Fashion Friday – Bandwagon Shopping 

            I am a complete sucker for hype associated with any type of sale.  So when Christine briefly told me that Lilly Pullitzer designed a line for Target I was immediately enthused.  I even noticed the buzz on Facebook a bit.   I made a mental note to log on or visit a store that day to shop.  As usual, we were, as they say, “A day late and a dollar short”.   These types of sales quickly become a joke as the stores and Internet sell out so quickly thus making it a Lilly Pullitzer for eBay collection.   That’s where you will find all the merchandise.  As annoying as it is, I couldn’t let it go.   I saw this cute romper selling for $38.00.  I was like a woman scorned so I bought it.   I really love it.  The quality is good, the colors vibrant and it’s so easy to throw on in the summer.   I wore it with two items from Jane.com.   My Kendra Scott inspired necklace was $7.99 and My Jack Rodgers inspired sandals were $15.99.  Not quite a $50 outfit but pretty close.  

The End of Summer Blitz – Last Minute Beach Trips and Back to School Shopping 

   

            

     I just recently saw a quote that said, “You have, if you are lucky, 18 summers with your kids.   Make sure you make them count”.   It struck me.  Maybe because I have a 10 year old now and time just seems to be ticking away.   I will admit I used to feel much like that old Staples commercial where the guy was flying through the aisles loudly singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  This has been the first year that I honestly wasn’t counting the days, hours, oh who am I kidding,  minutes before the boys headed back to school.  With older kiddos, you realize the school routine brings more structure, earlier mornings, more work, and less time to lounge around.    NOT that there’s any lounging on summer break, it’s just wildly different.   

     As my summer was coming to a close I did what a lot of Moms do, I fit in some more beach time and headed back to school shopping the week before school.     What really made me laugh is how absolutely crazy both those things can be.   For 10 years , there has been very little relaxing at the beach.   Yet, the beach is still one of my favorite places.    Christine always says “You were so close to maybe sitting down at the beach , but you went ahead and did it all over again”.  She’s speaking of having Eve and extending that mothers’ heightened sense of alertness on the beach and my inability to comfortably sit and read anything in print.    Beach vacations to me involve packing massive amounts of paraphernalia of which I inevitably forget something.    This last time, I forgot the baby powder which Nicholas insists upon because in his words there’s “nothing like it to remove the sand” and another day I actually forgot towels thus sending Vaughn into a tiny temper tantrum.    Are you sensing a pattern here? High maintaince individuals all around me.   I find it a victory that I managed to get all five of us to the beach in one piece and not leave burnt to a crisp or down one kid.   I could write a whole article about what it’s like being married to a Pharmacist who obsesses about the ingredients in our sunscreen,  criticizes spray sunscreens and prides himself on “mastering the art of sun protection”.   By the time everyone is adequately covered we have been at the beach a good thirty minutes and I could seriously use a nap.   Sometimes I’m so worn out from applying that I can’t even bother to ask anyone to put any on me because I’m so over it.    Let the record reflect, no one has ever been sunburned on my watch, or lost.   Have you ever noticed how many kids actually get lost at the beach? Who cares about forgetting a towel or some baby powder.  I’m ready to give myself a medal that I bring this many kids to the beach and I actually keep track of them.  I got lost at the beach when I was five and my mother only had one to keep track of. 

    When the Kinosians hit the beach we have to get the full experience. The boys ingest massive amounts of Dels lemonade that we could actually add a line item titled Frozen lemonade into our vacation budget.  A major attraction to the beach for my boys are the  waves and as you might expect the bigger the better.   This year they used terms like punishing, crushing and the waves were actually “murdering” them.  Vaughn said the waves were so strong  that he thought he cracked a rib from the repeated beating they were taking from the waves crashing down on them.   Doesn’t  that just sound so relaxing ? 

      When we return from our ever so relaxing trip we are faced with getting ready to head back to school. My kids go to Catholic school which in a way is A LOT easier.  No clothes to buy and the school actually picks up the supplies for us. For a price of course.   But, we don’t get out of having to buy uniforms.  This is my fourth time buying uniforms at the store that outfits pretty much all of Dallas’ private school families.   What an experience.    I’m just going to lay it out there.   You know you are in the right place when you see the flashy, shiny, brand new SUVs pulling up.   I got to the store at 10:15am, 15 minutes after it opened and was the 19th person in line.  I have never been in a place where high school students have Louis Vuitton purses.  Just in my brief hour wait I bumped into Louis, Prada, Chanel and Gucci.  Not even kidding.    I wonder what they would all think of my  Michael Kors crossbody that I got for $40 at the local consignment shop.  Call me old fashioned but  I will never get used to high school girls having better purses than me.    We made it out in one piece , although a fight did break out between two ladies because one lady felt like the other was getting special treatment because she was allowed to skip the line.   I overheard it had something to do with the fact that her son had to get to an important football practice.  You know he may never get drafted to play college ball if they missed a practice.   

     Meanwhile , while Christine’s end of summer experience was different it was equally as nutty.  They opted for a road trip coupled with annual beach excursion.  Rather than the familiar Cape Cod they chose the Outter Banks.   Christine packed countless activities and snacks and hit the road.   What she didn’t prepare for was that speeding ticket they got on the highway setting them back $290 bucks even before they took their first bathroom break.   Or the fact that Victor decided to jump on a conference call while navigating the GWB and crossing three lanes of traffic in New York City.     As they say in Texas, “Bless his heart”.   Christine spent most of the week in a house full of choas with the fear of becoming a statistic and possibly falling victim to another shark attack.   Yet another relaxing beach vacation.    

     Back at home when she was greeted with the “Back to school” list she was equally as bewildered.   She read the list and was confused at its sheer length and descriptiveness.   Teachers were now mandating certain colors and amounts of things.   Texts were flying amoung the Moms and complete panic set in as to where they would find that elusive double pronged orange folder.    The list requested massive amounts of hand sanitizer and Kleenex when you know full well that a raging stomach virus is gonna rip through the classroom like a freight train come February whether or not  you buy name brand or generic.   Christine purchased school supplies for her daughter and spent $118 for someone going into the fourth grade.  

       We may not have had much down time or sanity, but we sure do have funny memories.  While I’m sad to see summer 2015 go so fast, I’m setting my sights on summer 2016.   They go so quickly.  I’m already thinking of the ways I can make it count.  Turns out having that third kid gave me 16 more summers to do so. 

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.    

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