January 23, 2017

The Women’s March – Next Steps

 

We had quite a weekend.  Mike and I brought the boys to the Women’s March taking place in Philadelphia.  March organizers expected the crowd to be only around 20,000 (we’re so close to D.C. that many headed down to the main event)…but at last estimate, more than 50,000 people marched in Philly!  (And thanks to those of you who stopped to say hi – so fun meeting you!)

The energy of the march was incredible – people from all over the world, joining together in peaceful protest.  It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before, and prompted so many interesting discussions with my boys.  They each made their own posters (Pax picked Love = Power, and Raines picked Wild Feminist – I suspect because his Dad has that tshirt), and we talked about what it means to be a feminist (equal rights for all).  They seemed surprised to hear that it’s a thing.  “Of course women should get paid as much as men, Mom.  You do EVERYTHING around here!” says Raines.  (BWAH HA HA – score one for mom.)

But we also talked about ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘We are all Nasty Women’ and ‘The Future is Female’  and the nuances of what these slogans are really about, and the important historical context that goes with each one.  As a parent, it was so rewarding to see the light of understanding dawn in their eyes, and then to see them resolutely march forward.

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the march in Philly….

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By January 23, 2017 34 No tags Permalink
October 18, 2016

Interesting Cardigans, Fresh Air, and Brave Steps

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cardigan (c/o Modcloth) | top (c/o) | gloves (c/o)

Coziness. That’s pretty much all I can focus on clothing-wise right now, especially with a trip to the coast. (Think: cold, windy, rainy). And I love how even a quick trip to the shore is so renewing and refreshing…there’s just something about fresh air and being near a body of water. I forget how much my soul needs these little day trips to the beach.

I recently had a dear friend visit for a week (you may have seen our adventures over on Instagram @elletrain).  She lives in Toronto and our time together is far too little. She left a few days ago and I’m feeling pretty bummed. It’s tough when good friends live far away, even with technology. And I think it gets harder as moms, wives, and business women to find time to foster friendships. The kind of friendships that reflect our best selves back to us. It’s too easy to lose ourselves in our families. And while it’s a very noble cause, I sometimes wake up and think “Wait, what happened to me? Where did I go?”

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September 30, 2016

Nursing-Friendly AND Post-Partum Friendly Fall Staples

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Hey mamas of tiny ones…this post is yours. New mamas and all of us with still-soft tummies want a fall update, too. There are some lovely finds this season that are still kind to feeding babes and feeling fab postpartum.

Rounding up some of these finds made me a little nostalgic about those early days with Sienna. She was an adorable little bundle, with the roundest cheeks you ever did see! She started saying ‘hi’ at about 8 months old….and hasn’t stopped since.

Confession: I still have and wear a pair of my favorite maternity jeans. Nostalgia is a powerful force.  

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July 9, 2016

My Piece on Comfort (Featured in Sapien Magazine)

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A few months ago, Jordan, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sapien Magazine (a new, online publication) reached out:  “I’m in the process of starting my own magazine” she wrote.  “It’s going to be all about exploring what it means to be human, and what it looks beyond the phone and computer screen. Embracing messy homes and burnt attempted recipes.  Trying to stray away from all things curated, but still praising the beauty and prettiness in mistakes.”

Jordan asked if I would submit a piece on the theme of comfort for the inaugural issue.  Her goal of creating something beautiful and real – something untethered by Pinterest perfection – really resonated with me, so I said yes.  Yes to the messes and to the mistakes and to finding beauty in our everyday reality.

So I cleared my schedule, made some coffee, and sat down to write.

Writing, however, is a funny thing.  I don’t really consider myself a writer – blogging is inherently different; you simply write about whatever is on your mind at the time – but a writing assignment?  Did I, in fact, actually have something to say on the topic of comfort?

My early drafts read like a dreary senior essay, What Comfort Means to Me.  Good lord.  So I threw it all away, and closed my eyes.  “Comfort” I thought.  “What comes to mind?”  My comfort is my boys, their arms wrapped around my neck, the heaviness of their bodies in my arms.  The scent of my husband.  His scruffy face on my lips.

Opening my eyes, I started to write.  It turns out I did have something to say.  And true to form, the writing was a release.  An acceptance, of sorts.  And I was so honored by Jordan’s words on the piece:

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the very personal essay written by @shanachristine on our blog last week. In it, she writes about the comfort she- and her young son- found in her body after a life changing event. Her piece is both funny and heartbreaking, and highlights the resilience of survivors everywhere.

If you’d like to read it, my article can be found here.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend, and, despite recent events, finding comfort.

xo,

S

By July 9, 2016 18 No tags Permalink
February 5, 2016

So This Is Forty

40th-birthday

 

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.

 

NOPE.

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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.

Roughly.

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.

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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.

Forty.

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Let’s do this.

xo,

S

 

By February 5, 2016 45 No tags Permalink
February 5, 2016

Refocus Northwest: A Creative Business Retreat in the Pacific Northwest

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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.)

Above photo, credit: Posy Quarterman Photography

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Cape Disappointment, WA – near the retreat

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!

xo,

Laura

 

 

 

January 27, 2016

My Fav At-Home Workout: A Review of The 21 Day Fix

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So around the 4th or 5th time that I had to be taken out of a class at the Y because Greenlea wouldn’t stop crying in tot watch, I knew something had to change.  I wanted to get back in shape, but….how?

A few of my friends were posting on FB about “The 21 Day Fix” and how great they looked and felt and blah blah blah and I thought to myself, “yeah yeah, they look great . . . but I’d never stick to it.  It’d be a waste of money,” and then I’d go back to my giant bowl of popcorn and glass of wine.  One night I realized I had eaten an entire bowl of popcorn by myself (we’re talking a HUGE bowl…..with tons of butter if I’m being completely honest) while Zack was putting G down and I ordered the 21 Day Fix immediately after.  HA!

I started the workouts the very next morning (using the on-demand feature because the DVD’s hadn’t arrived yet) and?

I loved it.  I could do a workout in the morning (get it over with while G was eating her breakfast), and then be DONE for the day.  Each workout is 30 minutes – that’s it.  Even better: each exercise is 30-60 seconds and they have a timer for you to watch as you’re doing them.  If the move was more difficult I’d be staring that timer down . . . but 60 seconds and it’s over!
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I just do the workouts in the middle of my kitchen.  It’s a small space, so you don’t need lots of room.  You do need weights and a mat (and if you’re like me, you’ll need access to a door so you can run outside to cool off because you’ll be sweating your booty off).

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By January 27, 2016 28 No tags Permalink
January 16, 2016

The No-Stress Guide To Cleaning Out Your Closet

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This is it. It’s time. It’s time to attack, head-on, the looming problem you face each morning: your closet.

You clear you schedule, set aside a weekend and vow that this time, THIS TIME, you will purge. You will be reasonable, sensible, and not be distracted by emotional attachments to inanimate objects.

You will take a good hard look at yourself and only choose the items you love. The items that represent you as a person.  The items that bring JOY.  And when you are finished…..ahhhh.

Visions of white, light-drenched spaces filled with a single eames chair and sheepskin rug (casually tossed onto the chair) come to mind. A single flower in a simple, colorful vase, matching hangers (rose gold, perhaps?) from which your artfully curated wardrobe will hang….yes. You can see it. You can feel it. You are almost there….

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(photo: lisbet-e.net)

You turn to your closet, wardrobe perfection shining brilliantly in your mind. You start off strong: Wrinkled blazer that you haven’t worn in 5 years? GONE.  Red sweater that washes you out because it’s not the right shade of red? GONE. Ugly skirt that was a gift? GONE. Bootcut jeans? GONE. No, wait. They might come back. Ok, keep those. Onward!! Stained tee? GONE. Plaid shirt you only wore once? GON- oh, it’s missing a button. Hunh. Maybe you didn’t wear it because it was missing a button? I mean, how can you evaluate it honestly if a button is missing? Ok, keep and fix the button, THEN decide.

“Stay strong!!” you vow, and continue….riiiiight up until the tshirts. I mean…they’re perfectly good tshirts. There’s nothing wrong with them, you paid good money for them, you just… don’t…. wear….them.
But it’s OK!!  You need to wear something to bed, right? And around the house?  Or to work out? OH THANK GOD. THE TSHIRTS CAN STAY. They are now just repurposed into house/bed/workout shirts. How clever you are!!

Then, you turn to your jeans. Most of them are designer. You can’t get rid of DESIGNER clothes, right? Shouldn’t you keep them for posterity? Your daughter/daugher-in-law/grand-daughter? Yes, of course you should. She will thank you later. Oh crap. What’s this?  A shirt with the tags on?  Ouch.  Maybe you could sell it?  Speaking of, maybe you could sell the designer bootcut jeans?  Shoot – you’ll need to start a “sell it” pile now.

Before long, after constantly second guessing and dithering and worrying (am I making the right choice?  am I facing future devastation years from now??)  the closet cleanout looks like this:

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Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Pretty much all of the closet cleanouts I’ve worked on have followed this pattern. Here’s how to break the cycle, and create a working closet you LOVE. I can’t promise pretty Pinterest anything, but I can help you conquest the wardrobe mess once and for all.

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By January 16, 2016 27 No tags Permalink
November 2, 2015

My Mom Edit: Heather From Mason Dixon Made

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I’m always intrigued by how other moms manage the work-life balance (nanny or naptime?), as well as some of the minutia of our everyday lives (what shoes do you wear everyday?).  So I thought it would be fun to feature, from time-to-time, a mama who might offer a little insight or a unique perspective on how they manage this daily chaos.

So on that note, I’d love to introduce you to Heather, founder of Mason Dixon Made, a line of children’s footwear that is – gasp – made by hand in Philly.  I had met Heather at Lulus’ Casita last year, and was blown away by her designs (and her redheaded children, SWOON).

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By November 2, 2015 4 No tags Permalink
February 21, 2015

Hey Haters, Dove & Twitter Want a Word (#speakbeautiful campaign)

Several years ago, when this blog was still called Ain’t No Mom Jeans, I decided to cover a little bit of celebrity fashion.  I found a few pictures of celebrities walking their kids to school, hanging out at a park, etc.  They were wearing cute, casual outfits, ones easy to recreate.  So I rounded up a few links to similar pieces, wrote a bit of fluff and hit publish.  Then I went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, I was surprised to see how many comments the post had received.  And even more surprised when I read them:  “OMG she looks so fat!” said one commenter.  “This is a terrible picture – she looks exhausted” said another.  One particularly mean-spirited commenter remarked that Sarah Jessica Parker’s “hands looked old”.

Her hands looked old?  Are you serious?  First of all wtf who cares, and secondly….won’t ALL of our hands look old eventually?  And please consider that right at this very second, someone else – another mom, perhaps, in the midst of spit-up or cranky toddlers or any other sort of taxing, everyday life – could be reading that comment, then look down and think, “my hands look old, too.”  Not to mention that we’ve all looked fat at some point, we’ve all looked exhausted.  What, exactly, is wrong with any of these very human things?  When mean-spirited comments happen, especially online in public forums, the collateral damage is far-reaching.

So I deleted those comments – I deleted all of them.  And guess how many times I’ve covered celebrity fashion since then?  ZERO.  It just seemed to bring out something….ugly.  And that’s not what this blog is about.  This blog is about finding ourselves as mothers, about finding our style as humans.  It’s about sharing inspiration, and understanding that what works for one may not work for another.  It’s about celebrating our unique journeys on this crazy path, and using our varied perspectives as a source of inspiration, not a point of shaming.

So I was thrilled when Dove and Twitter reached out about their #speakbeautiful campaign.  This campaign aims to change the way women interact with one another on social media.  And these companies aren’t messing around:  On Oscar night, when hateful, negative messages are at an all-time high (over 5 MILLION negative body image tweets were posted in 2014), Dove will be unveiling a new ad to inspire social media change.  And Twitter?  Gotta love those data nerds – they’ll be rolling out new technology that uses Twitter data to identify negative social media conversations about beauty and body image. When a negative tweet is posted on Oscar night, the technology will be used by Dove to send non-automated responses to real women, which include constructive and accessible advice to encourage more positive online language and habits.  Advice will come directly from social media and self-esteem experts who collaborate with Dove and Twitter to empower women to speak with more confidence, optimism, and kindness about beauty online.

Yup, that’s right:  if you post mean-spirited tweets on Oscar night, Dove and Twitter will be calling.

 

As a direct recipient of negative criticism, I know that it can be hurtful – no matter how thick your skin, how open your perspective.  But the thing about negativity that really bothers me, the thing that really gets me going, is how it breeds.  How one mean-spirited comment creates a veritable pile-up of negativity.  Negative comments are both a bummer to read and a bummer to give – on any platform.  There’s nothing brave about mean-spirited comments.  There’s no “truth” in actively trying to make another person feel bad for what they’re wearing, how they look or what they like.  It’s just bullying, plain and simple.  And bullying – in any form – creates a culture of narrow-mindedness and fear.

So please:  a little more #speakbeautiful, a little less hate.  There’s a world of difference between “that looks ridiculous!!”  and “I prefer something preppier/more boho/more edgy than what’s pictured – does anyone have ideas for me?”  And don’t even get me started on “her hands look old”.  It’s high time we change this conversation.

 


 

xo,

S

 

By February 21, 2015 26 No tags Permalink