Monday, August 24, 2015

What To Wear: The Mom Uniform

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the midst of an ongoing chat with a group of women about parenting, kid-gear and other mom-based encounters. A new question came up that got me really thinking. That question was:

What do you wear on weekend when you are running errands?

It's so easy to fall back into yoga pants and a comfy tee. Or in my case, a dirty tee shirt that is covered with my daughter's breakfast and crayon marks. My original inspiration for this blog touches on this topic: you don't have to lose your sense of style when you become a mom. Here are a few looks for all you weekend warriors to consider when planning your jaunt to Target or your trip to a local park based on stuff that is in my current closet.

The Military-Inspired Look:

This is one of my favorite, go-to outfits. A military jacket provides lots of pocket space for keys, Kleenex, snacks or whatever else you need for quick access. Sneakers give you solid footing and classic Chuck Taylors never go out of style. Throw on aviators and a few necklaces to pull a bit of femininity into the look. I wore a vested-version of this look back in April.

Summer Accessories:



There is no reason you can't leave the house in a tank top and torn shorts. To dress things up, swap out your flip flops for sandals and throw a straw fedora over a pony tail (or unwashed hair - yeah, it happens). Statement shades in a bright color will spice up the look.

Maxi Ease:

There is nothing like a maxi for comfort and coverage. I've talked in the past about the transition from maternity to now with a maxi dress. I prefer maxis that come up high on the neckline with wider straps. I also like an elastic waist for some definition. With fall around the corner, you can throw on some booties and grab a multi-purpose bag - I love Timi and Leslie's Charlie bag if you really want to invest in a diaper bag. Pull your hair back and people will really think you've got it together!

I'd love to hear in the comments some of your favorite, easy looks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Facebook Hiatus Decision

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Today might be the day that I give up on Facebook.

Facebook used to be the place where I kept up with friends, colleagues and family. Posts were innocuous. Status updates centered around what people were having for lunch, or the adorable thing their toddler said last night, or frustrations around a project deadline at work. The worst thing you might read was someone sharing an ambiguous status along the lines of, "Wow, today has been the worst day." (For the record, status phishing remains annoying and in full effect today. Don't make us beg to know the whole story, people.)

Now, status updates are clogged with latest horrific headline. Blame it on the 24-hour news cycle, or blame it on immediate access to information provided by the internet. Either way, I feel like I can't avoid heartbreaking, emotionally-triggering, and utterly sad news and images where ever I turn. Facebook, once my haven for mindless finger-swiping, has become the worst perpetrator of bad news delivery.

For example, at my lunch break, I clicked over to Facebook for a little mental diversion. Within the first 20 status updates in my feed, I read headlines about 250 whales being slaughtered (complete with photos), the funeral for a police officer murdered in the line of duty, an update on the investigation of the tragic death of Sandra Bland, a protected and endangered lion senselessly killed for "sport" by a heartless American dentist and, the worst of all, a 15-year-old boy who assaulted and murdered an 8-year old girl here in the Bay Area. This wasn't a mental diversion; this was the path to mental depression.

Yes, I can click and hide what I don't like to see. Trust me, I've hidden, even unfriended, plenty of people, mostly based on their own personal views that have revealed themselves to either be racist, sexist or homophobic - or all three! (How did I meet these people again? Buh-bye.) Even in the midst of joyous celebration, like after the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage, when my Facebook feed burst forward like a bag of Skittles and I was tasting the rainbow and loving it, there were still headlines popping up about all the detractors in the world. It seems to come at me from all angles.

No, I do not want to bury my head in the sand and remain uninformed. In fact, I'm a voracious reader and I have my online news sources that I check every day. But in those scenarios, I know what I am getting into. I'm ready to read about both the ills and the triumphs of the world and absorb them into my thoughts and ultimately, my actions as I make choices in life. I do not come to Facebook for this level of education. I come to Facebook to see my friend's latest family vacation photos. I do not come to Facebook to get an unexpected eye assault via a photo of a malnourished dog that some lowlife scum abused.

Perhaps I just can't take it. Maybe my heart is not hardened enough to the travesties of the world. And honestly, I think I'm OK with that.

I have the choice to take in the world's worst on my terms and it seems like part of that choice is choosing to take a Facebook hiatus. I'm turning off my Facebook alarms and hiding my blue F-icon deep in my phone. I'm sure I'll return at some point, but for now, I need to go hug my kids and absorb the good in the world.

However, you can still find Teal In Motion on Facebook. If you want to talk about clothes, puppies or babies, I can make return appearances for those conversations any time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Lifespan of a Favorite Shirt

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Blouse: H&M (similar)
Shorts: Target
Shades: Ray-Ban
Sandals: Birkenstock

As I slid this red and white blouse over my head before heading out to the local farmers' market this past weekend, I realized this might be my favorite shirt. It certainly has staying power. I've had it since I started this blog - that is over five years! It cost me $9.99 when I purchased it from H&M and I constantly lament that I wish I had more blouses in this flowing style. What's that old saying? The best things in life are right under your nose....yeah, I think I made that up just now, but it still applies to my point.

Observe:

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I brought this blouse out for the 4th of July this year. It was unbearably hot as we waited for the local parade, but this shirt covered me both on coolness and color-necessity for the day.

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Speaking of the 4th of July, this blouse made an appearance on the blog in 2012 to celebrate our nation. Clearly, my love of deconstructed denim has not waned.

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Even as far back as one of my earliest blog posts, while 18 weeks pregnant with my son, I rocked the flowy blouse with wide leg jeans. There is nothing like a full blouse to help you get through those early maternity clothes struggles. Perhaps this should also be part of my "From Maternity To Now" series...

The point is: if you love something, don't set it free. Hold on tight to that favorite shirt. I plan on wearing this shirt until the threads fall off!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Smile Brilliant

Home Teeth Whitening
I drink coffee. Lots of coffee. After two kids, my coffee intake has increased exponentially. Recently, I've noticed that this intake has taken its toll on my teeth. When I look in the mirror, I lament that they are looking a bit yellow, despite my avid brushing. I've been considering teeth whitening products for a while now, but it has always struck me as expensive and inaccessible.

That's why I was happy to answer the call of Smile Brilliant to help me with my smile. This is a company that creates custom-fitted teeth whitening trays and provides professional whitening gel. The best part? No trips to the dentist - you can create your own impressions from the comfort of your home!

Smile Brilliant sent me a beautiful kit, complete with two trays, base and catalyst paste to create my teeth mold, clear instructions and a prepaid return envelope.

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The process was simple. I blended the pastes together and then pressed them into the tray. From there, I inserted the trays, one at a time, to get impressions of my upper and lower teeth. In a few short minutes, I removed each and let them dry overnight so they would harden. Once dry, I filled out a card with my information and popped it back in the mail. All of this was accomplished while I caught up on my DVR after the kids went to bed. It was easy!



The result arrived about a week later - my own custom trays! They even sent the plaster molds of my teeth, which my kids found to be fascinating. The trays were a perfect fit and came with their own carrying case. Also in my kit were three syringes of whitening gel and 3 syringes of desensitizing gel. Coincidentally, my husband had some whitening gel on hand from one of his recent visits to the dentist. I compared the ingredients of the two and they were exactly the same. Smile Brilliant provides professional gels in an easy applicator.

As you can see in the photo below, I squirted a small amount of the gel into the front top of each tray. A little definitely goes a long way. I chose to wear the trays for 30 minutes at a time, seven days in a row. You can wear them up to 2-3 hours for max whitening. The instructions shared that you may feel sensitivity the longer you wear them, which is why I went for the minimum route to start (because I'm a wimp.)



However, the sensitivity was minimal because the kit also included sensitivity gel. After my 30 minutes were up, I would wash the trays then apply the sensitivity gel to wear for 15 minutes. It really helped with any pain, which was fairly insignificant to start.

After seven days, I was really pleased with the results! My fear was that I would get a washed out, bright white bleached look that wasn't natural. That was not the case at all. My teeth lost their yellow hue and began looking closer to their original form. I know that if I continue and up my time to 60 minutes per day, I will see even greater results.

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                             BEFORE                                                                   AFTER

The biggest challenge for me was laying off of coffee while going through the process. I'm an addict, what can I say? It is important to not eat or drink staining foods while your teeth are a bit porous through the process. Thus, I drank coffee through a straw a couple of times and it all turned out all right.

Smile Brilliant's system is $119.95. While this is not cheap, it is a dramatically better price than $500+ that you would pay to have this done at the dentist. Plus, you get to keep your trays for future whitening sessions. I see it as a worthwhile, long-term investment if you want to continue keeping your teeth white and bright.

I'd like to thank Smile Brilliant for getting me back on the path to whiter teeth and a more confident smile!

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(Even under work fluorescent lights, my smile looks brighter!)

Disclosure: Smile Brilliant provided the whitening system to me at no cost in exchange for my honest review. And that's just what this is - honestly, I liked the system and would recommend it to others for ease of use and great results.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sweet Summertime

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Tank: Old Navy (on sale now!)
Shorts: Ann Taylor (similar)
Aviators: Ray-Ban
Flip flops: Havaianas

Blogging is not my day job, people. It's not even my second job. It falls a distant third behind the job that pays the bills and the job that I love the most - being a mom. I know, ew. Calm down on the sugar 'cuz I'm giving you cavities.

I can't help but feel extra connected to my family right now. It's summer and I've got little pockets of vacation and free time to lift my mood into the stratosphere. I'm like a lizard on a rock when the sun comes out, my face pointed to the sky with a smile. This combination sends me sprinting out the door with the kids to find outdoor activities for us to enjoy together. Summer is the best for its abundance of fairs, festivals and farmer's markets. My favorite kind of F words!

With my increased desire to fill my time with family moments, I remember less and less to take photos of what this blog was initially all about - clothes. What I wear has taken a back seat to what I'm doing, like refinishing our dining furniture (more to come in a future post) and searching for my next 5-or-10K race.

So when I stop mid-way through our trip to the Marin County Fair and think, "Oh yeah. I should take a picture for the blog," I realize it isn't going to be posed and polished. It will be me laughing at my son wearing a banana on his head and at my daughter doing her best Gene Simmons impression. It will be me in shorts and a tank, feeling cute and comfortable, but not at all fashion forward. And fortunately, it will produce one of my favorite all-time photos that best represents my daily reality and the true personalities of my children.

But, to stay blog-centric, I'll say this: I love my Old Navy tank top and I wear it constantly. And I instantly regretted my shoe choice the minute we entered the petting zoo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: 2 Legged Mermaid Custom Hats

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During the hot 4th of July weekend, I got to really test out my 2 Legged Mermaid trucker hat. I know that this hat was made with love because it was designed and created by one of my best friends, Tia May. She sells her custom designed hats on Etsy.

Even though I love the creator, I can also unabashedly say I am obsessed with my Wave Heart hat. I wear it everywhere - the pool, weekend jaunts to the coffee shop, the beach, trips to Target. What I like about it best is that the hat sits perfectly above my ears. Some ball hats seem to ride up on my head, like they are perched on my noggin rather than resting comfortably over my face. The glitter on this hat really sparkles, too! I feel dolled up even when my hair underneath the hat hasn't seen a shower in a day (or two). Hey, it's summer...don't judge.

2 Legged Mermaid will custom design your color combo, whether it is made in a solid or glitter design. She also makes hats in infant and youth sizes. I have so many hats that I want to get - my next one will be the surfing bear with a color combo of a gray hat and red solid.

2 Legged Mermaid is offering a special deal to Teal In Motion readers. Enter the promo code TEALIM15 at checkout and received 15% off. The offer is good for the entire month of July!

Just because you were born with legs doesn't mean that you aren't a mermaid - happy shopping!


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Disclosure: I received a free hat from 2 Legged Mermaid in exchange for this review, but my thoughts and opinions are real. Just like the struggle I have in deciding which hat I want next. The struggle is real.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Huge 75% Off Gymboree Semi-Annual Sale


The other day, I was waiting in line for a bouncy house with my 20-month old daughter. A woman in line in front of me pointed at her and said, "See? She wears Gymboree, too!" Turns out, the woman was a designer for the company. I told her that she does excellent work because most days, my kids are dressed head to toe in Gymboree gear. I shop there because I love the design, but also because I like the quality. Both the boys and girls clothes can stand the wear and tear of my active kids.

I figure that if I'm buying it so much, I might as well share with my readers ways to score your own at a great price. Right now, everything at Gymboree is up to 75% off during the Gymboree Semi-Annual Sale. Plus, there is free shipping on order of $75 or more! I tend to hit up these sales by filling up on what I need for the season (tanks, shorts, swim suits) and thinking ahead to fall and winter (jeans, long sleeve shirts) by buying one size up.

Happy weekend shopping!