Judgy moms suck.

I think it is in women’s nature to be a bit judgmental. Before you get all offended and say “Wait!!! I’m not judgmental at all!!”, stop and think. Have you ever said “OMG….WTF is that chick wearing?” or “I would never let my kids (or dog/cat/whatever) behave like that!” Chances are, you’ve said something similar at some point. It doesn’t make any of us bad people-we’ve all made a snarky comment or two (or a thousand.) What I have found, however, is that this characteristic multiplies by a trillion in many women when they become mothers. Not all, mind you, but many. You know that mom-the one who gives you bitch-face when your kids are acting up at the supermarket-as if she’s saying in her snooty head: “My kids-who take French lessons and can play 7 instruments while wearing nothing but designer bloomers-are perfect and would never act like that.” Or the mom who turns her nose up at you when she sees you take out Chicken McNuggets at the park for your kids- because she only feeds her kids organic and raw fruits and vegetables that have been locally grown and then blessed by the town high priestess and whose proceeds go to starving children in Africa. Yeah, that mom. I first encountered those moms a couple of weeks after I gave birth to my daughter. I was breastfeeding and really, really struggling. By struggling I mean crying almost all day everyday, slamming my head against the wall, and not sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time. I had no idea what I was doing and was so tired I was speaking in tongues. Not a pretty scene. I didn’t really have any close friends who could help me with this issue and I needed a lot of help, so I turned online. There are quite a few resources online for breastfeeding mothers, and I was hopeful they could help. I “liked” a few of the sites on facebook and signed up for updates from a few pages. Honestly, I did get some good tips, but what I found the most of was judgmental mothers. I read things like “I saw a woman in the mall feeding her baby a formula bottle and I was so disgusted I almost threw up”.  Seriously? WTF? I added my two cents (a bitchy retort) and got the hell outta there. There seems to be a really big battle between breastfeeding moms vs formula moms, and I think it’s the most ridiculous thing ever. But it doesn’t stop there. Just yesterday I was visiting one of my favorite mommy blogs-Baby Sideburns (flipping hysterical take on motherhood-you will laugh your ass off.) and the post was this:

“You know what totally sucks? When you’re looking at some super hot nanny take care of a little toddler and suddenly the toddler looks up and calls her mom. WTF, she’s a mom and she looks like that? Okay, now I feel even shittier about my frizzy ponytail and mom jeans. Didn’t think that was possible.”

Funny, right? Well apparently a bunch of troll moms didn’t agree. The comments that ensued lit a fire under my ass. They called this mother (mind you-a woman they’ve never met/seen and could even very well be fictitious) a bitch, a lesbian, a bad mother-stated that the time she took “primping” was taking away from her time with her kids; the awful comments were endless. Like it’s inconceivable that a woman could be  a good mother and be presentable. Well, of course I chimed in again. (I’ve never been good at keeping my mouth shut.) What was supposed to be a funny comment-giving the readers an “I’ve been there too!” response, instead ignited an all out bitch-fest. But why? As mothers, aren’t we ALL trying to do our best? We all have good days and bad days. We all struggle. We all love our kids unconditionally and would move heaven and earth for them. So doesn’t that make us all on the same side?

Now I’m not saying that all of motherhood is a battle. Of course it is wonderful, rewarding, full of love and amazing. But it’s also a battle. And as fellow mothers, we should support each other and lift each other up, not judge, belittle and tear each other down. So next time you find yourself horrified at the poor mom whose children are acting all Exorcist-like and are on the verge of having their heads rotate 360 degrees and spew steaming green projectile vomit, why don’t you instead pat her on the butt and say, “Carry on, warrior. Six hours til bedtime.” (A fabulous quote from Glennon Melton of Momastery.) Because you know you’ve been there. And if you haven’t, you’re headed there. But it’s ok, you’ve got your team behind you.

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shared spaces

When my husband and I moved into our 2-bedroom townhouse, I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter. Plenty of room, we thought. Wrong. 4 months after my daughter was born, we found out I was pregnant again. (Oops.) One of the gazillion things I was freaking out about was space-how were we going to fit two babies into one bedroom? I had set up the nursery just how I wanted it-and then had to rearrange the whole thing. Seeing as how I had been in hormonal overdrive for almost 2 years at that point, that was enough to put me in full-on breakdown mode. Funny thing is, I liked it better with all the new baby’s things in there. Go figure. So it’s got me thinking about shared spaces. It can be tricky-especially when the kids sharing the space are not the same gender. How do you please them both? Surely they have different favorite colors/animals/characters/everything. I always love seeing how other people tackle this situation. Here are some of my favorites:

Aren’t these gorgeous? My son and daughter will be sharing a space for a little longer, and I have to say I’m so glad-because the conversations that I hear them having over the baby monitor at night are nothing short of hysterical. (Something like: “Brody, which fairy is your favorite?” “NO!! I like TRex!!” “Oh, so you like Silvermist?” “Triceratops has three horns. I tooted.”) I also know they’ll miss each other when they’re separated. Me too.

Images from my Pinterest

the drop off

If you are anything like me, your mornings with kids are nuts. Rarely does a day ever go smoothly. Usually, someone has overslept, my son has a major diaper situation as soon as we’re ready to walk out the door, a potty trip goes awry (usually requiring an outfit change), I spill coffee all down my shirt (if I’m lucky enough to get a cup), my son can’t find his shoe/sock/blanket/Lightning McQueen/sippy cup…… Whatever can go wrong, always does. So a bit of planning is required. I’ve found that laying out everyone’s clothes the night before, including my own, saves me a ton of time in the morning. But what is also does is guarantee that I won’t spend the day in sweatpants and a baseball cap. When I do that, I feel  like it sets the tone for the day-and that day inevitably turns out to be crap. Kinda the same way I feel if I don’t make my bed. If I start the morning off right (a relative term, I realize), the day seems to go right. I feel put together. And it doesn’t take much-a cute tee and jeans with some great flats will do it. Between that and a made bed, I can conquer all the crap my day has to offer. You will always take the time to make sure your kids are taken care of before you leave the house and that they look presentable. It only takes a few extra minutes to do the same for yourself. Here are a few simple and easy pieces to make your morning drop off a little more presentable.

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Madewell dress / Forever 21 / Forever 21 / Madewell / Gap t shirt / J.Crew j crew jeans / Zara patching jeans / Jack Purcell sneaker / Madewell shoes / Zara mini tote / Madewell messenger bag / J.Crew j crew / J.Crew sunglasses
Here’s hoping all your Monday mornings go smoothly.

Favorite things

I thought I’d give my favorite things post another go. The list just keeps getting longer and longer and quite honestly I think I could do this post every day and not repeat an item. (Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing?) Not to mention I find this one really fun to do. Today’s favorite things are all over the map, but I had to start with shoes:

These lovely numbers from Zara combine two of my favorite things: sneakers and leopard. I’ve put together so many outfits around them-in my head. The only problem with them? I don’t own them yet.

Mast Brothers Chocolate has quickly become one of my very favorite things of all. The company was founded by two brothers who have a deep passion for chocolate-and it truly shows. They have a factory/tasting room in Brooklyn, but you can also buy the bars online from them or a number of other retailers. I was lucky enough to find them at my local Whole Foods. With flavors like Vanilla and Smoke, Serrano Chili, Black Truffle, Sea Salt and their special Brooklyn Blend, their bars are like no other. My personal flavor is the Coffee. It’s crazy good. The texture is a bit different, however-a bit grainy-which I actually like, but my husband doesn’t. More for me. And the packaging it comes in is the prettiest I’ve ever seen-it’s almost too pretty to open. Almost.

Meet my jewelry staple. It’s the Three Spikes necklace from Alimonada. Alimonada is another Brooklyn-based business that has become my favorite go-to source for really cool and really inexpensive jewelry. I love every piece they make, but this necklace is my fav. It really goes with everything and makes everything just a little bit cooler. Oh and did I mention it’s only $26.90?

I’ve been wanting some major art over my bedside table but couldn’t find the right piece-until I came across this. It’s a fashion illustration called “Cricket” by Leigh Viner. (I’ve mentioned her before. She’s incredible.) I want to super-size this for a major effect and I’m really excited to get on it. I’ll share when it’s purchased and hanging.

One of my favorite times of day is after the kids have gone to bed and my husband and I get to cuddle up on the couch and watch all the DVR’d shows that we haven’t been able to watch because all we’ve been watching is Dinosaur Train and Peppa Pig. (Who I’m not opposed to-she’s actually quite polite unlike that ahole Sponge Bob.) And we always cuddle under a blanket. In the colder months, that blanket is a heavy faux fur one-it’s so soft and divine. In the warmer months, I switch it out for a lighter one that I got at West Elm. I had it monogrammed, which really made it ours. West Elm has such great pillows and throws, and they go on sale all the time. Go get your cuddle on.

I love me some Kiehl’s. Do they make anything that isn’t awesome? My daughter’s skin is super sensitive and she gets these really dry and itchy patches on her butt and face (yes, butt and face) and though it’s not quite eczema, it’s not pretty. I’ve tried a bunch of different lotions, but this is my favorite. It’s rich but also light and just perfect.

Can someone please explain to me how little boys can have such stinky feet? I mean, seriously? After a long day, my 2 1/2 year old son’s feet smell like a steak that’s been sitting out in the sun for a week. I don’t get it! So in the summer months, I try to air out his feet as much as possible. Last summer I discovered Natives. If a Croc and a Chuck Taylor had a baby, it would be this. It has the anti-stink holes of the Crocs and the cuteness of a Converse sneaker. Adorable. Now my little guy’s feet can be dealt with without a gas mask. Best. Shoe. Ever.

If I didn’t have regular trips to the salon, I would start to look a bit like Helen Mirren. I’ve had a few gray hairs since my late 20s, but after 2 kids, it’s not just a few-it’s a shit load. I find that my blonde highlights mask them a bit and buy me a bit more time in between visits. But I swim quite a bit, and chlorine is deadly for highlights, so I need to protect them. I use Kerastasse Aqua Seal every time before I get in the pool (or beach or anywhere I’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun). It protects from UV and chlorine and it has kept my hair from going full-on green ‘fro. At $40 a bottle, it’s pricey, but you know what’s more pricey? Having to go back to the salon for all new highlights.

Ah, springtime. When your nasty toes that have been cooped up in thick socks and boots all winter long are finally let out. When you can get out your sandals, peep-toes and flip flops…but you better not until you’ve had those things properly cleaned up. (In the winter months I’m more a DIY pedicure kinda gal-I refuse to get a professional pedi and either a: put my shoes back on and wreck it or b: wear flip flops in 20 degree weather. No thanks.) Essie’s Watermelon has been one of my favorite spring/summer colors for awhile now. It’s not too much of a departure my my beloved red and it’s just the right amount of pink. I just put in on my toes last night and I promise to get it professionally done before I break out my sandals.

This is Parisian Chic: A Style Guide. You know how French women have that certain something, that ‘je ne sais quoi”? (Also known as how the hell do you eat nothing but cheese and bread and not weigh a thousand pounds?) Well, this book tells you to how to get it too. It gives the style tips of the oh-so-chic French women and is such an enjoyable read. It also tells  you all the great must visit spots in Paris-shops, restaurants, museums, nail salons…everything. This sits on my night stand and I never tire of it. Because I’m prepping for my trip to Paris. (ok not really….)

That’s a wrap. I hope you liked a thing or two (or ten), and I hope you all have really wonderful weekends.

A perfect day

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If you had asked me five years ago what my idea of a perfect April day would have been, I would have said sleeping until noon, having a great brunch with my husband (with booze, duh), strolling around NYC, maybe a drink or two outside, followed by dinner at a great Thai restaurant and maybe a movie. Just thinking about that makes me smile. And if you ask me now? I’d say a perfect day is when there’s no major incident involving feces or vomit, no temper tantrums from my kids that involves biting or throwing sharp objects at my head, and getting a block of sleep that lasts at least 4 hours before someone wakes up yelling “MOMMYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!” My standards have clearly changed just a bit. But when a day like today comes along- when I get to see some of my favorite people, walk around the city AND not get puked on? That’s so perfect, there needs to be a new word for perfect. Our cousins from London are in town (one of whom you’ll be hearing from on here very soon) and when they are here, we all get really excited. So today I took my kids into NYC to meet up with them at Chelsea Market. It’s an incredible indoor marketplace with amazing shops and restaurants, and the feel and look of the place is just so damn cool. It’s industrial at its best, but with a homey/historical thing going on. I love just walking around and taking it all in. After some soup, smearing cupcake frosting all over my kids’ faces and much needed coffee, we all had a walk on the High Line, which is the coolest park on the planet. Since we were all freezing our asses off and I could almost see the snot freeze on my kids’ little faces, the walk was brief, but lovely nonetheless. Here’s a look at my perfect (and vomit-less) day. First stop, Chelsea Market.

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And then, with dry diapers and full bellies, we braved the cold for a walk on the High Line.

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I don’t know about you, but to me anything with Diane von Furstenberg’s name on it is the coolest thing ever. So that was our perfect day. Tomorrow may bring diarrhea and an ER visit, but at least I’ll always have today.

The movie that changed my life

So let me start by saying that I am NOT, by any means, an expert on what I’m talking about today. I just want to share with you some life changes that I’ve recently made, and because I’ve had some people ask about them and because it’s something I’m pretty passionate about, I thought I’d share.

A couple of months ago, my cousin (who is an athletic monster/freak of nature) told my husband and I about a movie he had seen. We had just finished a grueling workout and stopped for a bite to eat at Panera. While I thought what I was having was healthy (chicken soup and tuna on wheat), he told me otherwise. He then told us about eating “clean” and about “juicing’. Little did I know those two words would literally change my life. He told us about a movie he had seen that had talked at length about the food industry in the U.S. and just how awful it really is. It was called “Hungry for Change.” So that night my husband and I watched it. It was great; very informative, but it left us wanting more. So the next night, we watched another movie-the one that would forever change the way we eat and look at food. If I could sing it from the rafters I would; it’s called “FAT, SICK, AND NEARLY DEAD.” It’s about an Austrailian millionaire party boy named Joe, who although led a pretty fun life, had a number of health conditions requiring him to take numerous medications. He became tired of feeling like crap. Like he had no energy. And tired of the extra weight he was carrying and of the dozens of pills that he had to take. So he took a hiatus from work (easy to do when you’re a millionaire) and came to the U.S. to film a documentary. He traveled the country talking to people about their food habits, all while going on a 60-day juice fast. That’s right. 60 DAYS. Of having nothing but juiced vegetables and fruits. He even carried his juicer with him everywhere he went. (And juiced out of the trunk of his car frequently.) During this time, he was regularly monitored by physicians who checked his vital signs and blood work. By the end of his 60 days, he had lost 80 pounds, had never felt better, and was off ALL medications. All of them. But the most inspiring part about all of this was a man that Joe encountered on his journey. A morbidly obese truck driver who was also on numerous medications who was having difficulty just getting out of bed most days. He had had enough. So he came to Joe for help, and lo and behold, he also decided to fast for 60 days. Now this is a man who was used to eating fast food and garbage every single day. His daily caloric intake was astounding. He went from McD’s to having nothing but juiced vegetable and fruits for 60 days. Think about that!! The transformation was nothing short of amazing. Inspiring. My husband and I looked at each other and  said “let’s do this” in unison. We thought, if they can do it, so can we! Not 60 days, mind you. But a fast, followed by a food overhaul. And that’s what we did. (well, sort of…)

So after watching this:

We went out and bought this:

It’s the Breville Fountain Plus juicer. And it’s amazing. We did some research, looked up some juicing recipes, and hit the supermarket. My plan was to do a 30 day juice fast, and my husband was shooting for 10. We lasted 3. It was effing hard as shit. By day 2, a shot in the face would have been a sweet relief. My head was throbbing-like your worst hangover x 100-and it just wouldn’t go away. By the end of day 3, my husband and I said in unison “eff this.” Although we didn’t go as long as we wanted to (and how those 2 men did 60 days without committing homicide I’ll never know), but what it did do was to act as a catalyst. It changed my outlook on everything food related. I went through our pantry and cleaned house. We decided to make juicing a permanent part of our diet, and also to eat ‘clean’. (This started as a paleo diet but I simply cannot give up bread or cheese completely; however I have eliminated most gluten). I got rid of all the low-fat/low-calorie/fake crap. All of it went in the trash. Out went the Baked Lays, Pam cooking spray, reduced fat salad dressings, Smart Balance margarine-all the things I thought were healthy and are not. I also quit diet coke-and I say quit because I was, no doubt, addicted.  I will say, I do drink coffee-but I threw away my reduced fat half and half and Splenda. Nothing but full-fat creamer and Sugar in the Raw goes in there now. But the most funny thing about all of this-is that after getting rid of all the low-fat/low-calorie foods and replacing them with full-fat/real versions-I LOST weight. Ironic, isn’t it? After all of this, my skin is better. I sleep better. My workouts are better. And I just feel better.  And after a long 2 1/2 years, I’m now only 2 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight. And I owe it to that night on the couch watching a movie with my husband.

Here’s what I have every day:

This is the “mean green juice”. It may look funky (ok it actually looks downright nasty), but it’s actually quite good. Here’s what’s in it:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 apples
  • 6-8 leaves kale (Australian tuscan cabbage)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ginger

Totally easy to do. And so I don’t have to look at it, I got some big plastic cups with lids and straws and pour it over ice. If I miss a day for some reason, I crave it. Kinda like the way I used to crave baked lays and diet coke. I’d say this is a much better addiction, no?

Here are a few resources that I’ve found helpful:

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VegetableJuicing

http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/what-is-clean-eating/

I truly hope that you have found this even the slightest bit helpful. I can’t say enough about watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead-it left me so incredibly inspired. I know Game of Thrones is back on all, but there’s always time for movie night.