How to survive parties when you feel like a frumpy blob.

Today I am 35 weeks pregnant, and something magical happened to me.

I woke up with painfully swollen, tingling feet, fingers, and even my sleepy face was a little puffy. My butt seemed to have expanded overnight, and the one part of me I always like, my arms, even lost their toned definition. I resembled a marshmallow. What happened in those 12 restless hours?

Sorry, did I say “magical?” I meant unfortunate.


Holidays, Parties, and Bumps, Oh My!

Of course this happened at the kickoff of all of my holiday festivities, starting tonight with a black-tie party, continuing tomorrow with a fancy shmancy dinner in downtown Chicago, bringing us into Christmas Eve and Christmas next week, rounding out the month with an elegant New Years Eve date with my husband. I waddled uncomfortably to my closet to pull out my fail-proof holiday dress selections to make myself feel better, only to find that I looked like an inflated amoeba that needed to be popped. Between the physical discomfort I was in and my complete lack of confidence, I logically swore off ever leaving my house or wearing anything but my robe.

That’s when my support team swooped in (aka my husband, mom, and dad). *Note: you are never too old to be reliant on your parents.  My dad picked me up, against my will, and took my shopping. Walking around helped my swollen feet a bit and between his persistence, support, and the wonderfully understanding saleslady at Destination Maternity, I loved every dress I tried on. Getting me physically out of the house and away from my ‘woe is me’ mood alone drastically changed my outlook- of course, the two beautiful dresses my dad bought me did not hurt one bit. My point is that even if you can’t find a new dress or do not want to spend the money on something new, there are still ways not only to survive dressing up but also to thrive at parties, all the way through your third trimester.

Here are my tips:

1. When trying on your clothes, brush your hair or put it into a sleek ponytail or high bun to try to envision what you’ll look like when you’re done up. No need to put on makeup, but throwing on some tinted chapstick or lip gloss won’t hurt. Take off your socks and try on your dress or outfit with comfortable shoes. If you’re like me and tried on your clothes right when you woke up looking like a monster, you could be wearing a custom made Vera Wang gown and still despise what you see.  Chances are if I had taken two minutes to splash cold water on my face, throw my hair into a bun, and tint my lips, I would have loved the dresses I already owned- but hey, then I wouldn’t have gotten my lovely new outfits.

2. If you’re totally lacking confidence in your body, focus on three things: the reason for your body changing, your hair, your makeup (I’ll discuss 2 & 3 with tips separately). I realize the last two seem superficial and that reason number one should be enough, but sometimes a girl needs a little glam to boost her mood, and I see nothing wrong with that.

3. If you take some quiet, relaxing time to connect with your baby- maybe laying in bed, sitting in your favorite chair, or my personal favorite, taking a long warm shower with only a gardenia candle lit- you can slow down your frustrated or grumpy mood and realize what really matters- your sweet little baby that you’re GROWING inside you. As you rub your belly, think about meeting your precious bundle of joy and realize that you are CREATING a PERSON in your body. You. Are. Simply. Amazing. Talk to your baby and tell her how much you love her; tell her that you’re having a rough day and then think about kissing her squishy little lips and cheeks very soon.

4. Makeup: if you’re one of the lucky ones like I am who still breaks out, you’ll want to start with a fresh face. Since you’re going to a party, you can add more drama to your eyes and lips- I love making my lips pop because I think it looks especially good in pictures and for special occasions. If you’re using a lip stick, I like to first moisturize my lips, giving the stick a smooth base to glide onto, and it also lessens the intensity of the color so you can build up to your desired look. Always curl your lashes and apply several coats to make your eyes stand out. I apply a few coats, then wait for my lashes to dry a bit before adding one more coat for a thicker look.

Remember, you are your own worst critic. You look way better than you feel, and everyone at the party will tell you how gorgeous you are. Take these compliments and reply “thank you” with a genuine smile because you ARE gorgeous.  Plus, it’s really bad form to answer with your first instinct of “oh no, I look like a whale.” Take your compliments graciously and let them go to your head.