Monday, October 3, 2011

One Hot Mama Gives Fashion Advice.

An oldie (from when I only had one baby) but a goodie. Especially since it's only gotten nominally easier to get myself together after getting the kids to school.

From: "K"

I love your site! I have to tell you though that sometimes I feel like a pretender. I was a hot single woman, and even a hot pregnant one, but things have changed. Yes, after two kids, I've got a serious case of the frumpies. My long hair is too thick to wear up. I'm extremely chesty, yet I have narrow shoulders, so I end up looking like I'm wearing a tent. I've been eyeing your super-secret nursing shirt, but sorry a size 14 is not an XL! There are some good tips on your site (show off legs, get a uniform), but those tips are like a check-up. I need intensive care!


Dear K:

The ambulance is here, honey. But first, a little background music. As I first read your letter, I sat at the computer in my uniform of pilled-fabric sweats, worn with the waist below my expanding not-quite-big-enough-to-be-really-showing tummy and fuzzy-haired ponytail. I filed it away to answer when inspired. Later, I got a call telling me about a big audition for some network muckety-muck the next day. Since that's the whole point of living in Lost Angeles, I had to go to the mirror and take stock. The sweats and grubby socks were bad enough, but my eyebrows were beyond thick, my fingernails were many different lengths, and the nailpolish that I had applied for my birthday (in November) was no longer making my toes look so sexy. Add in the legs that are shaven one quadrant at a time (as Cameron stands in the shower door, crying, "mommy, mommy!") and you can see that I, too, was not a pretty picture. Why am I grossing y'all out in this way? To let you know that I am the same person who the next day walked out of here with clean, pretty hair, a nice outfit that covered the partially-shaved legs (just didn't have time to do the whole nine yards, y'know?), and freshly waxed eyebrows. I looked hot. I still had it, and so do you, but it really does take a fire drill or a cattle prod or a call from the old agent to work up the inspiration to do the legwork (no pun intended) sometimes.

Of course, the longer you leave the car without an oil change, the greater the chance that the engine will need overhauling, so even though we are all the world's greatest mommies and daddies (insert pat on the back here), let's use this email, or the first and fifteenth of every month, or whatever else you can remember, as a reminder to do some preventive maintenance. We know that self-worth doesn't come in a makeup bottle (or any other kind, for that matter), but a little swipe of mascara or lipgloss can make you feel, well, shiny. And shiny ain't such a bad way to feel, especially with spring around the corner.

So here's how to do a whole-look makeover for under 50 bucks! Ready, "K"? and whoever else is interested?

  1. While picking up wipes, fresh fruit and ice cream (a girl's gotta live) at the grocery, get the latest copies of In Style and Mode. We know that since you're pregnant or nursing you're not in the market for the actual clothes in there, but get them to find out what's what. Get inspired by the colours and photos (this is why Mode is crucial ... their models' bodies plus the In Style bodies are a real mix rather than a downer) and look at how different hair and makeup look from the last time you perused a non-parenting magazine. (Under $10.)
  2. While at the mall feeding the kiddies their nutritious food court dinners, eye the other chicks with an appraisers eye. Since your big dilemma is hair, "K," make sure to check theirs out. Whenever you see someone with (A) a look you like and/or (B) hair remotely like yours, ask for the name of her stylist. Don't worry about being able to afford anything right now. Just jot that name down in your filofax, and be sure to get the name of the person giving the recommendation. Call the salon and see if the stylist does consults. If not, find one who does and go for a wash and dry. Tell them that you want to look hot without taking a lot of time to do your hair. This last part is crucial, I'm guessing, because if you had time to do your hair you'd be doing it. Do not let anyone cut your hair until you're sure that they're right for you. A tip from my friend Tracey: she discovered a great stylist at The Yellow Balloon, a kiddie haircutters here in LA. They've already got toys and stuff there, so they're not as snotty as other salons can be about having your kidlets with you. (Consult: free to $30)
  3. Find someone who does eyebrow waxing in your neck of the woods. (Make sure that their brows aren't missing, though!) A pro can make your face look better, shape your brows so they frame your eyes even without makeup, and all in 10 minutes. That's a mom's dream. (Under $14)
  4. Go through your closet and take out the four items you wear daily (Bob and I, in fact, I'd hazard to guess, all humans, kinda reach for the same-old, same-old), then look at the rest with that critical eye. Let your babies play in the discards. Don't think you have to do any of this alone, by the way. I bet your dear hubby could also use a little making over, and maybe he'd be flattered if you suggested he toss the things that don't "play up his eyes." Or not. But anyway, there are probably things in your closet that you don't wear because they're not in front. Or, if you're in LA or NY, because they're not black. But look for the colours that make you look like you're glowing, and move those to the front. The stuff that doesn't fit? Alter it or give it away. It's time to move on. And don't obsess about the labels. Order a Super Secret Nursing Shirt in 2X if that's what fits (okay, that's a shameless plug) and then cut out the label (or just the X part!). Secret from my years on sets: the stuff that actors wear, whether from Contempo or Calvin Klein, is altered to fit. So if you're chesty and narrow in the shoulders, buy to fit your chest and then fix the rest. You don't sew? Find a local tailor and become his/her best friend. (Closet workout: free. Alterations vary)
  5. Dance! Turn on the radio or put on a fave cd or 8-track if you have one and "shake your booty" -- as Cameron says -- with your kids every day. With a light layer of sweat and the blood rushing through your veins, you won't feel frumpy at all. The more you move, the better you'll feel. And if you feel good, you'll look mah-vel-ous. (Again, free!)
  6. This will all make you feel like having some quality sex. Surprise your dh and go on the attack (of course, pick a day when you're not totally exhausted. For me, this will be Jan 4, 2016, but I have to push the schedule up a bit every now and then.) Grateful hubbies might actually start to compliment you, and the more you get those little pick-me-ups, the likelier you are to run a brush through your hair. Sure, not every day. You're a mom. But you're not dead.

    Have a great day, you great-looking mama you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where The Heck Has One Hot Mama Been?


Good question. Reminds me of one of my fave childrearing quotes: "the years are short, but the days are long." Somehow, five months have whipped by and I feel like I have nothing to show for it. I do, though. All four kids are in school -- for the first time in THIRTEEN years, I could, theoretically, have a shower in the morning. :) I took the summer off from One Hot Mama to be with the kids, shepherding them from place to place and having Mommy Craft Days, partly because camp for that many kids is prohibitively expensive, and partly because it was really fun!

Then school started. And I was under the mistaken impression that I would have hours to myself to work, hang with my husband, write the next Great American Pilot (hey, I live in LA -- we don't do novels!) and even work out. Hasn't really happened. That first six weeks of school was a huge adjustment for everyone. And I'm in my car more than I ever thought possible.
You know that Vicki Iovine book about getting your groove back? It takes longer than you think.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The birth of fashionable maternity wear

The birth of fashionable maternity wear - latimes.com

I love articles like this! They come out every couple years and declare that, "Whoa, maternity wear is pretty darned cute! Who knew?"

Well, I did. I spent from 1996 to 2008 pregnant and/or nursing, and the choices even at the end of the century were far improved from what predated them. And now -- let's just say I have to make a conscious choice to not fill my personal closet with hot maternity wear from our store, One Hot Mama!

But my fave fashionista gripe is that the profile is filled with $200+ dresses and $150+ separates, when the economy right now (and more generally, for everyone contemplating the temporary or permanent loss of income that pregnancy and children necessitates) suggests that more moderate budgets should get a look as well. Of course, every fashion mag does it, but I can't be the only person in America who balks at $165 for jeans. For my bump.

So, kudos to LA Times writer Emili Vesilind for reminding everyone of the quelle adorable togs out there for mamas to be! And here are my alternatives, all available right in Los Angeles' own Studio City or 24/7 online:

Maternity Dresses:


We have several, and more are on the way, including this Olian hit from last summer that clocks in at around $130. In black, natch!





As for Hip, Sleek Maternity Jeans, keep an eye out for well-priced versions coming throughout the summer, but my faves right now are these from Japanese Weekend, at $92 on our higher end.



As for maternity tops, one of my fave Tips For The Newly Pregnant is to get stuff that does double duty! Why buy maternity clothes and nursing clothes separately? Get more bang for your buck! A lot of our One Hot Mama tops work overtime and look good, like this nursing tank from Bravado. Wear it for nine months up, and nine months down while giving yourself support and coverage for your working girls (and you thought boobs were only for selling bras and cars!) Silly girl!





Last, but not least, a point about cheap clothes. I love a deal as much (or more) as the next girl, but I have to say, especially if you're pregnant with your first, you need to think long term. Your maternity clothes will work harder than any others in your wardrobe. Think about your jeans. If you're like the average woman, you own eight pairs of jeans. But for four or five months of your life this year, you'll own one or two. That you will wear and wash repeatedly. That's a lot of abuse. So while it's great that Target has maternity stuff, you have to think some of it as disposable in quality. Four kids down the road, you'll be glad you got the Japanese Weekend jeans!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Best Advice You Got While Pregnant

This article got me thinking about how many of us mothers of Big Kids have forgotten what it was like to be in the early blush of our first pregnancy. Forgetfullness leads us to ask asinine questions like, "Is she sleeping through the night?" or make useless comments like, "I don't remember ever feeling nauseous."

I really think that such tactlessness isn't a result of meanness; we really don't remember. After all, if all the indignities of first-time pregnancy, birth and motherhood were vividly emblazoned in your memory bank for ever, no-one would ever have a second child. And here I am, with four.

Thus, hardly any brain cells remain. My little sister is pregnant, and due around my birthday, in November. Some of my advice is timeless, like, "Don't read the What to Expect books if you're the slightest bit of a worrywart; they won't help!" But it's been a looooong time (5 years) since my last pregnancy. And though I had a full decade (!) of constant gestation/lactation/gestation, I feel like I should open up the floor to you more recent preggos.

What was the best advice you got for your pregnancy? The most helpful? The least? Tell Alexis what I've forgotten by posting a comment. And thanks!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Are We Your Favourite Online Maternity Boutique?

It's time for the Annual Readers Choice Awards -- brought to you by Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

This time, voting for us is easier than ever. No membership needed, but you do have to use your name and email address so you can be entered in a drawing to win cool gear. The only quirk is that you have to vote in each category, and you may only care about voting for, say, best online maternity boutique! Need help in some categories? Ask an opinionated friend. Since I'm that person, here are a couple faves of mine. :)

There are about 2 dozen categories, and ours is the penultimate, by the way -- don't leave before you vote for One Hot Mama as best online maternity boutique!

Categories I have strong opinions about are:
• Jogging Stroller -- BOB!!! (not just because it's my hubby's name -- they rock!)
• Diaper Bag -- Kalencom (adorable and reasonably priced)
• Baby carrier – how could they not have written in Balboa Baby? You can fix that
• Baby Shoes -- I love Robeez
• Bottles – the one that helps, not hurts, nursing is Avent
• Breast Pump -- Avent is the best
• Fave Nursing Accessory – A tie between Glamourmom tanks and My Brest Friend pillow
• Maternity Fashion Brand – I have equal love for Ingrid & Isabel and Olian!
• Nursery Furniture – the Arm’s Reach co-sleeper rocks (well, not literally)
• Online Maternity Shop -- hint, hint, here’s where One Hot Mama comes in!

The polls are open until May 31st, but just like they used to say in a city I don’t want to disparage in print – vote early and often. We could both win something!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Win a $250 One Hot Mama Gift Certificate!

AND a wardrobe consultation with moi, your fave maternity style guru. Your bid goes to a great cause -- educating my kids! :) Well, not mine specifically, but it is for my children's school. The good news is that, since it's a K-12, there aren't too many preggo mamas floating around, so you should be able to score this prize at a decent discount. Bid here. You have until the end of the weekend, methinks, so get cracking!

You should be in the LA area to take advantage of the entire personal consultation thing, but I am happy to help over the phone as well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You Go, Girl!

I know, that phrase is so RuPaul, but I just ran over to California Pizza Kitchen for a glass of water (we eat there all the time; our store is right next door) and there was a mama holding her around-six-month-old baby at a table. Totally unremarkable. I've done it many times. What I haven't done, however, was to go out for lunch with a friend and a baby with a fabulously large necklace and sequined sandals. When I say large, I mean the thing had crystals that belonged on a chandelier. She was a big girl, so she could totally pull it off. But what stopped me in my tracks was that I, the proponent of the Hot Mama creed, had always sworn off necklaces whenever grabby hands were near. That meant an almost decade-long costume jewelry drought.

Whoever you are, mama, way to go! :)