How To Prepare For Spring In 5 Easy Steps

Are you thinking that Spring is here finally(silly, silly you) – here is how to get ready in five easy steps!

 

1. Get those feet Summer ready! Take off UGG to put on sandals you dug-out from under 450 sweaters in your closet. Look down at feet.  Realize that no one should ever see your toes again. Consider cutting nails, waxing, toes, filing off dead skin, painting toe nails, wearing socks with your sandals. Decide it cannot be spring yet and put UGGs back on until June.

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2. Put away coats, hats, and mittens by your entry way!  Haul down 10 giant plastic tubs from the attic and put them in the middle of your living room. Realize your need to wash or dry clean all coats. This takes approximately four days and $400. The plastic tubs still sit in your living room. In the meantime you need to match all mitten and glove pairings. Cannot find any mates. Throw the rest away. Decide what coats your kids will outgrow by next Fall. Decide all of them. Start making piles for ‘donation’ ‘consignment’ ‘hand-me-downs’ and ‘will wear again’ – and then decide this project is way too big for just one day. Let the tubs and coats sit in your living room for another week. Thank god, because it snowed again so you had to wear almost all of the items again. Too bad you threw all of the mittens away. A month later you finally get all of the coats put away. And then it snows again.

3. Find your Spring clothing! Put on a skirt because it’s much too warm for jeans or leggings. Look at hairy legs. Realize it’s too much effort to shave. Put leggings back on. Then UGGs.

4. Prepare of sunlight! What is that giant orange ball of light shining through your windows. Your windows with a film of winter crap, and full of water and snow spots, and fingerprints from the children begging to go outside and play, and cat nose prints. You did not notice any of this because you hadn’t seen the sun in so long. Decide you must wash windows to enjoy the Spring sunshine. This takes approximately four years because you only wash maybe two windows and say screw it because you too want to enjoy the sunshine.

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5. Prepare the backyard to play! The snow is finally melting. The snow that has been piling up in your backyard since November. You see, in Minnesota we don’t get snow and then have a melt. We just have snow accumulation from November until April. As the snow melts your backyard becomes an archeology dig site.  You find: six balls, five hula-hoops, two pens, a sharpie, 22 ponytail holders, nine newspapers, a library book, six pieces of sidewalk chalk that are no longer completely intact, your neighbor’s dog, two towels, a cardboard box, 15 jump ropes, 73 cents, and of course four mittens that would’ve completed some of the pairs that you already threw away.

 

Now I’m too exhausted to even enjoy this warmer weather. Well, only five more months before we have snow again! Thank goodness I did not put my UGGs away!

 

What is your favorite season?

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In honor of our first day hitting 60 degrees since last October – I did break-out some Spring-ish clothing! First time without a heavy sweater and UGGs. And my body did not shrivel up and die.

Whippy Top and Heather Leggings from Matilda Jane, cardigan from Target, TOM wedges, Presley Scarf from Aventura Clothing. (Linking up with What I Wore Wednesday with The Pleated Poppy) Astrid in Matilda Jane.

 

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20 Things I’m Giving Up For Lent

1. Caring that I don’t have a set of matching dishes and why should people have this by the time they turn 45.

 

2. Checking to see if my ass looks good in a particular pair of pants. I’m just walking out of the house knowing that my ass looks good in all the pants.

 

3. Caring what you think about my ass.

 

4. Bitching about no one helping me around the house – but making time to make sure that everyone helps around the house.

 

5. Cleaning up toothpaste blobs out of the sink unless I was the maker of the toothpaste blob.

 

6. Wearing matching socks. I wear boots 99.9% of the time anyway – so let’s just all wear mismatched socks. I’m done matching socks at all. Even for you.

 

7. Spending more than I save. I will not buy things because they are on sale. I will buy things because we need things. Not just because OMG so pretty!

 

8. So I’m giving up all of the catalogs that come to my house. HOW to make them STOP!

 

9. Wearing head to toe fleece to bed. This is both because it’s cold and for husband repellent. I hope it gets warmer. For Jed’s sake.

 

10. Feeling not good enough or young enough or rich enough or hip enough to shop anywhere. I will feel comfortable everywhere I go. Except if I go to a strip club. I don’t know if I would feel comfortable there at this point. Unless there were free drinks. But I need to get to the point where I feel more comfortable going into H&M than into a strip club.

 

11. Guilt for not volunteering at school more. I don’t like to be around that many children at one time. All things in moderation.

 

12. Procrastinating. Okay – staying off Facebook until my work is done. Also, no more cat videos until my work is done. Or online shopping until my work is done. No more BuzzFeed quizzes until my work is done. No more finding out what my John Travolta name pronunciation is until my work is done. No more playing with the cat until my work is done.

 

13. Pretending that Astrid is not going to kindergarten in the Fall. Telling her she’s going to be home with me FOREVER is not healthy for either of us. But I’m totally going to college with her.

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14. Obsessing over getting a nose piercing and just going to get the damn nose piercing.

 

15. Embarrassing my tween. I don’t think I really do this. But because I BREATHE, it turns out I do this. I promise to breathe quieter and from a distance that is approved by this tween and not talk about her ever again.  You totally should hear what she said today though.

 

16. Stop eating the peanut butter directly out of the jar and maybe double-dipping with the spoon.

 

17. Typing LOL when I text, email or message people. I feel like it makes me look less professional. LOL

 

18. Stop drinking coffee at 10pm. HEY THERE PEOPLE – WHATCHA DOING UP SO LATE?

 

19. I’m giving up negative people and those who just want to gossip. Seriously, did you hear what Susie said the other day? Right? She’s so weird and I like totally cannot believe she did that! I mean – who’s Susie?

 

20. Eating coconut. Okay – I hate coconut, so I’m not really giving that up. But I could only come up with 19 things.

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What I wore to work today – very awesome gray woolish blend legging-ish pants from H&M, black sweater from Poppy Togs, and black booties from Seychelles.  Astrid is wearing Matilda Jane.

 

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

 

What are you giving up for Lent?

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How To Become A Yeti

I’m going to talk about winter again. Go ahead and click-away – but you know you really want to read more about it because it’s really all we talk about now. We talk about it with our stylists, our mail carriers, our grocery baggers, our neighbors, strangers on the street that you are pushing out of snowbanks, bank tellers, UPS drivers, the cashier at Target, every parent at preschool, the teenager down the block who never smiles anyway, and my mother – because she’s in Arizona for the winter and I kind of don’t like her anymore.

 

Also, I’ve worn a hat, mittens, wool socks, fleece pajama bottoms, three cardigans, a scarf, and possibly a winter coat on since November. In my house. We keep the house at about 57 degrees so it warrants inside hat wearing to keep the heating bills down.

 

At any rate – what happens when you are toe to top of head covered, you forget you have a body under there. Also you become a Yeti.

 

Because Yetis are hardy. And hairy.

 

Things I haven’t done since November.

First let’s reminisce about what I looked like last November. Also, let’s reminisce about the sun.

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I haven’t:

-cut my hair

-colored my hair

-styled my hair

-looked at my feet – you don’t even want to know what’s going on with my feet right now

-paid attention to my hands. My nails are all broken off from the dry cold, and my skin in cracking. Enough said.

-shaved my legs or armpits

-if fact, paid attention to any hair on my body

-did you know that body hair is warm when you grow it out

-and it doesn’t bother anyone when you’re wearing at least five layers at all times

-and don’t even try to get fresh and remove my fleece pajama pants because 1. It’s effing cold and 2. You don’t even want to know what’s growing under there.

-and wow how pedicure/manicure/waxing services must have a huge boom in in business in Minnesota once the temps rise above freezing. Yeti waxing specials everywhere!

 

But we have a wedding to attend soon – so besides thinking about having to shave my legs and maybe actually buy a razor, I also finally got a cut and color.

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But then I still had to leave the salon with a hat on. Because Minnesota. And -12. So no one saw my hair. So this is all you will see of my new cut.

 

I feel better. Just don’t look below the top of my head. Because the Yeti is still in there.

 

And I think I need to take things slow – not to overwhelm this winter body. Also shaving sounds cold.

 

Next week LEG SHAVING.

 

The week after ARMPIT SHAVING.

 

Maybe then some pedicure action.

 

Who knows how crazy I’ll go after that.

 

All I know is that no one wants a Yeti at their wedding. Unless you’re a Yeti. Then you want alltheyetis. YETIWEDDINGS! New Minnesota Winter Business!

 

When I do have to leave the house – I do get dressed sometimes….

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This week I wore my Matilda Jane Ruffle Pants – YOU NEED THESE. They are the like yoga/sweatpants with style. I get stopped no less than four times at the grocery store every time I wear these. Trust me. I’ve styled them with with Nine West motorcycle boots, a Gap cami tank and a gray Dove sweater – also from Matilda Jane. Scarf old – Target maybe? (Please note this was also pre-haircut – so awful pony…sorry.)

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Astrid is wearing the Ice Cream Social skirt from Matilda Jane, a souvenir tee from Albuquerque, and leggings from Target. She wore this to preschool for the morning and then hung out with Yeti-Mom for the afternoon.

 

How’s your Yeti-ness treating you this winter? Make me feel better and tell me you don’t shave either….Or just lie to me.

 

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A Trend I Miss From The 80s

This decade is confusing to me. I see my kids wearing neon, off-the-shoulder Flashdance type shirts, converse hi-top sneakers, and feathers in their ears and hair.

 

They are stealing things from the 80s. From my decade. My teenage years were influenced by the end of disco, the emergence of punk, and the puke popular Top 40 that consumed my life. My teenage closet looked like Boy George, Madonna, Michael Jackson, WHAM, and Cyndi Lauper had a love child and it vomited up neon, sequined gloves, lace, oversize shirts, and scrunchies.

 

This is probably why my mom used to cry at the mall when I wanted JUST ONE MORE NEON GREEN TOP, and why she may have snickered when I left the house each morning.

 

It’s also why my brother – HELLO 80s Prep-argyle-stand-up-collar boy – used to refuse to be seen with me.

 

But I don’t want to talk about the musical trends or fashion trends.

 

This is the trend that I miss most from high school.

 

Linking up with MamaKat’s vlogging workshop.

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You Need Hi-Rise Jeggings In Your Life

I haven’t written a fashion post in a very long time. If you’ve been reading me for more than a few months, you may remember when I gave lots of fashion advice. Because shopping. And scarves. But then The Cold settled on Minnesota and I’ve honestly been wearing fleece leggings, UGG boots, sweatshirt tunics, and hats day and night. In fact I have trouble even getting dressed in the morning because it’s so damn cold – and all that seems appropriate to but on my body is something that is fuzzy inside. So fleece leggings, shearling boots, and fleece sweatshirts and fleece lined hats have become my complete wardrobe.

 

My cat is lucky that I don’t put him down my pants because if I could wear him – I totally would.

 

And nobody really wants to read about cat fashion.

 

So my fashion posts have been lacking. Well, they’ve also been lacking because each time I do try to take a fashion picture – I get photo-bombed by Astrid. Four year olds are awesome. Always.

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However, I left the house and headed to the mall last week and felt that I should change out of my fleece and into ‘real people’ clothing.  And the main clothing article I wanted to show-off were my new favorite jeans.

 

I’ve complained before how I hate jeans, cannot find jeans to fit my body, and refuse to spend a boat-load of money on them. But I mean who would like jeans if you could choose fleece leggings every day.

 

But I was browsing online at American Eagle for some inexpensive tops and I saw this little picture with some cute jeans that read HI-RISE JEGGINGS. Now, being a mother of three, having a bit of a muffin top from said children, and an appreciation for anything that can combine my darling leggings with jeans – I was intrigued. And they were only $25.

 

I bought two pairs. And I just cannot express to you all how much I love these jeans. They are flattering – and can be worn as jeans – not just as leggings – the pockets are awesome, the fabric is stretchy and soft yet holds its shape, and they are so comfortable and look like expensive jeans.

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I am now living in my hi-rise jeggings – if I leave the house.

 

For sizing – just order your typical size. And even though they say ‘hi-rise’ – honestly I consider then medium rise or COMFY rise as in my butt-crack ain’t showing but these are NOT mom-jeans – so no worries my friend.

 

You will thank me when you wear these. They’ll be like your new best friend. Only better because they make you feel awesome even if they don’t call for days.

 

Also wearing:

Black tank top from The Gap. I no longer even wear a bra(not that I did a lot anyway – but now I just wear a tank or cami to layer under allmyfleece)

Lucy Black Stay Present Jacket that I now LIVE in – because fleece AND style! YOU NEED THIS!

Infinity scarf  and caute bowling style handbag from a local boutique – Poppy Togs and Clogs

Riding boots from Nine West from a few years ago.

 

And Astrid is wearing head to toe Matilda Jane with adorable UGG Jorie boots from Nordstrom.

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

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Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway

It’s no secret that I love a good dress. I also love vintage clothing, great fitting items, simple styles and amazing selection at the right price.

 

And I think I found the perfect dress that I wore out for a meeting last week. (Linking up to What I Wore Wednesday with the Pleated Poppy)

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I was thrilled to receive the Ever After Dress from Shabby Apple.

 

The fabric and color are amazing and I cannot wait to wear this many times as my go-to dress this Fall! It falls right about my knee and the modest neckline will be fun to accessorize with so many colors, scarves, necklaces, shoes and boots. Seriously – so many options!

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Do you know about Shabby Apple? I cannot spread the love enough – they are amazing and every woman needs a dress from them…

At Shabby Apple, we believe in both femininity and feminism. As feminine women, we create clothing that is artful in design and crafted with a vintage-style flare. Each piece is carefully constructed to both flatter a women’s figure and maintain her mystery. As feminists, we created a company that is women-owned and operated and that donates to help other women start their own businesses. With our old-fashioned style and modern ideals, we believe the best is yet to come!

 

And today I am giving away a Shabby Apple Dress! The At Last Dress in the size of your choice. ($84 retails value..and is basically the dress I am wearing, but in a gorgeous olive green which is perfect for the season!)

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Back To School

The big kids went back to school this week.

First Day Of School

And I miss them.

 

Or Astrid misses them. And Truffle – dang Truffle cat misses them a lot because now Astrid has no one to play with, so Truffle has to wear stuffed animals on his back and try to put together puzzles. And he’s really bad at puzzles because he doesn’t have thumbs. So he was fired yesterday as Astrid’s playmate and she asked me to step-in.

Save me!

Save me!

I also suck at puzzles. Also, I’m horrible at playing Little People. And her dress-up costumes don’t fit me. She also doesn’t think I’m very good at reading. You see she and Eloise were trying to get through all of Roald Dahl’s books this Summer and they didn’t quite finish The BFG yet – so she asked me to read a chapter. And I guess I really suck at reading…so Astrid told me to stop because Eloise does voices better and I’m super boring.

 

So I’m apparently not good for anything but fixing snacks and wiping her butt.

 

Other than that – Astrid wishes that her sisters never had to go to school.

 

I’m feeling that way too. I miss them. We had an amazing Summer. From roadtrips, to camps, to days at the pool, and cool nights of riding our bikes to ice cream – this Summer might go down as one of the best.

 

Which just means that I am going to plan for The Super Sucky Summer of 2014 – because I don’t want to miss my kids next Fall when school starts again.

 

Because it hurts.

*****

But the girls are back in the school-grove and seem crazy happy just living their fancy school lives without us. They missed their friends I think. And maybe they were sick of me nagging them to clean their rooms.

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(Eloise is wearing jeggings and booties from Justice, a top from Nordstrom and we hand-painted her panda nails)

Eloise loves fifth grade and has an awesome teacher. In Eloise’s words – and in one really really long run-on sentence “Seriously, my teacher is amazing – she is super strict – which is so awesome because you know I love class control and someone who is organized and structured and keeps the crazy boys inline – and she’s is totally that kind of teacher…AND the best part is that we get homework every night – even weekends and we have to write a three page essay the first night of school – this is like crazy amazing and I really love my teacher and it’s going to be the best year ever and I’m going to my room now to do my homework so don’t bother me and I hope we get even more homework tomorrow and I’m going to work on some extra math tonight because I am going to try to get placed in 7th grade math this year because I want more work and to learn more and always be challenged.”

 

Mon Dieu.

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(Esther is wearing a dress and jacket from Justice. Sandals are Lelli Kelly)

Eloise loves third grade and her teacher is also super amazing. Esther didn’t have much to say except that she had two recesses and they had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Also, her old boyfriend is in her class and she giggled a lot about that because she still likes him, but he likes Ruby better now, but Ruby is Esther’s friend – so it’s okay that he likes her. And she played with lots of friends at the playground and they chased and stuff and she needs to wear bike-shorts under her skirt tomorrow because she wants to climb on top of the monkey bars. Also, they had popcorn for snack and Maggie got cool new shoes and she’s looking forward to music class.  Also, a boy said bad words on the bus, so she moved seats. Obviously.

 

I think maybe Esther also had math, reading and other such school subjects – but those were not mentioned.

 

So happy school year everyone!

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Baby It’s Hot Outside

We are in the middle of a heatwave in Minnesota. It’s been in the 90s and nearing 100 all week with high energy-sucking humidity.  My friends in Malaysia are laughing at me for whining and think I’m crazy for wishing for snow right about now.

 

To beat the heat we’ve been spending time in the water, the movies and the mall..and doing a lot of quiet activities inside the house.

 

I took the kids to the pool on Sunday and we spent over six hours there. You know it was hot out if I actually spent quite a bit of time in the water. But I did find time to doze off for a bit while Astrid took a nap in the shade next to me. Esther decided to capture a picture of me so she could make fun of me later.  My big girls are quite the fish now and did not take a break the whole time we were there.

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I’m wearing two swim separates from Target. Yay for still wearing a bikini at nearly 45 years old and after 3 kids. Hopefully I can still say that when I’m 65.

 

It’s been more difficult to stay cool while running. I’m running about 45 miles per week as I train for Twin Cities Marathon – so dressing in light tanks and shorts is key. And carrying as much water as I can as well as some gels for nutrition. I am thankful to find water fountains to refill my water along my route. Hydrate!!!

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My running skort is from Athleta and my tank is from Team Sparkle. I love my running belt to hold my waters, snacks and keys.(Also, dirty mirror in our construction zone – sorry).

 

And hell has really frozen over -I seriously believe someone has taken my soul – I talk about homeschooling, moving to the suburbs, and how I all of sudden really love my Republican-gun-toting husband – but the biggest news is that I WORE SHORTS for the first time in about 8 years. I know, right. But they are so ‘in’ this year, that I decided to try a pair and I love them! I still love my skirt and dresses best, but may consider buying more shorts.

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Shorts from Anthropologie and my tank top is from The Gap. Shoes are Born.

 

How are you keeping cool this Summer?

 

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

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Jeans and Kitties and Nursing Bras, Oh My!

Yesterday, I cleaned out my entire closet and every single kitchen cabinet. I filled four large bags with garbage and another three bags for Goodwill. I’m not sure that I had seen the very, very back of some of my kitchen cabinets since we moved to our house in 2005. Did you know that I own a waffle iron? Well, not anymore. Also a Panini making iron thing and a large pasta bowl. Also Tupperware from 1972 in case you are interested. Pickle keeper? Gravy maker? Lettuce crisper anyone? I’m not a keeper of the leftover type person, so no wonder I had no idea that I even still owned any Tupperware. Also, I donated five nursing bras circa 2002. You’re welcome.

 

I guess all of this cleaning and purging and throwing away of the nursing bras means that I’m pregnant.

 

Can you imagine?

 

It’s funny, because I never liked babies until I had my own, and now that I don’t have babies anymore, I don’t want to hold any other babies either. I see a baby and I run the other way shouting “I don’t have any butts to wipe in my house anymore – I WIN!” Really, I do that.

 

So it’s a good thing that ship has sailed. Kittens! Kittens! I want more kittens!

I’ve spent so much time blogging over the past five years that I’ve really let my house go. I mean I do the whole dust, vacuum, mop, bleach a toilet thing – but I haven’t done a deep clean for a very long time. (Please don’t open my linen closets or go in my basement).

 

So I’ve decided to focus less on blogging and more on getting my house in order, because at my age, multitasking is difficult. And also if I don’t clean more, I might just lose a few baby kitties in the way-backs of my kitchen cabinets. Death by Panini maker. It happens.

 

Next week I will tackle the linen closets, then it’s the basement, and then the office. OMG the office. Don’t even ask. By then my kids will be home from school so I can put them to work too. “What did you do on your Summer vacation?” will be answered with “I sorted sheets and swept dust bunnies out from under furniture!” All of the other kids will be so jealous.

 

Maybe I will start a Summer cleaning camp for kids next year! Maybe I can even charge $250 a kid per week just like all the other camps do. I’ll be rich and have a clean house! And just think of all the life-skills I’ll be giving these children.

 

It’s been the perfect time to stay indoors and organize as it’s like 35 and pouring rain in Minnesota right now.

 

So I’m wearing jeans. Yes, we are moving to fashion right now because I want to give a shout-out to the The Pioneer Woman – because she so obviously needs my blog traffic.

She posted recently about her favorite jeans – which are the Skinny Kicks from American Eagle. I admit, I was skeptical. I mean I hate jeans anyway – but I trust Ree, so I ordered a pair – and seriously, the fit was perfect. I LOVE THEM! I cannot believe I love a pair of jeans. They have a perfect rise, great length, they are skinny jeans – but with a bit of flair at the bottom so your butt does not look so wide, the back pocket placement is awesome, and have the perfect amount of stretch. I LOVE THEM. And the price is right – $24!!!!! (I’m also wearing a great poncho that I picked up at Poppy Togs and Clogs and some Frye boots).

 

Let’s just hope I can wear some Summer clothing soon – I may love these jeans but I’m ready to get some color on these legs.

 

And if the sun comes out I have an excuse not to clean my house anymore.

 

More What I Wore Wednesday inspiration found at The Pleated Poppy.

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Listening To Your Mother – A Recap

I think I’m depressed. You know that feeling of pouring your complete heart, soul, body and mind into something for many months…

 

..and then it happens. Which means it’s over.

 

And then you wonder what to do with yourself the next day. And the next. And the next.

 

When all you want to do is rewind to the week before that big thing and do it ALL AGAIN because it was such a beautiful labor of love and you just want it all back and for it never to end and you try to figure out how to bottle up all of the people who have now forever changed your life and put them in your pocket and carry them around next to your heart forever. But you realize that you cannot physically do that. So instead you just walk around in a daze for a week and ponder the meaning of life and maybe drive by their houses and start stalking them on Facebook because you just really really want to hug them again, but can’t because – WEIRD – to let them know you are stalking them.

I so love my partners in crime - Heather, Vikki and Galit.

So you just have to slap yourself across the face and wake the eff up and get on with your life and realize that you do have them close to you – because they shared their words with YOU and 500+ others and you will forever have those words to remember them by. Those words of motherhood – the babies, the pets, the children, the mothers, the jobs, the teens, the college students, the silly things and the sad.

 

All of the words of motherhood that connect us.

 

I still cannot believe we did it – made Listen To Your Mother – Twin Cities happen. But it did. And it was more than we could have ever hoped – from the submissions, the auditions, the talented cast, the sponsors, the cause, the theater, the community, the audience, our families, and just everything. It was honestly near perfect. Which really scared the absolute shit out of me.

Our cast received a standing ovation and hoots and hollers and hundreds of hugs after the show. Their stories and words touched hundreds of hearts – from kids to moms to dads to loves and strangers.

 

Everyone listened.

 

Even my kids. My kids were there. I told them they didn’t have to come – it would be boring for them – listening to moms read for 90 minutes – just stay home and watch Good Luck Charlie.

But they came. I didn’t see them after the show. They rushed home to get to bed from a very late evening for them. When I got home at nearly 1am, I went into their rooms and kissed their foreheads and tucked them back in as I listened to their steady breathing. The next morning they could not stop talking about the show. The listened and they remembered every reader, every story, every name and every subject. They had favorites and questions and could not stop talking about how much they loved the show. For the next three days they kept referencing the program to try to learn more about our cast and they spent time on their individual blogs to see their kids and learn more about their stories.

 

And they told me that we did a good job.

 

And could not wait to see it again next year.

 

Next year. Which means I cannot sit around being depressed and doing nothing for much longer. Because next year is going to be epic.

Our LTYM - Twin Cities Cast and Crew - Photo Credit - Jennifer Liv Photography

Now go listen to your mother.

 

Thank you Twin Cities for being so damn adorable.

 

**Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday – I love my dress from Poppy Togs and Clogs -  one of our LTYM Twin Cities sponsors.

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A Summer Trip To Mall Of America™ and a Giveaway!

It’s not a secret that I like to shop. It’s also not a secret that my daughters are getting older, finding their own sense of style, and also love to shop. I’m an equal opportunity shopper in that I love to shop online, in small local boutiques, and also at our local malls. However, when it comes to making the whole family happy – with a good selection, activities, food and fun – well the Mall is where it’s at.

So consider us about the luckiest shopper family in the world that we have Mall Of America in our hometown! Mall of America has pretty much everything, which is why I find myself visiting there at least once a month if not more. And I don’t go there just to grab the latest fashions and sales from my favorite shops at MOA™ (that’s what we all call it), it is a great morning outing for me and my toddler on a quiet Tuesday (Toddler Tuesday® offers fun events just for the little guys!) when we are looking for something to do, a perfect and central place to meet for dinner with my girlfriends, the place that I take all visitors to our city, and a place for everyone to find something truly special and fun to do whether it’s a snow day, a rainy day, or even a sunny day.  MOA is THE destination to hit whether you are a resident or a visitor…and in the 20 years I’ve been heading to MOA, well I’ve never been left to wonder what I should do for fun or shopping during my visit!   Here are some of our favorite spots!   If I’m shopping for me – I love the unique offerings and shops at MOA. A trip to MOA is not complete without a stop at Sephora, Desigual, Athleta, JCrew, Nordstrom (and also Nordstrom Rack!), the Loft, and lululemon athletica. MOA is also one-stop shopping for finding the perfect shoes, accessories, handbags and gifts for just about anyone. Selection is huge, sales are great, and remember – TAX FREE for clothing in Minnesota!

My kids also love Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack – but love to check-out the latest Euro-fashions at H&M, be trend ready at the best prices at both p.s. by aeropostale and Ruum, love the tween vibe at Justice, and the classic stylings of Crewcuts and Gap. For my little one, I love naartjie kids and for my older girls it seems that a lot of Abercrombie is in our future.

I also have to mention how lucky we are to have an American Girl store at MOA – sometimes we visit the Mall JUST for AG – to see the latest dolls and clothing, for their fun events, or for a very special meal or ice cream treat. All my girls (and ME) love the American Girl store!

If you aren’t in the shopping mood (as if…), you will find plenty to do – like being a fighter pilot at A.C.E.S, screaming on a roller coaster at Nickelodeon Universe®, trying the ropes course (Ghostly Gangplank), winning a game of mini golf (at Moose Mountain), hanging with the sharks SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium, or catching the latest flick at the Theatres….Trust me, you could spend days at MOA and never do it all. So tell Dad and your husband – that you don’t have to be a shopper to visit MOA, you just have to love some fun! And if you’re looking for a quieter time – well Barnes & Noble at MOA is a great place to read a good book, or see what’s happening at the MOA rotunda – from bands, concerts, book signings, star sightings, and cultural events – there’s always something to see and do.

Need to rest those feet? Well MOA is home to some of the best restaurants for everybody’s palette…from sushi to burgers, from sit-down to fast-food, from great wine to milkshakes, from a much needed cup of coffee to some frozen yogurt – well you won’t leave hungry at MOA.

Worried about parking or directions – one of the best things about the Mall is that it’s just minutes from the airport, you can take light-rail to visit, or find ample parking in the huge lots and ramps. And if you really don’t want to worry about parking and want to take your time to fully enjoy your MOA experience – well the Radisson Blu has recently opened at MOA, so now you can enjoy a full-service hotel with a pool, restaurant, bar, parking, and fabulous rooms while you spend time with family and friends at MOA – talk about a full and worry-free and fabulous fun vacation!

And now I want you to go to Mall of America this Summer (and next Winter too) – as it’s truly a great destination for the whole family!   So… Enter to Win a $100 Mall Of America Gift Card!   Easy to enter by answering this question in the comments of this post….   “What is your first stop when you arrive at Mall of America?”

Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “”#SweepstakesEntry”"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/13 – 6/9.

Be sure to visit the Mall of America page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

 

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time for this BlogHer sponsored post, but all words, opinions and fashion choices are purely my own.

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The Five Essentials For Spring

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but i’m pretty sure we are on month number nine of winter here in Minnesota. Truly, this is the longest winter ever. And as much as I love cute boots, patterned tights, cute sweaters and fun coats – well I’m at the point that I just want to burn them all, and truthfully my legs could use some sun.

 

Well I got a taste of sunshine(fake, but I’ll take all I can get right now) by attending an amazing Fashion Event at Macy’s. Macy’s showcased their Five Essentials For Spring in store last week.

This fashion event did four things for me.

1. Made me ready to shop for Spring.

2. Made me want to be 22 again so I could bare my midriff on a Tuesday afternoon just because I can.

3. Made me want to go up and hug our hostess – the adorable Jamie Krell and then take her home with me and make her dress me for the next 30 years.

4. Open my mind to having a little bit of peplum in my life.

 

In all seriousness, I am completely excited about the Five Essentials for Spring and will own and try all. Actually, I already own a bit of all of them (except the peplum), so I’m ready for for nice weather so I can actually dress for spring.

The Five Essentials are:

1. Lace

2. Peplum

3. Printed pants and printed denim

4. Dresses(thank goodness!)

5. The pullover

 

Here’s what I wore to the fashion event …

I had bare legs and probably blinded the other attendees from the reflection off the spotlights. I’m so sorry. I wore a dress from Matilda Jane, boots from The Loft, and a trench coat from H&M.

 

What are you excited to wear for Spring?

 

Linking up to the Pleated Poppy.

 

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time to attend the Macy’s Spring Fashion Event, but all words and opinions and yearning for Spring are all my own.

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Shabby Apple $50 Gift Card Giveaway

I think I’m turning into my mother. I used to be able to pack for a one week vacation in a small carry-on bag.

What I wore on the plane to DC - Matilda Jane dress and Sweater, Target tights, Enzo boots, scarf from a local boutique.

Now I look like I’m leaving home for good. I blame it on motherhood. You know that panicked feeling that you won’t have everything you need for your baby so you try to stuff the whole nursery on the plane and then you find you only used two diapers and a burp-cloth, but you felt more secure because ‘all the stuff’ was with you…just in case.

 

Mothers prepare for the Armageddon daily now. I mean we could almost eat for a week with all of the goldfish crackers on the bottom of my purse.

What I wore to Capitol Hill - Skirt from Macy's, tank and cardigan from Target, Tea cup shirt from The Gap, Scarf from Banana Republic, boots from Enzo.

My mother travels with melons. True story. She buys melons at Aldi before she leaves home because they were on sale for 99 cents each and there’s no way she’s paying $2.99 when she arrives in Minnesota. The same things happens every time my parents leave on a trip – my mom calls telling me that she’s over-packed and my step-dad is going to be mad as he has to pack the car and then I talk to my step-dad and he’s shaking his head and asking me why he has to bring me a melon!

 

This is all to say, that I’ve become an over-packer. In fact I went to Washington D.C. last week for four days. I brought 13 outfits and that does not include the 3 sets of running clothes that I packed as I wanted to run each morning and I’m seriously not going to run in stinky running clothes at 5am because you never really know who you are going to run into.

What I wore for meetings with Shot@Life crew - Margo Dress and scarf from Matilda Jane, cardigan and belt from Anthropologie, boots from The Loft.

And while I did wear all 3 sets of running gear – I only wore four outfits the whole time I was in D.C. because it turns out that I left my room at 7:30 every morning and did not see my room again until about midnight each night because we were working.

What I wore on the plane home - tunic and leggings from The Gap, sweater from Anthopologie, scarf no clue, boots from Enzo.

 (linking up with the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday)

But I felt good and secure just knowing that I had an extra 10 outfits or so ‘just in case.’

 

Are you an over-packer? Is there a support group that I can join?

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Well if you are looking for that one amazing dress or outfit that will be perfect for travel or for basically anywhere – you need to own something gorgeous from Shabby Apple! If you own a Shabby Apple dress – you have earned the right to over-pack!

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Dear Daughters, Why I Blog

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
Philip Pullman

Eloise writes in her journal almost daily. Her thoughts are deeper than mine were at her age. I found my third grade diary and mainly found posts that said “Dear Dairy, Today we had peas again at lunch.” or “Dear Dairy, Scott Wellington likes me.” or “Dear Dairy, My brother is mean.” Yes, I spelled ‘diary’ wrong the whole year and how could I really share my deepest darkest secrets when I was writing to a dairy the whole time.

 

I don’t read Eloise’s journal and she doesn’t read my blog, but she did ask me the other day why I blog instead of just keeping a private journal like I used to do when I was young. I thought that was a great question because it’s true…just think of how private our diaries and journals were of our youth. They were locked up tight, we kept the keys around our necks for safe keeping and our precious locked words were then kept under pillows and deep in drawers that were in rooms with doors closed.

 

Now our words are out there for everyone to read. Our deepest, darkest thoughts, our personal feelings, and our daily doings. Open. It’s weird to think about my journaling that way. But I guess I don’t really share my deepest thoughts on my blog. Those are still locked away in my heart with my own private key and only I know where it’s hidden. My blog is not my diary. Or my dairy. My blog is just my blog.

 

And with any writing medium – sometimes you just need to put it down and walk away. I found months of blank pages in my childhood diaries. Yet I don’t want my children to come back to my blog one day and wonder why I was quiet sometimes. It’s not like life was not happening every minute of those days for us. It was just maybe because I got busy or the words wouldn’t come or I didn’t want to write the sad.

 

And I know that sometimes we just want to hit delete and walk away. It’s on these days that I need to get back to Eloise’s question…

Dear children, this is why I blog..

 

1. Because I want to remember when you were little. I will never take the time to print out photos or fill-out your baby books or make elaborate scrapbooks for you. So this, this is what you will have someday along with tens of thousands of pictures I’ve taken of you. You will find those on my hard-drives. Sorry.

 

2. Because sometimes I don’t have anyone to talk to you. No one tells you how lonely motherhood can be, but through writing I can communicate -even if it’s just to myself and feel like I’ve said something today even though no words were spoken.

 

3. Because there are amazing people out there that I can connect with on the Internets. We use our blogs and social media to form playgroups of our own and I’ve made lifelong friends.

 

4. Because I want you to know me as more than a mom. I’m not a great verbal storyteller and I don’t want you to wake-up in your 40′s and wonder what your mother was like. All you have to do is find me here and you will know who I was. There are so many questions I never asked my grandmother. I don’t want you to one day regret the questions that were never asked.

 

5. Because I want to remember stuff and if I don’t write it down I’m afraid that I will forget it immediately. Because it happened here right in this little life we are making. And it’s the little things, not the big things. We will remember your first steps, your prom and graduation. You will remember your first kiss and the first time you drove a car. I’m talking about times like last night when Esther was playing rock-paper-scissors with the cats…I want to remember that.(More on that in another post).

 

6. Because sometimes you don’t laugh at my jokes but maybe somebody else will find them funny. And maybe not. But it’s worth trying on a bigger audience.

 

7. Because I like to write. It feels good to do it and to read it, and it makes my mind happy. I don’t want an old and feeble mind that cannot put thoughts to paper one day. I want to write on the day I die. Whenever that might be.

 

Love you girls,

Mom

P.S. You might want to consider starting a blog. Trust me on this. There will be lots of my advice that you will not take, but this one…this one. I hope it sticks for you.

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What I Wore Wednesday – Super casual running errands day when I could not even get my contacts in – Sweater from Matilda Jane, Jeans from Anthropologie, Scarf from a local boutique, Funky socks from Oilily, Shoes from Hot Mama.

 

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What I Wore To Vote


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I think we can all agree at this point that the most important thing that happened on Tuesday was what I chose to wear to the polls.

 

Now I don’t take this lightly and was proud of my outfit until someone said to me “OMG you look like a Repulican!” And then I was all like “Is it the Barbara Bush pearls or the Laura Bush cowgirl boots because I did rock the Jason Wu dress that Michelle Obama would totally approve of!”

And then I was just so confused and drank a glass of wine.

 

And maybe another.

 

But before the wine and after the Republican thing I volunteered at my kid’s school to help them vote. And seriously if you question anything about our democracy and hope in our country – just spend a couple of hours with some elementary school kids and you will know we are okay.  I just wanted to hug them up all day.

 

I let my kids stay up late tonight to watch the  results come in. I loved their excitement watching it all unfold. That’s what this is all about.

So this post is short. Did your kids vote yesterday? Did you? I hope so.

 

God Bless America.

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What I Wore Wednesday

- Jason Wu dress from Target

-Red Lucchese boots – thrifted

-Red vintage thrifted cardigan

-Astrid play pearls

-Silver belt from JCrew

 

 

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Playing It Safe..

So the first thing that I want to tell you is that my pants phase is over. Whew. It was a tough week. I mean I hadn’t shaved my legs for like three weeks and all with the swimsuit season finally coming to an end so I the pants were somewhat a necessity, but still. My nether-regions like to breathe.

 (What I wore just hanging out on a Saturday – Sweater from The Gap, Splendid black tee from Nordstrom Rack, Chevron Maxi Skirt from The Nest On Main, Boots from Nordstrom, Scarf from MayBaby)

So the fashion part of this post is brought to you by The Schick Intuition Razor because I finally shaved my legs and could show them to the world without scaring small children or upsetting dogs.

 

And also my crotch is happy again.

 

Amen.

 

The rest of this post has nothing to really do with fashion so you can just nod and admire as you scroll by the pictures of me wearing dresses again and just know that everything is now right in the universe. Your concern last week was appreciated.

 

The second thing I want to tell you(and the last..but it might be long) is that I have this thing now each week called FIVE HOURS COMPLETELY ALONE while this beautiful thing called preschool happens. In this FIVE HOURS, while I might not be as productive as I had hoped, it has given me space, time and air to actually think. Because they one thing I’m not doing during that time is running errands. I made a pact with myself(and I found myself quite agreeable) that I would be home during this precious time so I could spend more time with just my brain..and not my wallet at Target or Nordstroms or other pesky places that are just so damn tempting. I’ve decided quite selfishly that during the other gazillion hours that I am with my preschooler, well she will do errands with me because as a third child it is her will in life. Sorry. Okay not sorry.

 

So during these seven weeks that I have had FIVE HOURS alone – which if you are a math whiz like myself is 35 hours…I’ve been doing some thinking, soul searching, talking to myself, and some major coffee drinking.

 

And here’s what I’ve discovered with myself. I’m playing it too safe. I would never let my kids play it safe. I ask them for more, to try more, to do more, to ask for more, to never settle. Maybe I do all that because I can just sit here all comfortable in my safe. My mother-safe. Isn’t that what we are?

 

I used to play it not so safe – I traveled, dated around too much, interviewed for jobs, left jobs, moved a lot, got new jobs, met new people, wore pants more, skied too fast, skied at all, ran marathons, got rejected a lot, spit in the face of fear, drank good wine, spent time with girlfriends, read lots of books – before I had kids.

 

But now I sit here in the safety of thinking that everybody here must need me for something so why bother with the rest of it. And truthfully I’m not rocking this SAHM thing all that much because my house is a mess and I truly could not care less about cooking. Also, who the hell is really going to put that pile of laundry away.

 

So in this 35 hours my epiphany is that while I love my life I will not settle for safe anymore.

(What I wore to the Minnesota Blog Conference – Purple shirtdress from Anthropologie, Brown chevron tights from Missoni for Target, Oxford heels and belt from Anthropologie)

Here’s my plan.

-I will not settle for just the 10 out of 10 writing rejection letters that I received this year. I will receive at least 100 this next year dammit. No 200 – because that is how much I am going to put myself out there. I know now that I need to be out there. I need to write more. I need to write everyday and not play it safe because I am good enough..and with those 200 rejections I know there will be acceptance to continue writing. I know it.

-I will take pictures everyday. I will take the time to shoot and edit. I will take shitty pictures. So many damn shitty pictures knowing that some of them will be gems. They will. And I will take the time to invest in my photography – with classes and actually photo editing software and TIME. Because I know I have it in me if I wasn’t just sitting here playing it safe and thinking that it will never be me and that ‘woe is me’ I just cannot do it.

-I run almost everyday but now I will run farther. I will sign-up for that marathon that I’ve been talking about for the last four years. 2013 watch the fuck out road. I’m going to beat you. And I don’t care if I cannot run a sub-four hour marathon anymore. Worrying about my time is playing it safe and basically means I am doing nothing.

-I will make an effort to go out more. Dinner dates? Movies? Plays? I don’t know. But I know it would be good for me.

-I will ask for help when I need it. I won’t worry about cooking or laundry or vacuuming being my SAHM job. There are four other bodies here that can help too and I will make them appreciate the help that they do and I won’t feel guilty about take-out for dinner. Also, I won’t apologize for our house.

-I will help at my kid’s school. This scares the absolute shit of me – okay just go and analyze that. But I think that kids scare me. They do. Maybe because I see them never playing it safe and I wonder how they do that.  So maybe I’ll spend some time with a few so they can teach me a thing or two.

(What I wore out shopping at H&M – Black sweater, belt and scarf from Anthropologie, Charlie Dress from Matilda Jane, Bag from Karma, boots from Nordstroms)

But my skirts and dresses – well they will always be me..safe and comfortable and easy to wear. So don’t get excited thinking that I might wear pants again because it’s a pretty safe bet that will rarely happen.

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Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and What I Wore Wednesday

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Where I Wear Pants Instead Of Binders

I’ve always been comforted by the fact that I have daughters because the promise that has been whispered to me by the generations before me is that my daughters will take care of me when I’m old.

 

I can just hear the conversations that they will have about me when I’m 92. “No Esther, you take mom this week to her hair appointment because she drives me crazy…all she talks about are these binders that they used to keep women in back in 2012!”

(What I wore on Tuesday for carpool/dance/working from home – pants from Boden, clogs from Born, tank and cardi from Gap, scarf from The Pleated Poppy)

But now I’m not so sure they will be here for me because Eloise is already worried about my changing appearance and how I could really embarrass her when I’m old.

 

Just yesterday Eloise said to me “Mom, if you ever start wearing those pants that go way up high above your waist that you tuck your shirt into and then belt really tight…well, can I tell you to stop wearing those? And will you promise to listen to me?”

(What I wore out shopping – Gap jeggings, Gap tank top, Gray sweater and silver flats both from H&M)

I told her that she had nothing to worry about – I will not be caught dead, alive or old in ‘mom jeans’ but she wasn’t convinced.

 

“But Mom, if it does happen I just need to know that I have the right to get you some decent pants!”

 

“Yes Eloise, you can buy me pants.”

 

“So Mom, I also want to talk about your hair. Will you promise not to get that weird short ‘mom’ cut when you get really old? I want you hair long or at least shoulder length.”

(What I wore on an average Saturday – Gap black skinny jeans, Coach wedges, striped sweater from H&M)

“Eloise – why do you care how I wear my hair?

 

“Well Mom, as soon as you cut your hair it’s like you’re admitting you are old.”

 

“But I will be old, Eloise.”

 

“Yes, but you don’t have to totally give-in to it Mom!”

(What I wore on a bum-around Monday – Boots and poncho from Hot Mama,  Gap boyfriend jeans, Tee from Loft, scarf from Poppy Togs)

Fine, pants at our below my waist and hair at least to my shoulder. If I do these things you know you have to take care of me when I get really old and cannot take care of myself anymore?”

 

“Unless you lose your teeth Mom – that would be a deal-breaker for me.”

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Linking up with What I Wore Wednesday because I WORE PANTS, which if you know me like I know me, I never wear pants.

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