back to work: superficial things

March 2, 2018
Monday = Launch Day.
In addition to doing practical things (looking at my work inbox, patient schedule, moving a pump + extra parts + a mini-fridge to my office, bringing G to say hi) — I spent this week doing some superficial things.
Superficial.  But important!
They include:
1) HAIR.  I went for my Japanese Straightening appointment last Friday.  This is a 5 hour process, so it required a mid-session pump (and was the first and only time I left G for a feeding to date . . .agh).  (note: I dumped it because there were chemicals all over my hair at the time).  
I left feeling more like myself than I had for months.  HAIR MATTERS.  At least to me.
(triumphant selfie sent to Josh upon return home from hair appt!)
2) MAKEUP.  I am a major work in progress in this area, but I have decided that I have reached the age where a little makeup adds something.  It makes me look a little more awake and professional, if nothing else.  I honestly had been in a routine of only eyeshadow + mascara for a looooong time now, and hadn’t even bothered to apply these most of the time during maternity leave.
Part of having my game face on meant going to get some new products, so I headed to Nordstrom.  I left with a serum-type foundation, bronzer/blush, new eyeshadow palette, and lip color from Dior, as well as refills of my favorite mascara (this one) and makeup remover.  I am not wearing any of these (or anything for that matter) in the above pic so you’ll just have to use your imagination.
I still want a highlighter / brightener / concealer product.  Anyone have a favorite to recommend? (Thus far I have heard great things about this.  Although I have gone negative in my allowance so this will have to wait a while!)
3) CLOTHES.  Ahh, the toughest part of going back when your body is . . . not.  While I am not far from my previous size, I’m not quite there either, particularly in the chest + waist.  These key areas make it tough to fit into previously close-fitting pants + dresses, plus there is the pump to contend with (need easily strip-able outfits).  
I think my current look is going to be a lot of wrap/button down dresses, because they’re easy to pull down and pump, supplemented with black slim pants/less fitted shirts.  Some women swear by button downs but I’d rather wear things that hang looser for now when I’m wearing pants!
I placed an order from Boden one size up from usual (note #1: Boden runs small, so this was a number I am not used to, but I based it on my current waist measurement and that worked!  I figure I can always take things in later if I want to.  note #2: Boden has petites which are the perfect length/proportion for me, so this is one of the reasons I love them).  
I ended up with 3 successful picks – 2 shown below in poor lighting (but you get the idea).
Button-down shirtdress with throwback 2009 belt (I think it still works)

Wrap dress.  So comfortable + pump-friendly

Madewell roadtripper jeans + Madewell silk top (not new)
(We are not technically allowed to wear jeans, but on Fridays and/or with longer tops, I think I can get away with these.  
I also have one other pair of black pants that were on the bigger side before, and fit.)
I also got a new pair of shoes (shown) to work with the dresses.
4) NAILS.  Finishing touch – mani/pedi obtained yesterday.  CHECK.
 I am now ready to present myself looking like my old normal (or even better than the low bar I set during pregnancy – ha!), even if I don’t entirely feel that way.  Fake it ’til you make it?  I think there’s some real value in that.  
Now to enjoy the last 3 days of freedom . . . !


  • Reply Courtney March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Enjoy your last days of maternity leave! I returned to work two months ago and had similar wardrobe issues, and I’ve found a ponte sheath dress from Lands End to be the most amazing post-baby dress. It’s ponte, so the fabric is forgiving yet thick enough to smooth my tummy, it’s machine washable, the zipper in the back makes it easy to pump, and it’s cheap enough that I don’t feel guilty about having it not be a "forever" dress. Just wanted to pass along in case you (or any readers) are looking for more back-to-work clothes – this dress is a staple of a lot of moms I know!

  • Reply SusannahEarlyBd March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    YOu look great, love the outfits! Now that I”m in my mid-30s, I really enjoy how makeup makes me feel. I don”t do tons of it, but wearing different lipsticks/lip glosses every day just makes me feel put together.

  • Reply Jenny March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    You look fantastic!

    I’m intrigued by the discussion of dresses as pumping-friendly. In my head, they are not at all practical to wear until one is fully done with pumping because they require too much undressing in the workplace than I am comfortable with, even behind a closed and locked door. Although I can see how the wrap dress in particular would work well, especially with the Freemie cups.

  • Reply Misha March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    You look gorgeous! Did you see the recent cupofjo post with the nursing jumpsuit? I’m not sure how work appropriate it is, but it is so pretty. I second the request for a make up post, too. I am finding myself needing to relearn all things make-up having entered my forties… I know you aren’t my age, but I’d love to hear any tips!

  • Reply Ali March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    You look great!! Hope Monday goes smoothly and you get back in the groove in no time!

  • Reply Lee March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Could you please share the kind of foundation and bronzer/blush?


  • Reply androidappapks March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    outstanding post. free likes

  • Reply battery isolator March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I like your hair it’s very straight, easy to tack and keep without tangles aside, nice clean and cool. Me I need to have my hair straightened especially on days that I’m very busy and i don’t have to time to style my hair all the time and almost regular. I love fashion and so I do not like to leave my hair unattended too.

  • Reply Aly March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    You go girl! Sending positive vibes on your return to work.

  • Reply omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Your. Hair. Looks. Amazing.

    I recently discovered the wonder of makeup myself. Especially eyeliner and mascara, but also a sheer tinted face cream. I don’t love foundation during the week because it gets all over my OR mask and hat. However for going out, yes. Also, blush helps A LOT.

    I also started botoxing my forehead. I hate to admit it, but it is kind of amazing.

  • Reply Heather F. March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Highlighter: I love this one:

    Totally trivial: I’ve also been thinking that I would like to figure out a more intentional wardrobe (although not-maternity-related). And I read your note that you’re not permitted to wear jeans – and realized that pretty much my entire dilemma is about which jeans to wear! The joys of industry-specific clothing expectations…..

  • Reply Meredith March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I’m a big fan of this highlighter – not too obvious but it conceals nicely and seems to reflect the light.

    I started having my eyelashes and brows tinted after I had my baby. It was a gamechanger: instant mascara without the time taken to put it on (or more importantly, remove it).

  • Reply Anne March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    About the chemicals, nerd question… does it stay in your body after the treatment? I mean, they do not go away instantly? It is the same with nail polish, no?I avoided regular mani-pedi when I breasfed, even now, I go with "Be kind" or other 8 free nail polish, some places use them, it is even better with the women who work there; in regular salon, women have migraines, dermatitis, asthma and even miscarriages, I did read an article on that, after one woman told me about it (in a vegan salon). Well, maybe I am to suspicious.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      (NOT knocking the 5-free or more natural nail products – this is something I may actually try, I just don’t have as much fear of nail products compared to products that are absorbed all over the baby’s body (sunscreen, lotion, etc).

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      Honestly, I do not know what the pharmacokinetics are of these things. I don’t worry about nail polish to be honest – it’s been used for SO long. although as you mention, I am sure there may be greater implications among salon workers.

      I’m sure all of the chemicals are not instantly gone after the hair straightening, but since there are no clear guidelines, I just dump during the process because it makes me feel more comfortable.

  • Reply Organising Queen March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Your hair looks great, Sarah! I’m going to go get mine done tomorrow – I cannot WAIT! My hair matters to me too!

    Can we have a picture with the full hair and make-up? 🙂

  • Reply Brittnie March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Your hair looks amazing! I need to look into this as my hair gets super frizzy in the Houston summer humidity. A

    Love the outfits as well!

    Enjoy the last few days of maternity leave!

  • Reply shellychlan March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I wish you well on your return to work. Hopefully you were able to get some sleep last night and even if you are a little short in sleep you will do great!

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    You look awesome!

    Hair question – does that mean I should also pump and dump if I get a perm? I’m currently breastfeeding a 3 month old and it didn’t occur to me the chemicals on my head could get into my milk. 🙁

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      officially? i have no idea. there are no real guidelines. I just dump what is pumped during the actual process b/c it makes me feel better 🙂

  • Reply Beth March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    You look fantastic. Hair is on point and honestly so important to how you feel about yourself! I live for a good blowout. Seriously considering the Japanese straightening after seeing how good it looks on you! Good luck going back to work!

  • Reply Tyra March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I very rarely wear makeup (and I don’t wear it to work) – but when I do wear it I tend to use stuff that is a bit of a splurge!

    For an illuminator I use a powder from Hourglass. I also love Smashbox for primers and their BB cream, or Urban Decay. I assume most of these would be available somewhere like Sephora?

    I’m also curious about Stowaway Cosmetics – I read about them on Reading My Tea Leaves. They’re essentially travel sized cosmetics but for everyday use.

    • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      If you try them out, let me know. My friend Julie founded the company (and she also got me into blogging)!

  • Reply Caren March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Great job, you’re really good! You’re ideal for our girls.

  • Reply Agfun4 March 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I love this post really amazing wisdom tooth pain

  • Reply Birdee March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    You look awesome. Did you see the ongoing cosmetics post with the nursing jumpsuit? I don’t know how function fitting it is, but rather it is so lovely. I second the demand for a cosmetics post, as well. Expectation Monday goes easily and you get back ready in the blink of an eye!

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