39 for 39.

  LOVE Sweatshirt  (similar style) /  Jeans  /  Sneakers

LOVE Sweatshirt (similar style) / Jeans / Sneakers

39 random things I love/feel/know heading into my 39th year of life, in no particular order.

1.     High waist jeans are more flattering, and versatile, than you ever imagined. And, THIS is the best brand to buy.

2.     It is okay that you impulse bought this extravagant pair of statement shoes  because, they are AWESOME and, at this point in your life, they will get worn 4 times a year and as such, last forever.   

3.     If you get cranky with your kids because they are dragging out the bedtime routine, once they do fall asleep, you will feel pretty shitty about yourself.

4.     100 burpees a day is the most efficient workout that you can rarely find an excuse to skip…and once you start, inevitably you are like “ugh, I already need to wash my hair so may as well do some more…”

5.     If you stop drinking by 10pm, no matter how much you drink before that, you will wake up feeling pretty much fine. (Easier said than done, but…)

6.     The best kind of girl friends at this stage in life are the ones who are your constant cheerleaders but also your most brutally honest sounding boards.

7.     THESE will make you feel sane and organized every time you look at them, even if you are a total mess. You can’t have too many.

8.     Flying with 2 young kids is a pain in the ass, but always worth it. The more you do it, the better travelers they become.

9.     If you put a reading nook in your living room, make sure the cushion is removable so said nook can transform into a banquette late night dance parties.

10. You only live once- so opt for the boldest wallpaper option offered, always. 

11.  3 things to always have in your freezer: Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Rice, Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Popsicles, and a giant box of frozen mini tacos from Costco (quick dinner for the kids, easy end-of-the-night tipsy snack for adults.)

12. During off-peak hours, the Metro North train is perhaps the best temporary office space ever. (First runner up- the local library- it makes you feel like a kid again, even if you are sitting there figuring out mortgage payments and filing taxes.)

13. If you don’t like your hands- but you like Instagram- stock up on oversized rings that cover up your fingers. THIS Etsy shop has a plethora of options- obsessed.

14. Lay out your kids’ breakfast place settings night before. Granted it only takes a few seconds but somehow when the morning rush rolls around, it makes you feel totally on top of things.

15. On the topic of breakfast, never be without THESE cereal bowls- 2 of each color is essential.

16. Get THIS coffeemaker, and a subscription to MistoBox. Your mornings will be consistently- and creatively- caffeinated.

17. Lots of products don’t do what they say they do- but collagen peptides deliver. Stock up on THESE. Stick with a scoop or two a day and your hair will look like it did in high school (but better, because, well, keratin.)

18.  Tune out the social media noise, but not the inspiration. In real life- and life in the blogosphere- it is important to be able to differentiate between what annoys you and what energizes you.

19.  Push your kids to be competent in skiing and tennis- even if they fight you. Because how grateful are you that your parents made you stick it out when now, 30 years later, you can keep up with your friends on the slops and the courts.

20.  Dear Evan Hansen is the best Broadway show ever. Ever ever ever.  See it one hundred times if you can.

21. Even if in your head you know your family is complete, you will inevitably question whether or not you want to have just one more kid while you still (presumably) can.

22. At a certain point, even though you give them a hard time about it, you kinda love it when you kids crawl into bed with you at 3am.

23. 3 things to always have in the bar: A giant handle of Tito’s Vodka, small bottles of club soda and 4 limes. (You can keep the limes in the fridge, but just make sure that you have them somewhere in the house.)

24. Being on the older end of the age spectrum in your industry can actually result in a quiet confidence and sense of calm, which is something you never expected.

25. Instagram Stories is the best thing to happen to social media- and THIS “graphic design for dummies” tool is the most priceless way to tell your stories with style.

26. THIS Iro leather jacket is worth every single penny.

27. THIS t-shirt bra is worthy of owning in every color- because open back shirts are amazing, but you going around town sans bra is not. (When you make it to #39, you will see a photo in which said bra is featured.)

28.  Laser hair removal is wayyyy less painful than it used to be, and even when it does hurt, the sting only lasts seconds but the ability to shave less often (or at all!) will last a lifetime.

29. If your kids refuse to take a bath, but you refuse to let them go to bed smelling like feet and cheese, just say the word “BUBBLES!” or “BATH BOMBS!” and consider victory yours.

30.  Paint your front door an unexpected color- and use a Fine Paints of Europe high gloss formula so it glistens even on the cloudiest of days.

31. A robust stash of 1 Liter Poland Spring water bottles is the best investment in staying hydrated- THIS delivery service is indispensable.

32. Write something every day. You will always regret the days that you don’t record some sort of memory- and the 3 minutes it actually takes to scribble down a few sentences is really no big deal.

33.  Organize your damn photos. Until you do, it will keep you up at night. But where to begin???

34. You can never have too many Veronica Beard pieces in your wardrobe- stylish and timeless and just perfect. The most easy go-to's for getting dressed.

35.  In marriage, timing is everything. Knowing when to bite your tongue and when to table a to-do-list related conversation until later is invaluable, and something you are still working to learn.  

36. Let things go. With your friends, with your family, with your work- because your kids notice these things, and it helps them to do the same- any little thing you can do to help thicken their skin is a good thing.

37. You CAN go home again. You may have never thought you would live in the town you grew up in, but times change, people change, and you can’t imagine being happier anywhere else.

38.  Read books. Don’t ever cancel your Book of the Month Club subscription!

39.  As long as there is Botox, SoulCycle, Collagen Peptides, THESE leggings, and that insanely flattering sparkle filter on Instagram, being one year away from 40 ain’t no thang.

 This is the bra mentioned in #27, btw.

This is the bra mentioned in #27, btw.

Donut Grow Up! Goldie Turns 3 and Finally Gets a Birthday Party.

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With my girls being 5 days (and four years, but that is irrelevant when it comes to birthday celebrations) apart, Goldie has never gotten a proper birthday celebration. Because I know better than to think she actually would remember eating leftover cake while holding a 4 day old balloon from her big sister's Pinterest-worthy party (you may remember THIS crazy undertaking from a couple years back).

But this year, Alexa requested a gymnastics party at her gym- which is plug & play and couldn't be easier. So, I felt like it was time to roll up my sleeves, procure the email addresses of Goldie's friends' parents, and throw a party in our playroom like I had done for Lex many times before.

Goldie's favorite thing in the world is ballet- but I wanted a more gender-neutral theme. The only thing that Goldie loves equally as much as ballet? A donut. Or, more accurately, many donuts.

Donut Grow Up became the theme- partly because I can't resist a pun, and partly because I couldn't think of an easier way to decorate our basement than blowing up a ton of giant donut floats and calling it a day.

We covered up the toy storage cubbies with donut-covered plastic tablecloths (a trick learned from parties of the past- way less distractions and wayyyy less mess), rented 2 rectangular toddler-height tables and 18 chairs, and otherwise, everything came from Amazon and Etsy (shoppable links in captions in case you ever have a hankering to throw a similar celebration).

A few favorite details are below...

 An inflatable donut- with GOLDIE written across the top using my beloved sparkle stickers- greeted guests in place of a wreath. Oh- and the doormat is always a hit- I got it  here .

An inflatable donut- with GOLDIE written across the top using my beloved sparkle stickers- greeted guests in place of a wreath. Oh- and the doormat is always a hit- I got it here.

 To balance out the actual donuts, we served sliced apples with cream cheese- we whipped a giant block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese from Costco with skim milk to make it all fluffy, and added pastel food coloring, topped with rainbow sprinkles. 

To balance out the actual donuts, we served sliced apples with cream cheese- we whipped a giant block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese from Costco with skim milk to make it all fluffy, and added pastel food coloring, topped with rainbow sprinkles. 

 Throw-away party favors annoy me endlessly- so we affixed $5 Dunkin Donuts gift cards to  these insanely inexpensive squishies .

Throw-away party favors annoy me endlessly- so we affixed $5 Dunkin Donuts gift cards to these insanely inexpensive squishies.

 Inflatables procured by the dozen  here , and  these  grouped-to-go donut paper goods made setting the table simple.

Inflatables procured by the dozen here, and these grouped-to-go donut paper goods made setting the table simple.

 You can find ANYTHING on  Etsy , including  this  easy-to-inflate foil balloon wall hanging and a  ballet tutu outfit  with a gold "three" in the front (I got Alexa a "seven" version but she wouldn't wear it, so...)

You can find ANYTHING on Etsy, including this easy-to-inflate foil balloon wall hanging and a ballet tutu outfit with a gold "three" in the front (I got Alexa a "seven" version but she wouldn't wear it, so...)

Instantly Improve Your Nightly Bedtime Routine And Go To Sleep Feeling Like Parent of the Year

  THIS  is the best purchase I have made in a long time... Alexa loves the routine we have of doing one entry each night, and I love the #momoftheyear feeling I get (at least for these brief few minutes) each night.

THIS is the best purchase I have made in a long time... Alexa loves the routine we have of doing one entry each night, and I love the #momoftheyear feeling I get (at least for these brief few minutes) each night.

I think one of the best habits we can train ourselves- and our children- to do is keep a journal. Ideally, regularly. But it can be daunting- especially if there is this expectation that every night you should be scrawling pages and pages of deep thoughts and dreams, when, the reality is, by the time I crawl into bed at night, I am WIPED.

As such, the benefit of this journal is three fold:

1- It shortens overly long bedtime routines since each question is just concise enough, and you only do one per night (as opposed to the 5+ stories I get suckered into reading otherwise...)

2- It creates a habit that is easy for both kids and parents to stick with

3- It is a nightly conversation starter- and way to share memorable anecdotes with children over the years that they may have forgotten but you never will

Plus, even if I haven't done one educational-ish activity with Alexa all day, at least we have this 5 minute window just before bed that makes me feel like #momoftheyear.

Basically, there is a simple question that is asked for each day of the year- and over the course of the three year span in which this journal is designed to be used, kids will answer the same questions on each day every year and see how their answers- and handwriting! and attention to detail!- evolve over time. 

It is around $12 on Amazon (or you can get this one which seems to be almost identical, but is available to ship immediately and arrive for Valentine's Day) order it today and thank me later.

SHOP THE POST:

 

 

This Design Hack Will Make Everyone Think You Are A Creative Genius.

I am totally outing myself here, but some things are too good to not to share. Even though I kinda want to protect my secret...Oh well, too late now...

Canva. You guys, it is EVERYTHING when it comes to making people think you have some super design skills.  

Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design tool for designing anything from social media graphics (they have preset sizes for Facebook, Instagram, etc.) as well as marketing materials (flyers, business cards, infographics) and a ton more.  There are more templates (and font options and stock images) to work off of than you could possibly count- and now, as I have become more comfortable using it, I often create my own specific dimensions and create templates from scratch (well, by scratch I mean dragging and dropping different pre-designed text banner options and graphics onto a design sized to my choosing.) You can use it on your computer or mobile device (the app launched last year, but Canva itself has been around for like 5 years. 

Most recently I used Canva to create hang tags to elevate the party favors at Alexa's birthday party. I found the cutest acrylic keychains HERE and wanted a way to make them feel like a personal gift from Alexa to her friends. See, her birthday celebration was one of those plug-and-play parties at her gymnastics school- which I love, so effortless- but I always try to add a personal touch so years from now, when she looks back at the photos, she will say to herself "Wow, my mom really was amazing." (Note: At that point, pigs will fly and hell will freeze over.) 

I found a basic template that I liked in the "Label" section, and completely changed it. From importing emoji images I downloaded from a design website, to changing the fonts and color scheme- it took all of 15 minutes to create this. Then, I emailed it on over to the local FedEx Kinkos printing shop, and the next morning, picked up a stack of gorgeously designed (if I do say so myself) cards on which to affix the key chains. 

As long as we are on the birthday theme- I also use Canva to make "gift cards" when I buy subscription service gifts for people (Pipsticks is one of my go-tos for girls between age 5-11, check it out if you haven't already- cutest sticker subscription club ever!) I place the graphic into a small, inexpensive picture frame and wrap it up so we never arrive empty handed. 

I gifted Alexa's teachers with mini acrylic frames last year- and will do the same this year as everyone loves them.  You can find them at The Paper Alley, which is where I buy most of my gifts because they have the cutest stuff, the acrylic selection is insane! Using Canva, I created this little graphic to put in the frame.

Canva is free to use- unless you want to upgrade to a business version (I have a business account too for work-related design projects- the advantage there is that you can save a style guide of sorts as well as a few other bells & whistles). And no, this is not a sponsored post- I have no affiliation with Canva. I just love it. A lot. 

Please share in the comments if you have tried Canva? What did you create? And are there any other easy peasy graphic design tools that you swear by? Do tell...

Birthday Books: How To Capture 365 Days In One Hour, Annually.

I obsess over making sure that my girls know what they were like when they were little and what I was like when I was a new(ish) and cool(ish) mom and what our family was like as Brian tried to figure out how to navigate parenthood. And with January being the month that both my daughters celebrate birthdays, it also tends to be the month where I scramble to gather up the memories not only from the year prior for our family photo album (more on that in a post coming next week), but also individually for each girl so as to capture as much as I can of who they became over the past 365 days.

When both Alexa and Goldie were born, I created Birthday Books for them. Nothing fancy, just a 3 ring binder filled with empty sheet protectors where I can stash little keepsakes and mementos that otherwise would create even more clutter around the house. Holiday cards, special drawings, school progress reports- the things that I wish I had from when I was a little girl so I could imagine who I was then, or (in all honesty) things I worry I may regret throwing out but don't quite know where to file away.

But the real THING of the birthday books is a letter that I write to them each year. In one (way-too-long and completely unedited) Word document, I do my best to recap their personalities, funny anecdotes, unique adventures, milestone moments, challenges and successes and anything else that I just want to make sure is written down somewhere so it doesn't disappear.

There is honesty in each letter too- because while I know there are things I could easily keep to myself and pretend every second from the moment they were born was pure perfection, that wouldn't be fair to them. Because one day, if they become mothers, they will know how freaking hard it is, and they shouldn't feel alone in that, ya know? 

There is no consistent format, no list of things I must include- like height/weight statistics or words learned or math skills mastered- rather, it really is just a stream-of-consciousness collection of thoughts, opinions and memories.

Every year, as soon as the holiday hangover has worn off, I begin thinking- and overthinking- my letters. And as such, I put off writing them.

Alexa's birthday passes...Goldie's birthday passes...and the 2018 birthday pages remain empty. Then, somewhere around, well, NOW, I talk myself off the ledge of needing to make the letters perfect and all-encompassing. It gets to the point where I just want to check them off my mental to do list. So I crank the letters out, one right after the other.

All in all, it takes about an hour- a small chunk of time to create a life-long time capsule. 

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Besides being something I hope Alexa and Goldie will forever treasure, it is something that I enjoy pulling off the shelf and perusing myself every so often. Because as much as these books are about them, they really are also about me. And that makes me feel less guilty about not keeping up with all my resolutions to keep a daily journal that I have made every damn year since I was like 25....

Two birds, one stone, people. The true mantra of motherhood.

Do you keep memory books for your children? Please comment below and share how you capture milestone- and just everyday- moments for your family!