Words of wisdom from People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, the ultimate no-cal Thanksgiving treat

David Beckham: The nicest guy, married to the coolest chick.

David Beckham: The nicest guy, married to the coolest chick.

Happy Thanksgiving, my lovely Momoverettes!

Hopefully each and every one of you has an extremely long list of stuff you’re grateful for.

If you don’t, here’s a little something to drop in the gratitude bucket…

For the past few days, I’d been mulling over writing a listicle-style post of everything I’m grateful for this year.

But after a fun, successful day of baking three pies (my first! ever!) for today’s dinner, and a great night’s sleep (my first! in ages!), I’ve decided to ditch the listicle-style post in favor of something much more festive: a distillation of guy-wisdom from People mag’s new “Sexiest Man Alive” issue.

You’re very, very welcome.

Now on to that issue…

This year’s winner is the impossibly sweet David Beckham.

OMG, this chap. He can’t really be that nice, right?

But according to his way-talented wife Victoria Beckham (such a girl-crush on her, need to blog about that…), DB may actually be as lovely IRL as he seems in all the carefully manicured media we see about him.

He’s crazy about his kids, loves to vacuum, and is incredibly charitable.

Personally, I could do without all the tattoos (I’m very anti-body ink), but I find much to admire in this year’s winner, for sure.

So let’s kick-off with David Beckham’s Words of Wisdom. By the way, all the sexy men I’m quoting are fathers…

“They’ve seen their dad retire from football, but they haven’t seen me retire from working. I want them to have a good work ethic.” – David Beckham on the importance of giving back and not resting on laurels

Chris Pratt’s Words of Wisdom: 

“I’ve been slow-boiling.” – Chris Pratt on the beauty of being a late bloomer, and how it’s never too late to come into your hotness

Rob Lowe’s Words of Wisdom:

“The truth is that it comes from the inside – from your spirit, and being engaged, excited, excitable. That’s what makes you seem young.” – Rob Lowe on all the intangibles that can make a 50-something drool-worthy 

Tim McGraw’s Words of Wisdom: 

“I feel like the best years are ahead of me.” – Tim McGraw on taking control of our sexiness-fate by eating well and working out

Anthony Mackie’s Words of Wisdom:

“The whole idea of marriage is to do for the other person.” – Anthony Mackie on the marital-harmony upside of embracing loathsome household chores 

Christian Slater’s Words of Wisdom: 

“I definitely recommend rescuing. They’re very loyal. If I leave Fish for a second to go into Starbucks, it’s like he hasn’t seen me in three months.” – Christian Slater on the value of giving an unwanted animal the gift of a loving home 

And on that sweet note, I’m off to gobble some yummy homemade pie.



Beauty Armoire Monday: The T3 PROi dryer. Words can’t express how much I love this sleek silver baby.

Saving me beaucoup bucks in blowouts.

Saving me beaucoup bucks in blowouts. Sooooo gooood.

I trust you Momoverettes saw my epic masterpiece on DIY blowouts in Alexa, the new(ish) and gorge fashion + beauty section in The New York Post? 

What???? You haven’t read “Smooth Operators” (aka “Get Amal Clooney’s Blowout”) yet?

Do it now. We’ll wait. I know you’ll want to learn all about the new prods and gear that can help you upgrade your next encounter with sopping wet, fresh-from-the-shower hair.

Since I moved from Gotham to FLA, I’ve cut way, waaaaaaaay back on my salon blowouts. Have I had a few? Yes? But I can literally count them on one hand.

Okay, maybe one full hand plus a couple of fingers on the other one. But still, nowhere near the amount I used to get when I lived up north and clocked-in at Condé Nast on a regular basis.

For starters, the humidity is often raging down here, so even the spendiest blowout starts to puff up minutes after you get out of that chair.

Two, after literally decades of trying to learn how to dry my own hair – and private lessons with some of the biggest hair gods on the planet, including Michael Gordon – I have finally, finally, for the love of god finally, broken through.

Yes, you read that right: I’ve been practicing like crazy lately and I’m happy – make that thrilled – to report I can now give myself a better-than-decent blowout.

Is it perfect? No. If I compare my handiwork to a Drybar or Dream Dry blowout, which last for days, it comes up short.

Still, it’s perfectly serviceable. When I use the right products (more on those next week) and take my time, I’m actually super-happy with the results.

Making the task infinitely easier is my cherished new T3 PROi dryer.

Oh my lordy, I love it so much that if I didn’t need to use it about three times a week I’d have it bronzed.

I’d build a shrine to it.

I’d establish a scholarship in its name for it.

I just checked the reviews on Sephora.com, and it’s up to 563 “loves” already since its September debut, so I know I’m not alone in my affection for this sleek, powerful tool.

One of the PROi’s chief claims to fame is that it works its magic quickly, saving you not only time but damage. It blasts you – in a good way – with tons of concentrated air. And infrared heat, which cuts down on frizzies.

I have to go forage for the Wee Lass’s dinner right now, so I can’t write more about the tech-y reasons this dryer is so damn great.

Just know that it is.




Bubbleheaded Mommy Barbie musings about how I need to switch-up my foundation shades for Florida

Oh lordy. Paris. Prettiest city on the planet.

Oh lordy. Paris. J’adore times infinity.

I’m not, by nature, a bandwagon-hopper. In fact, I’m pretty much a Bandwagon Avoider.

A Bandwagon Run-As-Fast-As-You-Can-In-The-Opposite-Direction type, if truth be told.

But on Friday, circa 5:30 pm my time, when I saw the CNN ticker scrolling on a nearby TV screen about the terrorism unfolding in Paris, I promptly started to cry.

We were in a booth in the bar area of our local Outback Steakhouse (boo hiss…it’s one of Hubby’s carnivore haunts), and there was a bank of televisions. And even though the sound was off, and my eyes are terrible…

I just knew.

I knew that something really awful was happening, and that it would mark a turning point for La République  – and possibly the rest of the world.

As perhaps the world’s most annoying Francophile, I make no bones about the fact that Paris is my all-time fave city. I’ve visited 20+ times (I’ve lost track of the precise count, but I know it’s hovering near 25), and we plan to take the Wee Lass there next summer.

I was also “stranded” in the stunning City of Light during 9/11, which I’ve blogged about before. After nearly a week of nail-biter days, a handful of my work colleagues and I  – we were attending a multi-day L’Oréal congrès – were able to get flights out to Montreal, and then we took car service down from Canada to New York.

As the site of so many memories (good, bad and sideways), that town owns a chunk of my heart.

So it is with much bubble-headed Mommy Barbie shame that I now segue to today’s super-duper-important topic: How none of my go-to foundations are cutting it anymore.

One day last week – I forget where I was going, but I wanted to look extra-polished – I thought: Let’s break out some actual grown-up makeup for a change!

It’s very casual down here in FLA – and my life is not nearly as glam as it was in Gotham – so BB and CC creams and tinted moisturizers are more my jam lately than full-on foundation.

Sidebar 1: Here are the BBs, CCs and tinted moisturizers I currently have in rotation:

Dr. Brandt Flexitone BB Cream

Hydroxatone Anti-Aging BB Cream

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer Protect + Perfect

Guerlain Terracotta Joli Teint 

Sidebar 2: That’s a lot, right? So much for minimalism!

When I decided to bump up from one of these light, breezy formulas to one offering more coverage, I dragged out my Marc Jacobs Beauty Marvelous Mousse Transformative Foundation, which I have in two shades, Ivory Medium and Bisque Medium.

Whipping out a foundation brush, I started dabbing. “Oooh, this is looking a little ghoulish,” I thought. Dab dab dab. “OMG, I’m like a cadaver.” Dab dab dab. “Okay, clearly this isn’t working. I’m scrubbing this shite off right now.”

And into the trash they went. (Please, I don’t have two copies of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” for nothing! I know I shouldn’t hoard!)

My trusty Marcs are off the mark.

My one-trusty Marcs are off the mark.












Although I wear sunscreen on my face on a  – cough, cough – regular basis, I guess I’m getting more rays than I realized. I’m obviously not a fair maiden anymore, chained to my desk in Manhattan, barely – and rarely – seeing the light of day.

Nope, I’m pretty outdoorsy now – what with all the tennis, the walking the Wee Lass to and fro school, the jogging my big, fat — around lovely Snell Isle. I’m just not as ghostly pale anymore.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Or a not-good thing.

And on that note…



Merci, @goop, for tipping me off to Oscar Serrallach, an expert on “Postnatal Depletion.”

Mama Goose with her tiny goose-ettes. Aww...

Mama Goose with her tiny goose-ettes. Aww…

Faithful Momoverettes – whether they’ve read my book or this sometimes whiny, whinge-y, fuss-budget blog – already know my “story.”

For all you others, here goes:

In a nutshell, I waited until waaaaaaaay past the optimal time to have a tot, and then – shocker – didn’t have the easiest go of it in the delivery room.

I’ve blogged before about my C-section, postpartum hemorrhage and subsequent blood transfusion. And in my book, I discuss at length the impact that whole ordeal had on my bod and brain.

Whoa. Seriously….whoa.

Clawing my way back to feeling better was a really long, arduous process. I wish I had a dollar for every time I thought to myself:

Will I ev. er. get back to normal?

Is THIS my new normal?

For me, the aftermath included ramped-up anxiety and depression in the short-term, and hypothyroidism in the long-term.

I’m sorry to blame my little lady (the love of my life by a country mile) for my hypothyroidism, but it’s a pretty simple equation:

Before baby = no hypothyroidism.

After baby = hypothyroidism.

Recently, a woman emailed to say that she went through a very similar delivery trauma – transfusion and all – and that reading my book helped her get through some pretty hellish post-delivery weeks.

That made me really happy.

Sure, many lucky preggos have a fairly easy go of it (well, maybe not easy, but certainly not god-awful) while bringing their tots into this big, bad world. And some seem to get their post-pregnancy mojo back quickly.

And then there are the rest of us – The Strugglers.

Fortunately (and finally!) there is validation on the struggle front in the form of an upcoming book called Mothermorphosis.

I learned about it in an interview with the Australian author – Dr. Oscar Serrallach – on Goop.com. In that extensive Q + A, Serrallach unpacks the condition he calls “post-natal depletion.”

Essentially, baking a baby in the mama oven exacts quite a hefty toll, robbing us of many, many key vitamins, minerals and nutrients, comme ceux-ci:



Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-9



Omega 3s, particularly DHA

By Serrallach’s definition, Postnatal Depletion is a dastardly combo platter of exhaustion and “baby brain” – i.e. difficulties with concentration and focus, faulty memory and rollercoaster mood swings.

Via the Goop piece, we learn that (at least anecdotally, among Serallach’s Australian patients) postpartum depression peaks at 4 years after delivery, not 6 months as we’ve come to believe. And while Postnatal Depletion typically maxes-out by year 7, it can last up to a decade.

I think I’m squarely in decade camp. The Wee Lass turns 10 in January, and I’m only now feeling a-ma-zing on a regular basis.



Beauty Armoire Monday: R+Co Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner is the new love of my co-washing life

You've heard of co-washing? Do it with this.

If you’re curious about co-washing, try it with this.

Truth be told, I hop on and off the “co-washing” bandwagon with abandon.

In theory, I’m the perfect candidate. My hair is naturally coarse as all get-out, and I live in FLA, which might – ahem –  mean a little humidity on occasion.

So you would think I’d be all. over. skipping shampoo a few times a week and swapping-in conditioner.

And yet…I’m not in fact all. over. the co-washing phenom.

Frankly, I think it’s because I didn’t have the perfect-for-me product.

I’ve tried – several times! – to fall in love with WEN Cleansing Conditioner, but it just didn’t happen. My hair feels like glue afterward, and I seriously don’t dig that. Who would?

Lately, I’ve been using the Pantene Pro-V Truly Natural Hair Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner. I find it better for my uber-frizzy locks than the WEN, but again, not a slam dunk.

In the spirit of “persistence pays off” let us now turn our attention to the new love of my co-washing life: R+Co Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner.

According to the press mats, it’s “good for color-treated, under-hydrated or coarse hair.”

Check, check and check. I’m a fake blonde with seriously under-hydrated (read: dry as a proverbial bone) locks.

If you watch the how-to-use it video on the R+Co website (highly recommended, btw, for great styling pointers from hair god Howard McLaren), you’ll learn about some of the lush natural ingredients that gives Analog its intoxicating scent:

Egyptian argan oil

Japanese green tea

India horsetail extract

French nettle leaf extract

Is Analog a little spendy because of all these sourced-from-everywhere ingredients? Yes. But you really don’t need to use much – even someone with a mop as thick as mine doesn’t need to use much – so a can lasts forevuh.

Besides, it’s a two-fer. Shampoo plus conditioner.

And double besides: If you’re like me, you will probably only want to co-wash once or twice a week. Other days, you’ll want to go the squeaky-clean route, with straight-up, full-throttle, traditional shampoo.

At this stage in my life, I really only need my hair to look banging about three times a week: For my Docent gig at the Dali Museum; for random lunches and business meetings at semi-schmancy restaurants; for date nights with Hubby.

Since I’m not showing up at an office every day right now, I don’t feel the need to be in a perpetual state of hair-perfection.

So I can co-wash, and not only keep my hair healthier, but streeeeeetch out my color.

I still show up for my root touch-up like clockwork every month, but I find that if I skip a little of the squeaky-clean, full-throttle shampooing, my color oomph lasts a little longer. That’s always good, right? Color oomph?


I’ve been keeping the kookiest work skedge lately. But I must say, it’s pretty damn productive.

I'm becoming a middle-of-the-night owl.

I’m becoming a task-slaying, middle-of-the-night owl.

Before we get rolling on the core topic of today’s blog post – how not to freak out if if, like moi, you’re keeping insanely kooky hours – can we please discuss owls for a moment?

Yes, owls.

I’m late to the owl game, but I am utterly besotted. They are so, so, sooooooo beautiful.

I first became intrigued after reading one of the Wee Lass’s books. The title is escaping me at the moment, but it featured an owl who lived at a library. And despite the fact that he was named Bookworm – and, according to folklore, owls are typically very, very smart – he couldn’t read.

Wait – I just looked it up: It’s a Stuart Little number – “Stuart at the Library“. If you have tiny tater tots clutching at your skirt hem, order. it. today. You will not be disappointed. Incredibly charming.

Anywho (get it? we’re e-chatting about owls and I say “anywho“?), after reading about Bookworm’s shame around being illiterate, I started noticing a lot of images of owls. And then I began seeking out images of owls.

Such magnificent creatures. J’adore.

But just because I love looking at owls doesn’t mean I want to be an owl. Owls are nocturnal; they’re up all night. Momover Lady is the opposite of nocturnal; she’s asleep by 9:30, 10 at the latest.

And recently, because of a number of work deadlines stacked on top of each other like a gnarly pile of bricks, I’ve been bounding out of bed circa 3:30 a.m.

Yes, you read that right: I’m cranking up the Keurig and cracking open the digital version of the New York Times at what amounts to the middle of the night for most people.

I’ve always been a morning person, but this…this is insanity.

And yet, it’s kinda working for me. I need to write when I’m fresh. And for the most part, that means right when I wake up. So this morning, after first waking up at 3:18 and trying to will myself back to sleep, I just decided to accept my fate and go ahead and start my day.

I read for a while, slurped coffee, and then finished an assignment and fired it off to my editor.

And now I’m blogging  (probably really badly, but at least I’m doing it) for the first time in days.

Happily, I know there are other super-productive middle-of-the-night owls to keep me company, if only electronically. For example, the Energizer Bunny leader of the bible study I attend – a total dynamo named Marybeth – has been pinging numerous emails to our group since about 5 a.m. this morning.

This same email-pinging-at-5-am Marybeth will no doubt be heading to the North Shore Aquatic Complex right after she finishes her bible study admin. She swims, rigorously, every morning – well before most people have even considered rolling out of bed.

So I’ve decided I’m in excellent company.

Do I want to keep this up, and continue to rise at crazy hours just to finish the tasks at hand? No. As soon as I get through this work crunch, I’d like to return to getting up at around 6 or 6:30. Which is still early, but not in the same league as 3:30.

But I think it’s important not to get too judgy about your sleep schedules. We women – because of kids, because of our hormones, because all the damn stuff we’re supposed to do each day – have to avail ourselves of our energy and mental bandwidth whenever we have access to it.

We just have to git ‘er done. And then get some sleep.




Decoding the booze – breast cancer connection: So much for “Wine O’Clock.”

Maybe I should wait to crack this baby open.

Maybe I should wait to crack this baby open.

I’m a spotty reader of Real Simple mag – I buy maybe 4 a year, basically any time there’s a “Get Organized!” cover-line – but I got so much out of this October’s issue that I feel compelled to share it with you.

The first is a recipe for “Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs” that I made for dinner last night, which rocked.

(I’ll include a pic of my handiwork at the bottom of this blog post; I’m still so new a cook that I geek-out when I nail it in the kitchen.)

But even more important than the comprehensive, lavishly photographed ode to newfangled casseroles is the article on the dire state of female drinking in the States.

Ladies, I hate to break it to you, but we’re becoming a bunch of big ol’ lushes.

In a piece entitled “Rethinking Drinking,” the mag, via intel gleaned from Gallup Poll and the CDC, trots out a few eye-popping stats:

1. Two-thirds of U.S. women consume alcohol regularly (defined as having at least 1 drink w/in past week)

2. Almost 25% of American women drink heavily some of the time (defined as having 4 or more drinks at once, or 8+ drinks in a week)

3. “Binge” consumption (defined as downing 4 or more drinks on one outing) rose 18.9% between 2005 and 2012

Scary, right?

Especially when compared to our dude counterparts, whose binge numbers are not trending upward like ours. (Not that there wasn’t an increase among men; but it was 7.3 percent vs. our nearly 20…)

So what’s driving all this chick-boozing?

1. Stress: We have too much on our plates, and not enough time in which to do it. (Like I even needed to tell you that…)

2. Female-Centric Marketing: Apparently, we’re suckers for a Skinnygirl Margarita. (Um…now that I think of it, at a recent “Moms Night In” I hosted for the Wee Lass’s class, we did kinda blast thru several bottles of Cupcake prosecco…)

3. Social Acceptance: We’re all in this together, babe. You, me and the Cosmos…

While the Real Simple piece is excellent – and I highly recommend you read it – I want to shift gears now to the link between boozing and breast cancer.

Frankly, I’m a little alarmed about just how quickly our risk factor ratchets up with each weekly cocktail.

And I figure if I’m alarmed, you may be too.

According to current research – and I’m finding this everywhere, not just on the breastcancer.org website – women who have 3 drinks per week have a 15 percent (!) higher risk factor than teetotalers.

But here’s what’s even more frightening:

With each drink beyond 3, we’re tacking on additional 10 percent risk.

Even though I’m totally Mommy Barbie when it comes to math, I think even I can figure this out.

Let’s say you’re me, and you have next to no alcohol Monday thru Wednesday. And then come Thursday evening, when the weekend is FIRMLY in your sight-lines, Hubby is playing tennis and you and the tot-lette are on your own with takeout and the most recent ep of Ladies of London in your DVR queue…

SIDEBAR: Oh no! In fishing-out that “Ladies of London” link for you, I just “spoiler alerted” myself! Caroline Stanbury had to shutter the Gift Library??? Nooooo!

Back to the perils of boozing…

So while I’m watching my beloved Bravo TV brain-mush, I just might crack open a frosty Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. That’s Drink 1 of the week.

Then the next day, on Friday, I’ll have some type of cocktail at dinner, usually a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc if I can get my mitts on it. That’s Drink 2.

The following evening, if Hubby and I are on a date night, I’ll kick off with a glass of Champs, followed by red wine. That’s Drinks 3 and 4.

And to finish off the week, I’ll have a Sunday night something or other, whether we’re dining out or in. (Usually out, unless one of the tennis majors is on, and I’m hoping and praying Rafa can pull-out of his god-forsaken slump…) So that’s Drink 5.

That’s a typical drinking week for me. And by making that my norm, in having a mere 5 alcoholic bevvies per week, I’ve very, very easily increased my chances of breast cancer risk by 35 percent.

35. Percent. 

That freaks me out a little. And it should. Although I exercise a lot, and have a better-than-decent diet, I’m still – blithely, casually, “hey, let’s grab a drink!” – putting myself in harm’s way.

And it isn’t just breast cancer that can loom large for big boozers. It’s all cancers, according to this cheery, stat-filled link

Did I just ruin your weekend with this Debbie Downer blog post? It wasn’t my intention, my lovely Momoverettes.

I just want us all to be smart.

Smart and cancer-free.






Meet Christa Floresca, founder of maternity fashion rental Bella Gravida + “frumpy bumpy” truth-teller

She's all about better preggo dressing.

She’s all about better preggo dressing.

As if building another human being in your belly weren’t enough pressure, many women are also holding down serious jobs and need to look uber-polished during the work day.

On my end, I had the added angst of being the Beauty Director of the dearly, departed Cookie magazine while I was preggo. Trust me, you can’t wave the flag for 24/7 parenting stylishness if you look like something the cat dragged in.

My cockamamie solution? To spend a small frigging fortune on maternity clothes that I burst out of faster than a newborn burns through onesies.

If only I’d had access to Bella Gravida.

The new site, which is like a maternity riff on Rent the Runway, allows you to borrow frocks, tops and bottoms to round-out your civilian (read: non-preggo) wardrobe, and then ship ’em right back when they’re not doing it for you anymore. And there are different monthly flat-fee plans according to piece-count, so you can keep your budget in check.

Although it isn’t the only site of this ilk in the digital space (Borrow For Your Bump got there first), after e-chatting with Bella Gravida founder Christa Floresca, I think I’ve found a kindred spirit. Not only did she and I both wait until post-40 to have our Wee Lasses, Christa is also Olsen-Twin tiny like moi (5’2), which poses certain, ahem, preggo-dressing challenges. And also like moi, she doesn’t sugar-coat the toll pregnancy can take on your self-esteem.

In other words, it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns; loooooooads of women can’t stand the way they look while pregnant.

Okay, that’s enough bitching for the moment. Let’s get to this Q+A, shall we?

DANA:  What was your work life like during your pregnancy? Were you in an office? Did you have to give a lot of presentations and look fairly pulled-together?

CHRISTA: I was still working for a women’s health organization with no maternity policy. Ironic, I know. I was in a pressure-cooker of an office in a VP position – still working 60+ hours a week. I was constantly presenting to donors, Board members, etc. I was, however, not in the least bit pulled-together. I was a frumpy mess, and I absolutely hated every moment of it.

My pregnancy hair, however, was completely fabulous – strong and shiny!

DANA: Good hair while preggo = crucial!

What were some of your fashion “go tos” during pregnancy? Any particular brands or stores you liked? I swore by Susana Monaco, who isn’t technically a maternity designer, but who sold her stretchy knits to a store in New York I loved called Belly Dance, which has since closed.

CHRISTA: To be honest, the only haven of maternity sanity I could find was when I would shop in Nordstrom or a boutique online. And, I resented spending a small fortune to look like some small semblance of myself. I spent a lot of time finding clothing that was not maternity but could fit my growing belly. Bella Gravida exists because I didn’t have go-tos, and I desperately wanted to stay designer but couldn’t justify the expense on a temporary wardrobe. I tailored a lot of the things I bought to better suit my frame and height.

DANA: What did you find the most frustrating, fashion-wise, during pregnancy? I hated the bitter end, when all I could fit into were these scary elastic-waist farmer jeans. Shudders…

CHRISTA: I’m only 5’2”. By the end of my pregnancy, I was as wide as I am tall. I loathe stretch ruched cotton. My maternity wardrobe and I were not friends. I changed my size three times in 10 months. THREE TIMES! By the time I was nearing the end, I was on modified bedrest so at least I could get away with maternity joggers or yoga pants and some huge 80s-rock T-shirt.

But seriously, the most frustrating piece of me is that I had established my style in my first 40 years only to have it reduced to the Old Navy and Gap maternity rack. I was NOT on principle spending $150 on a tunic. Refused. I deserved to keep my sense of style without breaking the bank, especially since it appeared that my size was very temporary. To this day, I am awfully mad about being a frumpy bumpy.

DANA: For Bella Gravida, how are you sourcing the clothes? Are they new or recycled? If they’re new, are you working directly with brands?

CHRISTA: I’ve personally hand-picked every single style we carry from the designers or showrooms themselves. I traveled very pregnant to establish relationships with these brands. And, to sell the concept. Maternity has never seen subscription rental. They needed to hear the story and meet the people to really understand.

With nearly two dozen designers at launch, I wanted to make sure we were suiting the needs of as many women as possible. From classic navy and black to the best in boho, it’s here or on the way. 100% is new when it enters our inventory. I LOVE working with the brands themselves, from all over the world. I have relationships with well-known maternity brands, and obscure up-and-coming designers from Tel Aviv, Poland, Singapore, London etc.

And, I’ve rejected designers completely whose construction, quality, fabrics, etc. didn’t meet the high standards I’m setting for Bella Gravida.

DANA: What would you say the ratio is between work and casual clothes? Did you make a concerted effort to include a lot of business options?

CHRISTA: I tried in earnest to think about maternity in the workplace. While we don’t carry a lot of suit separates at the moment, I would say at least half of our inventory would be work-appropriate. Let’s not forget, the grey bodycon dress can be styled up for work or dinner, and styled down for the weekend. Our effort was placed on fashionable style without sacrificing comfort.

DANA: Do you have a wish list of brands you’d like to eventually stock? What would be the biggest “get”?

CHRISTA: I do have a short-list of brands that we’ll be approaching in the new year. I’d love to stock luxe, high end brands like Hatch. It bears noting that some of the names that are currently ‘missing’ from our designer rollcall are not listed because we’ve planned a new arrival rollout and announcement soon.

DANA: You’re just getting rolling, but any initial surprises? Are customers gravitating to a particular plan, style or brand?

CHRISTA: So far, two surprises: I’m really surprised at how diverse the garments are in the customer [borrowing] closets. Even though we have the ability to filter by designer, I’m noticing a surprising willingness to try out a wide, eclectic variety. I expected people to gravitate towards one designer or style, but we’re seeing dresses that are classic, tops that are very romantic, and skirts that are edgy.

And the three-garment plan appears to be the most popular so far. It really does allow for our customer to always have something from us to wear.

DANA: How big is your team? Do you work from your home? What’s your work / life balance like these days?

CHRISTA: The team is only a small handful of eager, jack-of-all trades at the moment. As the business expands, so too will the team. My husband, the chief mastermind behind our web build, has been right alongside me this entire time. Not a small feat since he’s got a full time job to boot.

It’s funny, when I was pregnant I was so glad to have the balance – I left work at work and was grateful for the downtime. It was, however, a huge change from my normal happily working 60+ hours a week schedule. Now, I am again working far more than 60 hours a week and very, very happy about it. With a teething 10-month-old, it’s a challenge. The sleep-deprivation is real. But, I didn’t expect this to be anything but back-breaking, soul-testing work. I sincerely love every single minute.

DANA: Thank you! It’s such a great idea. I would have totally used this service if it had been available during my pregnancy!



A dose of the pretties from the Paris S/S 16 collections

Pink eyeshadow (here at Cedric Charlier) gets an unnecessarily bad rap.

Pink shadow (here @ Cedric Charlier) gets a bad rap, but j’adore.

Remember last week, when I said that all my “resting” (code for binge-watching Ray Donovan and Bloodline, and reading a fantastic new stack of books, including “Always Pack a Party Dress” by Amanda Brooks that I am loooooving) has prevented me from blogging on a more regular basis?

Well guess what, my lovelies? I’m still in the exact same headspace.

Meaning I’m feeling less than bloggy of late. It isn’t that I don’t want to communicate with you – I do! I do! – it’s just that I also write for a living, so sometimes I can get a tad burnt out on blogging.

Quelle probleme, non? Won’t my site traffic plummet if I don’t post, post, post – even when I’m not feeling it? Probably. But I’d rather not blog just to blog. Feel me?

So for the moment, I have a better idea: Why don’t we just look at some pretty pics I nabbed from the Spring / Summer collections, which are happening, as we speak, in the sexiest city on Earth: Parigi.

Did I tell you Hubby and I are taking the Wee Lass on her first trip to Paris next year? I’m counting the seconds, believe you me. I used to go all. the. time., and now I go none. of. the. time., and I am NOT a happy camper about that.

Okay, so let’s get back to Planet Zen, shall we?

I just screen-grabbed a bunch of shots that I love, which I’ll share with now. (I’ll go back in and try to attach photographer creds tomorrow, if my day doesn’t run away from me. I know it’s deeply uncool to run photos w/o creds…)

Ethereal with a Capital E @ Balenciaga.

Ethereal with a Capital E @ Balenciaga.

I have zero idea what's going on here @ Haider Ackermann, but I like it anyway.

I have zero idea what’s going on here @ Haider Ackermann, but I like it anyway.

Wispy, romantic and positively swoon-worthy @ Alexander McQueen.

Wispy, romantic and positively swoon-worthy @ Alexander McQueen.

When I wasn't looking, @ Nina Ricci got all sassy + cool.

When I wasn’t looking, @ Nina Ricci got all sassy + cool.

Uh oh! What show was this? Why didn't I take notes while I was picture-sleuthing? Anyway, I love the natural-texture hair. Ban the blowout!

  I’m digging the undone hair @ Stella McCartney. Ban the blowout!


Beauty Armoire Monday: Two rando miracle cremes I’m loving (one’s crunchy, the other’s sea-themed)

The cremes are great, but I think I may need to dust my desk...

The cremes are great, but I think I may need to dust my desk…

Bonjour my lovelies. Apologies for not checking in recently.

I’ve been…resting.

Yes, you read that right; resting. Actually lying down, on my bed, without a book, without an iPad, without my mitts on the clicker, binge-watching Ray Donovan and Bloodline.

Okay, maybe I’ve been watching a little Ray and Blood, but it’s only because they are so very, very good. Noirish, grim, positively peppered with handsome individuals of the male persuasion.

And Blood features the added bonus of being set in the Florida Keys, so I get to see oodles of gloomy, stormy oceanscape.

Have you met me? I live for gloomy, stormy oceanscape..

Ooh, I just connected the dots between gloomy, stormy oceanscape and one of the products I’ll be writing about today: Phytomer Hydrasea Night Plumping Rich Cream.

While it’s true that I write about a lot of Phytomer products, it’s only because A) they keep showing up on my doorstep and B) every time I try one, I love it.

Trust me, not everything that lands in my lap is A) tried by me or B) loved by me.

But you’ll never read about anything here that I don’t love; life is too short for me not to radiate intense positivity 24/7. I’m a unicorn, basically. A beauty unicorn.

SIDEBAR: Should I put that on my business cards? DANA WOOD, BEAUTY UNICORN. It has a nice ring to it, non?

So what do I like about the Phytomer Hydrasea Night, you ask? It’s light and soufflé-like, and sinks right into cleansed skin. Always, always, always clean the bejesus out of your skin before you hit the hay at night; it’s roughly a thousand times more important than scrubbing your mug in the morning. You need to “get the day off” – with a thorough cleansing, removing not only makeup, but city grime, too.

But here’s what I really, really, really love about the Phytomer Hydrasea Night: The scent. According to the press materials, the fragrance is a mashup of floral and “aquatic” notes, which doesn’t tell me a whole hell of a lot. But it’s just very crisp and clean, like a Disney version of ocean. And I mean that in the best possible way, despite the fact that I’ve harshed on Disney in recent months

Since day follows night, I will now shift my focus to the other lovely unguent in my current lineup: Gemstone Organic Rose Quartz Creme.

I got this little number in the goodie bag of a pretty fabulous NYC media event put on by Organic Spa Magazine, and oh my lordy, it. is. delicious.

Like the Phytomer, it smells fantastic. But the texture! It’s slithery, and oily, and tacky and slimy and my dry, thirsty skin looooooves it. I know I’m making it sound horrible, but it is the polar opposite of horrible.

Even if it weren’t cloaked in crunchiness, I would still adore this Rose Quartz Creme. But I was also really psyched to read about its special powers on the Gemstone Organic website:

Rose Quartz créme is made with Gemstone Essence from rose quartz, kunzite, smokey quartz and other select crystals. This unique gem blend is made to reveal a softer, smoother complexion. It carries a loving energy, helping you with acceptance and forgiveness. Open your heart chakra to attract all forms of love (self, universal, family and romantic).

Love brings you inner warmth that will reduce stress and elevate levels of happiness!

So good, right? I think I’ll slather some on tonight (after cleansing, bien sur) and watch a few million episodes of Ray and Blood. Project.