Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm Baring It All Today

Just a quick post to let you know I'm profiled on the Bare Necessities blog today, if you'd like to check it out! I'm over there talking about everything from my career to the state of the magazine business (spoiler alert: It ain't good) to my very favorite line of bras to super-serious, important stuff like politics and my favorite emojjis. 😉

I also rave about a few specific favorite products in the article, so I've linked to those below if you're interested in any of them after reading the piece.

Head on over to check it out...and then come back and let me know what you think of it! :)


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Um, When Did Madewell Get So Awesome?

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

Madewell has some great stuff right now, you guys. I mean, I've bought things there before; I've been really, really into them before. But at some point awhile back, they started to get a little too millenial/festival-y for me, so we parted ways. But, yesterday, I randomly ducked into one while killing time before an appointment and oh my god--there were so many cute things in there.

I bought so much stuff there yesterday that my stomach actually dropped when the cashier announced the total. (Gulp.) But the spree was worth it. I'm so in love with everything I got and many of the pieces are basic enough (not in the bad way!) that I'll get a ton of use out of them.

Of the ten things I've pictured above, five of them went home with me yesterday. (Eek.) Another (the bubblegum-pink muscle tee) almost came home with me, but they were out of my size. (My bank account thanks you for that small favor, Madewell.)

So here's the deets on my haul: The black dress is SO flattering. It has side cutouts, which is something I never thought I could pull off, but they are super strategically placed so as not to accentuate the tum. The striped sleeveless tee will be cute with jeans--or even with the white skirt. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to live in the striped gray v-neck tee. It's long (which is key for me) and the cut is generous, not tight or clingy. And finally, the gray dress might be my absolute #1, most-loved piece that I bought. It doesn't look like much in the photo above, I know, but it's my favorite kind of dress: It can easily go from day to night and the cut is baggy, but somehow, so, SO flattering. 

The other pieces not mentioned above are on my list for next time I get paid. ;) 

P.S.: I know this post seems sponsored, but it's totally, 100 percent not. I was just floored by how much good stuff they have right now and wanted to share!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How She Does It All: Mom/Author Tia Williams

tia williams book

Today I'm starting a new feature here on the site where I'll profile awesome moms getting real about how they balance it all. (Or, at least, how they try to!) I'm hoping to show that all moms--even the most perfectly-filtered, impressively-Pinterest-y, got-it-all-together ones--are real. They all have struggles--and triumphs--we can learn from. I hope you enjoy the new series!

So, meet Tia Williams! I first became aware of Tia years ago as an avid reader of Lucky magazine, where she was senior beauty editor. She was often featured in the pages and I loved reading her product recommendations. When I eventually entered the beauty editor world myself, I remember seeing Tia at the very first editor event I ever attended. And--apologies, because I'm outing myself as a weirdo here--but...I was so starstruck!

In the years since, we've become social media friends, and I've gotten to see firsthand what a wildly talented and funny person she truly is. And of course, she's also a mom to a gorgeous, spunky little girl. I learned so much from this interview. Namely that Tia is a great mom with a ton of killer advice. Read on...

Can you give everyone a summary of your resume, Tia? 
"I started my beauty career back in 1998, as the beauty assistant at YM (remember YM? RIP!). Then, I went on to Elle, Glamour, Lucky, Teen People, and Somewhere in there, when I was 25, I had a horrible breakup with a total lunatic, and felt like I needed to flee the country to get myself together, so I moved to Seville for six months. That’s when I wrote my first novel, The Accidental Diva. I followed it up with a YA series, It Chicks, and co-wrote Iman’s makeup book, The Beauty of Color. I also started one of the first beauty blogs, Shake Your Beauty, back in 2004. Now, I’m the copy director at Bumble and bumble, and I just published my fourth novel, The Perfect Find! It’s been quite the ride."

Tell me a little about your daughter.
"Lina, a.k.a Lina Lina Bobina (she answers to both), is seven. I think the thing that stands out the most about her is her wit. For example, she recently had to write a letter to her favorite superhero for school. I asked her which superhero she liked best, and she said, 'Well, the one I like least is Don’t Know Girl.' I said, 'I’ve never heard of her; who’s Don’t Know Girl?' She replied, 'I DON’T KNOW, GIRL!' And then she giggled and skipped out of the room. Girls just wanna have pun, I guess!"
What are the hardest parts of being a working mom? And the best parts?
"The hardest part is that you never get a break. It’s tough, working all day at a demanding job, and then coming home and having to orchestrate homework, dinner, bath, storytime, and bedtime. Finding time for yourself within that schedule is challenging, especially as a single mom. I need a three-month nap. The best part? Her. Lina is a hilarious, magical, interesting nugget of a person, and she’s honestly a delight to hang out with."

Age-old question: How do you balance work and motherhood?
"Not well. I’m still trying to figure out how to stay sane when pulled in a dozen directions. I see the pamper-yourself hashtags on the weekends (#selfcaresaturday #selfcaresunday), and I’m like, who has time for self care? Intellectually, I know how important it is for my well-being to book that massage, block off an hour to take the pole-dance classes I love (so much fun, and hard) or use the Chopra meditation app I bought months ago. But if I ever get a moment alone, all I want to do is marathon Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and eat Nutter Butters. I do make sure that, at least once a month, I have brunch with my girlfriends. Somewhere with applewood smoked bacon."

Being a single mom, how does that affect the work/life balance?
"When you don’t have a partner in the house, when it’s only you–well, it’s only you. You can’t divvy up responsibilities. You do it all. Work, check homework, take out the trash, change lightbulbs, have heavy conversations about dealing with mean girls, sew holes in leggings, cook, run out to Duane Reade at 9pm (sleepy daughter in tow) for the poster board you forget to get for the science project due tomorrow (that you also forgot). There’s no one there to help with the thinking and planning and doing. You’re the CEO! Some things always end up slipping through the crackslike, we eat too many prepared meals from Fresh Direct. But you do the best you can."

I saw a great Instagram post recently that said: “Work, sleep, exercise, family, friends…pick three.” The point being, obviously, that when you’re a mom, you can’t do all of those things. What have you had to give up?
"I definitely don’t sleep! Especially being a novelist, on top of everything else. I wrote the majority of The Perfect Find in the middle of the night, which was my only free time. I’d love to exercise and see my friends more, but it’s really challenging. But we’re always in touch. Between my sisters and my girlfriends, I usually have at least four really robust, hilarious group text threads going at once."

Wait. Go back. You wrote your book in the middle of the night?
"I’d set my alarm for 3am and write until it was time to wake Lina up, around 6:30am. And then, in the evening, I’d write for an hour after her bedtime. Also, I carried my laptop with me everywhere, in case I ever caught a spare moment to quickly bang out a strong 800 words or so. It was definitely a challenge! Before I was a mom, I could write a book in three months. The Perfect Find took three years."

tia williams

Are you a strict mom or a cool/BFF mom?
"I hate to say it that I’m a cool/BFF mom, because you instantly think of Amy Poehler as Regina George’s nutso mother in Mean Girls, but I definitely fall in the cool category. I never baby-talked to her, and I don’t condescend to her, or dictate. She knows who the boss is, and I actively parent her, with intention–but I’m her friend. I always wanted to be the kind of mother my mom was. Liberal, and open, and funny, and honest. Me, my sisters, and our friends could come to her with anything, nothing was off-limits. And even as small children, she made us feel like we were real people with valuable ideas and feelings. Lina’s my homegirl. We dance together, we write together, I tell her about my day, she lets me in on conversations with her imaginary friends. She talks, and I listen."

What has been the hardest challenge you’ve faced as a parent so far?
"Cooking. I’m terrible at it. I can handle breakfast and lunch. But dinner is terrifying. I have real anxiety around 4pm at work everyday, when it hits me that I have a child that I’ll need to feed in a couple of hours."

And what's been the most rewarding thing?
"The most rewarding thing about motherhood is watching this little personality grow, right in front of my eyes. I can’t believe the things that come out of Lina’s mouth–her observations about the world, her philosophies. She teaches me so much. The other day, I showed her a picture of Hillary Clinton (who she’s already calling our 'new girl president'), and she was totally shocked–because she didn’t realize she was white. She assumed she was 'light black with dyed blonde hair.' Because in her lifetime, the only president she’s known is black! I was amazed at how A., she so casually tossed around the idea of a woman president, no big deal, and B., she couldn’t picture an America without a black president. It was a stunning moment. Seeing the world through her eyes is incredible."

Talk to me a bit about your hopes and fears raising a daughter in today’s world.
"I’m honestly dreading the social media conversation, which I hear will be coming around sixth or seventh grade. I’m not excited about her joining social platforms. Cyber-bullying is out of control. And the insane physical/beauty standards set by Instagram-famous 'models' and It-girls can be really damaging. Honestly, my goal is to raise a daughter who's too self-confident and self-possessed to even entertain viral fads like that lip-suction device girls are using to mimic Kylie Jenner’s fishmouth. Shudder."

You transitioned to natural hair a few years back. I remember you had a beautiful story about how the decision had to do with your daughter. Could you explain?
"My daughter has a head full of big, beautiful, lush curls. And as soon as she could talk, she was telling me how much she hated them. She wanted straight hair, like Rapunzel’s–and her mommy’s. I had a relaxer, at the time, and got weekly blowouts. And it occurred to me, that there was no way I could teach her to love her curls when I was beating mine into submission! I stopped relaxing my hair, embraced my natural hair, and now we’re just one big, happy, curly family."
natural curls
Okay, speed round. What’s your best parenting tip for...

...Getting kids to eat things they don’t want to eat?
"Put it in a smoothie with lots of bananas."

...Screen time?
"Don’t feel bad about parking your kid in front of an iPad if you need to get something done. Just make sure she doesn’t somehow access HBO GO and land on Sex & the City. I have NO idea how that happened, but I learned a very valuable lesson about parental controls that day."

"If you’re screaming at your child, you lost that battle five minutes ago. If things are getting out of hand, take a deep breath and teach your way out of it. Conflicts are teachable moments. Easier said than done, of course, but what’s easy about parenting?"

...Getting your child to open up and confide in you?
"Open up and confide in them. I’m pretty transparent (in an age-appropriate way) with Lina, and we have easy-breezy small talk all day. I try to set it up so that the doctor is in, at all times."

Okay, now…tell me about your book!
"The Perfect Find is about Jenna Jones, a 40-year-old former fashion editor superstar, who loses it all–and then finds herself a clueless rookie at on online fashion zine, working with digital-savvy millennials who think she’s a dinosaur because she doesn’t have Facebook and has never hashtagged a day in her life. Plus, she’s working for her evil rival from the ‘90s–and somehow gets entangled in a wildly lusty, very secret romance with a co-worker half her age!"

Is it autobiographical at all?
"It’s absolutely autobiographical! I wrote this book during a really low point. I had the life I always wanted–the magazine career, the books, the marriage–and then, in my late thirties, I got divorced, and laid off, and then got super-ill and was unable to work consistently (for two years). I invented Jenna Jones so I could live vicariously through her fight to reinvent herself and come back, stronger than ever. Also, I had my own transformative love affair with younger guy–but it didn’t work out in real life. But I wanted it to happen somewhere, so I wrote the story the way I wish it would’ve played out, for me!"

You’re known for your sex scenes and there’s some juicy ones in The Perfect Find. How old will Lina have to be before you let her read it?

"There’s way too much smut in The Perfect Find for Lina to read it before she’s 35. Actually, lifetime ban on Lina reading any of my novels. Ever."

So, talk to me below! Would love to hear what you think of this piece--and of this new series in general. Also: If you live in NYC, Tia has a book signing on April 28th at 6pm at the Barnes & Noble in the Citigroup Center in Midtown. But because I know you want to get Tia's book right now: You can order it here!

Friday, April 15, 2016

16 Cool Things You Need To Click On Today

Cheery wreathes on one of my favorite homes in Hoboken

It's been quiet around here lately, I know. I'm sorry! I was out of town for a week (more on that soon!), and ever since, I've been writing stories like a madwoman. I have about six of them due in the next week (ahhh!). Then, hopefully, it will quiet down and I can jump back on the blog bandwagon.

But I'm here now! And ready to share a few fun links. Enjoy!

• I just finished When Breath Becomes Air last night, What a wonderful, powerful, gut-wrenching, yet incredibly hopeful book. I have never, ever cried as hard reading a book as I did during the last section of this one. But I don't want to scare you off: It's actually not depressing. And the writing is just so beautiful. Trust me on this one. You'll love it. (Bonus: It's also relatively short and it's a quick, easy read.) 

• I just bought these gold-and-black-patent Birks. I love them--they're so glam! (I mean, as glam as a pair of Birkenstocks can be...!)

• There was a very active post on my Facebook feed the other day where several of my most stylish friends (who, interestingly, all have very different styles) were going on and on, absolutely raving about this $79 shirt from...Ann Taylor! They all said it was superflattering and super versatile. So now, of course, I cannot wait to try it!

• I'm kind of obsessed with this $128 little black dress. It's so cute, you could easily dress it up or down, and the roominess around the tummy means you can wear it without having to suck your stomach in. So, basically: EVERY SINGLE THING I REQUIRE IN A DRESS.

• As a nervous flier who absolutely hates turbulence, this made me feel a bit better about the bumpy stuff.

• Playmats are a godsend when you have a baby. But they're usually ugly as hell. Enter these mats that are, dare I say, gorgeous. So sad they didn't have them when my kids were babies!

• This video from a man who is part of the mere 1 percent of people who survive a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge gives a powerful glimpse into the last-minute mind of a suicidal person. This is the line I couldn't get out of my head: "The millisecond my hands left the rail, it was instant regret."

• Um, hi cute funny bowl that's only $15. I need you.

• When the person behind you at a baseball game spies on your phone. 

• Is staying in the new going out? It is for me.

• Garlic bread pasta?! Get in my belly.

• When a reader calls child protective services...on a mommy blogger. Scary!

And in case you missed it, I...

• Shared my favorite spring finds.

• Revealed the ultimate family-friendly vacation spot.

• Declared my love of little white dresses.

• Named the top four beauty products to buy right now.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

My Spring Wish List (All On Sale...Today Only!)

shopbop sale
1 - jeans // 2 - dress  // 3 - embroidered clutch // 4 - phone case // 5  - dress // 6 - jacket // 7 - straw clutch // 8 - sneakers // 9 - sandals // 10 - necklace

The weather may be freakishly cold in NYC right now, but I definitely have spring on the brain. I'm currently hating every single heavy, long-sleeved thing I own and dreaming of breezy dresses, light jackets, and open toes. GIMME ALL THE SPRING STUFF.

Recently, I noticed that I've been pinning a ton from Shopbop lately. And then I noticed (after every other blogger, it appears) that they're having a ridiculous sale right now: 25% off everything until 11:59 TONIGHT.

I'll be scooping up a few of the items above. And the best part? Most of them are already great deals even before the sale. Like, these gladiator sandals are $108 before the discount. And, seriously, how is this cool, drapey, faux-leather jacket possibly $95 pre-sale?!? Whatever. I'm not asking any more questions--I'm just going to shop.

Use code INTHEFAM for 25% off today only. Enjoy!


Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Break at Beaches in Turks & Caicos

My kids live for buffets. (If I'm being honest, though, so do I.)
When a 6-foot-tall Elmo visits...and completely freaks your kid out.

Hanging with the locals

Well, we're off to spring break in Turks & Caicos! And we're actually going back to the very same resort we went to last year: Beaches. The pictures above are all from last year's trip. Although a few pics went up on Instagram back then, I never posted them here on the blog--oops!

We had an incredible time there last year, so decided to do it all over again. If you haven't heard of Beaches, allow me to explain: But first, let me say that, if you do not have small children, Beaches is not for you. In fact, if you do not have kids, Beaches will probably be your worst nightmare. But, if you do have little kids, honey, it is everything.

Beaches is an all-inclusive resort where everything is beyond kid-friendly. There's great food for them (let's just say, you won't run in to a situation where there's no chicken fingers on the menu), there's fun shows for them (think more Sesame Street dance parties, less Hamilton, though), there's amazing pools, fun activities, and so. much. more.

One of the highlights of our trip last year was when Elmo came to "tuck in" the kids one night. My son (who, at the time, was obsessed with Elmo) was SO freaked out. He laid stiff as a board for the majority of the time, finally warming up to the 6-foot-tall Elmo at the very end. (You may remember this story from my Instagram. It was actually one of my most popular Instas ever!)

And, above all, the kid's club is unbelievable.

The kid's club. All hail the kid's club! We had never been to a resort with a kid's club before, and after that trip, we swore we'd never go to a resort without one again. For the uninitiated, kid's clubs are basically activity centers (a.k.a. glorified day cares) where you can drop off your kids to play for awhile. This might sound sort of cruel, but consider that 1) very little kids don't want to be out in the sun all day. They get bored. (My son was only 18 months last year). And 2) Little kids can't be in the sun all day. It's dangerous. 

And this kid's club is awesome. They have tons of toys, they have a (shaded) kid's pool, and they have cool activities like treasure hunts, cookie baking with Cookie Monster, and arts and crafts. We would take our son every morning for two or three hours, while we hung out with our daughter at the pool. Then, we'd meet up with him for lunch, take him back to the room for his nap, and then we'd all go to the pool again around 4 or 5, once the sun wasn't as strong.

But here's the best part: There were three mornings when my daughter wanted to go to the kid's club, too. So there were three mornings when my husband and I had two or three hours to ourselves! THIS IS UNHEARD OF!!! We spent it by being SUPER exciting: reading and napping by the pool. And you know what? IT WAS GLORIOUS.

Because of those few hours scattered throughout the week where we actually got to relax, the entire trip ended up feeling like an actual vacation (unlike a mere trip like this one). This is nothing short of miraculous.

So, we're heading out to do it all over again. I've already downloaded my books for those few precious kid-free hours by the pool, I've gotten my pedicure, and I am READY for some warm weather.

**If you want to tag along on our spring break trip, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (alyssahertzig). I expect to be snapping a TON. (Get ready, Elmo...)

Do you guys have any fun spring break plans? And have you ever been to Beaches?

(BTW, this post is NOT sponsored in any way, shape, or form. We paid the full cost for this trip. Believe me. #oy)

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Best Little White Dresses

little white dresses for summer
Clockwise from top left: Anthropologie // Eliza J // Socialite (this one is under $50!!) // Sanctuary (under $140!) // See by Chloe // Isabel Marant // BCBG

A few weeks back, I stumbled on this photo, and ever since, I've been obsessed with the idea of a little white dress. Specifically a little white lace dress. I'm a total believer in the magic of little black dresses, and LWDs seem like the perfect summer alternative. Love the idea of dressing them down with flat lace-up sandals or fancying them up with strappy nude heels.

They're breezy, summery, and so, so versatile, easily going from work to running around the city to drinks out with friends. 

Just, please, please don't wear one to a wedding. Unless you're the bride.

I've highlighted a few of my favorite LWDs above and below (plus a few sandals that would be so pretty to pair with them) below! 

Which one is your fave?