For You and Me

Happy Friday, yet again! Just in time for this so-called "heat dome" to take over the city. I'm hoping it's a good excuse to drink some pina coladas and go see Ghostbusters. If I could do these things at the same time that would be the best case scenario. I have loved pina coladas since I was a child and my love has never waned in all these years. They are the perfect summer drink! (Yes, they were non-alcoholic when I was a child.) Hmmm, what are the chances that I'll get home from work tonight and there will magically be a bottle of pina colada mix and some malibu rum in my apartment? If only there were magical alcoholic apartment fairies, or like, a boyfriend who could do that.

I've had to do a bit of a social media cleanse this week with the RNC going on. I'm picking up some bits and pieces of info as I go, but I'm just in a place where I need to protect my heart from the frightening reality of the hateful platform that the GOP is officially operating on. I did enjoy some good Melania memes, though. I'm keeping it a bit lighter in the links section in terms of political stuff this week, a lady can only take so much. I wish for us all to bask in the peace of a gentle, love-filled light and to have unlimited access to a cheese fountain.

I hope you have a great weekend! Stay out of the heat! Drink a pina colada! Here are some links for your eyeballs and a little ditty for your heart:

I love witches.

Satellite babies.

Makes my heart hurt.

Astrophysicist, Wine Lover, and Foodie.

An embarrassment of pandas.

I need to make these ASAP. Erin is a genius!

I need an off-the-shoulder minidress IMMEDIATELY IT IS AN EMERGENCY.

How to deal with unsolicited parenting advice. (Mine isn't unsolicited because you come here of your own volition...right?)

This bookshelf would be perfect for my tiny lil home.

Dream home.

Mud for your pregnancy skin.

Not to be a dick...but here are Nordstrom's best beauty deals from their anniversary sale.

All my fave things in a pasta!

My favorite two Instagram accounts to rabbit-hole down when I can't sleep: Juniper and paint mixing.

Hoping to pop in here this weekend.

Their Bodies, Themselves.

I hope that wherever you are the day is as beautiful as it is here in NYC. We've been granted a slight reprieve from the heat wave and it's a nice reminder why this city is such a beauty. Listen, I know I talk about the weather a lot on here, but my life is dictated by it in every way! And it never was before when I lived in Los Angeles. When you're born and raised somewhere that you don't need to give the weather a second thought, the moment you are somewhere that it actually affects the quality of your life it permeates your every thought! So sorry to say you'll just have to deal with my rantings and ravings about the weather for as long as I live here!

Last Wednesday we chatted about getting kids to eat salads, and in general I love helping kids find their passion for healthy foods. It's one of the best parts of being a nanny. But I think it's also important to take a moment and talk about how we influence the way kids eat through our own comments and actions, in ways that can really affect children on a deeper psychological level. Personally speaking, I grew up watching every adult woman in my life obsess over their diet. There was never a gathering of extended family that didn't include a breakdown of what every person was doing for their diet and a lengthy conversation about what was wrong with their bodies. Not even being dramatic about it, it was always a commonplace and casual conversation. I know for a fact I am not alone here. Every woman I know grew up hearing their mother's talking negatively about their own bodies without a second thought about how that might affect their own child's view of themselves. And to be honest, I don't blame anyone here. With my generation especially there just wasn't the awareness of how our parent's behavior deeply affects our psyches, not to the extent that we know now.

I think it can be really easy to forget that kids remember every little thing you say and do, that when a mother says, "I hate my nose," a kid thinks, "Well, we have the same nose, so I guess I'm supposed to hate mine too." And listen, I'm not innocent of this either! My inner self-hating monologue is always on full blast, letting me know that my stomach is too fat, my cheeks contain multitudes, and I truly believe that if I had thinner arms there would be world peace -- but I keep this shit TO MYSELF when I'm around kids. When I'm around kids, I say things like, "I love how my nails look today!" and, "Look how strong I am!" when I lift and spin them around, and, "I love how I look in my dress today!" And while it may sound ridiculous and conceited, I think kids need to see adults loving themselves and expressing joy in their own bodies. It starts an inner dialogue for them, where they can feel comfortable saying and thinking, "Oh yeah! I am really strong! I love my nose because it helps me smell my favorite things!"

This goes without saying, but negatively commenting on our kid's bodies is just as toxic, if not more so. I linked to this article from The New York Times a while back, and it really struck a chord with me. I don't know a single person, adult or child, who has benefited from being called out for their weight. It just doesn't work that way. The way to have healthy kids is to model health for them, both physically and emotionally. If kids begin having eating issues, most likely there are underlying emotional causes that are causing that, and believe me, nitpicking their bodies isn't going to help them in the slightest. 

Kid's don't need to hear about your diet, and when you workout explain that it's because it helps you stay healthy and strong, and let your kids see you indulging in a treat every once in a while. I once babysat a lovely family in Los Angeles where the mother would only eat two slices of turkey for dinner in the months leading up to the Oscars. And you better believe that when her daughter turned 11 years old, she started requesting two slices of turkey for her dinner as well. If we make eating food a joyful and healthy experience, balanced with body positivity, I truly believe we can change the way kids view themselves and get their self-esteem through the roof. I don't need to go over all the reasons why having low self-esteem is detrimental to kids, so why add even a tiny kernel of self-doubt into their minds?

I know this is a really tough and sensitive topic, but I really am adamant that the conversations around our bodies have to change for the sake of our children.

 

Signature Scents

These days, NYC's signature scent is that delightful mix of hot garbage, piss, and that completely putrid yet unidentifiable smell that wafts around street corners and assaults your senses at every turn. If you've ever spent a summer in New York, you know what I mean. I think the combination of oppressive heat and random city smells is what makes so many people opt for lighter, cleaner fragrances during the summer months, which is what we are talking about today! I personally have always kept my fragrance choices very limited. Mainly because perfume is expensive, but also because I've always really been into the concept of having a "signature scent," which is a pretty commonly held belief, I think. My earliest scent memories are of my grandmother's Chanel No. 5 and my mom's Dior perfume that she'd wear when she was going out to a party or a fancy dinner. I'd sneak a spritz here and there and feel supremely elegant. Scents are so powerful! I love the idea that someone associates a certain smell with you. There's something so romantic and comforting about it. Every night when I get in bed I put lavender oil on my wrists, and I like the idea of knowing that one day my future kids will associate that smell with me at bedtime.

When it comes to perfumes, I stick to one or two faves that I've had in rotation for years. Some since I was a teenager! The only weird thing about me (okay, one of the weird things about me) is that I tend to do the opposite of fragrance trends. Meaning, in the summer time I want heavy, sexy florals like jasmine, gardenia, combined with woody, earthy scents and in the winter I go for very light, clean scents that are reminiscent of soap and baby powder. I like the crispness of it in the winter. That said, I really, really want to expand my perfume repertoire in the coming months/years. I want to start investing in higher end versions of the scents I love, and to that end I even made a new Pinterest board! It's a mix of what I've got and what I want. These days, what "signature scent" means to me is less about it being one specific perfume, and more about being a fragrance profile, if you will -- which is why I'm so eager to expand my collection.

My every day, go to scent in the summertime is Lust by Lush. I love how heavy and floral is, and it reminds me of the jasmine that blooms in LA. I've had it in both solid and spray form, and while the spray bottle lasts longer, it does stain, which is such a bummer. You basically have to apply it while nude and then wait for it to dry, which is very inconvenient. So I've been using the solid version and love it. I rub it on my wrists and under my ears as well as under my hair. When I had an undercut I would rub it into my hair and loved it. If you don't mind a bit of oil, you can also rub it into the ends of your hair.

I'm hoping to one day upgrade this guy to Lys 41 by Le Labo, which is basically the high end version of this perfume. Similar floral scents, but with woody undertones. I am obsessed with it and would do pretty much anything to have even a tiny roll on bottle. It is so cost-prohibitive though, I've never been able to justify it. Also dying to try their Jasmine 17 body oil, can you imagine how luxurious that must be? Why is the world holding me back from being the fancy rich pre-revolution French lady that I was clearly meant to be?

I've also been gravitating to rose-based scents like crazy this year. I used to hate it and actively avoid it, to the point where when I was living in Morocco and we went to the most stunning rose garden I've ever seen, I skipped the gift shops and didn't get myself any fragrances or oils like everyone else was. I could kick myself. My go to rose scent right now is actually an olive oil body balm by 80 Acres called Bohemian Rose. It's so rich and smells like actual heaven. I always get compliments when I'm wearing it. I use it on my hands and then always rub some into my neck as well.

My upgrade version of this is the Rose Atlantic perfume that I finally got a whiff of this past weekend when I popped into Catbird to pick up my sleep mask. It will surprise no one to hear that I refuse to put up curtains in my apartment, therefore a sleep mask is mandatory unless you want to wake up at 5am with the beaming hot sun. Anyhoo, the Rose Atlantic perfume is the perfect blend of rose and bergamot, another favorite scent of mine. I'm so glad they let me try it on because my MEGA-UPGRADE version of this is the classic Rodin LLC perfume that I am obsessed with and will do literally anything to get my filthy little paws on my own bottle. In my mind, this is the end all and be all of perfumes. And a few months back they put a little sign up at Catbird asking that you please not sample it, most likely because I (and others I am sure) would go in there and just spritz themselves and walk out. If there is anything more heavenly than this jasmine and neroli heavy fragrance then I don't want to know about it.

Before I wrote this I was like, wait a minute, should I be sharing my perfume secrets? I literally just read an article that was like, DO NOT EVER TELL PEOPLE WHAT YOUR PERFUME IS. But here I am, unable to keep my mouth shut. I want to share the love. Also, it's not like most people are gonna run out and get them, though if you do, please credit me. Also, make sure you give these brands a try, you could find something more to your liking in their fragrance lines that aren't necessarily these. I tend to gravitate towards heavier scents anyways that lots of people find to be too overwhelming. Also, anyone have any connections at Byredo? I've never tried any of their scents and am absolutely dying to. They're the new It fragrance brand, and I know there's something there that I'll be absolutely in love with. What are your signature scents? Tell me!

 

 

 

Kid Eats: Salads

I can't deal with cooking in the summer because if I turn the oven on the entire apartment becomes a furnace. It's just not worth it! I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Theo and I don't have AC in our lil studio. I won't bore you with the million reasons why, but suffice it to say that the environmental impact + the electric bill are more than enough justification for me to sweat it out through the summer. We do have a FANTASTIC fan though, I promise we aren't suffering. But back to food. 

I love cooking and am always trying to find recipes that involve the least amount of stove-top time, and if I can avoid it altogether even better! Salads are definitely a summer staple in my house -- I have about 6 different recipes on rotation that make me feel full and are super tasty. If you know me, you know I'm not a big salad person, so there's been a lot of trial and error where salads are concerned in my home.

Whenever I suggest that kids eat salad, I'm usually met with eyerolls and skepticism. Which, first of all, rude, and second of all, give your kids some credit! As with all things, if you introduce salads when kids are very little and they are a normal part of their diet, then they won't reject it when they're older. I've always said that it's all about not giving kids junk options. If your kid has a taste for chicken nuggets at an early age well then, duh, he's gonna reject everything til you give him chicken nuggets every night! If from babyhood they are given fresh fruits and veggies, then they'll crave them instead. Kids are geniuses at knowing which foods are high in sugars, and will request carrots and bananas when they're having a sugar craving.

Anyways, back to salads. Kids will eat salad! I promise you! Here are my two "gateway" salads, as I like to call them, that have literally never been rejected by a child. The first is as easy as pie and since it mixes fruits and veggies, there are no foreign ingredients in it that would put a child off the salad. 

Here's what you need:

1 apple

1 tomato

A handful of shelled edamame

1 Avocado

Chop the apple, tomato, and avocado into bite sized chunks, throw in the edamame, drizzle with olive oil, salt lightly, and mix. Voila! Salad! I've literally never seen a child reject this in my entire life. Doesn't matter who you are or where you live. It's tasty, light, healthy, and easy as hell.

Salad no. 2 is the next step into the salad world for kids. It's savory, not sweet, but has enough kid-beloved ingredients (peas and parm) to mask any sneaky efforts to hide greens in there. I made this guy last weekend and was going to take a picture for this post, but we devoured it before I could remember to do so. I made it and then we promptly packed it up, took Mae to Tompkins Square Park, and watched a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show as we ate it. I mean... New York in the summer I love you.

Here's what you need:

1 bag of peas (if they're frozen give them a quick blanching so they're cooked but still have a bite)

1 handful of finely chopped mint

A sprinkle of arugula or spinach

A generous helping of Parmesan

Dressing: A couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, one peeled garlic clove, and some lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients together and allow the garlic clove to infuse the dressing. Before you dress the salad, REMOVE THE GARLIC CLOVE. This part is key. You only want the essence of garlic in there.

Mix all the ingredients together and serve!

Here's the trick, the first few times you make this, only put the tiniest amount of arugula or spinach in there, so as to not overwhelm the salad with it. Then as time passes, and they fall in love with it, you can add more and more. I prefer arugula, but since spinach is milder it's usually an easier salad vessel for kids. Just make sure it's raw. Even I hate cooked spinach. (Unless it's from Lil Frankies, in which case I love it. But that's because it's smothered in cheese. I too am a child.)

I promise you can get your kid to eat and love salads before the summer is out. It's all about how you present it. It shouldn't be a punishment, and there's nothing wrong with hiding the salad underneath what I like to call "goodies" like Parmesan and familiar fruits. Next step, a strawberry and spinach salad with goat cheese! It's totally doable!

Brush-a, Brush-a, Brush-a

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a lovely and restful weekend. I'm back in the swing of things and am eternally grateful that the heat has gone down a bit. The humidity last week was seriously oppressive, which I'm sure I mentioned before. The only thing I loveeeeee about humidity is how awesome my skin looks all the time. My hair is another story altogether -- it's maybe never looked worse. But I'm rolling with it for now. I'm embracing the double bun look, even if I feel slightly like an overgrown baby.

But back to my skin. These days I'm like a shimmery, sweaty, lil angel and am going makeup-free most days, which is always a joy. I usually go makeup-free when I babysit, but I've even been enjoying my bare skin on the weekends as well with just a swipe of mascara and a liberal amount of sunscreen. If I hadn't just broken my last remaining highlighter, then I'd be adding to my sheen with some of that as well. If you can't look like a melty, glimmering goddess in the summer, than when can you?

So imagine my surprise a few days back when I went back to my old makeup routine and promptly broke out on my cheeks. WTF was happening? It wasn't fair. And then I came upon the horrifying realization that I hadn't cleaned my makeup brushes in weeks, which is why upon immediate contact with my skin, it freaked out. I don't like admitting to this kind of tomfoolery, you guys, but I am doing so to remind you to clean your brushes. Don't be like me and suffer the consequences. Iknow it's a huge pain in the ass to clean them. I usually force myself to do it at least once a month, though in reality you should really be cleaning them once a week. That just seems like a lot to ask of me at the moment. Maybe one day when I have my shit together more I'll clean them every week. But not now.

If you haven't cleaned your brushes recently, or (gasp) ever, here are some tips to make it easy and painless for you.

You don't need to get a fancy brush cleaning mat or contraption to clean them. If you do have one, or want to splurge, then great! They seem really awesome and I've heard great things about them. But to me it's just like, another thing I have to clean and find a spot for in my house. My preferred method of cleaning is to squirt some gentle organic soap, like Dr. Bronner's soap or a mild shampoo into a cup, fill with warm water and let me brushes soak for about 3 minutes. Then I take a wet wash cloth and put it in the sink, and while also allowing water to run over the brush, I rub the brush in circles on the washcloth to get the dirt and makeup that's deep down in the bristles. Once the water is running clear down the drain and isn't depositing color onto the washcloth, I lay it flat on a towel to air dry. DO NOT dry the brushes standing up, as the water will drip down into the handle and could cause mold or other ickiness. 

You can get special brush cleanser to get them clean, I used to use the MAC cleanser all the time and loved it, but you really don't need it if you don't have it.

It won't take you longer than ten minutes to do it and with this heat, if you do it in the evening they'll be dry and ready to go by morning. You'll be so glad you did it. I don't even want to think about all the bacteria and junk that was lingering on mine!

Keepin' Fresh

Hi! Happy Monday to us all. How incredible was the strawberry solstice moon last week? I can't get over it. I love strawberries and I love the moon, so you can only imagine my delight. So much to catch up on, I spent most of last week basking in the slow pace upstate towns where we were lucky to have a little mini-break. We even went sans-Maeby! What a treat.

Now it really feels like summer, the heat is just starting to prick up, a tell-tale sign of which is I can no longer tolerate blow drying my hair. So that means I do a quick cold blow dry on my bangs so I don't look like an idiot, (even though currently, my bangs are a hate crime) and then spritzing my wet hair with a salt spray and plaiting it into a french braid so that it dries in waves. It doesn't always looks great, but it works for me most of the time. I feel like a total dork in my french braid, it sends me back to my childhood when my mother wouldn't let my sister and I go to school with messy hair, so we had to pick between a ponytail, one braid, or two braids. I usually went with a ponytail because my mom was a brutal braider, but there are lots of braids in my past. Eventually I was able to convince her to let my friend Haley braid my hair, because she was much gentler. My current braids are considerably messier, but they get the job done.

When I moved to NY, I was floored by how gross everyone, including myself, gets during the summer. In LA, you go straight from your air conditioned apartment to your air conditioned car to your air conditioned office, or wherever you work, so there isn't really a chance to ever get truly gross. The fact that it doesn't get humid there also helped. Not so much here. The subway is a swamp to contend with several times a day, which means that two minutes after I leave my house my makeup has slid off my face, my hair is damp, and inevitably I stink. Luckily, we're all in this together here. Everyone is in the same state of grossness. Every once inwhile I see someone swanning through the city looking fresh and nonplussed, but I choose to believe I'm having a heat hallucination.

That said, I have come up with a few tricks to help me stay fresh during the summer months, before I let myself go and completely transform into a swamp animal for the entirety of August. Here's what works for me, I'd love to hear what works for you!

1. Two cold showers a day. Morning and night. Sometimes three, after I get home from work. Just embrace it! I'll hop in the shower and make it freezing right before I go to bed so I'm not sweating into my sheets. Gross. It really helps! I also feel less scummy in the mornings. Also it feels delightful. Just make sure the water is cold from beginning to end. None of this warm in the beginning and then cold at the end nonsense. You don't want to add any steam to the house.

2. I forget about chub rub every year until summer rolls around again. It's so rude. For those of you thigh-gap blessed motherfuckers who don't know what chub rub is, it's when the skin on your thighs rubs together and chafes when it's hot and humid out. I spend the whole winter in bliss, with tights and pants, but some summertime, my thighs be burning. Two options for this is to get some Body Glide, which was specifically made for this purpose, or to use coconut oil. Personally, I find the coconut oil to be a fine temporary solution, but it never lasts long and it has the potential to stain clothing. Some people just use regular stick deodorant and find that to be enough. A more practical approach would be wearing boyshorts under dresses that are long enough to cover the tops of your thighs and wearing longer shorts. I'm a true fan of the mom-jean shorts, last year I went to the Gap and got myself some jean shorts that weren't too low or too short and I've been in heaven ever since. So I only really have this problem with dresses and skirts. Booty shorts are a thing of the past for Lourdes!

3. Powder your booty! I had no idea this was even an option until I was chatting with some ladies at Lush about Silky Underwear, and I'm now obsessed. Powder your bits like you're a precious little baby and you'll keep the dreaded swamp-ass at bay, I promise. It's so worth it. I'm super into MMT's Baby Body Powder and it's an absolute delight. It makes me feel like a fancy Victorian lady, which is one of my top 5 goals, and it really does make you feel fresh all day long. That said, DON'T YOU DARE use baby powder or talcum powder of ANY kind on yourself or your kids. We know better now. It's just not good for you. I used baby powder as dry shampoo for years, and just a few months ago I made my sister send me a video of herself throwing her baby powder away. There are lots of really great and delicious smelling options out there that won't give you cancer!

4. As I mentioned before, try to avoid the hair dryer and heat appliances at all costs. No one needs that kind of torture in their lives. I've also found that it's highly counter-productive to blow dry my hair in the middle of summer after a shower and then be immediately sweaty and hot. Gross. Throw some sea salt spray in your hair and then depending on how long your hair is you can braid it, bun it, or twist it out of the way to dry during the day. My hair is above my shoulders and I get a decent braid out of it. I just ran out of my favorite sea spray, Captain Blankenship Golden Waves Sea Salt Shimmer Spray, and have been using my old standby, Bumble & Bumble Surf Infusion Spray. To be honest, it's fine. It's better than their classic salt spray, but it's nowhere near as good as the Captain Blankenship spray. I'll probably use it until it runs out and then replace it again with Golden Waves.

5. Whether you have color treated hair or not, it really takes a beating from the sun and heat during the summer months. If you plan on being outside for long periods of time, consider finding yourself a cute sunhat that will not only protect your skin, but also keep your hair from frying. If you have an hour a week, throw a hair mask on while you watch tv, do chores around the house, or even go to the gym! Use a hydrating hair treatment or hair mask to revitalize and keep your hair healthy from root to tip! You can also DIY it with some coconut oil or avocado! Just make sure when using heavy oils that you don't apply it on your hair higher than your ears, or you'll look like a greaseball all week!

6. I rarely use powder as part of my makeup routine, but when it's especially hot and sticky out, a little setting powder can go a long way in keeping you from looking like a melted candle. I love the dewy look, but when it's insanely hot out it goes from dewy to sweaty REAL quick. I use my super light and dewy foundations, like Glossier or Stowaway, and then top them with some loose powder just to set it. It doesn't take away from the natural look as long as it's not pressed powder. You can even use your highlighter under the powder as normal and it won't take away from the glow. You really can't go wrong with Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder, it's really light and translucent, so you don't have to worry about looking like a ghost in photos. Just make sure you use a light hand and blend well!

7. Common sense. DRINK WATER. Lots of it. You know how I feel about hydrating. Have your reusable water bottle with you at all times. I don't want to hear about y'all using plastic water bottles. Wear light and breathable fabrics, perhaps step away from the baby goth blacks. Eat foods that are water rich, like cucumber and watermelon. If you're a stinker, get a small travel sized deodorant to keep with you in your bag, or desk at work, or car.

 

New Sitters

Hi! As everyone who has noticed my lack of employment has surely realized by now, my little Lamb is out of town for the month. And while I'm back in the saddle with all my writing stuff, I've also been babysitting a sweet lil guy, (we'll call him Pumpkin) and it's been interesting to start the process of bonding with a new baby again. It can be super stressful for parents, especially new parents, to leave their babies with a new sitter, but you should know that kids adjust really quickly to new adults and it's actually great for their development!

We've already been through childcare options in the past, so once you've decided what is best for you, remember that even if you hired Mary fuckin' Poppins that there will be growing pains. Your baby will probably cry when you leave. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is leave quickly and with the least amount of drama. More often than not, babies stop crying and are back to their old selves again within three minutes. Don't be afraid that you are traumatizing your baby or that he may feel abandoned. As soon as you're out of there, they'll be just fine. And as a babysitter, there is seriously nothing as irritating as a parent who just won't get out the damn door when their kid is losing it. Let me do my job, people!

If you have older kids, have a casual chat about their new babysitter. Clue them in on their name, what time they are coming, if they're making them dinner, etc. Having this information helps kids feel in the loop and empowered. It also helps them see their babysitter as their parent's friend and someone who will help their parent be happy, so they are less likely to torture their sitter. If your sitter is cool with it, ask them to send a selfie before they come over so your kids can see what they look like. I always send a picture of myself with Maeby, because what's better than a little white furball?

If you have a baby, there's obviously less you can communicate to them about what is going on, so it can be helpful to spend a little time with parent and babysitter together, or to start with shorter stretches of time. I've found that accompanying a baby to the park or on a walk helps get them adjusted to my presence. If you're only just going back to work after maternity leave and it's possible for you to have a few shorter days in the beginning then it's even better. That way your baby gets used to having the sitter around before they're thrust into 8 or 9 hour days parent-free.

All in all, I'd say that it takes a baby around a week and a half to fully get used to a new sitter and for a sitter to really be in sync with a new baby's rhythm. After about 9 days I feel like I'm familiar with a baby's particular cries, their schedule, what soothes them the quickest, and feel fully comfortable with them. In the grand scheme of things, that isn't very long! Keep lines of communication open with your sitter, and if your kids are old enough, with them as well. Everyone should feel comfortable with their childcare provider, kids and parents alike!

Children at Weddings Etiquette

Well, this post is going up a bit late because I played hooky yesterday and scooted out of town for a BBQ in New Jersey. Sorry (I aint sorry.) It was so nice to spend the perfect summer day outside of the city. I could not get over the fact that I was in an actual HOUSE with a humongous BACKYARD. It was such a dream. You know you've lived in Manhattan for a while when you wander around a house in awe of the space. But seriously, their garage was AT LEAST twice the size of my entire apartment. We roasted marshmallows, laid on the grass, played cornhole, ate all the meats, and truly enjoyed every moment. It was divine! So yeah, no post yesterday for you!

But as my fridge continues to be loaded up with all the Save the Dates for this summer's upcoming weddings, I've been thinking about kids being guests at weddings. It's funny because sometimes I think this stuff is common sense, but you hear so much about people disregarding the couple's wishes so I guess it just needs to be stated. I personally love when kids are at weddings, it makes them lighthearted and fun, and there's nothing cuter than a little kid in a suit. The problems come when kids are out of control at other people's events, or when people show up with kids when a bride and groom explicitly request that there not be any children.

First things first, if a couple has asked that you not bring your children, please don't be an asshole and bring them. That just sucks. Everyone has the right to have the mood of their own wedding be whatever they want it to be. I went to a wedding that specifically asked that no kids attend, and not only did a couple bring their baby, but the baby screamed throughout the entire ceremony and the parents didn't take him out of the church or even attempt to appease him. It was a nightmare.

Yes, it can be a pain in the ass to figure out what to do with your kid, but that's your problem, not theirs. That said, hopefully your friends aren't jerks and will help you find childcare, especially if you're going to a destination wedding where you don't have an established babysitter. In general, if you are in a new town and you didn't travel with a babysitter or grandparent to help with the kids, you can call the hotel where you are staying and ask if they have a list of vetted sitters that they recommend to their guests. Many hotels even have babysitters as part of their staff. Does it suck to leave your kids with a stranger? Yep, totally. But it's definitely possible to find someone who is qualified in the area. You can also give Care.com a browse and see if you find anyone who looks good to you and strike up a correspondence. If it's worth it to you to attend a wedding of someone who doesn't want kids at their event, then there are definitely ways for you to get a sitter.

If your kids are invited to the wedding, it's important to remember that it doesn't mean they can take over the whole wedding and run around screaming the entire time. Again, these are things that you think don't need to be said, and yet it happens time and time again. If they start acting up during the ceremony, quickly get up and step out with them so they don't disturb anyone. So, common sense calls for sitting in an aisle seat near the back for your quick escape. Packing some coloring supplies to keep kids busy during the long dinner hour is recommended, and make sure they leave before there is a night time meltdown on the dance floor.

Nothing is cuter than little kids at a wedding, so just make sure you're not too busy getting toasty to remember that the last thing you want is for your kids to be disruptive.  A little thoughtfulness goes a long way!

 

Summer Hair Inspo

Hi! Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. My old sack of bones is exhausted from all the traipsing around I did. My BFF was in town so we were wandering around the entire city all weekend. The funny thing about getting older is having these moments of realizing my stamina just isn't anywhere near what it used to be. Three years ago having someone visit me meant running up and down NYC all day long and then staying out til 4am carousing with the ne'er-do-wells. These days I'm like, well I walked around a bit and ate fried food twice in a row so now I need to lie down for 3 days to recover while only eating chicken broth. I'm dreaming of the plain lentils I'm gonna make myself for dinner tonight. Or so I say now. My  girlfriends are coming over for the premiere of The Bachelorette and my friend Christy is queen of the Bagel Bites. I haven't actually asked her to specifically bring Bagel Bites tonight, but I'm hoping she will read this and "surprise" me. 

I mentioned on Friday that I'm having hair-related meltdowns these days. I vacillate wildly between feeling the urge to shave my head again and keep it short, and desperately wanting to have a long hair cape. It's been years since it's been long so I'm dying to have it past my shoulders as soon as possible. Especially since I have weddings to attend in the fall months. I am trying to stick to the process of letting it grow, but it's so damn hard and frustrating. First of all, I am perfectly aware that I should get a trim so that the hair that grows out is healthy, but I don't trust myself or really a stylist who won't cut it too short or add in layers that will take body or length out of it. To this end, I'm steering away from getting it cut until September until it has reached max growth possible. I figure I'll need to trim my bangs a bit, because they're not exactly coming in evenly, but I do want them to get longer as well.

I feel like I'm very close to being at this situation, my bangs just need a few more weeks.

I feel like I'm very close to being at this situation, my bangs just need a few more weeks.

I basically already have the haircut above, though I really need to get my bangs re-shaped so they fall like that as they grow.

My general trajectory will be of keeping as much length as possible, while also trying to keep my hair healthy, which is difficult in the summer with all the sun and heat. I'm trying to stay on top of taking my Biotin supplements and making sure I use heat protectant every time I dry and style my hair. It feels kind of fried right now because I've been using the flat iron to curl it. It looks great, but it's murder on your hair.

This seems like the next logical step, long bangs and a lob, I really like the 70's vibe to the bangs since they are sloping on the sides. They're long enough to braid or pin back when the humidity makes me look like a lion. I am hoping it'll be around this area come July. Though it better be at my shoulders by then or I'll have a serious freak out.

Ever since I saw the above picture of Leighton Meester, I've been itching to color my hair lighter for the summer. I love how ashy and light blonde the highlights are, it's really hard for my hair to get that pale though, even though I know it's possible since the blonde I put in last fall looked really good for a long time. It's pretty much gone now, and what's left is a bit orange, but IDGAF. My qualms about dying my hair during the summer are these: 1. I am enjoying my natural hair color and rocking my greys right now. I think it's a pretty shade of brown and my grey hair makes me feel wise. 2. I don't want to risk damaging my hair in any way that will hinder hair growth. Bleaching definitely causes hair to break off, and to get my hair that pale I'd have to use A LOT of bleach. I'd obviously take really good care of it and such, but is it really worth the risk? The priority right now is definitely to get the hair grown. Also, like, LOL, as if I have 300 bucks to throw down on getting my hair dyed. Should I start a Kickstarter for it?

I am hoping that by the fall that my hair will look like this after I get it cut. I love Freya's 70s vibe, and I'm really hoping my hair is long and thick enough to cut a few shaggy layers into and not look like a mom in the 90's desperately trying to pull of the Rachel. It's also relatively close to my natural color so hopefully that will keep me on track in regards to not dying it.

If you are planning on growing out your hair or just itching for a new look, I HIGHLY recommend making a Pinterest board dedicated to it and letting yourself go down the wormhole of options. I like that I can go back to my board and look through for ideas, and it's nice to have it all in one place. Also, if you're not bringing in pictures to your hairstylist EVERY single time you get a haircut, then you be trippin'. It doesn't matter how descriptive your language is, or if you "don't care" what they do, there is absolutely no way for your stylist to come even close to the vicinity of what you want without pictures. Anyhoo, wish me luck on staying strong!

Bookworm: The Happiest Baby on the Block

I've always said that when it comes to parenting books, it's important to take things with a grain of salt. Every baby is different, and they change constantly. No one method is going to work for every baby, every time. This idea that if you do A, B, and C every single time that you'll have a perfect angel child is ludicrous. That said, what I love about parenting books is that you can see all the different kinds of techniques for anything from how to soothe your baby, how to feed it, and what philosophy you relate to. I have seen kids being brought up every which way under the sun, and all I can tell you is that they're all fine. One method is not patently better than the next. And each child has very different needs and emotional responses to whatever situation they're in. What worked with me did not necessarily work with my sister, because she is an entirely different person with a different way of communicating and with very different needs than my own. The best thing you could do for yourself and your kid is to read a few different books, and pick and choose the parts that work for you, like the bible!

There is one book, however, that I swear by. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp is one of the most successful parenting books of the last decade and that's because it gives practical solutions for when your baby is so tiny that it's needs are at their most basic. It doesn't matter what your kid's personality is like when they're that little. All they want is to be back in the womb.  When it was first published in 2008 it was touted as a revolutionary new way to get your baby calm and asleep. The techniques in this book are serious fucking MAGIC, you guys. Karp figured out the formula and put it on paper. It is hands-down the most important book you can read before you have a baby, in my opinion.

He talks about the missing fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the cuddle cure, and the 5 S's to soothe agitated babies. The 5 S's are considered the true tenets the book: swaddling, shushing, side/stomach position, swinging, and sucking that trigger the calming reflex. With these bad boys in your back pocket, you'll truly get that baby to sleep in no time. And by no time, I mean whenever the fuck your kid wants. These tools work, but with the understanding that it will take time and have different success rates.

The book also explains what colic is, if it's possible to spoil infants, getting a baby to sleep longer, and when parents should call a doctor. With all these tools in your toolbox, you can feel confident in your ability to soothe your baby without reaching your breaking point during a little baby freak out moment.

I highly recommend picking one up if you are expecting a little one; you'll feel more empowered and ready to help your baby be as happy as possible. I re-read this book every time I am about to start working with a new infant. More than anything, it does wonders in instilling confidence and it helps when a baby is having a meltdown to know that there are specific things that you can go down the list and do to help him. I love lists!

 

Smell Ya Later

Hey there! Sorry for the lack of Friday links! I wasn't feeling so hot and decided to relax with my little Lamb while she took her nap instead of working on my post, which is what I usually do. But I'm here now and hopefully will be able to write somewhat coherently despite the fact that I'm sitting here wrapped in twenty blankets because I'm FREEZING IN THE MIDDLE OF MAY. As my friend Jenn would say, this weather is abusive.

Did you guys see that Glossier released three new flavors of lip balm? I obviously already have the original Balm Dot Com and the Coconut Balm ( which is disappearing at a tragic rate now that Theo has discovered it.) But I'm super jazzed to try the new Cherry, Rose, and Mint flavors. They're doing a special giveaway with Morgenstern's, which is an ice cream parlor on the Lower East Side that's pretty close to where I live. They partnered with Glossier to create new limited edition Glossier flavored push pops and you get a free lip balm with each purchase of a push pop. You better believe I got my ass over there last week and got a rose flavored push pop and my lip balm. I love it! I have always loved rose scented lip stuff, and this has the thick and rich consistency of the original Balm Dot Com that I love, but now has a lovely rose scent. Most other rose balms that I've tried are too thin and don't last as long. But this one is great. I'm def going back this week to try the cherry. I'm pretty sure the promotion lasts all month so get yourselves to Morgenstern's if you have a chance.

In other news, when I was coming back from Mexico you'll be horrified to know that airport security seized my deodorant and threw it away because it was too big. I really thought you could bring 4 oz. of liquid on the plane, I mean I had no problem on the way there. But they made a real stink about it and told me that it was 3 oz. Whatever. Which meant I had to hightail it to the store as soon as I got back to get a replacement once I landed. I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I made the switch to natural deodorant last year after much hemming and hawing about it. And I'm really glad I did. Look, we don't know for certain what the links between antiperspirant and cancer or other health problems are, but what I can tell you, just from looking at the ingredients, is that all the stuff that is in deodorant is not necessarily to our body's benefit. Antiperspirant literally clogs our pores to keep us from sweating and stinking. In any other beauty situation, we want things that are non-comedogenic, why should our deodorant be any different? Erin has some great thoughts on it as well.

I have always had a big fear of being smelly; it probably has something to do with a girl in my kindergarten class telling me I always smelled like peanut butter, or the fact that come junior high when we all started being stinky that I was terrified that a boy might realize that I smelled like a human person. Luckily, I've since let go of this, and that's helped me not give any fucks while testing out some of these deodorants. Many of which did not work for me. The craziest turn of events for me while testing these was the realization that I had a baking soda sensitivity. A couple weeks after using any of the deodorants with baking soda my armpits became insanely red and irritated, and when I tried to push through the skin started turning black and peeled off! It was horrifying, but also hilarious and weird. It was mildly satisfying to shave my armpits and have a ton of dead skin come off too. But, in case you haven't realized it yet, I'm a disgusting monster. So, not only did I have the challenge of finding a natural deodorant that actually worked for me, I had to narrow the field to baking soda-free ones as well. Luckily, the winner was highly successful for me and there's no turning back now.

Image via Meow Meow Tweet.

Image via Meow Meow Tweet.

Meow Meow Tweet's Baking Soda-Free Deodorant Cream was a total lifesaver. It has all the power of their regular deodorant cream, minus the sodium bicarbonate that causes my armpits to slither off my body. And this shit actually works. It smells fresh and clean, lasts through a whole day of activities, and is relatively affordable compared to a lot of other fancy natural deodorants out there. I always order a two-pack to save on shipping. 

Image via EO Products.

Image via EO Products.

Of course, I always run out of said deodorant and slack off on ordering a new one, so I always have my trusty EO Lavender Deodorant Spray on hand. This is the one that got taken from me at the airport. It is shockingly effective for basically just being lavender oil and alcohol. I don't find that it dries out my skin at all, though other people might find that it stings, especially after shaving. Theo thinks it stings a bit, but it works really well for him, actually. I find that this is enough for me to use alone in the winter time when I'm not sweating too bad. In the summertime though, I definitely need to use the MMT. Sometimes though I'll use the MMT and halfway through the day if I'm gonna work out (LOL) or know I'll be sweating I'll give myself a spritz with the EO to give me a little extra boost. I also spray it directly on my clothes when I need a little refresher.

Image via Schmidt's.

Image via Schmidt's.

Now, even though I can't use it because it has baking soda, I do want to draw your attention to Schmidt's Lavender and Sage Cream deodorant. It is hands down the most effective natural deodorant that I've ever tried and if you don't have sensitive skin you should definitely be using it. It's just as effective as an antiperspirant, and the lavender and sage scent in particular is super effective. You can get it at any natural food store or online. They have it in stick form as well as a cream, but I prefer the cream because there's no plastic.

Image via Captain Blankenship.

Honorable Mention goes to Captain Blankenship's Lime and Vetiver Deodorant Cream, love the smell, but it's full of baking soda. Womp womp to me. I love that it's a bigger jar than you usually get with a deodorant cream, and it has a great consistency that feels a bit less wet than most deodorant creams.

When making the switch from regular antiperspirant and deodorant to a natural deodorant, you have to give it time and be patient. Your body will take a couple weeks to push out all the gunk from what you've been using out of your pores, and it's gonna be a bit funky. You also have to get used to knowing what you naturally smell like again, and I think after a while you'll be surprised that it's not actually that bad. I feel like when I smelled bad with regular deodorant it was way worse than it is now. Another thing that may be slightly jarring is getting used to using your fingers to put cream on your armpits. It's not like we are really used to touching our pits all that often, so it can be kinda squeamish at first. This won't last long. And some natural deodorants come with a little applicator to help you scoop it out of the container. I got a teeny tiny little spoon that I use to scoop it out of the jar so I don't get it under my nails every time. The last thing to remember is that there will be a trial-and-error portion here that can be really frustrating and could push you back to regular deodorant. Everyone's body chemistry is different and responds differently to new products. Give yourself AT LEAST two weeks before you determine if it's the right one for you, even longer if you just made the switch. I promise no one will freak if you smell ever so slightly while you figure it out. It's so worth it once you do! And I love supporting awesome, small companies like Meow Meow Tweet and Captain Blankenship, they're really cool, woman-led businesses that are changing the beauty game and committed to small batch, natural products. What more could we want!?

Have you made the switch to natural deodorant yet? I need to know what you think and what you're fave is. I feel like anyone who has is a total ride-or-die for their favorites.

 

Little Girls, Big Feelings

I am having BIG FEELINGS about needing to eat a donut right now. I saw a picture of a jelly donut covered in sugar and now it's imperative that I eat one at once. I'm very easily influenced by pictures of food, you guys. You know when you're watching late night TV and it's just one food commercial after another and you're like, who are these commercials for? It's me. They're for me. The food imprints in my mind like I'm a small, angry werewolf who can only be sated by french fries and juice. Am I the only one who gets late night juice and smoothie cravings? I think maybe it's because I don't really eat super sugary food, so it's what I crave in place of like, a candy bar. Anyways. That's not what this post is about.

I came upon this article by Soraya Chemaly a couple days ago and it really resonated with me. I figured I'd include it in my Friday links but after thinking on it a bit more I felt that it was worth it's own discussion. In it, Chemaly discusses why it's so important for girls to be taught that it's okay for them to feel anger, and how important it is to help girls find appropriate outlets for it, as opposed to stifling it. We only need to look as far as the election to see how women that speak their minds or their anger are still perceived as shrill bitches, while men are applauded for being leaders. It's no wonder girls and women suffer high rates of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

The effects of not being able to express their anger follows girls into adulthood, it affects them socially, psychologically, and physically. It affects their jobs, their romantic lives and how they in turn parent their own children. Chemaly states,

"By the time they are teenagers, many girls’ feelings of anger have been shunted into contorted shapes that no longer fit the standard (read male) ways that we think of and understand anger."

The damage is done early, and the consequences are severe, with suicide rates for teen girls tripling in recent decades, and a huge uptick in girls suffering from depression and anxiety.

So how do we reverse this? How do we let girls express their anger in a healthy way? I don't have all the answers for you because it's something I struggle with myself. But I think in the same way that we now know it's unhealthy to tell boys not to cry, we need to let girls rail when they need to rail. The words ladylike, delicate, and quiet should leave our vocabulary when telling girls how they should behave. When a girl is upset, ask her to identify what she's feeling specifically. Help broaden her emotional vocabulary, and instead of telling her to calm down, find active solutions while allowing her to feel what she's feeling. Reinforce that what she's feeling is legitimate. Open up a dialogue. Don't dismiss a teen's feelings as hormones.

As long as girls are told to keep quiet about their feelings, there will be no equality. In the same way that if boys are told they can't cry and be sad, they'll forever be trapped in a cycle of toxic masculinity. The quicker we take steps to break down gender norms with kids, no matter how insignificant or trivial it may seem, the sooner we can take steps towards an equal society.