protecting my fancy hair color, courtesy Jillian at Headlines

Alternate title: How I’m Able to Handle Looking Like a Female Walrus (again)…minus the chin hair.

I’m SO STOKED that so many of you other mamas reading are expecting too! Thanks for emailing me with your requests for shopping and beauty recs for your own bellies and bods.

As someone who shops and adores products and magazines and reading online reviews more than should be legal, I’m going to have to break down my recommendations into several posts by topic.

First up are my fav beauty and body products. Because feeling pretty and comfy is pretty darn essential as the scale creeps up and your uterus hangs down. Truthfully, a lot of these recommendations work for all women in general. But I’m finding these goods and services even more essential than usual as my body does things I have no control over, and an adorable 20 week old fetus drives this big ol’ bus.

Prenatal Massage by Jennifer Brennan, LMT of Solace Massage Therapy and Wellness

60 minutes on Jennifer’s table are the best hour of my month. Not only are her massages the drool-inducing-feel-so-good-you-want-to-die kind with oodles of positive energy and pampering, she is such a talented healer that she can feel my trouble spots without me having to even specify them. She can tell from my arms that I type too much, from my lower back that I’m in the mad sciatica zone of this pregnancy, and from my upper back that I probably need to invest in some better bras. Jennifer tells me that prenatal massage has been proven to improve pregnancy physical and mental health, and I completely believe it.

I also am a huge fan of Jennifer’s massage therapy even when I am not gestating, and my husband is too. And I think a gift cert for a session or two with her makes for an ideal Christmas gift.

To schedule your appointment with Jennifer Brennan,LMT of Solace Massage Therapy and Wellness, call 240.422.1674 or send an e-mail to jennifer@solacemassagetherapy.com. Ask to be added to her email list and she’ll send you notices of appointment openings for the month.

Haircuts and highlights by Jillian of Headlines Hair Designers

I’ve got no control over my expanding hips, thighs, butt, arms and oh ya, my mondo belly, but I can make sure that my hair looks great. And I owe it all to Jillian. Thank you girlfriend for making my long hair look healthy and up-to-date, and finding the perfect shade of highlights that look natural even when I’ve got two months of roots. You’re a genius!

Jennifer Brennan of Solace Massage Therapy & Wellness and Jillian Behram of Headlines Hair Designers

As I’ve referred lots of you guys over the last three years, Jillian really does an awesome job with cuts and color, whether you’re preppy, punk, boho, rocker or my personal style favorite that I always request: “Please just do whatever you can to make me look hotter.” A tall order, for sure, but Jillian always rises to the challenge.

Headlines Hair Designers is also my favorite all-time hair salon, ever. And as a slave to the foil, I have spent a lot of hours at hair places throughout Washington DC and Montgomery and Arlington counties. I could have really contributed to the world by now, but I was too busy reading Vanity Fair and getting blonded. I suck.

Headlines 301-587-5040. Jillian works all day on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and some Saturdays.

L’Oreal Everpure Shampoo and Conditioner

If I’m going to get all prettied up by Jillians’ color, I sure want to keep it from fading. And as someone who’s been getting professional highlights for 17 years (I am so old), this no-sulfate stuff really works retain the brightness and true hue of hair color. And I can buy it at the grocery store. Score!

Bikini waxes and eyebrow shaping by Mindy of Salon H2o

I’m pregnant so I should be able to skip this delicate service, right? WRONG. If I’m going to be shocked every day by my increased body mass in the mirror when I hop out of the shower, I at least want to be able to also admire my, um, grooming. I keep up this hot mama maintenance area for me, btw. My dear husband knows better than to ever critique the landscaping.

Also, I find that a good eyebrow shaping and the ripping off of any facial hair that’s less than invisible makes going without makeup that much easier, which equals more time for sleep.

Mindy performs all these services with a bare minimum of pain and a maximum nonchalance and professionalism when presented with all your naked glory. She also reshaped my eyebrows from their former nail-salon-wax-job-sometimes-I-pluck-badly uneven mess. The prices at H20 are really low for the area, and the salon waxing rooms are very private and clean.

Salon H20 301-774-7999

Proactiv Renewing Cleanser and Oil of Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum

My last pregnancies I was plagued with acne. A lot more than usual. This time, my skin has never looked better. Everyone tells me I have “that glow”, as if all pregnant women get great skin or something. I’ve been using the combo of Proactiv cleanser which zaps my pimples and the Regenerist serum to moisturize without clogging and also take care of that aging thing. It’s working!

AHAVA Dead Sea Bath Salts

I know I should save water. I know that in winter we shouldn’t take long baths every day and dry out our skin. But they’re so soothing and an excuse to take 15 minutes away from momming it up, I can’t resist. These bath salts are extra-soothing on dry, sensitive skin that’s feeling the effects of winter.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper from Target

I spent $150 on a memory foam mattress pad to place on top of my outrageously over-priced deluxe, pillow-topped Sealy or Serta (please don’t ask me to check) mattress from Macy’s. And it was WORTH EVERY PENNY. It is divine. It supports my spine and expanding belly without my having to prop all my parts with a ton of other pillows. I look forward to sleep on that thing so much. And now you know why I haven’t been blogging as much or added anything new to the website calendar (sorry).

Next up in this series – favorite maternity wear!

PS – Next week is the big 20 week ultrasound! What do you think, boy or girl??

I received no monetary compensation for any of these reviews. I pay for all my own products and services mentioned in this piece.