Whether the mountain you’re tackling is made of laundry or earth, the reality for most moms is that it always feels like there's never enough time in the day to do it all. Yoga class, kids’ swimming lessons, date night, coffee with the girls...something eventually has to give. I think you'll agree that when you’re tight on time, the thing that sometimes gives is haircare because it can be tough to squeeze in a shampoo and blow dry. I think you would also agree that having great post-baby hair is also a challenge. Between postpartum hair loss and the elusiveness of showers, the plight of the ponytail is real...but it doesn’t have to be!
Fashion bloggers have their perks, Pantene sent me a variety of their products to test out on my dry, colour-treated hair.
Whether you’ve got long flowing tresses or a close-cropped ‘do, the simple fact is that beautiful hair is healthy hair, which is why I'm obsessed with moisturing products for my hair. Healthy hair starts in the shower. Here are my easy shampoo, conditioning, and styling tips (and a few products) that even the busiest mom can start using today:
Pantene also has a Style Series Dry Shampoo. Spritzing a bit of it before bed will help you avoid oily roots in the morning. Plus, dry shampoo helps add texture, allowing you to extend your style and go to new heights! I use dry shampoo after workouts and before bed — or after a day spent in the woods, on the beach or hitting the slopes. It helps rejuvenate my hair and provides a much needed little lift. Even helmet hair can be saved with a well aimed spray. My favorite thing about Pantene Dry Shampoo is there is no white residue thanks to tapioca in the formula.
When you have styling products that actually work, they can do all the heavy lifting so you can concentrate on having fun. For great style on-the-go, I like to braid or twist my damp hair to keep it out of my face while I’m active and then let it loose when it’s dry for a night out. The best part? I'm avoiding heat-styling tools that further damage my hair!
Styling Tip: Summer hair should be soft and flowy. Pantene Pro-V Style Series Airspray is super light for hold that moves. It keeps your hair in place but doesn't feel stiff. Also, it's alcohol free so it won't dry your hair out this summer and actually smells good. If you do have fly-away pieces, spritz a little hairspray on a toothbrush or your hand and smooth into place. Don’t let the wind or chasing the kids around wreck your style! Voila!
Like most parents, I’m always looking for ways I can stretch my hard-earned dollars just a little further. With a fast-growing son and my penchant for pretty things, staying stylish on a frugal budget can be a challenge. One of my favourite ways to keep our clothing costs down is by shopping second-hand whenever possible.
Since my son is growing at an alarming rate (he’s six and wears anything from a size 8 to a size 12), it seems like I always have a bag of his too-small clothes hanging on the closet door handle waiting to be donated. This means more room in our closets for new styles for me, and new, bigger styles for him – without breaking the bank.
Walking into a Value Village can be an overwhelming experience: there is just so. much. stuff. With thousands of items hitting the shelves and racks at Value Villages across Canada every day, this means there’s something for absolutely everyone.
Unlike your favourite department stores, you’ll almost never find two or three of the same piece: items are sorted by size and function in large racks, so you’ll need some patience and elbow grease to find something perfect for you. I've put together a list of tips to make it easier for you as you get set to become a thrift-shopping fashionista!
To make sure you don’t overspend and/or buy what you don’t need, this tip is important. Want a new outfit for Mama? Hit the dresses section first: it’s a one-stop ensemble.
We needed shorts on our most recent trip, so we specifically hit that section and we looked at sizes larger than we wear because you can always have a great second-hand piece tailored when the prices are that great - and kids are always growing. Since Finley really likes button-down shirts, we got a whack of those and we even found a pair of pants he already had in the next size up!
It’s only a steal if you don’t overspend. Just want something new? Set a budget...it's amazing how easily you can spend $100. (Not that I know from experience or anything...)
Know what you want to spend (or can afford to spend), and stick to it. Be ruthless: if you don’t love it enough to wear it out of the store, leave it. You don’t want to end up dropping it off, unworn, next month when you hit the racks again!
The key to success when thrift shopping is to check each item carefully for signs of wear like stains or rips and determine whether or not they’re fixable. For example, I scored a beautiful, unique silver ring that was black with tarnish, but after holding it, I knew it was worth the effort and now I have this great piece of jewellery on my hand! By looking at every item - even those a size larger than we needed - I was able to find shorts and a shirt with the original tags still on for my son!
Look at labels, too because you can also find designer items if you're lucky! I scored Banana Republic and Gap shorts, plus a lululemon dress for myself. For Finley, I found Gap and Old Navy shirts and Firefly shorts.
Since Value Village can often be a goldmine for the styles of yesteryear, it’s a great spot to score funky and vintage pieces that you can easily incorporate into a modern wardrobe. I like to pair funky prints with solid neutrals but if you’re not feeling so bold, try wearing a vintage brooch or bracelet instead to subtly add some flair to your look. I love “granny sweaters” paired with skinny jeans and Converse for a cozy, casual look.
With racks quite literally bursting with goodies, a Value Village trip is not quick in-and-out shopping...it can take time to sort through everything and find the perfect pieces. Having said that, knowing the best time to go is important! I always find Sundays, just before lunch, to be "the" perfect time since the store is quiet!
Tip: If you're shopping with the kiddos I highly recommend taking a trip to the toy wall. We love grabbing something fun for Finley to A) keep him entertained and B) reward him for enduring the "torture" that is looking at ladies' clothes for an hour on a sunny Sunday afternoon. (He's a real champ, this kid.)
Want to avoid dressing room line-ups? Leggings, a long tank and a cardigan or other easy-to-remove sweater make trying on pieces a breeze. Sure, you might not be able to try on pants but you can try skirts, shirts, sweaters, and even dresses for size while standing in the aisle.
Make a little room in your closet and score additional savings when you donate at your local Value Village. Not only will donating free up space for all your new goodies, it helps keep your unloved clothing out of the landfill while also supporting your community’s charitable organizations. Plus, you save more – and that’s something we can all enjoy!
Be sure to keep your existing wardrobe in mind, and think of outfits you can create with each piece you pick up. Many of us are often stuck in a rut of buying similar pieces over and over. If you already own two white button-downs, put the one you’re eyeing back. Why not grab a great sweater vest to pair with the ones you already have instead?
If you’re shopping for a special event, put the outfit together in the store rather than grabbing separate pieces if you can, and be sure to try it all on at once. Remember how I said to consider your own closet? If you want to find a piece to pair with something you already own, bring it with you or wear it so you can make the perfect outfit without any uncertainty.
I’ve actually found some of my favourite buys in unusual places. I scored a fantastic sweater once in the men’s section, and on more than one occasion I’ve even gotten cool pieces out of the kid’s clothing racks. Don’t overlook an aisle simply because you think it’s “not for you." If so, you’re missing out on treasures.
Don't forget to think outside of the shoebox, either. Sometimes housewares, like a random bowl, can make a perfect jewellery holder for your bathroom vanity or an old chair can be used to lay clothes out on in your bedroom.
My son is six years-old.
Right now, he loves his mommy and his pet cat, red Converse sneakers and anything that has an engine. Before we go to bed at night, he sometimes tells me that when he grows up, he wants to be a daddy and other times he tells me he wants to be a firefighter or a paleontologist. I love dreaming about the things he will be one day. I can’t wait to see who he becomes and what he does in life.
But I am terrified my son will tell me one day that he identifies as gay, bisexual or transgendered - not because I give a flying rat’s ass who my child chooses to love but because I don’t want him to be exposed to the hate, fear, bigotry and isolation that so many of my LGBTQ friends have experienced.
I am ashamed of the world we live in.
I am disgusted to know that we continue to ask women what they were wearing when they were raped, but we don’t ask a person buying a gun what they want to do with it.
I am horrified that, in 2016, our news feeds and conversations are bombarded with sadness, terror and hatred.
I want my son to live in a world where he can love who he chooses; love without fear. I want him to be who he is, without being subject to hate if he happens to be “different.” I want him to live his life on his terms, to be happy, to be accepted.
I am terrified that the phone will ring one day, and I’ll learn that he has been beaten or sexually assaulted.
I’m scared he will commit suicide as a result of bullying or ridicule, and while these things can most certainly happen regardless of his sexual preferences or how he identifies, I’m not stupid enough to think being gay wouldn't increase the chances of bullying and abuse.
And it makes me so very sad that I've thought these things. My heart aches that these are my fears, and my stomach turns because others are living this reality right now.
I once naively believed that we looked back on the horrors of the Holocaust and thought, My gosh, how barbaric. We can't let these things happen - we can't let fear and hate rule us.
I once believed that we wouldn’t let these atrocities happen again, and yet it’s happening. It is happening over and over and over.
The devastation I felt when I read the news from Orlando this week was gutting. That so many people - so many beautiful, innocent people - were killed in a senseless act of hatred is beyond words. That innocent people are hated and murdered for who they love, the colour of their skin or the way they worship is beyond my realm of understanding. There is so much hate, and so little understanding, so little acceptance.
It makes me lose hope.
If my son tells me he’s gay, bisexual, transgendered or that he wants to be a purple unicorn, I will love him as I always have. I will support him and be proud of him and I will watch as he becomes his own person.
But, if he one day tells me these things, I will love and support him with fear in my heart, because despite the fact that we can go to the moon and create cars that park themselves and robots to clean our floors, we haven’t figured out acceptance.
We still haven’t figured out love.