I Swear I’m Telling The Truth!

My name is Jen and I live in New Jersey! 

I am 28 years old and have lived here my whole life (heck, I live in the same town I grew up in and graduated high school).  However, if you met me you would probably call me a liar.  Why?

I don’t have a tan – I’m pale and proud.  I don’t have big hair and long acrylic nails.  I don’t dress as if I’m heading off to work on a pole.  I’m well-spoken and educated and say ‘Jersey’ not ‘Joisey’.  And this has been me my whole life.  My friends follow suite in this.  So do most people I know/see/meet. 

I don’t live outside my means.  My husband and I earn honest livings, live in a home we can afford, and drive cars we can afford. We rarely shop for ourselves anymore (shopping for our son is much more fun and the priority).  As a matter of fact, my husband needed 2 new pairs of pants for work last week.  Where did he get them from?  Wal-Mart. 

Between MTV’s Jersey Shore, and most recently, the circus that is Theresa and Joe Guidice from Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey, New Jersey is taking a hard hit to its image.  Whenever I read an article online I always like to view the comments – and I see a lot of Jersey bashing.   

Like any state, NJ has both beautiful and no-so-beautiful places.  And we have a mix of people.  So its sad that because of a small handful we are represented as ‘Guido’s’ who have no financial responsibility or sense’.  I’m the farthest thing from this.  So is my family, so are my friends. 

There are lots of beaches in New Jersey – not just Seaside Heights and Belmar!   My family vacationed in Wildwood for YEARS.  The beaches are clean, the water is clean, and it is an all-around family friendly environment.  This weekend I will be heading down to Long Beach Island with my husband and son.  I cannot wait to dip his toes in the ocean and watch him play in the sand. 

I live in a 2 family home in a quiet suburban neighborhood about 20 minutes outside NYC.  Any store in the mall would be a splurge for us right now.  We are constantly trying to cut expenses and put ourselves on a path that will provide the best life for our child (even if it’s not the fanciest). 

So there you have it – the other side of life in New Jersey.  Not so bad, right?

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Pure Mom – Installment 1

I started this blog with the intention of it being a beauty blog, and in a sense, a consumer blog.  But sometimes, I want to just talk about being a mom.  So I am starting a series called ‘Pure Mom’.  Nothing matters here except the joys/perils/hardships of being a mom.

Todays installment, in my opinion, discusses one of the joys. 

July 2009: I was 7 months pregnant, peeing every 40 minutes (soon to be reduced to 20 minutes), and counting the days until maternity leave (9/11/2009). 

July 2010: Planning my sons first birthday.

I can’t believe I am planning his first birthday.  It feels like only yesterday I was complaining about pregnancy and swearing I would never do it again (which of course was the pregnancy talking, not me).  When I think about it, I’m floored by how much life has changed in a year.  And here we are…2.5 months away from the big day.

Of course, we all know the 1st (and probably 2nd) birthday is for the parents, really.  I’ve got my guest list (need to start the invites), quotes from caterers, planned activities for the older kids, and about 5 to-do lists (oh yes, I’m a list maker).  While reviewing the progress with my husband last night I realized maybe I was being a bit excessive, but I was almost as excited for this party as I was when I found out I was going to the hospital to have my baby.  Crazy?  I don’t think so.  Sure, my son will have no clue whats going on and will not remember any of it.  But I don’t care – that’s what cameras and video cameras are for.  We are celebrating so much that day.  The celebration of a new life, the celebration of all the milestones of the first year (of my husband and I surviving the first year), the celebration of us becoming a family – its more than just a birthday! 

So I will plan my heart out for 2.5 more months and try to make it the greatest day I can.  So tell me guys, what did you do for the ‘big day’.  Did you go simple (family and cake) or all out (pony rides and clowns)?  Maybe somewhere in between?  Tell me!

Life Happens…

I havent posted in about a week and I am sorry for that (for anyone out there reading).  I havent been neglectful, just crazed at work.  For those who don’t know, I work as a Financial Analyst during the day and that means crazy days, nights, etc.  Summers are especially crazy in the Finance world because its budget kick-off time and that means lots of work – with no end in sight!  It didn’t help much that I was subbing at the gym too last week. 

But there are low periods and this week is one of them (at least now that I’m caught up).   

I have a few reviews coming up…

First! Whitening toothpaste…does it work, and if so how well?  Tonight I will be taking a picture of my before teeth and then test driving a whitening toothpaste (wont tell you which one now, but it’s fairly new on the market and is supposed to give office quality results in 2 weeks).  I purchased this myself, as I’ve been wanting to try it but didn’t find it in my local drugstore until yesterday (shocking for this area).  I scored it on sale too, which makes this even better.

So check in…I’ll be taking pictures throughout the two weeks to show the progression of this so-called whitening process and then on the 27th we will see the final result.  Oh the suspense… 

I also test drove a new nail polish over the weekend…lets see if these pricey brands live up to the hype!

When Beauty Takes A Backseat

There are many times when beauty has to take a backseat whether I like it or not – these times are far and few between.  These last few days can be added to the collection…

First, I woke up on Tuesday with a stye (or however you spell it) in my eye, rendering my eyelid puffy, which is making  my eye look half closed.  I havent been wearing eye makeup for two reasons a. I dont want to irritate the eye and b. I dont want to contaminate my makeup.  Therefore, my makeup routine has been mineral powder foundation and concealer along with some bronzer and/or blush. 

Now, I’m not lucky enough to be one of those people that looks great with no makeup.  No, I NEED MY EYE MAKEUP!  No matter what I’ve done over the last 3 days, I just dont look put together (or awake) without my eye makeup.  It doesnt help that my 9 month old has been teething horribly and getting me up at least 3 times during the night.  The combo of puffy eye/exhaustion is really just creating one big mess and causing people to stare at me at work – I guess thats how I know its bad.

And because it keeps getting better, in order to avoid waking up my son the last few mornings, I havent been blow drying my hair.  Lets just say the air-dried/tousled look isnt my best.

To wrap-up this rant, my morning beauty routine has taken a backseat for the last few days and its affecting me in more ways than one.  I’m just off – I dont feel like me and its keeping me from running at 100% this week.  I think it finally caught up with me last night when I just gave up on trying to stay on top of things.  “I’ll catch up later,” I told myself.  And I will.        

Tell me, my fellow moms – does something so simple as veering from your normal morning routine put you in a funk?  Or am I the only one that feels this way?  Maybe its something else?

ALSO!  Stay tuned for my first ‘Does It Really Work’ test.  Pics to be included.

The Battle Continues…the Gym or the Couch?

If only all my dilemma’s/issues could only be so difficult…

Tuesday 6/29:

Me: cranking out work at my desk, counting the hours ’till I go home.  My phone rings…

JP (my husband): going to my parents house with the baby

This is always an emotional double-edge for me.  The one thing that makes my day every day is going home to the smiling face of my baby.  On the other hand, an evening to myself is far and few between. 

Tuesday nights are usually a gym night but last night I was planning on staying home because, well, I just wanted to spend some time with my baby.  Upon my husbands call, though, I immediately thought ‘bootcamp at 7, Pilates at 8’.  And then I really started to think…the DVR is filling up quick, my pile of unread Parenting and Glamour magazines is overflowing, and when was the last time I just sat? 

Oh the torture…should I do my body good and get some exercise, or should I relax?  I had a donut at work and felt guilty about not hitting the gym, especially knowing it wouldn’t be taking me away from my baby.  And for me, the gym is relaxing because it takes my mind off of whatever is bothering me and I get all that stress out of my body.  However, the thought of just sitting on the couch and doing nothing sounded so good I wanted to fake a reason to leave work early.

What mom hasn’t been here before?  It doesn’t have to be the gym/couch tug ‘o war, but I think at some point every mom is faced with the choice of relax and put the feet up or do something more productive.  Perfect example – lately, on Saturday’s when the baby naps, I do small chores around the house instead of relax.  Things need to get done whether I like it or not (I’ve prayed to the chore fairy and she has yet to show up).  Maybe that’s what drove my decision to…

SIT ON THE COUCH AND CATCH UP ON THE DVR!!  Yep, you probably saw that one coming.  And you know what?  I don’t regret it.  When my husband and baby walked in the door at 8 I felt recharged and refreshed.  Of course that lasted exactly 5 minutes…

C’mon moms – tell me about the last time you had a choice between relaxation and productivity?  Was it worth it?

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog! 

I’ve gone back and forth for a while about starting one because a. there seems to be an infinite number already and b. what would I talk about that isn’t already talked about?

So I figure a. if everyone else can have one, I can have one too and b. I’ll talk about anything I want and hopefully people will just love me.

But I get the feeling I’ll spend most days ranting about my adventures in beauty land.  And I’ll tell you why…

I really am just an ordinary girl – I’m a wife (married 3 years in September), a new mom (October 2009), and a worker bee (financial analyst by day, group fitness instructor/personal trainer by night).  My life is not perfect and pretty – I have my own financial woes, I’m adjusting to life as a mom (still), and most days I am just trying to survive.

What I try to do each day is be true to myself – Jen – the girl I was before I was a wife and mom.  I’ve always been a girl who loves makeup, manicures, pedicures, and anything else beauty related.  So when life is crazy and I just want to run out the door, I find something makeup/nail/hair/skin related to muse/obsess over… 

A few months ago I was craving eyeshadow of all sorts.  A few weeks ago, face masks.  This week?  Nail polish.  And you know what I really think it is?  There was a time when I used to be able to go out and buy pretty much whatever I wanted (pre-marriage, pre-baby) and now?  Not so much.  Once upon a time I would drop $150 on a shirt and pants like it was nothing.  Now?  Not so much.  But a $3 bottle of nail polish?  A $4 face mask?  Now we’re talking!  The practical side of me says (and most people would say) ‘well do that 25 times and you can get a shirt’.  Realistically, though, am I going to save $3 or $4 a week?  Probably not.  The instant gratification of being able to run out on lunch and buy a new product and then pamper myself makes everything better, even if for just a moment (until the baby cries while I’m applying a second coat of polish).