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Hello September

2014 September 1
by WWGD

September-WhatWouldGwynethDo

Most people think of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as an issue that affects people in the deep throes of winter.

Bottomless temperature readings, snow piling up, wind chill factors that rattle your bones…I have lived it and I know it’s enough to make even the happiest of souls feel seriously under the weather after a few months.

So when we moved from Montreal to California more than ten years ago, I assumed I was leaving all talk of SAD behind me.

Until it started affecting me…on an entirely different level.

You see, every year as we usher in the new month of September and with it, a new season, I get a little sad. We don’t have the seasons here. Yes, the temperature may dip here or there for a day or two between November and February, but it doesn’t dip far and the shining sun is sure to warm your bones anyhow. Typically, we can hit the beach on Christmas, spend Halloween in a tank top and usher in the New Year with the sunroof wide open. I know, to many (most) of you, that sounds like paradise. And please don’t mistake this as me whining about life in California, because it certainly comes with its perks. I know that. But the reality is that this time of year – as happy as it should be – often leaves me feeling a little melancholy.

So this year, we’re trying to combat that. We’ve booked a trip to New York in October to see the changing leaves and catch a little chill. We’re hoping to escape to see some real snow over the holidays. We will light pumpkin-scented candles and string up twinkly lights and cuddle up under the blankets with our virtual fireplace (since our house doesn’t have one, we have a cheesy fireplace DVD and let me tell you…it gets a workout over here) roaring bright.

We will warm up our little home even if the weather outside it never cools.

And hopefully it will warm up my soul a little, too.

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Saturday Reads

2014 August 30
by WWGD

SaturdayReads-WhatWouldGwynethDo

I made a big mistake at work this week. I rushed through something and sent the wrong thing to the wrong person and for a few very stressful hours, I was in knots over it. My stomach was so tied up I could barely eat, my mind raced to all the worst-case scenarios, and I sat there practically paralyzed with worry about something that was nothing more or less than my own fuck up. It all worked out ok in the end, thankfully, but it was an overdue reminder to slow down, focus, pay attention to what I am doing…and that we all mistakes. It also served as a very good precursor to the long weekend, which suddenly felt like a true necessity.

Here are some of my favorite finds from the week:

These stunning photographs from a mom of 10 (!).

Ask an Actual Millennial. A good reminder that I am really old.

Model Moms. A visual history.

Such a sweet story. I often worry (ahead of time, obviously…it’s the best way) about raising a tween/teen in today’s seemingly careless society where bullying and hurt tend to make the headlines most. This puts my mind (semi) at ease.

The 5 Love Languages. A good read for old married couples like us. Need to read more.

And finally, a pep talk from Kid President to you. Because he is right: “We were made to be awesome.” Even when we make mistakes.

Have a great long weekend!

*image above via ReciteThis.com

Must-Have: Sugar Paper x Paperless Post

2014 August 28
by WWGD

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By now you know how much I adore Sugar Paper and the amazing ladies behind the brand…so it’s no surprise that my must-have of the week is their newest collaboration with Paperless Post.

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This marks Sugar Paper’s first foray into the digital space – and Paperless Post is the perfect partner for that, I adore their service for super chic evites – but all of the styles are also available in print, for all of you diehard paper lovers like me.

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There are sweet kids’ birthday invites, stylish yet simple bridal and party pieces, and a gorgeous holiday collection that I cannot wait to use for our annual Christmas cocktail bash.

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All featuring Sugar Paper’s signature creative style which is sweet and sophisticated at the same time.

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And for you last-minute party planners, there is the perfect pick for your Labor Day backyard BBQ. Don’t forget to send one my way ;)

These are my favorites from the line but you can shop the whole collection here. Enjoy!

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Aliza Licht

2014 August 27
by WWGD

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I don’t think any working mother with an internet connection doesn’t know Aliza Licht….or at the very least, her Twitter feed. In her role as SVP of Global Communications at Donna Karan International, she burst onto the social media scene in serious style when she took over the reins of the fashion leader’s famed feed as DKNY PR Girl back in 2009. Today she continues to make a mark on the style set and on busy working mamas everywhere with her own personal take on life in the corporate fashion world as a mother to two young children which she shares at @alizalicht. Her juggle in the urban jungle of Manhattan has landed her in Time Magazine‘s “Six Women Who Rule the Fashion World” feature, on the New York Daily News’ “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in New York” list, on Fashionista.com’s “50 Most Influential People in New York Fashion” list, and on the stage at TEDx. And soon, it will land her on the shelves of your local bookstore with the launch of her first book, “Leave Your Mark,” coming in Spring 2015. But at home, she has landed the ultimate gig: happy mom to two young kids, devoted wife, and the ultimate source of down-to-earth, real inspiration for women who want to do it all in today’s 140 character world. Here is how she does it:

What time does your day start and how?

I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than I need to wake up every day. Then I snooze. I take my snoozing VERY seriously. If snoozing is cut short for any reason, my day is doomed. Generally I set the alarm for 6am and start moving at 6:30am. The first thing I do before I move is check Twitter and scan emails. Then I head for the kitchen.

My husband David is a saint and leaves my coffee made, complete with skim and sugar, on the counter. So once snooze time is up, I stumble into the kitchen and make a beeline for the coffee. If for any reason he neglected to make it that morning, I assume we are in a fight that I just don’t know about yet. Inevitably though, he was simply in a rush!

What time does your day end and how?

Which day? The workday? It doesn’t end. I leave work at around 6, come home drop all the weapons (phone etc) and then tend to the kids and the hubby. But after bedtime, I go right back to the workday. I won’t go to sleep without checking email and Twitter. I can’t. It’s too scary.

Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?

I work in the office. I love going to the office. My team is amazing and it is a very professional, yet VERY fun and creative environment.

Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?

When my kids were very little I spoke to them around three times a day. Now they get home around 4, so I will speak to them then. I am extremely communicative with them. Even as babies I would always call my nanny so they could listen to my voice and know that I was thinking about them. I think it’s really important to call. I also want to know where they are after school, so I am very on top of that as well. They have known my cell number for years and they know that they can call me any time.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

The constant challenge I give myself is believing that I can do both well. I love what I do and I love being a mom. I think it forces me to push myself beyond what I think I can handle. To that end, I’m co-president of the school parent association and I do charity work as well. I think wearing many hats in life is what makes it not only interesting, but teaches kids that they can take on a hell of a lot. My biggest pet peeve is when people say “I don’t have time.” You don’t get time; you have to make it.

The hardest part about being a working mom is sleep deprivation. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of sleep. When I wrote my book LEAVE YOUR MARK, I had to write after the kids went to sleep every night from 9:30pm to 1am- or as long as I could stay awake. I wrote 75,000 words in three months. I would have never thought that was possible, but when you set your mind to do something, you can do it.

Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?

Superficially, their bodies! I’m envious that they can focus on themselves 100%, at least when the kids are in school. On the serious side, I’m envious that they can be home when their kids get home from school. I do think that being there is very important and it’s just not something I have the luxury to do.

Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.

I don’t, but I make a hell of an effort.

*image above via The New York Times

And because Aliza is almost as well-known for her signature style and beauty favorites as her social media savvy (one of the industry’s most well-known red lipstick devotees!), here are her must-haves of the moment for she and her littles:

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Celebrating Us

2014 August 25
by WWGD

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Maui was a dream.

We spent seven days swimming and laughing and exploring and sunning and enjoying every moment (well, almost every moment…we did have two young travelers with jet leg on our hands) focused on the four of us and little else.

We soaked up the special moments, we giggled at the silly ones, we held hands and we breathed deep.

We tried new things and watched our littles do the same.

We savored the mornings, lingered over the afternoons and reveled in the evenings.

We talked about marriage and parenthood and Mai Tais and surfing.

We sat back and found ourselves with happy tears in our eyes at the smallest of moments, the quietest of silent glances, the simplest pleasures.

And we renewed our vows in a private, sunset ceremony with our children by our side, patiently hoping to go and play in the waiting waves. They weren’t really aware of how special the moment was for us, but at the same time made it more special than we could have ever dreamed. We stood there, hand-in-hand, those two little souls standing next to us, and we felt blessed. Lucky. Beyond grateful.

For our life.

For our love.

For the future.

Maui was a dream.

*image via Caitlin Cathey – if you’re ever looking for a photographer on Maui, we loved her!

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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THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED – CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS!

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.