Safe breathing, fourth trimester, ppd, and loving your body

Baby’s airways are smaller then their pinky (i believe). They require a two finger width between their chin and chest to breathe safely. This is also true when you’re baby wearing, or when they are in a baby seat.

If your baby’s head is dropping in either situation, fix it. One solution is to roll a hand towel or burp cloth to prop right behind their necks. Another solution is to just lay them on a flat surface. My babies sometimes like a pillow under their knees and they’ll sleep longer. If your baby has reflux and doesn’t like being flat on his back, you could prop him up (on something appropriate) and still put a pillow under his knees, but you run into the same problem of a droopy head.

My favorite thing to do is to wear a baby, because it’s easiest to monitor them. But I know it’s just not always possible.

Most of us are in the fourth trimester (first three months of baby’s life). Once you pass month three, somehow the fog lifts and life gets much more manageable. For most of us, after-birth pain will be gone, hormones will stabilize, and baby will establish a routine if you’re respectful and observant of how he communicates with you.

Take it easy on yourselves! It’s hard right now, but you’ll bounce back soon! And you’ll miss the earliest snuggles your baby can give you, these are very dependent little creatures who still accept all your kisses and hugs without any protest. The day will come when he will wipe your kiss away, and say “no!” to a hug, even if he’s kidding! You’ll realize how precious and short these days are! The baby grunts, the tiniest yawns, the fuzzy chicky hair… the squirmy body, the tiniest hands and feet. I love all of it!

Try to drink it in, even though you’re fed up, exhausted, sleep deprived, malnourished, dirty, smell foul, and covered in stale milk. Drink it in, even though the laundry is piling, and people are pushing you around, and you’re unsure of everything. Drink it in, even though you don’t know which way is up, and you’re making mistakes, and you’re forgetting things. Try to take a deep breath and drink it in. Make a decision to draw in your baby right now and bond together in bed as much as you can.

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Close your ears to criticism. Do what you feel is right and best.

Appreciate your mangled body. God used it to give you a baby. So love your body back. Take a shower. Say thanks to the tears that fall – let them fall. They are a sign that you care deeply. No, you’re feelings aren’t flaccid and flat. Your feelings are full of emotion. And that’s good. If you’re drowning in depression, call for help. It’s okay to need help. It’s crucial you get it. We ALL need help.

And now, Mama, find your voice. Deep inside, regardless how you feel on the surface, God has made you a lioness. I know this because He made you a mother. He placed instincts in you that equip you for this high calling. You must find your voice and let it rise. You AND your minime need you to find your voice. You now represent two. Or three. Or twelve. Regardless of how many children you have born, or buried, your children need your voice to be kind and gentle, and firm and strong, and patient and generous, and clear and determined.

Raise a glass to you today. You deserve the fireworks.


Dear Mothers

Happy Mother’s Day! I love this day. But not all of us do. Those of us who have lost children either from the womb or after birth, or some even after many years of life, or just a few years of life lament this day. Others of us have grief because we have lost our mothers. My heart extends to yours. And still others feel unappreciated, unrecognized, or passed over. Some of us are not going to experience a celebration. Others will experience a celebration on the outside but not on the inside. I wanted to write this post because I see you.

I was laying here thinking that in almost 14 years of marriage, and over 6 years of being a mother x 3, that I love this day.

I love this day because I have children. I love this day because I have a husband who loves me. And I love this day because I have a mother. I have it all. The Lord took my grandma, and I only knew one grandma, but He gave me another one through my husband and we love her dearly. She is wonderful. And we also have his mother. She is also beautiful, inside and out.

My normal celebration was bringing my mom breakfast in bed. Then as I got older, I added a tradition of taking her on a picnic. I always bought her a corsage – always tried to find a pink iris with a pink ribbon. And if we were with other women in our family I got one for them too. Now I live in another city. I am sad I can’t celebrate her in person. We did the best we could from afar.

As for my own celebration, I’ve evolved. Over these relatively short years of marriage (I hope we can pass 60 years together… we would be centurions!) I’ve learned how to be less selfish. Yes, I meant to say it that way… less selfish. Sure, it’s a day to celebrate motherhood. What does that mean?

For me, it has become giving my children an opportunity to prepare a gift for someone else: me and their grandmas. It is a moment to teach them how to affirm someone else and make them feel special. So this is what I told my husband was important to me: help the children learn this lesson. I have two boys who are old enough to glean from this opportunity. And it’s our chance to show them honest gratitude.

A key to enjoying this day is to know yourself. It’s very advised to help your husbands be successful. Tell them how to help you feel special. Some of you don’t want to have to tell your husbands what to do for you… but you should get over that! Sometimes they need some direction, and they appreciate it! But warning, if your husband doesn’t like input, then don’t tell him!

Here’s how I do this: “What do you have planned for Mother’s Day?”

He says: “What would you like to do?”

I say: “(insert some suggestions)”

Listen, I know not all husbands will ask. Some will say, “I haven’t thought about it;” “I haven’t planned anything;” or “it’s a surprise”.

Then after the event, or during, give specific compliments. Did you know men do better with very specific compliments? Such as,

  • “I love how you thought about (insert this)”
  • “That took a lot of planning and juggling on your part;”
  • “That food was delicious!”
  • “You lost sleep to prepare this for me!”

What do you do if your man does nothing for you?

Then treat yourself. Take yourself somewhere, buy yourself a book, go have a coffee or tea, give yourself permission not to work for a day and declare a No Work Day for yourself to your family, spend all day playing with your kids, declare a YoYo food day (you’re on your own), make a plan to go out with a friend — you get the picture. But I think my favorite idea is you could serve another mother (whose husband isn’t gifted in this area) by treating her and her family over for brunch or lunch or dinner. And you can still pay compliments to your spouse. Here are some compliments you can think about saying that have nothing to do with a man’s special preparations for you for Mother’s Day – they are just truths I hope are true for you:

  • “You work hard to provide for us an excellent life – thank you;” (this is true even if he is a stay at home dad; this is true if he is currently laid off; this is true if he is not providing much right now… be specific about any small thing he does for your family)
  • “I wouldn’t be as successful in my mothering without your support” (this is true even if his contributions are minor in your eyes)
  • “It seems like you made our child look extra nice today!” (Unless he didn’t get them dressed… but maybe he has corrected some behavior or a heart issue, or taught them something)
  • “You look so handsome for me!” (Even if he looks the same every day!)
  • “Everyday when you do your thing, you enable me to do mine.” (Still true in every case)
  • “Our kids benefit so much because you spend time with them.” (Even if the time is little).

Listen, some of you have a hard life. I am trying to show you a way of gratitude. When you treat men like men, they act like men. When you treat men like boys, they act like boys.

Know yourself though. Your joy comes from the Lord. If you don’t have joy, study where it comes from! The Bible shows the way!

I will close with a Happy Blessed Mother’s Day with for you!! Xoxo

Girl’s Nights Out

I moved from my hometown in early 2014. I left all my old friends and family. I frequently enjoyed girls’ nights out.

In Rochester, I began “girl’s night in” – hosting little dessert gatherings in my home. We usually followed a theme, like pamper yourself night, or home remedies.

So when we moved again three and a half months ago, I decided to start these right away. I have been so blessed. You never know what treasures lie beneath a person’s smile until you sit and ask them questions. 

Tonight was my third one, and there were four of us. These women are amazing. Their stories, their hearts, their experiences… 

Women are wonderful creatures, and I really enjoy sisterhood. I need it. I crave it. I’m looking for real intimacy that is only created over time, through vulnerability and giving and sharing. I’m excited to get to know some of the women of this city! This is one of my rewards for the hard work of life – the honor and privilege of getting to know and befriend others. 

Thank you ladies, who are willing to set time aside in your busy schedules to spend some time with me! Xo, Robyn

Oh, and to the ladies of Atlanta and Rochester who used to enjoy a ladies’ night with me, I most certainly miss you!! Old friends are gold.

Colorful Mama

Hair color… Is it for everyone? Throughout my career as a hairstylist I have heard several reasons why women choose not to color their hair. These reasons include: Maintenance, money, time, and damage. Reasons people choose color: Highlight facial features, brighten face, cover grays, turn heads, and enhance a dull, natural color (sometimes known as “dishwater blonde”, “ashy”, or “mousy”- those words pretty much sum up my hair color haha!).

First, I will state that if someone comes to me for a consultation about hair color I am very honest with my guest. If they have a rich, natural color that really compliments them, I will say “Be natural! It works!”. In most cases though, natural shades are not that shiny and can be enhanced a bit.

Let’s address maintenance. Many women believe that once they get color they will have to be in the salon every six weeks to get it touched up. If you are doing all over color that is multiple shades lighter or darker than your natural color then yes, you will be retouching your roots often. But, there are options that give you more time in between coloring. The number one low maintenance and trendy color right now is ombre’. Generally, ombre’ is darker at the roots and lighter at the ends. Ombre’ is a great way to have brightness around your face without the up keep of your roots. I always tell my guest that it looks like they spent lots of time at the beach over the summer and their hair has now grown out from being sun bleached. There are some pretty extreme versions of ombre’ out there. I lean more towards the subtle, nicely blended ombre’. I am actually rocking some ombre’ in my hair right now!

Notice how my hair goes from a dark strawberry blonde at the roots to light blonde at the ends? Very subtle

Notice how my hair goes from a dark strawberry blonde at the roots to light blonde at the ends? Very subtle.

This is the extreme ombre' I am not a fan of. It just looks like she has roots!

This is the extreme ombre’ I am not a fan of. It just looks like she has roots!





Not a fan of the roots look? Try getting what we call at my salon “brightening” or “face framing high lights”. This usually consist of around six to ten foils in a shade that is just a few shades lighter or darker than your natural color. Many salons offer this as an add on service (with a haircut, conditioning treatment, blow out, etc…) for a very reasonable rate. Only $30 at my salon!! (Zonolite Hair Studio)

Face framing high lights

Face framing high lights



Low lights

Low lights

Are you more of an all over kind of person? Would you like to just enhance your natural color? A demi permanent gloss is a nice option. You can choose a color that is a richer version of your natural color. The shade you choose may be more golden or red to give your hair a nice shine. The great thing about demi permanent color is that only about 50% of  the color stays in your hair permanently. So, as your hair grows the color fades out a bit. With this option there is no urgency to get those roots done because they are barely noticeable. Demi is also great for coloring gray hair (50% gray or less) because it makes the grays in your hair just look like high lights.

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With lower maintenance options, that lowers how much you would be spending on color as well. As a mother it becomes a difficult task to take time for yourself and especially spend money on yourself (even though you deserve it!!). If you are still not interested in spending money at a salon on your hair as much as I hate to say it, there is always the store bought option… I frown upon this because store bought (AKA box) color can be unpredictable, more damaging, and incredibly difficult to fix if you choose the wrong color. Also, if you choose the wrong color and can’t fix it yourself it can be expensive when you go to the salon to have a stylist take care of you. Worst cases are when women end up with darker hair than what they wanted and desire to be a couple of shades lighter. This service in the salon is known as corrective color and has been know to take 4+ hours and cost $200+ to fix. ***Remember color cannot lift color***  Bleach is usually required to lift box color.

If you do choose to go with box color, please be cautious!!!! Try demi permanent for going darker. If you are going lighter take this into consideration: Box color only has the ability to lift 2 levels of color. So, if you want to be more than 2 levels lighter than what you are you will have to use bleach (in a salon we can lift up to 4 or 5 levels with color). If you have dark brown hair and you put light blonde box color on your hair, your hair will just look medium brown that is very “brassy” or orange. When bleaching your hair, timing is everything. If it is on too long, you will end up with super blonde hair that could possibly be very damaged. If bleach is not on your hair long enough, you will have orange hair that then has to be toned.  There are lots of variables that go into doing your own hair color. That’s why I strongly recommend leaving it to the professionals to take care of.

Worried about damage? The more levels you lift your hair the more your hair cuticle opens and hair becomes slightly fragile. Also, depending on what type of hair you have, color can damage it more or less. Fine hair is the most fragile (be careful when going lighter). Coarse hair can withstand many levels of lift with little damage. If you do not want to damage your hair here are some options: Use demi permanent hair color instead of permanent for going darker, only go a couple of shades lighter when lifting your hair, and choose foils instead of all over. These options will not noticeably compromise the integrity of your hair.

When deciding what hair color to choose for yourself it is important that you determine what skin tone you have in order to know what colors look best on you. Eye color plays into this as well. This website will be helpful in determining what your skin tone is if you are unsure:,,20475181_20591842_21153816,00.html           (side note: this website has hair care advertisements. I do not recommend these products because they are not natural/organic)

Well, that sums up our lesson on hair color! If you guys have any questions regarding any of the information I write on this blog, feel free to call me or come see me at my salon! I work Wednesday 4-8, Friday 3-7 and Saturday 10-4. Zonolite Hair Studio 4042491543


Nicky Nocera

Next Blog Topic: Natural/Organic Hair Care

Stay at home mom NOT stay at home hair

On a beautiful September day I put my son down for a nap and went off to get some things done around the house. First, I needed to stop by the bathroom to grab a hair tie that would get my wild hair out of my face. Usually this would be a fast process…in and out, but I stopped to look in the mirror. Yikes!!! It then dawned on me that it had been 3 days since I showered! Most would assume I probably hadn’t been out of the house much and that must be why I looked so busted. Nope! I had been everywhere!! Grocery store, play dates, and dinner with friends. So early into motherhood I had decided it is much easier just to throw my hair up in any hair tie and go out and about. I was also a paranoid mother and was too scared to bathe while I was home alone with my child. HAHA!! I eventually figured that out.

As for my hair, I am a trained hair stylist so doing my hair should be pretty easy for me, but now days I just don’t have as much time to do it. My son also enjoys yanking at my hair on a regular basis. I am sure a lot of you mama’s are familiar with these experiences. So, after that day in my bathroom I decided put in the effort to take better care of hair.

This could have been me!

Wearing a pony tail is a quick and easy style for us busy moms, right? The problem is, wearing your hair in a pony tail too often can be damaging to your hair. However, in our “on-the-go” lives we can’t always avoid it so here are some useful tips for when you do make the decision to wear your hair up. If possible, avoid putting your hair up when it’s wet. Hair’s elasticity is doubled when wet, so when you put your hair up it breaks as it dries. If you can, let it air dry before putting it up. Instead of using tight hair ties or ones with metal on them, try a scrunchy (the 90’s best hair accessory!). Dent free hair ties are great as well and super cute! If you do not have time to let your hair air dry, opt for using a clip, braiding your hair, wearing a hat, or head band instead of using a hair tie. These accessories can be fun, easy and fashionable! I am a big fan of Forever 21 and H&M to find hair accessories- inexpensive and stylish!!


You could also do some fun things with the front of your hair to give some style to pulled back hair. Maybe a front poof, braid or twist.


If your hair is longer there are lots of fun things to do. Braid your hair, twist it, then pin it. Boom! You have an “updo”. The ballerina bun has become popular and is super cute.

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If your hair is curly, here are some pretty updo options.

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It is a full time job to be a mother. It can be tough at times, but more than anything it is pure joy. So, let’s make our hair match the beautiful glow of motherhood we all wear proudly. We are some hot mamas!!

I will be giving lessons on how to do a lot of these styles at the event I am hosting at my salon, Zonolite Hair Studio, on March 18th at 5 p.m. These are simple styles, but sometimes it helps to have someone help guide you in how to do them in a quick and practical way (perhaps even with a baby in one arm-haha!). Hope to see you guys soon!!


Next blog topic: Colorful Mama


Nicky Nocera is an Active Mama’s Fun Mama Style Maven.  Full of style herself, she is the mother to a bounding, happy, healthy young man named Bristan who is cute as can be.

Nicky is a profession hair stylist and colorist at Zololite Hair Studio in Atlanta.  She is hosting a Salon Event for Beautiful Mama’s on Monday, March 18th.  Check to RSVP.  (You must be a member to attend).

2 Style Tricks for Busy Moms

As the Mama Style Maven (thanks Robyn!!) and also a new mom (one year this February), I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about style. In particular, how to look good but not spend excessive time or money on fashion, because it has to be balanced with all the other things that are happening our lives. It’s easy to say that style is one of the last things on our minds, because we women juggle, multitask, and work in so many different capacities. For many of us, there could be a full or part-time job, a small business or at-home venture, running errands, organizing the household, plus caring for children (which would be enough work in itself!). In the midst of all this, how do we find or keep a sense of style?

As a stylist (and as a mom, fashion blogger, and entrepreneur) I always like to use two key strategies: systems and simplicity. Simplicity means avoiding excess and having easy, multipurpose pieces. For example, we may have closets of clothes that don’t fit and wish we could look a little better, but we don’t have the time every morning to go through possibilities and try to figure it all out. The simpler (and less stressful) option is to own a few pieces that a) fit well, right now; b) can be mixed and combined with other items in our closet; and c) fit our lifestyle, which includes considerations of color, fabric, situational appropriateness, etc. In other words, items that you like and know how to wear. Then with these pieces, you can move to step 2, creating a system.

A system is something that can be repeated and applied over and over again. It always works, and the more you use it, the faster and more automatic it becomes. Stylewise, for each of us there are systems to be created that can streamline the process. Want to add pop without loading up on jewelry? Have 2-3 “accessory basics” that are lightweight and go with virtually any outfit. Want to look more put together? Pick a formula for your body type, e.g. fitted on the bottom, looser on the top and stick to it when shopping. (That way, your tops and bottoms can always be worn together.) Clueless about colors? Find 1 or 2 that you love and pair with neutrals for a complete look.

Dressing may or may not always be fun, but it definitely shouldn’t be painful! Try thinking of simplicity in your wardrobe and systems when you dress, and you may find the process is a little easier, faster, and lets you enjoy your life and look great at the same time! Next month, I’ll cover 5 Easy Essentials for Moms.

Kaity Moreira
Active Mama’s Fun Mama Style Maven

Kaity is a new mom and fashion blogger, stylist, and personal shopper. For more info, check out or email her at

Stella & Dot Independent Stylist
(347) 456-8640

Men and Their Skin

men skin

Have you ever looked at your husbands skin and wondered why in the world do they have better skin than me? After all we’re the ones that spend tons of money on skin care products and beauty supplies!

Well, there is a method to the madness and I’m here to share their secret with you. Although there are many reasons why we women are prone to blemishes, the biggest reason we deal with these unfriendly friends is because of a little thing called hormones! As we all know, women are full of hormones and all different kinds of hormones at that. One of the biggest culprits are the hormones that come along with ‘Aunt Flow’ for her monthly visit. When ‘Aunt Flow’ visits you’ll notice a few friends will pop up around your chin and upper lip. Naturally men have the upper hand because they aren’t having to deal with ‘Aunt Flow’ and the hormones that come with her, along with the fact that many of our men are shaving and shaving is a great way to exfoliate the skin. When exfoliating the skin you’re breaking down the dead skin build up, which helps with cell turn over.

Regardless of Mens shaving advantage and lack of hormones they too need a skin care regimen to nourish and moisturize the skin. This week my husband Brentton, received his first skin care products, I came home from school with a bag of goodies. My husband has oily skin so I brought him home a gel cleanser, a daily nutrient toner and an oil control complex moisturizer. Since we are talking men here, you MUST make the regimen short a sweet, only three products. I remind him every night which one goes first and hope eventually he’ll catch on. The first night that he tried out his new skin care regimen I asked him how his skin felt, he replied “It felt AMAZING!”

I laughed and thought to myself “my job here us done!” I encourage everyone to pick something up for their husband’s next time you’re in target’s beauty section or at Sephora or Ulta. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive products just as long as they aren’t using a bar of soap!

– Ashley

About Ashley

I have always been intrigued by skin care in general. I enjoy learning about product ingredients and what they do and how they work . I remember giving my dad and mom facials made out of sugar, oatmeal, honey and pretty much anything else you could find in the pantry. When it comes to make up I think I may have a slight obsession, I thoroughly enjoy the art of make up. I spend my time learning different techniques, the new trends, and color theory.  This is why when my husband and I moved to Atlanta from California this past summer I decided it was time to go to school for Esthetics. I am currently a student at The Elaine Sterling Institute of Esthetics and am loving every moment of it. I am also a mother to a 1 year old little girl named Makenna Grace. She is  my absolute inspiration.