I’ve been working on a look for Valentine’s Day. I wanted something pretty and romantic, yet easy. And while I will always love pink and red, this Valentine’s Day I’m leaning to a softly dramatic purple. It’s a universal color (looks amazing with all eye colors), but more forgiving than black, making it easier to apply.
I finished the look with a nude lip, pretty cheeks, and pulled my hair back, weaving in some flowers. The entire hairstyle takes about 5 minutes (tutorial below).
Last Friday, I turned forty. An age I remember my parents turning. An age, I assumed, that would also mean predictable routines – dinner at 6, helping kids with homework, weekends of soccer and checkbook balancing and yard work – all of the things that scream Responsible, Stable, Forty-Something Adult.
Forty seems like a strange age. It’s an age we’ve been conditioned to accept as ‘old’, yet it comes so quickly. It sneaks up. It sneaks up so fast that you swear you were just twenty-seven, like, three days ago.
But I don’t really feel twenty-seven. At least, I don’t feel like the Unmitigated, Hot-Mess of a Disaster my twenty-seven year old self was. With my Judgy-Judgements of Parenting Techniques, Know-It-All Attitudes, Crushing Expectations, Paralyzing Anxiety, and Too-Often Inappropriate Work Outfits (thanks for nothing, Ally McBeal)….thank god blogging hadn’t been invented yet. The last thing the world needed was the inane blatherings of my twenty-something self immortalized forever on the internet.
Rather, I feel like a mythical version of my Twenty-Seven Year Old Self. The cool-girl portrayed in movies – all sexy and wise. The very best version of myself. And I do feel like the best version of myself these days. Perhaps that’s the gift forty brings. I feel like I’ve lived enough life to have something interesting to say, but I’ve also lived enough life to know when to shut up. And despite the scars from c-sections and breast cancer, the loose skin on my stomach and the wrinkles on my face….I’ve never felt so beautiful.
I’ve heard that beauty is wasted on the young. I totally disagree – it’s when we need that beauty most.
It’s amazing, as you age, how beauty becomes a fluid, living thing. That waking up to a little hand patting my cheek makes me feel like a goddess. “Wook at me Mommy,” Pax says. “So I can see yurs beauful face.” Or how Raines, my eight year old, will blush and walk into a wall (grinning like a fool) when I throw him a flirty wink. “Why do you wear all that makeup?” he’ll ask. “I just like your face.”
Forty feels gorgeous. The sex? AMAZING (we’ve come a long way since this post-baby sex article). And forty with kids-recently-out-of-diapers is especially delicious. I swear, leaving the house without that giant diaper bag is more freeing than cruising down the highway in a red convertible, top down, wind in your hair and road stretched out in front of you.
If you can’t tell by the pics, Mike (with the help of my sister, Scotti and our nanny, Gwen) threw me an EPIC surprise party. I have never – ever – been so surprised. Friends and family flew in, locals kept the secret for months while simultaneously riling me up, “I’m sure Mike will do something for your birthday, Shana. It’s your fortieth! You can at least expect him to make dinner reservations, right?”
Mike, if you haven’t guessed, is not typically what I’d call, ‘A Planner’.
And in hindsight, there are a million little things that should’ve tipped me off. Typically my sister doesn’t scream, ‘YOUR MAKEUP MUST BE PERFECT!!!” and have a mini-breakdown while we’re getting ready to go out. Mike doesn’t usually text constantly through my birthday dinner and get annoyed when waiters are slow. My friends don’t usually take such an interest in helping me pick out something to wear – I’m a forty year old fashion blogger, I GOT THIS. Even Gwen followed me upstairs suggesting in her sweet voice that I might want to “rethink the plain sweater.”
So when we walked into Hotel Monaco’s rooftop bar, I really shouldn’t have been so surprised. But I was. I couldn’t believe how many people came out to help me celebrate – I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Hello there! I’m excited to share my latest venture outside The Mom Edit (which I am having a blast being a part of, btw…I love this community of people!!).
This venture, Refocus Northwest, sprung up out of my little brain last summer and is finally becoming a reality, April 29 – May 2, of this year. When Sienna turned two last May, I found myself ready to start finding my creative next step. I wanted to attend a retreat or event that would help me revamp my current graphic design/art business and help me find a new direction in which to take it. I searched everywhere, but after not finding the right fit it dawned on me that I could create one myself! Here’s the official wording:
“Refocus Northwest is a creative retreat in the Pacific Northwest for people wanting to refocus, re-inspire, or revamp their creative careers. It’s a get-away to get serious about your creative next step. Join us for this weekend of learning, sharing, making and camping…in amazing vintage trailers at the infamous Sou’wester. We’ll learn from rad entrepreneurs who have built successful creative businesses, we’ll have fun creating some very cool projects and we’ll be inspired by the beauty of the NW coast. We’ll drink coffee, sit by the campfire and have a superb time.”
I’m fortunate to have partnered with some amazingly creative friends who have built successful businesses. I live in a beautiful area that inspires me daily. All of this came together to create what I think will be a fabulous weekend. Some of our workshop details include: inspiration by artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon, weaving instruction by textile artist Janelle Pietrzak, branding/social media tips from Nicole Hudson, iPhone photography help from Posy Quarterman, and brush lettering instruction from Rachel Jacobson.
(You might recognize some of the pictures. The photos from my introductory post are from our amazing retreat location, the Sou’wester, and are by my friend, incredible photographer, and workshop leader at the retreat Posy Quarterman.)
If you have a creative business, are hoping to start one, or know someone who is doing the same, I hope you’ll check it out! We’d love to have you join us. For more information and retreat details, visit: refocusnw.com and you can follow us on Instagram at @refocusnw as well.
Thank you for all being so welcoming here and for letting me share this other venture with you!
In college, I wore a navy pencil skirt to all of my job interviews. My parents had bought me a conservative navy suit from JCrew (“it’s the most professional color, honey”) and I remember feeling very grown up. Plus, it was the late 90’s, I had a math degree, and the dot-com boom was in full swing. Basically, if you could breathe, you got a job.
Me? I’d been breathing my whole life. #nailedit
This is all to say that most of us, at least those who have worked in an office environment, probably have a navy skirt lurking around somewhere. Navy skirts (especially pencil skirts) are a perfect summer office staple: pair with nude pumps, add some sort of silky blouse….done. Chic and professional and even a little sexy.
But what the heck do you do with your navy skirt in the winter? Tall boots? Sure. *IF* your pencil skirt hits right at the knee or above, tall boots (which hit below the knee) could work. But most pencil skirts fall right where tall boots end and the two end up in some sort of day-long war, both fighting for position.
So when it’s cold, we’re left with….tights. But what color – navy? NO. Cream or white? Probs not. You could maaaaybe get away with an oxblood tight or forest green or something, but then you run the risk of becoming The Girl With The ColorFul Legs and as choices go, in a conservative office environment, that one might be best described as Career Limiting.
It all comes down to the black tights.
Black and navy is one of my favorite color combinations, but it can be tricky. The key is to make the look intentional. Here are three ways to style a navy pencil skirt with black tights for the office….using pieces you might already have.
It’s the rain boot post! Get excited. Or try to. It’s been raining non-stop here lately and yes, it usually does, but I feel like it’s been extra rainy and gray. We got the teeniest bit of sunshine yesterday…and here’s Sienna “making a mask because it’s too bright.” #nativeportlander
On the days I work from home, I log about 12 hours at my little desk in the corner of our bedroom; on “non-working” days I’m online at least 4 hours researching for the blog and regular internetting. The convenience of working at home is offset by loooong conference calls – doodling on every piece of paper I can reach is getting old. I’m betting some of you can relate – whether working, browsing or just waiting on hold with the pediatrician’s office (seriously arrgh), lots of time is spent parked at your workspace. Whichever area of your home you spend lots of time should be your happy zone, and creative spaces especially should be beautiful and inspiring. Crumpled kleenex and assorted non-working pens do not a magical space create – I’ve got some better ideas for cool desk accessories that are beautiful, useful and just plain fun.
Based on reader comments/questions/etc., most of you are generally thrilled that flare jeans are having a moment. The biggest complaint, however, is footwear. We’re all kinda partial to flats (sneakers, in particular), and while I’ve tried to address the flares + flats combo in the past, there’s no doubt that heels and flares are a match made in sartorial heaven.
So. What would you say, dear readers, if I told you that I’ve found a pair of wedge boots that are as comfortable as my sneakers? Like really, seriously comfortable – Scotti babywears in hers – while being high enough to rock the flare? And that they’re both waterproof and warm?
It seems like a cruel joke that Valentine’s Day follows so closely after the holidays. Although, one could argue that no one held me down and forced me to eat all those delicious desserts or made me guzzle eggnog like water.
Hi ladies! Still on a fitness kick over here, I’m psyched to write about a topic that’s quite literally near and dear to my heart: the search for a full-bust sports bra that’s actually cute and keeps the girls in check while running, zumba, hip hop yoga, or whatever activity you love. (Kind of surreal to hear the instructor calling out yoga poses over lyrics that would make your mama blush, but whatevs.) And by full-bust, we’re not talking C, D or even DD since those sizes are pretty easy to find from any major bra brand. We’re talking sports bras that can accommodate for-real full bust sizes, DDD and up. Supermamas that have the energy to work out while pregnant or nursing? I found some seriously good nursing sports bras for you, too.
Nothing’s more demotivating than feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious while you’re working out. Show of hands, anyone resorted to double-bagging? I can attest that’s neither effective nor a good look. After baby #1 I found an awesome Moving Comfort style and even starting running. Since it’s discontinued and also laughs in my face when I try to smoosh into it post-nursing baby #2, I’m shopping for myself, too and am only recommending bras I would actually buy.
Every weekend we’ve been heading up to Poconos to ski – both boys are in Blue Mountain’s ski racing program. It’s awesome. Raines skis for 5 hours each day (Sat and Sun), and Pax’s group (the tiniest ones) ski for 2 hours each day.
Which means….doing the math here….Mike and I get to ski alone for two hours each day. [cue hallelujah chorus]
Since we go so often, I’ve got the weekend packing down to a science. I could drone on and on about how to pack ski bags for each kid (hint: THESE), but instead I’ll focus on what I’m packing pour moi. I figure I can’t be the only one googling various iterations of “look cute and be warm ski weekend what to wear”.
Here’s what is currently working for me (as well as a – hopefully – helpful packing list):