foundation:

  • vegan and cruelty-free
  • medium coverage and buildable
  • weightless and breathable formula
  • liquid formula to matte finish
  • available in 50 shades
  • waterproof
  • longwear – for up to 24 hours

DAY 1 – It was my husband and I’s anniversary. I decided to review this foundation on our night out.

Application

I applied the foundation over a moisturized and primed face with a damp beauty blender. The liquid formula blended beautifully onto my skin. I only applied one layer of the foundation but you can layer it for a more full coverage. Then I applied my concealer and baked with the Laura Mercier Loose powder in Translucent, and finished with the rest of my face. So far, I was happy with the feel of the foundation.

After 2 hours of application

After only 2 hours, I noticed creasing and cracking under my eye and around my mouth… Also, the shade of the foundation had gotten a tad bit darker than when I first applied it. I understand that this is due to oxidation but I took every step to prevent this from happening (primer, oil free products, setting with loose powder etc.). I don’t have this problem with my other foundations. I also felt like my face was heavy and cakey! This was a little upsetting considering that I was going out with my husband and had to leave the house in 10 minutes! I decided to give this foundation more time to set in so I left the house as is.

At the end of the night

When I got home from a night out with my husband, I found that the foundation lasted well. However I still found significant cracking and creasing around my eyes and mouth. And the cakey feeling was still very much there. In terms of oiliness, the foundation did well to keep the shine at bay. (I wish I had taken some photos at the end of the night! Sorry guys, had a bit too much to drink…)

I was pretty upset with this foundation after that night! I was considering returning the foundation for a full refund when I decided to give it another go. I’ve learned that I can’t give the foundation a proper review without changing a few steps in my make up routine.

DAY 2 – A few days later, our family decided to hang out by the pool before summer ends. I decided to give the foundation another try but this time, I mixed it with my Aveeno daily moisturizer.

Application

If any of you have tried the Aveeno daily moisturizer (SPF 15), you will find that it has a thicker consistency and a white film because of the SPF component. I knew I would be in the sun by the pool so I wanted some UV protection. I mixed one full pump of the moisturizer with one full pump of the Stay Naked foundation. Once I blended the mixture onto my skin, I already felt the difference. Compared to just the foundation application alone, the moisturizer and foundation mixture felt so much better.

My blemishes were faint but my skin looked natural and almost flawless with a subtle matte finish.

This time, I decided to apply loose power to only one side of my face. I thought, maybe the cakey feeling I had before was because I set my face with loose powder, which may not have been necessary when a matte finish foundation. I was curious to see how each side of my face looked in a few hours…

After a few hours by the pool

What a difference! Significantly less creasing, cracking, and cakey-ness! I felt so comfortable in my skin which is very rare.

In terms of setting with loose powder, I didn’t see much of a difference on either side of my face. Hmm…

Conclusion

After the first try, I was ready to return this foundation for a full refund! I was very disappointed by how the matte finish made my makeup look and feel cakey. I also was upset about all the cracking and creasing around my eyes and mouth.

Once I blended the foundation with my daily moisturizer, it made a huge difference. I can see myself using this foundation-moisturizer blend everyday!

Thanks for reading everyone! xoxo

Magnetic Eyeliner and Lashes Review

Hello loves, I was skipping through instagram the other day and came across an ad for MAGNETIC EYELINER and LASHES. I know, I’m a little late in the game but I was still intrigued.

I heard about these magnetic lashes before like from ARDELL. The ARDELL lashes are the ones where there are two lashes for each eye. So you apply the first lash above your natural lashes and then the second pair of lashes below your natural ones. Then the magnets should clamp the two lashes together over your natural lashes. I’ve seen a lot of reviews on these types of magnetic lashes and the majority find them extremely hard to apply and keep on…

But the magnetic lashes that I came across on instagram included a magnetic eyeliner and that’s what the magnets on the lashes attach to. This was different and promising so I had to give them a try! Plus, customer service seemed so good because in the comments, they always replied to any questions people had. So I thought, it can’t be that bad, right?

I ordered my pair from the website that I found on instagram, Thebeautynovaa (refer to image below). I paid $28.95 CDN for the NovaLashes – Magnetic Lash Kit in the style ‘Classy Lash’ and I didn’t have to pay for shipping.

I ordered them on July 31st and they finally arrived in the mail about 2 weeks later from somewhere in China. To be honest, I had very low expectations for these lashes right when I ordered them online 2 weeks ago. That was clue number 1…

Clue number 2 was that the package said “False Eyelashes in Diamond D“… I’m pretty sure I ordered the NovaLashes – Magnetic lash kit in the style Classy lash but ok…

I wanted to make sure that this was actually what I had ordered so I went to the website and looked at the photos people had posted in their reviews. The package and its contents were exactly what other customers had received so I guess this must be the right package.

I ordered the ‘Classy Lashes‘ because I wanted something a bit more natural to wear everyday. These lashes were pretty dramatic! They were however nice and soft but not for everyday wear like I had hoped.

You can see the magnets attached to the lash line in the above image. There’s about 5 little magnets on each lash so if you needed to trim them, you might be in a bit of trouble…

The eyeliner applicator had a thick brush which I wasn’t a fan of. Plus, it had a slight smell to it. There is also the issue of having those magnetic particles so close to your delicate eyes but customer service at thebeautynovaa kept reassuring everyone that the amount of magnetic particles in the eyeliner is so small, it shouldn’t affect the eye at all.

I really wanted these to work because I’m terrible at applying falsies with the glue. Plus, this would save so much time getting ready! I just wish I had gotten lashes that were a bit more natural…

Anyway, I put on some make up and threw on those lashes! Here are the results…

So firstly, you need to make sure the eyeliner is dry before trying to attach your lashes to them. When I applied the lashes, it took a little bit of moving them around to finally magnetize the liner and lashes together.

Yes, they do stick to the liner! But do they hold on well? In my case, no. With just a light tug, they come right off…

You can also see when I close my eyes, you can see that some ends of the lashes aren’t fully magnetized to the eyeliner on my eyelid.

I’ve seen reviews of these lashes passing the “wind test” and apparently, reviewers are saying they stay on quite well throughout the day! But I just can’t trust them myself!

I couldn’t imagine going out and having a lash fall off in public! That would be a nightmare.

Oh, and clue number 3… I was on the wish app the other day and guess what I found – the exact same eyeliner and eyelash kit for only $9.00!

So, there you go my friends! I paid almost $30.00 for this exact lash kit that is available on wish for only $9.00. Of course add on a few dollars for shipping, but still!

Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of these magnetic lashes:

CONS:

  • very dramatic lashes (not for everyday wear, and these were apparently the least dramatic ones)
  • slight smell to the eyeliner
  • lashes easily comes off with a very light tug
  • very thick eyeliner applicator brush

PROS:

  • soft, feathery feel of the eyelashes
  • cute case to store your lashes for reuse
  • reusable if taken care of properly
  • inexpensive if you know where to look!

In conclusion, I wasn’t happy with this product. I really wanted them to work but I just can’t trust them outside in the wind and what not.

That’s it for this review! Thanks for reading everyone. If you have any experiences with these exact lashes or if you know of better ones that I should check out, please leave me a comment below!

xoxo

August ipsy Glam Bag

Hi everyone, I just received my August ipsy glam bag in the mail – yay! Oh, and by the way, I just wanted to point out my hubby’s infamous eye roll when he discovered the dazzling hot pink package sticking out of our mailbox… Get used to it, hunny!

I’m super excited to share these individualized sample products with you especially because I purchased a few add-ons for only $3 each!

Overall this August glam bag was pretty good! I did have to go back into my account and change my preferences for highlighter products because I just have way too many highlighters sitting at home already and I really don’t need more! But besides that, these picks are great!

So for this August Glam Bag, I got…

  • VASANTI Concealer Buffing Brush
  • WANDER BEAUTY Lift Off Purifying and Brightening Peel Off Mask
  • Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara
  • ESTATE COSMETICS Dew Me Baked Highlighter in Lit
  • SUNDAY RILEY Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

And the add-on products I added to my bag are…

  • EVA-NYC Satin Dream Leave-in Hair Cream
  • PIXI by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm in Natural Rose
  • SHERO SCIENCE 2-in-1 Pore Purifying Cleansing Gel

August Pouch

This evergreen, textured make up pouch is awesome. It’s something I would never have picked myself but I’m really loving it!

VASANTI Concealer Buffing Brush

So I’m the type of girl who likes to just use my beauty blender to blend in my concealer, but when I tried buffing out my under eye with this brush I realized I was doing it wrong this entire time! It makes the concealer spread out more evenly and it gets those hard to reach corners around the eyes.

It’s a nice thick and soft bristled brush! I’m a fan.

WANDER BEAUTY Lift Off Purifying and Brightening Peel Off Mask

If you know me, I love skin care products so I was super excited when I found out this little beauty was included in my baggie.

Firstly, the colour of the mask itself is a beautiful berry pink colour! It’s made with antioxidant rich ingredients like ACAI, GOJI BERRY, and GREEN TEA EXTRACTS. There is also KOALIN CLAY to remove oil and impurities, and minimizes shine and large pores.

I am in love with this peel off mask!

Eyeko Beach Waterproof Mascara

You don’t know waterproof mascara until you’ve tried Eyeko’s! Seriously, even my make up remover oils and wipes did very little to get this mascara off my lashes! Definitely would recommend this mascara if you’re planning for a swim at the beach or even for a good sweat session at the gym.

Also, it’s pumped with COCONUT OIL and FRUIT EXTRACTS to nourish your natural lashes. And SPF to protect them from the sun!

ESTATE COSMETICS Dew Me Baked Highlighter in Lit

I love this baked highlighter! It has a golden-pearly finish and it’s highly pigmented so just one sweep across your upper cheek bones and that should do it!

Fun fact – Did you know that “baked” highlighter are creams that were baked slowly in a oven to form that velvety texture? On the ipsy website, they also state that you can use baked highlighters wet or dry meaning you can add a bit of solution to intensify the pigments! I’m definitely going to try this!

SUNDAY RILEY Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

So I’m definitely going to find myself a full sized version of this sample because wow, I could tell the difference in my skin in just one day!

This cream has HYALURONIC ACID and TAMARIND EXTRACT for hydration and moisture. The PAPAYA ENZYME EXTRACT help to exfoliate the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. And the ALPHA-ARBUTIN brightens any discolouration.

Plus, this cream literally is so lightweight and oil-free that it absorbs into your skin instantly! I have oily to combination skin so the fact that this cream doesn’t leave that greasy, heavy feeling is so amazing!

EVA-NYC Satin Dream Leave-in Hair Cream

For my add-ons, I chose this leave in hair cream. I recently got my hair done and now I’m dealing with the aftermath of hair colour damage! This leave-in cream deeply moisturizes and literally make my hair feel like satin. I love that it gives my damaged hair vitamins like ARGAN OIL, AVOCADO OIL, and KERAVIS PROTEIN COMPLEX to strengthen and prevent breakage.

PIXI by Petra Shea Butter Lip Balm in Natural Rose

For some reason, my lips don’t do well with any type of lipstick! They macerate and peel just after an hour of wearing lipstick so I’ve turned to tinted lip balms to add some colour to my life.

This lip balm is made with SHEA BUTTER and VITAMIN E to nourish, protect, and soothe your delicate lips. And the tint is very natural, just enough colour to wear everyday or with a face full of make up!

To the left, there is a picture of me with bare lips and the other, with PIXI By Petra Shea butter lip balm.

SHERO SCIENCE 2-in-1 Pore Purifying Cleansing Gel

I am on the hunt for a good skin cleanser. I chose this add-on product because I need some intense pore revitalization so I gave this gel cleanser by SHERO SCIENCE a try and it’s pretty good!

I love that its gel based for my oily skin. It gently exfoliates to remove dirt and minimize pores. It is made with WHITE WILLOW BARK (a natural source of salicyclic acid), WITCH HAZEl, CALENDULA EXTRACT, and TEA TREE OIL.

That’s it for my August glam bag! For next month, ipsy is allowing their ipsters to choose one of the five products included in their bag! Can’t wait to share my next bag of goodies with you all!

By the way, what”s in your glam bag this month?

xoxo

July Ipsy Glam Bag!

Hi loves! I recently signed up for ipsy’s glam bags! This is my very first subscription to the beauty box fad that’s been filling up my social media feed. I’ve looked into FunFitFab, Boxycharm, Allure, and many other beauty boxes but I could never bring myself to sign up for any of them until now!

It started when I came across an ipsy ad on instagram. I’m not one to fall for these ads but after looking through the comments, I noticed that customers really loved the products and the customer service was exceptional!

I went to their website and it looked promising! So I made an account and did their beauty quiz to personalize the products that will be included in my glam bag each month. The beauty quiz is so thorough, I actually loved doing it. It asks you questions ranging from your favourite brand name products, the colours palettes you prefer for your make up, your skin type, hair type and so forth. If you’ve gotten a tan, for example, and need to update your skin tone, you can totally do that by clicking on the ‘account‘ button on their website.

You can get a glam bag plus which has full sized products or just the regular glam bag which has sample sized products for $10. They arrive monthly. You even get the option to add more products to your bag each month for an extra cost. These extra add-on products can be full sized or sample sized. As well, ipsy allows they’re customers to earn reward points and ipsy cash to redeem for more products to add to your order each month!

Because this is my first beauty bag subscription I decided to try to regular glam bag with the sample products. I thought, if I liked a certain sample product, I can just purchase the full sized product myself rather than receive a full sized product that I didn’t like. Plus, its only $10! I had to give it a try and I’m so glad I did!

In this post, I’m going to share with you my very first July ipsy glam bag!

So firstly, I want to point out that it’s delivered in this dazzling pink package!

And the products come in a stylish make up pouch in the picture below.

For this month of July, I received…

  • Palm tree covered pouch
  • HEMPZ Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Herbal Body Moisturizer
  • Midflower Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Sheet Masks (two packages)
  • LARITZY Cosmetics Dew Pot in the colour Utopia
  • PACIFICA Beauty Bronzer Blush Duo
  • CUCCIO COLOUR Nail Polish in Mercury Rising

Midflower Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Sheet Masks

Just recently I tried the Midflower hyaluronic moisturizing sheet mask and it left my skin so soft and smooth!

The mask contains hyaluronic acid for moisture, and firming, and flower water (ancient practice).

In my beauty quiz, I placed an emphasis on skin care products because I take my skin care very seriously. I love the idea of receiving new face masks and other skin care products to try every month!

HEMPZ Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Herbal Body Moisturizer

The first thing I did was flip open the lid and take a big whiff out of the bottle… It smelt soooooooo good! It literally smelt like candy, I almost wanted to lick my hands!

This moisturizer contains hemp seed oil, hydrating pineapple extract, and honey melon extract which is high in antioxidants.

I loved that it’s light weight and absorbs into the skin quickly – not greasy at all. Also, 100% vegan, gluten-free, and THC-free.

PACIFICA Beauty Bronzer Blush Duo

PACIFICA is an award-winning brand for its vegan and cruelty-free products. It’s highly pigmented but also blends beautifully.

I absolutely love this coconut and rose infused bronzer and blush duo. It really smells like roses with a hint of coconut! The blush is in the shade wildrose and has a bit of sparkle to it so I tend to skip my highlighter when I use this blush. The bronzer is in the shade desert and it’s my new go to bronzer!

Great for on the go, especially with the handy little mirror on the back of it.

LARITZY Cosmetics Dew Pot in the colour Utopia

I was a bit iffy with this product at first because my face is normally oily and I have high cheek bones so using highlighters like this one would accentuate those features a bit too much…

For those who love highlighters and dewy make up looks, this might be the right product for you! This product feels like a pomade and blends very smoothly on the skin.

LARITZY is based in Montreal and provides cruelty-free products with the highest quality ingredients for your skin!

CUCCIO COLOR Nail Polish in Mercury Rising

I am terrible at painting my own nails, so when I received this product I was hesitant to use it. The colour however swayed me, so I had to give it a go. It’s a lovely shade of grape purple and very easy to sweep onto your nails. However, on the second day, this nail polish chipped!… I don’t know about you guys but I think I’ll just stick to the professionals at my local nail salon…

But on the plus side, CUCCIO COLOUR is known for their collection of 10-free formulas which are nail polishes free of harmful ingredients to your health.

I’m so glad I signed up for this beauty box subscription and I’m looking forward to sharing the next bundle of samples for August with you all!

Thanks for reading! xoxo

Hemorrhoids – There, I said it!

I never thought I would ever experience hemorrhoids in my life, not even during pregnancy. I mean, I’m young, active, and fairly healthy.  I knew that it was a common occurrence for mothers postpartum but I still thought, “Nope, not me.”

But I’ve since flushed all those naïve thoughts down the toilet… (hah)

You see, I remember my first time pooping after I had given birth. I was bleeding from my butt hole. And if you couldn’t tell, I was mortified.

After many panic-stricken thoughts on the toilet, I flashed back to my pregnant self laying on the hospital bed, pushing so god damn hard that I defecated all over myself while my dear husband watched (front row seats I should mention), and then I knew right then and there, yup, hemorrhoids. Oh yea, definitely.

So there you go. If you didn’t think it could happen to you, well think again momma!

I had to deal with hemorrhoids after birth, along with other postpartum troubles – PUPPP, breast feeding, sleep deprivation, anxiety… You know, the usual.

Read my post about “PUPPP: It Began With Stretch Marks…”

For those who don’t know, hemorrhoids are where the veins around the rectum swell with blood and fluids. This is due to increased pressure in that area such as when you are constipated or in this case, pushing out a tiny human from your vajayjay (aka vaginal delivery)! This increased pressure pushes against the vein walls in the rectum causing it to weaken. Over time blood will collect in pockets where the vein walls are weak and voila – the birth of a hemorrhoid. The weak vein walls can also burst and bleed! It can develop inside the rectum and/or outside around the anus. And fun (not so fun) fact, you can have multiple hemorrhoids inside and outside of your butt hole all at the same time!

Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with my hemorrhoids for too long. They lasted for about 2 months postpartum which is more than I can say for the other moms out there (my thoughts and prayers are with you). Hemorrhoids can develop anytime during pregnancy, pre- and postpartum! During pregnancy your uterus expands for your growing baby. This applies pressure on the veins in your rectum causing them to weaken and swell. They should go away once you’ve given birth. For those who have hemorrhoids after birth, they can last for a couple of days. If they last longer and you can’t find relief, please speak to your doctor!

Oh, and did I mention they were painful?

There were times where I was literally afraid to use the washroom. I would use any excuse to avoid sitting on the toilet but oh, was I so wrong! You see, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. It was like I was literally passing razor blades through my anus! Oh, how lovely motherhood is!

Photo by Alex Pasarelu on Unsplash

But it’s the truth and it’s all too common. So let’s talk about it. Let’s raise awareness about the glorious hemorrhoids of pregnancy and let’s remind each other that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

There were many home remedies along with a topical drug prescription that I used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids. But my one and only saving grace was WATER. I can’t stress enough how important water is, especially postpartum when your body is out of whack and trying to heal. Water is absolutely essential. Not only is it good for hemorrhoids, but it helps with your milk supply, to reduce the swelling in your feet (edema) and so much more.

In my case, increasing my water intake helped soften my stool so it was waaaay easier to pass and I didn’t have to strain as much. Especially for those suffering from constipation after birth, drink lots of water.

When you’re sitting on the toilet and biting down on a towel, you’ll remember this and thank me.

In combination with increased water intake, here are some other very helpful tips to relieve your poor, poor butt hole:

Our family loves Bragg’s organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the exact same thing! You would think that applying an acid to your already burning anus would make it worse, right? Well apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antiinflammatory properties and many have suggested that it provides immediate pain relief! It’s true, it really works! Apply the apple cider vinegar with a cotton ball or dilute it in your warm (not hot) bath water or your sitz bath. Doctors do warn that excessive use can lead to further irritation and burning so make sure to apply it sparingly and only as needed.

Sitz bath

Soak your bottom in a sitz bath for about 15 minutes! Usually, upon discharge from the hospital, you should have received a sitz bath tub that you can use to soak your bottom in. If not, they are available at your local pharmacy or online.

If you don’t have a sitz bath tub, no worries. A bath tub works just as well. I like to mix in lots of epsom salt into my warm bath water. Epsom salts dissolve into magnesium and sulfate in water which will be absorbed into the skin to soothe the area. You can also use baking soda, or even dilute some apple cider vinegar as well!

Hemorrhoid Ointment

Your doctor may prescribe some hemorrhoid cream which you can apply with an applicator directly in your rectum and around your anus. This cream is a corticosteroid which reduces inflammation such as redness, itching and swelling. The ointment that I was prescribed is called Anodan-HC. It contains 0.5% hydrocortisone acetate (which is the corticosteroid that reduces inflammation) and 0.5% zinc sulfate (which forms a barrier and protects skin from moisture).

Relieving pressure off of your bottom

Sit on a pillow or cushion, rocking chair or recliner that shifts your weight off of your bottom to another part of your body. This decreases pressure off of your bottom.

When duty calls, don’t avoid it!

I’m so guilty for this! I was literally scared sh*tless (hah) to poop because of the pain so I postponed it for as long as I could. Worst decision ever! If you need to go, go right away. Don’t wait! Delaying it will cause your feces to harden which makes it so much more painful to pass. This is because your body is reabsorbing the water from your stool when it sits in your rectum. Trust me, I know it hurts, but it will hurt so much more if you avoid it. Get it over and done with. You will feel so much better.

I hope this post provides help and support to those going through the same troubles I did when I had hemorrhoids!

You’re not alone and remember, it will pass!

Please feel free to share your stories, struggles, or advice in the comments below. We love hearing from our readers! Thanks for reading everyone!

The Truth About Eating Raw Fish During Pregnancy

When I was pregnant, all of my friends and family warned me to avoid eating sushi because sushi was one of my favourite foods! Though devastated, I knew I had to make those sacrifices when I got pregnant – raw fish being one of them. And for the sake of my unborn child, I never bothered to question it.

Literally 2 minutes after I had delivered my baby girl, I joked to my doctor and said, “God, I can’t wait to eat sushi again!” My doctor looked at me and said, “…who said you couldn’t before?” I looked back at her puzzled and realized, I never actually asked my doctor if I had to avoid raw fish during pregnancy! I just assumed that it was the obvious thing to do! 

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

So if you didn’t know, now you know. To all my sushi loving friends, it’s generally safe to eat sushi and raw fish when you’re pregnant and when you’re breastfeeding! Hooray!

The FDA does state that pregnant women and young children should stay away from raw fish as they have weaker immune systems and are at more risk for food borne illnesses but raw fish served in sushi and sashimi is not included in this recommendation!

In fact, the FDA states that eating a variety of fish when pregnant or breast feeding can provide health benefits for mom and baby! (Keyword: variety! Don’t just eat the same type of fish every time you do!)

Eating fish provides:

  • Protein
  • Omega 3 fats (aka DHA and EPA)
  • Very high in Vitamin B12 and vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Minerals such as selenium, zinc, iodine

And these nutrients contribute to healthy growth and development of your baby. They even provide heart health benefits and lowers the risk of obesity.

Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash

2 Things to look out for when eating raw fish

1. Parasitic worms

It’s the parasitic worms found in raw fish that actually make you sick. Ingesting and getting infected with the worms (aka anisakis) results in a painful condition called anisakidosis. These worms invade and penetrate your stomach lining. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reaction
  • Death in very rare cases!

Other parasitic worms present in fish is tapeworm. Fishes potentially infected with tapeworm include:

  • Pike
  • Perch
  • Anadromous fish (fish that migrate up rivers from the sea to spawn such as salmon)

Learn more about parasites from the Seafood Health Facts website!

2. High levels of mercury

Ingesting high levels of mercury can lead to birth defects specifically affecting the brain and nervous system. Mercury is present in streams, lakes and oceans and are either naturally occurring or man made. Mercury turns into methylmercury which is found in nearly all fish but in different amounts. It is this type of mercury that is harmful to us in high amounts.

These fish have the highest mercury level and should be avoided:

  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Tuna, big eye 

There is no way to prepare or cook fish to lower its mercury level because the mercury is in the tissue of the fish. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid eating fish entirely during pregnancy due to its considerable health benefits. Just consume fish that are low in mercury and avoid fish with high levels.

Photo by Travis Yewell on Unsplash

Fishes low in mercury that you should eat:

  • Anchovy
  • Atlantic croacker
  • Atlantic, and pacific chub mackerel
  • Black sea bass
  • Butterfish
  • Catfish
  • Cod
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Herring
  • Pickerel
  • Pollock
  • Salmon
  • Sardine
  • Sole
  • Tilapia
  • Freshwater trout
  • Canned light tuna
  • White fish
  • Whiting

… and many more! Learn more about which fish is best to eat here on the FDA website.

Remember, a variety of fish in your diet is key!

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Farmed Fish and Freezing Methods

Some farmed fish used in sushi such as salmon or tuna are very unlikely to be infected with the parasitic worms because of the methods used to farm these fish for mass human consumption.

Also, freezing raw fish kills any worms present which makes it safe to eat. When preparing sushi in your own home, make sure to freeze the raw fish for at least 4-7 days.

Learn more about farmed fish practices here!

Photo by ray rui on Unsplash

What about shellfish?

Shellfish is totally okay to eat when it is cooked. Raw shellfish contains harmful viruses and bacteria that can cause food poisoning so if you’re pregnant, you should probably avoid that scallop ceviche dish!

Shellfish include:

  • Shrimps
  • Prawns
  • Crawfish
  • Crabs
  • Scallops
  • lobster

Keep these tips in mind when you’re at the sushi restaurant and about to enjoy some delicious sushi rolls with you baby bump! But beware of the concerning stares – they don’t know any better…

Thanks for reading everyone!

5 Reasons Why You Need A Crib Mobile

Are crib mobiles really necessary? Or are they just a decorative piece to add to your nursery?

I always thought that new parents spent way too much money on baby items that they really don’t need, and this included the crib mobile.

But one night as I was putting my baby to bed, I noticed her toy bear sitting on the shelf. I held the toy bear in front of her face and instantly, her eyes lit up, she began to smile, and her arms and legs flailed and kicked like I had never seen before! And I thought, “oh my goodness, maybe crib mobiles really are necessary!…” So I decided to do my research and this is what I found.

Here are the top 5 reasons why you need a crib mobile!

1. Visual Stimulation and Eye/vision Development

Babies start to learn and take in information from their environment right from birth. Therefore visual stimulation is very important in the development of your baby’s eyes and vision. Your baby will track and follow the rotating toys on the mobile improving eye movement, vision, and strengthening eye muscles. From 0-3 months, your baby will see contrasts of black and white at first. As they grow, they will begin to see bold colors such as red, blue, yellow, and green. Colourful toys that rotate and encourage eye movement is definitely something to consider when purchasing or making a crib mobile. Even better, some crib mobiles come with lights that project stars and other images on the walls to help soothe your baby to sleep.

2. Sound Stimulation and Hearing Development

Some baby mobiles play soft lullabies to help soothe baby to sleep. These songs helps keep baby stimulated, contributing to their hearing development, and aids in preparing your baby for bedtime.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

3. Motor Skills Development

When your baby watches the mobile toys dancing above them, they get excited! They will kick and move, strengthening their neck, arms and leg muscles. Pretty soon, they will start to reach for the toys which contributes to hand-eye coordination and their comprehension of depth, distance, and spatial awareness.

Photo by Minnie Zhou on Unsplash

4. Bedtime Routine

Babies as well as their parents, love routine! And turning on the baby mobile as you settle your little one into their crib or bassinet for the night can help to soothe your little one and let them know that its time to sleep. Adding this step into our bedtime routine really helped. The key is to be consistent (easier said than done!) After a warm bath, I give my baby a calming lotion massage while the mobile plays its lullaby music. Then I put her into her crib, dim the lights, and let the mobile do its magic.

5. …Extra Sleep for Mommy and Daddy!

Last but arguably most important, the baby mobiles lets mom and dad sleep in for that extra half hour when your baby wakes up early. Your baby will keep themselves busy and entertained while you catch those last few precious z’s. Even if it’s 5 more minutes, I’ll take it!

Some things to Consider…

Crib mobiles can be very beneficial in your baby’s development but there are some things to consider when thinking about adding a mobile to your nursery.

It really depends on your baby! Sometimes, crib mobiles can be overstimulating which could hinder your baby’s sleeping habits. Also, some moms believe that toys in the crib will make the crib more of a playground rather than a place to sleep.

There are also hazards to consider as well. Make sure that your mobile is securely attached to the crib and that it is position far enough that baby cannot reach and grab it! Toys that can be detached from the mobile can possibly fall off causing a choking or suffocation hazard. Store bought mobiles are usually up to code but if you’re making your own, make sure the strings aren’t too long for baby to grab and pull.

As well, crib mobiles can be pricey! They can range from $30 to over $100 especially if the mobile has a music box, projects lights or is custom and handmade (like the ones you can find on Etsy). However they can be very inexpensive if you decide to make your own!

Check out my DIY Unicorn and Rainbows Crib Mobile coming soon!

All in all, I believe that the benefits of baby mobiles far outweigh the cons listed above. I believe that making your own gives the nursery a personal touch. It also makes a great keepsake or special gift! Our homemade mobile doesn’t play lullabies or project pretty lights on the walls at night, but our baby still gets excited whenever I put her in her crib for the night.

But my most valuable advice to my readers is to learn and understand your baby’s sleep behaviours and patterns. Understanding what helps your baby (and you!) go to sleep at night will assist in deciding whether a baby mobile is right for you and your family.

I hope this post helps. Thanks for reading everyone!

3 Easy steps to prevent and treat flat head syndrome

What is flat head syndrome?

Flat head syndrome is also known as plagiocephaly. (“plagio-” means slanted or oblique and “-cephaly” means head) It is also known as positional or deformational plagiocephaly.

It is where the back or the side of the baby’s head becomes flat, asymmetrical or slanted. Sometimes, the baby’s head may also widen and the forehead bulges out in more severe cases. This is due to prolonged external pressure on one spot of the newborn’s soft and malleable skull.

It is more common today because of the Safe to Sleep® campaign recommending that babies sleep on their backs in the first few months of life to prevent SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome).

Other causes of flat head syndrome include the following:

  • Medical problems or delayed development which makes it harder for babies to move and change positions
  • Stiff or tight neck muscles limiting neck movement (Torticollis)
  • Premature babies have softer skulls than full term babies and also move their heads less
  • Plagiocephaly can also occur in the womb such as overcrowding with twins or the mothers womb has an unusual shape

SIDS

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is the death of a healthy baby who is less than a year old during sleep (also known as crib death). The cause of death is unknown even after a complete investigation but is believed to be linked to defects in the baby’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep. It is also said to be a combination of physical and environmental factors in the baby’s sleeping environment such as in the crib, however research is still ongoing.

I highly recommend mothers to visit this website, Safe to Sleep® campaign to learn about SIDS and how to reduce the risks.

Should I be concerned about plagiocephaly?

Experts have dismissed plagiocephaly as an aesthetic issue because not everyone has a perfectly round shaped head. Also, it is also believed that asymmetrical heads should resolve itself over time as the baby grows.

Because flat head syndrome is a fairly new concern, there is limited studies on the matter. There is a 2010 study from Seattle Children’s hospital that has found an association between flat head syndrome and developmental delays, specifically motor, language and cognitive delays. This means there is no actual cause and effect between flat heads and child development but there is some link between the two.  In fact, the study suggests that a flat head may be a marker to identify children who are at risk for developmental delays, not that flat heads actually cause such delays. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer at this time and research is still ongoing…

Learn more about this study at Seattle Children’s Hospital website here.

Plagiocephaly may also be mistaken with craniocynostosis which is very different! Craniocyntosis  is where the baby’s skull fuses too early preventing normal development of brain growth. Babies with craniocyntosis will have uneven head shapes and this may also look like flat head syndrome. Check with your doctor to make sure!

Treatment & Management

Treatment depends on your health care provider, the age of your baby, the potential cause and so forth. It is very important that you seek professional medical help if you are concerned!

Your baby’s soft skull will start to fuse together and harden at about 9 to 18 months.

If the cause of your baby’s flat head syndrome is due to how they sleep, nap and lay, treatment may include positioning your baby’s head in different ways and avoiding pressure on the flat spot. It is also important to limit the time your baby spends in their bouncers, car seat or anything that applies pressure to certain parts of their head.

If your baby is diagnosed with stiff neck muscles (torticollis), your doctor may recommend special exercises or refer you to a physiotherapist.

If after 6 months, there is no improvement after trying to reposition your baby’s head first, your doctor may recommend helmet therapy. The plastic helmet, lined with foam fits snugly on the round parts of your baby’s head, and loosely on the flat spots to allow the flat spot to expand and even out as your baby grows. Generally they are worn for about 23 hours every day from about 1 to 6 months but it depends on your child’s age and case. Also, helmets can be very pricey!…

Learn more about plagiocephaly at Seattle children’s hospital website here.

How we fixed our baby’s flat spot with 3 easy steps

A few months ago my baby started to develop a flat spot on the back of her head and I freaked out! I always put her down on her back for naps and at night (especially after reading about SIDS!) And I will admit that I put her in her bouncer when I’m busy around the house, and I let her finish her nap when she falls asleep in the car seat on our way home. I realized that all of these habits had contributed to her flat head syndrome!

I had spoken to my doctor about her flat spot and she said that I shouldn’t be too concerned because naturally, no one has a perfectly round head. Also, preventing SIDS far outweighs the concerns that comes with flat head syndrome. I mentioned that I had done some research about flat head syndrome and developmental delays but she assured me that more research is needed to conclude this hypothesis. After much discussion, she provided me with simple, at home measures that I could take to gradually mold my baby’s head naturally without a pricey helmet.

Today she is 6 months old and her head is as “naturally” round as can be.

With 3 simple steps, this is how we did it.
 

1. Repositioning

The first tip to try is to reposition your baby when he or she sleeps and naps. There are a couple of ways to reposition your baby without having to put them on their sides or stomach. Remember to always place your baby on their backs and for peace of mind, turn on that baby camera when your not in the room!

First, use interesting objects or toys that catch your baby’s attention such as a baby mobile. Position the mobile where you want your baby to turn his or her head when they lay on their backs.

Check out our post about the Top 5 Reasons why You Need a Crib Mobile.

Another tip is to place your baby the other way in the crib. For example, if your baby’s feet is towards to door of the room, instead place your baby’s head towards the door.

Lastly, you can also try rearranging your nursery in the room. Moving the crib to a different area in the room can help to move your baby’s head in a different direction.

2. Lots of Supervised Tummy Time

Tummy time is vital, not only for relieving the pressure off of baby’s head but also to help strengthen neck and shoulder muscles for crawling and sitting up. It also improves your baby’s motor skills.

Babies should be on their tummies for at least 2-3 times per day for short periods of time right from birth. As they get older, allow them to spend more time on their tummies with each session. Try not to leave your baby unsupervised when on tummy time! Also, never leave your baby on tummy time (or in any position) on a high area such as the bed or changing table. They may roll over and fall!

Tips for tummy time:

Lay out a blanket on the floor

Place their favourite toy within baby’s reach and help them learn to play and interact with their surroundings

Tummy time after a nap and diaper change is ideal

Avoid tummy time right after a feed, they may spit it all up!

Never leave baby unattended during tummy time

3. Head Molding Pillows

Right now, I’m using Babymoov Lovenest baby head support pillow when my baby sleeps or naps. She sleeps through the night for about 9 hours straight which applies a lot of pressure on the back of her head!

It is so important to put your baby down on their backs but this is probably one of the reasons why my baby developed a flat spot on the back of her head. So I did some research and found the Babymoov Lovenest pillow on Amazon for $19.99 CDN and had to give it a try. This pillow significantly relieve the pressure off of my baby’s head and I truly recommend it. I use this pillow every time I lay her down. It comes in a variety of colors. The fabric is soft, breathable and machine washable. If you don’t believe me, check out their reviews on amazon!

With these 3 simple tips, we saw a difference in just one month! Today, our baby is 6 months old and we continue to implement these steps when she sleeps. Her flat spot has evened out and we are very happy with the results!

Does you baby have a flat spot? Share your story in the comments below! We love to hear from you.

Becoming a mom: The gist of it anyway…

I knew I always wanted to be a mother since I was young. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up baby sitting my siblings and baby cousins, or maybe it’s just in our DNA – our womanly nature to want to procreate and care for something so small, delicate and defenseless. It’s definitely a combination of nature and nurture for sure.

Since I was in high school even! – I wanted to have a big family because I came from a big family myself. I have three other siblings, my grandparents lived with us during the majority of my childhood and our cousins and extended family members would spend lots of time at our home. I just grew up with lots of loved ones all around me and I knew that I wanted my children to grow up in the same environment.

An image of myself as a new mother, our baby girl, Ayanna and her loving daddy. One of my favourite family photos.

Today, I am a mother of one 5 month old girl and trying to be someone special to my partner’s 11 year old son. I am very thankful.

My wonderful partner is a notable Chef, with more than 20 years of experience in the culinary world. I was just your regular food server when we met about two years ago. We instantly felt a connection back then and today, we have a baby together.

When we found out we were pregnant with Ayanna, we were ecstatic! At that time in our lives we were definitely not ready for a baby but deep down, we had so much love for each other that we were secretly trying to conceive anyway! It was stressful and exciting at the same time.

During my pregnancy, my family lived quite far from us, so when Ayanna finally came into this world, I had to figure out how to be a mom on my own. I was fortunate that my other half had taken a few weeks off to stay home with me. He really is a good man – I’m very lucky.

To those of you who are or will be first time moms, were you ready for what’s to come? To be responsible for a life? I thought I was, but when the time finally came, I realized how much I didn’t know.

The struggle is real! From the traumas of birth to coming home with your newborn, it’s all so exhausting yet exciting! Though I was fortunate enough to have minor consequences from the actual birth, the reality of caring for my newborn was another story… I had the worst time with breastfeeding and latching. My little one just wouldn’t latch, and when she did, it was so painful! She would scream and scream and scream and there were many, many sleepless, inconsolable, and desperate nights…

People have told me many things like what to do, what not to do, this and that…. and yet there were so many other things that they didn’t tell me. So I decided to write a blog for first time moms (all moms really), who have, and are struggling with pregnancy and postpartum, and for those who lived far from their families and support systems and had to learn how to be a mom on their own.

I hope this blog will provide strength, reassurance, and guidance to those who feel lost, hopelessness and despair. I want to remind all first time mothers that yes, immediately postpartum, it can feel like the toughest moments of your entire life, but it doesn’t have to be. Even in those darkest moments, motherhood is a still a beautiful thing.

I want to remind mothers that everything is going to be okay, and that there will always be someone to help – and that you are doing a great job, and you are a great mom.

Thanks for reading. xoxo

Increasing your breast milk supply: What worked and what didn’t for me

Immediately postpartum, I was determined to breastfeed my newborn baby because breast milk is the most natural and beneficial food to feed your infant. Unfortunately, I struggled with breastfeeding and latching to the point where I was miserable. I wasn’t able to focus on what truly mattered – enjoying those precious early moments with my newborn baby. I tried a couple of tips to increase my milk supply but my other postpartum issues got the best of me and I switched to formula. For those who want to breastfeed and increase their milk supply, I have listed some tips and strategies that worked and didn’t for me below. But before we begin, you need to understand the basics of breastfeeding!

Breast milk is the most natural way to feed your baby.

…contains vitamins, protein, fats, and antibodies to meet your infants growing needs.

Colostrum is the first milk substance that your breasts produce for your newborn baby.

…is concentrated breast milk that is expelled from a mother’s breast in the early stages of postpartum. It is antibody and laxative rich. Colostrum is thicker and more yellowish in color. Eventually, colostrum will develop into regular breast milk which is lighter in color and not as thick.

Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process. The more you breastfeed, the more your body will produce milk.

As your baby nurses, the amount of milk that the baby takes in notifies your body to produce more. Therefore, the most important advice I can give is to frequently breastfeed and pump, even at night! In the early stages of postpartum, it is important to breastfeed or pump at least every 2-4 hours to increase the demand and supply. The more you demand from your body, the more your body will supply. Of course this won’t happen over night. It is draining and you already have so much on your plate, but keep at it and your milk supply will increase with time and dedication.

It is also important to consider how your baby latches onto your nipple.

Sometimes, improper latching can prevent the infant from getting enough milk, and this may also contribute to pain when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should not be painful. Seek help from a lactation consultant at your hospital or reach out to your doctor if you are unsure about how to latch your baby properly or how to hold them when breastfeeding. There are various ways and methods to hold your infant that is most comfortable for you, your body and your baby.

Before considering if your breasts are producing enough milk, consider how your baby is latching on to you.

Firstly, hold your baby tummy to tummy with the baby’s mouth positioned in front of your nipple.

The baby’s head should be facing forward and his or her body should be aligned with yours. Don’t make your baby turn his or her head to reach. This is uncomfortable for them if they have to feed for long periods of time like this.

The infant needs to grasp both the nipple and part of your areola. The areola is the ring of pigment surrounding your nipple. It will cause pain if only the nipple is grasped due to pinching.

Rubbing your nipple to your baby’s nose and brushing along his or her mouth will stimulate the baby to open their mouths wide. This is called the “rooting reflex.” At the widest point of opening, insert your breast as deep as possible to avoid only latching the nipple.

If the infant latches on incorrectly (and you will know cause it’s painful!), break the suction by inserting your finger into the baby’s mouth. Do not try to pull the baby away as this can cause nipple soreness and trauma.

Feeding holds for all mothers
  • Cradle
  • Cross cradle or cross over
  • Football hold
  • Back lying
  • Australian hold
  • Side lying cradle
Breastfeeding positions for every day use and comfort.
http://www.mummymadness.com.au
Get comfy when breastfeeding. Prevent back aches and improper body mechanics that may worsen in the future.

At first, I thought I could live without a rocking chair or a breastfeeding pillow but honestly, when your sitting there holding your baby and breastfeeding so so so frequently, your back and neck will start to ache

If you can, invest in a comfy rocking chair! This will make all the difference especially for those late nights when you’re up with a fussy baby. As well, a feeding pillow (U-shaped pillow) will help when you’re on the go or if you’re unable to sit in the rocking chair.

Here are some tips I used to help increase my milk supply.

Make sure to drink lots of water!

I can’t stress how important it is to keep hydrated, breastfeeding or not. Drink plenty of water. About two liters per day is enough for both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers. I heard that it is a myth that breastfeeding mothers need more water than their non-breastfeeding counterparts… Also, don’t force yourself to chug water! This can be very dangerous and can lead to fluid overload! An adequate amount of enough to help with your milk supply.

Herbal supplements are a great and natural way to increase breast milk supply.

I have used the following herbs below to help increase my milk supply:

  • Fenugreek (along with fennel and milk thistle)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
Fenugreek, along with fennel, milk thistle and other milk stimulating ingredients are infused into Mearthmama's organic milkmaid tea.
Earth Mama Organic Milkmaid Tea has great reviews! Mothers have worn by it.

It contains fenugreek, as well as fennel, milk thistle and other milk stimulating herbs. I purchased a set of 3 boxes of tea from Amazon. Each box contains 16 tea bags for a total of 48 bags and I had 3 cups of tea per day. So it took me a total of 16 days to use up the entire 3 boxes and honestly, as much as I really wanted this super tea to work, I didn’t do much for my milk supply. I read amazing reviews from other moms and hoped that this would be the perfect solution but unfortunately it did very little. At least the flavor of the tea was pleasant! There is a moderate licorice fragrance and flavor to the tea which I didn’t mind at all.

Who knows, this tea might work for you. Other mothers seem to swear b\y it! I got mine at Amazon for $19.50 CDN. Let me know in the comments about how the tea has worked for you!

I tried using teas that contained these ingredients because not only do I love tea but it was easy to consume and enjoy with a newborn baby schedule. But you can take these ingredients in other forms such as in capsules or liquid drops.

Ginger helps with healing after birth and also adds to bleeding risks.

On the day my baby came, my mom arrived to the hospital with a big tub of rice and sauteed ginger! She swore that ginger helped with healing and increased her milk supply when she was nursing me. So it worked for my mom way back when but for me, I saw a very mild difference. Keep in mind I didn’t take in as much ginger as I wanted – say once per week. But I love cooking with ginger, and wished I had put more effort into eating more of it when I was breastfeeding. I was also told that eating too much of ginger can change the flavor of your breast milk and I don’t know if a baby’s flavor profile is ready for that spicy, peppery taste… (this goes for spicy foods too!) If anyone has found ginger to be helpful in increasing milk supply, please comment! I would love to hear your thoughts. Ginger is also used for nausea and vomiting but has been shown to increase bleeding.

Garlic is an antioxidant but increases bleeding risk.

Studies show that garlic also plays a role in milk production. It is also an antioxidant used to lower cholesterol levels. A side effect of garlic is increased bleeding, just like ginger.

I love garlic, and I use garlic in almost all of my cooking, pre- and postpartum. I didn’t really increase my intake of garlic when I was trying to increase my milk so I can’t say for sure if it helped or not. Let me know in the comments if you increased your garlic intake and it made a difference!

Barley is a great galactogogue to help increase breast milk supply.

Beer contains barley and the polysaccharides in barley stimulates prolactin (PRL), a hormone produced in the pituitary gland which facilitates milk production.

I found this tip really worked! I recommend drinking non-alcoholic beer of course as alcohol does pass through your breast milk to your baby, but in much smaller concentrations.

Or you can just eat barley. My mother in-law made me a wonderful barley soup where the galactagogue goodness (a substance that promotes lactation) infuses into the broth of the soup – the best part! Yum, it was such a delicious soup.

When I did drink non-alcoholic beer, literally in about 3 hours, I could feel my breasts tighten and engorgement with milk!

I really recommend eating or drinking more barely when breastfeeding. The results appeared quickly and substantially.

Lactation consultants at hospitals and clinics are here to help with breastfeeding mothers who are struggle.

Seek help from your doctor or hospital! The next day after I gave birth, a lactation consultant visited me and we had a one on one session on proper latching and the different ways to hold a baby (refer to latching above). It really helped! At my hospital, there is also a breastfeeding clinic where mothers can return with their baby as many times as they need to if they’re still having trouble latching or breastfeeding.

Breast massages and warm compresses

Stimulating milk supply can occur through increasing blood flow and warmth to the breast. Massaging the breast and expressing some milk before feeding your newborn leads to “let down” reflex where your milk flow is greatest. It makes it easier for your baby to feed adequately. Taking a nice warm shower or applying a warm compress will also help achieve to the let down reflex. This is a great tip and has worked wonders.

Skin to skin contact is the most important step after birth.

Skin to skin contact between you and your baby is the very first thing you do after delivery. Benefits of skin to skin contact include:

  • stimulates rooting reflex (sucking)
  • warmth and stabilization of body temperature
  • bonding
  • regulation of blood sugar, heart rate, breathing
  • comfort and relief for the baby (decreased crying)
  • eases the transition from the womb to the outside word

Those are all the tips I tried to improve my milk supply. But really the best way to do so as naturally as possible is to…

Pump every 2-4 hours to increase your breast milk supply.

or…

breastfeed as frequently as possible!