That Time We Went On A Disney Cruise...


Everyone thought we were insane. They wished us luck. They gave us pity-filled half-smiles. 

They- and we- totally had it all wrong. We had a really amazing time on a DISNEY CRUISE (aboard the Disney Dream, 5 nights leaving from Orlando.) Yup, I said it. And, for any readers that don't know me personally, let me set the stage: My husband and I are NOT "family vacation destination" people. We have really only done one major family trip with both kids- and that was to the Four Seasons Anguilla, which is not at all similar in any way, shape or form. When we do vacation, it is usually adults-only, complete with ZERO activities, a cushy lounge chair by a pool, a stack of books, and copious amounts of cocktails. 

And since nobody thought it was possible to not only make it through 5 nights on a Disney-themed cruise ship without catching some sort of virus and/or seriously contemplating plunging overboard, let me share 5 key points that I think are quite relevant to making it a positive experience, in the event you ever want to consider this for your family.

1- We stayed on the Concierge Level. Yes- the Concierge Level is probably significantly more $$$ than other options. But lucky for us, my (very generous) mom took us on this trip to celebrate her recent birthday and she was taking no chances that it wouldn't be perfect. (Yes, she opted to celebrate her birthday by sharing a room with my 2 kids on a cruise ship also inhabited by Mickey Mouse and the Frozen princesses.) It is a GAME CHANGER. Not only are the rooms beautiful, but you have a team dedicated to helping you navigate the overwhelming array of activities and such on the itinerary. These specially designed rooms also happen to be located right near the pool deck, making it really easy to pop into your room and change between swims, etc. You have your own lounge and private deck area as well where you can enjoy snacks, drinks, and a comfortable distance from the crowds when you crave that kind of calm.

2- There are 2 screens you need to know about. One they call Funnel Vision- it plays movies on a giant screen overlooking the swimming pool 24/7. So Alexa watched Lion King while swimming and eating popcorn in the middle of the ocean. Seriously?! The second- which may only be in certain rooms- is a hidden tv screen inside the bathroom mirror. The girls got in the tub (with pillows and blankets- because heaven forbid they actually BATHE on vacation) and watched tons of Disney classics (they have every Disney movie and show for free on demand, which is actually kinda cool- we watched the original animated "Beauty & The Beast"- then a ton of "Liv & Maddie", natch). 

3- You can eat healthy. I know this sounds like a lame point- but I mean, you know the kids are going to have a blast. However, you may be horrified by the thought of a cruise because it conjures up visions of greasy, gross food. Nope. I mean, yes, those options are plentiful- BUT- every dining venue has a plethora of clean eating choices as well. Veggies with a protein, salads, fresh fish- I had the easiest time sticking to my current health kick. (Well, until the second to last day when I started taking advantage of the free soft-serve, old school ice cream- but, hey- I could have been MUCH worse.) There is also a great gym on board, and I did the Boot Camp group class they offer every morning several times. Granted, out of like 3,000 people on board, the only people in that class were my cousin and myself, so...

4- The entertainment is entertaining! We went to 2 of the "Broadway Style" shows- which I rolled my eyes at initially- I mean, if you have to say you are "Broadway Style", doesn't that mean you are most certainly anything but? Apparently not. The shows were really well done- and the Walt Disney Theater has the feeling of a sweeping, vintage venue while still being cozy and well-appointed so even the smallest guests can see the stage.

5- The characters are always around, without being weirdly so. I had this idea in my head that we were gonna be bombarded with characters every time we turned a corner- but we weren't. They make appearances daily- but at specific times in specific places, so you can take your kids to see them if they want to, but if they are freaked out by them (which Goldie, we quickly discovered, definitely was), you can easily avoid it altogether. And pretend you are just on a regular cruise- which you think you would want to do because it seems "so not me" to be pumped about your cruise having the name Disney attached to it, but, newsflash- you will find yourself totally loving the Disney-esque elements. 

So- there you have it. 5 random details that, to me, played a major role in making our experience incredible. Yes, there are things to be wary of- the one that stands out most to me is that there is aggressive up-selling (we almost lost it when some guy came over to our table one night at dinner, and started in on a sales pitch to the kids about a $13 plastic drink cup they just had to get), and when they promote "nominal fee" next to certain activities, they clearly have a different definition of "nominal" than most ($69 per kid for a mani/pedi party in the spa, as an example of one "nominal fee" option)- but I get the feeling that is common on most cruise ships (or "all-inclusive" vacations, for that matter). 

We had a blast- so much so that I was actually depressed getting off the boat yesterday, eyes filled with jealousy watching the new guests arrive, picturing all the fun things they would get to experience with their kids, through their kids eyes. That is probably the most special part, come to think of it. Getting to revel in their excitement and innocence, while also reveling in strong cocktails and a few stolen relaxing moments as they entertained themselves on board. 

For more details on the Disney Cruise options, click HERE.

The 3 Best One Piece Swimsuits


And I know, because I tried like 100. And returned approximately 97.

While I always have- and always will- love this suit- when water-side with kids, the whole strapless thing becomes a major liability (something I learned the hard way after one too many very public wardrobe malfunctions). 

I plan on living in these 3 one piece swimsuits every single time I step out in a public place with my kids for a swim this summer (when not with my kids, or not at a location where I know 90% of the people in close proximity, I will still bust out some more, um, playful options- but, I'll save those for a future post):

1: Roxy Boheme Crochet Long Sleeve Rashguard: The price is insane (in a good way), as is the material (also in a good way). It has sculpting power, and even though it is the most creamy, flawless white, it doesn't get see-through in the water. The crochet details are all about flattering the figure- creating the illusion of a defined (and cinched in, bonus!) waist. Oh- and the back zipper features a long pull string so you can actually zip it up yourself. Since, at least in my experience, my 6 and 2 year olds aren't terribly helpful when I ask for wardrobe assistance.

2: Solid & Striped Anne Marie One Piece:  The striped suits from this brand are all over the place right now- and, since I am impressionable (or, curious?) like that, I tried one, and felt like I looked like a circus performer. But the cut was great- so I exchanged the striped for a solid- and it is totally that "oh, wait- this is sexy? I had no idea- just liked that it was practical (insert wink here)" swimsuit. I own the hot pink one- and, full disclosure- it is a bit see-through in the, errr, nipple area. Red should be less so, hence it is the color I chose to feature. Either way, get yourself a pair of these and the whole see-through thing becomes a non-issue. 

3: O'Neill Starry One Piece:  Obsessed. When I saw this online, I thought it was too good to be true, especially given the reasonable price point. But alas, the gold stars are super shiny (and don't peel off), the material is awesome, and it has a shelf bra built in that both lifts and shapes. Plus, the lace-up back situation is loose enough that it doesn't pinch (I have a thing with back fat- even the potential of a roll infuriates me!). 

The Ultimate Jean Jacket

First off, I can't take credit where credit is not due. So, full disclosure: I didn't find this myself. I saw a friend of mine wearing it at a beach party last weekend, and almost fell over in the sand upon realizing a jean jacket this perfect exists. And is not in my closet. under $50. Yup. Get one HERE.

Here are the 3 reasons that this gem has forced every other jean jacket in my closet into early retirement:
1- The ultra-girly puffed shoulders on their own would feel over-the-top, but paired with distressed denim, it becomes everyday-wearable.
2- The fit is snug but not constricting- and thanks to the ruching on the sleeves, the shape instantly makes your waist look Kardashian-corset-tiny.
3- The wash of the denim is flawless- it is that perfect halfway point between throwback stonewash and dress-up-dress-down blue. 

Okay, enough small talk. Time is a wastin'. Get yours now. And wear it happily ever after.

The Joy Of a Smooth Morning

The weekday morning rush is in my house is always a total crapshoot. With no advance notice, no rhyme or reason, no a + b = c logic, it can go really really poorly (girls wake up in moods, cry and/or bark at me with rage throughout breakfast, Alexa won't get dressed in a timely matter, Goldie decides to run away when I try and get her out of her pjs, Alexa's hair isn't going the way she wants it to, Goldie wants french fries, we miss the bus, I can't find my keys to drive to school, etc.) or it can be a breeze. 

This morning, after an especially busy holiday weekend (which culminated in the girls eating 3 popsicles each for dinner last night, and subsequently staging an impromptu backyard dance party in an effort to help them work off the sugar high) I was mentally prepared for complete chaos. But- who woulda thunk it- we made it to the bus stop with 30 seconds to spare!

Yeah, it started off a little rough- Alexa came downstairs and I didn't notice her so she was all sensitive, and then refused to go up and get dressed while I made breakfast since, well, everyone was slightly behind schedule. And Goldie got mad because after she ate her cereal she noticed I made Alexa pancakes (and by made, I mean de-frosted)- but, everyone bounced back. Alexa came downstairs all dressed, Goldie wanted to wear something that matched- so Lex took her upstairs by herself and got the little goose all dolled up in a similar dress, complete with a pink sweater on top so they could "look more similar" (as per Alexa). Both girls put on their backpacks (sure, Goldie's is always empty but it makes her feel all important), we had a leisurely stroll down to the bus stop, and arrived just in time to see the bus round the corner towards us. 

What all this means is that basically I felt like a total champ before 9am today. Which is kind of awesome (and kind of funny since when did I ever think that getting a kid on the school bus without any sort of drama would have me floating on a cloud, smug smile plastered on my face?). 

Of course, when I got home, I realized that I had let Goldie walk to the bus stop without underwear on. Oh wasn't THAT cold out...

Once You Own This, You Are SET For Memorial Day Weekend Style.


If your holiday weekend is anything like mine, it consists of a non-stop schedule of summer-y events. Since technically summer is about a month out, you, like me, may not feel quite ready to jump into shorts or sundresses just yet. In which case, a jean skirt is the PERFECT piece to make your wardrobe cornerstone-of-the-moment.

Jean Skirt + One Piece Swimsuit + Flip Flops = Pool Day Perfection
Jean Skirt + Open Back White Tee + Wedges + Tassel Choker = Evening Barbecue Babe
Jean Skirt + Distressed Cropped Sweatshirt + Fashion Sneakers = Prepped for Parade

Here are six current favorites to try:

1: PacSun Light Destructed Denim- Under $40, this is a no-brainer basic. I love how the shredding is almost but not quite symmetrical on each side, and the wash feels perfect for the season. 

2: Calvin Klein High Waist A-Line- Retro-inspired style with modern split-seam stitch detail, if you have recently fallen in love with the wonders of high waisted jeans, you will be very into this pick.

3: MOTO Constructed Ruffle- Under $70, and so flattering- love this twist on the traditional silhouette that is both punk and pretty. Equally cool with a vintage concert tee, or a girly eyelet tank.

4: AG High/Low Hem- A striated wash, incorporating one of the biggest denim trends of the moment- for lack of a better term, the reverse mullet hem- party in the front, business in the back.

5: Lovers + Friends Off-Duty Distressed- This is a quintessential, timeless option for year-round wear. The denim wash gives it a vintage vibe, and the haphazard shredding placement adds that element of authenticity (even though we both know it didn't get that through actual wear and tear, wink wink.)

6: MOTHER Double Tone Dark Wash- Featuring 2 extra inches of denim (16” as opposed to the typical 14” length) this is an easy wear for long legged ladies or anyone with a penchant for platform wedges.

Thank you universe for bringing this piece back just in time for the season that begs for easy staples that effortlessly offer endless styling options for every possible occasion. HAPPY SHOPPING!

Lake George Weekend Getaway: Why You Need Take A Trip With Your Best Friend's Family

 A snapshot that totally captures this phase of our lives- a combo of smiles, glares, my husband not sure if he wants to hug me or strangle me, and of course, someone has to be showing her panties. 

A snapshot that totally captures this phase of our lives- a combo of smiles, glares, my husband not sure if he wants to hug me or strangle me, and of course, someone has to be showing her panties. 

Many months ago, my best friend Miryha from high school- who happens to also be my current neighbor and yes, still my closest friend- and I were lamenting how we have no photos of ourselves, or our families, together. Which somehow led to us deciding we should book a family-double-date-weekend-getaway (since clearly this would provide lots of photo ops, amongst other things). The date was chosen, and a commitment was made- no matter what, even though we both knew in the back of our heads we would probably want nothing more than a lazy weekend at home when the actual weekend came around, we were going somewhere. That somewhere ended up being Lake George for a one night stay at the Sagamore Hotel. And here is why it mattered...

(I mean- it mattered for many reasons- watching our kids play together and seeing the amazing relationships we had, spending time just the 8 of us away from all the hustle-bustle of Westport life, yada yada yada...but...)

On the way home, she texted me (we followed eachother up and back in our respective cars) that her daughter had to poop. I was like- "Ok, let's get off at the next exit." To which she replied "We will pull over on the grass...She isn't gonna hold it." I thought she had to be joking. But she wasn't. Seconds later, they pulled over on the highway in a safe spot, and, as Brian and I watched in total disbelief, Miryha scooped her daughter out of the car, jogged about 20 paces, squatted down in the grass and, while balanced precariously over Mir's leg, her daughter pooped. Once the business was complete, they stood up, and calmly walked back into their car, and we were back on the road.

At which point Brian says matter-of-factly: "Wow. You and Miryha are VERY different mothers." In that situation, I would have for sure had a complete meltdown and probably let Goldie poop in her car seat, then thrown the carseat out the window while still driving, and held a poop covered kid in my lap while simultaneously gagging and crying and screaming, until the next rest stop- at which point I would have handed her to Brian. 

My next text to Miryha was "I am equal parts impressed and horrified." 

But to be honest, mostly impressed. When you have been close to someone for 20+ years, it is easy to take the amazing person that she has grown into for granted. It is like when you lose weight- how you are the last one to notice because you see yourself every single day. Someone who only sees you every now and then will immediately recognize your transformation- but you need that ah-a moment when you accidentally order in a pair of jeans off Shopbop that you expected to be 3 sizes too small and they fit perfectly to be like- DAMN, girl....

So- lesson of the story is this: Just because you may see someone all the time, it doesn't mean you actually SEE them. So make a plan to do something special together- something that involves the things that are most important in your lives at that moment (i.e. your families). Something that perhaps takes a little extra effort to execute. It will be worth it. Seriously. I mean- at the very least, I now have a mental image of my best friend's kid pooping over her knee on the side of the Taconic Parkway, which is a moment I could have never imagined back in 1994 when we would spend late nights painting decorations for our boyfriend's lockers before high school football games. Yup. We did that. Sufficed to say, we have come a long way.