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.
I've worn glasses since the second grade. So, more than 30 years. I never really had the urge to wear contacts. 15 years ago, I briefly worked for an optician and was able to try a pair for free. I lasted one night! Nope! Not for me! Glasses are a part of who I am and I feel weird without them.
However, glasses are expensive! I've been through periods where they were not covered by insurance and because I have a fairly intense prescription I would end up covering the entire $300-$500 cost out of pocket! Thankfully vision insurance now makes our out of pocket cost minimal but what's a girl to do when she wants a variety of cute frames to suit her mood but the insurance company will only spring for one pair per year?! Buy them online, of course! A few years ago I took the plunge and ordered my first pair online and I haven't looked back-no pun intended!
Last week during one sleepless night, I got into my head that I needed new glasses. Not just any pair of new frames, but pink ones! I headed to Zenni where I've purchased four of my last five pairs to see what they had. My requirements are always the same- plastic, slightly oversized and square. It took me five minutes to find I pair I loved! It took me another minute to find the same frames in another color that I wanted too! In less than 10 minutes I purchased two complete pairs of prescription eyeglasses for under $20($17.46) and that was with shipping! They were in my mailbox 7 days later. I love them both! The ones on the left are little greener than I thought they would be but because the frames have the appearance of frosted glass they are more of a sea glass color-very soft and pretty. The pink are just fun! Now that I've satisfied my need for pink glasses, I have to go back and buy the pair of heart shaped sunglasses I've been eyeing;)
We've reached that point in summer when it is H O T and H U M I D. There's no way around it. So I choose to ignore it! There's no way around being hot so you might as well wear what you want! The top is 100% silk so it breathes! It was a thrift store score which means I'm not too afraid to wear it when I'm on mom duty. The jeans are my favorite high rise super stretch jeggings from American Eagle which means they're thinner than regular denim. The heels didn't last the whole day but I remained cool and relatively pulled together in this look.
Can I talk for a minute about this Coach backpack? It's at least 15 years old, maybe closer to 20. It's so old I can't remember when I got it but look at how amazing it still looks! If you would have told me when I bought to haul around the crap of my young kids 15 or 20 years later it would be serving the exact same purpose I would have thought it was a joke. But, here we are. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
I am not the most spontaneous person. Neither is my husband. I don't know if it's because we're both Virgos or if we're just set in our ways. So, I was pretty proud of us for deciding to pack up the kiddo and head downtown for the day. We were all dressed, ready out the door in an hour! Shouldn't Sunday afternoons be about finding a little adventure? We hadn't been to the Observation Deck at Carew Tower in years but it was a perfect afternoon to introduce Rowan to a picture perfect view.
Why does my sweet baby boy look like such a big kid these days?! Gah! It's all flying by too fast!
We stumbled upon a climate change rally! These were my two favorite signs. After spending time on Fountain Square we hopped on the streetcar to head to Findlay Market. We've been on it a handful of times and just realized that Nick Lachey voices the stops. That is so Cincinnati!
We had a quick and delicious lunch, listened to some street performers and bought some goodies before heading home. Sunday, fun day, indeed!
My anxiety seems to be in overdrive lately and part of taking care of myself is knowing my limitations and being realistic with my expectations. So, easy is my word for the summer! If it's not easy, it's not happening. Catch me in September for everything else!
And so, a favorite dress, a pair of sandals and big hair that doesn't require me to plug in my flat iron or curling wand all summer! It's taken me a bit to get used to it. I love big, beautiful natural hair but I'm still unsure of how I feel about it on me! On one hand, I like straight hair because my face is round and full and I've always thought it helped thin it out a little. But, on the other, I want to enjoy my summer without spending so much time straightening my hair into submission. 30 minutes start to finish and we were out the door on our way to Sunday brunch!
The annual Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory is a harbinger of summer and one the entire city looks forward to seeing every year. The last time we went, Rowan was too little to enjoy it. so this year it was so much fun to watch him take it all in!
"Butterfly" is a new-ish word for him so to hear him say it with so much joy as he pointed with delight at all of the gorgeous butterflies landing around us made this year's trip extra special. And, can we talk about how wonderful it smells! Butterflies are attracted to the scent of jasmine. Krohn passes out these little scratch and sniff cards that release the scent to encourage the butterflies to interact with you. I'm not sure if there's a heaven, but if it exists, I hope it smells just like this!
For the first time in a long time, I bought a dress! I didn't buy for a specific event. I didn't buy it after carefully considering its practicality or whether or not it was toddler-friendly. I bought because I loved it! And, when I put it on it made me happy!
The dress is part of the Victoria Beckham line at Target. When she made the switch from Posh Spice to fashion designer there were lots of eyerolls. But even the naysayers have to admit, she came, she saw, she slayed! I had high hopes for her Target collab and she nailed it! Everything is solidly constructed and the fabrics she used are high quality, particularly for the price point. It's the first time in a long time that I've wanted to buy everything from a Target designer collab! And, if you have a baby or toddler girl...OMG...there are so many adorable things to buy!
Looking for a quick, easy and messy way to spend the morning?
Like all good ideas, I found this on Pinterest. There were several pins and each of them called for different kinds of paint. I used the tempera paints we had on hand. You also need a bin, lid or something to hold the shaving cream, shaving cream(the old fashioned foaming kind) and the tip of a paintbrush/toothpick to swirl the paints.
When we were finished I took our rainbow-colored foam and let Rowan have the time of his life rinsing himself off!
I'm trying to balance our days with structured and free play. This was the perfect activity. There was something for him to focus on but since it was creative I think to him it felt like play time. More importantly, I had a relaxing and fun morning with my little love bug!
The weather has been all of over the place and I'm a little hesitant to declare spring weather is here to stay but, I think it may be here to stay!
If my winter uniform was leggings and oversized sweaters then my warm weather go-to is an easy dress. Last week we enjoyed some summer-like temps and I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with some of my favorite dresses.
I'm guilty of falling into the same pattern as lots of other moms. When you spend your days at home with young kids worrying about getting dressed in something other than what is easy and comfortable is not something high on my to do list. It was nice to throw on a dress and remind myself that I'm more than Rowan's mom, soother of tears, meltdown manager, tiny shit hauler!
This outfit may have reminded of my pre toddler mom life but I quickly remembered why all of my favorite heels have been moved to the back of the closet! These lasted for approximately 15 minutes before they were swapped out for flat sandals!
Real talk...this is what 75% of the photos look like when you're trying to take blog pics and you have a curious 3 year-old! "mama, mama...this?" "smile, mama"
Here are few things that I fell in love with this month!
I've avoided audiobooks because it feels a little like cheating. Can it really be reading if I can do it while driving? In an effort to shut off my brain a bit at night I've started listening to them when I go to bed. More specifically, I've been listening to cozy mystery audiobooks and I discovered the Daisy Dalyrymple series! Not only are the books decent in terms of plot and character development, the main character, Daisy, is a thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s. The narrator has a great voice and is able to give all of the characters their own very distinct voice. It's like having a posh British au pair read me to sleep!
Who doesn't love a good rosé? Rhinegeist has come out with a rosé cider and it is AMAZING!! We had some unseasonably warm weather last weekend and sitting on the deck with an ice cold can of Bubbles was the perfect end to my day!
These two addictive television shows are my new guilty pleasures! One is based on the Archie Comic books. The other is (allegedly) based on an A-list celeb who is the face of a controversial "religion".
Do you have any new favorites?
Saturday our little hero turned 3! I'm not sure how three years have gone by in the blink of an eye but my little preemie is this amazing little boy!
I decided on a comic book super-hero theme with black white with pops of color. We kept things pretty simple and easy. We opted to order some oversized signs from Amazon. I contacted the Etsy seller who designed the invitations to see if she could make a coordinating sign. I had it printed at Staples. I made the signs for the buffet in Picmonkey and attached them to cardstock to bring in more color. The husband did a great job on the "hero" sandwiches and I made up a batch of "dare"deviled eggs and some pretty super jello cups.
The weather cooperated and we had a beautiful afternoon celebrating with family. I love the way everything turned out.
I've adopted a uniform. If only my "ohmygosh why are you trying to stifle my creative soul by forcing me to wear this hideous uniform!!!" 15-year-old self could see me now as I happily put on some version of leggings, a top, and comfortable shoes every day. I'd also like to give my former self, the one who claimed leggings weren't pants, a swift kick. Toddler mamahood is hard and if the only way I can get through it is by wearing stretchy pants, then I say rock on.
This is the "edgier" version of my uniform. I mean as edgy as a suburban mom can get. Although, my twenty-something daughters informed me that only middle age moms where leather looking leggings! Whatever. One of the benefits of being a middle aged mom is that I left all the damns I had to give back in my thirties!
If I could make a wish and have my wildest dream fulfilled, it would definitely have something to do with the arts. I don't know that I have the soul of an artist but I have the desire to have the soul of an artist! LOL! And, I love that we live in a city that makes it easy to pass my appreciation of it to my kids.
With that in mind, I bundled up Rowan and we headed downtown to enjoy a morning at Contemporary Art Center. The top floor of the space is the UnMuseum for kids. Everything is kid friendly and they are encouraged to become part of the installations by interacting with them. On Thursday mornings, the CAC offers Art Play. There's a specific craft or art activity followed up with kid-friendly yoga!
It's nice to hang out in a museum where you don't have to worry that your curious toddler is climbing on and destroying a priceless work of art!
Rowan found a new favorite! There's an area that is dark with a light installation on the ceiling. The kids are encouraged to use the flashlights to interact with the lights and music. That little space was so cozy and peaceful despite the dozen or so kiddos running around having the time of their lives!
After all of the fun upstairs we headed to the lobby for people watching, street car spotting and of course the perfect latte to end our morning.
My last post was almost a month ago and I feel like life and everything I thought about the world has completely changed! First, came the shock, followed by anger and then grief. There are those that will claim those of us on "the losing side" are cry babies and need to get over it. I don't know if I ever will. This time a spark has been lit and there is no place for apathy or complacency. And so, as I continue to work and harness my anguish into something productive, life continues.
And here we are! December. The end of the year and the beginning of the holiday season. There are several things I'm looking forward to this month- some holiday get-togethers, experiencing all of sights and sounds of the season through the lens of a two-year-old and lots of family time. There are also a few goals I have this month- documenting our favorite things and blogging more consistently-are the two that I'm really going to focus on as the year ends.
Sometimes being a slacker pays off. We'd been planning on taking Rowan to the pumpkin patch for weeks but for one reason or another, it never happened. Last week we promised to go come hell or high water and wouldn't you know it we were treated to an absolutely gorgeous fall day!
Not only was the weather perfect but because we went during the week there was hardly anyone there! It was almost like we had the farm to ourselves!
Afterwards, we took a seat on the patio of a sweet little cafe and watched the rest of the afternoon slowly unwind.
Thanks for the memories, October!
I know I'm not alone when I say that along with sleep, a mess free house and the ability to shower without an audience another casualty of parenting little ones is being able to spend quality time with your partner. The quiet afternoons sipping coffee and doing crosswords or snuggling on the couch to binge watch a favorite show are few and far between. And, date nights are, at this point, nonexistent. Which is why I was thrilled when my hubby suggested we go to the ballet! We couldn't pull together arrangements to make the Friday evening performance so we made a day of it on Saturday!
It finally felt like fall this weekend but I wasn't going to pass up the chance to get fancy!
We saw The Cincinnati Ballet production of Coppélia. It was adorable and lighthearted. And of course, the sets and the dancing were amazing!
Also, if you ever have the chance to have your picture taken with a ballerina or two, go for it!