Tuesday, November 27, 2012

(Doing) Good Things

This time of year, it seems as though people are moved to give a little bit extra of themselves.  Maybe it is the spirit of the season or we are all trying to get on Santa’s “Nice” list after a year of being naughty.  So in the spirit of the season (or to solidify my space on the “Nice” list), here is a sprinkling of love for some of those who give extra for others, even year round.


Hot Mama

Of course, I have to start this list with a place very near and dear to me, my employer, Hot Mama!  While I could go on and on about some of the amazing things this retailer does, I will keep the list to our most current “do gooder” activities.  Currently, Hot Mama is in the midst of our campaign “Giving is Hot.”  What this campaign means is for every pair of jeans sold in during the month of November, Hot Mama will donate $10 to organizations that give microloans to moms in Africa, Asia, and South America. This is the second annual “Giving is Hot” campaign.  Having raised over $26,000 in 2011, our goal this year is to break the $50,000 mark!  Even cooler than the donating, is Hot Mama has shared the stories of  four women who were able to follow their dreams because of the Hot Mama funded micro-loan. 


This year, Hot Mama is also partnering with Clear Channel this year to host two wishes on KDWB’s popular Christmas Wish campaign. We will be donating a $350 gift card for two wishes. For nearly 20 years, Dave Ryan’s Christmas Wish on KDWB has provided clothing, food, gasoline, car repairs, appliances, and so much more to people in and around the Twin Cities area. Personally, I cry like a baby every time I listen to one.  This year,  Hot Mama is so excited to provide two moms facing hard times and struggle this holiday with a little shopping spree and excuse to treat herself.  The wishes were granted during the KDWB Wish-a-thon on November 27th.  Want to listen?  The wishes will be posted on the Dave Ryan’s Christmas Wish page all season!


Lastly, Hot Mama has partnered with Dress for Success for the past year, as well as made considerable donations to Hope Chest.  The total amount donated to local charities will hit the $1,000,000 mark in January.  Just a few more reasons I love my job…..


Sundar Imports…and Knoke’s…..and Hello the House

Want style and to do good things at the same time?  Shop Sundar Imports!  The pop-up boutique, located in Hudson, Wisconsin appears every few months.  The boutique specializes in fashion and more that is fair trade, fairly made and eco-conscious. Co-owners Stefani Gerczak and Becky Turnbull are also believers in giving back to the community that supports them. Because of this, Sundar Imports donates 5% of its profits during each Pop-Up event to a local charity.  During their September boutique, Sundar raised $766 for The Source, a non-profit organization that works with those in the community looking for jobs and other community resources.  sundar7

For the next Pop-Up event on November 30 to December 2, the girls at Sundar Imports are teaming up with their neighbors, Knoke's Chocolate and Hello the House, to support the Hudson & River Falls food shelves. Sundar Imports and Hello the House will  be donating 5% of their sales this weekend to be split between the food shelves, while Knoke’s will be donating $1.00 per non-perishable food item brought in to the store! 

If you don’t know Knoke’s, it is an amazing chocolate and candy shop.  You gain five pounds just looking but the taste of their creations is worth it.  Trust me on that one.  knokes

Hello the House is a brand new shop which specializes in offering beautiful and affordable furniture, artwork and accessories with a fun retro and vintage vibe.  Its founder, Chris, has done some amazing work for me.  Just don’t ask my husband about the stick screen in the living room.  I don’t care what he says, it is fabulous!

hello the house

I love fashion.  I love food.  I love a great looking home.  I love doing good.  What could be better than stopping by all three businesses?


La Rue Marche

What a cute shop in Hudson, Wisconsin.  La Rue Marche is an amazing combination of style and adorable/funky gifty items.  But lets take it one step further.  La Rue Marche likes to give back.  In September, LRM helped put on a fashion show to support an organization called Peace Begins with Me.  The organization describes themselves like this:  “Peace begins with me (a small BIG peace project) is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to inner peace – actually, education, inspiration, and collaboration in the area of inner peace – knowing that because we are all connected, inner peace is what can lead to global peace.”  The organization makes me think of the quote “One whisper added to a thousand others becomes into a roar of discontent.”  The idea that you can make an impact, even if it seems small on its own, but becomes great when added to others, is pretty cool. 

Less than a week later in October, La Rue Marche participated in Angels and Divas: Making a Difference with…Style.  This is an annual girls’ night out which includes a fashion show featuring the designs of local designers that will give you a sneak peak into the season's hottest trends while supporting the Angel Foundation, Through an innovative and integrated approach of financial assistance, education and support, Angel Foundation helps adults with cancer and their families so that they may live life well with stability, strength and resilience. 

Again.  I love fashion.  I love fun, gifty items.  I love supporting those that give back, like the class acts at La Rue Marche.  laruemarche


Now, this is just a sprinkling of love for a few places.  If you keep your eyes open, you will see good everywhere.  While you are seeing it, try to do some good yourself.

Monday, November 26, 2012



You know that embarrassing moment when you see a girl wearing the same thing you are?  Imagine that moment at work.  Now imagine that happened with two people in the same day.  NOW imagine they were both tall and thin.  Yep, that was my morning.  Twins-ies!  Well, actually triplet-ies!!!  

Now I choose to see this as a case of great minds think alike.  Today, Julie (far right), Kim (far left)and I (middle) all wore the same Free People Shaggy Bear Pullover to work.  Believe me, it was not planned.  We just aren’t that coordinated.  Most times we can’t decide what we want to wear to work until five minutes before leaving the house and after trying on several options.

I can’t say I blame the other girls.  It was really darn chilly this morning and I wanted a snuggly sweater to wear.  This sweater is super soft (even my kidlets love how soft this sweater is), and fits a variety of body types.  Oddly enough, we all wore it in different colors and we all styled it slightly different for each of us.  Crazy, huh?  So let’s hear it for girls with amazing, yet similar taste! 

Skinny Jeans Note:  Yes, I am standing on a step ladder in the middle of the photo. *sigh*  Can I help it if I work with glamazons?  I think I picked the wrong day to wear flats.  Hopefully, Biggest and Littlest will get some height from their dad…


On Kim:

Free People Shaggy Bear Pullover in Ballet

Kut Diana Skinny Jeans (similar here)

Kennedy Smooth Racerback Tank in Rock

Gilded Single Strand Rectangle Crystal Necklace



On Julie:

Free People Shaggy Bear Pullover in Driftwood

Kennedy Cami in Ivory

James Jeans Twiggy Legging Jean in Blueblack

Sweet Pea Multi Colored Zig Zag Scarf in Blue

Posh and Ginger Loop Hoops with Beads



On me:

Free People Shaggy Bear Pullover in Natural

Design History Sequin Tank in Black

Paige Premium Denim Jimmy Jimmy Boyfriend Jean

Chateau Belle Black Stone Drop Earrings

Me Too Leopard Print Flats (similar here)


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Remember When…… Motherhood Before Vs. After

As a mom, sometimes I find myself remembering the days when I was childless.  It is odd to think about how much has changed in the past 5 years but there are always changes that make me smile and giggle.

Remember when…..

  • Your soaking tub was your getaway?  Now it is just a collection area for small children’s bath toys, soaps, and wash cloths.
  • The only person you worried about breaking an ankle while wearing your stilettos was you?  Now with each and every step your daughter takes while dressed-up-as-mom makes you cringe (or worry for your child’s future occupation).   halleshoes
  • Date night meant dinner and a movie? Now it is eating without small children interrupting and a movie from the Netflix queue, just in case you fall asleep.
  • Your purse only held your wallet, cell phone, lipsticks, compact, and other assorted adult items? Now at any point in time, you will find Hello Kitty barrettes, candy wrappers, fruit snacks, My Little Pony brushes, and a Barbie shoe. Inmypurse
  • Your makeup brushes were always clean and nice?  Now they are used as “paint brushes” on every surface of your house.  Try not to think to hard about it or it will gross you out.
  • The best one liners came from your friends? Now you find the things that come out of your kid’s mouths the funniest quotes in universe and share them all on Facebook or Twitter so others can laugh as well.
  • Laundry was done once a week?  Our current laundry load is daily.  And only a small portion of it belongs to me and the hubs.  How do small children go through so much laundry in the space of a day?  laundrysdone
  • You could party all night?  Now I am just happy to make it to 11:00 pm. 
  • Sleeping in meant you got up at noon?  Now I am just happy to make it to 7:00 am (and that is usually with the help of Nick Jr and a five year old who knows how to turn on the TV).
  • Your worst problem was your girlfriends borrowing your clothes, jewelry, purses, or whatever without returning them?  These things are harder to get back from a three year old.  They cry louder.
  • Using the bathroom by yourself was normal?  Now it is like a vacation, especially if no one is pounding furiously on the other side until you are done.  peealone
  • The biggest drama in your life was caused by men or bitchy girlfriends?  Now it is caused by a five year old who wants dessert but refuses to eat their  veggies or a three year old who doesn’t want to wear pants in sub zero weather.
  • :Your happiness revolved solely around you?  Now it is also tied up in the happiness of others.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I think I have been exceptionally good this year.  I am still gainfully employed, usually happily married, and my kids (and pets!) are all still alive (even the fish).  This should really put me on the nice list for 2012.  To help you out with your holiday preparations, I am being proactive in sending my Christmas list.  Here are the things I would like to ask for:

  1. Littlest to get out of her control freak phase.  While I love her spirit, it would be nice to see it channeled into areas other than arguing with me, Hubby, Biggest, teachers at school, the dogs…
  2. J-Crew Mini in Black Sequin.  Santa, you know I love me some daytime glam.  I would love to pair this with some opaque tights, funky necklace and a denim shirt (assuming I find one the fits my boobs someday).sequinedmini
  3. A denim shirt that fits my boobs.  That would be terrific. 
  4. A day at the spa that includes a manicure, pedicure, massage and facial.  I need some time to relax.  And pampering.  Plus I am too lazy to paint my own nails. 
  5. Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Cologne.  This is my favorite perfume.  It  smells so feminine yet clean.  And I am all out.  jomaline
  6. James Perse Shawl Collar Terry Blazer.  This has got to be one of the snuggliest things I have ever put on, super soft and extremely flattering.  Plus it would look great with my denim shirt that fits my boobs and my sequined skirt from J Crew.  jamesperse
  7. Paige Premium Denim Verdugo Skinny. I admit, it is my own fault that I do not have these yet.  I should have bought them when I had the chance.  But you know I love a good skinny jean and this is one of my favorites.  They are super flattering, give my flat tushie a lift, and hug nicely at the hips.   Plus, I can wear them when I take the sequin skirt to the cleaners!  verdugo
  8. Biggest and Littlest to learn to sleep in past 6:30 am on weekends.  Even if it is only once a month.  That would be swell.  Seriously.  Hubby would appreciate it too.
  9. Sorel Conquest Carly Short Boot.  Can you imagine?  A boot that is functional and adorable?  Santa, these need to be in my closet.  PLUS, they have a tiny heel to add height to a vertically challenged person like myself.  And I can get out an play in the snow (should it ever fall) with Biggest and Littlest.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.sorelcarly
  10. A few more votes on Top Mommy Blogs.  See that button on the side of the blog?  Have your elves click on that for me, would ya?  I want to feel popular and loved. 
  11. Another year with Hubby, Biggest, Littlest, Cooper, Louis and Ruby (maybe even throw in Flounder and Flynn Ryder too).  They make me happy.

So I know this may be lengthy and expensive list, but do what you can.  If nothing else, a Hot Mama gift card is always appreciated too.  Thanks, Santa!

The Toilet Situation: What Really Happened?

So if you follow me on Facebook, you may have read snippets about a broken toilet at my house.  Yes.   I broke the toilet.  However, it was purely unintentional.  I was doing good at the time.  I was actually changing the toilet paper roll.  toilet paper

Sure, it seems like such an easy thing.  Of course, if it was easy everyone would do it.  Us moms know that most people in our households are incapable of doing such a small task.  Yes, I will give Biggest and Littlest some credit.  They re still small.  As girls, they will soon enough learn the importance of a full roll of toilet paper at the ready. 

Now, changing toilet paper may not cause brain damage, but it can absolutely cause toilet blockage!  As I was changing the roll, the holder slipped out of the roll and dropped into the toilet, while it was mid-flush.  The holder shot perfectly down the hole in the toilet and was whisked away quicker than I could grab it out!  It was so perfect, it was like something out of the movies!  There was no torn between being freaked out and laughing.  I just started laughing.  Hard.  Damn, it was funny.

Once I calmed down (i.e. stopped laughing), I taped the toilet shut and put some things on top of it, to avoid using it.  Then, I left a panicked message on Hubby’s phone (he was still hunting for another day or two at the time).  I tried to form a plan of attack.  Luckily, I have a friend who is married to and is the daughter of a plumber.  Unluckily, they live four hours away.  Luckily, my friend was on Facebook the next morning for a few “What the hell do I do now” questions.  Now, I have to be honest.  I did not love her suggestions.  Some were ok.  She suggested we take the toilet apart to find the holder.  Some were not.  She suggested I stick my hand down the toilet to dig it out manually.  What the hell is that idea?  Theglove

So, wanting to be the good wife (and basically look cool when Hubby comes home), I decided to try the hand-in-the-toilet idea.  It was less than thrilling to me.  My friend, Heather, of Samuelson Laney Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling, Inc, suggested I get a veterinary glove which extended up my arm.  My first thought was, “where the hell will I get one of those”.  Then I remembered.  My friend Jen’s husband was a farmer.  I am pretty sure she laughed her butt off after hanging up the phone on the conversation where I asked for a cow birthing glove.  Once Jen, my awesome friend, delivered the glove, I was ready to go fishing.

It is never that easy.  Of course I was not going to be simply reaching up and pulling out the toilet paper holder!  The damned hole was freakishly small.  I could barely get my hand in it.  So, being the good mom I am, I wondered if my kids could do it.  I hadn’t picked the kids up from school yet, so I hurried off to do so.  I was surprised to find Biggest was freakishly willing to put her hand the toilet.  And scared, very scared.  Biggest came home, stripped off her shirt (because she meant business) and donned the big blue glove.  Unfortunately, she was unable to find the lost toilet paper holder.  toiletfix2

So this means I was forced to wait until Hubby came home from hunting.  It stinks not having your own toilet (no pun intended).  You have to remember to go to others.  It is a lot of work (yup, laziness at its finest).  Once he came home, we (i.e. he) started searching for the holder.  The efforts included not only taking the toilet off its spot in the bathroom but also taking the toilet apart, thus spewing nasty toilet water and TP all over the bathroom.  Gross. 

So Hubby came home and saved the day.  Not that he was without help!  Once the toilet was off and tipped over, I was the one who crawled on the ground with a  flashlight to spot the trapped toilet paper holder.  Then I was the one to reach in barehanded  and pull out the offending holder, once it was dislodged by a coat hander.  AND, I cleaned up most of the old wax seal and the nasty….stuff….which had found its way under our toilet.  Sure, it was technically my fault we had to move the toilet, but I still want some credit for the nasty stuff I did!toiletfix

In the end we were victorious.  It was not without some consequences.  I can only blame myself. And I am now terrified of using that toilet.  I am also terrified of changing the toilet paper roll.  Sure, I may someday get back to doing both of those things, but it won’t be without some wariness on my part.

The night we fixed the toilet, Biggest, Littlest and Hubby were sitting at the dinner table, discussing the broken toilet.  Next thing I know, I hear Biggest say, “Dad, you are like Fix It Felix. Mom, you are Wreck It Ralph.”  Then I heard Littlest say, “Dad, let's make Mom sleep in the dump tonight.”  *sigh* I am sure I didn’t help things later when (while wearing a red T-shirt and sporting crazy hair) started pounding on their beds yelling, “I’m gonna wreck it.” 

Why fight it?



***Note:  After writing this blog, Biggest told me I am no longer Wreck It Ralph.  She now says I am just doomed.***

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Life as A Model?

A couple months ago, I was approached by Woodbury Magazine to do an interview as a representative for Hot Mama (thanks to Laurie at Woodbury Lakes for the recommendation!).  The article was about dressing stylish yet age appropriate. I was psyched!  This is something Hot Mama excels at and I was blessed to be a representative.  How cool is that?

In September, I sat down with the lovely Angela Johnson, the extremely talented author of the article.  We discussed how to dress age appropriately yet fashionably.  Of course, skinny jeans was included in the conversation (like I would leave that out).  I don’t want to give away too many details because the article is set to be published in the January issue of Woodbury Magazine.  This may be a spoiler, but the impression I got from Angela is that her article was pretty good (this coming from a self proclaimed non-fashionista). 

During the interview, Angela mentioned a few pictures may be needed for the article.  So you can imagine my excitement to be contacted for photos.  Of course, I was surprised to find out I was going to be IN the photos.  Even further surprised to find out I was going to be styling the author FOR the photos.  Yes, I know I do this all day long but my work is not usually published.  Except by me and that is only in the blog.  Does that count?

So this morning was a mad flurry of activity, trying to get myself dressed for the photo shoot, while finding coordinating options for Angela and following the recommendations of our fabulous buying team to proactively think about what colors and styles would be moving forward into the spring.  No pressure.  Nope.  None at all.  Agh.  Who am I kidding?  We all know I love it.  Besides, I had the terrific Hot Mama Woodbury team of Julie and Jill to back me up.  Spoiled much?

So once Angela (who is adorable and fun to dress) and I were all gussied up, we posed for our pictures with the fabulous Emily, our photographer.  I am lucky Angela is such a peach, since modeling was a foreign experience to me.  We were trying to look like we were having a natural conversation while standing extremely close to each other and not actually talking.  I may have been asked to stop laughing so much.  Personally, I blame Angela for telling me about her son’s laughing yoga class.  Hee hee hee and ho ho ho kept running through my head.  Well, that and the fact that she was so naturally able to hold authentic poses while I was worried about having a double chin.  I guess I am not cut out to be a natural model,  no matter what I have learned by watching America’s Next Top Model (yes, I WAS smiling with my eyes).  I think I will stick to styling, mom-ing and blogging.

Please be sure to check out the January issue of Woodbury Magazine for better photos of Angela and me in our modeling debut.  Plus, she wrote a terrific article to match!


On Angela:

Shirt:  James Perse Slub Contrast Panel

Tank:  Nikibiki Smooth Racer Back Tank in Coral Red

Skirt:  XCVI Sara Skirt

Leggings:  Nikibiki Legging in Charcoal

Scarf:  Sweet Pea Multicolored Zig Zag Scarf in Fuchsia

Necklace:  Linden Hills Stone Tear Drop Necklace in Honey Jade

Earrings: via Hot Mama

Boots: Angela’s own (via Marshall’s)


On Me:

Hoodie:  Prairie Underground Cloak Hoodie in Black

Shirt:  Splendid Thermal Cowl Neck in Raspberry

Jeans:  Joes Jeans Jegging

Necklace:  Mia Berkley Silk Strand Necklace w/ Black and Smoke

Earrings:  via Hot Mama

Boots:  Naughty Monkey

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday: The Zombie Apocalypse?

8:00 pm, November 22nd.  That is when it all begins.  Mindless hordes will fill malls, parking lots, streets.  They will trample, maim, or destroy anything and anyone in their path.  While it does sound a lot like the zombie apocalypse, it is not.  It is Black Friday (hmmm……kinda still sounds the same….). 


When I was little, we always had friends over for Thanksgiving.  After dinner, the boys would watch football while the girls would go for a walk outside (weather permitting) to relieve some of the fullness from the meal.  Then, the next day day, we would get up at about 5:00 am to make the three hour drive to Minneapolis.  I would sleep in the back of our big red and white Econoline van the whole way there.  Once there, my mom, my sister and I would engage in the time honored tradition of Black Friday shopping.  We would hit Ridgedale or the Mall of America and get our holiday shopping accomplished in one weekend.  We did not worry about doorbusters, trampling others to death or finding the best deals.  We just wanted to get out and shop.  It is not like that anymore.   


It feels as though the post Thanksgiving shopping tradition has become a grotesque version of what it once was.  Gone are the days where we enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and activities as families, instead choosing to start camping in line at whatever big box retailer is offering the cheapest laptop.  Gone are the days of being thankful for what we have, instead choosing to get physical with other people over the hottest toy of the season.  I find it odd, that the chance to save $20 can turn the sweetest of people into raving lunatics, willing to run over others on their way to the electronics aisle. 

Ironically, the deals we think we are getting are usually not that good! The items are often cheaper quality or can be found for better prices at other times of the year! Yet, the second the title “doorbuster” is stamped on something, it becomes a hot commodity.


This year many stores are even opening up earlier that midnight, starting the complete elimination of family gathering itself.  Why even bother eating, when it will just give someone else the opportunity to get to a deal faster than ourselves?  Maybe we should turn Thanksgiving dinner into breakfast or move it to Wednesday? 

I know many of you reading this probably are thinking I am nuts, that you love the excitement of the day and the deals.  For me, the the excitement has gone and has been replaced by greed and ugliness.  It seems like a depressing start to the holiday season!  So I choose to stay with my family (or my sister and her family, since Hubby and the kidlets will be with his family this year). I would rather pay more for my gifts to spend time with my loved ones and avoid the Black Holiday chaos. 

For those of you braving the crowds, please remember to play nice with others. 

Or at least be prepared to defend yourself.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Widowed Since 2004

It is that time of year again.  My husband gets all hot and bothered.  He starts being really nice to me, letting me shop, letting me sleep in, encouraging me to get out with friends.  I know what is coming.  I am not stupid.  It is hunting season.  


Now when I married my husband I knew what I was getting myself into.  I always said I needed to marry a man who lets me talk.  He needed to marry a woman who lets him hunt and fish.  In my opinion, it is a fair trade.  He gets what he wants, I get what I want.  All the women who love Strokin’ Jokers (yup, that is the name of their hunting group), are taught early on what to expect.  Don’t try to change them, just learn to accept it.  We even had T-shirts made!


So for the next few days (and many of the past few weekends and weeknights), I am a single parent while my husband climbs a tree in the woods with a firearm, most likely with a hangover.  Sounds super fun.  And safe.  Again, not being stupid, I know his hunting season is not just about the thrill of “feeding his family for the winter” (because at this rate we will starve.  Just sayin’).  It is about the bonding experience he has with his friends.  And beer.  Lots of beer. 



So have fun, Hubby! 

I am going shopping.

And this is what I will buy….

freepeople Free People – Silver Reed Pullover Sweater

Yay for me!!!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

It’s Baaaaaaaaaack! Fancy Friday with Ashley Coconut.

OK, after a brief hiatus, we return to your usual Friday programming:  Fancy Friday with Ashley Coconut.  I missed her.  Did you????


Fancy Friday with Ashley Coconut:  Tighten Up!

This fall my goal was to push myself outside my wardrobe box by wearing more dresses and skirts. The only problem with this is I have to wear TIGHTS!! I used to hate tights.  They are tight on my stomach, always falling down, and seem to get snagged after a half an hour of wearing. Too much work.

Well, after two months of making myself wear them to get my money's worth out of my new dresses and skirts, I have found that I LOVE TIGHTS!!!


This week I am totally stepping out of my box and getting these….


These suckers are bright (and tight) and I couldn't be more excited to pair them with this new dress I just got:


….and this new dress. ( I have yet to purchase this but it will be mine. Everyone needs a new Christmas dress, right?):


And to top off my killer purple tights, I think I may NEED a killer new necklace or three?:





PS: If any of you were wondering, I did get my credit card back, only to be taken away a week later when my girlfriend and I had a little too much fun at a pop-up antique store.  At least my house looks cuter, right?!

Friday, November 9, 2012

15 Random Mom Thoughts

After the previous post, 15 Random Style Thoughts, I felt I should balance it out with my mom side.  Here we go: 

  1. I don’t like to share drinks with my kids.  They always backwash.  I have seen the floaters.  It is gross.
  2. I sometimes let my kids use my expensive bubble bath and bath bombs.  Other times I borrow theirs. dinosaur
  3. I don’t really care what my kids wear as long as they are moderately clean and weather appropriate. This is why my kids are often seen wearing striped tights, a tutu, leopard print shoes, and a pajama top.  However, if there is an important event or family pictures, I reserve the right to dictate wardrobe.
  4. Sometimes I stand in the shower a few extra minutes, just to have some time to myself.  I don’t really do anything, mostly just stand there and enjoy the warmth and quiet.  You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.
  5. I always let my kids lick the beaters. But I always leave a little extra in the bowl for me.  beaters
  6. Sometimes I think my husband is a better parent than I am.  He is more fun.  I always feel like I have to maintain order.
  7. I have put my kids to bed early just because they are driving me bananas.  True story.  Besides, they are always adorable when they are asleep.unconscious
  8. Sometimes when my kids do something nutty/weird/naughty, I secretly think “That’s MY baby!”.  Sure, I will say the offending child is her dad’s kid at that moment, but I know the truth in my head and am dang proud. insanity
  9. I often let my kids help me pick out my clothes.  For some reason, what color underwear I wear is crucial to them having a good day.  Sometimes Biggest is better at picking out accessories and shoes than I am. 
  10. Sometimes after my kids go to bed, I get out all their Barbies, baby dolls, and My Little Ponies.  I like to brush and style their hair so it isn’t a matted mess.  Occasionally, I will even go so far as to get them all dressed, so they aren’t naked.
  11. I love to secretly spy on my girls when they are playing.  They make up the best games and stories.  Or the weirdest.  I pray they never lose their amazing imaginations.imagination
  12. I don’t like to like to let my kids use my cell phone, computer, or Wii.  They have plenty of time to do things like that and will learn soon enough.  I hope this is one way I can help them keep their imaginations running wild.  Yes, I still use the TV as a fallback when I need a few minutes of peace.  Hey, I am far from perfect.
  13. I am scared for my kids to become teenagers.  I know what I was like as a teenager.  God, help me if they are anything like me (especially at the age of 14).  Except they will have cell phones, the internet, and social media to contend with.  Very scary.   
  14. No matter how many times I fail, I still try to reason with my kids.  They are three and five.  What am I thinking?  After reasoning fails, I sometimes resort to yelling.  Loudly.
  15. I love being a mom.  Yes, they make me nuts.  Yes, they are gross and dirty (oh, yeah.  I just said that).  Sure, sometimes they are cuter when they are asleep.  But I love those little stinkers to pieces.  Every day.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Material Girls!

Last Sunday, me, my sister, and several friends gathered together for a night of fun.  We were attending a Madonna concert!  Of course, it is never as simple as it sounds.  We were not going to just get dressed and get out the door.  We were going to be seeing the ultimate material girl herself, one of the best style icons in the world.  That requires some planning and prep work.  Fresh off last week’s blog post about Girls Night Out (yup, we left the boys at home), we had a plan. 

We started our day off early, with appointments at Blast Blow Dry Bar in Minneapolis.  My sister had arranged for blowouts and makeup for six of us.  Naturally, the excursion would not be complete without bringing champagne and cupcakes (Dorothy Ann Bakery = yum).  We settled ourselves in for some pampering and girl talk. 

Everyone else was getting their hair curled and blown out but I wanted to get nutty.  Since this blowout was not going to last past the night and I would wake up looking like a former member of Flock of Seagulls the next morning I wanted to be edgy in the moment. So what does that mean?  Faux-hawk, baby!  The stylist working with me took it one step further.  She used pink chalk to color my hair. I felt pretty badass. 

fauxhawk Next, I got my makeup done.  Now, we all know how much I love to do that.  As always, I sat down and looked at the makeup artist and said, “Do whatever you want.  Just make me look cool.”  Yes, she did.  She did a pop of color on my inner lids and a smokey exterior lid.  The middle was left neutral.  Lots of mascara and big old false lashes completed my eyes.  Then she gave me an ombre lip.  I will absolutely be doing that lip again in the future! 

My sister chose to channel an old Madonna look from the early 1990’s (like in the picture).  She was rocking big voluminous curls, a dramatic cat eye and bold red lips.  She even had the mole painted on!  Rawr.

Once we were all glammed up, we drove home to get dressed.  My kidlets were at my sister’s house, since Grandma was babysitting all four grandchildren while dads were deer hunting and moms were partying.  When we pulled up into the driveway, one of the neighborhood kids caught a glimpse of my pink faux-hawk and his jaw dropped.  Sis and I had quite a few giggles over his facial expression.  Our hair and makeup stopped our own kids in their tracks.  I may be having some hard discussions about Biggest and Littlest getting colored hair in the future.  They both LOVED my crazy look, with Biggest repeatedly telling me how pretty I was (say it with me now, “Awwwwwww).  The next hour was a flurry of activity as we finalized our ensembles, printed tickets (whole other drama there), had happy hour, snuggled kidlets, and got back out the door again.

Seeing as how we were making this a night out to remember, we started out with dinner at Barrio Tequila Bar in St. Paul.  I love the food at Barrio.  The tequila laden cocktails ain’t bad either!  We enjoyed some nosh and giggles.  The place was packed with fellow concert goers, which might explain the slower than normal service.  At least we could people watch, which is another joy of going to an concert like Madonna. At dinner alone, we saw lace, crimped hair, tutus, glitter, colored denim, leather pants, you name it! I even had the joy of spotting a couple ladies sporting Hot Mama purchases. 

Once we got bored waiting 30 minutes per round of drinks, we went next door to The Bulldog Lowertown and had a few more cocktails before heading off to the concert.  We were in no hurry, having been warned the Material Girl doesn’t hit the stage before 10:30 pm.  We could be fashionably late too.  Around 9:30, we finally piled all seven of us into a cab, much to the chagrin of the cab driver (he tried to talk us out of it) and headed off to the Excel center.  Once inside, again our eyes were assaulted by all types of crazy fashion choices. 

Now, I am not going to give too much detail regarding the concert itself, since I was not wow’d.  The theatrics were cool.  Madonna is in amazing physical shape.  She played mostly new songs and very few of her classics which made her famous.  I would have liked a little bit more bang for the buck in her performance.  I think my sister summed the night up best when she said, “This is a lot like prom.  All the fun was in the excitement of getting ready and going to dinner.  The event itself is just ok.” 

Overall, the whole day was a smashing success.  We got gussied up, had a good time, and got to be ourselves (not just moms) for a night.  Yay for us Material Girls!




If you are interested here is what I wore:

Blazer:  Aryn K (similar here)

Sequined Tank:  Free People (similar here)

Coated Skinny:  7 for All Mankind via Hot Mama

Tigris Earrings – Stella & Dot

Chimera Bangle – Stella & Dot

Bardot Spiral Bangle – Stella & Dot

Boots – via DSW

Monday, November 5, 2012

15 Random Style Thoughts

Every day, I get asked a lot of questions about style.  Since there are very few hard and fast answers, here are a few of the opinions I find myself sharing and believing in the most:

  1. Be overdressed instead of underdressed.  You are less likely to feel uncomfortable in any situation.  I would rather see someone in a ball gown at a football game instead of sweats at a black tie event.
  2. Shoes matter.  They should be clean and in good shape, no matter what style they are.  People will notice your shoes.  Always. goodshoes
  3. Everyone really can wear skinny jeans.  What matters is finding the right pair for your body type.  Try on lots and find the right pair.  It is worth it.  And try them on with boots.  Boots will keep you from feeling like an inverted triangle and add balance to your look. 
  4. Take five minutes to put on mascara and lip gloss.  You will look and feel more polished, even if you are only going to the grocery store.
  5. Find your style and embrace it. I don’t always believe in following the trends.  I dress how I think looks and feels good to me.  If that coincides with the current trends, great!  If not, oh well. faithful
  6. Try things on! Clothes will look different on you than they do on the hanger. Why do you think stores put clothes on mannequins? Because they look better on a body.
  7. Buy clothes in the correct size. You are not fooling anyone by dressing in baggy clothes.
  8. Make friends with a tailor. There is most likely not one article of clothing that was made for you specifically (although that would be pretty cool..). Have a tailor customize the clothes to fit you. Think sleeve length, hemlines, waistlines, etc. Little things make the biggest difference.
  9. Find a great hair stylist. I love my stylist. She gets me. Find someone who can do the same for you. It is worth it to get a great haircut and color. Much like shoes, people will notice your hair. Always. Before you ask, I see Tracy at Tangled Salon.
  10. Sometimes it is worth the extra money to buy a great pair of shoes, jeans, jacket, etc.  Often, the premium designers are using higher quality fabrics, put more attention to details, use consistent fit models.  In the end, you will have a product which will wear better and last longer. cocochanel
  11. Get a professional bra fitting and buy a good bra.  It will make you look slimmer.  Seriously.  And Victoria’s Secret is not my idea of a good place to get a bra fitting.  Go to a store where the employees are trained well on how to fit bras properly, like Nordstrom’s, Allure or Flirt.
  12. Love the body you have, don’t wait for the body you want.  Why are you waiting to buy clothes that fit?  Why not dress what you have?  You will look and feel better.  It is much more motivating than wearing ill-fitting clothing while you try to lose those last few pounds.  Somewhere out there is a woman who wishes she had your huge/tiny boobs or your big/small tushie or your long/skinny/muscular legs.  Enjoy all the beauty you were blessed with.
  13. Stop tanning.  Do you really want to look like an alligator handbag by the age of 30?  Or have skin cancer?  If you want a golden glow, get some self tanner or spray tan.  It is much safer.  But keep in mind, there is a fine line between looking tan and looking like you rolled in Doritos, so use a good self tanner.  Before you ask, I like Xen Tan
  14. Accessorize!  An outfit does not look complete without the finishing touches like jewelry, a scarf, a hat, the right shoes, whatever!  You don’t need to go crazy with them, unless that is your style.  But adding accessories turns clothes into a finished look.
  15. Fashion and beauty should be fun.  If it stresses you out, you are taking it too seriously.  Be playful with it!  Experiment.  Try out random ideas.  Some things may work, some things may not.  The world does not end if it doesn’t.  rachelzoe