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Five Street Style Tips To Steal From Gwyneth Paltrow

2015 February 24
by WWGD

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She may be the reigning rose of the red carpet on some nights, but GP is as well known for her (usually) pared down street style as for her more GOOP-esque glam looks. Her casual wardrobe is perfectly predictable and super pulled together and these five staple elements keep it cool, stylish and easy to emulate.

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Here are five easy tips to borrow for a simple, Gwyneth-inspired on-the-go look:

1) Stick to a neutral color palette. Black, white, grey and denim are your friends. Add a pop of color, as needed.

2) Opt for a small, boyish blazer. Do it in white once in a while.

3) When in doubt, go for a grey tee. Or grey anything.

4) Big scarves = big impact. And big comfort.

5) Keep it skinny, silly. The jean, I mean. Let the diet have some fun ;)

*for more style inspiration, you can follow my Pinterest board here

Life and Laundry

2015 February 19
by WWGD

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We got a new washing machine today.

Our old one unexpectedly conked out last week while I was in New York, hours before we were to leave for Mammoth.

There were already piles of laundry all over the house and a week later, they are so big we practically can’t see past them.

Our old machine was a good machine.

It lasted close to eight years. It was white and shiny and strong. It was state of the art when we got it, a big purchase for a young married couple with a (then) brand new baby.

Today, the new one was wheeled in by the nice delivery men.

It looks like a great machine.

It’s dark grey (platinum, they call it) and shiny and strong. It’s supposed to be extra quiet, extra powerful, extra everything. A big purchase for a busy couple with two young kids and a lot of laundry.

We looked at this new machine and instantly fell in love. You know how when you become a married couple and new washing machines bring you delight and you look around and wonder when you became that person who gets excited about a washing machine…that kind of love.

“Wow, it looks so much better than the old one, doesn’t it?” my husband remarked, a certain level of satisfaction in his voice.

It does, I thought. But then so did the old one when we got it. White and shiny and strong.

It looked good because it replaced the even older stackable set that came with our previous rental apartment in Los Angeles. Those were so old they were off-white. No digital anything, no screens, no front load window. Hand me downs from strangers, but we loved them just the same.

Because those stackables were the first ones we ever had IN our own apartment after more than a decade of trudging down to dark, creepy building basements with a handful of quarters. Years of packing a hamper full of darks and whites into the car to take to my mom’s on every weekend visit. Years of hanging clothes over the shower curtain rod, willing them to dry in time for work in the morning.

This new machine looks really good.

And so did the one before it and the one before that.

As with most things in life.

It’s always nice to appreciate where you are, but it’s even more important to appreciate every step that got you there. And how good it was.

Because the machine may be better and the screen may be brighter and the color may be shinier…but the piles of laundry are still the exact same, aren’t they?

*image above via Death to the Stock Photo

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Six Insta Mamas to Follow Now

2015 February 18
by WWGD

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Instagram has quickly become my favorite social media channel (sorry, Pinterest) thanks to its endless feed of fashion, travel and design fodder.

But not far behind some of that eye candy indulgence comes another arena of inspiration that I adore: cool, stylish, interesting mamas from around the world who share bits and pieces of their day through a curated, creative lens.

These are not feeds full of potty training updates and baby food spills.

These are women who put a beautiful filter on modern day motherhood and who inspire through playful, pretty and picturesque points of view.

Here are some of my favorite Insta mamas to follow now (clockwise from top left):

Morgan Smith (@morgansmith) – this SoCal native (you may recognize her from her stint on MTV’s Laguna Beach many moons ago) and new mom to a baby boy documents her beachside life with bright, sunny images that feel real and really cool at the same time.

Shalice Noel (@shalicenoel) – this stylist and fashion blogger often keeps her identity cheekily under wraps via creative angles and lots of sunglass shots. But her personal style shines through regardless and reminds us busy mamas that juggling it all can be just as easy in a great pair of skinny jeans.

Leia Sfez (@leiasfez) – I introduced you to Leia a while back here after following her gorgeous Insta feed that documents her life in Paris with her husband and young daughter in the most beautiful, minimal style. Mainly a palette of white, black and the odd pink peony here and there, Leia’s eye for motherhood is beautiful and serene. Even when real life is not.

Sara (@bixbixbix) – Santa Barbara mama to two Sara of Bonzo, Chooch, Mushy & Me has become an Insta friend whose feed I adore for its warmth, heart and stylish California glow. She documents life with her two littles in a way that is approachable and aspirational all at once.

Bethany Menzel (@bethanymenzel) – Bethany is a Vancouver-based mama, hair stylist and blogger who caught my eye thanks to her cool, colorful look at life. Her pictures are a perfect mix of fashion, family and just plain fun.

Nicole Gonzalez (@lilliesandleon) – Nicole’s NYC-based look at life with her little boy Lucas (and baby on the way) shows that motherhood in the big city can be as heart-warming as it is hectic. She has an eye for finding a quiet sense of style in every day moments that bring them to life beautifully.

Hope you find a new feed (or two) to follow here – as always, you can also find me at @wwgwynethdo.

One of Those Weekends

2015 February 16
by WWGD

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We just got back from a great long weekend in the mountains with our little crew and some friends.

It was one of those weekends where the laughter was aplenty, the kids were non-stop action (in a good way) and memories were created practically every step of the way.

Love those weekends.

The week ahead is a status quo one: filled with client calls, pick up and drop off, menu planning and absolutely nothing special or out of the ordinary on the agenda.

Love those weeks.

Hope you have a great one.

PS – I was over on Cricket’s Circle’s blog this weekend sharing my idea of a perfect Saturday…if you want to take a peek, you can find it here.

Now Reading

2015 February 10
by WWGD

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I am on a serious reading kick lately and it feels so good.

It can be light, it can be heavy, it can be frivolous or not. I am just so happy to finally be tearing through so many books that have been on my must-read list forever. Finding time to indulge in one of my favorite things shows me that I am at a place where I am prioritizing balance and happiness and my own personal pursuits and that, my friends, is a very good thing.

So since my last Now Reading post, I tore through DVF’s new memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be. And I do mean tore through. You don’t have to be a fashion lover to love this book, though it certainly helped peak my interest in certain spots. But at its core, it’s a book for women who want to live and love fearlessly and with abandon and without inhibition. Women who want to follow their hearts, are open to detours along the way, and who know that the most important step to falling down is getting right back up. It’s a memoir, so she uses a lot of personal stories and examples to illustrate her way through her personal relationships, career highs and lows, parenthood, beauty and aging. Some are more interesting than others (this woman has a lot of passion when it comes to falling in love…) but they are all poignant in some way and leave you evaluating your life through a similar, yet decidedly less glamorous, lens.

Who is the woman you want to be? Who is the mother you want to be? The career woman? The wife? The friend? And how do you go about finding her and more importantly, breathing life into her?

My first step? Finding time to read more. For myself and no one else.

Next up on my list: by popular recommendation after my last post, I am diving into The Husband’s Secret. After that, The Unspeakable is in the queue.

In the meantime, I hope you find a way to breathe life into the woman you want to be. And if you need help, try consulting DVF for some tips.

*this post contains affiliate links

Monday Cookies

2015 February 9
by WWGD

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I was scheduled to leave for New York this morning for four days of business with a sprinkle of pleasure mixed in.

Because it’s New York and when is that not a pleasure, right??

I woke up early, showered quietly in the dark, kissed my littles goodbye and silently watched them stir and contemplate waking for the day before rolling back over and deciding against it. I dragged my poor dad to the airport and made him help me with my bag. You’re never too old to have your dad help you with your bag, are you?? I started to walk away from his idling car, half of my heart still back at home, leaving soft kisses on those warm little cheeks. The other half of it wandering thousands of miles ahead, strolling the city streets with wide eyes and a mind ready for a much-needed dose of inspiration and wonder.

And then my dad called out to me, breaking up my reverie.

Flight cancelled, my mom was reporting via text message. You’re never too old to have your mom track your flights in real-time, are you??

I watched and listened while a woman standing feet away from me expressed her immense frustration. The impatience in her, the anger in her voice, the frustration in her body language…it felt so foreign to me.

I was sad for a bit. I was looking forward to that extra day in the city. That inspiration and wonder.

But alas, it wasn’t ready for me.

So instead of losing my cool and pouting, I headed back to my dad’s waiting car. He loaded my bag back into the trunk.

I patiently called the airline and rescheduled for tomorrow. Adjusted my hotel reservation and let my client know.

I came back to my little suburban office and got to work, checking on clients, accomplishing things I hadn’t planned to accomplish today.

And then I took a break and baked some cookies for my kids to come home to after school. They weren’t expecting to come home to me so hopefully this will make it extra sweet.

Fresh, lovely chocolate chip cookies. A little chewy in the middle and crisp around the edges. Loaded with good chocolate chips, the quality ones. Just a hint of brown sugar within.

It turns out Monday wanted to give me cookies and a few extra hours with my kids instead.

Tomorrow, there will (hopefully) be New York.

But today, there are cookies.

Full of inspiration and wonder in their own little way.

I hope someone got that woman at the airport one, too.

*my favorite cookie recipe 

5 Things You Should Do…For Your Marriage

2015 February 8
by WWGD

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Here is the next piece in my “5 Things You Should Do…” series (hope you caught the first one here). Before I dive into the topic of marriage, here is a little background on us. We will be celebrating 20 years (!) of dating this year and just celebrated ten of marriage. I don’t think my relationship is perfect. I know my relationship isn’t perfect. But it’s one of the things I am most proud of in this life: it’s strong and it’s stable and it’s still filled with laughter and fun and appreciation and surprises. And so while it may seem a little premature to be sharing marriage advice when we’re only ten years in, I know we have learned a few things along the way that are working. Things we hope to adopt for another ten. And ten after that. And who knows…maybe even ten after that. Here they are. Five things you should do…for your marriage.

1) Skip date night. Ok, ok. Don’t skip it all together, I know you love it. I may be a bit of a broken record on this topic, but like I said in my very first post for The Huffington Post, don’t put the weight of the world on it. Make tonight just as important as date night. Turn off the TV, put away your phones, get the kids to bed early and hang out with your partner. Talk and laugh and listen to music and share whatever is on your mind – good, bad, or in between. Don’t wait for that one night of the month where you have a babysitter and the perfect reservation and the candlelight. Enjoy that night, sure. But don’t wait for it. It’s the nights in between those – and what you do on those nights to connect – that make a marriage. Which leads to my next point…a big one for us.

2) Listen to each other. Really listen to each other. I can tell you that one of the biggest issues in my marriage is this: my husband is a long-winded story teller. He likes to recount every detail of every aspect of every thing he has to share with me…and will often pause mid-way through a sentence to think about what’s coming next, how best to convey it, etc. I, on the other hand, have a mind that is moving 100 miles per hour most days so while he is thoughtfully trying to share something with me, I am often thinking “can we possibly speed it up, there is a kid to feed or a load of laundry to put in or an email to answer…” I really do care about what he has to say (otherwise we wouldn’t be married anymore, trust me…), but I am not taking the time to listen to it on his terms and my impatient little face clearly shows that. I was just reading in Oprah’s What I Know For Sure that when she spoke to men who had cheated on their wives, the common thread wasn’t a lack of physical or sexual or even the attraction of someone new, it was that these men found women who would actually listen to them. I am fairly certain my poor listening skills aren’t pushing my husband out the door (yet…ha ha) but it’s the one area of our relationship that I am consciously working on so we can both be better at communicating.

3) Speak up. And when you need to, stop listening and do the talking. I have so many girlfriends who spend years talking to everyone about their marriages…except their spouse. And suddenly they go to talk and there are years of damage already done. Mainly in silence. I am a firm believer in telling my husband how I feel, and I hope he does the same. Thoughtfully, respectfully and honestly. If you are PMSing and a touch oversensitive, say that. Trust me, you will both feel better if you do. If you are feeling neglected or insecure or under appreciated, tell him. But find a moment when you can convey it calmly and effectively, emotions (somewhat) aside. If his work schedule is making you crazy, voice that. Maybe it won’t change in an instant, but in my opinion, having small conversations along the way works better than having one big conversation down the line.

4) Come up with a common goal each and every month. It can be to pay off a credit card. Or get your attic in order. Or lose five pounds each. Every month try to find one thing you both care about and find a way to work towards that goal together, big or small. It will remind you that you are on the same team, encourage you to work together and help you prioritize things for the sake of your marriage…and your to-do list.

5) Create a memory album in your mind. Your wedding day, the first time you kissed, when your first baby was born, that time you were wandering the streets of a new city together with nowhere to be and no one else to think about. Those moments where it was you and your partner against the world and there was no mortgage to worry about, no leaky faucets, no tired nights on the couch. Take a quick inventory of those moments and capture them in your mind – how they looked, how you felt, what they meant to you. Then pull those memories out from time to time. Turn them over in your mind’s eye and remember that feeling, that bond, that love. You don’t even need to tell anyone they are there, but know that they are. And you can – and should – visit them any time you want.

Hope you find some of this stuff interesting and inspiring — as always, would love to hear from you in the comments here or on social or via email at wwgwynethdo@gmail.com. Happy Sunday!

(photo credit: Fawn Christiansen Photography

The Week

2015 February 6
by WWGD

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You know those days or weeks or months where you look back and aren’t quite sure how you made it through?

This felt like one of those weeks.

Impossibly long in some ways, incredibly quick in others.

My mind and my focus were forced into so many different directions – kids, career, family, personal – sometimes within the same millisecond, or so it seemed.

We started it with a little stress about one of my kids and their health, which is never a pleasant experience. It appears all is fine now, but that fear and uncertainty, no matter how unfounded, shakes you to the core every time, doesn’t it? The what ifs can literally eat away at you and even when you come out the other side with a sigh of relief…you never forget that feeling and you never want it to come back even though you know it eventually will…as a mama, it always does.

I have a big week ahead of me with a work trip to New York and then an early morning departure on my first day back for some mountain time with my crew and some friends for President’s Day. So this weekend will be one last opportunity to recharge for the days ahead.

Planning to soak up every millisecond…even if my mind doesn’t slow down.

Have a good one! xx

*image above is some of this week’s highlights from Instagram. You can find me at @wwgwynethdo. 

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A Lesson in Parenting

2015 February 5
by WWGD

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So lately the play yard at school has been a complicated place for Kai…and for me.

He is in this crew of four boys on the preschool yard who are all bright, fun, friendly and outgoing. They are a little troop full of energy and curiosity and games…but unfortunately, not so full of interest in any of the other kids in their class.

It’s come as quite a little shock to me that I am dealing with these “clique” issues with my four-year-old boy and not my seven-year-old girl, but that’s parenthood for you. Full of surprises.

It’s not a terrible thing, to have good friends he can count on every day. To have friends with common interests who wait for you with anticipation every morning and hug you goodbye every afternoon.

But I started to notice him shunning the idea of branching out beyond this little foursome and I didn’t love what I was seeing.

I asked him the other day about various other kids in his class.

“Are you friends with E?” I asked. “Not really,” he replied. “She only wants to play princesses.”

“Do you ever play with S?” I wondered. “Maybe sometimes,” he muttered.

“How about T?” I inquired, referring to one little boy, in particular, who seems to have a shy sensibility and a little bit of introvert in him.

“No, mama!” he laughed. “I don’t play with him. He wears glasses!”

My heart fell.

Is my sweet, good-natured, bright little boy…one of those kids??

“I wear glasses!” I responded promptly. “Does that mean you won’t play with me??”

He giggled in his sweet, good-natured, bright little way.

I sent him back to school the next day with a mission. To find some way to play with T. He could sit with him at lunch, ask him to hit the sandbox during lunchtime, choose the same activity as him during free play. I wanted him to find some way to be a friend to T – and most importantly, to have fun with him.

He went on his way and I went and took out my contacts and replaced them with my glasses.

A few days later, a mom friend came up to me on the yard at pick up and told me she had the funniest story about Kai.

“I was standing by the sandbox the other day and he was playing with this little boy and he said hi to me and told me he was playing with him because his mom told him he had to,” she laughed.

My heart fell. As did the expression on my face.

“No, no,” she said, reassuringly. “It was really sweet, actually. Once he said that, he went on to say they were making sand pies and T’s favorite pie is blueberry and his is chocolate and they are opening a pie shop and they made me some sand pie. And trust me, T didn’t seem to care or notice at all. He was just happy making pies with his new friend.”

I thanked her for sharing, still blushing with embarrassment.

He had listened to me. He had definitely listened to me and he had done what I asked. But neither one of us really understood what I was saying, I soon realized.

He understood that it was a task I had assigned to him. He completed the task and he went on with his day. He returned the next day to the comfort of his little crew.

I was trying to get him to embrace something new. To extend his outgoing, fun nature to someone who could probably use a little sprinkle of it in his day. To look beyond the glasses.

I don’t think he has really played with T again since that day.

And I haven’t asked him to.

Because even though he listened and he did as he was told, he didn’t really understand the importance of it. He didn’t really understand the impact he may (or may not) have been making on that boy.

And that’s probably ok because he is four. He is only four.

I have plenty of years ahead of me to teach him right from wrong. To show him how to embrace the introverts. To get him to look past those glasses and see people for who they really are.

And I will. I will teach him.

But in the meantime, I am sure that for that one day, those sand pies were some of the best ones that little T has ever made.

And maybe for now, that’s enough.

Look I Love

2015 February 4
by WWGD

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Long skirts and short jackets.

Easy to achieve and super stylish.

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