recent wardrobe + beauty finds: fall 2016.

cape cod | october 2016

This pretty photo of buoys isn't related to this post whatsoever. I just decided it was prettier than any collage I could create on little to no sleep, so I hope you enjoy this vignette from my drive last week on Cape Cod. (Yay for the four month sleep regression!) This post is actually about what has been catching my eye or made its way to my closet or beauty drawer in the last few months. I am really rocking the mom bod these days, so give me a little grace in the 'lack of fashion forward choices' department. I am focused on function and wearability these days. Read on to see what is working for me...

-I picked up this silky wrap blouse in winter white for my return to work this fall. (I could also add this top under the "nursing friendly" category.) It comes in a number of other prints and colors, so you can always grab a couple of colors. Once it hits the sale rack, you can almost always find an additional promotion at Ann Taylor. 
-Still at Ann Taylor (and still on sale), this dress is rather conservative and not that exciting, but it is a solid staple to add to your dress rotation. I have a ton of black dresses in my closet, but I liked that this was navy and black -- perfect to wear with some of my favorite black flats. (As I write this, I am realizing that my work wardrobe is pretty basic, so please don't judge. Showing up to work with the same pair of shoes can be a feat these days!)
-In total opposition to what I just said, I am lusting over this crazy dress -- because leopard is a neutral, right? It isn't exactly pumping friendly, but that's why I have my MilkSnob handy.

-For less than $35, you can add this cozy vest to your weekend wardrobe. I'm partial to the dark gray, but the camel and light gray are just as versatile.
-I readily admit that I am a lululemon addict, but my local store tolerates me coming in to try on a boatload of things from time to time. This top is one that I want to love, but I need to learn to embrace its blouse-y shape. It would be perfect to toss on when you don't really have any plans and you don't know what else to wear on a weekend morning. I tend to buy a 6 in lululemon, but I would definitely pick this top up in a size (or two!) smaller.
-Speaking of lululemon, they took my favorite top and made it a little less boobilicious in this crew neck version. I treat myself to one of these on occasion. I am just diligent with keeping it out of the dryer (and hanging to dry) to keep it living longer.
-This simple top + a cute pair of pants + cozy scarf + a pair of boot(ie)s? The perfect fall outfit.
-Splendid is one of my go-to's for relaxed yet polished tops. This top has an unexpected detail -- a long line of buttons on the back -- which make it more than just a boring striped shirt.

-When I was pregnant last winter, I looked high and low for a coat like this but couldn't find it. Of course, I can find it now. That said, I don't hate the idea of getting it this year since I'm not loving the  tailored coats I have in my closet yet.
-I only wish I discovered the ASOS Nursing section before I had James. This dress worked beautifully toward the end of my pregnancy with Rosie; it is still on heavy rotation now, 4.5 months postpartum. I can wear it and nurse through the available holes, keeping things rather discrete. It works well by itself in the summer, well with a cardigan in the fall and winter, and well with a jean jacket in the spring. You can just call me its number one fan...
-I have this sweater in the winter white from two winters ago -- and I've loved pulling it out each year. I might need to pick it up in the gray to toss on over some jeans or leggings for the next few winters. It hides those lumps and bumps because it's just the right kind of roomy.
-Though my postpartum belly doesn't fully disappear with this pair of underwear, it certainly helps the cause. I wear them when I just need to contain my situation a bit ;)
-Back during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I discovered Spanx leggings. They're legit. I snagged this "leather" pair for a little edge. The jury is still out as to whether I'm cool enough to pull them off.

-I am downright obsessed with this tinted moisturizer. Over the last year, I had a few introductions to Beautycounter but I never made a purchase. I just wish I made the leap sooner. It took me going to their Nantucket Pop-up in September to bring home my first Beautycounter product. Not only does this moisturizer have SPF, it actually leaves my skin hydrated all day long and doesn't look cakey with the color.
-On that same visit to their pop-up shop, I also grabbed this rosewater mist. I have to admit I was skeptical, but it is a game-changer for my tired skin.
-P.S. I know it may sound like I've had a drink of the Beautycounter Kool-aid. I guess I have. Their mission is legit and it's made me re-think my whole beauty routine (so much so I'm now a consultant for them). Now that I have a daughter, I am thinking about her future beauty routine too. I want her to grow up with safer and healthier options. I'm not going to inundate you with products, don't worry, but I do plan on sharing my favorites -- which is what I've done since I started blogging almost seven years ago.

A few parting notes: I know this post is light on pants. Why? I'm still not really fitting into the pants I was before Rosie (or really before James). My body has changed considerably, so I need to take some time to mourn my pre-baby shape (#RIP). While I nurse, I hold onto weight rather than drop it. If I try to work on my diet or increase my exercise, it affects my milk supply. In other words, until I stop nursing, things are the way they are. I plan on taking some time soon to find some real solutions other than my beloved Align pants because, let's face it, I have to accept that lululemon leggings don't count as pants.

This post is also light on accessories. I could say "oops", but in reality, it is because I am not really wearing pretty things like necklaces or earrings these days. My 4 month old is grabby and I can barely remember to put my wedding ring on after I shower. I'll accessorize again when they're grown. Or something like that?

Last but not least, I wanted to open it up and see if there was anything special you'd like me to explore on the blog. I'm constantly thinking of ideas for posts, but I want them to resonate with you. (Example: If you're pregnant or a new mom, I'm also happy to take requests on round-ups you'd like to see. Email me and I'll start pulling it together.) I may not post as often as I'd like, but I still want to be a valuable stop on your procrastination chain on the internet ;) Have a great night! xoxo {av}

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pantone color report: spring 2017.

pantone spring 2017 color report // graphic by @luvfromafar

If you've been following {long distance loving} for any length of time, you will know I create a post every fall to illustrate Pantone's top ten hues for the next spring. With that in mind, it is only right that this is my post to say "hello, I'm going to try my best to blog again". So much has changed in my life in the last six months, but I'm determined to keep up my favorite little corner on the Internet. I may not be blogging every day, but I am certainly going to try my best to get all of the posts swirling around in my head out. I need some head space back! #mombrain

After looking through my previous illustrations from 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013, I have to say that this year's report is rather vibrant. If I had to pick favorites, I would have to choose two of the three beautiful blues, Niagara and Lapis Blue. Don't hate me for being stuck in the blues: I promise my color choices don't reflect the sunny state of life in my world! It may not all be sunshine and rainbows, but I have never been as happy as I am today. I can't wait to give you more color (pardon the pun!) on life with two little ones. Lots more soon! xoxo {av}

Can you choose a favorite (or two!) from this year's Pantone Color Report?

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a second time mom's guide to the first four weeks.

a second-time mom's guide to the first four weeks -- @luvfromafar

It's been six weeks since Rosie graced us with her presence. (Insert all the cliché comments about how fast time is going... because it is positively FLYING.) Since this was my second rodeo with a newborn, I thought it might be useful to share what products I used with Rose that I didn't know about with James. For reference, here was my survival guide to the first four weeks after I had James. Much of what I mentioned was still in heavy rotation this time. I won't "reshare" the items from that first post, but I will share the new ones which we added to the mix. Take a peek!

WaterWipes have been the only real change we made to our diaper routine. (We are Honest subscribers; we have been since James was born. The sweet women who work at our daycare even comment on how well they work!) I love the WaterWipes because they work well with newborn diapers. Without getting too graphic, I like that they clean up wet messes without much fuss. I still like the Honest wipes for older kiddos like James, but these are a great alternative for little bums.

While I could classify this as a miscellaneous item, this portable (and no plug required) LED lamp has worked wonders during late-night nursing and diaper changing sessions. It charges with a USB cord, but I haven't had to charge it yet! It allows you to dim or strengthen the light, without going too strong to wake the baby or your partner unnecessarily. I didn't have one with James and wish I had thought to buy one! I also like this headlamp, if you'd rather be hands-free. (It's also great for power outages, speaking from experience. ha!)

Having babies in opposite seasons has been an eye-opening experience. James was a winter baby and Rosie is a summer baby. I only wish I had discovered the Milk Snob cover before James was born. I had a few other covers that we used with James (this one from aden by aden + anais and the Carseat Canopy they send for free when you shop at A Pea in the Pod) that I still like, but the Milk Snob has multiple uses. I use it as a nursing cover, as well as an infant seat cover. It keeps those peering eyes from slowing down your grocery trip. (Truth: when you have a baby, everyone wants to get a peek! It's a kind thing, but when you only have ten minutes to get in and out of the store, your time is precious.) I love it's functionality for both: it provides full coverage for nursing and doesn't blow up when covering the infant seat. While I'm not as worried about keeping Rosie warm (like I was with James in the winter), I like knowing this adaptable cover will work in all seasons.

The Cloud B Gentle Giraffe was a gift to Rosie from a dear family friend. We had something similar with James, but it is nice for her to have some of her own things. (#secondchildproblems) Rose seems to benefit much more from white noise than James did. With its velcro straps, it easily attaches to her infant seat or her stroller. I don't even notice the noise anymore. (#tiredmomproblems) We only use it when we are out and about, but it is a lifesaver because Rosie has decided she doesn't like pacifiers. No one notices the white noise when we're in a crowded space -- and it keeps everyone around us happy.

My love for KicKee Pants runs deep. If we are at home (and even if we are running errands), Rose is in one of their footies 90% of the time. Their footies (aka sleepers) are made from the most wonderfully soft bamboo-based fabric, which keep her cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The little mitts to cover her knife-like newborn nails are also magical. Their sale section is often packed with some great deals, but I promise it is worth investing in a few of these. If you're not a fan of footies, their coveralls are also a great option. I also love their swaddles, made from the same super soft material. You cannot go wrong with any KicKee!

As most mothers and fathers do, I worry about "flat head".  I did some research and discovered the Babymoov Lovenest. I like that it holds Rosie's head in place when she is laying in her Moses basket or the bassinet in her stroller. This could be a bit gimmicky, but I appreciate the idea behind it. Is it necessary? Not exactly, but it does provide a little peace of mind. (As an aside, she received a great report on head shape at her last pediatrician's appointment. I can't give the Lovenest credit, but I can say it makes me feel just a little better.)

Some sweet friends of ours gifted Rosie the adorable rosy hooded towel and washcloth set, made by Little Unicorn. (Anthropologie has two gorgeous options available on their site!) It is made to grow with your little one from infancy through their first few years. Its beauty and functionality make bath time better each time.

These Kyte washcloths have been a little luxury at bath time. If you're looking for a little add-on to a shower gift, these would be a perfect choice. They're ridiculously soft and work well on a newborn's sensitive skin.

As if we didn't have enough baby seats, I added one more to the mix when Rose arrived: the Boppy Newborn Lounger. This $30 pillow is not a Boppy to be used for breastfeeding; it is simply a soft pillow which gives baby an easy place to hang out. I don't often use it when our rambunctious  19-month old running around, but it is great in the afternoons and evenings when she is alert and wants to see more than just the ceiling. It has the perfect amount of incline to keep her comfortable and allows me the opportunity to be hands-free for a moment.
In the app department, I left BabyConnect behind and moved on to Glow Baby for tracking feeds and diapers. It is a much more visually appealing app, which is a trivial reason why I like it so much. I am not tracking everything as much as I did with James, but it is handy to help me space out my day. This ensures Rosie is not screaming of hunger when I need to go pick him up from daycare. 

I didn't mention it last time, but we have used our 4moms Breeze Playard as a "changing table" of sorts when we are downstairs (so we're not running up and down the stairs all day). Rosie also hangs out there during James' dinner time, if I'm not nursing and flipping quesadillas at the same time. (This has happened.) I like the bassinet because it covers the full footprint of the playard, not just one side. It packs up quickly and easily, though it is kind of heavy. It gets my seal of approval.

Phew! I'll stop babbling now. As with everything baby related, everything is based on personal preference. The products included in this guide (and the guide I published previously) all served us well at one point or another. Nothing in this guide was sponsored, though some were received as gifts from our kind (and extremely generous) friends and family. Do you have any other products that you couldn't live without during those early newborn days? I'm all ears -- and I'm sure your fellow readers would be too! xoxo {av}

P.S. Need a newborn fix? Check out a few of the sweet photos my dear friend, Bree Hester, took back when Rosie was just shy of two weeks old. I will always treasure these beautiful photos of my tiny little one, though I may need to look at the date stamp because she looks so much like her brother ;)

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there's someone new here!

Knock knock! Who's there? It's me again with someone new sitting right beside me. On June 2nd -- the day before her due date, our daughter arrived. I still can't believe she's here... and it's been nearly four weeks! The 4D ultrasound at 30 weeks had me convinced we were having another boy because the babe looked exactly like James. It also meant that she was "baby girl" for the first twelve hours of her life because I was convinced we only needed boy names. We finally chose the name Rose Breton, which honors two of our grandmothers. Rose was the name of my maternal grandmother, who passed away 20 years ago this month but fought valiantly against Parkinson's for 30+ years. We hope her fighting spirit and kind soul will live on in Rosie. Breton is the maiden name of Chris' paternal grandmother who always made me feel at home. She loved her family fiercely and we hope her contagious smile shines on through her great-granddaughter. (I always love hearing how people chose names for their children, so thank you for indulging me in that story line!)

They always say each child is unique -- and this couldn't be more true with James and Rose. The day or so leading up to Rose's birth was light years different than the experience we had with her brother. (You can read his birth story here.) When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought I would deliver on June 1st based on my calculations. At my last OB appointment the week before, I'd made very little progress, so I was pretty certain I would go beyond my due date. On Tuesday, May 31st, we had a very normal day: I dropped James at daycare, went to work, and then ran a few errands before picking James up at daycare. We played a bit in the yard before starting our normal nighttime routine. I got a call from one of my best friends and we spent a good hour of that evening catching up. During the call, I started feeling like I *might* be having a few contractions, but I couldn't gauge their regularity. After we got off the phone, Chris and I headed upstairs to get ready for bed. I noticed a few things were happening when I changed into my pajamas, which kicked me into high gear to finalize my hospital bag and clean up around the house. We buzzed about for about 90 minutes before finally deciding to try and catch a few winks amidst the excitement. It felt like Christmas Eve!!

I woke up bright and early (and ready to take on the day!) at 5:15, so I hopped in the shower (where I had a good cry thinking of the excitement that was to come) and got ready before our normal alarm clock, James, woke up. Getting him ready for daycare that morning was especially tough, knowing it would never be the same for him (or for us). Chris and I drove him together to daycare, kissed him goodbye, and started the 30-minute drive to the hospital... for the first time that day. Things were buzzing at the hospital when we arrived, but I got ushered back to be checked to see if I'd be getting a room. I really thought I had made significant progress... but I was incredibly disappointed to discover I was still only one centimeter and not effaced whatsoever. They told us to come back after my contractions got closer and a bit more intense, even though they were pretty consistent at 5-6 minutes apart. (Truth be told, I was just petrified to progress too much at home and be too far from the hospital.) I felt totally deflated, but I tried to remind myself that this happened all the time. When James was born, my water broke -- so it was much easier to know that I needed to go to the hospital. Rose was a bit more coy with her signals ;)

Since we both had already called out of work, we decided to make the most of it and drive south to Newport. I decided I wanted Mexican for lunch (secretly thinking the spiciness could help!), so we had a memorable lunch on the patio at Diego's. After lunch, we did as we were told and went for a looooooong (and hot) walk on the Cliff Walk... which was a gorgeous distraction from the regular contractions I was having every 4-5 minutes. Around 3:00pm or so, I decided I wanted a shower and we made the call to head home. My mother-in-law had already arrived at our house to help watch James during our hospital stay. I squeezed in a nap, though I still can't believe I managed to sleep. James made it home from daycare and we enjoyed one more quiet nighttime routine with him. I teared up big time as we finished reading books before putting him down for the night. I hadn't fully processed the whole idea he wasn't going to be our only little one until reality smacked me in the face!

We made it back to the hospital around 8:45pm, when I had FINALLY progressed enough to be admitted. I was nearly fully effaced and over three centimeters, so those hours on the Cliff Walk (and the Mexican food!) did the trick. I got a room in Labor & Delivery rather quickly and decided to get my epidural shortly after I arrived. The epidural process the first time around was much less pleasant than this time. With this birth, I was focused and ready for the relief. I'm pretty positive the epidural went in around 11:30pm or so, after which they told me to try and take a nap. I managed to sleep from 12:30 until 4, when I woke up to a different nurse than the one who had been with us most of the night. Had our original nurse been there to greet me, I would have probably told her that I felt like I needed to use the bathroom... but I drifted back to sleep and I waited to tell her that until she came back around 5. She checked me and asked me to do one practice push but stopped me abruptly because she didn't want me to give birth then and there!

After more than two hours of pushing with James, I was prepared to push for another lifetime... but the Big Man Upstairs made it easy on me this time. The nurse gave us a couple of minutes to pull ourselves together before the delivery team came to join us. With two powerful pushes, a beautiful and bright cry filled the room. I saw her arrive (which was mind-blowing) and I saw she was a she before Chris even had the chance to say it out loud. We looked at each other in serious disbelief and I think I squealed "a girl!" before she was placed on my chest. We were both beaming from ear to ear.

My comfort and confidence with Rose was present from the start. The second child truly wins in that respect. The first-time-mom nerves (especially with breastfeeding) were nowhere to be seen: Rose latched soon after birth -- and hasn't really stopped eating since. Seeing Chris hold our daughter for the first time? I will never be able to get that sweet image out of my mind. While James had been extra sleepy after birth, Rose was so alert. Looking into those big eyes, I felt like I'd known her my whole life -- and yet that we have so much to discover together.

Seeing our family together for the first time? Mind-blowing. It truly brought home how grateful I was to be experiencing life through these eyes, alongside my best friend. My heart can barely contain itself at the thought of what memories we'll make together. As an only child myself, it makes me so happy to know James and Rose have each other for life. Though our journey to having children had a rocky start, we're living a life I only dreamed of a few years ago.

As an aside, I know not everyone has the chance to experience such a positive and peaceful birth. I count my lucky stars (and send grateful prayers) for this experience. I feel so thankful for the wonderful care I received from the minute I arrived at the hospital until the minute we left. In the ensuing weeks, we have been showered with love, prayers, and gifts, for which I'll never be able to properly express my appreciation. There are so many other things to share, but I will leave it there for today. Thank you for reading and for celebrating Rose's arrival with us! xoxo {av} 

P.S. Looking for more timely updates? Add me on Snapchat or Instagram! My username is @ali_vinciguerra in both places!

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