7 Ways I Maintain my Health Postpartum

Black boots, leather jacket, Nars Lip Pencil in “Cruella,” gold hoops. This was my uniform before I was a mama. I even kept acrylic nails and called it my “Jenny from the Block” look. It worked for me.

Now that I have a one-year-old toddler, my uniform is still cute – it’s just different. Am I still rocking leggings from Motherhood Maternity most days? I mean yeah, I am. I have an old pair of Free People jeans that fit. I’m trucking along. I’m doing okay.

But the nails are gone, the hoops are out (not because I’m getting ready to fight, but because my child would rip them out otherwise), and my lips aren’t red anymore. Not really. These days, I’ve jumped on the self-care bandwagon and it’s keeping me going. My skin has to be clear because I don’t always have time for makeup. I’ve switched to natural beauty products wherever I can because I’ve got to make sure I’m healthy. It’s still working for me. I don’t have a bunch of free time to straighten my hair and try to get my eyelashes so long that they hit my eyebrows anymore – but I do make time to take care of myself.

Here are a few ways I still work on myself every day:

1) Magnesium Soaks

Most women are magnesium deficient. I know there are vitamins that correct this, but why do that when you could just sit in a tub of it? I like these ones.

2 Podcasts

I love me a podcast. I’m a huge fan of Alexis Haines’ “Recovering from Reality” podcast (she used to be Alexis Neiers. As in “Nancy Jo this is Alexis Neiers calling”). I also love Jackie Schimmel’s “The Bitch Bible” and sometimes when I feel like laughing I’ll put on Logan Paul’s podcast. I will not apologize. I am who I am.

3) Face Masks

So this is a new one for me. My skin is extremely sensitive and it sucks because I can’t use everything and anything like everyone else. HOWEVER, I found the Whamisa brand during my pregnancy (I was searching for pregnancy-safe skincare) and found it. It’s a Korean beauty brand and I love their fermented flowers mask and olive oil mist. I use the mist to take off my makeup and it works really well for me.

4) House Slippers

We don’t allow shoes in the house now that we have a small human boy running around. I work from home and I don’t always like to walk around barefoot… so I found these and they help me to feel put together.

5 Hand Masks

I wash my hands a ton because like I said: Greek mother with OCD. My hands dry out fast and my knuckles crack… it’s just ugly. A few weeks ago, I got a manicure (not acrylics, it was a sad day) and the technician put a hand mask on me before she did anything else.

I ordered a bunch of them after I got home. I like to put them on and then stare at my husband with a crazy look on my face because we both know I have an excuse to not do anything for the next 15-20 minutes (pretty sure the mask only has to stay on for like 10 but I told him that my hands specifically need 20).

6 Journaling

I was half-asleep one night a few months ago and did some Amazon ordering… and I don’t really have any recollection of it. I only know what happened because I woke up to six Amazon order confirmation emails. Six. I ordered six self-help books for myself on anxiety, negative self-talk, gratitude, all of it. Maybe I could have just like started with one to see how it went? My cart looks like a cry for help. My husband thinks I’m a weirdo. It’s fine I’m fine. Message me if you want the links. The one I’ve been using the most is here.

7) Kopari

Soooo apparently deodorant is full of aluminum and our armpits are basically lymphatic system hot spots. Not a good idea to put chemicals all up on them every day. I’ve been using the original-scented Kopari deodorant for over a year and I love it. I don’t get the scented ones – I just do the original scent and it smells like coconuts.

I love reading about how mamas (and all girls really) make the time to take care of their well-being. It’s probably my most-searched Pinterest topic. If you have any practices that make you feel put-together and better overall, I’m all ears.

5 Reasons Why I Love NYC Like It's a Person

Good morning everyone! I woke up like a little kid this morning because I am so excited about my new blog. I’m so proud of myself for beginning this journey… it’s going to be good for my mental health. Everyone needs an outlet and I’ve always loved telling stories.

I wanted to live in New York City ever since I was nine years old and my parents rented “Center Stage” for me from Blockbuster (Blockbuster – R.I.P.). Of course they had to fast forward through the racy parts but it was the first time in my life that I felt passion like that. I wanted to dance like Zoe Saldana and I wanted to put out cigarettes with my pointe shoes and I wanted to take class at Broadway Dance Center, and for these reasons, I hope to never have a daughter. There’s nothing like a nine year old girl telling you she wants to put out a cigarette with her pointe shoes.

I ended up moving to Manhattan straight out of high school for a year to attend Marymount Manhattan College (it’s a real place, I promise). I majored in English and spent my weekends taking class at BDC. I grew to love that city like it was a human being. I never knew that was possible.

Here are 5 reasons why New York City would be in my top 8 if I still had a Myspace:

1) Walking

It was a 17-block walk from my dorm to school. Because we were all college kids walking the same route to and from school every day, I had friends all around me every day. MMC is a tiny liberal arts college – maybe 2,500 students – so I was never alone.

Also, whenever I needed some time to myself, I would put headphones in around dusk, walk up to Park Avenue, and head downtown towards the MetLife building which is visible every step of the way. It was so therapeutic. I still haven’t found a way to recreate this exact feeling, but I will never forget how peaceful it was.

2) Pinkberry – This is Important

There was a Pinkberry on the same block as my dorm (231 E. 55th I miss you). It’s the best frozen yogurt you’ll ever find anywhere. Menchies, TCBY, Sweet Frog – they all pale in comparison.

3) Opportunity

One month after school started, I heard a bunch of my dancer friends talking about an open audition at Chelsea Studios. I went by myself (got lost along the way) wearing my combat boots and carrying an outdated headshot. I had no idea what the audition was for. It turned out that Xbox was launching its new Kinect 360 dance game in a Times Square performance that took over all of the big screens and two blocks of space right in the heart of one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. I didn’t have an agent yet. I kind of just lied my way in. I got the job. We still didn’t know what it would entail but I didn’t care, it was my first professional dance job.

The night of the performance, we found out that we’d be dancing for Ne-Yo. I cried. He was up on stage and we were dancing on the white carpeted streets. My face was on a Times Square big screen. It was one of the best days of my life. Here is the performance if you’re interested:

4) Inclusivity

Our curriculum at MMC focused on inclusivity, acceptance, and kindness. It was important to educate us all as well as possible because there was a large LGBTQ+ community at school – we had one of the best theater programs, acting programs, and dance programs in the country, and boys and girls alike all gathered together to celebrate and learn and improve on their skills. Because of this, I was introduced to Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” in 2010. He was a Beatnik writer in the 50s – he was friends with Kerouac and Carr and Burroughs and all of those guys. “Howl” withstood an obscenity trial in 1957. There’s a great movie about it with James Franco as Allen Ginsberg. There’s also a movie called “Kill Your Darlings” that focuses on the Beatnik writers as well with Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg. I’m telling you guys, he’s the shit. He’s very cool. He’s a badass.

I kept this poem with me all through undergrad and grad school, and my first published poem is an ekphrastic piece called “Ode to Howl.” It was published in 2014 in Towson University’s “Grub Street” publication. I’ll link it in a later post.

5) Acceptance

There is no place in the world like New York City. I have had some of my most meaningful, in-depth conversations with complete strangers I met at the freaking Blarney Stone (I didn’t drink until college – was the Blarney Stone the best choice of location? I mean probably no. They installed an mini arcade over our winter break because they realized we were all underage and I really appreciated that about them).

If I was having a bad day, I could walk into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or go to the MOMA on a Thursday because that’s when it was free for students, or I could find a bench and watch the Empire State building turn different colors and remember that this wonderful, beautiful place was my home.

If I was having a good day, I could knock on any door in the dorm and find a friend to go get an ear piercing with me at St. Mark’s Place (I got my Tragus pierced there, 10/10 would not recommend. I acted like it didn’t hurt because the guy doing it looked like Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas in a kind of hot way and I didn’t want him to think I was a loser, but in reality, I needed meds because I couldn’t feel that side of my face the next day. Not good. Don’t do this). But still… it’s a memory. I had so much fun.

I sometimes wonder if anybody else loves a place as much as they love a person… it’s definitely possible. When I moved back home I mourned the loss of the life I had there. The loss of the culture, the freedom, the business and the energy. But it inspired 90% of the work I did in college, and it helped to shape me into who I am today.

Love to you guys. I’m hoping this resonates with someone… and if you have a place that you love like this, please let me know in the comments. I’m really interested in hearing other perspectives and experiences.

-Athina

Here We Go

I’ve got the intro to Beyonce & Jay-Z’s “Deja Vu” playing in my head on repeat. Just the beginning part where you hear a realll ominous base and she starts with her “It’s your girl, B” and he’s like “It’s your boy, young” and then all hell breaks loose.

I’m Athina. I’m 27, I’m married, and I have a one year old son. I love my boys. We also have a 3 year old Pomeranian/Husky mix named Daisy. I named her after Daisy Buchanan from “The Great Gatsby” (I know her character sucks but just go with me here, it’s my favorite book/movie). I have a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Professional Writing. I like words. I like that you can write and rewrite until you like what you’re reading. I was a ballet dancer growing up, and it is much easier to edit writing than it is to grow longer legs, develop better hip flexibility, become a stronger girl. With words, I can work hard without having to watch myself fail in a studio mirror.

I have a full-time job in corporate America. I like my job. I work in customer service and get to be a difference-maker. I’m detail-oriented, I like talking to people, and I’m not lazy. I’m a good employee. I get to work from home about 75% of the time now that I’m a mama, so most of our customers can hear Little Baby Bum songs playing in the background of our calls. Haven’t gotten any complaints yet but I’ll keep you posted on that one.

I grew up as a dancer and then I went to school for writing and I miss those things. I have a lot of thoughts. And I’m a good listener, and I provide a lot of value to my friends and family (this feels cringe-y to say, but I’m working on positive self talk. I’m really hard on myself and I really want to scale that back so that I can be a better parent – I don’t want for my child to absorb my bad habits, ever.)

I’m honestly an interesting creature. My house is clean, as you would expect from a Greek mother with OCD. But I’ll be washing bottles and watching Love is Blind, or Grey’s Anatomy, or New Girl (this one’s been on repeat for years. Winston and Ferguson for life) because it’s all about balance.

I love poetry and I love Lana del Rey. I like Mommy Blogs and I like @bennydrama7 on Instagram. I can’t resist a Janie and Jack sale when it comes to my son. I can’t say no to a pair of baby boy seersucker shorts.

I really have a lot of thoughts about Britney Spears. That’s a whole post in and of itself. She is unwell and we aren’t really discussing it. I think we should figure out what’s going on there before Coronavirus takes us all out and it’s too late.

I have a lot of grit, and I’m tough. I don’t take any shit. But at the same time, I’ve never done much with my writing degrees. To be completely honest, I’ve never felt good enough about my content or my ability in order to allow myself to try, even though I did very well in school. I’ve even been published twice.

I’ve never created the space to give myself a chance to speak. I would like to be a little braver, so here I am. I have a blog. I’m going to post about what I’m sure every mama has thought and been afraid to say out loud. I’m going to post some of my poems and stories. And I’m going to talk to you guys.

I hope you follow along and I hope to make some friends here. I really need help figuring out the Britney thing and also how to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, so I’m excited to enter into this community to learn, communicate, and hopefully provide some laughs, some information, and some honesty.

-Athina