Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jon Hamm Ruined My Post

I thought I would do this funny thing about Jon Hamm and show a hot picture and a really unflattering picture to be silly. Guess what? There are no unattractive pictures of Jon Hamm. I don't know if he has better PR people than Beyonce or it is just impossible to get a hideous picture of him (ala Barney Stinson).  I searched Jon Hamm photos, ugly, silly, unflattering- he still looks hot in every picture! Even his long haired saxophone playing character on SNL is oddly attractive. I would be jealous of Jon's real life love Jennifer Westfeldt if she were not so darn smart and talented (and gorgeous). So thanks a lot, Jon Hamm. Your photogenic perfection ruined my comedic stylings.

I may also harbor some bitterness that Jon recently appeared in a dream as my platonic friend, while my romantic interest in dream land was Daryl Hall. Of Hall and Oates. Seriously? I'm sure Daryl Hall is a lovely person, but I can't go for that. No can do. I made the mistake of mentioning this dream to the Hubs and now I have fifteen new Hall and Oates songs in iTunes. Fantastic. So that is how my weirdo brain "relaxes" at night. Any weird or funny dreams going on out there?  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What I Want for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just a few weeks away, though every day is a good day to pamper yourself (kids not required). I always love sweet homemade cards or drawings, but sometimes I want something a little more grownup. Here are some things I would love to get next month.

Anne of Green Gables book
Soap Rocks

PRE-ORDER: Cherry Wood Troubadours

1. Isn't this copy of "Anne of Green Gables" gorgeous? The Folio Society produces beautiful illustrated books. Many of the books I would choose fall in the $50-75 range, a bit more than I would typically pay for a book, but these are lovely keepsakes.

2. Giant soap rocks. I'm not even sure I could use them, they are that beautiful. (Hubs, I really like the malachite- hint, hint.) And only $20!

3. I LOVE these cherry wood headphones from LSTN, though I would honestly take any of them ($50-150 depending on style).

4. I've had a similar style striped cup from World Market and it is my favorite for my morning coffee. Okay, sometimes for my afternoon cup. And evening cup. I love coffee-sue me. These paisley floral cups are beautiful, and come in a set of two for $18.

A massage, candles, Starbucks gift cards- what treat would you wish for?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Cleaning House" by Kay Wills Wyma- book review

Have you ever looked around your house and realized, "Holy cow, my children do nothing around here"? Maybe it is just me. And Kay Wills Wyma. The difference is Kay did something about it, and I still have to remind kids to replace the empty roll of toilet paper. 
Kay's book, "Cleaning House", describes her yearlong experiment teaching her five children twelve different responsibilities in “Cleaning House”. While knowing these life skills are important, Kay was motivated by the sense of entitlement she saw in her kids. Like most kids, certainly my own, her kids seemed to think a magical fairy flew in and cleaned dirty dishes, picked up clothes, prepared meals and generally kept the house running. Instead of taking the easy route by continuing to enable this attitude, Kay tackled a different skill or habit each month for a year. Teaching her kids to clean up after themselves or prepare dinner (my personal nightmare) was not without an occasional bad attitude or complaint. However, Kay describes these experiences with humor and a realistic description of how most of us experience our children for good or bad. 

One thing that really hit home with me was Kay's description of how some of us tend to do everything for our kids because we can do it better, faster, easier. I can be quick to not enforce a chore because it will take me half the time (and half the hassle). Kay makes the point that by constantly stepping in, we are telling our children they are not capable. She gives an example of when she took over writing her daughter's English paper. When Kay's daughter Snopes brought home an A, she wasn't proud because she knew Kay did the bulk of the work. I'd never thought of it in that sense. I think my kids should do chores because they are part of the family and they need to learn how to do things for their own knowledge. However, I never looked at it as building their confidence. My kids are going to be very unhappy I read this book- it is motivating me to shift more responsibility onto their little shoulders.  I recommend this book to any parent who needs a laugh and some motivation to encourage their kid’s self-sufficiency. 

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Monday, April 22, 2013

Skin Care

One of the nicer things about maturing (age-wise, not attitude) is my face has become noticeably less oily over the last year or so. The not so great thing is I still (still!) get breakouts sometimes and my skin has a less than ideal texture in my opinion. A little dull, some redness, weird non-zip bumps- overall kind of blah. I feel indifferent about a lot of things, but facial skin is not one of them. I read a book, did some research and tried a few products that I ended up really liking. I bought everything at Ulta but you could find any of these products at Target or CVS.

Aveeno Ultra Calming foaming cleanser is a very light, foamy cleanser. It almost feels like whipped air going on, but it cleans well and does not dry out my skin. I have noticed much less redness after using this. I have also tried to tone down my favored boiling water temperature, which I am sure helps with redness also. Every evening, I pat a little RoC Retinol Correction Sensitive Eye Cream around my eyes. I don’t think I have serious crow’s feet yet, but I’d rather prevent than treat. This is the first retinol product I have ever tried and it has not caused any redness or irritation at all. Since my eye wrinkles were not super pronounced in the first place, I can’t for sure yet how well this is treating them but I do like it. At night, I use the Lancôme Rénergie lifting cream (a birthday present). It gives nice, creamy coverage and smells divine. However, I am pretty cheap frugal on skin care and cosmetics so I am not sure I would pay the retail price for this again.

Two or three times a week, I use the RoC Daily Resurfacing Disks. These are awesome! It feels like I have sandpapered my whole face smooth, but with none of the burn. They have helped tremendously with my skin texture. You probably could use them every day if you wanted but I don’t need it that often. I’ve used Olay Complete day cream with SPF for years. I generally like it and would only try something else to mix it up. Any skin care products you can’t live without?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston On My Mind

Monday's bombing at the Boston Marathon has weighed heavily on my heart this week. There is little I can say that has not already been said, and probably expressed more eloquently (see: Patton Oswalt, Craig Ferguson, Mister Rogers). However, I feel I must acknowledge it and not just go on about something that feels trivial in comparison.

Everyone experiences a major historical event unfold before their eyes at some point in their lifetime. Earlier generations remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot. The major event of my childhood was the Challenger explosion. I remember our elementary teachers watching on TV and crying softly. We didn't fully understand the severity of what happened but we knew something very wrong had happened.

I'm sure much debate can be made of whether the world is actually more dangerous these days, but it sure feels that way to me. As a kid, I remember that one major event. As a parent, I fear for what my children will experience in their own lives. How many bombing or shootings or random violence will they be exposed to? Honestly, if they only remember one tragedy it will probably be a miracle. I am angry that we have reason to now feel uneasy going to a marathon or sending our kids to school. I am angry that we more easily remember the names of the people that commit horrendous acts than the names of their victims, because the perpetrators are endlessly discussed in the news. I am tired of a seemingly endless stream of terrible things happening. I am really trying to focus on the helpers, more importantly focus on being a helper. It just seems overwhelming this week.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Weirdo Kids are Normal

The Tumbler "Reasons My Son Is Crying" made the rounds on news websites and blogs last week. The photo series features adorable one year old Charlie crying over a multitude of issues as explained by his parents. My personal favorite is captioned "I broke this cheese in half". Brother, I have been there. I think anyone who has been around a kid longer than thirty minutes can relate to the completely irrational, unreasonable nature of children.

Exhibit A: these pictures of E were taken within ten seconds of each other. What happened in the intervening ten seconds? Absolutely nothing. She really wanted her picture taken, then she really didn't. That's just how this four year old rolls.

Friday morning, my six year old picked out a pair of shorts to wear to spring break camp, then came to breakfast crying. "I don't want to wear these shorts; all the kids will make fun of me", she said. When I asked why she picked them out, she said they were cute in the drawer but not in person. (Side note: those shorts are adorable, FYI.) My four year old picked out a black shirt, then decided it was hideous and threw it in my face. IN MY FACE. We had a "conversation" about that, she apologized, and she understands flinging anything in my face is not a wise move. Kids are fickle pickles and as much as I try to understand where they are coming from, sometimes it is nonsensical. I struggle a lot with how hard to push them and what battles to pick. My kids should be respectful and polite and you know, not throw clothes at me but changing shorts when we have plenty of time should not be WWIII. I'm also not big on bribing kids to do things, but I did notice how much more agreeable they were to doing yard work and deep cleaning their rooms with the promise of frozen yogurt on the horizon.

Let's face it: some days I want to sit and cry for no reason so why do I expect more emotionally maturity from a four year old? : ) I can assure you all three of my girls cried at various times over the weekend. Some was for legitimate physical injuries or hurt feelings. Some of it was for borderline ridiculous reasons, and some of it I still don't understand what caused tears. Kids get hysterical over nothing and it is totally normal.

This is completely unrelated to crying, unless you cry at extreme adorable-ness. This it is the stinking cutest picture of a baby with puppies I have ever seen and wanted to share it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

This Is What a Good Weekend Looks Like

It appears spring has finally sprung! I wanted to snap a picture of the gorgeous cherry blossoms in bloom down the road but driving and taking pictures don’t mix well for me. Enjoy these instead.

Sweet goodness in a box. We are normally a Krispy Kreme family and I am not sure the kids had even had Dunkin before. Hubs grabbed a dozen on his way home Friday and the girls went nuts for them. 

Hubs (bless him) went shoe shopping for the younger two girls and snagged them some new sneakers. E’s shoes light up with the brightest flashing lights I have ever seen. She loves them. I fear they may induce seizures at day care.  Time will tell. 

S learned to jump rope Saturday and jumped. And jumped. And jumped.  All weekend long- thump, thump, thump. She also wanted me to repeatedly count how many times she could jump. I kept telling myself at least she was exercising.

I spent some time cleaning out my closet. I have a really hard time getting rid of perfectly good clothes, even when I never wear them or they don’t fit well. The tiny Tim Gunn that lives in my head pushed me to let go of a lot. Sunday, I bought these shirts and pants for summer. I’m trying to add color and pattern to my wardrobe since black and gray are my go-to clothes colors. So ready for warm weather clothes!

I finished up my weekend with Don Draper and company. Overall, it was a nice weekend. How was yours? 

Friday, April 5, 2013


I feel this way every Friday, but I am especially glad to be thisclose to the weekend. We have an exciting mix of house cleaning and kids shoe shopping planned (eye roll). But, I also plan to have some lazy time. Maybe some chocolate and a mimosa. Next week is spring break and although we aren't taking any time off, we'll get a little extra sleep-in time before taking kids to camp every morning.

Do you recall a time long ago when a magical TV channel played music videos all day long? Since that channel stinks now, I depend on Palladia channel for my morning music video fix. This is pretty much the only way I stay remotely up on new music and retain at least a modicum of my cool factor. I've seen this NKOTB video several times and the song is so darn catchy! I will preface this by saying I was NEVER a NKOTB fan the first time around, or a fan of boy bands generally, but something about the dancing and the beat and Donnie Wahlburg in those glasses- it has sucked me in. Enjoy.

(Video courtesy of YouTube)

I am really digging music with a throwback sound to it. (So proud to hear a Fitz and the Tantrums song in a commercial the other day. I didn't discover or sign them, but I have one of their albums which is sort of the same thing.) I liked The Heavy's song "How You Like Me Now?" and now I really like "What Makes a Good Man?".

(Video courtesy of YouTube)

Finally, this video of Michael Bublé is so cool. This fifteen year old kid had to be embarrassed/ nervous/ overwhelmed and that he could squeak out anything, much less sing, blows my mind. The video does have what some would consider R-rated words sprinkled in, so maybe not crank up the volume if you are at work or in a church or anything.  

(Video courtesy of YouTube. )

Any music you think I should check out? I like more rock/pop/alternative, but am willing to give anything a chance. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

“Freefall to Fly” by Rebekah Lyons- Book Review

When I received “Freefall to Fly” last month, I was already in the middle of another book. I thought I would just browse the first chapter until I finished my other book. I was so wrong. I literally could not put this book down. Rebekah Lyons chronicles her family’s move from Georgia to New York and the crippling depression and anxiety that came with it. My heart ached for the desperation she describes as she struggled for control.  Hearing her describe the effect on her children brought tears to my eyes. Rebekah gives a very raw description of what it was like to experience that freefall. She then draws a beautiful picture of how letting go allowed her to fly. 

Maybe this memoir was more appealing to me because, like Rebekah, I have struggled with depression for years. I've never suffered from panic attacks but I related to her feelings that the basic acts of life being overwhelming. Also, on the surface Rebekah was living a life I could easily envy. I miss living near a big city (for me, D.C.) and daydream of how I start over and achieve big things in a new life when I move back. This book made me reconsider putting life on hold until I am in my "perfect" circumstances. Circumstances will never be perfect so why not start living today? If you have not specifically experienced anxiety and depression, I still believe everyone can relate to wondering what our purpose is and how to start living it.  

"Freefall to Fly" will be out April 9th.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

Two holidays in a row? Kill me now.

Happy Monday! Our weekend was spent with way too much candy and an inside Easter egg hunt that lasted approximately four minutes. It is surprisingly difficult to hide eggs when a house is generally messy. I was afraid we would never find the last few eggs so I basically placed them in plain sight.  The girls really just want the candy so it all worked out.

At least today’s “holiday” (and I use that term very loosely) does not require gifts, cards or candy. I am not generally a prankster, so I didn't pull any April Fool’s tomfoolery this morning. There are a lot of cute prank ideas on Pinterest, like freezing your kid’s cereal and milk in the bowl the night before so they dig into ice. Or stick a gummy worm in an apple. Hilarity ensues. Well, that isn't how we roll in this house. If I were going to prank my kids, I would put plastic wrap over their door so when they walked this morning they bounced off plastic onto their butts. Maybe tell one of them their teacher called and they are in big trouble. Two of my three kids would cry over that one, so the aftermath isn't really worth the entertainment value.  My four year old couldn't care less. It was a lot more fun to prank people in college when the possibility of emotionally damaging people didn't occur to any of us and I didn't have to wipe away anyone’s tears afterward. You pranked, laughed, and went on with your day. Ah, the good old days. Does anyone have any big prank plans for the day? Have you ever been pranked in a big way? I could use a good laugh, so the more embarrassing, the better. 

P.S. Did you see the Tim Gunn Facebook post that I can only assume is an April Fool’s prank? It almost gave me a heart attack until I realized it is a prank. An all menswear season? Please be a joke.