April 14, 2015

Pink Hair + Black and Gold Beaded Top

jeans and black gold shirt against California wall

You guys, I hate to break it to you, but I am cool now. And not even “mom cool”, but the kind of cool where people with skateboards talk to me on public transportation. The kind of cool where other people with brightly colored hair give me chin nods and 20-somethings discuss my outfits when they think I can’t hear them (But, I can! And I love my Ryan Gosling leggings too!). The kind of cool where even when I wear my “I was too overwhelmed to find the shower” look, there’s a touch of “walk of shame” about me, like if you squint your eyes and ignore the kids there’s a chance I did something spicy last night.

what to wear with jeans to fancy them up

Last month when I dyed my hair pink I had no idea I was actually heading back into a world where people were going to notice me again. For a long time, I’ve been occupying this weird mom space where everyone notices your kids and talks about how cute they are and I agree and hope that no one notices the coffee stain on my shirt. With pink hair it’s harder to hide. People want to talk to you about it, comment on it, and in one very flattering exchange, take photos of it.

Mom with pink hair and beaded top and jeans

Um, I kind of loved it.

light pink hair with gold and black beaded top

It’s fun to be seen for yourself instead of only in relation to your kids, to get dressed up in the morning again because the world might take notice. Frankly, it’s been fun to get my mojo back.

hashtag earrring with light pink hair

Now, listen, I don’t think this resurgence in popularity has much to do with what I look like (you can see that I still haven’t figured out how to keep my glasses clean and it may be time to do something about the growing sun spot, omg). Instead I think it’s due to the fact that I’m acknowledging the part of me that loves dressing up in fashion with touch of crazy. So I put some effort into my appearance and be-bop around town and people notice and the world becomes a friendlier place than when I hope no one notices me because my sweatshirt is two sizes too small.

@ sympbol earring with light pink hair

Am I suddenly advocating showering every day? Hell no. Do I think it’s important to occasionally remember what it feels like to be a grown-up among the living? Hell yes. And if that’s pink hair for me and a snazzy pair of sneakers for you, I say let’s remind the world that, yes, we could still rock an all-night dance party and end up leading the bar in a rendition of “American Pie”, if only we didn’t have to caught up on Empire tonight.

mom approved fashion with black and gold shirt and jeans

Linkage:

Hair: Jarr, my other love, at Taylor Monroe // Beaded top: Vintage // Sweetest jeans ever because they don’t stretch: Express // Black flats: Christian Siriano for Payless, if you can believe it // Dirty sunglasses: Similar (actually cooler)

Photos by the insanely awesome Erica Bean.

April 10, 2015

You Have Permission, Gals

Permission - lock self in bathroomI was on my own with the kids last month for a long time. Like the kind of long time that makes people gasp and say “You are such a good wife.” To which I would modestly bow my head and say, “Damn straight.”

At the tail end of my husband’s trip, things started to fall apart quite spectacularly. Both of the kids decided to test every boundary known to man while I desperately resorted to seemingly sane ideas like creating chore charts using candy as the reward (in hindsight, perhaps, not doctor recommended?). I kept thinking about my single mom friends – how are they all are walking around like normal people, having intelligent conversations, and functioning like grown-ups? How are they not completely catatonic in a mental institution or, at the very least, a posh spa? I mean I can’t make it through a Michael Bublé song without crying and they’re running businesses? Mad respect doesn’t even begin to cover it.

At the end of one particularly bad day, I’d had enough. I was falling apart, the kids were falling apart, and we had ants, so it felt like our house was falling apart. Then I spied it – my savior. There in our just-delivered mail was a little oasis, a place where my opinion matters (Diane Kruger, obvi, always wears it best) and no one expects me to remember anything past the last page. I know the implication here is my copy of Granta had finally arrived, but, in order to maintain full transparency, I’ll admit it: it was my US Weekly, which I think we all know I snatched up like a pregnant celebrity on a full fat ice cream cone.

I practically ran into the bathroom, closed (slammed) the door, and spent a blissful three minutes looking at photos of people who are decidedly not anything like me (I feel like Jennifer Garner might kind of understand where I’m coming from but that’s it). Sure, my kids pounded on the door and screamed, “WHERE ARE YOU, MOMMY?” the entire time (less than three feet away, my little dumplings. THREE FEET AWAY.), but by the end of my little jaunt, I was refreshed enough to make it through dinner and they were so glad to see me after my lengthy absence they kept it together. I believe that’s what is called a parenting win.

So, in the spirit of moms everywhere who need a break, who need a moment to get yourself back and do something you find interesting, go do it – lock yourself in the bathroom, go lay on your bed, tell the kids your cooking when really you’re surfing. Not that you need it, but you’ve got permission.

Linkage:

It’s one thing to have your partner gone for a couple of weeks and another to do it alone for months or years, and then to be pregnant on top of it? Operation Top Knot provides virtual baby showers with handmade gifts and baby basics for military families, a great way to support new moms who are doing more than I, certainly, could ever imagine.

March 17, 2015

Fun with Kids: Follow the Rainbow to a Pot o’ Gold for St. Patrick’s Day

fabulistas -- fun with kids St Patrick' Day DIYSince having kids St. Patrick’s Day has become less of a relevant holiday for us than it was when I was 22 and thought green beer was the height of culinary delights (just kidding, that was Count Chocula cereal). While there’s still plenty of running around while pretending to be a leprechaun, I’ve been feeling like we needed something significant to mark the holiday. Something that didn’t take any time to put together and costs me practically nothing to do. Easy, right?

Well, lassies and lads, I believe I’ve struck gold. All this project takes is a trip to the Target $1 bin and a wee bit o’ luck with your yarn. I promise ye it will yield results that take your kids o’er the rainbow. (Do leprechauns talk like pirates? Because I feel like that’s where this is headed).

Follow the Rainbow to a Pot o’ Gold Kids’ Project:fabulistas :: supplies for St Patrick's Day pot o' goldSupplies:
-several balls of yarn to make the rainbow; I used what I had on hand so ours was very baby-centric (all those blankets I never got around to making…)
-a pot for the gold, or in this case a witch’s cauldron masquerading as a pot (you could use anything!)
-treasures for the pot o’ gold
fabulistas :: easy game for kids where they follow the rainbow to a pot of goldStep 1: Ready the rainbow that the kids will “follow” through the house to get to the pot of gold.

What you don’t want to do: Take all the ends of the yarn and start marching through the house. This will cause a huge tangle with the yarn and you will be tempted to throw in the towel immediately.

fabulistas :: getting supplies for rainbow to pot of gold activity readyYou will then have to enlist the help of your very patient sister to untangle the ends while you recover from the trauma of almost ending the project before it began.

fabulistas :: supplies for rainbow to pot of gold activity for kids
What you do want to do: Tie the ends of the yarn to a doorknob to keep them all nice and tidy and give you a good start.

fabulistas :: St Patricks Day DIY for kidsStep 2: Walk the yarn through the house, one ball at a time, creating a maze that the kids will have to follow. I recommend going over pillows, crossing back over the yarn, heading into closets – make ‘em work for their treasure.

fabulistas :: St Paddy's fun with kids rainbow activityI tried doing two balls of yarn at a time, but found it took more time keeping everything untangled than just doing one at a time, over and over.

fabulistas :: St Paddy's follow the rainbow to pot of gold fun for kidsAlso, I found it was good to anchor it occasionally throughout the maze to bring all the yarn together (also my yarn was kind of a mess when it was all laid out, but it didn’t matter).

fabulistas :: supplies for follow the rainbow to a pot of goldStep 3: End your rainbow in your pot o’ gold (I hid mine behind a chair and under a blanket because I thrive on drama and the big reveal).

fabulistas :: DIY for kids - St Patrick's Day funStep 4: Let the kids have at it.

fabulistas :: following the yarn rainbow to the pot of goldfabulistas :: following St Patrick's Day rainbow under the couchLike I said, it’s important to make sure they have to really work for it.

fabulistas :: little girl finding pot of gold at end of the rainbowStep 5: Revel in the excitement of finding a pot o’ gold in the middle of your living room (those tricky little leprechauns, am I right?).

fabulistas :: how to make a rainbow into a pot of gold gameCelebrate the Frozen paint kit that will buy you eight minutes of time later when you’re trying to figure out your car insurance.

fabulistas :: looking through pot of gold prizesMarvel at the stickers you will find stuck to every wall in your house for days to come.

fabulistas :: prizes for finding the pot of goldWonder at the fact every kid in the world loves edible jewelry. Try some and remember why you prefer yours to be hard as diamonds.

fabulistas // how to make a fun DIY St Patrick's Day projectStep 6: Take a second to acknowledge the luck that has brought you here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all you lovely mamas!

Photos by Erica Bean.

March 6, 2015

One Way We’re Trying to Create More Space and Time in Our Family

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 presetLately, I’ve noticed I spend most of my day hurrying everyone along. Sometimes it’s for an actual reason – we have to get to school and since mornings consist of putting on shoes “all by myself”, throwing toys into the toilet, pouring cereal all over the floor, and refusing to wear anything that is not in the dirty clothes, things sometimes take a bit longer than planned. But, other times, it’s just me, moving us along for no reason other than I’m in the habit of hustling.

So, I am trying to find places in our life where there isn’t a deadline or anywhere to rush off to, but instead where I can teach the kids (and myself) we have plenty of time. Because it is a feeling you can go back to, isn’t it? It’s like when you’re halfway through a vacation and you realize you didn’t feel the compulsion to check your phone or email because you are actually in time.

Normally, Chris and I are pretty good about making sure we each get a few hours every weekend to ourselves (I’ll meet a friend for lunch or catch up on work while Chris plays the guitar or ride his bike); it’s a life-saver for my sanity, but there’s always a vaguely panicked feeling to it, knowing my time is highly limited and feeling like it’s on the verge of running out.

So, we thought, what about a whole day? Yes, you read that right. We’ve started a new thing where one day a month we each get a whole day to go and do whatever strikes our fancy, free from the worries of nap time and what princess is currently in season (Belle).

I kicked the whole idea off last Sunday and did what any rational mom with eight hours on her hands would do – I planned on cleaning out the garage. I was going to go through baby clothes, finally get our Christmas decorations in order, maybe even get in there and scrub out the recycling bin, if things got really crazy, basically utilize my time wisely.

When my little sister heard the news she was horrified and immediately nixed the idea. As she pointed out, the whole idea of this day was to rejuvenate me, give me a chance to “be myself” again for a full day and, perhaps, most poignantly, reminded me not everything has to be about checking things off my to do list.

She basically took me upstairs, forced me into my Ryan Gosling leggings (I know! She’s so mean!) and marched me to brunch. Then she dragged me to Haight Street where I became reacquainted with some of my old thrift stores. At this point, she felt safe I wasn’t going to make a break for the garage so she left me to my own devices.

So, I just wandered. San Francisco is chock-full of adorable little stores, and amazing coffee shops, and totally weird happenings that you miss when you’re zooming around in your car, and it’s one of the reasons why we moved here. I ended up walking through a bunch of different neighborhoods, I had two different iced coffees, I sat in the park, I talked to a bunch of people about our shared love of Ryan Gosling, I saw a lady walking a pig, a guy walking around on stilts totally casually and joined a quick street dance. I spent time looking through a bookstore and then actually bought and started reading a new book. It was AWESOME. I remembered what it felt like to have enough and simply go where the day takes you; by the time I got home I was dying to see the kids.

Surprisingly, that feeling of space has lasted all week. While it’s been predictably busy around here, it’s felt more manageable, maybe because I feel like I’m carrying this little secret around. The secret that I’m still here: not Kara the Mom, or Kara the Wife, or even Kara the Fabulista, but just plain ole Kara. The Kara who is enough, even when all she’s doing is walking around and being herself.

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