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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October 17, 2016

What To Pack for London: 12 Style Essentials

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The British have a saying about their weather, “Four seasons in one day,” and it proved to be more than true on my recent trip to London.  We arrived in the middle of a heat wave – hot and sweaty the first few days – but by the time we left, the weather had turned chilly and rainy. And of course, I had packed mostly for colder, Autumn weather, so a lot of my organized, careful packing went out the window.

The packing list below is a combination of what I wore while I was there, plus a few items I didn’t pack but wish I had.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  Also, in honor of the high street clothing brands, I’m featuring lots of Topshop, River Island, Warehouse, and Oasis, because sometimes it’s fun to see what affordable fashion looks like on the other side of the pond.

So here’s a packing capsule wardrobe for London – versatile, functional, comfortable and stylish.  (Of course, I packed extra items, but I stripped the list down to the items that I truly relied on.  Next time I’ll pack light.)

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By October 17, 2016 12 No tags Permalink
October 6, 2016

Cropped Pants and Socks….And A Philly Ghost Tour (With Kids)

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The kids had a couple of days off of school for Rosh Hashanah, so we took advantage of the later-than-normal bedtimes to do a walking tour in Philly’s Old City.  We needed a later-than-normal bedtime because the walking tour was actually a Ghost tour.  Oooooo…..

Of course nothing ever goes as planned, so Pax fell asleep on the Uber ride over to the restaurant (5:30PM #PartyLikeParents), but thankfully dinner was at a seriously accommodating tapas restaurant within easy walking distance to the ghost tour.  Amada, whose staff didn’t blink at our request to sit at hightop tables near the bar (with a sleeping Pax in arms), has two kinds of Cava by the glass (yessss), a killer happy hour menu, and tapas reminiscent of our trip to Barcelona.   Once Pax woke up, he promptly asked for a plate of chorizo while Raines pounded octopus tapas and Mike and I smiled nonchalantly, all We Are Successful Parents Because Our Kids Are Worldly Eaters….Suck It, Everyone Else.

You’ll forgive us the obnoxiously smug behavior.  Typically our kids are NEVER the Worldly Eaters, rather the I’ll Just Have More Bread, Please or, my personal favorite, Black Burgers Wuf JUST A BUN kids. (This was based on the ONE TIME I tried to sneak a veggie burger onto their plates.  It was a slightly different color and they never quite recovered from the shock.)  So please allow us our one moment of parenting glory.  AND OH, THE GLORY.  The waiters were all very impressed.  (Ok fine one waiter.  The one waiter was impressed.)

In any case, many of you have been asking about cropped jeans + socks for the upcoming winter months, and it just so happens that I was rocking a rather warm and cozy cropped jeans + smartwool sock combo that night.  Slightly unusual, but I think it worked!  Keep reading for a few more pics from our seriously fun night….

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By October 6, 2016 16 No tags Permalink
September 28, 2016

Updated Skinny Jeans, Soccer Walks and Beer

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First things first:  Nordstrom asked me to take a look at Fall denim trends, and, well…if you’re up on your blog reading this week, you know how I feel about The Chaos That is Fall Denim.  But there is something wonderful happening in the world of denim, something I hesitate to call a trend, per se, it’s more like a movement [cue swelling music], and that is….

Skinny Jeans.  They’ve gone all interesting.

Patches, rips, paint splatters, frayed hems, fringe hems, step hems, released hems, twisted hems (no I am seriously not making this up), [BIG BREATH], distressing, cool zippers, sailor-pant spoofs, moto spoofs, colorblocking and embroidery.

What these things do to a boring sweater.  SHIVERS, I tell you.  I get shivers.

My not-so-boring skinnies almost made up for the fact that our Sunday was terribly boring.  It was one of those days where Mike and I were trying our hand at Adulting: paperwork, bills, emptying the dishwasher, updating iPhone OSs, folding 276 loads of laundry.   You needn’t feel sorry for us – as evidenced by the sheer amount of laundry, Adulting is a rare occurrence that we save for when things are truly dire.

But Sunday was a perfect storm of  Too Much Adulting + Tired Kids and our usual remedy (GET TO A PLAYGROUND) wasn’t happening because, on top of it all….hangry.

So we grabbed a handful of nuts (WOMP WOMP), two soccer balls (cause sharing sucks), and set out on a Soccer Walk.  Destination?  The PHL Pop-Up Beer Garden*.

Man, we love Philly.

*Also, the game was on and they have TVs. You are welcome, Mike.

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By September 28, 2016 40 No tags Permalink
August 29, 2016

Dresses And High-Top Sneakers

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dress (similar) | hi tops | sunglasses | backpack

Hey hey. Can you believe summer is winding down? No, me neither. Most of the country has even started school already. Gasp. Up here in the PNW, we get until Labor Day (this year, a bit before and apparently everyone went insane about that).

Regardless of school starting, it’ still HOT in many places. I don’t typically wear dresses, but this recent stint of living without AC has made me realize that dresses are the coolest outfit to beat the heat. No thank you to shorts sticking to your nether regions (insert covered-eyes monkey emoji here) or heaven forbid pants above 90 degrees. Nah gurl. Put on a dress and feel pretty even though you’re sweating buckets.

My edit?  Balance out girlie pieces (like a dress) with something tougher.  I rely on my trusty black hi tops to add an unexpected element to the ensemble. What I adore about this combo is that it’s great for all-day this time of year…cool enough to get you through the heat of the day yet not overly casual for picnics, BBQ’s or dinner on a patio.

Keep reading to see a few no-fail dress styles that have worked really well with hi tops…..

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August 28, 2016

Sunset Cruising On The Miss Avalon

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We have fun friends.  Namely, they know how to find fun that is both kid and adult friendly.  Balance, people.  It’s all about balance.  And really, any fun that is to be had after 6PM – especially in the summer – should start with WIN and end with an E.  #winwithanE #thatswhatI’msaying

So this past Thursday, we took the kids on a sunset cruise aboard the Miss Avalon.  It departs from Avalon (bay side) and either cruises around the bay, or heads oceanside to look for dolphins and such.  Depending on the weather.  But it almost doesn’t matter, because A. you are on a boat, and B. you can bring whatever food/snacks/drinks you’d like.

Our buddy brought this canned rose (no seriously – it was gooood) and a full cheese platter.  Like I said, fun friends.

The Miss Avalon does such a nice job with the kids, too.  Not only is there something naturally calming about a boat, but this baby is two stories (so fun to explore), and the Captain lets each kid take a turn driving the boat (and they print a certificate after).  The Captain takes back the helm to cruise under a drawbridge, and watching the bridge lift – just for us!! – is a thrill no matter the age.

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By August 28, 2016 9 No tags Permalink
August 26, 2016

Airport Style: My Favorite Travel Outfit (Even Works For Nursing)

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We received a reader question about airport style recently.  Specifically, airport style that is comfortable, yet chic enough to go straight from the airport to a party.  Oh and nursing friendly, thankyouverymuch.  Here’s what reader M wrote:

I need an outfit that will survive: nursing, running to the airport, flying (Hello gorgeous naptime, it’s been awhile!), lunch, baby shower, pumping, and flying back. All in 9 hours.   I want to escape my usual maternal athleisure costume & be pretty! But I need to be COMFY, not “comfy”….I’m thinking since you’ve traveled recently you might have some fresh ideas for me? 

Yes!  I do, actually.  On our recent trip we flew overnight to Barcelona, then immediately caught another flight to Nantes (in France), and upon landing there, met the family we’re doing the house exchange with…for drinks.  Obviously I had to be comfortable enough to sleep on a plane (and deal with mad temperature fluctuations and madder children haha), but I wanted to look good, too.

Turns out, I’ve got a dress for that.  It feels a little bit like wearing pajamas, never wrinkles, is nursing-friendly, kind on the post-partum tummy, and dresses up nicely for a party.  Keep reading for pics of my travel outfit, as well as a few examples of how I’d tweak the styling if I were nursing or traveling with toddlers because #momming.  It’s how we do.

Also, traveling with kids of any age is kind of a gong show #extremeparenting, so keep the photo expectations low.  Most look like this:

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Yaaaaassss.

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By August 26, 2016 33 No tags Permalink
August 22, 2016

Touring Normandy Beaches With Kids – What We Learned

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One of the highlights of our trip this summer was taking Raines (age 8) and Pax (age 5) to Normandy.  Our oldest is the type who tends to…focus on one topic, and for the last two years his focus has primarily been on World War 2.  We’ve watched countless documentaries, The Longest Day six times, visited battleships, war museums, even attended a World War 2 Weekend in Pennsylvania (which was amazing), and have, roughly, 15-20 notebooks filled with Raines’ drawings of planes, battleships, tanks, and general war scenes.  For a while there, bedtime stories were supplanted by his favorite resource guide, Weapons of World War II:  “The M18 Hellcat weighs 18.8 tons, it’s max speed is 50mph, the range is 105 miles on road, and there are 3 cannon in the turret, plus one .5 MG….”

I just can’t even.  A girl can only read tank specs aloud so many times.

But we dreamed of bringing Raines to Normandy.  So when one of our options for a house exchange popped up a mere 2 hours from the Normandy Beaches, we didn’t hesitate.

the boys playing in a bomb crater....

the boys playing in a bomb crater….

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By August 22, 2016 16 No tags Permalink
August 16, 2016

The Trunki Ride-on Suitcase – A Review

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Summer! Traveling! Fun! Three year old meltdowns!

This has been our summer so far:  fun and 3 year old drama. While I cannot promise this amazing little ride-on suitcase will get rid of the drama, I can attest to the fact that it makes tromping through airports with kiddos way more fun. Follow me for all you ever needed to know about the Trunki and whether it’s a worthy purchase.

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By August 16, 2016 18 No tags Permalink
August 12, 2016

Mont St. Michel With Kids (What I Wish I Had Known)

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On our way to Normandy, we swung by to visit Mont St. Michel.  Mont St. Michel is a medieval monastery (seriously – over a thousand years ago) that was built upon an island in the bay where Normandy and Brittany meet.

The scope of Mont St. Michel – in both age and sheer physical size – is hard to comprehend. It’s simply awe-inspiring.

However, Mont St. Michel is a major tourist destination, complete with traffic, hoards of tourists, and a staggering amount of junky gift shops and bad cafes.  Here’s what we learned from our trip to Mont St. Michel, as well as a few things we’d do differently next time.

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By August 12, 2016 20 No tags Permalink