January 19, 2015

Getting Ready for Alt Summit: My Fave Green Ruche Cape

green cape from Ruche styled dressed upThis is a big week, you guys. On Wednesday I head to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit to convene with a bunch of other bloggers and creatives, where we’ll put our heads down and very studiously study the ins and outs of the Internet, discuss the finer points of SEO and web optimization late into the night, and find ways to support each other emotionally and spiritually.

Oh, who am I kidding? We’re all going so we can get dressed up and check out what everybody else is wearing.

Other than having a sleepover every night with one of my besties, getting outfitted for Alt is my favorite part of the whole thing. Oh, and the plane ride sans kids. Oh, and the late night drinks without kids. Oh, and the uninterrupted time where I can actually finish a thought and listen to what other people are saying because there aren’t any kids. Oh, and the fact I get to do WHATEVER I WANT for three whole days without kids. Fine, there are a lot of good things about Alt.

Which is why it’s very important my outfit is flexible enough to do impromptu cheering because there is obviously much to cheer about.
black dress with green cape and wedgesAlso, I need to be able to high kick for the spontaneous, hallway dance parties.
excited to be going to Alt - dressed upBecause I am also a very serious fashion blogger, it’s also important my outfit lend me a sense of gravitas, as I’m certain folks will be very interested in seeing up close “what I do.”
what to wear to Altitude SummitThere’s also a chance I will just be normal, although, let’s not get carried away.Ruche cape long with plain black dressLinkage:
Green Convertible Cape: Ruche // Black Dress: Old Navy, forever ago // Tights: Common Era // Black Wedges: similar ones from H&M // Bracelet: Ruche

If you are going to Alt, drop me a line in the comments, because I’d love to meet up! And if you aren’t, but want to follow the fun, head over to Instagram, where I’ll do my best to document the madness.

January 17, 2015

Happy New Year (just a little late) and 2015 Resolutions

little girl happy with New Years2

Happy New Year! Am I still allowed to say that? Did everyone have an excellent holiday season? Ours was alternately totally magical (yeah for kids!) and totally sick (which, I won’t bore you with the details, but know there was a time I morosely hobbled over to gaze out a window and thought “I will never be well again and my children will always know me as a shadow of my former self.” I may have also cried. Oh, I do love a good bit of drama.) and totally crazy (which I always say I’m not going to do, but then I get all caught up in the excitement and go overboard).

In the midst of all the madness, I had this very clear realization: Our lives are crazy and it probably isn’t going to change anytime soon. BAM. I know most of you are rolling your eyes, like, “You go, Oprah. Get this girl a show, will ya?” but this was a game changer for me. See, there is a part of me that always thinks “later” is going to be less hectic. When the kids are a bit older, when we don’t have as many visitors, when I finally get the hall closet cleaned out… But, the reality is I have ALWAYS been a busy person because my life feels most full when it’s, well, full. And we like to do stuff, and see people, and live in a really cool place where we have visitors for months out of the year. AND THAT’S AWESOME.

I realized I don’t actually want to change the pace of our lives; instead I want to change the way it feels. Up until last month it was filled to overflowing and not in the good way. Our house was so stuffed opening cupboards was a dangerous game of Knocked in the Head Roulette; my work life was so random that when there was a few minutes to work I just wanted to lay down because I felt so overwhelmed; our family goals, non-existent. Basically, I’ve been operating in the mode of “deal with whatever is directly in front of me and pray I don’t mess up too badly.” The problem with operating this way is when something does come up (out-of-town visitors, sickness, deadlines), the system goes into High Alert and everything shuts down to deal with the latest event. Which makes everything more crowded and we keep on going, gathering more chaos as we truck along.

And, here’s the thing. This has been totally fine! We have two little babies who turned our lives upside-down and I could blame everything on them so we were good. But, they’re getting a little older and my bandwidth for dealing with things was hitting a dangerous threshold so it was time to change.

Weirdly, we came home from the holidays and I just started doing it. No resolutions or to do lists. I just got to it. I went through a bunch of our house and got rid of stuff; I moved the house around so it works better for where we are now in our lives (both kids in one room, which I’ll tell you about later); I took the time to organize my work year so I actually have a plan; I’m working on a family budget; we made a list as a family of things we want to do together over the next couple of months (jump in a pool with our clothes on is the biggie) – basically, I took the time to create some breathing room. I even started going to a running club which has inspired a new level of cursing, but has also reminded me how much I like working out.

And, I feel like a new woman! I’m totally the annoying “after” in the dieting commercial where all I can do is talk about how much better my life feels. Because it genuinely does. Taking the time to finally get organized and clear out the junk has been liberating. Our house feels lovely and has stayed way more clean and clear because there’s actually room for everything. I think the biggest tell though is we have a ton of visitors coming up with trips thrown in the mix, and it’s going to be very full, but rather than worrying about how I’m going to squeeze it all in like I normally do, I’m actually looking forward to it (okay, not the vacuuming and toilet cleaning, but most of it). It’s going to be ridiculously busy, and that’s awesome because I feel like I have a bit of a plan and some space to handle it.

Which brings me back around to the point. I’ve been hemming and hawing about what I want to do for my resolutions – it’s one of my favorite events of the year and has, quite literally, changed my life so there’s some pressure. My fortieth is coming up so I already have an excellent list going of fun stuff to remind me who I am, our family came up with a highly motivating “Life List” outlining adventures we want to partake together, and I’m not going to blow my wad on “lose weight” so a lot of bases are covered. But, these past couple of weeks have given me a window into what it could feel like to have space, maybe even – gasp!- more space than I need at this precise moment, and I’m a greedy little gal and want more.

So is it “create more space” and base my resolution, essentially, around cleaning out the garage? Or “let go” (um, a bit too close to the-song-which-shall-not-be-named)? After turning it around in my brain for the past couple days, I realized it boils down to “do what I know I need to do.” For months I’ve known if I just cleaned out the crap in our house I would feel freer, but I didn’t have the bandwidth (or will) to actually do it. Same with getting us organized and starting to work out. My brain has been screaming at me to find the time to do these things, but, for many reasons, some real and some manufactured, I couldn’t make the move.

The reality is I know in my bones and my heart and my head (and maybe you do too?) the things that are using up my precious energy with their endless nagging, that won’t let me go because I know deep down taking care of them will enhance my life. So, this year I’m going to work on listening to that little voice and doing what it says, even if it’s uncomfortable and requires me to occasionally get off the couch. I’m going to find a way to let go of the baby stuff, write a couple of emails that make me nervous, find the time to blog more regularly, and, yes, clean out the garage (when it’s all written out here it looks pretty lame, which is simultaneously liberating and horrifying). I’m going to work on trusting that if I get out of my own way, there are things around the corner I can’t even envision for myself.

Did you make a resolution this year? What is it? And, how’s it going?

 **As I’m writing this, my inner critic is going crazy and saying, “What an embarrassing resolution! Totally impossible! This will never last. You’re going to be sitting on the couch, watching Hello Ladies, only now you can’t even enjoy it because the internet is watching and why don’t you make your resolution “get up early” because then if you fail, at least everyone will understand because who likes to get up early and then you’ll still have friends because you’re probably going to end this year penniless, friendless, and with a really bad dye job?!? You’re going to fail!” I feel like the best reply at this juncture is “Thank you for the concern. Now go suck it.”

December 18, 2014

Sweats Outfit for Getting Things Done That Isn’t Yoga Pants

silver glitter sweatshirt with Old Navy sweats and bando
I’d like to pretend that I run around looking glammed up all the time, photo ready in case the blogging paparazzi hunts me down, but that is not the case. There have been many, many days when I look down around noon and think, “What the hell did I end up wearing?” I know it’s ill-fitting/stained/unmatching (pick three), I just want the world to know that I know it’s weird (I’m thinking of starting a line of buttons – “I’m having a bad clothes day! How’s yours?” or “Dude, haven’t changed my undies in days either.”)

My sister, though, made a very helpful suggestion the other day: it takes the same amount of time to put on a fancy sweatshirt as an ugly one and cute sweatpants are actually more comfortable than ones I have to hold up with one hand all day because they’re so stretched out. Point taken. So, I’ve been trying. Trying to get a couple of outfits together that I can run around and do chores in, and not feel like I have to hide when I see my old neighbor at the coffee shop.

I feel like the holidays are the perfect time to try it all out.

disco ball sweatshirt with black leggings
Obviously there is a lot of running around to do, and I feel like it’s easier to spread cheer when you’re not worried if you just flashed the clerk your baby stomach when you picked up your packages because your shirt is so old/short.

easy mom outfit for getting things done that is still cute
Plus, I get to wear a vaguely disco ball sweatshirt that tells the world that I’m ready to party while still being able to complete Very Important Tasks like hanging up our enormous wreath.

sweatsuit outfit that is fun with bando headband
Seriously, that thing was so heavy at one point I was using my head to help hold it up so I could get it on the nail. But, you can see my sense of humor is still firmly intact because I look so put together and my pants aren’t falling around my ankles.

C’mon up, UPS guy! There’s no reason to hide your face with embarrassment at this house anymore!

Linkage:

Fancy snakeskin sweatshirt // Similar fancy sweatpants // Similar fake leather sneakers // Adorable twist scarf // wreath: c/o the lovely folks at Balsam Hill

Photography by the always amazing Erica Bean, who I’m sure was very happy I bought new pants…

And, if you’re looking for a super-easy way to help others this season (or need help yourself), The Bloggess has opened up her comments to folks that need extra help getting their kids presents this year. People can post their Amazon wish lists and you can purchase as much or as little as you feel comfortable. It’s personal and direct, and, even if you don’t have room to donate, check out the comments. It’s the holiday season in action! xx.

December 12, 2014

7 Apps Every Mom Needs to Download Immediately to Make Life Easier

I'm very busy phone cake with lady laughingThings have been a little quiet around here because we have all been really sick. Like pneumonia sick.  Let’s let that sink in for a moment. I had PNEUMONIA. When I first got sick, I could tell everyone was thinking I was being overly dramatic because I honestly could barely get out of bed. Can I tell you the feeling of vindication I felt when the doctor told me I had pneumonia? Take that, suckers! I am one sick lady and I’ve got the meds and diagnosis to prove it.

Now that I’m on the up-and-up, I am a veritable machine, getting things done for the holidays. I’m like one of those annoying people you love to hate because I am so productive, but still kind, somehow finding the time in my busy day to remember to bring you chicken soup when you’re sick even though I, myself, have PNEUMONIA. I anticipate it lasting about four more minutes.

While it’s here though, let’s get things done! I’ve put together a list of my Seven Favorite Apps of the Moment. That’s all I have to say about it because obviously I’m so busy I only have time to write 1200 words on the subject. Like I said, MACHINE.

Little List

My niece and nephew live on the other side of the world so I don’t always know what they have already and, of course, I want to be The Best Aunt in the Universe and send them The Coolest Gift Ever so I was so happy to hear about Little List.

Brought to you by the bomb-diggity’s at Babylist, it lets you compile lists of gift ideas and current clothing sizes for your kids so folks can avoid duplicate presents and send them things they will actually use (avoiding the dreaded clutter). Think of it like visiting Santa without the long lines and exorbitant photo fees.

They also have some of the best Gift Guides for little kids around so if you’re expecting a present from us anytime soon, AVERT YOUR EYES.

Curbside

Full disclosure, I like shopping at Target. There are days when it’s been raining all week and we’ll head over and get an iced coffee and kill an hour, wandering the aisles. But those days when it’s Place #4 on my to do list and all I need is ONE PAIR OF PRINCESS SHOES for the birthday party that’s in an hour, and, ohmahgawd, are you kidding me I have to unbuckle these car seats AGAIN and jam everybody into a cart and listen to the shrieking as we abandon Elmo in the toy aisle? Yeah, those times, not so much.

On those days, I’m using Curbside, a concierge service that lets you order what you need through their app, then has people who run around Target to pick up your items and hand-deliver them to your car. Like I drove up to the Target doors and the lovely gal put my purchases in the trunk, because she didn’t want me to bothered with getting out of the car. It was like a mini-spa vacation – okay, without the massage or cucumbers or windpipe music, but pretty close. Bless you, Curbside.

Only available in SF Bay Area right now, Curbside generously gave me $50 to try it out and with the code FABULISTAS will give you $10 off your order of $20! So go buy yourself something nice. 

Shoebox

It used to be that every time I wanted to take a photo I had to delete 14 in order to have enough room, a highly effective method for making yourself insane. Then I downloaded Shoebox, which automatically uploads all my photos to their cloud for $5 a month from all my devices. Now I only have to delete 200 photos once a week so my sanity level is pretty much through the roof.

It also has this adorable feature where they email you every day what happened on that date, say seven years ago. It is so much fun to see how little the kids were, what we were doing on that exact date, and how skinny I used to be. Seriously. How was I so skinny?

Lugg

You know how you always buy more at Ikea than you plan and then you get to your car and realize you have car seats and people to go in said car seats and no room for the dining room table you just bought on a whim? Lugg will take all of your stuff to your house and even drag (or lugg!) it into your house. They’ll pick up your craigslist find and bring it to your house or basically move anything you might need to hire a U-Haul/truck for. It’s like your new best friend with a truck who doesn’t complain you just called them last week.

Only available in the SF Bay Area right now; all moves are just $30

Wunderlist

I have tried about every to do list manager out there. Seriously, OmniFocus, Things, AnyDo, EasilyDo – it’s almost like I feel like if I can find the perfect organizational tool, I’ll be organized? OMG, therapy session, puh-lease.

Anyway, I think I’ve landed on one that actually continues to work. The differences are nuanced (perhaps a longer post?), but Wunderlist is awesome because, first, it’s easy. I don’t have to take a class like some of the other ones (which is fine, but I’d rather take a Zumba class to work on my butt) – it’s super-simple and let’s me create lists quickly and then (this is the kicker) lists within those lists. So, my list for “Christmas presents” can be broken down by person and gift. Mama Heaven.

Plus, it syncs everywhere, has gorgeous design, and is FREE. Go get organized and then we’ll meet back her to discuss how it’s totally made us better people.

Stacks

It’s almost the holidays so it’s safe to assume you’re going to owe people money. While Stacks can’t take the sting out of the money leaving your bank account, it is hilarious enough it hurts a bit less. Basically, you upload your friend’s photo and then you “make it rain money” on them. It’s totally ridiculous and totally awesome, which is pretty much the point of apps, correct?

1Password

You don’t need me to tell you that you need to protect your passwords (see any celebrity lately). But the problem most of us run into is how the hell are you supposed to remember all those crazy combinations that are supposed to keep you safe?

1Password is so good. It generates a random password for each site and then remembers it and automatically logs you in. I can honestly say I don’t know what I did before it (um, used the same two passwords and prayed a lot?).

As always, what did I miss? I love a good app so let me know and I will try it out!

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