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Aloha

2014 August 17
by WWGD

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We are off to Hawaii to celebrate ten years of marriage with our two beautiful babies.

I am sure I will pop up on Instagram here and there but will only be back at it in this space after our much-needed holiday.

Wishing you all a lovely week!

Raluca

*image above via here*

Saturday Reads

2014 August 16
by WWGD

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This is the best kind of Saturday. The one before a week-long vacation. We are headed to Hawaii in a few days for some much-needed R&R and to celebrate ten years of marriage with our beautiful children by our side. Today means a lot of preparation for the trip: last-minute errands, laundry, lists. And day dreaming about the days ahead. Here are some things that caught my eye this week, hope you enjoy them as well:

This Is Our Autism. I have been a longtime fan of Jessica’s writing and this piece really moved me.

Saying Goodbye to Anxiety. I loved that this came from someone who typically blogs about the superficial (beauty) and that it went far beyond skin deep.

Everything Changed When I Started Meditating Every Day. I have really been focused on integrating more spirituality into my life lately and this piece is a great example of why.

Robin Williams’ description of heaven. Such a sad week on so many levels. May you rest in peace, Mr. Williams. Thank you for bringing an incredible amount of joy and laughter to our world.

Career Tips from Fashion’s Most Successful Women. 

Best places to stay in Los Angeles. Always something new to discover and this list has some great hidden gems.

Tear-jerker of the week. Every year on my kids’ birthdays, my mom brings me flowers. She has always believed that my babies’ birthdays were a celebration of me as their mother as well. Each year marks another year of motherhood, of trials and tribulations, of amazing memories and accomplishments. Being a mama is the hardest and most rewarding job of them all and I have grown to not only understand but appreciate her belief that we need to celebrate ourselves (and daddies as well!) for every year that we can look back on with a smile. So happy birthday to all you mamas out there. I hope you celebrate in style.

*image above via here

 

Great Artwork for Kids’ Rooms

2014 August 14
by WWGD

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We are redesigning our kids’ playroom (here’s a peek on Instagram) and trying to update Kai’s baby decor (here’s a look at that) into big boy decor at the same time and bare walls have officially become my obsession.

Or more specifically, how to decorate them.

I want to balance whimsical and fun with cool and modern and have managed to find some great options that do all of that – with a good dose of style.

Here are some of my favorites.

(above)

We All Shine On typographic print, via Etsy.

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Who Runs the World? wall hanging via Moorea Seal.

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Superheroes poster, via Etsy (a personal fave for Kai’s room).

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I Love You to the Moon and Back poster decal, via The Land of Nod.

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A nod to our SoCal beaches, via Orange and Park.

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And finally, for the five-borough kids, via Famille Summerbelle.

London, Paris and San Francisco available as well.

We may just have to move. ;)

 

Back-to-School with Stuck on You – And a Giveaway!

2014 August 12
by WWGD

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I remember a few years ago, before my kids were in school, a girlfriend of mine was telling me how much she loathed back-to-school because of the labeling alone.

She had to individually label every single crayon for each of her boys.

Every. Single. Crayon.

I dreaded the day. Thankfully, our schools aren’t quite as stringent when it comes to their Crayolas but if they were, I would be prepared.

Stuck On You is an adorable, one-stop personalization mecca, with the cutest designs for labels, lunch boxes, tags, and more. I love their stuff because it’s cute without being too cute and there isn’t a “character” in sight.

You pick your color, font and design to perfectly match your little one’s personality and instantly make back-to-school labeling a little less laborious. Last year we did rocket ships for Little D’s labels and this year we chose this super cute superhero lunchbox pack for Kai; needless to say, he was thrilled.

And to help us usher in the new season, Stuck On You is giving me four $25 gift cards to give away, redeemable for anything on their site that’s on your back-to-school list!

To enter, simply leave a comment below and tell me which of their designs you love the most – I will pick four winners via Random.org on Sunday, Aug. 17th at 9pm PST.

Good luck!

*disclosure: Stuck On You sent us a complimentary back-to-school pack for review; all opinions are my own and I love it (and so does Kai!).

My Menu Plan

2014 August 10
by WWGD

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Surprise!

I haven’t menu planned in FOREVER, friends. Blame it on laziness, blame it on summer, blame it on laziness…but I haven’t pulled together a proper week-long menu in a while now and both our lifestyle and our budget are feeling the effects.

I wish I could call this the first in a renewed series, but we’re on vacation next week and the week after that is the first week of school and then it’s Labor Day…so let’s call it a little tease for all the amazing menu plans coming this fall.

Here is a look at our week ahead:

Sunday - homemade pizza. We are still loving Jennie’s recipe and tonight we will make two: one for us and one for the kids to top on their own. Little D has been very active in the kitchen lately, making her own scrambled eggs, whipping up pancake batter on weekend mornings, tossing salads and the like. I do believe she is going to grow up to be very comfortable in the kitchen. Apple, meet tree.

Monday – I am going out for dinner with a girlfriend so my husband will likely make Trader Joe’s honey chicken with brown rice for the kids.

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday. Fish tacos. Lots of lime. Maybe a margarita or two.

Wednesday - Yogurt-marinated grilled chicken from Dinner: A Love Story. I, like the author, have always had issues with grilled chicken and how to make it memorable. She promises this recipe is it. Will report back.

Thursday - Caramelized salmon with a corn, tomato and avocado salad. I love you, summer.

Friday - Take out. This is the most I have cooked in one week all summer long, so I will be ready for a break.

Treat of the week - Ina Garten’s plum tart (pictured above). I saw some beautiful plums at the market this afternoon and I recalled that somewhere in my massive cookbook collection there was a recipe for a simple plum tart that looked great. So I bought a bunch of plums and hoped I would find the recipe when I got home. I didn’t. But I found this one online and it’s Ina’s so it’s sure to be good. And that’s good enough for me.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Saturday Reads

2014 August 9
by WWGD

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This weekend is going to be spent doing a whole lot of nothing. With only a few weeks of Summer left (and a lot of making up to-do), we are going to spend our weekend days enjoying it and hopefully making memories to carry us into Fall. Here are some Saturday Reads to go with your coffee this morning:

I have always been mesmerized by the Hamptons from afar and this feature in DuJour makes me want to head east more than ever.

An interview with Gwyneth guru Dr. Alejandro Junger on clean eating. I am thinking of doing another 30 Clean in September to reset before the holidays. I know, I said I would focus on a more permanent approach to healthy eating, but the “everything in moderation” thing is almost just as tough to maintain and I feel like another little jump start may be in order.

The best new nail polish shades for Fall. I just got a bright coral put on for one last Summer hoorah and it’s definitely fun but I am looking forward to my favorite navy and grey shades for the new season.

I am fascinated by Dale Partridge. I met him a few years back at a new business meeting and he was clearly a very bright young entrepreneur but I have been regularly checking out his blog since then and have found him to be even more intriguing online. Isn’t that funny? In one section of the blog, he breaks down his income and business expenses each month with full transparency and then talks through the lessons he learned that month and how they impacted his business. Worth checking out for any of you entrepreneurs out there, especially if you’re in the digital space.

I have seen a lot of female friendships come and go through my life. Sometimes it is my fault, sometimes it is the other person’s fault. Sometimes it is no one’s fault. Female friendships are complex and sometimes they just fade away. This blog (and forthcoming book) dives into those complicated relationships and how and why they end and this post, in particular, was an interesting read because it explores confrontation and change and honesty and how they are all important in a female friendship.

Wishing all my girlfriends – past and present – a happy Saturday. xx

*image above from The Big Book of the Hamptons, via DuJour

A Summer (Almost) Lost

2014 August 8
by WWGD

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I have spent a lot of time complaining this summer.

It’s too hot. I am too busy. The kids are too cranky. My work has been overwhelming.

Not enough BBQs. Not enough beach fires. Nowhere near enough s’mores. Not even one road trip.

It’s tough as a working mama because as much as you want to throw caution to the wind for a few months and let your family enjoy the season the way it’s meant to be enjoyed – late bedtimes, sleeping in, sand everywhere and ice cream every night of the week – the harsh reality of deadlines and obligations and early mornings makes it difficult.

As much as you want to relish in those carefree summer days, to be a kid with your kids, to watch the sunset without the stress of the sunrise looming right behind it, sometimes it feels like life isn’t giving you a chance to.

Or is it you?

The issue this summer hasn’t been the hot weather or my restless kids or the looming conference calls.

It has been me.

It has been far too easy for me to complain about summer, to skip the s’mores, to not host the BBQ…and so that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I’ve almost complained an entire summer away.

And here’s the thing: in just a few short months, I will be dreaming of it.

Dreaming of the ice cream and the sweaty little bodies and the sprinkler. Wishing for one more late bedtime, one more concert in the park…one more amazing summer sunset.

So with only a few more weeks on the horizon, I am going to do my best to enjoy the last of summer. To be a kid with my kids. To let go of obligation and embrace the carefree essence of the season.

More BBQs with friends, more late nights, more sleeping in.

And definitely more ice cream and s’mores.

Have a great weekend. xx

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Catch Me If You Can

2014 August 7
by WWGD

WorkingMother

Check it out!

Working Mother Magazine has a feature on my home office in the Fall issue.

I love my little space and hope that it inspires you to seek out something similar, whether for work or a hobby or just some personal space.

Thanks, Working Mother!

Fall Fashion Favorites

2014 August 6
by WWGD

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It doesn’t really matter what the runways and magazine editors and bloggers dictate in terms of trends each season, I have my favorites for Fall (and Spring and Summer and Winter…) that I always rely on – and with good reason. I may sprinkle in something new here and there, but when it comes to ushering in a new season, I always end up focusing on a steady and stylish rotation of my favorites. Call me boring. Call me predictable. I call it personal style in your 30s. Here they are.

(above) Bangs. I love my hair long and fuss-free for hot Summer days but when the temperature dips, I beg my hair stylist for bangs again. They warm up my face and my features and add a cozy glamour to my look for Fall.

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Layers. Preferably ones that involve a big chunky scarf. I love to layer up my look for cool Fall days…or coolish Fall nights here in Southern California where the days stay warm long after Labor Day. This type of layered look is always a favorite.

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Military jackets. I can always find a new one every year because they are always in fashion. And with good reason.

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Hats. Another favorite rooted in my Canadian roots (i.e. where it actually gets cold). I love a good hat and try to toss them on whenever the weather here permits.

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Chunky knits. The flowy dresses and thin tanks of Summer are lovely but I really appreciate the comfort of a chunky knit come Fall. This one has a beautiful texture to it that makes it anything but basic, especially in a wintry white.

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Blazers. Preferably in black. Mine are all dusty after the Summer months when they feel too dark and heavy. But they will be back in the mix come September, topping off tees and jeans or fancy frocks for a look that’s instantly pulled together…perfectly. Regardless of what the runway says.

*all images via Pinterest, photo credits linked there where available

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Timing is Everything

2014 August 4
by WWGD

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I have started taking some yoga classes.

I had tried yoga exactly two other times in my life and on both occasions, I declared that I was simply “not a yoga person.” I was internally rolling my eyes at the spirituality, I was confused by the poses and the coordination they required and I felt like I was a square in a very round hole.

Through the years, I found other forms of physical activity that worked for me. Many of them offered a sense of mental release and relaxation but the focus was always on the physical: how many calories did I burn, how much did I sweat, was I seeing more definition in my abs?

Last week, I found myself back on a yoga mat for the first time in years.

I walked into the class full of apprehension and intimidation. I was nervous to try something new and I was still intimidated by the poses and coordination, but I was no longer rolling my internal eyes. You see, in the years since I last sought out yoga for its physical release, I have grown to realize the importance of its spiritual and emotional practice as well. I have opened up my mind to its mantras and its pace. I have found myself in a place in life where I am happy to fit into the round hole.

Little D has swimming on Mondays. She has progressed from the standard lessons to a group stroke clinic where she swims with a small group of her peers, an instructor helping them to perfect their movements, lap after lap, turn after turn. I watch her glide through the water effortlessly, week after week, Monday after Monday. Breathing in and out, kicking with strength and purpose, her strokes methodical and precise.

She loves to swim.

Two years ago, when I first brought her to the very same swim center, she looked at the pool and her eyes filled with fear. She kicked and screamed about getting in the water, an impatient instructor (who we never used again) staring into the distance and rolling her eyes at her trepidation. She looked at me for support, her wide little eyes silently begging me not to make her go. Screaming at me that she was scared. Pleading with me to let us turn around and walk out the door.

I made her do the lesson. And the one after that. And the one after that. And every week, she cried. Every week, her eyes were still filled with fear. Every week, she begged me not to make her go.

So shortly thereafter, we stopped lessons. We took a long break from swimming, playing contentedly on the steps in the shallow end at our community pool instead. We wore floaties and kept our head above water and learned slowly and patiently how to let go of that fear.

How to fit into that big, round hole…happily.

Today she loves to swim.

Today I practice yoga.

There is no more fear, no more intimidation, no more insecurity. All of that has been replaced with enthusiasm. Interest. A sense of accomplishment.

The poses didn’t get easier and the water is still deep but what I have learned from both lessons is that timing is everything.

It took walking away. It took trying something else. It took standing on the sidelines until we were ready.

But when the time was right and we were both able to open up our minds and put our fears aside and see through our rolling and crying eyes more clearly…

We found that we fit into that round hole perfectly.