Recent Posts by Shana

June 26, 2017

Beach Days And Our Two Fav Swimsuits

School is (finally) out in Philadelphia, and we’re about to head for the shore.  There’s nothing I like better than long, slow summer days at the beach.  Biking to the ice cream shop, playing catch, collecting rocks and shells, and falling asleep at night with the sound of the surf fresh in our ears.

My boys love it too.  They can literally amuse themselves on the beach all. day. long.  Granted, much of this time is spent in the water boogie-boarding and testing the limits of both mom and the lifeguards…but I love that they love it.  It reminds me of how I grew up, of home.

The beaches in Marquette, MI, my hometown, are something special.  The Lake Superior water is crystal clear (you can see the bottom to such depths that it’s creepy), the sand is soft, clean, and most of the time you can find a stretch of beach that’s deserted.  Growing up, my summer days were also filled with biking to the ice cream shop, collecting rocks, and swimming for hours on end.  (Granted, you can’t surf Lake Superior from the shore….but you can surf.)

Later in the summer, we’ll go home to Michigan.  We’ll go home to do some stand-up paddle-boarding on the lake, have some long, outdoor dinners that take full advantage of the 11PM sunset, and, naturally, a few beach days.  With beer.

Keep reading for a few pics from our Memorial Day summer kick-off in Marquette, as well as the two one-piece swimsuits my sister and I will be rocking all summer.  (Mine’s cheeky – and wasn’t nearly as scary to wear as I thought it might be.)

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By June 26, 2017 1 No tags Permalink
June 25, 2017

The Buy Nothing Project

There are times when I’m floored by how lucky I am to have you, this community of readers, in my life.  It’s in the supportive comments that you leave for each other (or when you come to our defense, thank you very much for that), it’s when you bravely send in swim selfies all I Am Mama; This Is Me, and, occasionally, it’s when you write so eloquently about life, about your experiences, and you widen your circle to include all of us.

That’s when I feel the luckiest.

So when I got Cynthia’s (lengthy, haha) email about the Buy Nothing Project, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to cover.

I just want to start by saying I am such a fan of The Mom Edit. I can’t tell you what it’s done for me. The suggestions from you and your contributors have allowed me to get real about a sensible wardrobe (for my life), and still feel stylish (or dare I say hip) for a mom of 2! Anyway, I’ve traded the fast and fancy fashions of my youth for more expensive but timeless pieces like high quality jeans that actually fit, unique basics and sneakers…my god…so many sneakers. But alas, I digress.
 
In this process, my closet was literally bursting at the seams and giving me so much anxiety I was actually losing sleep. Did you know anxieties can be tied to an excess of things? Yeah, neither did I until I started getting rid of it and feeling a gazillion times better… 

Cynthia’s writing was so passionate about the project, so engaging, and so funny that my response was quick and easy: “Cynthia,” I wrote, “YES.  Can you write it?”  (my email self is hopelessly terse).

And she did.  With pics.  Including, my favorite, a bad-ass pic of herself and her two little girls that will most-likely become one of those epic family portraits for generations to come – it’s at the end, and totally adorable.

Now here’s Cynthia on the Buy Nothing Project….

Life moves faster than I often realize.

It’s like one minute you’re in your twenties, prancing down the street in impossibly high heels, frosted lips and a lace push up bra. In the next, you’re gliding through the office in a power suit, clutching a latte and a handbag that costs more than some small nation’s entire GDP. And Now? High heels are the modern equivalent of some antiquated torture device meant to subjugate women. You’re lucky if you’ve remembered to wear a bra for school drop off, and the only thing you’re clutching, besides your dwindling sanity, is that cold cup of coffee you’ve been nursing all morning.

Sound familiar?

I confess. I sometimes have a problem letting go of the past.

For years – way too may years – I’ve hung on to the lavish wardrobe of my “Illustrious youth” with the fanciful notion that once the kids get older, I will somehow resurrect this person, this life. ME, who now high-fives herself for being in bed by 9:30 on a Friday night with the next episode of the Handmaid’s Tale cued up. I think it’s safe to assume that that girl is never coming back.

And you know what, I’m okay with that. Sleep looks good on me.

But I haven’t thrown in the towel. I have embraced the gospel according to The Mom Edit, and thanks to this clergy of very stylish, yet practical women, I’ve reigned in my predilection for designer sale racks and impulse shopping. I’ve relinquished most of the fast and fancy fashions of my youth for more timeless pieces like high quality jeans (that actually fit!), unique basics and sneakers…my god…so many sneakers. But alas, I digress.

I now have a streamlined and sensible wardrobe for my work-from-home mom life.

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By June 25, 2017 7 No tags Permalink
June 22, 2017

Making My Life Easier: Amazon Dash Buttons

Hi!  This post is sponsored by Amazon!  I only accept sponsored posts for products I truly and honestly love, and this?  IS A GOOD ONE. 

We’re big fans of technology over here.  My husband has outfitted our house with insanely good wireless (it easily covers from the basement to the third floor), we have a doorbell that sends a video-feed to our phones, a lock that we control via app  (we’ve even once unlocked our door for UPS…from FRANCE), and an Amazon Echo in our kitchen, my office, and the boys’ room.

We primarily use the Echos for music, to-do lists, and shopping lists.  “Alexa, add doughnuts to the shopping list” says Pax, ten times a day.

So yeah….one could say we’re connected.  Like the nerds we are.  Gotta represent, ya know?  #SCIENCE

But in all seriousness, this setup has been – and I don’t want to exaggerate here – kiiinda life-changing.  Going to Target during the week was OK when I was at home with the kids (and sometimes a welcome outing – my kids LOVED Target treats aka Starbucks cake pops), but once I started working….OOF.  Running errands during the week is out, and there’s no hell quite like Tar-jay on a Saturday.

Which is how we became such Amazon prime fanatics.  Adding or ordering items via the Amazon Echo (“Alexa”) works really, really well for 90% of the things we need.  The other 10%?   Is anything we run out of on the 2nd floor, our Alexa ‘no man’s land’ if you will.  This is the one area of the house where I would need to SHOUT at Alexa.  #nothappening

Unfortunately for all of us, this Alexa-free zone is the laundry room, where we store toilet paper, and our most-used bathroom where we are constantly running out of hand soap.

The toilet paper thing is the WORST.  (“Mike!  Pick up wine and toilet paper!” is an all too common text.)

So I’m totally obsessing over Amazon’s latest: Dash buttons.

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By June 22, 2017 9 No tags Permalink
June 19, 2017

Marty Found This Nursing-Friendly, Diving-Board Friendly Suit At Target

My friend Marty recently reached out.  She and I were in a breastfeeding support group together after Raines was born.  It was a fun group; after each session, a bunch of us would usually go out for beer.  Our kiddos – well-nursed for prob the only time that week – would usually sleep for a good two hours. Sometimes?  Three.  That, my friends, is the true power of breastfeeding support groups, IMO.  Beer chats and sleeping babies.

Anyway, Marty recently shot over an email – with pics!  Not only does she now have four babies (her youngest is 8 months old), but she found a pretty great suit.  She wrote:

I myself have been hunting for a nursing friendly swimsuit that stays in place and makes me feel comfortable both standing on the side of the pool, which is where I spend most of my time, and doing tricks off the diving board (the best way to torment my kids when it’s adult swim!).  I’m also super lazy and hate returning things by mail, which I know is a terrible excuse considering how convenient they make it these days. So I took advantage of our neighborhood teenage babysitter the other afternoon and trotted over to Target to see what I could find. I lucked into a clearance rack suit, which is still available on the Target website, so I thought I would pass it along.

My body shape is small chested, even when nursing, and pear-shaped. And stubborn about getting back to pre-baby shape!  Although I am not particularly wild about the pattern of the suit, I can live with it, and I really like how it keeps my chest covered and I don’t have to mess with pieces sliding out of place when kids grab on to me or I do those famous dives. 😉 The torso also has some shirring, which helps the pooch situation. All in all, it felt like a lucky find and a great solution for this summer’s swimsuit needs.

And here I am, under the oh-so-flattering dressing room lights. I took these pics to send to my husband to make sure the suit wasn’t terrible, but figured I can share them with you (and possibly the TME readers – yikes!). Had I anticipated sharing this, I would’ve at least brushed my hair. 😉

Hair brushing is over-rated.  The suit is a fantastic find.

Keep reading to see more pics of Marty’s suit, as well as links to buy (it comes in four different patterns, too)….

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June 17, 2017

Weekend 6.17

Last weekend was Odunde, the largest African-American street festival in the county.  Half a million people descend on South Philly to watch African and Caribbean dancers, musicians, etc. eat traditional foods (and soul food), and shop.

There’s a hip hop / breakdance dance crew that is REALLY good.  And I especially love that the guys involved include their kids in the show.

Anyway, they happened to be in the middle of a dance battle when we walked up.  Dance battles are Pax’s jam.  We had just come home from his end-of-year hip-hop show which ended with one, so I wasn’t completely surprised when Pax stepped into the circle.

It took a few minutes for the crew to realize that he was serious – as Pax stood there, clenching and unclenching his little fists to get ready – and then, they gave him the floor.  The street?  Anyway.  Pax was on.

(Note everyone’s expressions – that’s my fav part.)

 

I wish I knew the name of this crew, but I do know we’ve seen them at Odunde for a couple of years running.  Not only are they SO fun to watch, but they were so amazingly kind and encouraging with Pax.

Guys, you seriously made a little boy’s whole entire day.

 

Now, onto the normal weekend stuff….

SHOP

Gimme all the pretty dresses.  Anthro has 20% off dresses right now, and I’m debating between a dramatic maxi like this one (or oooo…this one)…this cute little flounced dress…or my friend Linzi’s fav.  I also keep going back to this Shoshanna dress with a retro vibe because I think it would look especially good with flat sandals or white sneaks…..so obviously, I’m no help narrowing things down.

So I did eventually try Glossier….and yes, I’m obsessed.  The phase 2 set is everything.  I like ‘cake’ for the lipcolor, but just ordered the coral….and Boy Brow works much better than Benefit’s brow-whiz. IMO.

Up to 40% off swim….at Saks Fifth Avenue.  Which means that many of my favs (Mara Hoffman, especially) are on sale.

We heart beach pants!!!  I just found out that Amazon carries the motherload of my very favorite beach pants, Roxy’s Oceanside Soft Pants.  Scotti and I both swear by these.  I wore mine in Barcelona, she styled them up last summer.

ALSO, THIS….

“Where was this kind of quality stuff when I was a teenager?” said Laura, when she forwarded Teen Vogue’s How To Masturbate When You Have a Vagina.  Positive sex-ed.  Yes.

It starts now, at home.  5 Everyday Ways to Teach Your Kids About Consent is the best article I’ve ever read on the topic of sexual consent and kids.  Thanks for the find, Scotti.

Did you know that rates of suicide in kids ages 10-14 have gone up 200%?  That statistic is horrifying.  My friend Tysie shared an article on Facebook from an occupational therapist who thinks that the problem (for some) stem from a combination of today’s omnipresent digital environment + overly indulgent parenting styles.  Personally, I found the writing style of the author slightly annoying, but it’s one of those articles I can’t stop thinking about.  And her suggestions at the end are concrete, do-able, and are helping me set the course for our summer…..so I had to share.  I’d love to know what you guys think.  The article is rather dramatically titled, “The Silent Tragedy Affecting Today’s Children“.

 

Enjoy your Father’s Day weekend!

xo,

S

By June 17, 2017 6 No tags Permalink
June 15, 2017

An Accessory Combo To Freshen That Old White Tank

One could argue the jeans.  It was hot, it was humid, and I may have been better served in denim of the shorter variety.  But there were a few forces working against my usual denim underwear, namely, ONE – we were going to be inside watching the kids’ hip-hop concert, so, hello, air-conditioning….and TWO – Pax and I had the following conversation the previous day:

[S at stove, cooking something, her pale bare legs clad in denim underwear.  Pax walks in.]

Pax:  “Mom?  What are those things on your legs?  Those….lines back here?”

S:  “They’re spider veins, Pax.  Know where I got those from?  FROM YOU!”  [she tickles Pax, who squirms away]

Pax:  [comes closer, traces one with finger] “From me…” [quiet, musing voice] “…did I draw them on?”

END SCENE

I have this tendency to stick with a front-mirror-check and call it good.  The back view can be problematic, and what we can’t see won’t upset us, sooooo….

But after the conversation with Pax I did a rare rear check in the mirror to confirm and YES.  Denim underwear this early in the summer may not be my best option.  You just can’t unsee some things.

So this weekend, my choices were spray tan or jeans, and given all of the other shenanigans involved (three shows between the two kids, just call me Dance Mom)…I went with jeans.  My Summertime Jeans, actually.  Boyfriend-y, skinny-ish, and I hear they’re decent on the bum.  (I’d look myself, but have already used up my monthly allotment of rear-views.)

Anyway, I wanted to wear jeans, I wanted to be comfortable….and feel a little bit fancy.  #dancemom

So I came up with an accessory combo that was kinda perfect for day:  walkable, comfortable….yet fancy enough when the day bled into night.  Best of all?  It dresses up my fav combo:  a simple white tank and denim.

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By June 15, 2017 14 No tags Permalink
June 14, 2017

My Favorite Sunscreen: Supergoop

Have you guys tried Supergoop?  It is my hands-down favorite sunscreen.  Bold words, I know.  But here’s the thing:  I’m always stuck in that gray area of wanting a “natural” sunscreen….but also needing a sunscreen that works.  Both of my parents have a history of skin cancer, and there’s some literature out there linking breast cancer to an increased risk of – you guessed it – melanoma, so this is one area that this girl won’t mess around.

Mix my personal history with my innate Mama-bear tendency to Protect The Children and watch my patience with “natural” sunscreens – with their mixed effectiveness and goopy application – wane.

Supergoop hits that perfect mix of being *mostly* natural (paraben, oxybenzone, synthetic fragrance and cruelty free thankyouverymuch), with an effectiveness rating that regularly blows me away.  They balance chemical load with overall effectivity, which is why you won’t see sunscreens over an SPF 50.

Case in point?  Their Defense Refresh Setting Mist.  This is a product that in my mind, really shouldn’t work.  You just, ya know, mist the stuff on over your makeup to refresh your SPF.  I’m suspicious of “mists” in general, and to rely on one for SPF?  Never.  But here’s the thing:  it works.  Really, really well.  I ended up using this product all over Europe last summer and it prevented many a sunburn, especially since we were often out walking around all day.

In fact, Supergoop is so dedicated to making sunscreens that are really and truly effective (their products protect against UVA, UVB and IRA rays), that they publish their efficacy test results on all of their product pages.

That’s what sun-safe commitment looks like.  Well done, Supergoop.

Lastly – and this is a big one, too – Supergoop’s products are a joy to apply.  They feel good, they smell good, they are anything but goopy.  Their goop?  Is super, super stuff.

So when Supergoop reached out, asking me to take a look at their newest products, it was a no-brainer.  Keep reading to see a review of Supergoop’s latest: Super Power Mousse Sunscreen, SPF 50.  AND I’ll throw a list together at the end of my very favorite, tried-and-tested Supergoop products.

Whew!  Now let’s see how we goop ourselves super…..

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By June 14, 2017 16 No tags Permalink
June 13, 2017

Little Black Day Dress, Comfy Shoes, Done

When I find a formula that works – and by ‘works’ I mean comfy and easy with juuuust enough style to check that box – I tend to stick to it.  Even better (worse?), I’ll iterate on it.  Which is how I end in sneakers, jeans, and a leather jacket most of the time.

In my defense….sometimes my sneakers are blue.  I KNOW.  #lifeontheedge

My latest sartorial furrow (thesaurus: rut) involves a little black dress, the Most Expected of the Expected Wardrobe Pieces, and yet: it works (see earlier definition).

I maintain that my twist on this classic is worth mentioning because ONE, there are some seriously interesting LBD-meets-a-tshirt dresses out there (and as everyone knows, they are one of the best kinds of dresses, second only to Those With Pockets) and TWO I’ve been wearing mine with sneakers and comfort sandals and they STILL manage to maintain some level of chic.

Obviously one could dress them up with high heels and look amazing, but WHERE’S THE CHALLENGE IN THAT, PEOPLE??

Lastly, black is so good at camouflage, that I’ve been a little more daring in the dress department than I’d usually be.

Here are my two current favorites (spoiler alert:  if you follow me on IG, @shanachristine, you will not be surprised)….as well as a little roundup of my favorite little black day dresses right now.

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By June 13, 2017 4 No tags Permalink
June 12, 2017

My Fav Way To Wear Flares With Flats This Summer

I love my flares.  It’s hard to argue with mile-long legs, ya know?  And so, seduced by the concept of height (“go higher!!” my subconscious always whispers), I tend to wear my flares with heels.

Granted, they’re usually comfort heels (these Sorel boots are my go-tos in winter, these in Spring), but I realized that I’d rock flares much more often if I could find a pair to hem for flats.

And by “hem” what I actually mean is “hack off with scissors”.

Spoiler alert:  I found ’em.

The pair I chose have a high-rise, and a slightly distressed vibe.  The distressing isn’t as important as the higher rise, but it does seem to balance out the look (it’s more boho-summer, if nothing else).

To finish off the look I needed something that would take advantage of the higher rise….and a peplum top was just right.  Peplum tops are something that can look strange with a low-rise pant, but were made for high-rise flares.

So the outfit combo becomes:

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By June 12, 2017 7 No tags Permalink
June 9, 2017

Bikini Guide: The Best High-Neck Bikinis

photo credit: Kingdom and State Serape Tankini Top

So….Laura turned us on to the high-neck bikini top this past March, during her trip to Florida. She made a pretty strong point that I’ll summarize like this:

 high-neck tops = beach-momming without fear

I was also impressed with the number of readers weighing in on how they rely on this silhouette to support larger busts, to keep grabby little hands at bay, and – gasp – actually swim in their bikini.

Don’t you love when a trend ends up being uber-practical as well?

This summer, there are a ton of high-neck tops from which to choose.  The shape is just so on-point, and one can find basics in every color, prints ranging from romantic florals to punchy tropical prints to classic stripes, and (my personal fav), high-neck tops with strategic cut-outs to give the illusion of more skin.

Keep reading to see our favorite high-neck bikinis….

Continue Reading…

By June 9, 2017 5 No tags Permalink