Sunday, July 30, 2017

On the Daily

"Hmmm, what'll it be today? I don't think the words 'cranky, exhausted or stressed' are strong starters," I say to the Mister, a thin black Sharpie poised above my palm.

It was Monday morning. The kids hadn't slept in weeks, deadlines were looming and the grind of long commutes, sports practices and everyday life were upon us. And although it had been a mostly enjoyable weekend that included hugs, long bedtime stories, laughter and time outdoors, it was already almost as if they hadn't happened at all.

Many work weeks started like that, and ended with me having zero energy for my beloved family. Something needed to change, and quick.

The best place to start? The ol' noggin.

I began to ask myself and others: How do I set positive intent for the day? What can I do to revisit it when fatigue or challenges try to get in the way of it? Why is it so damn hard to live this utopic life others dream of and just be grateful for it? Where's the perspective?

As usual, A had the answer. Earthy, experienced and Zen, she shared her trick of writing one word on her palm in the morning that sets her attitude and intent for the day. Frequently she shared she wrote, "fierce, calm, productive" or "joyful." Between her tough boss, teenagers and needy clients, she found this subtle reminder she can visit in as simple as grabbing a sip of water a motivating way to stay in the positive zone.

If something like that is helpful for the already cool-as-a-cucumber A, it could work for me too.

Week one I had trouble committing to just one word (I'm a marketer - we're women of much fluff). So I scribbled a small acronym that highlighted where I'd like my mind and heart to settle in for the day. Several weeks later, I was down to one or switching it to two, depending on what the soul needed in the moment. Words on my palm frequently include things like chill, authentic, love hard or energy. And while it isn't so much about the act of placing ink to skin, it's a nice way to trick your body into taking a meditative moment to set positive intent for the day. And to revisit it when things got off track.

So while this isn't the holistic good eating, drink enough water, sleep more than four hours per night and get time to yourself kind of self care, it's an attainable, inspiring one that keeps me going.

What about you? What inspires or sets your intent for the day? Or, what is your word, for today?

The Skinny on the Anni

"That's right - opening day, right at noon. I'll be there!" I shared excitedly to my gal pal on the phone, fully knowing that as a non-card holder, the situation would already be dire.

Luckily a few bloggers and friends had gone before me, reporting a less thrilling Nordy's Anni Sale than years past, which was both a beautiful and sad thing. Nice in that some dough can be saved and bummer in that the thrill of that fall fashion find was probably not going to be a reality this year. My husband and stack of mounting healthcare bills probably lean toward a mini celebration.

With a pen and paper in one hand and laptop balanced on a soft pillow, I studied Nordstrom.com with the kind of ferocity one does months before the Bar exam. Skipping the clothes almost altogether (hello, carrying around an extra 55 pounds and accessories always fit), I created my wish list between post-its and Pinterest. And when that Friday came around, I went in for the kill. With one hour to invest, it went purses, jewels, shoes, kids and home goods. Here's what I left with:
A pretty little something to add a touch of sparkle for day or night
Vince Camuto cross body that's just the right size and a unique,
gray brown to pair with any fall/winter ensemble

Ugg sneaks in a perfect neutral for fall that scream comfort and style
Teeny CZ studs that sparkle and are sized as if they were real

Copper mug, for those evenings that call for  a Moscow Mule

A cozy throw for the days I spend typing away in the home office

In these boxes were also a few Under Armor pieces for the boys. The scented candle, Zella leggings, plum jacket and a few other favs were left behind thanks to budgeting reasons.

So overall, not too shabby. Because come Anni sale or any time in between, Nordy's is top notch.

What did you bring home in your lovely, yellow-box themed sacks?







Friday, June 23, 2017

Channeling Your Inner Joanna

"Ok girls, how are we ever going to pick?!" I emailed the crew, the date of our upcoming girls' night on the horizon. Several strings later we were on a roll, clicking through Pinterest and modeling our favorite quotes we'd see in a book, mom blog or that fabulous wall at Scheels.

All this searching was for our upcoming night o' creativity, where we'd spend an evening in a beautiful home in Olathe making whiteboard signs. Always looking for something fun to do on our monthly outings, the mom pack stumbled upon Pinterest Parties, a fun, affordable and creative way to brighten a home. Having perused A's Facebook site, we landed on the whiteboard sign. Because who doesn't love a taste of Magnolia in their life?! The monogram, baseball, and Love signs were all close seconds.

With wine and bundts in hand we met, gathering in A's basement just perfect for crafting. Here, she had already laid out the whitewashed boards, our custom stencils, the paints brushes and the sound of inspiration in the background. Warm and welcoming, she got us started with easy instruction and stories of mommyhood.

Intimidated at first (because crafting), we each took our time outlining our choice, checking in often and building confidence along the way. Soon we were on a roll, choosing paint colors, complimenting one another's and catching up on our lives.
Hundreds of brush strokes later and touch ups by A herself, she placed the hanging on the back and we held up our masterpieces one by one. Unlike so many of those painting parties, these were works we'd actually hang in our home. And looked a bit like something Joanna Gaines may select in a store. Success!

It was a great time had by all, and a nice way to relax and use that right side of the brain you don't normally get to in the days of parenting small children. Highly recommend it - here's how to get started!

1. Like Pinterest Parties on Facebook
2. Visit the page and view "Services" on the left
3. Click "send email" to shoot A dates, times and project choice
4. Schedule and show up!

Then, get your Joanna on. Happy crafting!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pillow Walk

Get it? Like pillow talk, but different?

Anway...you need these sandals! They are the cushiest, cutiest, go-with-everything sandal of the season. And they're only $60. Plus it gives you a reason to pop into Nordys. And they're like walking on pillows.

Whatever color you choose (I went for the gray), there's something casual, work-ish and athleisurely that pair with these perfectly.

Enjoy!

An Apple Today

"Mama, I want to bring an app-ull to school. Get it for me. Please," my four-year old half-demanded, half-begged outside of the fridge, one little palm grasping an iPad, the other laid loosely on the stainless steel of the fridge.

It wasn't unusual for him to ask a snack in what was likely our eighth attempt out the door, but generally it was something closer to Cheetos, Cheesits or a sneak from he candy bowl that was on his mind. Yes at 7:15 a.m.

Grabbing the apple, we set off on our journey of two drop offs and a long commute. One school down and coming in hot to the second, I noticed he slid the apple atop the cubbies, very near the elbow of his favorite teacher.

"I give it to Mr. Brian," he whispered, giving it a small budge toward his arm, then making a face and retreating into my arms.

"Oh, that's nice buddy - how kind of you!" I exclaimed, thinking they'd had a recent lesson on teachers and apples and the ol' addage that they enjoyed the sour things.

"So, I guess he brought you an apple today!" I laughed, watching Mr. Brian's face as he processed whether this was something fun or just a bad Teacher Appreciation gift.

"I eat an apple everyday," said Mr. Brian. "I bet he noticed, and thought I'd like it."

And that, my friends is progress. And it's love.

An apple today made for a memory that will always stay. Proud of your golden, giving heart little buddy.

Enjoy that apple, Mr. Brian.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Did You Get It Done?!

Teacher Appreciation week, that is!

If you're anything like our house, there's no one you're more grateful for than the village that's growing and loving your children at school each day. These saints are simply amazing. And I swear I co-parent more with some of them than my own husband.

Tomorrow marks the last day of the designated week when you get the chance to shower these leaders with love. So if you haven't full executed on the PTA recommended plan and need a few ideas, start here:
Mini bundlets: told you they're good for everything!
Spoil the whole crew with a variety mix.
Mini blooms from Trader Joe's: they come in a variety of colors
and types and are only $1.99!
Tervis Tumbler: they keep those bevs hot or cold with a
twist of personality and fun. Perfect for the teacher
that needs to hydrate between answering preschoolers'
questions for the tenth times! Find them at the new
Turves store on the Plaza or for best price,
Bed Bath & Beyond.
Fuzzy blanket: they give your child all the warmth and love
in the world - they deserve some too! Plus it looks nice
in their home. Target and Macy's have good options.
Don't forget a thoughtful handwritten note and a gift card go a long way too.

Wishing all our educators are the spoils and celebration their weeks can hold. You certainly deserve it!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lit

"I don't know E, I feel so blech...something's gotta get jazzy or this gal is going to loser her mind." 

We were entering into spring, but the first two weeks hadn't meant so much tulips as it had rain showers and not a higher temp to be found. Things were intense at home, all self-care had gone out the door and work hours never cease. So the answer to this reduction of stress could only be:

Highlights. A fab new beauty product. A mani/pedi. Maybe some Oreos. And wine - always wine.

Since there are always Oreos and wine in the house, first up was highlights. Given I'm a gal who is pretty lucky not to have any of those pesky sparkles yet, I was a bit torn if taking the time and spending the money was worth it. My natural hair hadn't been touched in nearly a decade and had it's own version of hombre. It had finally gotten to a longer length where I felt feminine and could be a bit creative with it. And most mornings I could hop out of the shower, throw some Diva Curl in and call it good. So why mess with a good thing?

The fabulous Susanne of Stem Hair and Body did her thing, foiling in strategic but random parts of the head to give that beach glow (she has a name for the process). Not to blonde, not to caramel and just the right gold, I left feeling a few years younger with the good kind of sparkly framing my face. And although I missed a bit of the length, it had gotten a bit mullet-esque, so now we're on a good path to growing a little less layered. That night I slathered on some Rodan and Fields tanner, and I appeared at work the next day looking rested and ready to be productive. A perfect front.

Next up was splurging on a beauty product. My tolerance for anything that has to be maintained or takes more than 3.5 minutes is minimal, so I was immediately drawn to R&F's new Lash Boost. Two simple swipes at night and you're off to bed. Just two weeks later, I had a few longer lashes (I practically have none) and felt a bit "prettier" and more feminine as well. My friends had seen amazing results - almost to the point where they had to stop using it or give up their glasses. Unfortunately, my super sensitive eyes (I mean unusually sensitive) never quite adapted and kept reddening, so my dream of what my lashes could've been had to come to a quick close. I tried! And still highly recommend. If you're not already living with one of their face regimens, it's time.

Finally, a little mani/pedi time, which is always good for the soul. Le Reve in Park Place is always worth the drive, leaving your feet baby soft and carrying June Bride (sparkles!) and #92 (perfectly fun purplish/bright/neutral). Even better is when me and the gal pals pile into HH's clean car on Fridays and hit Lovely Nails on 75th, squealing over colors and swapping stories about the week. Wrap that up with a trip through Chick fil A and life is good.

What makes you feel lit and feminine again when the blahs strike?