It’s Okay If You Don’t Bond With Your Baby Right Away

Image courtesy of Shelby Jo-Lynne Photography

When my baby was placed on my chest, I didn’t feel an overwhelming rush of love. I mean, every mom (or so it feels) talks about it, right? You’re supposed to feel some sort of head-to-toe tingling of love and joy and wonder. You’re supposed to feel instantly connected with your tiny little human, in some sort of inseparable emotional bond only felt between parent and child. But I didn’t.

I felt instinctively protective over my daughter; I changed diapers, attempted to feed her (more on early breastfeeding another time), rocked her and shushed her until my cheeks were sore. But mostly, I was stressed, overwhelmed and scared. I didn’t recognize her. I mean, it was my first time ever meeting her, but she looked (and felt) like a stranger to me. Those precious first moments were shrouded by guilt and confusion. What was I doing wrong?

Breastfeeding only heightened my anxiety. Although natural, it didn’t come naturally to us—she couldn’t latch or suck properly. I cried many tears those first two weeks, and they weren’t shed out of joy. I was in survival mode. She screamed inconsolably for hours every night. I internalized it as an inability to comfort her, pushing us further apart emotionally. I didn’t know then that she had colic and reflux, I just thought I was a bad mom.

Between the brief periods of sleep or silence, I would pep talk myself. Okay, just make it through this next wake period. Hold her. Feed her. Change her. It’s not that hard. But it was hard, and without my mom and husband there for the first two weeks, I probably would have imploded, although I tried my best to put on a front for them both. I can’t tell you what my relationship with my daughter looked like on the outside, but my mom frequently told me how proud she was and that I was a great mom. It was encouraging at the time, but I didn’t believe it. In my mind, a truly great mom would have already bonded with her baby.

I did all the “right” things: skin to skin, nursing, talking, singing, rocking, babywearing, you name it. I wanted so badly to feel that connection.

Then, one day, it happened. She was around four weeks old. We made brief eye contact. I felt it. You are mine and I am yours. It wasn’t an extraordinary moment; there were no fireworks, no tingles, no tears. But sometimes ordinary little moments are what stick with you, and that split-second of her big blue eyes gazing in my direction has been unquestionably etched in my memory and my heart.

There are many seasons of motherhood, and this newborn season has been tough for us. I often think these perceived abnormal emotions divide us as mothers. We’re afraid to talk about the trenches of motherhood. American mommy culture often feels like a competition rather than a community. Unsolicited advice and strongly held opinions of what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” can make new moms feel isolated and unsure, especially in those vulnerable first weeks of physical and emotional healing. This is particularly true regarding mom-baby bonding, despite research showing as many as 20% of parents don’t feel an immediate bond with their child. Delayed bonding can be influenced by traumatic birth experiences, prior pregnancy/child loss or postpartum anxiety and depression, but some new moms simply need time to adjust and get to know their babies.

So here’s to you, mama. You’re probably reading this at 2 a.m. in the throes of early momhood, thinking there’s something wrong with you. I’m going to tell you what I wish someone had told me: there’s not. This is normal. Your moment will come. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but that ordinary moment is headed your way. | xo

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Outsiders in Okinawa: Sakura at Mount Yaedake

It’s been a while since I’ve written an Outsiders in Okinawa post, but I figured cherry blossoms were the perfect way to get back in the groove! Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are kind of a big deal in Japan. Cherry blossoms are in bloom for a very short period of time, and as such are symbolic of the ephemeral nature of life—embodied in the Japanese phrase mono no aware, meaning the pathos of things, and referring to the heightened appreciation for lively beauty and sadness at its impermanence. Millions flock to different parts of Japan every spring to catch the flowers in their notoriously unpredictable prime. They bloom earliest on Okinawa because of how far south the island is located, typically flowering in mid to late January. Cherry blossoms then bloom across mainland Japan, making an appearance in Tokyo in March and blooming in Hokkaido as late as April. We visited Mt. Yae (or Yaedake), home of Sakura no Mori Park and thousands of sakura trees, to partake in hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. Mt. Yae is north of Nago near Motobu, so if you live near Camps Kinser and Foster or Kadena Air Base, be prepared for a drive. There are several different entrances to the park, but I’ll include a pin for the spot we went to off of the Expressway and Route 58. You’ll come across a small bakery selling fresh bread and mikan juice (so good!), and you can either continue driving or park and walk through the rest of the park.

 


Cherry blossoms line the roads leading up to Mt. Yae’s summit.

Cherry blossoms range in color from white to vibrant reddish-pink.

Shisa representing (from left to right) good relationships, health, wish fulfillment, safety & prosperity, and mental achievement.
Sakura ice cream is a fun, festive treat to try! Even in the rain. ☔️
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Contrary to what Bath & Body Works may have led you to believe, these cherry blossoms have virtually no smell!

It’s free to enter Mt. Yae, but I highly recommend bringing yen for fun sakura-themed treats being sold in booths along the road. There are bathrooms and vending machines throughout the park, and there are other attractions as well—a small shrine, a large playground, and views of Motobu and Ie Island. If hanami isn’t on your Okinawa bucket list, it should be! You don’t want to miss these stunning flowers in bloom. | xo

K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Eyebrow Tint • Fri-yay!

Happy Friday! I snagged some new products at the drugstore today and couldn’t wait to try the K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Eyebrow Tint…so keep reading! 👇🏼

I purchased the shade 02 Natural Brown. It looks somewhat like a lipgloss tube with a brush applicator, and the product is a gel that looks frighteningly black. For someone like me with blonde hair, it felt a little ominous. But, ya know…do it for the ‘Gram. You apply the product to clean eyebrows and let it sit for a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight. When you’re ready to reveal your new brows, simply peel off the product and voila! This product won a 2017 Cosme award (think Allure beauty picks). I have thin, sparse eyebrows and I would loooove not having to spend time filling them in every morning.

I was surprised at how easy it was to apply. There are two eyebrow stencils tucked into the box, but they were both too thick for my natural brow shape. If you make any mistakes, you can swipe them away easily with a q-tip. When you first apply it, it looks very dark and ridiculous. I felt kind of like Groucho Marx, which then made me really antsy about committing, but the tint only lasts up to a week, so it’s not nearly as much of a commitment as microblading. I figured I could just cover my eyebrows with foundation and salvage them with a pencil if my little experiment went south.

I left the tint on for about three hours (I was impatient and nervous, what can I say!), and I was shocked 1. at how easy and painless it was to peel off, and 2. at how good it looks! My brows definitely look fuller and more defined, and I’m so excited about shaving time off my morning routine. It only took me 5-10 minutes to apply the tint, which should last for 3 to 5 days. A few sweeps of the Kate Tokyo brow powder I picked up today should be more than enough in the mornings now! 🙌🏼

If you’d like to try the 1 Day Tattoo Eyebrow Tint, it’s available on Amazon. Okinawa friends: you can find this at Tokyu Hands, Don Q, and some Matsumoto Kiyoshi drugstores for roughly ¥1200. The product comes in 5 shades: Light Brown, Natural Brown, Mocha Brown, Ash Brown, and Smoky Brown. If you have sparse brows like me or are just looking for an easy, low maintenance brow routine, I highly recommend trying this product out!

2017 Beauty Favorites + GIVEAWAY!

Hey y’all and welcome to 2018! I love reflecting on the trials, accomplishments, and lessons learned at the end of each year, and it was fun for me to look back on all of the adventures 2017 brought my way. From Taiwan to Korea to Thailand to the USA and back to Okinawa, I covered a lot of ground and made so many memories. I also like to evaluate the products I have in my collection and decide what I should keep, what I should toss, and what I should repurchase. Every year, I write a favorites blog about the standout products of the year before. So without further ado, here are my 10 beauty favorites (plus a bonus shoe fave!) from 2017, and if you make it to the bottom, you’ll have a chance to win one of them! All I ask is that you follow my blog and leave a comment with one of your resolutions or favorite products 😊

Burberry Brit Rhythm for Her Eau de Toilette / Fragrances are very personal, but I loooove this ultra-feminine perfume! It’s floral without being stuffy, sweet without sending middle school flashbacks, and woodsy while maintaining its femininity. I wear this daily and frequently get compliments. Not gonna lie, I just dabbed some on my wrists just to smell it. Mmmm…< a href=”http://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/makeup/face/concealer/shape-tape-contour-concealer/836.html?dwvar_836_color=tan&cgid=makeup-face-concealer#start=1&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in Light Sand / Let’s be real. This concealer basically broke the internet in 2017. According to Tarte, one of these beautiful babies is sold every 20 seconds. If you haven’t tried Tarte Shape Tape, get on it, because this stuff is amazing. It’s full coverage without being detectable, and you get a significant amount of product (10 ml)–I purchased this in July and am still using it daily in January. No drugstore concealer (even my favorites!) can top this, and it’s 100% worth the splurge.

Too Faced Sweet Peach Papa Don’t Peach Blush / I think the only blush I’ve consistently recommended on my blog is Benefit’s Dallas. I have a little confession to share about that…I’ve barely used it at all since purchasing this blush 🙈. Papa Don’t Peach is still bronzey and natural-looking, but it brightens up your face in a way Dallas can’t. It smells just like Too Faced’s other peach items, and you get 9g of product, so it’ll last a while even with daily use. Plus, I can’t get past the freakin’ adorable packaging!

Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil with Argan and Coconut Oils / People with oily skin tend to be afraid of facial oils and oil cleansers, but they’re actually beneficial for all skin types! Some oils can even regulate sebum production 😍 This Burt’s Bees oil cleanser is actually my favorite of the several I’ve tried, which is surprising considering it contains coconut oil, which breaks me out on its own. I use this to remove my makeup before cleansing, and I can’t get over how well it removes my makeup or how soft it leaves my skin. I’ve pretty much ditched makeup wipes for this, AND it hasn’t broken me out!

Sexy Hair Vibrant CC Hair Perfector / After getting highlights sometime mid-year, I felt my hair start to ride the struggle bus. It was stringy, lifeless, and a little straw-like. I picked this up on a whim and OMG. After just one night of using it, my hair was radically different. I became an instant believer. This product makes your hair so soft, and it smells delish!

wet n wild Photo Focus Foundation / So, can we talk about how this foundation is less than $6? 👀 It’s medium-full coverage, so smooth, super lightweight, and DAMN. It just plain makes your face look fabulous. I like it best when applied with a damp sponge, and the coverage is buildable at pretty much all levels. So whether you want a flawless full-coverage face, or a sheer wash of even coverage, this foundation can do it for you. I bought it enough to buy a shade for each level of the fake-tanning cycle. That’s commitment.

Tarte Cosmetics Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara / I’m about to make a bold statement. I think this is my holy grail mascara. Yep, I said it. Why is no one talking about this?! I had never even heard of it until I saw it mentioned in one of Tarte’s Instagram stories. I ordered it at random during a points promotion for platinum members on Ulta.com and my lashes have never been the same. This mascara does everything I wish Too Faced’s Better than Sex mascara did. It gives you tons of length, medium volume, and won’t flake or smear throughout the day. I have excessively watery eyes, and this has never run. I even tested it with actual tears once. Still no running. Do your lashes a favor and buy this. Oh, and supposedly it also nourishes your lashes and stuff 🤷🏼

Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum with Willowherb / If you have textured skin and/or large pores, this serum is a must-have. It doesn’t have the consistency of a serum, it’s more like a gel moisturizer, and it absorbs right into your skin. Origins claims this serum will solve your skin’s quarter life crisis, and I think they’re right. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in the texture of my skin, and I think my pores are slowly starting to look smaller as well. My skin’s usually pretty dull as well, and this gives me a glow without making me shiny or dewy.

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips All-In-1 Custom Nude Palette / Hi, my name is Shelbie and I’m a snooze alarm addict. So, basically, a stoplight-styled messy bun, exta-shot latte, and 10-minute face are my workweek staples. I need versatile products I can take on the go, and it’s always a bonus if they’re inexpensive. Thataylaa has raved about this palette for forever, but I only purchased it a few months ago. The palette is made up of 12 shimmery shades, ranging from ivory to pale pink to copper to bronze. I frequently use the four top-left shades swirled together as a higlight on my cheekbones, nose, and browbones, with one of the light pink shades on my lids and the darkest shade in my crease. It’s also stunning all swirled together and topped over your blush. If you like shimmer, I’m confident this can be a short-on-time staple for you, too!

Toms Women’s Majorca Cutout Sandal, Taupe Suede / This is my bonus fave. And you’re probably eye-rolling at the fact that I’m recommending a pair of TOMS heels, but stay with me. These are my daily go-to work shoes. I can dress them up with ankle-length trousers or dress them down with jeans, and they are SO. DAMN. COMFORTABLE. Seriously. I walk about 2 miles a day on my lunch at work, and I can comfortably walk that in these shoes without any pain or blistering. I don’t even think I can do that in my running shoes, tbh. The heel is high enough to enhance your legs, but low enough to prevent you from eating pavement. They are well worth the investment and I’ve already purchased a backup pair. (BTW they’re as low as $45 on Amazon right now and retail for $130!)

Because I love these products so much, I want to share one of them with you! Enter my Amazon Giveaway to win a Vibrant Sexy Hair CC Hair Perfector here . Don’t forget to subscribe to wisconsinwhimsy and comment your resolution or favorite product below!

Happy new year! xo, Shelbie | By the way, I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website, although all opinions stated here are my own. Your purchase helps support my little space on the internet, and I’m grateful for it.

What’s In My Travel Bag?

Every time I travel I play the how-much-stuff-can-I-bring-in-my-carryon bag game. Since I’ve been traveling throughout Southeast Asia, I haven’t been checking any luggage. I try to only bring essentials and multi-purpose products to save space for goodies I pick up on my travels. This little bag doesn’t include my skincare or hair items, but I usually only bring a travel size face wash and moisturizer (from this Murad kit), Simple Skin Care cleansing wipes (a lifesaver on the go), a detangling hair brush and travel size shampoo/body wash. I find that more often than not, I end up with my hair in a messy bun or half-pulled back in a hair clip. Depending on where I’m traveling, I may switch out (or add) powder or foundation to match the climate of my destination. For example, when I went to Taiwan, it was extremely humid so I brought Estee Lauder Double Wear because I knew it would hold up. But, the items below are staples that I bring along no matter the destination.

BASE //

FACE //

EYES //

LIPS //

TOOLS //

I’ve found that this is the perfect combination of versatile face products to give me a fresh-faced, but not overdone look on the go. The Complexion Rescue makes for a hydrating, healthy looking base, and it’s perfect for balancing your skin on dry flights. I spot conceal and highlight my undereyes with the concealer, and use the bronzer and shimmer palette for both my face and eyes. Depending on the size of the bottle, I’d also recommend tossing a setting spray in your bag just to keep it long-lasting. Lately, I’ve been loving the Smashbox Primer Water and Milani Make It Last Setting Spray.

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of these products are from the drugstore. Not only are these all really great products in terms of performance, they’re also affordable, which is a pro when you’re traveling and don’t want to risk losing your baggage or breaking something expensive. The makeup bag I’m using is from Vera Bradley, part of the Travel Cosmetic Set, which I highly recommend–it’s a 4-piece set that works great together for longer trips and separated for short getaways.

What’s in your travel bag? Anything I need to add to my own? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Disclaimer: this blog contains Amazon affiliate links.

Dry Shampoo Showdown Round 10

Okay, it’s not really round 10. But I’ve talked about dry shampoo on wisconsinwhimsy what feels like a million times, and I always seem to come back to one particular product—Batiste. If you’ve somehow been living under a rock, or maybe you’re just not lazy like me and wash your hair every day, Batiste is a drugstore dry shampoo that retails anywhere from $6–10. It has a cult following (but not a real cult…) and works amazingly on my hair. I can usually extend a hairstyle out for 3 days (sometimes 4 if I’m feeling reckless) with Batiste, which is impressive considering my oily scalp and limp hair. Since I moved to Okinawa, I’ve only had very limited access to Batiste, so I’ve been on the hunt for a product that’s just as good or better.

I frequently get questions about my hair and how I keep it shiny and long, and the answer is really simple: I’m lazy, so I don’t usually heat style it, and I don’t wash it every day. Daily shampooing is really damaging to your hair. A lot of people think their hair is too oily to not wash every day, but that’s likely not the case. Every time you wash your hair, your shampoo is basically sending your scalp a text that says, “Make more oil!” It can take time to train your scalp to intermittent washing, but it’s worth it.

If you missed my A Year’s Worth of Beauty Trash blog, I tried out Not Your Mother’s, Got2B, Dove, Bumble & Bumble, and TIGI Bed Head. Of that group, the Dove was easily my favorite, but it still can’t hold a candle to my beloved Batiste. Today, we’re talking about the next round of dry shampoos I’m testing, and we’ll see how they compare.

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  1. blowpro Essentials Faux Dry / $11 / Let me start by saying I purchased all of these products at a military exchange, so the price I paid may not be the same as at your local drugstore, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the aerosol version online anywhere. This talc-free dry shampoo has a distinct musky smell (almost masculine, almost old ladyish), so if you’re sensitive to scents I would skip this entirely. Smell aside, it actually works pretty well. It’s not super powdery, but powdery enough to absorb the oils on your scalp without leaving white residue behind. I don’t think this is a heavy-duty dry shampoo that you could use for several days, but it works perfectly for next-day hair. It doesn’t create any product buildup and is easy to wash out. I don’t think it’s life-changing, or honestly even hair-changing, but it’s a decent dry shampoo. The non-aerosol version (which is slightly different and unscented) can be purchased for $24 on Amazon.  -CRUELTY FREE-
  2. Herbal Essences bio-renew Volume Dry Shampoo / $6, Target / Let me just start (and basically end) this by saying this dry shampoo sucks. It smells great—fruity and slightly minty, which is a nice pick-me-up for dirty hair. Beyond that, there really isn’t anything positive to say about it. It’s not powdery at all; it makes your roots slightly damp, which then turns into a weird crunchy/sticky mess. I give this a 0/5. Try at your own risk and waste of six dollars.
  3. Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo / $11 ON SALE, Ulta / I really, really, wanted this to blow me away. I love Sexy Hair products, and am currently amassing a collection of them, which I honestly will probably never use…hence why we’re here talking about dry shampoo. It’s fine. Anyway, this is another product I found to be just okay. It has your standard salon smell mixed with some sort of fake watermelon??? The smell of this was actually offensive to me…I had to physically leave the bathroom, and it still followed me around. It’s also worth noting that this one is salon-priced. It retails for $17 and you only get 3.4 oz of product. It’s not powdery, but it’s not wet like the Herbal Essences one either. It seems to be more alcohol-ish? It doesn’t appear to do anything immediately to your hair at all. The can says to leave it on for two minutes and brush out the excess. I haven’t been able to locate any visible ‘excess’ while using this product, so I usually apply it and massage my roots after a couple of minutes. It makes your hair look voluminous, but it can really only handle next-day hair. -CRUELTY FREE-
  4. Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo / $8, Ulta / The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Unfortunately, none of the other brands held up to Batiste standards. It’s still my favorite. ♡ This is definitely the most powdery of the bunch, but I think that’s why it works so well. A lot of bad reviews mention the amount of product it leaves in your hair—you only need a few, short sprays of this, and if you have colored hair there are colored options ($9, Ulta). My favorite scents are Wild and Tropical, but only Blush was available at my exchange. My only complaint is that I seem to go through Batiste quickly, but that’s really not an issue when I’m living stateside and have easy access to Ulta or Target. If you’re a lazy hair person like me and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, or you just love a good deal, try this out! -CRUELTY FREE-

If you’re looking for a more in-depth review on several brands, visit this Reviews.com guide for the best dry shampoos. It’s based on 54 contenders, tested over 6 weeks. I hadn’t even heard of their top pick, Klorane, until reading the guide, so I’m going to pick it up when I visit the States in October. 👏🏼 As always, if you have any recommendations for me to try, leave them in the comments below! Bonus points if it’s a non-aerosol so I can have it shipped to me. (Or, if you know of some mysterious Japanese dry shampoo, please let me know!)

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The Perfect Wedding Won’t Make Your Marriage Better

Imagery courtesy of Taylor & Jordan Snyder

Wives, fiancées, and single romantics: have you ever flipped through a copy of The Knot in an airport bookstore thinking to yourself, “Wow, I wish I had $10 to buy this gigantic magazine so that I could pretend to be interested in it and avoid awkward small talk with the stranger in seat 5A for the next 5 hours?” No? Just me? Maybe you were thinking something more along the lines of, “This is my dream wedding.”

I’m starting to get to the age where more and more friends of mine are tying the knot. And I am so unbelievable happy for them to embark on that journey of love. I was at a party a while ago, and some of the fellow party-goers thought it was really sweet I was already married, and someone asked me, “What kind of wedding did you have?” It threw me off at first, because I couldn’t exactly figure out what she was asking. Did she want to know if I had a big wedding, eloped, was Jewish, did the whole cowboy boots and sunflowers thing or the elegant cathedral, or maybe all of the above? I wasn’t sure. So I told her that I  had a smallish wedding and described my venue and events. She thought it was cute.  We moved on.

But the question stuck with me. I’ve been asked about my wedding many times without being asked about my husband or our relationship—just the wedding. I know some of you are eye-rolling and thinking that I’m reading way too far into the question, which is kind of the truth, but stick with me, because I’m thinking less about the question and more about the wedding culture that has pushed us to have bigger and spendier weddings than ever before. According to The Knot, the average American wedding costs $35,329. THAT IS AN ENTIRE YEAR’S SALARY FOR MANY PEOPLE. On one day. A day that most brides only remember vaguely through the wedding photographs they receive a month or two later.

My wedding was a lot of things, but it wasn’t the greatest day of my life. Yes, I vowed to be a faithful, loving, and humble wife, and accepted my husband’s promise to be those things for me too. But we’d already promised those things to each other long before we dressed up and did it in front of a pastor. Yes, we had beautiful photographs taken (insert plug for Jay and Tay Photography here), celebrated with family and friends, and loved the experience. Those memories are special. I think my wedding was beautiful and I am deeply indebted to all of the wonderful people who tirelessly worked to help me pull it off. But I heard several remarks throughout my wedding planning process about if I wanted to do this, or if I was planning on doing that. How much was my dress, had I seen all of the beautiful weddings on Pinterest? I needed to get my flowers from this place, and my guests would be bored if I played my own music rather than hire a DJ (Because the Cha Cha Slide is so entertaining…eye roll).

The most important thing Alex and I did on our wedding day was get married. And we could have done that in jeans and t-shirts at the county courthouse for $100.

So why did we plan a wedding? Like most people, we wanted to take part in that tradition. We wanted a Christian ceremony. We wanted to celebrate our love with friends and family, and I watch too much Say Yes to the Dress to not have wanted a wedding gown.

My message here is not that you should skimp out on your wedding day if a blow out wedding is what you really want. My point is that you should take a step back from the stress and pressure of planning such a huge party to remember that you’re not planning this party for the future pictures, for the opportunity to be featured in a magazine, for bragging rights, or even for the guests in attendance. You’re planning it for you and your husband (or wife!). You’re planning it because you want to get married. And you can get married anywhere, in any clothes, on any budget, and it’s not going to change how you feel about each other.

You can have the most beautiful, whimsical, breathtaking wedding ceremony in the world and it will not set the precedence for a happy marriage. Because the only things that can make a marriage happy are the two people in it. So drink in all of the fun of wedding planning and the memories that come with it, but keep in mind what’s really important, and hint, it isn’t your wedding, it’s your marriage.  — ♡