No Retakes!

So now that I have a second grader and a fourth grader, I have my fair share of school pictures hanging around. Especially now, as the kids actually get them done twice a year. I’m never really appropriately warned or ready. It seems to come right before a haircut, or causes such an upset to our morning routine that I am usually left cursing school picture day. You think they would give us ten extra minutes those mornings. Not a chance.

As you know, I’m all about keeping things real and genuine. Just yesterday, my boys came barreling into the car after school with school pictures in hand. They were jibber-jabbering about them as they entered so I knew something was up. I heard the word “retakes” come out of their mouths several times. Nicholas asked me if he needed a retake because his smile wasn’t so great. He kept telling me to open the envelope at the next stop light. I did and I said , “Oh Nick, it’s cute”. He seemed relieved that he didn’t need a dreaded retake. Then, Vince said “Mom, oh God, oh God, you are going to see my crazy face “. I opened the envelope and could not even contain my laughter. No wonder Vince kept saying the word retake. I’m sure someone happened to mention it to him at the school. I remembered something that Christine always said about school pictures. She says, “The crazier the school picture the more memorable “. Well Chris, I think we won the award for the year.

After I finally contained my laughter, Vince asked “Do I have to do a retake?” I said “No, no retake, that’s the picture!”. He seemed so relieved. After all, these are my boys. My crazy, funny and unpredictable boys!

I did however manage to get the boys haircuts for our family pictures scheduled later this week and even warned Vince to get himself together.

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My Good Side

I had something crazy happen to me last week. We had our family pictures taken last Friday and the photographer made this discovery in the sitting. She said, “Oh, I found your good side”. I chuckled a bit and asked her if that’s really true. Up until now, I really thought people were just being dramatic or high maintenance when they referred to their “good side”. She said , “Here, let me show you”, and she showed me the digital pictures on her camera. Sure enough, I looked better being photographed from the right side. I was amazed. I never put much thought into it. I felt kind of shocked. Here I was almost 39 and I had no idea that I even had two different sides. It only took me 39 years to find my good side? What on earth was I doing before? I thought. so why would I ever show my “bad side” again! I thought about it more and thought why don’t I just apply that concept to the rest of life and not just pictures. So from now on, if you see me, I will be talking to you from my right side. If I ever do get ugly, I will just say, that must be my left side talking.

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Fashion Friday – Holiday Attire

Do you consider how much you will eat when picking out an outfit? I never used to. Apparently, Christine and I both did this year. I guess when you are nearing the big 4-0, you just think more practically. I pulled out a dress that I actually have never wore before. I bought it on Rue La La about three years ago for $39.99. I never wore it because I didn’t like how the waist was so loose. The drawstring nature, in my opinion, was just not flattering in my midsection. Well, yesterday I was looking for an easy option and thought the dress was totally appropriate for well……..eating. I texted Christine a picture and she texted me back a picture of her outfit. She wrote “I have my fat clothes on”. Apparently she got dressed with the same thought in mind. She’s wearing leggings she purchased from Jane.com last year with a denim tunic from Ann Taylor Loft. I have to say not having to worry about loosening my pants made my holiday much more enjoyable. You just feel better when you don’t have to pop a button and loosen a zipper. I think loose fitting clothes will definitely be a consideration for Thanksgivings to come.

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Arm Candy – Statement Bracelets, the new Statement Necklaces

I’ve always been able to pick up a statement necklace and run with it. However, I have been noticing chunky bracelets popping up everywhere and I’m not so confident with my bracelet skills. I have a friend who is always donning the cutest bracelet sets. She’s an amazing Pediatrician, but she has some mad skills when it comes to combining bracelets that just go well together. She makes it look easy. I’m trying out my own skills while trying not to break the bank. I found a splurge vs steal I’m particularly proud of. The splurge are these beautiful Tory Burch leather bracelets which retail for about $95.00. Another trendy splurge are these spiked bracelets that I found on popular jewelry websites for about $35.00.

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I found my own versions for much less. My pleather, designer inspired, bracelets came from Jane.com for $5.99. Yep! That’s right! They don’t come on daily, but they do come up occasionally. I bought one in black and one in brown. I love them! I also bought the spiked bracelet on my arm for $5.00 as well. That’s quite a big difference in price.

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Here’s one set of bracelets I don’t have yet, but would like to. I haven’t really found a more inexpensive option for these beauties. I recently went to an event where a woman was wearing bracelets just like these and I have to tell you they really do look beautiful and make quite a statement.

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What to Wear Wednesday – Faux Leather

There are some trends that I like and that I want to try and then there are some trends that I loose sleep over. The words “faux leather” have come into my thoughts a lot lately. It’s all over the place and I notice it everywhere. I actually like this faux trend. It’s way less expensive than real leather, never mind more socially conscience. I had to just go ahead and scratch the itch this past Veterans Day. I popped into the mall looking to score something, ANYTHING, that was faux leather. I was like a hunter looking for my next kill.

The INC top was on sale at Macys for $29.99. The layering necklaces are another big trend right now. Not one I’m loosing sleep over, but cute nonetheless. I am wearing a classic monogram necklace from Stella and Dot and a layering necklace from Jane.com $7.99.

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Fashion Friday – Aztec Print for the Mature Woman

Last year, I busted out with a pair of Aztec leggings that set me back $10.00.   I still love the trend but I find that anything Aztec related is usually in the Juniors section which means it’s not quite right for someone my age or is likely to fall apart with one wash.  Last weekend while out at Macy’s getting the boys some pants this cute sweater vest caught my eye.  What do you know it was in the “grown-up” section.  It also did not break the bank. With my sale coupon it was $32.oo.

In Texas, this is just enough sweater for me right now.  I’m a big fan of the sweater vest. They always catch my eye for fall.  So cozy, yet easy to throw on with leggings.

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More Guts than Brains – My Tales of Traveling with a Toddler

I always describe myself as having more guts than brains.  I seriously leap before I look and then figure things out.  If you knew me I would whole-heartly tell you it is one of my biggest strengths.  The highlights of my life have been direct results of these “leaps”.  I once quit a job by passing my boss a note, I have moved to New York City on a whim at 22, I decided to follow my “on again off again” boyfriend to Dallas, I decided to throw practicality out the window and have a third baby, and so on and so on.

My recent leap, to move my whole family (and even add another) to Texas has me far away from my best friend.  I am not a sedentary person and I am one of the few people that would say that they LOVE air travel.   I like to know that at anytime I can hop on a plane and see my BFF for a weekend or even a day. I like mobility.  I like to go places. I like to eat breakfast in one city, and dinner in another.

Last week, I boarded the plane from Dallas to Boston with one sweet, yet active, 14 month-old little girl.  The funny thing is that you couldn’t even say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.   She’s my third and we recently endured a harrowing ride from Logan to Dallas only just a few short months ago.  And, let me tell you, it was harrowing. She never slept, always had a body part moving and even let out some of the highest pitched screams at very frequent intervals.   Vaughn and I said we would never ever do it again.  Ever!  And now, this time I was going to attempt it ALONE? Say what?

Here’s some of the funny things that came into my mind during my recent trip:

I can do this, I’m strong.  It will be empowering;

If I can do this, I can do anything;

I will just be super nice and apologize the minute I get into my seat to anyone around me. They won’t be mad;  

I’m almost 40, someone much younger should attempt this;

There will be life after this flight, I will survive;

OMG, the lady next to me is wearing a mask. She’s worried about Ebola while I try to make a toy out of this barf bag;

Look at that baby sleeping over there. What a lucky bastard. I wonder if they gave the baby Benadryl!;

I wonder if airlines will ever outlaw traveling with small children? They really should! Keep crazy people like me off the planes;

Really, seriously, what the F is wrong with me?! Mental note, after this go get your head examined;

Boy was it a funny place inside my head those two days.  I had a stranger even remark, “Oh my,  you are holding it together quite well”.  That was in the witching hours of 6pm to 8pm when Eve was none too happy with our unexpected delays.  I did live to tell about it and I did make it.  Yes, it did get very hairy for a couple of hours and I felt like everyone was looking at me, but the moral of the story is, I had a wonderful 24 hours seeing my best friend.   I got to pop in and make it seem as if it was super easy to do just that.   Why should I let a 24 pound unpredictable ball of energy stop me?   Would I do it again? Hmmm, probably, I’m just that crazy……….Oops, I mean “gutsy”.

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Fashion Friday – Fashion, Friends and Fun. All good “F” words

A couple weeks ago, my friend Aleisha texted me one night and said, “Want to meet at Closest Revival tomorrow?” I really didn’t need anything specific but I didn’t want to miss the chance to see her so I happily agreed.

We met and scooped up some excellent little finds. I spotted this ruffled leopard print skirt for $16.00. The label read INC and the tag was still attached that read $59.00. That was certainly a good deal. When I tried it on I loved it. We both walked out of there with a couple good scores. I actually bought 2 pairs of jeans, 1skirt and 1 top all totaling $80.00. The jeans alone were worth well over $100.

I have worn this skirt at least 5 times already. So comfortable and so easy. I recently bought these geometric shaped earrings for $15.00 as well on Zulilly. Put the two new things together with an old black tank top and the whole outfit really only cost me $30.00.

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Saturday Style – Swanky Neighborhood, Not so Swanky Price

Mint - no retouchSwanky NeighborhoodNecklace - Stella and Dot Knock off

 

When my family moved to Texas two years ago, my husband and I wanted to move into a “nice” neighborhood. We feverishly drove through every neighborhood in the DFW area and decided upon one that was voted one of the Best Neighborhoods in the country. It takes a while to acclimate and have a neighborhood feel like a home. And, I can admit that it is getting there, but it still doesn’t feel completely like home. But, I can safely say one thing………my neighborhood sure is nice. It’s been two years and I am meeting more and more people. When Christine comes to visit she describes my neighborhood as “Duloc”, that idlic community featured in the Shrek movies. It’s about as pretty as it gets.

Recently, I stumbled upon something that makes my neighborhood pretty fabulous. I was  on  Facebook and I saw on the top of my page a private group which just so happened to have a couple of my neighbors pictures listed. I thought it was real estate homes for sale so I asked to be added. What it ended up being was a private group where my neighbors sell stuff. I was in heaven. My neighbors sell some pretty nice things at some pretty rock bottom prices. Rugs, furniture, accessories, electronics and even CLOTHES. I told my mother about the furniture and her response was, “GET OUT!”. I think it’s even making my mother contemplate joining Facebook. No, not really, but she is constantly asking me what the deal of the day is.

This cute little mint dress was a find on this new private group.  It’s a Cabi score and my neighbor and new friend was selling it for $30.00.  She wrote in her description it was never worn. It looked cute to me. I didn’t have anything in my closet this color, so I drove myself up to her doorstep and picked up the new score and left her thirty dollars in cash in her mailbox.  How cool was that? I drove away thinking, God I love this neighborhood. So much I had to blog about it.

My necklace was also a gift from another neighbor for helping her when she was on vacation. She knows I love Stella and Dot jewelry. She found a vendor online called Fun Daisy that makes Stella and Dot knock offs, and purchased one for me as a Thank you for my help. The necklace is beautiful and a steal at $13.99!  The site has a ton of beautiful things and will be a site I surely visit again.

So, I’m calling this outfit my “Swanky Neighborhood Outfit at Not So Swanky Price”.  All together my outfit costs $43.00. Another winner under 50 bucks! I absolutely love it! And, the neighborhood as well.

I Never Really Cared For Stereotypes

 

Uh Oh EveEve in a boxEve in stroller

Eve is One! I can’t believe it. Another thing that I can’t believe is what a rascal she is turning out to be. Honestly, I guess I fell for the whole, “You are having a girl, she’s going to be so much calmer than the boys” thing. Nope! Not one iota of that statement is true. Why do we make such generalizations? It always floors me how many people make such stupid comments. She is just as active as the boys were, if not a little more. We are constantly getting her out of jams. A few weeks ago, I swiped her mouth to pull something out and much to my surprise it was a live beetle. Oh wow, that’s something new. The boys never ate live bugs. She climbs in the dryer when I’m doing laundry and likes to put herself into tight spaces. She actually laughs when she passes gas. The boys never did that until much much later. She screams, “Ball”, “Goal” and “Ut Oh”, all very boy-like things to say. Last night I saw her eating some corn at the table, with her leg propped up on the table as she ate. Nothing lady-like about that.

Anyway, I never liked stereotypes and I never liked generalizations so I’m okay with it. As girly as I am, I have a very tomboy side to me as well. I guess that is what will make her cool.

When she was just teeny tiny, Nicholas looked at me and said, “Mom, I hope she is a tomboy and not a girly girl”. I said, “We shall see Nick”. I guess Nicholas is getting his wish.

convicted felon

 

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