5 Things You May Never Think Of But Need To Do To Keep Your Home Healthy

Being an adult is serious business- this is a lesson I learn multiple times a day. Apparently just because in my head I still think I am in high school (and, on more than one occasion, have accidentally driven to my old house instead of my current one while listening to 90's and 9 and completely forgetting that it is not, in fact, 1997 anymore...oh, and I still sometimes date checks 2003 but that is a whole other story...)

Anyway- apparently on top of paying bills, grocery shopping and raising kids, as a home-owning grown up (gulp) I also have to maintain my house. And unlike laser hair removal, spray tan, skincare and hair color upkeep, when it comes to home maintenance, I quickly realized I have no freaking clue where to begin. I know what I don't know- and I do not know sh*t about the inner workings of pipes and drains and HVACs, oh my.

According to Ernesto Ruiz from Homesquare, a genius home maintenance service (currently available in Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY) that has saved my life several times over- there are 5 things that you for sure need to be doing regularly so your home doesn't fall to pieces.  Since it seems very selfish for me to keep said things to myself, you can get the scoop in the video above, and I summarized the short list below as well since for me, if it isn't typed, screen-grabbed and saved on my iPhone, it may as well not exist:

1- Sump pump should be serviced 1-2 times a year. Because if it isn't working for any reason, your house could flood. And that would suck big time. 

2- Gutters should be cleaned out 1-2 times a year, ideally at the end of the Fall. Make sure that they not only clean out the gutters that run along the roofline, but also the pipe that takes the water from the roofline and pours it into the ground. That can get clogged up with leaves and other debris- and if the water can't drain, even the cleanest gutters are irrelevant- because it is just gonna be a wet, annoying, drippy, destructive mess.

3- Drains and traps in your kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room need to be cleaned out. Because gunk- food, toothpaste, product- builds up, and eventually will start to smell. Really bad. And a girl can only burn so many Diptyque candles before it starts to feel excessive.

4- Ventilation registers- ya know, those  rectangular shaped vents you see on the floor- need to be opened up and deep cleaned. They collect dust and allergens on a daily basis, and then basically recirculate them through the air which explains why sometimes my husband is convinced he is allergic to certain houses. They probably need to have someone come in and clean those puppies out. If you don't want to do them all, at least deal with the ones in common areas where you spend lots of time.

5- It is crucial- seriously- to have your dryer ducts and filters cleaned out yearly, 15,000 homes burn down from fires caused by lint-filled dryer ducts each year. That lint (which is kinda fun to pick out of the wire filter thingie in the dryer, at least in my opinion) is crazy flammable. So, combine that fact with the extreme heat from the dryer being pushed out through the duct, and you have what could potentially be a very dire situation. So get ahead of it. 

Okay- there you have it- hope this was helpful. And if you have other questions, feel free to send them my way, or head on over to the Homesquare website.

MY RECENT Under-The-Radar Discovery For Unique (Yet Wearable) Tops

I have jeans and leggings by the dozen. But the one category my closet lacks right now is the "cool tops that I can wear comfortably both for day to look put together and night to look glam/sophisticated." This is a tough ask.  See, I love my IRO Tissa Tank but the low cut tie neck is frowned upon at kindergarten recess duty. And the Wildfox sweatshirts I own way too many of are perfect for everyday running around, but if I attempted to dress those up for evening I would look like a desperate East Coast suburban mom trying to fool people thinking I was a twenty-something living in LA. 

Last weekend, I was in Charleston, SC for my cousin's wedding (so fun, by the way- and if you ever go there, you must go to Leon's Oyster Shack, best restaurant- get the Siam Salad and an order of fried chicken). While wandering the streets, my cousins and I happened upon the cutest boutique of which the name is completely escaping right now. They carried a brand I had never before seen called English Factory, and said brand has some of the most unique- and wearable!- tops I have ever seen. 

I purchased two pieces instantly: a black and white striped tee with a neoprene peplum situation, and the craziest white t-shirt with a white peplum that was short in the front and almost floor length in the back (weird, yes, but awesome). Then, on the flight home, I had "not buyers remorse" (is that a thing?) and began earnestly searching for this brand online. Go figure, Shopbop carries it- and the prices are VERY reasonable- nothing is over $100.  So get on it, okay?

PS. I just found this one on Neiman Marcus Last Call (ordering as soon as I publish this post, how cute is it? 90's inspired with much cleaner lines)- $36?! How could you not try it?

 

 

How I Discovered The Most Unexpected Anti-Aging Accessory

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The backpack is like a right of passage from one grade to the next...I remember clearly being in elementary school and spending each summer day dreaming about what backpack I would choose come September. It was like that one choice set the tone for who I wanted to be when then first day of school arrived. Granted, by week two I was usually the exact same crazy girl I had been the year prior but hey, at least the intention was there, right?

Well- when choosing a backpack for Lex to use for kindergarten, I discovered STATE Bags. And sort of wanted one for myself. But wasn't I too old for a backpack? Maybe. But if I was- perhaps that was totally reason enough to buy one and start my one woman mission to #BringBackTheBackpack. (Every mission, one woman or one thousand women, needs a hashtag.)

For Lex, I picked out this metallic shimmery version of the KANE style. And while secretly I kind of craved a similar statement option, in an effort to keep things somewhat mature, I opted for an army green version of the LORIMER.

The day our backpacks arrived, we excitedly ripped open the boxes and strapped them on. And each of us discovered something:

My discovery: If you want to instantly feel at least 10 years younger, buy a backpack. Something about the way a grown woman carries herself when wearing the same accessory she swore by in high school completely changes her whole demeanor. She walks with a spring in her step, and gives off this up-for-anything-because-I-don't-overthink-stuff energy. Seriously. Not to mention, having everything you need for the day on your person while reserving the use of both hands for important things such as holding a giant iced coffee, quick-fire texting or chasing a toddler feels damn good. 

Alexa's discovery: Backpacks are much more fun when you can admire them from afar while your mom/dad/friend carries it for you. 

I highly recommend checking out STATE bags for yourself and your kid(s). The styles are amazing, and the company does that whole "donate a bag to a child in need for every bag purchased" thing which I just love. You can find a bunch of great options on SHOPBOP, Nordstrom, and of course, the STATE website

Why I Cried In The Grocery Store Parking Lot Today

Why did I cry in the grocery store parking lot today?

Because Fresh Market was out of the vegetable potstickers that Alexa had been requesting all week as her "first day of kindergarten" lunch. And they are NEVER out of vegetable potstickers.

Because we went to "meet the teacher" this morning and the room was so hot Alexa's feet got all sweaty and she got all upset and then I remembered I forgot to write that she doesn't like to feel hot on the "About Your Student" I hastily filled out this morning.

Because as excited as she acts 60% of the time, the other 40% of the time is what runs through my head before I fall asleep at night- the times that she quietly tells me she is nervous and asks really smart questions that I can't answer like how will the bus driver know which stop is hers and how will she find her way to the cafeteria and what if there are mean girls in her class?

Because I know I screwed like 100,000,000 things up in the past 5.5 years and as a result, she is too easily frustrated, too sensitive, too quiet, too anxious, too nervous, too afraid to try new things, and a million other "too's" that I worry are going to make her first days and weeks at school challenging and I wish I had done a better job.

Because these past few weeks I often commented about counting the minutes until she set foot on that bus and headed off to school. And I was. But maybe I shouldn't have been. 

Because she said that she didn't want to go to school tomorrow since her "nose would twitch" and it would make her cry and she knows it will happen because her nose twitched today when we sat on the school bus to learn the safety rules- and then I remembered that she was holding her nose and when I asked why she snapped at me that it was because I was smelly but it really was because she was trying to be brave and not cry. 

Because it is the beginning of an entirely new era for our family- one that will include soccer games and beach bashes and PTA events and all sorts of busy-ness that makes me think I should have spent more time appreciating the low key schedule of preschool and taken Alexa on more day trips and stayed at more playdates and volunteered to be the mystery reader in her class like every day even though reading in front of 17 four year olds made me practically break out in hives.

Because I love this little person so freaking much and she is going to leave the house at 8am and not come back until 3:45pm and as much as she pushes my buttons and makes me borderline insane, I am going to really really miss her. 

And finally, because no other grocery has these particular potstickers and I have no idea how to break the news to her. 

Back-To-School Style, Totally Stress Free (Promise!): Rockets of Awesome

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Rockets of Awesome totally reimagines how parents shop for kids. When I was initially introduced to the company, I muttered to myself "yeah whatever, it's another curated fashion delivery service, yippee"- but, after a dramatic back-to-school shopping dressing room debacle with my soon-to-be-kindergartener (gulp!) I decided to give it a try. So freaking happy I did.

All you do is fill out a style profile- perfectly detailed with all the right questions- and a (very cute) box arrives at your door soon after, packed with 12 mix-and-match pieces that are so cool, I am planning to fill out a profile for myself (in disguise as a really big kid, with fingers crossed that the size 14 fits).

You don't pay a penny for the delivery. No membership fee, no "stylist" fee, nada. Oh, and use this referral link when you sign up and you get to keep an item of your choice from the first delivery FREE! Nice, right? 

I had reverse-sticker-shock when I looked at the sales slip. The clothes are all designed in-house and the prices are VERY reasonable. Alexa's box had 2 adorable dresses, a few t-shirts, an amazing versatile black neoprene-like skirt, and an assortment of both simple and statement leggings (I noted when filling out her profile that she WON'T wear jeans and comfort is crucial- soft fabrics, easy to wear styles- and they completely listened.)  

At a mutually convenient (read: well-rested, well-fed, melt-down free) time, you and your little one can have a runway-inspired try-on session. Then, keep what you love, return what you don't and call it a day. So much less expensive, less time consuming and less stressful than a shopping trip where your kid decides they have to have every item in the store, takes their sweet time moseying around making a mess, and then freaks out about an itchy tag in the dressing room (I am guessing/hoping this scenario sounds familiar to people besides just me?)

So click here, fill out a profile, and check "get some clothes for my kid that fit and don't look ridiculous" off your to-do list.