Best Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)

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Baby Buddha Portable Breast Pump

NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links or codes, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links and codes, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

If you are a mother who has been following the baby formula shortage on the news, you have undoubtedly been struck with compassion for those affected.

Although many women are unable to breastfeed (for multiple reasons), it is more important than ever that those who are able to do so receive the support they need.

I strongly believe that the Baby Buddha portable breast pump is one such critical tool for nursing mothers.

It is the best portable breast pump – and the best breast pump PERIOD.

As a currently breastfeeding working mom, I can affirm that an excellent pump is absolutely crucial for success. For many of us, work demands limit us to a brief 15 minute window to pump; suction must be strong in order to maximize milk output and to minimize pumping time. A huge plus is portability, especially for those of us with an older child to tend as well.

Before I launch into my explanation for how the Baby Buddha fulfills both of these vital criteria, I would like to share my own breastfeeding journey.

With my first pregnancy, I was determined to breastfeed. I knew so much about the benefits to the baby. However, as with many first time mothers, my nursing journey had a rocky start. My first child did not latch, and I was forced to resort to a standard insurance-covered pump, the Spectra, and to supplement with formula. My milk output did not accelerate as I had expected, and I was disappointed. The Spectra simply did not extract the milk I needed; my body definitely seemed to recognize the difference between a baby and a pump! At 3 weeks old, however, my firstborn finally learned to latch, a development that rescued my milk supply. I was able to establish a respectable (although not bountiful) freezer stash, which allowed me to breastfeed my son until 14 months.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy…this time, I researched pump options extensively. More and more, I was contemplating the need for portability, as I would now have a 2-year-old to chase around the house in addition to the newborn. Sifting through the pump options covered by my insurance, I was less than enthused. There were rumors that most of the other portable pump options on the market have weak suction.

After researching YouTube videos, I decided to give the Baby Buddha a whirl.

Listed below are some standard facts about this beautiful little gem of a pump:

1) Size and Portability – The Baby Buddha is a small pump, the size of an iPhone, attached to a strap which you can hang around your neck. The lightness of it allows a pumping mother, when the pump parts are secured in place by a pumping bra, to fold clothes, put away clean dishes, care for an older child, and complete numerous other household chores while pumping. This is essential, and it made life far easier than when I was pumping for my first child. The small size of it also allows for easier storage in a pump bag.

I’m including a picture below (obtained from the Baby Buddha website) of the complete setup:

2) Versatility with Pump Parts from other Brands – One other huge plus of the Baby Buddha is that you can attach the pump parts from another standard (free and insurance-covered) pump to the Baby Buddha. For instance, I used the Spectra pump parts with my Baby Buddha, and it worked like a dream. I simply attached the Baby Buddha tubing directly onto the Spectra parts. The Baby Buddha website actually includes some neat little infographics (see example below) about how to attach parts from the most common breast pumps (Spectra, Medela, Ameda, Evenflo) to the Baby Buddha. Although the Baby Buddha website offers its own pump parts, I much preferred to attach the pump to my Spectra parts, with which I was most familiar. This pump can also attach to Freemie cups.

Spectra pump parts attached to Baby Buddha pump

3) Powerful Suction – It is not an exaggeration to assert that I obtained twice as much milk from the Baby Buddha, especially during the first few months when milk production often peaks naturally. This soon led to an enormous freezer milk stash, such as I had only seen on Pinterest or heard about (with envy) from over-producing moms. I could not believe it. With my first child, I had a decent stash – but nothing like this wealth of breast milk! It became a bit of a joke in our family – I was able to fill our freezer to brim as well as that of my parents-in-law. I produced so much breast milk that my in-laws told me not to bring any more milk since they did not have any more room in their freezer! Ha! Truly – it was and is a wonderful problem to have.

This is exactly what my freezer looks like!

A few other thoughts…

This breast pump, while not quiet, is certainly not loud either.

The only 2 drawbacks to this pump…

  • I did seem to have to replace the pump parts more frequently; the strong suction of the pump seemed to wear out my Spectra parts sooner. However, I did not have to replace them more than once per month, and that is actually the official recommendation for pump part replacement.
  • I personally did not care for the Baby Buddha pump parts (flanges, etc.). I would recommend attaching the Baby Buddha pump to those pump parts for which you are most familiar.
  • This pump is usually not covered by insurance. However, an application for insurance coverage is provided on the website here; prescription is required.

OVERALL…

This pump, quite simply, changed my breastfeeding journey. I wish I had had this pump during my first pregnancy. This pump will fill your freezer in no time!

DISCOUNT CODE

  • I’d like to offer my readers a 10% discount code for this pump, which is normally sold here for $249.99. Simply enter the code MAKEUPDIVA10 at checkout.*

*Please note this discount code can be applied to the Baby Buddha pump itself, not the Baby Buddha pump parts.





Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Look

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

Charlotte Tilbury has become the face of feminine sophistication and catwalk glamour! As “makeup artist to the stars,” she has perfected this magical combination. Her makeup comes with a hefty price tag, but, in most cases, it is 100% worth it!

I have created a Charlotte Tilbury look below! While not every product used in the look is from Charlotte Tilbury, it does feature many of her most iconic creations, particularly in the “Pillow Talk” line:

Foundation: Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-hour Primer (Shade “Fair”)

Powder: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder (Shade “Fair”)

Blush: Charlotte Tilbury Blush (Shade “Pillow Talk”)

Undereye Concealer: Anastasia Beverly Hills Magic Touch Concealer (Shade 1)

Lipliner: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liner (Shade “Pillow Talk”)

Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick (Shade “Pillow Talk”)

Eyeshadow (Lid): “Rose Gold” shade topped with “Sparkle” shade (from the Charlotte Tilbury “Exaggereyes” Palette)

Eyeshadow (Outer Lid + Crease): “Red Brown” shade (from the Charlotte Tilbury “Exaggereyes” Palette)

Eyeshadow (Brow Bone + Inner Corner): “Ivory Cream” shade (from the Charlotte Tilbury “Exaggereyes” Palette)

Eyeliner: Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eyeliner Pencil (Shade “Barbarella Brown”)

Brow: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pomade (Shade “Medium Brown”)

I hope you have enjoyed this look! As Charlotte would say, have a wonderful day, DARLINGS!

Charlotte Tilbury

Best Hair Tool for Fine Hair – Revlon One Step Volumizer and Styler!

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

I don’t know about some of you, but I have always struggled with my hair! Makeup is my expertise, but hair is my Achilles heel. I’m that girl who will watch over 100 “easy bun” tutorials but who is never able to actually construct the bun – mostly due to my fine hair. (The bun usually ends up looking like a rat’s nest!)

All that changed 2 months ago when I found this life-changing product!

The Revlon One Step Volumizer and Styler is a one-stop-shop device – by far, the best styling tool for fine hair.

It simultaneously dries and styles the hair. The ease of this product is what is so impressive – it practically styles itself into a Kate Middleton style blowout!

I’ve illustrated in the pics below how I like to do this.

First, I recommend holding the styler as close to the root as possible and drying for several seconds before pulling the brush straight upwards through the hair to the tips (see below); you will employ this technique all the way around your head. This adds lift and volume! See sequence below:

The final (and most important!) step is to take a front section of hair and wrap it forward over the styler – this adds those lovely waves which frame the face. See this step below:

Below is a before-and-after which shows the final product:

And, just to demonstrate that this sort of result is not a fluke, I’m including a second before-and-after pic:

Until next time!

3 “Naked 3 Mini” Looks (Plus Review!)

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NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

As a mega-fan of the Original “Naked 3” Palette from Urban Decay, I was thrilled to hear about the “Naked 3 Mini” – and it has not disappointed me!

This little gem of a palette is compact – in fact, it could fit in your pocket! Thus, it is a perfect palette to pack while traveling:

These colors are in the rose gold family similar to the original “Naked 3” shades; however, these shades are unique enough to differentiate them from the namesake palette.

SHADES:

  1. “Glassy” – This shade is a gorgeous champagne, which is ideal for placement on the browbone or the inner corner. It is also perfect as an all-over wash to the lid.
  2. “Public” – Stunning rose gold. There are no words to describe the beauty of this shade. It provides subtle glitter, with no chunkiness.
  3. “Laced Up” – Matte dusty rose. This color is the quintessential crease shade.
  4. “Stolen” – Shimmering dusty rose; ideal for lid application.
  5. “Right Time” – Dusty purple/mauve; excellent for crease application.
  6. “Spiced” – Very deep eggplant purple shade with pinkish sparkling specks. This shade dials up the drama and anchors the palette. It is perhaps the most versatile – as a liner, deep crease shade, or suitable lid color on a date night.

I have 3 separate looks utilizing this remarkable palette:

LOOK #1

LOOK #2

LOOK #3

Until next time!

Now Available on Audible.com!

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My Revolutionary War novel, Cadence to Glory, is now available in audiobook format on Audible.com! (Link included below)

Special thanks to Catherine Odom Lewis, my friend and narrator!

https://www.audible.com/pd/Cadence-to-Glory-Audiobook/B07WZQ8RS9?qid=1653163341&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=83218cca-c308-412f-bfcf-90198b687a2f&pf_rd_r=CGFXB8N2SY6ZESBV091A

Our Molar Pregnancy Story

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Our first pregnancy began as most such happy journeys begin.

I vividly remember my heart’s flutterings as the second line slowly emerged on the pregnancy test, in the early Saturday morning hours while my husband still slept.

We had been trying to conceive for 2 months. I had approached our attempt at pregnancy with some apprehension, as my mother had struggled with 10 years of infertility and I had long feared to share her fate.

You can well imagine, therefore, my disbelief and subsequent euphoria to behold the positive pregnancy test on my bathroom vanity.

I screamed, “I’m pregnant!” My husband, roused from sleep by my exclamation, rushed into the bathroom and hugged me; we both wept for joy. This revelation was followed by a flurry of Pinterest-worthy pregnancy announcements to our parents and relatives. This would be the first grandchild on both sides, a longed-for prospect.

Our first ultrasound appointment was met with a small amount of trepidation, but all doubts were silenced by the cheerful ultrasound technician, who exclaimed, “We have a heartbeat!” We paid less attention to her subsequent statement: “The baby is a little on the small side. It’s measuring 6 weeks, when it should measure 8 weeks. You probably ovulated late.” This seemingly innocent remark would later assume ominous overtones in retrospect.

I felt exceedingly well. I counted myself fortunate to have avoided the dreaded morning sickness suffered by so many expectant mothers and deduced that all must be well. We were so confident in the success of this textbook pregnancy that, at 11 weeks, we proceeded to post a social media announcement, featuring our dog standing in front of a sign which read the following: “Mom and Dad are getting me a human for Christmas!” We spent hours coaxing our puppy into the proper position for the perfect shot. We gleefully posted it on Facebook, basking in the subsequent flood of well wishes.

Our 12 week appointment arrived. Given my lack of symptoms, I was so convinced that all was well that I gave my husband permission to miss the appointment. I invited my mother-in-law instead, who wished to hear the baby’s heartbeat. The seminal moment arrived, and we followed the same cheerful technician into the ultrasound suite. I waited with bated breath to hear my angel’s heartbeat once again.

This time, instead of rapid-fire reassurances, an eerie silence cloaked the dark room. The ultrasound technician finally uttered in hoarse tones, “I should see arms and legs by now.” She switched the ultrasound mode from transabdominal to transvaginal. She quietly asked, “Have you had any spotting?” I whispered, “No, I haven’t.”

The silence in the room deepened. My mind began to race as the unthinkable took shape.

The technician ultimately shook her head and bemoaned, “I am so sorry; I cannot find any cardiac activity.”

I was never before – and have never since – been so utterly crushed as in that moment. The ultrasound suite was a tomb, where my dearest dreams – past, present, and future – were buried.

I underwent a D&C, and subsequent test results revealed our baby had been a boy. We also learned that he was the product of a molar pregnancy. A molar pregnancy is a fluke of nature, 1 in 1000 pregnancies. It most often occurs when 2 sperm fertilize the same egg, leading to a non-viable fetus. It carries more danger than an average miscarriage as there is a small risk of cancer (gestational trophoblastic disease, or choriocarcinoma). In a cruel twist, I not only mourned the loss of my baby but now faced the potential specter of cancer.

As is custom in molar pregnancies, we were instructed to wait a set number of months to conceive again, to ensure that my HCG level dropped to zero – and remained there.

During those months, I wrestled with demons of jealousy. Seeing other young mothers around me was a daily torment. Through tears, I smiled for them. I could hardly bear to see young children, as thoughts of my little lost love were all-consuming. I wondered if this mystical gift of motherhood would ever visit me again. Looking back, I am not proud of my emotions during that bleak period, but they were natural and unavoidable. Even then, I realized that only a second pregnancy had the power to cure this bitterness.

I marked the day on my calendar when this agonizing wait would end and met that day with caution, hardly daring to hope.

Two months later, I had another positive pregnancy test. And yet, this result was received with far greater forbearance and gravity. No Pinterest-worthy announcements this time; in fact, no announcements at all.

Each doctor’s appointment provoked intense anxiety, and I came as close to a panic attack as I ever have at my 8 week visit, when I was again forced to enter the dark room of death, as I saw it then – the ultrasound suite. This time, the technician reassured me that the baby was measuring 7 weeks and 4 days – consistent with expected size.

Each doctor’s appointment allayed my fears by small increments. Only at the anatomy scan, when my baby’s organs were painstakingly examined and pronounced to be free from defect, did I begin to relax and somewhat enjoy the journey.

Our firstborn, a healthy baby boy, arrived on July 27, 2019.

Our second son was born two years later.

Our great trial taught us many lessons. Only in the rain can we begin to appreciate the sunshine that follows. God taught us the value of trusting Him. Particularly inspiring was the song, “By Faith,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty; it was our theme song, our ballad of faith, during those dark days.

We named our molar baby, “Andrew.”

Even though the lyrical laughter of children and the patter of small feet infuse our home with warmth and delight today, we will never forget Andrew.

We know we will meet him again one day.

To all women who have suffered pregnancy loss, and particularly to those who have endured the protracted nightmare that is a molar pregnancy, we hope our story inspires hope for brighter days. You are not alone.

Homecoming/Prom Makeup Look!

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It’s that time of year again!

Below, I have created a sample (universally flattering) homecoming/prom look for high school girls.  Special thanks to my lovely cousin, Madison Pinke, for serving as my model!  🙂

Before (left) and After (right)

 

FACE PRODUCTS USED

Foundation — Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1

Powder — Coty Airspun Powder in “Naturally Neutral”

Blush — Bobbi Brown “Pale Pink”

Contouring Powder — Inglot HD Sculpting Powder 504

Highlighter — Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in “Champagne Pop”

Undereye Concealer — Mac Studio Correct and Conceal Duo in “Pale Pink / Pale Yellow”

Lipstick — Sephora Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color in “Fig”

EYE PRODUCTS USED

Primer — Mac Paint Pot in “Soft Ochre”

Lid — Makeup Geek foiled eyeshadow in “Grandstand”

Crease — Makeup Geek eyeshadow in “Cupcake”

Outer Corner — Tarte eyeshadow “Power Plum” in the Energy Noir Clay Palette

Inner Corner — Makeup Geek eyeshadow in “Shimma Shimma”

Eyeliner — Bobbi Brown gel liner in “Black Ink”

Mascara — Lancome Hypnose Drama in “Excessive Black”

Brow Gel — Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in “Medium Brown”

Hope you enjoyed this sample look!

Until next time 😉

My Revolutionary War Novel — Free Kindle Giveaway!

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In a brief recess from makeup, I wanted to share news regarding my historical novel, Cadence to Glory!

Cadence to Glory eBook Cover Large

When I was eleven, my parents took me on vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, capital of Virginia during the American Revolution.  As I stepped back in time, shadows of the Revolution spoke to me.  Characters began to emerge in my mind, and I began to write after returning home.  Although I cycled through countless drafts since that trip, my childhood spirit is still entranced by that time and place upon which the subsequent history of our nation turned.  The journey to publication, however, was a long one — and took me through seven harrowing years of medical school and residency.

I decided to publish on CreateSpace in November 2014.

Life as a self-published author (and physician on the side!) has not been simple, and I have been introduced to the harsh reality that self-published authors, no matter how talented, must pay ample amounts to publicize their work.

However, last month, my novel received a very positive review (and recommendation!) from the prestigious Kirkus Reviews — and was even featured in the February 2015 issue of Kirkus Reviews magazine!

You can read the full Kirkus Review of my novel on their website here.

For 5 days only, beginning today, the Kindle edition of my novel will be available for free on Amazon!  Please follow this link.

If you decide to download the book (and if you like it!), please post a review on Amazon.com since this helps propel sales.

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!  😃

Review: Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara!

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My experience has always favored high-end, as opposed to drugstore, mascaras as the best option for a feminine, flirty fringe. However, I recently tried a $3 mascara — at the drugstore — and would like to share my thoughts!

Hidden in the corner of Walgreen’s is the (rather obscure) Jordana display. While passing by the display, I picked up the Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara along with a few of their Modern Matte lipsticks (that review coming soon, too!).

The packaging is sturdy but standard:

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The formula is not too wet, but not too thick (or gel-like).

And now for the before & after!

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(Top to bottom –> Bare Lashes, 1 Coat, 2 Coats)

The result is thick, voluminous, dramatic lashes — comparable to my Holy Grail mascara, Too Faced “Better than Sex” mascara. These lashes do not flake off throughout the day, as so many drugstore mascaras tend to do. There is a small tendency to clump, but I feel this is always part of the territory with the most volumizing mascaras available. I’ve been reaching for this mascara every single day since purchasing it.

The best part about this mascara? It’s a killer bargain — at $3.

Can’t wait to try out other Jordana products!

Verdict: 4.5/5 Stars

Availability: Walgreen’s & jordanacosmetics.com for $3

Belated Valentine’s / Date Makeup Look!

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Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

I was planning on uploading this makeup look prior to Valentine’s Day but fell victim to a viral upper respiratory infection at the week’s end!

Featured Look:

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FACE PRODUCTS USED

Foundation — Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation in Shade #3
Undereye Concealer — NYX HD Photogenic Concealer in “Porcelain”
Powder — Physician’s Formula Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder in “Translucent”
Highlighter — Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pressed) in “Moonstone”
Blush — Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in “Natural Beauty”
Contouring Powder — Inglot 504
Lipstick — Too Faced Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in “Melted Strawberry”

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EYE PRODUCTS USED

Inner Lid — Makeup Geek Foiled Eyeshadow “In the Spotlight”
Outer V — Mac “Cranberry”
Crease — Makeup Geek “Cupcake”
Eye Primer — Mac Paint Pot “Soft Ochre”
Brow Bone — Mac “Nylon”
Brows — Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade in “Medium Brown”
Eyeliner — Jordana Cat Eye Liner in “Black Leather”
Mascara — Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara

Hope you enjoyed the look — and had a great Valentine’s Day!  ❤️