moderntwinmom

I'm a mom of twins and I try to do it all. From keeping up with 2 babies to losing the baby weight and staying current with the latest trends… Here's how I approach motherhood without losing my SELF……


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Love the Skin You’re In!

It’s been over three months since I’ve posted! Wow that’s the longest I’ve ever gone. I’ve been busy! I’m trying to make things happen in other areas of my life…so the blog had to take a backseat but I’m back! I’m just going to get right to the point, talking about something I am extremely passionate about. Skin.

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I’ve always been extremely passionate about skin care but in the last few years it has hit me harder than ever. Probably because I’m not a young mom. In fact, my boys were born the year I turned 37. I know many women in their 40s who are sending their kids off to college or at least complaining about the teenage years. You know what I’ll be doing in my 40s? Just figuring out what it’s like to have them in school. If you need motivation to keep looking young..have a kid (or 2) in your late 30s. The last thing I want is to be mistaken as my kids’ grandma.

The truth is, I’ve actually had problem skin my whole life. So I attribute the skin I have today to the diligence I have had to have with my skin since I was very young. In my early teens, I suffered from bad acne in junior high and high school. I was so desperate to make it better that I got to work researching ingredients, drugs, and skin care that could help. At that time, fruit acids were JUST starting to come onto the skin care scene. I was on them like a hot potato. You name it, I tried it. I had read over and over that these fruit acids sped up exfoliation and unveiled new skin much more quickly, and supposedly, my problem skin would benefit. I have been obsessed with skin care ever since. Fast forward 25 years..  I truly believe my skin care has played a big role in keeping me looking young. Now, more than ever, I am absolutely religious about skin care.  If you have any desire to slow down the aging process and affect how you LOOK (and hence, how you FEEL)… Keep reading for my “stay young” skin care routine!

Cleanser: It’s not out of the realm of possibility that I would spend 50 dollars or more on face wash at one time in my life.  But what I’ve learned over the years is that this is the one product you can skimp on. No matter how fancy or powerful the ingredients, they stay on your skin for mere seconds and eventually wash down the drain. Save your money in this department. A good face wash will be geared towards your skin type (foamy gel if you are oily and more of a soothing cream texture if you are dry), and will remove dirt, oil, and makeup. I use CERAVE.

Moisturizer: Again…this one is simple…don’t spend a ton of money here. If you have dry skin get something thicker and creamier, and oily skin can do with a basic lotion. If you are really oily, skip moisturizer in the morning and only use at night. If I feel really parched and absolutely must moisturize, I use CERAVE or CETAPHIL, and for extra hydration, DORMER. Lightweight serums can be good too.

The bells and whistles:

Here we go… If you’ve been snoozing up to this point, snap out of it and start taking notes. Cleansing and moisturizing are the basics. In order to get that glow and keep you your skin looking and feeling young, you need to do more than cleanse and moisturize.

1.Sunscreen.

I don’t care if you are black, white, or purple. Invest in a good sunscreen for your face and wear it EVERY DAY. Every DAY. Got it? I use neo strata anti aging sunscreen SPF 30. I live in BC, WHERE IT RAINS ALL.THE. TIME. But I still wear sunscreen. Every day.

2.Peptide Serum

Peptides are building blocks for collagen and the latest technology allows them to penetrate your skin. I use Olay Regenerist.

3.Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that not only protects your skin from the environment but corrects any environmental damage as well. I use Obagi c 15.

4.Gylcolic Acid

A fruit acid that speeds up exfoliation and skin renewal to reveal the fresher, younger skin underneath much more quickly, this should be a staple in your skin care regimen. I use Neo Strata night repair cream with glycolic acid 6%

5.Exfoliator: we are constantly shedding and renewing skin cells, and it’s important to help the process by mechanically removing the sloughed off skin. Glycolic Acid does this but liquid and mechanical exfoliants are great too.  Whether we do it manually with a grainy scrub or use a liquid with exfoliating properties, it is important to incorporate some type of exfoliation into your routine. I like Exfoliant by Aveda. It is a very weak solution of fruit acids that acts as a toner after cleansing. For a once or twice weekly mechanical exfoliation, I keep Kate Somerville’s “Exfolikate” on hand for that extra glow on special occasions.

AND FINALLY….

6.last but certainly not least, The piece de resistance, the belle of the ball, the who’s who of skincare….drumroll please…..

RETINOL.

If you are not using retinol, where the hell have you been for the last 10 years? Retinol is THE NUMBER ONE anti aging ingredient, proven time and again in clinical trials, pretty much the only skin care ingredient, that actually works to build collagen and reverse the signs of aging. You’re never too young or too old to include retinol in some capacity, in your skin care routine. If you need a soft intro or don’t have access to a dermatologist, Roc carries great over the counter products that contain retinol and will give you a gentle  introduction. If you’re like me and are only satisfied with the “get down to business” hardcore appeal of prescription strength retinol, get your butt to the dr and ask for a prescription of a retin A product.  Start low and go slow.  Once a week is good to start, then twice a week, then every other day…as you build tolerance you can increase your usage.  Your skin will flake, peel, maybe even burn, but a year from now, you will thank me. This is also where a heavier moisturizer like Dormer 211 comes in handy, it will help with the dryness and peeling that can often happen when you first start retinol.

Last but not least….I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the most important part of antiaging skincare,treating and protecting the eyes. I don’t care how old you are, you should have started yesterday. The eyes have the most delicate and fragile skin around them and tend to take alot of abuse. Squinting, rubbing, crying, washing. I  use a day eye cream to smooth lines and protect, and a night eye cream to repair. I like dermalogica “total eye care” for day and roc “retinol eye correction” for night.

Regimen…the above products are in no particular order, but the rule of thumb is you want to use repairing products at night and protective ones during the day, after cleansing, you apply in order of consistency, thinnest first. Also, if you are going to give your whole routine a makeover, add/change one product at a time so you can pinpoint any breakouts/reactions etc.

Here’s my regimen:

AM:I don’t use soap, just rinse with a washcloth

Vitamin c serum

Sunscreen

Dermalogica eye cream

Makeup

PM:wash face to remove all makeup

Tone with aveda Exfoliant

Peptide serum

Retinol or glycolic cream (I alternate nights, and in the winter, if the retinol is too drying, I stick to glycolic acid)

Night eye cream

And finally, wrinkles are caused by repetitive expressions. That’s why Botox works so well, it paralyses your muscles and prevents you from making those expressions. If you have it in you..a little conscious effort goes a long way…avoid too much frowning, raising eyebrows, and squinting. Try to keep a poker face and you’ll be doing exactly what Botox does!

Just a disclaimer here that I have oily skin. All products listed here are products that I have come to find over the years, that work for ME.  Always speak to a dermatologist about your own skin concerns and especially serious skin conditions and remember that all skin types have different needs. When in doubt, go to a reputable spa and get a skin analysis before you get started on a routine. Also, remember that many of these products contain minerals and chemicals-ESPECIALLY RETINOL and even glycolic acid.  Always use with caution, and avoid when pregnant or nursing!!!

I’d love to hear about your sin care routine!

Thanks for popping by!


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Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2013-My Inspiration!

Well, it is that time of year again. If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you will know that I just LOVE the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Before my boys were born I looked forward to it because it excited and inspired me. Now that I’m a mom…nothing has changed. I’ve always been into fashion and makeup and every year, late November, early December, I look forward to sitting down and watching the gorgeous angels strut their stuff. Why? Because they truly do inspire me. The styling, the hair, the makeup, and the bodies. Some people complain that they are too skinny and unattainable. Not me. I use them as my “vision board”. These girls might be genetically gifted with height and small bones, but I assure you, they work hard to maintain that body that will represent their brand. This year, the musical guests were UH-MAY-ZING (mostly). I am a big Taylor Swift fan, and she did not disappoint. She looked absolutely gorgeous (could have been one of the models) and her singing was perfection. Fall Out Boy was a nice edgy addition to the show and my favourite of the night, A Great Big World, gave a heartfelt and perfect performance. A little disappointing, was Neon Jungle…I didn’t think much of their styling and makeup and I suspect they were lip synching, but they brought a nice funkiness to the whole production. The whole show was an eclectic mix of punk, rock, and innocence, and I liked how it was all put together.

Here are my fave moments and looks of the night:

I just love me some thigh high boots and wings. The top hat and red jacket ensemble inspires my next night on the town, and that hand hold and eye gaze that Taylor and Lily Aldridge shared was so sweet. And finally, the turquoise feathers on those shoes??!!! LOVE! Do you watch the VS Fashion Show? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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My first year of blogging….

So it’s been a little over a year since I started this blog. I started it because I wanted to inspire other moms and moms to be, especially those with multiples, but in general.. all moms. I am a firm believer that you CAN have it all. You can be a great mom, take care of your family and your SELF, maintain your health, and feel and look good, without going nutty. If you want to have a career outside the home, you can have that too. You just need to be organized and have a positive attitude. After almost a year of being back at work full-time, I still believe that. I have had my fair share of low points this year, especially in the last month or so. I went through a very difficult time in my personal life. Even through that, I was able to maintain some semblance of sanity. How? Whenever I’m feeling down, I tell myself that this will pass and everything happens for a reason. If it’s something I can learn from, I try to find the lesson and then I get over it and move forward. I got a new haircut, went to Vegas with my girlfriends, and let loose for a few days. And I didn’t feel guilty about it. It was much-needed for me, and my husband enjoyed the bonding time with the boys. Most of all, I find that being grateful for what I have, helps me bounce back from setbacks much more quickly. I have a healthy happy family, amazing friends, and an awesome career. It’s cliché to say there isn’t enough time in the day, and I catch myself saying it every now and then if a day gets away on me, and yet most of the time, I find time to have a glass of wine, catch up on the real housewives, or write a post for this blog. I must be doing something right! If there are any new moms or moms to be out there reading this, if there is only one piece of advice I can give you that I truly feel has helped me find this balance even with twins, it is this: GET YOUR KIDS ON A SCHEDULE. Since they were born, my boys have been on a schedule that allows me to predict when they will be up and when they will be asleep. It didn’t happen on its own, it was a constant and consistent effort to get it that way. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT. Sleep experts believe that putting your children on a schedule also helps them sleep better. This has certainly been my experience. They are a few months from turning 2, they go to bed at 630pm and wake up at 630 am and they nap once a day from 1230 to 300. That is 14.5 hours that I have to myself. I use 9 of them for sleep. I use the rest to do whatever the hell I want. Work, cook, drink, nap, you get the idea. It is the absolute best gift you can give yourself if you have twins (or more), or even just one baby. Life is good! The holidays are upon us and I am feeling more excited for the future than ever!  I am looking forward to another year of blogging, thanks for sticking with me on my journey as a modern twin mom!

Here is me in Vegas last weekend. A new haircut, red lips, and shoes to match, how can I NOT smile?

Here is me in Vegas last weekend. A new haircut, red lips, and shoes to match, how can I NOT smile?

Baby proofing (or not!)

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Aaaaaahhh baby gates. The image gives me shivers. I remember all throughout my 20s and early 30s, visiting the homes of friends and family with small children, I just could not figure out how to open that damn baby gate. I always ended up stepping over it. And the closet and drawer latches that seem like they intend to keep out the CIA? Enough to drive a person insane. For the love of god I just want to throw out my garbage! Or get a spoon! And god forbid they had one of those little latches on the toilet lid. Guess I’ll be waiting to pee. Obviously I’m being a touch dramatic, but I found these things so annoying that I already started dreading the day I would have kids and have to turn my home into a trap of sorts. So when I got pregnant, imagine my absolute DELIGHT when I started reading “Babywise” and read about house proofing vs baby proofing. This was actually a real thing??? I had wondered if you could just TEACH children to respect certain boundaries but I didn’t know there was an actual term for it! I loved it and quickly decided I would house proof my babies.

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So, if you, like me, don’t like the idea of having everything in your home locked up or put away, and enjoy the thought of keeping your home looking and feeling fairly similar to pre baby, this post is for you. I’ll give some quick tips but the best thing to do would be to pick up a copy of “Babywise” or check out some babywise blogs (I like this one). The basic premise of house proofing is that you remove or displace things that could pose an immediate and significant safety danger to your child, and this will be subjective. Everyone will have their own non negotiables, but anything that can be used as a teaching opportunity to house proof your baby, should be used as such. You first teach your child the words “no” and “stop”. I think I started using these words as soon as they could sit up and roll around. If you use these words often, they WILL learn what they mean. You then simply use every opportunity to show your child what is and is not acceptable. The boys were not allowed to go near the edge of the staircase by themselves and this was the case for all other things that were off-limits. Kitchen cabinets and drawers, bathrooms, mommy and daddy’s room, etc. It’s a very simple concept, it just takes diligence, consistency, and patience. You must be consistent. Once they are old enough to handle a responsibility, you allow them that freedom. So for instance, once they showed interest and had the ability to maneuver their way up and down the stairs, we allowed it, with guidance. Now, at 20 months, they walk up and down the stairs like adults, holding the railings or our hand. They know they are not allowed to start walking unless we are there and say it’s ok. If they do have a lapse in judgement and reach for a cabinet they are not allowed into, a simple “no” or “stop” does the trick. I’ve done a post in the past about keeping a home peaceful with children. I’m not gonna lie, I do like a clean and organized home. Just because I have kids doesn’t mean I want toys cluttering every inch of my living room and I certainly didn’t want any unneeded baby proofing. For me, house proofing my boys has been awesome. Not only do I feel that it has taught them to obey and respect boundaries from a very early age, but it does something that baby proofing doesn’t. It works even if you are not at home! Like magic! Baby gates are great if they make you feel secure at home, but what do you do if you go to visit someone who’s house is not child proof? At the end of the day, like everything else in parenting, this may appeal to some and not to others. But if it is an a-ha moment for even one person, I’ve accomplished my mission! I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby proofing and house proofing! Thanks for stopping by!!!

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The Indian, French, Tiger Mom.

When I was young, growing up in a fairly strict and regimented east indian home, I knew that I was growing up in a strict and regimented east indian home. What that means is, it was very evident from associating with my classmates and friends that I did not enjoy the same leniencies as they did. I wasn’t allowed to talk to or about boys, I wasn’t allowed to go to sleepovers, or even just go to a friend’s house to play. School was the most important thing, and I HAD to get good grades. I was enrolled in swimming, ballet and gymnastics at a very early age and this was pretty much the only socialization I got outside of school. Children were mostly seen and not heard, if I talked too much (I can be pretty chatty) I always got in trouble when I got home or when the guests left. We never expected adults to entertain us as children. You would never catch us demanding a friend of our parents get down at eye level and play make-believe with us.

Even in elementary school, I knew what University was, and I knew that I was expected to attend at all costs. It wasn’t an option. I knew that if I was a good, obedient indian girl, and got a good university education, I would be lucky enough to have some well-educated indian guy from a good family marry me (joy!).

As I got older, and entered junior high and eventually high school, not much changed. Once I entered University, the freedom that comes from attending such an institution was LIBERATING, but I still wasn’t allowed to date, and I still had to fight to go out with my friends. I still wasn’t allowed to talk to boys. Most kids at this age are actually thought of as adults. Not us indian girls! We are children until we get married (most likely to someone who our parents think is a good fit), then we become wives, and often, we simply gain another set of parents (our in-laws) to add to our misery (strong word, but according to EVERY indian girl I know who lives with her in-laws, misery is the right word). I will stray from this story a little bit to say that my home wasn’t a typical indian home in many ways, and therefore I was able to move out and live my own life for about 10 years before getting married, and no I didn’t end up having an arranged marriage and no, I don’t live with my in-laws.

I think I can say with confidence that this scenario is common with many kids who are born into first generation status. Their parents immigrated from another country, another culture, to give them a better life, and they brought their conservative ways with them. They just wanted the best for us, they didn’t know any better. I’ve seen similarities with other indians, as well as my chinese, italian, and polish friends (among others).

Did I rebel? A little, but nothing major. I did end up lying and sneaking around at times, but looking back, and looking at where I ended up, I think I’m fairly unscathed, other than the frequent thoughts I have of the things I WONT do with my own kids. Actually, I think the reason it bothered me AT ALL when I was young is because I mostly had caucasian friends, so the differences between me and them were as clear as day. Had I associated mostly with other indians, I probably wouldn’t have thought my life sucked so much. This is probably also the reason I grew up to be quite non-indian myself. I speak the language and make a mean butter chicken but I still don’t have many indian friends, I don’t attend 15 indian weddings every summer and I don’t enjoy indian music or movies and I HATE wearing indian outfits and jewellery.

Overall, I truly believe that growing up the way I have is the reason I have turned out to be the person I am (and to reiterate, my mom was especially NON-indian in many ways and so, I probably owe a lot of who I am, to her). Some of my upbringing was my strict culture, and the rest was just downright strict parents.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t ASKED my opinion on anything. I was told. I wasn’t given a multitude of options on what to eat. Dinner was dinner, and you sat there and ate it, even if it meant everyone else was in bed. Post Secondary Education wasn’t an option. Your parents pay for university, and you go. Period. Being able to express my thoughts and creativity was not a priority. My parents didn’t reason with me or care what I had to say. Why should they? I was a child. And they were the parents. We were taught RESPECT. It meant something. It means that you don’t argue with someone older than you, whether they are 30 years or 30 days older than you. Ever notice your indian friends have a lot of aunts and uncles? It’s because we would NEVER call an elder by their name. In my parents generation, they don’t even call their older brothers and sisters by their name. There is always some sort of prefix or other title. In fact, up until my teens, my younger brother and sister didn’t refer to me by my name, they referred to me using the more respectful label you use for “older sister”, until I got too cool in my teens and was embarrassed by them calling me that.

I look around these days and see way too many things that you would have never seen when I was growing up. For parents, a desire to be…liked??? For kids… A lack of respect. A mother at a park trying to reason with a tantrumming 2-year-old. Parents who claim that their children don’t know what the word NO means (because they don’t want to use the word NO with their kids). Parents who let their kids pick out their clothes, choose what they will eat, and decide when they want to sleep (if at all). Kids who think nothing of talking back to adults! I’m not judging. Just curious. I look at all the entitled kids I see these days. Kids with no manners. Kids who speak to me as though I am their peer. Could they be the offspring of these parents who are hesitant to use the word “NO”? I’m not sure.

All I know is that I plan on raising my children fairly similarly to the way I was raised. In this day and age it may not be easy, but I’m damn well gonna try. I have recently read several books that have me feeling hopeful for the future. You’ve all probably heard the “tiger mom” theory and, more recently, there has been a lot of chatter around the “french” parenting model. These tend to lean towards the more structured side of parenting. I haven’t read any books around the attachment parenting model, as it is not something I relate to (given my upbringing), but im not opposed to it. There are definitely downsides to being overly strict, just as too much freedom can be dangerous. I think the trick is finding the balance. More important, I think the trick is knowing what kind of kids you want to raise, what type of parent you want to be, and what the boundaries are, BEFORE you have kids (or very early in their lives). If you have a plan, you can work with it. If you wing it, I promise you’ll be scrounging. There is nothing that feels better than finding a few good books that you feel you can relate to, and learn from. In fact, reading these books has only confirmed to me that, for the type of adults my husband and I are trying to raise, we are on the right track. If you are on the same page as us, consider checking out the pages of these books;

Mean Moms Rule

Bringing up Bebe

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

French Twist

I found each one of them to be easy to get into and stay with, relatable, funny, and best of all, educational. I took away more than a few great tips and ideas.

Thanks for stopping by, and I would love to hear your thoughts on parenting styles (past and present)!

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Fall Fashion Friday-My favorite time of year

I can’t believe I’m already writing about fall fashion but it IS August and everything is on sale, which means fall is literally around the corner. I love summer fashion, the cute shoes, bright colours and pretty, flowy dresses. But every year, at this time, I am absolutely ecstatic for Fall fashion. The deep colours, thick and rich textured fabric, cozy sweaters, and of course… BOOTS! Fall 2013 does not disappoint! Here are my top fall fashion picks, and if you are a busy mom, it is as simple as incorporating a few key colors and pieces into your outfits to feel like you are on top of it all. Remember, just because you are a mom, doesn’t mean you have to be frumpy. Take a few minutes for your SELF every day to pull it together. Keeping up with fashion trends does not make you a good mom. Not being into these trends doesn’t make you a bad mom. But when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you are instantly a better everything. A better wife, a better mother. There is nothing that lifts a woman’s spirit and soul more than feeling beautiful. The key word here is FEELING. Do whatever you have to do to FEEL good about yourself. You deserve it..and quite frankly, you owe it to yourself. Try it, you’ll like it!

Grey and Navy 

Move over Black! Grey and navy are the new neutrals, and the old rule of not pairing Black with Navy goes out the window. Invest in a timeless piece of clothing, or if you’re non-committal, just some nail polish will keep you on trend.

The Ankle boot 

There is nothing more appropriate for fall than the knee-high boot, I think it is timeless. But this fall, the ankle boot might steal the show. The thigh high has been seen everywhere also, and I plan to have both ends of the spectrum in my boot selection! Thigh high can look skanky if you don’t style it right, and ankle boots can also be tricky.  I have always been leery of this style because if you have not been blessed in the height department, it can cut you off at the ankle, making your legs look shorter. The key is to wear this trend with the right skirt or pant length. A shorter skirt or pant that ends where the boot begins, is perfect for someone with shorter gams. If you are leggy, there are no rules for this trend!

The tulip skirt 

I love tulip skirts. They are fitted on top and fluted on the bottom. No matter your size, this piece will provide a nice balance. For work, this is my top pick for fall.

The white pant

White in general is a great colour for fall. Ignore the “no white after labour day” rules! It adds some brightness to the muted and deep fall tones and is reminiscent of freshly fallen snow. Whether it is a beautiful new coat or some nail polish, treat yourself to some winter white this fall, and if you are not afraid of getting dirty, take the plunge and invest in a cute pair of white pants. A cigarette style will look tres chic this season.

And finally, I just have to give a shout out:

One of my very favorite designers is Victoria Beckham.  When I was bopping out to her pop happy tunes in the nineties, who knew she would eventually create beautiful clothes? There are very few designers that consistently impress me, and she is (surprisingly) one of them. I love this dress from her fall 2013 collection. She has a great eye for detail and I love the structure in her pieces. I cant wait to pick me up one of these. Happy Friday everyone!


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The Unveiling…

Well, the time has come to put my money where my mouth is. All this talk about diet, exercise, even BELLY BINDING, to get me into bikini shape less than 18 months after delivering twins (via c section, might I add..which meant I would be in no shape to even THINK of working out anytime soon after having twins), and where did I end up? I just got back from a much needed Vacation to Mexico, but more than that, one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. It was a sun soaked week full of friends and laughter and I got to watch one of the most beautiful people I know (inside and out) get married. Did I feel 100% confident to put on a bathing suit? Umm no, of course not. Do I feel I am back to exactly where I want to be? No again. But it was a far cry from where I was even just a year ago. I wish I had before pictures but the reality is, that at this time last year, I was so horrified by my tummy and the way I looked that there is no way I was taking a picture because I couldn’t imagine I could ever get back to where I once was. But I pulled it off…I worked my butt off to feel good enough to get half naked on a beach surrounded by people. I am motivated to continue on this path, and in the meantime, if you are a new or expecting mom of twins (or more!!) I hope you will use this as motivation to get YOUR body back! Check out my other posts on losing the baby weight, belly binding, and other skin tightening tips I have used!

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