Monday, September 15, 2014

The Reflection of Wonderment

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This is quite possibly my favorite photo that I've ever taken of my son (and trust me, I've taken thousands of photos in the last 3 years). His reflection demonstrates all that I love so much about him - his sweet fascination with animals, the way he absorbs knowledge through his beautiful blue eyes, and his vigorous enthusiasm for life. I always say that it is such a joy to be able to see things in a whole new perspective through his eyes. This photo serves as the literal reflection of all that I am privileged to witness every day.

Our trip to the California Academy of Science was plagued with a bit of strife to begin. The line for Free Admission day was a city-block long and I wasn't about to brave the wait, even for a terrific deal. His eyes watered as I began to waffle on whether or not we should go in, which prompted me to suck it up and by a membership so we could enjoy our day. I'm now thrilled that I made that choice because we will be back very soon. He ran from sight to sight, exclaiming "Look at this! Look at that!" and he repeated all the names of the creatures "An-a-con-da!" He even corrected a woman later by saying, "That's not a bird, that's a macaw." I gave the woman a sheepish grin and steered my little tour guide on his way.

The highlights for him were the aquarium and the rain forest exhibit. The highlights for me were watching my children shine like the sun in the midst of their discoveries.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

The Littlest Model

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There are lots of things I really like in this world. Beautiful photos of my kids, for one. I also appreciate a great consignment store. I love a good bargain. When you combine these things, you have the perfect storm that leads to me jumping, clapping and laughing in place.

Recently, a new baby and kid consignment store opened up in Marin County: Ella Bunbee. The store is still in the process of opening, slowly rolling out hours and collecting gently used treasures for moms to take advantage, so get in there early! Ella Bunbee enlisted in the talents of Capturing Grace Photography, a San Francisco-based family photographer, to build out their website. They had an open contest for little models to take part and keep some of the professional photos afterward. Guess who couldn't resist submitting? This mama right here, who was proud when her little lady was chosen.

Sutton was dressed up in the role of "rocker", complete with a handmade handkerchief top and a tiny leather jacket. I squealed in delight at the leather jacket since I have one in Sutton's closet I've been saving for this winter. Even with no afternoon nap (because, of course kids don't take naps when you need them to), Sutton got past her initial confusion with the situation and lit up after a few rounds of the Hot Dog song and some Frozen sing-alongs. I simply cannot wait to see the final prints which, of course, I will share here later.

Check out Ella Bunbee and Capturing Grace Photography!

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**Disclosure: while I will be receiving some prints, they were not a condition of this post. I wrote this simply because I am a fan and obviously, I'm bragging about my cute little lady.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Finding a Bridesmaid Dress You Can Wear Again

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I'm one of the lucky ones - I was in a wedding where the bride let me pick my own dress.

Dress: Ralph Lauren
Heels: Madden Girl
Clutch: Banana Republic

The only direction the bridal party was given was blue. Not teal (lovely color, though), not sky, but true blue. When given the green light to pick my own bridesmaid dress, I was thrilled to be unleashed into the shopping world. Your average bridesmaid dress does not come cheap and I love to find dresses that will have some longevity. I tend to drift toward classic silhouettes so that five years from now, should the occasion arise, I have a dress on hand that doesn't look dated.

It was not hard to fall in love with this Ralph Lauren one shoulder dress. It felt sleek (though I'm not gonna lie - I broke out the Spanx for this one), the color was vibrant and Ralph Lauren seems to remain pretty timeless. Plus, I scored it on sale for about $110 so it didn't break the bank. If you are in a wedding where the bride is as cool as mine and let's you pick your own dress, I highly recommend this one. I see it reappearing in future fancy events!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Crushing on Roland Mouret for Banana Republic and Faux Hawks

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I'm not gonna lie. I was feeling pretty good about myself last Friday night. The trip to Santa Monica for my best girl's wedding was made solo. Just me, no husband (sadly), no kids (not as sadly). When I showed up to the rehearsal dinner all done up in my new Roland Mouret for Banana Republic dress, my response to people's kind compliments was to be slightly embarrassed and reply "Mama doesn't get out of the house much." I guess that when I do, I like to get fancy.

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Dress: Banana Republic
Heels: Steve Madden
Clutch: Banana Republic
Earrings: Stella & Dot

I'm obsessed with this dress. I haven't felt compelled to wear anything body-con since giving birth to my daughter. My ongoing tummy pooch was not ready and many clothes these days cause me to feel self-conscious, regardless of how proud I am for creeping ever closer to my pre-pregnancy weight. However, this dress feels like it has its own built in Spanx system. The stretch material sucks you in and curves in all the right places. At $150 (or less if you can time a great 40% off sale - I bought the dress for about $100 during a weekend promotion), you are investing in a dress with a true designer feel. It has leaped into first place in my closet - you can't go wrong with a beautiful little black dress for the long haul. I'm debating buying a couple other dresses while the collection is still in stores.

But while I have you here, can I please brag about my hair for a moment? I worked my butt off to get it just right and finally nailed a Pinterest hair obsession - the faux hawk.

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If I had a spare hour, I would do this every day! It really wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. All it took was lots of curling, bobby pins, helmet head hair spray and patience. Breaking out of my dirty ponytail mode was such a joy. Granted, I had to be a few hundred miles away from my kids to have the time to do it, but I'll take it. I think I may have to start venturing into Pinterest searches again in the near future!

Cheers to celebrating with great friends and taking the time to break out of the mom mode with a fun new look!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Perfect First Day of School Pictures

You know how everyone stages those first day of school photo shoots at their front door? The child is proudly standing next to or holding a sign announcing the big day. Well, I gave it my best shot, but it is hard to keep a 3-year-old with a balloon in one place for long.

I forgot to finish a sign until ten minutes before photo time, so I slapped some tape on the door and threw up what I had. He chose this hilarious shirt for his first day of school because "the hamburger has muscles". He dropped his back pack and took off running down the sidewalk with glee as I shouted his name to get him to turn around. He smacked his balloon like a punching bag when I asked him to smile. It was joyful chaos.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Migraines: How to Avoid the Gateway to Hell

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Migraines are a special kind of misery. As Forrest Gump once said, "Migraines are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get and they are probably a trigger, so don't eat them."

Though I'm one of the lucky ones who only gets a migraine every few months, they still shut me down to a standstill. Last week, I was slammed in the skull with a migraine of the worst severity I have ever had. I left work wondering if I was going to be able to see the road through the aura that was streaking across my vision from the right side of my face. A fever of 101 kicked in as I forced my shivering body into bed, too hot to put my standard pillow across my eyes, too sensitive to handle the light without it. Eyes shut tight, I waited it out in agony.

Having a migraine is like being trapped inside of your own head. With eyes closed, I'm still awake due to pain and the caffeine in Excedrin Migraine, leaving me with nothing but my own thoughts. For some reason, all of the worst, most terrible thoughts I could possibly have seem to come rushing through some flood gate in the back of my brain that the migraine has swiftly opened. I imagine far-fetched scenarios, like my kids running into traffic and I can't get there quick enough, or what will I do when Turbo passes away? I ask myself why I'm thinking about these things and open my eyes to remove the images, only to hiss at the light like a vampire climbing out of a coffin before dusk.

My arms feel heavy. My right eye feels droopy. My speech feels disconnected. Am I having a stroke? (Again with the dark, ridiculous thoughts.) And then comes the Mommy guilt. My husband is now left to fend for himself with a toddler and a baby while I lay dormant in bed, wishing I could help and wishing I could fall into a deep, dark cave, simultaneously. I want to be with them, but the idea of sitting up is excruciating.

Everyone has their best advice on how to deal with a migraine. These days, I hear people share that Botox in the head and neck is the answer, but I don't think I can go that route just yet (however, talk to me again when I'm in pain and I'll probably offer to inject it myself). There are all kinds of drugs to take - consult your doctor, not your local blogger on that one. Today, I'll lay out advice on how to recover because it is advice I also need to adhere to in the future to reduce down time:
  1. Take meds early. The minute you feel that migraine feeling coming on - dull ache, slight nausea, light and sound sensitivity - even to the most minor degree, pop an Excedrin Migraine. I've fought off a few by simply being timely with the meds.

  2. Lie down. Stop worrying about the stuff you need to do. Don't feel guilty about bailing on friends or family. Work will wait. Lie down, shut up and try to sleep.

  3. Darkness is your friend. Bathe in it. Pretend you are a bat in a cave and revel in the dark. Bundle yourself into a blanket and a sleep mask and keep things light tight.

  4. Hydrate. Drink water like you are taking a journey through the Sahara. Once you think you have drank enough water, drink some more. 

  5. Pay attention to your triggers and write them down. Seriously, don't just log it to memory. Put any factors from the few days before into a journal. That time of the month? Too much red wine? Were you stressed out? Are you dehydrated? Writing it down each time allows you to establish a pattern that you can take to the doctor for some better examination. 
To all my fellow migraine sufferers out there, I salute you and I wish for you to have quick recoveries.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Teal In Motion: An Update On Life

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Oh, hi. Remember me? My name is Teal and I used to blog all the time. I'm going to try to pick back up where I left off. I've missed you.

It is not surprising that my last post back in April was all about making choices in life to find balance. With my life seriously out of balance, one choice I had to make was to take a step back from Teal In Motion. There simply weren't enough hours in the day to write. I was out the door before I could snap outfit photos and quite frankly, I wasn't loving how I was looking on four hours of sleep. Every time I would think of something I wanted to say, I would lose it to the vortex of rambling thoughts about all the other things I needed to do first, like laundry or bills or perhaps taking a shower. I decided to listen to my own advice and make some choices and changes on which way to lean in my life. Allow me to catch you up on what I've been up to in the past three months:

I got a new job.

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Thanks to the power and support of my husband, my network of friends and my former colleagues, who gave me the encouragement I needed to make a change and even tipped me in the exact direction of my new job, my new desk is all set up. And the best news? My new desk is just a fifteen minute commute away from home. I found a role that is challenging and inspiring in addition to fulfilling my cravings for work/life balance.

I cut my hair.

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New job, new hair. Gone are the days where I pull my hair into a greasy ponytail and call it a style. I've revitalized myself with a simple slash of the scissors. Extra time in the morning has allowed me to amp up my cute factor and trust me when I say I haven't really felt cute in months. I'm grabbing back my mojo with two hands and a long bob.

I've watched my kids grow and thrive.

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I could spend a full day just watching my kids take on the world. Their sweet dispositions are a great match and there is no joy greater than watching the two of them play and interact, unprompted. Little Miss Sutton is nine months and on the move - talking, being silly, cruising furniture and laughing at everything her brother does. Her hair is out of control and I love every crazy strand. Keagan is the consummate entertainer; where there is an audience, he is testing out his comedic timing. He is currently obsessed with petting dogs, much to Turbo's pleasure and chagrin, depending on what day you catch the grumpy old man on. Turbo gets in the mix when it suits him and hides on the couch out of reach when their wild play hits a fevered pitch. Keagan and Sutton are little roaming balls of happy energy. Their smiles, laughter and strong personalities make every day a new adventure in parenthood.

I'm going on dates.

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Raising kids is hard work. Finding time for you and your husband alone is even more challenging - at least, that has been the case for Kevin and me. With Sutton so small (and so terrible at sleeping), we became big homebodies until we could find our footing again. As life has started to lend itself to a sweet, calm routine, we've pushed ourselves out the door. The biggest thrill for me has been playing golf again. For our 5-year anniversary in May, Kevin and I went out and played a nine-hole course and had Thai food. I couldn't have asked for a better celebration of a life with a true (and super handsome) partner.

So, there you have it. Lots of changes, all for the better - a life on the upswing. The Teal in Teal In Motion is back.