Playing a nurse doesn’t allow for many wardrobe choices, so Army Wives star Catherine Bell was particularly eager to slip into some white hot summer pieces for OK!. "I loved the pants suit. It was really fun," Catherine says of her fashionable day. In between shots, the actress chats about being a mom to daughter Gemma, 5, why she can’t wait to turn 40 in August and how she looks fabulous on the red carpet.

What’s your style?
I have a child, so it has got to be quick and easy. I love cute little flats where I can look fashionable, but I can still go to the park and swing with my daughter. The whole gladiator look is really cute. I have sandals with jewels on them, so I can dress things up. I like jeans and cute tops with fun jewelry. Because I’m tall, I don’t usually wear heels unless I’m at dinner or something special.

How do you stay in shape?
Occasionally, I’ll do treadmill or the elliptical, but I’d rather be outside doing something fun. My husband [actor Adam Beason] and I love to go biking. We’ll take our daughter in the little trailer that attaches to the bike. We wakeboard, that’s our favorite sport. It’s the best workout for your entire body. Your abs get really cut.

Do you follow a special diet?
I used to do the diets where you don’t do carbs or sugar. I’d be fine for a few days, and then I’d just eat a ton! I’ve found if I just let myself have a little something every day, like a couple squares of dark chocolate or a half of a piece of cake so I don’t feel like I’m dieting, it’s better.

How do feel about turning 40 this year?

I think it’s great. For me, I do think every decade has gotten better. The 20s were the toughest because you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do in your life, and the 30s you’re settling in. In your 40s, you have all the maturity and wisdom and you leave the rest behind. I certainly feel in better shape than I’ve ever been, and I feel more alive and energetic.

You didn’t have a child until 10 years into your marriage. Why did you decide to wait?
My husband and I got married young. Then I hit 34 and it kicked in, “Oh my god, I want a baby so bad.” I got this radar where I would feel babies before they came into the room, so I knew I was ready.

What’s the best part of being a mom?
When Gemma she comes up out of the blue and gives me a big hug and tells me she loves me, it’s really cool. She’s so sweet and loving. It’s fun to watch her grow and get her own ideas and opinions.

How do you balance work and motherhood?
It’s something I’m always striving to do better, and I make Gemma a priority. If I’m working long days, I’ll make sure my husband brings her and we hang out together on the set. If I have a half-day, I’ll pick her up from school and we’ll have a cupcake together. It’s not so much about the quantity, but the quality of time we spend together.

Do you want to have more children?
We go back and forth. I’m an only child, so I’m fine with that. But I just loved every aspect of the last five years with Gemma. I might want to do it again.

You actually helped put together your character’s motorcycle outfit for Army Wives?
I’m the technical advisor on that so I told them on type of gear to get, which is cool motorcycle jackets with jeans and motorcycle boots with gloves.

Do you have a secret for looking fabulous on the red carpet?
Spanx are always good! [laughs]

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