Friday, February 24, 2017

Our (Kid-Free!) Vacation In St. Lucia

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband and I recently took a vacation to St. Lucia. It was a short one, just Thursday to Sunday. But it was without kids. So, you know, it was actually a vacation! (Unlike this one.)

My parents came to stay with the kids, and the night before we left, I gave them rapid fire instructions about how to take care of them in our absence. That's the moment when you forget that your parents raised three kids and probably don't need the level of detail you're providing ("Make sure they pee before they go to bed!"). It's also when you realize just how nuts your kids are. There were instructions like: "So, for breakfast, they can have mini bagels with butter, but make sure you can see the globs of butter!! Even if it has a ton of butter, if it all melts, they won't believe you that's it's there." Or "Nate is going to ask for a 'Spider-Man Story' before he goes to bed. This can be a story about anything though--it doesn't have to be superhero-related. But one of the characters in the story must be named Spider-Man." 

And the next morning we were off! St. Lucia is about a three hour flight and you can fly direct, which is key with a short vacation. We stayed at Ladera, which is an incredible resort where all the rooms have only three walls! One side is completely open to face the ocean, the lush valley, and the dramatic piton mountains before it. It's fancy rustic and kind of feels vaguely like camping (well, at least the only kind of camping I would ever do). 

And once we were there, what did we as two parents all alone without kids or a care in the world do? Yep, you guessed it. NOTHING. Seriously. We laid around the room all day the first two days. Swam in the pool, read, napped. And it was glorious! The third and final day we finally ventured down to see the ocean. We went to Sugar Beach, an adorable little spot nestled between two pitons. It feels hidden and secret and it's just beautiful.

But enough about the beaches and the pool. I need to tell you about the food. Specifically, THE BREAD OIL. Since Ladera is very small, there is only one restaurant on the property, and since we were too lazy to venture off the resort, that's where we ate every meal. This wasn't a problem, because 1) They change the menus every day, so we didn't get bored. And 2) All meals included this unbelievably delicious condiment they call "bread oil." And it's life-changing. 

I asked what was in it and they said "olive oil and spices," which is a nice way of saying "We're not giving you our secret recipe, lady." But it was seriously crack. (If crack tastes like a heavenly smooth-salsa/balsamic-vinegar-ish concoction. Does it? I wouldn't know.) I dipped bread in it like crazy and even put it on my scrambled eggs in the morning. (So. Good.) They won't divulge the recipe, but they will sell you a huge, fresh-scooped jar of it if you ask at the gift shop. Problem is, we didn't check luggage since it was such a short trip, so I couldn't bring the bread oil back. And the regret I have been feeling ever since is real, you guys. If anyone goes to Ladera, I will pay you to smuggle me back some bread oil. AND I AM NOT KIDDING. (And if you know anyone at Ladera and can get me the recipe, I will give you the biggest bag of beauty products you've ever seen!)

Then, Sunday evening, after three days in paradise, we came back. My kids were still awake when we got home, so we were able to see them before they went to sleep. And they had had a great time, too! (Perhaps too great of a time. My parents baked cookies with them, took them on adventures, and did lots of craft projects, so now they are expecting more of that from us!) We wrestled them into pajamas, argued over teeth brushing, and then I told an epic Spider-Man story. The vacation was officially over.

Our next trip is next month and we're bringing the kids. We're heading to Disney World for a week. That should be just as relaxing, right? (Eek.)

So, tell me: What was the best long-weekend vacation you guys have gone on? I need ideas for our next adults-only trip! (Which will probably be in like five years, but still.)

(Oh! This post and my vacation were in no way sponsored. I mean, I  WISH! But alas...)

Friday, February 10, 2017

13 Cool Ways To Make Nordstrom Great Again

pink cardigan // gray bag // yellow cardigan // gloves // sunscreen // bracelet // black bag // sunglasses // nail polish // necklace // self-tanner // boots // sweatshirt

Lately, for some reason, I've really felt like Nordstrom. I mean, gee, I don't know why, but for the last few days, I've just really been wanting to spend SO MUCH MONEY there. 

If you, too, have a sudden hankering to Make Nordstrom Great Again, I've picked out a few fun things that I have my eye on and that I think you might like, too.

Now, if the idea of spending money at the failing, fake-news Nordstrom totally offends you, may I suggest holding your nose while you check out the items below or just click here to see the Ivanka Trump products Nordstrom still carries. There are currently a whopping two of them. And they're both on major sale. 

Happy hate shopping!

{top row}

Halogen Long Cardigan - This pretty, paper-thin $68 cardigan is the kind of thing I'd throw on with a white tee and skinny jeans and just live in. Bonus: The planet is getting warmer and we're doing nothing about that for the next four years, so pretty soon, this light cardigan will be able to double as your winter coat!

Rebecca Minkoff Regan Satchel - They may have named this bag The Regan, but I like to call it "The Melania." Sure, it plagarizes Balenciaga's cult-favorite City bag (one of my all-time favorites!), but it's sooo pretty that you kind of don't even care. (BTW, it's also about $1,500 less than the Balenciaga version!)

J.Crew for Nordstrom Jackie Embellished Cardigan - This bright yellow, sequined starburst cardigan is just so darn sunny and happy. I smile just looking at it! And we could all use a dose of happy right now, amiright?

UGG Tech gloves - These chic leather-and-shearling gloves are specially engineered to work with touchscreen devices. That means, when you slip them onto your tiny hands, you'll still be free to email your senators--or grab 'em by the ballot.

Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 - I tried this sunscreen for the first time on my recent vacation and fell in love. It's incredibly light--probably the best, most appealing texture I've ever found in a sunscreen--and it has a beautiful, fig-y scent. It's also practical. With health care being rolled back, the last thing you need is to get skin cancer--and daily sunscreen use is the #1 thing you can do to protect yourself. (And that is not an alternative fact.)

{middle row}

MantraBand Rose-Gold Cuff - This $35 bracelet is so delicate and pretty and it reads "She believed she could, so she did." I'll be wearing it until they come out with one that says "Nevertheless, she persisted."

BP Faux Leather Crossbody Bag - I'm so into crossbody bags right now! They hold the key stuff you need, but are tiny, streamlined, and cute. They're the perfect thing for those times you need a non-bulky bag whether that's for brunch, errands, or a day of protesting. (Also, this one is only $35!)

Perverse Sugar Sunglasses - Blush-pink sunnies! That are adorable! And only $40! SO. MUCH. WINNING.

{bottom row}

Christian Louboutin Loubichrome Mini Nail Color - After they repeal the Affordable Care Act, you'll be getting a FAT tax cut, so definitely use that opportunity to indulge in some Louboutin heels! Oh, what's that? You're not part of the 1 percent? Oof. You in danger, girl. Better stick to this $30 Louboutin nail polish then. All of the glamour, none of debt.

Argento Vivo Gothic Initial Necklace - This is such a cool, subversive take on the intital necklace trend. I'd love the "a" for myself. And they're under $50, so they make the perfect gift for a mom, a BFF, or an Easy D.

Lancome Flash Bronzer Self Tanner for Legs - Some self-tanners make the wearer look way too orange. Sad! But that won't be a problem with this one, which happens to be my all-time fave. The tinted gel goes on easy and streak-free and the resulting, non-Cheeto color is tawny and perfectly natural-looking. 

Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots - Think of these as a two-for-one: First, they're the most adorable duck boots ever. And second, if you buy your duck boots at Nordstrom, you won't be buying them at L.L. Bean, which means you're boycotting them at the same time you're supporting Nordstrom. Big league!

Rebecca Minkoff California sweatshirt - The beach. The palm trees. The rumors of secession. Despite its alleged scandal of 3 million illegal liberal ghosts running the joint, California just sounds really, really good right now, doesn't it?

I hope you liked my little tongue-in-cheek guide. If you were offended, I do apologize. (But I thought we were supposed to be the snowflakes!)

So, what was your favorite item here? Do tell me below! Don't worry: It's a safe space.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wish List: Warm-Weather Preview

summer clothes and accessories
pink dress // hat // bikini // t-shirt // blue dress // sunglasses // denim shorts //  popsicle bag // rings // sandals // pink bag

So, I'm in St. Lucia right now! (Without kids!) We're staying at the Ladera resort, which is insane. (The rooms have only three walls, so one whole side is open to a view of the sea, jungles, and mountains!) 

We have really great wifi here, so I'm able to keep up with all of the (horrible, shameful, disgusting) news happening at home. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that it does feel nice to be able to get my mind off of it somewhat. If only for a few days.

If you need to clear your mind for a brief period of time, too, I've got you. Before I left, I realized I needed to do a little refresh on my vacation wardrobe, so I came up with a little wish list/inspiration board. I thought it might be fun to share it with you. I know the weather is still horrendous in much of the country, and the last thing you're probably thinking about is warm clothes (for multiple reasons). But now is actually the best time to buy if you fall in love with something. Best selection of styles and sizes! Anyway, here's what I'm loving for vacation (or summer!) right now.

Mi Golondrina Dress - I've wanted one of these forever. I love the forgiving cut and the intricate stitching.

Eugenua Kim Hat - Always a must. And I just love the pretty feather detail on this one.

J. Crew Seersucker Bikini - Those ruffles! That seersucker! It's totally the bathing suit I would get if I didn't hate my tummy--LOL. So, instead I got this navyone-piece and I'm OBSESSED. It's really beautiful and so flattering.

Madewell Split-Neck t-shirt - This tee from Madewell is my all-time favorite. The cotton is super thin and soft and the cut is perfect--not-too-tight, but not baggy. I discovered it last year and plan to add a few more fun colors this year.

Madewell Denim Shorts - I love this distressing, the wash, and the fact that they're not too, too short.

J.Crew Chambray Dress - Can you tell I'm obsessed with ruffles right now? I love that this one could be dressed down for weekends or dressed up for work.

Lonchamp x Jeremy Scott bag - Does anything instantly say "summer" quite like a bomb pop? And if you look close, these pops are shaped like the Empire State Building! This bag is hands down the cutest.

Gentle Monster Sunglasses - I love, love, love the pink and black pattern. It's so unique, but not crazy. I want these so bad!

Gorjana Shimmer Bar Rings - A trio of delicate gold rings at a very, very nice price. (All three for $55!)

Rebecca Minkoff Studded Sandals - They have such a cool, edgy vibe, and they're not ridiculously expensive.

Steven by Steve Madden Fringe Tote - It's the cutest-ever beach bag that's sophisticated enough to use as a regular bag, too.

Have you guys done any warm-weather shopping yet?


Friday, January 20, 2017

18 Cool Things to Click On This Totally Normal, Average, Non-Special Day

Hello on this perfectly normal, nothing-to-see-here, Friday-that's-just-like-any-other-Friday day! Got any fun plans for this average day? I'll be spending it on deadline, furiously writing a story and not turning on my TV. (Well, until 10pm when my bae Bill Maher returns from hiatus).

As for the rest of the weekend: Tomorrow, I'm taking my kid to soccer. Then I'm meeting a few thousand friends to march through the streets of New York City. I may carry a sign and shout angrily. You know. Just a typical Saturday. Then on Sunday we have swimming class.

Can you tell my go-to defense mechanism is denial?

So, whether you're spending the weekend crying, cheering, marching, denying, or just living it like any other weekend, here's a few fun links to check out before the world blows up. Enjoy!

• This top is kind of perfect. Love the color, love the shape, love the subtle ruffles, love that it goes with jeans or could be dressed up for work, and LOVE that it's on sale for $41.

• These Alexis Bittar earrings are so cool. And they're on major sale right now--62% off!

• I love the new Tory Burch Gemini Link bags. I want a gray one!

• I know it seems early to think about bathing suits, but now is really when they have the best size selection. I have my eye on this J.Crew one-piece, which manages to hit that rare combo of being both a bit more covered and sexy.

• This video features a guy rapping about his cat (Ravioli!) while giving him a bath. It is one of the best things I have ever seen. I posted it on Facebook the other day and it is probably one of my most-shared posts ever. People have actually thanked me for bringing this simple joy into their lives. I am now giving the gift to you. You're welcome.

• Did you guys hear that Bobbi Brown is stepping down from her company? In honor of the moment, I wrote about her for Town & It may just be one of my favorite things I've ever written. 

• During the tail end of the election, I became obsessed with the Keepin' It 1600 podcast, which was produced by (smart, hilarious, and adorable) former Obama staffers. It's now been morphed into a new version (Pod Save America), and it, too, is just so, so good. In their most recent episode, they interviewed Barack Obama in his very last interview as president. Highly recommend.

• Loved learning about the beautiful way that Japanese women grieve a miscarriage.

• This spiralized Greek salad sounds soo yummy (and healthy!).

• Or, if you prefer to eat your feelings this weekend in a less nutritious way, might I suggest this cinnamon roll breakfast bake? #yum

• I have watched this video (featuring a guy in a polar bear costume slipping on an ice rink) about 15 times so far. And I laugh until I cry every time.

• In this crazy story, a girl randomly found her doppelganger. And then she found another one. And another one. And another one.

• I love this artist's rendition of what George Washington would look like as a hipster with a man bun.

• I thought I knew a lot about Planned Parenthood, but I learned a lot more about it in this piece by my friend Hitha. It's a good primer for people on both sides of the defunding debate.

• This essay by a mother who lost her 22-year-old son is absolutely beautiful. Whatever you do, though, do not read it in public. Because you will be ugly-crying.

And in case you missed it, I...

• Showed 9 ways to have a good hair day.

• Shared how I'm teaching my daughter to love her wavy hair. (Along with some pretty darn cute photos of her!)

• Revealed my holiday card.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Hair!

Well, 2016 sucked. But at least my hair looked good? Ugh. Seriously though, I'd gladly take four years of permanent frizz in exchange for an electoral do-over. Who's #WithMe?

Until a miracle happens, I guess let's keep striving for health, happiness, and that #goodhairlife. 

Thank you for following along this year. It means so much to have you reading and I'm looking forward to spending 2017 with you!

Have a wonderful, relaxing New Year's Day. Talk to you soon!

(And in case you're so inclined, here are my Happy New Hair posts from 2016, 2015, 2013, and 2012. Damn, that's a lot of blowouts.)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Teaching My Daughter To Love Her Hair

Photos by Raquel Langworthy, owner of Raquel Bianca Creative (She does lifestyle-focused family photography in New Jersey and she's amazing!)
As the mother of a six-year-old daughter, I worry about her self-esteem. She has a lot of it right now, which is a good thing. She loves her wavy/curly hair, she loves her full lips, she feels beautiful. She is beautiful. But because she is a girl--and because I'm one, too--I know there is likely a point coming down the road when she will look in the mirror and see herself differently. She may not see the beauty that I see now and that I will always see. 

And I know that I play an outsize role in making sure she continues to love her appearance. In fact, a recent Dove study found that positive role models can significantly affect a young girl's confidence, and that 82 percent of daughters learn to care about themselves from their mother. So, I'm on it!

And, like many other things, it starts with hair. This is a particularly fraught issue for me as I've had a true love-hate relationship with my own hair for as long as I can remember. Like my daughter, my hair is curly/wavy, but unlike my daughter--who has soft, perfectly-formed curls--my hair is also really frizzy. So if I'm being honest, I don't love--or even like--it in its natural state. I have long preferred my hair blown out, smooth and straight. 

But I am determined that my daughter will love her own hair. I tell her all the time how beautiful it is, and I always want her curls to look even curlier. When we get her hair cut, we ask the stylist to trim it with layers that encourage the curls, and when I blowdry her hair, I twist it in a way that coaxes those curls out. Sometimes she wears it straight, too, but in those moments, I'm very careful with the language I use to describe her hair. Her straight hair isn't better, it isn't more polished, it isn't prettier. Straight is an option, not the ideal. 

And I'm working on me, too. I may not be ready to wear my hair completely natural yet, but I've been experimenting with some curlier and wavier styles. (And I've been loving them!) And I never complain about my hair in front of her. I'm learning to love my hair, because I love my girl.

Because this issue is so close to my heart (and head!), I've partnered with Dove on their mission to help moms inspire hair confidence in their girls and teach them to love their hair. If you're a mom, you can start by creating an adorable custom #LoveYourHair animated message right here and then sharing it on social media. (That's mine above. They're cute, right?) Then, tell your daughter how beautiful her hair is. And keep on telling her. 

Because she's listening.

This post was sponsored by Dove.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!

christmas cards

Just popping in to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" to those celebrating today--and to show you our finished holiday cards! As you may remember, we recently did a holiday photo shoot with my kids, and here's the final result...

Once again, we went with Minted for our cards this year, and--once again--I was so, so happy with the results. I love that Minted offers so many cute designs, that they can print the return address on the envelope (lifesaver!), and that there are really cool ways to customize your cards. I went with the "Whirlwind Christmas" design, and chose to personalize ours a bit further by including two more photos on the back, plus a short update about what my kids are doing these days. (If you're interested, here are some past holiday cards: 2015, 2014, and my "work" card from 2015--still a favorite!).

Whatever you're up to today, I hope it's amazing! Have a wonderful holiday.

Disclosure: Minted--a brand I have long used and loved--gifted me these cards, so that I could consider them for coverage on this site. As always, all opinions are my own.