July 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

I would be remiss to talk about my love of polka dots in my last post without mentioning my other love: stripes. What can I say? I’m an equal opportunity pattern lover! In picking up new clothes this summer for myself and my daughters, my friend Erin and I both noticed how many beautiful stripes were out there this year – I don’t think they ever go out of style actually. Here are some of the stripes my girls and I have been rocking this summer (from favorites JCrew, Crewcuts, Madewell and Anthropologie) plus a Chevron stripe from JCrew I’m obsessing about for fall:

polka dots

July 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

I have always loved, loved, loved polka dots! They are so much fun and wearing them (and dressing my lovely girls in them) makes me happy. It’s back-to-school clothes shopping time, and a few new dots from my favs JCrew and Crewcuts have caught my eye. Shopping for fall clothes and the first day of school outfit has been something I have looked forward to ever since I was a kid, and now with my own two girlies it’s the same. So while we hit our favorites like Nordstrom and Peek and JCrew, I’ll be sure to check out the new fall polka dots and try to add a few to the mix. Here are some of the ones I’m scouting out for us girls this fall (courtesy of JCrew and Crewcuts, of course):

letting go

July 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

In the battle between pack rats and purgers, I fall somewhere in the middle. Sure, I hold onto things a little too long – almost always for sentimental reasons – and there are certain things I’m certain never to part with. However, when I feel the time is right, I do get to work and get rid of the stuff – but not without pausing to say goodbye. My girls are enjoying a few weeks of camp this month, and I’m using the downtime without my favorite companions and usual school commitments to clean up and organize my house. My biggest challenge: to downsize our toys and part with the rest of the baby gear.

I have loved all the precious little girl things that filled our house for the last 10 years; I had so much fun with the baby gadgets, carefully choosing and loving our Baby Bjorn carrier, Morigeau Lepine nursery furniture and Jacadi Paris crib bedding. We created so many memories with the girls and their favorite toys like the ride-on pink racing car and stuffed lamb rocker and dollhouse. Giving away the baby things takes time for me because it’s hard not to take the loss personally, to feel like I’m losing a bit of my girls’ childhoods. But I know that we can’t keep the things forever, and time moves on regardless.

I used to wonder why my mom let me get rid of some of my favorite toys like my Strawberry Shortcake or Barbie dolls (I sold most of my old playthings to make money for new obsessions). I asked her the question, and she said, “because you wanted to.” As a kid I think I had it right; children don’t dwell on the past, but live in the present and look to the future. Now I try to do the same and think like my younger self. Because holding onto the past and the old stuff doesn’t make my babies little again. There are some of my girls’ things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with like the Madeline and Madame Alexander dolls and some of the their beautiful clothes, which I plan to make into quilts. Some of the goodbyes have been tragic –  like my treasured Mountain Buggy double stroller, which we took on countless family adventures. But time marches on, and a garage once filled with strollers and car seats and wagons has given way to a garage filled with scooters and bicycles and skis.

So this week, as I’ve pieced through our house and purged the stuff we no longer need or use, I’ve enjoyed the time spent remembering all the joy we’ve had with our things. No one in the house is sad to see the annoyingly loud Lucky Ducky game go, but I’m a little emotional at the loss of Candy Land and Pretty Pretty Princess. And parting with the Disney Princess castle, which has been replaced by the Harry Potter Lego castle, is bittersweet. Goodbye Fisher Price Little People and My Little Ponies and Groovy Girls – I will never forget you. As each stage of my children’s lives pass (and all the stuff that comes with it), I will remember what perfect babies they were, what amazing girls they are now and what unbelievable women I know they will become. That makes me excited and happy to look to the future!

finding the happy

July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

On vacation, I spent some time with my latest find in the self-help department, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, reminding me why these types of books are so valuable. I’ve always been the kind of person who can’t turn my brain off (I even cheat at yoga: when you’re supposed to be clearing your mind and renewing your spirit, I’m making mental to-do lists). As a lifelong over-thinker, over-analyzer and worrier it’s important that I work to find my happiness along the way. I first took notice of these happy books and thoughts in my twenties; fresh out of college and overwhelmed by the demands of life, I stumbled upon Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. It literally changed me overnight – things seemed easier when I focused on the important things and counted my blessings. Amazed by the fact that such a small book – that I picked up on a whim – would have such a lasting effect on my outlook, I began to focus on the joys in my life and try to keep the negative to a minimum.

Over the years, I’ve looked to similar books for a fresh perspective and to remind myself of what truly matters. I spent a year with the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, reading the once-a-day essays with great results; I still pull it out from time to time to read the day’s entry and can always find something to apply to my life. Although I’ve honestly only read a couple of pages, just researching, talking with friends about and buying Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret was helpful to me; I think believing that there could be a secret to happiness and fulfillment in life made me feel happier and more fulfilled – strange, huh?

My most recent addition, The Happiness Project, tells the story of one woman’s journey to find the joy in her life and live in a more appreciative way. Her struggle resonated with me, and I realize I’ve been on a similar quest for most of my adult life. It’s the path that has led me to this blog and to taking note of the little things that make my life worthwhile. It’s my love of writing and crafting and decorating and clothes and cooking and parties and family and friends and traveling – it’s all the pieces and parts of my life that I love, that make me happy and that make me: me. Life is a long and winding road, but finding the joy – anyway you can – makes the journey so much sweeter.

bottled memories

July 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

On vacation, we love to pick up souvenirs – nothing fancy, just little trinkets for us and the children in our close-knit friend group. It feels good to bottle some of our fun vacation vibe and share it with those we love. And as for me, my favorite home decor is the bits of nature – shells, driftwood, etc. – I’ve gathered from our adventures. So from this, our first trip to Maui, we found cool shell necklaces for all the kiddos, and I collected sand; displayed in glass spice jars from Cost Plus World Market, these new bottled memories make me happy.

surfer dreams

July 14, 2012 § 5 Comments

For some reason, everything clicked for my youngest when we visited Hawaii for the first time last year. She immediately felt the island spirit; she loved everything: the music, the culture, the beach… And ever since, she has continued to be interested in all things Hawaii. She asked Santa for a ukulele, had a luau-themed birthday party and talks about moving to the islands when she grows up. Surfing has also captured her imagination. She loved the movie “Soul Surfer” about a Hawaiian surfer who survives and then thrives after a brutal shark attack (the scary shark part didn’t even faze my surfer wannabe).

So this time, when we returned to Hawaii, we made sure to sign the girls up for a surf lesson. It turned out to be harder than Sophie thought, and I think she was a little too small – the paddling out over and over on a very long board is not easy for a little body. But Bella got up quite a few times, and both girls enjoyed checking something off the bucket list. And I wonder if Sophie will give it a try again the next time we go – I sure hope so. I tried to capture the moment myself from the shore, but my surfers got too far out. Luckily, the surf school had a photographer in the water to fully document these precious moments.

spicy corn dip

July 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

So I had a moment of panic this morning. My hubby Drew had a work event this afternoon, and I’d volunteered to make a couple of his favorite recipes: chocolate chip cookies (just your basic Nestle Toll House kind) and spicy corn dip. I’ve been making this dip since back in my Atlanta days, and it’s probably my husband’s most requested dish (besides the cookies). I got it – like so many of my best recipes – from my friend Stephanie. This dip is quick to make and must be served hot and bubbly. But with chips – and friends – it’s the perfect choice! For a few crazy minutes this morning I couldn’t put my hands on my worn and much-loved recipe card (I know others out there like me have some of these precious hand-written cards they couldn’t live without), and I must admit I did start to worry. Luckily, I found it and thought enough to snap a picture and post it here so the next time we are desperate for our spicy corn dip fix, I’ll know right where to look:


July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

relaxation The act of relaxing or the state of being relaxed. Refreshment of body or mind; recreation.

chillaxin’ Way-far laid back. Chillin’ & relaxin’ at the same time. An extreme state of contentedness. Good vibes.

We are back from our week’s vacation in Hawaii and, even though we had a few adventures, just being together was definitely the highlight. Somehow, away from the rest of the world and in the security of our own family space, we relaxed into ourselves. Already amazing everyday, on vacation my girls seemed somehow sillier, spunkier and happier – making me love them even more, which I didn’t think possible. Together as a family, we perfected the fine art of chillaxin’. It’s a busy world, and time seems to get away from us; a little bit of relaxation is so important and so much fun!

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