Oozing style in classics from Seraphine Maternity

seraphine maternity dress anne cutler

Every pregnancy is different.  I never would have believed just how different, but it's true.  Apparently, that holds true for my clothes as well.  This pregnancy, I've discovered darling maternity brands that I didn't know existed last time around.

One of those brands is Seraphine Maternity.  You can shop their collection in Seraphine's online store, at A Pea in the Pod, Nordstrom and select boutiques.

This is where you want to go for those few, well-made, stylish pieces, you'll wear over and over through your pregnancy and beyond.  Many of the looks are intended for both pregnant and nursing moms.  Plus, it's a Hollywood favorite.  Don't be surprised to find yourself wearing something an A-list celebrity has been spotted in!

I got two gorgeous items, myself.  The first is the Gray Bamboo Nursing and Maternity Sweater ($89).  It has to be the softest sweater I have EVER owned!  It's long, so it works great with leggings as a tunic.  That's how I wore it to work and it looked polished and professional on Good Morning New Orleans.  It would also be darling with jeans or layered with a jacket or vest.

The second piece is Seraphine's Black Zip Detail Maternity Dress ($109).  They use some kind of witch-magic when they make this thing, because my 7 month bump minimizes the moment I put it on!  The fabric is high-quality with just enough stretch to be incredibly comfortable.  The neckline and zippers offer the perfect little details while still being simple enough to wear often.  If they made this in non-maternity, I'd buy it in an instant!

Valmont: My favorite new addition to my beauty bag

Skin after using Valmont Prime Renewing Pack with no face makeup and no retouching

Love at first sight! It's not something I say often (or let's be real... ever) when I see myself without makeup. However, that's exactly what I thought after my first Valmont facial.  In fact, that evening, even my husband raved about how my wrinkles had disappeared and my skin was glowing.  For him to notice that is basically an act of God.

I started looking into the company and learned why it's better than what I have been using. Valmont's based in medical research and the latest cosmetic cellular findings.  The key ingredients are patented Triple DNA, liposomed RNA and DNA.  As a result, their products penetrate deeper and work with your body to renew and repair.

To keep up that amazing post-facial glow, I tried one of Valmont's flagship products, the Prime Renewing Pack.  They've sold more than a million jars, so it's tried and true.  What I liked most was the versatility.  It can be used as a mask or daily cream.  I found both methods incredibly effective.  While I used it as a cream at night, it was surprisingly light enough to even use under makeup.

Valmont Prime renewing pack

As either the mask or cream, I was impressed with how moisturized my face felt without being greasy.  Much like that facial sent from the heavens above, the Prime Renewing Pack also plumped up my skin, which reduced the appearance of fine lines.  The next morning, my heavy television makeup looked smoother and didn't sink into wrinkles.  

The photo above was taken after just a few days using it.  I have leftover eye makeup from work, but absolutely nothing on the rest of my 33 year old, sun-damaged skin and did absolutely zero retouching. My smile lines and forehead wrinkles are drastically reduced. My skin is also noticeably smoother.

The Prime Renewing Pack retails for $210 and is available through Valmont's online boutique. This month, Valmont also debuted a limited edition at Saks with glamorous gold and white packaging.  You get 125 ml priced at 100 ml and it retails for $420.

Valmont Limited Edition Prime Renewing Pack

All on a Mardi Gras day

southern sea creature mardi gras costumes anne cutler

Us New Orleanians have a saying: "Everywhere else, it's just Tuesday."  Down here, it's much more than that!  Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a city-wide celebration.  Businesses are closed, streets are shut down and people are partying as far as the eye can see.

The stunningly beautiful Society of St. Anne marching parade has become my family's Mardi Gras tradition.  In lieu of big floats and beads, revelers dress in the most elaborate and creative costumes you'll ever see.  You can't buy these at your local party supply store.  They're hand-crafted works of art, months in the making.

Our theme this year was "Southern Sea Creatures."  I handmade Beau's octopus legs using fabric left over from a recent baby shower.  Like a good Southern boy, he already owned the seersucker suspenders, bow-tie and fedora.  All I needed to do was add eyeballs and the costume was complete!

Joe broke out his favorite top hat, paired with his seersucker suit and a whole lot of embellishment.  For my costume, I transformed a $2 party store crown with seashells and embellished a dress found on Amazon with fish net, pearls, rhinestones, more shells, plastic seaweed and moss.

The end of carnival ushers in a much quieter Lenten season, but until next year, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

Carnival season is here!

catching beads from parade float in new orleans

If I ever have to leave New Orleans, I'm not sure my heart will be able to take it.  This city has embraced me and I've truly fallen in love with everything it has to offer.  This past weekend was the perfect example.

Joe and I are blessed to live just two blocks from the famed St. Charles Avenue, where float after float will roll by throughout the carnival season.  We pick the quieter, first weekend of parades to go big, gathering friends and family for a tail-gate style weekend of revelry along the Avenue. 

This was the first year Beau really appreciated and understood what was happening around him.  Watching carnival through his eyes made it even more enjoyable.  I'm sure from the outside, we may seem a little crazy setting up a tent, tarps, blankets, table, chairs, ladders, food, coolers, drinks and games, but trust me when I tell you its worth it.

Spending that precious time in the city I love with the people I love is just about the happiest feeling in the world.

Happy Mardi Gras and as we say down here, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!"

From work to weekend, I'm loving PinkBlush maternity

pinkblush maternity dress with brown leather jacket

Baby number two is on his way!  I'm six months along and already desperately seeking cute maternity clothes.

Last go-round I relied heavily on popular brands like Motherhood, Pea in the Pod and Target.  I grabbed a few key pieces at local boutiques too.  However, I really wasn't happy with my look.  I felt like everything I bought was boring and ugly.  The few things that weren't ugly cost an absolute fortune! 

Enter: PinkBlush.  I stumbled upon their maternity collection online and immediately thought these were clothes I'd wear even if I wasn't pregnant!  They have a non-maternity collection as well, so I'll certainly be hitting those up after this baby comes out.

I got three bright and cheery pieces, which include the multi-color floral fitted maternity dress ($52), the black floral sash tie maternity/nursing dress ($68) and the magenta solid fitted 3/4 sleeve maternity dress ($51).

They're all amazing!!  I wore the maxi dress to a dinner date the first night it arrived.  As I walked into the restaurant, I got multiple compliments.  It's such an easy fit and a striking piece, plus it's casual enough to wear day or night.

The floral fitted and solid 3/4 sleeve dresses were also winners and both looked great on television.  All of the pieces have enough stretch that there's room for the baby to grow.  I also appreciate that they list lengths on the website, since I'm so petite that's often a problem.  I don't need to alter any of them!  My only complaint would be some extra room in the belly on the 3/4 sleeve dress, but I'll have that thing filled out soon enough!

Cheery, on-trend pieces that look and fit great? Count me in.

 

PinkBlush on the weekend:

PinkBlush on WGNO: