Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Birthday Wisdom

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It's my birthday and I'll wear giraffe prints and drink wine at noon if I want to.

Blouse: H&M
Jeans: Gap
Belt: vintage
Hat: Forever 21(similar)
Bag: Banana Republic
Shades: Ray-Ban
Sandals: Target

With age comes wisdom. At age 37, I've learned a few things. I've learned that the key to a nice birthday celebration is to just chill. It's dropping the kids off with the grandparents for the day. It's sitting in the sun eating soft cheeses and drinking some sauvignon blanc. It's catching up on conversations with your significant other when the speed of life slows down a bit. It's wearing a hat because you never get the chance to wear hats anymore and you are totally a hat kind of girl.

Yep, I've got it all figured out until life's next curve ball. I mean, as my son told me this past weekend, "Mommy, you are almost 38 now." Slow down, kid. Chill.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Combining Trends With Functionality

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It's been a long time since I've done an outfit post. These are my play clothes.

Vest: Banana Republic
Tee: Old Navy (similar)
Jeans: Gap
Shades: Ray-Ban
Flats: Target

I follow a lot of style blogs. When I see some blogs with moms with young kids wearing sky-high heels and adorable mini-dresses, I'm in awe of their fashion sense and I'm inspired by their trends. I'm also terrified for them in their lack of practicality. It's a strange dichotomy.

When I started this blog, I swore up and down that I wouldn't lose my sense of personal style just because I was transitioning into mommyhood. Yet as of late, I find myself gravitating away from the styles I used to covet. Beautiful stilettos have been shelved - on most occasions outside of work, I'm racing with my son across grass park fields. I haven't bought a dress that doesn't hit at the knee or lower in fear that I will show all my lady business to the world every time I bend over to pick up my daughter. Earrings other than studs? Forget about it. I'd like to avoid a trip to the ER to get my lobes stitched back on.

So where does that leave me? Honestly, it leaves me in a bit of a style rut which is maybe why I don't post on outfits as often anymore. I want what I showcase to be truly what I wear, not just something I dolled up in for photos before throwing on my actual outfit of jeans and a tee. In other words, I want to give it the old college try (although by that definition, it would mean I'm hungover in sweat pants, so maybe that doesn't apply here...) and find clothes that feel cute, fashionable and put together while still serving the one thing I truly need: FUNCTION. I need pockets for Kleenex and random toys. I need coverage for whatever obstacle I may have to leap over, bend down for or twist towards. I need stability and agility when my kids brush against my full coffee cup that teeters precariously on the living room side table.

While I would love to embrace stacked heels and thigh-length dresses, I am trying to instead incorporate trends that work with my lifestyle. That is why I love this military vest. I expect to wear it quite a bit through the year with tees, tanks, shorts, you name it. If I can feel somewhat trendy while climbing through a jungle gym, it's a win-win.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: 2 Legged Mermaid on Etsy

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When I was a kid, I would pretend that I was The Little Mermaid by flying out of the pool by pushing my arms up against the pool ledge, just like Ariel on her rock, and sing the crescendo of "Part of your woooooorld!" (Don't pretend like I'm the only person who has done this at one point in time.)

Full disclosure: I am no mermaid. In fact, I'm contemplating taking some swimming lessons this summer because I am so weak in the water. But guess what I'm really good at? Pool and beach side lounging while wearing a sweet hat.

I'm fortunate enough to be a close friend with Tia, the creator of 2 Legged Mermaid (that's her with the gorgeous purple hair.) She has created a new line of hats for those of us with mermaid fantasies, using her adorable designs, bright colors and even her original photography!

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If I had my way, I'd be on a beach every day. Whether it is while watching my kids play in the sand or sitting near rolling waves while the sun sets, long, sun-filled summer days are my dream. However, I'm an Irish lass with fair skin, so protection from the suns harsh rays is key. These hats offer both protection and style. Here are a few of my favorites:

heart hat mermaid hat
blue heart hat dia hat

I bought two of these for my pool-dwelling nieces for their birthdays and I had a chance to try on the hat. I can attest that it is super comfortable, sitting snugly on my head and resting just at my ears. With the adjustable back, it fit the heads of both my 11-and-7 year old nieces as well. The brim is fairly deep, which for me makes it the perfect summer lounging accessory while I shade my freckles.

Whether you want to let your inner mermaid loose or whether you just want a cute hat to coordinate with your summer swimsuit, you should check out 2 Legged Mermaid. You can find your hat on Etsy or follow along for latest designs on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

And if that isn't enough to convince you, then check out her dog. How can you say no to this face?

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Disclosure: I was compensated in the form of discounts and a free hat (soon to be modeled on this very site), but more so, I believe in small business entrepreneurship and I believe it Tia, who is an awesome, creative woman that loves to quote movies with me to the point where it probably annoys others, but we don't care because we are laughing so hard. For example, I've fought the urge to say "Mer-man. Mer-man!" about ten times in this post.)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Stepping Out From Behind The Camera: A Mother's Challenge

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This photo pretty much sums me up - iPhone camera pointed towards my kids, silly expression on my face, all for the sake of capturing some memories.

I love taking photos. Some of my family members have joked that my kids aren't going to recognize me without a camera blocking my face. Others have marveled that we live in a generation where every moment needs to be digitally captured. I've read articles that declare we are raising a new breed of selfie-inflicted narcissists who think that everything that they do is special. Well, I'll run that risk if it means that decades from now I will have a lifetime of photos to look back upon with love, joy and happiness. Shoot, I look at photos I took less than a year ago and I know that if I hadn't taken the time to whip out my phone, the memory would have been fleeting and gone. Time rolls by too quickly.

I was fortunate this past weekend when my husband took control of the camera when I wasn't looking. He snapped some photos of me and my kids, just sitting in the sun and enjoying a children's singer at a birthday party. I'm usually the one running after the action with my phone pointed in all directions. On most occasions, I'm non-existent in family photos. This time, I got to see some of what I perhaps miss when I'm busy capturing the moment - I got to see myself actually capturing the moment with the loves of my life.

While you won't see me putting down the camera any time soon, these photos have shown me that sitting back, sipping a beer and watching my kids bounce to "5 Little Monkeys" is a pretty sweet angle to capture.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Embracing Prescription Sunglasses

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My weakening eyesight is just one more reminder I didn't need about getting older. My creaking knees and my inability to stay up past 9:30 PM are already pretty solid indicators of a youth left behind. In my last eye appointment, my prescription crept upward a bit and it was time to go on the hunt for new sunglasses.

I shopped the frames at my optometrist's office but they all felt a bit ostentatious. I was looking at upwards of $300 for the one pair I only kinda, sorta liked from Prada, and I'm just not a Prada kind of girl. All I wanted was some classic Ray-Ban aviators. I wanted glasses that would go with everything and rarely fade out of style.

After stopping in to no less than five local optometrist offices, I finally found my perfect pair at a shop near my work. I was able to customize, get polarized lenses, choose the brown lens color I had been desiring and have them fitted to my face. With insurance, I paid less than price I would pay buying them off the rack with plain lenses. But here is the best part - I can actually see! Imagine that. Street signage is legible and I'm not squinting in confusion before affirming it actually is my neighbor that I'm waving at awkwardly.

So maybe that's the wisdom that comes with age - learning to invest in what is necessary to my daily use while still trying to look cool - even if I am just a blind old lady under these sweet new frames.

Aviators: Ray-Ban

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

12 Weeks of Awesome Family Adventures with Red Tricycle


Typically, when Wednesday hits, I work myself into a little panic. I have two toddlers who are not willing to sit idle on the weekends. With so much to explore in the greater Bay Area, a plan must be put into place. Without a plan, the Saturday morning that started with cheerful greetings devolves quickly into this:

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The question always remains: What the heck are we going to do this weekend?

My go-to source for local, kid-friendly events and information is Red Tricycle. They list everything from a calendar of events to family-friendly eateries to tips-and-tricks for travel. Everything you need to know is all in one place. Red Tricycle will save you from Google overload.

Red Tricycle also has your spring time plans covered. They have just partnered with some Bay Area events and venues and launched 12 Weeks of Awesome Family Adventures.

You can pick from the following fantastic, affordable options:

I've already booked in to attend the date night at de Young Museum. Time alone with my husband, culture, wine and childcare all in one location? Sold.
For every ticket sold, Red Tricycle will donate $1 to KaBOOM!, a non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America. 
Tickets are going fast for #12WeeksOfAwesome, so book now! You can reserve your adventure through the website or through the Red Tricycle mobile app. So, come join me in making a plan for some great springtime adventures!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Red Tricycle and yes, I visit Red Tri no less than 2-3 times per week. It's a lifesaver, I promise you.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Running For A Cause: CALICO and the Oakland Running Festival

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As shocked as the woman behind me looks, it is true. I ran two races this past weekend.

I haven't written about it much here, but I've been quietly training to run in a relay marathon for the past couple of months. Running has always served as my endorphin-raising form of meditation. I love to zone out, clear my head, focus on my breathing and my pace, all the while competing with myself to push harder and get better. And competing with whoever the unknowing person is in front of me. I always have to pass the person in front of me.

In my twenties, I ran all the time, whether it was in a weekend 5K or for the fun of it through the crisp fog in San Francisco. In my thirties, and after two babies, not so much. With excuse upon excuse (No time! I'm tired! The stroller is a pain to push! It's cold outside! My poor old knees!), I let one of my former loves slip out of my life.

Enter the power of friendship. A group of my local sorority sisters gathered to run for a cause. One of these women is on the board of CALICO, a non-profit that achieves justice and provides support and resources for healing and abused children of Alameda County. We agreed to form a team to run the relay marathon in the Oakland Running Festival and raise money for this important and deserving organization.

I ran a 5K on Saturday to support local sober grads - hey, I was going to run anyway, so why not do even more for the greater good while training? When I posted the best 5K time that I've had in years, I was feeling fantastic heading into Sunday's race. And let me tell you - our team nailed it.

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Sisterhood in action.

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Legitimately trying not to throw up on the final stretch.

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Success!

We finished our division in 22nd place out of 95 - not too bad! And more importantly, we contributed to CALICO reaching their goal of $35,000, which will directly impact abused children and their families. Though our fundraising push is complete, I would still encourage you to check out CALICO and contribute if you feel so inclined.

I feel empowered, privileged and thrilled to have accomplished a huge goal with these dedicated and strong women. Cheers to running for a cause and making a difference with your friends!