after pregnancy body

After Pregnancy Body Shocker (Or: Beware the Korean Spa)

Hey Pregnant Ladies:

I hope very much that you, like a celebrity, look Us Weekly-cover ready a month after you deliver. Looking and feeling hot and sexy as a new mom would make for a few less things to worry about during that emotional, exhausted, insane first few weeks. And I want that for you.

And maybe that will happen. But just in case it doesn’t, I’m here to tell you a couple of personal tales that I hope can prepare you, in the event that you find yourself still looking pregnant for a really long time after you deliver. (If this is news to you, sorry I’m the one to—ahem—deliver it!)

Here’s the real deal: You’re probably going to look pregnant for a while, even a long while, after delivery. Here are stories from my first three months postpartum, after delivering my full-term twins, that still make me cringe deep in my soul — the trauma may never fully fade, in fact. But now that I’ve lost all my pregnancy weight (50-plus pounds through hard, protracted work — no magic involved), I have the necessary distance (and confidence) to tell two tales from the trenches. Read more…

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Pan Am Experience review

Pan Am Experience: The Coolest 1970s Aviation-Theme Dinner Party You Will Ever Attend

Last year on Valentine’s Day, we were taking in the Paris views from high up in the Eiffel Tower, with two babes baking in my belly. It was pretty hard to top.

But this year, we spent the holiday having an entirely different kind of travel experience that was much less far flung, but also in some ways much more exotic. Aviation fans and general travelphiles: You’re going to want to check this one out.

Our date was to — wait for it — the Pan Am Experience, a 1970s aviation-theme dinner party set in a 747. Read more…

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St. Regis Punta Mita

To Bebe or Not to Bebe? First Flight After Twins Sparks Family Debate

Tickets booked: We’re off again!

This time, it’s another significant milestone for us. It will be our first flight as a couple, away from babies, since the twins were born.

Yes, both David and I have traveled for work separately. And we’ve traveled together by car, too. But this time we’re busting the passports out of the safe — along with my wedding rings that finally fit again after a year, hooray! — and winging away to Mexico next month.

When I snagged our tickets, I did so knowing that it left us options. For a zillion reasons I hardly need to illuminate here, this wouldn’t be some big adventure travel blowout, or anything with a 15-hour time zone difference. No, this would be a luxurious, relaxing beach vacay of the highest order, in relatively close proximity. Our flights to Puerta Vallarta with plans to head to the amenity-filled St. Regis Punta Mita (pictured above) would leave our options open: We could figure out later whether or not to bring the wee babes, and the vacay could equally well accommodate either choice. Read more…

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best baby carrier for travel

Winner! Here’s the Best Baby Carrier for Travel (From a Twin Babywearing Skeptic)

Of all the variances between expectation and reality so far in motherhood, babywearing twins has to top the list.

I am literally laughing at myself (not with myself) when I recall the visions I had about how this would go: I’d just “pop” one baby on the front and one baby on the back and we’d breezily hit the hiking trails or the beach or the farmers’ market. I’d done research on the best baby carrier for twins (front-to-back Ergobaby, evidently) and the best baby carrier for travel, and of all the things I’d be learning in my new role as a mom, surely this did not seem like one of the harder ones.

And then reality intervened. The babies were just a few weeks old, and Jordan was colicky and screaming, and I had the idea that we could just “pop” them on and go for some kind of a soothing walk. Picture us unfurling the folded Ergobaby manuals with cartoonish exaggeration, and then following up in desperation with YouTube how-to videos, ridiculously insincere in their jaunty tone. That’s when David said, “This is a BAD idea!” with such tragic defeat in his voice that is became a family in-joke, a shorthand for every idea I had that sounded fun and festive on the face of it (“Let’s take the babes for dinner at the Grove on the Saturday before Christmas!”) but ended in failure and tears.

The infant inserts made everything more complicated to boot, with the babies so fragile and bendy seeming. But even months into their little lives, and many attempts later, the Ergos just seemed so cumbersome. It’s supposed to be a one-person operation, but I could never seem to get every strap in place without backup, and I literally poured sweat with fear that my ineptitude would result in a baby on the floor instead of tucked quaintly, serenely in place. No part of twin babywearing turned out to be the breezy, streamlined method of soothing and bonding I had in mind.

In addition to the Ergobaby carriers we got as generous registry gifts, I also picked up hand-me-downs from my sister in the form of a ring sling (which I wanted to love, because it was called Maya Wrap), and a Moby Wrap. But nothing seemed intuitive, and I never managed to get past YouTube tutorial stage.

Here’s where I say that you may (as you no doubt already have) feel free to roll your eyes at me in the privacy of your laptop if babywearing came naturally to you, and you think I sound ridiculous. That may be the case. I’m far from a babywearing expert — uh, that much should be obvious — but I can only tell you honestly that for me, there were physical obstacles that led to serious mental obstacles when it came to babywearing. And it was all bumming me out, and dashing those pre-baby visions of an active lifestyle motivated by fun and not fear.

But I wasn’t willing to give up yet. Read more…

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Hollywood sign trail

At Long Last! The Hollywood Sign Trail Reopens

My very favorite hike in Los Angeles is the Hollywood Sign trail. It’s a little jewel box of an outing in so many ways: It’s got epic views (obvi) with appeal for locals and out-of-towners alike. It strikes the right balance between challenging and still chat-friendly in terms of difficulty. And it’s right in the middle of town, making it accessible for a quick-ish jaunt if time is limited (as it always is these days), solo or with friends.

It was also closed for nine months, while a dispute with neighbors over parking and congestion and other havoc tied things up. But as of this week, it is at long last open again. So I gave it a go yesterday, and it held up every bit to my memory.

Here’s what you need to know to hike the reopened Hollywood Sign trail. Read more…

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First trip away as a couple: Palm Springs

First Trip Away as a Couple: Grown-Folks Fun Without the Twins in Palm Springs

When is a little road trip to Palm Springs more than a little road trip to Palm Springs? When it’s your first trip away as a couple from five-month-old twins.

We’re just back from a couple of nights in the desert that felt entirely new, although we have been there so many dozens of times, and I’ve written about it here extensively. It was such a special and wonderful treat, so meaningful and important in so many ways, to have this first trip away as a couple from the babes. Read more…

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matzoh ball soup

Happy Hanukkah! (And the Gifts I’m Getting for the Twins Slash Myself)

It’s babies’ first Hanukkah around here this week, and I’m feeling very jolly.

First of all, it’s been a week of nonstop holiday parties, both of the family-friendly and heavy-boozing varieties. Beyond that, I (mostly) honored my vow to myself to taper off my write-aholism in the last couple weeks of the year, so that I could find time for such things as braving Whole Foods on a rainy afternoon, followed by lighting a fire in the fireplace, and making homemade matzoh ball soup and latkes for my guy. That night, the first night of Hanukkah, he held a baby in each arm while I lit the candles and my heart exploded. It’s been quite a year.

Overall, I’m celebrating the abundance in my life, and I’m so very grateful to be surrounded by so much love. I hope I did something good in a past life to deserve all of it.

Of course, a few awesome new material things around holiday time are the icing… Read more…

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St. Regis Princeville Hawaii at Christmas

Holiday Gifts For Pregnant Ladies! 16 Fab Finds That I Personally Covet

Last holiday season, I’d just crossed the second-trimester threshold, my pregnancy was public, and I was feeling so full of joy and promise at such a festive time of the year. (That’s us at the St. Regis Princeville in Kauaii last December — I realize it doesn’t read “holidays” per se, but it’s how we do it.)

This year, help the mama-to-be in your life celebrate such a momentous and special time. From pregnancy pampering products and services, to maternity fashion, to thoughtful ideas for the baby-on-the-way, I put together my (unscientific, but real-mom tested!) list of amazing holiday gifts for pregnant ladies. Even if—or especially if—that fab lady you’re buying for is you! Read more…

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Starla Estrada GeoEx Africa specialist, Sossusvlei Dunes

6 Spectacular Places to Travel in Africa Before You Die (With Jaw-Dropping Photos!)

I’m feeling very inspired this morning, with wanderlust dribbling down my chin like so much infant twin drool. That’s because I have a guest poster with the most stunning stories to tell: (In addition to being my dear friend and fashion inspiration for 20 years,) Starla Estrada is the Africa travel expert for GeoEx. As such, she has journeyed through 17 African countries — on foot, 4×4 vehicles, quad bikes, kayak, canoe, hot air balloon, helicopter, and any number of small aircraft. (Can I have your life? Kthxbye.)

Here, Starla provides her bucket list inspiration for places to travel in Africa before you die — it’s the first in a two-part series on Africa travel from the total insider, with photos that will make you drool. Without further ado:

Read more…

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Thanksgiving pregnancy announcement

Thanksgiving Pregnancy Announcement (Or: Holiday Bombshell!)

Last Thanksgiving was one for the books.

Just two days before, we’d learned I was pregnant. We figured there’d be no better time to tell our families than on a day devoted to gratitude and togetherness, and on a day when both sets of parents would be in the same room.

Because I was overall so nervous and jittery while processing the news, I didn’t want any big to-do—definitely no Thanksgiving pregnancy announcement that would be destined to go viral. I just wanted my husband to share the news unceremoniously and succinctly, so that it would be out there. I’m bad at secrets, and carrying this one for even those 60 hours felt like a burden to bear!

After a few late arrivals and a bunch of flitting around the kitchen, at last everyone was sitting down on the sofa for hors d’oeuvres at my in-laws’ house, and my husband seized the moment, blurting out: “We just want to let you all know that Alice is pregnant.” Read more…

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