Blog in the Spotlight & Weekend Approved Project

Here's a bonus and rare Saturday post! A few things:

1. Check it out: The only picture ever taken where I'm prettier than Ella! That little stink always stealing my spotlight. ha

2. I was so excited to see that Sarah Bryden-Brown critiqued my blog! Go check it out here. Do you agree with her? I do! Watch out for some changes soon. I'm looking for a designer to sponsor the changes. Email me if interested.

3. Last week I forgot to write a Weekend Approved Project. But not this week thanks to BlogstarBlogstar has teamed up with Kirsty.com and Giggle.com to produce 10 Simple Sunday Afternoon Crafts. Go check it out. My favorite is the Silk Screen Pillowcases. What's your favorite? Which project should I test first?

4. This is not a sponsored post. I just really like all that stuff. And mostly I've been waiting for any excuse to put that picture of me up. Again. Oh! One more thing. I got a $10 coupon  when I signed up for Giggle Daily Deals.  I wonder what I'll buy? I'll keep you posted.

Happy weekend! :)


The Bloggy Party

The people at the party last night were interesting and welcoming. I admire their work tremendously. The whole time I was feeling a mix bag of emotions. Part lucky to be invited. Very lucky actually. Part comfortable. Part dorky. Part funny, although not as much as I was hoping. And I felt overly dressed. Near the middle, I was looking around for the swimming pool and diving board to show everyone my fancy skills I had just practiced last weekend. And say, "Look at me! Look at Me! I can do other things besides raise kids, clean the house, and then blog about it! Check out my amazing swan dive!" But, alas, Joanna didn't have an indoor pool in her West village apartment. So when the conversations were about schools and baby names, I was ON! But when it switched to design and the best stores in Brooklyn to find maps, flowers, armoires, etc, I didn't contribute much of anything. But I loved listening and hearing about it!

As I was walking out of the subway on my way home, I couldn't help but second guess myself and who I had become over the past 6 years. I wish I was a little bit more like the people at the party. They seemed so with it and cool.  There was something about having three kids in my twenties that has killed all the cool in me. I've met people that have been able to resist it. Oh to be one of them :)

Then I walked passed this poster of Molly Ringwald. Her dress and shoes oddly resembled the ones I was wearing.  And that's when I knew it was going to be ok: I just have to work my Molly Ringwald angle and strengths. You know what I mean? Like in the beginning of Pretty in Pink, you see her being very motherly to her dad. Making him coffee, getting him out to bed, motivating him. And then he admires her dress. She tells him that the shoes are thrifted and she made the rest.  She's kind of nerdy--yes. But also totally awesome. Watch it here.

While I didn't make the entire dress I was wearing to the party, me and my friend spent considerable time finding just the right buttons and texting each other back and forth about how we wanted the dress to be changed. We had a few fittings. She did all the work and I really liked it, and even got a few compliments on it at the party, but looking around, I knew. It wasn't very cool. Pretty Sunday dress? Yes. Hip West Village dress? It was not.  My shoes were thrifted.

After walking past the poster of Molly Ringwald, I turned around, pulled out my bulky camera and took some pictures of it. These pictures were the only ones I took all night. While I made some great new friends at the party, it was the fictional version of Molly Ringwald who had the biggest influence on me .  Here's to you Molly Ringwald. The 80's edition. Only.  Thanks for making it ok to be nerdy and flowery and awkward and sweet. You too Claire Danes. But that's another day, another set of insecurities, another obsession.


Bloggy Party Tonight

Rob and Me at Jordan's roof top party

My internet dating continues. Tonight a bunch of bloggers/designers/writers/photographers are gathering together at a party that Joanna Goddard's throwing. Some of the people I'm excited to see are Jenny and Natalie. We all have mutual friends, and I can't wait to finally meet them. There's also Deb who taught me how to make the best pancakes and scrabble eggs. I can't wait to thank her. And a lot of other people that I'm stoked to see. I'll tell you how it goes. I just hope I don't make this face when I'm introduced to Sarah.


Vacations with kids

Two back-to-back weekends away from home, two great destinations, two very different experiences. One horrible, one great. What made our trip to Ithaca so much better than Boston? Here's the top five things we did different:

5. Traveled with friends. It helped us act a little more civil to each other when Uncle Nick and Whitney were around. Plus the conversations were fresh and one person could go out each night while the other stayed home with the kids. When it was just me and Rob in Boston, it would have been awkward to go out alone, so we didn't. But in Ithaca, I stayed home with the kids one night and Rob went out with our friends. Everyone was happy.

4. Hired a babysitter. Our hostess Lauren found and hired a local babysitter the last night in Ithaca so we could all go out for a quick dinner and ice cream with a group of seven friends. Totally fun.

3. Stayed in a big house. We stayed in a 20 room sorority house. All the girls were away for the summer, so fitting 8 people into the mansion wasn't a problem. While I don't think renting a 20 room house is necessary in the future, my kids did enjoy running about the yard, exploring all the rooms, and having so much space to themselves. Beats the tiny hotel room in Boston. And seeing the kids (and not seeing them or hearing them) made me wonder: Am I doing everything wrong by living in a tiny 2 bedroom apt in NYC?

2. Came home early. It was reallly difficult to drag me away from Ithaca and pack everything up at 4pm, but it was worth it. We got home around 8:30pm on Sunday night. I still had enough energy to unpack everything--most importantly I hung up all the wet clothes. It was great to start Monday off with a semi clean house. We got home really late on in Boston and the suitcases took all week to finally unpack.

1. Swam. The whole time. Every activity we did in Ithaca revolved around swimming. I can't say this enough: My kids just wanted swim swim swim. This lesson changes everything for our family!!

That's Whitney jumping off a cliff. So brave!

What about you? What are some things you've learned while traveling? What did I forget?


Ithaca taught me: Macrobiotics

While we browsed the stands at the Ithaca Farmers Market, we sipped apple cider slushies and picked at maple syrup cotton candy. So delicious. I looked down at Ella stuffing her face with cotton candy and she proclaimed: I'm ready to eat something healthy. Who's teaching her this stuff? I know it's not Rob because as she was saying it, he was walking up to us with a bowl of cinnamon ice cream.
I knew just where to take her. We walked back to a booth called Macro Mamas because I remember seeing the most colorful prepared vegetables and a huge line. Must be good! As Ella gazed at all the platters of food, she pointed to what she wanted: The greens in a large wooden bowl. The meal came with greens, rice, beans, and roasted cauliflower. Little did I know I had just ordered what is part a food movement called Macrobiotics.
One bite of the cauliflower and I was sold. Shortly after I got home, I did some research. This food movement is so intriguing to me. And tempting. Here's the basics:
*It's considered an approach to life, rather than a diet.
*Grains are the staple food, supplemented with local vegetables, beans, and fermented soy.
*Fish, nuts, seeds and fruits are to be eaten sparingly
*Other natural products can be included to suit individual needs

So far everything in this diet makes sense to me. But then things started to get a little overwhelming. Believers in the macrobiotics diet balance their food by using the Eastern philosophy of the yin and the yang. Yin foods are cold, sweet, and passive while yang foods are hot, salty, and aggressive (source).  Fascinating, right?

Looking back on the pictures I took from the Macro Mama booth, I was confused how these desserts play into the macrobiotic diet. Anyone know? I don't but they looks good to me. Next time I'll try them. :)
While I wouldn't want to completely convert to macrobiotic eating, I would love to learn a few good recipes. Just as I would love to learn a few Cuban, Mediterranean, or Greek recipes. I can hear it now: It's Macrobiotic Night! Yay! Oohhh! Cheers from all the kids.

I found a macrobiotic cooking class coming up on August 30 at the Natural Gourmet School. For a few hours, students learn the basics and a few recipes. Anyone want to go? I do!


What a weekend!

My entire weekend was spent falling in love with Ithaca, NY. I'm so jealous of this reader who actually gets to "live in the middle of nowhere" as she puts it. So lucky! I was happily surprised when I got her comment that she saw me at the Treman State Park on Friday. What are the chances of that?

She wrote that she didn't want to intrude so she decided not to say hi. I completely understand her reasoning, but I would have loved to have met her! But since she didn't, I realllly hope she saw me at my best/normal moments, like putting sunscreen on all my kids or playing with them in the water or feeding them a snack. But what if she didn't?
What if she saw my horribly embarrassing dive? The one where I looked like an out of control upside down frog. Or worse, what if she saw how I started taking myself too seriously and practiced until I got it right? Pointing my toes, arms extended straight. Again and again as if Bela Karolyi suddenly entered the park and started coaching me. And the real kicker was when I shamelessly asked Uncle Nick to take a picture to validate my abilities. How insecure must I look sometimes? ha

Or what if she saw when I was forcing Oscar to pose for a picture (above)? He was so whiny and saying things like, "Aww, mom. I just want to go swimming. Come on mom, lets go!". And then finally he walked away in disgust. That too wasn't me at my best. I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting.

Who knows what she saw, but if any day I would have wanted someone to see me, it was Friday. It was one of my favorite days I've had in awhile. I don't think I yelled at my kids or Rob once, even in my head! I'm just glad no one saw my family in Boston. Or did they? Yikes. I don't want to know.

Since moving out to NYC, I'm always on the look out for one of my favorite bloggers: the Sartorialist. I hope to run into him someday and observe how he works.

What about you? Have you ever seen someone you only knew through their blog? Did you say hi?


Non-Mommy Bloggers Unite


I know, I get it. I'm a mommy blogger. My posts are rarely about anything else besides my kids, motherhood, and Owen. Whatever he is. :)  But that doesn't mean I only read mommy bloggers. Actually, lately I've been reading a lot of blogs written by women leading very different lives than me. Here's three of my favorites. Since all of them live in NYC, I would love to have a dinner party together. Shall we?

I'll start with Juliaipsa mainly because I want her poodle photo to be on the top of my blog for as long as possible.  I adore everything in it: the dog, the balloons, the lei, the lighting, the colors.  I might even love it more than my swan photo. She commented on my blog yesterday morning and when I clicked through to see her blog, I was wowed. Juliaipsa has it all: a clean and minimal layout, great photos, and thoughtful posts. Her story is really great. Check it out.  

And next...
Next is The Julie Blog.  Her blog is lovable, focused, and funny (she named her pink bike Kate Middleton). She shows me how to dress cute while RIDING A BIKE through the city. Now--Do I own a bike? No. Do I even particularly like riding a bike? No, I'm a chicken. What she's doing is completely out of my scope. But she makes it look so adorable that I'm actually tempted to try it! Possibly even with my three minions in something like this. A visit to her blog will inspire and make you smile.

And finally . . .

I'll end with one of my new favorites: Rebecca from The Daily Muse. We met up for the first time at the park yesterday.  You know what she's amazing at? Her ability to start a good conversation.  We chatted about blogs, careers, and our pasts.  Looking back, perhaps I talked too much. But her questions were so engaging! This skill translates to her blog. She's a master at writing good questions that spark discussions. And naturally, the comments come pouring in! Tons. Check out this post. She got 43! I'm so jealous. She needs to teach a class. Go visit her site and join in on the discussion.

Hope you found some new favorites! Who are some of your favorite non-mommy bloggers? I'd love to hear!


A Balanced Life

I was just asked to speak on Balance for 15-20 minutes. With these very very specific instructions: You can decide what that means and where you want to take it. Awesome. I've got two weeks to put it together. Here's my experience with balance so far in my life:

12 years old: I learn how to do a back handspring on a four-foot-high balance beam.

21 years old: I balance my first check book. Remember check books? I thought I was so mature! I lasted a few days of diligent record keeping. Then I got bored and confused.

27 years old: I meet with a professional nutritionist and learn how to truly balance my diet. Mainly, she taught me that Trader Joe's solves everything. I lost 15 pounds by following her meal ideas! I've since gained it back. But at least I gained it all back without McDonald's, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils!
The results after working with a nutritionist. Picture taken two years ago. Forget the kids, look how cute I am!

That's all I go so far. I clearly have a lot to learn before I speak before hundreds of people on balance. What is a balanced life anyway? I think it's a life that gives ample time and effort to things that really matter.  If I'm right, then I need to work on my balancing act.

So here's the plan: For the next two weeks I'm going to try to live a more Balanced Life. Sort of like the Happiness Project. I never made it past the first two chapters of that book, but I got the gist of it. Here's my list of things that matter most in my life and that I want to be spending more time and effort with:

1. My kids: Wake up with them and play with them more. Specifically: Read them at least five stories a day. The boys at the park: push them 50 times each on the swing. Ella at the park: Play at least one 20 minute game, her choice. I shamelessly spend 95% park time on my iphone and the other five is taking pictures of my kids for the blog. So much for making this the best summer ever! haha

2. Rob: Spend more time with him. At night.

3. Myself:
Eat like I did when I worked with a nutritionist, run/exercise 30 minutes daily, go to bed by 10:30pm, read 30 pages of a book of my choice, and relearn how to do a back handspring on a balance beam. Make it two back handsprings in a row and stick the landing. Someone fetch me a balance beam!

I think that should give me enough to work on for two weeks. I'll start today. If nothing else, my experiences will help fill up at least 10 minutes of speaking time. The other 5 minutes can be filled with statistics on balance. Everyone loves to hear about numbers for five minutes!  Wish me luck.

Do you feel like you are in a period in your life that feels balanced? I need all the help I can get! Tell me how you do it!


Boston: The Truth

Boston was a disaster. I adored the city. But my kids? Horrible monsters! Sadly, much like this post, the pictures do not show the reality of the situation. Here's ten questions I was forced to ask myself while visiting this beautiful city:

1. So, some people actually plan on three kids? Or worse, four?

2. Will my kids ever stop fighting over my iphone/a seat in the stroller/dad's coke/my attention?

3. What is the deal with Oscar pooping in his pants? Everyday?

4. Why can't Ella pick a horse on the carousel? Now she's crying/pacing. She's getting off before it starts? It's shouldn't be this complicated!

5. Why didn't we bring a full-time nanny?

6. Maybe if we stay one more day, it will get better? Big Mistake.

7. Where's Owen? Where's Oscar? Where's Ella? Where's Owen? Where's Owen? 

8. OWEN! Why are you mooning the camera? Again?!

There's two more but I'm not brave enough to post them. I'll tell you the next time I see you. 

I'll end with this gaudy close up picture of the Swan Boats. I adore it. It's perfectly out of place and makes the trip seem totally worth it.


To do in Boston: RUN!

 While walking along the path on the Charles River Esplanade, it was hard not to be inspired by all the runners. They were fast, lean, and beautiful. Even the kids could feel the runner's energy and wanted to join in.  Ella asked me to time her runs. She could go for one minute before taking a break, then she stretched, then would start again. Owen played chicken with one friendly runner. Oscar wanted to win every race.

Sure--we adored doing the classic things like riding the Swan Boats, taking pictures of the Cheers Restaurant, and splashing around the Frog Pond, but running seemed like such an authentic thing to do in Boston that I'm glad we didn't overlook it. I wonder if the runners I saw were training for the Boston Marathon? So many amazing athletes out and about!

My suggestion for your trip to Boston? Pack some running shoes and run/walk along the Esplanade. Who knows, you might be following the same path that running legends have stepped foot on.

Here's some facts about the Boston Marathon for more info about the city's history of running:
*The race started in the year 1897.  It was originally 24.5 miles, but soon after it was expanded to 26.2 miles. 
*The Boston Marathon ranks behind only the Super Bowl as the largest single day sporting event in the world.
*You have to qualify for the race. For example, for my age and gender, I would need at least a 8:25 per mile pace for 2012 Race. The 2013 times are even faster!
*It's held on the third Monday in April. Don't you think watching it live would be a thrill?

The truth about our trip to Boston coming tomorrow. I want to keep up the facade of a blissful life a little longer. Humor me one more day. Or perhaps I'm already starting to forget the worst parts. Memory is so helpful in that way. 


Weekend Approved Project: Hopscotch!

While waiting for the Boston Children's Museum to open, we found this beautiful hopscotch board painted outside the building. My kids found small sticks and played the game using the traditional rules. Then I read the sign that the museum posted next to the board. It suggested I call out numbers and see who could land on it first. My kids loved the variation. They stood on the perimeter of the board and waited with anticipation for a number. Here's some other games I made up using this hopscotch board:

1. Call out addition and subtraction problems, see who runs on the correct number first.
2. Shout out colors, have kids run/jump/crawl to it.
3. Yell out an object (frog, a tongue, your favorite color) and have the kids run to coordinating color. Example: Frog = Green.

Once I showed the kids the new variations, I stepped back and had them shout out their own ideas. Owen was particularly excited to order people around.

Fun and easy, right? It would be super easy to recreate this board using sidewalk chalk this weekend. Give it a try! Herehere and here are more variations of hop scotch.  Do you know any others? Please tell!

That's this week's weekend approved project. It's great how these posts keep accidentally falling into place each Friday. I love keeping my eye out.  I definitely would have missed this one had I not committed to a Friday project posting.

Hope you have a good weekend. Come back Monday to hear how this trip to Boston has turned into the Boston Massacre. And! Find out who sneaks away from me, moons the green screen camera at the museum, and gets caught by a security guard. I don't know what to do with that child. Drives me nuts!


On an Amtrak Train to Boston

AhHA: Traveling by train! Why didn't someone think of this sooner?  Big seats, a separate eating car with tables, huge windows, and even a Quiet Car. Of course we didn't get on the quiet car, but I love that it was an option for the other passengers. It took most of the traveling-with-kids guilt away. I wish airlines would have something like this. Also: kids rides are 50% off!
Don't let me fool you--the four+ hours it took to get to Boston wasn't a complete joy ride. The kids got bored fast because we forgot to bring ANY toys, crayons, snacks or DVDs. Whoops! But they found a new friend with good parents that brought toys and snacks. All things considered, the train ride is my favorite form of transportation yet.

I'd also like to say thanks to the Amtrak employee who spotted us out in the crowd and let us board first. He even reversed an escalator direction so we could get down faster and avoid the crowds. Since seats are first come first serve, we were able to sit together and comfortably.

I wish this was a sponsored post. Amtrak? You listening? I'll take more trips with you anytime!

Have you traveled by train? With kids? Did you like it? Where are some cool places out of NYC?


Camp Mom

 One of my favorite things about being a stay-at-home mom is the flexibility of my job. The thought of paying for a class and having to be there at a certain time and make sure my kids are involved and happy happy happy bums me out.  That's why I was stoked when one of my friends emailed me details about Central Park's free summer classes. Free classes=who cares if i'm late, not show up at all, or if one of my kids runs around screaming the whole time! It's great on so many levels. Classes are offered everyday and rotate from different playgrounds within Central Park. There's three types: music, story time and (on the day we went) dance and rhythm.  It was a hit!
The teachers were so nice and carefree. I especially liked the drummer Michael Wimberly. He worked the crowd and got all the kids into the music. If one kid started to cry, he found an instrument to make the kid happy. He was great! 
I can't wait to try the other classes. Do you know about any other free classes in the city? LINKS please! I'll meet you there. :)


Internet Dating

I got married before internet dating became the norm. But that hasn't stopped me! Last week I went on two internet dates. Instead of looking for someone taller, darker, and handsomer than my husband Rob, I found some cool girl friends. As a stay-at-home mom, finding friends can be challenging.  But thanks to blogging, I have been introduced to some great gals. 
The Hipster, the Musician, the Prep or the Overweight Photographer: Who matches your eHarmony profile? 

On Thursday, I met up with Joanna Goddard from Cup of Jo at Bleecker Playground.  Owen and Oscar adored the playground because of the Tiny Tikes Cars up for grabs. Ella loved swinging on the monkey bars.  Had I not ignored my kids at the park, I might have taken some pictures. But I was having too much fun talking to Joanna! Even though we knew some info about each other from our blogs, we didn't know everything. I forgot her baby's name (It's Toby) and she asked if I was somehow related Jordan or Liz (I'm not). It was great to get to know her. We have plans to meet up again at the end of the month. I can't wait to tell you about it! It's going to be awesome.

On Friday, I met up with Abbie from Little Family in the Big City. After reading this post, I knew I wanted to be her friend. So I commented on her blog, she emailed me back, and a few days later we were meeting up at Washington Square Park. She has kids around my kids age so we're a good match. We spent all afternoon talking about our life stories and how we got to NYC.  I was wondering (like most first dates) if she liked me as much as I liked her. I was relieved when she texted me that night. She likes me! Yes! We plan on getting together sometime soon. This week perhaps? Can't wait!

Isn't Washington Square Park great? The people, the arch, the fountain! Dreamy. Oh-pay not attention to the sign. You CAN go in the fountain.

abbie took the picture of the sign. i took the rest.

Here's to more blogging friendships! Have you ever met up with someone you blogged stalked? How did it go? I don't know why I haven't done it more often. Joanna and Abbie: Thanks for not being internet crazies and kidnapping me and my kids. You never know!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

NYC Taught Me All rights reserved © Blog Milk Design Powered by Blogger