Pump Up the Jam

Let’s talk about boobs some more, why don’t we? First, I’ll talk about fun stuff, and then leave the nitty-gritty for the end of the post, in case you’re here for straight up data points.

I went back to work after a 12-week maternity leave, and thankfully, I work for a very, very progressive department that is supportive of me pumping at work. I didn’t really tell people about the problems I had with breastfeeding at the beginning, but my boss understood how important it was to me to keep my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter going. My employer even makes a point of having a brazillion lactation rooms spread all over campus, and the building in which I work has one right downstairs in the basement, which features a comfy chair and a hospital-grade pump. SCORE.

We already had bottles worked out, since we’d been having to supplement with formula and I’d been pumping during my maternity leave to feed her every day. Originally, I’d bought a bunch of BPA-free plastic bottles to use, until I read something about how they were substituting BPA with BPS, which is mostly unstudied and may be even more dangerous than BPA. YIKES. So, I promptly ordered some glass bottles from Lifefactory, which you can see in action below. They were a little expensive, but the glass gives me peace of mind, and the silicone sleeves that come with them are great for non-slippiness and for cushioning the fall in case we drop them. Plus, they’re cute, amirite?



Dreaming of autumn


“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, 
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth 
seeking the successive autumns.” 
–   George Eliot


Friday Link List!

Friday Link List!

  1. I’ve been gently daydreaming about building another HTPC machine (especially now that we’re giving up cable next week!), except unlike my last foray into this realm, I think I want to build a media server to stash in the basement, and then have set-top boxes at the tvs in the house to stream from the server. I’m going to be watching this entry for ideas on DVD rippers.
  2. I am in love with the homemade cocktail mixers that Whitney over at the Ugly Green Chair made to pass out as holiday gifts. Want to steallll!
  3. I also want to make some of this sleep salve. Another great idea for next year’s gift baskets.
  4. Don’t these homemade paper crackers look wonderful? I need to send away to Ferm Living for some wallpaper samples so I can make these for various festive occasions.
  5. Anna over at Door Sixteen wrote about her skincare routine, and so much of what she said rang true for me. I’m still dealing with acne in my 30s (even though I got a wonderful respite while pregnant), and I need to start doing what I can to take care of my skin more effectively.
  6. These Stephen Wildish posters are fucking awesome, and I WANT THEM ALLLLL. Ahem.
  7. Soooo, I’m making my first foray into using woven wraps, and I used holiday money to order this lovely little item. This is apparently a huge mama-subculture that I didn’t even know existed until very recently. I don’t know if I’ll get into the community, but I’m definitely looking forward to carrying my bambina around in something this beautiful (and RED). Time to start watching YouTube videos on different carries!
  8. Since my friend Amanda introduced me to this quinoa salad recipe a few weeks ago, I’ve made it twice. TWICE! That’s a record in our house since C was born! It’s so refreshing and filling, I’m sure I’ll make it many more times this winter (especially since it reminds me of summer, with the citrus and corn).
  9. Homemade Magic Shell? Don’t mind if I do!
  10. Handmade sprinkles for cakes and DOUGHNUTS? You’re killin’ me, Smalls! Yeah, I’m gonna make these, too, for a little doughnut-themed shindig we’re hosting next month.

♥ ♥ ♥


New Set of Shades, Pt. 2

Okay, I’m still on the search for a good pair of glasses. I think I finally decided on the Sims frames from Warby Parker, but HEY, I’ve got more flex spending account money left after I buy those. I might as well buy MORE!

Whitney over at the Ugly Green Chair recently posted about getting some glasses from Fetch Eyewear, and upon reading that they also do home try-on, I had to check them out. I love the fact that they donate all of their profits to animal rescue, too! They totally know their target audience there. Their glasses are also only $125, which is slightly more expensive than Warby Parker, but they also seem to have a larger selection and many more color options.

Fetch Eyewear #1

Gretta in Mahogany

Fetch Eyewear #2

Felix in Onyx

Fetch Eyewear #3

Darby in Cameo Fade

Fetch Eyewear #4

Pepper in Cranberry Matte (I might like these better in Opal)

Fetch Eyewear #5

Tracy in Bittersweet

Fetch Eyewear #6

Sadie in Berber Crush

These frames felt much like the Warby Parker ones: well-made, substantial without being too heavy, and fitting my face well. I’ve had a run of bad luck with other online glasses sellers, with them selling me frames that are wayyyy too big for my head (and I’ve got a pretty big head!). I think the last ones, Sadie in Berber Crush, are the clear winners here. So, Sadie and Sims it is!


Hurricane Sandy Relief

Supply Kit

Via SpecialKRB on Flickr

My heart is aching for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, but being landlocked in Iowa and having a new baby, I unfortunately can’t pick up and fly out to the east coast to help out in the relief efforts (even though my background as an AmeriCorps alum ensures that that’s my kneejerk urge whenever things like this happen). Since I’m stuck here, I tried to find other ways I could help out.

Thanks to Anna at Door Sixteen, I was directed to this post on Sweet Fine Day, which gives a view on the destruction that got lost in the uproar over the elections (yay Obama, by the way!). At the bottom of the post is a list of local organizations and efforts that are directly benefiting those affected by the disaster, which is apparently the way to go about helping them the fastest, since Red Cross funds aren’t necessarily getting to where they’re needed quickly enough. From there, I donated via the Occupy Sandy Amazon wishlist, using my Prime membership to make sure things got delivered quickly. I also contributed to the NYC Food Truck Association, which is currently out in full-force, feeding Sandy victims for free.

I’m sad I can’t be there in person to help out with the efforts, but I’m happy to do some small part to send things that are needed and spread the word about the awesome things that are going on.

Help out if you can!


My Daily Makeup

Now that I’m back at work, and have to be halfway presentable on a daily basis, I’ve had to get back into the routine of wearing a little something on my face so that I don’t look like a dead person moving about the halls of my building on campus. I’m still working out the kinks, but my morning routine is boiled down to 6 products, which take about 2 minutes to apply:

  1. First, I apply Eucerin Daily Protection SPF 15 Moisturizer right when I step out of the shower. I love wearing a facial moisturizer every day to stop skin damage, and I especially love how well this goes on and melts into my skin. It never feels heavy, and completely disappears under makeup. Perfect, I say.
  2. Once I’m ready to “do my face”, I use Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind undereye concealer. Some people might be skeeved by using the little self-applicating sponge over and over again without a way to clean it, but honestly, I only use it on clean, dry skin, so I’m not very worried about it. The sponge makes it easy to apply, and it’s got a nice smooth and creamy formula that doesn’t make my undereye area all papery. The flip-side to that is that it’s not super pigmented, so its coverage isn’t quite up to par with heavier-duty concealers. I’d say it’s a fair trade, though.
  3. Next, I apply the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind “foundation”. I put that in quotes because honestly, it’s almost more like a tinted moisturizer. Again, built-in sponge applicator, and again, not as pigmented as its regular counterpart. It’s almost like it has silicone in it, it’s so creamy and easy to spread around. I basically just smear it on the various regions of my face and then spread it around with my fingers. Super easy and quick to apply.
  4. The next item is the fanciest part of my daily routine: NARS blush in Orgasm. People say that this is the shade of blush that works for everybody’s skin tone, and they’re entirely right. I love this shit. It’s the perfect peachy-pink color, and it has little flecks of sparkle that’ll light you up without making you look like a raver kid. I apply this with a regular Sonia Kashuk blush brush.
  5. I’m still looking for “that mascara of my dreams”, but for now I’m using Covergirl’s LashBlast Volume waterproof mascara, based upon the endorsement of a YouTube beauty guru I follow. So far, I’m liking it but not LOVING it. The applicator wand is pretty nice, and the way it’s shaped means that I don’t accidentally poke the bridge of my nose and get mascara all over it. I’m still on the lookout, though. Gimme your suggestions.
  6. Lastly, if I remember before jetting out the door, MOROCCAN OIL. My bestie JoAnn, stylist of the gods, got me turned on to this stuff. I pour about a dime-sized pool of it into the palm of my hand, rub my hands together to spread it around, and then run my fingers through my hair to very lightly apply. Any oil left on my hands after applying, I just rub it onto any dry spots on my skin. This stuff is the perfect product for me, to keep my flyaway hair from getting all frazzley and gross, and it makes my wavy hair look nice without being weighted down. Plus, it smells soooo good. Sort of an herby floral scent, very understated. Whenever I remember to wear it, I always yell at myself that I don’t remember it more often. It’s magical.

Eventually, I know that Clare will be a little lower-maintenance, and I’ll be able to incorporate cuter stuff into my routine (real foundation! eye shadow! eyeliner!), but for now, this is working just fine. Keeping my routine short means that I get extra time to snuggle with her in the morning before I have to leave for work, and for now, I’ll take it!

What does your makeup routine look like?


This is what happens, Larry!

This is what happens, Larry! This is what happens when you forget a part to your breast pump at home!This is what happens when you’re just starting back at work and haven’t gotten into a groove yet, and accidentally forget your breast pump flange at home so that you can’t drain your boobs!

Thankfully, Kevin was able to bring it to me during his lunch hour, but in the meantime, my boobs were leaking like whoa. In fact, they leaked once, started drying, and then I had a conversation with a coworker about Clare and they started leaking again! Sigh. I didn’t get to pump until 2pm that day, and it was torturous engorgement until then.

And what happens when mamas get engorged and can’t express milk for prolonged periods of time? PLUGGED MILK DUCTS. Which I developed a couple of days later, dammit. This happened on Wednesday, and I awoke Friday morning with a hard lump in my right breast, the one I affectionately call my “geyser boob” because it produces more milk (probably because C and I both prefer it, as its nipple is more prominent and easier for her to latch onto). Cue obsessive research by my on how to resolve plugged ducts, since I really, really didn’t want to come down with a case of mastitis, which is basically an infection that can be caused by clogged ducts. As reported to me by Claudia, a lactation consultant at the local Catholic hospital, flu symptoms in lactating mothers should be treated as mastitis unless other evidence to the contrary is present, since that’s usually what it ends up being.

Output when I finally got to pump. Phew!

Output when I finally got to pump. Phew!


So, after googling and consulting Kellymom, I ended up doing the following things to help relieve the clog:

  • Drank tons of water. You might think this is counterintuitive, since it’ll cause your supply to increase and therefore lead to more milk backing up behind the plug. However, you want to make sure you’ve got an ample supply, because…
  • …You’re going to be nursing your baby as often as possible. The more you nurse, the more likely you’re going to be able to dislodge the plug through the baby’s suction. Thankfully, most of this bout of mine happened over a weekend, so I had the opportunity to let Clare free-feed as much as possible, and offered her the boob a ton. Because I wanted her to keep working at the plug, I always offered her the affected breast first, and then would switch back and forth as needed. She probably got frustrated always getting that breast, since because of the plug she couldn’t get as much milk from it as easily as she usually does.
  • If I’d been working on resolving this issue during the work-week, I would have kept to my pretty strict every-two-hours pumping schedule, and may have even stepped it up from there a little. I also would have stepped up the suction on my pump. I could have pumped after nursing while at home, too, but I was lazy and didn’t feel like messing with it over the weekend. If my plug had developed into mastitis, I definitely would have mixed the pump in with breastfeeding, though.
  • Ibuprofen! I took 600mg every six hours to decrease inflammation, which can help pass the plug. The duct being all backed-up with milk can cause swelling in the surrounding tissue, which can cause even MORE milk back-up, making the problem that much worse. By taking an anti-inflammatory, I was able to at least head that off so that the issue stayed contained in the affected duct itself.
  • Breast massage. The area was tender for sure, so this was probably the least fun part of the process. I would massage the breast starting at my chest wall (where the breast meets my chest) and move towards the nipple, working extra hard at the lump to try to break it up and move milk through. Because ducts form a sort of spider web through the tissue of your breast, it’s important that you sort of work over the entire region of the plug, rather than just moving in a straight line from your chest to the nipple. I would do this massage during and between feedings.
  • Hot hot hot showers. I would do more breast massage in the shower while I let the hot water spray the area of the plug, and then bend over, allowing my breast to dangle and massage it in that position, letting gravity do some of the work.

There are other things you can do, like dangle-feeding (basically, lying your baby on a bed or couch and then dangling your breast in their face, to allow gravity to do extra work), latching your baby so that their nose or chin points towards the plug (doing this with dangle feeding if it’s in a weird spot for this), using a large-toothed comb to massage your breast in the shower to give you some mechanical assistance in working out the plug, and using some sort of vibrating massager on the spot to help break up the plugged area. Thankfully, what I did worked and I didn’t have to experiment with anything else.

What about you, have you had to deal with this before?


New set of shades

Now that we’re getting towards the end of the year, I’m once again on the search for a new pair of glasses. My trek last year ended with me getting these bad boys, which I actually don’t wear on a regular basis:

I'm not sure if I like my new glasses or not. What do you think?

They pinch my nose, and I think they come down too far on my cheeks and make my eyes look tiny, like a mole.

This year, I finally decided to try out Warby Parker glasses. I’ve known about them for ages, but in the past I haven’t ever seen any pairs that really grab me. They’ve got a very limited selection, but pretty good prices, and I’ve always loved the fact that they allow a home try-on before you buy. Trying on glasses is the best part of the process! Anyway, when I saw that Anna from Door Sixteen bought a pair of glasses from them, I decided to give the home try-on a shot.

Current daily-wear glasses

First, here are my daily-wear glasses. These are Lafont (one of my favorite glasses makers) in Dallas 702.

Warby Parker #1

Zagg, in Tennessee Whiskey

Warby Parker #2

This model is Sims, in Burgundy Fade.

Warby Parker #3

Crosby in Burgundy Fade (I liked that color, evidently)

Warby Parker #4

Winston in Lunar Fade

Warby Parker #5

Ugh. These are the Fillmore in Hazelwood.

What do you guys think? I don’t like the Fillmores at all, they’re too stuffy. I want to like the Crosby and Winston, but they’re just so huge! I guess that’s all the rage right now, but meh. Not on me. So, I think it’s a toss-up between the Sims and the Zagg. I have this problem where glasses sit too far down on my nose, so that the top of the frames are almost level with my eyes. As you can see, this is even a problem with my current pair. This doesn’t seem to be the case with the Sims frames, which is awesome! It’s a slight problem with the Zagg ones, which makes me sad, because they’re definitely more interesting than the Sims.

Overall, the glasses seem very well-made. They’re sturdy without being too heavy. I’m not sure how they’ll look with my actual coke-bottle lenses in them, but with a $95 pricetag you can’t really beat it. If only they were made in the USA rather than China, they’d be just about perfect.

Do I go for boring but fitting well on my face, or do I go for too low but more interesting to look at? This is pretty much my eternal dilemma.