Wearing a dress always looks more put together than it feels. Essentially when I don't want to deal with waistbands, ironing, or finding two things that look good together, I'll wear a dress! Sometimes it turns a regular day into fancy dress day and I feel like a proper adult! I'm in the process of going thru my closet with a more critical eye because the amount of STUFF is overwhelming me at this point! But, that deserves it's own post. This dress is one of the things that will definitely be staying. I can't think of one item of clothing I've purchased lately that feels more like me than this dress!
Some of my best moments with Rowan are when I get to show him my favorite little places in the city. I love being able to watch his eyes light up as he falls in love with them too!
A few weeks ago, we ventured out to one of those little gems, Blue Manatee. I've taken him here a dozen or so times before. But, the most amazing part of having a four-year-old is watching how magical the world is for them! Rowan takes everything in and needs to process the surroundings for a while. Even as he gets more comfortable it takes time for him to warm up and engage. Because of this, I'm always worried. But really, I had nothing to worry about!
The new location is just as cozy and wonderful as it's previous space. The staff is warm and generous. Ms. Kellie is amazing with the kids. We had such a great morning "making a mess" a Blue Manatee!
He's already asked to go back to for another messy Monday! I think that means he loves it as much as I do!
For whatever reason, these pants give me a very London 1960s vibe. Perhaps it's the groovy pattern or the union jack color palette. Whatever the reason, they are one of those things I've pulled out of the donate pile several times, unable to let them go.
We've also reached the stage of summer where it is unbearably hot! I don't want to deal with the flat iron so the big hair is back! And I can't go out naked so I wear whatever I want!
For some reason, I've also been itching for a big change! I think it probably has a lot to do with my rapidly approaching birthday and the heat. It's a scientific fact that those two things have been known to make a girl do the unexpected! I guess you'll just have to stick around and see exactly what that means.
It's finally here! The never-ending winter has bid us farewell and spring is FINALLY here! I hope. I'm taking full advantage of these longer and warmer days by diving into my closet and digging out all of my favorite dresses. This was one of the offerings from the Victoria Beckham|Target collab. I managed to wear it a grand total of one time last year. Womp. Womp. I love it so I'm not sure why it's been passed over so many times. I think sometimes I get caught up on how I think something should look instead of considering how it should be styled to fit into my everyday life
So today, it's back to the basics. Flat sandals are a requirement for chasing down lightning quick little ones. And, a glittery belt because on Wednesdays-and any other day- we wear glitter!
"whatcha doin' wit da camera mama? say cheese!" Cute little photobomber!
I remember in the early days of my blogging, there was this endless need to have it first. I suppose in many ways that hasn't really changed be it fashion bloggers, lifestyle bloggers or mommy bloggers. The endless pursuit of the "new" will always be there. As I took a step back and focused on other things, I realized that most of the things I treasured in my closet or found myself reaching for time and time again weren't necessarily my newest goodies, they were the timeless pieces that made me feel confident when I was dressed.
And while my need to stuff my closet with fancy skirts and dresses has slowed because my lifestyle has changed in the last four years, I decided to indulge myself during a big sale this past January. This dress is so pretty and I can see grabbing it on those occasions where I want to feel a little bit sexy without having to worry too much about it. The coat is at least ten years old from the days when I shopped at the Banana Republic faithfully and because cute, closed toe, and comfortable heels are hard to come by, these shoes remain a favorite!
I know among bloggers and avid Instagram users there seems to be a consensus that Fall is the best season of the year. Boots, and sweaters, and pumpkin spice, oh my! What's not to love?! But for me, Spring is where it's at! Warmer temps are finally making their debut. Things are starting to turn green and all of my favorite flowers are starting to bloom! Allergies aside, I adore spring!
While I'm sure it's connected to the "rebirth" messages that are intrinsically linked to the season, I always start to think a great deal about memories, occasions and celebrations and the way we seem to want to box them off. Reserve them for something we deem deserving of the festivities. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that our everyday lives are worthy of celebrating too! So even if you're just grabbing a pizza on your way home from work, why not break out your fancy dishes and treat yourself?!
If you follow me on Instagram or know me in real life, then you know that last October my daughter and son-in-law announced that they were expecting their first baby! I'm going to be a grandma, a Gigi, a Mimi, a Gran...I'm campaigning hard for Gray(which is a combination of my first and middle name!)but my family remains unconvinced.
A few weeks ago, we had a house full of friends and family to celebrate with Rian and welcome baby Olivia to the family. Her one request was nothing too over the top girly because it was a co-ed shower. Instead of a theme, I opted to for a color palette of pale pink, peach, gold and light wood accents. I found some clip art on Etsy that I thought would be perfect for the invitations and signs at the shower.
We decided to have a brunch mostly because I wanted to have a biscuit bar! Neither of us is a fan of shower games. In lieu of sniffing diapers or melting ice cubes with tiny babies in them, I set up a headband station. Everyone including the guys had fun being creative and making darling headpieces for our girl.
It was a laidback afternoon with family and friends. It gave me such joy to host this day. I'm already so in love with you Olivia! Get here soon, your grandpa and I can't wait to meet you!
How is it that February is the shortest month of the year but feels like it is literally 800 days long?! It must be the combination of post-holiday hangover, the cold, and another month of days when what little sun we have makes itself scarce at 5 o'clock! To be perfectly honest, February was a rough month emotionally. I think it was for lots of people. I'm still processing a lot of what happened both personally and globally. I suspect I will be for months to come.
My word of the year is C O M M I T. Committing to caring for myself is a huge part of that. It is so easy for me to fall into a cycle where I let anxiety control me, refuse to leave the house and spend days in my pajamas. I'm also trying to be more mindful of routines that give me comfort as well as consistency. In February, my goal was to get up and get dressed at least 4 days a week even if we didn't have plans. Going through the motions of getting myself dressed, doing my hair and a quick makeup routine made me feel better. Especially when I was struggling with so many other things. In an effort to be transparent, I didn't always succeed. I tried not to beat myself up too much over falling short of my goal because every little bit kept me from letting my depression spiral into something bigger and less manageable.
The other day I was catching up on some of my favorite YouTube channels when I stumbled across several #FEMMEUARY videos from a few booktubers. One of the things I committed to doing this year was reading more books by women authors. February also happens to be Black History month in the states. This month is the perfect time to dive into my TBR list of books authored by women of color.
This list is also fairly ambitious for me,sadly, I haven't read this many books in a month in a very long time!
The only author on this list I'm familiar with is Zadie Smith. I read White Teeth years ago when it was originally published. I have seen Octavia Butler mentioned more frequently in light of today's political climate. The others are new to me authors. I've never been more excited to dive into a pile of books! Feel free to join me and add some books by WOC authors to reading list this month.
Here are two of my favorites discussing their plans for reading this month.
Happy New Year! The first full week of the new year has been pretty hectic around here. My daughter and son-in-law were visiting from Virgina, we celebrated my son, Zach's 21st birthday and this weekend I had my first big flower job of the year! And while there is a little bit of post-holiday sadness, it feels great to get back into some sort of routine.
Like most of the country, it's been cold AF(do the kids still say AF?!)here. So unless it's a must do immediately kind of thing, we're staying in! And that means I've essentially been living in flannel pajama pants and t-shirts. This week the temps have reached have a downright balmy 40 degrees! With today promising to be in the 50s, I decided it was time to come out of hibernation and get properly dressed.
This sweater is a new favorite and the boots always make me feel instantly pulled together!
Do you have something in your wardrobe that makes you feel instantly pulled together?
Last year, I chose cultivate as my one little word. In some ways, I succeeded. I made and nurtured new friendships. The seeds of several new creative endeavors were planted. And, I worked on strengthening some relationships that are very important to me. But, I fell short of how I wanted to use my One Little Word to help me navigate throughout the year. So, this year I'm choosing to COMMIT. I've made a list of goals that I want to either fully accomplish this year or take definite steps towards accomplishing them within the next two years. Long-term planning has never been my strong suit but this year, I'm committed to mapping out the pieces of my life that I've left to chance or neglected in the past.
COMMIT will be my touchstone for decision making this year. Is this an idea, challenge, goal, relationship that I can fully COMMIT to? If not, why? Am I simply afraid to step up because I fear failure or is there a tangible reason why this can't be a "yes" for me? I think I say #hardpass on lots of things. Not because I can't do them. But, because my fear of success is almost as paralyzing as my fear of failure! What if I stop letting those two assholes make my decisions for me?!
The less said about 2 0 1 7, the better! So, buckle up 2 0 1 8 because, I'm coming for you!
Here's the thing about memories, often the best ones, the ones that stick with us throughout our lifetime, are the little moments that inject a tiny bit of magic in our everyday lives.
The combination of potty training and the first blast of arctic air has had us stuck in the house for a few days too many. And, I think we both had a touch of cabin fever. After more episodes of Paw Patrol than I care to admit, I remembered we had some cookie dough mix and decided it would be a fun way to kill an hour!
It wasn't a Pinterest perfect craft. It wasn't even made from scratch. We're both still in our pj's and rocking epic bedhead. But, a week later he still lights up talking about how we made cookies!
We never know what little kernels of childhood our kids will hold onto as memories. But, I hope he remembers that sunny December morning, singing Christmas songs, dancing in the kitchen, and making cookies!
Last weekend we set out on our first official(since it's actually December!) holiday activity. We'd actually planned on doing something Saturday and Sunday but you know what they say about best-laid plans! Anyway, Sunday was a bright, beautiful and 60-degree day, so we ventured out. Our plan was to head to the Krohn Conservatory to take in the gorgeous holiday display. But, when the husband suggested we drive downtown, hop and the streetcar and have brunch first, I wasn't going to argue. There has been much debate about whether or not the streetcar was a wise investment for the city. I guess that remains to be seen but if my kid's excitement is any indication, the answer is YES!
A quick ride on the streetcar delivered us to one of our favorite restaurants, Maplewood Kitchen. We got there at the perfect time. Shortly after our arrival, the line began to snake out the door! After filling up on bistro steak and eggs, lemon ricotta pancakes and chicken hash we made our way to Eden park to check out the holiday display at Krohn Conservatory.
The display never disappoints! Rowan could have stayed for hours watching the trains!
A streetcar ride, giant pancakes, trains and a Ferris wheel! This kid was on cloud nine for the next two days!
It's official! The 2017 holidays have arrived! There have been times in the past where I've approached this time of year with dread. Going through the motions because it was expected of me. This year Rowan for the first time in his life, Rowan kind of gets the holiday. His eyes light up at the sight of twinkle lights and Christmas trees. He still approaches Santa with a healthy dose of side-eye but he is a frequent topic of conversation!
Last week we decided to cross off one of the items on our holiday bucket list-The Festival of Lights. The first year we took Ro, it was the week before Christmas. It was freezing, crowded, and none of us enjoyed it very much. Last year we went the week of Thanksgiving and discovered it was the perfect time to go. The weather is more cooperative and the crowds are less intense. And, just like that, a new tradition was born! This year we ventured out the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. We were not disappointed!
It feels good to start a new tradition with our family. I'm hoping it's one we can continue. What do you with your family that signals the start of the holiday season?
I've gotten really good at figuring out how well something will work with my wardrobe before buying it. I once read some arbitrary rule that proclaimed you should be able to wear something with at least five existing items in your closet before you consider buying it. I'm not sure where I read it or why it stuck but it seems reasonable. And while I don't treat it as a hard and fast rule, when adding things to my cart if can't pair it with a few things I already own or see me wearing at various everyday activities, I'll pass on it.
And then, there are some things you buy that speak to you on a spiritual level so you click "confirm order" and immediately try to figure out how many things you can pair with them because if loving it is wrong, you don't want to be right! These shoes, in all of their shiny, rose gold glory, are one such purchase. I've been wearing them nonstop since they arrived and mostly with jeans because Mother Nature suddenly remembered that November in Ohio should be cold. How rude?!! I can't wait to wear them with some of my favorite dresses when it warms up a bit.
Today was a quiet day around the house so I'm keeping it simple with a sequined embellished sweater, leather look leggings, and gilded sneakers. You know...wardrobe basics.
There's something about fair isle sweaters and flared jeans that gets me every time. Maybe because it reminds of the glory days of American ready to wear fashion, the 1970s. A decade that had the whole sporty, effortlessly chic thing happening for it. Perhaps it's that on this day, election day. A year to the day that my country broke my heart, I'm longing for the idea of what we used to be instead of the reality of what we are.
I haven't been on a proper get a babysitter, get dressed up and go into to town night out with my husband in a long time. On a recent and very warm Saturday night, I headed out with the husband.
If I'm being totally honest with you, getting dressed is a struggle. I'm not happy with my body or my weight right now. Putting on a pretty dress and a pair of heels to go out with my husband used to be something that I looked forward to doing several times a month. These days the opportunity to go it is rare and instead of jumping at the chance to do it, I kind of dread it. It's hard for me to feel good in something when I'm uncomfortable in my own skin.
I bought this dress a few years ago at Forever 21 of all places and it's been a go-to ever since. It's short and flirty. The low back is sexy without being too revealing and the shoes, what? Doesn't every girl have a a fur trimmed strappy sandal as one of their wardrobe basics?
The event we attended suggested "street chic" as the attire. For two forty something, suburban parents, I think we nailed it ;)
I haven't put much effort into myself lately. As my anxiety increases, it becomes very easy to cancel plans and opt to stay home and have "pajama days".
Over the weekend I had some time to myself. The boys went to a birthday party and I got myself dressed and out of the house. It was a gorgeous afternoon and for the first time in a long time, I wore something not for it's practicality but solely because it made me ridulously happy!
This skirt has been a favorite for a few years. It seemed the perfect thing to thing to say goodbye to summer. I love these shoes! They used to something I'd wear every day. I considered them "sensible". Ha! Oh, how times have changed.
I love staying home with Rowan. It's exhausting but I wouldn't trade this season in my life for anything else in this world. But, on this beautiful afternoon, as I sat in the sun reading a book and drinking a glass of rosé, I remembered the person I used to be and she made me smile too.
So, let's toast the changing seasons both literal and metaphorical. Cheers!
Back in the day, I was a huge fan of scrapbooking. I had baskets and bins filled with papers and embellishments. I would print out my photos and sift through trying to come up with the perfect layout. And therein lies my problem. I spent so much time wanting to make it perfect that I fell further and further behind. And I ended up with 14 months worth of photos I needed to scrapbook! Yikes! Then one day I stumbled on Project Life. It was a much easier and more modern way of memory keeping. So once again, I bought a core kit and an album and got to work. And, once again I quickly fell behind due to my own expectations.
Two years ago I fell down the rabbit hole of pretty or decorative planning. Planners and stickers make me a very happy girl! I've been happily exploring the world of decorative planning. I've grown from using scrapbook paper and stamping to buying stickers on Etsy to trying my hand at designing my own. My husband is a reluctant enabler of my hobby that he doesn't quite "get" but for Christmas, he surprised me with the newest planner gadget, an HP Sprocket. I can easily print out photos from my phone onto sticker paper! What is life?! I've been using it here and there to put photos in my planner. But, with the release of the big Happy Planner, I decide to fully commit to memory keeping again.
The planner itself is dated(although there are undated versions) and beautifully illustrated. You could print out your pictures, slap them down and be finished. Easy like Sunday morning. I've chosen to add a little layering with scrapbook paper, a few stickers and some notes about the week that I'd like to remember.
It is so easy but at the same time allows me to get as creative as I want. It's also forcing me to print out photos which is something that I rarely do! I jot down little notes or cute things I want to remember throughout the week so that I can add them to my weekly layout.
This spread took me less than 30 minutes to put together!
A few weeks ago I met up with mom friends and their kiddos at a new to us place, The Play Library. My husband had mentioned it to me in a conversation but for whatever the information didn't really register. He'll tell you it's because I never listen to him but #alternatefacts y'all. Anyway, we had an amazing time at that first outing and it's quickly become one of my favorite Rowan approved places in the city.
This adorable little space is basically a lending library for toys and games! Ro has so much stuff and so many toys that the idea of being able to check out something new and enjoy it without worrying about where to store it is a parent's dream!
A membership(monthly or yearly) is required to check things out, but it's FREE to come in and play, although donations are welcomed! Members also get access to all Library events and a discount if you want to rent the space out for a private event. So, why are you waiting?! Go check it out!
This cozy little corner on Elm St. feels a little bit like getting a glimpse behind a magic door. It's essentially the room of my 7 year old dreams!
This treehouse inspired is perfect for my little sensory seeker! Getting him to sit still in chairs can be a challenge because he often requires physical stimulus in order to calm himself. These swings require him to balance although they are anchored underneath to prevent slipping and falling. And, that additional physical activity provides enough stimuli that he is able to sit and concentrate.
And, of course, he found a garbage truck!
All of that play is exhausting so we finished our afternoon with a treat.