You may have heard, but as of yesterday, I now have an 8 year old AND a 6 year old. While the concept of time continually blows my mind with how fast it flies, unfinished projects, and projects yet to be started, are blaring reminders of how, if we don’t move with it, time will pass us by and we wake up asking, “where did the last 8 years go?” With Taylor’s entry into full fledged big kid status now that she’s turned 8, and her entry into 3rd grade in just a few short weeks, we figured it’s time she move up a bit, and what better way to do that than with a new bedroom?
Her horsey bedding is over 4 years old and starting to tear at the seams and is not so gently worn anymore. While my girl still loves horses as much as ice cream, and looks forward to her riding lessons each week, she admitted that she’s ready for bedding that’s a bit more grown up. This is what we have in mind, just by shopping online a bit. But we cannot wait for the actual brick and mortar Land Of Nod store to open up just down the road at South Coast Plaza next week, so that we can take a look at these items in person before she makes any big commitments. Because we all know, deciding on a new room theme for an 8 year old, is just about as big of a decision as you can make at that age.bedding is the center of it all. She loves the Sherbet Stripes Bedding, and I love it because of the soft combination of both pastels and neutral gray. I’m thinking a soft gray coat of paint, contrasted by her white wainscoting that’s already in her room would be beautiful. To complement the room, I picked lots of storage options, because basically, my girl’s a hoarder and has so much stuff that is “very special to her”. 1. As You Wish Storage Bench in Ika Fret Pewter 2. Pull Up A Pouf in Gray. These snake charming baskets are amazing and I want them all over my house! 3. Charming Basket tall 4. Charming Basket floor. When we switched out her closet doors last year, she lost her mirrors and at 8, she is all about inspecting herself in the mirror. 5. This lovely silver Little Twigs mirror is gorgeous and will fit in her room for years to come. For wall art, we both want something age appropriate, which means sweet and soft, but I also want something on the more sophisticated and artistic side so that it will have longevity in her room, and could even transfer to other parts of the house, like my office, if she decides to go goth when she’s a teen. 6. & 7. Sky High Butterfly and Sprouting Flowers wall art on canvas. 8. And lastly, for the large wall above her bed, we both love the look of these silver wall decals. In fact I pinned something similar months ago for my office, long before Land Of Nod had these nifty ones in their inventory! When both mother and daughter agree on something, you know you have a winner.
So there you have it, a refreshed little girl’s room for a girl who’s on her way to growing up. Soft, subtle, with just a bit of sophistication to grow with her. I can’t wait for the store opening next week at my favorite mall. and can’t wait to see what displays they have in store for us, since Land Of Nod is always so ingenious and creative. If you’re local in Southern California, the store opens on Friday May 31st. There will be giveaways throughout the day, and goodies passed out to those that arrive early to shop. If you’re not in the area of a LON store (so sorry), you can still shop online and get a taste of their awesome customer service. When visiting them online, you can also enter their Win A Room Sweepstakes. Pretty much my dream come true. You can also visit Land Of Nod on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
As always, with any sponsored post, I am committed to working with brands that I already love, or am new to and extremely excited about. I’ve long been a fan of Land Of Nod, and we have several of their lovely items in each of the kid’s rooms, including pretty much Hayden’s entire nursery I love the brand, the quality they stand behind, and the company for their excellent customer service, and am truly honored to be a part of this campaign.
I just got off a 52 minute phone interview with a writer for Real Simple Magazine, talking about how to navigate the world of fast fashion stores like Forever 21, Zara and H&M, as a grown woman. She found me from this post I wrote last year, How To Shop Forever 21 As A Grown Woman, and was figured I had a lot to say on the subject. Poor woman, 52 minutes later, learned that I indeed have a lot to say, quite often, too much I suppose.how to wear lace shorts! Move the frick on woman!”Instagram this past weekend wearing this jacket and a few asked, “Is that acid wash you’re wearing?” Why, yes it is, and it is fabulous. Here’s the deal, acid washed denim is the last thing I want to spend a ton of money on, so I defer to fast fashion places like Zara (or H&M, Forever 21) for trend pieces that are just that, trend. I didn’t walk into Zara meaning to add some acid wash to my life, but when I saw this moto jacket, I knew it was a great way to incorporate the trend in a more sophisticated way. The washing isn’t too severe, and the shredded collar detail is perfection. It runs small, so size up, if you’re interested.man’s empire.
While I would define myself and this blog as a style blog, I find it interesting that very few of my pins are actually “style” related. Sometimes all the pretty young faces and designer clothes pinned on Pinterest, more resembles a fashion magazine than actual attainable and realistic inspiration. But I do love Pinterest and with the turn of each season, I love to get some inspiration.
So lately, I’ve found myself gravitating towards, and pinning, an entire feel of a look, as opposed to just certain pieces. The hairstyle, the sunglasses, even the tan a woman wears, is as much a part of the look and why I find it beautiful, as is the actual clothes she’s wearing.
The looks I’ve found inspiring as of late are also innocuous in nature. No particular patterns to focus on, no specific labels, just general styles and colors, like white denim shorts or a loose chambray shirt. For me, this makes the look more achievable to attain and aspire to, and easier to shop for, whether it be in my own closet or at as basic of a store as Old Navy or Gap. I think it’s common to get hooked on a certain pair of jeans, or a particular skirt and lust after it, whether it’s in our budget or not. But when we are inspired by the general look and feel of an outfit, it allows the reinterpretation to be easygoing and loose. Here’s some looks that I’ve been loving lately…sourcechambray shirt, white denim shorts, ballet flats and a tan - source source source source
If you notice, the overall theme, besides the boho maxi, is loose chambray and cotton shirts, denim bottoms, and casual hair and makeup. You can find these pieces, if you don’t already own them, at any range of stores, from bargain basement to high end designer if that’s what’s in your budget. The overall feel of the look is what’s important, not the particular items.
This kind of inspiration has been my favorite lately because it’s achievable, monetarily attainable, and easy to replicate.
When you seek inspiration, do you look for certain pieces or do you pin and save for the overall look and feel of an outfit? Where do you get your style inspiration from?
Last night I attended a very small calligraphy workshop hosted by Morgan and taught by my friend Alexandra, the same talented lady who penned my blog header and business cards, and while I was looking forward to a chance to see friends and meet new people, I figured I would be lousy at it and wasn’t as excited about the actual calligraphy lesson. Well, with a combination of Alex’s beautiful alphabet as our guide and her awesome tutelage, turns out I’m not half bad at calligraphy. I believe she in fact called me a “natural”! I had a great time and spent less time actually chatting and focused primarily on practicing over and over and asking lots of questions about hand placement, paper placement, up strokes, down strokes, and how do I keep my nib from splitting. FYI, that pretty little metal tip you use for writing is called a nib, who knew!?!
It was all very inspiring and exciting and the art of calligraphy is all sorts of romantic and beautiful. We each got to bring home our own set and I’m so, so very excited to practice. I’m giddy! Sounds so silly, but I am. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a new craft. And you bet your bottom dollar we’re going to try to incorporate this into a Craft Cabinet, an idea that Jules and I have been talking about for months now, and after last night, something I’m sure we can indeed pull off and it would be a hit. So stay tuned if you’re local!
Smirnoff for sponsoring the event yet not making us talk about booze all night (your new line of low calorie Vodka, Smirnoff Sorbet is yummy!).
So how does one achieve such a feat, and be able to dig into your closet and throw an outfit on in minutes, and look great in the process?
Well to start with, you need to be patient and thoughtful with your approach to buying items for your wardrobe. Not everything can picked up from one store (ahem, Target, I’m talking to you).
You need to shop often, that is window shop at least. Sometimes it even means bringing things home with you (as long as they’re returnable) to see if an item will in fact work with your closet, and work on you in front of the safety of your mirror at home.
It also helps to keep abreast, to some extent, of trends. While in the end, classic pieces are the true DNA of a well curated closet, the occasional on-trend piece is thrown in now and then to keep your look updated and fresh, and to save you from monotony.
Lace, and in particular, lace shorts are on-trend this season, and I had to be patient as well as do a bit of buying/returning to find a pair I truly loved and would work for a 37 year old mom of 3. The problem with some lace shorts out there is that they are either very light colored, leaving you feeling exposed, they are often really short, leaving you feeling exposed again, and many don’t have an elastic waistband, leaving you feeling naughty and guilty if you happen to eat too much over Mother’s Day weekend.
So this is how a woman my age does lace shorts. They’re comfortable, totally age-appropriate, and can be dressed up with a sequin top and some strappy heels, making it a killer date night outfit as well.
So would you give lace shorts a try? Why or why not? What would hold you back, or give you the nudge you need to try them?
Anthropologie is having a 15% off sale on all full price merchandise today, and I’m splurging on a $48 t-shirt. I tried it on in store last month when I had some birthday money to spend, and it was the perfect tee; totally flattering, soft, with a cute raw edge detail. But $48 is a bit pricey for tee so I held back. Having worked for a luxury tee-shirt company before though, I know that if they’re made in the USA, $48 is actually not that outrageous considering labor and construction costs, and I’ve searched around the past few weeks for another comparable, less expensive tee, but I just haven’t found it. So I decide to buy just one, and after I add the tee to my cart, I start browsing around.
I come across these denim overalls and I have to admit, I’m kinda loving them. My friend Rachel is totally laughing at me right now because she tried to bring back the denim overalls 2 years ago and I laughed at her. Turns out Rachel, you were on to something. I spotted this particular pair on another mom recently and she looked fab! So I go to check them out, and holy smokes batman! They’re $368!!
What about you? If you had an extra $368 to spend however you wanted, on a clothing/accessory item, what would you buy?
I’ve accomplished a ton this week in terms of list making, idea making, brainstorming and networking. I’m super excited to bring you some new content, especially style and exercise related, in the coming weeks. I hope you enjoy what I have in the works.
I posted a photo on Instagram last night (I’m @fourlfights), of 1 of 2 of our babysitters. For the past few months I have enlisted a lot of help. Since I’ve pretty much always worked in some capacity since I’ve become a mother, I’ve had hired help, particularly just one girl, who is actually a woman now(!), and she’s been with us for the past 6 years. We trust her and the kids love her. She comes to the house 1 day a week for 5-6 hours. Once a month she comes one other day for 3 hours to just help me play catch up around the house. This past Tuesday, while I helped the big kids with homework, she helped me out by washing my windows. She’s flexible all around and we usually play tag team with the kids. If I’m nursing Hayden, she may be folding laundry while she oversees a rowdy game of Parcheesi with the big kids. Friday mornings when she comes, and the big kids are at school, I pay her the same amount as if she was watching all 3, and while Hayden naps she helps around the house. I go to the gym, and do some work. If I feel a pull to be with Hayden, I’ll even ask her to get dinner started so I can spend some time with him. She is a sitter but way more than that as well. After 6 years, she has come to be a part of our family.
About 2 months ago I felt like I was drowning. Between the house, the kids and homework, volunteering at the school, and my blogging commitments, I felt stressed and panicked on a daily basis. Hayden was and is still not sleeping through the night, and so I was exhausted on top of it, functioning off of 4 hours of sleep most days. Besides having Marin already on regular rotation, my mom helps out for a few hours on Mondays and my mother in law helps out for a few hours on Wednesdays. They are both retired and it’s a way of seeing the grandkids on a regular basis. Yes, you read that right, I at this point already had help 3 days a week. But it still didn’t seem like enough. So I brought Clarie on board to help out for 3 hours Thursday afternoon. She is a senior in high school and doesn’t have a ton of babysitting experience, but we’ve known her for a few years and trust her immensely. She is a very smart girl with a good head on her shoulders. I sometimes leave her with the kids for a little bit but most of the time she’s just here to help me run interference. She watches Hayden while I help the big kids with homework or take them to an activity, or I lock myself in the office to get stuff done.
So wow, why on earth do I need so much help, and how do we afford a sitter for a few hours each week? Well, there are numerous reasons and ways.
First, my husband is a small business owner. Which means he works a ton and isn’t usually home until well past 6, most days 7 or 8. Because he works so much, it is a huge, exhausting feat to get kids to activities, dinner made, homework completed, baby fed, and all 3 kids bathed and in bed at a decent time all on my own. I collapse after bedtime on the nights he’s working late and I have no extra hands. We do alright financially; we are not rolling in dough, but we don’t have a fixed, set income either, therefore our budget has some flexibility. We have both decided and agreed that for this season in our life, the extra expense is worth it for our family’s sanity and happiness. Once Hayden turns a year though we plan to scale back accordingly. The arrangement of having the two sitters come for a few hours 2 days a week is something new just in the past few months.
Second, my writing commitments for Disney are exactly that, a commitment and in fact a real job. My dad never realized this until he met my editor and boss Andrea Zimmerman last week. I have monthly traffic and post goals that I must meet, and to meet those goals the posts require a lot of time. I have to produce 13-14 posts per month, which is about 3 per week (on top of my own blog), and I am expected to promote them to help with those traffic goals. I love the work even though it is a lot of work, and I feel I am well compensated for what I am doing, which means I’d like to hold onto this gig for as long as I can. Before we brought Claire on, I seriously considered giving the job up, but having just 3 extra hours of help each week has helped out immensely. There’s also that side business I’m trying to start as well.
Third, Art and I are very involved in the kid’s school and activities. This takes up a huge amount of our free time. Art coaches Syd’s baseball team. I work in each of their classrooms almost every week, and I’m on the Yearbook staff as well. Extracurricular activities are not out of control, but each kid is in swimming and Taylor has dance once a week, and Syd has a game and practice once a week. If you’re a parent of older kids, you know this all too well. 2 activities for each kid doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up. Oh, and during the week we have a no media policy, so putting on the TV for the kids to watch while I crank out a post isn’t part of our plan. It sucks, believe me, to not have that option to fall back on, but my kids become monsters with daily screen time and we all end up miserable.
Lastly, then there’s just life. Homework everyday, in addition to Syd’s speech therapy, takes time and energy, as you know. Cooking, paying bills, keeping a house clean, and trying to just enjoy life, it all adds up. For years we felt it was all very manageable, but since Hayden arrived, even with as easy as he is, it literally flipped us on our asses, much more than we even realized until after we had been doing it for a few months. We were on a treadmill at full speed, then we just got tired and fell down, face first.
For months I tried working during Hayden’s morning naps, but then if I only worked on my writing assignments during nap, bills didn’t get paid (our water was actually shut off one month!), or the house was a wreck and I wasn’t prepared when the kids got home from school. It sucked, plain and simple, to feel like I was on a timer the second I put him down for a nap. I always felt like I was rushing our mornings to get him down for his nap so I could work. And after weeks, then months of sleep deprivation, I became useless at night after bedtime, when I usually did a lot of my writing. I am toast by 8:30 and am usually fast asleep by 9:30/10 pm.
Some months I get frustrated and even embarrassed, that I seem to need so much help. Some months I feel like most of what I make goes towards sitters. But I know this is only for a short season, and once life settles down (in huge part that will be when Hayden starts sleeping better), we can cut back and holding onto this side work will have been worth it. So why continue to work at all? Well, I love what I do, and of course the extra income is a blessing to our family. Do I ever feel like someone else is raising my kids? Of course not! Having worked outside of the house for many years, this is the most I’ve ever been with my kids. Because the people that come in and help are family, or feel like family, we all sort of meld together and tag team. I’m always around and the kids know that. I come in and out of the office to nurse Hayden or help with a homework question. I’m here even though someone else is here too.
So that pretty much sums it all up in a nutshell. If I have ever given the impression that I am wonder woman, I apologize. I am anything but, and I get by with a lot of help from friends and family. And if any other bloggers try to mask that they have help (if they in fact do), it’s bullshit. We need to be honest and open about how much work blogging and writing takes, and the time commitments it requires. You cannot do it all, all on your own. There is usually a very big support system behind every successful and even semi-successful blogger, as is the case with anyone that works. We do not have magic wands that can just magically get all this shit done while effortlessly raising beautiful, well groomed, happy kids, and while also baking, crafting, cooking, homeschooling, and looking fabulous and stylish while doing it. I am in particular speaking of bloggers with kids at home (like my Hayden). I got a whole hell of a lot done when I just had the two kids in school all morning, obviously, and it was indeed feasible to get the majority of it done with no help. Having a 3rd kid at home though was a game changer.
So I’m curious how the rest of you do it? Please share!
Now that you’re sick of hearing about me and my babysitting schedule, here’s what else is going on around the web. Lots of good links this week worth checking out.
- latest target collaboration with 3.1 Phillip Lim
- 3rd grade is the most crucial year in a child’s school career
- I fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans at 9 months postpartum. Here’s how I did it.
- 10 things I would love to do on Mother’s Day if I was gifted the valuable treasure of time.
- lots of talk about women in the workplace this week. love this post by Anne Bogel
- and speaking of women in the workplace, here are 5 women in business you should add to your radar (in case you’re sick of Marissa Meyer, Oprah, and Sheryl Sandberg)
- furthermore about work, I’ve worked full time or part time most of the time I’ve been a mother, and each job has involved some travel. Here are some practical “big picture” tips of how I keep the family happy when away from home.
- pretty photo taken by one of our very talented babysitters
We’re big Greek yogurt fans over here, particularly flavored, fruit on the bottom Greek yogurt. But let’s be honest, those yogurt cups are expensive and if we all ate 1/day, we’d easily spend $100 a month on yogurt. Let that sink in for a moment. Yeah, that doesn’t quite fit into our budget, but dang we love the Greek yogurt. So lately I’ve been buying the giant container of Greek Yogurt, a much better value, and making my own fruit blend to mix in. It’s really quite easy since we use the blender a lot already, and overall saves us so much money, which is always nice. Add a dollop of whipped cream, and it goes from snack to dessert. The only thing that could really make these a better snack is by adding more nutrition to them, so I modified my recipe by blending in a tube of the frozen kefir with my fresh fruit. Let’s get started shall we?
Pollinate Media and Lifeway for having me on this campaign. Even though this is a sponsored post, I hope you guys know by now that I only work with brands and on campaigns for products we actually love and use. We’ve been a fan of Lifeway products for years, and we really do eat these Greek yogurt cups (check my IG feed even ha!). Check out Lifeway on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Lifeway Kefir but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia ##kefirprobugs
I was stuck. A huge pile of laundry to do, with all my pants that fit trapped inside them. It was cold and rainy outside, strange for Southern California in May, so I was even more unprepared. I wanted to wear a pair of jeans so I could tuck them into my rain boots, and the only pair that would work were my Gap skinny jeans I hadn’t dare try on in months. The last time I did, at about 4 months postpartum, I felt defeated after I couldn’t even get them past my hips. But I had no other choice; with no time to do a load, and nothing else appropriate to wear, I took them off the hanger… Read More »