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


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


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. 


My Newly Discovered Go-To Brand for Affordable Sunglasses

Every summer my sunglass collection follows the same pattern: Starts strong- with a variety of amazing shades, ends weak- because most of them have ended up destroyed by my daughters or gotten left behind somewhere.  Like socks disappearing in a dryer, it is inevitable.

Based on this, I don't allow myself to buy expensive designer frames anymore. So I am always seeking out alternatives that have the styles I want (the right silhouette, unique lens options, etc.) with a price tag that won't cause me to beat myself up if something happens to them. Because something WILL happen to them. 

While trolling Instagram, I discovered QUAY Australia- an incredibly collection of sunnies that span the style spectrum from runway-inspired to surfer sporty. Immediately I ordered 3 pairs (at $50 a pop, I felt like it was worth indulging in the name of research)- and have worn them on rotation every day since. 

Check out all the styles HERE , you are going to find something you love for sure.