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.

Continue Reading…

By June 25, 2017 7 No tags Permalink
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 11, 2017

How I Ended Up In Both Charleston and Nicaragua For Spring Break

“…my children are not truly mine. They don’t belong to me; they’ve simply been entrusted to me. They are a gift life gave to me, but one that I must one day give back to life. They must grow up and go away and that is as it should be.”

My mind is a big old scramble right now.

Queue the tears, right?

This excerpt is from The Passion of Parenting.  It was the piece, from just before a certain weekend, in a certain year, that absolutely wrecked me as I was processing how, exactly, being divorced from the kids’ dad was going to ‘work.’  The kids were 1, 3 and 5 years old.  I was a stay-at-home mom that had given up a great career to be ‘that mom.’  I had rarely spent a night away from them – only to give birth to their siblings!  But part of what divorce means is shared custody….for better and for worse. (You get the joke, right?)

The Passion of Parenting genuinely touched me. It broke my heart and gave me hope simultaneously.

Letting go is hard for me to do. I must let go, but my heart feels hollow. I can’t imagine me without them.

That freaking hollow is just so relatable. To all of us, for whatever the circumstances: divorce, work, responsibilities, life, kids growing up – all of it.

I’ve only been at this parent thing for nine years now. But I’ve been at it for nine full years, the first six of which were non-stop day-in, day-out, no breaks and I liked it like that.  And then I made a choice for my own life, one that effectively created this seemingly gigantic void where every other weekend I am physically without my kids, without my heart.  And Thursday nights.  And half of all holidays and vacations.  And they are without their mom. And that?

Just sucks.

I remember reading once that you get less than 1000 Saturdays before your kids leave for college, so use them well.  I checked the math. It’s true.

That’s just not that many.

And I cut mine in half.

What the f&%# was I thinking???

Hollow is a word that I think describes well how that makes my heart feel.

And yet…I read that NYT piece and thought, ok…maybe this is an opportunity (or at least I better make it one).

First, make them count.  Cliche, right?  But when you can actually assign a numeric value to time – and you appreciate that there isn’t much of it – holy moly does it become exponentially more meaningful.

And then: own this crazy notion (from NYT author’s brilliant mother) that my kids don’t belong to me. Own that it is simply my job to do the absolute best I can while they are with me, and then to let them go.  And DO IT.

Next: spend my hollow/off time so well that I am the absolute best person I can be both without them and when I am with them….and genuinely engage in being their mom – with the determination and focus I gain from whatever I do in the hollow.

And finally: APPRECIATE that I will get 500 practice tries at turning them out before I have to actually do it when they go to college or life or wherever they go. Maybe then, it won’t feel so hollow. (That’s just the optimist in me.)

The realist knows it’ll still suck.

So almost four years into this self imposed void of divorce and custody sharing, I’m trying. I genuinely make it count when I am with the kids and I also try to genuinely make it count when I’m not. Which is how I landed in Charleston, South Carolina and Nicaragua last month, for spring break, without the kids.

Ten Days without kids. Can you imagine? EVERYONE – like every single one of my girlfriends – has a DIFFERENT response to that idea, ranging from full-on horror to dream-come-true. The custody schedule says spring break every other year, last day of school through return to school and so I had a gigantic, first ever, 10-day-hollow-void to fill and so:

Romantic weekend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina, and a Girlfriends Adventure in Nicaragua.

Done.

And absolutely A-MAZING.

Continue Reading…

By June 11, 2017 6 No tags Permalink
June 4, 2017

Quirky Father’s Day Gifts

My husband is exceptionally hard to buy gifts for. Usually when I ask him for ideas, he just shrugs his shoulders and says something like, “surprise me”…….. NOT helpful, babe. I’m usually left to figure it out myself and well, after almost eight years of marriage I *think* I’ve started to figure out the kinds of things Matt would like to receive on Father’s Day — fun(ny), unique and something that makes it seem like I was really, really thoughtful (shhh. you didn’t read that, hubs).

Continue Reading…

By June 4, 2017 3 No tags Permalink
June 4, 2017

When Three Moms Fly To Southbeach, Miami….

On L (left): La Blanca Top
On M (middle): Cocoship
On A (right): Salinas Bottom Salinas Top

I see you new moms out there.

And I feel you.  Genuinely.

Do you have a boob group?  Or a new mom group?  Or an infant play group?

Best new mom survival tactic ever.

Those…first days with your first child.  THOSE are the ones where you need other women, going through exactly what you are going through, spending their time exactly as you are, living your very same life, for the sake of sanity and support.  In general, I am not a ‘groups’ kinda girl – a more seasoned girlfriend basically signed me up as a ‘gift’ – and gift it was.  My group saved my life in those long, clueless days (and longer sleepless nights).  We found the laughter in the tears, and figured out how to care for babies, how to get everyone to eat, sleep, and exist – together.  It was just so much more rewarding because it was shared, both the great and the really challenging.

Mom groups:  our modern day ‘Red Tent.

While there are plenty of new groups in our city now, at the time I had my first child, there was one in our neighborhood:   Hall Mercer.  The next great place that opened here in Philadelphia, Nest, came after my third child was born, but was also such a wonderful place of support.  And of my original, first child, graduating class of moms that lived through the thick of those first months with a first child with me, I’m so lucky for 5 of us (actually 19 of us:  5 moms, 4 dads, 11 kids and counting), continuing, 9 years later, to still have dinner once a month (or every six weeks because, well, interference), life celebrations shared, an annual family tent camping trip, and…wait for it…our annual Moms’ Weekend Away.  Our kids consider each other ‘frousins.’  We consider each other sisters.  The hubs have come to love and laugh and adventure with the whole crew of us.  And once a year we take it on the road, or sometimes on a plane – just the moms!

This year was Miami.  With 2 missing for the first time ever:  Zika.  Enough said, you do the math.  So then there were 3.  And here’s how 3, advanced-maternal-age-9-years-ago-when-we-delivered moms do Miami:

Continue Reading…

By June 4, 2017 9 No tags Permalink
June 2, 2017

Weekend 6.02

 

Have a playful weekend, you guys.

SHOP

LikeToKnow.IT Haters, this is for you: Hit up the “In Our Closets” tab to take a peek at what we’re currently wearing.  Especially helpful if you’ve noticed something on IG or FB, and are a looking for a direct link.  Here’s mine, for example.  

Word on the playground?  Madewell’s latest is on fire. I’m eyeing this adorable pink dress (SWOON), this striped top, and their military jacket in…..rose.

Always late?  Me too.  We need this clock. (hint:  it won’t help)

Stop haunting my dreams, Halston Heritage.  Specifically this jumpsuit.  So effortlessly cool, I die.

Thoughts on Glossier?  I was about to put in a big order to try out Glossier (I had promised you guys wayyyyy back), but then I found Jordon’s spot-on review.  Off to buy the Phase 2 set (concealer, lipstick and boy brow) right now.  ps.  Jordan’s blog, Ramshackle Glam, is one of my favs.

 

 

Also, This….

Finding a good book just got easier.  I’m totally and completely obsessed with Amazon charts, where they list the top 20 most sold and most read books of the week.  YES.

Did avocado toast just get better?  The Zoe Report claims you can swap out bread for slices of toasted sweet potato…I WANT TO BELIEVE.

To that baby in Vico.  I’m obsessed with the Letters to a Stranger section of the Off Assignment travel blog.  Especially this one.

Let’s go see Swan Lake.  I often bond with many of our longtime readers, and Tysie is one of those.  I just happened to catch the New York Times article on her sister – who was just recently promoted to soloist at ABT.  A huge congrats – and such an interesting read about an insanely demanding job.

Because you can’t ignore Science forever.  Trump may have officially pulled us out of the Paris Agreement, but a group of American leaders – including 30 mayors, three governors, 80+ university presidents and more than 100 businesses – have vowed to meet the greenhouse gas emission targets.  If you want to really get pumped up for action, watch James Balog’s hauntingly beautiful (and heartbreaking) documentary that shows – using time-lapse videos – how quickly some of the world’s glaciers are melting.

Enjoy your weekend!

xo,
S

By June 2, 2017 5 No tags Permalink
May 21, 2017

Our Interview With Sarah Lemon, Author of Done Dirt Cheap

Gang, I’m so excited about this girl.  Sarah Lemon, a longtime reader  – and the writer of one of my favorite pieces we’ve ever published – just came out with a new book, Done Dirt Cheap.

I read it – no, devoured it –  in a weekend. It’s good.  It’s good in a very girl-power way.  It’s good in a universal truth kind of way.  It’s good in a tears and laughter and – and this is my fav part – a dark sort of snorting amusement that can only come from the experience of being a girl, of being underestimated, of having to just find your own way in a world that often feels like it was made for someone else.  It reminded me of a modern, girl-centered Huckleberry Finn.

Obviously, I loved it.  But then, I’ve always loved Sarah’s writing.  Ever since she sent in her essay on personal style (three years ago!!) – the essay that brought us all to our knees, tears streaming down our faces…..I’ve had Sarah on my radar.  My husband’s, too.  Ever so often he’d ask me, “Babe?  Remember that one reader who wrote–”  Yes.  Of course I do.

Keep reading for a fun little interview with Sarah, as well as her latest essay, written just for you.

Sarah, I’m just so glad you exist in this world, Chick.  Your words are gifts.

Continue Reading…

By May 21, 2017 2 No tags Permalink
May 20, 2017

Weekend 5.20

Raines has decided to become a vegetarian.  I blame R&K (you know who you are), and some documentary he watched with Mike.  So lunches have become trickier, which is just what you want as the school year draws to a close: a new challenge!  Dear God.  We’re barely hanging on here.

Raines….making feeding easy since 2008. #no

(I couldn’t even #hahano that one, it’s such a hard no.  My old Denver friends will remember my pain.  THEY WILL REMEMBER.)

Anyway, let’s get to it.

SHOP

A fancy dress for the not-fancy.  Remember my friend Linzi?  She just bought this dress.  It’s easy, cotton, and cool….yet looks so fancy.  I’m totally obsessing over it.  Hmmmm…..am I a bad friend if I buy the same one??? #nevertoooldfortwinsies?

Tan, tan, tan.  I’m realllllly feeling a tan clutch for summer – so effortlessly chic, right?  I’m considering this twisted suede one at Banana, or this quirky ‘vacation’ one at Madewell.  Thoughts?

Modcloth has 30% off swim!  Our readers have raved about this retro beauty, especially for post-partum, but for the daring, this suuuuper sexy plunge suit would work, too.   Also, pineapple print (with ruffles).  Flirty and fun.

Speaking of swim….Hautelook has Marilyn Monroe swim on sale.  I’ve never heard of this brand, but I can’t stop thinking about this striped suit or this devastatingly chic white swimsuit.  Gorgeous, no?  And on sale for $26.  Sheesh.

Picnic better.  My favorite thing for picnics in the park (or in backyards, or even on city porches)….is this table in a bag.  And now it’s on sale.

Let’s redefine nude.  There was an interesting discussion about my use of the word “nude” to describe something that was essentially my skin color.  I can totally appreciate that we need a broader definition.  So I’m thrilled that ThirdLove has just come out with a range of “naked” underwear in a ton of different….nudes.  Yay for diversity.  (And for keeping me honest, you guys.)

Also, THIS….

Mom Knows Best.  My mom has sworn by the health benefits of dark chocolate for years.  Now we all eat it for breakfast.  Apparently, Dr. Oz’s Sirtfood diet agrees.  Also?  Red wine.  Sign me up.

Are you a cool mom?  I totally resonated with Michelle Peters-Jones’ article, I’m Never Going To Be a “Cool Mom” and That’s OK.  She sounds plenty cool to me.

I’m coming for you, Quinoa.  Refinery29 explains why Trader Joe’s is so cheap, and recommends a few affordable favs.

In case you missed this on Facebook….we love I Mom So Hard.


Happy weekend!
xo,
S

 

 

 

By May 20, 2017 11 No tags Permalink
May 13, 2017

Weekend (And Happy Mother’s Day!)

backpack | trench

Happy Mother’s Day!  Hope you guys are being spoiled rotten.  And by “spoiled rotten” I mean plenty of those fierce little hugs that squeeze as hard as those little arms possibly can, coffee in bed, and a day free from cleaning/washing dishes/emptying the dishwasher.  (That last one is my own personal hell.)

And for those of you who went out for Mother’s Day Eve, high-freaking five.  Let’s make this a thing next year.

Big, HUGE News

We’re getting a new contributor!  And to be even more of a horrible tease….we’ll announce her next week.  If you’d like to the be the first to know, follow our Instagram (@themomedit) – we’ll announce there first. (Plus we have a few sneak peeks up, if you can guess….)

Speaking of Instagram…. Liketoknow.it has just launched a new Family channel!  We’re thrilled.  It’ll be an easy place to find inspiration for bump style, nursery decor, kids stuff, and mama essentials.  (Personally, I’m hoping sneakers will be featured on the regular.)

SHOP

Sorry, Kid.  House rules.  A tank top for sleep-deprived mamas.

Near, Far, Wherever you are….we will be wearing this, um, “designer” tee. (Hilarious find, Scotti!)

A few favs from IG Stories: If you’ve been watching my Instagram Stories (@shanachristine), you’ll notice that my outfits follow our crazy weather.  Specifically, these silver lame track shorts one day…to these taupe, waterproof Sorels a few days later.  (I also tried these boots, but the taupe Sorels won.)

Sale, sale, sale.  Take 25% off everything at J.Crew, 30% off everything at LOFT, and  20% off everything at Anthro with code WOWMOM.  My favs, below.

 

Also, This….

Hey PA – Vote on Tuesday!  Tuesday is Pennsylvania’s 2017 Primary Election.  Philly.com has a helpful rundown of what’s on the ballot, but if you live in the city of Philadelphia, consider voting for Rebecca Rhynhart for City Controller.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet her on several occasions, and not only is she seriously pumped to take on this thankless (and frankly, boring-sounding) job, but she has a ton of fresh ideas to save this city some major cash….compared to her opponent, who has been in office for 27 years. [snore]  If you want deets on what she has up her sleeve (or just want to know what the heck City Controllers do), she outlines most of it here.

Such a sweet song for Mother’s Day – thanks for the find, Cam!

 

Lastly, I just wanted to say again how thankful we are for this little community.  I was blown away by the supportive, understanding responses to the latest letter from A, and as we sat there reading through them (with tears streaming down our faces), the burden that is so very heavy felt lighter for a few moments.  To the Mamas who are caring for sick children, we are saying a special prayer for you this Mother’s Day.  For your strength to keep going, but also for your continued ability to shine the light for your child, even as darkness threatens.  I stand in awe of your courage and grace.

Happy Mother’s Day.

xo,

S

 

By May 13, 2017 0 No tags Permalink
May 11, 2017

Tick Tock, You Don’t Stop…

Pause. Or go.
I honestly don’t know which.
Right this hot minute.
This is what’s on my mind: Time.

Have you ever spent time in a hospital? Or with someone in the hospital? Or days on end, for the umpteenth time with one of your three kids? The one with the chronic disease?

I know you have. I know that too well. And I know you know this:

Time.
Stands.
Still.

Continue Reading…

By May 11, 2017 16 No tags Permalink