Mom Style – Fashion is always better when it Supports Friends 

  I’m not sure if it’s that I’m getting older or I’m just channelling some of my father’s beliefs, but I’m kind of getting sick of shopping at big box retailers.  I’ve been thinking about it more and more, and I have always had a thing for  small businesses.  Never mind the fact that I don’t need Macy’s, or any other retailer for that matter,  telling me what my political beliefs should be.   

On a recent trip to Narragansett, Rhode Island I happened to walk by my friend Maribeth Carcieri’s boutique.   I discovered it last year and I liked it immediately.   Maribeth was a Pilates instructor at the gym I used to go to years ago and also a successful small businesswoman in my home state.   I have always admired her greatly.  She’s positive , funny, keeps herself in formidable shape and is an all around hard worker.   Did I mention she’s funny too?  She would always keep us laughing.   Her store is called KC Shoes on the Pier and it showcases much more than just shoes. I stopped in on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago and got lucky enough to visit with  Maribeth herself.     She styled me up , all while Eve tore apart her lovely store.    KC Shoes on the Pier is definitely a must visit for any fashionista visiting Narragansett.  The romper pictured was around $50.00.   Affordable, like much of the other items in the store.  I loved the print.  

Ten Things You Didn’t Know about My Dad – Written with Love (and humor of course ) 

 

I know this sounds strange, but my father’s death was so sudden to me.   I’m not sure if an almost four week battle in the hospital is exactly what most people would call sudden, but for me it was.   My father was probably one of the funniest people I knew so I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want me to be super serious or morose about all this.    Thinking about  and writing about some of his humorous and unique traits has helped me grieve.  So here are some of the funniest things I remember about him, in no particular order of favorites:

1.  He got married and had me at the age of 35.  Back then that was ancient.  His mother, my Grandmother, started to question if it would ever happen.  

2.  He operated on what he called “Vince Lombardi time” arriving 15 minutes early to every event.   The man was NEVER EVER late.  If he was, it was entirely my mother’s fault.  

3.  He despised mayonnaise.  He would warn waiters and waitresses instructing them to not even put it on the side of his plate. He told them if they did he would have no other choice but to throw his plate.  They believed him.  I’ve never seen him throw anything.  

4.  He never applied an ounce of sunscreen and oddly enough never burned.   He was the tannest man I ever knew.   Until I had my son Vince.  

5.  My husband and guy friends used to love to play Poker with him.   He could tell jokes continuously without ever consulting a cell phone or book.   He told one of my friends,  ” I have more jokes than you have cell phone battery”.  Not only was that true but he also cleaned up that night. 

6.  At my wedding he gave a toast.  He said he saw a father do it at a wedding and he always wanted to do it.   He stole the show, but I think he was already a dozen vodka- tonics deep.   

7.  He went to catholic grade school, catholic High School (Laselle Academy ), the Army and graduated from Bryant College on the GI Bill.  He believed strongly in Education and was a true Patriot.  

8.  He loved to talk about food, shop for food, criticize food ……….anything related to food.   But, Italian food was the only food for him.   If he went to a restaurant and thought the food was terrible he would say , “The salt was good”.  Then , he would never return.  

9.  He was a talented Photographer but a terrible salesperson and he hated chasing people for money.   He once wrote a letter to one of his customers saying,  “You owe me money and I need it now!”.  He did not mince words.  

10.  He always said there were never “male” jobs or “female” jobs around the house.  Just jobs!  Even up until the end of his life, if he came over my house and there were dirty dishes in my sink, he would get up and clean them.   Just recently , I found him sweeping my garage.   

I guess you could say I’m lucky to be very unfamiliar with  death.  I’m trying to be thankful I had such a funny and loving father for nearly 40 years of life.   I would give anything to just have had a little more time with him.  

Fashion Friday – My Fashion Girl Crush 

    

I don’t watch much television, but I have caught a glimpse of HGTV’s newest hit show, The Fixer Upper.   There are probably many reasons why this show is so popular.   I was struck by Joanna Gaines’ unique style and I have a small girl crush on her.    She will never trump my first girl crush, Megyn Kelly, but  I have no desire to copy Megyn’s current hair and makeup.  Joanna’s style is about as refreashing and unique as the way she styles the beautiful houses on the show.   I did a quick google search  and right away the search revealed what makeup she wears.  Two items in particular, her lipstick (MAC Fresh Brew) and her signature blush (Lancôme Mocha Havana).  I thought well that doesn’t sound so complicated and it might be cool to give it a try.   I certainly don’t have time to pick up a multitude of new products but a quick trip into Macy’s and I could pick up both those things in one full swoop.  The person at the makeup counter said I sounded like one of the most decisive customers she has ever met.    I actually would have NEVER in a million years picked the lipstick or the blush, but I really really like the look.   

I copied her effortless style by buying a pair of silver circle hoops for $9.99 at Nordstrom Rack.  I bought the lace dress at a neighborhood online boutique for $18.00 and already had a jean jacket.    The bracelet was from Richardson Merchabtile for $12.00.   It definitely reminded me of her style.   
  

Signs the Novelty of Summer Vacation is Wearing Off

  
It’s been two weeks and one day since school has been let out for summer.   Ask me when I felt the novelty wear off and I will tell you yesterday.   Exactly 2 weeks.  Living in Texas allows us to get out earlier than my New England friends but every year a few weeks after school is getting out I get some crazy calls from my girlfriends.    I have to laugh because most of these calls have to do with who thinks their kid is bipolar, depressed or just plain psychotic.    It’s really funny.   Well yesterday here’s how I knew my patience was wearing thin and I wasn’t looking at summer vacation through rose colored glasses any longer. 

1. You start devising a strategic plan on how you will afford camp every day.  Surely they will put you on a payment plan, right?  Maybe I could give them some of my jewelry? Maybe we could take out a loan on the 401k? 

2.  You say SURE to your kid’s 9th Popsicle request.

3.  You look for anyone that looks fit to babysit just to run to the store.  You know you are just running there to buy snacks anyway. 

4.  You start going on and on about how great your summers were as a kid and how you just left your Mom alone. 

5.  You pull up your Amazon App and start asking the kids what books they want to get “lost in” all summer.   

6.  The sound of your kids bickering makes you want to pour yourself a cocktail at any hour.   Why can’t we all just get along?   

7. You think there’s got to be a conspiracy with how school days go by so fast and this summer day lasts forever. 

8. You think this might be actually enjoyable if someone didn’t call my name every second.   

Truth is I get so excited about summer vacation.   No alarm clocks, homework and no  strict bedtime routines.    I am determined to have a great summer without loosing my mind too much.  It’s really funny though , we all go through it, the ups and downs of being at home during summer vacation.   I wonder how long it’s gonna take to get my first SOS call from a girlfriend.   My prediction………..2 weeks.  

  

Fashion Friday – Pinterest Inspired for Less than $100

    I recently started noticing these cute army green cargo vests out and about.  They are so cute and so versatile.   The picture of the woman on Pinterest really caught my eye and thought I could probably recreate it in a budget friendly way.  I noticed Macy’s had one in the INC section for half off the retail price of $100.   Believe it or not the simple striped dress was much harder to find.   I actually found the one I’m wearing for $19.99 on Amazon.  I just added some gold jewelry that I already had and put on a brown wedge.   I plan on wearing this outfit with sandals  in the summer.   So all and all much much less that $100!  

Three Day Kickstart 

  

Two weeks ago, one of my best girlfriends, Claire, told me that she just purchased some Shakeology shakes from her friend at work.  She said, ” I’m going to do a three day cleanse, it promises about 4 lbs of weight loss”.   I thought, hey wait a minute, you can’t loose 4 lbs without me.     I recalled I too had a friend  that was involved with this company.   I decided to do it too and then tell some of my girlfriends as well. Girlfriends code of honor, right?  As usual, Christine,  being one of them.   Christine is what I call a “late adopter”. But, the funny thing was she had one ear open listening to my craziness.  

I asked Claire how her three day cleanse went.  She seemed pleased.  She said the hardest part were the headaches, but for the most part everything went well and she was happy having shed the promised weight and felt like she had kickstarted a new healthy trend.  Hmmmm, that didn’t sound so bad.  I thought to myself that I could certainly handle that.     

In retrospect , I’m laughing because I should have known.  Claire usually embarks on challenges without many complaints.  I always say she’s so graceful and has such a nice way of saying things.  She can make a difficult situation sound almost tolerable.    Like when, not by her own planning, she was left with no other option but to deliver her third boy naturally, thirty minutes after arriving at the hospital.  The way she described natural childbirth you might actually think you may be strong enough to rise to the challenge.   I learned, the hard way, to leave that  to people like Claire and The Dutchess of Cambridge.   

While my three day cleanse was certainly not natural childbirth, it presented some  funny challenges worth mentioning.   

Let’s start with day one.  By far the funniest day.   I wake up and start blending my first chocolate shake with Almond milk.  Oops, the cleanse does not allow Almond milk.   First step and I’m already one mistake in.  I decide to comply with the “strong recommendation ” not to drink coffee.   I think okay surely this can be done.     By mid-morning, I am at the post office and I read it’s time for a “fiber sweep”. What on earth is a fiber sweep? I learn, basically,  Metamucil on steroids.   It was not one bit appetizing.   Second step in and I decide to email my personal Coach. The cool thing with purchasing these products is that you have someone to be your sounding board and to be there for you if you do have any questions. I had no idea so many questions would actually present themselves.    This is when I found out Almond milk was a no no and I should probably pinch my nose while drinking the fiber sweep.   Onto lunch.   I have to admit bringing a vanilla shake out to mix  without a blender isn’t the most convenient.   This time, I mix my lunchtime shake with water in a Poland Springs bottle sitting in my car.  Not only did my lunch taste like chalk, but now my car looks like nepalm exploded.    I text Claire to tell her that I didn’t like the fiber sweep and that I think the lunchtime shake tastes like chalk.   Claire’s response , Oh, I didn’t mind that one”.  I think wow maybe it’s me.   And then, mid-afternoon it hits, that tsunami of a headache that happens during a full-fledged, bonafide  caffeine withdrawal.  I realize I never really had one of these and quickly realize how much freakin coffee I actually drink every day.  I started having violent thoughts towards whomever that was that wrote in the instruction manual to avoid caffeine.  I text Claire “Oh my God,  I have a headache”.   Claire’s response,  “Yeah, the headaches are the worst”.   That’s its? That’s all she said? By this point, I feel like my obituary will read “Mom dies from seizing due to caffeine withdrawal”.  I think maybe I should email that Coach again.  I mentioned needing a suggestion to make the vanilla shake more appetizing and I also mentioned my headache.   She responsed , “Oh no you are having a rough first day”.   After all of these exchanges it was time for my dinner time shake.  What do you know it was the same as lunch.  This time I added some cinnamon and a dash a vanilla extract.   It did taste much better.  My “Coach” was super helpful and my splitting head felt thankful for her.  

After day one I truly  wanted to stop.   Day Two was better.  Maybe it’s because I knew what to expect.  I powered through.  This day food just looked so appetizing.  I must admit I snuck a piece of my son’s pizza slice.  It was the most delicious bite of pizza I had ever had.  I started updating Christine and my friend Christie some thoughts.   They were mildly interested and when I described my headache they said they were thinking they would stay caffeinated, fat (their words) and happy.   

Day three came and I completed everything until dinner.  I forgot my dinner shake and ended up at a baseball game and had some grilled chicken and salad for dinner.  

When the three days were over, I realized how hard giving up coffee and substituting all meals for shakes truly was.   The program kept its promise.   I lost 4 lbs on the nose.  As hard as it was, I love any program that keeps its promise.   I do feel like it helped to jumpstart a healthier eating program.  But, I decided that unless I’m in a swimsuit competition or walking the red carpet that I won’t be worrying about three day cleanses anytime soon.  I loved the results though. My pants didn’t feel as tight and I started adopting much healthier choices.   I could certainly pinch my nose and toast my fiber sweep to that! 

The Madness, I mean MAGIC of Disney



I just returned from a recent trip to Disney World with the family.    A short, but jam-packed trip.  Vaughn really wanted to take the boys so I agreed and we headed there during one of the busiest times of year, spring break.  

I am always amazed at the sights I see when such large crowds come from far and wide to grab a sliver of the magic everyone so fondly talks about.     Some of the things I witnessed are anything but magical.  For me, I think I experienced more comedy than fantasy.  You know I have to poke some fun at the silliness.  Here are some of my funny observations:

People walking around eating turkey legs at 10am.  I guess you could consider that a mid-morning snack.   But, I think I’m more comfortable with some fruit or yogurt at that time.  But, if the sudden urge hits you at 10am to walk around holding a big hunk of meat, Disney is where it’s at.  

The teeny tiny girls all dolled up as princesses.   Maybe it’s because I had two boys first, or maybe it’s because I never did believe in FAIRY TALES, but there’s something so freaky about toddlers adorning lots of makeup  being schleped around by their parents.   There were hundreds of tiny princess clones everywhere.  

Okay so if you care enough about your family to buy everyone matching t-shirts, then why would “Nana” pull down “Aiden’s” pants and spank him in front of the world to see.  Seriously looked super dumb and I only know this because their t-shirts identified them.   

Also, if you are breast feeding your child please let the kid sit down and eat.   I’m not against breast feeding at all.  I did it.  Even in public places if I had to.  But, for gods sake don’t do it while Little Johnny is dangling from your body and you are speed walking from Fantasy Land to Space Mountain.   Talk about eating on the go. It was truly a sight to behold.   

It is truly a miracle that you make it through the day without being run over by a scooter.   A couple of old ladies really know how to haul some you know what in those things. 

Parents putting their tired older children in strollers.  I couldn’t help but notice kids as old as 6, 7, 8, maybe even 10 being pushed around in strollers.   Hey, people, if you kid is lethargic and looks like they might be suffering from heat exhaustion it might be time to call it a day.  

I can’t believe we all made it.  The boys had a blast and I even got to go on some rides.   For me, the magic was grabbing a Starbucks and having Eve take a nap in her stroller.  I guess you could say that was a bit of magic in itself.   

Tuesday Threads and Trends -Tassels







I’m ready for Spring! We only had about two weeks of winter here in Texas and boy did that get old quickly. I’m ready to bare some arms and enjoy the sunshine.   My outfit showcases two of my favorite things this spring.  I’m gravitating to anything and everything with tassels.   I purchased this tassel necklace at a boutique called Rich Taste in Plano for $18.00.  

My second favorite thing for spring are my nude flats that I purchased from Target for $19.00.  They are super easy  and cute.  I actually bought two pairs because I had a favorite shoe from Target before and I always regretted just not buying two.  

My fringe lightweight sweater was a consignment store find at Closet Revival (Plano) for $14.00.  Nicholas told me that I looked like “iCarly” but I thought it was perfect for transitioning into spring.    

Busy Mom Meals – Go To Chicken Soup

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My boys, like many others, only eat random vegetables like red peppers or cucumbers. It’s aways a struggle. I love things they eat without argument. I noticed they only wanted to eat my Mom’s chicken soup on Christmas Eve. She told me the soup was really easy and was made in the crock pot. I started fishing around on Pinterest and found the recipe above. It was so easy. You basically combine all the ingredients except the egg noodles and parsley until the last ten minutes. Cook everything on low from 6 to 8 hours. Before you put the egg noodles in, take the chicken out and chop it. Then return it to the crock pot.

Would you believe the boys gave me a big song and dance about egg noodles? They were yelling that “Nana’s soup was better! Don’t you know she is a Grandmother that’s WHY”. Oh boy! I forced them to eat it even with the yelling and screaming. The second time I made it I did use vermicelli instead and there was no yelling. Nana even admitted it might have been better than hers.

Eve – There’s a Toddler in the House

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Eve will be eighteen months in a couple of weeks. And although I have certainly felt like I’ve had a toddler for awhile, I am now in the “eye” of the storm. Eve is GIRL! It will be a funny day when she actually finds out. She’s everywhere! I found her on top of her kitchen yesterday. On the tippy top sitting on a tiny square. It is definitely different experiencing all this madness at 39 and not 30 and with two boys that have no problem reverting back to toddlerhood themselves. I keep asking myself , “I did this twice before?” It feels like a tiny tornado is in the house. She’s already busted her lip open, gotten into one of my favorite lipsticks, busted out of all but one kind of shopping cart and has conquered all of the hard surfaces in the house. I can hardly wait to see what is next. But, we LOVE her! I think God knows where to send the active ones.

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