Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It's Not A Perfect World


"Do you have to go?" he said, his puppy-dog eyes widening.

"I do, honey. I have to go," I said, running my fingers through the top of his hair.

He clung to my leg with a fierce grip. "Noooo," he said quietly.

And just like that, the breath of fresh air I had experienced at lunch with my kids swept right out of my lungs. Most moms were able to take their kids home after the potluck lunch at preschool that day. I had to return to work.

I arrived with feelings of pure joy and enthusiasm. I loved seeing both of my kids running wild with their friends on the playground. To be able to spend time with them mid-day was a privilege I don't often experience. Among their classmates and their parents, many of whom have now become my friends, we munched on hot dogs, pasta, strawberries and apples. We sampled the class-made dessert of pumpkin pie cheesecake (delicious!). I poured lemonade for all the outstretched toddler hands and teased them about how thirsty they all were, delighting in their peals of laughter. It was a fantastic moment in time.

As the hour approached, my daughter broke down crying because she "can't wipe her nose", which was streaming with a mixture of snot and fresh tears. She was exhausted, up and awake well into her normal nap time. As I handed her back over to her teachers in her toddler room, I walked away painfully while she wailed for Mommy.

Then came my son's leg-clinging. I soothed him with hugs and kisses, promising I would see him in a few short hours. I tried to get him to laugh by taking a silly selfie - a trick that usually works - but as you can see, he wasn't having it.

As I walked back to the car past the other families leaving hand in hand, my heart ached a little bit, despite my head's rational thinking about how I like my job and I'm proud that I set a strong example for my kids as a working mom. Sometimes the head and the heart simply don't want to hear each other. My feet simply shuffled forward and my mind kept replaying my departure.

"I don't want you to go," he said.

"I know. And in a perfect world, we would spend every day, all day together, buddy. But you know what is great? We get to hang out all night tonight and play."

He smiled, gave me a hug and ran back to the swing set with his friends. I swallowed hard, turned on my heel and started counting the hours.

It's not a perfect world. But there is perfection within it. I just have to hold tight to the moments that are as perfect as can be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

DIY Olaf Halloween Costume


A drink...in my hand...my snow up against the burning sand...

Seriously, it felt like I was In Summer on Halloween. 80 degrees and a snow cap do not mix. Put me in summer and I was not a happy snowman. I was a puddle.

However, I was particularly proud of my Olaf costume this year since it cost me exactly ZERO dollars to make. While catching up on DVR-ed episodes of Last Man On Earth (in the running for current favorite show), I made my hat with the following:
  • 1 manila folder
  • Construction paper - white, black, light blue and orange
  • A sharpie
  • Glue stick
  • Safety pins
  • Tape
First, I cut out the largest eye circle in light blue. Using that as my template, I cut out circles in the same size from the manila folder. Gluing the blue paper on the manila folder circle gave it stability and a base on which to tape on a safety pin. From there, I cut a slightly smaller black circle and then a slightly smaller white circle, followed by a tiny circle for the pupil of the eye, and glued one on top of the other. Once dry, I pinned the eyes to the hat. I followed a similar process with the eyebrows, cutting them out of black construction paper and gluing them to folder material, then pinning on.

Next, I cut out a carrot shape for the nose and then outlined it on the folder. Once I cut out the shape from the folder, I glued it on and taped a pin on the back. For the teeth, I cut out just the teeth shape from white construction paper. When I traced it on the manila folder, I added the smile line with a Sharpie pin and cut out the whole thing. Another safety pin secured it in place. The hair was made of twisted strips of black construction paper that I pinned on the top.


Following the same method as above, I cut out coal buttons to pin on a long sleeve white tee. I threw on white shorts over white tights and zipped up my black knee high boots. Just like that, Olaf hit the town as a side kick to a tiny, two-year-old Elsa, melting in the hot fall sun.

Sometimes, a costume is worth melting for.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Universe Throws Me A Bone


This has been a crazy couple of weeks. Work has been a stressful churn of immediate deadlines. Bouts of viruses and infections have rolled through our house. We've been balancing buying and selling a car so that we aren't car-less for days on end. Money is tight and the days feel long.

Yesterday, I told my husband that I sometimes feel like with everything surrounding me in life, I no longer have time for myself. If I'm not working, I'm focused on the kids. Once the kids are asleep, I'm cleaning the house. Once that is only half-way accomplished, I'm exhausted and need to crawl in bed, my mind still scrambling and thinking about the tasks that remain incomplete. My exact words were, "I'm in a bad head space right now. I'm just...tired."

Later in the evening, we had a knock at the door from a woman coming to buy our no-longer-needed double stroller. I thought, "She may also be interested in this kid's game tablet we have," and I brought it out to show her. It had been sitting unused in a closet for the last year in its original box. When I opened it up to showcase it, there they were.

My long-lost Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. I've been scouring the house for my favorite shades for well over a year. Somehow, someway, they ended up packaged in the box with the tablet. While I looked under the couch on my hands and knees and shouted, "I know they are in this house somewhere!", they remained neatly tucked away in the last place I would ever think to look.

But I found them. And just like that, my bad head space perked right up. It seems silly that a pair of glasses can make me happy when I have all the reasons in the world to be thrilled on a daily basis. And I am thrilled - life, overall, is pretty sweet. But with finding this small, simple thing that I thought was forever lost, I suddenly had reclaimed something that was reflective of me (and necessary to me - they are prescription!) and that opened up the window to feel a little better.

The universe decided to turn my frown upside down last night with a special surprise and for that, I'm truly grateful.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Obligatory Plaid



Plaid and pumpkin patches - you just have to.

Plaid button-up: Target
Jeans: Gap
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Boots: Frye

It may be 80 degrees in the Bay Area right now, but that didn't stop me from buttoning up my best flannel-like top and pulling up my boot socks to wear under my favorite pair of Frye's. These photos are for posterity. Even though it is hot, you never let them see you sweat. Unless you take photos. Then of course they are totally going to see you sweat. It's 80 degrees, for Pete's sake.

But it's nothing the breeze from a good leap in the air can't fix.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Featured On: The Memo

I've always known my former colleague and friend, Minda Harts (above), to be a confident, entrepreneurial, smart and driven woman. She has further proven her talents with her recent creation and launch of The Memo. The Memo is devoted to helping women gain access to important resources and pragmatic, real-world advice on personal finances, career development and work/life balance that will help us advance in our persona and professional lives. As Founder of The Memo, she is tapping into topics that are near and dear to my heart and is partnering with women across the country to share their viewpoints and perspectives.

I'm so honored to be featured today on The Memo with an article I wrote on the ever-present decision to lean in or lean out. I encourage all of my readers to subscribe for weekly articles and to follow The Memo on Twitter. Thanks, Minda, for furthering the thoughtful and powerful voices of women!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Levi's 501 CT - A Return To Classic Denim




I'm returning to my first denim love - Levi's 501s.

Jeans: Levi's 501 CT in Surfer Girl
Blazer: Ben Sherman (similar)
Tank: Target
Belt: vintage
Heels: Nine West (similar)

I flipped through some old photos this summer from my high school and college days. In every picture, I'm wearing my faded, well-loved men's 501 jeans. The waistbands and button flies were higher and longer in those days. I'm not sure the phrase "muffin top" had been invented yet because we were all nicely tucked into our five button fly denim. Somewhere in the timeline of my twenties, I gravitated towards lower waistlines and designer lines. But I loved my 501s! They are classics - the brand is iconic and never goes out of style. If I could have my beat up, hole-ridden jeans from my youth back, they'd be the staple of my wardrobe today.

I recently read an article about the new Levi's 501 CT (stands for Customized and Tapered) style and I knew I had to give them a try. And just as I suspected, I love them wholeheartedly. They can be worn in so many ways - date night (that's what I was going for here), weekend warrior, beach time, or in the fall with ankle boots. What I love about them is that you can size down from your natural size for a tight, ankle length fit or you can size up for a baggier, boyfriend style fit. I chose my natural size and they are exactly the style I was looking for: a boyfriend jean that feels lived in but not like I'm swimming in them. Next time I wear them, I'll probably give them an extra roll up at the hem, but I appreciate the versatility in cuffing them differently. I might even get another pair in a lighter color a size smaller to get a snug fit.

And I will not make the same mistake twice. I will hold onto these jeans until the seams fall apart!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Crushing on Clothes: Hometown Hero Collection at Gymboree


Every so often, a section of clothing speaks to me. It's like the section is beckoning me over, like a lighthouse in a sea of fog. Like a moth to a flame, I'm propelled towards the light.

Last weekend, I found my latest clothing crush. And for once, it is not for me.

I want to run to Gymboree, waving my wallet and shout, "Shut up and take my money!" I love the new Hometown Hero collection for the fall season. The blue, gold and gray combo is sporty and preppy. My eye was immediately drawn to this Hooded Henley - now on sale for $14.97!:


But as if this wasn't enough to sell me, I looked down and I saw this tough little bulldog staring up at me:


And then I saw this football bulldog tee and I melted:


I'm pretty sure Turbo would be upset if I didn't buy these. The good news is Gymboree is having a sale for Labor Day weekend. Check out Gymboree's latest markdowns! You can get 40% off regular priced items and up to 70% off sale items.

Tell them Turbo sent you...