Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Fall Wishlist


I've received quite a few requests to make another Fall Wishlist, so I thought I would put together a 2015 list of some of my favorite Fall Must-Haves! Or at least Wish-I-Hads! I'm trying to be more intentinal in what I bring into my closet, especially since I just cleaned out about 75% of it, and I'm attempting to rebuild it with staples I can rewear again and again. However even with that said, I still really love shopping at places like Forever 21 (Forever 33?) so this list will include a round up from four of my favorite places to shop online, from cheaper prices like F21 to more pricey items at say, Anthropologie. I also have to tell you guys that this is the fourth time I've attempted to sit down and do this post, and I've been totally unmotivated thinking about collecting the photos of each item, Photoshopping them into a collage, etc. So for the sake of actually getting around to sharing this post I'm just going to use text links. Lazy Bloggers Unite. It all ends in the same place, it just might not be as pretty. Take a look, have fun, and let me know your favorites! I'm thinking I need to do this again soon and include my other spots I love to shop- Nordstrom, Madewell, Free People, and Zara. Let me know if you're interested in that as well!

Forever 21

This tank has been my go-to for nights out lately. It's super flattering and because it's on the shorter side it's perfect paired with high waisted denim. I see myself wearing this as a layering piece a lot this Fall.

Some classic basics: this tee, this sweater (I'd definitely size up in this so it's a bit baggy), and this button up.

I'm loving these dresses: one, two, three, and four.

And this striped t-shirt dress too! I would size up in this and pair with a green army-type jacket and white Converse.

Shopbop

This dress is such a perfect summer to fall dress. I love the contrasting patterns and like all of Ace & Jig's clothing it will last forever.

Free People dresses are my very favorite and look amazing with ankle boots come cooler weather.

So last year I wore Birks and socks a few times and friends, I'll be doing it again. Another item I'm in the market for is a new pair of the Arizona Birkenstocks. They come in a ton of colors but I'm leaning towards the deep brown.

What are your thoughts on Bell-Bottom jeans? I feel like I want a pair for Fall but I've tried on two different pairs and struck out. There are a ton of great options here- maybe I'll try once more.

And another question. Frye boots? Have you ever owned a pair? My Mom swears by them (as do many of my girlfriends) but I've yet to take the plunge. Maybe this is the year! Which one pair would you choose?

I love this bucket bag, in wine or black!

I feel like every year I search for the perfect denim jacket to no avail. I've heard Blank Denim is great- I need to give them a try.

Urban Outfitters

This scarf is a MUST HAVE! Isn't it gorgeous?! Just looking at it makes me feel like drinking a hot tea on a bench outside somewhere while colored leaves are falling all around me. I'm serious! haha. ;)

This tank is perfect for layering, and I love the mustard color. Very Autumn-y.

Some tops I'm enjoying: one, two, and three. The last one is my very favorite.

I feel like Urban always has really good basics, and that's what I need more of. Just simple, everyday things I can throw on and go. I love this top, this top, and this layering dress.

I own a couple of these bralettes and they're my favorite- very comfortable and cute.

I JUST ordered these for myself. I've had the same pair of brown ankle boots for three years and they've finally kicked the bucket. I'm hoping these will be the perfect replacement.

Anthropologie

This is such a pretty pullover. It would be great with super dark denim and brown boots. I really love the color.

The perfect everyday tank. And the perfect everyday thermal!

I'm super into these joggers. Comfortable, casual, and cute. Add a white tee and some sneakers and you're good.

This cardigan is pricey but doesn't it look so cozy? I bet it feels like a dream.

Love, love, love this dress!

That's it for today...happy shopping! xoxo

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School!



I remember being a kid and back to school meant that our New Jersey weather was just starting to cool off with the arrival of September and Fall. It's still a little weird to me that Arizona starts school in July/August, but at least we get out in May, right? Either way it's back to school for us this year, for Henry at least! I'm so happy that he's not starting kindergarten for another 12 months- he only goes to a few half days during the week and I cherish all of the together time we get. And next year when both boys are in school (preschool for Charlie and Kindergarten for Henry), I don't know what I'll do! It makes me sad to think about it, but of course excited for them too. Ah, motherhood.

So, Rack Room Shoes reached out to me this summer to partner up for a Back to School post with the boys. Dressing the boys is second nature to me now but in the beginning days I felt like it was a struggle to find cute things- or at least even figure out what I thought was cute! Boy stuff was so out of my comfort zone, but now its obviously our everyday. Henry and Charlie typically wear the same kind of outfit all the time- a tee of some kind (with a hoodie or flannel when it gets chilly), a cute pair of jeans or shorts, and comfy shoes. I'm not big on having a million pairs of shoes for the boys- they typically have 1-2 pairs at a time and when they outgrow them we move on/pass them down if they're salvageable. That's why I really love both Nike and Converse (featured below). They LAST.

With a huge big selection for the whole family, Rack Room Shoes is a great option for back to school shopping, and I when picking the boys' shoes out I learned all about their "Buy One Get One 50% Off" promotion on all styles, everyday. Although these shoes were gifted to us you can bet that when we need new shoes I'll be buying from Rack Room- it just makes sense, especially if I'm buying a pair for each of us.

Another neat thing I wanted to share is their Shoes That Fit Donation program, where Rack Room Shoes provides new shoes to at-risk children to start the school year. Shoppers can register upon check out in-store, or online, and 100% of the donations will be distributed in the local area where the shoes were purchased. Local school liaisons will identify children needing new footwear in the area and supply them with new shoes- so all of the donations benefit students right where you live, in your own community. To amplify the impact of customer donations, Rack Room Shoes has committed to match 100% of all donations raised, up to $300,000. Over the last two years, Rack Room Shoes has donated more than $1 million to Shoes That Fit through the annual fundraiser. SO cool right?

Before you scroll down to the photos, here are the shoes we chose for each of the boys:

For Henry:
Nike Flex 2015 Run
Converse Chuck Taylor AllStar Street Mid 

For Charlie:
Converse All Star Lo
Nike Flex 2015 Run

Let me know if you end up picking up any shoes from Rack Room. Happy shopping...and happy back-to-school! xo



This post is in partnership with Rack Room Shoes.
As specified above, all four pairs of shoes were gifted to us from Rack Room Shoes as well.
Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Charlie is Two!


Two years old. I can't even believe it! Charlie has brought so much sunshine into our lives and it's impossible to even begin to touch on how wonderful this past year has been with him. Our baby is TWO! As much as I miss that tiny newborn stage, I have to say that toddler Charlie is pretty much the most fun thing ever. I'm going to skip on the long post for now, but I'll be back this week with some more thoughts on this little darling's second year. For now, I thought it would be fun to revisit this video I made last year, documenting Charlie's first year. Enjoy...and happy birthday Charlie babe!

 
 
 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tiny Little Diamonds Moving Across My Face


Sometimes I wish there was a way we could wake up and know when it would be the last time we would see someone. Upon rising our brains would give us that information- remind us to pay extra attention, tell people you love them, hug even harder, say goodbye. But that wouldn't work, would it? Someone like me wouldn't be able to gracefully end it, an expiration date on years and years of a relationship happening right then and there, a firm closing of a door. It wouldn't work. So instead we go about our days, we live our lives, we try to act in such a way that we won't feel regret or sadness when the inevitable does happen, although even as I'm typing this sentence out I know that it's impossible not to.

I remember where I was when we got the call that your body had been found. I can remember the green trees over my head for some reason- the leaves swaying back and forth and that shushing sound as the wind blew through them. It was so quiet except for that shush, shushing, and the sun glittering through that canopy like tiny little diamonds moving across my face as the leaves shifted back and forth. In my memory I knew it was a bad call before I knew it was a bad call, but really I don't know if I that is true, or if all of the terrible-ness of that moment bled into the before and after, creating an awful frame.

That was the first time I lost someone I really, really loved. I feel removed from it now, and to be honest I don't think of him as often as I once did. But then other times I'll be doing something, anything, and a weird wave comes rushing in- sounds and sights and feelings- and I'll remember it all. And now as a Mom I'll be pushing Charlie in a stroller past these particular places- we used to run on that track there, we used to grab dinner there, we used to sit on that porch here- and it's like time slows down for just a second, silent except for my heartbeat in my chest, memories dropping in quicker and quicker, until I feel like I have to visibly shake my head to keep moving.

Years have gone by now and we've lost other people we love. Time goes on, life goes on and things happen. Horrible things happen. The older I get the more I see this. And this morning I woke up with a head full of anxiety. In these moments or these kinds of days my brain is my enemy. I can go on for days, weeks, months happy and bouncing along, but then one day I will wake up and there it is- that fog. It's as if my body has a reset- things are going too well, too good- let's bring you back to reality, let's fuck you up. So I have a hard day where my mind races around anxiously and reminds me of anything upsetting that's ever happened. And when I sat up in bed at 6:10am all I could think about was the fact that you should be 28 years old right now. 28. All of the things you could have done with your life. And I felt so angry and sad because there's nothing I could ever do to change any of it. You missed out, we missed out, every person who never knew you misses out.

(And it's weird that I'm thinking about this now. I can see though it's a dream I had, a photograph I stumbled upon, an ex-girlfriend I ran into, a conversation with Hank, all rolled into this morning. Little pieces of memory floating around that finally found their place, together. Click. I sit here and type this post that I feel uncomfortable even sharing, but at the same time I know that when I get that feeling perhaps those are the posts that most need to be shared.)

We live in this small town and we go about our business, we take walks around the square in the green, bright summers and in the orange, crisp falls. The snow falls in the winter, the daffodils come up again in the spring. We have horrible days and great days, we do all sorts of everyday things that add up into one big feeling about what we're building- we work to figure out what this all means. I try to remember to pay attention, I tell my friends that I love them, I hug hard, I do my best to enjoy every moment. But then there are little spaces between all of that- bumps and blips on the timeline where you should be, where you would have been. A blank spot. And that hurts. But we keep going, we keep looking ahead, and as time goes on I've learned that instead of stopping in the places where you would have been, I need to carry you with me right over them. And in that way, you'll always be here instead of there, a part of the now instead of just then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Little Girl in the Yellow Room


There are so many things I want to save- an unending list of special pieces of time, morning to night that I would preserve if I knew how. I want to take these moments as they're happening and press them between pages, a daisy, a leaf, a ticket stub, forever safe. As I move through these days I feel like I constantly place markers in my memory. Keep this always. Never forget how this feels. I remember being a little girl, sitting in that yellow bedroom with the one window that looked out onto the driveway, building castles from blocks so my Barbie dolls could live inside. Oh, the dreams I had! Mamas and Daddies and babies, stories in those walls, a little girl's idea of what it would all be like.

It rained the other night- a monsoon storm that rolled in over the horizon like a blanket, gray and blue and black as the clouds moved together. I sat outside and watched the lightning, I listened to the thunder, I got lost in my thoughts and ended up somewhere thinking about all of the turns in the road that led me here. It's weird, right, how many possible outcomes there are. If I think too much about it it makes me crazy- going back in my mind to places I've been, people I've met, choices I've made. Do one thing, there you are. Choose another, there you go. But yet here I am- there you are- and we're right where we should be, if we believe in that. Or maybe we're simply just right where we are, and there isn't some roadmap of our decisions leading here, to this one story. I don't know.

But I sat out there and cried as it rained, Hank inside probably wondering what his crazy wife was doing, and I thought about how painfully grateful I am for this life. This story we're living- all of the everyday things we do that feel so tiny but are so big, all of the space and time and moments we share. I'm morbid, so my brain always goes to a weird dark side of things too- and I thought about how if I died right now, I would feel like all that I've experienced already has been so beautiful that it would be enough. Is that strange? Probably. But even though I absolutely don't want to die and there's a whole life out there to be lived and I can't even think about my babies being without me, I had this odd little thought. Strange, I know. But I think when you don't believe in anything after this, there's a whole different outlook on life that's there. The right now. The only now. And here we are.

Storms have a cleansing way about them, don't they? The way the water rushes over the pavement, cleaning out the cracks, even the smell afterward. And I sat outside until it stopped raining. I sat outside and let that summer storm roll right on through, and let it do its work on me too. I thought about that little girl in the yellow room with the Mama and the Daddy and the babies, who I am and all the people I've been since. The paper doll selves we all become as our stories fold into the next, one version of us into another and another, a whole army of past selves and experiences and memories, yet all that is seen is that first layer facing out.

When I came back inside I checked on the boys, sleeping soundly in their rooms. Hank reading in bed, Madeline laying on the couch, the last bits of rain running down the window behind her. All was well. Mama and Daddy and babies, the block castle we'd built standing tall and strong, and the little girl in the yellow room, smiling at her luck, tucked up somewhere inside of me too.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Our Stay at Amara Resort in Sedona



Last weekend Amara Resort and Spa invited us up for the night. We absolutely love Sedona and have visited countless times (it's just a little over an hour away), but have never stayed at Amara. I saw that it was a Kimpton property, which is a favorite of ours, so I knew it would be fabulous. And oh my gosh you guys, it was MORE than we had expected. Amara didn't ask for a blog post, or expect me to do one, but I really wanted to share about this special place tucked away in the red rocks with all of you. From check-in to check-out, the whole experience was really great and I can't recommend Amara enough.

The room we stayed in was right over the creek, and we left our windows open that night and fell asleep to the sound of the water moving over the rocks- it was so peaceful. The whole space was really beautiful- very modern and right up our alley. We had arranged for my parents to watch the boys so Hank and I could enjoy a night just for us, but when we got to the room we felt so bad we hadn't brought them along! They would have loved it. Plus it was a suite-style room, which is perfect when we travel as a family so we can put the boys to bed and still enjoy time on our own.

After oohing and ahhing a bit over the room, we settled in and then took a walk around the property. They have the most amazing infinity pool backing right up to the red rocks and a big area with games and activities right there too. Very, very cool. We checked out some of the hiking trails that surround the resort, then went back to get ready for dinner. Being the planner I am, I had to look up Saltrock Southwest Kitchen beforehand and had read all about the best things to order, etc. But much to our delight when we arrived (the restaurant is right in the hotel) our wonderful server Wade explained that the chef had something special planned for us. We ended up enjoying an eight-course meal prepared by the talented Chef Keith. It was INSANE. Every dish was better than the last! Some of our favorites: the roasted corn (sounds simple and it was- but it was also the best and most flavorful corn I've ever had), the duck confit tacos, and the achiote chicken breast. So good. I had a couple glasses of the Stronghold Rose and as we sat there sipping our drinks and eating such amazing food with that VIEW...I almost wanted to start crying with what a beautiful night it was. Hank and I hadn't had a night away for just the two of us in so long, and it was truly a treat to be able to enjoy such a special evening together. Our server Wade made the night so special, and we enjoyed our conversations with both him and the Chef. I can't say enough good things about the whole dinner experience.

We rolled our very full selves home and ended up falling asleep super early, which was another treat since as much as we love it, we knew we would have no little guys jumping on us, yelling "good morning guys!" the next morning.

We naturally woke up before 7am of course- thanks internal alarm clocks- and headed down to the spa to take one of their yoga classes. These classes are part of your stay, which is amazing. The class was excellent, held in a bright studio room in the spa, and both Hank and I really really enjoyed ourselves. It was the perfect way to start the day. And a tip if you do stay at Amara, be sure to sign up ahead of time. There was only one other woman in our class, but I'd imagine it could get crowded if a bigger group signed up. And then to top off what really was a dream weekend, I was lucky enough to get a massage. Words can't even describe that whole experience either- wow. I haven't had a massage in years, and it was just such a great cap off to our time in Sedona.

If you're close by or are planning a trip out West, come to Sedona and stay at Amara! It's hip, it's fun, it's cool...but without even trying to be any of those things. Super accessible, everyone we encountered was so kind, and the overall vibe is exactly what you would hope for- positive and light and really inviting. I also loved that we were able to arrive, unplug, and do everything right there! Hike, eat, swim, yoga, spa, etc. It really is the perfect destination. And a good pick for a family trip too. Anyway, I could go on. But I just really wanted to share this special gem with you guys. Please let me know if you end up booking a trip! I really hope you do. And thanks Amara, for hosting us. We can't wait to go back!

xoxo



Saturday, August 1, 2015

Weekend Links


Heeey! Happy Saturday night! I've been bookmarking a ton rad reads this past week, and I hope some of them make you smile, inspire you, or just make you think. Enjoy!

Planned Parenthood gets over $500 million annually in public funds. Here's where it goes.

How (and why) I Meditate.

I'm sorry, but Taylor Swift annoys me to an insane level. Agree/disagree? A bit from this article: "By centering Minaj's observation around herself, and thus shifting the narrative into a Nicki vs. Taylor story, she silenced Minaj, dismissed her experiences, and derailed an important conversation about race and gender."

There have been 204 mass shootings- and 204 days- in 2015 so far.

Texts of misery from camp.

How amazing does this salad look?

Did you ever watch the movie Kids? I saw it in high school, and it's really stuck with me. Here's an update on the characters.

A really interesting read about Bill Cosby.

23 vegan meals with tons of protein.

Love: this Ace & Jig top (a splurge but so cute), this Free People denim shirt (I just got this and it's the perfect fall piece- know that it runs big), and this cute dress under $40.

Identical twins, separated at birth...but find each other online 25 years later. Wow! Be sure to watch the documentary trailer within the article too.

And finally:  Inhabit it NOW. God, this was inspiring.

Have a great rest of your weekend! xo

 
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