I admit, my job does have a serious occupational hazard, buying clothes! But hey, it’s a work expense right!?! With access to so many good shops and style resources it’s hard not to cave and grab something from the rack for myself. While shooting for Merchant + Thread the other day, I had to try on this fantastic indigo jacket. Merchant + Thread is an online shopping site curated by Kathy Ha’o, a fellow So Cal native, globe-trotter and style obsessed mama. Her finds range from brand name deals to one of a kind pieces from her travels. These beautiful bags are a favorite from a recent Thailand haul. Kathy’s sense of bohemian style and surfer chic look are what make M+T such a gem. With beautiful photos (check out the rad behind the scenes shot she took below) and simple stories about style as a personal expression, M+T has become a daily read and shopping site for me. Hope you enjoy it too. Happy hunting.
Special thanks to my partner-in-style Marisa for letting me play dress up with her, so early in the morning.
This will be my third time hosting our family Thanksgiving and now that there is more space for us all in the new house, I feel like the torch has officially been passed. I step into some very big footsteps, as my mom’s Thanksgivings are that of legend. But with the help of all her beautiful decorations and a few secret recipes, I think I’ve started to find my footing. Here are my favorite tips for hosting a happy and stress-free Thanksgiving. I hope they help you get through the day, and if nothing else make you smile. I’m thankful for all of you and this pretty little spot of mine on the internet. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Whether it’s a pint of ice cream or a labor intensive mashed potatoes, you’ve got to delegate. Even the non-cooks can shop, and even if they’re picking up the smallest thing, every little bit helps. I always make sure to get to them early so they don’t have to stress and they’re always happy to do it. Helping out makes everyone feel like they’re a bigger part of the process.
Make the favorites, put out a few decorations and do what you can, not what you feel like you should do to impress. It’s about being with family, and it’s not as enjoyable to be together if the host is stressing the over-complicated. As Mike always says, “K.I.S.S.-keep it simple stupid”. Or in my case “sweetheart”.
Photo found on Pinterest
This one I learned the hard way. With all the cooking, cleaning and organizing that goes along with this holiday it’s easier to pull a Bardot-type updo versus the long wavy locks I usually like on a festive occasion. Spice it up with an autumn flower in your hair or some nice long earrings, but keep it tidy. You’ll be happy it’s out of your way and not in the gravy.
At some point in the day or night, get out of the kitchen and step outside. Take a deep breath of fresh air and be thankful for it. Have your guests join you or use it as a moment to get away.
Photo found on Pinterest
Even if they’re not that artistic, make sure to document the gathering. It’s hard to get all of the family together under the same roof, so take advantage and say “Turkey!”
Happy rocks I found in Santa Barbara last year.
I’ve been really interested in happiness lately. It started with some soul-searching I embarked on a few months ago, then it got kicked into full gear after a friend recommended two really intriguing documentaries, Happy and I Am. I want to know what happiness is, where it comes from, how to get it, how to keep it and how to pass it on to my girls. These films helped me answer those questions in theory, now it’s my job to put it into practice. Today, I’m doing just that. I turn 37 today and I’m making the whole day about being happy. So I’m doing what I love, laying in bed with Jack, enjoying a hot cup of tea and a new book. In between birthday texts and James Taylor radio, I am also blogging, Pinning and catching up on Nashville. Rounding the day off with a long overdue game of tennis with the hubs and then beers and tacos. Counting my blessings, ignoring misgivings and planning some giving-back endeavors for the upcoming holiday season. I am happy. I hope you are too.
From The Little Mermaid-me as Ursula, Elle as Ariel and Coco as “Ariel’s sister”-typical.
It’s been longer than I want to admit since I’ve posted and although you’ve gone on with your lives, I’ve missed you terribly and much of my forward blogging motion has been stunted by guilt. Jumping back in after this long is a little daunting. Especially with this on-the-fly post which is really just a “Hi, I hope we’re still friends.” OK, moving on-what have I been doing? Well, I moved!!!! Into an absolute gem of a place that has made my family so happy and made my blood pressure lower thanks to bright light, a beautiful view and a proper office. I used www.rentamovingbox.biz and can’t really say enough good stuff about them. They cut my packing/unpacking time in half, actually made it kind of fun, and shrank my carbon footprint with no cardboard to dispose of. Even the tags and ties are eco-friendly, beyond clever. I’ve been working with a great band (American Authors), seeing lots of music (Imagine Dragons, Vampire Weekend, Empire of the Sun, Walk the Moon, Fun., The Mowgli’s) and I finally finished my professional web site. There’s been shopping, pretty much everything at Zara is amazing right now, and lots of reflection and personal growth. More visuals and proper posts to come, but for now-thanks for not dumping me. Oh and how rude of me, HOW ARE YOU!?!?! What have you been up to? I’d love to know. Hoping your Halloween hangover isn’t too brutal. xo
One of my favorite pre-kid activities was what I call a day-date. I guess pre-kids it would be called any given Sunday, but nowadays for us to get a day activity that doesn’t involve face-painting or balloon animals is a big deal. So when a good friend told us about The Taste event in LA, we grabbed four of our favorite foodie friends and headed to the Paramount backlot to eat and drink our way through the day.
It was hot as you know what, but so cool to be on the backlot eating and drinking in “New York”.
I was obsessed with this berry set up at a bar serving Acai cocktails. They were so refreshing and since they’re made of Acai, we decided they were “healthy” drinks.
This mix put the Acai cocktails over the edge, and with the raspberries in place of olives, it became my new favorite martini. So doing this at our next cocktail party. Yeah right, like we have cocktail parties!
Of all the goodies we ate and drank through the day, I think this was the favorite. This cider went down so smooth, it was scary. I love a cold beer on a hot summer day, but lately it’s been too bitter for me, maybe my taste buds are changing as I get older. Really, what isn’t!?! This has a very subtle apple flavor that makes it just sweet enough.
I know it seems like all we did was drink, but we actually ate a ton too. Highlights include eggplant lasagna, waffles made like croissants and these yummy cupcakes. Peanut butter and jelly-hello!!!!
Just a little sweetness to brighten your Monday morning blues. Only four more days til Friday! (I know, not funny) OK, how about a tip. I know I’ve missed the window on a post about sandals, but if you’re in California or somewhere else where summer weather will be around for a while, look into these Salt Water sandals by Hoy Shoes. They form to fit as you where them, can get wet and go with almost everything. They stay on and are durable, two things I find lacking in many other kid’s sandals. They make them for grown-ups too! Another favorite of mine are Hanna Andersson pajamas. They are a bit of an investment at about $40 a set, but I got ours in one size bigger and they are going on two years of sweet slumber now. They are super comfy, keep their shape wash after wash and come in the cutest patterns for bigs and littles. I got the girls short sleeve and long sleeve sets in matching patterns. I’m not going to lie, the cuteness at bedtime is off the charts.
Elle’s pjs Hanna Andersson, Coco’s sandals Salt Water
Rails shirt, jean short cutoffs similar, sweater similar 31 Bits bracelet, sunnies similar
My girlfriend Amy and I have been hash tagging #bestsummerever back and forth these last three months and even though it still feels like summer, it ends for us this week with Elle back to school on Wednesday. This summer was the best because for the first time as a parent, I felt a significant difference between these last three months and those of the school year. With Elle being in kindergarten and having homework almost every night, early morning drop offs and tons of school projects to keep up with school time really felt like school time this year.
This summer we loved sleeping in late, watching movies all night, night swimming and the general laziness that comes with a lack of schedule. Of course there were beach days, water park days, tons of swim lessons and play dates, bbq’s and all the usual goodness of summer. But there also seemed to be an overall energy shift. I started to get phone calls with good news where there was bad, opportunities arose where there were once none and people around me who really needed them started to get some breaks. I found some enlightenment in taking my girls to temple with their Buddhist grandmother for the first time and continued on that path with some wonderful readings on change and growth. Everything slowed down and I enjoyed it. The day didn’t seem to be my enemy anymore. Time was no longer chasing me, but just kind of hanging out with me.
I used the extra hours the girls were in camp not to embark on any big projects, but to reflect. (OK, and to develop a serious addiction to Netflix, but I know I’m not alone there) I used it to rest and to remember “How important is it?” How important is it if I get every single errand done today? How important is it if I don’t bathe my kids for a week because they’re in the pool all day long? How important is it to be completely put together every day? As I asked myself these questions, I realized a lot of the things I think are so important really are not. What’s important is the obvious stuff. The kids, Mike, our health and our family and friends. It’s not that important that I be perfect at everything I try to do and that I look perfect or sound perfect. What became important was finding some peace, some acceptance and some clarity.
That’s what this summer did for me, and I’m so glad to have this platform to document it. Especially with these awesome images Ashley took of me and the girls at our last beach day at Paradise Cove (one of my favorite spots in LA). Even though this season can last for another two months here in Cali, the softness of it begins to harden a bit for those heading back to school and to work. I’m hoping the lessons I learned don’t fade away with my tan and that I continue to keep perspective on what’s transpired these last weeks. I hope you’re enjoying your summer wherever you are and that some part of you gets to stay on vacation forever.
Photos by Ashley Forchelli
I have a love-hate affair with Play-Doh. On one hand it is a guaranteed hour of free time as it entertains my girls. Coco especially is insane for it right now, but Elle can definitely roll with the doh as well. On the other hand, I can’t stand the mess and, until learning this trick, the waist. If you don’t seal the stuff it can dry in minutes, and when we’re rushing out the door the proper pickup doesn’t always happen. After a few days in my house new Play-Doh turns into plastic bags filled with a crumbly mess. I found this trick online and after trying it myself, I had to share. The result is good-as-new Play-Doh, sometimes better than new since it has the opportunity for new colors. If your kids go through this stuff as fast as mine do try this before going out to buy new.
Sort the crumbly mess into color piles on a clean dry surface.
Run it under warm water and knead the dough until it begins to stick together again and regain its elasticity. Repeat.
Once it starts sticking together you don’t need anymore water. Continue kneading until it becomes a recognizable Play-doh texture. PS-this can be a great arm workout, I’m sad to say I was a bit sore the next day.
Roll, shape, create!
Other Play-doh tips
*Keep Ziploc bags around, if you don’t have time to put it all back in appropriate cans, throw it in a bag, squeeze the air out and seal
*Try the Play-doh Grab N Go at your next dinner out. It worked better than crayons for us the other night, and was easy clean-up
Today my youngest Coco, aka Coconut, Cokes, Cocos-wowokos, turns three. It’s hard to believe how quickly these last three years have passed. Putting these favorite videos together was the perfect walk down memory lane with this gigglepuss and if the clips are long, there’s a reason. It was almost impossible to cut one second of this cutie. Coco, you’ve brought us all such joy and laughter and you’ve made our family complete. We love you so much and hope all your dreams come true today, and forever. Happy 3rd Birthday! XO
This wonderful song is “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee and it’s available on iTunes.
It seems like forever now I’ve been trying to find a way to display the girls artwork properly. Art is really all they want to do these days and of course I want to encourage it. That and I’m sick of these things laying all over the house taped to walls, mirrors and anything else that will stand still long enough. I finally found this great system the other day strolling through the IKEA showroom. God I love/hate that place! These were pretty simple to install, but know they do not include hanging hardware, meaning the screws you need. So I suggest taking them to your local hardware store and knowing what kind of wall you’re putting them in, drywall, stud, etc. before you go. Tools I used (and yes, I did this myself) that were game changers were a drill, level, pencil and measuring tape. These all helped me save time and make sure the lines were straight and evenly spaced. As you can see the girls are loving their new “gallery wall” and I’m loving all the bright colors in their new playroom and seeing how proud they are to display their work. This took a little time to do, but it was so worth it. For the end result and also the therapeutic feeling that comes from starting and completing a project and having it come out as well as, or in this case, better than you imagined it would. Don’t you agree? What are some of your favorite labors of love?