On Fatherhood: From Daughter to Wife

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My Dad was the one with all of the answers. And sometimes, still is. Not much of a talker, or one who voluntarily shares his opinion. He’s quietly fascinating. Genes are so incredible. For while my son shares his face, my daughter shares his love of birds and butterflies. And everything that grows and makes this world beautiful.

When Mom went to work at night on weekends, Dad was there. He replicated the Egg McMuffin and made the fudgiest brownies you could imagine. He built the treehouse in the backyard and showed me how butterflies hatched from cocoons.

My husband had big shoes to fill. And while he’s so very different from my Dad in so many ways, they are alike in their amazing ability to step in and not only be Daddy, but Mommy, when she’s not around or not available.

For the first four months of my daughter’s life, she would only sleep on my husband’s chest.  She was a colicky baby and soothed by his warmth and strong arms. Hours spent rocking her to sleep often didn’t compare to the comfort she felt curled up in his protection.  They still share an incredible and undeniable bond, along with a love of all things anime.

Time is always at a premium in our house. Support is not. While I sneak off to some corner of the house to pen a particularly difficult post. or fly to the other end of the country, he is there, being every bit the parent that I am. Arranging for play dates, making dinner, goodnight hugs and kisses, and stories by night light.

If there’s any question as to what kind of a job he’s doing, ask my son what he wants to be when he grows up. His answer:  “A daddy.”

The Seven Day Manicure

When it comes to manicures, I’ve tried them all. After a year of gel manicures and over a year of acrylics, I’m back to my own nails. Although it’s certainly freeing not to be tied down to a two-hour fill-in session, making a regular or home manicure last a week is an art in and of itself.  These tips will help keep your nails in tip-top shape.

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1. Pick a Light Color, But not Too Light: Picking a dark color or even a very light (white-based) color will make any imperfections, like chips, very obvious. Pick a natural color like a beige or a faint pink. My favorites are Essie’s Mademoiselle, Sugar Daddy, and Spaghetti Strap.

2. Keep them on the Shorter Side: Longer nails are prone to cracking and chipping, especially if your nails are on the weaker side. Keep them short and each of a similar length.

3. Clean with Gloves On: Nothing ruins a manicure faster than contact with cleaning fluids like bleach. Buy yourself a pair of heavy duty cleaning gloves and wear them whenever you clean or wash the dishes.

4.Keep Nails from Contact with Hand Sanitizer and Hand Creams: These are things we are prone to using every day, but avoiding the nail area when you apply them will help keep your manicure from breaking down.

5. Apply a Top Coat or Nail Strengthener  Every Other Day: Purchase a clear nail strengthening top coat from a beauty supply store or your local nail salon and apply it every other day.  Not only will it keep your nails looking shiny, but the product buildup during the week will keep your nails strong and less likely to break or chip.

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Beauty Space-Saver: Tarte Bronzer/Blush Duo

I’ve been seriously pondering switching out my large purse for a sleek clutch, so I need all the help that I can get downsizing its contents. This bronzer/blush duo allows you to carry all of your contouring products in one sleek compact.

If you’ve been applying blusher without pairing it with a bronzer, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to contour your face. (Hello, cheekbones!)

The color selection Tarte offers (Dollface blush and Park Avenue Princess bronzer) makes for a natural but polished look and a healthy sun-kissed glow.

My Big Fat Italian Sunday Dinner

Before it turns murder weather here in New York and all we can bear to do is barbeque on the grill, I’ll share the normal Sunday tradition in my family, which involves a big pot of red sauce.  Tonight we’re having cavatelli, but really this pasta itself it not the important part, because this sauce goes with them all. So put your favorite Louis Prima song on blast and get ready to eat.

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Olive Oil

3 cloves of garlic peeled with the ends cut off.

1 28 oz can of peeled crushed tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

A little red wine

A container of grated or a hunk of Locatelli Cheese

Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large sauce pan and add the cloves of garlic.  Heat the stove on medium.  Leave for about 3 or 4 minutes until you see the oil beginning to heat up.  Do not allow the garlic to turn brown.

Add the large can of tomatoes and the can of tomato paste.  Fill the tomato paste up with water one time and dump into the mixture.  Turn the burner up to high and allow the tomato mixture to come to a boil.  Then turn down to low and cover the pot.  Let cook for about an hour.  If the sauce is too bitter, add a couple of tablespoons of red wine and let it simmer for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes. Never ever ever ever put sugar in your sauce. It will sweeten up naturally the longer it simmers.

After draining the cooked pasta of your choice, place in a large serving bowl.  My favorite way to serve this dinner is to place a helping of pasta in each individual bowl with a modest amount of sauce on top.  Top with a generous spoonful of grated Locatelli cheese.  To complete the experience, yell the names of each family member expected at dinner from the kitchen, even if they are standing next to you.

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Garlic: the elixir of life.

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Start with good ingredients and you can’t go wrong.

You’re not Supermom, but You Are a Wonder, Woman

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A few months ago, I left my house in such a hurry, I forgot to say goodbye to my youngest.  He was upstairs getting dressed, and I was doing my usual manic Monday routine.  It hit me on my way into the office. I pictured him at his tiny table in Kindergarten class, tearful, sullen, declining his tiny chocolate milk carton . Perhaps the teacher would ask “What’s wrong, sweetie?” And he would recount the morning when I had failed as a mother by neglecting our good-byes.  Boy, did I beat myself up…all…day…long.

I called my mother, who often serves as a confessional, and admitted my misdeed.  “He’ll live,” she stated dismissively. You know what? She was right. I came home that evening, and he bounded down the stairs and wrapped his arms around me, like every other day.

Today’s mom obsesses over perfection. Over doing everything and being everything. I often fall into this trap. I cannot bake very well, and I am not great at crafts.  When it comes to sports…also, not so good. Sometimes I let a curse slip. Sometimes I forget to sign a paper. And I’m not checking every piece of homework that leaves the house.  After much research and debate, I believe this all to be normal.  We are all imperfectly perfect.

Let’s do an exercise. Instead of focusing on all of the things you neglect to do, or “weaknesses,” think of all of the gifts you bring to your children. You know, the things that make you Mom and not an automaton.  I am a killer library partner and skilled bedtime story reader. No matter what your interests are I can scope you out the best of the bunch.  Got a report? Editor-in-chief, here. Let’s talk about your syntax.  I am a great nighttime cuddler, and I’ll watch movies with you all rainy day long. I have a limitless imagination, and I come up with all types of “Let’s pretend” games.

The next time you’re beating yourself up over some minor misdeed, or how you feel you are less than perfect, think about all of the intangible gifts you provide to your kids. Stumped? Ask your kids. I bet they know.

 

Beauty Space-Saver: Colorless Lip Liner

If your purse is anything like mine you have four or five lip liners strewn about, and when you go to reach for a pen you inevitably grab one of them thinking you can write with it.  Space is at a premium in my makeup bag, and I’m prone to more than one shade of lipstick. That’s why I think this colorless lip liner, called Borderline by Too Faced is brilliant.  It keeps lipstick from going outside the edge of your lip but matches with everything. And it’s both moisturizing and waterproof. I know, right?